Dram Review: Dun Eideann Bladnoch Aged 23 Years

[50.8%・23 Years Old・Distilled in 1966・Bottled in 1989・Dun Eideann Bottling・Cask No. 1636・Single Cask Release]

Nose:

Pleasingly robust aromas of thick old school Sherry sweetness, brown sugar syrup generously poured over creamed Sherry and Vienna almonds, pair with sugar preserved orange slices.

Palate & Finish:

A sauce like texture that coats the tongue, conveying that thick syrupy cask led goodness of vanilla and honey, creamy fudge with milk chocolate and nutmeg arriving momentarily after and drags on for a decent, enjoyable leathery and subtly malty finish.

Thoughts:

All I can say is that this Bladnoch is really puts those god forsaken new releases to their places.

I won’t repeat my thoughts on the modern expressions, and I cannot say for sure that this cask is a representation of Bladnoch of the past, the cask influence is too strong to show any distant character of the distillate.. but nevertheless this is a sublime Sherried whisky, regardless of the era..

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

P.S. Thank you Aaron and Kennis for sharing the dram.

-Nicholas

Whisky Review: The Whisky Agency 10 Years Anniversary Springbank (Peated Type) 1996

Style: Smoky, Fruity and Vibrant

Nose:

Bright start with fresh green kiwis and smoky guava, an unusual combination but it is fantastic. Under the green fruits lie an alluring layer of malt syrup and stewed tropical fruits, earthy spice raising the ceiling while fruit punch adding a beautiful depth to the aroma. Subtle meaty notes reside at the core.

Palate:

Fresh, smoky green fruits levitate and give way to sweet, stewed tropical fruits to settle in, papaya, malt syrup and agar agar blossoming beautifully. It feels the maturation balance has hit the sweet spot. Peach infused with sponge cake and mineralic peat. Chili spice giving optimal heat, transition to Riesling, white grapes skin with slight tannins as the oak sits in, 90% dark cacao finish.

Finish:

The peat rises and subsides, reminiscence of ice sugar malt, pineapple slices and pears. All soft and sweet.

Thoughts:

When the label says “peated type” I think that translates to Longrow. I don’t have much experience with well-matured, single cask Longrow because they are as rare as hen’s teeth. Personally, I find the heavily peated variation somehow changes the dynamic of the distillery profile – there are certain similarities with Springbank but it feels the smoke takes up a more important role and brings out the freshness of spirit, injecting more vibrancy while keeping a dazzling level of complexity. Great drop.

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

[50.9% | Independent Bottling | Single Cask | Cask Strength | Non Coloured | Non Chill Filtered | 1996 Distilled | 2018 Bottled | Aged 21 Years | Matured in a Hogshead – Peated Type | **]

-Esmond

Whisky Review: Ballechin Aged 12 Years Cask hand picked by The Whisky Exchange

Style: Fruity and Smoky

Nose:
Sumptuous hay smoke, malt syrup with a good dose of shell fish on the nose. Sea salt rubbing on kombu, fish sauce and minerals, the peat element is surprisingly maritime-driven, I don’t think the distillery is anywhere near the sea, no? Down a layer reveal sugary tropical fruits. Melons and dried mangoes taking the high ground with more malt to round aroma up. Oatmeal base, finished with a sichimi and peppermint spike.

Palate:
Similar to what the nose has suggested, but the maritime has subsided significantly. Golden malt, sweet apricots floating on smoky water. Peach skin, apple jacks mixed with a handful of cereal. Vanilla, coconut shreds taking a hint of smoked ham. Orange citrus shining from the core, while pepper spice rises up and sustain a good structure.

Finish:
Dried apricots, milk chocolate, malt and liquorice roots gently melding together, a comfortable finish.

Thoughts:
I think this is my first review on Ballechin. For those who is not familiar with Ballechin, it is the heavily peated variant of Edradour. Personally, I think Ballechin is quite underrated. If you look close enough, there are quite a few hidden gems like this one – Bright, smoky, while fruits and the malt seamlessly interchanging throughout the expression. Not complicated but rather a charming dram. Close to 2 stars.

