Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Benromach Peat Smoke Sherry 2010 Review

Hi everyone,

Benromach have been doing some really good whiskies for a while but they’ve really hit it out the park with this latest release.
I tried one peat smoke release of theirs a while back and thought it was ok, but not quite up there with the rest of the range. This though… this was different.
For one thing, its matured in 1st fill Sherry casks and for another, its cask strength.
 
Benromach Peat Smoke Sherry 2010 59.9%
Colour: Amber
Body: Full
Nose: Lovely ethereal, slightly dirty peat, creamy, something meaty, dying coals, dark fruit-raisin. Somewhere between a heavily Sherried Ledaig and Ardbeg Oog.
Water: More vegetal and dirty.
Taste: Soft arrival, great mouthfeel, spot on balance, great sweetness, fruitcake then coals, blackcurrant, more smoke, malt, very balanced at full strength.
Water: Really soft, not as balanced but crisp, nice development though with peat.
Finish: Short/Medium length. Smoke comes through, some fresh ginger spice and a very little oak. Actually the length works as it makes the stuff quite easy drinking even at full strength, I would normally always prefer a longer finish but it does work here.
Bottled late 2018, so 8yo. This stuff is fantastic. Really great price too. Get one while you can. I don’t buy a huge amount of whisky now but I had to get myself one of these.
85/100

Thanks for reading!

Scotch Review #755
Whisky Network Review #897

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, 4 May 2019

Glen Scotia 2003 Campbeltown Festival 2019 Review

Hi everyone,

After a meet up with some of the lovely people from the Toronto Whisky Society last night, it has come to my attention that I have been slacking in the review department. I’ve had a bunch of cool things I’ve tried and written notes on but just haven’t had the time to actually get around to posting them. You guys deserve better though, so we will continue to soldier through.
This one, I imagine a few people are interested in. Limited edition, cask strength, peated Scotia finished in rum barrels…
 
Glen Scotia 2003 Festival 2019 51.3%
Colour: Light Gold
Body: Medium
Nose: Coals, creamy vanilla, tropical fruit and dust (specifically the stuff that gets behind the radiator), a little closed.
Water: Opens up a little, more of the rum, more dust and a little perfumed.
Taste: Fresh and fruity, lemon and orange, then more spicy and peaty with ginger, black pepper and a medicinal edge.
Water: Softer, with less spice and peat.
Finish: Long length. More medicinal here with some white sugar and white rum.
For Campbeltown festival 2019, Peated Rum Finish. 15yo. Disappointed with this compared to the 2018 and this is more expensive. The dust isn’t an off note but it’s just a bit too closed off and I couldn’t get it to open up a lot.
71/100

Thanks for reading!

Scotch Review #754
Whisky Network Review #896

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, 4 April 2019

Amrut Madeira & Kadhambam Reviews

Hi everyone,

Amrut Indian single malt whisky is one that people do hype a little more than say Paul John. The Spectrum and Greedy Angels releases have gotten some big attention from people in the know, while certain single casks go for crazy money at auction. All good signs that the whisky is good stuff.
Trying the Fusion, I learnt that that was for good reason. Its good whisky. And I had the chance to try two others; one new, one not so new but both good.

Amrut Madeira 50%
Colour: Dark Gold
Body: Full
Nose: Quite complex herbal and spicy. A little raisin and prune from the Madeira, orange and cut grass, cinnamon, coriander and cardamom, curry paste and spicy lime chutney. Develops well with shortbread and vanilla.
Taste: Dry arrival, plenty of very dry oak and spices, big cardamom and ginger, some orange coming in, big whisky, really mouth-filling, really dry.
Finish: Medium/Long length. Dry and juicy somehow, orange and oak, some of the cardamom left.
Very dry but very good. Nose is like you've gone for a curry! Quite expensive though.
76/100
 
Amrut Kadhambam 50%
Colour: Amber
Body: Full
Nose: That same spicy lime chutney, complex with a really cool medicinal note, sage, almost earthy, black liquorice, faint orange peel, some raisin.
Taste: Dry arrival and stays dry with lots of oak, then big notes of juicy orange, raisin, liquorice and curried lime, coriander and sage, moments of medicinal-ness.
Finish: Medium length. More medicinal here, orange, ginger and earthy sage.
Batch 5, a combination of Rum, Sherry and Brandy barrels (as stated three times in a row on the box…). A really great whisky from Amrut, very impressed with this.
83/100

Thanks for reading!

