Thursday, 21 March 2019

Daftmill 2005 Inaugural Release Review

Hi everyone,

I’ve been wondering for a while how to approach this review…
Last year I tried a whisky called Daftmill, made by the Cuthbert brothers on their farm distillery in Fyfe, released by way of Berry Bros & Rudd.
The place is small, as it only produces about 20,000LPA but the amazing thing was that the distillery was completely self-sufficient in terms of using their own barley and the funds used to build the distillery coming solely from themselves. This meant they could wait as long as they wanted to release the whisky. And wait they did.
And wait. And wait.
Where most distilleries would have released a three year old or even started selling bottles before they had a distillery(!), Daftmill wasn’t first release until early 2018. And for that, they are to be commended.
Enter me, giving their 2006 Summer Release a fairly average review, courtesy of a plastic-y off note that I couldn’t quite get past. This seemed to be just me though, as loads of others gave it very good scores and reviews. The whisky sold out pretty quick and a bunch of it appeared at auction and sold for a hell of a lot more.
THEN, a truly interesting thing happened. Francis Cuthbert actually approached me at a festival in Glasgow and asked me about me review. I was dumbstruck for a moment, then embarrassed. I don’t have a big whisky blog or following I wouldn’t say. I didn’t realise anyone would take notice or even care. But Francis did. He told me that he didn’t understand why I got a plastic note to his whisky because he took great care to make sure that the distillations came out clean and fruity. I didn’t really know how to react to be perfectly honest. Do I defend my review, my palate to the man? When confronted with the person that made the whisky, I felt a little ashamed that I had reviewed it at all.
Anyway, like a gent, he invited me to taste one of the others that he had on the stand that day and the new make spirit.
Funnily, the new make was very clean to smell. Fruity, a little spice with none of that plastic I got from the 2006 Summer.
Anyway, I also was able to taste the initial release that was pretty hyped among those that tried it.
 
Daftmill 2005 Inaugural Release 55.8%
Colour: Light Gold
Body: Medium
Nose: Sugared almonds and cinnamon, plastic sheets (in a good way), model glue (again, not an off note), almond croissants and fruitcake, better as it opens up with very soft praline chocolates.
Taste: Sharp lovely citrus, great arrival, lemon juice, grapefruit juice, creamy vanilla and some interesting plastic. Develops some spice and oak with gingerbread and cinnamon tea.
Finish: Medium length. A little more plastic here with green tea, green apple and praline chocolates.
The plastic! Wherever does it come from? Perhaps it is just me. Maybe I’m super sensitive to it. But this is much more to my liking than the 2006. This is good whisky. It is. I love the Christmas spices and fruitcake-y notes. I really enjoy the unusual character and slightly weird notes and I would love to try Daftmill again at some point…
75/100

Thanks for reading!

Scotch Review #751
Whisky Network Review #889

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 a 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, 20 March 2019

Port Ellen 1982 XOP Platinum [Scotch Review #750]

Hi everyone,

Seven hundred and fifty reviews of Scotch whisky later, we arrive at my coronation of the red crown tartan! It has been and continues to be an absolute pleasure to be a small part of this amazing community. A big part of me continuing to review whiskies, isn’t only my own passion and curiosity but hopefully helping people and getting the knowledge out there about the whiskies that I try. Being part of the industry, I get to try loads of stuff that people aren’t normally able to and I feel extremely, extremely lucky to be in that position!
This one in particular is one of those dream whiskies that would cost you a buckload to actually buy a bottle of and many thanks go to Claire for this sample.
I have heard from a few people now that Fred Laing (the original Laing behind Hunter and Douglas) had a certain favourite distillery; Port Ellen, and managed to acquire quite a few casks of the stuff, meaning that both the Laing’s may well sit on more casks than Diageo (no idea whether that is true but it sounds good, right?).
Anyway, this is a newish one from a Sherry cask.

