Whisky Review – Darkness! Clynelish 16 years old.

Darkness!
Clynelish 16 years old.
Oloroso Sherry cask finished
No colouring. No chill filtration.
54.9% ABV
£74.95 from MasterOfMalt.

Darkness is a selection of in your face single malts and single grains for those who love sherry monsters. They have been extra matured in small specially crafted sherry casks.

Nose.

Initially this is all about dry spices and walnut nuttiness. But after a little air we get some fruit elements coming forward. Familiar soft raisin notes. Some chocolate. Oranges. Malty cereal. Pepper, ginger, cinnamon spices. A touch of burnt toast with marmalade.

Palate.

Another big time sherry boisterous monster. Loads of thick sherry influence here. Raisin, sultana, fruitcake, Christmas spices, chocolate, orange peel. Honey rum drenched cake mix. Nuts. Cherry. Cherry stones. This is as close as you can get to homemade Christmas pudding in a glass.

Finish.

Who says Christmas only comes once a year. This Christmas pudding is staying for a good while. Along with some well integrated spices, warming the chest. The pudding hangs and hangs and lingers for a long while, slowly fading. This stuff makes me happy! Long after you think the flavour of the dram is gone, a spicy tingle on the tongue reminds you 5 minutes later!

Adding water.

A splash added. The fruit is now backseated on the nose, with the spicy intensity well and truly in the front. The palate however, is still a fruity monster, very juicy, well integrated fruit and spices, all the fun of the Christmas pudding with a little less alcohol intensity, some added sweetness also going into the finish which is still very long, very sweet, Christmas pudding with added caramelised brown sugar.

Conclusion.

Sherry bombastic. This is a monstrous dram. If you like the sherry monsters this is well up there with some of the most intensive I have tried. This is one which could be described as too much sherry, it’s pretty damn good in my book though!

Thank you to Master of Malt and Maverick Drinks for providing the review sample.

20140630-184325-67405226.jpg

Advertisements

Whisky Review – Darkness! Macallan 15 years old.

Darkness!
Macallan 15 years old.
Pedro Ximenez Sherry cask finished
No colouring. No chill filtration.
52.3% ABV
£109.95 from MasterOfMalt.

Darkness is a selection of in your face single malts and single grains for those who love sherry monsters. They have been extra matured in small specially crafted sherry casks.

Nose.

Sweet syrup. Toffee. Boiled sweets. Foxes fruit sweets. There’s a fruit toffo element as well. (If you can remember those fruity toffee sweets?!). Some prominent elements of PX sherry. Thick dry raisin. Some red fruits. Fruitcake. Christmas spices. It’s a very tasty nose, promising of great things. There’s a waxy nature, reminding me of thick bees wax polish roasting in the sun. There is a touch of freshly cracked nuts.

Palate.

Fruity. Soft apricots with honey. Loads of autumn berries. Christmas cake. Raisin, plum, apples, a bit of everything, a massive fruit basket of complexity. There is a touch of salted caramel, lots of honey sweetness. Chocolate. Some nuttiness is floating in and out through the development. Chewy with a substantial mouthfeel. The delivery continues to a slight effervescent fizz.

Finish.

The effervescence continues into the finish, which is almightily fruity, sweet, with a tad of drying oak, a minute touch of nuts, but it’s the thick fruity zinginess which wins through.

Adding water.

Small drop added in. It’s got fruitier! The fruit is now more integrated creating a fruit salad compote. There is a little added pepper bite, with a touch of ginger cake added in. The palate, while slightly lighter in the mouthfeel, is absolutely gorgeous. So much fruit and richness. All of the previous fruit flavours dialled up to 11, with a mouth watering intensity. The finish is slightly longer, still all about the fruit, warming hugging lush!

Conclusion.

Delectable. This is a fruity blasting beast. Sherry monster most definitely, but with some added complexity and pizzazz. Fantastic stuff. Gutted when this sample ran dry. This is actually sold out now, but drink by the dram is still available, follow the link above to get a chance to devour this little beauty.

Thank you to Master of Malt and Maverick Drinks for providing the review sample.

20140630-180020-64820158.jpg

Whisky Review – Isle of Jura – Prophecy

Isle of Jura – Prophecy
46% ABV
Non-chill filtered????
£49.55 from TheWhiskyExchange

Nose.

