Saturday, 19 January 2019

Knockando 12 & Fettercairn 12 Reviews

Hi everyone,

I’ve got two 12’s today from distilleries Knockando and Fettercairn. Both random places that you’ve likely never heard of.
Knockando is a big seller in France (where its hella cheap), while Fettercairn have recently redone their entire range with a new bottle design and stuff. The Fior was alright but Fetter doesn’t have that great a reputation.

Knockando 12 40%
Colour: E150a
Body: Light/medium
Nose: Classically Speyside, fresh with red apple, clean malt, some oak and generic ginger.
Taste: A little harsh but sweet start with some brown sugar, then softer with red apple, apple pie, generic oak and ginger, becoming more harsh again towards the finish. Quickly distilled methinks.
Finish: Short/Med. alright mouthfeel here but pretty average in terms of flavour with more of the generic oak and ginger.
Read the above as BORING. There is nothing special about this at all.
63/100
 
Fettercairn 12 40%
Colour: E150a
Body: Medium
Nose: Funky and more than a bit odd. Fruit but with cheese and apple, creamy nose.
Taste: Oak to start then green apple before funky cream going on. Odd.
Finish: Medium length. Some oak and spice here, more average.
New packaging 2018. Nose reminded me of a Tobermory with the funky stuff, but not in a good way. The taste follows on from that, while the finish is pretty boring.
64/100

Thanks for reading!

Scotch reviews #726-#727
Whisky Network Reviews #864-#865

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, 16 January 2019

Glenrothes 2007 C&S Dram & 1990 SMOS Reviews

Hi everyone,

I haven’t actually reviewed a load of Glenrothes, although I think of it as the Highland Park of the Highlands without the smoke. It works well in Sherry or Bourbon and shares some characteristics with Macallan too, meaning that it matures damn well.
Today I’ve got two indies for y’all:

Glenrothes 2007 C&S Dram 47.9%
Colour: Light Amber
Body: Medium/Full
Nose: Sherry, golden raisin, heather and malt, red apple, orange, very slightly sulphury giving a meatiness, ethereal spirit with green apple, fresher as it develops.
Taste: Sweet, Sherry, orange, then more Macallan-like with golden raisin, malt, heather, honey and chocolate. Some cinnamon and icing too. Black pepper into the finish.
Finish: Medium length. A little bit of dark chocolate and harsh spirit. Quite spirity here.
Bottled 2018 at 11yo. Again, thanks to Andrea for sharing some of his whisky. Shame about the spirity finish on this one but it would still be easy to mistake this for a Macallan.
74/100
 
Glenrothes 1990 Single Malts of Scotland 44.8%
Colour: Gold
Body: Medium
Nose: Juicy and fresh, lots of fresh juicy pear, green apple, clean, little of the dark flavours I was expecting, melon and watermelon, toffee and butterscotch.
Taste: Fresh, juicy and light, beautifully balanced and building slow and gradual going from pear, green apple and lemon to malt, heather and delicious dark chocolate and leather.
Finish: Long length. Dark chocolate hit then fades gradually with malt and heather.
Bottled 2017 at 26yo, The palate is the star here, really good. Its amazing how this has retained the freshness at this older age while still being interesting.
84/100

Thanks for reading!

Scotch Reviews #724-#725
Whisky Network Reviews #862-#863

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, 15 January 2019

Tomatin Cù Bòcan (+Blind Review Video) & Old Ballentruan 15 Reviews

Hi everyone,

I’ve been trying to continue doing my blind reviews on my Youtube channel but life keeps getting in the way, or perhaps I’m just lazy.
Anyway, when a mate put two samples in my hand of things he’d gotten over Christmas, I told him not to tell me what they were so I could taste them blind.
So this is the first, a Tomatin that (spoiler alert) I guessed was a young Bruichladdich. The lack of peat but presence of saltiness seemed to have put me off the mark on this one. Link here


