Monday, 29 October 2018

Mini-reviews: Sherried Grain

This was a sample swap from @Maltman_Mike of DL's Strathclyde 2005 11yo


Mini-review: It's all a matter of proof...

Benromach 10/100° 10yo 57%

Sample: swap from @SpiritAndWood

Nose: sherry, stewed orchard fruit, hints of icing sugar

Palate: honey with a chilli edge, fruit & nut chocolate with a hint of juicy orange

Finish: warming, spicy chilli

With water:
Nose: sherry, vanilla, hint of peat?
Palate: the honey fades, replaced by a chewy milk chocolate toffee
Finish: spicy ginger / chilli is slightly more intense but with a peat smoke note coming through

Notes: lovely dram, up there with the Sassicaia which is my favourite Benromach! Love the way the water adds a peat note to the dram

What's coming out of Girvan these days?

William Grant and Sons' Girvan distillery complex in Ayrshire has released a number of new whiskies over the last few years - let's take a look at some of them.


Girvan distillery was built on the Ayrshire coast near the beautiful Ailsa Bay, overlooking Kintyre,  Arran and Ailsa Craig, in 1963 to supply grain whisky to Grant's blended brands. Ladyburn Distillery was built within the complex in 1965 to produce malt whisky but was closed in 1975. Ailsa Bay malt distillery was built on the site in 2007.

Friday, 26 October 2018

Mini-review: Sweden 3 : England 0

Blind sample from @WessexWhisky

In the glass: Lovely pale gold number, swirls leave slow thin legs, initial nose is smoke!

Nose: Lovely bonfire smoke, not medicinal, some orchard fruit hints too.

Palate: Wow, high ABV gets you on this one and loads of spice. The blanket of smoke covers everything. A few sips reveals some tropical fruit and loads of spice, could be cask strength or close to. Getting some menthol and the finish delivers some too...

It turned out to be a Mackmyra Preludium:03 from Sweden!

Mini-review: Port or Sherry? Have both!

Blind sample from @WessexWhisky

In the glass: a darker dram, sherry cask if it's real? Swirls lead to quick thin legs.

Nose: Full of fruit and also some old book shop? A whole fruit bowl in a glass! Brown sugar, dried fruit, sherry, another Christmas Cake dram? There's not too much spice in the nose though, maybe on the palate?

Palate: Big sour/bitter note on the palate, more of that honey, a little spice, drying. A lot of oak in this one, been in the cask a while? I'm thinking the ABV has been turned up a notch too. There's a sherry or wine note and it's very drying, maybe a red wine cask finish? Fruity notes shining through but a really unusual finish!

It turned out to be a Murray McDavid 14yo Bunnahabhain finished in a port pipe after being aged in a sherry butt - yummy!

Thursday, 25 October 2018

Mini-review: First try of the new range


Blind sample from @WessexWhisky

In the glass: Pale gold, swirls again leading to slow fat legs. Initial nose on this one was a little surprising, my first thoughts were beer! But there is some dried fruit, maybe apricots?

Nose: Walnuts, stewed apples and pears and some seaside notes?

Palate: Yummy, lots of the stewed fruit and spice as you say, there's ginger in there and some cinnamon, a little drying too, there's lots of honey in here but it's not overly sweet. The spice and marine notes point to something around Campbeltown but it's not a dram I think I've had before....

It turned out to be a Old Pulteney 15yo - yummy!

Mini-review: They don't just make mints!

Blind sample from @WessexWhisky

In the glass: yellow gold, swirls lead to slow fat legs, initial nose smoke!

Nose: Lemon peel, wet hay and maybe some salt in there too? Smoke notes, dunnage warehouse?

Palate: Quite high ABV. Lovely Christmas cake notes, raisins, sultanas, sherry, orange peel. This is a lovely dram, big spice notes to tickle your tongue! After a few more sips the lemon is become more pronounced, I wonder if this has been finished in a weird cask?

It turned out to be a Murray McDavid Loch Lomond 19 year old single grain from ex bourbon casks - yummy!

Mini-review: French No.63?

