Monthly Archives: August 2014

Ardbeg – Blasda, Uigeadail & Corryvreckan

Distillery: Ardbeg
Name: Blasda
Region: Islay
Age: ?
Chill-filtered: No
Strength: 40%
Batch No.: N/A
Bottle Size: 3cl
Price: £170 (Master of Malt 70cl)
Nose: Light peat, floral, citrus, mint
Taste: Light, slightly sweet, slight spice
Finish: Medium, light, slight dryness
Rating: 7/10

 First up tonight is the Blasda, a lightly peated offering from the distillery known for their heavily peated whiskies. This one comes in a just 8ppm opposed to their more usual 24ppm.

The first thing that you notice is just how pale it is compared to the others, also that it is bottled at just 40% which is unusual for Ardbeg from what I have seen. The nose has a gentle peatiness with a citrus and floral freshness, a little vanilla sweetness finishing with just a hint of mint, very summary.

The palate is lovely and light, a real refreshing dram with a light toffee sweetness, a small amount of spice but with an overwhelming sense of flowers and just a hint of that mint again. It has a light, medium length finish to it that has a slight dryness to it.

A real summer dram this one, wonderfully light and refreshing, I believe a bottle would find itself empty quite quickly on a summers day with friends, and without them come to think of it 🙂

I was a little worried about the low ABV to be honest, but I think it really works well with the gentleness of this dram. This just goes to prove that Ardbeg are about more than heavy peat like some people believe. My only real criticism is the price tag, it’s lovely, but it ain’t worth £170.

Distillery: Ardbeg
Name: Uigeadail
Region: Islay
Age: ?
Chill-filtered: No
Strength: 54.2%
Batch No.: N/A
Bottle Size: 70cl
Price: £50 (Master of Malt)
Nose: Peat, smoke, rich, caramel sweetness, floral
Taste: Peat, sweet, oily, marzipan, dark toffee
Finish: Long, warm, spicy, peaty, malt
Rating: 9/10

 This was actually the first Ardbeg I tried, and I was sold on the distillery with the first sip. It’s not as heavily peated on the nose as I remembered to be honest, you do get the peaty, smokiness but not too strong. It has a real depth and richness to it with some caramel sweetness and a slight floral note at the end to just lighten it a little.

The palate is where the peat and smoke come through but not before some sweetness and slight marzipan notes, all wrapped up in a wonderful mouth-coating oily texture. It is deep and powerful with some richer dark toffee in there also. The finish is unsurprisingly long and peaty but also warm, spicy with a lasting malty flavour.

At 54.2% the Uigeadail can handle a bit of water, it opens the nose up to make it a little lighter with more floral notes but also highlights the caramel. The lovely oily character remains even with water. It increases the sweetness a little, decreases the peat and toffee but also removes the marzipan note.

An amazing dram this one, I love it every time I pour a glass. It’s a bit of a kick in the teeth compared to the Blasda but if you like your peat, you can’t go far wrong with this, worth every penny.

Distillery: Ardbeg
Name: Corryvreckan
Region: Islay
Age: ?
Chill-filtered: No
Strength: 57.1%
Batch No.: N/A
Bottle Size: 3cl
Price: £60 (Master of Malt 70cl)
Nose: Rich, caramel, tropical fruits
Taste: Sweet, peaty, spicy, rich but light, tropical fruits
Finish: Long, peaty, dry
Rating: 9/10

 Last in the trio is the Corryvreckan. The nose a some great depth to it,  a rich, creamy caramel quality is what first hits but then gets lightened by some tropical fruits. There is a lot going on in the glass but it is wonderfully balanced. Surprisingly note that peaty or smoky though.

On the palate you get that same sort of sweetness as with the Uigeadail along with a lot of spice. The peat comes through on the palate but is not too overpowering as it also has great richness yet remaining reasonably light somehow. The tropical fruits come through from the nose which helps to keep it light on the long and peaty finish. It is a lot drier than the Uigeadail however.

Another amazing expression from Ardbeg this, different enough from the Uigeadail but equally as good in my opinion. Again for the money I think it is worth it, not sure which I’d have though, might need a bottle of each in I think.