Indian Reviews #7-#8
Whisky Network Reviews #894-#895

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 March 2019

Spey Trutina & 18 Reviews

Hi everyone,

The Speyside distillery is the cheekily named, newer distillery on the border of where you may term ‘Speyside.’
I realised that I hadn’t really tried any of their official range, partly because it was only being sold in Asia with the help of a famous footballer or something. Anyway, it is sold under the name Spey to avoid confusion with Speyside the region I guess, which isn’t confusing at all… Definitely doesn’t conflict with Glen Spey, Speyburn or the brand Speymalt (Gordon & MacPhail’s Macallan).
I can heartily recommend the new cask strength versions they’ve done of the range (if they haven’t already sold out everywhere but I haven’t reviewed those yet, only these two:

Spey Trutina 46%
Colour: Light Straw
Body: Light
Nose: Very light, slightly bready, new make spirit, pretty young but not bad for it, just a little boring, apple, pear, esters. Very clean.
Taste: Very very light, barely there at all (despite the strength), pear and green apple, lots of lemon, very fresh and easy.
Finish: Medium length. More here with vanilla, toasty, dough, a little ginger spice.
The definition of breakfast whisky. Not bad but there really isn’t much there in terms of complexity. An easy drinker.
61/100
 
Spey 18 46%
Colour: Straw
Body: Light/Medium
Nose: Fresh and fruity, fruit salad with green grape, green apple, some lime, some leather from the oak, melon and Macadamia nut.
Taste: Light and delicate, fizzy lemon then dry oak, leather and chocolate, dark malt, some grape, melon, some spice with white pepper.
Finish: Medium length. Quite soft with a little lemon, leather. Quite a quiet finish.
1999, 'fresh' Sherry casks, which it definitely isn't. There is a nice balance of fresh and old here actually, again showing off the same style as the Trutina. Fresh and quite delicate whisky.
72/100

Thanks for reading!

Scotch Reviews #752-#753
Whisky Network Reviews #892-#893

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, 26 March 2019

Lot 40 12 Cask Strength & Canadian Club 41 Reviews

Hi everyone,

Do I know a lot about Canadian whisky?
No, I absolutely don’t and I’ve tasted very little. I just know that you’re allowed to add 9.09% of other alcohol to your whisky and still call it whisky, something that no one else is allowed to do… Like, in the world.
These are two pretty impressive releases, one is a well respected younger bottling and the other a seriously old Canadian whisky.

Lot 40 Cask Strength 12yo 55%
Colour: Dark Gold
Body: Medium/Full
Nose: A really nice woodiness, resin and wood glue, the rye is clear with some black pepper, oak too with liquorice and clove, lovely fruit coming out now with fruit gums and powdered sugar, some vanilla custard.
Taste: Soft arrival, really balanced, fruit gums then oak with really good liquorice, some clove, some green peppercorns, more resin and wood glue as it develops.
Finish: Long length. More oak here, quite dry with clove and pepper, liquorice.
2017 release. Canadian Rye Whiskey. Many thanks to Roy from Aquavitae for this sample, remember it isn’t whisky until its shared!! Lovely nose and taste on this one but a bit of a let down on the finish.
75/100
 
Canadian Club 41 45%
Colour: Gold
Body: Light
Nose: An old grain whisky, oak and ethereal acetone, old paint stripper, old paint tins.
Taste: Sweet start, red apple, grain, cheap leather and then oak oak oak and eventually a sweet hit of orange.
Finish: Long length. An old grain here too, oak, orange and a light floral note. Quite a nice long finish.
Distilled 1977. Compared to a 1970's Canadian Club (which was rubbish). Apparently this has been blended with a small amount of Cognac, Rye and Sherry (would those also have to be 41 years old to keep the age statement?) The age is super obvious on this and the whole thing very much reminds me of 40+ year old Scotch grain whisky.
72/100

Thanks for reading!

Canadian Reviews #2-#3
Whisky Network reviews #890-#891

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 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 my 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.

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