Aberfeldy 20 Years Old 1994 Cask 6978 ~ 56.9% (Distillery exclusive)

Aberfeldy Cask 6978

Aberfeldy 20 Years Old 1994 Cask 6978

Highland single malt scotch whisky

56.9% ABV, £80 for 70cl

Score: 84/100

Aberfeldy BYO

What they say:

Distillery exclusive bottle-your-own Cask 6978 was laid down in 1994, this sample was taken in 2014 (hence ~ 20 years old)

Aberfeldy Cask 6978

What I say:

Many thanks to Tom of Toms Whisky Reviews for the sample from this bottle-your-own/distillery exclusive expression from Aberfeldy.

Colour:

Dark copper brown (15/20), medium-large droplet tears with medium trails

Nose:

Cinnamon Danish and apple strudel pastries, floral and fragrant, toffee, oak wood, spicy cinnamon and nutmeg, cereal barley malt, spicy then sweet, malted milk biscuits

Taste:

Initially spicy cinnamon bubblegum, then rich, sweet and malty, almost savoury, molasses, treacle-like, treacle toffee, parkin cake, cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg, with water become more like spiced butterscotch toffee

Finish:

Long, treacle, sticky and cloying sweetness, oak wood and crème brulee topping (caramelised sugars)

Overall:

A delicious single cask expression with a real toffee-d nature. Lots of nice woody and herbal spices in here like a good gingerbread or parkin cake mix with the treacle influence.

Couch Grass and Ground Elder Beer ~ 5% (Secret Herb Garden)

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Couch Grass and Ground Elder Beer

Scottish Ale

5% ABV, £2.75 for 500ml

Score: 85/100

What they say:

Produced in conjunction with Top Out Brewery, a traditional style Scottish ale using natural herbal ingredients including couch grass (Elymus repens) and ground elder (Aegopodium podagraria)

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What I say:

Couch grass and ground elder beer from the secret herb garden. Meaty bitter toffee malt similar to elderberry.

Grimbergen Blonde ~ 6.7% (Brouwerij Alken-Maes)

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Grimbergen Blonde

Belgian Blonde / Golden

6.7% ABV

Score: 75/100

Grimbergen-Blonde

What they say:

The high quality raw materials make up the richness of this top-fermented beer, which is characterized by its ocher blonde color.

Taste: Grimbergen Blonde is light fruity and balanced sweet-bitter. Due to its rounded flavor, this beer is highly appreciated. (Alc.6.7% vol.)

GrimbergenBlondeBottle

What I say:

Easy drinking Belgian blonde ale.

Label 5 Extra Premium 12 Years Old ~ 40% (Label 5)

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Label 5 Extra Premium 12 Years Old

Blended scotch whisky

40% ABV, €20 for 1L

Score: 82/100

Label 5 12yo gift box

What they say:

LABEL 5 EXTRA PREMIUM 12 year old is an exceptional Scotch Whisky fully matured in oak casks for over 12 years. During this process, and under the constant care of the Master Blender, it acquires its incomparable smoothness and lingering flavours.

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What I say:

The final part of our short journey through some of the Label 5 range ended on what we thought was their best expression, the 12 Years Old Extra Premium. Once again thanks to Tom from Tom’s Whisky Reviews for the samples.

Colour:

Dark amber gold (12/20), thick and heavy tears

Nose:

Fruity orchard fruits, peach, pear and apple, all poached in honey and syrup, fragrant and floral, light and sweet, oak wood and cereal barley malt with a little herbal nature, sage and cumin.

Taste:

Neutral-sweet toffee and woody oak, more herbal nature again sage and cumin amongst others, creamy vanilla develops and more sugary toffee, butterscotch and fudge, becoming quite rich, cereal grain malted barley, a little oat, slightly biscuity

Finish:

Medium-long like spiced apple brandy with toffee

Overall:

We really enjoyed this 12 year old blended scotch from Label 5, this is easily as good as many entry level single malts. A good depth and balance of flavours with plenty of aged oak wood throughout. Sweet on the nose but much more tempered in the palate and a lovely baked or stewed nature to all those lovely fruit flavours make this very shippable in its own right.

