Tomintoul 10 year old

A gentle 10 year old from the Speyside distillery, Tomintoul

Glass No.1

Colour: Light and golden

Nose: light with sugar, vanilla fudge, pear a hint of peat, coffee

Taste: barley sugar and toasty cereals, acacia honey and malt extract with notes of honeycomb and toffee

Finish: The finish is quite short, yet charming.

Overall

7/10

 

The Benriach Mederensis Fumosis 13 yr Old Limited Edition

I saw this featured on http://www.whiskey-online.com and at £31 it seemed like a bargain. I wanted to try this as it is a heavily peated whiskey from Speyside and at 13 years it is a little different.

What the Box Says

The Benriach “Maderensis Fumosis” is distilled from peated malted barley and matured in American oak and then finished in Madeira barrels.

This unusual single malt cleverly combines the distinct aromas and flavours of nicely peated whisky.

Rich peat nose with vanilla, cocoa, spices and tropical fruits. The taste is an unusual avalanche of bitter sweet pear and smoke in harmony with citrus, butterscotch, peaches and cinnamon.

Glass No.1

Colour: Beautiful and tempting caramel gold

Nose: Creamy, vanilla with milk chocolate, pineapple, citrus all come through big and bold, a thoroughly great smell.

Taste: This is a whisky of two half’s. It starts gently and fruity and the suddenly the peat comes through with a whole range of subtly favours, but still extremely well balanced.

Finish: log peatiness gives way to the soft citrus and pineapple with even a hint of mango faintly on the end.

Glass No.2

Nose: Tropical again and with a more bitter cocoa edge to the milk chocolate, still temptingly complex.

Taste: Again the first half id sweet and fruity then the full bodied peat is slightly Smokey  with a hint of liquorice as well.

Finish: Long with and oaky but sweet end.

With Water

Nose: A little more spice and some slight pepper

Taste: Less citrus to start with, its perhaps a slight apple taste which gives way to a much muted peatiness in the second half.

Finish: shorter of course but no less complex

Overall

This was a great find and is a complex and rewarding whisky to taste. It has a whole raft of soft flavours smells and taste which each give way to each other making each glass a unique combination.

It is extremely well priced and for those looking for something a bit different from the norm this is an absolute must.

A happy and rewarding 7/10

The Arran Malt 10 year old

The distillery is situated to the East of the village of Lochranza at the North of the island and takes its water from the Loch na Davie. Founded in 1993, by Chivas Brothers’ retiring managing director, Harold Currie, the distillery is the only one on the Isle of Arran since the most recent legally run distillery, ‘Lagg’, was closed in 1837. Mr Currie stylized the buildings with the intention of giving them a much more traditional, classic appearance. During the early stages of building, work was briefly interrupted when a pair of Golden Eagles, nesting in the crags above the distillery, tended to their young. The eagles can be seen, to this day, from the courtyard at the distillery.

Production began on the 17th August 1995. A year later and a one year old was released, of course not technically a whisky, it was released as ‘Arran 1 Year Old Spirit’, and showed great promise for a spirit still in its proverbial adolescence. Though Arran has a capacity of 750,000 litres, the distillery only produces a around a fifth of this. The core expressions include a ten year old, officially released in 2006, and a cask-strength, the ominously named ‘100 Proof’. Yearly single cask special editions are released, finished in either sherry or bourbon butts. Some interesting finishes have also been released, including a Bordeaux, a port and a Calvados.

Glass No.1

Colour: Light hay, honey
Nose: Caramel and molasses gives way to a slight peat like quality like a heap of autumn leaves or dried grass, a hint of vine fruit
Taste: Light and sweet. barley and malt, followed by green fruits and apples.
Finish: Not long and slightly bitter, maltiness.

Glass No.2

Nose: sharper but still with light green fruit like grapes and apples
Taste: still tangy feels like a young whisky and almost a hint of hazelnut
Finish: still malty and warm with a touch of sherry cask to it

Overall

This whiskey still needsa little more time only 5/10

 

Ledaig 10 year old

A 10 year old from the Tobermory distillery on Mull, a Gold Medal winner at the 2008 International Wine and Spirits Competition.

Glass No.1

Colour: light caramel

Nose: Raisins, bran, bananas, hints of coffee and chocolate

Taste: rich and peaty, smoke giving way to citrusy tang

Finish: short and peaty

 

Glass No.2

Nose: More chocolate but still subtle

Taste: deep and rich, chocolate, cocoa and a little peat still

Finish: oak barrels, woods and still a long smoky finish

Overall

7/10

 

Jura Superstition

So this is my first blog post on my new site www.whiskey-online.com. I set the site up primarily as a blog to keep a track of all my tasting notes but thought I’d add the shop part as well – it seemed to make sense that it is easy to buy good whiskey and taste it!.

