Having arrived on Islay with Friday’s Caol Ila, I might as well stay here awhile. And I might as well follow the path we took when we arrived on Islay in 2017. Then too we got off the ferry not too far from Caol Ila and drove past Bowmore to our B&B. And so let’s do a Bowmore review next. This was bottled last year by Blackadder from a single hogshead.
Bowmore 17, 2002 (53.4%; Blackadder; hogshead 20199; from a bottle split)
Nose: Mineral smoke mixed with lemon and salt crystal. Clean and sharp. On the second sniff the trademark fruit and florals begin to emerge and the citrus and smoke move towards ashy lemon custard. The smoke gets meatier as it sits (ham) and the citrus gets muskier (makrut lime peel). A few drops of water and sweeter fruit begins to emerge from under the citrus (charred pineapple, peach). Continue reading
It’s been a year and a half since my last Amrut review—what kind of an Indian am I? It’s not my fault though: there just isn’t so much Amrut around in the US. The last one I reviewed—the Amaze, a single cask release for an Indian club—was bottled in late 2018. This one came out half a decade earlier. A NAS release (like most Amruts), I purchased it right after it was bottled in 2013. Like most Amruts it’s also been bottled at an eye-wateringly high proof. The bottler is Blackadder. They’ve put out a large number of Amruts, far more than any other bottler—Whiskybase only lists a handful of others and they only seem to have one or two each. I wonder what Blackadder’s connection is. The cask was first-fill sherry. I rather liked the last sherry cask Amrut I had—this PX cask—and their Intermediate Sherry is one of my favourites, if now a little too expensive for my wallet. And so I have high hopes for this one. Let’s see if they’re borne out. Continue reading
It has been almost three years since my last Glen Spey review and in fact this is only my fourth-ever Glen Spey review. Of three I’ve previously reviewed the only one I liked a lot was the 21 yo that was part of Diageo’s special release slate back when some of the whiskies in their special release slate were priced reasonably—in other words, ten years ago. The other two were solid but unremarkable. I’m hoping this one will even the balance. Let’s see if that proves to be the case.
Glen Spey 12, 1999 (59.8%; Blackadder; from a sample from a friend)
Nose: A big fruity wave off the top (apples mostly, some pear too) along with some mild, toasted oak. Very nice indeed. Maltier as it sits and some citrus emerges to join the orchard fruit. With more time it’s fruitier still—more citrus now and some muskier notes peeping through too (pineapple). A few drops of water seem to mute things a bit—let’s see if it wakes up again with some more air. Continue reading
Another whisky distilled in the 1990s, another Glen Ord. I wasn’t sure I was going to get to this one this month but after Diageo announced an 18 yo Singleton of Glen Ord as part of their 2019 slate of over-priced releases I figured the time was right: that if there was ever going to be a surge of interest in 18 yo Glen Ord it would be now; and who better than me to stand poised to ride that wave all the way to marginally less irrelevance than I now boast in the marketplace of content.
The last couple of teenaged Glen Ords I’ve had—including Tuesday’s 15 yo—have been very good but nothing very exciting. Let’s see if this 18 yo does a little more for me and makes me consider paying a large amount of money for the new Singleton 18 yo for a few minutes before I slap myself across the head for being a fucking idiot. Continue reading
On Monday I had a review of two red wine cask finished Benromachs; I did not care for either one very much. Today, I have a whisky from another Speyside distillery, but this one is altogether more conventional. It’s from Auchroisk, a distillery that does not have too much of a reputation but which often produces single bourbon casks that are rather fruity and pleasant. See, for example, this older one from the Binny’s/Signatory combo that I rather liked some years ago and this one—also from 1988—that I liked just a bit less. This Blackadder was bottled much earlier than the Signatory and the Cadenhead’s—all the way back in 2007, in fact.
The sample came to me from renowned parakeet breeder, Florin. He was his usual taciturn-bordering on sullen self at the time of exchange and I have no idea what he thinks of the whisky. I’m sure he’ll be around soon to tell me I’ve got it all wrong. That’s the kind of person he is—I expect it comes from all the nights spent playing romantic music to parakeets to get them in the mood. Anyway, let’s get to it (as he likes to say when the covers are on the cages). Continue reading
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