Tag Archives: Spicy

#89 – Bruichladdich Micro-Provenance Series

Distillery: Bruichladdich
Name: Cask Evolution Exploration 2006
Age: 9
Chill-filtered: No
Strength: 64%
Bottle Size: 70cl
Price: £70 I think
Distilled: 2006
Bottled: 2015-07-24
Bottle: 253 or 273
Barley: Optic
Cask Type: Fresh Bourbon
Oak Type: Quercus Alba
Warehouse: 02. L01
Nose: Sugar cane, barley, vegital
Taste: Hot! creamy, dry, vegital, slight sweetness, spicy
Finish: Medium, dry
Rating: 8/10

One of the bottles I picked up as part of my 2016 Scotland trip when I visited the Bruichladdich distillery. The Micro-Provenance Series as Bruichladdich describes it is:

“An ongoing exploratory series of single casks, specially selected to examine the evolutionary influences on maturing Islay Single Malt Whisky – the variables of age, vintage, wood, barley, storage, humidity, heat and marine climate – the very essence of provenance.”

The nose is quite light but heavy on the sugar cane. Barley notes come through too but sugar is the predominate aroma. If you cover it for a while and then nose it you get some vegital notes and slight underlying maritime notes too but it quickly gets bullied out of the way by the sugar cane. It is a pleasant enough nose but not overly complex most of the time but it certainly hides that 64% well, no ABV burn at all.

Boom! there’s that 64%, my god does this have a kick on the palate. It is a little more viscous than most whiskies having quite a creamy quality, but also quite dry, a little strange. The vegital notes that were hiding on the nose make their presence know on the palate and work really well with the whisky’s creamy nature. The sugar cane from the nose makes a brief appearance mid-palate which takes you from an initial dryness to sweet and back to dry again, it’s an experience this whisky that’s for sure. The tail end of the palate is full on spice before going into a medium length and quite dry finish.

In conclusion then, awesome! The nose could be better in truth, pleasant but not quite complex enough for me given it is a savouring whisky. The palate however is all sort of awesome. There is plenty going on but it is really well balanced too so there are not too many overpowering qualities going on. There were lots of options to choose from at the distillery and I’m just glad that the one I chose was a good’n.

#83 – Caol Ila 15 Year Old Unpeated Style

Distillery: Caol Ila
Name: Unpeated Style
Age: 15
Chill-filtered: No
Strength: 60.39%
Bottle Size: 70cl
Price: Unavailable (£89 for 2016 release at Master of Malt)
Bottled: 2014
Nose: Light, barley, sugar cane, marzipan, mineral
Taste: Malty, citrus, slightly coastal
Finish: Medium, malty, spice
Rating: 6/10

Another bottle from my Scotland trip last year. I had the opportunity to pop into the Caol Ila distillery for a quick tasting session when this lovely golden delight stood out to me. An unpeated Caol Ila, I had to give it a try.

At 60.39% ABV the nose is a might punchy undiluted, although it does actually die down quite quickly on it’s own. The aroma is light with a barley note taking the first step followed by a sugar cane sweetness. There is also a subtle marzipan and mineral note that begin to edge forward too.

The ABV hit is initially strong as you would expect but now as bad as you may think. As with the nose it is light with a maltiness as the forbearing quality but with a citrus note there too, specifically limes. On mid palate I get some coastal notes coming through which turns back to malt for the medium length spicy finish.

With a splash of water the aroma obviously looses the burn and the marzipan notes become a little stronger, as does the barley. The palate becomes more creamy and very surprisingly it becomes insanely spicy, maybe something to do with 15 years in a first fill bourbon barrel. It also develops a little more sweetness on the palate too.

Overall it has been a really enjoyable dram, I love how much spice this dram can kick out with the addition of the water. I am a big Caol Ila fan and can safely say this is nothing like any other Caol Ila I have tried, however despite being the most expensive bottle of Caol Ila I have purchased, I am not disappointed. I still prefer the peated variety but love that they have stepped out of their comfort zone with this unpeated expression.

#81 – Balmenach 11 Year Old (Douglas Bottling)

Distillery: Balmenach
Name: N/A
Age: 11
Chill-filtered: No
Strength: 46%
Bottle Size: 70cl
Price: £64 (The Whisky Shop)
Distilled: December 2003
Bottled: September 2015
Cask Reference: 11939
Cask Type: Refill Hogshead
Bottles: 357
Nose: Citrus, sherry, cigar & wood smoke
Taste: Creamy, fruity, spicy
Finish: Medium, spicy, tobacco
Rating: 7/10

This bottling of Balmenach is an independent bottling by Douglas of Drumlanrig which I picked up in the Loch Fyne Whisky Shop in Inverary on my holiday last year (2016).

This is a light coloured whisky with a fresh citrus aroma to it. There is a hint of sherry to it which gives it a little depth to the nose but there is a massive surprise waiting on the finish, a mix of cigar and wood smoke. Just comes out of the blue. You take in a deep breath of that nose and you get a hint of it, breath back out and it’s right there, it’s great.

