This upcoming anCnoc 1998 is the replacement for the bright and high-quality anCnoc 1996 launched in 2011. Both are part of the distillery’s tradition to release a small batch vintage each year.
It was composed from American oak bourbon and sherry casks. With 850 cases available, the availability is slightly wider than last year.
(46%, OB 2012, 5100 btl.)
Nose: overall fresh and malty with some sparkling fruity notes (peach, orange, pear), honey and toffee. A bit of freshly sawn oak. As with the 1996, there’s also this nutty / buttery / porridge touch that sets it apart. Mouth: creamy with a distinct sourish profile. Grapes, pears and Granny Smith. After that a sweeter wave of caramel and roasted almonds. Soft wood. Finish: medium long, honeyed with a soft bite of liquorice.
This anCnoc 1998 is quite natural, which means it has to be well-made since there’s not much to cover up the naked spirit. I don’t see a reason to give this one a different score than last year’s anCnoc 1996. Another well-made dram with a nice character. Around € 55. Expected in stores later this month.
A Glenlivet distilled in 1978 and bottled in 2010 for The Whisky Fair in Limburg, together with Three Rivers in Tokyo.
Glenlivet 32 yo 1978 (52,9%, The Whisky Fair & Three Rivers 2010, bourbon hogshead, 250 btl.)
Nose: an elegant nose on juicy garden fruits (apples, peaches, oranges) with a light hint of tropical fruitiness and vanilla. Rich barley notes. Subtle dried grass. Pastry notes as well, with nice beeswax in the background. Mouth: creamy mouthfeel with quite some vanilla. Sweet and fruity at first (yellow apples, melon, mango). Then an array of spices like ginger and cinnamon, fading to drier oaky notes and cloves. Strangely enough, after the second or third sip, it seemed my mouth could only pick up the oak and filtered out the fruits. Too bad, it becomes slightly tangy with a hint of peat. Finish: fairly dry and tannic with less of the fruity goodness.
This Glenlivet sets off with lovely Speyside fruits and a rich creaminess, but on the palate the oak gets louder by the minute. Overall I was more impressed with the Glenlivet 1977 by Whisky-Doris for example. Around € 140. Still available in the Whisky Fair shop.
Nose: obviously similar to the Dailuaine 1983 by Asta Morris, although it shows more vanilla and a nice custard sweetness. A tad more fruits as well. Lime rather than lemon. Oranges and yellow apples. Still the same chalkiness and big grassy notes. Butter and malt. Mouth: oily and bittersweet. A strange mixture of (not so fresh) fruits (cider apple, tangerine), beeswax and gingerbread. Vanilla cake or rather the dough to make it. Orange flower honey. Quite a lot of heather again. Zesty grapefruit. Finish: medium long, creamy, gingery and zesty.
Slightly strange stuff again (feel free to read “unique stuff”), though the added sweetness and vanilla makes this one a tiny bit more ‘classic’ than the Asta Morris version. Around € 85, sold in the bottler’s own Whiskybase shop.
Nose: starts rather delicately on hay, chalk and heather. Slightly musty. Then quite some waxy notes, plenty of grassy and floral notes. Hints of buttercups. Bread crust as well. Some fresh citrus and ginger. Mouth: waxy and spicy. Thyme. A certain sweetness too, although it’s not exactly a fruity sweetness. Honeyed ginger tea? Hints of bitter oak and grapefruit. There’s a kind of raw spirity edge to it as well. Finish: rather long, bittersweet with some herbs, lemon zest and grass.
This sample has been on my desk for three or four months now, and I couldn’t get to grips with it. Sometimes I like it, but most of the times it sets me off for the most part. Some of the aromas are difficult to pin down, so even though I’m not the biggest fan I still appreciate its unique signature. Around € 90, only a few bottles left.
Honestly I haven’t found a Bladnoch so far that had me jumping for joy. Maybe this Bladnoch 1990 bottled by Duncan Taylor in November 2011 can change my mind.
