After a recently bottled atypical malt to start the week—the new official, peated Balvenie—here is an atypical malt that was bottled just over 10 years ago. It’s atypical because it’s an Aberlour from an ex-bourbon cask. Other than distillery-only bottlings, Aberlour only release sherried malts. Of course, they mature a fair bit in ex-bourbon but it’s to the independents you have to go to taste that spirit. I’ve previously reviewed an older ex-bourbon Aberlour from Exclusive Malts (I quite liked it). This one is from a bottle purchased before that one and finished before I started the blog. The independent in question here is Blackadder. However, this one was not bottled at cask strength (a bit of an anomaly for them) and had no silly bits of char in the bottle. I’d forgotten that I’d ever saved anything from it and found a large reference sample while rummaging through my shelves tonight for something non-sherried and non-peated. Let’s go back in time. Continue reading
Hot on the heels of my review of the Ledaig 10, and picking back up the run of reviews of smoky whiskies, here is an even younger Ledaig, this from a single sherry cask and released by the indie outfit, Blackadder. I’ve previously reviewed another Ledaig 6 that I rather liked and I’m interested to see how this one compares.
Ledaig 6, 2005 (64%; Blackadder; sherry cask #9011; from a sample received in a swap)
Nose: The usual Ledaig farmy peat but it’s shot through with orange peel, raisins and dark honey; some caramel too. Rather expressive despite the high (!) strength. After a minute or so there’s quite a lot of salt and there’s an inky quality to the smoke too and just a hint of struck matches. After a while it’s all about the citrus (now joined by some apricot) with some savoury notes (cured pork) and briny smoke playing above. Water wakes the farmy notes back up but only for a flash–after that it’s pretty much as it was neat, with maybe a little more apricot sweetness and a little bit of leather. Continue reading
This Clynelish was purchased and split at the same time as this Glencadam, also bottled by Blackadder. I thought that Glencadam was fine but nothing special. Will this Clynelish be much better? So far I have to say my experience with sherried Clynelish has been mixed. I loved this older one from Chieftain’s bottled for K&L but was less excited about two teenagers from Whiskybroker and Signatory (though I did think the Signatory improved markedly after the bottle had been open for a while). Well, let’s get right to it.
Clynelish 16, 1996 (58.6%; Blackadder Raw Cask; sherry butt #8782; from a bottle split with friends)
Nose: Obviously sherried but not massively so. Salted nuts mixed with raisins, and something a little vegetal/leafy too. Gets brinier as it sits and then darker sherried notes begin to develop: dried orange peel, a bit of toffee. The salt never goes away but it gets more winey with time (without ever becoming off-puttingly winey). After ten minutes or so it gets quite raisiny. Water emphasizes the sherry, and there’s more fruit now (plums). Continue reading
Glencadam is a highland distillery about which I know very little. I’ve had their 10 yo which presents excellent bang for the buck (or at least it did–I haven’t looked at prices recently) and have unopened bottles of their 15 yo and 21 yo (the newer versions at 46%), and a couple of indies in the stash. Unlike most Scottish distilleries they’re not owned by a big conglomerate–unless, that is, Angus Dundee Distillers is a front for Time-Warner–but they’re not a quaint family outfit either: to get a sense of romance Angus Dundee-style, read this page. None of this, of course, says anything about the quality of their whisky.
This particular bottling is from the independent outfit Blackadder, who are not very shy with the pricing. In fact, some of their prices for their new releases in the US are over on the other side of ridiculous. I split this bottle–and a Clynelish to be reviewed later–with two friends (one got half the bottle, and I split the other half with the third person) and so neither of us absorbed a major hit to the wallet. We also got it at a discounted price offered to my friend Rich. As this discount was something I took advantage of second-hand I feel that it does not contravene my protocols to review the whisky. If you disagree please feel free to call me out below. Continue reading