Whisky Review – Yellow Spot 12 year old  

Yellow Spot 12 Year Old

46% ABV

Non chill filtered

£64.22 from Master of Malt

Nose. 

An abundance of fruit. Very juicy, apricot and peach, with a touch of orange flesh. Lots of creamy vanilla custard backing this up, very substantial with a cinnamon spice twang. Delicious desert stuff, tinned fruits and custard all around. 

Palate. 

Leads with spicy vanilla custard, a touch of ginger then comes and then waves of fruit and creamy vanilla. The fruits are all lovely, juicy and ripe, lots of apricot, a touch of honeydew melon. Creamy through and through with a very velvety mouthfeel. There is practically no burn of alcohol, extremely smooth, totally exquisite. 

Finish. 

A medium length exit of mainly vanilla custard covered fruit with a touch of warming spices. Lovely. 

Adding water. 

I’m not doing it. This is perfectly hitting the spot as it is and I’m not willing to risk a splash. 

Conclusion. 

I’m having this late after a very warm day, and it’s going down really well. Good summer whisky, totally fruity and absolutely beautiful as the heat of the day fades. 

From my own collection

Whisky Review – Octomore OBA (Octomore Black Art). @bruichladdich

Octomore OBA (Octomore Black Art)
59.7% ABV

Non chill filtered

No added colouring

£99 from Bruichladdich – alas sold out very quickly. 


Another Octomore. Another experience. 

Nose. 

Fruity on first pour. Oranges, grilled pineapple rings on the BBQ. A Ham from the same BBQ, done crispy! Smoke starts bellowing through with further sniffs. There’s some wine reduction on the meat now which is turning more spare ribs, and a bit of Chinese five Spice. Even some Peking duck. This is immense and I haven’t stopped sniffing since the pour. Loads going on. Immensely complex and continually evolving. Ok, so give it a rest for a few minutes. 
Starting again. Burnt stuff. Toffee (burnt), pineapple (grilled), a slice of orange (thick cut, dried and toasted), some dark chocolate (melted), fennel (well roasted), bubbling caramel, pork crackling. There’s an overlying fruitiness, almost like things are covered with breakfast juice as it’s all cooking. It’s bloody lovely. A bit more time and some added herbal notes, but this is all about the fruitiness. Oh yeah, it’s quite smokey as well, but the smoke is muted a little behind the immense fruit, not to say it isn’t smokey though, it is, a nice background raging bonfire in autumn smoke. 

Palate. 

Lovely sweet fruit juice arrival, lots of fruit, orange juice, mango, grapes (a bit of wine), berry juices, blackberry/blackcurrent jam, marmalade. There’s a liquorice root in there somewhere as well, during the ABV burn, which is extremely short and pleasant, this is easy to drink at full strength!! Very easy in fact, extremely sip-able, scarily so. The mouthfeel is BIG, oily and utterly tremendous. During the delivery there is a hint of well done ribs, and that Chinese style meat rub, some chocolate late on which goes very seamlessly into the finish. It’s incredibly chewy overall, and the whole palate experience is one you want to experience over and over again. This is really drinkable, extremely enjoyable. Probably one of the most, if not the most drinkable Octomore’s I’ve had. 

Finish. 

Chocolate, dried fruits, and a touch of liquorice. It’s a medium to long length finish, warming, not burning, well matured, delicious juice. 

Adding water. 

I’ve made it through the majority of a dram without adding water. But it needs to be done as I could be missing out. A small splash added and sat back for a bit. It’s unleashed the smoke beast. Lots of smoke now, almost (I said almost) too much, it’s definitely muted the fruitiness quite a bit. The herbal notes now come second, lots of liquorice and some fallen wood on a forest floor, perhaps even some damp earth and a touch of mushroom. The palate has more grapes, berries, quite a bit more wine influence, lots of fruit, juicier and less toasted, still very easy to drink, in fact easier now, making this one of the most dangerous whiskies I’ve had for high ABV quaffability. The finish has more of a wine tannin note to it now, very pleasant, but not as nice as the undiluted. I personally wouldn’t add water to this whisky, you gain in the terms of easy to drink, but you loose an experience which is worth holding onto. 

Conclusion. 

