Thursday, May 5, 2016

Gordon & MacPhail - Brora 1982 / 2008

In the Dornoch Castle Hotel bar I found an expression from the Brora Distillery bottled by Gordon & MacPhail in their Connoisseurs Choice line. It has been matured in refill sherry buts, distilled in 1982 and bottled in 2008 at 43%

The nose has soft sweet, fruity and spicy notes that remind me of fruit cake, rum raisins, vanilla sponge cake, cherries on juice, light roasted coffee and a malty note going through it all. Dried fruits, warm red apple, pastry dough, powder sugar, light note of marzipan, macademia nuts, hazelnuts, light toffee note and a light seashell note in the back (after a bit)

The palate is a lot like the nose but carries more fresher notes from oranges, citrus, mint and grapefruit. Makes me think for a short bit about after eight and pistachio ice cream. It has a light nutty and earthy note with lingering towards a bit floral set of flavours almost.

A medium length finish, with a bit dry nutmeg feeling in there, scoring me an 8/10. I liked the Cadenhead bottling a bit more, they are totally different but that one packed more of a punch I thought...

Cadenhead's Authentic Collection - Brora 13 year old

At the Dornoch Hotel Bar sitting down with a whisky from the Brora Distillery after visiting it earlier this day. A lovely 13 year old single cask bottling from the Cadenhead Authentic Collection. Distilled in May 1982 and bottled in January 1996 at cask strength 59,9%

Something I really needed to dive into deeper, trying to ignore all the influences of the bar around me focusing on the whisky, enjoying my first ever Brora single malt. Beside it is another Brora that I hope to also make some notes on, to compare the two different bottlers. When having the chance to try whiskies like this one should do...

The nose is very meaty and sweet. Thick creamy and has a heathery moss earthy feeling to it. Soft vanilla and dark coffee notes come forward together with the feeling of standing in a dunnage warehouse. Bit liquerish after some time and it has a strong candied ginger note to it, mixed with sultana, dried plums and nutty cereal with honey.

Moving on to the palate my first response was a bit omg... It is warm, sweet, rich, thick, creamy, fruity, chewy, but also fresh and full of dried fruits, raisin, vanilla, banana, tropical fruits, coffee, fudge and dark chocolate. It keeps revealing layers and has a long finish. A sweet, complex and rich dram. Wonderful stuff and scoring it an 8,5/10

Sunday, May 1, 2016

The Oamaruvian

Sitting in the bar at the Dowans looking at their whisky collection I noticed this bottling by The New Zealand Whisky Company called The Oamaruvian. Bottled in February 2015 at 58,4% (cask strength) at an age of 16 years old from barrel #544. Not planning to make notes on this Scotland trip but just needed to sit down with it looking outside over Aberlour and trying to get to the bottom of this dram. On the bottle it tells us the following story:

New Zealand whisky evangelists and winemakers Warren and Deb Preston identified Oamaru's historic Harbour Precinct as an ideal seaside climate for whisky maturation. Next they did something profound. They decanted over 200 barrels of Dunedin distilled single grain whisky out of American bourbon barrels and into French oak NZ wine barrels. 

The Dunedin Double Wood was born. Eight years on, the New Zealand Whisky Collection is proud to present The Oamaruvian - specialy selected casks chosen for their rich toffee, floral nose and creaming soda mouth feel with a hint of Oamaru sea spray to finish

The nose has dark and thick wood notes with creamy toffee and red apples. Oranges, spices and a hint of balsamic between the sweet crème brulee notes. Light figs, candied ginger, tumtum sweets and tropical fruits in the back.

This all carries on to the palate that is thick and bit woody with loads of sweetness in it. But also notes of floor polish, leather and a dirty wax coat. Spices, citrus fruits, honey, creamy vanilla and raisins. Dried apricots, red apple, honeysuckle, ginger, nutmeg and a light floral note of cherry blossom. Finding different fresh and dried fruits in it.

Finish is sweet and of medium length. It is a lovely dram for sure and scoring it an 7,5 out of 10. You can see the influence from the casks, it is maybe a bit heavy on the wood notes, almost lingering towards tannins, hints of sulphur and a virgin wood feeling. Honey sweet, spicy and fruity overall.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Wagging Finger Gin - Batch 1

The Dutch Wagging Finger distillery has just released their first gin bottling, batch 1 at 44%. On the nose it is lovely fresh and also sweet from different citrus fruits like pomolo, orange, tangerines and a dash of grapefruit. Mint, pepper, lemon thyme, cardamom, juniper berries, light note of sandalwood and some soft spices with creamy vanilla and lemon cheesecake follow that freshness.

