Monthly Archives: April 2014

Kilkerran WIP 5 Sherry Wood

Distillery: Glengyle
Name: Kilkerran Work In Progress 5th Release Sherry Wood
Region: Campbeltown
Age: ?
Chill-filtered: ?
Strength: 46%
Batch No.: N/A
Bottle Size: 3cl
Price: £35 (70cl)
Nose: Light, salty, dark fruits
Taste: Creamy, smoky, spicy
Finish: Medium length, spicy
Rating: 6/10

So I thought it would be interesting to try both finishes of the WIP 5th release to see how different it can be.

As with the Bourbon Wood there is definitely some alcohol burn on the nose initially, not as much however. It has a light nose with one quality that stood out initially, a saltiness, reminded me of cockles. There is also some dark fruit notes present but they do not give it much of a richness, they are quite subtle.

The palate is creamy, richer than the Bourbon Wood version but is still a light dram. The smoky character is still there in the background as is the spice that continues onto the finish, which is a little shorter than the Bourbon Wood. There is not as much of an alcohol burn to this one, but it does still open up some with the addition of water so I would still recommend a small amount.

So overall I think I prefer the nose of the Bourbon Wood, it is actually more complex, having a little more to offer. Palate wise, there are similarities but with obvious differences, both nice and refreshing actually; I’d put them on par.

Kilkerran WIP 5 Bourbon Wood

Distillery: Kilkerran
Name: Work In Progress 5th Release Bourbon Wood
Region: Campbeltown
Age: ?
Chill-filtered: ?
Strength: 46%
Batch No.: N/A
Bottle Size: 3cl
Price: £34 (70cl)
Nose: Vanilla, fruity, creamy, smoky
Taste: Oily, fruity, citrus, smoky, spicy
Finish: Long, spicy
Rating: 6/10

The first thing that hits me on the nose is the alcohol burn, this does fade as it aerates but is still evident. Next you are hit with the vanilla which also lessens in time, giving way to the lights fruits that work their way through. It has a lovely creamy character to the nose with just a hint of smoke peaking through as well.

The palate has a real oily mouth feel to it that is initially fruity with a citrus freshness cutting through the oil to the end. The smoke is still present and a real spiciness comes through that continues onto the long finish.

With water the nose mellows a little with regard to the burn and the palate becomes even creamier and spicy. When enough water is added to remove the burn from the nose the palate looses some of it appeal but is still present, it does not get completely lost as can happen with some.

This one definitely needs time to aerate, really improves after 10 minutes or so.

Rittenhouse Rye 100 Proof

Distillery: Heaven Hill
Name: Rittenhouse Rye 100 Proof (Bottled in Bond)
Region: Kentucky
Age: ?
Chill-filtered: ?
Strength: 50%
Batch No.: N/A
Bottle Size: 3cl
Price: £34 (70cl)
Nose: Rich, rye, caramel, smooth, crisp
Taste: Spicy, smooth, slightly sweet, smoky
Finish: Short, light
Rating: 7/10

So I’ve heard quite a few good things about Rittenhouse Rye and have been after trying it for a while, but then I got a sample of the 100 Proof instead, even better.

The nose starts very rich, obviously very rye, which I love, and also has a caramel smoothness but with a strangely crisp finish. Onto the palate you get a very well-rounded dram with a great mouth feel, very smooth with a slight sweetness and just a little smokiness peaking through towards the end (once aired a little). I was surprised how little alcohol burn there is for it’s strength, I would never guess it’s 50%. The finish is actually quite short and light I felt unfortunately, which is the only thing that lets it down.

I’m no expert on ryes but the ones I have had I also seem to enjoy, this is no exception. I have not been disappointed, it’s a very easy drinking, yet complex and flavoursome rye and worth the money in my eyes.

I would like to thank Tom (@Tom_Blumsom) again for the sample.

Old Pulteney WK217 Spectrum

Distillery: Old Pulteney
Name: WK217 Spectrum
Region: Highland
Age: ?
Chill-filtered: ?
Strength: 46%
Batch No.: N/A
Bottle Size: 3cl
Price: ?
Nose: Rich, earthy, maple syrup, caramel, coastal (eventually)
Taste: Rich, sweet, smooth, coastal
Finish: Medium, light, slightly dry
Rating: 7/10

The WK217 Spectrum is a UK Travel Retail only bottling from Old Pulteney. It is the third and final release of their range related to extraordinary boats from Wick. I was informed that if I liked their 17 year old offering then I should give this one a go. Since I do, I took them up on the offer.

