Whisky Review – Wemyss “Spiced Apple Strudel” – Craigellachie 2002 @wemyssmalts

Wemyss “Spiced Apple Strudel” – Craigellachie 2002 

46% ABV

Non chill filtered

No added colouring

362 bottles

£54.94 available from Master of Malt 

Nose. 

On first pour things are quite metallic. Copper and crushed up tin foil comes to mind, with a background of orchard fruits. A few minutes later and there is more concentrated fruit now. Apple, most definitely, lots of it, and spicy. Hot cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, all coating some freshly cut green apples, and a handful of soaked sultanas. Warming on the nose, suggesting baked fruit, but it’s all too green, crisp and juicy. There are Danish pastry elements as well, as with all Wemyss single casks, this has an immensely appropriate name. 

Palate. 

A lovely crisp apple arrival, sweet but mostly tangy, with some gentle spices turning into hotter spices during the development. That spicy cinnamon bites alongside ginger and a touch of honey glaze over the lot. Held on the tongue through this and things get softer, with more rounded honey and fruit interaction, a thick mouthfeel helps the chewiness, and brings back another round of spiciness. Some metallic coppery notes come through which I find characterful of Craigellichie. 

Finish. 

The copper coin subsides to spicy fruit, and even a touch of juicy homemade fruit cake, some cherrystone and green apple skin. 

Adding water. 

A few drops added. Wow, the apples have become stewed, much more of a chutney note around it all now, and fudge, lots of thick clotted cream fudge, crisp apples are still there in the background and are more reminiscent of apple flavoured starburst chews. The palate has more apple juice now, more tart, with some added honey richness, and some, yep, creamy fudge. There’s a little chocolate as well. The finish has less of a metallic nature than before, with the fruity fudge sticking around and a slight hint of tangy apples remaining to the end. Water makes this dram completely different, whilst very similar to the undiluted version. I prefer with water. 

Conclusion. 

Another great Wemyss single cask release. I have a bit of a love/hate thing with Craigellachie to be honest, but this one does his the mark, it’s an easy drinking, fresh, crisp dram, which suits spring nights very well. As usual with Wemyss, beautifully, and perfectly named.

Many thanks to Wemyss for the review sample

Advertisements

Whisky Review – Laphroaig 18 Year Old 1998 – Old Particular Consortium of Cards (Douglas Laing) @DLaingWhisky

Laphroaig 18 Year Old 1998 – Old Particular Consortium of Cards (Douglas Laing)

50% ABV

Non chill filtered

No added colouring

£137.95 from Master of Malt 



Nose. 

At first sniff we have something smokey, sooty, predominantly bonfire smoke with some hospital antiseptic in the background. There’s a creamy barley note running through. Some citrus fruit and gentle spices. After a few minutes it’s got a lot busier. Loads of fruit now, apples, lemons, blackberry and a touch of raspberry, all fresh and vibrant. The smoke is well integrated, still mainly of the bonfire type as opposed to medicinal peat smoke, although some sweet peat is coming through now. The antiseptic is there, not intense TCP, but old hospital corridors. Every time I go back this changes slightly, now I’m even getting a touch of Parma violets. The berry fruits are lush! 

Palate. 

First sip engulfs the senses, loads going on. Fruity smokey medicinal earthy cereal. Loads! Lots of apples, some lemon rind and juice, a little blackcurrant, a creamy barley cereal runs throughout, the smoke envelopes all of this, almost like puffing on a cigarette without the abrasive smoke. In the development there is a touch of bitter lemon amongst an ashy moment. The mouthfeel is beautifully fulfilling and you would never know this is 50%. There is a lovely rich, runny honey fruit salad thing going on later on, those berries are back, with some added peach, in a smoothie with honey. Lovely. 

Finish. 

The fruity ripe concoction has a medium to long length finish, full of fruit, smoke is almost forgotten except for the odd smoky burp. Chest hugging warmth, this is really something else. 

