Oban Distillers Edition
Peated Single Malt — Highlands, ScotlandTastedI believe this is my third or fourth time tasting a different Oban expression, and i still can decide if i like their offerings or not. This is actually not a whisky that i will remember, i really did not like it much and i believe Little Bay was good and maybe the standard 14yo was also decent, but definitively this distillery is not on my top of mind. This Destiller's edition is also a 14yo (2004 -2018) expression, double matured, first in ex bourbon casks, then in Montilla Fino casks. Bottled at 43%abv, Tawny color. On the nose is nice, with dehydrated oranges (turkish delight), pecans, an artificial sugary orange, lots of salt. A little floral, perfumed. Flan caramel, lemon appears after a while. After a couple of minutes, some thick, nice orange marmalade appears. Very similar on the nose to some other amontillado sherry expressions, like Glenmorangie Tayne. Maybe some coffee somewhere. On the palate, it starts falling apart. Orange, ginger, salt. Some fresh notes, orange peel. That's it. Aftertaste, new wood, sawdust; ginger. Very mineral, mostly salty and "rocky". Overall, for a Distiller's edition, this is too simple, difficult to enjoy due to disonant flavors, not the best dram. If you have a double matured dram, you expect to add flavors to a base, not mix them strangely. My score for it is 74 over 100. Sad.
Strathmill 12 Year Flora & Fauna
Single Malt — Speyside, ScotlandTastedA light easy drinkable whisky, was my not too much impressive, Strathmill 12yo Flora and Fauna. My first dram from this distillery and it was a fair treat. Bottled at 43%abv, pale straw color. On the nose, it smells actually grainy. There are yellow apples, cooked. Like mashed. Some citrus notes, Creamy chocolate fudge. Its a little harsh and "alcoholy" on the nose. Lots of fruits, specially apples. It doesn't get easier on the nose after taking a first sip, but a remarkably clean honey note appears. Still a lot of alcohol on the nose after taking a second sip. Dulce de leche appeared. It is not that bad, it is a little harsh. After a while the burnt grass that i will later found in theaftertaste is also on the nose. I let it breath for 10 mins. The alcohol went away, but the apples stayed. On the palate is quite good. Nice creamy vanilla with apples somewhere there. Pepper and cinnamon. Second sip is dulce de leche, with apples which is actually a nice combo. It is not bad at all in the palate. It is so sweet and nice the first seconds of the palate then it shows a little roughness but not unpleasant. Remember i told you that the harshness of the nose left after 10 mins? Well it went to the palate. Nothing on the fourth sip, just alcohol and no aftertaste. Aftertaste is not the best. Burnt grass and hints of peat. Apple liquor. Old apples. Overall this is a normal whisky, which i believe originally went for $50,00 and that would be a fair price for it. It is not bad, not great either. 73 over 100.
Arran The Côte-Rôtie Cask Finish
Single Malt — Islands, ScotlandTastedArran has become my "go-to" brand if i want something fruity, since its offerings are often very well crafted and tropical. This brand is no speysider, but also not your typical islander whisky. Côte-Rôtie cask finish is one unpronounceable expression which refers to a specific french zone where a special type of syrah wines are made. It means a "roasted slope". Bottled at a nice 50%abv, which Arran uses constantly. The color is quite impressive, it is actually PEACH. On the nose it is very interesting with some tropical aromas i have never experienced in whisky before. Starts with white chocolate, then it releases an outstanding cantaloupe and papaya. Amazingly fresh and fruity; Actual Peaches, Some salt and spice, maybe a slight maritime character. Cheap strawberry hard candy. Very Tropical, White wine style. After the first sip: flowers and papaya juice. White chocolate. On the palate it is very enjoyable. A cantaloupe note, so nice. Then a Pepper bomb but very pleasant, mixed with the tropical fruitiniess. Second sip gave me milk chocolate, a white kit kat bar. Aftertaste is great: Slight smoke and a pepper pleasant burn; Very nice. Interesting and different dram, it feels fancy, classy. Nice spiciness, long lasting, very rewarding with some grassy notes. Overall this is a very good dram, very balanced and for the price (around $50) is unbeatable. This is a limited edition and i will recommend you to buy it. 89 points over a 100, and it surely feels like an unfair score for it, should be higher.
