Mortlach 12 Year "The Wee Witchie"
Single Malt — Speyside, ScotlandTasted100th note! Gentle sweet smoke Salted Caramel Medjool dates Beloved petrichor Old books Thick & syrupy Dark old oak Orange zest Winter spices Indefatigable, my soul is restored. Dry glass: grilled sweet peppers.
Compass Box Peat Monster (Classic Brown Label)
Peated Blended Malt — ScotlandTastedA homogenous experience, but not for the uninitiated. Applewood smoked bacon Dark honey Dry ginger ale Spindrift Beach sand Black pepper Potting soil Grilled Nectarine Lemon zest A satisfying pour for any old peat-head. Dry glass: fresh roasted grain.
Craigellachie 13 Year
Single Malt — Speyside, ScotlandTastedPerfect example of how much character a simple whisky can have. Sweet autumn apples Fresh cut cedar Warm vanilla Winter spices Maple syrup (grade B) Honeyed almonds Faint waft of chimney smoke A straightforward experience from a simpler world now past. Dry glass: rustic beeswax.
Bruichladdich The Laddie 10 Year (2nd Edition)
Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandTastedPerfect craft presentation! NOSE: Intense Fresh sea air Salted butter Orange oil Peat, but not in the form of smoke Beach sand PALATE: Syrupy Zesty Pickled ginger Sweeter with water FINISH: Full, rich and spicy Hint of clove and cardamom Fresh cut cedar Dark chocolate Eminently balanced and elucidating. Dry glass: Mesquite wood chips.
Oban 14 Year
Peated Single Malt — Highlands, ScotlandTastedFinally found an affordable bottle, under $60, normally $80-90 in my area (read: shamefully overpriced). NOSE: Dry malt Floral ginger Blueberry preserves Sandalwood Gentle wisps of sweet woody smoke PALATE: Warm & inviting Dry citrus Hints of sweet star anise FINISH: Sharp woody spices Dry breakfast cereal Just a waft of smoke passes again A detectably high quality dram, but a bit lacking in distinct character or individuality. Dry Glass: Triple-milled bar soap.
The Balvenie Doublewood 12 Year
Single Malt — Speyside, ScotlandTastedConventional, traditional, foundational, classic, intemerate, illuminating, brilliant, satisfying, impressive, virtuous, approachable, complex, harmonious, centering, invigorating, elucidating, transcendental, quality.
Compass Box Spice Tree
Blended Malt — ScotlandTastedUtterly irresistible. Dusty old books Warm buttery vanilla Little hints of marzipan Mild orange zest Gentle sweet caramelized pork skin Honey-roasted nuts Spicy cedar and cloves A full & intense experience from nose to finish. Reminders of all the romance that beguiled me into this damned Scotch rabbit-hole in the first place. A new favorite (I’ve already picked up an “Extravaganza” bottling to squirrel away). Dry glass: beloved petrichor.
Talisker Distiller's Edition
Peated Single Malt — Islands, ScotlandTastedBizarre & unique, almost unrecognizable to the 10 year bottling. Strong overripe fig Brown banana Rose Stale cigarettes Woody peat smoke Sea spray Combine to form the distinct impression of well-worn age, tragic maturity and abyssal depth. Dry glass: smoked pork rinds.
Bowmore Small Batch
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandTastedA pleasant surprise. Nose is easily appreciable with a medium amount of delicious peat (more island-style, e.g. twiggy smoldering cedar vs. lit swamp gas). Also a little vegetal note like roasted brussel sprouts. Palate shows crisp and fruity before dousing you with a lash of salt spray, somewhat ragged and incoherent. Finish is intense, hot and to the point (short), although a sweet charcoal note stays to console you. Reminds me of the blend Black Bottle. Sample graciously supplied by my good friend Rob, his contribution to our last whisky tasting. Dry glass: beach bonfire.
Longmorn 16 Year
Single Malt — Speyside, ScotlandTastedNOSE: Warm vanilla Floral Anjou pear Winter spices Chlorine Incense Hint of lime zest PALATE: Dangerously smooth Orange marmalade Old oak FINISH: Long Spicy Chlorine returns Duck sauce lingers Loses an entire star for the entirely obsequious over-packaging. The box shouldn’t weigh as much as the bottle, and the bottle doesn’t benefit from purple leather trim. (Who are they marketing for, Prince?) Dry glass: mild beeswax and dry citrus.