Adding water. 

I’m not watering this, I don’t have a lot, and it is perfect the way it is. 

Conclusion. 

Beautifully refined, absolutely delicious. It’s not cheap, but oh my god, I understand why this has sold so well, this is next level stuff. Amazing. If you can get this and it’s in your price bracket do not hesitate, but please open it up, and if you can spare a drop you know where I am. 😋

Many thanks to Douglas Laing for the review sample

Whisky Review – Boutique-y Whisky Blended Whisky Batch 3 – 23 years old @BoutiqueyWhisky

Boutique-y Whisky Blended Whisky Batch 3 – 23 years old

48.2% ABV

Non chill filtered

No added colouring

£79.95 from Master of Malt. 

Nose. 

On first pour we have an abundance of toffee and caramel, with a backing of freshly made popcorn. After some time in the glass things get a little spicer, and we have some sweet ginger, baked apple, cinnamon and brown sugar. There are hints of coffee walnut cake and some milk chocolate. 

Palate. 

A sweet, voluptuous arrival, lots of chocolate, thick treacle toffee, chocolate going into coffee mocha territory. The mouthfeel is thick and gloopy, really nice. There’s some light fruitcake, but this is all about the thickness of the mouth and the toffee and chocolate combination. It’s really delicious. Spice wise, there’s a little ginger and sweet Chinese spices, alongside some sweet coconut shreds. At natural strength this is easy to drink, and compulsory to sip. 

Finish. 

Warming ginger with touches of sweet pepper, but that chocolate caramel toffee thick flavour sticks around for a nice duration.

Adding water. 

Small drop in half a dram. Everything has become creamier. The nose has more of a milky coffee/chocolate thing going on, less Spice, more buttery softness. The palate reflects this entirely, the mouthfeel is slightly less viscous, but now has a lovely smooth texture and creaminess to the flavours, which are also toned down a little. The finish is gentler, more refined. With and without water this dram has talent. 

Conclusion. 

Bloody beautiful blend! Really excellent in many ways, it’s not the cheapest obviously, some may say very expensive, but it does have a lot going for it, it’s not one to stick with your tonic/Coke/soda, this is a great sipping whisky, with bags of flavour, and I’m thoroughly loving it. 

Whisky Review – Boutique-y Whisky Springbank batch 3 – 21 years old @BoutiqueyWhisky

Boutique-y Whisky Springbank batch 3 – 21 years old    

48.2% ABV

Non chill filtered

No added colouring

415 bottles

£182.95 from Master of Malt – sold out. 

But you can try a dram from Master of Malt for £20.02. 

Nose. 

Rich aromatic toffee. Orange oil. Engine oil (the special Springbank thing). Buttered toast with a generous dollop of marmalade. Some burnt peppercorns. Wood smoke, from thick logs slowly burning. BBQ smoking activity, I can sense the burnt ends coming. 

Palate. 

Wow, the mouthfeel is epic. So much orange juicy fruit, but thick and jammy again. Like concentrated Jaffa cake orangey bits. Burnt treacle, clove, cherry rich fruitcake, more stewed dark berries. 

Finish. 

The fruit goes on and on. Some cinnamon and a gentle juicy fruit chewing gum sweetness lingers for a long time. Mango sorbet finishes things off. 

Adding water. 

Smallest drop added. The nose has got dirtier. Much more springbank like in its filth (I say this with the greatest love!) level. A little more smoke and more noticeable sherry influence. Some strawberry fresh cream cake now. And strawberry starburst. The palate is fruity as anything. Absolutely bursting with berries, thick and jammy. Oh my that is something quite delicious. The finish remains beautifully fruity, warming and delicious. And I got so carried away with the dram I forgot to write too much. 

Conclusion. 

A completely delicious way to spend some quality time. This is a stunning sherried (assuming, but also reminds me of so many port cask experiences I’ve had) springbank. It’s totally delicious and totally sold out and I know why. There are still drams out there to be tried and tasted and this is well worth the search. Lovely stuff. 

