Whisky Review – Bally delicious blended malt.

Bally delicious blended malt.
23 year old. Single cask.
54%

£59.95 from Master of Malt

Colour. Light amber.

Nose.

Strong pepper and spice. Baked apple. Cinnamon. Complex oak spice. Not much in the way of smoke. Orange peel. Marmalade. Sat in the glass for 10-15 minutes. Rich oak coming through and citrus peel. Some floral. A very complex and compelling nose.

Palate.

Hot pepper. Spicy. Then fruit in the development. With chilli heat. Complex fruits. Exotic even. Pineapple. Oily mouthfeel coats everywhere. Very chewable.

Finish.

Drying spices and oak influence. Vanilla. Old style chewy fruit sweets. Fruit salads that’s it. Some peach long after tasting and subsequent drinking of water! Nice and warming going down.

Adding water?

It’s quite high abv so adding a few drops into my half a dram. Nose becomes increasingly floral. Still has the complexity of the wood spices. But lacking some of the fruitiness. Some Parma violets coming through now. Lesson heat but still has a chilli bite. There’s more sugary elements and less of the fruit seen before. Sweet shops. The finish has a little more mustiness and saltiness.

Conclusion.

A cracking deal this. Good age gives damn good complexities and that means its a great sipping dram to explore. Thoroughly enjoyable.

Thanks to MoM – Review sample provided by Master of Malt

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Whisky Review – St. Isidore

St. Isidore.
NAS.
41.4%.

£59.95 from Master of Malt

Colour. Gold.

Nose.

Intense and busy. Seaside coastal. Smokey brine. Something sherried in the background. Left in the glass for 10-15 mins I find it gets less intensive with more fruit coming through. Some creamed plummy jam. Bananas. Smoke and saltiness subsided but in background. It’s as if the fruit/smoke intensity swaps place with time. Creamy toffee sweets.

Palate.

Oily warmth. Fruit and cream compote. Some summer berries. Black pepper. Toffee caramel.

Finish.

Medium. Rich fruit Toffee chews. Ends with smokey spiced wood chips.

Adding water?

A small drop into the last half of my dram. More coastal smoke becomes evident in the nose revitalising the original assessment. Some more buttery notes are apparent also. Palate is better integrated with the lesser alcohol. A creamier texture and very chewable. The finish is smoother and better balanced. Personal opinion. A little water in this dram goes a long way.

Conclusion.

A very special blend indeed. Has a lot going for it. Some good complexities and variations makes it both an easygoing dram but also one to challenge the senses with.

Thanks to MoM for review sample of St. Isidore

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Whisky Review – Boxes Blend

Boxes blend.
NAS.
40.9%

£55.95 from Master of Malt

Colour. Gold.

Nose.

Light and spicy with some peat smoke hanging around. Toffied Bananas.

Palate.

Creamy, some nice oils to the mouthfeel, easy, fruity development moving onto grass and hay.

Finish.

Short-medium and dry. Very dry hay/straw. With some warming oak spice.

Adding water.

Added a tiny drop. Nose opens a little providing more fruit variation. A definitely more creamy nose with toffee apples overriding the previous banana notes. Peat smoke subsides with that drop of water. Palate is less oily and feels more integrated with less definition in the development. Finish is drier and more grassy. Personally would I add water. No. I prefer the layered oily nature of the undiluted dram.

Thanks to MoM – Review sample provided by Master of Malt

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Whisky Review – Kilchoman Loch Gorm

Kilchoman Loch Gorm.
5 year sherry cask, 6 month finish in hogshead.
46%

£56.95 from the Whisky Exchange

Nose.

BBQ bacon fat initially which dissipates quickly. Medicinal peat. Tar. Dark fruits take some searching out but they are there. Gone back to more creosote and burning ropes now. This nose keeps swapping around. Medicinal is back. Now something almost chocolate. Grassy cowsheds.

Palate.

It looks very oily in the glass I wonder if it will feel that way. Arrival crisp and light. Development gets hot. Chilli pepper. Oily mouthfeel is in there. Sweet and sour. Some grassy hay. Salt. Not getting an awful lot of sherry influences.

Finish.

Long. Grassy. Warming. Drying. Medicinal Peat heat. Creosote.

Adding water?

Peat on the nose is reduced. Giving way to more sherry notes. Dark fruits. Palate is fruitier as well. But there is still a fair amount of islay there. Finish is lighter but still has the complexities.

