Dram Review: Corowa “Mad Dog” Morgan (Distilled on 19 March 2017)

[46.0%・ NAS・Distilled in 2017・Bottled Circa. 2019・Official Bottling・Limited Release]

Nose:

Weetbix churned with almond butter, a simple, sweet, malty nose; brown sugar caramelising with some sichimi spices and freshly unboxed A4 paper.

Palate & Finish:

Dried muscat grapes giving away an early sweetness, the distillate still rather noticeable, haystacks and spices with some sultana coming through.

Finishes early, digestive biscuits and menthol with more of those malt spirit notes.

Thoughts:

Granted, the Mad Dog is but a young pup, but it’s fair to say that the muscat casks have impressed just about enough flavours onto the spirit.

Later releases hopefully should be more coherent given ideally there would be more time for new make and casks to integrate.

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Tasmanian Independent Bottlers Redlands Distillery Redlands Release 2 (Cask No. TIB RD 009)

[49.6%・NAS・Bottled in 2018・Tasmanian Independent Bottlers Bottling・Cask No. TIB RD 009・Single Cask Release]

Nose:

Toffee brittle and dried raisins swirled in a creamy affair, dried walnuts with a familiar musk much like a junior version of early Heartwood Port casks.

Palate & Finish:

Smooth flow of succulent late harvest grapes and caramel tablets, dried raisins and nuts with a late hit of cinnamon spices along with a walnut bitterness.

Cinnamon dust and menthol, a subtle tail of burnt toasts.

Thoughts:

A fair dram that exhibits some traits of early Heartwood Port casks that were so beloved by many.

As it stands it is my view that Mr Tim Duckett & team, through releasing a handful of casks a year, have done a better job of promoting the distillery than the corporate equity interest holder and that’s saying something.

Also, I’m a fan of all the necessary information being displayed on the front of the label.

Many Australian distilleries are trying to save a few bucks having cask information hand-written or printed on side labels or cards, it’s a disservice to the individual expressions that many makers assign premiums on..

✓ [Recommended if you like the style/ distillery]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Timboon Governor’s Reserve (Bottled on 31 August 2017)

[56.3%・3 Years Old・Distilled in 2014・ Bottled in 2017・ Official Bottling・Limited Release of 95 Bottles]

Nose:

Limestone and chalk, aromas of lime flavoured hand sanitiser as well as bubble gum, quite strange to be honest.

Palate & Finish:

A delivery driven by limes, really zesty actually, some fresh oranges and kiwis in there as well pulling through with a pill like bitterness.

Wee finish of kiwis and honeydew melons, slightly bitter still.

Thoughts:

Credit to Mr Josh Walker for taking a chance of vatting a bourbon cask with a Port cask to create this.

Unfortunately I found this too strange personally, even with the funky and citrus distillery characters in mind, it’s like watching Mr David Boon taking a swing at the first ball only to edge it to second slip..

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Corra Linn Barrel 61

[53.0%・NAS・Official Bottling・Barrel No. 61・ Single Cask Release of 97 Bottles]

Nose:

Curiously flour-y, there is a hit of spirit sharpness but otherwise it’s muted and deprived of noteworthy flavours; very, very faint hint of apple fragrance perhaps and slightly buttery.

Palate & Finish:

Quite a spicy hit and otherwise, just a particularly new make driven delivery, the spirit is slightly on the fruity side but light in flavours otherwise.

Some new make notes remain in the finish.

Thoughts:

To answer Terence Fletcher’s question, it was rushing.

There are more new Australian distilleries now than ever before and it is important to get the first releases, especially the first single cask release right. I am afraid this ain’t right..

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Highland Park 14 Years Old Hand Selected for Mjølner

[56.5%・14 Years Old・Bottled in 2019・Official Bottling・Limited Release of 1,731 Bottles]

Nose:

A bit brute and heavy, ain’t it? Gunpowder and simmering caramelisation of dates and figs, red apple infused honey being hammered by wood spices as a proper peat smoke presence continues to build.

Palate & Finish:

Warming delivery of red apples and burnt honey as a really rather aggressive peat smoke rumble along, bringing through also a bold splash of spices and afterwards a solid toffee fudge sweetness.

Spicy still in the finish with cinnamon sugar and wee smoke.

Thoughts:

Rustic and aggressive with a sweet lick, if you have been to Mjølner you would probably agree that this whisky is entirely on point.

Definitely one for us Australian folks..

[Recommended if you like the style/ distillery]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: McHenry Single Malt Barrel No. 7

[44.0%・4 Years Old・Distilled in 2012・Bottled in 2017・Official Bottling・Single Cask Release of 140 Bottles]

Nose:

Clean, but simple, but clean, with light honey and wood shaves amidst a grassy vibe, pepper with almond flavoured sugar, some nectarines and mint leaves.

Palate & Finish:

A light mouthfeel of rather easy to drink honey and apricot jam, mint leaves, with a clean punch of spices and thereafter showing notes of the clean malt spirit together with freshly baked almond croissant and finger limes.

