Thursday, 27 June 2013

Balblair 1995 (travel retail)


Distillery: Balblair
Bottling: Distillery Bottling
Age: 17
Distilled: 1995
Bottled: 2012
Strength: 46%
Cask: ex-bourbon

As my favourite distillery I am always looking for more Balblair malts, and by collection I mean to drink and enjoy rather than sitting looking pretty on a shelf. While passing through Glasgow Airport on my way to Berlin I was suprised to find they still had some bottles of the 95 vintage, which is a travel retail exclusive so I snapped up a bottle. The icing on the cake is it comes in a lovely full litre size.


Very estery and fruity as I know and come to expect and love from Balblair. Mangos, Pineapple, Honeydew Melon, passionfruit. Drumstick Lolly sweets. Apple, vanilla and biscuity elements combining to give Hot Apple Pie with Vanilla Ice Cream. Also getting creamy strawberry in something which reminds me of strawberry milkshake, or Campino Sweets. Things geting nuttier with wallnuts and coconut. Creamy again with Nestle Milkybars, and then some fresh hay, and new newspapers.


Light and refreshing, with a creamy and smooth mouthfeel. Apple punching through and some citrus zest. Melting chocolate on the tongue.


Sweet and light. Spicy with anise and pepper. Nutty with a touch of oak at the sides.


A light and refreshing summer dram. Relax in your back garden in the evening sunshine.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Nikka Whisky from the barrel


Distillery: Blend
Bottling: Nikka
Age: NAS
Bottled: Unknown
Strength: 51.4%
Cask: Mixture of ex-bourbon barrels.

My first exploration into Japanese comes in the form of a blend, and that's right I said the b word. What captured my attention was the strength of 51.4%. What lets most blends down for me, and the reason I don't drink them is the low strength which just makes them too watered down. I have nothing against grain, having tasted some very excellent and very delicious single grains (unfortunately not counting the 20 year old Port Dundas I tried a few months ago). The reviews of Nikka Whisky from the barrel have also all been very positive.

This release is a combination of both malt and grain Whisky from the Yoichi & Miyagikyo distilleries, from a combination of different ex-bourbon casks, married together into a final cask before being bottled. As far as I am aware this is small batch releases and have been told each batch should theoretically be slightly different. I do not know how much truth is in this, and the Japanese being so delicate and good at this I see no reason a master blender could not achieve a consistent taste across batches. If anyone knows please let me know. Now onto the tasting itself.

Nose: Straight out the bottle I get grain on the nose; almost vodka like. After I take time to pass through the grain a floral bouquet opens up, but with the grain alcohol is something almost slightly perfumed, but not in any offensive way. I let this sit for a while and approached it again and was immediately rewarded with much less grain on the nose, and a rich sweetness had opened up. Toffee Butterkist popcorn, creamy fudge, and creamy banana milkshake. Sweet spice like some of my wife's "Yankee Candles".

Palate: Smooth and rounded, with a little pepper. Bananas. Pear Cider. Kinder Milk Chocolate specifically topped with a draw from a Menthol cigarette giving a menthol heat rather than mint.

Finish: Medium finish if held in the mouth a little with some spices and slightly drying. If swallowed quicker and less diluted the finish is a lot longer and minty.

Monday, 10 June 2013

Glentauchers 7 years old (The Good Spirits Company)


Distillery: Glentauchers
Bottling: The Good Spirits Company
Age: 7
Bottled: 2013
Strength: 58.3%
Cask: First fill sherry butt, and then virgin oak.

This is the first single cask bottling from The Good Spirits Company. A 7 year old from Glentauchers which spent most of its life in a first fill sherry butt, which was then split in half and put into two smaller casks, this half of which went into virgin oak.

Nose: Rich dessert fruits in the form of brandy soaked cherries, black forest gateau, and christmas mince pies. Some fresher fruit as tinned Mandarin segments in syrup. Chocolate and Mint Viscount biscuits.

Palate: Tart and sweet, but with the high ABV combining to fizzy cherry cola bottles. Then mellows and becomes rounder in the mouth with the fruits and chocolate flavours combining to give the black forest gateau again. Creamy and mouth coating.

Finish: Long. Fruity to start and then mint chocolate.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

1.173 "A fascinating waltz" (Glenfarclas 1993, 19 years old)


Distillery: Glenfarclas
Bottling: Scotch Malt Whisky Society
Age: 19
Distilled: 1993
Bottled: 2013
Strength: 55.2%
Cask: ex-bourbon, refill hogshead.
Cask Code: 1.173 A fascinating waltz

Nose: Big fruit hit but a more candied sugary fruit particularly Haribo goldbears, Lemon sherbets and Pineapple Cubes. Bird's eye custard over chocolate pudding. Chocolate Raisins.

Palate: Juicy and sharp, like biting into a grapefruit. The lemon sherbets fizzing on the tounge and then Barr's Limeade.

Finish: Long finish with grapefruit sharpness mellowing into a freshly cut grass and dark chocolate and then pepper and oak.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Scotch Malt Whisky Society Tasting

Tonight I will be tasting 6 drams from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society.

64.41 (Mannochmore 24 year old)


Malted milk biscuits. Lime zest, a little vegetative like young agricole rum. Rose water and a little fresh green pine. A little bonfire smoke drifting between everything, burnt out embers.


Light in the mouth, crisp without being harsh, a little spice. Biscuity with some light citrus.


Biscuity with a medium lime citrus finish.

1.166 (Glenfarclas 25 year old)


Very sweet Strawberry bon bons, & strawberry tarts. Chocolate chip Cookies. praline.


Dryer than the nose initially but then developing a lengthening sweetness. Nutty like ferrero rocher.


Long, and candied sweet finish.

1.148 (Glenfarclas 15 year old)


Freshly cut timber reminiscent Woodwork class. Honey with Nectarine. Cooked Pears with a touch of cinnamon and nutmeg.


Big and spicy in the mouth. Tinned pears with a chocolate sauce. Sweet Jalapeno peppers.


A little drying but Long, sweet & spicy melting into a little liquorice & mint.

39.88 (Linkwood 22 year old)


Very open on the nose. Baked bananas with a caramel sauce. Raspberry & pineapple mascarpone. Bubblegum. Glazed Cherries. Lots of vanilla and chocolate.


Smooth and easy in the mouth, with banana sweetnees rolling around with some pecan nuts and vanilla. Orange Marmalade on granary toast


Spicier on the finish than in the mouth, fades to roasted nuts and oak.

27.98 (Springbank 12 year old)


Smoke from a wood burning stove on the nose initially, but melting away into some smoked scallops. Malted barley, wheat and barn hay. Salted cheese.


Briney, with some emerging fruits. The smoke making itself present again but not imposingly. A tooth brush has accidently picked up some soap with the mint. Chewy and oily with a drying brightness.


Big assertive and long finish with some soot and ash. Fruit with some coconut. Freshly sliced ginger.

3.194 (Bowmore 14 year old)


King Rib supper (Scotish Chip Shop Delicacy), sweet barbecue sauce. Some hospital corridor but quickly giving way to dark dess ert fruits. Christmas cake and mince pies. Cloves and mulled wine.


Medicinal but sweet. Pork sausages and barbecue sauce. Flat coke.


Finishes only slightly on the barbecue note, with much more in chocolate and dried fruits but with a big fizzy kick. Long aniseed aftertaste.