Whisky Review – Tullibardine 500 – Sherry Finish

Tullibardine 500 – Sherry Finish
43% ABV
£36.95 available from Whisky Galore at the Green Welly Stop

Nose.

Intensely spicy. The sherry cask has really done some work here. We have a lot of deep sherry spice notes. Nuttiness. Cinnamon. Black pepper. Dark fruits. Raisin, plum. Fruitcake. Christmas spices. Orange peel. Dark chocolate. I’m a unashamed sherry head and it’s hitting all those pleasure triggers. In the background we still have some sweet sugar citrus. There is a touch of Flint also, some peoples flint is another persons hell. Personally, I don’t mind a little flint. Lovely stuff.

Palate.

Sweet sherried arrival. Lots of raisin. As the development progresses we have the familiar creaminess. The sherried notes are light and juicy, with vanilla, and some cinnamon spices, a little fruitcake. Then the development continues into vanilla creams with some chocolate dusting territory.

Finish.

The chocolate and vanilla sticks around for quite a while, with some pepper spice and a damp oaky drying finale.

Adding water.

A drop in my dram. The nose is now abundant with those sherry influenced spices. The palate retains sugar sherried nuttiness. A touch lighter than undiluted. Into the finish we have sugared almonds! Quite a change. Worth adding a drop of water here.

Conclusion.

A fantastic nose, good palate, and very interesting to add a touch of water to bring out that sugared almond note. This is my second favourite of the finished range from Tullibardine.

Tullibardine finish range conclusion.

As an added conclusion I am very impressed with the range of finished whiskies. Accompanying the Sovereign there is really something for everyone in this range. If your a sherry head, the 500 is awesome. If you like wine with your Whisky go burgundy. And if you have a sweet tooth the Sauternes is definitely for you. Good work!

Many thanks to Tullibardine Distillery for providing me with a sample.

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Whisky Review – Tullibardine 228 – Burgundy Finish

Tullibardine 228 – Burgundy Finish
43% ABV
£45.79 available from MasterOfMalt

This Tullibardine malt, has been initially matured in ex-bourbon barrels, and finished for around 12 months in French Chateau de Chassagne Montrachet Red Burgundy casks.

Nose.

Fruity and zingy. The wine finish has had quite an effect on this version. The apple, pear and malt notes are very much backgrounded by very pungent winey notes. A winesky for sure. Lots of red fruits, grapes, berries, strawberry. An enhancement to the soft melon notes from the Sovereign as it’s very much now a fruit jam of pulpy proportions.

Palate.

Thick berries are in the forefront, but become balanced in the development with the familiar Tullibardine creamy vanilla goodness. Some additional spices are found in the development. More pepper and a little light cinnamon.

Finish.

Long. Berries subside to that familiar creamy vanilla finish, with some drying oak right at the end.

Adding water.

Just a tiny drop added. The nose has more vanilla now, still retains some of the additional spices, but the berries are dulled down somewhat. The palate reflects this change also, as does the finish, although there is still a little bit of the berry influences on the finish. Personally I prefer this one without water.

Conclusion.

Another great addition, and another great twist on the Sovereign. This Whisky has some really great added depths on the nose, and the wine finish is really quite palatable. Probably my favourite of the finish series.

Tullibardine finish range conclusion.

As an added conclusion I am very impressed with the range of finished whiskies. Accompanying the Sovereign there is really something for everyone in this range. If your a sherry head, the 500 is awesome. If you like wine with your Whisky go burgundy. And if you have a sweet tooth the Sauternes is definitely for you. Good work!

Many thanks to Tullibardine Distillery for providing me with a sample.

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Whisky Review – Tullibardine 225 – Sauternes Finish

Tullibardine 225 – Sauternes Finish
43% ABV
No added colouring (presumed)
£36.50 available from Whisky Galore at the Green Welly Stop

This Tullibardine malt, has been initially matured in ex-bourbon barrels, and finished for around 12 months in French Sauternes cask (a very sweet desert wine).

Nose.

A similar fruity cereal nose as with the Sovereign. Apples, pears, soft melon, vanilla, pepper. But the Sauternes finish has enhanced the citrus elements with added sweetness, we have icing sugar and more of a lemon sherbert boiled sweet element. Lots of sugar sweetness on the nose. A touch of added oak spices.

Palate.