This is the one of the, if not the most drinkable Octomore’s I’ve had. I really want to know it’s make up, but I’m guess I’m never going to find out with it being a black art(?). It’s absolutely delicious, I hope many more people will open and enjoy their bottles and not auction it. You’re missing out if you sell it guys and gals! Open it. Drink it. It’s magnificent. 

From my own collection. (This review from a bottle share split with friends). 

Whisky Review – Kilchoman 100% Islay 7th edition @Kilchoman05

Kilchoman 100% Islay 7th edition 

50% ABV

Non chill filtered

No added colouring

£71.14 from Master of Malt







Nose. 

First sniff has lots of cut grass and fresh mossiness. A backing of fresh cream, vanilla, and a touch of citrus oils. Smoke is there, a gentle medicinal peat smoke. Letting it sit a while. After some time the grass/earth/nature aromas have calmed down and we have more lemon notes, lemon pip sweets. There is a lot of creamy barley, porridge oats, and an all round fresh and honest nature about it. A hint of liquorice root is now present with a little more time. An evolving nose, one to go back to frequently and experience new wonders. In more time and a little more gentle smokiness comes forward, slightly menthol, reminds me of opening a fresh pack of menthol cigs. 

Palate. 

A sweet peat arrival, lots of light honey and caramel sweetness, driven with a smokey spiced backing. There’s some lemon squash drink, cream covered porridge and a touch of aniseed. The mouthfeel is very thick and oily, deliciously so, practically a honey viscosity. Later in the development there is a touch of mint, spearmint, and menthol. The ABV is unrecognisable at 50%, its very easy going. There is a fresh, clean experience here, very honest whisky. 

Finish. 

Turning dry over a medium duration. Still lots of clean barley cream, a touch of mentholated smoke and a lovely warming chest hug. Very satisfying. 

Adding water. 

A splash added. Unleashed the farm! The nose now has a lovely farmyard thing going on, hay, freshly cut grass is back, a twiggy bonfire. Very countryside. The palate is still sweet, more tarty in the lemons, still immensely thick on the mouthfeel, and still with lots and lots of creamy vanilla laden barley. The liquorice notes have migrated towards the finish, which is now slightly drier. I like this one with or without water, both variations is an experience in itself. 

Conclusion. 

Beautiful Islay. Beautiful, honest, clean, tasty whisky. Love it! Gotta bottle now. 🙂

Thanks to Kilchoman for the official review sample. 

Whisky Review – Arran 1996 – 20 year old (Bartels – Highland Laird) @bartelswhisky_

Arran 1996 – 20 year old (Bartels – Highland Laird) 

51.3% ABV

Non chill filtered

No added colouring

Cask #1337

520 bottles

£135.00 from Bartels Whisky

Nose. 

Intense perfumed sherry explosion on first pour and sniff. Lots of quite breathtaking dark fruits, with a backing of vanilla and almonds. Subsequent nosing after a while in the glass and this comes across as an older whisky. The sherry intensity has calmed and there’s more old oak, orange oils, complex nuttiness, richer vanilla and dusty museum effect. It’s definitely more old fashioned in its presentation, not as in your face as modern sherried whiskies are. 

Palate. 

Bursting on the palate we have loads of vibrant fruit, red currents, blackberry, cherries and raisin. There is a gentle sweet spiciness running through, clove and cinnamon. The mouthfeel has some substance to it, a pleasant oiliness on the tongue. The development shows a little heat from the ABV, but overall it does not feel like the percentage it is. Further on and the fruit comes back again, rich dark fruit compote which really gives a warming chest and happy factor. That old school feeling is in the palate as well, tasted blind I would have thought this an older bottling of a sherried Speysider. 

Finish. 

Short to medium length stewed fruits and cask dust with a touch of butterscotch sweeties! 

Adding water. 

Tiniest drop added. The nose has a more dusty vanilla note now, a touch more floral, the fruits having been hurt by the drop of water. The palate, while still vibrant in flavour is not as thick on the palate, lots more floral in the later development and finish. This is quite fragile and needs to be treated with respect, and without water. 

Conclusion. 

A lovely sherried Arran. Very tasty indeed, comes across as an older whisky, with some dusty old fruit bomb intensity without water. Don’t dare to add water though, as it falls apart quite easily. This whisky also gives a little blast to the past, as it feels like an older style of sherried presentation, less in-your-face than more modern sherry monsters. Very good stuff. 

