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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Whisky Review – Linkwood 24 year old (Whisky Broker)

Linkwood 24 year old (Whisky Broker)
51.7% ABV
Single cask Hogshead 3540
Non Chill Filtered
No Added Colouring
£58 from Whisky Broker

Nose.

A complex fudge nose. Chocolate. Dried fruit. Plums. Figs. Golden syrup. Honey. Runny caramel. It’s like all my favourite Cadbury bars rolled into one. Fruit and nut, fudge, crunchie and Caramel. It’s a choccy bar haven. There is some dusty pepper and vanillas rounding things off.

Palate.

Thick honey and some chocolate, then a blast of alcohol. After that subsides we have more waves of caramel, chocolate, honey and gooey niceties.

Finish.

A long lasting finish. Some strong tea tannins, light oak, vanilla and chocolate. Melted unsalted butter at the very end.

Adding water.

A little splash added, being wary of age. The nose has a spicier, dustier edge to it. There is still the plethora of chocolate bar goodness, very rich and fulfilling. The palate now has less of the alcohol burn and a more balanced development, creamier and more chocolate heavy. Flavoursome stuff. The finish now has less of the tea/tannins and a continuation of the creamier theme.

Conclusion.

Lovely stuff. Tasty, expressive and different. Again, another great bottling from whisky broker. A bargain as always, £58 quid for a 24 year old whisky is amazing value for money, and this is a great single cask to show off the variations that a single cask can bring.

My own bottle.

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Whisky Review – Tobermory 20 year old (Whisky Broker)

Tobermory 20 year old (Whisky Broker)
51.1% ABV
Single cask Hogshead 188063
Non Chill Filtered
No Added Colouring
£40.50 from Whisky Broker

Nose.

Lovely! Rich dusty chocolate coated fudge. Toffee. Very intensely thick honey. There’s not a lot of fruit going on. It’s more about the chocolate and fattening milk based confectionary. Lots of white sugar dust. In the background there’s a touch of pepper and something herbal, maybe parsley and a touch of fresh mint. With some time in the glass we have some sweet citrus notes emerging.

Palate.

Sweet, a touch of citrus sour, lemon juice. Then development moves into fudgey thick sweetness, always with the citrus in the background. Lots of chewy honey and toffee. Touches of mint. Some oak sour amongst the burn from the relatively high alcohol content. This is a complex lip smacking palate.

Finish.

Ends sweet with some citrus tang hanging back for a medium to long length finish. Warming deep down in the chest. Drys out with some oak and lemon peel. Some spearmint rounds things off at the end.

Adding water.

About 3 little splashes added. Much more citrus on the nose. Bitter lemons, with a touch of sugar. Not so much of the sugary confectionary anymore. The palate is sweeter at arrival, during development we have the lemons back, but more restrained and sweeter, with more of a malty characteristic overall now and some spicy cinnamon and sweet vanilla. The finish is shorter, sweeter, more about sweet lemons and vanilla.

Conclusion.

Very different. I’ve not tried a Tobermory before, so this is difficult to compare to a regular bottling, but this is a very nice, quite challenging whisky. Not for the beginner, but I would say someone who is well aware of whisky flavours and wishes to branch out into more different single cask flavour experiences.

I really love what whisky broker does. Where else can you get a 20 year old single cask for just over £40!

My own bottle.

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Whisky Review – Craigellachie 23 year old

Craigellachie 23 year old
46% ABV
Non Chill Filtered
No Added Colouring
£330 from The Whisky Exchange (although in Europe the retail price is much cheaper. Don’t know why!)

Nose.

Lots of vanilla fudge, and some additional honey thickness to this expression. I’m getting some parsley and hay/straw which is new to this expression compared to the other ages. The fruit is a touch more combined and tropical with some light mango, pineapple and a touch of honeydew melon. A touch of pepper and some smokier charred oak from previous younger expressions.

Palate.

The arrival is immediately fruity, thick with tropical fruit juices. Pineapple and melon dominate, with some citrus in the background. A touch of pepper and oak spices drop in briefly, and the development continues with a mouthcoating creamy vanilla, wisps of smoke come to and fro, and the whole experience is very beautifully constructed.

Finish.

Gentle, long length. Thick vanilla cream cakes, egg custard, pastry, then drying out into oak. Deeply warming and fulfilling.

Adding water.