Very sweet entry. Creamy vanillas, combined with icing sugar. Some juicy apple and pear are present, a little pepper pinch, nicely balanced all around, chewable. Sauternes is very present end of the development, the sweet wine influences are very noticeable with an added sweetness and slight grape note coming through

Finish.

Long. A hit of sugar and pepper spices subsides into a creamy vanilla and light sweet finale. Creamy sweet vanilla really hangs around for a long time. Then a drying note which has a touch of wet wood.

Adding water.

Small drop added. The nose has a little more citrus prominence now. The palate is very sweet, a little lighter, but there seems a little more intensity to the sugars. The finish remains boosted sugars and creamy vanillas.

Conclusion.

A sweet tooths dram, another great nose, quite enhanced by the Sauternes influence. A truly quaffable Whisky.

Tullibardine finish range conclusion.

As an added conclusion I am very impressed with the range of finished whiskies. Accompanying the Sovereign there is really something for everyone in this range. If your a sherry head, the 500 is awesome. If you like wine with your Whisky go burgundy. And if you have a sweet tooth the Sauternes is definitely for you. Good work!

Many thanks to Tullibardine Distillery for providing me with a sample.

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Whisky Review – Tullibardine Sovereign

Tullibardine Sovereign
43% ABV
No added colouring (presumed)
£35.75 from TheWhiskyExchange

So it begins. I’m going to review the whole range of the newly revamped Tullibardine Distillery. We begin today with the Sovereign release. Their entry level malt, matured solely in ex-bourbon. Coming up over the next several reviews we have their finished range, including Sauternes, Burgundy and Sherry. Then their premium 20 and 25 year olds.

Sovereign has recently become one of Sainsbury’s available malts, and at the moment it is available at a bargain £30.

Nose.

A little spirit, but in a very nice lively way as it brings with it a bounty of fruit. Apple and pear dominate with some melon. Zesty citrus, vanilla and a pinch of pepper. With time in the glass the spirity edge subsides slightly and the depth of fruit increases.

Palate.

Initially crisp, light apple fruits, then so smooth and creamy vanilla. Loads of Creme brûlée and custardy notes, so very easy drinking, light, tasty, creamy. Yum. A little pepper. Very chewable.

Finish.

That creamy vanilla smoothness goes through the finish into drying out with a touch of oak.

Adding water.

Small drop added. The nose has a little added pepper and spices. The fruit intact and smell great. The palate is even lighter and creamier. There is a little added pepper mid development. The finish retains that additional spice, going again through a creamy then drying phases to the end.

Conclusion.

This is a very lovely Whisky. I can’t say it’s overly complicated, but it’s got a great nose, the palate is easy going, it’s very easy drinking. And the overall experience is extremely positive, it’s very enjoyable, light, a summer dram without a doubt.

Many thanks to Tullibardine Distillery for providing me with a sample.

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Whisky Review – Laphroaig Quarter Cask

Laphroaig Quarter Cask
48% ABV
£37.15 from TheWhiskyExchange

Nose.

Laphroaig TCP blast with additional burn. This is a nice strength of alcohol and that added intensity is in the nasal burn. This dram has a very aggressive and exciting nose. There is lots of dry dark fruits amongst the heavily smoked and peaty expansion. A liquorice intensity to the spices including pepper and chilli. There is something else also, the spices are really very complex. Intensive smokiness. Road tar. Rubber bands. Elastoplast. All that good dirty stuff. Some really sooty stuff up front with a background of briny seaside fisheries. Very complex and time consuming if you are the kind to delve into the depths to find aromas. With time in the glass the concentration levels to the fruit and smoke. Nice.

Palate.

Flavour intensive and complex. Nothing (maybe tastebud shock)! Then sweet, salty, briny, tar, dark fruits, oak, salt, meaty complex, really salty, iodine, smoke, tcp. God, there’s so much going on it really is quite overwhelming. With time to settle the sugars set in, but there is a very nice balance of salt with the sweet. A truly sweet and sour dram.

Finish.

Salt and sweet. Some popcorn creaminess. Intense all the way through with smoke everlasting and some drying out smoked fishiness with some bitter tannins. Very nicely balanced. A well matured dram of some seriously intensive flavour.

Adding water.

A splash added. The nose has more smoke now and a lovely fruit bracket to accompany it. The palate is now easier to analyse and has levels of complexity, fruit peat, soot, marine. And some added cooking apple peel. Everything all more easily available to enjoy. The finish is intensely tannic and inspiring. Extremely oily. The smoke remains. The memory remains. More sipping please.

