Tag Archives: Signatory

#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.

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.