The second of two new releases by The Whisky Mercenary: Braeval 1991 or more correctly: Braes o’ Glenlivet as the distillery was called until 1995.
Braeval 21 yo 1991
(47,7%, The Whisky Mercenary 2013)
Nose: a nice, warm fruit basket, with buttery pears, raspberry, banana and mango. Coconut cream as well as white chocolate. Honey and cinnamon cookies. Marshmallow. Also pleasant background dust, oak polish and mint, in case the fruity notes made you think it was youngish. Rather excellent. Mouth: sweet and fruity again. Tropical banana / coconut combo. Pineapple. Hints of roasted almonds and grain cookies. Chocolate. More spicy than on the nose (ginger and nutmeg). Fades on hay and grasses. Finish: quite long, sweet and spicy with fading cocoa.
The scoop of introducing great Braeval 1991 was for Master of Malt, but this one is just as good. More expensive though. Around € 90.
Unfortunately I had to skip last Sunday’s edition of the #DavinTT Twitter tasting on Canadian whisky. But obviously I had the sample so here’s my review. Next Sunday is the last edition.
Danfield’s is marketed by Williams & Churchill but as often in Canadian whisky, it is only a brand name, and it’s made at a different distillery (The Black Velvet Distillery). Canadian laws allow them to state ‘Distilled and bottled by Williams & Churchill’ on the label.
Danfield’s is made from rye, corn and malted barley in a small batch process and “blended at birth” rather than blended after separate maturation. Also, as mentioned on the label, it is passed through a diamond dust filter – not sure how that should be noticed in the final product.
Danfield’s Limited Edition 21 yo
(40%, OB +/- 2013)
Nose: quite smooth, with quite a lot of silky polished oak. Really nice, close to what you can expect from an old Scotch in terms of oakiness. Also quite sweet and round, displaying caramel, baked apple with cinnamon, banana, vanilla cake and a little maple syrup. Close to bourbon whiskey, though with a typical rye dust / limestone note. Like! Mouth: less sweet than expected. A lot of oak now, quite dry and slightly tannic / planky. Pepper, cloves, nutmeg and hot ginger. Good thing this is only 40%, otherwise it would have been over the top. The fruitiness and caramel is in the background now. Gets rather zesty in the end (grapefruit skin). Finish: long but quickly getting thinner, with lingering pepper and citrus bitterness.
On the nose, this one is a great example of the possibility to have Canadian whisky at higher ages. But the palate is very oaky. Only available in Canada. Typically under € 40, how nice is that?
Not too long ago we reviewed GlenDronach Cask Strength batch #1, and now there’s a new batch 2. Again a vatting of oloroso and Pedro Ximénez matured casks and bottled at a marginally higher strength. I’m comparing it head-to-head with my bottle of batch 1.
According to GlenDronach’s Alistair Walker, the new batch exceeds the expectations set by the old one. Let’s find out whether that’s marketing babble.
GlenDronach ‘Cask Strength’
(55,2%, OB 2013, batch #2)
Nose: initially very similar, so far so good. It’s only on a second level that differences become apparent. The new batch is a little less bright and prickly at first sight and a bit more cocoa-like. Still packed with raisins and toffee. Batch #2 also has a little more mint and charred oak, but it looses some of the rummy banana notes. Slightly flatter and less fruity, but generally the same quality. Mouth: Same evolution from fruity notes and honey over cocoa towards spices (ginger, aniseed, chilli) and herbs. Slightly more emphasis on the herbs, while batch #1 seemed a little fruitier again. Is there a hint of smoke in this one? Finish: long, on Jägermeister herbs, liquorice and bigger oak spices.
It’s great to see they could replicate this winning dram so closely. It’s difficult to find big differences, but the first one leaves a slightly brighter, fruitier, more elegant impression. In my opinion batch #2 can’t claim it’s better than batch #1, it meets the expectations but it doesn’t exceed them. Same pricing: around € 65 again.
Another Teaninich 1973 in direct comparison with the cask by Malts of Scotland bottled a couple of months ago. This one is part of the Faces series.
Teaninich 40 yo 1973 (42%, The Whisky Agency ‘Faces’ 2013, refill sherry hogshead, 213 btl.)