Onto the palate and you are struck by an initial creamy feel all around your mouth, a silky smoothness to it. This moves into a real light fleshy fruits quality, a slight fruity sweetness coming with it, but not too much. What follows is a slow build up of spice that just keeps going, getting more and more intense. It’s not the only quality on the finish however, remember that cigar smoke from the nose, well now you get the tobacco on the finish, subtle but a pleasant addition (coming from a non-smoker too).

Overall I have really enjoyed this bottle of Balmenach, it’s the first time I have tried it and have been happy with what I have got. A smooth easy drinking yet slightly smokey dram, just smokey in a different sense to what people usually think for a whisky.

#79 – Wolfburn Single Malt

Distillery: Wolfburn
Name: Single Malt
Age: 3
Chill-filtered: No
Strength: 46%
Bottle Size: 70cl
Price: £46 (The Whisky Exchange)
Nose: Sweet, light fruits, citrus, minerals, malt, peat
Taste: Honey, malty, coastal, spicy
Finish: Long, floral, smokey, spicy
Rating: 5/10
Wolfburn has a long history, the distillery originating back to 1821 and is the most northerly mainland distillery in Britain. This particular bottle was from the first release as I got my pre-order in as soon as I heard about the new distillery. A long wait later and here we are, ready to review.
As you would expect from such a young whisky, it is very light, straw colour. The initial nose has some sweetness to it with some light, fleshy fruits present. This moves into a citrus aroma with some slight mineral notes and a hint of peat. Given a bit of airing time the malty notes start to come through.
Onto the palate and you get an initial honey sweetness but is again quickly dismissed, this time by the spicy malt that follows. The malt dies down mid palate, though the spice remains for some time and blends in well with some subtle coastal/salty notes which, in turn leads into a slightly smokey floral edge on the finish. After a bit or aeration the sweetness begins to make a bold return and holds it’s ground which I found an interesting turn of events.
For 3 year old whisky this is actually quite a pleasant dram. It obviously has some of the youthful qualities you would expect with a whisky of this age, but with a drop of water/ice in it, this is an amazing dram to sit out in the sun with, or I dare say that youthfulness would be interesting in some cocktails.
I’m looking forward to trying some of their later expressions.

#74 – Tweeddale 14 Year Old Batch 4

Distillery: Tweeddale
Name: N/A
Age: 14
Chill-filtered: ?
Strength: 46%
Batch No.: N/A
Bottle Size: 3cl
Price: £38 (Master of Malt)
Nose: Sugar sweetness, grass, apple pie
Taste: Smooth, light, smokey, spice
Finish: Long, spicy
Rating: 6/10

The Tweeddale is a blended whisky and something I am looking forward to. I have not had the chance to try any of the previous batches, they started at the 10 year old, so I have nothing to compare it to, Batch 5 is now out however so I may need to try that. Blends are something I steered clear of for many years, until I tried some Compass Box offerings that is. I have since matured and accepted that good blends do exist, here’s hoping this is one of them.

The nose has a very sugary sweetness to it at first, kind of sponge cake qualities. There are also some subtle notes of baked apples too, with that sweetness it reminds me a little of apple pie. Strangely there is also a slight grassy note to it too which seems a little out of place.

Smoothness, a quality I expect from a blend and the Tweeddale does not disappoint. It is light and smooth initially with a very unexpected smokey quality that I did not get on the nose, but it works. This then develops into a lovely spice which continues onto the long finish.

Really not what I was expecting, the nose and palate do not line up for me, I was totally thrown when I first tasted it, but not disappointing which is important.

Wild Turkey Rare Breed Barrel Proof

Distillery: Wild Turkey
Name: Rare Breed Barrel Proof
Region: Kentucky
Age: N/A
Chill-filtered: No
Strength: 54.1%
Batch No.: N/A
Bottle Size: 3cl
Price: £48 (70cl)
Nose: Rich, hot, dark toffee, orange
Taste: Rich, spicy, dry, dark chocolate, coffee
Finish: Long, spicy, dry
Rating: 7/10

So I’ve had this sample in for a while now to be honest (curtsey of @Tom_Blumsom), only just getting around to trying it. This particular Wild Turkey is made using a blend of 6, 8 and 12 year old stock so it should be pretty good, lets see.

Straight of there is a real rich depth to the nose but that ABV is also present with a slight burn there too. There is some sweetness there but more of a dark toffee sweetness which is not as strong but more caramel. After a couple of minutes it starts to lighten up a bit, becoming more citrus, not as light a lemon or lime, orange I guess, maybe just orange peel.

Can the palate live up to that fantastic nose? Big hit of both spice and ABV heat that just keep on building, amazingly it holds up to it though. That rich body with the dark chocolate and coffee notes put up a good fight to claw there way into view, have a strut around on your tongue and then get pushed back during the dry finish.

Somewhat different to the bog standard Wild Turkey that I have tried tried before. Fantastic nose to it and a palate that does live up to it. I would like to thank (@Tom_Blumsom) for the sample.