Lübbehusen Single Malt Unpeated Small Batch
Single Malt — GermanyTastedA mysterious bottle that I received as a gift for my birthday. Mysterious because there is no information on the bottle about the casks used. So this is a little bid of a guessing game. It is 4 years old but the color already is insane (it is uncolored). It is golden red. The color reminds me of ruby port cask finishes. The nose I’m pretty sure points towards port casks. It is smooth and sweet. For its 4 years age the alcohol is surprisingly mellow on the nose. It is charming and gentle. Aroma-wise it is interesting too. Next the strong port there is cooked apples and pumpkin, coconut, straw, a bid of chocolate, intense moist fruit bread with a lot of dried fruits, strong wild-flower florals. Later on the chocolate becomes much more present. The nose for sure is interesting and very much different to what I know from scotch or as a matter of fact from any other single malt. On the palate a nice ripe fruitiness with a developing syrupy sweetness. Again warm and rich fruit bread with a nice spice mix. There is nearly no alcohol noticeable. The finish is very smooth and delicious. Sweet fruits and a bid of wood remain. What a nice finale to the nose and palate. In conclusion this one somehow reminds me of a nice Irish pot still. It is interesting, different, sweet and makes for an relaxing evening dram.
BenRiach 14 year 2005 Oloroso Sherry Butt Exclusive Netherlands bottling
Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandTastedA special bottle that I kept for a special occasion. And today happens to be my 36th birthday and I found that to be a fitting event to uncork it. BenRiach is one of my top 3 distilleries but this is actually the first cask strength I have of them. It is not that BenRiach CS are not common but they usually are really expensive. And the older 15+ regular bottlings are already so good that I never got around a cask strength single cask. But I got this in an insane deal for 50% off. This one here is 14 years aged in Oloroso sherry butt number 2576 from 2005/2020. Bottle 131 of 643 at 58.8 % ABV. Nose: sweet dried fruit with predominantly apricots and raisins, sponge cake with orange buttery custard, incredible depth and richness, the alcohol is just very much in the background but gives it a thickness that reaches every corner of the nose, next to toffee / soft caramel there also is a more savory note there which is based on a wooden basis and brings some leather, very dark unsweetened chocolate, a little bid like a slow cooked red wine sauce. Interesting, deep and very enjoyable. Palate: creamy sweet but also with a strong alcoholic burn sensation at the start, you then can also taste some rough but interesting wood influences as well, then slowly some citrus fruits like ripe oranges, also fresh ginger and other wooden spices, plus again some more dried fruits but not as sweet as on the nose. Finish: the dried fruits remain with the nice spicey woody bitterness that also taste a bid like orange peel because of a subtle sour part. Added some water to bring it down to around 50% ABV. With the milder intensity the sweetness also gets less and pushes vanilla and burned sugar into the foreground. But still the very nice dried fruits plus hard apples now. Generally dried fruits are very common but I never had them as good and convincing as in this whisky - even after adding water. The palate is quite mellow now and the sweetness is on the contrary more intense now. Also the spices crawl through much more. The finish is equally serious as before and still very long and rich with a lingering bitterness (now like bitter nuts or orchard fruits seeds). All in all a very nice whisky. It has a very familiar and characteristic BenRich profile but it for sure isn’t a relaxing bottle because of it immense depth and richness. The only minor flaw is the finish which becomes increasingly rough and unpleasantly bitter over the duration of the dram - but the nose and palate are really good. I’m looking forward to how it develops in the open bottle. Maybe the finish becomes a little less bitter - that would definitely make it a 4+ bottle. Cheers friends. (Wish I could share it with some people but I hope next year it’ll all look very much different. It would be nice to have a Distiller online tasting event with you guys this time around.)72.0 EUR per BottleDrankDozijn.nl
Kilkerran 12 Year
Peated Single Malt — Campbeltown, ScotlandTastedAfter a quite disappointing first small dram I wanted something to balance that previous letdown. This whisky is fairly young, simple and comparably cheap — and has a spot in my small top-shelve list. And after the first nose rightfully so. It has such a unique, intense, vibrant and clean nose with a fantastic balance of bright fruit and peat. Mild spices and organic aromas (like earth, sand, reed, hay) too. The palate equally exiting. Bright and intense. Malty and fresh sour fruits. Then it developes a so unique flavor profile which makes me really love this whisky. Also some nuts and honey later on. I can hardly describe it but it is like sucking on rock candy and ocean-driftwood. Like a necklace of beach findings. I know it sounds weird but it really reminds me of vacation with my parents at the Baltic Sea as a kid, where we collected everything that was washed on the beach, where somewhere in the back someone has a campfire going. Call me weird but this unique expression and character secures this whiskies spot on my top-shelve. The finish is very nice spicey and salty with a subtle but charming peat. I cannot wait for the 16y or the 18y bottling soon.