Tomatin Cù Bòcan 46%
Colour: Light Gold
Body: Medium
Nose: Buttery, oily and lightly floral. Lemon and some yeasty dough notes, quite young with the New Make Spirit poking through a little.
Taste: Soft arrival, lacking power initially with some lemon and a little malt, quite delicate development with some yeast and dough, quite sour with green apple joining the lemon.
Finish: Medium length. More spirity here, a little harsh and sour.
Lightly peated Tomatin. Very lightly peated apparently because I don't get any peat at all! If I hadn’t picked up on the saltiness, I would have said this was a young NAS Highlander.
64/100

Oh, hell. I’m sure I’ve got another peated Highlander I reviewed recently…
rummage
 
Old Ballantruan 15 50%
Colour: Gold
Body: Medium/Full
Nose: Quite rustic, malty, a little dust, honey, florals and golden raisin, a little smoke here and there but not powerful.
Taste: Soft then oily with growing smoke, peaty and mineral after a little rubber then honey and dust and golden raisin before more peat going into the finish.
Finish: Medium/Long length. More peaty here with red apple, going very mineral.
A heavily peated Tomintoul but again, not a massive amount of smoke here. Almost tastes like a peated Macallan with the golden raisin notes. Quite flat on the palate. Balance is tricky here.
72/100

Thanks for reading!

Scotch Review #722-#723
Whisky Network Review #860-#861

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.

Monday, 14 January 2019

Bn7 & Lp9 Elements of Islay Reviews

Hi everyone,

I’m a big fan of Elements of Islay since I first tried some of their stuff at my first ever whisky festival. They had a Laphroaig, Caol Ila and a Bowmore and I was really impressed with the quality.
Fast forward to now and they continue to impress with stellar releases, often putting the vintages, cask info, etc. on Whisky Exchange and their own website, where it can be found pretty easily.
We’ll have two new(er) ones today:


Bunnahabhain Bn7 55.8%
Colour: Amber
Body: Full
Nose: Cherry, cherry and more cherry. Vanilla, cherry lips, cherry sauce, small deserts, chocolate cake with cherry jam, Kirsch, really full on sweet nose. After time it’s like you are taking a big whiff of freshly made Christmas cake!
Taste: Sweet, intensely sweet, cherry, cherry sauce, chocolate pudding, some raisin, plum, clove spice, some of that Bunna harshness in there but its fine, oak and pepper.
Finish: Medium/Long length. A sweet hit, then leather and more drying, dry oak.
16yo from 2x Sherry butts. Lovely, lovely nose but some of that Bunna harshness dragging it down. Also, you need to be a big fan of cherry. Anywho, fans of Bunna will absolutely love this I imagine.
78/100
 
Laphroaig 1998 Lp9 54.3%
Colour: Amber
Body: Full
Nose: Sweet and smoky. Smoked sticky Chinese-style pork chops, the smoke and malt are pretty clear, the Sherry hasn't overwhelmed it, sweet orange, mineral and sea shore notes, melted dark chocolate. Delicious nose.
Taste: Really oily and thick, long arrival, takes its time, orange and cherry and raisin, the smoke and malt, Haribo cola bottles. Really nicely balanced with a gorgeous mouthfeel.
Finish: Medium length. Really oily again, orange and dark chocolate, again delicious.
Absolutely showstopper of a dram. What more is there to say? From a PX Sherry cask and I’m amazed at the great integration of sweet and smoky. IMO this is much better than the Masterpieces that Whisky Exchange did a while back.
88/100

Thanks for reading!

Scotch Reviews #720-#721
Whisky Network Reviews #858-#859

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, 9 January 2019

Highland Park Dragon Legend & 2003 Single Cask Reviews

Hi everyone,

Today I’ve got some Viking-y whisky designed by Vikings for Vikings and… um, Vikings!
Yes, its Highland Park.
I used to be a big fan but the officials have been releasing lots of random NAS expressions (WTF does Dragon Legend mean anyway?!) while a load more indies have suddenly popped up as well as single casks that people seem to be dropping lots of money on.