So the nose was way more complex than I was expecting. It is very rich, like it has been finished in sherry cask for a period (I don’t know if it has). There is also a real earthy note to it. Once aired a little the earthiness fades and then you get hit with the maple syrup and caramel, what a lovely nose. I’m surprised that the characteristic coastal/salty notes is not really present, it is there but not in anger and only when aired for a long period.

Onto the palate and yes, there’s the Old Pulteney flavour I wanted. It starts quite rich and smooth, moving into a sweetness and then the coastal character comes through, again not as much is with most from them though. This leads onto a medium length finish that is actually quite light with a slight dryness, but a very subtle dryness.

I have to admit this was better than I was expecting. It was more complex than expected through the full range and kept giving as it was left to aerate. Yet another fantastic offering from Old Pulteney. That leaves only one of their range that I have not been a fan of, that’s the Navigator, hay, they can’t cater for everyone with every dram can they.

I would like to thank Tom (@Tom_Blumsom) again for the sample.

Mackmyra Brukswhisky

Distillery: Mackmyra
Name: Brukswhisky
Region: Sweden
Age: ?
Chill-filtered: ?
Strength: 41.4%
Batch No.: N/A
Bottle Size: 3cl
Price: £36 (70cl)
Nose: Light fruits, vanilla, slight spice
Taste: Light, caramel, smooth, oak
Finish: Short, spicy
Rating: 5/10

Thanks to Tom Blumsom (@Tom_Blumsom) I have the opportunity to do a side-by-side tasting of 2 Mackmyra, which I have been looking forward to as I feel you can get a much better idea of how a whisky can differ this way.

So the Brukswhisky has a similar nose to the 1st Edition, just lighter and more delicate with a bit more vanilla, slightly less spice though. The palate is very light and refreshing with a lovely caramel smoothness to it. Once aired, it gets a little oakiness coming through which carries on to the short but spicy finish, not dry however that often goes with the oakiness.

Overall I would have to say that I prefer the 1st Edition, it has more going on, yet still remains light and refreshing. That is not to say that the Brukswhisky is bad, on a lovely summers day it could be a dangerous dram to have to hand, and around friends I feel it could disappear quite quickly due to it’s freshness.

I would like to thank Tom for the sample, it was great to be able to compare them.

Deanston 12 Year Old

Distillery: Deanston
Name:
Region: Highland
Age: 12
Chill-filtered: ?
Strength: 40%
Batch No.: N/A
Bottle Size: 10cl
Price: £10 (from The Whisky Shop)
Nose: Vanilla, chocolate, plum
Taste: Chocolate, creamy, dark fruits
Finish: Medium length, oaky, slightly dry
Rating: 6/10

This was the second of three in a tasting set that was bought for me. It has been finished in Oloroso sherry casks so has a nice copperish colour to it. I was fortunate enough to be part of the The Whisky Stramash (@WhiskyStramash) tweet tasting this Tuesday gone, and one of the drams included was a Deanston 12 year old, with added vanilla pods, it was lovely. This reminded me that I had a bottle of Deanston in that I had not opened, so now it is.

It has a lovely nose it with a strong vanilla note to it with underlying chocolate and plum also. On the palate the chocolate is quite powerful and gives it a lovely creamy texture followed but some dark fruit action. The finish is of medium length with a subtle oaky note and the slight dryness that goes with it.

Overall it is a nice dram, a good nose with plenty of flavour. That’s 2 out of 2 for Deanston so far, I may have to try some more of their offerings.

The Speyside 13 Year Old

Distillery: The Speyside
Name:
Region: Speyside
Age: 13
Chill-filtered: ?
Strength: 40%
Batch No.: N/A
Bottle Size: 10cl
Price: ?
Nose: Barley, well balanced, light
Taste: Creamy, barley, minty
Finish: Warm, spicy, short
Rating: 4/10

This was part of a tasting set that was bought for me and is described as ‘a dram to share’ on the bottle. I have done so, and my friends were, well a little underwhelmed to be honest, much like I was.

