BenNevis18yo1996WB

Ben Nevis 18 Years Old 1996 ~ 50.6% (Whiskybase)

Ben Nevis 18 Years Old 1996

Highland single malt scotch whisky

50.6% ABV, £62.15 for 70 cl from Whiskybase

Score: 90/100

BenNevis18yo1996WB

What they say:

Bottled in celebration of 60,000 bottles on the wall.

Distilled November 1996 at Ben Nevis distillery in the Highlands and matured a full 18 years in a Sherry Butt before bottling at cask strength of 50.6% in February 2015, producing 606 bottles.

BenNevis18yo1996WB

What I say:

I have developed a little bit of a soft spot for Ben Nevis expressions. Sadly notoriously poor before Nikka purchased the distillery in 1989. Since that time improvements have rapidly and steadily been made and now the whisky is amongst some of the finest for this under-exposed distillery. Sadly most of this fine whisky wings its way to Japan, however a little can be found here in its native Scotland and sampling of their recent OB’s revealed some rather tasty whisky in unusual cask maturations.

Colour:

Dark copper and refractive amber gold (13/20), medium/thick tears slow and oily

Nose:

Almost savoury with roast chicken and thyme potato crisps, meaty, beef monster munch, leathery and a little tannic, stewed or fermented fruits, peach, pear, apple and nectarine, poached with Armagnac, wintergreen

Taste:

Fruity, figs and dates, some molasses and treacle, gently spiced, white pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg and herbal rosemary, thyme and sage, thick and chewy in mouthfeel, tannic leather and red fruits, elderberry, cranberry and raisin with a cereal muesli, some nutty hazelnut, almond and hints of walnut, sticky toffee pudding packed with dates, latte coffee, cocoa powder and gentle earthy notes with perhaps a whisper of peat smoke and rich heather honey and a touch of floral lavender.

Finish:

Long, tannic and drying, toffee, molasses and dates, herbal wintergreen and thyme

Overall:

Simply delicious, I was a little concerned about how savoury this noses but on the palate this transforms into a plethora of wonderful flavours. This one reminds me more than a little of the Mortlach 16 Years Old Flora and Fauna only with a gentle herbal nature and a little less spice perhaps.

Glenrothes1988Arc

Glenrothes 25 Years Old 1988 Archives ~ 53% (The Fishes of Samoa)

Glenrothes 25 Years Old 1988

Speyside single malt scotch whisky

53% ABV, £63.99 from Whiskybase

Score: 85/100

Glenrothes1988Arc

What they say:

Distilled 06.06.1988 at Glenrothes distillery in Speyside and matured for a full 25 years in a Refill Sherry Hogshead cask No. 7318 before bottling on 06.11.2013 at 53% ABV for a 213 bottle outturn.

Glenrothes1988ArcFOS

 

What I say:

Free sample received with purchase from Whiskybase shop

Colour:

Pale rosy amber gold (6/10), with medium, slow tears and fine trails

Nose:

Gentle and creamy, a hint of sweetness and fruit, red berries and vanilla cream, some cereal barley flour, grassy dried hay and a little light heather blossom honey

Taste:

Tangy and zingy, initially rough-cut orange marmalade with some pickled ginger, more fruits, nectarine, green apples, peach a little underipe, becomes more creamy, vanilla and egg custard, some nutmeg and cinnamon spice, caramel and butterscotch fudge, lemon and grapefruit zest

Finish:

Medium, warming, gentle, sweet caramelised sugar and mild orchard fruits with a whiff of menthol spearmint and eucalyptus

Overall:

Pleasant and creamy dram, lots of good points, nicely balanced and complimentary flavours. Suffers a little from tired cask which shows as a touch of menthol, thin and vaporous just creeps in towards the finish. Greta nose and palate but let down a little in the finish belying its age. Zingy and refreshing at the end, great aperitif dram.

BlantonsSB97

Blanton’s Original Single Barrel – Barrel 97 ~ 46.5% (Blanton’s Distilling Co.)

Blanton’s Original Single Barrel – Barrel 97

Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey

46.5% ABV, £60 for 70cl

Score: 89/100

blantons-original-single-barrel-barrel-97-whisky

What they say:

Blanton’s Original Single Barrel bourbon is a favourite of many, and it’s not hard to see why. Fantastic notes of vanilla, warm caramel, chocolate and orange, who wouldn’t love to be served up a glass of this with a couple ice cubes? This bottling uses whisky from barrel 97.

