Quick Hits: Two Old Blends…Sort Of

Sort of, because one of these is a blend from very long ago but probably doesn’t have particularly aged whisky in it; and the other is a recently released vatted malt with a lot of older whisky in it. The first is a Black & White from the late 1950s or early 1960s (my source was not sure), the other is Samaroli’s Evolution.

Black & White is one of the first Scotch labels I remember. We lived in Iraq in the late 70s where far more Scotch whisky was available (and affordable) than in India and pretty much every famous blend passed through my father’s bar during those years. But as we were, and are, a dog-crazed family, Black & White’s iconic label with the terriers was always the one that drew my eye. Samaroli’s Evolution, on the other hand, has no Proustian significance for me.  Continue reading


Quick Hits: Two Linkwoods from the 80s

Another entry in the “Quick Hits” series: this time two Linkwoods from the 1980s. (Previously featured: two 1980s Inchgowers, and two 1960s Tomintouls). Once again, too little of each to form very confident appraisals and so there are no ratings and I would encourage you not to in any way consider these notes (or the previous entries in the series) as guides for making purchasing decisions.

I don’t know a whole lot about Linkwood. I’ve had a few bourbon cask teenagers and that’s about it. It’s a Speyside distillery that makes a lightly fruity malt that mostly goes into Diageo’s blends. Every one that I have tried (only 2-3) has been solid but none have knocked my socks off. Will these samples demonstrate sock knocking-off potential?  Continue reading

Quick Hits: Two Aged Tomintouls

Once again, the “Quick Hits” notes are briefer takes on whiskies I only have small’ish samples of. No ratings for that reason.

The last time I tasted two reasonably old indie Inchgowers from the 1980s. Today, two very old indie Tomintouls from the 1960s. One from the new Dutch bottler, Kintra Whisky, and one from the famous Italian bottler, Samaroli (whose 31 yo Caol Ila so disappointed me a couple of weeks ago). I don’t know too much about Tomintoul and these are the first whiskies I’ve tasted from this distillery, so I cannot speak to how typical or atypical they may be. But I do hope they’ll be less disappointing than the Inchgowers were.   Continue reading

Caol Ila 1980-2011 (Samaroli)

Caol Ila 1980-2011, Samaroli
After a somewhat disappointing young indie Caol Ila a couple of nights ago, here’s a much older one from one of the most famous names in indie whiskydom: Samaroli. This Italian bottler is well known to those of us in the US who entered into our whisky mania via visits to Serge Valentin’s Gilded Palace of Whisky Sin, I mean Whisky Fun. Its allure came both from the high scores their bottlings routinely receive from the redoubtable Serge and from their unavailability–unlike other “exotic” marques like Silver Seal or Moon Import, Samaroli is not usually available from the stores in the UK and EU I have access to thanks to the kindness/patience of travelling friends. Hearts were therefore set aflutter in the US when they unexpectedly entered our market a little over a year ago.

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