SMWS 95.39 Auchroisk 1982 Aged 38 Years “Indian Summer in a Japanese Garden”

Style: Complex and Elegant

Nose:
Sweet cranberries breezes in elegantly, followed by a quick peppermint nod, then we have some Sakura petals, matcha chocolate with a hint of Jasmine green tea flickering softly in the air. Very Zen-like experience, but no, this is not a Japanese whisky. Glazed orange peels, plums and raisinets thinly smeared with paraffin oil. Moving onto pine cones, green forest freshness, honeycomb and strawberries. Hotcake with a touch of maple syrup and vanilla cream towards the end. The aroma is light and ever-changing, amazing.

Palate:
Raspberry swirl paving over the surface while some genmaicha brewing quietly underneath. Feels more typical Speyside-y now, but very matured. Green elements manifest in the form of tree sap and forest breeze. A Ribena burst in the middle, shooting shards of tropical fruits and citrus rock candies around. Light white pepper sprinkles, pancake stacks, coconut cream, honey mead and sakura petals unlock one by one when you give it plenty of patience. Growing drier and more herbal at the back palate, liquorice, red chilli and cinnamon sticks gently burning. Red fruits gearing up once again to make one final push. Tannins and barley tail.

Finish:
Tropical and citrus fruits echoing softly in the chamber. Taro, barley, red fruits coming giving a delicious sherried finish.

Thoughts:
While there is a Japanese fantasy theme here, name included, but the spirit itself has nothing to do with Japanese whiskies at all. In fact, Auchroisk is a lesser-known, relatively modern (1972) distillery which was the first single malt featured under the “Singleton” brand. Now, back to this little precious here, the expression is conducted with a sense of freshness, airiness and elegance that resembles the adored oriental style. Perfectly weighted sherry, incredibly vibrant and complex, this, my friend, is very close to three-stars territory.

+ [Highly Recommended]

[53%| 1982 Distilled| 2020 Bottled| Independent Bottling| Single Cask| Cask Strength| 477 Bottles| Refill Ex-PX Sherry Butt]

-Esmond

Whisky Review: SMWS 10.190 Bunnahabhain 2013 6 Years Old “Make Moine a Devil!”

Style: Sherry, Peaty and Spicy

Nose:
Begins with cranberries compote and candied roasted almonds. A glimmer of navel oranges leads to immense waves of spirit spice. Thousands of chilli flakes floating down onto seafood barbeque. Ham, brine and kombu balanced by honey aloe vera. Coconut shreds sink to the bottom, potato chips and sweet soy sauce brushed on grilled eggplants. Soft fresh-cut grass tail.

Palate:
An excellent Oloroso opening – juicy sweet cranberries and ruby grapes rolling out neatly with a satisfying weight. Molten raisin chocolate and spotted dick followed by an immediate mighty peppermint strike. Liquorice torched by peat smoke, orange and rock sugar shining through and fighting the heat. Bird’s eye chilli, toffee and treacle trickling down onto some fisherman’s friends. Hot, but rather sweet and reasonably structured.

Finish:
Red fruits soften and purring gently towards the end. More subtle oranges, grassy notes and black liquorice. The aftershock of lingering spice giving a slight tingling sensation. Busy and nice.

Thoughts:
Oh Moine Bunny, is Staoisha a thing? Yes, I think it is. The body is noticeably lighter than Port Charlotte, but that allows more spaces for casks and other elements to dance and perform. The balance might be a bit more delicate, and without the help of sherry cask, is it going to be too spicy and not enough flavours? Maybe, I will have to try more to tell, but for this second-fill Oloroso, it works like a charm.

☆ [Recommended]

[61.1%| Independent Bottling| Single Cask| Cask Strength| 616 Bottles| 2nd Fill Ex-Oloroso Sherry Butt | *]

-Esmond

Whisky Review: Silver Seal Royal Brackla 1976 36 Years Old

Style: Sweet and Dignified

Nose:
Sweet honeycomb beaming positively at the forefront. Paraffin, lemon candy and rustic coal fire, plenty of old school signatures here. Subtle buttermilk pancake and almond milk. Aloe Vera jelly, gradually moving towards a grassy patch while a powerful herbal spice giving a steely framework at the back. Chilli and five spices. Finish with a soft, earthy, carrot cake tail.

Palate:
Rustic sweet lemon honey piles on. Caramel sauce drizzling on malt sponge cake. Fat, oily citrus confectionaries rolling around rather freely. Yuzu jam, more honeycomb and aloe vera amping up the sweetness. Hints of cedarwood smoke, celery, cinnamon sticks and nutmeg. Herbal spice generating plenty of power in the background again, with plenty of sharp grassy notes filling up all the back spaces. Vanilla icing, coconut shreds and carrot cake towards the end.

Finish:
Spearmint lingering, fading vanilla malt, honey lemon with a little bit of wax on the top. Soft but quite nice.

Thoughts:
A beautiful old-school Royal Brackla which is different to the modern style. Charmingly sweet cask and distillate, little bit of peat, then some old bottle effect maybe… Damn, this is a dangerously addictive combination, especially for those who love whiskies from the past era. Royal Brackla is often overlooked as a single malt (thanks to Bacardi we are seeing more of it), it might be a freak cask, but more or less we can see its potential, or rather, the ceiling might be higher than many people think.

☆☆[Highly Recommended]

[51.9%| Independent Bottling| 1976 Distilled| 2012 Bottled| Cask number:6921| Bottle number: 2 of 106| Single Cask| Cask Strength| **]