BlantonsSB97

What I say:

Spotted in the Filling Station in Edinburgh this bourbon from Blanton’s comes in a characteristic bottle with a horse and rider stopper presumably linked to the Kentuck Derby race? I subsequently learned that there are seven different shapes of horse and rider with some much rarer than others. At the base of each is a letter and the whole set together spells out Blantons. Purchased as a gift for Richard and Carrie who are both lovers of whisky and horses so this seemed like the perfect compromise.

Colour:

Dark orange amber

Nose:

Dates, fruity and spicy, lemon sherbet and orange cream candies, vanilla, caramel and sugar

Taste:

Light vanilla cream, chocolate, toffee, almond paste/marzipan, nutella (hazelnut spread with cocoa), dates and other fruity flavours

Finish:

Long, drying, caramel, figs, dates and toffee oak persist

Overall:

A delicious example of single barrel bourbon – far removed from the wood-polished oak of more standard bourbon expressions. This one is full of chocolate, nut and vanilla flavours that were just sublime. A gentle/creamy orange fruitiness (not citric/acidic) accompanied this and added depth and interest.

Laphroaig18yo1998UCF

Laphroaig 15 Years Old 1998 UCF ~ 46% (Signatory)

Laphroaig 15 Years Old 1998 Unchillfiltered

Islay single malt scotch whisky

46% ABV

Score: 85/100

Laphroaig18yo1998UCF

What they say:

One for fans of bold, uncompromising and peaty whiskies! Bottled in July 2014 and matured in a refill sherry butt. Limited to 828 bottles. We’ve seen an ever-increasing number of young Islays, but not much (or enough) from Laphroaig.

Colour: Copper
Nose: Campfire embers, burning moss and pine resin. Full of herbs and smoke. There is a sweetness though (a sticky sweetness) and we can’t help of think of smoke filled pubs.
Palate: A bit of menthol to start with the rough and ready smoke hot on its heels. Sweetness and oil rounds it out.
Finish: Long, wispy smoke.

Laphroaig18yo1998UCF

What I say:

Thanks to Richard (WOLS President) & Carrie for sharing this with us during a tasting evening. This expression was distilled at Laphroaig distillery on Islay in 1998 and matured for a full 15 years in refill sherry butts before bottling unchillfiltered at 46% ABV by Signatory

Colour:

Red gold with thick heavy tears

Nose:

Fruity, light raisin, strawberry, salted caramel, resinous and woody smoke and peat smoke

Taste:

Sweet, strawberry and vanilla cream ice cream, some gentle cereals, a healthy dash of sea salt and plenty of thick and oily peat smoke/beach bonfire

Finish:

Medium long, sweet and peaty

Overall:

An interesting mix of real creamy and gently fruity ice cream flavours with a dash of salt and plenty of thick peat smoke. Somehow this combination really works for me and is verging on a heavily peated session dram though I suspect either sickly sweetness or more likely peat reek would take over before too long. Enjoyed it while it lasted.

Taketsuru12yoPM

Taketsuru 12 Years Old Pure Malt ~ 40% (Nikka)

Taketsuru 12 Years Old Pure Malt

Blended Japanese malt whisky

40% ABV

Score: 84/100

nikka-taketsuru-pure-malt-12-year-old-250

What they say:

Fresh and balanced, the 12 year old Taketsuru bottling is a perfect entry point into the world of Japanese whisky. Its ripe, seemingly sweet aromas combine with the silky smooth texture on the palate for a mellow, relaxing experience.

Taketsuru12yoPM

What I say:

Thanks to Richard (WOLS President) & Carrie for sharing this with us during a tasting evening. Back to the Japanese whisky and this time a Pure Malt (blended malt) from Nikka. Aged 12 years and named after their father of whisky Masatake Taketsuru. Unlike in Scotland, Japanese whisky producing companies appear reluctant to trade whisky with each other – meaning that this expression most likely consists of malt whisky produced at Nikka’s Japanese distilleries Miyagikyo and Yoichi.

