Saturday, 12 October 2013

69.14 Complex and delightful (Glen Albyn 28 year old)

Distillery: Glen Albyn (Closed)
Bottling: Scotch Malt Whisky Society
Age: 28
Distilled: 1979
Bottled: 2008
Strength: 57.6%
Cask: Refill ex-sherry butt.
Cask Code: 69.14 Complex and delightful
This was an interesting find if only for the fact it comes from the Glen Albyn distillery, which closed during the distillery masacre of 1983. The distillery was close to Inverness and although technically a Highland distillery, it was regarded as some as a Speysider. Read about the Glen Albyn on Malt Madness.
Nose: This is light and delicate and instantly recognisable as an ex fino sherry cask. Very dry with apple, dusty libraries and lofts (attics). Some little lemon, and a hint of salty sea air. The nose is very closed on this and needs coaxed opening with some water to start giving up its secrets. I would tend to not add water in my own reviews because I try and review it right out the bottle to keep my results consistent and repeatable, but this is one of the exceptions to my rule as I could sit forever trying to coax something out it. With water we now get more happening with peach, toasted coconut, and a little leather. I am now eating Edinburgh Castle Rock and Parma Violet sweets inside a dusty woody Sawmill, and someone is cutting the grass outside. I also have pepper and ginger, McVitties Rich Tea biscuits, and also like mashed potato or tattie (potato) scones. An old distant smokey peatiness is emerging as well.
Palate: More sweetness than the nose, with that dry fino character dominating. Waxy and resinous.
Finish: Dry apple, with ginger spice. Sooty, earthy and waxy.
Comments: It is always nice to try something from the 1970s, if only because a romanticism forms once malts were distilled before I was born and hint at a generation past where production methods and the industry was much more different. This was interesting and complex in time, but don't expect anything jumping out the glass at you from it.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Catto's 12 year old blended scotch whisky.

Distillery: Blended Scotch Whisky
Bottling: Catto's 12 year old deluxe (Inver House)
Age: 12
Strength: 40%

At last I have managed to get hold of another old the hard to find Inver House blends, and this time it is  the 12 year old version of Catto's Blended Scotch Whisky. Immediately the bottle gives the impression of being an Irish Whiskey, but it's of course a Scotch. The bottle feels old as if I could be working in the Glasgow shipyards during a previous generation. 

Nose: This is light and fresh, and lots of waxy and buttery notes. As its a deluxe blend, the malt content is naturally higher, and it is evident. Freshly toasted (and buttery again) scones. Plenty of cereal like Kellogg's Corn Flakes. Malty and biscuity with shortbread fingers with the butter once more. Lemon is the only distinct fruit I'm getting, but that goes well with the scones and shortbread nicely. A soft dairy fudge, and popcorn to finish. 

Palate: Smooth and medium-sweet, with a soft fudgey body, with jam and honey. 

Finish: Medium finish and slightly longer than I would expect from only being 40%. There is a touch of warmth there. Waxy with a little saltiness. The cereal and biscuits notes dominating. 

Very easy drinking, and no harshness at all. The finish is good value. If I can find the younger (no age statement) or an older (25) I will try get them. 

Friday, 4 October 2013

Glen Garioch Virgin Oak


Distillery: Glen Garioch
Bottling: Distillery Bottling
Age: NAS
Strength: 48%
Cask: Virgin North American Oak.
Being a big Glen Garioch fan I had heard about this in the pipeline quite a while ago and have been patiently been tapping my feet waiting on it being released.

Not many single malts are put into virgin north american oak, as the delicate malt can be quickly drowned out by the strong and harsh flavours which come from the wood, and of course choosing casks which have previously been used for bourbon (or sherry) as the wood impact will be much less.

I like to think Glen Garioch are being pretty progressive at present with trying some different things out rather than sticking with the old tired age statements, where consistency means less room for experimentation.

Nose: Right on the tail of my previous tasting of a Glen Moray in a freshly toasted cask, I immediately think my nose is going to get a blast of oak but I am completely wrong. Lots of fruit and strong. Rich, cooked and caramelised with orange marmalade, apricot jam and sweet berrys which reminds me of Ribena and Vimto. That syrupy note continues and reminds me of being off sick from school and getting Orange Lucozade and sweet Calpol medicine. The orange continues into the sweet shop and gives me the tang and mouthwatering melting of Terry's Chocolate Orange. Twix bars with chewy caramel, milk chocolate and a biscuit base.

Palate: The oak hits first, but only for a second and is quickly backed up by the fruit. Chocolate, caramal and butterscotch. Medium body.

Finish: Medium-Long finish which is warm and relaxing with a autumnal presence. Creamy and spicy with that chocolate orange lingering on.

This is nice, and it is nice to see Morrison-Bowmore's master blender Rachel Barrie willing to try something new, however I do wish it had been put out at natural strength like the Vintage releases though but maybe it needed to be lower strength to show off the malt as in all honesty I probably wouln't have added water anyway. I rarely do.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

35.95 Invigorating and Stimulating (Glen Moray 18 year old, 1994)


Distillery: Glen Moray
Bottling: Scotch Malt Whisky Society
Age: 18
Distilled: 1994
Bottled: 2013
Strength: 58.9%
Cask: First fill toasted ex-bourbon hogshead.
Cask Code: 35.95 Invigorating and Stimulating
This one I picked up recommendation by another society member, and the reason it took my interest is that it specifically mentioned it was from a first fill toasted hogshead (ex-bourbon) and my take on this is that the cask has been freshly toasted just before filling. I am not sure how much this is done for malt whisky as the oak flavours can heavily swamp out the malt which is basically a very delicate spirit compared to some of the other big hitting spirits out there. The colour immediately says that this cask been active. Who will win, the malt or the wood?
Nose: Hot out the bottle, the first thing which comes to mind is bourbon; sweet and woody. Burnt toffee, caramel and vanilla aplenty. Take that toffee and cover it with chocolate and you get Riesen sweets. Ground espresso, and a definate nuttyness like hazelnuts and chestnuts. Fresh cigars, pledge furniture polish. A definate smokyness which is like burning newspapers on a bonfire, while eating smokey bacon on toast - and this is not a peaty smokyness but something that comes from the toasting of the wood. Little aniseed and liquorice. Not masses of fruit coming through, and any delicate esters im not picking up at all. The fruit I am getting is darker like cherry, red grapes, berrys and some dried fruit, figs and raisins.
Palate: Dry and slightly salty, with a bitterness which is good in the way of coffee, and dark chocolate. Oak a plenty. Very little sweetness in the mouth at all.
Finish: Long and oaky with cigars, clove and pepper, a touch of liquorice, and a toasted nut tail.
The malt is close to being lost here, but it is there if you take your time with it. This is by no means an easy drinker in the sense that it has so much to open up if you don't just want a punch of wood. It is busy and complex and will reward your time.