Whisky Review: SMWS Aultmore 73.83 “Anzac Biscuits and Cricket Bats”

[56.9%・Distilled in 2001・Bottled in 2017・15 Years Old・SMWS Bottling・Single Cask Release of 522 Bottles]

Nose:

The nose is perhaps on the shy side at first, still there is a good inherent presence of Oloroso; sticky prunes, figs with a wee sprinkle of gunpowder.  Give it some time to to breathe and it develops a floral musk and thereafter a rustic weetbix note.

Palate & Finish:

Mmm, a charged iteration of Oloroso influence, syrupy and spicy with a hearty and juicy execution of dried fruits.  What follows is a creamy toffee note that gets evened out by a fitting measure of red tea tannins.  Cooked strawberries glazed with a balsamic reduction and paired with thin slices of dark chocolate.

Raisin toast that’s slightly burnt and as an icing on top, just a sprinkle of rose water that brings the finishing alive again.

Thoughts:

Well, I think the society members in Australia will be happy with another one of Andrew’s Sherried Specials.

Happy birthday SMWS and well picked AD!

-Nicholas 

 

Whisky Review: Amrut Greedy Angels Chairman’s Reserve 8 Years Old

Style: Fruity and Spicy

Nose:
Waving off a light veil of chilli spice, we have a good dose of fruity-malt aroma on the nose. Papaw, tropical fruits, nectarines and beautiful beeswax nicely pushed up by caramel and almond malt. Herbal side emerges, pine, peppermint overtone with nutmeg coconut cream brushes. Dry spices to finish.

Palate:
Started with a bumpy ride of hot spices joined by a buoyant herbal hymn. Maybe the dram will benefit from some breathing… Silky sweetness casually slipping though the tight grasp of spices. Apricots, sugar plums with a hint of umeboshi. Stew tropical fruits with light pinches of peppercorns scattered on top. The palate is very nice and delicate… Malt sits deep with caramel towards the end.

Finish:
Lingering dry spiciness, more nutmeg, chilli powder and cumin (?). Funny. While tropical fruits persevere to provide bountiful sweetness. Impressively delicious…

Thoughts:
Somehow this Greedy Angels reminds me a lot of Longmorn. Don’t ask me, I don’t know why too… Anyway, the angels took a lot of water (high evaporation rate thus the “greedy angels” share) but she did not take the hot spices away, making it rather punchy even bottled at 50%. Nonetheless the fruitiness presented in the dram is very, very rewarding. Fragrant, smooth and beautiful sweetness which you wouldn’t expect to see it at this age. Interesting and definitely worth a try…

☆ [Recommended]

[50% • Original Bottling • Aged 8 Years • Non Coloured • Non Chill Filtered • Limited Edition]

-Esmond

Dram Review: Lark The Revolution Release RR 08

[68.9%・3 Years and 9 Months Old・Bottled in 2017・Official Bottling・Single Cask Release]

Nose:

The peat smoke is more prominent in this dram and the charred oak note is more obvious.  The wee strawberry jam character is subtle amidst the custard note with a hint of hand soap.

Palate & Finish:

A jammy affair, strawberry preserves and lemon preserves.  The Port cask is perhaps the architect of the dram’s attractive thickness.  The creaminess carries on with an intriguing fragrant note, raspberry coulis perhaps.

The syrupy goodness transitions into a rustic maltiness as the smoky element surfaces.  Menthol with a brush of plump forrest berries.

Thoughts:

The RR 008 perhaps explains why many Australian distilleries favour the casks from Seppeltsfield, the 20 litre cask is imparting some great flavours.

-Nicholas

 

 

Whisky Review: Glenfarclas The Family Casks 1978 Spring 2015 #746

Style: Fruity and Floral

Nose:
Mellow, charming floral aroma on the nose. White flower nectar lightly buttered by warm caramel sauce. A trace of walnut. Peppermint spices pick up momentum as chilli flakes soaring up high. Deeper sits the sweetness of quince paste and strawberry jam. Pistachios and malt syrup towards the end.

Palate:
Strawberry sweetness displayed delicately on multiple levels. Comfortable palate, sparkling red fruits and spices. More quince and floral overtones which softens the spirit. Wood smoke gently lighting up, hints of figs towards the end. Faint notes of salted butter sits underneath.

