When I looked back on 2022, I wrote that my own tempo was often too high to keep up with. I was thinking about a rapid fire concept, with very concise tasting notes. Not necessarily the whiskies that require a lot of attention, but we expect a few nice surprises nonetheless.
We’ve accumulated 10 tasting notes over the past few weeks. Feel free to give feedback on this new format.
Zaubertrank Blended Malt (46%, Signatory Vintage for Whisky Druid 2022)
N: smoked meat (salami) with coastal air and hints of stout. Light herbal notes (menthol) and dark fruits. M: still a mix of smoke and herbs with dark fruits. F: medium, getting thinner quickly. 〉〉〉 This is a cheap, peaty blended malt and while you sacrifice some depth and richness, it does offer decent value for money as a cardplayer’s whisky.
Balmenach 10 yo 2011 (46%, Douglas Laing Provenance 2021, refill butt #15276, 867 btl.)
N: young and mashy, with a lot of malty notes and too much porridge. Hints of marmalade. Rather boring. M: citrus juice with ginger and white pepper. Then whiffs of oranges and vanilla. Fairly spirity and neutral. F: medium, with bread and a vague sweetness. 〉〉〉 Mediocre whisky. Score: 77/100
Highland Single Malt 28 yo ‘Pride of Sponge’ (46,1%, Whisky Sponge 2022, refill hogshead, 59B, 286 btl.)
N: sourdough and greasy / waxy notes, mixed with ink, apples, sunflower oil and lemon peels. Gets fruitier and sweeter over time. M: still waxy and sweet, with mineral oils and vague fruity notes. Overall not extremely complex, but also an interesting style that you don’t find often. F: medium, getting thinner quickly. 〉〉〉 A great waxy style, full of character and a reasonable price. Still available from Master of Malt or TyndrumWhisky. Score: 89/100
Arran 8 yo 2013 (48,2%, Greatdrams 2022, bourbon hogshead, 269 btl.)
N: quite fresh and fruity. Very friendly biscuity notes with apples, yellow plums and pear drops. Marshmallow. Well dosed creamy vanilla from the cask. Attractive. M: more of these inviting fruits (pears, melons, lemon candy) with light honey and a more robust malty side now. A little white pepper. F: medium, with grassy and malty notes. 〉〉〉 Fresh and utterly drinkable. This is a nice daily dram or the base of a perfect highball. Available from Greatdrams. Score: 85/100
Glenrothes 20 yo 1997 (48,2%, Whisky-Fässle 2018, sherry butt)
N: a lot of treacle, musty wood and prunes. Fallen leaves, forest fruit jams and meaty notes. Slightly dirty. M: a true sherry bomb. Raisins, spice, more blackberry jam and prune juice. Some liquorice. Somehow fresher than the nose suggested. F: long, dark and spicy, but not too dry. 〉〉〉 Some of these Glenrothes casks are crossing a border in my opinion, but this is actually rather balanced. Overall very rich with intense sherry. Score: 88/100
Dailuaine 25 yo 1997 (48,8%, Whisky Sponge 2022, refill hogsheads, 365 btl.)
N: plenty of apples and pears, with yellow flowers, citrus notes and honey. Grassy hints, tree bark and a bulky note in the background. Vanilla biscuits after a while. M: still grassy and mossy notes, with bitter hints, lemon balm, oranges and hints of beer. Then waxy notes, ginger but also green fruit candy. Intruiging, but going in all directions. F: quite long, with sweet fruits and oak spice. 〉〉〉 Really complex, hard to pin down. Perhaps not entirely suited for rapid fire notes (I apologize) but sold out anyway. Score: 87/100
Strathearn 8 yo 2014 (49,8%, Thompson Bros ‘Spirits Angels’ 2022, virgin American oak cask #17, 58 btl.)
N: rather postmodern. There’s a rummy side (bananas, sugarcane sweetness) but a clear virgin oak footprint as well. Coconut, vanilla cream, American pancakes, candied ginger and green fruit syrup. M: more coconut sweetness, active wood spice, ginger syrup, vanilla and bananas. F: medium length. Vanilla pastry, peppery spice and sweet citrus. 〉〉〉 A whisky that doesn’t stick to classic categories. Big fun, but I’m not sure I could empty a full bottle. Score: 82/100
Blair Athol 32 yo 1989 (52,2%, The Whisky Blues 2022, hogshead #5774, 217 btl.)
N: pears and cake, vanilla custard and dried wildflowers. Light herbal notes and sweet citrus notes. A hint of vegetal oils too. M: sweet and sour, a funny combination of floral notes and passion fruits. Then honey and malty sweetness. Light resinous notes. F: medium length, with a hints of varnish and tropical fruits. 〉〉〉 Really nice, with fruits and waxy notes. Score: 88/100
Cooley 8 yo (58,6%, Whisky AGE 2022, ref. 0011, 210 btl.)
N: apples and citrus, with buttery note and hints of hay. M: green sweetness. Malty notes and vanilla, with ginger and mint. F: medium length, with indigenous fruits and wood spice. 〉〉〉 Youthful, pretty vibrant. On the other hand it doesn’t stand out in any way. Score: 81/100
Glen Garioch 12 yo 2009 (62,4%, Pin-Xin Wine Shop 2021, cask #653)
N: clean and biscuity, with a big malty sweetness. A lot of vanilla, a little hay. Hints of mirabelles. Dough and limestone too. M: citrusy, with plenty of lemon and grapefruit. Overall quite hot, with grassy notes and barley eau-de-vie. F: long and quite raw. 〉〉〉 Slightly aggressive, close to the spirit. Good but too strong, and maybe not very recognizable as Glen Garioch. Score: 84/100