Single malt whisky - tasting notes

We’ve seen quite a few Tomintoul releases from 1967, 1968 and 1969 lately. This one is from the Archives series.


Tomintoul 1969 ArchivesTomintoul 42 yo 1969 (42,4%, Archives 2012, bourbon cask #4266, 60 btl.)

Nose: smooth and fruity, though a bit restrained. Citrus, tangerine, melon, faint papaya. Light heather honey. A few flowery notes, like buttercups. Soft vanilla. A very enjoyable and mellow nose, although there’s some polished wood as well, as expected. Mouth: a bit light, showing the same mix of bright fruitiness (orange, grapefruit, tangerine, green banana) with mint and sappy oak that I find a bit too overpowering. Soft pepper and ginger. Slightly warmer towards the finish (cinnamon). Finish: a little dry, with citrus tea, some tannins and liquorice.

Good, smooth whisky with a great nose and a dry palate. Easy comparison with all the other 1960s Tomintoul works against it, I’m afraid. Around € 160.

Score: 88/100

Whisky-Fässle already had a Bowmore 1997 earlier this year. Now there’s a new one, again from a bourbon hogshead (probably from the #800xxx series of casks), and selected by / for Whisky-Freunde Dornstadt.


Bowmore 1997 (Whisky-Fässle)Bowmore 15 yo 1997
(53,7%, Whisky-Fässle for Whisky-Freunde Dornstadt 2012, bourbon hogshead)

Nose: modern Bowmore is starting to become the new Caol Ila. Clean, very focused on its key assets, and never bad quality. Mildly peaty with sea air, pepper, lemon and a vague sweetness in the background. Nice and simple. Mouth: again mild (earthy) peat, with a nice citrus fruitiness (grapefruit, tangerine, passion fruits) and soft vanilla. Some briny notes. Hints of cardamom and herbs. Very nice. Finish: long, clean, with pepper, peat and zesty citrus.

Good, good, good. I’ve thought hard about a better conclusion, but we’ll keep it at that. Around € 80.

Score: 89/100

This is the first Multi-vintage Karuizawa. It contains whisky from four casks filled in 1981, 1982, 1983 and 1984. It shares the masks / theatre labels with the previous Noh series.

I never know whether to write “official bottling” or “Number One Drinks” in my descriptions of Karuizawa. As you know all remaining stocks have been bought by Marcin Miller and his Number One Drinks company in the UK. They’re now the only source of Karuizawa, so I consider their stuff to be the official releases rather than independent releases.


Karuizawa multivintage 27yoKaruizawa 27 yo ‘Multi-vintages #1’
(59,1%, OB 2011, sherry butt &
bourbon casks #6405, 4973, 8184, 6437, 1500 btl.)

Nose: powerful, with typical Karuizawa notes. Kirsch, leather, blackberry jam, baked apples, roasted almonds, sherry wood, dried figs, eucalyptus, turpentine and varnish, humus, pine needles… Nicely sweet & sour. A classic. Mouth: very intense again, and quite hot. Very sherried. Burnt sugar, roasted hazelnuts, dark chocolate, leather, bitter spices, Seville oranges, cough syrup, pepper, dark tea, smoke and lots of tobacco. Not for the faint-hearted, be prepared for big resonating oak. Finish: long, herbal and spicy. Quite some earthy notes as well.

A good blend of Karuizawa elements. Too bad it costs about the same as a single cask 1981: around € 275. The main retailer (LMdW) is out of stock but there are still quite a few bottles left in other stores.

Score: 91/100

Ardbeg Galileo

19 Jul 2012 | * News

Ardbeg GalileoArdbeg Galileo is a 1999 vintage (contrary to previous special editions that were usually NAS), aged 12-13 years and bottled at 49%. Its label was registered in February this year and the release is expected in September 2012. It’s supposed to be a combination of first-fill ex-bourbon casks with a kind of Sicilian Marsala wine-enhanced version of Ardbeg Alligator.


Ardbeg 1999 ‘Galileo’ (49%, OB 2012)

An Ardbeg “Rocket Tour” is going on in the US as we speak, marketed alongside the experiment which involved a small sample of Ardbeg new-make being taken to the International Space Station. Galileo is celebrating this first ever whisky experiment in space.

Update: there have been a lot of rumours going on for this Ardbeg Galileo, but soon after this blog post, LVMH in Holland has confirmed its existence and the fact that it’s scheduled for September. It will cost around € 90. In the meantime, here are the official tasting notes as mentioned on the back label:

Nose Cone: Spicy toffee, tropical fruits and a puff of soot. Taste: salty, yet sweet with cream and a burst of smoking apricots. Finish: long, lingering and serene.

This is one of the latest releases by Master of Malt, a Glenturret 1977, supposedly from the same batch as the editions by The Whisky Agency and Malts of Scotland. I bought a bottle last week and as always, Master of Malt is extremely quick in delivering the goods, safely packaged too.


