Single malt whisky - tasting notes

Wemyss Malts announced the release of six new single casks. We’re trying the Bowmore 1998 nicknamed Cacao Geyser.


Bowmore 1998 Cacao Geyser - WemyssBowmore 1998 ‘Cacao Geyser’ (46%, Wemyss 2014, sherry butt, 737 btl.)

Nose: reminds me of the Bowmore 1995/2008 SMOS. Huge tobacco notes, with a bit of dusty leather and huge notes of Mexican chocolate discs. Figs. Also flinty notes and whiffs of gunpowder and rubber (nothing dirty). Lots of ashes. After a while it settles on a sweet & sour balance, with echoes of Balsamico. Mouth: slightly fruitier than expected, with pretty spectacular notes of blackcurrants. The dark chocolate is also present of course, but I would have chosen Cassis Geyser. Deep cigar smoke. Hints of prunes, with a peppery / gingery base. Jaffa cakes and salty liquorice towards the end. Finish: long, smoky and briney with lingering sherry.

This Bowmore shows the biggest blackcurrant notes I’ve ever encountered in whisky – I love that. A nice profile that you don’t see too often. Around € 95, arriving in stores as we speak.

Score: 89/100

The Whisky Mercenary already released a Glenlossie 1992 in 2012. At the end of 2014 he released a similar expression selected by BYOB-C, which stands for Bring your own bottle club, a newish Belgian whisky club.


Glenlossie 1992 - Whisky Mercenary for BYOB-CGlenlossie 22 yo 1992
(48,2%, The Whisky Mercenary for BYOB-C 2014, 48 btl.)

Nose: aromatic with a firm fruity base (pears, gooseberries, melons). Touches of vanilla, mint and fresh grass. Soft waxy notes. Clean and easy, all fine. Mouth: apples, pears, maybe a little more citrus now. Still very fruity, with an underlying fructose sweetness. Soft spices (ginger, pepper) which grow louder towards the end. Also moving from sweetness towards gentle bitterness. Finish: medium, sweet, gingery.

You can’t fault this Glenlossie in any way. It’s bright and fruity with enough body. That said, the sequel isn’t better than the original in this case. Around € 110.

Score: 84/100

We have too little Blackadder whiskies on this website, I guess. This label by Robin Tucek has a pretty good reputation, but somehow it manages to stay out of my focus.

This Bunnahabhain 1987 was distilled November 1987 and bottled May 2014. Plenty of similar casks in the 24xx-25xx range have been bottled in the past couple of years.



Bunnahabhain 26yo 1987 BlackadderBunnahabhain 26 yo 1987
(61,7%, Blackadder Raw Cask 2014, hogshead #2488, 192 btl.)

Nose: some estery notes at first, moving towards garden fruits and oranges as well as some golden raisins. Polished oak. Honey and cinnamon buns. Unfolds nicely, growing slightly more tropical and jammy. Some earthy and spicy notes in the background. Mouth: rich and fruity (apricots, raisins, oranges and whitecurrant), quite sweet and honeyed with hints of vanilla, mocha and chocolate. Subtle drier notes of cinnamon, tobacco and walnuts. Enough oak, but the pleasant kind. Grassy notes too, but these soften with a few drops of water. Finish: long and rather green, half fruity (candy apple), half grassy with some ashy touches.

A beautiful Bunnahabhain, probably from a refill sherry cask. We’ve had all kinds of 1987 casks (bourbon, subtle sherry, dark sherry) and they were all pretty great. This one needs a bit of water. Around € 180. Thank you, Angelo.

Score: 90/100

New Cragganmore expressions rarely hit the market (the last one was four years ago already, not counting the yearly Cragganmore Distillers Edition). This makes it even nicer to find it amongst Diageo’s Special Releases.

Cragganmore 25 Year Old was distilled in 1988 and aged in refill American oak casks.



Cragganmore 25 Years 1988 (2014 Special Release)Cragganmore 25 yo 1988 (51,4%, OB 2014, refill American oak, 3372 btl.)

Nose: sweet with lots of vanilla, heather honey and hints of honeydew melons. Nice bits of dried mango. The fruitiness is balanced (or muted if you like) by green, spicy oak and liquorice. Soft buttery hints (popcorn). Fresh mint and apple blossom. Mouth: creamy, still rather sweet with some honey and orchard fruits. Nice hints of pineapple and coconut. The oaky notes, ginger, pepper and plenty of vanilla make this one typically American oak, but they also make it seem younger than it is. A lot of distilleries have this profile at half the age and a fraction of the price. Finish: medium long, fruity with zingy spicy notes from the wood.

Good whisky, but youngish in a way, due to active American oak, which makes it seem even more difficult to justify the price. Readily available. Around € 425.

Score: 87/100

Mackmyra Midnattssol was the second release in a new limited range that takes over from the Mackmyra Special series. The series is based on the seasons. Midnattssol means Midnight Sun and represents the summer. Recently it was followed up by Mackmyra Iskristall, the winter edition.

The Swedish distillery produced this expression from a combination of American and Swedish oak casks that previously held sherry and bourbon. About half of the final composition was then finished for about five months in casks that contained Swedish wine made from birch sap. Mackmyra doesn’t mention an age statement but it’s said to be 7 to 8 years old.



Mackmyra MidnattssolMackmyra Midnattssol (46,1%, OB 2014)

Nose: honey and quite some floral / grassy notes. Lots of berry fruits and banana. Walnuts. There’s also a clear woody side, with freshly cut wood (maybe not oak but rather pine wood), cloves and some resinous notes. Different, quite nice, but a little spirity as well. Mouth: spicy with a spirity touch again. Active wood. Mint and pepper. Fairly dry, but with a little berry and citrus sourness hidden below. Lemon zest. Maybe lime blossom. A couple of herbal notes as well. Finish: settles down a little, with a grapefruit bitterness and wood spices.

