Single malt whisky - tasting notes

Daily Dram - Undercover

Good news: Daily Dram has three new bottlings named Undercover. The distilleries are undisclosed, but two of the whiskies are made on Islay (14y and 15y) and one on the Isle of Skye (24y – this should be Talisker because this is the only distillery on Skye). 

Let’s hope they bring some bottles to the Whisky Festival in Gent this weekend!


As a fan of peated Speysiders, there’s no way around BenRiach. They’re one of the distilleries that have a tradition of making peated drams alongside the regular, typical style of the region.

In 2007, BenRiach launched a series of 3 peated expressions, matured in American oak casks and finished in sherry, port and rum barrels. The ‘Arumaticus Fumosus’ version that I’m reviewing was the Jamaican dark rum batch. Only 1740 bottles.

 

BenRiach Arumaticus Fumosus 12y - Jamaican Dark Rum

Benriach 12y Arumaticus Fumosus (46%, OB, 2007, Jamaican Dark Rum finish, 1740 btl.)

Nose: very original. A lot of peat, clean and very oily. Some “fresh” medicins as well (what’s that supposed to mean?) Anyway, this could have been made on Islay. The rum is on a second level. Hints of banana and heather, some earthy notes and dark sugar. Mouth: the peat seems to come and go now, alternating with softer spices. Quite dry. Finish: the spices develop further (ginger, eucalyptus, vanilla), sugared coffee notes as well. Long aftertaste, really dry.

This is one of my favourite peated ‘every day drams’. It had a fair price (€ 45) yet it offers a unique style that I didn’t find in other whiskies. Perfect for a tough winter like the current one. I’m trying to save what’s left in my bottle…

Score: 85/100.


Being the only distillery on the Isle of Skye, Talisker opened in 1830, but most of it was rebuilt in 1960 after a fire. It never managed to be a first rate whisky in terms of interest and sales, but the ‘Classic Malts of Scotland‘ series helped it to become one of the most talked about distilleries. This bottling was only available at the distillery, alhough I didn’t buy it there. Some stores have access to it through Friends of Classic Malts Switzerland.

There’s no age statement but it is said to be between 8 and 10 years old. Not sure how limited this is. My bottle is number 2010. In 2007, they released an updated version at 53,9%.

 

 

talisker

Talisker NAS (59,2%, OB 2003, ‘for sale only at the distillery’)

Nose: starts on earthy smells, a forest after the rain and wet stones. Sharp peat with some lemon and a nice touch of cinnamon. A tad farmy. The usual pepper and sea air is here as well. Very good but on the downside, it’s a little clean and I’m missing a bit of the volcanic warmth of other Taliskers. Mouth: a powerful attack and oily delivery. Really peaty and peppery. More smoke than on the nose. Quite hot, not much else to taste after that. Gets slightly bittersweet in the aftertaste.

Not your average Talisker. Very good and punchy but still there seems to be an iron harness around this dram, which prevents it from breaking open and showing its true complexity. Otherwise it could easily have been a 90+. Water didn’t help much.

Price: around € 140.
Score: 89/100.


Linkwood distillery was established in 1821, but it was not very popular until the 20th century. Now it’s highly regarded in the blending industry. There is basically just one official bottling (in the Flora & Fauna series) but a few months ago, Diageo launched 3 new expressions of 26 year old, finished Linkwoods (rum, port and red wine finish).

 

 

Linkwood 1974 23y Rare MaltsLinkwood 23y 1974
(61,2%, Rare Malts, 1997)

Nose: starts pretty waxy and grassy. Mineral notes. You could think this was Clynelish. After some time, sweeter flavours become noticeable: tangerine, apple and papaya. Roses and other floral notes as well. Fresh mint leaves. Quite expressive although not too complex. Mouth: a bit alcoholic, starts on vanilla with oranges. Some melon and oak influence as well. Gets drier with spicy notes. Peppery finish. Good, especially the nose.

Score: 82/100.


