Here’s the latest Malts of Scotland release. They keep launching new bottlings at a high rate and most of them are really worth a review.
As you know, independent Glengoynes are very rare, so we should thank Malts of Scotland for their Glengoyne 1972, Glengoyne 1973 and this new Glengoyne 1998. It comes from a first-fill sherry hogshead and the colour is quite fabulous. Blacker than Black Bowmore?
Long, slow legs announce a great spirit. Nose: a truly classic oloroso nose with sultanas, dried prunes and dried oranges. Slightly prickly but
spot on! Sweet black cherries, raspberry and hints of tobacco. Some vanilla toffee and lovely pine resin. Mouth: bold sherry again: prunes, honey, fruit cake. Hints of liquorice and dark chocolate. A very clean cask without rubber or sulphur. Finish: long, on raspberry jam and raisins. Fading out on cloves.
An excellent Glengoyne for “dark sherry” lovers, although you could argue that the sherry dominates the distillery character. This will be a hit anyway. Great price as well: € 60.
Apart from the Macallan Speymalt 1970/2009, this Lochside is another Gordon & MacPhail release exclusively for La Maison du Whisky. It will be presented at Whisky Live Paris.
Lochside 28yo 1981 (56,1%, G&M for La Maison du Whisky 2009, refill sherry hogshead #803, 205 btl.)
Nose: very aromatic and complex. There’s so much going on that it was difficult to write everything down before another association came up. A rather sharp, mineral start. After two minutes, there is lovely lemon grass. Fruits as well, starting on grapefruit and tangerine but evolving into the tropical fruits (mango, pineapple). Obvious waxy notes as well (rather close in style to Clynelish). A few flowery notes. The sherry is rather shy. Mouth: very assertive. More oak influence now, fruity marmelade, still some wax. Lemon. Slightly peppery. Dried oranges. Finish: quite long on grapefruit. Drying with a spicy edge (pepper, liquorice).
A Lochside with a terrific nose that can entertain for a long time. On the palate, it’s less of a kameleon but still very very good. At around € 115, very good value for money.
I’ll compare it to the Lochside 1987/2008 by The Whisky Agency (Perfect Dram series) in a few days.
Bunnahabhain normally produces an unpeated spirit, but occasionally you can find a peated version. A lot of these were distilled in 1997, when the distillery manager decided to make something for “peatophiles”.
This is one of the recent additions to the Malts of Scotland range.
Nose: it’s the peated barley that’s talking here. Ashes. Quite peppery, hints of tyres and chalk. Pleasant notes of pencil shavings and pear in the distance. The sherry shines through in notes of eucalyptus and a bit of butter caramel, but it’s not at all overpowering so it may have been a second fill cask. After a while, some candy sugar appears which makes it a bit more expressive and rounded. Mouth: very powerful attack, very peaty and a tad bitterish. Very smokey. Again the sherry is on a second level, but it’s still trying to fight back (faint notes of fruit marmelade). Roasted nuts. Salty liquorice as well. Not the most complex whisky but still nice and balanced. Finish: long, quite organic with a dash of salt.
A very good Bunnahabhain with big muscles. Around € 60.
This Macallan 1970/2009 is one of the exclusive single casks that will be presented at Whisky Live Paris 2009 (September 26-28).
La Maison du Whisky often has exclusive Gordon & MacPhail releases, like the recent Linkwood 1990/2009 for LMdW. They’ve proven to pick some very interesting casks.
Macallan ‘Speymalt’ 1970 (46%, Gordon & MacPhail for LMdW 2009, sherry butt #8326, 530 btl.)
Nose: following the tradition of the great 18yo sherry bottlings. Big on prunes, hints of a chocolate store, blood oranges and tangerine. Raisins, nuts and fig jam but at the same time fresher, younger fruit, like raspberries. Bananas glazed with rum. Heather honey. Very interesting hints of ginger, cumin and other fresh herbs. This was obviously a wonderful cask. Mouth: very elegant and coating. Dried fruits, figs again, baked apples and notes of bergamot tea.Oranges. Strawberries. Hints of natural caramel and smoke. Roasted coffee beans. Some nutmeg and pepper. Finish: light wood influence, slightly drier. Hints of toffee, dried fruits, tobacco and liquorice.
A very noble dram. This Macallan is lively and perfectly balanced. Not too woody for me. Recommended, certainly because the price is acceptable (€ 195).
As you know, new make spirit needs to be matured for at least 3 years in oak casks before it can be labeled “whisky”. This Glentauchers 2006 is whisky, but only barely.
Glentauchers is a Chivas-owned distillery without official bottlings. Although it has a significant production capacity, everything is blended into the Ballantine’s and Chivas Regal blends. Independent bottlings have also been available from Duncan Taylor, Blackadder, Gordon & MacPhail… This 20cl bottling is part of the Càrn Mòr vintage collection.
Glentauchers 3yo 2006
(46%, Carn Mor 2009, 921 btl.)
Nose: still very typically new-make, very sweet with hints of banana and Frosties (Frosted Flakes). The raw materials are easily recognizable. Some hints of fruit (pear, tinned pineapple) and vanilla but not complex. Mouth: this is interesting. More fruit, marshmallows, sweet apples and quite some spices (nutmeg, pepper, ginger). Some cocoa towards the finish. Hints of speculoos? Finish: very long, very sweet and slightly peppered.
In a way, this is quite enjoyable, although you can’t compare it to proper malt whisky. I would be happy to have it as an aperitif. Around € 10 for 20cl.
A couple of weeks ago, The Scottish Liqueur Centre launched Càrn Mòr, a series of 24 different vintages, one for each year between 1983 and 2006. They’re all from a different distillery and bottled in 20cl bottles.
I like the idea of smaller bottles, because I’m more of a taster than a drinker and most of my open bottles take months or years to finish. The complete collection costs around € 450 with single bottles between € 10 – 30.
I’ll be reviewing some of the expressions really soon:
The Japanese Yamazaki distillery is owned by the Suntory holding and is based in the outskirts of Kyoto. Unlike most Scottish distilleries, the stills at Yamazaki are all different in size and shape. They used some Japanese oak casks in the period after World War II, which gave the whisky a unique flavour profile, but nowadays they use sherry casks as well.
This March 1982 vintage was matured in sherry wood and has a wonderful amber colour. It seems impossible to find this bottling any more.
Yamazaki 15y 1982
(45%, OB 1997, Sherry Wood)
Nose: delicious notes of cedar wood (cigar box) and walnuts. Plum jam. Some toffee and raisins. Clearly sherried, but not full-on. Minty chocolate. Roasted nuts and caramel. Mouth: more in-your-face sherry now. Prunes, dried fruit, bitter oranges. Grapes. Berries. Long finish, getting very dry (cloves) and rather oaky. Hints of Pedro Ximenez sherry in the aftertaste.
Very well made, with a wonderful nose. Too much oak to be stunning though.
There’s a new Daily Dram bottling and it promises to be a very good one. Synch Elli is the anagram for Clynelish. It’s a 1982 vintage, matured for 27 years. The price is around € 100.
You may already know this whisky, because it’s actually the same cask as the Clynelish that The Perfect Dram released a couple of weeks ago.
There are three other new Daily Drams: a Laphroaig Rigah Opal (13yo 1996 – € 70), a Glen Garioch Glaring Echo (18yo 1991 – € 80) and the new Daily Dram Undercover n°4 (19yo undisclosed Speysider, Balvenie maybe? - € 75).
Stay tuned for a review.