Dry bonfire smoke. Salty seawater. Meaty elements akin to beef jerky. Some thick honey. A little cracked pepper with the sea salt. Some cigarette ash. A touch of road tar. For anyone expecting heavy peat the likes of Laphroaig, Ardbeg or Port Charlotte will be slightly disappointed as I would rate the smokiness more to the levels of talisker. With a similar burning leaves level of smoke rather than anything TCP or earthy in nature.

Palate.

Sweet peat. Dry smoke and ash. BBQ brown sugar(!). Salted caramelised ham. Nicely balanced. Pleasantly savoury.

Finish.

Warm. Short. Drying out smokey, ashy, charred oak. A touch of honey. And a chunk of burnt meat. Finale of very dry burnt oak.

Adding water.

Few drops added. The nose has more herbal elements to the smoke now and a little added caramel sweetness. The palate reflects the additional sweetness and caramel, reducing the smokiness a tad. The finish has the same effect. Sweeter, less burnt meat and more burnt sugars. With a small touch if bitter oak. I’m a bit half and half on this is better with or without. A matter of taste I suppose.

Conclusion.

The added oomph from the extra ABV is evident, and gives greater variation. This is the most complex and interesting of the standard bottlings. It’s a tad pricy, but when on offer you cannot go wrong.

20140626-231729-83849344.jpg

Whisky Review – Isle of Jura 16 year old – Diurachs’ Own

Isle of Jura 16 year old – Diurachs’ Own
40% ABV
£43.07 from MasterOfMalt

Nose.

Young, slightly spirity nose. Touches of tequila. Fruity honey. Sugared and spiced cooking apples. Demerara sugar. Gloopy honey. Some floral spiciness. Touches of vanilla.

Palate.

Quite thick on the mouthfeel despite the low ABV. Lots of honey. Sugar. Some apple and orange flesh. A little crystallised ginger. Simple and effective.

Finish.

Warming, hugging. Ginger spice, some orange. A touch of chocolate. Very little in your face oak. Remains sweet. Simple. And very pleasant.

Adding water.

Only adding a drop. The nose has a touch more spicy bite to it now. The palate, has lost some of the oiliness, but has developed a charred note adding a little complexity. The finish is mellow and satisfying.

Conclusion.

This is a young 16 year old. Perfectly enjoyable, tasty and non offensive. It’s an easy session dram. I would dearly, dearly love to try this at 46%. NCF. No additives! I only hope this will become a possibility one day.

20140626-221557-80157374.jpg

Whisky Review – Darkness! Glen Moray 22 years old.

Darkness!
Glen Moray 22 years old.
Oloroso Sherry cask finished
No colouring. No chill filtration.
57.8% ABV
£99.95 from MasterOfMalt.

The first in a long run of Darkness samples I will be reviewing. Darkness is a selection of in your face single malts and single grains for those who love sherry monsters. They have been extra matured in small specially crafted sherry casks.

Nose.

Big sherry notes. Nutty. Walnuts, Brazil nuts. Quite hot and dusty, with a touch of background floral. Rich rum soaked fruitcake. A touch of wood glue and polish. Some hidden old oak qualities behind the sherry blanket. Dried dark fruits. Behind the scenes there are some vanilla and almond marzipan notes. Some dusty cocoa notes come with time in the glass.

Palate.

Sweet sherry, fruity thickness arrival. Lots of fruitcake, orange peel, nutty dryness coming through in the development. Then a punch of vanilla, quite big and bourbon like, some marzipan as with the nose. Quite a bit of dark dusty old chocolate as well. The mouth is very thick and oily, and this is a quite chewable dram. Scrummy

Finish.

Medium length, sherry notes die out leaving dry oak, a little vanilla and a touch of dried dark fruits. And the chocolate remains around a little longer with a touch of salted caramel thrown in.

Adding water.

A few drops of water added in. The nose now is more Armagnac like, the vanilla and almond presence really in the forefront. There is still vanilla and sherry notes, some extra levels of nuttiness also, the drop of water has done wonders to balance out the nose. Quite a pungent floral edge now as well. The diluted palate is sweeter on arrival, lots of brown sugar, sweet honey, caramel thickness, with some lighter sherry notes. There is still fruit and nuts on the scene, restrained now, but in better balance with the additional sweetness. The finish is now longer, sweeter, has a more nutty dryness, and is very nice indeed. Much better balanced with a drop of water and more rewarding for it.

