Whisky Review: The Macallan Edition No. 4


Style: Fruity, Malty and Spicy

Nose:
Begins with an upper layer of resin-mint spice and ground black pepper. Followed by sultanas, stewed summer berries and salted caramel balanced by the herbal and malty component. Youthful spirit no doubt, but it is reasonably sweet and vibrant. Blue berries, a few ginger shreds then plenty of fresh-cut grass. Malt syrup dripping gently at the back.

Palate:
Black cherries, black currants and burnt toast mingling with malt syrup. Prunes and tropical fruits surrounded by ample herbaceous spice. Raisins and apricots skinny dipping in diluted brown sugar and maltose. A layer of milk chocolate smoothing out the edges and a very juvenile malty tone soft-landed at the back.

Finish:
Cinnamon bark, more burnt toast and raisins treading on malt syrup, a decent sherry oak finish.

Thoughts:
I am aware of the hype on Edition no. 4 (or the series for that matter) that has been going on these days, and finally I get to give it a spin. Now, in my honest opinion, I think it is a relatively spicy expression with an acceptable amount of sherry loaded in it. Although I think it is a bit too young as there are some faint new make notes showing up from time to time. Nothing abrasive and relatively easy-drinking, but in terms of reaching the true potential of Macallan, there is still a long long way to go.

✓ [Recommended if you like the Style/ Distillery]

[48.4% | Original Bottling | 2018 Bottled | Limited Edition | No Age Statement | T-]

-Esmond

Dram Review: Silver Seal GlenDronach Special Bottling 22 Years Old

[52.1%・22 Years Old・Distilled in 1990・Silver Seal Bottling・Cask No. 6921・Single Cask Release of 628 bottles]

Nose:

A heavy dose of leather and tobacco.  There is an alluring perfume note that lies underneath the vanilla.

Subsequently followed by an addictive dose of European oak with some sticky orange preserve surfacing.  Ripe plums with dark chocolate nibs sprinkled on top with the smoked barley to round things off.

Palate & Finish:

Big delivery of bright orange marmalade, the acidity mixes well with the chewy oak influence.  A creaminess follows along with a generous pinch of cinnamon.

Citrus and dark cherries balance well with the oak gradually fading into the background.

Thoughts:

A loud dram but for me this is just excellent.  It is what makes GlenDronach amongst the most addictive of Sherry Houses.

That wee unbalance is what makes it such an indulgence..

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

Cheers Mr. Bailey for the dram, good times my friend.

-Nicholas

Whisky Review: Rare Malts St. Magdalene 1970 Aged 23 Years

Style: Sweet, Waxy and Spicy

Nose:
Woof, powerful spice carrying the signature Linlithgow lemon-waxy aroma. Abundant red chilli, mineral notes quickly strapped itself on a doughy malt. Syrupy, tropical fruits and white fruits starting to shine in the middle. An unexpected touch of gunpowder and whetstone which have been trying very hard to stay out of sight, sweet, spicy and… a bit of funkiness. Interesting nose.

Palate:
Still a classic cask strength St. Magdalene, robust heat continues to carry a round and beautiful citrus sweetness. White fruits are gradually taken over by the bitterness of candle wax. While hot chilli continues to run rampant, the rest is staying more on the herbal/ grassy side. Lemon fragrance, timber wood sinks in, an oaky tail.

Finish:
Mellows down quickly, stewed tropical fruits laminated with a thin layer of wax. Vanilla malt and citrus beaming positively till the end.

Thoughts:
Another classic St. Magdalene – Waxy, citrus sweetness gleaming beautifully within the relentless, screaming spice. For me, the satisfaction found after enduring this level of intensity, is highly rewarding. Isn’t life like that as well? Perhaps this is the real charm of St. Magdalene. Literally a mind-blowing whisky.

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

[Original Bottling | 58.1% | 1970 Distilled | 1993 Bottled | Cask Strength |** | Tasted at bar]

Esmond

Tasted at Club Qing, Hong Kong.