Finish:
Reminiscence of red fruits and berries with butter undertone lingers. Dry pepper spice, very soft.

Thoughts:
Matured in 4th fill sherry hogshead you can expect a very soft sherry influence with this Glenfarclas, but it is by no means a bad drop. Quite the contrary, the spirit has blossomed so nicely here – delicate and sweet, floral and fruity. We all like our sherried whiskies, but it is also nice to have it at the back seat and let the spirit tell the story once in a while, isn’t it?

☆ [Recommended]

[46.2% • 2014 Bottled • 1978 Distilled • Single Cask • Cask Strength • Non Chill Filtered • Non Coloured • 189 Bottles • Cask Number: 746 • Matured in 4th Fill Hogshead • *]

Tasted at the Oak Barrel

-Esmond

Dram Review: Hibiki Mellow Harmony

[43.0%・NAS・Bottled in 2013・Official Bottling・Limited Release]

Nose:

A sweet raisin nose initially, it’s indeed very mellow, mildly winey.  Sweet plums with a soft hint of vanilla and smoke. Very Hibiki-esque, a harmony of fresh, clean and smooth vibes.

Palate & Finish:

A vanilla driven palate with a hint of salt with the juicy plum fruitiness coming through, mint and cucumber along with light but lively spices.  Pepper and smoke on the back end.

That unique woodiness is vaguely evident in the finish with traces of ash and peat. The plum note is there in the background, mouthwatering.  Tender but that touch of peat is truly a pleasant surprise that makes this dram rather special.

Thoughts:

A very charming whisky.  I am aware that a lot of casual whisky drinkers are big fans of Hibiki and this bottle in particular is pure pleasantness.

☆[Recommended]

-Nicholas

Whisky Review: Compass Box Spice Tree Extravaganza Limited Edition

Style: Fruity and Honey

Nose:
Fragrant stone fruits, peaches and apricots diffusing gently across the nose. Light vanilla malt and coconut milk nicely augmented by chilli spices. Calm oak incense, a light, creamy honey tone pouring over more apricots and plums. Going drier towards the end, plain barley and straws with a subtle dab of mineral spice.

Palate:
Further fragrant fruits floating through, red orchard fruits and garden berries mingle and give a nice sweet nudge. Coconut sago pudding blended beautifully with smooth, waxy honey. Gentle wood spice and red lollies nose-dive into it making a few ripples. White pepper sprinkles, flavours softening overtime, serving up a dessert of light cinnamon vanilla ice cream.

Finish:
Plums, black liquorice and malt tweeting casually. More honey and sherry innuendos shining through.

Thoughts:
A nice gentle and fruity dram lifted up by an elegant, waxy, honey core. Sweet and pretty lively as well. Pretty sure there is a fair amount of Clynelish here, and sherry too! I certainly do love my Clynelish in my dram, balanced, beautiful layering, no rough spices, not over the moon but certainly I am a happy man.

✓ [Recommended if you like the style/ distillery

[46% • 2016 Bottled • Independent Bottling • No Age Statement • Blended Malt • Non Coloured • Non Chill Filtered • 12240 Bottled • Limited Edition • t]

-Esmond

Whisky Preview: Glenrothes 1997 Single Cask Bottled for The Oak Barrel Sydney Whisky Fair 2017

Style: Sweet and Spicy

Nose:
Playful dark red fruits swaying on the nose, sweetness quickly surrounded by fresh-cut ginger and sharp spices. A small pinch of gunpowder mixed within. Blackcurrants, plums rising on a peppermint surge, while subtle umami drops deeper. Light combination of caramel, figs and malt towards the end.

Palate:
Demerara sugar converges neatly at the tip, then it is smashed off by a furious wave of peppermint spice. Pepper sprinkling down to the red fruits core. Nicely sweet on a spicy edge. Grape juice, bubblegum slowly transform into lemon-ginger malt. A touch of creaminess is added to the body. Finish with raisins and dark chocolate notes.

Finish:
Elements of sweet lemon fruits echoes with red grapes and sharp ginger. Spices give a rather long-lasting kick here. Subtle sherry lingers, lemon tea flowing… All is well.