Blind sample from @GregsWhiskyG

In the glass : Interesting brown coloured bottle so I had no idea of colour before I opened it. But it is quite a dark coloured dram, swirls cling to the glass and not much in the way of legs.... High ABV?

Nose: This seems quite complex - there's a little dunnage warehouse, some damp hay, maybe even a hint of smoke? After a little time in the glass there's some honey and toffee coming through too.

Palate: Lots of honey, very sweet, a little toffee. Not getting any of the smoke from the nose and not much in the way of spice. I think I'll reverse my thoughts on a high ABV - this seems to be a low 40s% ABV. From the honey notes I'd suggest a Speyside or maybe a Highlander?

Finish: A hint of spice on the finish, and again maybe some smoke? Lovely malty finish - very warming. I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest a Benromach ?

Mini-review: Three times better?

Laphroaig Triple Wood 48% Sample swap from @WhiskyWings

Nose: touch of sherry, gentle peat smoke, some walnuts?

Palate: very smooth, some vanilla custard with strawberries, slight salty edge

Finish: gentle smoke, little spicy kick

Notes: nice dram, didn't get any peanuts which is great after the experience I've had with some recent Laphroaigs!

Mini-review: Cheap Peat!

Ardmore Legacy 40%

Nose: hint of peat hidden behind vanilla and pears

Palate: sweet runny honey, slightly chewy?

Finish: more of that peat smoke and a nice spicy kick

Notes: a great little uncomplicated dram, I paid £10.77 but you can usually pick it up for around £20, I found a bargain! Hint of peat smoke on the nose and finish are a great way to introducer newcomers into the wonderful world of peat before heading to Islay!

Mini-review: Just my cup of tea!

Càrn Mòr Williamson 6yo 46% (Non-teaspooned Laphroaig? finished in refill-sherry butts) Sample: swap from @Maltman_Mike

Nose: smokey bacon crisps, a touch of salt and a little sweetness.

Palate: a little fruitiness neary blocked out by the peat smoke, but a good kick of spice on the tounge

Finish: very warming with plenty of smoke

Notes: It's a lovely dram, the sweetness tries bravely to complete with the salty smokey bacon peat but in the end doesn't stand a chance. Brilliant for a 6yo.

Mini-review: Italian stallion?



Blind Sample from @WessexWhisky

In the glass: very pale gold, fast legs.

Nose: initially acetone with pears, this fades to leave pear sand apples with a hint of honey.

Palate: honey but not really sweet, creamy custard, hints of green apples and a little spice.

Finish: the spice comes through on the finish, it's fairly short but warming.

Notes: a nice little dram, my initial thoughts were a 40% highland malt, maybe Dalwhinnie?

It turned out to be: The Italian Puni Distillery's 3yo Nova Malt at 43% - a grain whisky made with barley, wheat & rye!

Mini-review: I come from a land down under!

Blind Sample from @WessexWhisky

In the glass: darker gold, gravity defying swirls (no legs for ages!)

Nose: initial nose is winey with hints of tobacco? Sherry comes through along with a maltiness and a tiny hint of sulphur?

Palate: chewy, quite spicy but very smooth again creamy, hints of chocolate and red fruit.

Finish: gingery spice comes through in buckets with a little hint of that tobacco from the nose.

Notes: an enjoyable dram, impressions were a sherry cask matured Speysider but stronger than 40% - maybe 46%?

It turned out to be: Australian New World Whisky Distillery's Starward Solera at 43%

Mini-review: Bottle your own spice

Blind Sample from @WessexWhisky

In the glass:  pale gold, again clings to the glass when swirled, slow legs.

Nose: dry red apple with some pears, hints of chilli?

Palate: lots of spice, orchard fruit, very drying - another hint at a high ABV? There's also some oakiness there.

Finish: very spicy - chilli and some ginger - very nice!

Notes: a nice little dram, my initial thoughts were a Compass Box Spice Tree or similar?

What is turned out to be: Dewar's blend-your-own from the Aberfeldy distillery which David blended himself!

Mini-review: Celtic origins?

Blind Sample from @WessexWhisky

In the glass: It's almost bronze! Gravity defying swirls.

