Dram Review: The Whisky Agency Very Find Old Cognac Single Cask Aged 49 Years

[49.2%・Aged 49 Years・Bottled in 2019・The Whisky Agency Bottling・Single Cask Lot 19 No. 70・Single Cask Release of 234 Bottles]

Nose:

Delicately and soulfully rewarding with the glowing juiciness of the grapes, brown sugar cured candied ginger and French crêpes with the saucy rum soaked raisins caramelising away. In time there is some bread yeast developing in the background.

Palate & Finish:

It’s not as radiant as the nose has suggested but it exudes elegance. Sophistication exemplified with the grapes without feeling over-aged. The intrinsic acidity promotes and prolongs the sweet citrus note. Preserved lemon treats well merged with the refined woody body.

Wee notes of leather and fruit cakes, subtle but mesmerising..

Thoughts:

There is a certain je ne sais quoi with the nose, it’s enlightening and stimulating, yet ultimately there is a sense of self-preservation; a passing conversation with Ms. Eva Green perhaps..

They say French women age gracefully, it would appear the same could be said about this cask..

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

-Nicholas

Whisky Review: Burnside 1989 Aged 28 Years “Water of Life” 下野黒髪きりふりの滝

Style: Fruity and Malty

Nose:
Incredibly beautiful aroma in the form of honeycomb rises out from the glass. Manuka honey drizzle, malt juice at the purest form. Barley swimming through yuzu lemon jam, lemon tea carrying the faintest note of limestone and lavender overtone. Spearmint edge, just a pinch of peppercorns and five spices at the back. Glorious.

Palate:
Sweet malt continues to paddle through comfortably, maple syrup and lemon honey. Vanilla cream wrapping gently around barley husks. Delicate wood smoke, my lord, is this even slightly peated? Yuzu continues to be the centerpiece, zesty sweetness resonates, while citrus oil is giving a slight acidity and bitterness to the palate. Switching to the drier facet, mineral notes, wood planks and perhaps some white pepper sprinkles to finish.

Finish:
We are on the softer side now, malt biscuits and citrus peels with a small dose of sweet honey lemon tea.

Thoughts:
In case you are wondering, Burnside is the code name for Balvenie. Perhaps I was born a bit late and didn’t have the chance to try all the vintage Balvenies. For me, this is probably the best one I have tried to date. The amalgamation and synchronization between the spirit and cask has reached the point of perfection – The sweet honey yuzu, the dazzling malt, the velvety texture, the lovely side notes all put together a wonderful and tantalizing performance. Maybe I would love a little more power but this is absolutely a spell-binding dram.

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

[47.6% | Independent Bottling | 1989 Distilled | 2018 Bottled | Single Cask | Cask Strength | Cask Number: 4557 | 33 of 120 Bottles | Non Chill Filtered | Hogsheads | Selected by Carsten Ehrlich & Hideo Yamaoka | **+]

-Esmond

Dram Review: The Whisky Agency Irish Single Malt Whiskey 1990 Aged 29 Years

[48.5%・Distilled in 1990・Bottled in 2019・ 21 Years Old・The Whisky Agency Bottling ・Single Cask Release of 182 Bottles] 

Nose:

Buttery popcorn and green malt, the bread yeast leads to a cane sugar sweetness with the wood having a dated vibe, like the wooden floors of a heritage listed house that has been well cared for.

Palate & Finish:

Mellowly sweet, raw sugar and honey on a peppery and woody delivery. The fruits are there but held back seemingly due to the age and as such there is not nearly as much energy as one might have hoped.

Sweetened tail with notes of peppery cigar leaves.

Thoughts:

Are we at fault for typecasting an Irish whiskey?

What if we don’t get an elaborated tropical extravagance of fruits but other than that the whiskey is just fine with some traits of it being Irish?

I would admit I do prefer the 21 year old from the same series because of the fruits.

