Whisky Review – Singleton of Dufftown – Tailfire

Singleton of Dufftown – Tailfire
40% ABV
£34 from TheGreenWellyStop

This bottle has literally only just been opened, so this is very much a first impression review. I don’t normally like doing that, if I find it changed a great deal in a couple of weeks I will update the review.

Nose.

Lots of sweet runny honey. Quite light. Caramel, some toffee apple, maybe a little cloudy cider, or even cider brandy.

Palate.

Palate is reflective of the nose, overripe apples dosed with buckets of honey, brown sugar, some oats, and porridgeness going on. In fact this dram would be ideal with breakfast. Mid/end development I get some bitter tannins which spoil the smoothness a little, but otherwise it is a very smooth and easy drinking dram.

Finish.

Shortish, sugars, honey, stewed tea and some oak tannins of the bitter variety.

Adding water.

Tiny drop. Killed the nose and didn’t do anything else any good at all. Don’t water.

Conclusion.

Kind of basic, easy drinking, some easy notes of interest. Quite the breakfast Whisky!

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Update.

Just tried dram 2 a little while after opening the bottle originally. There is now a very thick treacle toffee running through the nose and palate. Now in honestly I’m unsure if this is an effect of finishing off a bottle of Glenmorangie Nectar D’or tonight. So will double check at another opportunity.

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Whisky review – Bowmore and more and more (Devil’s Cask, Laimrig & Hand-Filled distillery only)

Bowmore and more and more (Devil’s Cask, Laimrig & Hand-Filled distillery only)

I’ve had these lined up to do for a while now. A sherried trilogy of Bowmore’s. Thanks first to Ben Cops (@bencops) for the sample of Devil’s Cask and Steve Prentice (@stevepentice) for the sample of the Hand Filled Bowmore.

Bowmore Devil’s Cask

10 year old
First filled sherry cask
Cask strength
56.9% ABV
Non-Chill Filtered

Nose.

Sweet bonfire smoke. Alluring berries (red currents, blackberries) and dark fruits. Rum and raisin. Really mouth watering. A little salt and some kippers. Light pepper, some cinnamon and a touch of liquorice. A nice fruity puncher of a nose.

Palate.

Sweet and dry(!). Salty, after ABV nip has calmed, gentle fruit, berries, earthy peat. Some bitter oak tannins. Dry pepper spice, liquorice and some burnt caramel. Reasonably mouth coating, but I wouldn’t say overly oily.

Finish.

Quite short surprisingly, pepper, earthy peat, wet grass, drying light oak.

Adding water.

Little dollop added. Spicier on the nose now, less fruity, more barbecued burnt peat and char. More earth, leaves and dirtier(!). On the palate that dirt comes forward, with the fruit quite beaten to the background, but still lingering in the darkness. It is tastier with water though, and the fruit while less dominant is still there and complimentary. The mouthfeel actually seeks oilier with water.

Conclusion.

Nice dram, standalone it would be fine and competent and enjoyable. A little disappointed with the undiluted palate, but with water it’s a very nice dram. But when comparing to these other drams, it is a little but lackluster, which is unfortunate. I do look forward to the next release and hope for it to be a little more available.

Bowmore Laimrig

15 year old
Sherry cask finished
53.7% ABV
I’m assuming non-chill filtered but nothing specific on the box/bottle

£89.95 from TheWhiskyExchange

Nose.

Salty dry sea air. Some berries, red currents, dried sultanas. Pepper, anise, liquorice. Earthy mineral peat smoke, iodine, some medicinal elements. Wet grass. A nice balance to this nose, but feels lacking in punch compared to the others.

Palate.

Fruity, juicy, after the heat, we have peat, warm, gentle peat interspersed with stewed dark fruits. Plums, raisins, berries, everything on the nose, but so much more intense on the palate. Really tasty, thick mouth feel. Some pepper spices balanced lovely in the mix.

Finish.

Medium-long. Those fruits go on for a while, some light earthy notes come fore at the very end with some grassiness.

Adding water.

A little dollop added. The nose is a little sweeter and has more of a confectionary citrus and even sweet shop note to it. The palate still retains a lot of fruit and juiciness, lacks a little from the original mouthfeel, but now has more citrus, some up front orange juice notes, added creaminess, some light toffee and caramel, with the finish continuing these new flavours complimenting the fruit.

