Waitrose Highland Single Malt 16 year old
~£32.00 from Waitrose
I’m setting myself a mission on the run up to Christmas to try some of the mid range supermarket own brand whiskies and write reviews for them. There aren’t enough reviews out there of these whiskies, and they are often overlooked because of the supermarket name on the label. Time to see if they should be ignored of if this is a falsehood and your missing out on a particular taste sensation or superbargain.
Very sweet initially. Lots of thick honey. Boiled apples. Orange peel. Chocolate. Coffee and vanilla. It’s quite a confectionary dominated dram. On the spice front we have sweet cinnamon and ginger in abundance. There are background notes of floral with touches of oak shavings. With a little time in the glass the floral elements and a lighter heather honey note is more pronounced. Additional time in the glass has really helped this dram out, there is a lot more fruit, boiled down and ready for filling in a pie. Lots of apples, rhubarb (even a touch of custard), orange and sweet lemons.
Very sweet, a slight effervescent fizz to the arrival. Honey, brown sugar, sugar cane, maple syrup. All things intensely sweet. The development goes in a similar direction. Lots of sugary sweetness, some more fruity elements moved in, coated in sugar. Rosey Apple sweets, some pineapple cubes, cola cubes, this is a pick n mix whisky. There is a slight bitterness mid development. The more time this dram has to breath the more it has to give. After about 30 minutes we have a lot more fruit, a basket of ripe apples, oranges and a touch of banana. Plenty of vanilla rich custard with it.
A medium to long length finish. Warming cinnamon spice, sweet sugar coated apples, vanilla, coffee, chocolate. A little tingling fruit freshness on the tongue. Warming in the chest and all around fulfilling.
With just a smidge of water the nose develops an oakiness edge. Dry, freshly cut oak. The fruit becomes somewhat drier also, with some dried pineapple joining the fruit basket. The palate is also slightly less sucrose now, exhibits more wood, and a slightly sweet herbal note, sweet liquorice. The finish is much the same, but has a drier edge. Swings and roundabouts as to which is better, diluted or undiluted. Give it a go and make your own mind up, I’d probably do a bit of both, but edge towards the undiluted for quaffability value.
Without the extra time in the glass this whisky was going to be relatively un-impressive and just “ok”, but thanks to an unexpected 30 min phone call things got much more interesting, fruity, deep and altogether more integrated. This is a lovely whisky. Representative of its age, and has some great qualities about it. It is very sweet though, so if you don’t like your drams this way, you may not get on with it. Personally, I’m a sweet tooth, so this is very enjoyable indeed.
This is a very nice dram and something I think would stand up to other mid teen aged whiskies, so in those terms and considering the price of say a 15/18yo single malt it is good value.
As for what distillery this maybe I had heard rumours this was Dalmore, but the packaging says this whisky is from a distillery with over 180 years experience, which would rule out Dalmore. From my limited experience I was going for more of a Glenfarclas flavour profile, again this isn’t over 180 in years. So…I don’t have a clue. Thinking about it it does remind me of Glenlivet a bit. But truth is I have no clue.
From my own stash of fascination.