Nose: very similar to the Malts of Scotland cask. Gooseberries, unripe banana, kiwi… Maybe slightly less sour and slightly less pronounced oak. Sure, there’s wood but it brings a sense of oldness rather than a sourness, if you know what I mean. Same honey and mint. Yellow flowers. The whole also had a hint of old rum that I don’t get in the MoS version. Maybe this roundness comes from the sherry cask, maybe not. Nice. Mouth: the attack seems slightly bitter here (more than 0,2% bigger). Banana, yellow plums, oranges, pineapple. Mint / eucalyptus combo. The oak seems more toasted, even faintly smoky? Tobacco leaves in any case, some cedar. Weakens rather quickly. Finish: maybe a tad longer, maybe it’s just imagination. Same fruity / minty fade.
The two casks are closely together, but I prefer this one for its rummy roundness on the nose and its slightly bigger impact on the palate. Close call though, so let’s give the same score, both are on the subtle side and this one is the more expensive choice. Around € 235.
It may be a silly goal wanting to try whisky from every single distillery in Scotland, but now that I’m close to achieving it, I’d like to ask for your help and tick the last names.
I’m not talking about the really new ones like Daftmill or Wolfburn (their time will come), nor about the ones that are really lost, like Maltmill. The ones I’m missing are very rare malts but not absolutely unfindable. If you have a bottle and you want to share a small sample, send me an e-mail please. I’m sure I can send you something interesting in return.
Very few casks of Teaninich hit the market as a single malt, most of it is blended into Johnnie Walker. We’ll compare this Teaninich 1973 by Malts of Scotland head-to-head with a sister cask that has just been bottled by The Whisky Agency (review coming up on Monday).
Teaninich 39 yo 1973
(41,8%, Malts of Scotland 2012, bourbon hogshead, MoS 13011, 198 btl.)
Nose: needs some airing, but folds open in a fruity way with a tropical twist. Banana, apple, kiwi, mango and sour berries. Nice sweet & sour balance. Also floral notes, with a faint potpourri edge. Hints of honey and spearmint. Toasted oak as well as pine forest in the background. Mouth: not a big attack but very juicy, with sweet and sour elements again. Banana, kiwi, peach and oranges. Mint and menthol give it a sort of freshly cooling effect. The oak has been turned up a notch, with a slight bitterness. Orange marmalade. Stops developing rather quickly. Finish: not too long, with citrus, oak and a discreet minty, metallic note.
Good stuff, no doubt. Whisky from the 1970′s is getting rare and expensive so it’s nice to see these kind of interesting releases. Around € 200.
This Miltonduff 1982 is part of the Faces series by The Whisky Agency. Every label features artwork with… well… faces. Other drams in this batch: Teaninich 1973, Bowmore 1996 and Littlemill 1988.
Miltonduff 30 yo 1982
(50,1%, The Whisky Agency ‘Faces’ 2013, refill bourbon hogshead, 269 btl.)
Nose: nice fruits, but slightly shy. Grapefruits and unripe peaches. Crystallized oranges. Fresh and slightly tart. Some grainy notes. Vanilla in the background. Becoming more floral and fragrant after a while, coming close to women’s powder at times. Mouth: quite malty, with hints of white bread crust and beer. The same kind of garden fruits. Lots of (cider) apple, now also lemon. Overall fresh but quite neutral. Slightly more spicy oak and hints of tobacco towards the end. Finish: fruity, with hints of herbs and cocoa now.
A nicely vibrant dram with surprisingly little ‘oldness’ to be found, but somehow I don’t like this one as much as I remember the Miltonduff 1980 releases from a while ago. Around € 150.
Trying the latest Whisky Agency releases is always a joy and whenever the festival in Limburg takes place, you know there’s going to be a new batch of releases. There’s a new ‘Faces’ series and in the Perfect Dram range we have a Tomintoul 1968, Laphroaig 2000, Bowmore 1997 and this Glencadam 1973.
Glencadam 39 yo 1973
(44,1%, The Whisky Agency ‘Perfect Dram’ 2013, bourbon hogshead, 221 btl.)
Nose: a very ripe fruitiness. Yellow plum jam, blueberry jam, tangerine, banana and apricots. Also a creamy note of coconut butter and vanilla. Honey. Warm leather. Some mature oak with gentle hints of resin. Warm and seductive. Mouth: still fruity, but it’s a slightly thinner fruitiness than the nose suggested. Mostly apricot and plum. Hints of chamomile tea. Then the spices come about: mint, nutmeg and light pepper. There’s also a sourish “green” note in the background that I find interesting but difficult to describe. Maybe lemongrass or Kaffir. Finish: quite long, malty and slightly oaky. Hints of fruit tea.
A very beautiful nose on this Glencadam. An enjoyable palate as well, even though the oak is more noticeable. Around € 230.