Conclusion.

An interesting, lovely Whisky. It has quite a youthfulness about it relative to its 22 years of age, a lot of complexities and it’s transformation with water makes this very much a two sided, intriguing Whisky.

Thank you to Master of Malt and Maverick Drinks for providing the review sample.

20140625-205724-75444289.jpg

Whisky Review – Octomore Discovery 2014 Festival Bottling

Octomore Discovery
2014 festival bottling
Limited to 1500 bottles
Quadruple Distilled
7 years old.
Oloroso Sherry cask matured
69.5% ABV
£150.00 from Bruichladdich Distillery shop.

I’ve been looking forward to this, so with no delay here we go.

Nose.

It’s BBQ smoked meats in the foreground. A little hot road tar. Some rubber. Burning tyres. Sweet maple cured bacon. This burns the nose, so keep it out the glass! This is a very very pig roast, fat fuelled, crunchy pork rind intense nose. There is a level of sweetness in the background coming from the sherry casks, but it’s tricky to find. A little dried fruits as well, sometimes when I can get through the clouds of burning hog skin. With time in the glass there is a little more sharp citrus coming through and the dried fruits are a little more forward. But the BBQ is roaring the whole time.

Palate.

Oh my. Surprisingly not too hot on the alcohol burn. There is heat, but blind tasting, I wouldn’t put this much over 50%! Sweet arrival, heat, immediately followed with some salted ham, bacon, some dried fruity notes, and wow, it’s so lovely, silky, oily, thick mouthcoating yum tastic. Lots of sweet and sour going through the development. After it’s sat around for a while, after a good few sips, the next sip (we’re talking 30-40 mins from start) has now got a lot of sherried fruit in there, fruitcake, plums, raisin, intense sherried in fact, where it was practically non existent before. This is a developing dram over sips and time. Fantastic.

Finish.

Sweet sherried fruits for just a moment, then salty pig flesh. Earthy peat. Some sweetness in the form of wet grassy notes. It goes on and on, salt and meat, meat and salt and a little dried cakey fruit. Drying at the end, leaving all the bacon Greece that is burning away on white hot embers in the back of the nose and mouth. It’s big time intensive all around. About ten minutes after the sip I can start to taste some more sherried dark fruit notes in my mouth, like I had been drinking a sherried Whisky more recently! Bizarre! Oh, the feel good factor. Big time!

Adding water.

You know what. I don’t know if I want to add water. This is such the experience neat, I don’t want to dilute that experience. But then again I would like to get my nose right in there, so let’s add a bunch. The nose is now slightly more focused on the earthy peat and grass notes, with the bacon elements still playing a part but more restrained. The palate is sweeter, more fruity up front, almightily intense, oil invasive to every nook and cranny of the mouth, much more sweeter intensive, with white sugar, sugar soaked raisin, some fruitcake, sweet lemon juice, the finish is now very sweet, with fruit, a little oak drying tannins and well, it’s just a hell of an experience.

Conclusion.

Octomore is always about the experience. And Discovery is no exception to that rule. In fact I would go as far as to say it is the ultimate experience of Octomore experiences. Its in your face massive. I’m not sure how well suited it is to summer weather, but I have thoroughly enjoyed this trip and it’s hot, so I guess it’s fine. I look forward to retrying this in the winter months as I’m sure it will be the perfection of winter earners. One last sip after adding even more water. Nose – the bacon is back, and it’s bigger than ever. The palate – sweet, oh my! Juicy, earthy peat, bacon, sugar, sugar, sugar. Finish. Earthy, meaty, sweetie pleasure.

20140623-224320-81800130.jpg

Whisky Review – Glen Marnoch Bourbon Reserve – Aldi

Glen Marnoch Bourbon Reserve – Aldi

Bourbon finish (!!!!!)
40% ABV
£17.99 from Aldi in store only

Bourbon finish….bourbon finish…what the hell does that mean? Well, technically it means the whisky has been finished in bourbon barrels. The trouble is I’ve never seen this as a selling feature in any Whisky ever before…ever. As the rule of thumb (or general Whisky maturation techniques, I’m talking generally before anyone picks me up on anything) is that Whisky is matured in ex-bourbon or ex-sherry wood for a number of years. I have seen where Whisky has been finished in sherry wood, but never in bourbon before, this is due to bourbon oak being far more available than sherry oak, and therefore the default maturation is for ex-bourbon wood to be used. Anyway!