Conclusion.

An exceptionally complex and worthy Laphroaig. Very explorable, one to sip and consider. With all the flavours of Islay and an added fruitiness and levels of extra detail not present in many standard distillery bottlings. It’s not for the beginner by any want shape or means, and that’s where it’s value lies. In terms of bang for the buck it’s up there. Highly recommended for the Islay fan.

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Whisky Review – Kilchoman 100% Islay 4th edition

Kilchoman 100% Islay 4th edition
50% ABV
Natural Colour
Non-Chill Filtered
£64.80 from Kilchoman Directly

From the website:

All parts of the production process for the 100% Islay have taken place at the distillery – from barley to bottle. The barley is grown, malted, distilled, matured and bottled at Kilchoman making for a unique character. Bottled at 50% abv and peated to a lower level to that of other releases, 100% Islay has a lighter, fresher feel to it. Citrus and lemon notes come through with soft peat smoke and a long smooth finish.

Here’s my thoughts:

Nose.

There’s some light smoke, intense, but like a bonfire in the distance. This is peat of a bonfire variety, not so much medicinal, a good kindling and leafy fire, with some earthy dirty thrown in. There’s some biscuity malt. Some cereal grain, of a creamy nature. Lots of pepper and chilli. A smidgen of oak. There is a touch of citrus, but very hidden way out back.

Palate.

Lovely oily barley, very coating and rich. Creamy grain. Light vanilla, very silky. Complex citrus, sweet on the front of the tongue and bitter further back, some juice, pith and peel all in one. A little soot. As the development goes on more peat sweetness comes through with grassy earthy notes going into the finish.

Finish.

Sweet dirty peat. Fresh lemon crisp finish, quite long. Creamy oak aftertaste, tiniest sootiness hangs around. Good stuff. Very moreish.

Adding Water.

Adding a splash. Smoke is more pronounced now, the spices reduced and the citrus notes easier to identify. The palate is still very creamy, now it’s juicier though, with lots of citrus up front, and a little more tartiness to those citrus flavours. The finish remains crisp and palate cleansing, very refreshing in fact. With the citrus hanging around for a long while, and a little earthy grass and fresh hay at the very end.

Conclusion.

This is lovely stuff. Very summery in its nature, and I usually associate Islay drams with autumn and winter, but this is flavoursom, clean, and refreshing. Excellent for summer evenings.

Many thanks to Kilchoman for the sample.

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Whisky Review – Glenglassaugh Torfa

Glenglassaugh Torfa
50% ABV
Peated Highland
Natural Colour
Non-Chill Filtered
£39.55 from MasterOfMalt

Glenglassaugh is a new distillery for me, and this peated expression is new for them. As with all new whiskies I’m looking forward immensely to this experience. Here we go.

Nose.

Meaty. Barbecued bacon fat. Smouldering peat. It’s a phenolic peat, not quite TCP, but clouds of smoke. I had to double check I hadn’t poured the wrong sample, because it’s very Islay. Behind the fire there is some floral softness lingering, and some honey, indicative of its highland origins. With time in the glass more of that floral honey comes through, and even a little citrus to the mix. More time in the glass and softer fruits are present as the peat retracts. Some soft melon and ripe tropical fruits.

Palate.

Sweet, light sugars, lemon, barley sugar, there is very little peat on the palate, there is a slight burn from the higher than normal ABV, but it’s well rounded and very highland on the palate. Sweet, floral honeys, a little caramel. Very rich and mouthcoating. Those soft fruity notes are hidden amongst the heat.

Finish.

The fire is back warming the soul. Peat smoke, ash, lemon rind. Drying out to oak. Quite a quick, sharp finish, but cleaning on the palate and quite refreshing.

Adding Water.

Added a splash. A slight re ignition of the embers as the heavy smoke returns. Fruit is still there though, a little more balanced, with the squashed melon more up front now. There are also some tobacco notes, a greater depth to the heather honey, and all around easier to engage. The palate has less of the ABV burn as expected, and this allows a more fuller fruit profile to come forward, the overripe melon, now a little banana also joins in. Very fruity, the smoke is a little less on the finish, but the finish appears longer to me, still crisp and refreshing, but with added fruitiness all the way through. This dram is a corker with a splash of water.

Conclusion.