Whisky Review: The Whisky Agency Speyside Region 1973 Tenth Anniversary

Style: Delicate sweetness and Sophisticated

Nose:
Immensely rich, bountiful tropical fruits served right up at the front, vanilla sponge cake, golden syrup and underlayer of dry barley interweaving charmingly. Ripe mango, paw paw oil, taro sago pudding steaming in bamboo leaves. Delicate, ripe yellow fruits overflowing to show an infinite depth, vanilla custard flanking on the side while herbal tune slowly approaches, ends with a peppermint high note carrying a touch of star anise. Wow… just wow. Absolutely perfect.

Palate:
The herbal core begins to show a commanding presence here, abundant green herbs and nutmeg radiating from the inside. Delicate tropical fruits continue the parade which is deftly controlled by drier lines of vanilla barley. More ripe mangoes and canned pineapples thoroughly marinated with mints and pine nuts. Coconut overtone, the drier facet is becoming more prominent overtime. Vanilla latte with the faintest hint of Maraschino cherry. Dignified oak in its most pleasant form – honey water and fragrant wood polish, gently underline and wrap around the whole expression. Juicy fruits mark another return towards the back with five spices.

Finish:
A delicate balance of honey tropical fruits and dry barley continues to steer on the now-subsided herbal pathway. Lemon tea, mint and grapefruit jelly. A sweet, composed and abiding finish. Excellent.

Thoughts:
The best Speyside I have tried to date. While most of them are pleasantly mellow and dignified, but this 1973 Speyside is more than that – maybe it is because of its intricate balance of tropical fruits sweetness and barley dryness has created an incredible depth and dynamic to it; At this age one would assume the oak will take over the proceedings, instead, it plays a humble, supporting role, providing so much finesse and composure to the spirit. Together with the steadfast herbal core, a star is born – Such a spellbinding whisky.

☆☆☆[Most Recommended]

[48.6% | Independent Bottling | 1973 Distilled | 2017 Bottled | Single Cask | Cask Strength | Non Coloured | Non Chill Filtered | Aged 44 Years | Matured in a Butt | ***- | Opened in Nov 2018 | Tasted in Dec 2018] 

-Esmond

Dram Review: Ardbeg Twenty Something Guaranteed 22 Years Old

[45.4%・12 Years Old・Distilled in 1996・Bottled in 2018・Official Bottling・Limited Release]

Nose:

Pitted Cherries, orange zest, vanilla, honey. Mellow mix of sandalwood, ginger flowers and wild flowers that turns slight brine-y with a very subtle layer of peat smoke.

Palate & Finish:

Vanilla sauce and coconut cream, ice cream caramel dressing with creamed honey before mild notes of pear and menthol surface. The soft shortbread note elongates, allowing time for the white pepper to hit along with dry herbs.

Soft finish of vanilla and brown sugar, hint of bitter chocolate to bring things to a balance.

Thoughts:

The 2017 release was a miscue but the 2018 Twenty Something picked up where the debut release left off.. quite a delicious mellow Ardbeg. I would have liked to tug one aside for a rainy day but alas there’s no guarantee I would actually get one had I registered. This dram would do just fine.

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Gordon & MacPhail Connoisseurs Choice Bunnahabhain 17 Years Old Distilled 1965

[40.0%・17 Years Old・Distilled in 1965・Gordon & MacPhail Bottling・Limited Release]

Nose:

Majestically Sherried.  predominately leather but also comes with dates, walnuts, dried fruits and a hint of deep floral note, so essentially Christmas pudding like.

Palate & Finish:

The delivery is gooey and drying at the same time, sweet ripe fruits but also earthy with the leather and bitter chocolate.  Thin layer of toffee together with lychees, dark plums and cherries make up for the background.

A mild tail, dried, earthy and tannic.  Soft traces of dark honey flavoured popcorn to go with the wood.

