Whisky Review – Elements of Islay PL1

Elements of Islay PL1
60% ABV
Sold out. Though Corks of Cotham may have 1 or 2 left! £65.99

I love Bruichladdich. Love em I tell you! I’ve tried a few of their expressions. I love Octomore loads! I’ve tried a few of theirs as well. However…I think this is the first time I’ve done a Port Charlotte!

Nose.

Coastal BBQ. The sizzling bacon fat is bubbling away. The salted waves crashing in the background. From the colour and presumed (port Charlotte would have been going up to ten years at the time of this bottling so I would assume 6-9 years in a very active ex-sherry cask) age I would have thought more fruit present on the nose. But it’s very much a big, young, boosty Islay malt. It’s big ABV makes it harder to get your nose into. But with a litter perseverance the sherry spice and dark stewed fruit notes can be found lingering in the BBQ background. A little time in the glass and the fruit does wonder a little further forwards.

Palate.

Immediately some sherried dark fruits followed by a massive alcohol blast. As the blast subsides, it becomes quite maritime. Sea salt. Chilli and pepper. Peat earth. The fruit doesn’t return though.

Finish.

Salt and pepper. Some minimal fruit. Very warming. Drying wood tannins.

Adding water.

Think this will take a bit but will go in stages. Dollop 1. Nose is still hot. Rummed raisin coming through now. A little fruitcake in the background. BBQ still there in abundance. Palate. Wow. Big stuff. Fruity peat. Lots of fruit now. Really chewy. Great mouthfeel. It’s big, brash and fun. It’s got a lot of sherried dark fruits coming through but not the intensity of a a’bunadh, more sherried fruits with a peat fired rocket up its jacksie. Still got quite a bit of heat mid palate, but the flavours are coming out. Finish has some very subtle peat smoke infused fruits. More berried fruit now as opposed to raisins. I would go black/red/straw berrys. Lets do another water dollop. Dollop 2. For reference we have cloudiness. The nose is now well fruited. With many berries in addition to the raisin effect. The BBQ is more bonfire now. Damp brown leaf bonfire. There’s a little toffee coming in with the fire. The palate is now without the big burn. The malt is more toffied in its nature. Still fruity, very little peat on the immediate palate. The finish has peat earth, toffee encrusted fruit bars. Some cereal is floating around the mix as well. Possibly malted milk biscuits. There’s some creaminess throughout the experience now also. With or without water?! Can’t decide. Work to do there I think to find the right balance. It’s an experimental dram. You could spend a whole evening with a couple of these exploring the nooks and crannies. It’s an experience.

Conclusion.

A complex, different, big beastie boy of a malt. Lots to do, see, smell and taste. It’s not easy going. It’s a marathon of an Islay experience. Worth taking up though. If you can find it!

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Whisky Review – Bowmore 15 year old Darkest

Bowmore 15 year old Darkest
Sherry Finished Islay Malt
43% ABV
£46.17 from MasterofMalt

Nose.

Bonfires! Dark fruits. Raisins, sultanas. Sherry influence is prominent on the nose, the smoky peat bonfires are on the backburner(!). But they are there and a very pleasant addition they are! A little time in the glass though and they switch places with the bonfires coming forward and the fruit being scorched in the embers. It keeps changing. Very intriguing. Definitely some coffee in the mix. More time in the glass and the sherried fruit is dominant again. It’s a switcheroo of a dram!

Palate.

Quite a bit of sweet fruit, raisins, sultanas are here up front and not a lot of Islay, not a bad thing as I will conclude. But if your a smoke head then this may be a little disappointing. The development goes onto a little pepper, more chewy coffee with the fruit. A little chocolate pops up and a little peaty earthiness and damp burning leaves.

Finish.

Quite long. Damp grass. The peat earthiness is there all along. Some fruit stays for a little while. But peat and smoke of the bonfire variety lingers.

Adding water.

Not putting a lot in. The nose is more about the fruit and sherried malt now. Bonfires in the background again. The nose is lighter and more pleasant to smell with the addition of water. Lighter fruits are coming about as well. Some orange and citrus added to the mix. The palate has lost a little in the way of mouthfeel (understandable), but the tastes are easier to enjoy with the citrus notes joining in the enhanced fruity taste mix. The finish is much the same, long with fruity smoke piles. It’s worth a small drop of water in this one, though it does make the dram go down very very easily!

Conclusion.

I think this is a very pleasant. Easy, yet complex dram. A very good introducer to someone who likes sherried/speyside whiskies or a beginner, who hasn’t experienced Islay yet. It’s not one of the big Islay experiences, but its a nice introduction and definitely a nice variation for someone like me who is a bit of a sherry head wanting an alternative experience.

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Whisky Review – Glendronach 1994 / 18 Year Old / PX Puncheon #3547

Glendronach 1994 / 18 Year Old / PX Puncheon #3547
55.1% ABV
£79.95 from theWhiskyExchange

I love sherried whiskies. If you read my reviews you’ll see that as I usually have more to say about them than others. Doesn’t mean I don’t love the others. It just means that sherried whiskies, good ones that is, fuel my need to write. Kind of like a textual purge!

