Dram Review: Bunnahabhain Aged 40 Years

[41.7%・2012・40 Years Old・Original Bottling・Limited Release of 750 Bottles]

Nose:

The rich mahogany note is simply put, heavenly. Finely cut pear cubes dusted with raw dark chocolate, sweet honeydew with a slice of refined pine aroma that ropes in the slightly drier sandalwood note, atop a layer of coastal grassiness.

Palate & Finish:

It leads with fresh stone fruits rounded by a sweet crème caramel note. The saucy nature fascinates as the richness glides through. Ripe tropical characters go hand in hand with the spices as the woodiness sips in and out in a vaguely casual manner. The delivery gets slightly distorted by the tannins that seem to have dried out the earlier flavours a tad too quickly.

The tropical fructose lingers on and in time become more fragrant, a good juxtaposition with the wee salted biscuity maltiness. A faint touch of raisin zing lifts the slight bitterness and transform it into dark chocolate and coffee ground blended together.

Thoughts:

An imperfect dram perhaps as the nose suggests greatness but the delivery falls just a tad short of that. Nevertheless the dram itself is astoundingly complex and to me it’s a well curated 40 year old whisky and therefore should be recognised as just that.

☆ [Recommended]

-Nicholas

Whisky Review: Kilchoman Madeira Cask Matured

Tasting Notes:

Kilchoman Madeira Cask Matured

Style: Sweet and Smooth

Nose:

Grind black pepper over toffee and fruit cake. Honey, chocolate and sugar plums with a touch of acidity. Briny peat smoke swiftly follows but in a rather modest fashion. Nice balance of sweetness, mellow spice.

Palate:

Juicy ruby grapes sails through on the forefront. Again the sweetness is pleasantly weighted. Silky chocolate with a light sip of smoky water. Sultanas with an oily texture, going slightly soapy. More peat undertone unwraps at the back.

Finish:

Extra sultanas as malt vaguely visible on the horizon. A slight hint of smoke and dryness towards the end.

Thoughts:

My quick impression on this is the integration of flavours is excellent – another sipper in my opinion. Nice sweetness and quite smooth that I did not feel it is a 50% abv. Although I feel the smoky signature of Kilchoman is slightly subdued when compared to the others, if you have a sweet tooth but testing water with peaty, smoky whiskies, I think this is a new alternative malt you can try.

[50% •  2015 •  Original Bottling •  Non Chill Filtered •  Non Coloured •  Aged 3 to 5 Years]

-Esmond

Whisky Review: SMWS 66.82 Ardmore ‘Gritty-turned-pretty’

 

Style: Sherry and Funky

Nose:

A big sherry wave transforms into toffee, coffee beans and wet flour dough. Mineral peat. Slightly meaty, barbecue pork brushed with honey. Smoke from crackling fireplace with bone dry spices. Vanilla and white chocolate slowly emerges with the malt. Unusual but interesting.

Palate:

Massive toffee, raisins and chocolate touchdown on the palate. Subtle peat wraps around the funky mineral-infused steam pork bun. Smoke lashes with a powerful whip of spices, trails of ginger zinging. The sherry holds the body, as spontaneous flavours firing randomly, a rather chaotic scene. Light herbal tea towards the end.

Finish:

Red grapes and black tea on dying embers. More fruits and finishes off with a smoky, herbal jelly.

Thoughts:

A three-quarters sherry bomb with a quirky style. Perhaps it is the peculiar combination of flavours, firing spontaneously with no clear structure; It is downright spicy; It looks disjointed at times but somehow managed to gel under the massive sherry. Not sure if it is for everyone but it is definitely one interesting dram.

✓ [Recommended if you like the style/distillery]

[57.5% • 2015 • Independent Bottling • Single Cask • Non Coloured • Non Chill Filtered • Cask Strength • Limited Edition • 606 Bottles • Aged 17 Years • Ex-Sherry Cask]

-Esmond

 

Whisky Review: Glenmorangie 18 Extremely Rare 18 Years Old

Style: Sweet and Floral

Nose:

Mellow honeyed and poached pears entering the fray. Whispering malt lacing through with a hint of cereal dryness. Light chilli, pinch of nutmeg spice. Dry figs and dates with an alluring sweet floral fragrance around it.

