Whisky Review: SMWS 66.66 Ardmore “Ginger Makes Fred Smile”

Tasting Notes

SMWS 66.66 Ardmore “Ginger Makes Fred Smile” ☆ [Recommended]

Style: Ginger and Spicy

Nose:

Huge, dry notes at the front – Autumn leaves in early winter breeze, followed by a robust scent of vanilla yogurt, full cream milk with a swirl of honey and figs. Ginger spice kicks in with a hint of ashy peat and salted caramel.

Palate:

Honey caramel first touch and the devilish ginger steers in and took charge. Flooded with spiciness like a sea of fire… This is one of the spiciest Whisky I have ever tasted! Leftover an underlying layer of smoking wood ash and peat, then my attention was then brought back to the sweetness which has never left – chocolate fudge, toffee, toasted oak and sweet malt lingering, ginger bite towards the end.

Finish:

Fantastic finish – freshly peeled ginger skin! Dry, sharp, raw and earthy! Soft chocolate notes has sustained well to support the texture.

Thoughts:

Big big fan of this whisky. Enormous character with a marvellous charge of dryness and spiciness with great strength, which is adequately supplemented by the swaying caramel sweetness, striking the perfect balance… My favourite go-to SMWS bottling so far, it is already half way through in less than 2 months! Boy I should have bought more than one bottle of this…

[61.8% • 2014 • Aged 10 Years • Independent Bottling • Cask Strength • Single Cask • Non Coloured • Non Chill Filtered • Limited Release • 261 Bottles • First Fill White Wine Hogshead]

-Esmond

Dram Review: Old Pulteney 1990 Vintage

[46%・Distilled in 1990・Bottled in 2013・23 Years Old・Official Bottling・Limited Release]

I will be writing about the distillery soon, but first, a dram of this rather limited release at a bar. It may be surprising to most people, but Pulteney Distillery only uses 100% unpleated barley across its current range. So long story short, people who might expect a good old OP are in for a treat with this lightly peated expression!

Nose:

Fresh cream on the nose with a mellow semi-dried muscat note. There is a fascinating honey sweetness swirled with vanilla. Subtle anise and earthiness in the background with a wee citrus zing. A touch of smoke on the back end.

Palate & Finish:

Light raisins on the palate with a wee pineapple note. The surprisingly dry earthy peat is rather astounding. Smooth vanilla sugar infused with citrus elements.

The mouth drying peat note carries on in the finish with plenty of youthful tropical citrus notes.

Thoughts:

Fine and dry.

☆ [Recommended]

Nicholas

Whisky Review: Ardbeg Supernova 2014 Committee Release 

Style: Fruity and Smoky

Nose:

Meek aroma of an intriguing mix of ripe cherry, paw paw, mango and kamquat. Followed by fresh lemon zest, smoked beacon peat garnished with a touch of milky vanilla cream. Spices was slightly held back to give a softer punch on the nose.

Palate:

Lovely fruit punchbowl. Mashed fruits of Valencia oranges, lemon, cherries mixed with mint and a hint of eucalyptus leaves. Sweet, compact and quite energetic. The injection of the smoky peat has enhanced the richness on the palate. Spices give out a wonderful fizz towards the end, tingling playfulness, beautiful texture.

Finish:

The consistent run of the smoke and peat plays a more significant role at finishing. Fruits and vanilla becoming more elusive but lurks around long enough for me to savor the sweetness which has been ongoing in my mouth…

Thoughts:

A lovely light and crisp dram. Amazing articulation of sweetness, as if all the fruitiness are mashed, condensed and amalgamated into something brand new, sweet, agile and delicate movements. The smoke and peat has nicely sided with the fruity sweet core in a distinct fashion, the teasing fizzy spice is simply adorable… A must-have for Ardbeg fans!