The palate is much like the nose, a bit more baking spices appear on the front together with some dryer notes of wood, ginger and juniper. It still has the freshness from the nose coming through it, but has a bit more earthy feel almost to it.

Finding notes of nettle, lime, blood oranges, banana peel, marzipan, cookie dough and allspice on the palate also. Soft, sweet and fresh gin with a medium length finish and quite enjoyable drinking neat. Scoring an 7,5 out of 10. Great start of this distillery and looking forward to what the future brings!

Friday, April 22, 2016


Kalkwijck Distillers released in 2015 their first whisky bottled at 42%. The name Eastmoor referring to the eastern moors that have been a great influence in the history of the region where the distillery is situated, like a tribute to the men that changed the landscape to the way it is now. This whisky sold out very quickly when it was released so very thankful that Lisanne was able to collect enough for a sample to make some tasting notes. 

Soft but sweet syrupy nose with notes of grain and flower creamy honey. Some yellow raisins, wasabi nuts, dried fruits, fresh apple juice, hints of lime, vanilla, ginger bread, cumin seeds and nutmeg.  

On the palate I find it to be a bit creamy and the feeling of breakfast cereal with Greek yoghurt. Some sour fresh lime, orange and grapefruit notes before the soft red berries, strawberries, and blackcurrant come forward. Creamy vanilla, honey and a bit of baking spices make it complete. 

Balanced dram but the finish could have been a bit longer I find, but maybe also a higher percentage then 42% could help it to give a stronger profile. Being 3 years old it is young on the nose and palate, but not unpleasant and soft, not that harsh roughness you often see with younger whiskies, scoring it an 7,5 out of 10. Curious to see what more is coming from this distillery in the next couple of years. Thanks Lisanne for sharing it! 

Monday, April 18, 2016

Whisper Man's Gin

The Whisper Man's Gin comes from the Dutch Kalkwijck distillery and is bottled at 42%. The nose is a mixture of fresh citrus, mint, sweet vanilla, elderflower blossom, gooseberry, juniper berries, fennel and ginger.

On the palate I find some dry woody and nutmeg notes rising through the sweet and fresh notes that I found on the nose. It is soft and creamy, with almost a spongy vanilla cake with elderflower blossom feeling, not too overpowering in flavours and aromas but a nicely balanced dram.

This gin shows some different fruit notes to me like oranges, red apple, red grapes, vigs, lime and something more tropical honey sweet in the back like pomegranate and kiwi. Cucumber, grilled courgette, pine nuts, dates and some soft herbal notes like thyme, sage and marjoram.

I find this gin not something that needs to be mixed, but can be enjoyed just as it is. The nose is fresher then the palate, that shows some more wood liquerish and herbal notes, almost a bit more earthy. Scoring it an 7,5/10. Lovely addition to our growing gin collection.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Laddie Eight

The Laddie Eight expression is released to the Travel Retail market during April 2016. On the 14th of April a twitter tasting was hosted by World Duty Free, you can see the action back by following hashtag #whiskyex. The sample of the Laddie Eight that was send over by Bruichladdich (Thanks again guys!) tells us this whisky was distilled on 10-03-2008, from lot no L150824 16/044 and bottled on 15/03/2016 at 50%.

On the nose I smell apple juice, vanilla, malt, stewed pears, lemon, creamy, oranges, raisin and nut bread. The palate is vanilla sweet, grilled pineapple, honey, red pepper, malt, creamy, pink grapefruit, oranges, fudge, raspberries, peaches, light liquerish, bit of dry heather and light bitter marmalade notes. A medium length finish with notes of honey suckle and vanilla sweetness with touches of ginger and wood. Fresh, fruity and sweet balanced dram, scoring it an 7,5/10

Friday, April 15, 2016

Port Charlotte 2007 CC:01

The Port Charlotte 2007 CC:01 is distilled on 03/10/2007 and bottled at 8 years old on 21/01/2016 at 57,8%. This expression is released to the Travel Retail market during April 2016. On the 14th of April an twitter tasting was hosted by World Duty Free, you can see the action by following #whiskyex. Bruichladdich tells us the following about this whisky:

As with every Port Charlotte the starting point is rich, elegant and thought-provoking spirit. High-provenance, smoky, heavily peated barley married to our slow, Victorian, trickle distillation delivers power with finesse. Here, this fascinating spirit has been matured full term in casks of finest French oak [Quercus robur]. They previously held one of the greatest Eau de Vie, from the western Cognac region. 

