Dram Review: Caol Ila Aged 12 Years (Bulloch Lade & Co. Ltd Bottling Imported by Zenith Italia and Bonfanti)

[43.0%・12 Years Old・Bottled Circa 1980s・Bulloch Lade & Co. Ltd Bottling Imported by Zenith Italia and Bonfanti・Limited Release]

Nose:

A faint delicate smoke resting on perfume-y red apples with just a touch of thinner in a good nature sort of manner. There is a stunning floral presence with custard and caramel gelling with brine and capers.

Palate & Finish:

Vibrantly burst of Japanese white peach juice followed by toffee sauce, wood smoke and soft tar, feels a touch chalky with a smoked umami note arriving later on.

Smoked wood, slightly charred sugar and a rustic saltiness from the sea.

Thoughts:

Vintage inspired white fruits turn oceanic, the striped down and bare wood smoke is like going to Firedoor for the first time experiencing food prepared instinctively over fire. There is a sense of purity in the subtleties.

[Highly Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Samaroli Coilltean Caol Ila 1995

[45.0%・10 Years Old・Distilled in 1995 ・Bottled in 2005・ Samaroli Bottling・Cask No. 1118 & 3263・ Limited Release]

Nose:

The softest honey and caramel fudge, tender white fruits with a gentle touch of iodine dressed in Italian herbs and fennel seeds, coastal seaweed, crystallised sea salt and a barbecue saltiness now surfacing, making it a savoury affair.

Palate and Finish:

Golden syrup atop crisp pears and juicy aloe vera, with peat, ash and roasted hazelnuts bursting out from the sweetness, a spirit crispness driving a rather peppery note on the mid-palate.

Wee bit earthy with a woody and peppery aftertaste and traces of orchard fruits.

Thoughts:

On the back label it reads “this whisky has been selected with love”, and a honest representation indeed.

A pale coloured dram that packs a spectrum of flavours beyond its age, combining nuances I wouldn’t have expected, could it be from the vatting or could it be from years of mellowing and refining?

☆ ☆ [Highly Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Berry’s Best Laphroaig 1997 Celebrating the 60th Anniversary of La Maison du Whisky

[52.2%・18 Years Old・Distilled in 1997 ・Bottled in 2016・ Berry Bros & Rudd Bottling for La Maison du Whisky・Cask No. 66・ Single Cask Bottling of 240 Bottles]

Nose:

Ooo ah, a robust explosion of savoury spices and confectionary notes, brine and pepper, ground cumin and iodine alongside apple compote atop honeyed granola, a hint of heather flowers giving the pleasurable floral aromas in the background.

Palate & Finish:

Ahhh, such strength in the dram, a solid oomph of peat with a fiery underbelly, oily caramel and sticky honey with orchard fruits, syrupy pineapples and a touch of aloe Vera.

The dram closes out with earthy coffee ground and ample chocolate dust, extending long into a finish of rugged seaweed.

Thoughts:

An excitement to the senses, equal parts fiery, aggressive peat and soothing, rewarding fruits.

Sometimes you just need a dram like this to carry on, glimpses of peace amidst a ferocious war.

☆ ☆ [Highly Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: The Nectar of the Daily Drams Laphroaig 20 Years Old

[52.8%・20 Years Old・Distilled in 1990・ Bottled in 2010 ・ The Nectar of the Daily Drams and The Whisky Agency Joint Bottling・Limited Release]

Nose:

Robustly briny oyster shells on a rich eggnog base, seasoned with raw spices along with a bit of green malt vibe going on.

Palate & Finish:

Gooey egg tarts that come with a punchy peat, the brute of the spirit is met with some tropical feelings later on.

Gingery, earthy and leathery in the finish.

Thoughts:

A solid Roaig that packs a masculine rough edge, probably a great dram for camping I would imagine.

☆ [Recommended]

-Nicholas

Whisky Review: Silver Seal Dailuaine 1976 37 Years Old

Style: Oaky, Sweet and Dignified

Nose:
Multiple layers of oak gently placed on the spirit – Begins with cedar wood, tree sap, vanilla oak and finally a soft touch of varnish. Very malty as well. The sweetness of pine and maple syrup are giving a rich and oily buffer in the middle, followed by stewed tropical fruits gleaming softly at the core. Ground black pepper sprinkles on caramel ice cream, vanilla pods on the side. Feels very integrated and comfortable. Dry chilies towards the end.

Palate:
Pristine oak continues to shine and run the show, tree sap and cedar wood fragrance painted with vanilla cream whilst a small dose of acetone in injected to give some acidity and energy. Malt is sitting comfortably inside. Crème brulee, subtle sultanas, baked fruits, golden syrup, heavily charred vanilla, twig and vines forming several dynamic undercurrents. Dry chilli giving a good spike at the back again. Maraschino cherry and herbal liqueur linger till the end.

Finish:
Vanilla pudding, dark chocolate and red currants braiding together and echoing beautifully.

Thoughts:
Not often we are able to witness an expression that is orchestrated so masterfully by the oak, it is tidy, balanced and there is a feeling that all the elements – malt, fruits, spirit are subsumed into it and forms a coherent, complex and sophisticated whisky. Nothing short of sensational. I wonder if casks like this still exist in 2020, let’s just hope that we haven’t digged out all the gems out already…

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

[Independent Bottling | 47% | Single Cask | Cask Strength | 1976 Distilled | 2013 Bottled | Cask Number: 5970 | 130 Bottles | **+]

-Esmond