Port Ellen 1982 Douglas Laing Platinum 54.4%
Colour: Amber
Body: Full
Nose: The most muscular cherry chocolate cake ever made, sooty chimney, chocolate coated dried cherries, black cherry gateaux, old ethereal coastal smoke. Seriously delicious nose that strikes somewhere between an old Beninnes and Lagavulin. One of the best noses I ever had the pleasure to set my nostrils to.
Taste: Very soft arrival, some tingling spices with ginger and clove, silky oak, sweet cherry and orange, some old coastal smoke (more into the finish), quite a bit of dry oak but good.
Finish: Long length. Smoke and cherry, some fresh orange, chocolate. Not so in balance here, quite drying.
Well, it would get 91 for the nose but there's just a bit too much oak on the taste and finish I think. The age and the Sherry has also had a hand toning down the smoke, which I think would have helped the whisky stand up to the cask a bit better. Perhaps should have been bottled 5 years ago. Perhaps. Still, awesome to try.
88/100

Thanks for reading!

Scotch Review #750
Whisky Network Review #888

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 a 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, 13 March 2019

Ledaig 2004 Blackadder, 2006 SMWS & 2007 SMC Reviews

Hi everyone,

More Ledaig?! Yes, always. There’s always more of them to try and we love to try and love trying to try and getting to try and all else besides.
Need we more introduction than that? No.

Ledaig 2004 Blackadder Raw Cask 60.8%
Colour: Light Gold
Body: Full
Nose: Oily and butter at first, but then a little tropical fruit (which is unusual), and a school rubber (eraser for those American’s) from your pencil case, alcohol hit from the abv.
Water: Woah, different. Floral, soap and lemonade. There's also some peach and apricot, peach yoghurt, funk. A mix of spice comes out too, dry oak, quite perfumed actually. Complex stuff.
Taste: Soft arrival, then really fills the mouth, some mango, very peaty, black pepper, a little school rubber, then malty and buttery with lemon, some mineral notes come in near the finish with chalk and salty rocks.
Water: Softer and better arrival, lovely intensity then with nice sharpness from lemon juice, white grape, oily smoke, salty.
Finish: Long length. Lovely. Great oilyness, buttery, sea salt and chocolate. Some salty fish with water.
Bottled 2015 at 10 years old. From a little 20cl bottle I picked up. Love the char floating around! Such a great gimmick.
83/100

Ledaig 2006 SMWS 42.27 59.4%
Smoked Aged Riesling
Colour: Straw
Body: Full
Nose: A very clean modern Ledaig. Salty sea spray and lemon citrus, powerful smoke lurking underneath ready to punch out, green apple and that gristy note I often find, like literally crushing a load of grist in your hands and smelling them.
Water: A little too clean and youthful for my tastes.
Taste: Surprisingly soft arrival, building this nice clean but powerful smoke, lemon citrus balancing and freshening it, green apple then that gristy note, very oily mouthfeel with a petrol-like note. Really follows the nose. More green apple into the finish.
Water: As with the nose, it becomes more clean and youthful. Lemon, green apple and salty smoke.
Finish: Medium length. A heady hit of petrol then green apple, sea salt and fading smoke.
Thanks to u/xile for this one. I love Riesling, so this one was awesome to try. There's moments of genius shining through here. Immaculately distilled spirit. But other moments of a spirity youthful whisky. I see where they got the Riesling reference now with the petrol coming through.
81/100

Ledaig 2007 Single Malt Circle 59.3%
Colour: Straw
Body: Full
Nose: Ethereal, oily and buttery. Peat smoke and malt but very maritime with sea salt, oysters and crushed seashells, candied lemon peel, ashes and soot.
Taste: AMAZING. Incredible arrival, super soft and clean, pure delicate crystalised lemon then very peaty and mineral, granite and salt, somewhere between Laphroaig and Kilchoman, crushed rocks.
Finish: Long length. More maritime and oily, some seaweed, sea salt crust.
Bottled 2018 at 11yo. Exclusively available in Germany at a good price. (Sobs into hands) I had a chance to buy a cask from the same batch of casks but didn't have the money (Yeah, I was buying a house… apparently having a roof over your head is more important than whisky). About as good as you get from Ledaig and Bourbon.
85/100

Thanks for reading!

