LovingWhisky - Independent tasting notes on whisky and other distilled spirits by Ansgar Speller

Mark & Manny's Malts - Tamdhu 7 years old

Mark & Manny's Malts released recently an independent whisky bottling of the Tamdhu distillery in the Animal Series. Distilled in 2008, matured in bourbon cask #758 and bottled at the age of 7 at 40%. In total 50 bottles were released and it sold out very quickly. You can find their review on their YouTube channel here. They generously send over a sample of it to have a closer look at it.

On the nose I get at first some white pepper and dry nutmeg. Followed by a soft note of unsalted cashew nuts combined with vanilla, caramel, fudge, fruits, raisins and young fresh but soft woody notes.

The palate has some notes of creamy vanilla and pepper sharpness. Gooseberry, raisins, macademia nuts, peanut butter, green apples and dry herbal notes.

A medium length finish with the nutty dryness enhancing a bit together with the creamy vanilla feeling. Overall it feels like a sweet but a bit young dram to me. Scoring it an 7,5 out of 10 due to the bit young feeling and many nutty notes.

If you are looking for a dram with a good dose of different nutty notes then this is a great dram for you, but that is sadly not my preference... Thanks for sharing guys! Looking forward to seeing more independent bottlings!

Holland Gin

Photo by WhiskySpeller
The Borgen Distillery has an gin in their line up called the Holland Gin, a small batch distilled gin bottled at 40,8%. Picked up a bottle after our visit to the Hooghoudt distillery, a lovely gin that goes well neat and in mixed drinks... 

On the nose I find a good dose of juniper berry, lime and 7-up notes. It is fresh but also sweet on the nose. Vanilla, white raisins, white chocolate, mint, fennel, pine tips and mixed flower notes.

The palate has notes of creamy sweet custard pudding, strawberry, raspberry, red current, lemon, pink grapefruit, oranges, juniper, black liquorish, herbal and a hint of malts.

A medium length finish with fresh notes and sweetness of oranges. Lovely addition to our growing gin collection...

Before Gin

Photo by WhiskySpeller
When recently visiting the Hooghoudt distillery this expression called Before Gin Genever - "the Godfather of Gin" from the Borgen Distillery and bottled at 38% was also available to taste after the tour. An interesting drink so a bottle was purchased for further explorations back home...

On the bottle the following information about it is provided; 'It is an ode to one of the biggest forgotten spirits, a hero from the 17th century, the 'muse' from which Gin was born. Before Gin is a full bodied Dutch Genever made with a good dash of malt wine and juniper berry distillate. By using a blend of single cask 17 years aged and unaged malt wines a perfectly balanced Genever is created.' 

On the nose I find notes of fennel, vanilla, liquorish wood, grains, juniper, thyme, lemon, raisin and pine freshness. The palate picks up these flavours very well also and adds some notes of tangerine, spices, porridge, creamy clover honey, raspberry and redcurrant. The medium length finish has a note of soft warm vanilla, light wood, chocolate shavings and the feeling of the skin of a red apple. On the website are some different recipes provided for mixes, I need to try those out for sure. Lovely to drink neat but can imagine with something mixed it can even enhance more the red fruits and vanilla honey sweetness and make a good serve.

Hooghoudt - Old grain jenever

Photo by WhiskySpeller
Not a whisky review this time but diving for a bit in the world of jenevers. Hooghoudt is one of the bigger companies in the Netherlands and has in its lineup an old grain jenever that is bottled at 38%. The recipe dates from before the first world war and has a minimum in it of 15% malt wines. A part of this malt wine has been maturing for 17 years in Andalusian Sherry casks.

The nose is malty and carries loads of fresh citrus notes and sweet creamy vanilla. Light wood note, red currant, gooseberry and juniper berries I find in it. Sweet and fresh nose.

The palate has some notes of sweet red apples, bit dry cinnamon, vanilla, redcurrant, oranges and lemon. A warm and sweet fruity palate with notes of elder flower and cardamom pods.

A medium length finish that is filled with soft sweet honey and a light dry note of juniper berry and wood. This combination makes me think of the old fashioned dark liquerish strips with a hint of toffee and raisin sweetness. A jenever that is a sweet and easy to drink pure but I can imagine also very enjoyable in a mix. Thanks Laurens for sharing this jenever, going to have to look up some recipes to try this out with for sure!

Glenlivet - Cipher

The Glenlivet Ciper was presented recently in #TheGlenlivetCipher Twitter Tasting. There are no details know of this bottling besides being bottled at 48% and available for around 110 pounds. Bottled in a black bottle to conceal the colour and only telling us that they used a combination of casks never seen before in The Glenlivet portfolio to create this limited edition expression. They will release more info over the coming months.

This way of releasing this expression is meant to test the senses of the consumer and make you look for the key notes and features. To make you share these with them online and to see how you compare to the official tasting notes of the Glenlivet. You can feel the central core of apples, vanilla and toffee in lots of the Glenlivet expressions, being fruity and sweet, and this one does not let you down in that department. Nosing and tasting this whisky the thoughts of maturation in a sherry, rum or a desert wine like cask combined with new oak passed by. But nothing yet that I could pin down. It had something of them all that hints back to them.

On the website you can choose from 12 set flavours on the nose and palate, and you choose 6 and fill in the strength. That combines in 6 notes on the nose and 6 on the palate. Looking at the notes from others during the tasting and my score of a 53% match with the official notes on the website I knew that my personal notes are clearly different. Oh well. They are mine and that is what is most important for me. Said it before, please don't let my notes be a guideline for you to buy or not to buy, they are my personal experience for a single moment when nosing and tasting it. So, lets have a look at my notes...

On the nose rich toffee and mixed nuts of hazelnuts, macademia and salty peanuts. Wood shavings, red crumbly apple, pencil graphite, dried banana, tobacco, oranges, marzipan, fruit cake, vanilla sponge, tutti frutti, vanilla, sultana and cranberry. Has some young rough edges to it but is covered by the overall very fruity and fresh citrus feeling quickly.

Moving on to the palate that is warm, sweet, spicy and fruity. Much like the nose with added to it spear mint, coconut milk, toffee, curry spices, baking spices, vanilla, honey, sultana, dried vigs, leather, tobacco and nutty chocolate paste. Fruits in abundance, red apple, pear, banana, oranges, lemon, gooseberry, red berry, raspberry, strawberry and grilled pineapple.

Medium length and sweet finish. But there is a combination of wood, spices and nuts on the finish that give it a very dry mouth feel in the end. Balanced, rich and sweet dram overall, except that finish that makes me score it lower at an 7,5 out of 10. If that dryness would not have been there it definitely would have been higher. Curious to hear more details on this expression and see what the build of it is...