Thanks to Bartel’s whisky for including a sample in a recent purchase.

Whisky Review – The Arran – Amarone Wine Finish @arranwhisky

The Arran – Amarone Wine Finish

50% ABV

Non chill filtered

No added colouring

£50.15 from Master of Malt

Colour. 

I don’t usually concentrate on colour, but on this occasion! Pinksky!

Nose. 

Lots of complex red fruits and some dunnage on the first sniff. Subsequent sniffs give chocolate, milky and mouthwatering. Dried raspberry and some malty cereal reminding me of Special K with red berries (It’s a breakfast cereal in the uk!). A little time in the glass and more varied fruits come forward, a little orange rind, more sumptuous red berries, a gentle background pepper, lots of chocolate powder, and some rum soaked sponge cake. Now I’m thinking about trifle!

Palate. 

Sweet and thick arrival, very fruity, tonnes of buckets of fruit, lots of red berries, grapes all ripe and fit for the picking. Strawberry & raspberry pie filling, with a touch of sweetened rhubarb. There’s a little prickle of ginger, and a touch of cinnamon. The mouthfeel is suitably thick and viscous. There’s a backing of good old bourbon maturation with some soft vanilla and custard. Damn this is moreish, highly sip-able. 

Finish. 

Medium length, the fruit and dusty cask continues through, with a little white chocolate coming into play at the last minute. Lovely. 

Adding water. 

Small drop added. The nose is a little lighter, more dusting chocolate, more vanilla, a touch of floral. Some of the red fruits have subsided. The palate still has mountains of fruit, now more integrated with the vanilla infused custard, and now with a touch of nuttiness. Slightly lighter on the mouthfeel. The finish is slightly spicier, more vanilla, but less creamy and slightly shorter. I much prefer this dram undiluted. 

Conclusion. 

This is an absolutely delicious fruity bomb of a whisky. It’s definitely got a lot of influence from the wine cask, and I personally love that style, so this works very well for me, and I can happily sip this for the duration and then some. Bottle on the shopping list for me!

Thanks to Arran for the official review sample. 

Whisky Review – Benriach Peated Cask Strength Batch 1. @TheBenriach

Benriach Peated Cask Strength Batch 1

56% ABV

Non chill filtered

No added colouring

£58.84 from Master of Malt

Nose. 

First sniff and we have light bonfire smoke, creamy barley, ground cumin and a touch of citrus in the background. Will let it sit for a bit… considering the high ABV you can get your nose in there, it’s not massively abrasive in the nasal capacity. Little time in the glass and we have meatier notes coming through now, some BBQ ribs, a little crusty steak, still nicely smoky, smelled blind you would never think Speyside. The creamy barley has changed to a richer, runny caramel, slightly salted, reminding me of Hotel Chocolat Salted Caramel chocs. Yummy. Touches of ginger and cinnamon in the far background. Lovely start. 

Palate. 

Arrival is dry and earthy, with a punchy pepper, borderline chilli spice. There’s a creamy vanilla ice bun topping amongst the punch of the ABV, which isn’t as hot as I expected. Mouthfeel is oily and fits very well. Very smoky throughout with small sips going a very long way, packed with intensity. Slightly astringency in the development, with a touch of sour lemon and bitter chocolate, then becoming creamy again, with rich and spicy vanilla.

Finish. 

Medium to long in length, spicy warmth, earthy, smouldering bonfire and slightly sweet, creamy custard. 

Adding water. 

A splash added. The nose has got sweeter, more caramel, some white chocolate, the smoke has become less intense, more mossy, a wet bonfire smoke. The palate is quieter on the spices now, still an intense smoke, lots of creamy vanilla, a touch of soft fruits (apricot, peach), lots more sweetness now, quite lip smacking, with lots of sugar rich sweeties. The finish has less Spice, more sweetness, still smoky and delicious. It’s a dram of two halves, I prefer with a splash of water, but it works very well (albeit more heat) neat as well. 

Conclusion. 

Much peatier than the quarter cask variant and really benefits from the extra ABV. This is, in my opinion, better than the quarter cask. It’s smoky, swims well, sips are compulsory and beautiful. 