Conclusion

Ardbeg is awesome! Just about sums it up I think. All three would be great in summer, especially the Blasda but the Uigeadail & Corryvreckan also have a great richness and spice to them that make them a great winter dram as well, year round drams, what more can you ask for. Like I said earlier though, I think the Blasda is over priced unfortunately, especially given how quickly it would go.

Loch Lomond – Inchmurrin 15yo-21yo

Distillery: Loch Lomond
Name: Inchmurrin (Signatory)
Region: Highland
Age: 15
Chill-filtered: No
Strength: 43%
Cask No.: 24 & 25
Bottle Size: 3cl
Price: Sold Out
Nose: Cereal, fresh bread, musty, metallic
Taste: Light, sweet, marzipan, cereal
Finish: Short, warm, slight spice, metallic
Rating: 4/10

This is my first visit to the land of Inchmurrin. I had a single sample but decided to give it a fair test by getting a selection of 5 drams and do a side-by-side tasting.

Nose is very musty at first, think wet winter leaves with some cereal and fresh bread thrown in there also; this finishes with a slight metallic note. It’s quite an unusual nose that is dram has, not like anything I have had before from memory.

Onto the palate and you get a light but sugary sweet welcome, a little marzipan in there along with that slight cereal note just showing it’s head. It all leads onto a fairly short and metallic finish but it does come with a slightly warm, spiciness to it.

Not my favourite dram, the nose is not great and the metallic notes spoil it for me.

Distillery: Loch Lomond
Name: Inchmurrin (Signatory)
Region: Highland
Age: 15
Chill-filtered: No
Strength: 43%
Cask No.: 28
Bottle Size: 3cl
Price: Sold Out
Nose: Light, metallic, cereal, light fruits
Taste: Light, sweet, cereal, dryish
Finish: Medium, warm, dry, metallic
Rating: 4/10

So I thought it would be interesting to try another 15 year old from the same bottler, Signatory, just from a slightly later cask, cask 28 rather than the mix of 24 & 25 that the last one was. Lets see how it compares.

The first thing that hits me is that metallic nose, just like the last one. The cereal note is also there but not quite as strong. In place of the cereal is some light fruit notes like green apples. This makes it a little lighter on the nose, not that the last wasn’t already though.

The palate is also very similar but a little lighter, not as sweet, no marzipan but more cereal and with a definite dryness to it. The finish is a little longer with the dryness continuing. It looses some of the spice yet manages to keep the warmth, it also shares that metallic note unfortunately.

Still not great but a little better than the previous expression.

Distillery: Loch Lomond
Name: Inchmurrin
Region: Highland
Age: 18
Chill-filtered: ?
Strength: 46%
Cask No.: N/A
Bottle Size: 3cl
Price: £56 (Master of Malt 70cl)
Nose: Citrus, cereal, toffee
Taste: Creamy, toffee, raisins, malt
Finish: Medium, warm, spicy
Rating: 5/10

Onto an official bottling this time for the 18 year old. The nose is a delight compared to the previous ones I have to say, a real citrus note to it but with an added depth from a toffee sweetness that is also present. The cereal note that I found in the previous drams is also there but not as overpowering and I’m glad to say the metallic note has almost gone.

The palate has a lovely creamy toffee quality to it with the addition of some raisins. A little of the citrus comes through towards the end to lighten the load a little and leads onto a medium length but very warm finish. There is a hint of something spicy on the finish but I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was. With the addition of water a maltiness comes through on the palate and the finish dries out quite a lot.

Much better than the two 15 year old in my opinion, that nose is greatly improved and the metallic quality has all but gone.

Distillery: Loch Lomond
Name: Inchmurrin
Region: Highland
Age: 19
Chill-filtered: No
Strength: 58.1%
Cask No.: 2844 & 2845
Bottle Size: 3cl
Price: Sold Out
Nose: Vanilla, citrus, metallic, toffee
Taste: Spicy, slightly dry, toffee
Finish: Long, warm, spicy, malty
Rating: 5/10

Back to Signatory this time for the 19 year old coming from casks 2844 & 2845, lets hope the extra 4 years has removed that metallic edge.

