Monday, February 20, 2012

Simple whisky from the big boys

The big boys in the whisky business tends to focus on 40% mass market whisky or silly overpriced whiskies in excessive packaging. But there's a few bottlings out there worth a notice for those of us who like to add the water ourselves and releases sold at a sensible prices!

Time for 4 short reviews:

1. Glenfiddich 15yo 51%, Distillery Edition

Going through Schiphol I spotted this whisky on the shelves of a whisky speciality store.  1 liter at 45 euros. I couldn't resist the temptation and bought a bottle

Nose : Dark fruits and candy toffee and a touch of red wine/ grapes

Palate : this whisky is rather complex. fruity, grapes, nutty and woody. Quite hot (alcohol) and a somewhat bitter finish.

Finish : short to medium

Rating 82

2. Balvenie 15yo Single Barrel 47.8%
6/3-95 -> 31/3-10 Cask number 2800

The 15yo is an "endless" set of releases which all are around 15 years old, but slightly older casks have been seen. It's not cask strength as the they all have been reduced to 47.8% as bottling strength. The whiskies are from different casks but very similar in styles

The nose is reminding me of armagnac and apples which are dominant, then a hint of citrus and malt

Palate : a very light dram, with speyside-nuts, some maltiness, and a hint of citrus

Finish : Medium

Rating 84

3. Glenlivet Nadurra 16yo batch 1110L 55.1%
Natural Cask Strength

Nose : Vanilla, Woodspices, joining together in a warming welcome

Palate : Fruity (banana?), vanilla, spicy, what a pleasant mouthfull. This whisky got loads of pleasant wood extracts. I wonder if any of the french oak casks went into this as this is more like the french oak than the standard 12yo

Rating 87

Lagavulin 12yo 56.5% bottled 2010

Walking trough Edinburgh Airport last around a year ago I picked this up at 41£

Nose : Heavy Peat, Earthy

Palate : Clean Peat, Malty, Some sweetness, cod-liver oil that isn't fishy (Don't ask, I can't explain it myself)

Finish Medium-Long, the peat lingers

Rating 87

Old fashioned peaty whisky, this just reminds of the way Laphroaig were when I first tasted a peaty whisky back in the nineties. Or maybe how I was back than. It's good to be back

End of the day, 4 nice no-nonsense bottlings of good quality whisky, and the last two are now on my favourite shelf

Monday, February 6, 2012

Tormore 1994/2007, Gordon & MacPhail, 59.9%

Tormore is another of the very low profile distilleries. Only a couple of official bottlings are around, and the whisky is not highly sought after amongst the independent
bottlers, but still, some bottlings do occur and with my (lacking) knowledge of this distillery’s products in mind, I think it’s time to try one:

Tormore, 15.09.1994/17.05.2007, Gordon&MacPhail’s Cask Strength Collection, casks 8350+8352, 1stfill sherry butts, 59.9%
starts on lemon grass followed by buttery notes and burnt hay. There’s a
certain spicy toffeeness coating the whole thing which makes it kind of
fulfilling. Resin, sweet candy, liquorice and coffee comes in and add
complexity to what is becoming quite a lovely and characterfull nose for such a
young whisky. After a few minutes the butter steps forward and gives a creamy
feeling. There is also a sharp and fresh nature to this dram like a room that
has just been cleaned with Ajax – I mean this positively. If the palate is in
the same league, we’re in for a treat. Let’s see..

burnt sugar, sherry and rather a lot of wood. Wood soaked in good sherry that
is. The wood isn’t overpowering but present all the way from when the first
drops hit the tastebuds to the long and drying finish. A special combination of
freshly cut grass and black coffee. Not as complex as the nose but very
lovable. Strong, yet elegant. Punchy, yet sensitive. Immensely interesting
whisky from well selected casks. A pleasant surprise!
Rating: 89