From my own collection, split with friends. 

Whisky Review – Wemyss “Lemon Buttered Kippers” Bunnahabhain 1997 @wemyssmalts

Wemyss “Lemon Buttered Kippers” Bunnahabhain 1997 

46% ABV

Non chill filtered

No added colouring

210 bottles(!)

£70 available from Nickolls and Perks

Nose. 

On first sniff the kippers are most definitely there. Very maritime, lots of salty sea air, fresh fish markets and, yes, a touch of citrus. Will let it sit for a bit. More peat now, quite medicinal peat, with TCP and some hospital antiseptic. Salted fish is very much in there, seaside aromas, shellfish stands and the lemon is coming through now. Lemon juice squirted on fresh prawns. VERY Islay!

Palate. 

Sweet and tangy lemon arrival, lots of sugars, and a touch of smokey ash. The mouthfeel is very thick and oily. Very subtle creamy vanilla, some pepper bite, a little ginger. Development goes into very creamy, buttery areas, lots of smooth texture, buttered toast. Very sippable. There’s an element of fish, the burnt skin from a mackerel having been barbecued. Very fresh zingy nature to the palate, it’s quite lovely, not a big peat bruiser, but a gentle creamy, subtly smokey, citrus dram. 

Finish. 

Medium in length, the ginger and cracked pepper comes back, along with a mouthful of menthol cigarette smoke. Lemons with the black pepper then come about with a little fresh fishiness. 

Adding water. 

I actually don’t want to add water, I think it’s right on the cusp. But I’ll go with a very small drop. The nose is a little smokier now, it has lost some of its seaside subtleties though, with the citrus very muted now. The palate is still very flavoursome, but has become a little one sided with the lemon juices, now sweeter, taking over the rest. The finish is spicier and lemon intense. Water did reduce the complexity of this dram. Do not water. 

Conclusion. 

It feels a little that I have been led by the name of this whisky, but in fairness it’s bloody well named! It’s a beautiful example of Islay freshness, and is truly delicious to sip, and very easy at that sipping it is as well. Beautiful stuff. 

Many thanks to Wemyss for the review sample

Whisky Review – Boutique-y Whisky Blended Whisky Batch 2 – 18 years old @BoutiqueyWhisky @majesticwine

Boutique-y Whisky Blended Whisky Batch 2 – 18 years old

46.5% ABV

Non chill filtered

No added colouring

Majestic Wines exclusive 

£55.55 from Majestic Wines. 

Nose. 
Quite sweet initially, lots of coconut, sweet popcorn, and confectionary sugar. After a little time in the glass extra layers become apparent. A little sweet smoke, some salty sea air and some pinewood notes, while soft old apples and melon give a lovely subtle fruitiness among the sweetness. 

Palate. 

An intensely sweet arrival, apples, apricot, sugar coated start things off. A layer of coconut cream comes to play and some vanilla sponge with it, more fruit, getting softer melon now and some coconut marshmallow cakes. Some white chocolate, gentle pepper and some herbal green notes, pine comes back to mind, some fennel as well. The mouth feel has some oiliness. No alcohol burn, everything is very smoothly going down. 

Finish. 

The fennel follows into the finish, with some sweet oak sap, light tinned fruit syrup, touches of lip smacking dryness, but remains sweet and savoury. 

Adding water. 

A few drops added. The nose is softer, sweeter and smokier now, the drop of water has integrated the parts and it’s coming across quite a bit more powerful, slightly less sugary sweetness. The palate, while loosing a little of the oily mouthfeel, is bigger, brasher, tastier, lots of toffee and chocolate, the fruit has become younger and juicier, there is a smokier element, soft mossy peat, a little less of the herbal notes, the fennel is more like sweet liquorice. The finish is sweeter, less tannic, just as lip smacking! It was already highly sip-able, but a drop of water has increased the sip-ability dramatically. A few drops of water highly recommended. 

