Single malt whisky - tasting notes

The name Ichiro’s Malt comes from Ichiro Akuto, the grandson of the founder of Hanyu distillery. After the distillery was dismantled in 2004, he saved around 400 casks. In 2008 he opened a new distillery named Chichibu, and this Double Distilleries is a vatting of both whiskies: sherry matured Hanyu and Chichibu new-make from a Japanese oak cask.

 

Ichiro's Malt Double DistilleriesIchiro’s Malt Double Distilleries
(46%, OB 2010)

Nose: sweet and rounded, quite biscuity with a fruity hint of honeysuckle and apple. Plenty of oak as well, mainly freshly cut wood and a hint of varnish. A little bourbonny I would say. After a while, it turns to slightly oriental sandalwood aromas. Mouth: starts spicy (nutmeg, cinnamon, a little pepper), followed by a wave of young malty notes. The combination of youth and plenty of oak flavours is a bit strange. There’s also a slightly disturbing soapy note. Finish: drier and faintly bitter with oak flavours, mint, some ginger and liquorice.

The duality of Hanyu and Chichibu results in an interestingly different dram. If only the woodiness were a little less invasive and the price a little lower. Around € 85.

Score: 81/100


The Glen Elgin 1975 by Berry Bros came in second in the recent televoting tasting by Fulldram. Here’s another Glen Elgin 1975 recently bottled by The Whisky Agency in the Landscapes series.

 

Glen Elgin 1975 TWA LandscapesGlen Elgin 35 yo 1975 (51,5%, The Whisky
Agency ‘Landscapes’ 2011, ex-bourbon hogshead, 186 btl.)

Nose: in a way, this reminds me of malts bottled in the 60’s or 70’s. It shows a typical dustiness and faint yeasty notes, as well as hints of dried flowers and chamomile. You have to give it 15 minutes and then it really starts talking. Unripe fruits and heather. Slightly less fruity than the Berry Bros version, or rather on a deeper layer, but the slightly higher strength makes it more aromatic as well. More bee pollen. A little mint and lots of herbal tea. Mouth: punchy, quite malty at first but also fruitier than on the nose. Citrus, mint and a little verbena. Nice spices. Herbal tea again. A bit of wood in the background. Finish: quite long, sweet lemon at first and then some drying spices.

Great old-fashioned Speyside style, no big fruitiness but plenty of green / herbal notes. Around € 170. Still available in some places.

Score: 88/100


Glenfarclas 17 years is not a commonly found expression in the Glenfarclas range. It is bottled in limited quantities and sold primarily in the US and Japan as well as in travel retail. Occasionally you can find it in stores outside these regions as well.

 

Glenfarclas 17 yearsGlenfarclas 17 yo (43%, OB)

Nose: roasted nuts (hazelnuts, almonds) and caramel. A lot of toffee notes. Quite some dates as well. A light hint of eucalyptus and with a heathery / resinous edge. Plenty of fresh herbs like parsley. Beautifully composed. It seems this one is a tad more smokey than other Glenfarclas bottlings as well. Mouth: good attack, again a herbal note up front. Hints of pine needles and resin. Some liquorice. Sherried but malty at the same time. Oak, but not overwhelming. Cloves. Cinnamon sticks. Finish: long, nutty and drying on spices and oak.

One of the more herbal and smokey members of the Glenfarclas range. Around € 55.

Score: 83/100


Last Monday I attended a great “televoting tasting” by whisky club Fulldram. Each member could nominate 6 bottles from a list of 20.

The resulting line-up contained eight drams, with a few highlights like the Glen Elgin 1975 by Berry Bros, Port Ellen 1983 (cask #66 by Malts of Scotland) and Glenlivet 1972 Perfect Dram (notes will follow). The preferred whisky of most members turned out to be the Tomatin 1976 released by Daily Dram.

That Tomatin seems to be gone now, but a similar release has just been announced by The Whisky Agency in the new Grotesque Crocs series. Let’s do a little comparison.

 

Tomatin 1976 Whisky Agency CrocsTomatin 34 yo 1976 (51,3%, The Whisky
Agency ‘Grotesque Crocs’ 2011, refill sherry butt, 309 btl.)

Nose: difficult to spot differences between both versions. Both are wonderfully tropical: mango, tangerine, apricot and banana with silky vanilla and mint. The pink grapefruit notes were a bit stronger in the Daily Dram version, the TWA focuses more on oak (+ polish) and seems to show more spicy / herbal notes and also a soft layer of dried fruits. But you know, as soon as I swirl my glasses and put my nose back in, I’m wondering whether it’s not simply imagination. The similarities are far more striking than the differences anyway. Mouth: impressive fruitiness again (tropical fruits and citrus), backed up with spices (nutmeg, pepper, cinnamon, vanilla) and oak. Again the spices in this TWA version seem a little louder and the DD version has more pronounced grapefruit. A little dryness in the end, which seems bigger here. Finish: medium long, fruity and spicy.

