This Caperdonich 1992 is the first bottling by David Stirk that bears a label designed by Tony Koehl, an American artist with roots in the fantasy / Gothic / death metal scene. Not exactly my kind of art, and a slightly weird combination with the world of whisky, but this is not an art blog after all.
Caperdonich 20 yo 1992 (52,2%, Creative Whisky Co. 2012, The Tony Koehl series, cask #121137, 300 btl.)
Nose: stewed garden fruits. Yellow apples. Typical honey and beeswax. Vanilla. There’s also a fragrant floral side. Underneath is a big layer of sweet barley and cornflakes. It has the classic Caperdonich elements, but it’s a little harsh with rather loud oak. Mouth: fruity and sweet, but again showing some raw grains and a peppery kick. Some hay. Cinnamon and ginger. Apple peelings. Faint earthy notes too. Finish: medium long, with some grassy oak and tangy spices having the last word.
I know it’s slightly unfair to compare this with 1970s Caperdonich, it’s definitely related but more rough and spiced up. Around € 100.
Port Askaig 19 years ‘Cask strength’
(50,4%, Specialty Drinks 2012)
Nose: drier than the 30 years old, with significantly less fruits and more (classic) brine and minerals. Sandy beaches. Lemon and mint. Green apples. A few sooty notes too. Fresh, bright and pretty classic. Mouth: quite briny with lots of lemon and grapefruit. The presence of peat is rather strong, supported by liquorice and pepper. Soft medicinal notes too. A little almond oil and nice hints of gingerbread. Finish: medium long, clean and smoky.
Compared to Port Askaig 30 years CS, this is more classic, more peaty and drier. A very solid Caol Ila, much cheaper but lacking a big part of the magic of the 30yo. Around € 95, available from The Whisky Exchange of course.
A couple of weeks ago, two releases were added to the “Classic label” series of The Whiskyman. Both of them were bottled exclusively for the Swedish market. Today we’re having a Jura 1988 (from the same stock that I picked as highlights of 2012), while the other one was distilled in an undisclosed Speyside distillery in 1995.
In case you’re wondering: indeed shops that usually distribute The Whiskyman releases in Belgium will not have this on offer. Better book a trip to Sweden. And then to Luxemburg for the upcoming release.
Isle of Jura 24 yo 1988 (51,2%, The Whiskyman for Sweden 2012, bourbon cask, 116 btl.)
Nose: gorgeous. It is dusty, it is farmy, it is fruity, it is nutty… I get berries, tangerine candy, hay, leather, mint, cured meat, linseed oil, grease (not just wax) and butter, tobacco… And there’s also this amazing note of wet sheep and goat stables, something that comes very close to Brora’s unique farminess. I adored most of these similar Jura 1988 expressions, and this one may well be my favourite on the nose. Mouth: good attack, with hints of peat. Now playing the card of herbal liqueurs and zesty citrus. Grapefruit, lemon (balm), liquorice, a little ginger maybe. Big minty notes. Chocolate. Slightly resinous with a pinch of salt. Slightly austere but beautifully so. Finish: long, with the zesty notes and herbs having the last word.
This whole batch of Jura 1988 casks is right up my alley. This one has one of the best noses for sure, and with a bit more fruitiness returning in the mouth it would have been absolutely stellar. Excellent pick nonetheless, one to keep aside for the moment when someone says modern Jura is not so great. Around € 130 in the tax-free selection of the Viking Line.
Nose: oranges and honey, as well as some thinner / glue notes. Fresh buttercups and dried flowers. Light sherry. There’s a light mustardy sharpness as well (honey mustard). A little aniseed and a good dose of freshly sawn oak. Mouth: sweet and malty. Vanilla cream, honey, apricots. Candy sugar. A little resinous oak. Soft spices like cinnamon and aniseed. Finish: medium long, showing sweet malt, caramel and hints of liquorice.
This comes close to official releases of Glenrothes, albeit at a higher strength. Light sherry, lots of sweetness and a decent amount of oak. Around € 115.
GlenDronach Cask Strength is a new addition in the core range, without age statement and bottled at 54,8% (at least for batch #1). It’s a vatting of oloroso and Pedro Ximénez matured casks.
GlenDronach ‘Cask strength’
(54,8%, OB 2012, batch #1, 12.000 btl.)