So, if anyone from the land of Aldi does read this and would like to divulge some more information to this Whisky anorak, and therefore to many more Whisky anorak’s, we would love to know more about this whisky’s maturation! Has it been finished in first fill as the refill maturation was lackluster? Was it originally sherry/something else more exotic, and then transferred to bourbon to finish? Which/what/where/when? Or is it just a bit of a marketing ploy? (Just an opinion!) 🙂

Nose.

Very spicy. Pepper, clove, all spice dominates. Could it be sherry wood? Maybe, don’t know. It’s not as fruity as I would like for sherry. Burnt caramel. A little vanilla. Quite burnt wood, possibly heavily charred casks used here. With a little time in the glass the spice recedes and there is a little dark fruit thing going on, kind of like overcooked (but not quite burnt yet) jam. Raisin. A few red berries. Some vanilla sponge cake. It’s not a bad nose at all, in fact it’s rather pleasant

Palate.

Light mouthfeel, obviously watered down to 40% takes quite a bit away. Some sweet and sour. The burnt oak, fruit and jam makes it to the palate. Light vanilla, burnt matchsticks. There is a bitterness to the mid development, but then more fruit comes through with those toasted berries making an appearance.

Finish.

Medium, light, some of the fruit lingers, the char smoke very much lingers, then turns bitter with oak tannins, and a little wet sawdust. Slight fustiness maybe.

Adding water.

Added a small amount. The nose is now mor concentrated on the vanilla sponge elements, now the spiciness has subsided. The palate is juicier, more vanilla, a little fruit, and with the burnt elements really toned down. The finish has the fruit, vanilla and cream, with less of the burnt and bitter edges. This dram needs a drop of water to help it out. Maybe even an ice cube in a big dram! I don’t normally say such sacrilegious things. Lol

Conclusion.

For the price, this is good stuff, but it needs the water dilution. Without it it does have some edginess which makes it harder to take. I’ve done a very brief side by side with the 18 and 24 year old versions, it’s clear to smell and taste it’s the same malt, but this one is a lot younger with those ‘features’ which the aged variants done have. If I were to recommend one of the 3 it’s still the 18 year old as far as bang for buck is concerned. If you can find the 24 discounted (recently heard it being purchased for £29.99 – bargain!) then don’t hesitate.

20140615-220143-79303219.jpg

Whisky Review – Bunnahabhain 26 year old Lady of the Glen single cask

Bunnahabhain 26 year old Lady of the Glen single cask
50.1% ABV
Non Chill Filtered
No Added Colourings
Distilled 16th November 1987
Bourbon refill cask
Only 205 bottles.

£130.00 for 70cl available from LadyoftheGlen
£65.00 for 20cl available from LadyoftheGlen

Nose.

Thick, complex. Banana, toffee, vanilla, chewy caramel. Stewed apples. Cinnamon. Pepper. Assorted mix spice. Considering its age it isn’t wood heavy. There is a definite oaky air to it, but there is a lot going on all around, nicely balanced on the nose as well, with nothing overwhelming or leading. With time I’m getting more buttery and creamy elements. And now some floral. Very little smoke, possibly an edge of char (I have to be careful I can smell lots of neighbours bbq’s at the moment). Every time I go back to it there is something different in the forefront to the background. With a little more time there is a spicy intensity going on amongst the stewed fruit background. It really is intriguing stuff, a lot of time can be spent with this aroma. I’m sure I can smell a good whiff of chocolate amongst things now.

Palate.

Sweet and salty. Mouth watering saltiness on the initial arrival. Development goes into the creamy vanilla, with salted praline. Light caramel. Some chocolate. A little mashed banana. Some oak spices. Drying sawdust. A very oily mouthcoating nature to this dram.

Finish.

Thick buttery vanilla with a little salt and bitter oak. A touch of milk chocolate. The vanilla cream continues for a long while. There also seems a tiny whiff of bonfire smoke lingering around my mouth parts.

