In 2011, Kilchoman will release three new products: Kilchoman 5 years old (November), a full sherry matured version (September) and this Kilchoman 100% Islay, a 3 year-old made from barley grown malted, distilled, matured and bottled on Islay.
This fits the idea of being a farm distillery producing their own ingredients. It’s similar to Bruichladdich‘s ‘Islay Barley’ bottling, but their barley was still malted on the mainland.
Apart from this regular bottling at 50%, there’s also a limited edition, bottled at cask strength (61,3%) and presented in a hand-crafted American oak box, available for a slightly surreal € 215. As far as I know, it’s a different vatting, not just a different strength.
Kilchoman 3 yo ‘Inaugural 100% Islay’ (50%, OB 2011)
Nose: a powerful attack displaying an almost aggressive youthfulness. Instant lemon / grapefruit aromas, slightly synthetic rhubarb and intense coal smoke. Some grainy vanilla biscuits. Chalk. Faint medicinal notes as well. Mouth: sweet, peaty and smoky. Initially there are the medicinal notes again, but these evolve into softer, sweeter notes. Roasted grain cookies and lemon zest again. Apples. Finish: medium long, peaty with a fruity sweetness and whiffs of pepper.
Until the older releases arrive, Kilchoman can only offer a rather immature whisky (with quite some potential). While this is still the case, they seem to achieve a nicer balance even at the same young age. Quality is going up and so are the prices. Around € 80.
Bladnoch, Acorn and Douglais Laing have bottled casks of Teaninich 1982 in the last few months, which is great as we don’t see Teaninch on the market very often. Today we’re trying a release by Liquid Sun.
Teaninich 28 yo 1982 (50,5%, Liquid Sun 2011, bourbon hogshead, 114 btl.)
Nose: elegant and medium fruity (apples, quinces, white grape juice) with plenty of oak polish and linseed oil. Some gristy notes as well. Hay and wet leaves. Mint, soft pepper. Nice balance of fruits and a Highlands austerity. Mouth: gentle start, but full of flavour, again rather gristy with hints of sawdust. After that it grows sweeter and fruitier, with honey, sweet barley and warming oak spices. Cloves and white pepper. Finish: spicy dryness from the oak, with hints of vanilla and tea.
A fairly neutral Teaninch, with pleasant Highlands elements, soft fruits and a perfect dose of oak influence. A nice bottling if you want to get acquainted with this low profile distillery. Around € 120.
Ardbeg distilled in 1975 is usually quite stunning. But not always…
Ardbeg 18 yo 1975 (43%, Signatory Vintage 1993, cask #2464-67)
Nose: gentle start with mellow peat and a softly honeyed sweetness. Then it takes off in two different directions. There’s a medicinal / maritime side, quite nice, with seaweed, antiseptics and menthol. The other side is lemony but also a little fragrant and flowery. Overall very good but maybe not stellar like other 1970’s Ardbeg. Mouth: a bit too soft. Lemony and oily. Smoke, some earthy peat. Picks up strength but also less impressive notes, a mix of bitter oranges and soap. Bugger. Not as bad as Bowmore 1980’s kind of soap, but not what we were expecting either. Finish: rather long and warm, but by now I can’t focus on anything else but the soapiness.
One of the least impressive Ardbegs I’ve ever had. The nose saves it from a 70’ish score.
Tasting really old malts asks for a specific set of descriptors. I don’t feel very confident with whisky distilled before +/- 1965, but it never hurts to gain some experience. The fact that these ancient malts are difficult to describe is exactly what makes them interesting.
This Glenlivet was distilled in 1954 and imported by Baretto, their exclusive Italian importer at that time.
