Aultmore 25 Years Old ~ 46% (Bacardi Ltd.)

Aultmore25yo

Aultmore 25 Years Old

Speyside single malt scotch whisky

46% ABV, £295.42 for 70cl

Score: 90/100

Aultmore25yo

What they say:

Reclined in damp shorn grass, vapours of lime and baked apples, each silken sip unveiling lush vanilla and buttery biscuits; dreich skies deserve a top-class dram.

Tasting Note by The Chaps at Master of Malt
Nose: Sticky toffee pudding, top with sliced banana and apple. Earthy oak comes through after a minute.

Palate: Crumbly fudge, buttered bread, more banana. Plum, orange and maybe some pineapple on the mid-palate, joined by leather and oak.

Finish: Warm, stewed fruit lasts on the finish, with a prickle of oak spice right at the end.

What I say:

Sampled in thbutterscotch sauce, cereal barley malt, toasted brown bread, vanilla essence, caramelised brown or cane sugar, some fruity notes, apple and orange zest, grapefruit, pineapple fritters in syrupe Bacardi Last Great Malts whisky snug at the Edinburgh Whisky Stramash 2015

Colour:

Dark golden umber (14/20), medium droplet tears with fine trails

Nose:

Rich crystalline ginger, brown /  Demerara sugar, toffee and caramel, oak wood and cigar boxes, deep vanilla essence, crème brulee, apple and cereal barley malt, a little over-caramelised or burnt sugar

Taste:

Smooth caramel and butterscotch sauce, cereal barley malt, toasted brown bread, vanilla essence, caramelised brown or cane sugar, some fruity notes, apple and orange zest, grapefruit, pineapple fritters in syrup, a little nutty hazelnut paste and almonds, praline and touches of cocoa powder and a light or creamy coffee, sticky toffee pudding with toffee and ginger sauce.

Finish:

Long, ginger and dark chocolate, sweet sugars and aged oak and new leather shoes

Overall:

Deep and delicious, a real pleasure to sample this 25 Years Old expression from Aultmore but a shame about the pricing of this malt as I expect I’ll never buy a bottle.

Aultmore 24 Years Old 1989 – 73.60 Watching the Monaco Grand Prix from a roof terrace ~ 57% (SMWS)

SMWS73.60

Aultmore 24 Years Old 1989 – 73.60 Watching the Monaco Grand Prix from a roof terrace (SMWS)

Speyside single malt scotch whisky

57% ABV, £92.40 for 70cl from Scotch Malt Whisky Society

Score: 88/100

SMWS

What they say:

Cask No. 73.60

Very deep aromas on the nose neat; beeswax furniture polish on a soft cloth, cedar lined Art Deco cigarette box, rosewood scented stationary, mead flavoured with spices, pastrami and always the smell of strong espresso coffee in the background. The taste is that of walnut oil, salty almonds, and buttered sour dough but at the same time green apples, floral blossoms and a bright finish like a delightfully refreshing Pinot Grigio. With water aromas of treacle toffee, coconut fragrant sun tan lotion and ever so often the hint of burnt tyre on hot tarmac. The taste is coffee cream and walnut cupcakes, Tiramisu and honeyed mead bread with salted butter.

Drinking tip: Spring time in Monaco or celebrating Indian Summer in Scotland

Date Distilled: 31 May 1989 Colour: Topaz Age: 24 years years Flavour : Deep, rich & fruity Cask Type: Refill ex-sherry butt Whisky Region: Speyside Deveron

Outturn: 509 bottles

SMWS73.60

What I say:

Sampled at the Glasgow whisky festival 2013

Colour:

Russet amber gold (11/20)

Nose:

A little sulphury, bicycle tyres and rubber inner tubes, barley malt, oaty and honey sweet flapjack or rye bread, a little leather, plenty of soft ripe fruits, apple, pear, orange, peach, with citrus lemon and lime, leafy green and floral blossom, nutty overstewed coffee

Taste:

Sweet, brown sugar, syrup and treacle, baked fruits apple pie and pear tart, the rubberyness creeps in a little again with some tannic leather and more dried, stone fruits and raisins, still citric elements with a dash of lemon and lime juice and zest then rich, moist and dark coffee and walnut cake

Finish:

Medium-long, tannic and a little drying nutty and rich dark fruit

Overall:

A delicious old Aultmore expression sometimes a little at odds with itself as the spirit nature is easily overpowered in places by the sherry maturation. Despite the rubbery and sulphuric elements in this one I found the whole dram lively and entertaining.