Adding water.

Just a few drops added. The nose is a softer vanilla creamy cakey pastry. It really is a Boston cream pie donut in a glass on the nose! There’s some dusting cocoa powder. A little floral. Quiet oak. It’s a consistently lovely nose. The palate is still a daring sweet then salty, now with a little more creaminess into the development. End development we get some more bitter salted chocolate. The finish very long and changing. It is salty, drying, chocolate and vanilla with cinnamon dust, then ages afterwards I’m still tasting some spiced fruits, oak, vanilla, a little wood char. Memorable in its resilience to fade away!

Conclusion.

Intriguing and complex, this is not for the beginner. This Whisky is demanding. Requires time, exploration and someone who appreciates it’s complexities. A truly unique Whisky.

Many thanks to Gregor at Lady of the Glen for the review sample.

20140615-210828-76108989.jpg

Whisky Review – Tullibardine 25 Year Old

Tullibardine 25 Year Old
43% ABV
£161.37 available from MasterOfMalt

Nose.

Intense. Vanilla. Dark burnt sugar. A little charred oak smoke. Dark stewed fruits. Some acetone (in a good way). It’s a very deep and dark nose. Some ground almond. Marzipan. Black cherry. Some dark bitter chocolate. There is a black Forrest gateau thing going on. Having said that I can now even smell the fresh cream. This IS an experience. Fascinating stuff. Some varnished oak coming through now. This is quite a changer as it airs.

Palate.

Smooth as silk and pleasingly oily. Initially very sherried. Sweet plums, raisin, fruitcake. A little nuttiness. And some familiar Christmas spices. Lots of vanilla and thick honeys. Very richly syrupy sweet and chewy.

Finish.

Those fruitcake rich notes go on and on, very long finish, chest warming and has a feel good factor I love in old, well matured whiskies. At the end of the finish we finally dry out with some oakiness.

Adding water.

The tiniest drop added as this Whisky is old. The nose is bursting with aged, varnished and polished oak now, still fruity to the core, but showing a great age. The palate is slightly lighter but full of flavour. The sugars rich and fulfilling. Fruity as before and sweeter now diluted. The finish is long fruity and heartwarming. Excellent stuff.

Conclusion.

An excellent aged Whisky, showing a fruity side with well balanced age and very good maturation. If I could afford it I would drink a lot of this one. It’s very very nice if it doesn’t break your bank.

Many thanks to Tullibardine Distillery for providing me with a sample, and all of the samples recently reviewed. I’ve enjoyed every one. This 25 year old is fantastic stuff.

20140605-000111-71398.jpg

Whisky Review – Tullibardine 20 Year Old

Tullibardine 20 Year Old
43% ABV
£77.99 available from Whisky Galore at the Green Welly Stop

Nose.

Honey, lots of it, intensive. Burnt caramel. A delicate floral background. The nose is a chewy one, complex and intriguing. There’s some waxiness with time. Evolving dark, dried fruits. Gentle Christmas spices. Fruitcake. Marzipan. Lots of luscious sugars. Shed loads of vanilla. Some lovely aged oak notes. This really is an easy and very pleasant smeller.

Palate.

Rich dark fruit jam. Vanilla, fruitcake and associated seasonal spices. Honey, brown sugar. Overall very fruity and involving. A little dry oak comes through. Some sawdust. Generally sweet with A little bitterness mid development.

Finish.

Dark fruits and spices fade quickly to a long oaky, sawdust finish, with some bitter oak tannins, and a little black tea.

Adding water.

Only a tiny drop as it’s on the older side. The nose is now far more floral based with a background of fruitiness, the fruits even include some of a tropical nature now, specifically some ripe pineapple. The sugars are weakened. The palate is substantially richer with fruit, with the drying mid development a little better balanced. The finish is again, more balanced and less about the tannins, but the gentle fade of the fruity experience. A small drop of water suits this dram in my opinion.

Conclusion.

This is a pleasant Whisky. The nose is particularly excellent, complex and a joy to explore. Undiluted I find the oak takes over the palate/finish a little and doesn’t suit my tastes so much, but when diluted this is balanced out for me and becomes a greater experience.

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

20140604-235920-86360911.jpg