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.
White & Mackay 19 years old is a ‘double marriage’ blend: it was blended and then married together in Matusalem sherry casks. Its components are aged between 19 and 21 years.
White & Mackay 19 yo ‘Old Luxury’ (40%, OB 2013)
Nose: medium rich, showing malt, buttery toffee and baked apple. Honey and soft spices. Chocolate. All this covered in an elegant sherry blanket. Easy to like, but rather shy, I would have liked it to be more expressive in showing the aromas. Mouth: fairly dry and peppery for a blend. Chocolate and malt again. Some caramel and brown sugar. Just a tiny grain / alcohol bite. Evolves towards bitterish and oaky notes. Finish: long, mostly on oak, chocolate, clove and liquorice.
A decent blend. The sherry finish hides most of the grains so what’s left is a malty, very chocolaty dram with most of its edges rounded off. And a lot of its power taken away. Around € 80.
Distilled in 1982, this Brora 1982 was bottled in 2001 by Silver Seal. This makes it the youngest Brora I could try so far.
Brora 19 yo 1982
(50%, Silver Seal 2001, sherry cask, First bottling, 240 btl.)
Nose: a fruity nose, Clynelish-style rather than Brora. Lemon, peach, even a subtle coconut / banana note. Some pink grapefruit. A generous amount of coastal notes as well (sea air, oyster), getting the upper hand over time. Waxed paper. Quite rounded, it doesn’t have the austerity of most 1981 Broras. Mouth: really fruity again. Grapefruit, lemon, hints of pineapple. Almonds and soft pepper. Candied ginger. Hay. Balanced sharper mineral notes and a pinch of salt towards the end. Maybe a faint hint of smoke as well. Finish: long, half fruity, half coastal.
Less peat and more fruits, which obviously means more Clynelish than Brora. But still rather excellent whisky, hesitating between sharper and rounder notes. Around € 350, but not easy to find.