This is not a Ben Nevis. It was not distilled in 1991 and it was not bottled by Signatory. But it is from a sherry cask and from a distillery that often produces very fruity whisky: Auchroisk. I haven’t had too many—and have reviewed even less—but the best have been very good indeed. Such, for example, was the one 1990 I’ve previously reviewed—this 24 yo bottled by Signatory for Binny’s, which I scored a little lower than I should have. If this one is as good I’ll be very happy indeed; I certainly hope that the sherry maturation won’t have covered up the fruit (as it hadn’t in the case of last week’s Ben Nevis trio). Let’s see.
Auchroisk 22, 1990 (49.8%; Whisky-Fässle; sherry cask; from my own bottle)
Nose: Copper coins, leather and a big dose of fruit running through it (orange peel, plantain, apricot). The orange peel expands as it sits and the oak begins to peep out here as well. Water brightens it up and pulls out malt and toffee. As it sits the fruit gets muskier too (more tropical accents). Continue reading
Here’s a Bunnahabhain.
Oh, okay, I’ll try a little harder. This is a single bourbon cask bottled by the German outfit, Whisky-Fässle in 2015. That was near the very end of the golden age of independently bottled Scotch whisky, when 20+ yo whiskies of high quality were available for not much more than $100. These days high quality indies of any age at good prices seem very thin on the ground. In fact, I can’t remember the last indie bottle I purchased—not that I purchase much whisky of any kind any more. Anyway! Official Bunnahabhain is usually heavily sherry-bothered and so it’s always nice to try bourbon casks from independent bottlers. I’ve reviewed two others this year: this 6 yo bottled for the Whisky Barrel, and this 30 yo bottled by Old Particular for K&L in California. It pains me to say that I liked the 6 yo more than the 30 yo (but it also pleases me to say that I had not purchased a bottle of the 30 yo). As a better portent, I did like the last Bunnahabhain 1991 I reviewed (this 25 yo, also from K&L)—though that was from a sherry cask. Let’s hope this is as good. Continue reading
After a brief rum break, I am back on the bourbon cask single malt whisky trail. Previous stops have taken in the Speyside with a couple of Aberlours (here and here) and the Lowlands (this Bladnoch). Today I have a malt from Islay. This 10 yo Bowmore was distilled in 2003 and bottled in 2013 by the German outfit, Whisky-Fässle. I can’t remember if I’ve reviewed any of their Bowmore casks before but I have reviewed a couple of other bourbon cask Bowmores of similar age and vintage. See, for example, this 10 yo from 2002 bottled by van Wees, and this 11 yo, also from 2002, bottled by Exclusive Malts for K&L. I thought both of those were marred—to different degrees—by a soapy/glycerin note that sometimes pops up in bourbon cask Bowmore (and also in bourbon cask Ben Nevis). I am glad to report that it’s not an issue with this release. I opened the bottle a month and a half ago for one of my local group’s tastings and it went down a treat. I’ve been drinking it down steadily since. Here now is my review. Continue reading
Okay, after Monday’s Ben Nevis 19, 1996 from Cadenhead, here’s another whisky released in 2016 by an indie bottler. The bottler in this case is the German outfit Whisky-Fässle. The whisky is much older, distilled in 1975 but it’s not said where it was distilled. I haven’t looked around to see if there’s any nudge-nudge, wink-wink out there about the identity. It is said to be a classic 1970s-style fruit bomb which might lead people who bought bottles to hope it’s a Longmorn or Caperdonich. But if it were either, I imagine the bottler would trumpet that. So either a distillery like Glenfarclas which suppresses indie use of its name or a less marketable name. Anyway, there were a number of these 1975 casks released last year, I believe—which suggests a parcel was unearthed somewhere and snapped up by various indies. It’s also curious to see the cask specified as Fino. Granted, I have far less experience of this stuff than many, but I don’t think I’ve seen that level of specificity marked on many casks put away in that period. I was tempted to buy a bottle when it was available, but the price—north of 300 Euros—took quick care of that. I’m glad though to have the opportunity to taste it via a bottle split. Let’s see what it’s like. Continue reading
