There’s a new batch of Reserve Casks in the Single Malts of Scotland series.: Parcel No.4. As always these are small batch single malt releases (a handful of casks blended together) in order to create an accessible yet entertaining whisky.
This time Elixir Distillers presents an undisclosed Orkney Malt and Speyside Malt, Aultmore and Linkwood. They are already available in a couple of partner shops but they’ll soon arrive at TWE as well.
Orkney Malt 13 yo 2007 (48%, Single Malts of Scotland ‘Reserve Casks’ 2020, Parcel No.4, 3 sherry butts)
Nose: plenty of plummy notes, dried figs, hints of strawberry jam as well as overripe banana and hints of gingerbread with honey. Hints of vanilla pastry. Not as sticky sweet as I expected, there’s a nicely dry, rancio side as well. Leafy notes, old ropes, damp tobacco. A lovely profile.
Mouth: the drier kind again. Old leather, dark chocolate, some beefy notes, five spice and liquorice. Plenty of umami elements, with black fruits and strawberry ganache playing the second violin. Spiced tea. Cinnamon powder. Some herbal drops. Not much peat.
Finish: long, earthy and chocolatey, with herbs.
Great stuff, rather old-school, probably characterised by European oak. It may have been stellar at cask strength, but it’s balanced and drinkable as it is. Warmly recommended, don’t hesitate if you find a bottle. Now available from The Whisky Exchange.
Aultmore 9 yo 2011 (48%, Single Malts of Scotland ‘Reserve Casks’ 2020, Parcel No.4, 6 bourbon barrels)
Nose: grassy notes, breakfast cereals and a nicely aromatic hint of peaches. Rubbed lemons. Gentle peppery and ginger, as well as some lightly baked cinnamon cake with creamy icing. Whiffs of coconut as well.
Mouth: classic bourbon casked spirit, all on lemons, barley sugar and light custard. Clotted cream with mint. Apple genever. Vanilla. Growing milk chocolate and oak spice towards the end.
Finish: medium, with hints of sweet sawdust and coconut cream, mixed with stone fruit.
We don’t see much Aultmore from indies, maybe because it often shows this vanilla / coconut-led profile. A decent, faultless dram, but a little uninspired. Available soon from The Whisky Exchange.
Linkwood 10 yo 2009 (48%, Single Malts of Scotland ‘Reserve Casks’ 2020, Parcel No.4, 7 bourbon barrels)
Nose: very young and spirit-driven, but nicely candied and inviting. Lots of pear drops and oranges, later also white wine / grape juice and melons. Sweet Tripel beer. Fragrant hints of Earl Grey tea, as well as mint and sage.
Mouth: the sweeter notes are still present, although they are joined by green elements now. Apples, citrus, then more grassy touches. Soaked cereals with honey, plenty of sweet beer notes again, white peaches, also white pepper.
Finish: medium, with some malty / biscuity hints, garden fruits and these sweet grassy notes.
Sweet and fruity, in a fairly rich but youtfhul way. The whisky equivalent of a fruity white wine perhaps. A nice style, just not very complex. Available soon from The Whisky Exchange.
A Speyside Distillery 10 yo 2010 (48%, Single Malts of Scotland ‘Reserve Casks’ 2020, Parcel No.4, 3 sherry butts)
Nose: quite a nutty start on roasted pecans and caramel coated hazelnuts. Boozy raisins, roasted chestnuts and some meaty undertones. There’s also a dusty (slightly plankish) side, which mingles with German Vollkornbrot. Nothing sulphury, just a fairly umami sherry nose.
Mouth: not as full as I thought, this is very malty again but the avalanche of (fruity) sherry notes stays out. Baking spice, some herbal honey and liquorice. Raisins, light meaty notes and plenty of toffee. Nutmeg. Some chocolate.
Finish: still not very prominent. Toffee sweetness, liquorice and toasted oak.
This one strikes a nice balance between dry, savoury notes and some sweetness from the sherry casks. Like the other, it offers good value for money. Available from The Whisky Exchange.