Bladnoch 21 yo 1990 (55,2%, Duncan Taylor Rare Auld, cask #3450, 134 btl.)
Nose: intense and slightly alcoholic. Nice lemon pie and tropical fruits (lime, mango, pineapple) with hints of bubble gum and nail polish remover. A little vanilla and grassy notes. Interesting but it stays quite neutral and grainy. Mouth: punchy. Grainy centre, rounded off by a similar mix of (sourish) lemon and sweeter vanilla (cake). Some pepper and citrus zest. Liquorice. Hay. Green tea. Finish: long, with the slightly bitter citrus zest getting quite loud now.
Too bad. I didn’t really enjoy this Bladnoch either, it’s too rough and biting and it doesn’t show much diversity. The nose was quite captivating though. Around € 70. Thanks Herbert.
Cutty Sark Tam o’ Shanter is a new variant of the existing Cutty Sark 25yo blend created by master blender Kirsteen Campbell. According to the press release, it adds a distinctly darker, wilder side.
It comes in an elaborate wooden box with a book featuring over 50 illustrated scenes based on the famous Robert Burns poem which gave the whisky its name. It’s limited to 5000 bottles.
Cutty Sark 25 yo ‘Tam o’Shanter’
(46,5%, OB 2012, 5000 btl.)
Nose: a rich and sherried nose which has a malty profile rather than a blended one. Very nice roasted nuts and tobacco. Sandalwood. Plenty of spices: aniseed, cinnamon, sweet ginger. A little wax and leather. Ripe fruits (plums and figs). Very light smoke in the background. Pretty wonderful. Mouth: starts sweet and sherried again. More nuts. Clearly also vanilla from the grains (which are more noticeable now). Then the bitter notes move forward, a combination of herbs, slightly stingy oak and citrus zest which is maybe a tad too loud. Evolves on cloves and pepper with dark chocolate. Finish: long, mostly on drying oak and spices now. Whiffs of eucalyptus in the end.
A great achievement as a blend, that’s for sure. The nose alone deserves a near 90/100 score and hardly shows blend characteristics. A lot of good whisky was used to create this, and the result is a quality collector’s item. Around € 240.
We don’t see too many independent Glenglassaugh. This 1978 vintage was selected by and bottled for Villa Konthor.
Glenglassaugh 32 yo 1978
(46,2%, Villa Konthor 2010)
Nose: malty, very slightly alcoholic, with lots of apple aromas up front. Something sourish / metallic. Then it develops some chamomile tea, faint floral notes and spicy oak. A few dusty notes as well. Mouth: it seems to start in a fruity way but this is drowned by malty notes before it can really develop. Taken over by some grassy notes, walnuts and a bit too much oak and spices. Liquorice. A bit of citrus zest. Hints of wax. Finish: medium long, with some apple, citrus and oak.
This old Glenglassaugh is surprisingly spirity which means the fruity notes turn into a kind of eau-de-vie rather than an old, smooth whisky. Around € 140.
This Micro Provenance series is subtitled Cask Evolution Exploration. It’s one of these pseudo-scientific names Bruichladdich uses for their wine finishes. Most of them are 1992 single casks bottled for a specific whisky retailer / distributor or in this case “for Belgium”.
As always the packaging is nicely done with a frosted glass bottle, excellent typography and an embossed metal tin.
Bruichladdich 18 yo 1992 (51,2%, OB ‘Micro Provenance series’ 2010, bourbon cask #004, Brunello wine finish, 288 btl.)
Nose: a candied nose, say red fruit candy and blackcurrants with hints of blood orange juice. Hints of figs. Really not bad, it shows the wine character without any of the nastiness. There’s a slight off-note though, something musty / rubbery. Mouth: again notes of fruit candy, now accompanied by some oak spices and caramel / toffee. Hints of chamomile? Less impressive than the nose, more wine influence. Finish: medium length. Soft pepper and traces of wine.
Yeah well… a wine finish, though certainly not the worst in its genre. Around € 80.