Dram Review: Kingsbury Islay Single Scotch Malt Whisky Distilled in 1991 Exclusively Bottled For Whisky Lovers Hong Kong

[51.2%・Distilled in 1991・ Bottled in 2020・Kingsbury Bottling Exclusively Bottled For Whisky Lovers Hong Kong・Single Cask Release of 160 Bottles]

Nose:

An extravagance of tropical fruits, with vanilla. A pinch of gingery spices melting into beeswax and nougat.

Palate & Finish:

The wholesomeness of vanilla and honey is met with a glorious burst of gorgeous ripe fruits, with some more smooth caramel folded atop.

The finishing is a touch earthy actually, with some notes of seaweed to go with the mangos.

Thoughts:

You beauty!

Congratulations Chung for picking such a fruit bomb.

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Distilled at My Favourite Distillery 1976

[53.0%・Distilled in 1976・Bottled in 2010・33 Years Old・Thosop BVBA Belgium Bottling・Cask No. 1420・Single Cask Release]

Nose:

Is this a bouquet of vanilla and wood, caramel and beeswax that I am getting? Or is this love that I’m feeling?

Goes deeper and you’d notice the alluringly fragrant floral setting as notes of custard apples develop things into a creamy, fruity affair.

Palate & Finish:

Rewarding satisfaction from the creamed honey and vanilla custard sweetness, and beneath the warmness lies some succulent notes of orange marmalade and wee tropical fruits.

Orange sherbet, Granny Smith apple pie filling, some passion fruit syrup with just a brush of ginger flower and cereal notes to bring it back.

Thoughts:

The distillery is probably not a hard guess, but it’s surprising how this cask is just on point, an immaculate delivery of textures and flavours.

Probably my favourite Bourbon cask expression from the distillery in a great many years. It’s a shame only so few bottles exist..

Some soul from Allen Stone would go very nicely.

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

-Nicholas

Whisky Review: The Whisky Agency x The Nectar Secret Highland 1987 Aged 31 Years

Style: Sherry, Spicy and Complex

Nose:
Fragrant forest berries compote and waxy camphor build on a subtle but firm copper spine. Interesting combination. Vanilla sticks and vanilla cream with a little cranberry swirl. Cold pressed almond oil and strawberry yogurt; Peppermint growing strong over time. The spice is picking up a pretty good momentum in the middle, and the aroma does not feel tired at all. No way I would guess this is a 31-year-old if I am served blind. Icy, strong, sweet and dry at the same time. Quite unique, I like it.

Palate:
Begins with blotches of red fruits on the palate, the sherry influence is more apparent now. The tone gradually morphs back into forest berries while a delicious molten chocolate layer develops underneath. Excellent structure. Cranberries and strawberries floating on top of a tropical fruit punch. Camphor and peppermint continue to stay strong, then comes a moment of realisation that the copper has been hiding at the bottom all along… Vanilla slips to lower order while malt reverts back to barley, a rather dry tail.

Finish:
A sherry comeback as expected. Ruby grapes chorusing beautifully. Love it.

Thoughts:
This is not an ordinary 30 years old, mellow and integrated kind of dram. Instead, it feels there is plenty of power in this seemingly delicate distillate, which does not yield to the sherry despite a pretty strong influence from it. Together with the creamy texture, sweet matured fruits, drier malt and herbal elements, it becomes a spirit with distinct architectures that offers plenty to savour and contemplate. I was told that this is a Glenmorangie, and yeah, it feels like it. An excellent one as well.

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

[50.1% | Independent Bottling | 1987 Distilled | 2019 Bottled | Sherry Hogshead | Cask Strength | Single Cask | Non Coloured | Non Chill Filtered | **-]

-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

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

Whisky Review: The Whisky Agency Speyside Region 1973 Tenth Anniversary

Style: Delicate sweetness and Sophisticated

Nose:
Immensely rich, bountiful tropical fruits served right up at the front, vanilla sponge cake, golden syrup and underlayer of dry barley interweaving charmingly. Ripe mango, paw paw oil, taro sago pudding steaming in bamboo leaves. Delicate, ripe yellow fruits overflowing to show an infinite depth, vanilla custard flanking on the side while herbal tune slowly approaches, ends with a peppermint high note carrying a touch of star anise. Wow… just wow. Absolutely perfect.