Conclusion.

A different dram. It’s tasty and definitely can take and benefits from a drop of water. Definitely has more apparent age in the glass than the real life age. Goes to show that age doesn’t always count!

Bought from the Whisky Exchange

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Talisker – a Time of Tasting Tantalising Treats

Talisker Time

Having a little comparison of a Talisker session. Enjoy. I did!

Talisker 10 year old.
45.8%

£32.53 from Master of Malt

Nose.

Bonfire smokey glory! This is bonfire smoke. Very bonfire night. Salty seashore. Smoked mackerel. Some fruity plum jam in the background after 15 mins in the glass. Intense pepper.

Palate.

Hot pepper. Develops into live bonfire flavours. Salty maritime flavours. Nice oils on the mouthfeel.

Finish.

The smoke stays. The pepper warms. And I feel good!

Adding water?

Just a few drops into half a dram. A little more medicinal on the nose. Mouth feel is less oily. Palate not quite as vibrant. Finish is more maritime and salty. It’s ok with water. But for me. Without is better.

Conclusion.

This is a unique dram. It’s bloody great. I’ve not tried too many variants of talisker. I’ve heard the 18 is particularly good. I’m going to get a dram soon to do a compare.

Talisker 2001 distillers edition.
Finish in Amoroso casks
45.8%

£59.57 from Master of Malt

Nose.

Sweeter than 10 year old. All the usual talisker parts are there. Smoked fish. Bonfires. But there is a fruity note that encompasses the smoke. It’s a nice balance. The fruity jam compliments the smoke. While smoked fish jam doesn’t sound appealing I think it’s quite good in my glass!

Palate.

Pepper spicy smoke is there. But a sweetness from the fruit jams. Hmmm. I like the softer feel to this. It’s very moreish.

Finish.

Not quite as harsh as the 10. It has all the warmth and glow. But a dried fruitiness hangs around.

Adding water?

I’m tempted not to add water. But I’ll put a drop in for science-sake. The smoke is toned down and extra fruits are identifiable. Very orange marmalade and some plum/raisin notes. Spices are enhanced. Less oily in the mouth but has more going for it. The fruit develops more layers. Not as smoky though. Finish has piles more fruit. Hmmm. Difficult to say if I like it more with or without water drops. It very definitely changes but I’m not sure if it’s for the better. More experimentation needed.

Conclusion.

It’s quite a different dram. Less autumn. More Christmas! I like it a lot!

Talisker storm.
45.8%

£39.75 from Master of Malt

Nose.

Extreme peat. Tcp. Medicinal. The leafy wood bonfires are gone for pure peat smoke. There is a little bit of the old maritime in the background but this is all about the peat. Quite fascinating that it can be so different to the 10. I wonder what the maturation changes are. It’s younger so is this what the raw spirit (I’d love to try the raw spirit) is about or was there different cask influences involved. Or a different cut of the spirit. Intriguing. It’s very intense! Smells stronger even in alcohol content even tho I know they are all the same! Youth coming through obviously.

Palate.

Hot pepper is there. There is a sweeter peat and grassy nature to this one. Much more islay in style. There is a little of the talisker bonfire smoke on the palate but it takes some sucking to get through.

Finish.

Sweet and long. Not as spicy or wood driven as the 10/DE.

Adding water?

After adding a drop I found the nose even more medicinal initially with some more familiar bonfire in the works. On the palate it’s sweeter and lighter. The finish gives more traditional Talisker likenesses.

Conclusion.

Well. I have to be honest. This one is not so much for me. I really like the 10 year old. I wouldn’t be without a bottle on hand for autumn. The storm is a very nice islay-like dram with elements of Skye in there. But I like pure Skye myself. It’s just my own opinion. No offence intended!

Tantalising talisker tasting totals!

I don’t give scores. But if I did your in the 80s and early 90s! My personal order of preference is

Talisker 2001 Distiller’s Edition
Talisker 10 year old
Talisker Storm

Samples bought from Master of Malt

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Bowmore Tempest batch 2 vs. batch 3 comparison review.

    Bowmore Tempest batch 2 vs. batch 3 comparison review.