It does not have an offensive nose, it’s well balanced with a little sweetness and barley notes coming through but is lacking some interest. The palate is better however with a good creamy body, that barley note continues but with a subtle and brief note of mint. Although the finish is quite short, it does have a bit of warmth and some spice there.

It is not a distasteful dram but it just lacks interest for me unfortunately. I know you don’t want a big, bold, complex whisky all of the time but there are a lot of other whiskies that I would prefer as an ‘everyday’ option personally.

Mackmyra – The 1st Edition

Distillery: Mackmyra
Name: The 1st Edition
Region: Sweden
Age: ?
Chill-filtered: No
Strength: 46.1%
Batch No.: ME-001 (Art. nr. whatever that is)
Bottle Size: 70cl
Price: £41
Nose: Light fruits, vanilla, caramel, crisp, citrus, subtle spice
Taste: Light, fruity, spicy
Finish: Dry, spicy, medium length
Rating: 7/10

This is my first bottle of what would be known as a ‘world whisky’. I have to admit, when I saw the bottle I knew nothing about it, never heard of Mackmyra so had no idea what to expect. If you don’t try however, you’ll never know, and for around £45 that it cost me I though it was worth a punt.

So, was I disappointed? Hell no! As soon as I got to nosing this dram I was impressed, very different to what I have previously had on the nose, to me it was quite unique. Weather this is the Swedish oak that is used, ingredients or just the distillation process, I don’t know, but I do know I liked it.

On the nose it has a lovely sweet fruitiness, all light fruits, with some vanilla and caramel there also. It is kept fresh by a citrus note and finishes with a slight spice. The 46.1% abv is very well disguised on the nose, you do not get the burn that you can with some.

Onto the palate and the lightness is continued, it is a very refreshing dram, this. The fruitiness is also there still as is the caramel; that spice really begins to kick in also. The spice continues for a medium length, with a dryness continuing for a longer period on the finish.

Overall I have been very impressed with the Mackmyra 1st Edition. It is a light, refreshing dram with a lovely, unique nose that has gone down very well. I will certainly be looking out for more from them.

Blair Athol Flora and Fauna 12 Year Old

Distillery: Blair Athol
Name: Flora and Fauna
Region: Highland
Age: 12
Chill-filtered: ?
Strength: 43%
Batch No.: N/A
Bottle Size: 3cl
Price: £40 (70cl)
Nose: Rich, sherry
Taste: Medium body, smooth,  sherry, malty
Finish: Short, slight spice
Rating: 6/10

I’ve been meaning to try this for quite a while, I’ve heard good things about it and it looks a lovely colour, right up my street. The nose hits you with lovely, rich sherry notes but unfortunately not much more, it’s not bad but after the first nosing I was expecting it to open up well, but it doesn’t really.

The palate is smooth with good body and a nice level of sherry, nothing too powerful but enough to make it interesting. Once held in the mouth a while you get a slight dryness followed by a malty kick. This leads to a short but lightly spiced finish.

Overall I enjoyed this, nothing too complex but a pleasant, easy drinking sherry cask dram.  At £40 I think it is about at it’s max, I wouldn’t want to pay any more than that for it. It actually reminds me a little of a Dailuaine 16 Year Old, less complex version admittedly but if memory serve correct, it is similar. Personally I would probably spend the little extra to get the Dailuaine.

Balblair 2002 – 1st Release

Distillery: Balblair
Name: 2002 – 1st Release
Region: Highland
Age: ?
Chill-filtered: ?
Strength: 46%
Batch No.: N/A
Bottle Size: 3cl
Price: £39 (70cl)
Nose: Light, vanilla, marzipan
Taste: Fresh, light fruits, slight spice
Finish: Short and sweet
Rating: 5/10

I’ve tried the 2003, 1990 and 1983 at Whisky Live festival in London just a few weeks ago, and then remembered that I had a sample of the 2002 at home. Whilst they were still fresh in my mind I thought I would do a tasting.

The nose is very light with strong vanilla notes. I also picked a hint of marzipan and, having seen other tasting notes admittedly, icing sugar. On the palate it is really light and refreshing, think light fruits, ripe apples and pears with a subtle spice towards the end. There is not much on the finish though to be honest, it is short with a slight fruity sweetness.

Overall it reminds me a lot of the 2003 unsurprisingly, a light enjoyable dram, but at 46% it is worth adding a drop of water to make it go down smoothly.