Bunnahabhain 2007 Mòine Oloroso Finish Fèis Ìle 2018
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandTasted April 2, 2021Bunnahabhain is one of the distilleries who do top tier peated and unpeated expressions. Both ends don’t have any shortcomings or compromises. This one surely is no exception. Sweet Italian cappuccino infused with thick and characteristic Islay peat. But this is only the pre-show - the main act is the Oloroso nuttiness with dried mushy fruits, brown sugar and heavy oak - then followed by a supporting act of fresh pressed apple juice, saw dust, olive oil and whole grain granola. The peat hangs above every stage like a heavy evening autumn fog. The palate introduces itself with rock candy, black tea leaves, intense peat notes with a dryness that makes way for a warm creamy sweetness after a while. The peat is so deliciously embedded that it creates a unison I rarely gotten from a whisky. The fruity nutty Oloroso character is so vibrant and saturated with that peat playing off-beat along that you can just smile with every sip while making a barely audible “hmmmm”. This whisky really is like a great song. Even the finish plays its medium short but important part with cappuccino notes remaining as the last note. This is as close as you can come to a perfect whisky. Bunnahabhain: chapeau.
Bunnahabhain Burgundy Cask Finish 2005
Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandTasted April 2, 2021I poured myself two samples of Bunnahabhain special releases about 15 minutes ago and the whole room smells of it. If smell would be visible I imagine it releasing from the Glencairns like the vapor when you pour water over dry ice. Well, the cask strength helps for sure but it has been a while I had a fragrant whisky like this in my glass. The nose is wonderful cherries, honeydew melon, raspberry-sauce, stirred forest berries, super dark oak wood, milky coffee, then fresh spices, crispy caramel. A extremely lovely nose that is both charming and powerfully rich. A red wine character is definitely and properly present. But not exclusively- there is more - a lot more. The palate does fulfill the expectation of the nose. Quite dry at first with sour peaches, vanilla spice, fresh red chilis, then soft grape vinegar which slowly transition into a malty sweetness with nice roasted ground coffee notes as well. The finish is eyebrow-raising. Nice and super interesting. There is a somewhat unfamiliar note here. A bid like buttery cheesy crackers or puff pastry with oily parmesan. This becomes noticeable in the nose as well now. Really interesting and enjoyable. Then oak and the red wine in a lightly acidic spectrum at the peak. The nose after the fist sip becomes even better. Richer and more wide. The heat on the palate increases as well, which a bid of water levels out. Water does take out sweetness and leaves more ground for the dryness - but that doesn’t diminish the character of the whisky. In the end it comes around like an slightly unpolished diamond really. I like this untamed wildness embedded in sophisticated brackets. What a great whisky this is. Was. Sadly. But this assures me that I can safely invest in one of the Feis Ile bottles when one would come around for purchase.
Bunnahabhain Amontillado Finish 2003 (Distlery only bottle)
Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandTasted March 31, 2021Nose: the typical unpeated cask strength spectrum with dark malt, orange oil, toasted wood, dried spices. But in the back is a welcoming smooth syrupy custard cream, dark roasted chocolate, vanilla, strawberries and sweet juicy dried fruits. It is intense and strong but also quite intrusive and aggressive. Palate: very sweet up front, then the spices ascend to meet with oak and chocolate flavors where the sweetness reduces bit by bit. Finish: spices and an equally balanced sweetness and dry sourness. The wood and aromatic spices linger around in the back for a long time and are the remaining flavors at the very end. A really nice and interesting whisky. Curious to see what those single casks from Bunnahabhain are like. Really not comparable to the standard bottlings but interesting non the less. Super flavorful, rich and intense. A bit too much so to be a relaxing dram. I wouldn’t label it enjoyable but exiting.
