Sunday, 10 November 2019

Glen Scotia 1992 HB & SMWS 2003 93.91 Reviews

Hi everyone,

Glen Scotia, previously the ugly duckling of Campbeltown, seems to be coming into its own more and more. This tracks with Loch Lomond, who are owned by the same people. Both distilleries (much like Ledaig) produced feinty, weird and sometimes horrible whiskies that people found hard to get along with but are entering a new dawn with cool experimentation, special but affordable releases that seem to be, as yet, untouched by too much marketing bullshit and… um, Macallan-ing.
I’ve got more Glen Scotia coming up with my build up to 1000 reviews but we will leave them for now.

Glen Scotia 1992 Hart Brothers 50.5%
Colour: Amber
Body: Medium/Full
Nose: Funky orange and flat wood, sweet sherry and austere malt, dry oak and a touch of fireplace, geranium and musky cologne, chocolate powder, plum pudding, grapefruit. The nose feels a little oxidised, like the bottle has been open a little long.
Taste: Soft and sweet, orange, malt, chocolate powder, building slowly with more spice, oak and chewy orange and cherry, quite austere despite the sherry, grapefruit.
Finish: Long length. Sweet, syrupy and oily. More malt here with some dark chocolate. A little black cherry at the end.
23yo version from a Sherry hogshead. I was expecting more from this actually. Yeah, its good but I can't help but feel that a newly opened bottle would have tasted a little fresher and been more punchy. This was from the end of a bottle at a festival, so no way to know how long it had been open…
77/100
 
Glen Scotia 2003 93.91 SMWS 56.4%
Colour: Dark Gold
Body: Medium/Full
Nose: Austere and very Glen Scotia, oily with some fruits, butter, oxidised browning apple, some brown sugar, a Trinidad rum thing going on, a bit of banana thats been left out too long, mango and peach thats doing much of the same. Black pepper and salt, a little mineral. Super interesting nose.
Water: Cleaner and flatter, some oak and dry wood, loses its 'fattness.'
Taste: Oily and mouth-filling, serious mouthfeel, fruity with red apple and black pepper, some stem ginger, a little chilli, its spicy but not hot if that makes sense, some orange in there too, salt and more and more smoke as it goes on, ending up being quite smoky by the finish.
Water: A little flat to start, but a great balance of the salt, smoke and spice then builds up.
Finish: Long length. Powerful with smoky and spice, black pepper, salty still, some chilli. Again, not hot though.
'Campbeltown Karaoke' Bottled at 14yo. Really could be a Talisker. A really great single cask Talisker. Much better neat though. I tasted this first time at the Vaults in Leith, where the SMWS started and instantly knew it was special. Very luckily, they gave me the open bottle from the bar as a thank you for doing the tasting so I got to take it home. Great Glen Scotia, keep an eye out for these mid-aged peated ones.
84/100

Thanks for reading!

Scotch Reviews #811-#812
Whisky Network Reviews #967-#968

Network Average: 75.1
Best Score: 94
Worst Score: 12
0-49 Terrible
50-59 Bad
60-64 Just About OK
65-69 Ok to Good
70-74 Good
75-79 Very Good
80-84 Excellent
85-89 Superb
90+ Magnificent

Full Disclosure Disclaimer: I currently work as the Global Brand Ambassador for Penderyn Distillery. The views expressed here are purely my own and do not reflect the views of Penderyn Distillery or The Welsh Whisky Company. I try to maintain as much objectivity as I can but feel free to take my reviews with as big a pinch of salt as you like. Furthermore, my rating scale is NOT based on a Parker type wine scoring scale or a school/college/university % or A-F grade score. You can find more on my scoring here. I apologise for any seemly low or 'bad' scores given with my system and I am sorry I can't say only nice things. Please keep in mind that I am ethically compromised and I am unable to produce 100% unbiased reviews.

Thursday, 7 November 2019

Redbreast 15 & 21 Reviews

Hi everyone,

Redbreast is known to be THE single pot still whiskey to try. Particularly the 21 has a reputation as one of the best Irish Whiskies that money can buy.
Now, I’m not usually a massive fan of Irish whiskey but had the chance to try two of the Redbreast range recently, including the 21.
If you didn’t already know, it is distilled at the New Midleton distillery with a mix of malted and unmalted barley. Although it is made on the same site as Jameson, this only uses pot stills, giving it a fuller body and character.

