Whisky Review: Auchentoshan 1975 Diageo Special Release 2011 Aged 35 Years

Style: Crisp, Dignified and Fruity

Nose:
Begins with fresh honeydew, honeycomb and plenty of vanilla oak shaving. Peppermint flowers accentuate in the middle with a nice waxy texture. Wood ingrains and wintergreen undertone. Spicy, but not aggressive. Slightly mineralic, some potato kind of earthy-starchiness as well. A small splash of lemonade on barley and malt.

Palate:
A beautiful burst of melon sweetness, round, oily and flavourful. Difficult to imagine this is a triple-distilled spirit. Butterscotch and malty core. Tropical fruits and floral fragrance edging towards a lighter overtone, passionfruit lemonade and some orange confectionaries as well. Taros and assorted garden herbs buried underneath. Oak is less outspoken but is still prevalent in the background, wood chips, ginger, barley and dryness forming at the back creating a crisp lager back palate. Vanilla malt tail, quite delicious.

Finish:
Tropical fruits punchbowl, malt, bubblegum and watermint. Light, sweet and crisp.

Thoughts:
Great Auchentoshan is rather hard to come by and I am glad to announce we have such a brilliant gem over here. Personally, I am a bit skeptical on triple-distilled malt as it can be too spirit-y and tertiary flavours/nuances are often decimated. Despite being a 35-year-old there is little sign of tiredness and remains quite energetic, whereas the maturation injects extra layers of complexity and composure. Resulting a crisp and light expression with beautiful depth. This is my perfect summer dram.

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]


[46.9%|Original Bottling|1975D|2011B|Bottle Number: 233 of 500|Bourbon casks|Cask Strength|Limited Edition|**]

-Esmond

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: Dun Eideann Bladnoch Aged 23 Years

[50.8%・23 Years Old・Distilled in 1966・Bottled in 1989・Dun Eideann Bottling・Cask No. 1636・Single Cask Release]

Nose:

Pleasingly robust aromas of thick old school Sherry sweetness, brown sugar syrup generously poured over creamed Sherry and Vienna almonds, pair with sugar preserved orange slices.

Palate & Finish:

A sauce like texture that coats the tongue, conveying that thick syrupy cask led goodness of vanilla and honey, creamy fudge with milk chocolate and nutmeg arriving momentarily after and drags on for a decent, enjoyable leathery and subtly malty finish.

Thoughts:

All I can say is that this Bladnoch is really puts those god forsaken new releases to their places.

I won’t repeat my thoughts on the modern expressions, and I cannot say for sure that this cask is a representation of Bladnoch of the past, the cask influence is too strong to show any distant character of the distillate.. but nevertheless this is a sublime Sherried whisky, regardless of the era..

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

P.S. Thank you Aaron and Kennis for sharing the dram.

-Nicholas

Whisky Review: Gordon and Macphail Connoisseurs Choice North British 1990 Aged 28 Years

Style: Sherry sweet and Spicy

Nose:

Strong entrance, distinctive meaty nose with grain signatures embedded within. Cured meat, raspberry jam and carrot cake cake filling up the body. Earthy nutmeg powdering on ginger shreds. Strong spirit spice, chilli, black peppercorn with a more subtle banana and tropical fruits hidden at a lower level.

Palate:

Dense sherry carried onto the palate, cranberries, coffee jelly, cola gummies and vanilla cream orbiting around a robust, grassy, grainy, earthy core. Tsao-ko and assorted herbal fruits fired up by feisty spices. Faint floral notes with a flash of Gin (?!) signatures towards the end.

Finish:

Raisins, toffee with some herbal, floral rims, things you would expect from a strong sherry cask.

Thoughts:

I don’t usually delve into Grain whiskies too much but there is always first time for everything. Now, this is a powerful North British brushed up heavily by a massive sherry puncheon, it feels the distillate starts it life at rather high filling strength but the sherry is strong enough to carry the spirit, a very different style of grain whisky I have tried so far, a relatively sherried and volatile dram which I won’t mind when I am in the mood for an alcohol spike.

✓ [Recommended if you like the Style/ Distillery]

[61.0% | 1990 Distilled | 2018 Bottled | Single Cask | Cask Strength | Single Grain Whisky | Batch 18/107 | 181 Bottles | Matured in First Fill Sherry Puncheon | Sample Tasting | T-]

-Esmond

Whisky Review: Rare Malts St. Magdalene 1970 Aged 23 Years

Style: Sweet, Waxy and Spicy

Nose:
Woof, powerful spice carrying the signature Linlithgow lemon-waxy aroma. Abundant red chilli, mineral notes quickly strapped itself on a doughy malt. Syrupy, tropical fruits and white fruits starting to shine in the middle. An unexpected touch of gunpowder and whetstone which have been trying very hard to stay out of sight, sweet, spicy and… a bit of funkiness. Interesting nose.

Palate:
Still a classic cask strength St. Magdalene, robust heat continues to carry a round and beautiful citrus sweetness. White fruits are gradually taken over by the bitterness of candle wax. While hot chilli continues to run rampant, the rest is staying more on the herbal/ grassy side. Lemon fragrance, timber wood sinks in, an oaky tail.

Finish:
Mellows down quickly, stewed tropical fruits laminated with a thin layer of wax. Vanilla malt and citrus beaming positively till the end.

Thoughts:
Another classic St. Magdalene – Waxy, citrus sweetness gleaming beautifully within the relentless, screaming spice. For me, the satisfaction found after enduring this level of intensity, is highly rewarding. Isn’t life like that as well? Perhaps this is the real charm of St. Magdalene. Literally a mind-blowing whisky.