Aultmore 12 Years Old ~ 46% (Bacardi Ltd.)

Aultmore12yo

Aultmore 12 Years Old

Speyside single malt scotch whisky

46% ABV, £41.95 for 70cl

Score: 83/100

Aultmore12yo

What they say:

Born of fog, bog and brimming wee burns, a verdant nose of dewy moss and delicate flora, sweet liquid tracking a secluded path, gliding through green grass and fresh wild herbs.

What I say:

Sampled in the Bacardi Last Great Malts whisky snug at the Edinburgh Whisky Stramash 2015

Colour:

Light straw/Sauternes gold (4/20), medium droplet tears with slim trails

Nose:

Sweet vanilla and honey, floral blossom, creamy, citrus lemon and apple juice, furniture polish, hints of acetone, very sweet icing sugar

Taste:

Buttery biscuits, hay, grass, moss, citric and juicy/zesty apple and lime juice and hints of deeper orange juice, vanilla cream, cereal barley grist, green/new oak wood, more vanilla and crème brulee, some caramel and lemon juice

Finish:

Medium length, citric lemon and lime juice with vanilla cream

Overall:

A very pleasant and gentle introductory malt for Aultmore, fruity and creamy in equal measures a relaxed Speyside dram. Hinting that I may be developing a particular fondness already based on their entry-level Aultmore.

North British 21 Years Old 1991 ~ 56.8% (Robbie Douglas)

NorthBritish21yo1991RD

North British 21 Years Old 1991

Single grain scotch whisky

56.8% ABV, £45-£50 for 70cl

Score: 79/100

NorthBritish21yo1991RD

What they say:

Robbie Douglas Independent Bottlers
We believe in Quality Consistency Great Value
North British Single Grain Scotch Whisky 21 years old
Distilled: 22nd January 1991
Bottled: 10th February 2012
ABV: 56.8% First fill bourbon cask Cask No: 3229
Limited to 240 Bottles
Tasting Notes
Nose: Straight away you get the vanilla and the charred oak from the bourbon cask, grassy, cereal, lavender.
Taste: Very sweet, vanilla, honey, very smooth and easy to drink despite it’s strength, it really doesn’t need water! Something about it, maybe it’s the grain reminds me of Rye Whiskey, probably the earthy notes. With some water (which it really doesn’t need!), salted microwave popcorn.
Finish: A nice long lingering finish, honey, there’s something spicy or herbal about the finish, slightly salty, buttery with an oily mouth feel, but very sweet and very pleasant.

What I say:

Robbie Douglas were a short-lived Independent Whisky Bottler started in Glasgow in March 2012 and ceased on 31st March 2015. At their Inaugural/Launch event they released this 21 Years Old single grain expression from North British distillery. Matured in a single ex-bourbon cask, this was bottled under their Dancing Pig label.

Colour:

Old gold, pale and refractive (6/20) medium droplet tears

Nose:

Perfumed, light chemical /ethanol, honey, sweet, new wood, coloured pencil shavings, ’round’ tablet or fudge, vanilla, beeswax, furniture polish, teak and linseed oils

Taste:

Smooth, Madagascan vanilla bean, coconut, sweet honey, cereal grains, wheat and barley, gristy, floral lilac and rose, hints of spirit spices and white pepper

Finish:

Medium, sweet, honey, oak wood, cleansing and slightly bitter

Overall:

Not a bad single cask/single grain expression though it didn’t appear to score overly well on the tastebuds. There are some nice old cask effects on this spirit but sadly the grainy and sometimes slightly chemical nature appears to have jaded our opinion just a little.

The Singleton of Dufftown 12 Years Old ~ 40% (Diageo)

SINGLETON-OF-DUFFTOWN-12-YO

The Singleton of Dufftown 12 Years Old

Speyside single malt scotch whisky

40% ABV, £32.45 for 70cl

Score: 83/100

SINGLETON-OF-DUFFTOWN-12-YO

What they say:

THE SINGLETON OF DUFFTOWN 12 YEAR OLD
This smooth, naturally rich single malt whisky has sweet fruity notes and a lingering, pleasurable warmth.