Redbreast 15 46%
Colour: Gold
Body: Medium
Nose: Loads of tropical fruit, fruit gums, a little banana, milk bottle sweets, apple sours, a real pix-n-mix! Creamy.
Taste: Very soft, a little watery to start (46%?!), tropical fruit, green banana, underipe mango, orange juice, creamy vanilla. Flat in places though.
Finish: Medium/Long length. Soft spices, some oak, a bit flat here and lacking life.
I was very surprised by the mouthfeel to this. Very average in my book, especially considering the price is pretty high.
69/100
 
Redbreast 21 46%
Colour: Dark Gold
Body: Medium/Full
Nose: Stunning! A massive fruit bomb! Expressive mango and mango juice, guava, some pineapple, perfume, clean laundry and biscuit, candied orange peel, ripe banana and milk chocolate. Complex and lively.
Taste: Juicy arrival, mango, pineapple, great oak, still so fresh, creamy, biscuit, lovely viscous mouthfeel, orange, light touch of white pepper and ginger.
Finish: Medium length. More orange, then drier, orange chewing gum, not as complex here.
Just loses a few points on the finish but fantastic Irish whiskey.
80/100

Thanks for reading!

Irish Reviews #28-#29
Whisky Network Reviews #965-#966

Network Average: 75.1
Best Score: 94
Worst Score: 12
0-49 Terrible
50-59 Bad
60-64 Just About OK
65-69 Ok to Good
70-74 Good
75-79 Very Good
80-84 Excellent
85-89 Superb
90+ Magnificent

Full Disclosure Disclaimer: I currently work as the Global Brand Ambassador for Penderyn Distillery. The views expressed here are purely my own and do not reflect the views of Penderyn Distillery or The Welsh Whisky Company. I try to maintain as much objectivity as I can but feel free to take my reviews with as big a pinch of salt as you like. Furthermore, my rating scale is NOT based on a Parker type wine scoring scale or a school/college/university % or A-F grade score. You can find more on my scoring here. I apologise for any seemly low or 'bad' scores given with my system and I am sorry I can't say only nice things. Please keep in mind that I am ethically compromised and I am unable to produce 100% unbiased reviews.

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Caol Ila 1993 Murray McDavid & A.D. Rattray Reviews

Hi everyone,

Two Caol Ila’s from my birth year today! There’s always something special about tasting whisky from the same year as you were born, I have no idea why, it just seems to be the case.
But it gets harder and harder as you go on and, in fact, both of these bottlings were bottled a little while ago.
I can’t repeated enough that Caol Ila, when on form, can be just as good as any other Islay whisky and can often have recognisable elements of Laphroaig, Ardbeg or Lagavulin to it. It’s incredibly versatile.

Caol Ila 1993 Murray McDavid Aficionados 59.1%
Colour: Light Gold
Body: Medium/Full
Nose: Soft creamy smoke, smoky vanilla pod, a little spice- green peppercorns, clean bandages.
Taste: Citrus lemon arrival, dry then amazingly soft with creamy smoke balancing well with the cutting citrus component. Quite a Rich mouthfeel to this. Really doesn’t feel like almost 60% either!
Finish: More malty, dry and spicy.
Bottled at 13yo and stored in glass. Aceo are the company that now own Murray McDavid and they do bottlings for many other people. This one was something someone had bottled but then didn’t do anything with, so it was just sitting around in the warehouse.
78/100
 
Caol Ila 1993 A.D.Rattay 55.7%
Colour: Amber
Body: Full
Nose: Creamy and sulphury and smoky and awesome. Very little sweetness and fruit, maybe a little freeze dried raspberry, inner machine sludge and peat, earthy AF. A meatiness coming out now with bacon cooking away in the next room (and yes, its as delicious as it sounds).
Taste: Power power power, loads of smoke, but really really well balanced and complex, earthy, thick and oily, a little Sherry, meaty with bacon again. So great. The balance achieved with the massive power is quite striking.
Finish: Long length. Softens out nicely, some dryer oak, juicy raisin. Lovely.
Bottled at 18yo from a Sherry cask. What a Caol Ila! Never fails to amaze how good their whisky can be! Many thanks to the Toronto Whisky Society for the night of amazing drams!
88/100

Thanks for reading!