Conclusion. 

A blend of complexity which needs some time in the glass and time with the sipper to unlock the potential. This is no simple glugging blend. There is a lovely layering of complexity here which is delightful to spend time unravelling. With a drop of water this becomes a whole other beast and is absolutely lovely to sip away with. Great stuff. 

From my own stock. Bought from Majestic Wines. 

Whisky Review – Glendronach Cask Strength Batch 6 @Glendronach

Glendronach Cask Strength Batch 6

56.1% ABV

Non chill filtered

No added colouring

£52.99 from Whisky Galore at The Green Welly Stop

Glendronach cask strength has been a favourite of mine for many years now. It’s racy sherry heathen nature is of an exceptional calibre and once again I sip on it! What a pleasure. Let’s see if batch 6 holds up to its reputation and continues to tickle my sherry buds. 

Nose. 

First pour and sniff there is a lot of dark treacle toffee, coffee and chocolate. After 10 mins in the glass, things have levelled out. Still an immense amount of chocolate, toffee, brown sugar. Now more dark fruits, blackberry, raisin (alcohol infused), Cherry, vanilla. Most definitely a massive fruitcake concoction, nuttiness is coming through now, and of course lots of sherry, dry oloroso. It’s everything you want in a sherried dram. 

Palate. 

A little on the hot side initially, getting past that heat and initial bitterness and the mouthfeel is magnificent, extremely thick and massively oily. Wonderful! Lots of fruit now, some sour cherry, orange, rum soaked plums, a big old pinch of cinnamon spice. Another sip, light coffee and big dark chocolate, cherries again, lots of oils around the mouth, extremely chewable, I could slosh this around all day. Not so much toffee, but more treacle. Very syrupy, goes with the mouthfeel. 

Finish. 

Cherry juice, cherry stones and black tea. Mixed nuts with their skins on (hazelnut and almonds come to mind). Burnt toffee and caramel. Medium length finish, warming

Adding water. 

Adding a good splash of water and waiting 10 mins. That’s more like it. A little dilution goes a long way. The nose is bursting with flavour now, and a little dusty texture on the nose. Chocolate powder leads the way, lots of toffee, fruitcake, nuts, honey, the works! The palate without the alcohol nip now leads the way sweetly, thick chocolate coated caramel sweetness, texture is still massive, fruit still has some tarty cherries amongst the orange juices and raisins, cinnamon has toned down a little but still there with some sweet ginger addition. The finish is deliciously warming, lots of fruit and sugars. Glorious. 

Conclusion. 

Glendronach deliver another excellent cask strength release. If you’ve never tried one of these. Why the bloody hell not? It’s a premium example of great sherry monster material. This is a delicious, fattening feeling desert in a glass. Brilliant diet assistance! 

Many thanks to Glendronach for the review sample

Whisky Review – Glenmorangie Bacalta @TheGlenmorangie @QuercusComs

Glenmorangie Bacalta

46% ABV

Non chill filtered

£77.95 from Master of Malt

The eighth in Glenmorangie’s private edition range. A limited edition release, bottled at 46% with no chill filtration. The whiskies in this range have pretty much all had no age statement, and been finished in a range of different casks. This time the whisky has been finished in ‘sun baked Malmsey Madeira’ casks. More reading into this and the casks are quite bespoke. Heavily toasted American oak which were then seasoned with the Malmsey wine, baked to maturity in the scorching Madeira sun. Emptied, shipped to Glenmorangie and filled with ex-bourbon matured spirit. No specified timelines, but as always it’s a pleasure to try. 

Nose. 

