Whisky Review: Talisker Aged 8 Years Special Release 2018

Style: Sweet and Smoky

Nose:

Barbeque bacon served with sweet naval orange twists. Confectioneries, iodine, mineral and maritime notes at the second level. Bonfire smoke, roasted almonds and lemon-brine riding on fresh chilli spice. Vibrant, tidy, clean as a whistle.

Palate:

Massive citrus sweetness soars in magnificently on the palate, which then transmutes into smoked macadamias and almonds. Followed by charred notes, limoncello, baked ham hugging closely to form a rich and delicious core. White pepper sprinkles, Aloe Vera, honey and vanilla treading softly at its tail. Very, very nice.

Finish:

Orange-lemon sweetness softens with hints of dying smoke. Sweet Aloe Vera and subtle seaweed to finish.

Thoughts:

Sweet, vibrant and beautifully-layered, what else can you ask for from this young little gem? The tasting note is relatively short, not because it is too simple/one dimensional, instead, it is because the structure is so tidy, compact and focused that you don’t need extra words to describe how good this is. So young but already so composed, gosh, I love my Taliskers but this is certainly one of the highlights.

☆☆[Highly Recommended]

[59.4% | Original Bottling | Limited Release | 2018 Bottled | Cask Strength | **-]

-Esmond

Whisky Review: Glenmorangie Allta Private Edition No.10

Style: Sweet and Clean

Nose:

Fragrant white peaches and apricots gently wrapped around by distinct grainy notes – oat, multigrain bread, muesli, etc. Floral aroma in the form of beer hops, very yeasty, in a nice way. Pear drops lightly coated with vanilla cream, some hay and chartreuse, bit grassy, earthy and musky. Interesting. Dry spice and black peppercorn lightly roasted by fire. Not your usual Glenmorangie, but very nice.

Palate:

Ah, the house style returns. Glazed ginger, pear drops taking a hint of grassiness, all sweet and clean. Cereal thoroughly brushed around the core, beer hops and vanilla humming softly at the backseat. Honey mead and just a dab of lemon balm waxing and smoothing the edges. Followed by some Bourbon cask traits, vanilla and oak emerges towards the end. Fresh and delicious.

Finish:

Residues of candied orange and ginger continue to linger, faint hints of vanilla oat to finish.

Thoughts:

Blink of an eye and we have reached Private Edition Number 10, time flies, doesn’t it? Now Allta is slightly different to its predecessors – instead of cask variations, it has switched its focus to a local wild yeast which replaces the regular stuff that the rest of Scotland is using and bottled on at a slightly higher abv. Result? The impact is rather obvious, we have a Glenmorangie with extra “yeasty” presence, especially its aroma. The yeast is definitely doing something alright, but I wonder if the translation is that straightforward? On the other hand, the palate is more akin to the house style of Glenmorangie, maybe the casks utilized here are less active and intent to let the distillate shine. Probably a rather technical dram but it is rich, clean and sweet with nuances building nicely around the core. Solid drop.

☆ [Recommended]

[51.2% | Original Bottling | Limited Edition | 2018 Bottled | Non Chill Filtered | No Age Statement | *]

-Esmond

Dram Review: Ichiro’s Malt Chichibu And The Clouds Parted (Specially Selected by La Maison du Whisky)

[61.9%・4 Years Old・Distilled in 2011・Bottled in 2015・La Maison du Whisky Bottling・Cask No. 1371・Single Cask Release of 308 Bottles]

Nose:

Oh wow, such richness even for a Chichibu, there’s the impressive Madeira cask influence! Full bodied raisins with this certain aged lemon zing.  Milk chocolate coated apricots with brown sugar rub against some wood chips as the nose turns slightly vegetal in time.

Palate & Finish:

A condensed stroke of brown sugar soaked prunes and figs.  The big bootiful delivery of grape sauce and caramelised apples unfolds into chocolate sauce drizzled over more burnt figs and dressed with some christmas spices.

A light brush of menthol onto the crystallised grape sugar as the malt runs long..

Thoughts:

Chichibu’s single cask offerings tend to toe the line between intense enjoyment and overwhelm, and that’s usually down to the spirit being so big.. however this is perhaps the first time I feel like the cask influence faring stronger than the spirit and I happen to be one of those people that quite like when Chichibu does a Madeira cask..

☆ [Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Liquid Gold Hong Kong Owners Cask Macallan Special Vintage 1995

[51.8%・22 Years Old・Distilled in 1995・Bottled in 2018・Liquid Gold Bottling・Cask No. 10115・Single Cask Release of Bottles]

Nose:

Slightly on the feisty side, the malt fares quite heavy in this dram with some rich burnt toffee sips out. The earthy undertone carries with it notes of raisins and blackcurrant as it elongates notes of orange liquor soaked digestive biscuits come through.

Palate & Finish:

The raisins shine bright but almost immediately melt into a malty honey affair, salted caramel taking on just a hint of waxiness

Barley fragrance gracefully glides along, biscuits and cereals get seasoned with wild flowers.

Thoughts:

I don’t think I have had a Moscatel cask from Macallan before so this is all very interesting to me, cask rather well picked actually.

☆ [Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: The Macallan Classic Cut 2018 Limited Edition

[51.2%・NAS・Bottled in 2018・Official Bottling・Limited Release of 90,000 Bottles]

Nose:

An engineered mix of oak and sweetness you would expect from a new Macallan release. Charred brown sugar with a thin dose of roast meat, cereal laid out comfortably with some slight perfume-y notes.

Palate & Finish:

Raisins with some bite, quite spicy with cinnamon and black sugar wrapping around the figs. A textured woody note combines with an approachable sweetness.