My wife came home yesterday with a bottle of Jura Superstition lightly peated whisky which was on special offer in Tesco reduced from around £32 a bottle to just £25 –  a bargain.

What the box says

The box tells me that Jura Superstition is crafted from a selection of aged Jura single malts. It is unique in style and character with tastes of tangy cinnamon, ginger, spice and honey with wisps of salty sea spray, rich coffee and roasted chestnuts.

Glass No.1

For those of you have read my notes in the past I always like to have a few glasses of a whisky to really get a good taste for it. I find that the flavour develops and changes as your pallet gets used the drink.

Glass number one then looks a nice caramel colour and is poured from Jura’s usual distinct bottle.

Nose: Starts off quite delicate for me in a clean glass. It has a very slight earthy quality, certainly a warm organic likeness such as damp earth. Then a hint of spice develops which has the cinnamon that the box talks about but also with hints of nutmeg and a warm orange and caramel.

Taste: Quite fruity and sweet on the first taste which develops a slight smokiness from the peat and goes to woody type flavour which I’m guessing is the roasted chestnuts (although the coffee doesn’t come through for me).

Finish: More smoke on the finish which is surprisingly long ending again on that woody almost nuttiness which Jura tell me I should taste.

Glass No.2

So I finish the glass and let the flavour develop both on my pallet and in the glass and then pour another measure for comparison.

Nose: I notice more fruit here this time, a slight apple maybe although only very slight could even be fresh figs but certainly a sweetness.

Taste: woody, sweet with slight peatiness but not much.

Finish: The peat comes through more now on the finish but it is delivered as a real compliment to the taste and nose and doesn’t feel false or artificial. It just keeps developing in a way that even some more expensive whiskeys can lack.

With Water

I’m not a fan of water in my whiskey but I add a little for tasting sake.

Jameson Irish Whiksey

Although not my normal Scottish aged single malt, there are few better ‘glugging’ whiskies than Jameson.

I’ve emptied many bottles of this fine whiskey and tried a number of their excellent range at the distillery in Dublin. This is why i thought I would write a review on this site for the standard entry level dram.

What the box says

No box o this one but the bottle says that this bottle is made with natures finest barley and crystal clear spring water, distilled three times to create a smooth taste. However, there are no notes on taste on the bottle.

Glass No.1

Colour: Light golden yellow

Nose: Sweet, slight aniseed and liquorice

Taste: More aniseed and liquorice, starts by dancing sweetly on the tongue before coming through  to the finish

Finish: short and fiery – nothing else to say

Glass No.2

Nose: more tangy with spice developing

Taste: smooth with not much development (perfect for a good session)

Finish: quick but now with a hint of something deeper

With Water

Nose: Very delicate now with much more depth

Taste: Sweet as usual but without the tangy edge

Finish: hard to notice now

 

Summary

A great whisky to sit and drink all night, but cheap and cheerful is what  to expect. Still a firm favourite

5/10

Highland Park 12 Year Old

I’ve had many bottles of Highland Park and so I thought I would review their entry level aged whiskey which is the Highland Park 12 Year Old.

I remember good things about this whisky but it has been a very long time since I last tried it so here goes.

Glass No 1:

Colour: Quite a deep gold

Nose: Strong sherry on the nose with a deep rich sweetness – molasses, brown sugar, caramel, and honey.

Taste: Sweet light and honeyed on the tongue. Nothing is turning sour or off key (no soapiness thank goodness).

Finish: Tobacco smoke, leather, and honey suckle. Not a huge wave (and no crest or crash) but it is quite powerful and long lasting – medium to medium long.

Glass No 2:

Nose: After time more honey, raisins, and hay emerge. A bit on the astringent side, but it isn’t horribly off putting.

Taste: There is some cut dry grass, light oak, and a hint of sherry.

Finish: You get that low burning fire embers along with the freshness of honey suckle and citrus, and the sweetness of the molasses, honey, and brown sugar. Maybe a hint of peat . . . maybe

Conclusion

I really enjoyed the taste with the finish being quite surprising (the tobacco smoke and leather seemed to come out of nowhere). Although I can’t say it is as balanced as I remember it. Not terribly complex but still enjoyable.

The bottle I bought after this one was even worse! Something was off indeed with that one. This batch was OK, but not what I remember of Highland Park prior to the bottle change. It is going to be really hard for me to put down money for my next bottle.