Highland Park Voyage of the Raven
Peated Single Malt — Islands, ScotlandTastedHighland Park is one of my favorite distilleries, and it belongs to the Edrington group, just as Macallan; this important since it seems they have followed the same marketing and business plan: to release a lot of new expressions, most of them NAS, very well packaged and highly collectible. The real challenge here is actually making good whiskies, but in this case, they accomplished just that. Highland Park Voyage of the Raven tells the story of two ravens, called Huginn y Muninn, who were they eyes and ears of the viking god Odin. It is also about how vikings used ravens when navigating, to find new lands and return home, by just following them. Not only the story is beautiful, the bottle itself is quite nice. Bottled at 41.3%abv, a very dark, tawny color. ON THE NOSE: it is just marvelous. Figs / raisins/ blackberry marmalde WITH A earthy peat in the back, very perfumed. Some red fruit syrup, smells thick. After 2 minutes earthy peat changes into a glue aroma. Then it becomes winey, a chocolate bathed raisins note appear. Raisin note is very accurate; Very,very pleasant. Wow some clean lemon note just appeared out of nowhere after 5 mins.Bitter Coffee beans. This notes are coming one after another, not at the same time, so complex. The notes are very clean: Now it is dusty, like Peat became stronger. Hay. Lemon. After first sip, a sugary arrificial orange aroma note appeared, like cough syrup. Pecans, wow amazingly clean. First time i got this in a whisky. The orange Is getting more natural, than sugary. After a second sip, a melted milk chocolate aroma has been thrown here. It is amazing. Oranges. ON THE PALATE: Starts very dry and woody. Changes into a winey, spicy dram, lots of black pepper, not unpleasant although a little powerful. After 5 seconds in the palate it turns grassy / peaty. Second sip is clearer, it is a little watery, there is a punching peat flavor with pepper, but pleasant. Orange flavor is there but very dim. It is a pleasant dram on the palate but not nearly as complex as it was in the nose. Third sip gave me creamy vanilla notes. AFTERTASTE: is pretty nice. Plain new wood, very dry. Leaves a pleasant yet scorching spiciness on the lips. No fruitiness found after the first sip. Second sip gave me a little, but very pleasant puff of smoke, very dry, but VERY PLEASANT, i loved it. Nice, long lasting. I love the simple, peaty, burnt new wood aftertaste, it is rewarding even if it is not very complex. Overall, this is a wonderful, and not expensive dram. The peat and the sherriness worked very well here and specially on the nose. My score for it is a solid 93 over 100, for a $56 dram, its absolutely a must-have. Skal!
Tamdhu 15 Year
Single Malt — Speyside, ScotlandTastedMy second Tamdhu ever reaffirmed my impression of this distillery: its good... it is really good. Fully matured in spanish oloroso sherry casks, this 15yo is a limited edition (it says limited reserve) and it can be a great rival for Glendronach 15, which is a lot to say. Bottled at 46%abv, tawny color. On the nose it is beautiful. An incredibly clean and accurate Creme brulee note, Toffee, Cofee. Every note feels toasted, so amazing. Fancy caramel; dates and slight cinnamon. Second sip reveals dulce de leche and more toffee. Orange marmalade. Lovely. On the palate it is very enjoyable. Milk powder, orange, brown sugar; hard dulce de leche, very Sugary. Apricots. Toffee. Sweet and great. Aftertaste is also fantastic and gives you a whole new layer of flavors. Oak spice, leather and dulce de leche ice cream. Overall, as soon as you taste this you inmediately know how solid this whisky is. A fancy yet complex and sweet dram, very well crafted. My score for it is 93 over 100, and i definitively recommend it. Good job Tamdhu.
