Tag Archives: Drinking Whisky

#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.

Invergordon – Batch 1 (That Boutique-y Whisky Company)

Distillery: Invergordon
Name: That Boutique-y Whisky Company (Batch 1)
Region: Highland
Age: ?
Chill-filtered: ?
Strength: 41.6%
Batch No.: 1
Bottle Size: 3cl
Price: £72 (Batch 2 70cl)
Nose: Rich, rye, slightly sweet, spicy
Taste: Smooth, summer fruits, sweet, spicy
Finish: Medium length, sweet, lightly spicy
Rating: 8/10
That Boutique-y Whisky Company, what can I say but, what a reputation. No-one seems to have a bad thing to say about them and that seemed enough to make me give them a go. I thought I would start with something a little different from my norm, an Invergorden single grain whisky. The sample I have is from batch 1 which produced just 252 bottles and is now discontinued, batch 2 is available though.
I don’t really know grain whiskies so was not sure what to expect with this one, it was not what I got that’s for sure. The first thing that came to mind was a good bourbon, but then I though, maybe a rye actually because it does to have the bourbon sweetness. It is rich and powerful with a really spice to it, again made me thing of a rye. After a bit there was another note coming through, a kind of nut toffee sweetness, and something else that I could not put my finger on, that really annoys me . If I could only use one word to describe it, it would be simply ‘amazing’.
The palate was just as much of a shock, really smooth as you roll it around your mouth and then, wham, have a mouthful of summer fruits with a hint of spice for good measure. Now you may call me mad for the next thing I say, hints of sloe gin in there also. I know, I know but it really did have sloes in there and maybe I just always thing of gin when sloes are mentioned, I don’t know.
I was blown away by this one I have to say. I didn’t know what to expect from it but it certainly wasn’t anything of this quality. I could easily drink this stuff all night, a drinking whisky and a savouring whisky all in one, shame I didn’t splash out on a bottle what I had the chance 🙁

Aberlour 16 Year Old

Distillery: Aberlour
Name: N/A
Region: Speyside
Age: 16
Chill-filtered: ?
Strength: 43%
Batch No.: N/A
Bottle Size: 3cl
Price: £45 (70cl)
Nose: Light fruits, floral, woody
Taste: Light, sherry, fruity, spicy, oaky
Finish: Medium, warm, spicy, dryish
Rating: 6/10
Not what I was expecting from the nose given it’s colour and sherry maturation. It is light and floral rather than rich and dark fruit intensive likeI was expecting, a pleasant surprise. The palate it also surprisingly light, still sherry influences there but it is all delivered in a lighter manor, except the spice, that one still kicks you in the teeth a little. The finish is of medium length but with a lovely warmth from the spices and just a little dryness from the oak.
Not everyone’s favourite this one from what I have read. I think it is because it is quite light and people might not be expecting that given it’s sherry finish. It’s quite an easy drinking one however, maybe it is because first-fill bourbon casks are used as well, this may help to lighten the whole thing. A pleasant summer, sherried, dram I think.

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.

Tomintoul 12 Year Old Oloroso Sherry Finish

Distillery: Tomintoul
Name: Oloroso Sherry Cask Finish
Region: Speyside
Age: 12
Chill-filtered: ?
Strength: 40%
Batch No.: N/A
Bottle Size: 70cl
Price: £32
Nose: Light, crisp, sherry
Taste: Creamy, fresh, sherry, vanilla
Finish: Dry, sweet, warm
Rating: 7/10

A limited edition run of a 12 year old finished in Oloroso Sherry casks for 18 months. As a big fan of Oloroso finished whiskies I was looking forward to this one; I was not disappointed either. With only 18 months in sherry casks it’s like it has had a light drizzle of sherry, it still has a relatively light nose and palate, with a freshness to it but with an added complexity from the sherry.

It is a refreshing, easy drinking sherry cask dram, which as far as I am concerned, cannot be a bad thing, it’s not often I find an ‘everyday’ sherry cask whisky, but I think this is one of them. It is not the most complex, but it is full of flavour and definitely a moorish dram.

Tomintoul 14 Year Old

Distillery: Tomintoul
Name: N/A
Region: Speyside
Age: 14
Chill-filtered: No
Strength: 46%
Batch No.: N/A
Bottle Size: 3cl
Price: £36 (for 70cl)
Nose: Light fruits, sweet, clinical, earthy, slight saltiness
Taste: Sweet, vanilla, creamy, good body, earthy, malty
Finish: Lasting but not complex, warm
Rating: 6/10

A very pale dram this one, almost clear. It has a very light, refreshing nose with a little sweetness and a strange clinical note to it, with just a hint of salt towards the end. On the palate you get a really good mouth feel from the creaminess, you want to roll it around for a while, you also get a lot of vanilla. The finish is reasonably long lasting but not particularly complex, it is light and warm.

Once aired a while an earthiness starts to come through on both the nose and palate, nothing too strong but just enough to add another level of interest. There is a bit of alcohol burn from this one so I thought I’d try it with the addition of water. This kind of kills the delicate nose to be honest, it does however open the palate up wonderfully. Still creamy, vanilla but now with some maltyness coming through as well.

I lovely dram but a little too delicate for me. If you are after a light, creamy, sweet whisky then this may be for you.

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.