Scotch Reviews #747-#749
Whisky Network Reviews #885-#887

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 a 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, 27 February 2019

Loch Lomond 17 Organic Review

Hi everyone,

What is an organic whisky?
Well, if you’re Benromach it means getting everything certified organic; the barley, I assume yeast? and wood. Meaning that they use virgin oak.
This one does not, it has a soil association sticker round the neck, so I think the gimmick is that the soil the barley was grown in was organic or some shit.
What I saw really was a cask strength, 17yo Loch Lomond in a Bruichladdich Blue label.
 
Loch Lomond 17 Organic 54.9%
Colour: Gold
Body: Medium
Nose: Vanilla custard, some rubber, biscuit and malt, quite a nice light one, relaxed and not too in your face, vanilla bon bons, custard creams.
Taste: Soft and light, lovely creamy vanilla, shortbread and malt then a nice burst of tropical fruit with mango and pineapple. Nice mouthfeel too, juicy.
Finish: Long length. Suddenly chocolatey with drying but very nice fresh ginger.
From 1st fill bourbon. Apart from the little rubber on the nose, this is a very impressive Loch Lomond. Not sure the organic stuff is making a difference to the flavour, its just a good CS one at a slightly older age. Price should be reasonable too.
78/100

Thanks for reading!

Scotch Review #746
Whisky Network Review #884

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 a 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, 21 February 2019

Glenturret 10 Review

Hi everyone,

You do get the impression that Johannes of Malt Madness isn’t really a fan of the Glenturret distillery, the ugly duckling of the Edrington distilleries. Well, it was the ugly duckling until very recently when it was sold off for not being Macallan or having Vikings.
I’m sure that money will be put to good use though; coming up with ways to add more Vikings to Highland Park and pay off the new Macallan distillery seem likely.
Anyway, I noticed that I hadn’t reviewed one! So here’s the one I’ve tasted:
 
Glenturret 10 40%
Colour: Gold
Body: Light/Medium
Nose: Pastry, cinnamon, Strudel, vanilla, baked banana, malt, barley sugar, natural brown sugar. Pleasant nose.
Taste: Soft arrival, barley sugar, a little banana, malt then some pastry and building lemon. An astringent off note into the finish.
Finish: Medium length. More sour lemon and some vanilla.
A malt for smelling. Nothing special but nice, then the taste lets it down.
64/100

Thanks for reading!

Scotch Review #745
Whisky Network Review #883

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 a 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, 20 February 2019

Benromach 2006 Single Cask & 1998 20th Anniversary Reviews

Hi everyone,

Ah, Benromach, the Springbank of the Highlands!
Gordon & MacPhail took the reins in 1998, unmothballing the distillery into its current form. They decided they wanted to produce a robust, traditional, slightly peated whisky that has real character and I think they’ve really succeeded in that.
For some reason I’m always slightly surprised when I taste Benromach and realise how good it is and how consistently good it is too. For me, its almost always scored in the 75-80 range.


Benromach 2006 Single Cask 59.1%
Colour: Light Gold
Body: Medium
Nose: Lemon and creamy vanilla at first. Then I am reminded more and more of a Springbank Local Barley. More smoke and mineral than I would expect, funky with banana and nice Terpenes-petrol and whiteboard markers. Roasted nuts too.
Taste: Nice soft arrival, great transition into a dry development, refill wood (despite it being 1st fill), banana, yellow apple, dry spice, ginger and some minerality.
Finish: Medium/Long length. More yellow apple and subtle minerality. More like an unpeated Caol Ila here.
Bottled 2018 for Germany. Not as good with water. Very surprised by the amount of smoke to this, I expected less.
79/100
 