Starward Solera Single Malt
Single Malt — Victoria, AustraliaTastedLet me be sincere about this dram, it wasn't what i expected. I held an all sherried whiskies tasting event and this one was by far the worst dram of the night, without being a bad whisky at all. Starward is an Australian Distillery, located in Melbourne, which is famous for maturing their whiskies in barrels that previously held different types of wines. This Solera expression is supposed to be matured in a Fortified wine cask using a Solera system; (its sherry, but it cannot actually be called "sherry" because it does not come from the Jerez Triangle zone in Spain). Bottled at 43%abv, tawny color. On the nose: Banana bread, Brown sugar, ripe bananas, honeycomb, fresh apples, Almonds; Cereal cornflakes, honey candy and Cinnamon. Feels so "Speysider". After first sip, it releases an artificial orange aroma. Letting it breath makes it better, very fruity. After having a second sip, the aroma is exactly coffee with milk. Decent aroma. On the palate, it is not that good. Very standard. Sweet Cinnamon, pepper and oranges. Second sip reveals vanilla and milk chocolate. Coffee with milk once again. Aftertaste is nice but it lacks emotion. Orange peel; Oaky, Coffee beans, Pepper. Very Sugary. Overall this could be a lot better, i expected a lot more. Its more an everyday dram rather than a super rare amazing whisky that you reserve for special occasions. 82 over 100 is a fair score for it.
Bladnoch Adela 15 Year
Single Malt — Lowlands, ScotlandTastedMy first Bladnoch, was this 15yo Adela, which is a pretty interesting dram, fairly good for a lowland whisky and complex enough to get a high score. Beautiful bottle and the promise of the flavors and aromas from the oloroso sherry casks. Bottled at 46.7%abv, tawny color. On the nose, very appealing. Chocolate milk powder; Amaretto, Nutty; Hanuta, Coconut, Liquorice, caramelized apple and cherries. After the first sip it gets much more floral and earthy. It has this sown land aroma, or a floral field. On the palate, it is better than the nose. That is not so usual. Cherries, a nice fruity spiciness; astringent. Red fruits and a strong Chili spice. Old winey raisins. Second sip reveals more vanilla and chocolate. Aftertaste keeps the same profile of the palate, with Chocolate, red fruits, and chilli notes. Bitter Tobacco and Earthy peat. Long salty finish. Overall this is a solid dram. I wasn't sure of what to expect, but the complexity of the flavors and the different layers you can find in it makes it an interesting spirit. I would have only a drink or two, because it is not my kind of whisky, since the chilli note is way too potent (but not unpleasant) and it feels like drinking the whole bottle would take years. 89 over 100 is a fair score for it.
Bain's Cape Mountain Whisky
Single Grain — Western Cape, South AfricaTastedI am not a fan of grain whiskies, but i have had a few that were good enough. One of those, was the Bain's 15yo, which i was lucky to try when i never expected to. After that, i bought a sample of this one, the award winning one. (I believe it was 2018 or 2017 when it won best grain whisky of the world). So i bought it, and... it was not worthy. This dram, is a smooth, normal whisky. It can be defined as the most standard grain whisky you'll ever had. Bottled at 43%abv, golden color. On the nose, your typical grain whisky: Vanilla, Butter, Fresh maize fields; Citric, lemon and Lime. Aroma changes a little bit after first sip, revealing dulce de leche and fondant. On the palate, Vanilla and pepper. Creamy. Nothing else. Aftertaste is corn. Eating corn that is, actually you can feel the flavors from chewing fried corn with butter. Overall this is a simple, smooth, normal, boring grain whisky. Forgettable in every sense. 68 over 100 is my score for it.
