Dram Review: The School of Malt Tomatin Aged 34 Years

[51.3%・34 Years Old・Distilled in 1976・Bottled in 2011・Whisk-e Bottling・Limited Release] 

Nose:

Wet with stickily sweet notes, poached pears, thic honey, toffee apples, strawberry preserve, Vienna almonds and to put it over the top, simmering brown sugar really putting on a show.

Palate & Finish:

Dripping with honey and sweetened almond nibs, warm saucy fruits of poached figs and burnt oranges with a heavier than expected presence of malty digestive biscuits.

A woody and tannic bite in the finish, with some milk chocolate wrapped raisins to ease things out.

Thoughts:

A liquid interpretation of Lizzo’s Juice, it’s a bit much but can you really blame it on the juice?

☆ [Recommended]

-Nicholas

Whisky Review: The Whisky Agency Glen Elgin 1995 Aged 23 Years

 Style: Fruit bomb

Nose:
Extremely clean, icy and fruity aroma. Pineapple infused into pear drops, passion fruits syrup, lime zest, jello and even a hint of overripe kiwi berries all shining magnificently. Very good. Melted honeycomb gently pouring over the fruits, and all the sweetness aligns neatly and presides over a frosty spearmint. Mineral notes, wood incense at its tail. Seems like we have a fruit bomb here.

Palate:
Similar to what the nose has suggested, more pineapples, pear drops, tropical fruits and lime all rolling out onto the palate nicely. Peppermint continues to power the expression, whereas malt comes in the form of cornflakes. Some vanilla pods, then the oak barges in, the dryness sits in and spreads across quickly. Wood planks, white pepper and saw dust accumulate for quite a while. The bitterness gradually wanes, leaving a trail of lemon tart and passion fruit pavlova.

Finish:
Oak slowly losing its grip and allow the brilliant fruity esters shine. A final sip of Pina Colada to give a slight bitter-sweet finish.

Thoughts:
A rather elegant fruit bomb we have here. All the fruity elements line up neatly and strike a beautiful chord together. Good power balance but perhaps the oak lost a bit control on the palate which affects the expression, well, some Speysiders are prone to that, it’s something you can shake off after a few drams. Otherwise an exceptional drop from this distillery.

[48.2% | Independent Bottling | Single Cask | 1995 Distilled | 2018 Bottled | Natural Colour | Hogshead | *+]

☆ [Recommended]

-Esmond

PS: Feels like it is a sister cask of the Silver Seal Whisky is Classical Glen Elgin from 2 years ago.

Whisky Review: Hazelburn Aged 14 Years Oloroso Cask Matured

Style: Sweet and Smoky

Nose:
Immediate impact of abundant sherry – Demerara sugar, plums and red cherries running rampant here. Menthol, a hint of hay, while balsamic vinegar lightly poured onto purple liquorice. Black currant gummies, syrupy fruits giving a good amount of “fatness” which is cleverly sealed by sharp spice. Mineral notes and subtle rock salt seasoning the sherry-dominated aroma.

Palate:
Dunnage sherry leading the line, all sorts of bountiful red and dark fruits shaded with muskiness – umami, soy sauce, deep and savoury. Man, the sherry casks must be good. Coal-roasted seaweed, grass mixed with hay and clay. Liquorice, cherry soda and decorated peppermint leaves. Syrupy fruits emerge again and finish with more red cherries.

Finish:
Ringing the red fruits ladder, probably a touch of brine and mineral rocks. Plums and cherries with a little bit of dustiness.

Thoughts:
Usually I am quite wary of triple-distilled spirit because it can be, what’s the word for it, sterile. But this Hazelburn is a pleasant surprise for me, probably because there is plenty sherry to power the expression, while the fruits and peat smoke (another surprise for me, because I assumed all Hazelburn are unpeated) are also sufficient at the core, making it a pretty rich and enjoyable dram.

☆ [Recommended]

[49.3% | Original Bottling | 2004 Distilled | 2019 Bottled | 9900 Bottles | Matured in Fresh Oloroso Cask | *]

Whisky Review: Hidden Spirits Dailuaine 2007 Aged 10 Years

Style: Fruity and Lightly smoked

Nose:
Light fruits injected into a yeasty and malty aroma, quite young as there are marks of new make at the front. Orange peel with a whiff of Triple Sec and tar. Liquorice roots, perhaps some cedarwood, lavender oil dripping onto clam shells firing on barbeque sizzle. All sweet and smoky. While salt crystals and moss hidden shyly from ester fruits on top. Finish off with a high-flying tone on lemon sorbet and meringue.

Palate:
A light and serene citrus entrance on the palate. Orange and lemon confectioneries forming a nice, zesty edge. Another dose of floral-infused yeasty bread, which then somehow transfigured into Belgium milk chocolate. Minimal wood fire smoke diffuses into the background, whereas liquorice roots pinging a high note and holding up the structure. Minimal tar lagging behind at the end.

Finish:
Soft sweetness with all kinds of side notes – wood, maritime and others lingering comfortably. One final run of fruits leaving a nice, sweet tail.

Thoughts:
This is a young Dailuaine matured in peaty cask, interesting spec isn’t it? The resulting profile is actually quite accurate, young, sweet Speyside fruits taking a hint of peat smoke. Good strength but probably a tad young as new make notes are fairly visible. However, this drop is unusually drinkable, by the time I finish writing this, I have already single-handedly finished half of the bottle… Maybe because the profile is direct while there is a bit of everything for you to enjoy, the fruits, the smoke, the creamy texture, minerals, even some oak and maritime notes – A very dimensional dram that makes it quite satisfying for me.

[Recommended if you like the style/ distillery]

[56.1% | Independent Bottling | Single Cask | 2007 Distilled | 2018 Bottled | Cask Strength | Cask reference: DU718 | t+]

-Esmond

Whisky Review: Hidden Spirits Ben Nevis 2006 Aged 13 Years selected by Whisky and Alement

Style: Dark fruits and Smoky

Nose:
Sweet, alluring Maraschino cherry simmering in dense milk chocolate, absolutely delicious. Followed by a dense layer of creamy caramel, black liquorice roots and assorted herbs going into tiny bursts, leaving trails of peppermint twigs and tobacco leaves. Smoke gently infused into lemon sorbet which is placed on top of burnt maple leaves with small rock oysters served on the side. Finished with tropical fruits and agar agar.

Palate:
Reminds me of the chocolates with cherry liquor inside the core, except this is much more complex and delicious. Dark Tassie cherries beaming magnificently while sharp herbal tone giving a beautiful contrast to it. Black forest cake, shaved milk chocolate, sugar plums and liquorice chunks scattered around it. Then we have another peppermint rush, tobacco leaves and the meatiness built nicely into the dark fruits and tropical fruits core. Finish with caramel and peat smoke.

Finish:
More peat smoke lingering, more cherries, prunes and other dark fruits. A couple of chocolate chip cookies at the back. Sweet and delicious.

Thoughts:
While Ben Nevis is quite popular these days but not many bottles can reach the height of this one. I said this before, and I will say it again, with the right (sherry) cask, Ben Nevis can really show its magic – sweet, incredibly rich, powerful, sonorous and savory. The peat is pretty out there for this one, maybe a heavily peated variant I guess(?), which balances the overall complexion, slots into the structure perfectly and brings out the herbal side of the spirit. I am proud to say this exciting little gem is selected by our friends @whiskyandalement, a truly sensational drop!

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

[57.1% | Independent Bottling | Single Cask | 2006 Distilled | 2019 Bottled | Cask Strength | Cask Reference: WA916 | **+]

-Esmond