Single malt whisky - tasting notes


16 Mar 2012 | * News

Because Tuesday (or Wednesday) was such a tragic day.











Comparing a bourbon and a sherry version is probably not very meaningful, but let’s try another early 90’s Glen Scotia. This time a Glen Scotia 1992 bottled by Silver Seal.


Glen Scotia 1992 - Silver SealGlen Scotia 19 yo 1992
(59,2%, Silver Seal ‘Sestante Collection’ 2011, sherry butt, 321 btl.)

Nose: very punchy and overt. A good example of gunpowder sherry. Mineral notes, graphite and quite some vegetal notes and meaty notes. Not exactly dirty but not very enjoyable either. Mouth: pretty rough and extremely hot (not only alcohol, but a burning chilli pepper sensation). Gunpowder and flints again. Burnt grass. Liquorice. A hint of tar. Lots of herbal notes towards the end, almost like a medicinal herbal potion. It seems the nose was the better part after all. Finish: long, full, with a tiny sweetness and some dry, bitter notes.

Fireworks in a bottle, in more than one sense. Around € 140 in Holland, € 160 in Belgium and Italy. Not something you should buy without trying beforehand, certainly not at such a goofy price.

Score: 78/100

A brand-new Glen Scotia 1991 bottled by Malts of Scotland.


Glen Scotia 1991 Malts of ScotlandGlen Scotia 20 yo 1991 (54,5%, Malts of Scotland 2012, bourbon hogshead MoS 12009, 158 btl.)

Nose: elegant nose with lots of pipe tobacco (the sort of mild tobacco with a nice vanilla edge) and hints of cigar boxes. Very subtle exhaust fumes. Underneath is a leathery element and hints of toffee sweetness and raisins to round it off. Old linen and library dust as well. Different kinds of fresh herbs. Vanilla. Needs some airing, but it’s certainly complex with a subtly out-of-bounds character that works really well. Mouth: again quite unusual, with the same kind of tobacco feeling and hints of dust. The old Campbeltown style. Quite some herbal notes and roasted nuts. Oranges. A light saltiness and bitterness as well. Liquorice and aniseed. Finish: long, with dried grasses and a very faint caramel / chocolate note.

Another Glen Scotia that’s all but middle-of-the-road. I love how they can be complex but strange and intriguing at the same time. An adventurous dram, I adore it. Around € 100.

Score: 90/100

I’m a little late with this, but it’s too good to just forget about it. This Linkwood 1984 was one of the first releases by The Whiskyman.


Linkwood 1984 - The WhiskymanLinkwood 26 yo 1984 ‘Eleanor Whisky’
(49,2%, The Whiskyman 2011, 88 btl.)

Nose: aromatic and rather sweet, with fruity elements (apple, apricot, orange). Nicely balanced by some mint and heather. Hints of orange blossom. Excellent beehive notes as well (beeswax, honey, pollen). A hint of vanilla. Fresh oak. Over time it develops some damp earthy notes (not sure about this, but at least it doesn’t bring down the otherwise very attractive nose). Mouth: quite fruity again (oranges, apples, pineapple) with honey and a malty base. Elegant spicy notes from the oak (mint, ginger, anise, peppermint). A little heather again. Well-balanced with a gentle woody kick giving it some depth. Finish: long and warm, with fruits and drier notes from the wood.

One of the best Linkwoods I’ve had so far. Great Speyside fruitiness with balanced spices. Around € 120 at the time. Now sold out.

Score: 90/100

Silver Seal Sestante labelSilver Seal may be a new name on this blog, but this bottler dates back to 1979 and inherited the legacy of the famous Italian bottler Sestante. While they started as an occasional “third level bottler” sticking their own labels on Douglas Laing releases, they’re now regularly coming out with own bottlings.

It’s the highly respected Max Righi (Whisky Antique) who is now running the company and selecting the casks. Besides whisky, they’re releasing quite some rum as well. After Whiskybase and Jurgen’s Whiskyhuis became official distributors, bottles are seen more often in this part of Europe so I’m glad to try a few expressions.

This Glen Keith 1991 was bottled in the classic 70cl bottles as well as in 30x 1,5l magnums (for those of you who are really thirsty).


Glen Keith 1991- Silver SealGlen Keith 18 yo 1991
(46%, Silver Seal ‘Sestante Collection’ 2009)

Nose: starts on juicy fruits (gooseberries, nectarines, pineapple) with a lovely flowery touch (buttercups, chamomile). Quite honeyed, with a marmalade sweetness. Soft notes of hay and mint. Mouth: oily and honeyed, maybe lacking a little punch when compared to the similar Glen Keith 1990 by Malts of Scotland. Very vibrant though. Big fruitiness (yellow apples, pineapple again), maybe more fruit candy than actual fruits. Hints of ginger and oak. An easy style maybe, but well done. Finish: medium long, with the same fruits, mocha and soft spices.

Good selection, and another great Glen Keith from the early 1990’s. Sold out in Holland. Still available in Italy (€ 116) or in Belgium (€ 132), in both cases overpriced.

Score: 89/100

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



November 2015
« Oct    

Coming up

  • Lindores 2015 festival bottling
  • Amrut 2009 (cask #2701)
  • 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)

1931 notes by Ruben

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