Inchfad 15, 2005 (Cooper’s Choice)

My second week of Loch Lomond reviews in 2021 started on Monday with an official release—a recent—though not the current—release of Loch Lomond 18. This followed a week of reviews in April that were all of current official releases: the new Loch Lomond 12, the Inchmurrin 12 and the Inchmoan 12. We move now to a couple of independent releases. First up, an Inchfad 15 bottled by Cooper’s Choice earlier this year. Inchfad, like Inchmoan and Croftengea, is one of Loch Lomond’s peated brands. For all I know, there are others. I am not really sure what the production differences between these peated brands are and will leave it to someone more informed to explain it to us in the comments if they’re willing. I will say that peated Loch Lomond can be a truly wonderful thing. This on account of the underlying spirit which is rather fruity. Peat, fruit and bourbon casks: this is in theory a good combination. Let’s see if it paid off here. Continue reading


Laphroaig 21, 1994 (Cooper’s Choice)

Laphroaig 21, 1994, Cooper's Choice
It’s been almost four months since my last Laphroaig review, which seems too long. I acquired this large sample as part of a bottle split at the same time as the sample of the Ledaig 17 from the same bottlers (Cooper’s Choice) that I reviewed in April. That was also a heavily peated whisky from a sherry cask. Unlike that one, however, this Laphroaig 21 is not at cask strength. It’s also apparently still available, which seems odd for an older Laphroaig from a sherry cask. The skeptical might wonder if that means that this is not very good, possibly sulphured. Might that be why they diluted it to 46%? Maybe, but it’s equally likely that they did it to get more bottles out of the cask and into the budgets of more drinkers. Anyway, I quite liked that Ledaig 17—ended up buying a full bottle—and if I like this as much, and it is indeed still available, I might consider a bottle of this as well. It’s not every day, as I said, that an older, sherried Laphroaig shows up.  Continue reading

Ledaig 17, 1998 (Cooper’s Choice)

Ledaig 17, 1998, Cooper's Choice
I’ve had (and reviewed) quite a few high quality young, sherried Ledaigs of late (see here, here, hereherehere and here). Most, though not all, of those were distilled in the mid-2000s. The teenaged Ledaigs from the previous decade that I’ve had have not been sherried and have generally not reached the heights of their younger, sherried siblings. Here now is a 17 yo from 1998 from a sherry butt. Will it reverse this trend?

This was bottled by Cooper’s Choice. I don’t know much about this label—as per Malt Madness, this is a brand of the Vintage Malt Whisky Company, founded in 1992 by an ex-employee of Bowmore. Johannes notes that they offer good value. I’ve not had very many of their bottlings so I cannot comment on that, but they do seem to be more ubiquitous in the last year or two with both cask strength and non-cask strength releases. Well, let’s see what this is like.  Continue reading