Mark and Kate presented their second series of Watt Whisky a couple of weeks ago. It’s a nice and rather affordable series with enough variation, I think. Let’s try all the malt whiskies from this batch in one go: Allt-A-Bhainne, probably Highland Park, Dailuaine and Inchgower.
An Orkney Distillery 2006 (60,9%, Watt Whisky 2020, Port barrique, 307 btl.)
Nose: it’s pink whisky and the Port is very obvious. Strawberries, cassis jam, some stewed rhubarb. Rosé wine style. Underneath is the earthy character of Highland Park, just a little matchstick smoke, cocoa, pink grapefruit and mint. Toffee. It’s jammy rather than winey, and still boasts distillery character.
Mouth: while I liked the balance of the nose, it’s hard to get past the Port now. Red fruits, blackberry jam, a touch of caraway seeds, mulled wine and a herbal, slightly bitter side (strong tea or Luxardo). Smoke and a pinch of salt as well.
Finish: long, earthy, with dried ginger, cherries and a bittersweet finale.
If you like Port finishes, be sure to check it out. I found it rather great on the nose but once I started sipping, quite aggressive and a little on the winey side. Available from The Whisky Exchange among others.
Allt-À-Bhainne 23 yo 1997 (51,3%, Watt Whisky 2020, ex-bourbon hogshead, 241 btl.)
Nose: bags of cut apples, and cereals maybe a hint of apfelstrudel and vineyard peach, also honey and a little candy sugar. Some dusty wood, leather and fragrant spice, cinnamon and mint. Hints of orange or Earl Grey. Nice.
Mouth: sweet and fruity, but with the barley clearly present as well. Gooseberries and a little vanilla. Mid-palate it goes towards resinous notes and crushed peppercorns. Peach, apple compote and honey, plus a few mint leaves and a grassy / oaky touch in the end.
Finish: medium, malty and oaky, with shortbread and hints of green tea.
My favourite in this series. An attractive nose and overall simply a mature, multi-faceted whisky. Slightly behind the similar WhiskyNerds release but better priced, no doubt. Available from The Whisky Exchange for instance.
Dailuaine 12 yo 2008 (57,8%, Watt Whisky 2020, ex-bourbon hogshead, 312 btl.)
Nose: citrus, apples and gristy cereals, with hints of buttered toast in the background. Lots of grainy, bready and yeasty notes, as well as some dough and green vegetal notes that I find less attractive (ferns, moss, stewed cabbage).
Mouth: sweet, with a pretty nice texture, but quite young and hot. Apples, green banana, grains, a bit of white pepper and hints of pine nuts. Lemon zest. Still a bit yeasty and beer-like. Lots of grassy notes, aniseed, baking spice and even a chalky touch.
Finish: I mostly get the alcohol here.
No highflyer for me. Very affordable but the grassy, vegetal notes and low complexity simply make it a little unappealing. Available from The Whisky Exchange for instance.
Inchgower 13 yo 2007 (56%, Watt Whisky 2020, ex-bourbon hogshead, 297 btl.)
Nose: kind of an oily citrus nose (lemon candy, grapefruit), with malty and buttery undertones, as well as a hint of vanilla. This one also has a beer-like edge. A bit of honey and banana yoghurt. Leafy touches, subtle herbs too.
Mouth: grainy start, some chalk / gravel and linseed oil, which tend to overshadow the fruits a little (apples and sweet citrus, including peels). Grassy notes (green tea), butterscotch, a little earth. A rather naked style, and still full of youth.
Finish: medium, with pear, hay and a drier hint of nutmeg.
Another naked whisky, better than the Dailuaine and affordable, but still a little unconvincing. Available from The Whisky Exchange for instance.