Laphroaig Cairdeas 2017 Cask Strength Quarter Cask Edition
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandTasted March 29, 2021A strong and powerful nose. Nice peat expression that comes through those American oak and bourbon casks. Bright leather notes, brown apple, pottery clay, sugary soda (a bid like cherry coke), no rubber on this Laphroaig but the fresh bandage quality for sure. The palate is intense. Laphroaig at cask strength - man, that has got something to offer. Lemon juice with some nice bitters, cherries again this time with bright milk chocolate, surprisingly smooth and very silky on the tongue. Then a spicy pepper is added along the signature peat ice-breaker. Strong and defined. Very nice. The finish is roasted aromas and crystal salt flakes, again I’m getting cherries (must be a momentarily thing), wood and barbecue peat. The salty aspect is awesome in combination with the mature feeling sweetness. This has been my favorite Laphroaig to date.
Nc’nean Organic Single Malt
Single Malt — Highlands, ScotlandTasted March 29, 2021This is an exiting young whisky. Versatile on the nose. Young, yes but also very intense. Vanilla milk, crumbly butter cookies, white chocolate with blanched almonds, mild white grape vinegar. The nose is short and falls a bid flat at the top. Understandable for a 3y old and not bothering really. Nice, interesting and charming. The palate is nice and also very unique and different to anything really. Sweet grapefruit, crispy buttered toast with lemon jam, sugary, bitter almonds. Quite hot but the finish is rewarding. This whisky here is interesting and well crafted. Exiting and different.
Laphroaig 18 Year
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandTasted March 23, 2021Salty crackers / pretzels, damp old wood and bourbon vanilla flavored stone fruits on the nose. Surprisingly moderate peat compared to what I know from other Laphroaigs - still very recognizable iodine, rubber, cold smoke. The age really smoothes it out. It is the oldest Laphroiag I had so far and it also is by far the most smooth and balanced. Nice. A caramel sweetness and vanilla creme on the palate makes this whisky even further approachable and enjoyable without blowing your hat off with an overwhelming peat. Good stuff.
Tobermory 21 year Sherry Octave Sujet III 1995/2017 Whic Special
Single Malt — Islands, ScotlandTasted March 20, 2021Distilled in March 1995 and bottled in January 2017, this whisky first matured for about 20 years in a single ex-bourbon American white oak hogshead. It then was filled into three small sherry octave casks where it was finished for 8 additional months. The result was 231 Bottles at cask strength 48,6% ABV - what an insane angels share. Nose: a typical scotch single malt sherry finish at cask strength: liquid caramel, orange oil, creamy vanilla, sweet baking spices, oily and full consistency, some pepper, marshmallows, maybe a hint of garlic (sulphur) which becomes increasingly stronger, really smooth, quiet massive at “only” 48% ABV - well it is still natural cask strength Palate: first a intense dry sweetness, slightly metallic and very nice, then some intense wood notes (apple tree wood came into my mind). Most prominent: roasted cocoa beans / cocoa nibs. Then added some wet tobacco leaves, brown clear apple juice, cinnamon, then it becomes slightly sweeter but not too much, dark chocolate Finish: wood and roasted coffee, bitter chocolate, raisins and burned sugar What a powerful whisky. I like that it strong suit isn’t waving on top of sweetness but more on some very intense notes in the bitter, organic and spicy spectrum. The nose is much sweeter and fruitier than the palate and finish which makes for an interesting nose / mouth contrasts. Tobermory offers consistently good whisky that is very well crafted and of noticeable high quality. Also they are one of the distilleries that really well can make both peated and unpeated whisky. This was an impressive example of a single casks bottling at cask strength and I really enjoyed this sample. It is unique and very interesting but quite demanding and nothing to just sip away on.