Label 5 Gold Heritage ~ 40% (Label 5)

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Label 5 Gold Heritage

Blended scotch whisky

40% ABV, $40 for 75cl

Score: 79/100

Label5GoldHeritage

What they say:

Crafted by Label 5 master blender Graham Coull, Label 5 Gold Heritage is blended from various whiskies, including malts that have been aged for more than 20 years.

Its flavour profile is described as smoky and peated with creamy vanilla notes from the grain whiskies used, as well as subtle woody hints and spicy notes.

“Label 5 Gold Heritage is a personal achievement for me,” commented Coull. “Building on the traditions of Lavel 5 I have hand-selected whiskies from different ages and casks which marry together to produce a wonderfully balanced blend. The result is an exceptionally smooth whisky loaded with fruit, spice, warm vanilla oak and subtle smoke, which offers a unique taste experience.”

Tasting notes from Whisky for Everyone

The colour is deep golden yellow and the nose has immediate aromas of dried fruits and malted cereals.  The cereal gives a bittersweet edge that compliments the distinct raisin, sultana and candied orange peel notes.  Underneath are further aromas of caramel, vanilla, honey and plenty of cinnamon.

On the palate the whisky has an initial sweet note that is most reminiscent of fudge or crumbly brown sugar.  This evolves to include the juicy dried fruits from the nose – the raisins, sultanas and candied orange are all present, plus some dried apple.  These characteristics are backed up by some vanilla and warming wood spices, especially cinnamon, plus an earthy ginger note.  The bittersweet malty cereals are also present but the flavour seems more understated than the aroma.  Further sweetness develops in the form of a golden syrup-like note.

The finish is of decent length and the bittersweet cereals, warming wood spice and ginger notes lasting longest.  The sweet sugary and fruity elements linger but eventually fade to give the whisky a delicious drying conclusion.

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What I say:

La Martiniquaise released this Gold Heritage edition in late 2014. Constructed by the Label 5 master blender Graham Coull using a variety of aged whiskies including up to 20 years old, however the final blend was released without age statement. This is very much a flavour-led product – aiming for a distinct smoothness.

Colour:

Orange amber gold (11/20) medium-heavy tears

Nose:

Orange oil and zest, fruity and citric, cereal barley malt and grits, delicate and floral orange blossom, musty aged oak wood, dunnage warehouse, grassy hay and more cereal wheat

Taste:

Waxy with a rich and zesty orange and apple juice mix, develops into a creamy and buttery texture – like brandy butter with vanilla, delicate and subtle smoky peat and some dark malt sublime into beeswax candles, a light sherbet fizz (more oranges) and plenty of smooth toffee, butterscotch and caramel sauce.

Finish:

Medium, toffee-d oak wood, clotted cream fudge and blossom honey

Overall:

I was a little underwhelmed by this expression, or perhaps overwhelmed by the quality of the Label 5 Classic Black I had sampled before it. Yes this is super-smooth, has plenty of zesty fruit and a lovely waxy and buttery nature. For me I would have liked a little more complexity or increased intensity of some of the flavours – this suffers from being a little too smooth and unchallenging perhaps?

Label 5 Classic Black ~ 40% (Label 5)

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Label 5 Classic Black

Blended scotch whisky

40% ABV, £20 for 70cl or €16.25 per 1L

Score: 77/100

Label5

What they say:

Label 5 Classic Black blended scotch whisky, matured in oak casks, made in Scotland.

Nose: Rather sweet with vanilla and sticky toffee pudding. Hints of ginger and cinnamon.

Palate: Apples, pears and a subtle grassy note or two. A little citrus and caramel.

Finish: A clean finish with lemon zest and brown sugar.

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What I say:

Owned by La Martiniquaise, Label 5/Glen Turner Scotch whisky is produced at the Starlaw distillery in Livingston, a stone’s throw from where we live. Label 5 is relatively unheard of in Scotland but has a huge market in France where the majority of their products are exported to. Label 5 is easily found on most of the major French supermarket shelves, and is popular with both older Scotch (likely on the rocks) drinkers as well as having a huge following with younger drinkers as an excellent mixer for short drinks (whisky & coke) and cocktails – something the advertising dept. at Label 5 have realised with regular releases of cocktail ideas and recipes;

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In a cocktail glass, mix 3 cl of LABEL 5 Classic Black, a spoon of honey, one quarter of lemon and add a pinch of wasabi.

