Dram Review: Zenith Rosebank 12 Years Old

[43.0%・12 Years Old・Distilled Circa 1975・Bottled in 1987・Zenith Bottling・Limited Release]

Nose:

Pleasingly old school, gently malt, mild fruitiness and light creaminess. A slight respectful citrus brings a vibrant note. All is rounded and well balanced.

Palate & Finish:

A gentle and crisp drop, honey, limestone and hay wrapping the dry malt. Just a subtle hint of raisins gifting some citrus on the backend before the dram reverts to its malty core, playful and even.

A lingering loveliness of malt and honey with

a condensed jammy sweetness blossoming..

Thoughts:

A beautiful, rustic malt. The attractive softness of an Italian Rosebank embodied. Close to scoring two stars..

☆ [Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: The Odd Whisky Coy Southern Coast Cask 43

[65.9%・4 Years Old・Distilled in 2011・Bottled in 2015・The Odd Whisky Coy Bottling・Cask No. 43・Single Cask Release]

Nose:

Muscovado sugar & dark chocolate, it’s sticky with plenty of Christmas spices to go with charred orange peels.  Heavily oaked with a faint whiff of dark soy sauce.

Palate & Finish:

Loud and spicy on the palate, a full chunk of woody note seasoned with balsamic vinegar.  Pitted cherries  with dark chocolate and peanut butter malted milk shake as over-powering spices explode all over the place.

The finish is much more palatable, with some dark chocolate, toffee and sweet raisins playing out the tail..

Thoughts:

An independently bottled single cask from a boutique Australian distillery before it got fashionable.  This youthful malt from the now defunct joint is exhibiting a lot of traits commonly found in young heavily cask aged Australian whiskies.. a respectable finish though..

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Whisky Magazine Japan Spirit Safe Karuizawa 19 Years

[60.8%・19 Years Old・Distilled in 1991・Bottled in 2010・Whisky Magazine Japan Bottling for Oxfam・Cask No. 3206・Single Cask Release]

Nose:

A substantially malty number, quite obviously alcoholic with some underlying notes of toffee, cereal, vanilla biscuits and burnt butter.

Palate & Finish:

The dough-y biscuity note seems to be the theme of the dram.  The spirit is untamed with oily honey flowing through hot spices, the malty characters continue to ooze out.

The spices continue to hiss like dying fireworks, still remarkably malty.

Thoughts:

A big dram that packs some serious hotness..

I suppose this is all for charity..

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Bottiglieria Corsini Port Ellen 11 Years Old

[43.0%・11 Years Old・Distilled in 1983・Bottled in 1994・Bottiglieria Corsini Bottling・Limited Release]

Nose:

Softly peated in a sugary manner, some fragrant white fruits, kiwis perhaps to go with some underlying chalk and smoke. There are some coconuts to bridge the fruitiness and creaminess; followed by a gingery note that cuts through, revealing white tea and Chinese herbs..

Palate & Finish:

Familiar soft fruits a la an old Islay whisky. Slight lift by the citrus to allow the minerals to rush in, light seaweed peat harmoniously melting into the beautiful soft fruits as ginger and oak give a lovely dryness that leaves people longing for more.

The tail fades away, taking along with it some subtle sweet peat and orchard fruits.

Thoughts:

Such unexpected elegance for a Port Ellen near the distillery’s end, this is not quite the typical 1983 vintage but it makes perfect sense as an Italian whisky.

Some evenings require big finales, other times one could use a dram this fine..

Close to scoring two stars..

☆ [Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Rare Malts Rosebank Aged 20 Years

[60.3%・20 Years Old・Distilled in 1979・Bottled in 1999・Diageo Bottling・Limited Release]

Nose:

Green fruits and aloe vera but the strength lends an exciting raw sandalwood note. Malted barley soothed with rose water infused simple syrup emitting this lighthearted floral vibe.  In time white pepper with hint of salted popcorn.

Palate & Finish:

Sticky syrup turns elegant with honey and vanilla blossoming and dispersing and elderflower syrup and soft fruits gliding through, the oak gives a spicy punch as icing sugar is seasoned onto gentle white peaches and oranges.

Buttery pastry with more soft fruits coming on, hint of pepper to go with some grapefruit peels, ultra-pleasing.

Thoughts:

I was worried at this strength the dram might be excruciatingly spicy but needless to say the dram is a real treat from Rosebank at its fruitiest, delicious and playful.. a dram that would be dearly missed..

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Gordon & MacPhail Private Collection Longmorn 1961 (Cask No. 508)

[45.0%・57 Years Old・Distilled in 1961・Bottled in 2018・Gordon & MacPhail Bottling・Cask No. 508・Single Cask Release of 97 Bottles]

Nose:

Breathtakingly thick mahogany oozing out rich cocoa and dark tannins.  Dates and figs caramelising in simmering syrup, a creamy and bright Sherry body still rather lively for its age.  The wood is majestic and elegantly elongated, coconut flakes and cinnamon with the leather bringing on an earthier tone.

Palate & Finish:

Stupendously juicy and acidic with the dates carrying the tannins.  Surprisingly though there exists perhaps a suggestion of smoke along with the earthy notes.  The wood is well seasoned in brown sugar syrup, mellow and elongated, releasing notes of burnt toast brushed with syrupy black cherries and very dark chocolate.

