Single malt whisky - tasting notes

Production at Tamdhu distillery should resume soon. I’m eager to find out whether they can revive this “value” distillery into something modern and profitable.

Today we’re trying a Tamdhu 1987 bottled in the Mo Òr whisky collection.

 

Tamdhu 1987 Mo-OrTamdhu 23 yo 1987 (46%, Mo Òr 2010, oloroso sherry butt #3649, 656 btl.)

Nose: sherry with grapes, prunes, dates and flinty / beefy notes. Cocoa powder as well. Quite some herbal notes: nutmeg, ginger and a little mint. A little leather. There’s a hint of sherry vinegar as well. Mouth: sweet and fruity sherry. Orange marmalade and raisins. Some molasses. Hints of natural caramel and roasted nuts, even some coffee. Finish: rather long, peppery and sherried. Hints of mocha.

Quite a typical Tamdhu for the late 1980’s. Very much in line with the 1989/1990 releases we’ve tried earlier. Around € 120 for a 50 cl bottle.

Score: 85/100


Two Glenturrets in a row. Tasted side-by-side with the Glenturret 1977 by Malts of Scotland.

 

Glenturret 1980 | Malts of ScotlandGlenturret 31 yo 1980 (42,5%, Malts of Scotland 2012, bourbon hogshead MoS 12008, 192 btl.)

Nose: this one is less complex. Still some sweetish barley but less vanilla, honey and spicy notes. Most of the foreground is taken up by lighter estery notes, something in between bubblegum and marshmallows. Not exactly youngish either, but still a bit funny. Hints of coconut sunscreen and chalk. A little cinnamon. The difference in age seems much bigger than just 3 years. Becomes grassy / mineral after some airing. Mouth: still this special type of (slightly synthetic) fruitiness. Bubblegum again. On the other hand quite creamy with a hint of toffee and honey. Not too complex, like an orange whisky lemonade. Finish: medium long, with fruity notes and the lightest hint of spices.

Good whisky again with a pretty individual profile. Around € 120. I prefer the 1977 but the considerable price difference will probably make it difficult to pick one if they’re side-by-side in a shop.

Score: 87/100


Glenturret is the oldest operating distillery in Scotland today (founded back in 1775) and the most visited as well. It is a blender’s whisky, better known as the home of Famous Grouse than as connoisseur’s single malt.

Nice to see Malts of Scotland bottled their first Glenturret, a 34 year-old distilled in 1977. Two actually, as they’ve also released a Glenturret 1980 which we’ll try tomorrow.

In case you didn’t see my message on Facebook, the latest batch by MoS also contains a Clynelish 1989, Glen Scotia 1991, a peated Tomintoul 2001 and a Longmorn 1992. All ex-bourbon.

 

Glenturret 1980 - Malts of ScotlandGlenturret 34 yo 1977 (47,4%, Malts of Scotland 2012, bourbon hogshead MoS 12007, 222 btl.)

Nose: sweet grains and vanilla. Nice lemonade fruitiness and lots of rich honey notes. A hint of heather and citrus. Almonds. This may not sound spectacular as such, but it’s wonderfully open and balanced, with a very light dusty / yeasy edge to give away its age. Mouth: sweet barley, soft herbal notes and a nice citrus theme. Sugar and honey again. Marzipan. After a while, there’s a lovely boost of candied fruitiness (peach candy). Surprisingly low on oak. Finish: long, candied with vanilla and citrus. Slowly drying on herbs.

I really like old malts that manage to retain a thick fruity body and add nice hints of oldness to the mix. This remarkable Glenturret fits that description, even when it’s slightly funky. Around € 170. Arriving in stores shortly.

Score: 90/100


I found it quite strange to see a 9 year-old whisky being labeled Perfect Dram but then we shouldn’t judge a dram by its age, right? It was distilled at Bruichladdich in 2002 and it’s heavily peated so we’d better call it Port Charlotte.