Port Askaig 15 Year
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandTastedI've long waited to taste a Port Askaig whisky. A mistery distillery is responsible for this beautiful, complex and delicious dram, but we all know it is Caol Ila, lol. This whisky has been matured in ex bourbon and Sherry Casks, and bottled at 45.8%abv to give it a great, powerful flavor. On the nose is like a three layer aroma: one is full of peat, the other one is fruity and the last one is chocolate. Perfumed bonfire, Heather earthy peat. There is a sherried sweet note. Milk Chocolate but also cigarretes. Nice citrus notes, lemon and Prunes. Raisins bathed in chocolate. The prunes aroma is so clean, amazing stuff. It is the acid prune, the one you eat with salt. After having a first sip, aroma changes and the sherriness explodes. Blackberries, also peat; this is a wonderful dram. Red fruits. Now it is a sweet prune; figs and Vanilla. On the palate, there is a nice sherriness to it, reminds me of a blackberry juice. After 4 seconds Spiceness hits, then a puff of smoke, then chocolate. Wow this is a nice whisky, i wrote all this while holding it in my palate, it is THAT good. 2nd sip gave me: vanilla, then spiciness. Its bitter, its sweet, its salty, its acid. Last sip (third) is all sherry. Aftertaste is an Ashtray. Sawdust. Burnt tobacco grass. Long ashy finish. The Ashy note is so clean, its just amazing how perfectly defined the flavor is. The peaty On this is sublime. If there is something called peat spice,this has it. Salty. Peppery. Cigarretes. Great stuff. Overall, this whisky is simply too good. I am not the fondest fan of Caol Ila, bit its "alter ego" found in me a new follower. My score for it is 92 over 100 and it should be more. Sláinte!
Compass Box The Double Single
Blended — ScotlandTastedIf you follow my reviews, you know how i feel about most Compass Box whiskies: they have the best marketing, the most lovely bottles, but they don't live to my expectations. There are exceptions to that rule, like the "No Name" and some other that i don't recall right now. This is a 180$ bottle, and as all CB expressions, this is not a bad dram, but, is it worth THAT much? Bottled at 46%abv; golden color. This one is a blend called "the double single" because it is made of one Single Malt, Glen Elgin; and one Single Grain Whisky, Girvan. Not the brightest name ever, but lets talk about the aromas and flavors it offers. On the nose, it is maybe the fruitiest whisky ever. Since this dram is 78% Glen Elgin, it screams Speyside. Starts with a Fresh but dim orange aroma. Fancy vanilla. Fancy but dim citrusness. Very fruity, Green apples. Letting it breath reveales an amazing fruitiness, very clean very juicy. Fresh fruits, Very floral; Not a single trace of alcohol. It smells like a Fruit market. It is actually not diverse or complex, just fruity in a very appealing way. Orange juice, Apples, super fresh. Lovely aroma, when i started nosing i was going to give it a 19. It is a 24 over 25. Palate is ok. Keeps most of the fruitiness and gives you a lot of that grain whisky vanilla flavors. Sider and a pleasant oak spice. Second sip revealed vanilla cream; There is a pleasant spiciness overall. That mixes well with the apple flavor. Vanilla gets fancier with every sip. Aftertaste is also decent, nothing to die for. Macerated fruit liquors, Apples. It is fresh but simple. Maybe a tobacco note on my third sip. Some dim peat. Overall, i have mixed feelings about it. I want to be clear this is NOT worthy of $180 dollars, a $75 price would be suitable for it. It is NOT a bad whisky, but it is also not a memorable one. I believe that when CB said that a sum of its parts should make a better whisky they weren't lying since i believe this is a better whisky that a single malt from Glen Elgin and definitively from Girvan which is not one of my favorites. For $160 i can get a Glendronach 18yo which might just be the best whisky you can ever buy, so that is conflicting in my mind. Nevertheless, regardless of the price, i believe this is a 82 over 100 whisky, and that is because the aroma is so good, because the rest of it, is just regular.