Whisky Review – SMWS 4.194 Lip-Smacking and Mouth-Puckering (Highland Park)

SMWS 4.194 Lip-Smacking and Mouth-Puckering
Distillery – Highland Park
Maturation – refill ex-bourbon cask
Distill date – 30th November 1995
Age – 18 years old
60 bottles
53.3% ABV
Non Chill Filtered
No Added Colouring
~£70 from SMWS – now sold out.


Nose.

Sweet pine trees. Pear drops. Acetone. Newly painted statues (this reference coming from the first time you open the packaging of a statue of a geeky origin, for me, new Star Wars statues/mini busts!). Leather. Sweet liquorice. Clove. Cinnamon. Sticky sweet chilli sauce. Oranges. Fresh crisp apple. Pear drops. There’s touches of ozone, fresh sea air and a light nuttiness. Very complex and explorable.

Palate.

Intensively sweet, sweet shop confectionary rings out, some melted chocolate, oranges, toffee. There is very little alcohol burn, it’s very palatable at full strength. In the development we have honey, some chewy toffee. Later in the development we have peat smoke coming through. While this sounds very similar to other drams, the experience is something else, it ‘feels’ quality. This is a very very intense feelgood dram.

Finish.

Long, developing sweetness, chest hugging warmth. Toffee, a touch of peat smoke and earthiness. Slowly drying out with a touch of oak char. I’m finding things a little speechless this feels so damn good. Utterly beautiful, just an amazing experience of a dram.

Adding water.

A few drops added. On the nose we have floral now. Lots of heather. Parma violet sweeties. More leather. A touch of pipe tobacco. Polished oak. Some wood char. On the palate we have refined delicacy, so well balanced, sweet, light smoke, so many sweeties, gentle spice, chewy honey, creamy vanilla ice cream, a touch of oak. The finish goes on for an age and is low down in the chest warming, calming, gorgeous stuff.

Conclusion.

I’m finding this one difficult to express. It’s amazing stuff. Such balance and finesse. I don’t know how to express how much I flipping love this. Other than saying that obviously! Ok, in summary. This makes me HAPPY!

My own bottle

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Whisky Review – Glen Moray Elgin Classic Port Wood Finish

Glen Moray Elgin Classic Port Wood Finish
40% ABV
£26.85 available from MasterOfMalt

Nose.

A lot of creamy buttery vanilla. Creme brûlée. Delicate malt biscuits. Shortcake. In amongst these delights we have some red berries mingling. Grapes. Strawberry. A touch of fine pepper. A little oak. Easily sniffable and summery nose.

Palate.

Very creamy, with strawberry jam. Perfect for spreading on scones! Lots of vanilla again, with a creamy malty grain running throughout. The port finish is an enhancement on the palate, giving the light jammy texture amongst the development. And there is quite a texture to this dram, very silky and quite mouth coating considering it’s chill filtration.

Finish.

Vanilla and a touch of red berries are present throughout the medium length finish. With a touch of oak at the very end.

Adding water.

Only a touch of water. I don’t think this dram needs it at all. The nose now has more jamminess, I’m actually surprised, the drop of water has enhanced things nicely. There is a touch of sawdust among the added fruit intensity, a little less cream and vanilla. The palate is still mouthcoating, and also has added fruit complexity, there are more varied berries on the palate now, blackberry, red current, grapes along with the strawberry jam from previously. The finish is more fruity, sweeter and altogether extremely tasty. Give it a small drop of water!

Conclusion.

Ok, disclaimer alert, by and large I love port matured whisky, and therefore I do bloody love this one. It’s a remarkably easy drinking dram. A very successful session whisky, tasty, moreish and a bargain at the mid twenties in price tag. Glen Moray produce some really excellent, affordable whiskies, I’m particularly fond of their 10 year old Chardonnay cask. If you get the opportunity to visit them at the distillery or their stand at a whisky show I thoroughly recommend you go through their line of expressions, you will have a lot of fun and experience something very special. The only small thing though. 46%. NCF. I would love to experience Glen Moray with that presentation. But in the meantime keep up the excellent quality.

Much thanks to Glen Moray for the review sample.

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Whisky Review – Label 5 Gold Heritage Blend

Label 5 Gold Heritage Blend
40% ABV
coming soon to a whisky store near you.