I’ve not tried many Bowmore’s in my relatively short Whisky journey up to date. Tonight is a change for that. I’ve heard many a good thing about the Bowmore tempest and always wondered if there was ever much a difference between batch releases of many whiskies. So it’s a little bit of an experiment on a couple of levels for me. How different are the batches? And what is this Bowmore expression like anyway?

Bowmore Tempest batch 2
10 years old – first fill bourbon cask
56%

£44.95 at Master of Malt (currently with free sample of batch 3)

Colour

Gold. (Ah hem. Ok. Already slightly miffed. Why go to the bother of cask strength/craft presentation and then add colouring – the back of the tube confirms the addition of E150a in German).

Nose

Bursting with smoke and layers of fruit. Smoke dominates. Vanilla. Some muted citrus. Wood spices. With time in the glass the smokiness tones down a little. More bonfire than medicinal. Grass starts coming forward the longer it stands. More time stood. Less smoke. Now there is buttery popcorn and creamy vanilla.

Palate

Fruity. Oranges and sweet lemons. Vanilla. More savoury than sweet. Mouth coating (more than b3).

Finish

Long. Fruit sticks in there. Not as dry as b3. Gets dryer later in the finish. Something else sticks around. Wood/sawdust?

Adding water

A few drops into my dram. Fruity vanilla custard creams. A little bonfire in the background. Palate is still rich and sublime. Finish has a little more peaty grass twang to it. Vanilla custard right at the end. Less wood.

Bowmore Tempest batch 3
10 years old – first fill bourbon cask
55.6%

£44.95 at Master of Malt (currently with free sample of batch 2)

Colour

Amber+ (oooo. Learn and adapt. Good stuff)

Nose

Lemons on a fire. Citrus fruit dominates. Some bonfire smoke there but fruit is the order of the day for this one. With time in the glass more medicinal peat notes are apparent. Still citrus ruling. Some crime brûlée and toffee is jumping around now. Keeps changing! Little more time. Citrus still rules. Very little smokiness. Some grass. Creamier and settled.

Palate

Creamy lemon rind. Peat heat. Quite sweet. Rich. Fulfilling mouth. Honey and toffee.

Finish

Long. Grassy. Drying. Wood chips.

Adding water

A few drops into my dram. A little more bonfire. A little less citrus. On the tongue it’s sweeter and has a lot more of a undiluted batch 2 about it! Finish is similar. Less grass notes. But the same drying woodiness.

Comparison

Well. I’m surprised and not. It’s a strange one. I was expecting little differences. And I got little differences. I think the biggest surprise was with Bowmore generally. I don’t know why. But I was thinking they would be smokier and harder work. But they are both excellent drams. Well matured. And so damn interesting.

My personal favourite (I am surprised being so critical of colouring. But it goes to show maybe it isn’t always all that!) is batch 2. I think that’s mainly a flavour thing for me as it is much richer and rewarding to me to explore. Batch 3 seems a little too much sour then sweet for my taste buds. But I’m sure some will think the complete opposite! 🙂

Conclusion

Having never really experienced Bowmore before I’m not sure if its normally a smoke monster or more of a subtle smokey whisky. These are definitely not smoke monsters in my opinion. They are exceptionally interesting drams though. Complex as hell and both quite different and can be spent a lot of time and patience with. Not ones to just drink. There is far too much to explore here. Quite a phenomena.

With batch 4 just around the corner I’m very interested to see how this dram evolves.

Samples purchased from Master of Malt

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Nickolls & Perks Exclusive Glenfarclas family cask. 2003. Cask number 1448 – Review

Nickolls & Perks Exclusive
Glenfarclas family cask. 2003.
Cask number 1448.
57.5%.

Available here.

Colour.

Rich treacle.

Nose.

Restrained sherry. Furniture polish. Thick rich toffee. Glutenous sugar. I adore this nose. I don’t know why they don’t make perfume like this. It’s not alcohol it’s heaven. After settling in the glass for 15 minutes more spicy sherried oak comes to the forefront with the familiar Christmas pudding notes shining away.

Palate.

Rich and mellow considering the strength. Heavy sherry monster. So viscous and oily. It’s gloriously rich and costs everywhere. Chewy sherried malt. So thick with fruitcake. Chocolate coming through as well.

Finish.

Sherried oak spices that goes on for ages and just internal warmth. That’s a glorious dram.

Adding water?

