Monthly Archives: April 2016

#70 – Single Grain Whiskies

I have noticed I have a number of single grain whiskies in at present and thought it time for a comparison. The bulk of them are from the Girvan distillery but there is also a Signatory bottling of an undisclosed Ayrshire distillery.

I will start with a few notes I found from a previous tasting for 2 whiskies from The Girvan Patent Still, their New Make Spirit and No4 Apps whiskies.

Distillery: The Girvan Patent Still
Name: New Make Spirit
Chill-filtered: No
Strength: 42%
Nose: Saké, sweet, light, grassy, smooth
Taste: Smooth, light, light fruits, vodkaish
Rating: 4/10
Distillery: The Girvan Patent Still
Name: No4. Apps
Chill-filtered: No
Strength: 42%
NoseDelicate, vanilla, cream, pineapple, orchid fruits
Taste: Toffee, peppery, vanilla, citrusy
Rating: 4/10

And now onto the rest of the Single Grain whiskies.

Distillery: Undisclosed
Name: 1998 Ayrshire – Single Grain Collection from Signatory
Age: 16
Chill-filtered: No
Strength: 43%
Batch No.: N/A
Bottle Size: 70cl
Price: £31 (Master of Malt)
Nose: Sweet, sponge cake
Taste: Light, spicy, pepper, dry, earthy, chocolate, tobacco
Finish: Short, spicy, dry
Rating: 7/10

This is an undisclosed Single Grain whisky from Ayrshire that was distilled on 21st August 1998 and bottled on 30th October 2015 by Signatory.

So surprisingly this does not have a particularly spicy nose which is a characteristic that I have come to expect from grain whiskies, instead it has a sugary sweetness, sponge cake. It is not particularly complicated but for £30 I’m not expecting it to be. The sweetness lessens after a couple of minutes leaving the sponge cake and a new, slightly metallic crispness.

Onto the palate and you are hit with that lovely peppery spice that I was expecting. It is very light with an initial sweetness that evolves into a slightly earthy note and a hint of chocolate and cigar tobacco just at the end, I wasn’t expecting the chocolate and tobacco. The earthiness is like wet leaves, gives it a surprising depth given the nose. The finish is short in flavour but quite long in a lingering spice.

Overall I am very impressed with this whisky. It is cheap so a great drinking whisky, light and refreshing so a great summer dram but has a lovely warming spice too, will still be good in winter then. A great all rounder by all accounts.

Distillery: The Girvan Patent Still
Age: 25
Chill-filtered: No
Strength: 42%
Bottle Size: 5cl
Price: £245 (Master of Malt)
NoseSpicy, oaky, raisins, slight vanilla, citrusy, orange, dark toffee
Taste: Dark toffee, sherry, creamy, spice
Finish: Medium, spice, oak
Rating: 8/10

Onto the 25 year old from The Girvan Patent Still and the nose is wonderful, deep and complex with a good level of spice, not too overpowering. You get a little vanilla and toffee sweetness that is well managed by the oak to ensure it is not too sweet, the raisins also help to add depth. There is a subtle orange citrus note there also to lighten it a touch.

Dark toffee again on the palate with a sherry note there also. It is very smooth with a well balanced spice towards the end that continues onto the medium length finish. Depth is added by the raisins, similar to the nose.

A very pleasant dram, plenty of complexity on both the nose and palate making it a great savouring whisky.

Distillery: The Girvan Patent Still
Age: 30
Chill-filtered: No
Strength: 42%
Bottle Size: 5cl
Price: £366 (Master of Malt)
Nose: Sugared almonds, citrus, light fruits, toffee
Taste: Smooth, oily, slight raisin, battenberg cake, woody, spice
Finish: Light spice, dry
Rating: 8/10

Great nose again, light toffee this time along with some sugared almonds. Not as deep as the 25 year old but lighter and more fruit present.

Super smooth on the palate, the oily texture coats the mouth with the subtle spice and notes of Battenberg cake. There is some depth to it also from the raisin notes and wood, also giving it a slightly dry finish.

Another great offering from The Girvan Patent Still, well balanced with good sweetness, spice and dryness. Another savouring dram for sure.

Distillery: Girvan Distillery
Name: 1965 – The Clan Denny by Douglas Laing
Age: 46
Chill-filtered: No
Strength: 49.7%
Bottle Size: 3cl
Price: Sold out (Master of Malt)
Nose: Old leather, oak, damp cellar, baked fruits, vanilla
Taste: Leather, baked fruit, nutmeg
Finish: Long, dry, spicy, charred wood, salty
Rating: 10/10

This is a 1965 bottle from Douglas Laing as part of their The Clan Denny range. It is a sample that I got in my pack from Whisky Tasting Company a while back that I have been looking forward to.