The Glenlivet 18 Year
Single Malt — Speyside, ScotlandTasted(For the record: I tasted the new 18y “heritage” which replaced the old 18y with a lower ABV version.) I have to say - the marketing worked on me. Working in the ad-industry I came across the agency who did the brand rework of Glenlivet. Really cool stuff. I had samples of some of the old bottlings a while ago and then finally got the 12y and the 18y a couple of weeks ago. My bottle is down to 80% content by now. Nose: sour fresh orange & apple juice, nice apple vinegar, raisins, a little of that pickled ginger you get with sushi (including the heat), sour plums, blackberries and a slight mature oak wood, then prunes and lemon (juice and peel), a bid of licorice. A nice very fruity nose but a bid light. It really feels like fresh sour fruit juice that is slightly expired (like young vinegar). Not bad but somewhat weird especially for a 18y. But understandable with only 40% ABV. Palate: light and sweet with a slight acidity shortly after. A minor chili burn sets in after a while and a noticeable old wood flavor as well. The finish is ultra short. It swallows like water and leaves a slight numbness and bitter burn in the mouth. The second sip it even thinner now. And so is the finish. The start is quite nice on the nose but from there it goes downhill. It actually becomes a little unpleasant really. The 40% ABV is really kind of insulting in my opinion but - circling back to the beginning - this shows what audience the “new” Glenlivet whisky core range is possibly meant to be for: casual drinkers that want to bring a bottle of whisky to a birthday. And where they usually bring a regular Johnny Walker for a 36th birthday - this time for the 40th they bring something fancy. I mean 18y sounds good, doesn’t it? And at 55€ also a good price. And next to beer, margaritas and wine this could be a nice little alternative on that evening. But honestly - if that would be me I would definitely not take the bottle home. Verdict: nose: nice and fruity — palate: mild sweet and fruity — finish: short and woody bitter with mild chili ... all in all slightly disappointing.
Caol Ila Distillers Edition
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandTastedNose: great signature Caol Ila peat, a little subdued but not the less delicious with a light sulfur note. Also red fruits and berries, maple syrup, kiwi, vanilla milkshake, taco shells, bright apples. Palate: first a nice sourness like unripe grapes, then a slight briny note with nice barbecue smoke and salt which gets bid by bid embraced by a smooth creamy sweetness like buttered & sugar glazed whole grain crackers. The finish is warming and savory peaty with strawberry and caramel. Great whisky.
Arran Machrie Moor Cask Strength 3rd Edition
Peated Single Malt — Arran, ScotlandTastedI previously had a bottle of the Arran Machrie Moor but only the regular 46% ABV version. That bottle was empty surprisingly quickly. I really liked it and that made me particularly interested in the cask strength version of it. On the nose a very classic peat included in a great smooth fruitiness. As I am a fan of Arran whisky in general (which is usually unpeated) I recognize a familiar fruit - wood - spice mix which pushes the peat into the background after some time nosing it. The 56.2% ABV are barely noticeable. There are sweet cookies on the nose, gooseberry jam, salty butter, cold herbal tea (with peppermint), apple sauce. The palate arrives intensely with that high ABV right of the bat and cold peat. Then it becomes acidic like lemon peel and slowly more sweet. The finish is a bid like cold bread roasted on a barbecue the day after. Interestingly enough this one at cask strength isn’t as good at the regular 46% version. Some added water makes it much more accessible in way that you get some fresh orchard fruits and fresh black pepper and a more mellow character over all. Interesting for sure. Shows that Arran understands peated whisky as well and I am really looking forward to some of their sherried peat expression. They have some limited releases in that range and also an exclusive bottling called Fingals Cut. They are not easy to get but I think they might be worth it. Also I really am looking forward to first official releases from Lagg Distillery which is Arrans peat-distillery that is operating for a few year already in a standalone location on the isle of Arran. Exiting things going on there in the south west.
