Ledaig 9, 2005 (Maltbarn)

Ledaig 9, 2005, Maltbarn
I’ve reviewed and praised a number of young, sherry cask Ledaigs (most recently this stunner from Signatory). Here now is a bourbon cask from the same vintage as most of those. This was bottled by the new’ish German outfit, Maltbarn. I guess it might have been more useful to review it while it was still available, but I’ve never really been a very useful person. Let’s get right to it.

Ledaig 9, 2005 (48.1%; Maltbarn; bourbon cask; from a purchased sample)

Nose: Rubbery peat at first but it takes a very quick, sweet turn: sort of a simple syrup sweetness sitting on top of the rubber and vegetal and floral notes. Altogether, somewhat mezcal’ish. With a bit of air there’s some vanilla and also some pepper. With more time the floral/rubbery notes recede and the vanilla is joined by some fruit (apple, lemon) and faint cereally notes. The citrus expands further as it sits. (The peat is present throughout.) As so often happens, the citrus gets muskier with water; more salt too now.  Continue reading

Inchgower 24, 1990 (Maltbarn)

Inchgower 24, 1990, Maltbarn
Here is another 24, yo from 1990 from another relatively obscure Speyside distillery in Diageo’s portfolio: Inchgower. Inchgower produces mostly for blends—as with other Diageo workhorses, a Flora & Fauna bottling may be the only regular official release (I’m not counting the special Rare Malts and Manager’s Choice/Dram releases). Johannes of Malt Madness says of Inchgower that “the malt whisky is of excellent quality – at least the stuff they used to distill around 1980”. I am hopeful that someday soon I’ll get to experience some of this. I’ve not had very many, all have been pretty old and none have excited me (see here for quick notes on the two I’ve reviewed for the blog).

This one is from 1990, so well past Johannes’ cut-off for excellence, but who knows, it might be special too. Like Wednesday’s Glen Garioch it’s also from Maltbarn and is also still available.  Continue reading

Glen Garioch 21, 1993 (Maltbarn)

Glen Garioch 21, 1993, Maltbarn
At least one person has asked me why I did not mention anything from Glen Garioch in the “austere whisky” category in my post on stocking a well-rounded single malt bar. After all, Glen Garioch rarely presents easy pleasures but has a strong reputation anyway. My answer was and is that I have not had much luck with recent official releases, and those are what are most easily available (especially the Founder’s Reserve and the 12 yo). Independent releases are a different matter and show the distillery in a better light, in my view. That said, it is true that the indies I’ve tried tend to be from earlier eras than the standard OBs—in fact, all three of the indies that I’ve reviewed were distilled in 1990 and were quite a bit older. This one is from 1993. 1994 is said to be when Glen Garioch stopped using peated malt and so it probably also does not have too much in common with contemporary official releases. But this is still around itself so you can see if my take sounds enticing enough for you to consider a bottle. Continue reading

Miltonduff 30, 1982 (Maltbarn)


And after yesterday’s 23 yo Miltonduff here is an even older one. This one is stated as being from a sherry cask. It was bottled by Maltbarn and I’m hoping it is better than their Glenrothes 1990 that I reviewed last week. With a 63 bottle outturn the cask was obviously split with someone else. Let’s get right to it.

Miltondfuff 30, 1982 (49.5%; Maltbarn; sherry cask; from a purchased sample)

Nose: Not much evidence of sherry, at first anyway. Instead there’s some musky fruit with hints of gasoline and some creamy vanilla. No real development. And not with water either.

Palate: Very much as on the nose except sans the gasoline, and with some minerally notes in its place. That musky lime is more fresh and effervescent here. Gets a little more bitter (lime zest) on the second sip and there’s also some sweetness on the tail. Not much change after that. Let’s add some water. No, that doesn’t do much good–more than a little soapiness emerges. Maybe a hint of tropical fruit at the very end. Continue reading

Glenrothes 22, 1990 (Maltbarn)

Glenrothes may have the most distinctive bottles of any distillery but, alas, don’t always put very distinctive liquid inside them. I’ve not had any official releases that I found to be very bad (well, maybe the Select Reserve); but by the same token I’ve not had many that were far above average either, and only one that I thought was very, very good (the 1985-2005). The distillery seems to be aiming at the high-end blend drinker who occasionally drinks single malts–and while there’s nothing wrong with that approach whatsoever, given the number of interesting malts out there it does tend to not make me very apt to keep track of what’s new from them.

I’m interested, therefore, to see what this single cask from a relatively new bottler, Maltbarn, is like. Maltbarn has garnered a pretty strong reputation in a short while and this should at least be interesting. Continue reading