Scotch Reviews #809-#810
Whisky Network Reviews #963-#964

Network Average: 75.1
Best Score: 94
Worst Score: 12
0-49 Terrible
50-59 Bad
60-64 Just About OK
65-69 Ok to Good
70-74 Good
75-79 Very Good
80-84 Excellent
85-89 Superb
90+ Magnificent

Full Disclosure Disclaimer: I currently work as the Global Brand Ambassador for Penderyn Distillery. The views expressed here are purely my own and do not reflect the views of Penderyn Distillery or The Welsh Whisky Company. I try to maintain as much objectivity as I can but feel free to take my reviews with as big a pinch of salt as you like. Furthermore, my rating scale is NOT based on a Parker type wine scoring scale or a school/college/university % or A-F grade score. You can find more on my scoring here. I apologise for any seemly low or 'bad' scores given with my system and I am sorry I can't say only nice things. Please keep in mind that I am ethically compromised and I am unable to produce 100% unbiased reviews.

Monday, 4 November 2019

Four More Ledaig's: 2010 The Ultimate, 2007 Whisky Mercenary, 2004 SMOS & 2001 MMD Reviews

Hi everyone,

Now I know what you’re thinking; hasn't this guy tried all the Ledaig in the world yet? Does he really need to taste more?
The answer is no and yes respectively. There is always more Ledaig being released and I love trying it. Its fun whisky and there’s some absolute gems.

Ledaig 2010 The Ultimate 46%
Colour: Straw
Body: Medium
Nose: Light, musky, some light fruit, lemon and gristy smoke.
Taste: Some fruit to start, lemon citrus then smoke develops with malt and light white pepper then lots of sea salt into the finish.
Finish: Short/Medium length. A salty tang.
Bottled Feb 2017 at 6yo.
70/100

Ledaig 2007 Whisky Mercenary 51.5%
Colour: Straw
Body: Medium/Full
Nose: A little cheese at first but now very clean, sea salt and praline chocolates, hazelnut, straw, a little engine oil, very delicate malt. Quite an easy,, pleasant Ledaig on the nose. Takes some coaxing to open up.
Taste: Amazing arrival on great immediate complexity, sweet and salty, then more malty and chocolatey, clean lemon juice, salt crusted Margarita, a little Tequila into the finish.
Finish: Medium/Long length. Great finish, fading with salt, lemon and oils. Clean as a blade.
Bottled 2017. These casks are so good. Very nice one from Jurgen!
82/100
 
Ledaig 2004 Single Malts of Scotland 56.2%
Colour: Straw
Body: Full
Nose: Soldering iron! Salty, meaty and gristy from the off, at the same time clean with a slight soap, some vanilla, lemon. More soap as it opens up, vanilla ice cream.
Taste: Clean arrival, salinity builds, sea water, some lemon and vanilla but its out of balance. Slightly harsh in the mouth too.
Finish: Medium length. Even more salt! If that's possible, along with some meatiness. Marshmallow? Again, out of balance and a slightly weird mix of flavours.
Bottled at 14yo as an exclusive for The Nectar. Nose is nice at times but this is all over the place on the palate.
68/100
 
Ledaig 2001 Murray McDavid 59%
Colour: Dark Amber, redish tint
Body: Full
Nose: You can smell the madness of Jim McEwen. Not much smoke, passion fruit pavlova, orange juice, earthy funk, marshmallow?, a weird beast of a nose, some abv/nose prickle.
Taste: Softer than the nose suggested then lots of power, earthy peat, spicy oak, black pepper, passionfruit, stem ginger, hot spicy with chilli, really spicy actually.
Finish: Medium length. More peaty again,with some minerality, chilli and ginger.
17yo. Bourbon hogshead into Sherry into sweet wine cask. Powerful but out of balance and all over the place.
75/100