Conclusion.

Wow, special. This is a very very nice dram indeed. Exceptionally tasty with or without water. And almost a different beast in eat it’s undiluted and diluted forms. Well worth the money.

Bowmore Hand Filled

16 year old
55.5% ABV
Assuming non-chill filtered and no added colouring as it’s hand filled?

Nose.

Strong pepper spice, anise, liquorice, oak spiciness. The fruit notes are restrained but can sense some good fruity nature in the background, juicy plums, raisin, berries etc. the peat is earthy again and medicinal in nature. Definitely spices in the front and fruit more backgrounded. With time in the glass the fruit comes forward and a little more balance is achieved.

Palate.

Very sweet and fruity. Juicy fruits, thick dark sherried plums, raisins, some orange and citrus there, thick and viscous mouthfeel. With a lot of time in the mouth some light peat notes come forward, some sherry soaked oak notes. Very chewy and fulfilling.

Finish.

Medium-long, fruity, drying out, dried fruits, oak, some tannins. Stewed tea.

Adding water.

Not sure I want to add water to this one. But I have to for consistency in the overall review. 😦
With water the nose is peatier. More earth and dirt. The spices still quite dominant. Liquorice intense. With a little fruit still lingering in the background. The diluted palate with less nip, and lighter mouthfeel present more spices up front now, the fruit is still present but encased with peat, earth and spices and much less in your face as the undiluted version. A case of 2 different beasts with and without water. The finish diluted is harsher, more mineral and bitter than the undiluted.

Conclusion.

Much preferred without water, at which time this is a very exceptional,loud, fruity, juicy, monster of flavour. When watered it is changed completely, more earthy and Islay in character. Personally I prefer the juicy variant.

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Whisky Reviews – Highland Park Valhalla Collection Tweet Taste

Tweet Taste – Highland Park Secret TT

Thanks again Steve Rush – The Whisky Wire and Highland Park for a fantastic tweet tasting experience.

Tonight it’s the time of Highland Park Whisky to run a blind taste test. I wonder what wonders are in store for us.

Whisky 1 – Blue dot

Nose

Floral. Creamy vanilla sponge cake. A little bit of signature saltiness. Time in the glass and we have more toffee and honey notes coming through. More time and some darker fruits come through. @whiskypr said burnt cinder toffee and I totally agree. More time in the glass and caramel and sweet peat come to the foreground. More time and more wax, polish, glue notes. It’s ever evolving on the nose.

Palate

Dry, oak, ABV burn passes by revealing sweetness, fruit, peat, caramel, honey and vanilla. On second sip, sherried berries, juicy raisins, very juicy in fact, with some peat going into the finish

Finish

Drying salty. Wood chips. Some juicy raisins stay as does the sweet peat.

Adding water.

The diluted nose now gives more pepper and cloves. Waxy Orange notes are more prominent. More aged oak, and wood polish are also very much in the foreground. The palate with the reduced alcohol burn is so much juicier, the orange juice, and red berries now, grapes, so much fruit bursting out. The finish drying oak and some red berries staying about drying away.

Whisky 1 is – Thor
Age 16 years old
Strength 52.1 % Vol.
Number of bottles 23000

Whisky 2 – red dot

Nose

Light levels of smoke and salt. Honey. Toffee. Lemon citrus. Powdered sugar. Some light aromas of young crisp apple and underripe pear. With time I’m getting some spiced oranges.

Palate

Immediate sweet, malty, biscuit arrival. Some peat, a little effervescence. Light toffee. Changing in time, quite varied, with lots of peat, floral and varying levels of honey sweetness.

Finish

Gentle fade over a long time. Lots of toffee, honey and peat notes remain for a very long time. Salty conclusion.

Adding water.

Diluted the nose shows more sweetie shop sugar notes, floral, and much less smoke. The sugars are still in very full on effect. The palate is immediately more fruity. Light, but so much more juicy in its fruits, more tropical, with apples, pears, lemons, pineapple and a little coconut mid development. The finish is fresh, sweet and fruity.

Whisky 2 is – Loki
Age 15 years old
Strength 48.7 % Vol.
Number of bottles 21000

Whisky 3 – Green dot

Nose

Lemons. Citrus rind. Floral again, and something sweet and elusive. Sweet and salty popcorn. Vanilla. Malty biscuit cereal with some thick jamminess going on. Definitely a bit of Mr. Kipling’s jam tarts going on! The salty smoke is still hanging around, but in the background. A little mint is present on the edges.