Ok. time to nose and taste this whisky. I have let the glass sit for a while after pouring, got the feeling it needed some time due to a very young nose at first with some nail polish remover. That stayed a bit for a good time, but also started to show me some pulled pork and other meaty BBQ flavours mixed with earthy peaty notes. It becomes sweeter when you keep nosing it and showing rich honey, salty caramel chocolat, stewed pears in red wine with a good amount of cinnamon, ginger cake, rye bread with omelette / crispy bacon / different backed wild mushrooms and for a dessert a thick vanilla pudding with red summer fruits on top. Now I am getting hungry again damnit. 

Tasting it brings a smile to my face because it adds another level of sweet and spices to the things I already found on the nose. Raisins, red pepper, apricots, lemon, banana, creamy, plums, smoke, light ashy note and sweet heather flavours. Thick vanilla notes with loads of fruits in it mixed with soft gentle peat smoke. Good length sweet finish on it and very enjoyable must say. Perfect dram for a stormy and rainy day we are having right now. Scoring it an 8 out of 10, even with the young feeling going through the nose and palate. Thanks for sharing the sample Bruichladdich! 

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Renegade rum company - Monymusk distillery - Jamaica rum - 5 years old

From the Renegade rum company comes this rum from the Monymusk distillery. Produced by Bruichladdich and bottled by Murray McDavid at 46% and aged for 5 years with an additional maturation in a Tempranillo cask from Ribera del Duero

Noticed this bottle in a store and in my quest to learn more about the different kind of rums this one seemed very interesting. I could not find much online about the Renegade rum company but this is a little piece of the Bruichladdich website archives about it

We’ve been playing with rums for a while using the Murray McDavid label for a handful of bottlings – one of which was declared in the World’s Top 50 spirits of the year in 2006 by Paul Paccult’s Malt Enthusiast with a 96-100 rating. Encouraged by that success, we are now taking it more seriously.

Islay bottled, single distillery rum ACE’d by Jim in stunning French oak casks for added flavour, texture and originality. This is not your rum and coke spirit; nor your pirate’s Yo! Ho! Ho! liquor; nor your cocktail umbrella’d breezer readymix drink. No, this is rum Unplugged – and boy is it good. Savour the flavour, enjoy it like a single malt.

Curious to learn more about this Jamaican distillery called Monymusk. So back online and seeing what I can find about it. Only a couple of sites got me little bits of information about it being from the former Innswood distillery (Clarendon Distillers Limited (CDL)) Not in production apparently anymore since the 1950's but only used as an ageing and blending location. Curious to learn more about these kind of things, if anyone knows more about it please let me know. But in the end the liquid is quite pleasant, even if I cant find much about it and enjoying it greatly. My notes on this rum... 

At first the nose has some dusty old books to it but beneath that is loads of sweetness hidden. Not an overpowering strong sweetness on the nose that you often find (at least that is my experience) but hints of green apples, celery, vanilla, fresh figs and dates. some raisin, light liquerish and dried apples. The palate is much sweeter then the nose is at first. The almost woody honey notes mixed with fresh and dried fruit give it of the tropical feel but with some sweet desert wine on the medium length finish. Lovely light notes of some burned toast and nuts come through but just a bit, almost making me think of some breakfast cereal, the kind with all the dried fruits and nuts in it. 

It is balanced and shows enough to keep you interested for sure, but leaves mostly a honey sweet and vanilla/crème brulee feeling in the end that is just a bit too strong. But not unpleasant. I have been sipping on this rum for a couple of times to see what I think about it and cant make up my mind and keep saying "lovely, but..." No regrets buying this, non at all, enjoying it greatly, but just something keeps missing in it. Don't know what it is. But still scoring it an 8 out of 10. Loving this explorations from time to time in other spirits then whisky!  

Plantation rum - Extra Old Reserve - Guatamala XO

This Plantation rum is bottled specially for Bresser & Timmer from the Netherlands as a limited edition numbered 001 drawn from cask no 18/25 and producing in total 150 bottles of single cask rum at 41,2% with a finish in an ice wine cask.

On the nose fresh notes of lemon, oranges, pink grapefruit mixing with sweet honey, ripe mango, hint of cocos, leather, thick warm vanilla pudding, passion fruit, kiwi, pomegranate and banana. Sweet, fresh, but not too overpowering sweet, it has something menthol almost in it that covers it all.

The palate is much like the nose, giving a good mix between fresh and fruity sweet. Lots of other fruits come to mind also from red forrest fruits, cherries, orchard fruits and loads of tropical ones.