STRENGTH 40% ABV

APPEARANCE Deep gold, polished mahogany highlights.

NOSE Toasted nut and rich fruit aromas. Adding a touch of water brings out the classic Speyside fruit-sweet aromas.

BODY Light to medium.

PALATE Sweetness and crunchy nuts, then smooth fruity richness. Firm, with a balancing sweetness; hints of blackcurrant, brown sugar and espresso coffee. Warming and pleasant.

FINISH Medium to long, elegantly drying and crisp with a delayed, lingering warmth.

What I say:

Sample B5B from the recent NAS vs age statement blind-tasting see The Great Age Statement Debate and Photo Finish Between Age Statement And NAS Whisky In Big Blind Tasting.

Colour:

Light amber gold (5/20) fine droplet tears leaving fine trails

Nose:

Musty, deep toffee and oak wood, orange liqueur, cherry, honey, apple, pear, fresh orchard fruits and their juices, caramel

Taste:

Honey, lots of cereal grains, caramel, cereal barley malt, toffee, vanilla custard, quite a simple palate but enjoyable with gentle spices

Finish:

Medium-long, spiced, drying orange zest

Overall:

Spicier and a lot less bitter than the Sunray expression

The Singleton of Dufftown Sunray ~ 40% (Diageo)

SingletonSunray

The Singleton of Dufftown Sunray

Speyside single malt scotch whisky

40% ABV, £41.25 for 70cl

Score: 82/100

SingletonSunray

What they say:

THE SINGLETON OF DUFFTOWN SUNRAY
A smooth and elegant example of Dufftown’s honeyed intensity, golden and rich on the palate with notes of blackcurrant and heather honey on the nose.

STRENGTH 40% ABV

APPEARANCE Medium to light amber.

NOSE Incredibly soft, starting deep with Demerara sugar and baked apple, rising with heather honey and floral top notes. Blackcurrant and bramble leave a soft balance.

BODY Light

PALATE Sweet and rounded with soft spice amongst fruity notes.

FINISH Sweet, with blackcurrants and vanilla.

What I say:

Sample B5A from the recent NAS vs age statement blind-tasting see The Great Age Statement Debate and Photo Finish Between Age Statement And NAS Whisky In Big Blind Tasting.

This NAS expression from Dufftown distillery was compared directly with the The Singleton of Dufftown 12 Years Old expression.

Colour:

Sauternes, light gold (2/20), medium droplet tears, slow and oily with fine trails

Nose:

Grassy, cereal barley, grist, heather honey sweet, zesty fruit jellies, lime, grapefruit, tangerine and peach

Taste:

Smooth, rich and syrupy, some zesty citrus and pith, grapefruit, orange, lemon, lime a touch of spicy pepper, toffee and caramel, thins with a prickly heat

Finish:

Medium, orange, salted caramel and white pepper with a little bitterness

Overall:

Thin and bitter in places this expression was a little more oilier and mouthwatering than the standard 12 Year old expression from Dufftown. We guessed this was the NAS expression of these two examples and we also preferred it slightly less (again only 1 point difference).

Glenfarclas Springs ~ 46% (Glenfarclas Distillery)

Glenfarclas-Springs

Glenfarclas Springs

Speyside single malt scotch whisky

46% ABV, £35.85 for 70cl

Score: 83/100

Glenfarclas-Springs

What they say:

Part of The Legend of Speyside trilogy released for the German market, Springs honours the role of water in the production of Glenfarclas. Aged in ex-oloroso sherry casks, this is a classic example of the distillery’s style.

What I say:

Sample B4B from the recent NAS vs age statement blind-tasting see The Great Age Statement Debate and Photo Finish Between Age Statement And NAS Whisky In Big Blind Tasting.

This NAS Glenfarclas expression was compared directly with Glenfarclas 10 Years Old ~ 40% (Glenfarclas Distillery)  which we previously sampled and scored 83/100 but only 82/100 on the blind tasting this time.