Last week, I had a review of a Glen Grant 20, 1992 from a German bottler (Maltbarn). This week I have another. This one is from a bourbon hogshead and the bottler is Whisky-Fässle, whose releases I’ve generally had good luck with (though I’ve not reviewed many on the blog). I opened this bottle earlier this year along with the Maltbarn, a 23 yo from Whisky Import Nederland and another from 1992 bottled by the Whisky Exchange (review coming soon), all as part of a Glen Grant vertical for a subset of my local tasting group. We all liked this one more than the Maltbarn then, though the family resemblance was/is very strong. I drank the bottle down rather quickly after my return from London about a month ago—like the Maltbarn, it’s a particularly good summer malt—and I think I may have enjoyed the second half of the bottle more than the first. Here, before it’s all gone, are my notes. Continue reading
I recently reviewed the official Glencadam 21. Here now is a much older Glencadam from the German bottler Whisky-Fässle. I purchased it in 2012, which may have been the last year that it was easy to get older bottles, especially from 1970s distillate, for reasonable prices from the independents. These days teenaged Laphroaigs are going for close to $200, and probably for more (oh yes, quite a bit more: I just saw a 18 yo Laphroaig 1990 listed for 230 Euros!) It is for this reason that I’ve been slow to open the not very many older bottles I have left—it’s all but impossible now to find any now at non-extortionate prices. This is from a refill sherry cask and its strength has dropped naturally in the cask to just over the minimum 40% required for whisky. I’ve had a number of similarly low strength malts from similarly aged whiskies from this era that have displayed wonderful fruity characteristics (see this G&M Longmorn 40, 1971) and so I was expecting this to be very good when I did open it. Continue reading
They say that an undisclosed sherried Speyside malt is likely to be a Glenfarclas but I have no idea if that’s true in this case (or in most cases). It’s the kind of thing that’s in the interest of bottlers to have people believe (just as every undisclosed peated Islay is said to likely be a Lagavulin). As far as I know there’s no rule saying that a bottler has to disclose the name of a distillery and so someone who had their hands on a nice cask from a distillery with a poor reputation might well benefit by taking the name off the label and letting buyers fill in whatever they’d like to think it is. I’m not saying that I suspect that’s what’s happening here. My point is merely that I have no idea what distillery this is from. I do know that it’s rather nice. I first opened this bottle for one of my local group’s tastings a couple of months ago. It didn’t actually fare so very well that night but it’s come on strong as the bottle has stayed open. And now that I’m past the halfway mark I’m very sorry to see its imminent demise. Continue reading
The whiskies I am tasting tonight are from a closed distillery that has become something of a cult phenomenon in recent years: Caperdonich. As is not unusual among closed distilleries, the cult has been somewhat late to form. Caperdonich was never a storied distillery in its heyday of production, coming into being as Glen Grant 2, and then being closed for most of the 20th century until it was rebuilt in 1965 and renamed Caperdonich (due to a law prohibiting two distilleries from having the same name; this is also why the old Clynelish distillery became Brora in the late 1960s). It was never intended to be a frontline single malt, and most of its production went into blends until it was closed in 2002 (this is not unlike the situation with perhaps the most iconic of all closed distilleries, Port Ellen, which was a workhorse distillery until it closed in 1983). While some old-school independent bottlers–Cadenhead’s and Gordon & Macphail–released the odd single malt bottling over its active life (I have not tasted any of these) it wasn’t until the early 2000s–ironically, right after the distillery was closed–that it gained a wider reputation. This was due largely (entirely?) to the release of a number of bottlings of very old casks from the late 196os and early 1970s by a number of independent bottlers, especially Duncan Taylor. Continue reading