Whisky Review: The Macallan 18 Years Old (Youngest distilled in 1986)

Tasting Notes:

The Macallan 18 Years Old (Youngest distilled in 1986) ☆☆

Style: Sherry and Serene

Nose:

Absolutely beautiful raisins aroma rising from the glass. Sweet red fruits scrupulously knitted with subtle vanilla, honey and chocolate oak. Mild spice illuminates and highlight the sherry tenor charmingly. Soothing, elegant nose.

Palate:

Perfect delivery on the palate. Juicy raisins amplified by confident, purposeful spices. Chocolate and dignified oak are beautifully weaved into the sherry sweetness. Clean malt singing on mid palate, with coffee and treacle undertones. Calm waves of red fruits going on and on, ends with hints of vanilla and oak.

Finish:

Sherry sweet fragrance filling up your month. Lovely, fresh red grapes aftertaste with a bit of chocolate and honey. Very very delicious.

Thoughts:

Why vintage Macallan is such a big deal? Because it is BLOODY delicious. Not overly complex, but what more can you ask of a sherry whisky? It is one of the most elegant whiskies I have come across so far. Delicious sherry sweetness with impeccable balance, flavours are delicately concocted with such a persistent, soothing flow. Serene, spell binding whisky.

[43% • 2004 • Non Coloured • Original Bottling • Replaced]

-Esmond 

You can also read Nicholas’s thoughts on this bottle here.

What does ☆☆☆ mean?

Dram Review: Bunnahabhain Aged 30 Years 1980 Vintage

[45.4%・30 Years Old・Distilled in 1980・Bottled in 2010・Original Bottling・Limited Release]

Nose:

The nose is gentle, aromas driven by ruby grapes, plump barley and ripe pears from Itayanagi. A pinch of coarse sea salt and eucalyptus in the background.

Palate & Finish:

First couple of notes noticeable on the palate are the honeyed wood spices and the creamy sherry influence. The apple crumble note conveys that refreshing zing of fruitiness, but that is soon subdued by the drying 80% cocoa dark chocolate. Dried fruit peels and the oak tannins then set in as the signature maltiness makes an entry.

Soft crumbly shortbread and café au lait laid down in the finish with a vaguely lingering jammy note lifting the dryness.

✓ [Recommended if you like the style/ distillery]

Nicholas

Whisky Review: The Balvenie Triple Cask Aged 12 Years

Tasting Notes:

The Balvenie Triple Cask Aged 12 Years

Style: Honey and Malty

Nose:

Nice honeycomb and banana notes bolstered by creamy vanilla and butterscotch on the nose. Light, non-provoking, slightly floral fragrance. Fresh oak shavings with velvety spice. Fruity notes open up slowly and we have sweet pomelo and dried mangoes towards the end.

Palate:

Hazy honey malt stretching lazily on the first touch. Vanilla with a few drops of butter oil, malty and floral notes conjugate in the middle. Oak and spices busting in quickly, caramel sauce and orange citrus shavings. Malt biscuit undertone.

Finish:

Barley sugar with bits of vanilla flickering lightly.

Thoughts:

A rather light and fuzzy Balvenie to me, as I need to sip more than usual to capture the flavours during my write up. Soft texture highlights the floral and fruity side of Balvenie. Smooth honey and nice oak going on with this dram.

[40%・2015・Original Bottling・Travel Retail Exclusive]

-Esmond

 

Whisky Review: Ichiro’s Malt Aged 23 Years Cask Strength

Tasting Notes:

Ichiro’s Malt Aged 23 Years Cask Strength ☆

Style: Sweet and Composed

Nose:

Sweet honey cornflakes aroma, red fruits and flower meadow in touch with an unexpected dash of white vinegar. Fresh peppermint spice fizzes, then we come to see some lively, light-hearted malt.

Palate:

Beautiful sherry and floral notes entwining and unfolding on the palate. Sweet, elegant delivery. Transition to caramel, gorgeous slice of butter, malt with a hint of tropical fruits goodness. Bright spices tingling softly. Subtle wine treated oak, more chocolate peppermint ice cream as we edge towards finish.

Finish:

Soft chocolate mousse as mint spices spiking, the sherry malt lingers around nicely.

Thoughts:

Splendid sweetness building around the malt. Sophisticated structure delivered with elegance. Sherry notes nicely supported by the strength. Zippy, in a balanced way.

[58%・ Cask Strength・ Non Chilled Filtered・ Non Coloured・ Original Bottling]

-Esmond

 

 

Whisky Review: Yoichi 20 Years Old

Tasting Notes:

Yoichi 余市 20 Years Old ☆☆

Style: Bold and Elegant

Nose:

Magnificent Aroma – heart-warming vanilla drizzled with delicious honey. Leathery, tobacco leaves with drops of raisin syrup slightly teasing your nose. Peat and ashy smoke glowing in the most charming way from the back, beautiful malt slowly pushing through… Incredibly complex and soothing sensation.