Mix this with some warm baking spices and you get a feeling of warm cinnamon rolls and chocolate chip cookies on the long finish. Some fennel also well present here to give the liquerish feel into this mix.

I just love these kind of rums that are not too overpowering in its flavours but present a good balance with rich notes. Something to enjoy all year around... Scoring it an 8,5 out 10. Great stuff!

The Balvenie - Tun 1401 Batch 5

The Balvenie Tun 1401 batch 5 is bottled at 50,1% and is a vatting of traditional whisky casks (#5241, #7044, #17894, #2384 and #439) and Sherry buts (#6444, #13144, #13838 and 978) as stated on the label.

Always a treat this dram, something special. Been enjoying this bottle for a bit now and slowly the contents is getting less and less. Time to write me a tasting note before it is all gone...

Rich and sweet nose with loads of warm spices. Warm apple pie, dirty leather and book bindings. Crème brulee, burned toast, coffee, fudge, dark chocolate truffles and different dried and fresh fruits .

These notes continue clearly on the palate that is also next to that sweet and full of different fruits, rich honey notes, black current, vanilla, cherries, dark rich forrest fruit jam, dried pineapple and dried mango. A very fruity and sweet dram for sure.

Some warm notes of spices and freshly backed bread come forward after the fruit fades away a bit leaving a feeling of sherbet powder, tumtums, liquerish and honey. Lovely complex, chewable and balanced dram with a good length finish on it. Scoring it an 9 out of 10.

Kalkwijck - Graanjenever

From the Dutch Kalkwijck distillers comes this grain jenever bottled at 35%. On the nose I find a lot of buttermilk notes mixed with grain, citrus, ginger, creamy, vanilla, cereal, sand cookies, cinnamon, nutmeg, brown candy sugar, tangerines and speculaas.

The palate is much the same as on the nose but less sour milk notes. It is more fruity, apple, pear juice, banana and gooseberry. Lots of baking spices, chocolate chip cookie dough and orange marmalade.

Medium length finish that is warming and sweet with a vanilla creamy feeling a bit but also lemon cheesecake freshness. A lot like the Jonge Jenever I tried before on the nose and palate, but a bit sweeter and more citrus notes. Scoring it an 7 out of 10.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Zuidam - Dutch Courage - Aged Gin 88

The Dutch Zuidam Distillers produced a lovely gin called Dutch Courage - Aged Gin 88. Batch number 001 is aged on american oak, from the year 2013 and bottled at 44%. On the website they show all the different gin products and tell us this about this aged gin

Dutch Courage Aged Dry Gin is made according to the exact same recipe as our normal Dutch Courage Dry Gin using fresh citrus fruit and small batch distillations. The difference is that this dry gin is aged in new 200 litre American oak casks. 
This adds a layer of beguiling vanilla and spice to the still fresh and fruity gin. The result of this is absolutely stunning. The gentle softness and complex freshness will make the perfect Dry Martini or a stunning Gin and Tonic.
The nose is fresh, sweet and full of spices. Notes of lemon, menthol, vanilla, oranges, fruity and so many other lush ones. Makes me think of the aromas of herbal baths and spas. Love this nose, can sniff it for hours...

Liquerish fruity and sweet notes on the palate with fresh lemon and menthol. Makes me think of good pastries and sweet rolls. One side is a lot of creamy sweetness of different fruits and on the other side it almost is a bit "meaty" like dense date bread, ginger, roast potatoes with rosemary and glacéed ham with mustard and pineapple. It is quite complex and full of different lovely notes with a good length finish. Scoring me this aged gin a good 8,5 out of 10. This is wonderful stuff. Glad I bought a bottle and getting the feeling that it wont last long...

Friday, April 8, 2016

The Grainman - North British 27 year old

One of the recent releases from the Grainman comes from the North British distillery. Distilled in October 1988 and then matured in cask No 8 with a PX Sherry finish for 8 months. In total 282 bottles were bottled in March 2016 at the age of 27 years and 50,1% cask strength

The nose is filled with dense fruit syrup, tangerines, powdered sugar, vanilla, raisins and freshly baked sweet bread. Warm apple strudel with vanilla ice cream and soft nougat. With time getting liquerish sweet for sure!