Wood and leather as the European oak tannins continue to ooze out.  The cereal chewiness is joined by some preserved orange slices at the very end to lift the tail.

Thoughts:

Bravo, I was concerned that as a 57 year old this would be far too polite but in fact this is rather dramatic with a finish that just keeps on giving.

It’s hard to definitively draw a line on whether a dram this old would be considered to be over-oaked, I think most people would find themselves having to make this personal judgement call.  On this occasion I have to trust my instinct, I was satisfied.

I suspect many will consider that Mr. Richard Urquhart now holds the slight bragging rights over his twin..

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

Thank you Gordon & MacPhail for the sample, it’s much appreciated.

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Gordon & MacPhail Private Collection Longmorn 1961 (Cask No. 512)

[40.8%・57 Years Old・Distilled in 1961・Bottled in 2018・Gordon & MacPhail Bottling・Cask No. 512・Single Cask Release of 97 Bottles]

Nose:

The oak feels ancient and substantial, carrying the umami note with pride but somehow also carrying those ripe white fruits and extracting acidity from them.  The Sherry is expressive and stately, unmistakably G&M with coconut cream and soft peaches at its juiciest.  As the mahogany peels away the malt surfaces, mellow sweetness countered by what years of ageing in wood has given the dram.

Palate & Finish:

A syrupy and acidic spike with the plums followed by the plateaued but matured tones of barley sugar and oak gently chiming along.  Cocoa and leather insert themselves to the stupendously woody body.

Dry and tannic on the backend, the tail stretches incredibly long to uncompromisingly reveal the marks left by those glorious and historic oak staves that housed the malt and somehow a very faint reminiscent of can peaches has persevered through all those decades..

Thoughts:

Oh wow, if the wood makes the whisky then this dram unequivocally had taken all that the wood had to give.  Whiskies like these two casks selected by Mr. Stuart Urquhart and Mr. Richard Urquhart are almost in a league of their own. Whether it’s a dram for someone ultimately comes down to personal preference but the whisky justifiably demands the audience to hold a certain understanding and appreciation.  And in this case, I think the appreciation is rightfully earned.

Whilst debating whether this is for me however, I noticed that this is a recently bottled whisky that displays some OBE traits and now here’s what I believe..  the form of the vessel doesn’t matter just as long as the whisky spends enough time in it to develop OBE..

A whisky that inspired a theory, what more could you ask for?

☆ [Recommended]

Thank you Gordon & MacPhail for the sample, it’s much appreciated.

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Jack & Jack Auld Distillers Collection

[56.1%・10 Years Old・Distilled in 1996・Bottled Circa 2006・Jack & Jack Bottling・Single Cask Release of 150 Bottles]

Nose:

Pungent notes of toffee, vanilla sauce and dark honey, some minerals and sea breeze linger with the floral scent drifting on.

Palate & Finish:

Quite intensely sweet, fresh Sherry with some fortified led dried orange notes. Plenty of crumbly brown sugar, dates and cinnamon and ginger spices.

Tails off with stewed fruits and folded caramel, a wee bit earthy.

Thoughts:

I suspect this was aged in a modern Sherry cask, the youthful citrus vibe from the Sherry is particularly striking.. quite a solid belter.

☆ [Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Gordon & MacPhail Connoisseurs Choice Brora Distilled 1982 Bottled 2006

[43.0%・24 Years Old・Distilled in 1982・Bottled in 2006・Gordon & MacPhail Bottling・Limited Release]

Nose:

White fruits, nougat and soft smoke, slightly vegetal and grassy with some mild citrus to round things out. In time though the nose carries this scent of crepes with lemon and sugar.

Palate & Finish:

Light body carrying citrus and grassy notes, a crisp and dry white wine note alongside the coastal undertones. Hints of tropical fruits drifting in and out.

Fading notes of honey and biscuits with white grapes and green apples.

Thoughts:

A nice dram that gets just a bit nicer in time, quite a pleasing nose really but perhaps just a bit on the thin side, even as a breakfast whisky, although who would complain about that sort of mornings really..

☆ [Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Three Rivers Clynelish Aged 17 Years

[54.4%・17 Years Old・Distilled in 1997・Bottled in 2014・Three Rivers Bottling・Cask No. 4046・Single Cask Release of  300 Bottles]

Nose:

A rush of oily caramel onto a bouquet of green fruits. Fresh Nashi pears, oranges and banana peels, but beneath the surface it’s surprisingly raw with a hint of soapiness.

Palate & Finish:

Thick, oily mouthfeel, a whole lot of citrus, fruits, vanilla and coconuts with some spicy top notes. Crisp from the mid-palate with splash of white pepper coming through.

Caramel and malt slowly surfacing in the finish, slightly on the dry side but in time it gets fruitier and fruitier..

Thoughts:

Thoroughly entertaining, a youthful Clynelish that is incredibly fruity; in my experience this is perhaps one of the more vibrant expressions from 1995-1997.

Certainly a lovely malt. Close to scoring two stars.

☆ [Recommended]

-Nicholas