WOW! That aroma is amazing! An instant and powerful hit of old leather in a damp cellar, surrounded by old oak. Baked fruits follow with a hint of nuttiness adding to the depth with some vanilla sweetness lightening things a little.
Well after such an amazing nose I am really looking forward to the palate…and, oh dear. Only joking 🙂 The palate does not disappoint, truly amazing just like the aroma. The old leather is there again as are the baked fruits that have now been sprinkled with nutmeg to give a lovely, well balanced spice. There is so much going on with this dram, it just keeps giving. The finish is wonderfully long with a great level of spice and a sense of charred wood and then unexpectedly a hint of salt.
Well it is safe to say that this dram has blown me away. The best grain whisky I have tried by a country mile, I’m just gutted that I can’t get a full bottle now. This has been truthfully one of the nicest whiskies I have had the pleasure of trying.

#69 – A Collection of Arrans

So I was going through some old notes recently and I came across some from the Arran Tweet Tasting that I did back in April of 2015. Since I never got around to posting them on the blog I thought I would do so now, allbeit 12 months late.
Distillery: Arran
Name: Sauternes Cask
Region: Island
Age: N/A
Chill-filtered: No
Strength: 50%
Batch No.: N/A
Bottle Size: 3cl
Price: ?
Nose: Pears, honey, citrus
Taste: Creamy, light fruits, honey, spicy
Finish: Long, dry, woody
Rating: 7/10
On the nose my notes were talking about pears and honey but state that it was not as sweet as expected from a Sauternes cask. There are also mentions of citrus, specifically orange and that it develops a slight metallic note after a bit.
The palate was creamy at first then thins on the finish. Some light ripe fruits and honey with a warm spicy edge coming in at the end. With a little water the fruits really beginning to come through making it fresher and slightly perfumey. The finish was long, slightly dry with some woodiness to it.
Distillery: Arran
Name: N/A
Region: Island
Age: 18
Chill-filtered: No
Strength: 46%
Batch No.: N/A
Bottle Size: 3cl
Price: ?
Nose: Sugary, vanilla, baked fruit, earthy
Taste: Light, creamy, nutty, salty, oily, warm, spicy
Finish: Medium, lightly spicy
Rating: 8/10
On the nose my notes were saying that this one was sugary with some vanilla and baked fruit, developing a slightly earthy note after a while. There were mentions of sponge cake and apple strudel also.
The palate was creamy with notes of walnut but also had a saltiness to it. It was spicy with an oily texture yet remained quite light. Some sherry notes began to come through after a while too. With water the sherry notes were enhanced along with a fruitiness and some marzipan. The finish had a warming spice to it with a medium length.
Distillery: Arran
Name: Premium Single Bourbon Cask
Region: Island
Age: 13
Chill-filtered: No
Strength: 55.3%
Batch No.: Casks 99/103
Bottle Size: 3cl
Price: ?
Nose: Vanilla, citrus, light fruits, slightly salty
Taste: Fresh, tropical fruit, spicy
Finish: Short, light, spicy
Rating: 9/10
The nose was light and fresh with some vanilla, light fruits and citrus present as well as a salty quality. They also mention how much it developed when it was given time to aerate.
The palate was light and fresh with a heavy dose of tropical fruits and spice. Citrus notes is what was making it so light and fresh but also made it a very easy drinking dram, even at the high ABV. With water the vanilla was enhanced but the citrus lessened, it remained spicy however and got a little dryer. The finish was short but light and fruity with a well balanced spice to it.
Distillery: Arran
Name: 1st White Stag Bottling
Region: Island
Age: N/A
Chill-filtered: No
Strength: 54.2%
Batch No.: N/A
Bottle Size: 3cl
Price: ?
Nose: Creamy, marzipan, citrus, earthy
Taste: Creamy, dark fruits, sherry, some spice
Finish: Long, dry, spicy
Rating: 7/10
On the nose the creaminess of the first two came back along with some marzipan, then a sharper citrus and earthy note. Later some  dark chocolate, toffee and cherry came through.
The palate was creamy at first but when held in the mouth for a while it became clean and crisp. There was a nice balance of sweetness and dark fruits with the sherry notes also coming through. Some real spice but also some ABV burn along with it. With water it became more fragrant and more earthy but a sweetness developed along with it.