Palate:

Red liquorice brushes with more heather honey opening up on the palate. Tannins, tar, vintage wood and dry smoke diffusing gently. Grape juice gathering pace and carried by perfect spice. Magnificent sweetness radiated by the malt and nicely ended with dark chocolate and peppermint.

Finish:

Silky texture – chocolate oak, light honey malt, tender spice, juicy sherry and dry peat smoke all blend into one, lingering on for an exquisitely long finish.

Thoughts:

I have to admit that Yoichi is my favourite Japanese distillery – probably my favourite of all distilleries. Bold character with pure elegance, and this bottle of Yoichi 20 years old has pretty much summed up the excellence of this distillery, the smoke, sherry, peat, malt and oak, they all play a good part and contribute to the dram with a beautiful balance. To me, (and I quote Serge here) this is a masterpiece… Gutted it is no longer readily available. 大変美味しゅうございました!

[52%・2006・Original Bottling・General Release・Discontinued・Non Chill Filtered]

-Esmond

 

Whisky Review: The GlenDronach Aged 18 Years “Allardice”

Style: Deep Sherry and Delicate

Nose:

Stewed fruits in caramel dip on the nose. Then we have heavy raisins – beautiful Oloroso signature. Vanilla and smoke huffing softly on the side, adding a nice dimension to the aroma. Hints of dark fruits with malty nuttiness.

Palate:

Delicate touch on the palate. Raisins-floral notes thrive as spices glowing gently behind, smoked eel touches, indistinct flour batter surfacing from time to time. Sweetness converges at one point, a lot of chocolate almonds, honey oat.

Finish:

Walnut rolls, subtle but deep tone of chocolate and raisins gleaming. Soft and delicate.

Thoughts:

While it is a deep tone sherry spirit, the execution is fairly light and agile. Great smoky and vanilla brushes breathe life into the dram. Rather uncommon undertone at play which I think it will polarize opinions on this whisky. But I see no problem for sherry lovers…

[Recommended if you like the style/ distillery]

[46%・2015・Non Coloured・Non Chill Filtered・Original Bottling・General Release・t]

-Esmond

 

Whisky Review: The Arran Smugglers’ Series Volume I

Tasting Notes:

The Arran Smugglers’ Series Volume I

Style: Sweet and Spicy

Nose:

Begins with fragrance of ripe mangosteen, sourness of passion fruit, pears and other tropical fruits. Followed by nose-drying ginger spice. Cutting through it, we have some coconut vanilla ice cream. A hint of dryness, probably some smoke? But definitely a faint hiss of peat at the back end.

Palate:

Delicious sweet and sharp spice on the first touch. A mouthful of vanilla ice cream drizzled with passion fruit sauce. On the side we have some eye-watering mint and ginger spice. The intensity stays high, sharp and at times, incinerating. Tone tunes down after a while and more liquorice and caramel came through. Very soft latte notes towards the end.

Finish:

Fiery spice growling, diluted malt syrup, soft fruity and creamy notes fuse with the peat to produce a round finish. Soft and subtle ending after the spice burns out.

Thoughts:

A quite sweet and quite spicy whisky. I think “ice cream” might be the best word to describe the texture, thickness and sweetness here, such a lovely presentation. You don’t see a lot of whiskies which have this delicate buffering touch at the end of the sweetness! For the spicy part, I enjoy it very much, there is an extra edge and prevent flavours going too dull. But how much spiciness will suffice is a rather subjective thing. Anyways, if you like your whisky sweet and spicy, here is your perfect match!

[56.4%・2015・Non Coloured・Non Chill Filtered・No Age Statement・Cask Strength・Limited Edition・8700 Bottles]

-Esmond

Whisky Review: Artist #5 Ledaig Aged 10 Years by La Maison du Whisky 

Style: Sherry bomb and Peaty

Nose:

Staggering sherry sludge flooding in – thick red fruits, jammy and immensely sweet. Minerals, match box and sand paper notes buried within giving a balancing dry tone. A rather briny core hides in the deep, sea breeze and mossy, hmmm, a hint of salted fish. A sherry curve ball this is.

Palate:

Red fruits break the viscous shackles and what a delightful oloroso scene we have here. Dynamic flow of strawberry jam, raisin syrup, nectar and caramelized almonds… Absolutely delicious! Matches are struck and boil up the red hot chilli spices which have been holding their breath. Low key earthy peat voicing softly but distinct undertones can be heard.

Finish:

Provoking spices stay while grape juice teams up with damp peat and smoke to give a true sherried Mull finish.

Thoughts: 

A funky sherry bomb. Full on Oloroso fireworks with the Mull spirit put up a courageous fight. Yes, it is sulphured, but I do not see it as a fault – in fact, it provides a touch of dryness to counter the overwhelming sweetness which is inevitable in strong first fills. Not everyone like Ledaig but I think it is a very underrated distillery and we have a magnificent cask bottled here.

☆ [Recommended] 

[60.4% • 2015 • Single Cask • Independent Bottling • Cask Strength • Non Coloured • Non Chill Filtered • Limited Edition • Cask Number: 900179]

-Esmond