For those who were unable to get the Daily Dram version: here’s an almost identical Tomatin – again not the most complex whisky but otherwise just as excellent and extremely drinkable. Great tropical fruits tied together by oak spices. Should arrive in stores shortly. Around € 150.

Score: 91/100


Whisky Round Table

05 Apr 2011 | * News

Head over to Whisky Israel (by Gal) for this month’s Whisky Round Table.
The twelve of us are discussing this question:

The Single Cask. A distinct point in time, A unique combination, of a cask, maturation climate, location, and magic. the whisky world’s version of a “singularity”. No two casks are ever the same, and once finished, only a memory is left”.

  • What was the best single cask bottling you have had the pleasure of sampling . Where did you try it, did you own the bottle, and what made it so good?
  • Did you ever come by a single cask bottling which was really bad?
  • What’s your take on Vatting two extraordinary casks together? is a Quasi single cask vatting better than a “classic” single Cask?

Seven Scotch whisky distilleries are donating a cask of its single malt that will be expertly blended to create a limited edition whisky, appropriately called The Spirit of Unity.

The Spirit of UnityThe seven are Arran, BenRiach, Bladnoch, GlenDronach, GlenGyle, Kilchoman and Springbank. They represent the Islands, Speyside, Highlands, Islay, Campbeltown and Lowlands.

The idea came from Euan Mitchell, managing director of Arran, and the seven casks will be blended by BenRiach’s Master Distiller Billy Walker.

The combined contribution will produce approximately 2000 bottles with 1200 available in the UK. The remainder will be shipped to Japan with some being donated for sale in New Zealand to assist with relief in the aftermath of the Christchurch earthquake.

With the support of suppliers and partners, including retailers, a conservative estimate is that at least £50,000 will be donated to the relief effort.

The Spirit of Unity will be available by the end of April. Pre-orders at £59 per bottle are now being taken at www.royalmilewhiskies.com and www.LFW.co.uk


This Inchgower 1982 is a sister cask of the ones bottled by Bladnoch (#6965 and #6966), the one from Berry Bros. and Rudd (cask #6968) and a recent one bottled by Whisky-Doris (cask #6971).

 

Inchgower 1982 Malts of ScotlandInchgower 28 yo 1982 (57,2%, Malts of Scotland 2011, bourbon hogshead #6969,
212 btl.)

Nose: starts strong but warm, with some vanilla and cooked fruits. It quickly gets more grassy (fresh and dried), gingery and minty with light hints of garden herbs. Spiced up with some fresh sawdust, traces of smoke and a slightly sharp, salty breeze. Mouth: the first wave is slightly milky and creamy (vanilla ice cream?). Then some citrus notes (ripe tangerine). After a while, a big wave of oak comes rolling in, in a nice, slightly bourbonny way (pine wood, resin, cedar maybe). Not tannic, just a little oak-flavoured, subtly bitter and heavily spiced. Soft toffee and demarara sugar in the background. Leather. A hint of parma violets. Finish: medium length, with traces of fruits, salt and lingering oak.

Even though it’s not very rounded, this Inchgower stands out in a good way and has a nice coastal edge. Be sure to try it if you’re not afraid of some wood nectar and plenty of spices on the palate. Around € 115.

Score: 86/100


This Glenlossie 1975 in the Grotesque Crocs series should be similar to last year’s 49,3% version by the same bottler (which is still available by the way).

 

Glenlossie 1975 TWA CrocsGlenlossie 35 yo 1975 (52%, The Whisky Agency ‘Grotesque Crocs’ 2011, bourbon hogshead, 212 btl.)

Nose: the oak is less noticeable compared to the previous Glenlossie 1975. It seems to be slightly more flat as well. The same kind of dustiness with hints of wet cardboard. Gravel. Leaves. Some dried hay and leather. A few floral notes. Not many fruits, just hints of oranges and zesty lemon, and less vanilla this time. Some nutmeg. Mouth: much more expressive and more rounded. Very citrusy (lemon juice, lemon balm, Seville oranges) with malt and a pleasant bitterness. Hints of mint, cardamom and herbal teas. Roasted nuts. Developing a honeyed edge. Finish: rather long, on lemon, herbs and liquorice.

Although both share a similar old-style, slightly difficult profile, I prefer the previous Glenlossie on the nose. On the palate, I especially liked the lemony flavours of the new bottling. Around € 180.

Score: 87/100


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Coming up

  • Littlemill 1988 (Liquid Treasures)
  • Tomatin Cuatro series
  • Tomatin 1997 (Whisky-Fässle)
  • Ben Nevis 2002 (Port cask #334)
  • Cardhu 18 Year Old
  • Old Pulteney 1990 (lightly peated)

1623 notes by Ruben

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