I’m not sure what birch wine is like – maybe this unique finish is what makes Midnattssol taste really woody. Interesting experiment and not a bad result. Around € 75.

Score: 80/100

The Whisky ExchangeThe Whisky Exchange has just released a single cask Millstone, produced at the Dutch Zuidam distillery. Founded in 1975, they have been producing single malt whisky since 2007, with some peated examples, finished malts and rye whiskies.

This one is produced from rye grain milled by Dutch windmills, distilled in January 2004 in small pot stills and matured for over 10 years in a new American oak cask.

They say Sukhinder likes this whisky so much that he keeps pinching the sample bottle…



Millstone rye 10 years - single cask for The Whisky ExchangeMillstone rye 10 yo 2004 (58,6%, OB for The Whisky Exchange 2014, cask #667, 245 btl.)

Nose: an alcohol kick at first, but highly aromatic after that. Typical rye notes: lots of peppery, bready notes and some sour overtones. A slightly bourbonny sweetness underneath, with vanilla pods, caramelized sugar and bananas flambéed. Oranges. Cinnamon and fresh mint. Hints of pencil shavings too. Mouth: richly oaked and spicy. Pepper, ginger and cloves, as well as some (also Dutch) liquorice. Some lightly bitter grassy notes. Burnt toast with maple syrup, coconut and dark chocolate. Finish: long, leaving some heat in the mouth. Pepper, polished oak and still this burnt, bitter edge.

I haven’t been particularly impressed with Millstone single malt whisky so far, but they do know how to make a nice rye. The burnt notes are quite loud on the palate, but it’s definitely up there with Canadian or American rye whiskey. Around € 115, available from The Whisky Exchange.

Score: 86/100

Two sister casks, I presume. Both Maltbarn and Whiskybase / Archives recently presented a Dailuaine 1996. Or maybe they shared the cask, who knows? After all hogsheads usually contain around 250-300 bottles. In any case similar casks have been bottled by Dewar Rattray for instance.



Dailuaine 1996 MaltbarnDailuaine 18 yo 1996 (48,7%, Maltbarn 2014, bourbon cask, 158 btl.)

Nose: lemon candy and lime, pears and floral honey. Sweet banana ice cream and white grape juice. After that, warmer notes of almond and vanilla cream. It’s quite a sweety but it’s countered by some ginger and a little wax. Mouth: nicely fat and oily (almond oil), still plenty of sweetness in the form of honey, sugary barley and citrus candy. Not boring though, the citrus also brings a subtle sour and bitter note. Some hay. Finish: quite long, a tad drier, fades on lemon, almond and soft grassy notes.

Really pleasant whisky. The aromas or complexity aren’t groundbreaking but its thickness and body makes it very enjoyable. Around € 90.

Score: 87/100




Dailuaine 1996 ArchivesDailuaine 17 yo 1996
(51,9%, Archives ‘Fishes of Samoa’ 2014, hogshead #10607, 71 btl.)

Nose: stupid idea to put these two head to head. Either it’s the same cask or it’s just modern efficiency to have two near identical casks. After all Dailuaine is primarily a blender’s whisky, so consistency is key. See above. Mouth: really, you can stop reading. We could exaggerate the louder gingery notes and a faint hint of mocha towards the end here, but that may well be the higher alcohol speaking. Finish: same.

Almost industrial consistency. This one was slightly cheaper (around € 83) but it’s sold out.

Score: 87/100

So far 1995 has been one of the least available vintages of GlenDronach. The Whisky Agency recently selected cask #4408, an Oloroso puncheon.



Glendronach 1995 #4408 TWAGlenDronach 18 yo 1995
(52,2%, OB for The Whisky Agency 2014, Oloroso puncheon #4408, 740 btl.)

Nose: different in the sense that it seems drier, oakier in a way than comparable expressions. Wet leaves and hints of a damp, plastered cellar. Nice enough though. A few citrusy side and lots of berries. Raspberry sweets in the background. Mint. Mouth: much sweeter and definitely more candied now. Raspberry and strawberry candy, a little pink grapefruit and potpourri even. Lighter sherry, more ‘modern’ if that makes sense. Some blood oranges, leather and subtle vanilla. If the normal GlenDronach is red, then this is pink. More spicy notes towards the end. Finish: long, candied, with subtle pepper.

This GlenDronach 1995 is a tad different from what we’ve come to expect. Different influences, maybe a re-racked whisky or a different cask seasoning? Nice. Around € 130. Still available in most places.

Score: 88/100



October 2015
« Sep    

  • WhiskyNotes: Obviously there are new articles each year (see my post about last year's edition) and the latest releases / statistics are added each year. If you've
  • Nate: I've never bought a copy. Is each year very different or is just buying the most recent sufficient?
  • WhiskyNotes: Benrinnes :-) although calling it one of Scotland's finest distilleries may be a bit too much. However casks from 2001 are being released, I've found

Coming up

  • Caol Ila 1979 (Malts of Scotland)
  • Bunnahabhain 1987 (Maltbarn)
  • Glen Garioch 1993 (Maltbarn)
  • Royal Brackla 16 Year Old
  • Irish malt 1991 'Maria' (The Nectar)
  • Teeling 26yo Vintage Reserve
  • Kavalan Podium

1889 notes by Ruben

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