Thoughts:
Glenrothes at formidable form. To be honest, the spirit of Glenrothes can be very spicy at higher strength, but at around 51% the flavours deliver without overwhelmed by the hotness. The strength gives a very powerful kick but not numbing. Sweet sherry while not cloying, flavours transcend over time which invites you to drink dram after dram. Yes, it is not a technically perfect whisky, but it is an excellent sipper after a long day. Nice, relaxing dram for cask strength drinkers like me…

 ✓ [Recommended if you like the style/ distillery]

[51.7% • 2017 Bottled • 1997 Distilled • Independent Bottling • Single Cask • Cask Strength • Non Chill Filtered • Non Coloured • No Age Statement • Aged 20 Years • 60 Bottles • t]

Bottled for the Whisky Fair, tasted at the Oak Barrel

-Esmond

Dram Review: Ben Nevis 1997 Single Cask Bottled for the Sydney Whisky Fair

[48.6%・Distilled in 1997・Bottled in 2017・ Oak Barrel Bottling・Limited Release of 60 Bottles]

Nose:

A splendid synergy of gooey toffee which carries the familiar heaviness of the distillery and the plump orchard fruits which stemmed from the ex-Bourbon cask.  The two seemingly polar notes are brought together beautifully by the buttery and grassy undertones.  A clean infusion of vanilla only arrives later on to join the comforting maltiness and the lovely dose of stone fruits.

Palate & Finish:

A wondrous welcoming with the buttery mouthfeel dressed with papaya, fresh oranges and Brazilian grilled pineapples.  The malt is crisp with just the optimal amount of American oak spices which juxtapose nicely with the weight of the spirit; the complexity charmingly prop up the depth of the delivery.  On the mid-palate it opens up and offers silky molten caramel and soft fruits akin to some of those lovely malts distilled in the 1960-1970s.

A medium of finish of generous lager maltiness with a slight hint of earthiness, fresh and moreish.

Thoughts:

I have known Mr. Fitzsimons since he took the helm of the spirits department at the Oak Barrel and I honestly believe this is the best cask under his watch so far.  What an wonderful achievement.  A lovely and complex drop.

[Recommended]

P.S. Cheers Mr. Fitzsimons for the wee nip, it’s much appreciated.

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Limeburners Darkest Winter M350

[63.8%・NAS・Bottled Circa 2017・Official Bottling・Cask M350・Single Cask Release of 218 Bottles]

Nose:

Starts off with a luscious dose of well churned caramel and a café au lait influence.  The spirit gives off quite an oily impression but otherwise it’s a bit green and a bit bare initially.  In time the peat and smoke surface in the form of burnt tyres, a bit vegetative with some wild flowers.  Underneath the layer of peat, there are fruits and sugar, with some cloves coming on as the oak exerts itself.

Palate & Finish:

A thick delivery of poached pears as the sugar boils away, making it a sticky affair.  Then comes an influx of citrus nectar along with a generous amount of spices.  The peat is introduced at a subdued level though it has a steady follow through.

The finishing is towards the gritty side with the coarseness of the barley, weetbix and crushed coffee beans on show.

Thoughts:

With only two releases, the Darkest Winter has established itself as Limeburners’ flagship series; batch two is again a decent release from the Western Australian distillery, the series should become more refined in the years to come..

Nicholas

Dram Review: Amrut Double Cask #3190 & #2716

[46.0%・5 Years Old・Distilled in 2012・Bottled in 2017・Cask #3190 & Cask #2716・Bottled in 2017・Official Bottling・Limited Release of 900 Bottles]

Nose:

Hmm, quite peaty to start, but it’s a clean iodine note with a light hint of floral note laying underneath, wild flowers perhaps.  It’s simplistic but the peat is very fresh and pure.  There is a lot to like about a peated whisky that doesn’t rough up your nostrils.

Palate & Finish:

A gentle syrupy delivery, the Port cask imparts a sweet strawberry note that is quite delightful.  There is a hint of key lime sauce before the arrival of the earthiness with hint of burnt butter coming out from the background.

The finishing is on the thin side, wee vanilla with a charming dose of barley and brushed with a fine layer of wax.

Thoughts:

Not overly complex but this is an impressive vatting combining the attractive traits of the Bourbon cask and the Port pipe which in turn accentuate the pureness of the spirit.  It’s a clean execution of a peaty expression, simply quite enjoyable..

☆ [Recommended]

P.S. Cheers Mr. Lawrence for the wee nip, it’s much appreciated.

-Nicholas