Scotch Reviews #805-#808
Whisky Network Reviews #959-#962

Network Average: 75.1
Best Score: 94
Worst Score: 12
0-49 Terrible
50-59 Bad
60-64 Just About OK
65-69 Ok to Good
70-74 Good
75-79 Very Good
80-84 Excellent
85-89 Superb
90+ Magnificent

Full Disclosure Disclaimer: I currently work as the Global Brand Ambassador for Penderyn Distillery. The views expressed here are purely my own and do not reflect the views of Penderyn Distillery or The Welsh Whisky Company. I try to maintain as much objectivity as I can but feel free to take my reviews with as big a pinch of salt as you like. Furthermore, my rating scale is NOT based on a Parker type wine scoring scale or a school/college/university % or A-F grade score. You can find more on my scoring here. I apologise for any seemly low or 'bad' scores given with my system and I am sorry I can't say only nice things. Please keep in mind that I am ethically compromised and I am unable to produce 100% unbiased reviews.

Friday, 1 November 2019

Glendronach 2007 N&P Single Cask Review

Hi everyone,

Today I've got another exclusive single cask whisky, this time in the form of Glendronach.
Glendronach have had a bit of a hyped reputation in the last few years, especially for the single cask stuff but I’ve noticed (as have others) that the quality seems to have declined more recently. Perhaps this is the delayed effect of Billy Walker selling and leaving, perhaps they just don’t have the casks they used to.

Glendronach 2007 Nickolls & Perks 60.1%
Colour: Light Amber
Body: Medium/Full
Nose: Fresher than expected, apricot and some peach, malt and chocolate, creamy, a little spirity, apricot yoghurt.
Water: Sweeter with chocolate cake and a mossy vegital thing going on.
Taste: Quite robust and spirity, vegital moss, some vanilla, ginger and black pepper spice, a very little raisin towards the end.
Water: A bit flat, plain oak with more chocolate.
Finish: Medium length. Sweeter here with raisin, chocolate and malt.
1st fill PX cask. 11yo. Quite spirity and fresh version of Glendronach. You can see why the spirit does well with time, similar to Macallan. But I’ve found these younger Glendronach’s to be disappointing compared to the more standard 15/18yo at around the same price. Still available for £75 on their website.
74/100

Thanks for reading!

Scotch Review #804
Whisky Network Review #958

Network Average: 75.1
Best Score: 94
Worst Score: 12
0-49 Terrible
50-59 Bad
60-64 Just About OK
65-69 Ok to Good
70-74 Good
75-79 Very Good
80-84 Excellent
85-89 Superb
90+ Magnificent

Full Disclosure Disclaimer: I currently work as the Global Brand Ambassador for Penderyn Distillery. The views expressed here are purely my own and do not reflect the views of Penderyn Distillery or The Welsh Whisky Company. I try to maintain as much objectivity as I can but feel free to take my reviews with as big a pinch of salt as you like. Furthermore, my rating scale is NOT based on a Parker type wine scoring scale or a school/college/university % or A-F grade score. You can find more on my scoring here. I apologise for any seemly low or 'bad' scores given with my system and I am sorry I can't say only nice things. Please keep in mind that I am ethically compromised and I am unable to produce 100% unbiased reviews.

Thursday, 31 October 2019

Cask Islay (A.D. Rattray) Review

Hi everyone,

Random review I’d skipped over today.
Another one of those mystery Islay’s that many people do. This particular version comes to us from A.D. Rattray and I found it in Majestic here in the UK.

Cask Islay 46%
Colour: E150a
Body: Full
Nose: Oily, earthy and citrusy. Very Lagavulin. Lime, lemon, burnt caramel, peat fires.
Taste: Very oily and citrusy. Lemon, lime, burnt caramel and toffee, strong peat smoke, sappy oak. Burning hay and malt.
Finish: Medium length. Sappy oak and peat smoke.
When I first tried this I thought it was definitely Lagavulin. Quite young but great at 46%, better than the 16yo I thought!
Now heard last year that it is in fact Caol Ila these days, and probably was then too.
74/100

Thanks for reading!