Whiskyfestival Gent

05 Feb 2009 | * News

13-15 February 2009, ICC Gent
www.whiskyfestival.be

I’ve missed out on most of the Belgian whisky festivals last year, so I’m definitely going to Gent. Let’s hope there are lots of interesting things to discover: the new Daily Dram bottlings will be there (with a new Irish Our Angel), or the festival bottling maybe, a BenRiach single cask n°83038 (ex-bourbon). I’ve heard that Jim Murray won’t be there – no signed Bible this year.


Let’s review another Laphroaig after the Laphroaig Cairdeas. It’s a single cask bottling by The Nectar in their Daily Dram series. It received a silver medal at the 2008 Malt Maniacs Awards (86 points) so we can expect it to be good.

Aloha Grip is another funny anagram for Laphroaig. Earlier in 2008, they had a 9 years old bottling called Hag Rap Oil.

 

alohagrip

Aloha Grip – Laphroaig 1992 16y (58%, Daily Dram 2008, 180 btl.)

Peaty, but not overwhelming. Very round, with even less smoke and iodine on the nose than the Cairdeas. Lemon and sweet apple. Vanilla. Nice coastal notes which grow stronger if you add a drop of water. Powerful mouth. I really like the fact that there are different waves of flavour that seem to come and go: lemon at first, then getting spicier and hotter, a small peat explosion with a pinch of salt and afterwards notes of Napoleon lemon sweets (without the sour centre that is) and lemon pie with distant ashes. A parade of typical Laphroaig notes. Long, sweet finish.

Not a cheap dram (almost € 100) but a Laphroaig cask with a lot to offer. Sold out according to The Nectar, but a few stores still seem to have stock.

Score: 86/100.


Glenrothes 1975

02 Feb 2009 | Glenrothes

Only 2% of the production of The Glenrothes is used for single malt bottlings. The majority is used in blends such as Cutty Sark and The Famous Grouse. Interestingly, since 1993, they release vintage bottlings, each of a single year, instead of focusing on certain ages like most distilleries do. This is the result of Glenrothes being distributed by Berry Bros & Rudd, whose core business is selling wine.

I have a weak spot for The Glenrothes, especially because I think they have the nicest bottle design on the market (although Bruichladdich also realized that attractive design can boost sales).

Glenrothes 1975 

The 1975 was launched in 2006 and is the rarest Glenrothes vintage ever. Only 3708 bottles were made available of this 31 year old whisky, and at the moment it’s almost extinct (expect to pay € 350 if you find one).

The Glenrothes 1975 31y
(43%, OB 2006)

Fruity nose (peach, orange), lots of vanilla. Hints of honey coated nuts as well. Really streamlined with a balanced wood influence. Mouth: big grapefruit coming through together with almonds and more vanilla. Soft finish on spices (lemongrass, pepper, cinnamon) with chocolate. It could have been more powerful (why not try 46% like other brands?) but it’s still very satisfying and harmonious. A showcase of Speyside.

Score: 88/100.


Glenmorangie SonnaltaGlenmorangie Sonnalta PXJohn Hansell’s website announced a new range of Glenmorangie ”private expressions” today. The Glenmorangie Sonnalta PX will be the first release in this series. It will be finished in Pedro Ximenez  casks, the darkest, richest type of sherry with intense notes of raisins and syrup (dessert wine of course).

It’s said to be fruity (raisins, coconut, banana, apple) and light, sort of an aperitif whisky.

Glenmorangie Sonnalta will be available in travel retail only for around € 70.

I will be reviewing most of the current Glenmorangie expressions (Original, Lasanta, Nectar d’Or, Quinta Ruban, Signet) in the next couple of weeks, by the way.


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Coming up

  • GlenDronach 1990 (PX cask #2970)
  • Highland Journey
  • GlenDronach 1993 Oloroso cask #494
  • Glen Elgin 1985 (Maltbarn)
  • Fettercairn Fior
  • Cardhu 18 Year Old
  • Ben Nevis 2002 (Port cask #334)
  • Tomatin Cuatro series

1614 notes by Ruben

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