Benromach 1998 20th Anniversary 56.2%
Colour: Light Amber
Body: Full
Nose: Intense red apple, old oak, ethereal and very old whisky-like, a few ashes, cherry lip sweets as it opens up. Very elegant and complex nose that speaks more of 40 years in a cask, not 20! More smoky as it opens up with a delicious creamy strawberry.
Taste: Salty arrival then juicy red fruit, intense, sour cherry, black pepper, intense oak and spice to back it, clove, some smoke into the finish. Red apple.
Finish: Medium/Long length. Dry here, more of the oak and spices, ginger and black pepper. A little very dark chocolate at the end.
Bottled 2018 at 19yo. Quite dry and oaky, really could be 40 years old. Love the nose, but the clove and oak feel a little overwhelming on the taste.
80/100

Thanks for reading!

Scotch Reviews #743-#744
Whisky Network Reviews #881-#882

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 a 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, 19 February 2019

3x older Ledaig's: 1993, 1994 & 1997 Reviews

Hi everyone,


The heavily peated Ledaig wasn’t officially re-produced until 1996, meaning that there isn’t a huge amount of the older stuff out there.
What there is is sometimes mislabelled Tobermory, and at other times, only lightly peated. Here’s a few today that I’ve tasted recently.

Ledaig 1993 Wilson & Morgan 51%
Colour: Gold
Body: Medium/Full
Nose: The smoke has had time to oxidise giving it more fruit- More like a Talisker really, red apple, black pepper, sea salt, some orange, smoke backing it all, nicely balanced. More funky with time, some cheddar cheese, something slightly savoury.
Taste: Sharp and sour start, acidic red apple and spiky oak, green and black peppercorns, again quite Talisker-like, quite spicy, maritime smoke and sea salt and lemon.
Finish: Short/Medium length. Power gone completely, a little red apple, dry oak and spice left. Bit of a disappointing finish.
Bottled 2018 at 25yo. A Ledaig in my year! Could easily be an old Talisker. Great nose but it gets more and more tired as the taste goes on.
74/100
 
Ledaig 1994 Gordon & Macphail 47.1%
Colour: Light Gold
Body: Medium
Nose: Lemon, grapefruit and sea salt, ozone, a little light cherry and some light cheese lurking in the background, rock pools and sea wind, gives a sense of open space.
Taste: A little weak to start, salt and lemon, grapefruit and cherry, then it gets going with dirty soot and orange, very oily, funk-mozzarella?, green olives and brine.
Finish: Short/Medium length. Fades quite quickly with some salted chocolate, black pepper and green olives.
Bottled 2017 as an exclusive for Germany. Unpeated Ledaig the rep told me... Soooo NOT Ledaig then?
75/100

Ledaig 1997 Cadenhead's 53.9%
Colour: Gold
Body: Medium
Nose: Salinity at first nosing. Sea salt, coastal with a far off beach bonfire, oysters, grilled prawns and green olive. Also leather and classy oak, chocolate powder. A little more chocolatey over time with milk chocolate and praline. Very nice and really interesting nose. Not full of the usual Ledaig powerful smoke, but more restrained.
Water: Fresher, more coastal, oily and a little fresh rubber. Pencil eraser. Not such a fan of this style, preferred it neat.
Taste: Citrus arrival, lemon and then a wonderful transition into a more active development. More of that citrus, lemon, orange and lime juice all mixed together, some smoke but more complex coastal flavours coming through. A little green olive, sea salt, salt rimmed margarita. Oily.
Water: Softer and less citric, less acidity, builds slowly with some lemon, earthy notes, some vanilla, leather, then more and more salty with that salt rimmed margarita.
Finish: Medium/Long length. Oily citrus juice continues then more gristy malt and leathery smoke.
Aged 19 years, from a Bourbon hogshead. Better neat IMO. So glad I bought a bottle of this when I spied it in the Netherlands.
86/100

Thanks for reading!

Scotch Reviews #740-#742
Whisky Network Reviews #878-#880

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 a 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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