Balcones Tweet Tasting.

I love Balcones. They do some seriously excellent product, fearlessly tasteful, and just plain orgasmic in some cases. Considering the age of the maturation, it is all dreamy! I was absolutely chuffed to be chosen for this tweet taste. Here we go! 🙂

Balcones No 1. Single Malt
53% ABV
£77.17 at MasterOfMalt

Nose.

Rich, deep, thick. You can smell the colour! And the colour is rich as anything. Dense Vanilla, Treacle Toffee, toasted caramel. Fruits come in are stewed in the same caramel (cajeta) toasted sweetness, bananas, oranges, some christmas spices round things off also. Time in the glass and come chocolate notes mix in with that toffee. It is a sweet tooth’s heaven of a dram.

Palate.

Mouth coating. Very oily and silky around the palate. Warm, but still capable to drink at undiluted strength. The burnt sugar notes dominate the undiluted palate, some background stewed bananas. Toffee thickness is there, but a creaminess also coming through. Nutmeg features on the spice side of things, and a little honeyed chilli heat.

Finish.

Sweet, thick sugar coating glory turns to dry tannins. Hangs around for a medium finish. Chest warming and has a nice positive feel to it.

Adding Water.

Added a dollop. The nose exhibits more sweetness now, its easier to nose and gives more depth to the sugar (now maple syrup comes in) and fruit. A separation allowing for deeper analysis of the dark chocolate, toffee encrusted, figs, and christmas cake-ish aromas. The palate enhances also, sweeter, yummier, with all the same rich, oil mouth coating goodness. Finish, seems longer to me, with the transition from sweet to dry taking a little bit longer and a finer journey. Its a properly beautiful dram. Thoroughly rewarding.

Balcones Baby Blue
46% ABV
£54.75 at MasterOfMalt

Nose.

Salted Popcorn, with a touch of butter. Quite woody with some toffee, vanilla, oak spice, thick honey. Milky cream notes, definitely of the Full Fat Gold top variety. Its very rich! Its aromas feel like its much older, and stronger than the ABV. There are some tropical fruit notes of pineapple and a little mango, a real minatory. Damn ‘tasty’ nose. Time in the glass gives some herbal notes.

Palate.

Oily again, great mouthfeel on it. Dryness though, it does have a dollop of the sweet toffee/honey/sugar going on, but dryness is present up front. Its so easy going though. Immensely smooth, tasty and just plain easy drinking. Its like drinking the smoothest caramel, chocolate, honey concoction with a big smile on your face and warmth in the heart.

Finish.

Dryness in the tannins, with warm sugar and tropical fruit chews left hanging around. Its another top dram, which is making me feel very good indeed.

Adding Water.

A small drop added. The nose has become much more floral now, sweet shops, parma violets dominate the diluted nose. The palate still coats my mouth world with joyous things. So much sweet and dry, and special toffee with some special spices thrown in. Dammit this is some good stuff.

Balcones True Blue
50%ABV
£64.31 at MasterOfMalt

Nose.

Baby Blue with added OOMPH. Caramelised Treacle Toffee in a breather! Its OOOOoooo, and Ahhhh, and just plain pornographic in its unashamed sexiness! Rich, chocolate, toffee, burnt honeyed sugar. Sherried even though I know sherry is nowhere near this dram’s maturation. Maple and Molasses. Loads of spice there as well, nutmeg, cinnamon. A lovely balance of everything.

Palate.

When I tried a cask strength of this for 12dramsofxmas I thought it was A’bunadh. Loads of Christmas spices, christmas pudding/cake, orange, chocolate, sherried dark fruits. Yummy Yum Yum. Everything I love about a well sherried dram, however, this got nowhere near sherry. Eh!??!

Finish.

Oh my. A long and fabulous finish. Drying out slowly, but all the remembrance of the nose and palate come and go, chocolate oranges, spicy fruitcake, Sherried Plums. As it dissipates the warmth and deep joy resonates through. This is a total feel good dram. And I feel good!

Adding Water.