Just a few drops added. The nose now has more dust and spice in the forefront, some very dunnage warehouse notes about it. The fruit is ever present, tropical and luscious. The palate is still all about the fruit, very thick and almost smoothy like. We have more creaminess in the vanillas and a touch of sweet shop sweeties amongst the fruitiness, some pineapple cubes and boiled sweets. Some gentle aniseed rounds things off. The finish is soft, gentle, warming and oaky with the creaminess still very present. Lovely aged stuff.

Conclusion and comparison (13yo, 17yo, 19yo & 23yo)

First and foremost I would like to commend Craigellachie for going with a craft presented, aged range of whiskies. We face the days of more and more NAS, some good, some bad and it would have been easy for a very different approach to their releases. I’m glad for the aged tradition. I’m also especially happy at the 46%, colour free, non chill filtered releases. They make a great difference, and I wish other producers would see this and do similar. I’m also hopeful other whiskies in the Dewar’s range will take this approach. Time will tell.

So, what did I like. I liked them all. The traditional style of these whiskies are really a credit to good quality whisky production. That aside, which will I buy? The 17 is my personal favourite, with the 13 being a very fine every day drinker with some complexities to challenge the more experienced whisky drinker. The 19/23 are also excellent stuff, but I cannot easily get the 19 and cannot afford the 23. Simple maths takes them out of the purchase equation.

Many thanks to Craigellachie for the review sample

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Whisky Review – Craigellachie 19 year old

Craigellachie 19 year old
46% ABV
Non Chill Filtered
No Added Colouring
Only available on travel retail

Nose.

Lots of vanilla fudge and stewed citrus fruits, it’s a little lighter on the spices although there is still a touch of pepper. The vanilla is more custardy than the younger releases. There is added and enhanced complexity in the herbal and oak elements of this whisky. We now have some liquorice introduced, and the oak has more of a charred base to it, maybe the older barrels were more heavily charred or it’s just the additional couple of years that has changed this. There is also some sweet shop sherbert on the nose. Some boiled sweets also join in and a touch more tropical in the fruit field. Some light pineapple is introduced with this 19 year old to the younger expressions.

Palate.

A little bitter lemon juice on the arrival develops into lots of runny honey. Toffee. Creamy custard. This is a very sweet and desert like palate. Sponge cake. Some aniseed. A touch of poppyseed. A smidge of smoke, some oak, rather chewy and nicely Mouthcoating.

Finish.

Dusty oak, reminiscent of dunnage the feel of a dunnage warehouse! Spicy drying oak, vanilla, a touch of wood sour, warming in the lower chest, really nice feelgood feel to this whisky. The finish lasts for a good while, with some vanilla cream coming back later on!

Adding water.

Just a few drops added. The nose has become more integrated and vanilla intensive. Creamier in the forefront, with the liquorice notes a touch more prominent and pepper spices enlivened. The palate is juicy! More citrus and pineapple juices are evident with a whole new level of creamy custardy backnotes. There is more sweet shop sweeties in the development and confectionary sugars. The finish also retains these sweet shop sugar notes, icing sugar especially and some herbal throat sweets. Very complex and different.

Conclusion and comparison (13yo, 17yo, 19yo & 23yo)

First and foremost I would like to commend Craigellachie for going with a craft presented, aged range of whiskies. We face the days of more and more NAS, some good, some bad and it would have been easy for a very different approach to their releases. I’m glad for the aged tradition. I’m also especially happy at the 46%, colour free, non chill filtered releases. They make a great difference, and I wish other producers would see this and do similar. I’m also hopeful other whiskies in the Dewar’s range will take this approach. Time will tell.

So, what did I like. I liked them all. The traditional style of these whiskies are really a credit to good quality whisky production. That aside, which will I buy? The 17 is my personal favourite, with the 13 being a very fine every day drinker with some complexities to challenge the more experienced whisky drinker. The 19/23 are also excellent stuff, but I cannot easily get the 19 and cannot afford the 23. Simple maths takes them out of the purchase equation.

Many thanks to Craigellachie for the review sample

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Whisky Review – Craigellachie 17 year old

Craigellachie 17 year old
46% ABV
Non Chill Filtered
No Added Colouring
£81.95 from The Whisky Exchange

Nose.