You know I don’t want to add water to this one. I’m enjoying it too much! But in the interest of science. A very small drop into half a dram. And wait. (Patience!!). Hmmm. It’s kind of reset the nose. Less sherried malt and back to the more restrained spicy oak aged profile. It’s not a bad thing. But. I prefer the settled down without water nose. Ahh. On the palate there is more layering to the fruits and chocolate. A little nuttiness coming through the spiced oak also. Finish feels a little richer with more age. Maybe the drop of water isn’t so bad after all. I’ll try another drop of water in what’s left. Just a small one! Nose weakened some more. Still has a good aged oak nose but the fruitcaky pleasure I love is toned down a lot. Palate is now loosing the oiliness and hasn’t benefitted from the extra water in my opinion. So, in conclusion on the water argument. I would say no water. Tho maybe worth putting a drop in close to the end of your dram to experiment and make your own mind up with.

Conclusion.

This is a rich, beautifully made whisky. It’s definitely one that I like more than most because of my sherry monster preferences. It is a monster. But a soft cuddly one that makes you lovely and cosy and warm inside. It’s quite an expensive bottle, but if you like your heavily sherried malts and have the dough. Then it’s worth the splash out in my opinion. But if your anything like me. This bottle won’t last a long time. It’s very more-ish!

Thanks go to Nickolls & Perks for providing me with the dram. It’s greatly appreciated and enjoyed.

You can buy this bottle for £100.00 from Nickolls & Perks.20130413-221915.jpg

Benriach Batch 1 – That Boutique-y Whisky Company – Review

Benriach Batch 1
That Boutique-y Whisky Company
48.2%

Available at Master of Malt £49.95

Benriach is high on my favourite distillery’s list. Had a great time with caskstrength.net‘s ‘b’ release at Christmas, and this is another corker.

Nose

Big fruity explosion. Dark fruits. Raisins. Grape. Cherries. Nicely Sherried. Spme aged spicy oak. Sawdust. I can sense some aniseed in the background. Some woody varnish notes. Warmth richness. A complex nose which I can spend a long time sniffing!

Palate

Dry arrival. Not as fruity as the nose would suggest. Some Chocolate and Sherried dark fruits come in time. Rich but delicate.

Finish

Dry medium finish. Dry wood spices dominates. Some limited fruit.

Adding water?

I added a small drop here. Conscious of the alcohol levels and not wanting to drown it. Wow! Here comes the fruit! Everything is enhanced with a drop on this one. The fruit really shines through. Everything previously noticed on the nose but appearing absent in the taste and finish blows up and outwards!

Conclusion

All round complex beast with some interesting characteristics in the nose and finish. Would say there is a reasonable age to this. Well worth spending some time with to interrogate further!

Bought as a drink by the dram from Master of Malt. I need to buy a bottle of this before it sells out I think. I’d like to spend more time with this complex monkey!

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Macallan batch 3 (That Boutique-y Whisky Company) – Review

Macallan batch 3
That Whisky Boutique-y Company
50cl – £66.95 (Master of Malt)
43.4%

Nose

It’s got that Macallan character in a good way. Lots of toffee. Thick spicy fruitcake with rich dark fruity joy. Spices aloud, cinnamon dominating. With time sat in the glass I get more intensive fruit layering evident. It’s one that you can have sat for a long time, revisiting the nose, different every time, and just begging to be drank, but still has so much to give before hitting the tastebuds.

Palate

Surprisingly delicate. Scrummy plums and prunes hit first along with that lovely spicy fruitcake heaven. Spices meander around gently. Rich malt. There’s a creamy texture to the mouth feel which just makes my mouth salivate even more.

Finish

A medium long finish. Dry, leaving those dark fruits, some sawdust, a little mustiness (in a good way), and creamy leftovers.

Adding water?

I added minuscule water due to its already low strength. On the nose the fruit is toned down, but exposes more age, developing more oak notes and sawdust. Other fruits become forefront, with stewed apples and pears coming into play. Very complex. The palate increases the varied fruit compote and is a joy to explore. The finish is slightly lighter and creamier.

Personally I would be very sparing with adding water, but it is worth the trip. Just don’t drown it!

Conclusion

A relaxing, complicated, but easy and enjoyable experience. A loving dram. It embraces the soul and says your worth it! An adventure of an exploratory dram, well worth chilling out to. I’d love to know its actual age!

Would I buy it? I already have! Lol.

Available at Master of Malt
Also available as a dram for £6.32

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