Benriach The Twenty One
Peated Single Malt — Speyside, ScotlandTasted March 14, 2021I have not posted tastes as frequently as I used to because I have so many open bottles that I have already tasted here and therefor I am keeping it a bid slower while I try to empty them bid by bid. (I have ordered a bunch of new samples already though but those are for later months). But today is a special day which made me open this bottle of one of my favorite distilleries. Occasion is that today we started making it official that we have our second child on the way which is due in September. A worthy opportunity to open something special. So this whisky here is very new and counting back, it is a millennial whisky too. It is a partly peated whisky sourced from a variety of virgin, ex and first full bourbon, sherry and Bordeaux red wine casks bottled 46% ABV. I have loved most of the 15+ years old BenRiach whiskies I had in the past and all the features of this one sound amazing already. Nose: very shy at first with a very mild peat note along a mixed fruit salad and dark berry aromas. A few more exotic fruits start to appear in there as well with mainly mango and some peaches. More fresh than ripe. Then some orange jam on top of curd with dusted cinnamon followed by white chocolate and warm maple syrup. At all times there is a very nice subtle peat enforcing all the aromas. Becomes increasingly sweeter. Palate: fresh oak wood, a bid of pine tree resin, spicy vanilla, dark bread crust of Italian ciabatta, plum jam, then dark honey but really not overly sweet at all and more on the dry spectrum for sure. Finish: light peat and some rough spices (nutmeg, bay leaves), not much of the fruits and sweetness left here but a nice constellation of flavors. It is indeed a very tasty whisky and it feels really well balanced especially with that subtle peat factoring in. But I must say I am a bid surprised how shy it is both on the nose and the palate. I account that to the neck pour for now but even though it has quite a proper alcoholic chili burn I think 46% really isn’t doing it justice. 50% would probably have pushed it to the rocky peak but like this (for now) it actually really feels a bid elusive. I hope this will settle and fall more in place with some oxidation. For now it doesn’t feel like 21 years really. It also feels like not completely worth the money tbh. I still like it but I’m counting on improvement. I will revisit it and adjust the rating accordingly.118.0 EUR per Bottle
Kilkerran 16 Year
Peated Single Malt — Campbeltown, ScotlandTasted February 27, 2021I finally managed to get my hands on a sample of the Kilkerran 16y. When it was released last year, it was sold out in such a short time I didn’t even realize it was finally there. I’m having a dram of the 12y right next to the 16y to have a proper comparison. The 12y is one of my favorite whiskies. It has everything I like in a whisky and satisfies in every stage. So I am was super curious about the next age statement release. Nose: Campeltown DNA right up front. Driftwood aromas, mineralic rock & sand, bright fruits and a nice subtle chewy fresh peat. Lemons and yellow pears. Vanilla. Malt. Not too sweet at first. Palate: the characteristic peat is really nice right from the start, following along are sour fruits, bright nuts, lemon & grapefruit peel, roasted wheat bread, all with a silky mouthfeel. Finish: nice and medium long but a little strange (slightly fermented orchard fruits) and quite sweet in the end followed by a slight barky bitterness. Compared to the 12y the nose is a lot more intense and present. But is also fruitier and sweeter. And different. Even thought nose of the 12y is slightly weaker, I like it more (it is way more unique and has a intriguing caramel note along all those nice peat and wood aromas). It is interesting how different the two noses are. Same for the palate really. They are both nice but the 12y is more characteristic and interesting. Verdict: the 16y is a nice whisky but very sadly nothing special. It reminds me too much of a standard Glen Scotia which I found slightly boring when I had a few expressions. This whisky falls right in line which is very different to the 12y which seriously stands out and brings something completely new to the table. It is mind boggling how different they are. Honestly - blindly I wouldn’t recognize the 16y as a Kilkerran bottling. Campeltown for sure. But not Glengyle. So since my 12y bottle is nearly done I will (contrary to my previous plans) buy another 12y instead of the upgrade to the 16y, which honestly isn’t really an upgrade. Still good though. Glad I finally had it. Not so glad that it doesn’t feel like an improvement.
Deanston Virgin Oak
Single Malt — Highlands, ScotlandTasted February 14, 2021The nose at first is a simple straightforward whisky but shortly after it becomes much nicer with a nice melange of heavy vanilla creme, sultanas, dried apricots and citrus. The palate is surprisingly full and intense. It is not overly exiting but nicely rich. Fruity and sweet with dried fruits, baking spice, vanilla, citrus oil and a strong maltiness. In the end it is likable and charming. It is easy to comprehend and very honest. The intensity of it, that lies in the virgin oak maturation, is what made me like it. One question I’m asking myself now: is that what Bourbon tastes like?