A very sweet first sniff from the pour. Lots of apples, grapes, definitely has that air of desert wine. I’ve personally not tried a lot of Madeira, but it does remind me of Sauternes. Baked sugar, Creme brûlée. A gentle peppery Spice. Vanilla sponge complete with lots of sugar dusting. After a little time in the glass it becomes fruitier. Apricots and peaches with creamy custard. Not too heavy on the vanilla. Warming the dram up unleashes a little more Spice and fruit intensity. (It’s a bit cold here tonight!). It needed that warmth, the nose is delicious now, deep, creamy, buttercream, moist sponge cake, dried apricot chunks, honeydew melon. There’s a gentle maltiness in the background. Light runny honey. It’s lovely and very sniffable. Gentile. Deliciously desert like. 

Palate. 

Well, I wasn’t expecting that. It’s big flavour from the offset, lots of sweetness, sugar, baked fruits, apple, stewed apricots, poached pears in sweet wine. Another sip and there’s lots of sweet shop reminders, boiled sweets, refresher chews, chocolate mice. Mouthfeel has some additional oiliness to it, but it’s not massively oily, more of a complementary mouthfeel, definitely not watery. More spices on this sip, pepper, a touch of ginger, some sweet cinnamon, sweetened vanilla custard. Another sip and more toffee this time around, some honeycomb, more chocolate. This whisky metamorphoses with every sip, there’s a lot there, and every suggestion on the sip in my mind leads the experience down a different path. There’s a lovely balance and this is a very easy going sipper. 

Finish. 

Spicy sweet cinnamon buns, with vanilla frosting, and a gentle fruit juice fades out for a medium length. A little drier with some oak tannins at the very end. 

Adding water. 

Small drop added. The nose seems a little subdued, more cereal notes, with the fruit and sweetness a little dumbed down. Saying that a lot more vanilla is coming through now. The palate still has a nice depth of flavour, but not as rich, a little more artificial in the sugar notes, and the fruit has been quite diminished. The finish is shorter and drier. Nope. Don’t like water with this one I’m afraid. Needs to be neat. 

Conclusion. 

Very well constructed whisky. It’s very beautiful and very sweet. That might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but the balance and quality is there. This is a pretty perfect desert whisky, I would be sipping into the early hours with a very happy smile on my face. I’m getting me some of this!

Many thanks to Glenmorangie for the review sample

Whisky Review – Timorous Beastie 21 year old @DLaingWhisky @remarkablemalts

Timorous Beastie 21 year old

46.8% ABV

Non chill filtered

No added colouring

£89.95 from Master of Malt – sold out but Drinks by the Dram available






Nose. 

Sherry, spice and dusty chocolate on first pour from this colourful little number. Lots of sherry maturation is obvious. Raisin, plum, clove, cinnamon, all the usual expected Sherry monster aromas, intensely presented for a lower (not cask strength) ABV. With time there becomes a dusty vanilla oak note running throughout the background. Some citrus notes come through, as the spices settle down. There is quite a perfume nature to this nose as well, highly sniffable. 

Palate. 

Cadbury Fruit n Nut. It’s got all of it, loads of chocolate, some nuttiness, primarily hazelnuts, but some almond in there as well, loads of raisin (soaked in rum). Lovely, solid stuff. Christmas spices throughout. An oily mouthfeel coats the spices around every corner of the mouth. Highly quaffable. 

Finish. 

The fruit n nut bar fades slowly, with some stewed tea and a drying mouthfeel. 

Adding water. 

V small drop added. The nose is sweeter now, more chocolatey, less spice. The palate has died somewhat. Chocolate is forefront, and now some barley and porridge, actually reminds me of the coco pops porridge I had last week, much less Spice, oiliness and complexity. Finish is Spice and light chocolate. This one is not to be watered, it’s older and it doesn’t cope so well with dilution. 

Conclusion. 

A lovely Christmassy, Sherry rich blend. The age is there to be experienced, but doesn’t take kindly to water. It’s a lovely winter warmer, I understand entirely why it sold out so damn quickly. 

Many thanks to Douglas Laing for the review sample