Colour:

Chardonnay – full amber gold (5/20),  large droplet tears

Nose:

Polished wood and beeswax, rubbery hints, dirty and oily, cereal barley grist and malt, stewed apples or poached pears

Taste:

Chewier (than 10 Years Old) a fruit medley, stewed apple, pear and peach, brown sugar, heather honey, caramel and woody oak, spiced cinnamon toffee with chilli flakes

Finish:

Medium long, caramel oak wood and toffee

Overall:

This expression was richer and fruitier with more woody oak influence and a greater depth / fuller body and was slightly less sweet that the Glenfarclas 10 Years Old. I thin my sweet tooth and preference for good sherry maturation played a role here in which I thought he NAS pipped the age-statement expression but only just (by 1 point). Remember the premise of the tasting was not guess which whisky was NAS but which we preferred on blind tasting.

Mortlach Rare Old ~ 43.4% (Diageo)

Mortlach_rare_old

Mortlach Rare Old

Speyside single malt scotch whisky

43.4% ABV, £54.28 for 50cl

Score: 67/100

Mortlach_rare_old_v2

What they say:

Nose: Reserved and discreet, first showing a ripe fruity tang of red plum, peach and blackberry. A dryer note in the smooth, nutty layer underneath reveals complexity and depth. In time there’s the baked sweetness of a buttery Madeira cake. The oak is restrained and natural, recalling a dry, sunny autumn day in the woods.

Sip: Stunning. Sweet, tongue-coating and fiery, then chewy on the mid-palate; gingery and tangy now too, ranging dense orchard fruits alongside a light gaminess. Growing sweeter, the flavours move from red fruit to liquorice to toffee, set off by a rich, supple and muscular structure. Becoming dryer, it’s still all beautifully pervasive and comforting.

Savour: Soft, coating and surprisingly sweet with blackcurrant and drying, yet silky-smooth tannins. Later, spicy with black pepper, as with chilli-accented dark chocolate.

What I say:

Sample B2B from the recent NAS vs age statement blind-tasting see The Great Age Statement Debate and Photo Finish Between Age Statement And NAS Whisky In Big Blind Tasting.

This NAS Mortlach expression was directly compared with Mortlach 15 Years Old ~ 43% (Gordon & MacPhail) which we have previously sampled and scored 80/100 though in the blind tasting this dropped to 71/100.

Colour:

White burgundy/amber gold (5/20) quick moving medium sized droplet tears

Nose:

Cereal barley flour, vanilla sponge cake mix, not a lot going on? I suspected this was grain whisky/matured in bourbon

Taste:

Zesty, citric, acidic, white pepper spice, lemon juice, ascerbic, green unripe fruit, greengage and gooseberry, strangely oilier and heavier in mouthfeel than I would expect from grain whisky – maybe this is malt whisky?

Finish:

Thankfully short, spicy, virgin oak wood and more green fruit and wood

Overall:

I found this thicker and oiler than G&M’s 15 Years Old expression but despite that it really didn’t carry much flavour. It seems I was in good company as this sample returned the poorest scores of all from the blind taste testers that provided them. Sadly Mortlach Rare Old is neither rare or old and neither does it taste particularly great either! Abysmal and disappointing is my best summation.

Glenrothes Alba Reserve ~ 40% (Maxxium UK Ltd.)

alba-reserve-bottle

Glenrothes Alba Reserve

Speyside single malt scotch whisky

40% ABV, £39.95 for 70cl

Score: 75/100

alba-reserve-bottle

What they say:

The Glenrothes normal wood policy uses a combination of Spanish and American oak, seasoned with sherry, bourbon and malt Scotch. Not so the Alba Reserve.

For this expression John Ramsay has used Glenrothes matured exclusively in American oak refill bourbon casks. It therefore delivers coconut and vanilla in abundance, and is soft and mellow with a crème brulée flavour and feel.

Quercus Alba is the Latin name for White (or American) oak; and Alba is the Gaelic word for Scotland.

Appearance: Pale straw, clear and bright
Bouquet: Fresh, floral, coconut, American oak vanilla
Palate: Soft mellow, creme brulee and berry fruits
Finish: Smooth, sweet, medium length

alba-reserve-label

What I say:

Sample B1B from the recent NAS vs age statement blind-tasting see The Great Age Statement Debate and Photo Finish Between Age Statement And NAS Whisky In Big Blind Tasting.