Lovely sweet, creamy and spicy palate. Lush soft notes of a good breakfast with mixed cereals, dried fruits, Greek yoghurt, fresh raspberries and redcurrant. Pepper, soft spices, honey, herbs and different fresh fruits. Crumbly sweet red apple, banana, melon, mango, oranges, chocolate chips and soft citrus gummy candy sweets. Quite a good length of a finish on it and it feels balanced. Scoring me an 8 out of 10. Thanks Andy for sharing it!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Benromach - Sassicaia 2007

Benromach distillery recently released a new expression in the wood finishes series called Sassicaia. In total 3500 bottles produced at 45%. Distilled in 2007 after initially being matured in 1st fill bourbon barrels and then followed by 24 months in Sassicaia casks from wine-producing region of Bolgheri in Tuscany.

Sweet, fruity and creamy nose with notes of fudge, warm red apples, cinnamon, vanilla, raisins, oranges, banana, raspberry, white chocolate, cereal, honey, brown sugar candy, pink grapefruit, lemon drops, redcurrant and dark wheat freshly backed bread...

Palate is just like the nose sweet and fruity and has a bit of a leather feeling on the middle length finish. It is a bit heavier on the palate. The nose was more fruity and on the palate I am getting more heavy floral notes mixed with honey, cherries and dates.

Feels a bit more like wood notes on the palate then the cereal and grain notes from the nose. Lovely dram, but after the nose I expected more like that on the palate also. Scoring it an 7 out of 10, due to not finding it fully balanced. Thanks Benromach for sharing a sample, very interesting dram!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

SMWS - 36.81 - A mad-hatter's tea party

From the Benrinnes distillery comes this 11 year old SMWS bottling called 'A mad-hatter's tea party' and numbered 36.81 and bottled at 60,1%. Distilled on the 14th of August 2002, matured in a 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel and after bottling in 2014 producing in total 203 bottles.

Sweet nose with syrupy canned fruit, pineapple juice, freshly squeezed apple juice, ginger cake, red pepper, creamy vanilla, tutti frutti mentos candy and lots of other fruit notes. With time getting more dense on some wood notes combined with warm banana and grilled pineapple. Creamy notes of soft ripe stone fruits combined with some dense elderflower blossom notes.

The palate is warm, creamy and sweet with again the strong notes of the tutti fruity mentos candy that I found on the nose. Lots of fruit, spices and syrupy flavours like the nose. Very balanced and a decent length of finish with some vanilla ice cream notes filled with rum raisins, fudge and chocolate sprinkles. This is a sweet dessert like dram with the loads of sweet fruit notes going from red apple, to pineapple and red summer fruit, most of them warm or grilled. Scoring it an 8,5/10, lovely dram...

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Grainman - Strathclyde 24 years old

The Grainman recently released a line of different grain expressions. Last couple of weeks I already looked at the Port Dundas, Carsbridge and Cambus expressions.

This time I will take a closer look at the release from the Strathclyde distillery that is aged for 24 years. Distilled on December 1991 and bottled in January 2016, after being matured in a bourbon barrel #247852, producing 234 bottles at 54,5%.

The nose has for me some sweet blood oranges, pomolo, canned tangerines, mixed fruit syrup, vanilla, whole grain pancakes with maple syrup and Greek yoghurt with blue berries. Sweet, creamy and reminding me of candy canes you get at a carnival.

Lovely sweet and rich palate like the nose but also showing some more honeyed malt notes with some different nuts in the breakfast cereal with dried cranberries. Red berries, cassis, blackcurrant, kiwi fruit, strawberry, vanilla, candied ginger and cherry.

Could have been longer on the finish and leaves a bit dry wood tannin feeling after the sweet notes fade away, like of dry grapes and grape pits. It is a nice dram for sure but not making me super enthusiastic. Scoring it an 7,5 out of 10. Thanks Andy for sharing it!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Maltman - Port Dundas 24 year old

From the Grainman comes a Port Dundas release that was distilled in March 1991 and bottled in January 2016, with an Oloroso sherry finish for 4 months. In total 282 bottled produced at 55,1%.

The nose is syrupy and has great amounts of dried fruit, rich creamy vanilla, raisin, dried cranberry, salty cashew nuts, vigs, light tobacco, dates, dried banana, cassis, raspberry, tangerine, Victoria sponge cake, toffee and red crumbly apples.

A fresh and sweet palate with a lovely amount of baking spices mixed through it. Citrus and orchard fruits mixed with syrupy dried fruits that almost make me think of some tropical fruits like mango and pineapple. 

All from the nose is also detectable on the palate combined with some added layers of fruit, light nuts, cookie dough, breakfast cereals, liquerish and creamy chocolate. Medium length finish with lots of sweetness and hint of leather and demerara sugar. Scoring this one an 9 out of 10. Loving it! Thanks Andy for sharing!