Single malt whisky - tasting notes

Signatory Vintage bought a whole series of casks filled with Glenburgie 1995, all in the #644x – #647x range. We’ve seen at least 10 bottlings in the Vintage Collection and Un-Chillfiltered ranges and some casks have found their ways to other bottlers.

Asta Morris picked cask #6475 from the Signatory warehouses, bottled in the typical Ibisco decanter.



Glenburgie 1995 - Signatory Vintage - Asta MorrisGlenburgie 19 yo 1995 (50,5%, Signatory Vintage for Asta Morris 2015, hogshead #6475, 287 btl.)

Nose: malty, seemingly naked at first, but it develops a very nice fruitiness. Yellow plums, peaches, tarte tine, golden raisins and a hint of pineapple. Elegant and rounded, with a soft hint of vanilla marshmallows. Marzipan. A fine mature Speysider. Mouth: starts creamy and malty, with some vanilla fudge and apple pie. The second wave brings this bright, honeyed fruitiness back. Berries, citrus. Very smooth and round, with an oily character. Also mild oak spices and just a light, salty touch.

Fruity, elegant and dangerously drinkable whisky. Balanced with an above average complexity. Bert has a nose for this kind of stuff. Around € 90, on its way to stores as we speak.

Score: 88/100

A fifth release for Liquid Art already. The artist on duty is Chreet Dexters, father of the founding member Bert. He will provide three labels under the theme Distilling is an art.



Glentauchers 1996 - Liquid ArtGlentauchers 1996 (51,9%, Liquid Art ‘Distilling is an art’ 2014, 131 btl.)

Nose: a very fruity profile: liquid jelly beans. I commented on another Glentauchers 1996 “something in between tropical bubblegum and fruity rum” and I still think it’s appropriate. This one is even more tropical. Redcurrant, mango, bananas, ripe apples, tinned pineapple. Soft vanilla. Just a whiff of oak polish and beeswax, as well as a light minty note. Very easy, but highly likeable. Mouth: fruity again, and rather thick. Lemon drops, pineapple, tangerine and banana cake. Marzipan and big vanilla. Fruit candy all around, with a little more spices to give it more character. Finish: medium long, sweet, creamy and malty.

The ease of the fruits and the creamy texture are impressive. Perfect drinker’s whisky. It will be available tomorrow through the Liquid Art webshop, € 95.

Score: 87/100

Bowmore Gold Reef

03 Jun 2015 | Bowmore

Bowmore Gold Reef is a travel retail expression, launched alongside Bowmore Black Rock and White Sands. It’s a No Age Statement whisky that was matured predominantly in first fill ex-bourbon casks.



Bowmore Gold ReefBowmore Gold Reef
(43%, OB 2014, travel retail)

Nose: quite a coastal / medicinal expression, with dried seaweed and a sea breeze. Salted butter. Peat and a hint of antiseptic. A fresh and fruity base, mainly lemon and oranges, even coconut if you dig a little deeper. Mouth: smoky and oily, with some pretty sharp peat and a gingery heat. Chalky and zesty notes. A little salt. There’s also a more rounded, vanilla-infused side but I’m only getting a small glimpse of the tropical fruits the distillery is promising. Finish: medium long, thanks to the peat and spiced honey.

Bowmore Gold Reef is quite okay, but it’s around € 85 in the UK, which I find pretty heavy for a 43% NAS whisky that’s not very special. Mind that you can find it as low as € 50 in other countries (1 litre bottle).

Score: 80/100

Not so long ago we reviewed Aberlour a’bunadh Batch 49 and today we place it against the latest Batch 50.



Aberlour a'bunadh batch 50Aberlour a’bunadh (59,6%, OB 2014, Oloroso sherry butts, batch n°50)

Nose: thick sherry, dried figs and dates, sultanas. Maybe just a tad more closed than batch #49, with seemingly a bit more oaky touches and less freshness. Waxed oak. Water opens it up a little. Chocolate and leather as well as some Seville oranges. Mouth: very big again – hot and flavoursome. Hints of cherries, rapsberry jam, nuts and nougat. Then dark caramel and coffee. Again a bit more oak and spices than previous editions? Ginger and dark chocolate. Finish: long, still quite hot and boasting a whole spice cabinet.

In a direct comparison, this one comes out a little rougher and oakier / spicier than #49, which also means less aromatic fruits. Still a very reliable, deeply sherried dram though. Around € 50 to € 65.

Score: 86/100

Stokerij De Molenberg - Gouden CarolusDuring the past weekend, the Belgian Molenberg distillery which produces the Gouden Carolus single malt had its first open doors event. You could try the Gouden Carolus beers, there were guided tours, presentations of local food products, music performances and the official release of a new product, the Gouden Carolus Pure Taste Bourbon 36. Actually Gouden Carolus is not mentioned on the label this time, they only mention Stokerij De Molenberg.


While the original Gouden Carolus single malt is matured in ex-bourbon casks for 30 months and then transferred to re-coopered (charred) casks for 6 months, this limited edition only had a first-fill American oak maturation for 36 months. It is the first release in a series called Pure Taste. It is only available at the visitor centre.



Gouden Carolus Pure Taste - Bourbon 36Gouden Carolus ‘Pure Taste Bourbon 36’ (50%, OB 2015, bourbon casks)

Nose: clean, simple and young, but definitely enjoyable. A lot of vanilla of course, with hints of marshmallows and pear drops. Light banana and tropical fruit bubble gum. A soft peppery kick as well. Pretty much what we would expect from a fine 3 year-old made by a Scottish distillery. Mouth: sweet and fruity (peach, apple), with the same vanilla. After that it gets more peppery and the oaky notes start to dominate the spirit. Ginger, plain oak, nutmeg. Finish: medium long, drying with plenty of vanilla.