As my first exposure to Glenglassaugh this is a great one. I love the peaty highlander merger here, very two sided, and most intriguing. Glenglassaugh was a mothballed distillery for many years resuming production of spirit late in 2008, so there will be much more to come from this distillery in the near future, and I’m looking forward to experiencing more.

Many thanks to Glanglassaugh for the review sample.

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Whisky Review – Tomatin 30 year old

Tomatin 30 year old
46% ABV
Matured in ex-bourbon barrels
Natural Colour (assumed)
Non-Chill Filtered
£120.78 from MasterOfMalt

Final in my tomatin trilogy, is the 30 year old. This is now discontinued, but it can be found out there if you look. Prices vary wildly, so shop carefully and quickly before it’s all gone.

Nose.

It was quite closed at first, and needs some time and air to wake up. Fresh. Crisp apples. Lemon sherbert. Pineapple cubes. Sweet shops. Icing sugar. Light pepper. Vanilla. Buttery and creamy. Lots of rich honey. There is the cleanness of youth in this nose, but then something very deep and heavenly. There is oak in there, but it’s not overwhelmed by wood like so many other whiskies of this age. Its retained it’s youthfulness. It’s a long sniffer alright, and by that I mean I can spend my nose in this glass for hours. And it should be a perfume. 🙂

Palate.

Arrival is gradual and methodical. Building from light apples, to intense sweet shop sugars, light pepper, chewy toffee, runny honey, pineapple, tropical fruit mix. Vanilla. Cream cakes. Mouthfeel is oily and invasive (it’s gets everywhere!). Citrus oils. Through the development you get hints of age. Leather, tobacco, old oak, but it’s really only glimpses, never overtakes or intrudes, it’s really remarkable that a Whisky of this age has got so much going for it and it hasn’t been drenched in old wood. Some would say your paying for those aged elements, but this is a truly unique experience. Delicious.

Finish.

Sweet, intense to gentle sugary goodness. No burn, but gentle warm hugging all around. Some pepper spice, and lemon rind. Toffee. Honey, and all the good stuff from the palate slowly gliding into the distance. Warm honey line the throat.

Adding Water.

I’ve heard of this dram’s water sensitivity, so I’ve literally added one drop. The nose has more citrus amongst the sweet shop. Lemon rind, skin becoming much juicier in time. The palate reflects this, an intensity now amongst the fruit elements of this Whisky. So very juicy. The finish, as before all of the elements gently fade away leaving a warmth of sincere satisfaction. If you add too much water this dram can have a bitter edge, so less is more, add 1 drop or none.

Conclusion.

This is a old Whisky with a youthful attitude. It’s so different than anything else going. Hints of age throughout the experience, complex, exciting, tasty. This is a Whisky to spend long evenings mulling over. It’s a thinker. One to sit there, explore, find something new every time and just plain enjoy. In terms of value for money it is a bloody bargain. Unfortunately it is being discontinued. If you have ever considered buying this, do it now. If you want a well valued, complex and enjoyable Whisky to enjoy later buy it now. You will NEVER EVER get a cheaper 30 year old single malt with the way the price of Whisky is going. Anyway…nuff said, I’m not getting on a ‘price of Whisky’ rant, quite yet! 😉

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Whisky Review – Tomatin 1988 – 25 year old

Tomatin 1988 – 25 year old.
46% ABV
Matured in ex-bourbon barrels, and finished in port oak
Natural Colour
Non-Chill Filtered
£160.00 from TheWhiskyExchange

Fresh on the heels of the 14 year old tasted the other day, I now have the pleasure of trying the new vintage Tomatin. 1988. A 25 year old malt, ex-bourbon matured, with a port wood finish.

Nose.

Big flavoursome intense nose. Lots of complex fruit, oak and age. It’s a bigger, deeper nose than the 14, but not quite as in your face fruit jams. This one has more age and oak influence with the port wood not as obviously effecting the nose, but enhancing the bourbon maturation. Vanilla. Pepper. Ginger spices. A little light aniseed. When you cover and re-approach the initial aromas are the familiar berries, and jammy fruits from the port wood, but are soon overtaken with pineapple, apple, orange, some polish and that aged dusty mahogany wood. Overall a fruity, oaky, well balanced aged nose. After a little time in the glass I found a tiniest little bit of peat or wood char. Definitely a tiny bit of smoke going on.

Palate.