Colour:

Rose/amber gold, light tears

Nose:

Mid sweet, cereal and grain, gently fruity with ripe apple and plum, toffee, caramel and vanilla fudge from the oak wood

Taste:

Fudge, butterscotch and toffee, plum sauce, a little spiced with Chinese 5 spice; cinnamon, star anise, fennel, cloves, nutmeg, Szechuan pepper and ginger, vanilla custard/crème brulee, bakewell tart (almond tart with cherry)

Finish:

Short-medium, toffee predominates

Overall:

A lovely blended malt, typically Japanese with lots of contrasting but strangely complimentary flavours, salt and sweet, fruit and spice. Well constructed and enjoyable – a good session dram.

Allt-á-Bhainne16yo1996CC

Allt-á-Bhainne 16 Years Old 1996 – Connoisseurs Choice ~ 46% (Gordon & MacPhail)

Allt-á-Bhainne 16 Years Old 1996 – Connoisseurs Choice

Speyside single malt scotch whisky

46% ABV, £51.64 for 70cl

Score: 84/100

allt-a-bhainne-1996-connoisseurs-choice-gordon-and-macphail-whisky

What they say:

With a light body thanks to a refill sherry hogshead maturation, this is a delicious 1996 vintage from Speyside’s Allt-á-Bhainne distillery. It was bottled for Gordon and MacPhail’s stellar Connoisseurs Choice range.

Nose: A fruity, fresh nose with a touch of pear drop, apple peel and allspice. Biscuity malt and marzipan.

Palate: Sweet and tangy palate with zesty citrus and creamy cocoa butter. Allspice, malt and barrel char. Very fruity.

Finish: Long, spiced finish with apple peel and greengage.

Overall: A delicate, subtle whisky from Gordon and MacPhail.

Allt-á-Bhainne16yo1996CC

What I say:

Thanks to Richard (WOLS President) & Carrie for sharing this with us during a tasting evening. A little leftover heel from a Gaelic whisky tasting Richard hosted.

Colour:

Light gold, heavy tears

Nose:

Honeyed and sweet, cereal barley malt and grist, biscuit, fruity apples, peach and pear orchard fruits

Taste:

Light heather honey, sweet icing sugar, fruity peach, pear and apple

Finish

Medium, sweet but with a spiced bitterness like cinnamon on grapefruit zest

Overall:

Very good with Pumpkin Pie!

Miyagikyo15yo

Miyagikyo 15 Years Old ~ 45% (Nikka)

Miyagikyo 15 Years Old

Japanese single malt whisky

45% ABV, £95 for 70cl

Score: 87/100

 miyagikyo15

What they say:

This single malt whisky features a full and mature nose with an essence of the cask reminiscent of cacao nuts. It is characterized by a deep, mature sweetness and richness that expand softly and fragrantly, and by the soft and smooth tang of its palate.

Miyagikyo15yo

What I say:

Thanks to Richard (WOLS President) & Carrie for sharing this with us during a tasting evening. A big fan of Japanese whisky, it was no surprise for us to be tasting some during the evening. This expression is from Nikka’s Miyagikyo distillery and aged 15 years.

Colour:

Rose gold amber with light tears

Nose:

Sherry, plum wine, cherry blossom, cereal barley malt, fruit, plum, apple, pear, mizunara oak

Taste:

Peaty, fizzy, sherry, fruity – red and dark fruits, molasses, caramelised sugar

Finish:

Medium/long, sherbet and toffee

Overall:

Snooth, complex yet subtle and very, very drinkable.

Slyrs2011

SLYRS 3 Years Old 2011-2014 ~ 43% (SLYRS Distillery)

SLYRS 3 Years Old 2011-2014

Bavarian single malt whisky

43% ABV

Score: 85/100

Slyrs2011

What they say:

3 YEAR OLD SLYRS SINGLE MALT WHISKY

2011 vintage “finally” from September 1th, 2014 available!

Since 1999, we distill our single malt whisky as a vintage whisky.
SLYRS Whisky is carefully stored in new 225 litre barrels made from American white oak.
The traditional production process and the nature in Bavaria provide our whisky with a unique taste.
With continuous passion and love for distilling, we give each vintage its incomparable character.

Drinking Recommendation for SLYRS Whisky:

For a long and consistently high quality we recommend to follow these guidelines:

Please store your bottle of SLYRS Whisky in an upright position. It should not be exposed to direct sunlight.

We recommend a serving temperature of 16 to 18 degrees Celsius.

Recommended Glass: Tasting Glass

You should also refrain from adding ice cubes as they may dilute the taste of the whisky uncontrollably.

Unopened, the whisky can be kept for almost unlimited time.
Once opened, we recommend to consume the whisky within the next six months in order to maintain its superior quality.