Bear in mind this is a first opened bottle. First dram from it. If it differs greatly in time I will post updates.

Colour.

Deep dark natural mahogany. They look effing rich and sumptuous (will try not to use those descriptors again in this review! Lol) in the bottle. You know your in for a thick ride!

Nose.

Sweet spicy sherried malt. Serious PX influence. There’s a nice bit of aged oak wood spices also. Some rum drenched sawdust. A little polish. Bucket tonnes of dark fruits. Raisins, sultanas, plums. Some chocolate. A dollop of coffee. And spiced oranges baked in mulled wine! Christmas has definitely come early!

Palate.

Damn my barring of those descriptors! Errrr. It’s thick and juicy! Sweet PX big sherried monster malt. Then the bite comes. Subsides and develops into more sweet dark fruity pleasure. Mouthfeel is oily, chewy and all around big. Some oak influence in the palate showing a subtle age, but the sherry sweetness is the dominant entity here. Right up my street! Sweet oranges, chocolate, spiced oak chips, rum engorged fruitcake, raisins, sultanas, some coffee.

Finish.

More coffee, chocolate, oranges, rum and raisin. Drying out to sherry drenched oak, a little sawdust and toasted oak chips.

Adding water.

Being cautious with the water due to the age. I think it will take a bit. But I’ll go slow as its the first dram from this bottle. More balanced now. Quite delicately so. All the same fragrances are in place, little less fruit dominance and more stabilisation with the oak age influences making more of a statement. Fascinating. The palate. Sweet, fruity, tasty big! Less burn gives development more space and layers interchange between oak and fruit and aged spiced oak and chewy fruit and oak and yummm and ahhhh. Finish is lighter, fruitier, and, oh balls to it RICH and SUMPTUOUS!
A little more water. Probably put too much in as its quite cloudy (a good thing I know, but maybe not for the age) and diluted. Lets see. The nose is more oak than fruit now. Lots of polish and wood. Fruit very definitely left behind. Palate wise, much weaker, still got its bits and bobs. But it’s lost a bit there. Finish is well, fruitier! How strange! It’s fruitier, sweeter and less oaky dryness! That’s a bit different! So. How much water? Well it’s worth a play. For me. It’s a dollop. But not too much!
*update* – bit of time in the glass and the heavier diluted is really good! It’s just worth playing with this dram. Pour a large one. Make it last and add water several times during the hour or two you slowly spend nosing and sipping. It’s a good slow ride to awesomesville!

Conclusion.

It’s friggin awesome. I’m biased because I love sherried whiskies and especially glendronach px matured whiskies. They don’t pay me or anything, but they can if they want! (I could do with a new job!) Lol.

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Whisky Review – Aberlour A’bunadh batch 45

Aberlour A’bunadh batch 45
60.2% ABV
£39.55 from MasterOfMalt

Nose.

Explosive, intense, bullish sherried malt. Fruitcake by the truck load. Immensely spicy chocomochafruitandnut. It’s a complete beast on the nose undiluted. You can do damage with this one. Nose with pleasurable caution! 🙂
With time in the glass the kick slows a little and more layered dark fruits and rum cake come to the surface. It’s a fantastic nose. One of the best a’bunadh’s I’ve sniffed.

Palate.

Big big kick. Needs a good bit of water. But we’ll get to that in a bit. When the nip subsides you get the richness of the sherry. The rum soaked raisins. Hot pepper spices with some chilli. All soaked in sherry and a handful of raisins/plums. And some coffee as well.

Finish.

Drying and nutty. Some mild coffee infused dark chocolate. A little salt in that chocolate. And then fruitcake leaves you satisfied that another sip is definitely required!

Adding water.

It needs it to really open up. So a good dollop. Left sat for a while. The diluted nose is still intensely satisfying, but calmed down. Now I get a good sense of wood oak spices and tannins. The in depth Christmas cake is there with added fruit. Spices are warm and cosy. It realty is a heartwarming dram for me! Spiced baked oranges are new to the diluted palate. Along with everything else that was there before but with less of an anaesthetic kick. The nose continues to develop in the glass. This is a good dram to experiment the effect of water and time with. Patience and time rewards! The fruit is getting richer and more rum soaked. Ah, it’s just sublime. Such good quality and enjoyment for the money. Bloody awesome. Sorry. Getting carried away with the joy. The palate is getting gentler and tastier with time. A richness to the sherried malt and rummy fruits is coming through, less intense, more mmmmmmmm. The finish is mellower, not quite as long, but just beautiful. It’s a complete sherry monster. But a bloody good one.
Adding a little more water brings out more chocolate, coffee and orange notes. Just so interesting and deep! Toffee! Toffee as well. A thick rich one!

Conclusion.

Batch 45. It’s a good one! A very good one. I’m not the greatest at identifying subtle sulphur, or even dissing it, I can sense a bad sulphur fine. Batch 41 was dodgy in my opinion, not terrible but dodgy, water made it better. This one has none of the bitter or dodgy notes that 41 did. This is better than 42 which was the last bottle of a’bunadh I had opened. This bottle is not going to last long I’m afraid. Worth getting another one in for spare. :-/

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