Small dollop added. If anything it gets deeper and I’m lost. Its the same aromas, but more exposed and opened up. The palate has added sweetness and viscosity. It feels sentient and invading your every tastebud. Cant get over how sherried this non-sherries dram is.

Balcones V Anniversary Single Barrel Bourbon
64.2% ABV

Nose.

Vanilla most definitely. Rich Almond Marzipan. Cherries. Citrus peel. Lots of wood spice. Cardboard (in a good way). Charred oak. Burnt sugar. Dried fruits (saltanas/currents).

Palate.

Undiluted this is very drinkable. A little burn there, but loads of vanilla sweetness and chewy goodness going on. Very fruity in the delivery, with dried fruits and chewy toffee and honey confectionary. Candied corn, and general all round sweet tooth’s joy!

Finish.

Alcohol bite, but fruity joy. Its a deep dram, one to contemplate things over. Drying oak spice, vanilla sweet. Its bloody good bourbon! JD can FO!

Adding Water.

With a good dollop of water the nose intensifies in spiciness. Really hitting the back of the nose. More fruit and spices are identifiable, and there is a dusty resonance that also hits the olfactory senses. Polished wood, real aged gorgeousness. The palate exhibits some meaty goodness amongst the toffee caramel burnt sugar notes. BBQ ribs with a nice coating of sugar and quality stuff! Im getting too into this, the descriptors are all going to pot! Finish is long and glorious. There isn’t many of these available in the uk, and I want one so get in line! lol

Balcones Brimstone
53%ABV
£65.45 at TheWhiskyExchange

Nose.

Smokey Bacon Crisps! I can’t say any more than that. Its what it is. Bloody amazing! Imagine a pig was skinned, and the skin was barbecued for 100 hours, and then its essence was magnified by the power of 7.767, and put in the glass…There you go! I would love to know how the spirit is smoked after distillation. I guess its top secret, or unfathomable by me, but its very well done, unique, and so enjoyable an experience. So, bacon, salt, smokey smoke, a little rubber, like old school plimsole rubber, or big assed rubber bands. Lots and lots of char

Palate.

Couldn’t be any more different to the nose! There is definite smoke infused, but the palate is sweet initially, rich sugars, then some smokey bbq meat is there, continuing with the honeyed ham now, more honey than ham. Then chewy vanilla, oh and here comes the smoke again. Cigarettes and Cigars, an ex-smokers nightmare!

Finish.

Smoke! Cigars and cigs! BBQ meats come back. So long a finish! Dash of sea salt on the ham hock!

Adding Water.

Good dollop added. Smokier! The nose is giving off loads more rubber fires and BBQ meat aromas. The palate, lighter, some added sweetness, but also has a little more richness to the BBQ elements. The palate also gives up a little more saltiness adding to the balance, and some additional spices in the form of pepper. Finish, is saltier, drier, pig skin comes back again to play! Its an amazingly unique and different dram.

Conclusion.

Well, what can I say. Lots of favourites here. I love the True Blue most being a sherry head. But the Brimstone has such a unique, individual profile that it just has to be tasted. Any whisky person never having tried Brimstone is like a wino saying they never tried Rose. It just shouldn’t be…ever!

Fancy trying all of these at a fraction of the price. How about a tasting set. MasterOfMalt do a Balcones tasting set consisting of 5 of their drams for a very reasonable £26.44. Check it out here.

Thanks to Steve at the Whisky Wire, and Balcones for my participation in a fundamental and totally amazing Tweet Taste.

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Old Pulteney Lighthouse Tweet Tasting.

Old Pulteney – Noss Head
46% ABV
£39.99 – Travel Exclusive.

Nose.

Lemon sherbert, peel, underage orange, coconut, light honey. floral bouquet. time in glass gives more wood spices and a little saltiness coming through.

Palate.

Hot. pepper + chilli. Vanilla, honey, some bitter sugar. quite dry.

Finish.

Short finish. very dry. oak spices.

Adding Water.