This NAS Glenrothes expression was compared directly with Glenrothes 1998 Vintage ~ 43% (Maxxium UK Ltd.) which we have previously sampled and scored 84/100 though in the blind tasting this dropped to 82/100.

Colour:

Eiswein and antique gold (8/20) medium trails and numerous small droplet tears

Nose:

New make, light acetone (nail polish remover), softer vanilla and fairy cake mixture, sponge cake, vanilla and sickly sweet / eggy? a neutral-sweet honey e.g. oilseed rape honey

Taste:

Thin/watery in mouthfeel, vanilla sponge cake batter, cereal barley flour, a little sour and acrid, mouthwash in feel, vanilla egg custard and banana milkshake

Finish:

Short and mid-sweet, vanilla

Overall:

I found this expression unimpressive, Paula liked the nose of this one much more than the 1998 vintage as it was simple, sweet and vanilla, I found it definitely improved after breathing with some of the spirit/new make elements fading, but I much preferred the 1998 vintage with its more complex and full-bodied palate.

Caol Ila Moch ~ 43% (Diageo)

caol-ila-moch

Caol Ila Moch

Islay single malt scotch whisky

43% ABV, £42 for 70cl

Score: 82/100

caol-ila-moch

What they say:

Taking its name from the Gaelic for ‘dawn’, Moch is a wonderful newcomer from this renowned distillery. It is the first single malt from Caol Ila to be selected for taste alone: sweet, smooth and lightly smoky, unconstrained by age, cask wood, strength or finish.

To nose, it’s clean, appetising and shows subtle citrus fruit with just a puff of smoke. Smooth and pleasant in the mouth, it begins sweetly then yields a fragrant smokiness then a delicious sweet-smoky, lingering finish.

No matter whether you already love Caol Ila, or just wish to expand your appreciation of one of Islay’s finest malts, Moch will amply repay your time and investment.

To be able to purchase Caol Ila Moch you must be a Friend of the Classic Malts. Friends must login to the FRIENDS corner ( top right hand corner of your screen). From your home page, click on the link to purchase Caol Ila Moch and this will take you through to The Whisky Exchange website. If you are not currently a Friend of the Classic Malts, please sign up on the home page of Malts.com. Once you receive your login details as a new Friend (it can take up to 48 hours for you to receive this) you can then order our new Caol Ila Moch.

What I say:

Sampled at Water of Life Society (WoLS) meeting 06/02/2014 – Committee’s Choice

For Josef’s choice we were treated to the no-age-statement (NAS) Caol Ila Moch. Josef wanted to bring us something from the Caol Ila distillery on Islay and their 2011 released Moch, Moch being Gaelic for Dawn, fit the bill exactly. Initially only available to the Friends of the Classic Malts, Moch was the first single malt from the distillery to be selected entirely on the basis of its taste, rather than age, cask wood, strength or finish.

This is Caol Ila’s ‘NAS’ expression – as part of the restructuring of Diageo’s single malts (classic malts & the rest) each distillery has been the focus of an expansion of expressions into a range fitting different flavour profiles. This is still continuing apace with rumours recently of a new Dalwhinnie expression (I’ll be pleasantly surprised if there are numbers on this bottle but suspect not). So as well as the standard 10/12/14 year old, almost obligatory 18 (or 21) year old, and the possibility of the odd Distillers Edition (cask-finished) still being released, each distillery is now releasing at least one or more NAS expression highlighting a lighter (read: younger!) style to appeal to more consumers. I guess a small part of brand loyalty may drive stalwart distillery ‘x’ drinkers to complete their whisky shelves with these new expressions from their distillery of choice too?

Colour:

Amber gold (9/20)

Nose:

Creamy vanilla and lemon

Taste:

A silky-smooth medium-bodied palate, lemon meringue pie, apple juice, that still packs a peaty punch with a woody and peaty smoke

Finish:

Medium length, dry, sooty and very more-ish.

Overall:

Moch is a wonderful newcomer from Caol Ila and is a must-try for fans of this outstanding distillery. Lighter in style than the standard 12 Years Old expression, Moch is a fantastic easy-drinking dram.

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