Talisker 18 Year
Peated Single Malt — Islands, ScotlandTastedNose: subtle smooth peat, grapefruit, fragrant ground black pepper, this one really delivers on the famous maritime note with an interesting salty side note in the back of the nose. Slight leather notes as well and some bitter oranges. Later there also is Tomato and other more subtle vegetal notes that go together with the briny but sweet peat very well. Also I got a very new aroma of olive oil much later into the dram with a few drops of water in. Palate: baking spiced nuts with chili, malty and sour bitter with that grapefruit note again, gets very sweet slowly and with it much smoother too. Finish: herbs and spices in caramel, nice wood and peat. In conclusion the spices - both intense and smooth - are the best part of this whisky but they rely on the awesome peat the malty & fruity sweetness which come together in a nice harmony of aromas and flavors. The age really does it good. In comparison with all the other expressions this really is a lot more balanced and mellowed down. I can see what Talisker wants it Whisky to be. The 20y+ bottlings must really be a treat.
Talisker 57º North
Peated Single Malt — Islands, ScotlandTastedThis is one of the more rare Talisker bottlings that has an ABV above the traditional 45.8%. I don’t think the 57% is actual cask strength because at that assumed young NAS age it probably would be 60 or above - but it is close. Even though it has a lot more alcohol percentage it for sure doesn’t show on the nose. It is very smooth. There is also some very nice bright fruits. So far the nicest fruit mix of any Talisker. Especially in combination with the mild peat. There is some pineapple as well as woody spices like nutmeg and cloves. I think what I like the most about it is that is very defined and clean and also deep and smooth. The palate is equally pure and equalized: nice peat, great fruit sweetness, vibrant citric notes and smooth nuts, vanilla and spices - all coming together in a silky sweet unison with a lively kick. Really nice. The finish stays sweet sour with a nice peat on the side. No bitterness and the burn is appropriate for the high ABV. After a few drops of water (with the ABV somewhere around 50%) the nose gets a bid more dry and the peat steps more into the foreground. But the nice fruits (now with added banana) and more vanilla become more defined as well. This Talisker has been and after this taste still is definitely one of - if not the - favorite Talisker expressions of mine.
Talisker Dark Storm
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandTastedThis is supposedly the Talisker with the most intense peat level that isn’t cask strength. And the nose might suggest that. Sure you can’t expect anything Islay-like but for a Talisker it indeed has a prominent peat. But there also is a lingering sweetness right of the bat too. In fact it somewhat has Highland Park patterns but smoother. The nose is very delicious - not too strong not too weak - it really comes across well balanced. It has old sour apples, pumpkin spice, vanilla scones with custard - but everything hand in hand with the dominant peat note. On the palate the peat is right up front. Surprisingly cold while the nose promised a certain smoothness. A bid like cold ash. Also citrus fruits and spiced bread sticks. The finish remains smokey peaty. Cold and dry. But very spicy and with a fitting nice smoked chili burn. Still the finish decreases in enjoyment and in the end it really is the downside of this whisky so much so that it subtracts points from the rating. Water releases more tannins on the palate which makes it slightly bitter. The finish gets more intense with an increased sharpness and burn. It is interesting and rough but a tad too hot and bitter. The nose a bid better then the palate and finish.
Talisker Distiller's Edition
Peated Single Malt — Islands, ScotlandTastedThis is the second time I got a sample of the Talisker distillers edition. This one here is the 2006/2016 Amorosso sherry finish. Nose: cotton candy that was put over a freshly lid camp fire and dipped in cherry marmalade after. After that first impression you get sweet sherry aromas but not very defined - just nice and rich. Then there is a nice savory organic (wood, sand, leather, wet straw and salty sea air) part to it which doesn’t only fit perfectly in there but that feels as if it holds the whole nose together. Very well done. The longer you nose it the smoother (now caramel) and more enjoyable it gets. Palate: much smoother than the other sherry / port finished Taliskers. Also a really nice sweetness embedded in sherry flavors and milky chocolate and fudge. The peat is very nicely integrated. The finish is a great summary of everything that was going on on the nose and palate. After the first sip the nose gets much sweeter and also quite nutty. Then there are some citrus fruits appearing while also getting smoother almost buttery on the nose. The palate also feels sweeter and silky now. The peat is still very defining yet respectful of the other flavors. With three drops of water it feels less intense and less smooth on the nose. The palate remains the same as before but the finish get rougher with an increased peat level.