 

Bruichladdich 2002 Perfect DramBruichladdich 9 yo 2002 (57,7%, The Whisky Agency ‘Perfect Dram’ 2011, ex-bourbon cask, heavily peated, 179 btl.)

Nose: quite aromatic for such a high alcohol content. Sweet peat and plenty of minerals (wet sand, graphite, wet wool). Very focused on peat but luckily we also find some hay and leather. Even tiny farmy notes. Mouth: a sweet blast of peat and soot. Then the sweetness fades and the whole gets earthy, rooty and more herbal, with a soft zesty bitterness in the background. Only for peatheads. Finish: long, ashy and lemony with some liquorice root.

Port Charlotte with a straightforward, deep peat blast. Maybe not the best value for money compared to other independent Port Charlotte or the official releases, but certainly good quality. Around € 100.

Score: 87/100


This Macduff 2000 is bottled from a sister cask of the previous The Dram release by Whisky-Doris. Should be similar, although it is slightly stronger.

 

Macduff 2000 Whisky-Doris 54.8%Macduff 11 yo 2000 (54,8%,
Whisky-Doris 2011, sherry butt, 246 btl.)

Nose: similar indeed. This time it’s the gunpowder / unlit matchstick note that strikes me first. Then a mossy, earthy hint of forests after the rain. Brighter notes of honey, orange marmalade and raisins. Nuts and grains. Quite alright if you don’t mind the gunpowder. Mouth: lots of berry notes and grapes before the spices come rolling in: ginger and liquorice. Some dry herbs. Still some gunpowder notes – hints of smoke as well. Strangely winey with a sour / bitter combo that’s not very refined. Finish: long, herbal and still slightly bitter. Cloves and dark chocolate.

A little rough around the edges with strong herbal flavours, faint winey notes and gunpowder. An adventurous mix. Not the best Macduff 2000 we’ve seen lately (there were so many) and I liked the sister cask better. Around € 50.

Score: 81/100


Malts of Scotland already releases a sherried Glen Grant 1972 last year. Now there’s a second cask in the Angel’s Choice series.

 

Glen Grant 1972 MoS Angel's ChoiceGlen Grant 39 yo 1972 (54,1%, Malts of Scotland ‘Angel’s Choice’ 2012, sherry hogshead MoS 12006, 78 btl., 35 cl.)

Nose: typical Glen Grant 72, full of sweet, juicy fruits. Quince marmalade, stewed prunes and papaya. Over time this evolves into almond notes and cinnamon. Highlights of mint. A little wax and paraffin. Lovely. Mouth: still fruity with a little more oak now. Nice balance of fruity sweetness (raisins, fruit cake) and oaky sourness. Nutmeg and pepper. Oranges. Hints of strawberry jam but they’re gone before you know. Fades on mint liqueur. Finish: medium long, on oranges and drying spices.

Another good Glen Grant 1972, perfect for this high-quality Angel’s Choice series. Around € 95 (half bottle). Not sure if this is still available.

Score: 90/100

Tasted again 14/04/2012: 89/100

 


anCnoc 1998

05 Mar 2012 | AnCnoc

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.

 

anCnoc 1998anCnoc 1998
(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.

Score: 85/100


A Glenlivet distilled in 1978 and bottled in 2010 for The Whisky Fair in Limburg, together with Three Rivers in Tokyo.

 

Glenlivet 1978 Whisky Fair & Three RiversGlenlivet 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.

Score: 86/100


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Coming up

  • Irish Single Malt 27yo 1988 (The Nectar of the Daily Drams)
  • Irish Single Malt 16yo 1999 (The Nectar of the Daily Drams)
  • Bunnahabhain 1987 (Maltbarn)
  • Glen Garioch 1993 (Maltbarn)
  • Glenlivet 42yo (Cadenhead)
  • Auchentoshan 1994 (Whisky Agency)
  • Blended Malt Extra Old (Whisky Agency)
  • Woodford Reserve Master's Collection
  • Teeling 26yo Vintage Reserve
  • Springbank 2001 vintage

1862 notes by Ruben

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