Youthful in the finish with a flat, sweet tail.

Thoughts:

The bygone cask strength series paved way for this modern Macallan.

A Hollywood reboot, think the new Ghostbusters.

✓ [Recommended if you like the distillery/style]

Dram Review: Bruichladdich Black Arts 1992 Edition 05.1 24 Aged Years

[48.4%・24 Years Old・Distilled in 1992・Bottled in 2016・Official Bottling・Limited Release of 12,000 Bottles]

Nose:

Somewhat of a damp setting, thick cream and salted caramel sauce with a slight suggestion of matchsticks.  Suspected wine cask influenced mushed berries seasoned with some salt and pepper as it later on grows maltier.

Palate & Finish:

Figs, blackberries and aged strawberry preserve, a highly curated profile from the alleged usage of wine casks without being particularly exciting, stickily sweet with some kick to it.

Earthy and rather drying, with the tannins causing just a slight scene.

Thoughts:

I remember having an early batch Black Arts 4 to 5 years ago that I thought was pretty attractive; I am afraid since then the series hasn’t really captured my imagination. The 05.1 is fine I suppose, not particularly memorable though.

I am not sure if Laddie Black Arts is still a thing for lads and lasses but I think Mr. Hannett may be better off creating something revolutionary.

✓ [Recommended if you like the distillery/style]

-Nicholas

Whisky Review: Bruichladdich Black Art 1989 Edition 03.1 22 Aged Years

Style: Sherry and Grassy

Nose:

Round, rich sherry signatures sided with baked tropical fruits. Black peppercorns, a whiff of gunpowder (not sulphur!), flint and minerals crushed and sprinkled on top of malt syrup. A touch of acetone, raspberries, cherry pie, pomegranate, heather honey swaying beautifully in the aroma. Subtle vanilla echoing at the bottom, sweet and comfortable.

Palate:

Rather sherry-driven on the first touch, sultanas, a wide array of red berries, blackcurrants, tawny, and roasted almonds blending together to give a fantastic weight of sweetness. Peppermint followed by some vegetal brushes – celery, fennel and even some onions forming a lower block. Light sprinkle of icing sugar on a chestnut tart, going a little bit earthy and starchy (?), taro malt to finish.

Finish:

Cherry puree mixing with potato starch. Ruby grapes, raisins – a sherry sweet finish.

Thoughts:

This actually turned out to be better than I first remembered, my impression back then was the structure was a bit loose with insufficient momentum in the spirit. Maybe I was being a bit too critical, wasn’t I? While the contents remained a mystery, this Black Art is undoubtedly driven and built on Sherry casks, then followed with some wine (I guess), then some Bourbon and maybe even a bit of Port, on the other hand vegetal notes carefully building underneath to complete the expression. Plenty of nuances going on, interesting. Not your usual dram I suppose, but overall it is pretty good.

☆ [Recommended]

[48.7% | Original Bottling | 1989 Distilled | 2012 Bottled | 12000 Bottles | Aged 22 Years | *]

-Esmond

Dram Review: Bruichladdich Rare Cask Series Bourbon: All In 1984/32

[43.7%・32 Years Old・Distilled in 1984・Bottled in 2017・Official Bottling・Limited Release of 3,000 Bottles]

Nose:

Genuinely clean with thin layers of honey and minerals. Fresh strawberries and white peaches with some ginger flowers.

Palate & Finish:

A pleasing dose of stone fruits, red apples and pineapples; age revealing with the oak subtly lending a drying edge.

Smooth follow through with brushes of brown sugar and vanilla on oak as the stone fruits ooze out of the bitterness.

Thoughts:

Tasty and easy to drink, a good showing of fruits but it does fare a bit dry.

The marketing guru would focus on how this was bottled from the last 12 casks of the 1984 vintage..  but for me I am actually quite taken by how unadulterated it feels, a #nofilter of Laddies..

☆ [Recommended]

-Nicholas

Whisky Review: Bruichladdich Distillery Micro-Provenance Series Single Cask 1992 Aged 25 Years Exclusively Bottled for Hong Kong International Airport Duty Zero by CDF

Style: Sweet and Creamy

Nose:

Vanilla ice cream cake sided with cranberry and rhubarb sorbet. More summer berries, coconut milk and digestive biscuits insulating a layer of refreshing peppermint. Somehow this reminds me of the Redder Still, interesting… A touch of white chocolate, just the right amount of ginger shreds, sweet pineapple, while custard taking in some deeper oak towards the end.

Palate:

Glazed pineapple shining at the forefront followed by cranberries, pomegranate, Goji berries, ruby grapes and taking a hint of liquorice to give a secondary level of sweetness. A big vanilla wave smashes in and engulfed the fruitiness. Coconut oil mixing with custard, barley and walnut oak placed right underneath to the end.

Finish:

Barley and oak showing quite a bit of dryness, sided with faint cranberry notes.

Thoughts:

In many ways this reminds me of the legendary Redder Still, well, maybe not as good, but the style is quite similar. Positive wine-influenced red fruits with rich vanilla notes injecting plenty of texture and oiliness. Personally, I quite enjoyed the synergy between wine and bourbon elements in Bruichladdich – Sweet, luscious and creamy while there is some freshness built into the spirit, not many Laddies catch my eyes but this is certainly an enjoyable drop.

☆ [Recommended]

[49.5% | Original Bottling | Single Cask | 1992 Distilled | 2018 Bottled | Cask Strength | Cask Number: 16/159-1 | 76 of 264 Bottles | Barley type: Optic | *]

-Esmond