Nose: quite aromatic and fruity. Actually maybe a little less sherried than expected, which is a good thing here. Round notes of soaked raisins, Gianduja and cinnamon. Honey and toffee. Juicy, stewed red fruits rather than heavier dried fruits. It even shows a light baked banana / rummy side. Nice. Mouth: sweet and spicy. Plums, blackcurrant jam and again this milk chocolate / hazelnut combination. Some gingerbread and aniseed with a faint gingery heat. Late liquorice and herbs. Finish: long, developing the herbal theme, with slightly loud oak and a darker, drier cocoa feel.
I already highlighted GlenDronach Cask Strength as one of the discoveries of Spirits in the Sky 2012 back in November. It’s clean, fruity and smooth, just great whisky with well-balanced sherry, and it’s one of the best value options in a long time, not just for GlenDronach fans. Now let’s hope they can keep new vattings at the same level. Around € 65.
This third batch of Port Askaig 30 year old is the first to be bottled at cask strength. The vatting was just too good to add water to it, or so it seems.
Port Askaig 30 years ‘Cask strength’
(51,1%, Specialty Drinks 2012)
Nose: unexpectedly fruity, with pleasant notes of sugared lime juice, passion fruit and banana. Classic yellow apples. Vanilla pods. There’s a soft smoky veil but it’s far from a smoke bomb. Hints of chalk and seaweed. A little eucalyptus. A delicious nose. Mouth: this is where the extra alcohol starts to show. Medium peat now, with a peppery kick. Leather and walnuts. Hints of liquorice and camphor. Actually a little rougher than I expected, fruits are now limited to lemon and lemon zest. Maybe hints of green banana as well. Finish: long, with echoes of cold smoke and soft medicinal notes.
This one is kind of a Janus. The nose is excellent, both intensely fruity and delicately peaty. The palate is more powerful and dry. Great quality, but a little expensive. Around € 230.
Rum today, bottled by Whisky-Fässle in Germany. It’s a trend, other whisky bottlers like Malts of Scotland or The Whisky Agency have also started series of rum releases.
Not sure whether Trinidad stands for the country or the Trinidad Distillers company. The label says XO which means Extra Old, but unlike cognac (or brandy in the near future) – there’s no rum law or anything defining how old it should be exactly.
Trinidad Rum XO
(43%, Whisky-Fässle 2013, single barrel rum)
Nose: hey! Starts on rubbery plastics and herbs, which I found a strangely interesting combination and very enjoyable. But this softens rather quickly to classic vanilla, honey and berry sweetness. Quite round, developing some apricot jam in the end. Mouth: lots of sweetness and fruits: banana candy, orange sweetness and light honey. Apricot and litchi syrup? Quite jammy anyway. Hints of spices (cinnamon) and cedar oak, some light smoke as well. Nicely balanced. Finish: still sweet and raisiny but slightly more spices. Not too long though.
Around € 35, which means this Trinidad rum is quite a bargain with high quality. It’s smooth and easy-drinking with a great, very specific fruitiness. Perfect for an evening with friends, the bottle will be empty before you know it.
Glenmorangie Ealanta was matured in heavily toasted new white oak casks made with trees from Missouri’s Ozark mountains. That’s a full maturation in virgin oak indeed – still quite uncommon as new oak may be overpowering after almost 20 years.
Ealanta is the latest release in the yearly Private Edition series (see Sonnalta PX, Finealta and Artein).
Glenmorangie ‘Ealanta’ 19 yo 1993
(46%, OB 2013)
Nose: very enjoyable though a bit on the light side. A smooth fruit basket with plenty of oranges and mandarin (fresh, candied, zest). Vanilla ice cream. Tropical notes as well: apricot, coconut cream, papaya. There’s a hint of newly sawn oak and mint too. Mouth: creamy and fruity again. Slightly more sour and zesty citrus now rather than candy notes. Honey, vanilla and coconut again. Pineapple. Almond cream. Makes place for gentle spices (cinnamon. mint) and hints of pistachio ice cream. Finish: medium long, still high on vanilla with light pepper, ginger and a bit of dryness from the oak.
Quite an excellent Glenmorangie! Ealanta is creamy, fruity and very aromatic. There’s something unique to it, yet it doesn’t have an obvious virgin oak profile. Again a very succeeded designer whisky, I would even say it’s one of the best new oak releases I’ve tried. Around € 100.