Very thick, oily mouthfeel and gently warming. Jammy red fruits. Strawberry. Blackberry. Some apple jams. Creamy vanilla custard. Some sponge cake. Light peppery oak. Very smooth, very little burn. Throat caressing. Extremely chewable. A pleasure to hold in the mouth. The age is very evident in the depth of the flavours experienced, and the dense texture which accompany them.

Finish.

Long. Pepper, oaky spices. Fruit jams dying out, slight freshness, a little nuttiness. A touch of tea here and there throughout the finish. A little peppermint in the background.

Adding Water.

Only adding the slightest few (4 small) drops as it’s awesome as is, but have to do it for experience. The nose just blew up in my face. Much jammier, more smoke char, more vanilla cake. Bloody hell! On the palate we have lift off! Retains all the oil density, but now just has sooo much more flavour levels, some orange creeping into the fruit which is now very much dancing in the mouth. The finish is fresh, clean, fruity and very satisfying. Wow…wish I added water sooner, this dram totally rocks with just a few drops.

Conclusion.

A very exceptionally thick and dense palate on this Whisky. It really is a pleasure to taste. Very well constructed, beautifully balanced, and extremely drinkable. This is brilliant stuff. I love it. If it’s in your price range, it should be on your shopping list. It is a worthy replacement to the 30 year old.

Much thanks to Tomatin for providing the sample. Superb stuff. 🙂

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NEW RELEASE – Laphroaig Select

Interesting new release from the world of Laphroaig today.    Laphroaig Select.  A new generally available release which is said to merge several styles of maturation in this new expression, presented with no adding colouring (excellent), and give a new spin on the classic malt.  Heres the information received today from Distiller Manager John Campbell:

 

select

 

Today, I am proud to talk to you about our next global expression. Laphroaig Select. It is aptly named as it is the special selection of casks we have chosen for maturation that gives it it’s unique character. Like Quarter Cask, the inspiration forLaphroaig Select comes from our past, but this time from around 70 years ago. This was the time of the last – and perhaps greatest family owner, Ian Hunter (1886-1954).

Ian was one of, if not the first, Scottish distiller to visit the bourbon distilleries in Kentucky and study their maturation techniques. He saw and tasted the effects of American ‘White oak’ barrels on their whisky. Up until then Laphroaig, like other distilleries, sourced 100% of its barrels from Europe which gave a far sweeter ‘sherried’ style of Laphroaig than anyone would recognise today. He arranged for a selection of these barrels to be shipped to Scotland to mature Laphroaig in this ‘new style white wood’ oak barrel. By the late 1940’s we see a brand new style of Laphroaig begin to emerge. One that contained a selection of both ‘new’ American and ‘traditional’ European oak matured whisky.

A few years ago I started to experiment with Ian’s maturation techniques using different American Bourbon and European Sherry barrels. I was not trying to ‘copy’ the exact taste Ian produced back then, but to create a new style of Laphroaig that would resonate with your tastes, the Laphroaig drinkers of today. I created 6 different expressions, then ‘taste tested’ these with many you – the Friends of Laphroaig, to discover which was the most popular. We even researched the potential names with you too, you may have been one of them – ‘Laphroaig Select’ is the winning flavour and name.

So how does Laphroaig Select taste and when can I get it?
Tasting Notes:

COLOUR: A Fully Natural colour with no caramel added, it is sparkling gold with layers of colour – arising from different maturations and oils mixing together.

NOSE: Peat first, then ripe red fruits from the PX and Olorosso casks. A hint of dryness next from the American oak with a long lingering florally finish – Marzipan and even limes at the end.

PALATE: This full bodied whisky is initially sweet up front- matching the nose, then the classic dry, peaty, ashy flavours come bounding in followed by a lovely rich finish arising from the rich fruits of the European casks.

Since so many of you have asked for it – Laphroaig Select contains no caramel colouring! I think it’s a fantastic addition to our core range. It is a complex whisky to make, so we will be rolling it out slowly over the next 12 months. The first countries who are receiving it are Australia (where it will be called Select Cask), Germany, Italy and the UK. It will start appearing in your local shops this month.

Intersting sounding stuff.  Will be writing about this one as soon as I get a taste.  In fact, going to try and do a bit of a parallel tasting, with Laproaig Select, the classic Laphroaig 10 year old, Laproaig Quarter Cask and 10 Year old Cask Strength.  Yummm!   🙂

See my review of Laphroaig Cairdeas Port Wood.