Palate

Light, creamy, it’s oily, and not at the same time. With time in the mouth a chewiness of vanilla custard, fudge, some peat in the development. A little saltiness is present, but tiny.

Finish

Warming, feelgood factor on this dram. Some creamy fudge and drying oak, with a little peat smoke and salt.

Adding water.

With a little water the nose is more lemon sherbert and sweet shops, with more floral elements coming to the front. The diluted nose has a more peppered punch to it. The palate is now more fruity and layering, vanillas, oak, tea, lemons, oranges, some light spice notes. The diluted finish drier with more oak and salted caramel. Getting a little chocolate in the final part of development and into the finish.

Whisky 3 is – Freya
Age 15 years old
Strength 51.2 % Vol.
Number of bottles 19000

Conclusion.

What an amazing night. Unfortunately I haven’t done a lot of highland park’s range of whiskies to date, but now this is something I would like to expand upon, and will do most definitely. The whiskies tonight all really shined brightly and tickled my tastebuds. So evolving and different I really cannot choose a favourite. Every time I think I’ve chosen Freya, I revisit Loki and think, no it’s Loki now. Then revisit Thor…it’s Thor, this is my favourite. Taste Freya again, no it’s Freya. Freya is my favourite….no….I can’t decide….sorry!

So the whiskies were all the Valhalla range from Highland Park to date. I hadn’t tried any of them up to tonight, and I’m very pleased to have had the privilege of trying them.

Much thanks go to Steve Rush at The Whisky Wire and Highland Park for their samples and hosting this evening.

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Whisky Review – Aberlour A’bunadh batch 46

Aberlour A’bunadh batch 46
Non Chill Filtered
60.4% ABV

It’s A’bunadh time! I love a’bunadh, it’s a go to Whisky for me, there are good batches, excellent batches and ok batches. Fortunately the good and excellent outweigh the ok. Batch 45 (reviewed here in June) was an excellent one. What’s batch 46 got to offer?

For this review I have the last dregs of my batch 45 alongside for comparison. I’m more than aware the likelihood is that my 45 will have oxygenated quite significantly having been opened since June and untouched since December.

Nose.

Quite closed off. There is some very prominent nutty notes (the skin off walnuts/hazelnuts) and some dunnage dustiness. Some floral oak presence, but not a lot else. Not overtly fruity or sherry intensive as I would expect. Will give it some time to the air. Ok. Given 15 minutes standing and the more familiar sherried fruitier malt aromas come into smellview, with the previous nutty dominance subsiding a little. A few more minutes left alone and the nuts take a forward step. Changing nose, ok cool, but not as sherried as I would expect on previous batches. My old batch 45, well, I think it’s a bit flat compared to its first opening, but still has a nicer balance (albeit less intense) to batch 46. More time to the air and it’s back to floral and fruit. It’s a moody nose! 🙂

Palate.

Ooo. Hot hot hot. Burn subsides, and here’s the fruit kapow. The harshness of the ABV heat sticks around, as we get to mid/end development then more of the spicy fruitcake is in the foreground. There is quite an overpowering bitterness to the end development. Comparing to batch 45, as with the nose the palate is more balanced, has some lush rum and raisin going on and is altogether more refined.

Finish.

Medium. Sour oak, some fruitcake, a little orange and some hidden bitter chocolate notes.

Adding water.

A fair dollop of water added. The nose now has more of the floral oaky dust in the foreground. There is a tad more of the recognisable fruity elements, but nothing like the power of previous batches. The palate, has now an element of fizziness to the development, more spicy rich raisin fruit is present with the reduced ABV burn, some orange oils. And lemon rind bitter notes. The oak tannins if the undiluted palate are tamed but still present, and the finish is now a little easier, but still a little bitter.

Conclusion.

Hate to say it, bit of a bitter disappointment batch 46. Seems to not have taken as much of the sherry influences of previous batches, and has quite an acrid set of flavours compared to batch 45. I guess you take the rough with the smooth, but this one for me is a ok-at-best a’bunadh. I’m hoping with some time opened it may calm down a bit and recover, but right now it’s not as go to as previous batches have been. I will leave it and return in a few months and update accordingly. 😦

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Whisky Review – SMWS 131.2 Magic carpet in a sweetie shop


SMWS 131.2 Magic carpet in a sweetie shop

Hanyu Distillery
Outturn:646 bottles
13 years old
First fill sherry butt
ABV 55.1%
£159.30 from SMWS

Nose.