☆ [Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: The Whisky Agency Irish Single Malt Whiskey 1998 Aged 21 Years

[51.3%・Distilled in 1998・Bottled in 2019・ 21 Years Old・The Whisky Agency Bottling ・Single Cask Release of 208 Bottles] 

Nose:

Rather spirit-y still at 21 years of age, utterly Irish with the greenness of the malt with a noted metallic edge but has a fine layer of floral sugar with added sweetness from guavas, canes and green apples.

Palate & Finish:

Now the palate is a treat, vibrant with pineapples and red cherries seasoned with vanilla sugar, passion fruits and custard apples balance well with the spiciness from the spirit.

Sugar cured fruits and tangling spices, with a diluted showing of sultana.

Thoughts:

A bit worrying on the nose but turns out to be an impressively fruity Irish whiskey, probably one for the diehards out of the recent TWA offerings..

☆ [Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: The GlenDronach Single Cask 1992 Aged 27 Years (Cask No. 5850)

[54.5%・Distilled in 1992・Bottled in 2020・ 27 Years Old・Official Bottling Specially Selected by GAS (Glendronach Appreciation Society) & AbbeyWhisky.com・Cask No. 5850・Single Cask Release of 625 Bottles]

Nose:

An arousing swirl of buttery chocolate pudding, Vienna almonds, Turkish delights and egg custard, served with toast generously brushed with blackcurrant jam and salted toffee sauce.

Palate & Finish:

Instantly gratifying with a tight squeeze of plump prunes, earthy espresso beans frenching juicy dark raisins.  Ripe figs glimmering in golden honey followed by even more dark fruits.

Cinnamon sugar, dried fruit peels with a slightly leathery aftertaste.

Thoughts:

Turns our it has been a year and then some months since my last piece on a GlenDronach, and I am glad I am writing about this one, a proper Christmas themed Sherry bomb; actually reminding me of my first encounter of a great GDSC all those years ago, was it a 93115? I am not too sure anymore, I think this may just be better. Truly well picked, as someone who is still looking to bottle a proper Sherry cask, I am jealous.

Probably my favourite whisky bottled in 2020 so far, almost three stars in my book.

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Ardbeg Blaaack Committee 20th Anniversary Limited Edition

[50.7%・NAS・Bottled in 2019・Official Bottling・Limited Release]

Nose:

Cowshed with loads of molasses building up a really sticky vibe, a bit metallic though with some rustic iron notes in the background and a wee splash of truffle oil in time.

Palate & Finish:

More molasses on the palate with an exaggerated herbal layering with instances of maraschino cherries showing a citrus edge.  It gets chewier with notes of dirty peat bog and even sweeter with the strawberry syrup and buttery toffee treacle.

Burnt sugar with a hint of mint in the finish.

Thoughts:

The Pinot Noir cask influence seems to have turned everything up a notch, it’s not a problem for me but it seems to be a more exaggerated and simplified modern creation, if you will..

☆ [Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Dun Eideann Glen Moray Aged 21 Years

[60.1%・Distilled in 1992・Bottled in 2013・ 21 Years Old・Dun Eideann Bottling・Cask No. 4064・Single Cask Release of 310 Bottles]

Nose:

A fairly appealing basket of Speyside notes, vanilla, honey, apple jam with a pinch of pepper spices, slightly metallic however.

Palate & Finish:

Flowing honey with a squeeze of orange zest, some ginger spirit breathing spices to the wee creamy body of tropical fruits.

Sweet and fruity, turns a tad plastic though.

Thoughts:

A reminder that it’s nice to come across an indie you weren’t completely sure about only to be pleasantly amused.

☆ [Recommended]

-Nicholas

Whisky Review: The Whisky Agency Littlemill 1989 Aged 29 Years 

Style: Herbal and Fruity

Nose:
Clean and fragrant malt flowing in beautifully. Jasmine, elderflower and tropical fruits tea. Melon cake and mochi placed at the base and whirl all the way towards the rim. Peppermint, five spices and lily petals spicing up the aroma. Lemon tart and Hawaiian punch dressed with orange zest at the back. Very nice.