Glenturret 1977 (Master of Malt)Glenturret 34 yo 1977 (47,9%, Master of Malt 2012, refill sherry hogshead, 247 btl.)

Nose: nice vanilla biscuits, honey and plum compote. Tangerine candy and apricot jam. Dried pineapple. It shows a few nutty notes as well (hazelnut, almond). Honeysuckle. Turns towards slightly milky notes at times, but this comes and goes. Discreet spices. Complex and attractive. Mouth: nice balance of sweet, fruity notes (cooked apricot, pear, papaya, pineapple candy) and slightly sourish citrus (grapefruit and lemon). Creamy and thick. Then some spicy gingerbread notes, waxy notes towards the finish and warm oak as well, but it stays impressively fruity. Finish: long, pleasantly going from grapefruit to biscuits and back. Soft herbal notes as well.

Great whisky, with a lovely fruity sweetness, round malty notes and a dignified oldness. On top of that, it’s significantly cheaper than the casks I mentioned in the introduction: around € 110. Highly recommended.

Score: 91/100

Whiskybase keeps a good pace in its Archives series. In the third batch we find this Longmorn 1992.


Longmorn 1992 ArchivesLongmorn 19 yo 1992 (48,5%, Archives 2012, bourbon cask #86607, 60 btl.)

Nose: partly fruity (gooseberries, apricots, boiled citrus sweets), partly mineral / grassy. Vanilla and almond paste. Fresh oak and mint as well. A faint waxy note in the background. Modern and summery (well, not this year’s summer). Mouth: medium body, with plenty of apples and oranges. Also a few rummy notes that I’ve found before in middle-aged Longmorn. Vanilla and honey. Also a few herbs and spices (nutmeg, cinnamon) which give the fruitiness a certain dry twist. A little too neutral for my taste, I don’t like the taste of alcohol in itself. Finish: medium long, sweeter again, with warming vanilla, dried coconut and mocha.

Pretty much okay with an okay price. It’s faultless but this isn’t why I love Longmorn. Around € 70.

Score: 83/100

Whisky-Fässle has two new releases, a Bowmore 1997 and this BenRiach 1996, matured in a bourbon hogshead.


BenRiach 1996 Whisky-FässleBenRiach 16 yo 1996 (47,7%, Whisky-Fässle 2012, bourbon hogshead)

Nose: modern whisky, very fresh with a biscuity core and a bright fruitiness. Lots of marshmallow notes. Some mint. A bit of lemon and gristy barley. Pleasantly uncomplicated. Mouth: starts with fruity notes again (apple, pear, citrus) but it quickly becomes drier, with some pepper and soft grassy notes. A little grainy and a tad too neutral for my taste. There’s even a slightly alcoholic edge. Finish: fairly long and fairly dry.

Nice marshmallow sweetness on the nose, coupled to a drier, grassier profile in the mouth. Modern whisky, nothing to complain about. Around € 75. Available from Whisky-Fässle.

Score: 83/100

Recently our friend Serge came up with a bottle of Ardmore 1993 which he thought was a real bargain. It was bottled for Van Wees, the Dutch importer for Gordon & MacPhail in Holland, but there are hardly any reviews on the web. Anyway he said it’s well in line with the recent wave of Ardmore 1992 (Whiskyman, Single Malts of Scotland, Malts of Scotland…).


Ardmore 1993 G&M Van WeesArdmore 16 yo 1993 (54,7%, G&M for Van Wees 2009, first fill bourbon barrel #5746, 225 btl.)

Nose: starts with a big focus on sooty notes and mineral peat, slightly more harsh than the best Ardmore 1992s. Evolves more towards fruits though, first lemon, then some green apple, than also warmer notes of banana. Nothing too rounded though, let alone tropical. Eventually vanilla and almonds as well. You can see why this kind of Ardmore has been praised so much, but it doesn’t quite have that magical edge in my opinion. Mouth: earthy and peaty notes mixed with honeyed lemon juice and lime. Lovely pink grapefruit. Sweet almonds. Peach. A little more rounded and fruity now, nice. Also some metallic notes. Hints of liquorice in the end. Finish: long, back on peat, a little brine and smoke. Still something metallic.

A nice peated Highlander. Good bang for your buck but it needs more time to open up than some of the 1992s and doesn’t reach the same heights in my view. Around € 50 at the time, now sold out. Sister cask #5747 (also bottled for Van Wees in Holland) is still available though.

Score: 87/100



November 2015
« Oct    

Coming up

  • Glenlivet 1981 (#9468 for TWE)
  • Lagavulin Distillers Edition (2015)
  • Talisker Distillers Edition (2015)
  • Laphroaig 32 Year Old
  • Glen Grant 65yo 1950 cask #2747 for Wealth Solutions
  • Mortlach 1959/1960 (G&M Royal Wedding)

1933 notes by Ruben

WhiskyNotes - Ruben LuytenThis blog is my personal collection of impressions, written while searching for the ultimate single malt whisky.