The pepper and heat are died down on the palate, allowing for more sweetness to come forward. A greater range of honey and fruit is present and makes for a better balance. The finish is also not as super drying and longer, more honey stays, a little salt, and the sawdust coming at the end.

Old Pulteney – Duncansby Head
46% ABV
£44.99 – Travel Exclusive.

Nose.

More maritime. salty sea air, spicy nuts! getting some spiced fruits now. polish.

Palate.

Sweet, rich, heat attack, dryness again. Honey, vanilla, thick mouthfeel on it. Spicy vanilla honey, supercustard if such a thing existed.

Finish.

Very dry. sawdust again.

Adding Water.

Lessens the heat and increases the flavour. Some superb lusciousness on the mouthfeel, and a real high quality balance.

Old Pulteney – Pentland Skerries
46% ABV
£54.99 – Travel Exclusive.

Nose.

Still young. toffee. some light spicy fruitcake thing going on. Chocolate floating in the background.

Palate.

Thick, sweet, toffee malt. Rum and raisin. Dusting of cocoa. Fruitcake filled. Profiteroles.

Finish.

Drying again, not as dry as previous. lots of thick honey and sherried fruits are there, some chocolate, and general deliciousness.

Adding Water.

More perfumed. Less traditionally sherry on the nose and palate with water. Preferred without.

Conclusion

For me (a self confessed sherry head) its reasonably obvious that the Pentland Skerries is my dram of choice from the 3. But I was also surprised that I enjoyed the Dunansby Head so much, its a cracking all round, well balanced and constructed dram. If your after something more in between, then Duncansby would be for you. If you like your Old Pulteney and want to try a different take, then I have to recommend the Pentland Skerries. It is a very nice alternative for Old Pulteney, a real cracker of a dram. And at £54.99 for a litre, its good value for money.

Much appreciation goes to @alembic_tweets and Old Pulteney for the tasting opportunity.

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Wemyss Tweet Taste

Wemyss Tweet Tasting

Wemyss Spice King
40% ABV
£34.40 from MasterofMalt

Nose.

A little smoke lingers in the dark spiced dominant nose. Lots of spices there. Very deep and hefty. Pepper, Cinnamon, Cardamon, Honey, Vanilla. Minimal Dark fruits in the background, but they are there amongst the spicy soup.

Palate.

Sweet Toffee, Honey, Vanilla, Pepper. There feels a little smoke about the palate as well, just a bonfire in the background type smoke, not overly prominent, just there in the back, the odd little waft across the nose and tongue.

Finish.

Warm spices stick around, with some drying vanilla and custardy creamy notes. Leaving a little wood oak, sawdust in the finale.

Adding Water?

Tiniest drop as its already low alcohol level. The hint of smoke has gone, and left behind the spiciness. Dark fruits appear more available on the nose. On the palate, its lost a little of its spicy oomph, this has been replaced with more honey and floral notes. The finish remains the same, but I sense a slight bitterness at the very end now I didn’t notice before.

Wemyss Ginger Spice
46% ABV
£114.51 from MasterofMalt

Nose.

Spicy – Apples, Pineapple, Tropical Fruit Sweets, Honey, Vanilla, Lots of spice hitting the back of the nose/throat. Going to be warm this one!

Palate.

Dry, clean spice flavours, Chilli especially, Honey, Vanilla, the chilli wave on the tongue gives way to waves of honied spices and a chewable oiliness. Lovely mouthfeel

Finish.

Drying Oak Spices and Chilli warmth. A nice Tasty Dram.

Adding Water?

A small drop of water. More fruit is evident, an enhancement on what is already there. The spice bite is reduced, allowing for more tropical fruit enjoyment. However, the spice bite isn’t gone, its just relocated to the end development and finish. Cracking!

Wemyss Peat Chimney
40%ABV
£36.00 from MasterofMalt

Nose. Peat

. The Seaside BBQ variety. Medicinal with a wave of floral honey behind it. Seaside air wafting through fresh fish stands.

Palate.

