Blair Athol 25, 1988 (LMDW)


As per Whiskybase, there have been 44 casks of Blair Athols from 1988 released in the last three years. I guess someone acquired a huge parcel of those casks and sold them on. And given that most of the releases are from Signatory, I’d guess they’re that someone and are the source for many of the other indie releases as well. Given that there were a decent number released just last year, I suspect we’ll continue to see Blair Athol 1988s for a while.

I’ve previously reviewed three other 1988s in the 25-26 yo range. I very much liked this 25 yo from van Wees and this 26 yo from Signatory for K&L; this 26 yo—also from van Wees—I liked a bit less. The one I’m reviewing now was bottled by La Maison Du Whisky, the famed Paris whisky store. It’s part of their “Artist” series—all of which have very pretty labels. As to whether the prettiness of the labels says anything about the contents of the bottles, I don’t know; I do know the bottles are pretty expensive. I didn’t pay for a whole bottle of this one; this was part of a bottle split—which is really a very good way to try a lot more whiskies than would be feasible otherwise. Anyway, let’s see if this is as good as the others.  Continue reading

Clynelish 36, 1972 (G&M for LMDW)

Clynelish 36, 1972; G&M for LMDW
This is the oldest Clynelish I’ve yet had and the second from a sherry cask. I quite liked that SMWSA 29 yo from a refill sherry butt, but not as much as the Single Malts of Scotland 28 yo from a bourbon cask I’d reviewed last year. This is not because of the sherry influence per se. In fact, the sherry influence in the SMWSA 29 yo was quite muted—what held that one back was a lack of complexity, on the whole. This one is also from a refill cask but it is a hogshead and so there’s a good chance that the prized Clynelish characteristics of honey and wax might get drowned out by stronger notes of sherry and oak (from the smaller cask). That didn’t happen with the excellent Manager’s Dram release, but at 17 years old that was less than half the age of this one. But if it’s good, I don’t really care too much one way or the other. And given its antecedents there is a pretty good chance this will be good. It was bottled by Gordon & MacPhail for the reputed French store, La Maison du Whisky.  Continue reading

Yoichi 23, 1987, Cask 112814

Yoichi 1987
The run of reviews of sherried whiskies continues but with this Yoichi single cask I also begin a mini-run of Japanese whiskies.

Nikka and Suntory are the heavyweights in the Japanese whisky industry. And Yoichi is to the Nikka stable of distilleries/brands what Yamazaki is to Suntory’s: the featured player. In the last year a few of Nikka’s whiskies finally made it to the US market: the excellent Yoichi 15 and the vatted malt, Taketsuru 12. Very recently, a few more have joined that initial pair: Taketsuru 17 and 21 (a review of an earlier iteration of the latter is coming soon), a 12 yo from Miyagikyou, Nikka’s other malt distillery and a single grain. The pricing on all of these, unfortunately, has not been recession-friendly. I shudder to think of what we would be asked to pay for the more prized Yoichi single casks such as the one I am reviewing today. This was bottled in 2010 by the famous French store/importer La Maison du Whisky. Continue reading