Highland Park Dragon Legend 43.1%
Colour: Light Amber
Body: Medium
Nose: Sweet! Sherry, raisin, some malt, no smoke, a little heather though maybe, honey, syrupy, golden syrup.
Taste: Soft, lacking power and abv, some weak Sherry tones, raisin, honey, a little heather. Screams Sherry finish to me. Not much development of flavour on the palate.
Finish: Medium length. More Sherry, more raisin, more honey and heather.
Thanks to my mate Mike for this sample. An exclusive for Tesco in the UK. Weak release from HP. Very average IMO. On my blind YouTube review I guessed that this was Glengoyne 10, but really it tasted younger than that.
66/100
 
Highland Park 2003 Single Cask 58.1%
Colour: Amber
Body: Full
Nose: Sherry and spice and all things nice. Ginger and honey come off straight away, intense old style oak, dark chocolate, black coffee, coca cola and heather, fig, raisin, prune and date. Oh and liquorice.
Water: More balance and complexity with cherry, more fruit and singed heather.
Taste: Intense, dry, old oak, dark chocolate, heather, cola, black pepper and ginger spice, lots of super dark dried fruit, raisin and blackcurrant.
Water: Softer, not as sharp, orange marmalade and cherry.
Finish: Medium/Long length. Blackcurrant, coca cola, dry oak and singed heather.
Bottled 2018 for Scottish Independent Bars at 15yo. 1st fill European Oak Sherry Hogshead. But there's only so dark you want your whisky! And this is very dark. The blackcurrant note is nice on the taste and it has a great nose but it left me wanting a little more from it, more smoke and more complexity from the taste, not just loads of dark sweetness.
79/100

Thanks for reading!

Scotch Reviews #718-#719
Whisky Network Reviews #856-#857

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.

Monday, 7 January 2019

Balcones Baby Blue Review

Hi everyone,

Aaaaaaallllll the way back in my first American review on Reddit, I reviewed Balcones Brimstone. Seems like a long time ago now. Also, I didn’t really like it. It was weird. So weird that I’ve avoided Balcones ever since. Problem was the Baby Blue was in my 101 Whiskies to Try Before You Die, and as a bit of a completionist about these things, I knew I’d have to try it eventually.
 
Balcones Baby Blue 46%
Colour: Bronze
Body: Medium/Full
Nose: Cardboard. Really, I can't get much past that. A little corn and caramel as it opens up but the cardboard is now wet.
Taste: Some oak, cardboard again, wet and soggy cardboard at that, thin mouthfeel, no balance.
Finish: Medium length. Oak and spice, very boring here. Cardboard and plastic.
Perhaps I was generous with the Brimstone. That was weird, this is boring beyond any reasonable flavour spectrum. This is the lowest score I’ve given something that actually claims to be whisk(e)y, add a few points if you enjoy chewing on carboard.
In all seriousness, I should add that I tried the True Blue as well but didn’t have time to make notes. That was much better, with no cardboard at all.
38/100

Thanks for reading!

American Review #60
Whisky Network Review #855

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.

Saturday, 5 January 2019

Ardmore 30 1987 Review

Hi everyone,

I had no idea this whisky was coming out until I saw it in Inter. Whisky Frankfurt at the start of December. As it has just come out of Whisky Exchange I thought I’d put up my thoughts.
I’m a big fan of Ardmore. In fact, I have a young barrel of the stuff. The indies are great, the stuff is good quality and they used direct fired stills pre-2002.
There hasn’t been a load of old stuff released and I don’t think I’ve ever seen an Ardmore older than 30 years. Even better, this is at a very reasonable price of £250 and comes in the normal tube and bottle. No fancy decanter and wooden box here, no sir!
 
Ardmore 30 1987 47.2%
Colour: Gold
Body: Medium
Nose: Delicate echoes of smoke, sooty, oily and a little waxy. Sea salt, reminiscent of Brora, dried apple, dried banana, quite an understated nose. Subtly creamy too. More complex as it opens up with machine oil and garage rags. Awesome.
Taste: Soft and sweet, a little flat for a brief moment then more fruity with red apple, black pepper and ginger, nice old smoke and sea salt, quite coastal like an old Talisker, waxy.
Finish: Medium length. More salty with more of the faded old smoke, slightly floral, some lemon sherbet.
Late 2018 release. Fantastic nose, love the Brora elements. I was hoping for a touch more power to the taste and for the finish to be longer or more complex. Don’t get me wrong, its great but I quite like the raw power of the young versions too.
84/100

Thanks for reading!

Scotch Review #717
Whisky Network Review #854

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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