Quite restrained initially, lots of sherry, fruit and nut chocolate bars. Some chocolate dust, not Cocoa, but chocolate invading the nasal passages. This dram needs some time in the glass, after 10 mins more depth to the chocolate and some orange juice comes forward to join the raisins in the fruity chocolate. Some vanilla almond marzipan is joining in now, lots of chocolates come to mind. A box full!

Palate.

Woh, juicy! Orange juice, raisins, sherry, vanilla, spicy but not too hot. Chocolate is there, and whist the mouth isn’t overtly thick, there is a great fattening nature to the flavour that hits my buds. Held in the mouth the juiciness really floods through, intense, never ending. This palate is a monster, don’t think I’ve had anything fruitier.

Finish.

Med-long. Juicy fruity joy. Some almonds, thick milk chocolate.

Adding water.

Small drop. Diluted the nose becomes a little more floral and dusty, and looses some of the variation. On the palate, a little more balance takes over the intensity, and there is a little bitterness on the end development going into the finish, which is slightly shorter and less juicy. One to keep undiluted in my opinion.

Conclusion.

One to keep away from h2o on my opinion. I just adore the fruity juicy nature of this Whisky, it’s a monster and something I have never experienced I. This way in a Whisky before. I certainly hope I can find this juicy intensity in another dram, because this was really a premium experience for me.

Thanks to Tom Thompson for arranging the bottle share and tweet taste. See more of his stuff at http://www.tomswhiskyreviews.com or follow him on twitter @ifotou

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Whisky Review – SMWS 132.2 Stunning Panoramio of Exotic Fruits


SMWS 132.2 Stunning Panoramio of Exotic Fruits

Karuizawa Distillery
Outturn:335 bottles
22 year old
Refill ex sherry butt
ABV 62.4%

See more amazing drams at SMWS

Nose.

Intensely powerful stuff. Very nutty. Sherried malt. Some polished oak and dusty rooms. Some floral depth present also, something Parma violets going on, and very promenade whiff of lavender. There’s an amount of minerally chalkiness in consistency on the nose. In the background is where the fruit is hiding, some fruitcake and oranges are hidden away. All of these notes keep interchanging, foreground to background, ever changing and making you want to go back time and again. Excellent.

Palate.

Sweet fruity arrival featuring heavily orangey Christmas pudding (waitrose hidden clementine Christmas pudding?!), followed by ABV heat, subsides to more fruit and polished aged oak. The floral elements then come in in the form of those Parma violet sweeties, complete with their dusty texture in the flavour, despite a very thick mouthfeel.

Finish.

Long. Dusty oak and sweeties, sweet orange juice turning into drier orange peels and dried fruits.

Adding water.

Adding only a tiny drop as it’s on the old side. On the nose the dilution increases the fruit and floral intensity allowing it to take control over the oak. The oranges become more orangey. The dried fruits exhibit a juicier edge. A little more tropical fruit nature steps forward with some apples, pears. Pear drops are evident. The floral elements are softer on the nose. Then after a little time the oak comes back, and things change again. All the while though this nose is saliva inducing. On the palate with the ABV burn slightly tamed, we get buckets more fruity intensity. The sherried elements are more forward now, tonnes of fruit cake, cake mix, oranges, red berries. The mouth thickness is still present and silky. A certain aged rum and spicy kick is also there now thanks to the dilution. The diluted finish, while slightly shorter is sweeter, and the fruit notes hold to the end with lesser drying out.

Conclusion.

Wow. Amazing dram. Completely sold out now, so you would have to look at spending 300-400 on auctions to gain this little beauty now. The nose is awesome, ever changing and engaging, you’ll spend ages with it. So much so you won’t want to drink it. But in the drinking is where the fun comes, experimentation with water is a must but don’t overdo it, it’s expensive to drown her!

Thanks to Tom Thompson for arranging the bottle share and tweet taste. See more of his stuff at http://www.tomswhiskyreviews.com or follow him on twitter @ifotou

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