Nose: Initial nose tobacco, mouldy leaves, hint of orange?

Palate: OK I think I'm revising this to a bourbon, hints of toffee and red fruit. But then again there's oak and all the moisture has been sucked out of my mouth - instant dryness. This is quite complex - chocolate and red fruit dominate but there's that ever present tobacco and maybe a hint of smoke

Finish: very drying, a mild chilli, but it just goes on forever.

Notes: A great dram but I just can't make my mind up between a Glenfarclas or a bourbon...

It turned out to be Welsh distillery Dà Mhìle (meaning 2000) 16yo - distilled by Loch Lomond but I think matured in Wales!

Mini-review: Viking heritage?

Kirkwall Bay from Càrn Mòr 46% Sample from @Maltman_Mike

In the glass: Very pale gold, swirls nicely with slow fat legs.

Nose: Initial nose floral with some citrus.  Very floral, hint of heather and smoke, lots of citrus, maybe some dryness (can you smell dryness?) maybe it's icing sugar?

Palate: Surprisingly sweet! Lots of the citrus from the nose, drying again from the nose (?) Quite smooth with a little ginger spice at the end.

Notes: The finish gives up the smoke, only a little! Overall a nice little dram! Clues lead us to believe this is a Highland Park.

Mini-review: Double the fun?

Blind Sample from @Mcfcivo100

In the glass: Pale gold in the glass, quick fat legs when swirled, initial nose heather?

Nose: Some floral notes to match the heather, similar to the Kirkwall Bay I had earlier but this one doesn't have the icing sugar notes, slightly more earthy?

Palate: Very smooth, a little watery, toffee which wasn't on the nose. This feels like a blend.... Little bit of a spice kick at the end and maybe a hint of smoke?

Notes: It was ok, I'm thinking a mid range blend?

What is turned out to be: This one turned out to be Tamnavulin Double Cask - nice little dram!

Mini-review: Spicy Maple Leaf

Blind Sample from @isnaeWinston

In the glass: Pale gold, slow thin legs when swirled, initial nose is grapefruit. I'm thinking this is a grain?

Nose: After a little time in the glass the nose gives me grapefruit along with some icing sugar and a little damp grass.

Palate: Thick sugar water mouthfeel, some orchard fruit and a kick of spice.

Finish: Short and leaves a warming ginger spice.

Notes: This one turned out to a Canadian Single Malt - 10yo Glen Breton

Mini-review: Sophisticated bargain

Glen Moray Chardonnay Finish 40% sample from @Whisk_Whisk

In the glass: Pale gold in the glass, quick thin legs when swirled.

Nose: wine notes, icing sugar and pears.

Palate: smooth bubblegum, a little watery, more of the pears with apples and a hint of lemon.

Finish: long and warming with a gentle nutty spice note. Lovely!

Mini-review: He ain't heavy, he's my brother

Caol Ila Moch 40% sample from @Mcfcivo100

In the glass: Pale gold, slow thin legs when swirled.

Nose: Antiseptic smoke and maritime notes sit side by side. Lemon and wet grass develop. Yummy!

Palate: Sweet honey, grassy notes and some citrus all blanketed in smoke. Quite dry, not creamy like the 12yo.

Finish: Dry, smokey and sweet.

Comments: Lovely dram, smokey and sweet but I think I prefer the 12yo.

Mini-review: How on earth did the angels miss this one?

SMWS G1.15 'Could pacify a mob' - North British 25yo Single Grain 63.9% sample from @SpiritAndWood

In the glass: Mid gold, fast thin legs.

Nose: Dunnage warehouse, nutty vanilla, hint of smoke.

Palate: ABV hits you straight away, huge spice notes, slight bitter notes - dark chocolate / sour cherries. Very drying. Develops some fruit and heather notes.

Finish: Long with quite a bitter / sour finish - not at all unpleasant.

Comments: Lovely dram, but how on earth did the angels miss this one - 63.9% after 25 years???

Mini-review: Hello Darkness my old friend!

Blind sample from @Maltman_Mike

In the glass: Thick oily, dark gold.

