Glenfiddich 15 year old distillery edition
£41.53 at MasterOfMalt
Buckets of rich, intense fruit. Apples, pineapples, tropical fruits. Some floral oak spice, and the increased ABV really packs a punch. I’m getting some candied sweeties (sweet cigarettes), honey, vanilla and thick toffee.
It’s thick. Toffee malt. The bang of the alcohol kicks. Then the toffee is back, fruit medley, vanilla and the toffee chews. A bit of thorntons special toffee chewability in there.
Apples. Loads of then, then The oak takes over for a dry finish. Toffee and vanilla remain. With oak spice and pepper.
A small measure of water in my half dram. An addition to the diluted nose is experienced in terms of some additional age. There is a definite wood oak, polish note added in. Not massive but in the background. Some sawdust. Additional floral along the lines of mr. Sheen. And some garden flowers poking through. In the palate we have an easier experience to the undiluted taste. More deducible flavours, with some added oak and wood spices, a little dryness in the development and a more defined balance. The finish is slightly weakened, but now has a little more age to the drying oak remaining on the fruit fade.
Anyone expecting a heated up version of the 15 year old Solera reserve may be disappointed as it is not a sherried whisky like the Solera. This is like the 12 year old on steroids. That’s a good thing! It’s nice to see this dram finally has some good coverage in supermarkets where it only used to be available online before. Well done Glenfiddich. I would still love to see some craft presentations of your regular drams mind you. And that experimental cask I tried at the whisky show last year. It was mega!
Isle of Arran Devil’s Punchbowl II
£69.45 at TheWhiskyExchange
Despite some of the poor reviews of the first release of the Devils Punchbowl I liked it. It hit my spot on several areas and the bottle went pretty damn quickly. I’ve been looking forward to this release. Lets see if it meets my expectations.
Complex. Vanilla. Honey. Toasted brown sugar. Toffee. Creme brûlée. Crisp apples. Very sweet. Time in the glass reveals sherry notes. Mild fruitcake. Oak spices. Baked apple pie. Grapes. Raisins. An alluring nose which has a lot of exploration yet to uncover.
Immediately sweet. Then the high alcohol level nip hits. Keeping it on the tongue that burn subsides and the fruit swamps through. A little peat is there somewhere, sensed but never really fully exerting itself. The ripe apples go from crisp to baked with a coating of cinnamon spice. Pepper and chilli joins the party, while all the time the honeyed vanilla toffee dances away. Not a lot of the sherry influence in the palate immediately. Although, as with the peat, there’s a little something lurking in the darkness.
Drying sherried oak tannins and some spiced apple sticks around. Along with the vanilla toffee.
A good dollop added. Time given in the glass. The previous undiluted notes are still evident, but now an amount of age is also present. Some polish, old oak and more intensive sherried notes join the nose. Considering the peated casks in this I’m still hard pushed to find anything smokey about the nose. The diluted palate gives more balance due to the reduced alcohol nip. The many varying levels of fruit are more layered and recognisable, with some pineapple popping in alongside the baked apples from before. There is a tiny amount of sweetness I could attribute to peat, but nothing I would say that’s particularly smokey. However, in the finish, there is a touch of smoke now, just a little amongst the drying tannins.
Well well. It’s a very different devil to the 1st release. For me the first release was more sherried, and had some individuality the likes of which I had never tasted before. I would say this dram is a lot more generic. Not in a bad way mind you, in a very good way, it’s very complex, has a lot of flavours and aromas to investigate and an excellent balance overall. Arran have done well and constructed a very intriguing dram. Recommended to you aroma/taste/demon hunters out there. 🙂