Lighter finish with hints of green apples and menthol chewing gum.

Thoughts:


In truth it’s been years since I have had a McHenry and I didn’t remember much about the distillery but simply put this 2017 release is not bad at all, light and simple but clean and actually rather easy to drink.

Though I think they really ought to re-think about their label layout though..

[Recommended if you like the distillery/style]


-Nicholas

Dram Review: Fleurieu Selected by Whisky & Alement

[50.1%・3 Years Old・Distilled in 2016・Bottled in 2019・Official Bottling Selected by Whisky & Alement・Single Cask Release of 150 Bottles]

Nose:

Honestly faring quite young and very spirit driven, with mowed grass and minerals as well as the heavier oily toffee note from the distillate and the dried grapes, poached fruits, dried twigs and floral aromas from the Tawny Port cask.

Palate & Finish:

Fairly sweet with a delivery of thinned out Manuka honey with a hint of charred salt, notes of distillate still very much intact as the barley sweetness continues to ooze out. Some dehydrated blueberries and blackberries in the background.

More of that sweetness in the finish, golden honey poured over dried fruits and cereals with splashes of herbs.

Thoughts:

This is perhaps one of the youngest Fleurieu expressions I have sampled and it shows, flavours do not integrate as coherently like many of the official releases.

However, I must say the Whisky & Alement team has managed to curate quite an interesting profile spun out of the deep-rooted DNA of the Fleurieu spirit, which is something I want to see as the distillery continues to grow.


-Nicholas

Dram Review: Cadenhead’s Authentic Collection Glen Grant-Glenlivet Aged 13 Years

[55.1%・13 Years Old・Distilled in 1980・Bottled in 1993・Cadenhead’s Bottling・Limited Release]

Nose:

Quite untamed but malty, sharp and piercing before a rather rich toffee note develops, slightly metallic with notes of green mangos and caramelised candied peanuts.

Palate & Finish:

Condensed barbecued pineapple caramelisation, honey churned with citrus pineapple chutney, lychees on the mid palate.

A white tea dryness in the finish with hints of white peaches and zesty mandarin jelly.

Thoughts:

A colourful citrus number, not without faults though with its struggle to attain balance within to age and strength perimeters..

✓ [Recommended if you like the distillery/style]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Signatory Millenium Edition 1968 Bowmore

[43.0%・Distilled in 1968・Bottled in 1999・ 31 Years Old・Signatory Vintage Bottling・Cask No. 3817・Single Cask Release of 238 Bottles] 

Nose:

Clean for its age and a wee bit grassy, a hint of crisp bubbly perhaps, notes of vanilla, banana peels complimenting the malty weetbix base.

Palate & Finish:

A pleasurably juicy affair, bright orange peels seasoned with vanilla sugar, just a fantastic fruit bomb with tropical fruits bursting through.

Just a touch of bitterness in the finish to bring everything back from the sweeter fruits like papaya.

Thoughts:

Absolute tropical brilliance, perhaps not as high reaching as its siblings but nevertheless a thoroughly pleasing experience.

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

P.S. Thank you Yuhun for the dram, it’s much appreciated.

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Kingsbury Islay Bowmore 1966

[43.7%・Distilled in 1966・ 35 Years Old・Kingsbury Bottling・Cask No. 3300 ・ Single Cask Release of 300 Bottles]

Nose:

A first impression that makes one just cusses a little in awe.. a wondrous and pure bouquet of splendidly refreshing pear and mint gelato finely drizzled with elderflower syrup and served with slices of soft white peaches; silkily soothing, and immensely pleasing with the excessiveness of various fruits, and later on the natural spirit aromas arrive with hints of tree gum and banana jam. An indescribable revelation really..

Palate & Finish:

An extravagance of waves and waves of sublime fruits seasoned with fine white sugar; refreshing green fruits, watermelon sugar, caramelised banana and sweet pineapple chutney, with just a touch of herbs bringing in subtle signs of ageing in the forms of oak and nutmeg along with plenty of dried fruits and nuts.

Beautiful, lasting fruits in the finish, vanilla sugar, mint jelly, brushes of wax perhaps with some fresh Italian herbs.

Thoughts:

There have been some recent controversies associated with this dram, namely whether it should be scored 93 or 95 or 98 etc. etc., a philosophical exercise bordering on trivial if I were to be completely candid for a dram of this caliber and this dram really does deserve better as one of the most brilliant expressions from the greatest era of the distillery in my humble opinion, one of the most enjoyable amongst the “three starred” whiskies I have rated..

It is fortunate that I am not obligated to publicise a definitive scoring of this dram, I am just grateful to have tasted this dram and I can unreservedly recommend this as one of the most marvellous whiskies I have come across to date, essentially otherworldly and really this is why we love whiskies in the first place.

☆☆☆ [Most Recommended]

Thank you Emmanuel for facilitating this dramming experience..

-Nicholas