Scotch Review #803
Whisky Network Review #957

Network Average: 75.1
Best Score: 94
Worst Score: 12
0-49 Terrible
50-59 Bad
60-64 Just About OK
65-69 Ok to Good
70-74 Good
75-79 Very Good
80-84 Excellent
85-89 Superb
90+ Magnificent

Full Disclosure Disclaimer: I currently work as the Global Brand Ambassador for Penderyn Distillery. The views expressed here are purely my own and do not reflect the views of Penderyn Distillery or The Welsh Whisky Company. I try to maintain as much objectivity as I can but feel free to take my reviews with as big a pinch of salt as you like. Furthermore, my rating scale is NOT based on a Parker type wine scoring scale or a school/college/university % or A-F grade score. You can find more on my scoring here. I apologise for any seemly low or 'bad' scores given with my system and I am sorry I can't say only nice things. Please keep in mind that I am ethically compromised and I am unable to produce 100% unbiased reviews.

Wednesday, 30 October 2019

Paul John Chirstmas Edition 2019 & 7 Cadenhead's Reviews

Hi everyone,

I seem to taste a lot more Paul John than Amrut for whatever reason.
I’ve found that I prefer the core expressions from Amrut but the really good whiskies from Paul John are stunning and have outdone Amrut for the moment.
Here’s two new ones, one official and one independent.

Paul John Christmas Edition 2019 46%
Colour: Bronze
Body: Medium/Full
Nose: Sweet orange and dark raisin, sweet & sour Chinese sauce?, brandy and Christmas cake, orange chewing gum and dry oak, none of the smoke I got on the last one.
Taste: Sweet and v soft arrival, lacking some power, then chewy orange, grape juice, quite dry, some oak, lots of dark chocolate coming in with dry spice, cinnamon,.
Finish: Medium/Long length. Chocolate orange, oily oak, a little out of balance here.
Finished in PX Sherry casks (whereas last year’s was Oloroso) with a small proportion of peated malt (which I didn't really get). Don’t think this is out yet but will be shortly. Last years seemed more peaty and a touch better. Its close though and both are good. This should be around £50. Thanks to PJ's Craig for the sample.
75/100

Paul John 7 Cadenhead’s 55.4%
Colour: Bronze
Body: Medium
Nose: Creamy and buttery nose, dry sauna wood, corn on the cob, some basil, white pepper, a little smoky actually with a small ash note, eucalyptus. With a bit of coaxing there’s more fruit with delicious dried apricot, vanilla and exotic spices. Interesting and complex nose.
Taste: Soft and oily, fantastic arrival just on the oils, great mouthfeel, nice development with vanilla cream, butter, plenty of dry wood coming in, white pepper, dried mango and some turmeric.
Finish: Medium length. Ginger and white pepper, dry wood again, a tiny hint of cherry maybe, orange perhaps. A little too dry here but I’m nitpicking.
Released 2019, I suspect matured in Scotland for 2 years. Best Indian whisky I’ve had so far. A small step up from the German exclusive single cask I tried a while back. Big, dry whiskies both but there’s an excellent dried fruitiness (mango especially) to this that I love.
86/100

Indian Reviews #12-#13
Whisky Network Reviews #955-#956

Network Average: 75.1
Best Score: 94
Worst Score: 12
0-49 Terrible
50-59 Bad
60-64 Just About OK
65-69 Ok to Good
70-74 Good
75-79 Very Good
80-84 Excellent
85-89 Superb
90+ Magnificent

Full Disclosure Disclaimer: I currently work as the Global Brand Ambassador for Penderyn Distillery. The views expressed here are purely my own and do not reflect the views of Penderyn Distillery or The Welsh Whisky Company. I try to maintain as much objectivity as I can but feel free to take my reviews with as big a pinch of salt as you like. Furthermore, my rating scale is NOT based on a Parker type wine scoring scale or a school/college/university % or A-F grade score. You can find more on my scoring here. I apologise for any seemly low or 'bad' scores given with my system and I am sorry I can't say only nice things. Please keep in mind that I am ethically compromised and I am unable to produce 100% unbiased reviews.

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