Perhaps not designed for drinking straight, here’s our thoughts on their entry level classic:

Colour:

Full amber gold (9/20), medium-fine droplet tears

Nose:

Fruity with distinctly toffee oak undernotes, baked/smoked apple chips, a light oilseed rape honey, perfumed apple blossom, zesty oranges, cereal cornflakes, clean and crisp

Taste:

Medium sweet, honey nut cornflakes, cereal maize, barley, gristy in places, vanilla cream icing, zesty and juicy fruits, candied peel, baked or poached pears and apples before a final mealy/husky cereal.

Finish:

Medium-short, sweet syrup thins into honey and plenty for fruity zest

Overall:

A typical Scotch blend, not as short and sweet as we were expecting. some complexity and depth of body to be found here which would help carry it into cocktails and through mixers. Quite fruity and zesty – which has previously led to the suggestion of plenty of Speyside type malts in this mix (with the grain whisky presumably coming from their Starlaw distillery). It is interesting to note La Martiniquaise purchased Glen Moray from the Glenmorangie Company some years back, perhaps indicating a good proportion of Glen Moray in this blend perhaps? Considering the price we were pleasantly surprised with this blend and it is easy to see how French consumers are clearly voting with their palates. This makes an excellent light summer or aperitif whisky and works beautifully with a rock or two, or a splash of cooling soda or lemonade.

Thanks to Tom (@TomsWhisky ) and Franck () for the generous sample.

Tullibardine bottle their oldest cask, producing the 1952 Vintage Limited Release

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Tullibardine release 1952 vintage at RRP £16,000 limited to just 70 bottles

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Laid down in the same year as Queen Elizabeth’s coronation, this has spent ~ 60 years quietly maturing away at Tullibardine, and represents their oldest cask and bottling!

Tullibardine’s Master Distillers have created a single malt that has been crafted over six decades, maturing its way through the reign of King George VI, seen through 12 British Prime Ministers, 12 US Presidents, the moon landings, Concorde and a new Millennium.

Commenting on the new release, Matthew Johns, Tullibardine’s Commercial Director, said: “This is the most exceptional single malt whisky Tullibardine has ever created. Aged for 60 years, this goes far beyond whisky, you are drinking in the history of our ancestors”.

Inspired by the ‘Tullibardine Drop’ French crystal maker Baccarat have designed and created a specially commissioned gold and crystal decanter for each of the 70 whiskies. Every Custodian of the 1952 will receive an exclusive membership card, created by luxury designer Black Astrum, makers of the world famous Diamond encrusted Signature Cards.

Tomatin announces launch of their 36 Years Old small batch release

36 Bottle Hi

The Tomatin Distillery Co Ltd has announced an addition to its range of Tomatin Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky – a 36 year old small batch release – which will be available in all markets later this month.

36 Open Hi

Batch 1 of this new 36 Year Old expression has been vatted from a combination of ex-Bourbon and ex-Oloroso Sherry casks, producing just 800 bottles. Smooth and creamy, it has been bottled at natural cask strength (46%abv), non chill filtered and natural colour. Packaged in an attractive wooden box, each bottle is individually numbered and comes with its own certificate.

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Stephen Bremner, sales director, said: “We are in a unique position to be able to offer a product of this age on an ongoing basis. Following the withdrawal of our renowned 30 year old expression, we expect this new 36 year old to be a welcome addition for stockists, and indeed drinkers, of Tomatin single malt.”

36 Bottle Hi

Official Tasting Notes:

AROMA            Pear drops, ginger snaps, butterscotch, vanilla ice cream, sherry notes, milk chocolate.

PALATE            Woody and malty, less sweet than the nose, cloves and cardamom.

FINISH              Elegantly smooth and creamy with just a hint of spice.