Overall 5/10

Glenlivet Nadurra 16 yr old cask strength

On a recent trip to the Balvenie distillery in the Speyside region I stayed in a hotel with an incredibly well stocked whisky bar.

That is where I first tried this great whisky from the Glenlivet range. A 16 year old cask strength bottled at a mighty 54.8% ABV.

I saw this again in the supermarket while buying a present for my brother (a bottle of one of my favourites the Balvenie Signature which sadly is going out of production).

I decided to buy a bottle for review to see if it lived up to the memory from my recent trip, or whether the whisky haze had marred my taste buds!

What the bottle Says

As a non-chill filtered whisky it should have a distinctive creamy texture and mouth feel. Matured in first fill oak casks it is rich and rewarding preserving the flavour of the malt. The box says the nose is fresh and floral with sweet spice which is smooth and silky on the pallet with soft fruit and honey taste and a long dry oak finish containing ginger and hazelnuts.

Glass No.1

Colour: Golden is about the right word

Nose: Creamy and slightly chocolaty, hazelnuts and spicy

Taste: Nutty, hazelnuts, spice, honey, chocolaty with a creaminess moving to full bodied oak.

Finish: Thick spicy, rich, long with a slight nuttiness

Glass No.2

Nose: Spice comes through strongly now with small floral notes and more honey and nuts. There is also a little citrus or lemon in here as well but only very slight.

Taste: More oak and woodiness, more spice although hard to place the exact spice but its rich and still creamy becoming sweet

Finish: Oak is strong and it has a long smooth finish

With Water

Nose: Sweeter, still plenty of spice but more floral now

Taste: As you would expect adding water to a cask strength whisky makes is softer and it is still wonderfully smooth and rich with all the creaminess of before

Finish: slightly shorter but mellow and rich

Overall

This is a great whisky that develops more with each glass and I would certainly recommend  a bottle. It is smooth and rich which great depths.

However it is priced at about £50 which is a little on the expensive side for this dram. Aficionados of Glenlivet will love this spicy number as it is a little different.

It is also unlike many whiskies of its age and so it gets a happy 6.5/10 only losing a point for the slightly high price tag. If you can find this on offer then buy it!

 

GlenDronach 31 Year Old – Grandeur

This is not your usual off the shelf whisky. I bought a bottle of the GlenDronach 31 Year Old Grandeur in Dublin last year as a special present to myself for a landmark birthday. At just over £350 for a bottle I was certainly expecting something very special.

The bottle is beautifully packaged and hand numbered, the GlenDronach Grandeur has been aged in oloroso sherry casks for over thirty years in Glendronach’s dunnage warehouses.

This blog won’t follow the normal way I review whisky as I am not adding water to this and it doesn’t need two or three glasses for the flavour to come through (although I did have several!).

Glass No. 1

Colour: This is a superb whisky and has the deepest dark toffee colour. It look rich and inviting and unlike many other whiskies.

Nose: The nose has the crisp apples smell of well aged Speyside whisky with grass and hints of mint. It is surprisingly light compared to the colour and what you would expect.

Taste: At 31 years old this whisky is of course smooth and complex but you don’t realise how complex until about 20 seconds after you taste it! Its deep rich starting with raisins of the sherry cask turning through a thick creamy almost unexplainable heaven and finishing with dates and fruit like a Christmas cake.

Finish: The finish just goes on and on its fruity and amazingly rich.

Glass No. 2

Nose: The nose develops now with caramel, treacle and heaps of sherry soaked fruit like raisins, sultanas and candied peel.

Taste: Just superb! It’s almost liquor like and gives way to the creaminess again with coffee and cocoa and chocolate an lots more lovely things.

Finish: It just doesn’t end and goes on and on with a warming smile.

Overall

Simply one of the best whiskies money can buy. If you like Speyside and sherry casks the treat yourself this Christmas and buy this!

Tip: This whiskey benefits from being aired in a decanter

11/10

 

Glenfarclas 10 Year Old

The producers recommend this as an aperitif whisky. It certainly offers more complexity than you’d expect from a 10 year old dram. A lovely, delicate whisky from Glenfarclas.

Glass No.1

Colour: Golden Brown

Nose: sweet fruity, hints of sherry, raisins, crystallised pineapple

Taste: Very rich, mince pies spring to mind, dates and dried fruit

Finish: very long for a young whiskey but warm rich and satisfying

Glass No. 2

Nose: Caramel and burnt sugar, fruit

Taste: Bitter orange but not unpleasant, mellow and soft

Finish: Long rich and mellow

Overall

7/10 but only because it is the junior of the brand