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

[Original Bottling | 58.1% | 1970 Distilled | 1993 Bottled | Cask Strength |** | Tasted at bar]

Esmond

Tasted at Club Qing, Hong Kong.

Dram Review: Signatory Vintage Bladnoch Vintage 1966 (Cask No. 2674-76)

[43.0%・23 Years Old・Distilled in 1966・Bottled in 1989・Signatory Vintage Bottling・Cask No. 2674-76・Single Cask Release of 800 Bottles]

Nose:

Having experienced the current Bladnoch expressions this is frankly a relief.  A mellow velvet like sweetness made up of roasted marshmallow, coconut chips and followed by banana oil, shortbread biscuits and slightly burnt oats.  A Lowland delight in other words..

Palate & Finish:

pear sweets, barbecued pineapples laid upon the grassy spirit.  A clean simple syrupy delivery, honey infused with red apple essence with light wood chips and spices.

Eases off with hints of vanilla grain and sugar, continues to be slightly grassy.

Thoughts:

This fares a tad on the thin side at 43%, but at 23 years of age this was arguably bottled at its fruitiest and as a result it is quite pleasing.  A gem that is perhaps overshadowed by current travesties from the revamped distillery..

☆ [Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Zenith Rosebank 12 Years Old

[43.0%・12 Years Old・Distilled Circa 1975・Bottled in 1987・Zenith Bottling・Limited Release]

Nose:

Pleasingly old school, gently malt, mild fruitiness and light creaminess. A slight respectful citrus brings a vibrant note. All is rounded and well balanced.

Palate & Finish:

A gentle and crisp drop, honey, limestone and hay wrapping the dry malt. Just a subtle hint of raisins gifting some citrus on the backend before the dram reverts to its malty core, playful and even.

A lingering loveliness of malt and honey with

a condensed jammy sweetness blossoming..

Thoughts:

A beautiful, rustic malt. The attractive softness of an Italian Rosebank embodied. Close to scoring two stars..

☆ [Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Rare Malts Rosebank Aged 20 Years

[60.3%・20 Years Old・Distilled in 1979・Bottled in 1999・Diageo Bottling・Limited Release]

Nose:

Green fruits and aloe vera but the strength lends an exciting raw sandalwood note. Malted barley soothed with rose water infused simple syrup emitting this lighthearted floral vibe.  In time white pepper with hint of salted popcorn.

Palate & Finish:

Sticky syrup turns elegant with honey and vanilla blossoming and dispersing and elderflower syrup and soft fruits gliding through, the oak gives a spicy punch as icing sugar is seasoned onto gentle white peaches and oranges.

Buttery pastry with more soft fruits coming on, hint of pepper to go with some grapefruit peels, ultra-pleasing.

Thoughts:

I was worried at this strength the dram might be excruciatingly spicy but needless to say the dram is a real treat from Rosebank at its fruitiest, delicious and playful.. a dram that would be dearly missed..

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

-Nicholas

Whisky Review: Silver Seal Sestante Collection Linlithgow 1982 23 Years Old

Style: Waxy Fruits, Oaky and Spicy

Nose:
Powerful but a clean set of aromas on the nose. Refreshing green pine wrapping around lemon-orange citrus and candle wax. Coconut cream, overripe fruits hitting the sweet spot with spirit spices and herbal elements acting as counterbalance. Remarkable stuff, making me wonder why did this distillery have to shut down when the aroma of its spirit is so refined. Malt syrup brimming softly at the back. Nice.

Palate:
Tremoring entrance, well, it is 61.5% after all and there is no mistake to that. Crystallized lemon and orange at the front quickly followed by fresh wood shavings and coconut shreds. Clean green pine combines with the spirit spice and surges high. Beewax cascading while fruits elevate and we are heading towards a floral, soapy region. A lick of timber, heather honey quieting diffusing at the back.

Finish:
Cooked fruits boiling gently, honey oak giving a final bittersweet brace. All nice and gentle.

Thoughts:
My first review on a Linlithgow, or St. Magdalene whichever you want to call it. Intense, bittersweet, herbal and waxy notes all conjugate together in a peculiar but good way. Fragrant fruits with herbal spices powering through the expression. Maybe just a tad overoaked, but it is definitely more than interesting in terms of tasting, as I cannot think of any current distillery which has a similar profile to this. A nice, refined dram. Maybe I should give this 2 stars…

[Recommended]

[61.5% • Independent Bottling • 1982 Distilled • 2006 Bottled • Single Cask • Cask Strength • Non Chill Filtered • Non Coloured • Bottle 61 of 257 • *+]

-Esmond

Dram Review: Ailsa Bay (Bottled in 2016)

[48.9%・NAS・Bottled in 2016・Official Bottling・General Release]

Nose:

Gooey confectionary aromas and poached ripe fruits, with a passive smoke that is dirty but sweet in the background.  Splashes of minerals with a curious scent of tiger balm all patched together.

Palate & Finish:

The palate is somewhat overwhelming with this stickily sweet toffee note along some peanut butter and pepper.  Some pear-y esters are in play here with the iodine smoke surfacing along the spices.

Medium finish with the sweet peat continued to be unveiled amidst the distorting spices.

Thoughts:

Peated to 21ppm, this Ailsa Bay was never going to to be a peat monster, instead it feels like it exists as a part to the puzzle with how the peat is playing second fiddle to the confectionary notes..

-Nicholas