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: Laphroaig Càirdeas Master Edition (2010 Edition)

[57.3%・11 Years Old・Bottled in 2010 ・ Official Bottling・Limited Release of 5,000 Bottles]

Nose:

Peat, mud, sultana and soft pears, medicinal with mandarins and other dried fruits.

Palate & Finish:

Crisp barley sweetness with bubble gum and a burst of honey before a mid-palate of oily petrol and dried fruits takes over.

In the finish, seaweed, dried fruits and some nutmeg spices.

Thoughts:

A much more balanced Càirdeas that is entirely modern but gives a much sweeter than expected hit.

☆ [Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Laphroaig Càirdeas (2008 Edition)

[55.0%・NAS・Bottled in 2008 ・ Official Bottling・Limited Release of 3,600 Bottles]

Nose:

Seaweed and rock salt rubbed bacon under a heavy smoke with wee notes of limes and twigs.

Palate & Finish:

Jammy but fiery, peat, smoke and spices initially blanketing over the subtler notes of vanilla, oak and tropical fruits before a gradual return to a sweeter touch.

An earthy finish with dried Chinese herbs, salt flakes and chocolate dust, hints of sweetness and saltiness to go with the bitter tail.

Thoughts:

Pretty brutal but in a watching a front rower making a line break kind of way.

☆ [Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Laphroaig Unblended 15 Years Old

[43.0%・15 Years Old・Bottles Circa 1985 ・Official Bottling Imported by Larios Malaga・General Release]

Nose:

Soft white fruits with a fine brush of peat and a subtle seasoning of sea salt. Endearingly rewarding as the softness of white peaches and pineapples harmoniously vibes with the warming sensations of beachside seaweed and some diesel smoke.

Palate & Finish:

The gentle tarry note synchronises elegantly with the fruits, wonderfully constructed with honey and caramel drizzling on apples and pears as the peat slowly sips out.

Dried but rewarding, a long tail of summery tropical fruits lingering on with tarry peat.

Thoughts:

Brilliantly constructed, I could simply use a few profanities in lieu of saying that the era-specific terroir, that extra years of maturation and the body at that strength have all come together for this dram.

☆ ☆ [Highly Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Ichiro’s Malt Chichibu The Single Cask Peated (Cask No. 2077)

[61.8%・Distilled in 2012・Bottled in 2018・Official Bottling・Cask No. 2077・Single Cask Release of 356 Bottles]

Nose:

Metallic and peaty, seaweed and brine painting a rustic scene, ocean waves rushing towards a bon fire built on wet sand to create a salty and ashy vibe, followed by notes of green fruits and cigarette smoke.

Palate & Finish:

Syrupy sweet with a thrilling immersion of peat and spices with pepper and sichimi and later on seaweed and brine. Only afterwards does a follow through of ripe fruits come on.

The peat continues strong into the finish with a brush of espresso.

Thoughts:

Such saltiness in a dram, powerful and relentless, and depending on your preference it may be considered exhilarating.

☆ [Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Ichiro’s Malt Chichibu Malt Dream Cask for Cask and Still

[61.8%・Distilled in 2009・Bottled in 2016・ 7 Years Old・Official Bottling・Cask No. MDC541・Single Cask Release of 193 Bottles]

Nose:

Rich vanilla from the get going but other than that a bit on the shy side initially but turns out to be quite a spicy number despite the floral honey sweetness, a prominent cereal note develops in time.

Palate & Finish:

Honey and syrup intertwining with soft pears and pineapples as the spices build up.

Lemony and slightly malty with the honey stickiness making a come back in the finish.

Thoughts:

Aged in a 1st full Bourbon barrel from Maker’s Mark, intensely flavoured like a fever dream.

☆ [Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Springbank Aged 50 Years

[40.5%・Bottled in 2001・50 Years Old・Official Bottling・Limited Release of 580 Bottles]

Nose:

It is hard to believe how clean the nose fares for its age, crisp pears and mangoes, lightly floral with a nice brush of malt and just a hint of grilled vegetables.

Palate & Finish:

Succulent with dried fruits, the delivery is on the grassy side and is reserved in the most tender of ways.

A wonderful but fleeting dryness with a soothing touch of minerals to close.

Thoughts:

A dram that eases in its nuances, comforting and pure even at an advanced age but perhaps shows a touch of reluctance, an imperfection to some..

☆ ☆ [Highly Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Springbank 100% Pure Malt 21 Years Old (Pear Shape)

[43.0%・Bottled Circa 1970s・21 Years Old・Official Bottling Imported by Maison Du Whisky・Limited Release]

Nose:

Old school pear sweets with a mellow grassy note. Subtle sense of malt with a brush of sea salt. Seaweed and herbs surfacing in time and opened up to minerals, red cherry and orange slices.

Palate & Finish:

A clean grassy delivery, brightened up by the barley sugar with a wee citrus edge from the tropical fruits, a pinch of pepper draws the malt back.

Mellow and mild but wonderfully fruity in a subtle manner and the tail fades out in a puff of cigarette smoke.

Thoughts:

A minimalistic dram that really opens up in the glass. It is stylistically quite clean as one would expect from the 50s distillate but with a pleasant surprise that is the touch of smoke.

☆ [Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Springbank Premium Reserve

[46.0%・NAS・Bottled Circa 1980s・ Official Bottling・Limited Release]

Nose:

Pretty much the crème de la crème of creamy Sherry, a Christmas jazz carol if you will pardon my pun.

Palate & Finish:

Bold and substantial mouthfeel of dark fruits, the acidity is rather prominent and seasoned with cinnamon with a sticky viscosity to the dram.

A prolonged state of home made strawberry jam that’s slightly on the acidic side in the finish.

Thoughts:

I believe this bottle came inside a saxophone packaging made exclusively for the Japanese market.

And the Saxplayer is sexy indeed (pun intended)..

☆ ☆ [Highly Recommended]

Thank you Aaron.

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Springbank 100% Pure Malt (Bottled Circa Late 1960s – Early 1970s)

[43.0%・N/A・Bottled Circa Late 1960s – Early 1970s・ Official Bottling・Limited Release]

Nose:

Pickled pears, light honey from the grassy spirit. Linseed and chimichurri but also some overripe bananas and peaches, and a mildly floral afterthought.

Palate & Finish:

A tad on the dry side with the malt doing most of the talking, with some dates and sticky strawberries in the background.

Elongating tail of oak and minerals, as well as mint leaves and cocoa beans.

Thoughts:

This could be the 5 Years Old or the 8 Years Old; either way for such a young whisky to accentuate the malt like that, you would imagine apart from them doing things differently back then, there might have been some bottle ageing as well..

☆ [Recommended]

-Nicholas