Many thanks to Benriach for the review sample

Whisky Review – Wemyss “Spiced Apple Strudel” – Craigellachie 2002 @wemyssmalts

Wemyss “Spiced Apple Strudel” – Craigellachie 2002 

46% ABV

Non chill filtered

No added colouring

362 bottles

£54.94 available from Master of Malt 

Nose. 

On first pour things are quite metallic. Copper and crushed up tin foil comes to mind, with a background of orchard fruits. A few minutes later and there is more concentrated fruit now. Apple, most definitely, lots of it, and spicy. Hot cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, all coating some freshly cut green apples, and a handful of soaked sultanas. Warming on the nose, suggesting baked fruit, but it’s all too green, crisp and juicy. There are Danish pastry elements as well, as with all Wemyss single casks, this has an immensely appropriate name. 

Palate. 

A lovely crisp apple arrival, sweet but mostly tangy, with some gentle spices turning into hotter spices during the development. That spicy cinnamon bites alongside ginger and a touch of honey glaze over the lot. Held on the tongue through this and things get softer, with more rounded honey and fruit interaction, a thick mouthfeel helps the chewiness, and brings back another round of spiciness. Some metallic coppery notes come through which I find characterful of Craigellichie. 

Finish. 

The copper coin subsides to spicy fruit, and even a touch of juicy homemade fruit cake, some cherrystone and green apple skin. 

Adding water. 

A few drops added. Wow, the apples have become stewed, much more of a chutney note around it all now, and fudge, lots of thick clotted cream fudge, crisp apples are still there in the background and are more reminiscent of apple flavoured starburst chews. The palate has more apple juice now, more tart, with some added honey richness, and some, yep, creamy fudge. There’s a little chocolate as well. The finish has less of a metallic nature than before, with the fruity fudge sticking around and a slight hint of tangy apples remaining to the end. Water makes this dram completely different, whilst very similar to the undiluted version. I prefer with water. 

Conclusion. 

Another great Wemyss single cask release. I have a bit of a love/hate thing with Craigellachie to be honest, but this one does his the mark, it’s an easy drinking, fresh, crisp dram, which suits spring nights very well. As usual with Wemyss, beautifully, and perfectly named.

Many thanks to Wemyss for the review sample

Whisky Review – Laphroaig 18 Year Old 1998 – Old Particular Consortium of Cards (Douglas Laing) @DLaingWhisky

Laphroaig 18 Year Old 1998 – Old Particular Consortium of Cards (Douglas Laing)

50% ABV

Non chill filtered

No added colouring

£137.95 from Master of Malt 



Nose. 

At first sniff we have something smokey, sooty, predominantly bonfire smoke with some hospital antiseptic in the background. There’s a creamy barley note running through. Some citrus fruit and gentle spices. After a few minutes it’s got a lot busier. Loads of fruit now, apples, lemons, blackberry and a touch of raspberry, all fresh and vibrant. The smoke is well integrated, still mainly of the bonfire type as opposed to medicinal peat smoke, although some sweet peat is coming through now. The antiseptic is there, not intense TCP, but old hospital corridors. Every time I go back this changes slightly, now I’m even getting a touch of Parma violets. The berry fruits are lush! 

Palate. 

First sip engulfs the senses, loads going on. Fruity smokey medicinal earthy cereal. Loads! Lots of apples, some lemon rind and juice, a little blackcurrant, a creamy barley cereal runs throughout, the smoke envelopes all of this, almost like puffing on a cigarette without the abrasive smoke. In the development there is a touch of bitter lemon amongst an ashy moment. The mouthfeel is beautifully fulfilling and you would never know this is 50%. There is a lovely rich, runny honey fruit salad thing going on later on, those berries are back, with some added peach, in a smoothie with honey. Lovely. 

Finish. 

The fruity ripe concoction has a medium to long length finish, full of fruit, smoke is almost forgotten except for the odd smoky burp. Chest hugging warmth, this is really something else. 

Adding water. 

I’m not watering this, I don’t have a lot, and it is perfect the way it is. 

Conclusion. 

Beautifully refined, absolutely delicious. It’s not cheap, but oh my god, I understand why this has sold so well, this is next level stuff. Amazing. If you can get this and it’s in your price bracket do not hesitate, but please open it up, and if you can spare a drop you know where I am. 😋

Many thanks to Douglas Laing for the review sample