☆ [Recommended]

[55% • 2014 Bottled • Non Chill Filtered • No Age Statement • Non Coloured • Cask Strength • Limited Edition]

-Esmond

Whisky Review: Heartwood Convict Resurrection

Tasting Notes:

Style: Sweet and Very Spicy

Nose:

Spicy punch followed by robust cherry and dried plum notes, a nice fruity breeze at every breath. Moments of dryness reminds me the delicious scent of popcorns and parched rice!

Palate:

Cherry liquorice with fiery chilli, in unbelievable strength!! The spice erupts and ignite like burning flames! The liquorice dissolves and juicy blackcurrants and blue berries rolls in. A slight touch of caramel which slowly melts with the chocolate sauce towards the end.

Finish:

Reminiscent of cherry and blackcurrants mixes with chocolate malt biscuits and oak. Rather soft and humble finish with a good mix of flavours.

Thoughts:

Super strong whisky, no doubt as it has a whopping abv of 72%. Adrenaline pumped, sweated and nostril flared, this is a wake-up whisky (and too bad I am reviewing this before I sleep) as it works miles better than coffee! The sweetness from port was big enough to support and control the crazy strength. I love the oscillation – just as I think it is getting too spicy, the sweet cherry notes come to the rescue, and vice versa.

(72%/2014/14 years old/NC/NCF/CS/SC/Cask Number:HH0239/115 of 450 Bottles)

-EC

 

Whisky Review: Rosebank Aged 21 Years 

Tasting Notes:

Rosebank Aged 21 Years ☆ [Recommended]

Nose:

Sweet apple frangipane tart surrounded by cloves and ginger at the nose. Strong bite of orange peel with pencil shavings brings out an extra floral touch of the dram. Very very powerful aroma, complex and enjoyable once you take a moment and cut through the strength.

Palate:

Condense fruitiness at the palate like an autumn fruit cake. Delightful interplay of ripe blue berry, apple and pear notes. Interesting spicy backbone contributing some freshness here… Vanilla creaminess comes in the middle and quickly followed by the incense oaky touches. Light texture like rose water, but carrying an unexpected big punch of strength and intensity!

Finish:

Echoes of fruity fragrance at the finish. Sweet as honey but it is so light that not the slightest burden has been given to my tongue. Incense candle burning slowly that can keep you satisfied on and on…

Thoughts:

A heavy but light whisky for me. Heavy, intense and fumy cluster of flavours delivered in the lightest manner. The condensation of a complex fruitiness profile is impressive, and the sharp spicy undertone did a good counter-balance to make everything possible. Lively, fruity dram with plenty of strength from a closed distillery (with many have high hopes of resurrection). Enjoy it while you can!

[55.3%・2014・Original Bottling ・Cask Strength ・ Non Chill Filtered ・Non Coloured ・Limited Edition ・2846 of 4530 Bottles ・Limited Edition ・ Closed Distillery]

– Esmond

Dram Review: Yoichi 12 Years Old Woody & Vanillic

[55.0%・12 Years Old・Bottled Circa. 2012-2014・Official Bottling・Limited Release]

This is a bottle supplied to Nikka bars in Japan exclusively. Bottled at 55% ABV. In many ways, keynote bottles such as this that aim to showcase the wide spectrum of the flavour profile that goes into the standard Yoichi range are more sought after by cask strength heads such as myself.

Nose:

An intense sandalwood note initially, a thick honey sweetness. Toasted vanilla pod and coconut milk chocolate. A hint of cloves on the backend.

Palate & Finish:

A lovely sweetness on the palate with tangling spices coming through. There is the presence of vanilla cream of course, but there are also bright tropical fruit notes as well. Pineapples and oranges with a clean woodiness dropping by.

A creamy cocoa finish with some youthful citrus spices playfully dancing in the background. Just delightful. The creaminess lingers on for a satisfying finish.

Thoughts:

Personally, I really enjoyed this one. A delicious drop. Although it’s focused on displaying the woody and vanillic elements, this whisky is in no way incomplete.

