Name: Single Malt
Bottle Size: 70cl
Price: £46 (The Whisky Exchange)
Taste: Honey, malty, coastal, spicy
Finish: Long, floral, smokey, spicy
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I first bought a bottle of Clynelish (Klyn-leesh) 14 year old at it’s full price of around £35, and after finishing it surprisingly quickly, I thought it was worth every penny, so when I saw it on offer I snapped another bottle up.
This is a great summer dram as it is a wonderfully light and refreshing, with the coastal roots very apparent, the saltiness really adds to it’s freshness. At 46% abv you would be forgiven for thinking that it will have some real alcohol burn, but you would be pleasantly surprised. There is some there but it is not overpowering and does not take away from the pure quality that is present in this dram. I also find that the longer it has to aerate, the less the abv is apparent so I do not usually add any water.
I did add some water for this tasting however so that I could portray what it is like. Adding a small amount of water does very little to the nose or palate; adding enough to reduce the abv burn however, just makes the palate a bit too watery and bland unfortunately and kills the finish. The nose changes very little however but it does bring out a saltiness that was not really there originally, but the oakyness seems to disappear.
Overall I would have to say that this is my ‘everyday’ dram, I have just finished this bottle and will be on the lookout for a replacement. Until I find a whisky that is as light and refreshing as this, that also has enough complexity to make it an interesting dram every time I have one, I will always try to keep a bottle in, a wonderful dram. If you have any suggestions by the way, they would be much appreciated.
After trying the entry level whisky that Fettercairn have to offer, the Fasque, I decided to sample one of their older offerings I could find, courtesy of Master of Malt. You can tell that it is an aged whisky straight away from the nose, with so much more complexity present, but with the most powerful aroma being malt for me. This maltyness continues onto the surprisingly thin palate; don’t let the thinness fool you though, there is masses of flavour still and a fair kick from the 44.4% Abv, which leads to a nice warm finish, if a little short; the malt notes continue through to the end though.
The addition of water opens the nose up to release yet more malt, as does the the palate and finish. For me this is the overpowering note to the whisky, especially after adding water, one that hides too much of the other flavours. I tried it along side the Fasque as I still have some in and the youth is immediately obvious on the nose and throughout the drink, but it is still pleasant, and at least to me, with more diverse flavours.
Overall I was not impressed with the 24yo given its age and price, at around £129 a bottle, I was hoping for a more complex whisky. Also, surprisingly, I would serve it without the water, even given the kick it has because at least then it has more about it then just malt.
Distillation Date: 1984
The Dalmore 12yo is matured in American white oak, ex-bourbon casks for 9 years, before a quarter of it is separated and placed into 30yo oloroso sherry casks, or so it says on the box. This makes for an interesting, reasonably complex nose, but without being too rich or complex. There is a subtle sherry sweetness present on the nose, nothing to powerful though, it is a good balance between that, the spiciness and the earthy, oaky notes; maybe just a little too much on the oak and earthiness for me, slightly overpowers the other aromas.
Surprisingly thin and light for a sherry cask, most probably because only a quarter is placed into the sherry cask. You do get some of the complexities coming through though, with the oak and earthy flavours coming through towards the end of the palate. There is not really any sweetness that comes through which is usually commonplace in sherry casks, it does in fact lead to quite a dry and short finish.
For me the earthy and oaky notes that are present throughout let it down, they are just a little too overpowering and I find myself concentrating on those aromas and flavours, more than the others that are hidden in there. At around £38, I would not personally purchase another bottle, it is overpriced for what you get in my eyes. Packaging is impressive though.