Whisky Review – Caol Ila 2002 (Feis Ile 2014 bottling)

Today is Caol Ila open day, so let’s review their Feis Ile 2014 bottling. It was the first Special/Feis Ile bottling done by the new distillery manager David Wood who try to carry on and stand up to Billy Stitchell’s work.

So the Feis Ile 2014 bottling? Not much to tell about it. It was matured in refill American oak hogsheads without any fancy finishes or tricks.

Caol Ila 2002 (Feis Ile 2014 bottling) (55.5%, 1500 bottles)

caol ila 2002 feis ile 2014Nose: Sweetness and peat with sweetness at first dominating the nose. Lemon and coconuts, a bit oily. With time there are ashes on the nose. With water it’s spicier and bring out a huge coconut concentration. Continue reading

Whisky Review – Bruichladdich Octomore Discovery (Feis Ile 2014 bottling)

Feis Ile has started yesterday with Lagavulin day and now onward to Bruichladdich. Last years festival bottling was Octomore Discovery, quadruple distilled and aged for 7 years in sherry casks.

Bruichladdich Octomore Discovery 7 Year Old (69.5%)

bruichladdich-octomore-1695-discovery-feis-ile-201Nose: Very restrained, showing lots of fruitiness on the front seat and some peat smoke in the background. I doesn’t smell like a very peated whisky (like Octomore) but I guess we can attribute it to the quadruple distillation (and casks selection). Citrus (oranges and lemon), creamy cereals, vanilla. on the back there’s the smoke, wood smoke and damp peat. Continue reading

Whisky Review – Lagavulin 1994 16 Year Old Cask #3210 (Feis Ile 2010 bottling)

So it’s that week again, Feis Ile Festival has started and just like last year I’m going to review a whisky from each Islay (and Jura) distillery on their open day.

Last year it was a wide assortment of drams but this year we’ll review the series of Feis Ile 2014 bottles. Yes, you read it right, for Feis Ile 2015 we’ll review the 2014 bottlings :)

But for every rule there are exceptions, and this year we actually starts with the exception. I already reviewed the Lagavulin 1995 19 yo that was bottled for Feis Ile 2014 following a blind tasting. It was a very enlightening post and you may read it here. Therefor, for this years’ series we’ll review the Feis Ile 2010 bottling, which was a 1994 vintage. How lucky was I to receive it from a friend ah? Thanks Nick!

Lagavulin 1994 16 Year Old (Feis Ile 2010 bottling) (52.7%,399)

lagavulin 1994 16yo feis ile 2010Nose: First word that come up in mind is ‘smooth’. It’s not a powerful nose despite the high ABV but it deliver the notes gently.  There’s Oloroso sherry impact with all the whistles and bells meshed with gentle peat that slowly rises up and get stronger but still in balance with the sherry impact. Smoked raisins,  dried fruits, traces of cinnamon pastry and vanilla.  Continue reading

Whisky Review – Springbank 18 & Longrow 18

Feis Ile is knocking on our doors but let’s say one last goodbye to Springbank appreciation week and Campbeltown festival with the review of the 18 Year old duo from Springbank: the unpeated Springbank 18 and the peated Longrow 18.

Springbank 18 Year old (46%, €111.66)

springbank-18-yearsNose: sherry impact of berries, a bit dry, sweet honeyed vanilla and caramel, raisins, fruity. Rich and oily and just classic. Continue reading

Review of Springbank finishes trio with never a dull moment

Moving on with our Springbank appreciation week. Today is the open day at Springbank distillery and I’m very jealous of my three friends who visits the distillery today (on their way to Feis) and in their honor let’s review a trio (one for each friend) of official Springbank finishes.

The first one is the Gaja Barolo wood finish that spent four years in refill bourbon barrels, followed by another five further years in Gaja Barolo wine casks.

Springbank 9 Year old Gaja Barolo wood finish (54.7%, 11,000 bottles, £57.95/€69,95)

springbank 9 yo barolo wood finishNose: The wine impact is very strong here. Sweet and rich and definitely not drying. Wine and fruity, I wonder if the refill bourbon casks were 1st fill for max flavors as it does feels like that. After letting it breath in the glass, there’s less wine impact and more Bourbon impact and after adding some water there were still some grapes notes in it. Continue reading

Whisky Review – Springbank CV (and bonus review of Longrow CV)

Next in line is a review of the old NAS offering from Springbank which was discontinued, the Springbank CV and along with it we’ll review the Longrow CV which was replaced (or merely renamed) with Longrow Peated.

The CV name stands for Curriculum Vitae. Yes, similar to what’s going on with job interviews, it’s called this way as there’s a long road behind it – a vatting of different casks types and styles (bourbon, sherry and port wine) and different ages (7,10,14 years).

Springbank CV (46%, €33.95)

springbank cvNose: apples,pears, coconut, vanilla custard, spiciness, white pepper at first that it calms down and we get creamy and malty notes. Zesty, some dried fruits in background and sherry spices. Continue reading

Whisky Review: Springbank Spirit of Freedom 30 Year Old

Too many Springbank tasting notes with cobwebs on them so let’s have a Springbank week here on the blog. We’ll start with a blend, Spirit of Freedom 30 Year Old, which isn’t a true Springbank but is produced by J & A Mitchell, the owners of Springbank and probably contains some old Springbank spirit in it.

Spirit of Freedom was released to commemorate the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314 which is a big and important milestone for Scotland (read about it  at Wikipedia as we’re focusing on whisky here :))

It is composed of 75% malt whisky (from five distilleries, one from each whisky region and I assume Springbank is the logical choice to represent Campbeldown region) and 25% grain whisky, from a mix of bourbon and sherry casks.

Springbank Spirit of Freedom 30yo (46%, 2014 bottles, £86.2)

Spirit Freedom 30Nose: A very relaxed nose as the maturation age is noticeable here. The nose harbors some herbal edge, old sweet grain, banana, sweet honey, sweet kumquat, coconut and dare I say there’s even some wax note here. Continue reading