☆ [Recommended]

Nicholas

Dram Review: Hibiki 21 Years Old

[43.0%・21 Years Old・Bottled Circa. 2013-2015・Hibiki Bottling・Limited Release]

Nose:

A full but tender sandalwood and incense nose. Coconut and vanilla making a wonderful entry with an underlying plum sweetness. Grain spices appearing, the smoke is delicate with a lingering soft cocoa note. The fragrant note with a hint of pepper come through after some time. Fresh wood chips with faint notes of mint and thyme, a subtle raisin note.

Palate & Finish:

On the palate, plum sweetness with notes of ripe strawberries and a lime zing. A pinch of ground pepper excites the tastebuds. The sticky raisins then surface such that the sweetness makes a comeback. There is a coconut creaminess on the backend.

The grain spices disperse in the finish with traces of light cocoa notes upon an underlying oakiness. A faint hint of orange zing and Japanese ginger note. The soft fructose element lasts rather long, that slight floral vibe is comforting. It’s complex but not overpowering. A flavourful yet tender whisky.

Thoughts:

She’s a shy beauty with plenty on the mind, leaving a lot for one to explore.

☆ [Recommended]

Nicholas

Whisky Review: Teeling 21 Years Old

Tasting Notes:

Teeling 21 Years Old Silver Bottling ☆ [Recommended]

Nose:

A mix of fruity and floral notes at the nose, freshly picked peaches, sweet but not too thick… The fruity sweetness is supplemented by some drier touches, aroma of sandalwood and barley to offer a bit of natural rawness.

Palate:

Wondrously sweet and sappy flow of peach nectar, the soft nectar-y texture is exquisite! Sporadic sparks of spice to keep it sharp and lighten the sweetness. Shining malty notes at the middle, more fruity aroma is released… The oak sinks in heavily towards the end and created some intriguing peach pith notes here.

Finish:

Chocolate peach tart finish, simply put, delicious chocolate, delicious peach and delicious tart, it doesn’t get better than this!

Thoughts:

It baffles me when I was told that the maturation of this darling is a combination of bourbon cask and Sauternes wine cask. I had money on a well a matured PX… Vibrant, very sweet but not overwhelming. The smooth sappy texture and extravagant fruitiness is just exceptional. Solid Irish whiskey.

[46% • 2014 • 2062 of 5000 Bottles • Non Coloured • Non Chill Filtered • Limited Release • Batch: 3]

-Esmond

Whisky Review: Kilchoman Machir Bay 2014

Tasting Notes:

Kilchoman Machir Bay 2014 Edition ☆

Style: Maritime and Delicate Fruits

Nose:

Starts with sea-salt rubbed pineapple notes which offer fresh, sweet fruitiness and vibrant youthfulness, a touch of seaweed flakes, the saltiness and slightly peaty aroma has effectively masked the distant vanilla and pecan hiding behind the scene.

Palate:

Delicate first touch at the palate. The texture is so delicate and silky that not a particle is offensive when it reaches you tongue… The flavour slowly unwinds and we have some creamy coconut ice cream, freshly cut pineapple at the side, topped with a few drops of hazelnut oil and orange zest, delicious dessert! A small pinch of white pepper and spice was added towards the end of the course and the smoke and peat rolling in at the back to set in a deeper tone.

Finish:

The remaining peat mixes with dried apricots, faint hints of hazelnuts and vanilla oak. Light fruitiness and tender creaminess stays on long enough to enjoy.

Thoughts:

The Machir Bay is the very first Kilchoman that I have come across, the ultra-light character has made a huge impression on me. There is a wonderful character to this award winning dram, exceptionally light bodied whisky with sufficient flavours coming through. Light, lively and aromatic, slightly peated and smoked to give a lovely balance; the addition of nutty oloroso element makes the sweetness rounder and fuller… This is something that I recommend to those who haven’t tried it yet, remarkable stuff!

(2014/46%/OB/NCF/NC/LR)

-Esmond