Palate:
Malt immersed deeply in elderflower liqueur, followed by a strong medicinal herb stream which carries vanilla and melon daifuku. Fruity at the top, but the core is really herbaceous. Green melons, some sponge cake and cream soda fizzling spritely underneath. Tropical fruits salad marinated in Eau De Vie, Blueberries and coconut shreds granola, followed by barley, malt juice and white chocolate at its tail.

Finish:
Boiled tropical fruits taking a hint of floral fragrance. Malt lingers till the very end.

Thoughts:
I remember my friend told me that good Littlemills tend to have aromatic green melon notes in it, and yes, this does and I like it. This herbal-driven Littlemill comes with a good level of green fruits running on the side. At the same time, there are drier instances that I feel there is some resemblance to Irish whiskies. Making the expression pretty complex and interesting. Clean, fragrant and creamy as well. I did not get to try a lot of Littlemills, but so far, this is one of the better ones I have come across. Delicious.

☆ [Recommended]

[49.3% | Independent Bottling | Single Cask | 1989 Distilled | 2019 Bottled | Natural Colour | Cask Strength | Hogshead | *+]

-Esmond

Dram Review: Glenfarclas Selected and Bottled for Mr. Edward Giaccone 21 Years Old

[51.5%・Distilled Circa 1950s・Bottled Circa 1970s・ 21 Years Old・Official Bottling・Limited Release]

Nose:

This feels substantial, as intensely Sherried as one would have hoped for from a proper Glenfarclas of yesteryear.  Creamy vanilla fudge churned away with this oily caramel paste, drizzled generously with milk chocolate sundae sauce, and topped with peanut butter brittle, hazelnut cream and cinnamon dust alongside dried Seville Orange cubes. 

Palate & Finish:

There is a certain sense of lavishness in the delivery, in saying that though the balance is assuring.  Confident spirit driving through notes of sweet prunes and dark plums, evening out with raw dark chocolate as the Sherry influence continues to blossom on the mid-palate, bringing about a pinch of chilli spices.

Cinnamon and wood with a lengthy sweet barley note, with hints of brown sugar syrup and a lasting toffee lolly tail.

Thoughts:

The masculinity of the Glenfarclas spirit is presented through the well executed manipulation of refined Sherry influence, one of the most striking and technically impeccable Glenfarclas I have the pleasure of having, albeit lacking a truly magical moment through the dramming experience.

Well done Mr. Grant and congratulations Mr. Giaccone.

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

-Nicholas

Whisky Review: The Whisky Agency Secret Islay 1998 Aged 21 Years

Style: Heavily sherried and Herbal

Nose:
Malt simmering in thick, thick treacle. Dates, muscovado sugar, plums and raisins wrapping around the softest suggestion of sea breeze. A little bit of dunnage, some umami as well. Mint backbone, lychee and tropical fruits overtone. White pepper and chocolate oak at the back. Very sherry-driven aroma.

Palate:
Malt dances in the rain of sherry fruits with open arms – Abundant figs, more raisins and plums showering down. Strawberry jam spreading on steamed taro. The sherry elements become darker and denser on the palate. Starchy potatoes, the earthiness lingers while spearmint continue to anchor well at the core. Black pepper sprinkles, dark chocolate rises and cuts into the expression with an edge of bitterness. A soft blackberry finish.

Finish:
Dark berries mellow down and transform into a mix of Earl Grey tea leaves, red currants and earthy herbs. Pretty nice.

Thoughts:
A heavily sherried, herbal dram. If I am given this blind, I cannot for the life of me guess this is from Islay, let alone guess which Islay distillery. My sources tell me it is “highly likely” to be an unpeated Laphroaig, while some say unpeated Lagavulin… If that’s really the case, wouldn’t this bottle be a fascinating artefact? Personally, if you try to filter out the sherry influence, and look at the grass-fruits proportion in this dram, I feel it points towards a Laddie (I haven’t tried a heavily sherried Laddie at this spec, yet). But anyway, regardless of its heritage, this is definitely a pretty enjoyable sherry bomb.

☆ [Recommended]

[50.6% | Independent Bottling | Single Cask | 1998 Distilled | 2019 Bottled | Natural Colour | Cask Strength | Butt | *]

-Esmond