On the nose this one is significantly more open and aromatic than the general release. In the mouth it’s oakier and less refined. Still not a must-have but certainly better (more classic) than many other European whiskies. It costs € 20 for a 20 cl bottle.

Score: 80/100

The 2014 hype of (independent) Irish single malts is still alive and the most peculiar drams are from the batch of peated spirit produced at Bushmills in 1991.

A lot of these casks have found their way to Belgian bottlers. The Whisky Mercenary now presents its own selection, exclusive to in Leiden (NL) and The Single Malt Whisky Shop in Zammel (BE).



Irish single malt 1991 - peated - Whisky Mercenary - WhiskysiteIrish single malt 1991 – peated (52,2%, The Whisky Mercenary for & Fisser 2015)

Nose: a very short peaty impression, but then wham! A whole truck of grapefruit is dropped in, both the yellow ones and the pink ones. Also passion fruit sherbet and kiwi, hints of green banana skin, peaches and white grapes. Some waxy / resinous notes. A little mint, vanilla and subtle camphor. Mouth: spearmint at first, which stays strong throughout the whole dram. Sweet banana underneath, as well as mango and apricots in syrup, but the peaty notes are slowly taking over. A little green tea with grapefruit and camphor again. Though not a peat bomb, it may be the peatiest of the 1991’s I’ve tried. Finish: long, showing mild chili, nutmeg and a bit of minty dryness.

It’s funny how this one changes from robust to elegant and back. I’ve tried it three times in different glasses. Sometimes I thought there was too much peat on the palate, but on other occasions it seemed just right. Some people think these Irish are too fruity – they should try this one. Excellent stuff. Around € 200, on sale this Saturday.

Score: 91/100

Ledaig 42 Year Old is the rarest and oldest expression of Ledaig to date. The 1972 vintage malt is named Dùsgadh, meaning ‘awakening’ in Gaelic.

Ledaig distillery on the Isle of Mull was mothballed in 1930 due to lowering demands. It was reopened in 1972 and new stills were installed. The happy times didn’t last – after 1975 there were several problems and production never really took off. Burn Stewart (of Deanston) bought the distillery in 1991. The official name is now Tobermory.


Ledaig Dusgadh 42 Years


This Ledaig 42 Year Old is made from inaugural spirits produced in the 1972 stills, which have been retired in 2014. Some of the aged copper has been used in the packaging, and the copper card that is included entitles you to a bottle of Ledaig Déanta, the last distillate of the retired stills, in ten years’ time.

The whisky was aged in several hogsheads and butts until master distiller Ian Macmillan transferred the liquid into González Byass oloroso sherry casks in 2001 to add a further layer of flavour. Only 500 bottles are produced.



Ledaig 42 Year OldLedaig 42 yo Dùsgadh
(46,3%, OB 2015, 500 btl.)

Nose: close to very old, sherry matured Islay whisky, which is great. That means no in-your-face peat, but rather heaps of coal, cold ashes and tobacco leaves. Hints of freshly painted boats in the harbour. Seaweed. Big leathery notes. The sherry cask also brings some dried fruits (raisins, prunes) and baked apple. Hints of cedar, cinnamon and a menthol. Very classic. Mouth: much more smoky and sooty now, surprising for such an old whisky which usually looses a lot of these aromas. Cigars and hints of tar. Red fruit jams, hints of Ginjinha. Cinnamon cookies. Honey. Candied ginger. Leather and oak polish. Toffee with black pepper and some nice dark chocolate. Big and very balanced. Finish: long, drier, but still little signs of age. Peppery notes, with a salty twist now, cigar ashes and a toffee apple roundness.

Ledaig 42 Year Old is definitely a rare, old-fashioned treat. This profile of sherry and peat, at this age, is almost impossible to find. Impressive whisky, thanks for sharing, Jack. Around € 4800.

Score: 94/100

Paul John Edited

27 May 2015 | * World

The Indian Paul John single malt has been in production since 1992 and their two base products are Paul John Brilliance and this Paul John Edited.

While the first is unpeated and made with Indian 6-row barley, the Edited version uses about 15% peated spirit, made with imported Scottish barley. It gives the malted barley a phenol level of about 20-25 ppm. Like Brilliance, it is matured in ex-bourbon casks.



Paul John EditedPaul John Edited (46%, OB 2013)

Nose: sweet honey and juicy barley, oranges and peaches. Ripe banana. Some damp earthy notes, rather than a clear peat blast – this is quite subtle. Becomes lightly tropical, with some pink grapefruit and papaya. Vanilla cream too. Mouth: apples and peaches before it goes to rougher grainy notes, porridge and green, vegetal notes. Quite dusty and peppery. Again not the usual peat smoke but rather a medicinal overtone. Cinnamon. Not as pleasant as the nose, there’s something acrid and unbalanced about it. Finish: medium long, caramel with antiseptics and peat?

They’re not at the same level as Amrut’s whisky for instance, but it’s not bad either. I just think their Brilliance was… well… slightly more brilliant. Around € 60.

Score: 75/100



July 2015
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Coming up

  • Dos Maderas 5+3
  • Karuizawa 1988 (Whisky Fair)
  • Glenglassaugh 1972 (Carn Mor)
  • Laphroaig Lp6 (Elements of Islay)
  • Bruichladdich 1964 (G&M #3676-3677)

1839 notes by Ruben

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