Palate:
The herbal core begins to show a commanding presence here, abundant green herbs and nutmeg radiating from the inside. Delicate tropical fruits continue the parade which is deftly controlled by drier lines of vanilla barley. More ripe mangoes and canned pineapples thoroughly marinated with mints and pine nuts. Coconut overtone, the drier facet is becoming more prominent overtime. Vanilla latte with the faintest hint of Maraschino cherry. Dignified oak in its most pleasant form – honey water and fragrant wood polish, gently underline and wrap around the whole expression. Juicy fruits mark another return towards the back with five spices.

Finish:
A delicate balance of honey tropical fruits and dry barley continues to steer on the now-subsided herbal pathway. Lemon tea, mint and grapefruit jelly. A sweet, composed and abiding finish. Excellent.

Thoughts:
The best Speyside I have tried to date. While most of them are pleasantly mellow and dignified, but this 1973 Speyside is more than that – maybe it is because of its intricate balance of tropical fruits sweetness and barley dryness has created an incredible depth and dynamic to it; At this age one would assume the oak will take over the proceedings, instead, it plays a humble, supporting role, providing so much finesse and composure to the spirit. Together with the steadfast herbal core, a star is born – Such a spellbinding whisky.

☆☆☆[Most Recommended]

[48.6% | Independent Bottling | 1973 Distilled | 2017 Bottled | Single Cask | Cask Strength | Non Coloured | Non Chill Filtered | Aged 44 Years | Matured in a Butt | ***- | Opened in Nov 2018 | Tasted in Dec 2018] 

-Esmond

Dram Review: The Whisky Fair Speyside Region Aged 42 Years

[53.4%・42 Years Old・Distilled in 1969・Bottled in 2011・The Whisky Fair Bottling・Single Cask Release of 156 Bottles]

Nose:

A powerful dose of toasted cereal and muesli with generous amount of barley and spices that’s rather striking.  Dried mango slices as more vanilla and toasted marshmallow get released in time.

Palate & Finish:

Dark chocolate and dried fruits, a powerful sweetness with some input from blood oranges, the oily sweetness grow stronger until a drying oak infused malty injection intervenes.

The syrupy mouthfeel continues with some bitter dried spices together and hints of liquorice and dried fruits.

Thoughts:

Quite a powerful dram even after four decades, Glenfarclas perhaps? Not that far off from scoring a star..

✓ [Recommended if you like the style/ distillery]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Michel Couvreur 1984

[43.0%NASDistilled in 1984 Michel Couvreur BottlingSingle CaskBottling]

Nose:

Brown sugar and matured pear sweetness giving off that bright yet refined scent dressed with an elegant mahogany note.  Soft egg custard and tobacco with more ripe stone fruits coming out on the lighter spectrum and the lightly toasted barley and dark chocolate giving a heavier edge.

Palate & Finish:

Brilliantly cask seasoned and oh so concentrated.  Raisins and dried Muscat grapes but also Maraschino cherries and can pineapples.  Hint of coconut as well, as the liquid cherry ripe continues to please, so well tuned with the malt just casually seeping out gradually.

The cinnamon infused sweetness drags on to reveal a wee coffee note and a bit more malt.

Thoughts:

Technically a NAS but it’s really about 30 years old. Not particularly whisky-esque with its immense cask influence but it’s got that red lip classic thing that some people like..

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Club Qing Speyside Region Malt Scotch Whisky Aged 40 Years

[52.8%・40 Years Old・Bottled in 2016・Club Qing Bottling・Single Cask Release of 96 Bottles]

Nose:

The nose is oozing of naturally sweet white fruits gently supported by the tender and creamy notes from a majestic Fino cask.  Sandalwood perfumes and ground pepper in the background sweetened by a subtle blend of pineapples and ginger flowers.  Hint of smoke on the backend to even out the sweetness.  It’s stylistically pleasing in a simple and pleasurable manner, stately yet retains the exchuberant youthful fruitiness even after all these years.

Palate & Finish:

A matured fruitiness politely brings along a gentle maltiness.   Hazelnut cream with aged lemon marmalade towards the mid-palate.  The blossoming of jammy white fruits is really attractive, it transcends and extends.  Hint of burnt butter supplementing the general maltiness as the oak ever so lightly taps on.

The finishing is on the soft, drying side, vaguely floral with wee brush of tobacco and dreamily drags on.

Thoughts:

I don’t necessarily do nightcaps, I have always preferred a cheeky afternoon dram on a lazy day, and this to me is a most perfect dram to savour on a cool Saturday afternoon sitting outside at your local cafe or when you are typing away on your kitchen bench top as rays of light comes through from the blinds.

It’s very lovely in a Bohemian sort of way.

☆☆

-Nicholas