Category Archives: Lowland

#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.

Auchentoshan Springwood

Distillery: Auchentoshan
Name: Springwood
Region: Lowland
Age: NAS
Chill-filtered: ?
Strength: 40%
Batch No.: N/A
Bottle Size: 5cl
Price: £43 (for 100cl)
Nose: Citrus, vanilla, white chocolate, oak
Taste: Citrus, light, smooth, slight sweetness, oaky dryness
Finish: Medium, light, oaky
Rating: 5/10

The Auchentoshan Springwood is ‘Exclusively for the Global Traveller’ so they say, but I have seen it available online. I found the nose very unusual, it was light and very citrusy with hints of vanilla, which is pretty much the official tasting notes. In addition to this however there is just a whiff of white chocolate when nosed from a distance which then works it’s way into an oakyness.

The initial palate is almost identical to the nose with the light citrus tones and oak. It is super smooth with a slight sweetness, but not of vanilla or white chocolate as is on the nose. There is also a dryness to the palate from the oak which does deteriorate so is not really present on the finish. The oak however is present and seems to intensify.

Certainly different to the other Auchentoshan I have tried from the range, not my favourite of them but still an interesting dram. It has a light and refreshing aspect that is given some more powerful notes from the oak.

I would like to thank @WhiskyDiscovery for the sample, it was much appreciated.

Monthly Meetup 1 – Auchentoshan Three Wood

Distillery: Auchentoshan
Name: Three Wood
Region: Lowland
Age: N/A
Chill-filtered: ?
Strength: 43%
Batch No.: N/A
Bottle Size: 70cl
Price: £38
Nose: Dark fruits, sherry, sweet, rich
Taste: Smooth, dark fruits, sherry, chewy
Finish: Long, oaky, spicy, dry
Rating: 7/10

The Auchentoshan (ock-un-tosh-un) Three Wood has been matured in Bourbon casks, Pedro Ximenez sherry and Oloroso sherry casks, this gives a wonderful rich colour and aroma.

It has a deep rich nose with lots of dark fruits coming through, with some sherry notes present also, and a slight sweetness that goes with the two. All of these qualities follow onto the palate with a lovely smoothness, the rich flavours lingering for a nice lengthy period. It is a dram that you work around your month as well, it really coats the whole thing and therefore spreading the flavour, intensifying it, beautiful. The finish is as I have said long, but also with an oakiness giving it some lovely spice and just a little dryness, not too much though. At 43% abv it does not have any real alcohol burn to it, so does not really require the addition of water in my opinion, but could probably take it fairly well given it’s body, it you wish to add some.

Bladnoch 19 Year Old Sherry Cask

Distillery: Bladnoch
Region: Lowland
Age: 19
Chill-filtered: No
Strength: 55%
Batch No.: N/A
Colour: Amber
Nose: Light but complex
Taste: Light, sweet and well rounded
Finish: Short but warm
Rating: 8/10
Bladnoch 19yo Sherry Cask

Judging by the colour and taste this is a bourbon casking that has been finished in a sherry cask. As a result it is still quite light, in colour, nose and taste, but it has picked that little extra flavour up from the sherry cask. At 55% it is quite strong but it does carry it well, not overpowering the flavour with the alcoholic volume. The addition of water does open it up however, making it easier to pick out the flavours.

I believe the 19 year old has now been replaced by the 20 year old, which I have yet to try. At £50 which this bottle cost I would say that it is worth the money. I called in at the distillery when I picked this bottle up, the distillery being the most southerly one in Scotland, and they were kind enough to allow me to sample a few from their range. From memory they were all nice, easy drink whiskies that I tried and I would be tempted to add another Bladnoch to my collection.