A special tasting advice: you should try our SLYRS whisky with a piece of 70 percent dark chocolate – a very special treat for the palate

SLYRS2011

What I say:

Thanks to Richard (WOLS President) & Carrie for sharing this with us during a tasting evening. Received as a gift to Richard from a friend in Germany we were keen to try out this Bavarian single malt.

Colour:

Full refractive gold

Nose:

Herbal, latex/rubber, Birch wood, beech-smoked ham, perfumed and floral

Taste:

Banana cream, herbal, toffee and woody oak

Finish:

Short/medium, fizzy/tannic oak wood

Overall:

Surprisingly good considering it is only 3 years old. This is not massively multi-faceted but is well-constructed with some pleasing flavours and plenty of wood influence.

BenRiach18YOAlbariza

BenRiach 18 Years Old Albariza ~ 46% (The Benriach Distillery Company Ltd.)

BenRiach 18 Years Old Albariza

Speyside single malt scotch whisky

46% ABV, £70 for 70cl

Score: 92/100

BenRiach18YOAlbariza

What they say:

The BenRiach 18 Years Old Albariza is part of the new heavily peated range. Originally matured in American oak casks,the whisky is then finished in Pedro Xinenez sherry casks.

The name ‘Albariza’ is derived from the typical white soil used for growing grapes in the production of sherry in the Andalucia region of Southern Spain.

Bottled at 46%, at natural colour and non chill filtered, ‘Albariza’ is available on a strictly limited basis.

TASTING NOTES

Nose: Sweet dates and ripe figs engulfed in a unique heather honeyed peat smoke, softening to hints of ripped herbs and sweet barley.

Colour: Rich burnt amber.

Taste: A sweet, sherried character holds lashings of vanilla, chocolate and rum-soaked raisins; all drenched with waves of intense campfire peat reek and a subtle white pepper and stem ginger warmth.

IMG_1811[1]

What I say:

Many thanks to Jon from Scotch and Sci-fi blog for organising shares of this

Colour:

Dark bright copper with ruby and gold hints (16/20), thick medium-fast tears resolving to light trails

Nose:

An enticing mix of sherried tannic leather and rich fruits; fig, date and raisin with a thick syrupy and heather honey sweetness followed by a dusty, earthy peat smoke, a deeper nosing reveals strawberries coated in sugar and red and black cherries; brighter fruity notes as well as a chocolate coated coffee beans

Taste:

Cinnamon spiced and peat roasted cocoa and coffee beans, earthen then tannic leather, more milk chocolate though still spiced with nutmeg, deep fruit medley of raisin, fig, date, cherry, elderberry and cranberry (tart and earthy), an interesting mix of peat and cocoa, some hints of white chocolate, creamier vanilla and coconut milk

Finish:

Long, tannic fruits and oaky toffee are followed by a prolonged mouth-coating dusty peat smoked cocoa powder

Overall:

Delicious, reasonably sherried and peated but balanced beautifully, this is along similar lines to the Ardbeg Uigeadail but where that expression was feisty, youthful and punchy this one sits itself back in a big leather armchair and smiles at you with the reassurance of Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct. There is a depth here to everything, the sherry, the peat, the spices, even the fruitiness and yet fresh and light flavours are still swirling around in this mix just waiting to reveal themselves for a moment before you lose them again in the milieu. A definite thinkers dram -one to sip whilst reading a gripping book.

Millstone14yo1999

Millstone 14 Years Old 1999 ~ 46% (Milroys’ of Soho)

Millstone 14 Years Old 1999

Dutch single malt whisky

46% ABV, £53 for 70cl

Score: 90/100

MOS4Milstone

What they say:

Distilled in 1999 – Bottled 2013 – Region: Netherlands – Cask: Sherry Cask – Number of Bottles: 371

Millstone14yo1999

What I say:

Sampled during the Milroy’s of Soho Tweet Tasting 2

Nose:

Sherry cask, suede leather, raisin, plum, nutmeg, delicious – suspect Oloroso sherry butt finish

Taste:

Sweet raisins, Xmas cake, slight sour/bitter coffee/choco taste at end. Like Highland malt in Oloroso? smoother with water and more deep sherry fruits burst out .

Finish:

Medium-long, sherry fruits, cocoa and tannic leather persist

Overall:

We really enjoyed this one, not quite as much as the Dutch Rye