Light, crisp. Easy. Spiced sweet peat, grass, earth. Briny oils coating the mouth. Honey and vanilla come in, with some pepper spice, and then break down to lighter honied notes again. all the while encompassing peat smoke throughout the whole development.

Finish.

Medium sweet earthy grass sits around to play. And that honey goodness reminds you to sip again

Adding Water?

Tiniest drop as its already low ABV. Tones down the smoke on the nose a little, the palate is still sumptuous and rich, but I would prefer this without the addition of water, as it weakens the overall experience a little for my liking. Plus I had hardly any of my dram left because I was enjoying it far too much!

Wemyss Chocolate Honeycomb
46% ABV
£58.29 from MasterofMalt

Nose.

Ok, so this named malts thing I often giggle at, but this is Cadbury Crunchie in a glass! Chocolate, Honey, Rich Honey confectionary. Sweet sugared Honeycomb goodness smothered in milk chocolate. Need I say more? 🙂 Getting more toffee now, and some extra chocolate in there. Honey slightly subsiding, but still very evident.

Palate.

Very Sweet honey and vanilla, very creamy. Mouth Coating. Its difficult to pin things down because its about the whole experience. Thick Honey, Rich Toffee, Creamy vanilla, Light milk chocolate, some wood spices, a little pepper, Chewy as anything!

Finish.

Very creamy finish, drying with honied wood spices and a little dusting of cocoa.

Adding Water?

Drop into my portion of leftovers (it went down well!). If anything its more Crunchie! There is more chocolate, more honey, more everything. Really explodes bits of chunky sugared confectionary goodness in all directions with a drop of water. Palate wise its a little drier though. Has a bit of added waxiness in the later development and finish. Its a cracking dram this one.

Conclusion.

They are all very excellent, well matured whiskies. Personally anything confectionary gets my vote, in this case there is no exception. Chocolate Honeycomb hits my spot! I can’t help it, others will like peat and go peat chimney. For me its depth of rich sweet, fattening flavours all the way! 🙂

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Tomintoul Tweet Taste – 21 year old & 1981 single cask

Tomintoul 21 year old
40% ABV
£51.43 at masterofmalt.com

Nose.

Floral. Spicy power to the nose. Pears. Powdered sugar. Pear drops really. Toffee. Polish. Some leather. Time in glass. Gives more polished leather age. More time and the fruitiness is back. Keeps changing. Complex.

Palate.

Spicy bitey! Quite light and crisp on the mouthfeel. Sweet. Sugar and light toffee. Light fruit compot. Creamy apple and pear sponge cake with custard.

Finish.

Warming oak spice. Sweet to Drying oak sawdust.

Adding water?

Small drop in a little of my dram. Nose becomes more floral and sweetie shop. Palate reflects this change in the nose. Finish has a little more aged oakiness. Personally preferred without water.

Tomintoul 1981 single cask #5985
53.9% ABV
£223.70 from masterofmalt.com

Nose.

Intensive fruit burst. Pineapples. Apples. Pears. Furniture polish and mahogany sideboards. Floral deep inside. Pepper spices reside. Truly is a deep and exciting nose. Can spend an age sniffing this one. Glorious. Creamy custard On a fruit sponge with added spices.

Palate.

Sweet and sour. Some saltiness. ABV bite is minimal. Creamy coating mouthfeel. Tropical fruit salad chews. Custard cream. Apples/pear intense. Developing into sweet shops with some tannins and stewed tea.

Finish.

Sweetie shoptastic. Then floral and woody with some dusty pears and wood! Pears stick around.

Adding water?

A few drops into my 1/2 dram it is old after all. Not a lot of change in the nose. But the palate has a massive influx of additional fruity explosives and becomes so much tastier an experience. The finish also has a lot more oomph to it. Truly is a great dram.

Conclusion.

A wonderful tweet taste experience. Thank you tomintoul! I loved both drams. If money was no object then 1981 all the way! However, value for money has to go to the 21yo. It is a great value dram giving loads of complexity for your money.

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