PR Release info:

“Graham Coull, LABEL 5 Master Blender, crafted a unique and rich whisky. LABEL 5 Gold Heritage is a rich blend of exceptional whiskies that includes malts aged of more than 20 years. Created with passion and care, LABEL 5 Gold Heritage presents a unique profile which lies between the smoky and peated flavours of the old malts whiskies and the creamy vanilla notes of the grain whiskies. The smooth character which is the trademark of LABEL 5 whiskies has been accentuated with subtle woody hints and spicy notes.

LABEL 5 Gold Heritage is a personal achievement for me. Building on the traditions of LABEL 5, I have hand-selected whiskies from different ages and casks which marry together to produce a wonderfully balanced blend. The result is an exceptionally smooth whisky loaded with fruit, spice, warm vanilla oak and subtle smoke, which offers a unique taste experience.” said Graham Coull.
The packaging echoes the iconic LABEL 5 Classic Black and conveys a premium look through the use of the gold and brown colours. The packaging reflects perfectly the warm and inviting atmosphere of whisky tasting moments.
Recently awarded with a double gold medal at the China World Spirit Award, Gold Heritage can look the future with confidence!”

My notes:

Nose.

Enticingly spicy vanilla. Some dark honey. Stewed Apple. Creamy buttered popcorn. Touches of chocolate, coconut and cinnamon. Wisp of charred oak.

Palate.

Sweet, then drier. Bitter honey, then sweet chewier toffee. Some dark fruits, cinnamon and pepper. A touch of aniseed. The sweetness comes back in the further development and creamy vanillas and smooth buttery notes along with some coconut are present.

Finish.

Short to medium length. Vanilla, honey, light spices fading into some dry oak.

Adding water.

Only a small drop added. Spices are enriched on the nose and intermingled with a sweeter honey now. The palate is rounded off, slightly weakened, but the dry and bitter notes mid development are now lessoned and we have an all round creamier whisky. The finish is creamier also, with a nice cinnamon bite. Definitely benefits from a drop of water.

Conclusion.

This is a good all round summer style blended whisky. Enjoyable neat, even more enjoyable with a drop of water (or ice if it’s summer). Not readily available in the uk right now, but if you’re abroad on summer holidays and fancy an alternative session dram, this could be right up your alley.

Much thanks to Glen Moray for the review sample.

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Whisky Review – Highland Park 12 year old

Highland Park 12 year old
‘Natural colour’
40% ABV
£29.95 available from MasterOfMalt

About time I reviewed some Highland Park expressions. So here we go, starting at the entry level expression available pretty much everywhere. This review coming from a brand new, freshly opened bottle (bought mid 2014). I found that this bottle needed some time to settle down after being opened initially, it’s definitely one not to take on first impressions.

Nose.

A really nice, complex, spicy nose. Breathtaking in intensity. We have lovely smouldering twiggy bonfire smoke. Aromatic pepper and sweet cinnamon spices. Nicely fruity in the form of raisin, apples, a touch of orange. There are elements of Christmas spices which really shows off the sherry maturation. Rounding this off with some heather and honey notes.
It’s a very sniffable nose, so sniffable I did Ashamedly get my nose a little wet where it got an unexpected dip.

Palate.

A peppery, spicy arrival, calming to some sweet chewy fruits and honey. Apple, orange skin, grapefruit pith, toffee and some earthy, medicinal peat smoke. Further into the development we get some stewed tea and oaky tannins. Nicely complex, very easy to sip and relish.

Finish.

The finish retains spices and extinguished bonfire smoke, some ash. A little effervescence and some apples and orange tang.

Adding water.

Tiny drop added as I think this is drinkable enough at 40%. The nose is now all fruit and floral with very little punch from the undiluted version. The palate reflects this, loosing the spiciness and now has a little more defined fruit, with some lemon citrus coming in, but the smokiness is reduced. The finish is weakened a great deal. Hmmmm, I would say absolutely avoid water, but if you want en experiment it’s nice to see the variations in the palate.

Conclusion.

This is a great, consistent quality single malt, that I use as my go to whisky at bars. Easy drinking, suitably complex at the same time as being a straight easy session whisky. It’s suitable for many moods and many occasions. I can’t help but wish there could be a 46% NCF release just for the fans! 🙂

My own bottle

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