Thoughts:

Excellent dark Sherry, the tension between the sweetness and the oak is exceptionally captivating, such a compelling dram..

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: The BenRiach Single Cask 1971 for Shinanoya and BBI Japan

[45.1%・40 Years Old・Distilled in 1971・Bottled in 2012・Official Bottling for Shinanoya and BBI Japan・Cask No. 330・Single Cask Release of 216 Bottles]

Nose:

I think this may just carry the sweetest, fruitiest nose I have encountered, truly captivating and brilliant; can pineapples, apricots and tropical fruits, vanilla custard blended with the fruity nectar and dusted with icing sugar.

Palate & Finish:

Again, brilliant sweetness on the palate, sugar cured watermelon slices stacked with crumble made with ripe green apples and spiced up with some vanilla grain. Banana essence, citrus marmalade and some delicate cinnamon dust are later added slowly into the mix.

A velvet-y finish with the banana custard and French vanilla leading traces of shortbread, a joyous moment stretched satisfyingly..

Thoughts:

Such endearing characters, I have not had a lovelier BenRiach.. a brilliance that seemingly developed from the spirit evolving in the cask for more than 4 decades.. I have felt something similar after the White Bowmore..

I will remember to look for other 1971 vintages to see if they are also some of the best fruit bombs I have had..

☆☆☆ [Most Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Kingsbury Pittyvaich 1974

[55.8%・26 Years Old・Distilled in 1974・Bottled in 2000・Kingsbhry Bottling・Cask No. 3498・Single Cask Release of 514 Bottles]

Nose:

Quality rich, creamy Sherry, red fruits and cocoa puff, cherry and blackcurrant preserve.

Palate & Finish:

Excellent mouthfeel, just the right amount of thickness conveying the beautifully condensed Sherry influence. Cinnamon sugar with an underlying vegetal note, tree gum folded with a sticky reduction of cola.

The stewed ripe fruits are released in the finish, such succulent juiciness generously drizzled with thick honey.

Thoughts:

Very much a transcending Sherry bomb experience.

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: R. W. Duthie & Co. Glen Garioch Anniversary (Selected by Silvano Samaroli for Il Salumaio di Montenapoleone)

[50.0%・12 Years Old・Distilled in 1975・Bottled in 1987・R. W. Duthie & Co. Bottling Selected by Silvano Samaroli・Limited Release of 240 Bottles]

Nose:

There is some initial greenness, lemon sorbet with some delicate peat melting into the mango pudding; all the while the natural malt fragrance floats about.

Palate & Finish:

Soft honey brushing over the mangos, with fine base layers of candle wax and soft nougat. Vanilla and lemon sugar effortlessly intertwine with the soft grassy peat and a wee pinch of pepper.

The soft chewy malt dusted with icing sugar gradually dissolves away, leaving hint of Vienna almonds..

Thoughts:

Stylistically this would be best suited as a first dram, but such a wondrous dram would always be a hard act to follow.. magic from the Maestro!

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: The Macallan 18 Years Old Distilled in 1970 (Giovinetti & Figli Milano Bottling)

[43.0%・18 Years Old・Distilled in 1970・Bottled in 1988・Official Bottling for Giovinetti & Figli Milano・Limited Release]

Nose:

As things should be with antique Macallan aged in vintage Sherry casks, lemon preserve and afternoon red tea served whilst resting on a buttero leather armchair. Elegant with the raisins and tannins pleasingly and politely pile on, and leather unfolding the hearty malt oozing with dark honey.

Palate & Finish:

A vibrant gem of Sherried goodness, exceptional execution of figs and raisins with flowers and cherries channeling this exotic acidity. The condensed jammy sweetness, the oily malted spirit, all perfectly integrated.

The nectar unveils an earthy side in the finish, with espresso, dark chocolate and tannins coasting by.

Thoughts:

Technically from a close distillery so it’s hard to say if we will see this again, but what I would say is that the distillery should replicate this instead.. it’s what a great Macallan ought to be..

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

-Nicholas