Palate:

A swift, lovely mix of honey figs, cereal, malt and wood smoke together on the palate. Going floral with apricots and vanilla touches, cinnamon and nutmeg spice glowing gently. Dried pineapples undertone gives another malty push. Sherry influence is more apparent towards the end.

Finish:

Faint hints of syrupy dried fruits. Chocolate and oak. Nutty with ends nice, subtle raisins.

Thoughts:

A dram with great finesse and I really appreciate that. Whiskies with a lower strength can really shine with good layering and complexity and this is an excellent example. It grows on you. Sweet, light, floral and rather complex malt. I feel this is the most Glenmorangie Glenmorangie so far, not sure if that’s the intention but it really helps without all the influences from cask finishes.

✓ [Recommended if you like the style/distillery]

[43% • 2011 • Original Bottling • General Release • t]

-Esmond

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Whisky Review: Ardbeg Supernova 2010

Tasting Notes:

Ardbeg Supernova 2010

Style: Peaty and Complex

Nose:

Dense aroma of dry tobacco leaves and charred oak with a breath of sea breeze, leading the wonderful, enigmatic sweetness in to impress, it is a complete amalgamation of vanilla milk, caramel, peat, subtle tropical fruits with nice wrap of smoke.

Palate:

Fireworks! Intense burst of sparkling sweetness and exhilarating spice! Raining pineapple, floral nectar and black liquorice. A lovely creamy touch to enhance the thickness and texture. Then we have some burnt leaves, dried tobacco scent rolled in with the peaty notes. Endless of layers of flavours unfolding in front of your eyes…

Finish:

Gentle sweetness goes on and on, dried figs, coconut and creamed honey. Slowly overtaken by the burnt barrels with peat smoke. Hints of ocean breeze can be felt again when the flavours are fading out. Ardbeggian medicinal notes more evident at the back end.

Thoughts:

Brilliant whisky. The explosiveness of flavours is stunning. Beautiful tinkering with the sweetness and it has been perfectly supplemented by the unique dry and peaty notes. Another clean, splendid and purposeful arrangement orchestrated by Dr. Bill. I have yet to try the 2009 SN, but this is my clear favourite when compared to the 2014 and 2015 version.

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

[60.1% • 2010 • Original Bottling • Non Coloured • Non Chill Filtered • Limited Edition • Cask Strength • **]

-Esmond

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Whisky Review: Cadenhead Small Batch Littlemill Aged 22 Years

Tasting Notes:

Cadenhead Small Batch Littlemill Aged 22 Years ☆ [Recommended]

Style: Earthy and Herbal

Nose:

Cotton candy with caramelized pop corns sprinkled on top, sweetness condensed up front. Firing spice sliced in with a hint of stewed onions, parsley, beetroot and chilli. Fresh and a bit of earthy. Not often you come across such an herbal profile. Rich, lovely aroma.

Palate:

Started with a light-hearted drizzle of banana vanilla sauce then we have a rendezvous with the greens: carrots, beetroots, red onions and capsicums. Good, raw sweetness, emitting refreshing vibe with a touch of earthiness. Moments of simmering boiled notes are rounded off by caramel and smoke.

Finishing:

Swinging towards the sweeter side, a bit of acidity from the white grapes, followed by sweetness of toast, cooked bananas and caramel oil. Rather long and smooth finish.

Thoughts:

Great complexity with a rare, strong herbal character. Perhaps not everyone is a fan of vegetal profile in whisky, but I don’t have any problem with that. Neat structure with multiple layers of flavours are gently delivered, clean, sweet and unique. What a good whisky from the now-demolished lowland distillery and their stock is gradually hard to come by…

[53.7% • 2014 • Independent Bottling • Cask Strength • Non Chill Filtered • Non Coloured • 558 Bottles • Limited Edition • Closed Distillery]

-Esmond