UK RRP is £499

Craigellachie 23 Years Old ~ 46% (Bacardi Ltd.)

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Craigellachie 23 Years Old ~ 46% (Bacardi Ltd.)

Speyside single malt scotch whisky

46% ABV, £330 for 70cl

Score: 89/100

Craigellachie23yo

What they say:

Craigellachie distillery sits nestled in the heart of Speyside atop a rock overlooking the confluence of two great rivers, the Fiddich and the Spey. The distillery was built by Peter Mackie and Alexander Edward in 1891 and still uses traditional worm tubs giving the resulting malt a distinctive meaty, sulphury character.

A malty tang. Oil. Grit and grist. Summons the mill house of old. Then cinnamon and a menthol dunt. Pigheaded, big flavoured. Sweet-and-sulphur with each mouthful. A muckle, meaty dram.

What I say:

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

Colour:

18 Carat Gold (9/20), mixture of thick trails initially followed by medium fine droplets leaving fine trails

Nose:

Fruity apples, pears, peach, apricot, cereal barley malt and grist, quite a spicy nose before the sulphur is revealed, vanilla egg custard pastries, citric lemon and tropical pineapple before toffee and caramel oak wood, slightly musty.

Taste:

Orchard fruit juices with a little acidity, green apple, fresh juicy pear, creamy vanilla and vanilla custard, zesty orange with a little pith, spicy nutmeg and cinnamon, gentle sulphuric tang, salted caramel and butterscotch sauce on baked or stewed apples.

Finish:

Long, balanced sweet fruits and spices, much less ‘meaty’ than the 17 Years Old with the sulphurous character much more in the background, a mouth-coating vanilla cream persists

Overall:

A beautiful expression, a powerful zestiness is present here which carries the body. The sulphur is still present but most of the coppery metallic nature of the younger expressions is masked by masses of vanilla and old oak wood influence. This was a pleasure to sample but unlikely I would purchase this expression due to the high RRP. Especially as the 17 Years Old offers such excellent intensity of flavour for a much more affordable price.

 

Craigellachie 17 Years Old ~ 46% (Bacardi Ltd.)

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Craigellachie 17 Years Old ~ 46% (Bacardi Ltd.)

Speyside single malt scotch whisky

46% ABV, £80.95 for 70cl

Score: 85/100

Craigellachie17yo

What they say:

Craigellachie distillery sits nestled in the heart of Speyside atop a rock overlooking the confluence of two great rivers, the Fiddich and the Spey. The distillery was built by Peter Mackie and Alexander Edward in 1891 and still uses traditional worm tubs giving the resulting malt a distinctive meaty, sulphury character.

A caustic candy store. Vanilla, exotic fruits. Sweet treats. Then the sucker punch; a jab of aromatic liquorice and a smooth, smouldering end. A nippy sweetie of a nip.

What I say:

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

Colour:

Antique yellow gold (7/20), thick, slow droplets and trails

Nose:

Fruity orachard fruit, apple, peach, plum, vanilla crème brulee, cinnamon hints, vanilla cream, honey, sulphuric, swampy/boggy and mossy, cereal barley malt and butterscotch, with time a slight chemical paint-stripper aroma was detected which developed into fireworks and particularly the smell of sparklers.

Taste:

Sulphury and mossy ‘bite’, lots of fruit/fruit medley, heavy and waxy and slightly fermented, apple mash – as in cider making, blossom honey and toffee, caramelised sugars – almost burnt, a little like making jam in copper pans, malty, more vanilla and caramel from the oak wood and a faint hint of cigarette smoke

Finish:

Medium-long, sweet fruity jam; apple, pear, apricot then metallic scouring pads on copper pans

Overall:

Thick, rich and meaty with lots of cupric and sulphurous character synonymous with Craigellachie, this is delivered on a base of sweet honeyed fruits and vanilla and caramel oak wood. A distinct increase in intensity of flavours were discovered here compared to the 13 year old entry level expression. In fact a greater depth of the coppery/sulphuric nature appeared to be presented in a much deeper bodied whisky. For me bang per buck this 17 year old expression was the most pleasing and enjoyable.

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