First review on this website of Thompson Brothers releases – I have to say I was quite excited to try them. Phil and Simpon are doing great things at the Dornoch distillery but until they can present their first single malt it’s rather more impressive to see the list of releases they’ve presented as independent bottlers. Great picks, nice illustrations, relatively fair prices.
Their latest releases are a Jura 1990 and Auchroisk 1989.
Jura 30 yo 1990 (46,33%, Thompson Brothers 2020, refill American oak hogshead #5310, 186 btl.)
Nose: a very nice mineral and grassy profile. Dried flowers, hay, seashells, chalky notes and leather. Also bright citrus (lime), gooseberries, perhaps a hint of tangerine. Hints of beeswax, some farmy touches and vegetal oils. The juicy freshness on one side and the old-school minerality on the other, are combining wonderfully.
Mouth: this reminds me of some of these 1991 peated Bushmills releases. A vibrant, rather tropical fruitiness (now more on passion fruits, pink grapefruits and bergamot) with some mentholated notes and a gentle, farmy and herbal peatiness behind it. Peppermint, lemon peels, touches of walnuts, camphor and faint resinous notes towards the end. Very sappy, juicy whisky.
Finish: not extremely long, but nicely waxy, zesty and mineral.
Not so long ago I was pleasantly surprised by a Jura 1991 from WhiskySponge, and this one is definitely on the same level. Quite a unique profile, with generous fruits and just the right dose of Jura wackiness. Around € 300, now available from their webshop.
Auchroisk 31 yo 1989 (44,9%, Thompson Brothers 2020, refill sherry puncheon, 122 btl.)
Nose: this smells like a remontado (overdue) Amontillado, with quite a vegetal / sulphury side, tobacco leaves and walnuts, as well as a rather pleasant sour butteriness behind it. A slight rubbery edge, fudge, almonds and peanuts, a little broth too. I must say it’s a little off-chart on my internal whisky aroma map…
Mouth: sweeter than expected, again quite buttery and spicy. Raisins and overripe apples, hints of brown sugar and toffee. Again there’s a vegetal umami note that is hard to define, but it kinda suits this whisky. A slight saline edge, which points to a Fino or Amontillado once more. Nutty notes and a hint of dark chocolate in the end, with tobacco and leather.
Finish: a light caramel sweetness mixes with tobacco leaves, cocoa powder and faint oak spice.
Interesting nutty and umami Auchroisk. A bit of a shock after that Jura – a difficult one to handle. Kudos for picking this cask. The Thompsons seem to think it was a Manzanilla cask, my guess would be Amontillado (essentially an overaged Manzanilla of course). Around € 295, available from the Thompson Bros webshop.