Rapid Fire Tasting Notes (vol. 4)

Rapid Fire Tasting Notes (vol. 4)

Rapid fire whisky notes is our way of working through our backlog of samples (see volume 3). Simple assessments with concise tasting notes.


Dailuaine 11 yo 2011 (52%, Asta Morris 2022, bourbon cask, 320 btl.)

N: pears and caramelized apples, with toffee and typical candle wax. Also sweet porridge, almonds and sweet lemon. M: sweet and creamy, with hints of lemon cream and pear, white pepper, caramel latte, dried grasses and wax.  F: quite long but nicely rounded. 〉〉〉 A great waxy texture, and a nice mix of fruits and caramel sweetness. Good value: why is this still available in stores?


Aibhainn Dearg 10 yo ‘X’ (46%, OB +/- 2022)

N: dusty barley notes, dried herbs and apples. Also paraffin and engine grease, with subtle maritime nots. M: sweet barley water, bready notes, pears, alongside hay, heather and wood spice. Hints of wet cardboard in the background. F: medium length, on dusty oak, honey and kelp 〉〉〉 Our first encounter with Abhainn Dearg wasn’t particularly pleasant. This is better, but still not a future classic. Score: 70/100


Fettercairn 2009 (50,6%, Liquid Art 2022, 140 btl.)

N: sweet pear, nougat, peach, yellow plums, lemon candy, honey and vanilla. Sweet and rounded, with a hint of dried grass and white rum in the background. M: still fruity, on peach, melon, fresh plums and mashed banana. Creamy vanilla custard and light oak spice. F: quite long, still sweet and fruity, with mild cinnamon and pepper. 〉〉〉 A perfect daily drinker. Still seen at Care for Craft Spirits. Score: 87/100


Glenburgie 25 yo 1994 (55,5%, Gordon & MacPhail ‘Connoisseurs Choice’ 2020, refill sherry hogshead #10064, 176 btl.)

N: slightly boozy, like a rum & raisin dessert. Apple crumble, vanilla, polished wood, hints of brown sugar and marmalade. Then orange peels, dried apricot, hints of Amontillado and mild spice. M: rich and fruity start, on apricot, berries, golden raisins and oranges. Some coffee, candied ginger, cinnamon and sweet oak. F: long, sweet and spicy. Pepper, Jaffa cakes and honey. 〉〉〉 Highly intruiging nose, complex and richly textured on the palate. A winner. Probably sold out (?) but watch out for older sister casks that are still out there. Score: 89/100


Linkwood 10 yo 2012 (46%, Signatory Vintage ‘Un-Chillfiltered’ 2023, first-fill Oloroso butt finish, cask #201 + 203)

N: dates and raisins, with a slightly synthetic / metallic hint and a whiff of lavender. Some raspberry, rosé wine, toffee and chestnuts. Marmalade and shortbread. M: still a bit hit-and-miss. That metallic note is back, alongside walnut skin, red berries and cocoa. Hints of orange peels, liquorice and tobacco as well. F: medium length, on toffee, figs and herbs. 〉〉〉 Certainly not perfect but it’s quite cheap so maybe our expectations were too high. Score: 83/100


Williamson 2014 (46%, Berry Bros ‘Small Batch’ for Kirsch Import 2023, Batch #1, hogsheads, 1109 btl.)

N: tarry ropes, dried seaweed, smoked kippers and hints of wood logs. Immediately coastal, but not hugely medicinal and mildly peaty. Burnt herbs. Subtle pear sweetness underneath. M: bonfire ashes and charcoal, hints of banana sweetness, mezcal and dark chocolate. Tarry notes and black peppercorns. F: quite long, with more ashes, herbs and a vague sweetness. 〉〉〉 Proper young Laphroaig, already offering much more advanced notes than just raw peat. Score: 87/100


Thomson Whisky – Manuka Smoke (53,9%, OB for Kirsch Import 2023, single cask #141, 284 btl.)

N: mild, dry wood smoke without any medicinal component except for a little mint. Burnt grass. Cinnamon and cedar wood, pleasant honey and caramel sweetness. M: still plenty of peppermint, with a firm woody note. Then a herbal bitterness, heavily infused tea, aromatic / floral touches and a pinch of salt.  F: quite long, ashy, with roasted nuts and oaky bitters. 〉〉〉 Nice nose but the wood is loud and slightly bitter on the palate. Score: 81/100


Shh.. ecret Islay 21 yo 1999 (59,8%, The Whisky Jury 2021, refill barrel, 250 btl.)

N: fresh sea spray, eucalyptus and iodine. Burnt rosemary, wool and lemons. M: sharp, but showing a very nice citrusy side, alongside warm bonfire smoke, black pepper, a hint of wasabi, camphor and ashes. Something of floss candy too. F: long, on warm smoke, vanilla, brine and pepper. 〉〉〉 It seems I forgot to review this one while it was still available… shh… don’t tell Joeri. Score: 88/100


Williamson 9 yo 2012 (60,5%, Whisky Picnic Bar ‘Just Dram It’ 2022, refill butt, 267 btl.)

N: whiffs of buttermilk, then bacon, lemon and seaweed. Nutty notes, lemons and seaweed. M: very drinkable considering the ABV. Sweet malt, sweet peat, with baked apple, barbecued meat and warm ashes. F: long and sweet, with hints of cocoa, roasted herbs and lingering smoke. 〉〉〉 Rather simple, but nicely combining sweetness and smokiness. Score: 85/100


Starward 5 yo 2016 (59,3%, OB for Whivie.be & The Bonding Dram 2021, fortified wine barrel #1855, 222 btl.)

N: a lot of fresh wood dust, with light yeasty notes. Settles down on red fruit candy, grapefruit, leather and mint leaf. Some chestnut and cinnamon powder too. M: quite thick, with woody heat (not unlike bourbon whiskey). Then pepper, plummy notes, raisins, walnuts and caramel sweetness. F: long, spicy with more dried / candied fruits. 〉〉〉 Overall a rather loud whisky. There’s a sherry-like character but it’s dominated by heavy wood and sweetness. Very New Worldish. Better than sister cask #1870 for LMdW though. Score: 85/100