Thick, rich vanilla fudge is the first thing that strikes me. This has a more luxurious nose to the 13, the aromas, deeper and more refined. The citrus notes are becoming stewed and sweetened with the extra time, still lemons and oranges, but more boiled down and squishy. The vanilla spices are also very clear, with some light pepper and cinnamon. There is more of a cake mix intensity to this nose, just lovely.

Palate.

There is a more oily mouthfeel to the 17 compared to the 13. The whole experience is more integrated and steady to the 13. We get a lot more vanilla softness and cake notes upfront, it’s a silky, smooth experience which is clearly much more matured and easy going. Lots of vanilla, soft citrus notes and gentle spices throughout. There is an addition of some gentle aniseed. A very easy drinker.

Finish.

The vanilla, fruit and spice combination hangs around for a while with the added oiliness making every nook and cranny of the mouth fulfilled. Dries out at the end with some gentle oak. Making you thirsty for more sips!

Adding water.

Just a few drops added. The nose has more of the tropics about it now, with the stewed fruit turning pineapple like. The vanilla notes are more of a vanilla buttercream variant now, spices are tonned down considerably. The palate is so smooth, creamy, with all the cake notes intensified, this is a great desert whisky with some water, very thickly creamy. The finish is light, more cream, more sweetened butter, more vanilla. Lush.

Conclusion and comparison (13yo, 17yo, 19yo & 23yo)

First and foremost I would like to commend Craigellachie for going with a craft presented, aged range of whiskies. We face the days of more and more NAS, some good, some bad and it would have been easy for a very different approach to their releases. I’m glad for the aged tradition. I’m also especially happy at the 46%, colour free, non chill filtered releases. They make a great difference, and I wish other producers would see this and do similar. I’m also hopeful other whiskies in the Dewar’s range will take this approach. Time will tell.

So, what did I like. I liked them all. The traditional style of these whiskies are really a credit to good quality whisky production. That aside, which will I buy? The 17 is my personal favourite, with the 13 being a very fine every day drinker with some complexities to challenge the more experienced whisky drinker. The 19/23 are also excellent stuff, but I cannot easily get the 19 and cannot afford the 23. Simple maths takes them out of the purchase equation.

Many thanks to Craigellachie for the review sample

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Whisky Review – Craigellachie 13 year old

Craigellachie 13 year old
46% ABV
Non Chill Filtered
No Added Colouring
£41.95 from The Whisky Exchange

Nose.

Vanilla, lots of it. Sweet citrus of lemon oil and oranges, a few apples. Malty biscuits. Oatcakes. Light pepper and a touch of cardamon. It’s a great, traditional malt whisky nose. Feels old fashioned and that’s a good thing. There’s a touch of herbal savoury, in the form of lemongrass.

Palate.

Immediately creamy, buttery arrival, with the development taking a spicy turn, some hot chilli pepper, turning into some tart citrus lemon juice, then turning back to the creamy light vanilla cream cake notes. Some tannins remain through at the end of the complex development.

Finish.

Warming, gentle creamy vanilla sponge cake stays for a medium length, with some oak tannins, and a gentle buttery fade out.

Adding water.

Just a few drops added. A reassuring scotch mist is well and truly formed. The nose is gentler, more relaxed. Very malty indeed. Everything in harmony and well balanced. The palate reflects this, some lovely creamy grain, soft vanilla, and gentle citrus fruits are all present without the veering into the overly tart bitter notes from the undiluted. The finish is gentle and creamy, with a touch of tannins at the very end.

Conclusion and comparison (13yo, 17yo, 19yo & 23yo)

First and foremost I would like to commend Craigellachie for going with a craft presented, aged range of whiskies. We face the days of more and more NAS, some good, some bad and it would have been easy for a very different approach to their releases. I’m glad for the aged tradition. I’m also especially happy at the 46%, colour free, non chill filtered releases. They make a great difference, and I wish other producers would see this and do similar. I’m also hopeful other whiskies in the Dewar’s range will take this approach. Time will tell.

So, what did I like. I liked them all. The traditional style of these whiskies are really a credit to good quality whisky production. That aside, which will I buy? The 17 is my personal favourite, with the 13 being a very fine every day drinker with some complexities to challenge the more experienced whisky drinker. The 19/23 are also excellent stuff, but I cannot easily get the 19 and cannot afford the 23. Simple maths takes them out of the purchase equation.

Many thanks to Craigellachie for the review sample

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