Nose: Dunnage warehouse, oak, orange.

Palate: Sherry bomb, drying, toffee, thick honey, spicy cinnamon.

Finish: Drying, spicy marmalade.

Comments: This turned out to be Master Of Malt's Darkness! a 20yo Loch Lomond Single Grain finished in an Oloroso cask. Absolutely gorgeous!

Friday, 19 October 2018

A Johnnie Walker Stroll

It may be surprising to learn but before this tasting I'd never tried a Johnnie Walker whisky before, they'd just not come on my radar! Yes one of the biggest brands in the world, and yes of course I'd heard of them and seen their whiskies for sale but they just hadn't struck me as the kind of whisky I'd enjoy.


Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Lindores Abbey #TweetTasting

In 1191 on the banks of the Estuary of the River Tay, to the east of Newburgh, David, Earl of Huntingdon, built the ‘Church by the Water’. It was built with local red sandstone, and covered a very large area, the extent of which is still discernible today The position of the Abbey was chosen because of its plentiful supply of timber and stone, and for the swift running waters of the Pow of Lindores running over the land down to the Tay.


Sometime after that the Monks started distilling Aqua Vitae, it must have been good stuff as in 1494 The Friar, a John Cor, was commissioned to turn 8 bolls of malt, enough to make about 400 bottles of today’s whisky, into Aqua Vitae for then then King, James IV.

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Mini Reviews (Updated 24th October)


Edradour Caledonia 12yo 46%

Date: 15th Jan '18
Sample: swap from @Maltman_Mike

Nose: sherry
Palate: honey and a little spice
Finish: short
Notes: disappointing....












DL Glenlossie 1997 19yo 50.9%

Date: 15th Jan '18
Sample: swap from @Maltman_Mike

Nose: pineapple with a hint of ginger - very tropical.
Palate: more of the pineapple with a little honey, big hit of spicy ginger
Finish: honey with the ginger
Notes: lovely sweet dram!











DL Glen Ord 2004 13yo 48.4%

Date: 15th Jan '18
Sample: swap from @Maltman_Mike

Nose: new make with some citrus tones.
Palate: lemon meringue, sweet honey with a spicy edge
Finish: spicy honey
Notes: OK but not great, my first disappointing dram from DL, improved slightly with the addition of some water - lots of vanilla notes but toned down the spices.










Clynelish 14yo 46%

Date: 7th Jan '18
Sample: swap from @AmateurDrammer

Nose: apples, honey, a little citrus, a little mown grass.
Palate: very smooth, slightly oily, loads of honey, a little vanilla followed by hot chilli - yummy!
Finish: a hint of smoke? milder chilli & the honey sweetness.
Notes: a lovely dram, honey and spice!








Youtube clips (updated 21st November)

I've appeared in a few Youtube clips talking about whisky or doing reviews - here's an updated list of them!

Maltman Mike & Friends 

The Octagon Tasting with @AlpacaJo




Friday, 5 October 2018

#BlindTasting Series 4 - Part 2


After a really interesting Series 4 Part 1 the #BlindTasting gang were ready for some new surprises!

This is the 2nd part of our 4th series of #BlindTasting. We've each send the others 3 #dramples, mine are labelled A10, A11 & A12, John's B, Alistair's C, Grimm's D & Mike's E. Tonight we'll #BlindTasting the number 11's : 🥃A11, 🥃B11, 🥃C11, 🥃D11 & 🥃E11 but what are they?


Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Jura @TweetTasting

I had my fingers crossed that I'd get picked for this TweetTasting as Jura have recently revamped their whole range with a very mixed response, I've always thought they have been OK, nothing to blow your socks off but a nice dram nevertheless. I've always had a soft spot for the old Prophecy, one of the first bottles I bought and I'm sure the first peated one.

In April of this year Whyte and Mackay relaunched the Jura range saying "Jura is on the brink of something quite remarkable…" So let's see what the new range is like and whether it can provide a replacement for the Prophecy?

A beautifully presented sample box arrived in the post but what were the contents like?


On the night itself the drams were poured and we started sampling!