☆ [Recommended]

[54.5% | Original Bottling | Single Cask | Cask Strength | 2004 Distilled | 2017 Bottled | Cask Number: 330 | 251 Bottles | Non Coloured | Non Chill Filtered | *+]

-Esmond

Dram Review: Clydesdale Laphroaig (Cask No. 5967)

[53.5%・18 Years Old・Distilled in 1979・Bottled in 1997・Clydesdale Bottling・Cask No. 5967・Single Cask Release of 222 Bottles]

Nose:

The heavy cowshed presence is surprising, hints of coal smoke, apple wood incense lingering above a wholesome, oily base of overripe pears, honey and malt.  Traces of iodine, white pepper and aged ginger cubes vaguely surface from the background.

Palate & Finish:

Certainly fares more like a period Laphroaig on the palate, a stunning mic of vibrantly juicy dates and earthy tar and peat.  Greek style sweet almond shortbread cookies and marzipan pears, with this striking sake elegance.

Grilled bell peppers bring about a subtler tail, dried fruits dipped in honey with some burnt toffee coated walnuts and chocolate drizzled coconut chips.

Thoughts:

Stunning aromas followed by an exquisite delivery.

Quite unlike the typical vintage Laphroaig expressions from the late 1970s, early 1980s in that it fares more like a Brora of all things.

Which is to say that I adore it thoroughly.

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

-Nicholas

Whisky Review:The Arran 1996 Single Cask bottled for The Whisky Exchange celebrating 20 years online

Style: Delicate and Fruity

Nose:
Pear and peach aroma intertwining gracefully at the front, delicate and pleasantly sweet. Followed by a subtle mash of assorted fruits – tropical, orchard, throwing in a bit of citrus and even forest berries. Caramel lightly drizzling on honeycomb, while peppermint and juniper berries forming a high overtone. Barley echoes softly to finish. Exceptional.

Palate:
The fruitiness develops towards peaches and nectarines, a delicious and silky entrance. The sweet front wanes sooner than expected as dry barley is more outspoken this time. Vanilla porridge, coconut shreds, minerals and maybe even hint of metallic notes forming a dry and sturdy layer in the middle. Ester fruits gradually opening up with patience – apricots and oranges with a slight earthiness coated around the rims.

Finish:
All the fruits are re-summoned back and boiling down into tantalizing sweetness which overrides the dryness on the palate. Cherries and red fruits finally shine through.

Thoughts:
Sometimes I wonder why there is a cult-following with this relatively new distillery, but when there are delicious drops like this, you will understand – A wide spectrum of sweet, delicate fruits delivered in such a silky, elegant fashion. The texture, the delivery, how often you can see spirit that delicate at this age? Although this dram is a tad dry on the palate to my liking, but it is one underrated and memorable dram.

☆ [Recommended]

[50.4% | Original Bottling | 1996 Distilled | 2018 Bottled | Single Cask | Cask number: 081 | 160 of 324 Bottles | Non Coloured | Non Chill Filtered | Matured in Sherry Hogshead | *]

Dram Review: Kinko Moon River Blend

[46.5%・36 Years Old・Distilled in 1980・Kinko Bottling・Limited Release]

Nose:

Stylistically very much a Japanese style Sherried whisky, poached fruits wrapped in rice paper, with cinnamon dust and date syrup dressed atop.  There is also an aged furniture vibe to things, and later on becoming slightly toasty, with some fine aromas from mango and passion fruit sauces swirled with minerals.

Palate & Finish:

A strawberry reduction at first drawing out a caramel crisp note, with raisins and dried orange slices leading to a jammy follow through.

The sweet Sherry notes flow through and evaporate into a soft finish of caramel popcorn.

Thoughts:

If you seek for magic, this really isn’t it but if you are looking for comfort and familiarity of a Japanese style Sherried whisky, the Moon River Blend has the endearing  traits you look for.

☆ [Recommended]

-Nicholas