Glenlivet 15 yo 1954
(45,7%, OB for Baretto Import Milano)
Nose: dried fruits with honey and quite some vanilla. Smoked apricot? Bread crust. Candle wax. Whiffs of coal. Caramel and milk chocolate (hints of Milky Way). Nuts. Rather great, excellent example of old style, “hand-made” malts. Mouth: not too thick. Toffee and almonds. Hints of peat in the distance? Praline and nougat. Waxy and slightly smoky. Camomile tea. Develops a few savoury notes as well. Finish: still quite sweet, with dried fruits and a soft bitterness. Cocoa.
A very enjoyable and classy Glenlivet. It’s a bit soft on the palate (not uncommon for such old malts) but that’s about the only downside. Certainly high quality. Auction value around € 400-500? Many thanks, Dominiek!
The time has come. Every autumn, Diageo, owner of 28 Scottish single malt whisky distilleries, unveils a small and highly desirable collection of limited edition single malt Scotch whiskies. Here are this year’s Special Releases.
Brora 32 yo 1978 (54,7% – € 350 – 1404 btl.)
Caol Ila unpeated 12 yo 1999 (€ 60 – 6000 btl.)
Glenury Royal 40 yo 1970 (€ 650 – 1404 btl.)
Knockando 25 yo 1985 (46% – € 160 – 4500 btl.)
Lagavulin 12 yo (57,5% – € 70)
Port Dundas 20 yo 1990 (57,4% – € 130 – 1920 btl.)
Port Ellen 32 yo 11th Release (53,9% – € 350 – 2988 btl.)
Rosebank 21 yo (53,3% – € 180 – 5604 btl.)
Update 1: prices have been added. Thanks Jack! Update 2: official information now added.
This means no Talisker but instead a couple of interesting distilleries that we don’t see too often, like Knockando, Rosebank and the Lowlands grain distillery Port Dundas. The first ever grain Special release, right?
Bottlings are due in December. In the meantime they will refresh the Distiller’s Editions of Talisker, Glenkinchie, Royal Lochnagar, Dalwhinnie, Cragganmore, Coal Ila, Clynelish and Lagavulin.
Almost a year since we’ve reviewed a product of The Whisky Exchange, but now they seem to have a couple of new things in the pipeline. First there was a sherried Springbank 1999 and now the new Port Askaig 19yo and this Rosebank 1991 in the revamped Single Malts of Scotland series.
Rosebank 19 yo 1991 (46%, Single Malts of Scotland 2011 cask #311, 285 btl.)
Nose: nicely light and fragrant. Both fresh fruits (apple, citrus) and fruity side notes (lemon scented candles). Elegant with a minty freshness. Tiny mineral hints with overtones of dried flowers and grass. Mouth: a similar light-footed freshness here, with sweet barley, vanilla and apple juice. Evolves on lemon zest, mild notes of grass and pine wood. Liquorice. A soft bitterness in the background. Finish: medium long, with citrus zest, some vanilla sweetness and soft spices from the oak.
Although it doesn’t seem 20 years old, this Rosebank strikes a good balance between a gentle softness, medium complexity and interesting grassy notes. Available from TWE for just under € 90, expect it to show up in other shops as well.
With all the lovely 1970’s Longmorn, it’s easy to loose sight of the younger production. Last year we’ve had a similar Longmorn 1996 from Daily Dram.
Longmorn 14 yo 1996 (46%, A.D. Rattray 2011, bourbon cask #97630, 304 btl.)
Nose: lots of sweet, candied notes (wine gums, crystallized fruits) as well as fresh fruits (peaches, apples and nice strawberries). Very summery. Some waxy / oily notes as well. Hay. Hints of vanilla and mint. Mouth: very sweet with an oily texture again. Big almond notes and sweet oak. Apricots on syrup. Vanilla custard. Heavy honey. Hints of caramel. Relatively few spices to be found (some cinnamon) or other flavours to balance the major sweetness. Finish: medium long, less sweet now and slightly more resinous with uncommon (but really nice) hints of carambola fruits.
An enjoyable Longmorn with a big fruity sweetness and nice oily elements. Bring it on when the summer returns (damn, that might take a while). Around € 45.