First impressions are that there is an improvement, there is a strong vanilla note present at first along with some citrus to lighten it. The cereal has gone from this one but unfortunately the metallic quality is back, to a much lesser degree though. The vanilla and metallic notes dispense after a while and are replaced with welcome toffee notes.

Lots of spice is what hits you as you take a sip, lots of spice with a slight dryness when held in the mouth for a while. That toffee also comes through to give a richness with a slight sweetness. The finish is long, warm and really spicy with a surprising maltiness there also that works quite well.

There is no hiding the fact that this is cask strength, there is a definite ABV burn without water, but with the addition of it the spice is greatly reduced on the palate which takes some of the attraction away, still present on the finish however.

A big improvement on the 15s I have to say, those 4 years did the trick. It is still lacking something for me though to score highly.

Distillery: Loch Lomond
Name: Inchmurrin
Region: Highland
Age: 21
Chill-filtered: ?
Strength: 46%
Cask No.:
Bottle Size: 3cl
Price: £77 (Master of Malt 70cl)
Nose: Floral, citrus, toffee
Taste: Light, crisp, floral, malty
Finish: Long, light, malty
Rating: 6/10

The final one of the night is the distillery bottling of a 21 year old. It has a very pleasant but unusually nose to it. There is an overpowering note to the nose that I have to say I am not familiar with, it seems floral; Master of Malt mention honeysuckle, but that is not something I can identify with. It has a light citrus note to it also along with some toffee sweetness.

The palate is lighter than I expected with a real crispness to it from the citrus carried through from the nose. That floral quality is still there also with a little malt making an appearance towards the end. Quite a well balanced and refreshing dram this one. The finish is quite long yet light with the malt holding on.

Best of the lot this one, well balanced and easy to drink without any of that metallic nonsense going on. Still nothing amazing in my eyes, but if you like your whiskies light and malty then this is not a bad choice, and for the money it’s not bad value for a 21 year old.

Adnams Triple Grain No2

Distillery: Adnams
Name: Triple Grain No2
Region: England
Age: 3
Chill-filtered: No
Strength: 43%
Batch No.: N/A
Bottle Size: 70cl
Price: £44
Nose: Charred wood, citrus, spicy, sugared almonds
Taste: Charred wood, dark chocolate, smooth, spice, honey
Finish: Long, warm, spicy
Rating: 4/10

Before I started spending my spare time on Twitter, learning about the goings on in the whisky industry, I happened to stumble upon the Adnams website, where I learned they were to be launching their first whiskies in just a matter of months. As I’m sure you can imagine, this got me all excited, after all I love trying new whiskies and the thought of another English whisky hitting the market got me thinking where this whisky boom would take us next.

I signed up to be notified as soon as they were available and was pleasantly surprised about a month after to be invited to the opening day. Now with Adnams being based in Southwold, it is not exactly close, about 450 mile round trip to be exact, but I thought what the hell, why not make a bit of a holiday of it, so booked a B&B and put my name down.

So down (and over) I went to try both the Triple Grain No2 (wheat, barley and oats) and the Single Malt No1, as well as a selection of other goodies they had open such as their gins (very nice also). The Single Malt No1 was as expected, too young with not enough going on to be honest, the Triple Grain No2 however was better, hence I bought a bottle (signed by Mr Jonathan Adnams and the Master Distiller John McCarthy).

On the nose you get a strong charred/toasted wood note which is lighted however by the citrus aroma. There is also a sweetness there but more of a sugary sweetness rather than a honey one, reminds me of sugared almonds. Added to this is a lovely spice, not too much but it is present throughout the length of the nose.

The palate still holds onto the charred wood notes but also with a real sense of dark chocolate, something like a 50% cocoa as it has some smoothness there also. The spice remains but again is well balanced and some sweetness comes through also, but unlike the nose it is more of a honey sweetness. The finish is long, strong, warm and spicy.

I have heard a few people give the Triple Grain a bit of a hard time and I think it is unjust. It is a young spirit and I think they have done very well to get such a powerful flavour in just 3 years. I actually see it more of a Bourbon alternative rather than a single malt alternative, and maybe if more people thought this way it would have a better following.