Whisky Review – Glengoyne 21 Year Old (Festive dram for blog birthday)

I’m taking another break today from the headbangers reviews series. But I have a very good excuse this time: It’s the blog second birthday!

To accommodate the event, I’ve decided to review a festive dram and after debating between a few possibilities, I’ve decided to review Glengoyne 21 Year Old.

Just like last year I intended to have a give-away for the blog holiday but it will be delayed till later this month, so watch this space.

Glengoyne 21 Year Old (43%, £109.79)

glengoyne 21Nose: Sherry goodness with dried fruits, raisins, prunes and plums. It’s a settled and elegant nose, lots of sweetness with demerara sugar and chocolate that strengthen over time. There  is also a lot of cooked nutmeg and overall it’s a real treat on the nose.
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Headbangers Whisky Review: Laphroaig 15 Old vs New

It’s time to resume the Headbangers series reviews. But as I want to review another Laphroaig whisky before the summer finally settle in here (which is late by normal standards), Let’s do a headbangers review of Laphroaig 15. We’ll pit the old (pre-2009 Laphroaig 15 vs Laproaig 15 the 200th Anniversary version.

Yes, a fight of the same expression but the truth is it’s not exactly the same expression. The old 15 Year old was a very popular, being milder than the 10 year old and more delicate. But in 2009 they stopped producing it and instead we got the 18 yo (which is my top favorite OB Laphroaig).

But since then a lot changed in the whisky industry and as the demand is skyrocketing and stock levels are going down in an alarming rate, it was time to revert to the old lineup and reintroduce the 15 instead of the 18.

But it’s not only time (six years) that differentiate between those expressions. Production and materials may have changed. Perhaps even a conscious decision to change the whisky profile to fit the current demand? Let’s check then!
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Whisky Review – Laphroaig 10 Cask Strength Batch 007 (AKA James Bond Batch)

I think I’ll prolong the headbangers break for one more day to review another new Laphroaig expression – the latest batch (007) of their ever-popular 10 Year Old Cask Strength expresison. Although it was bottled in January 2015, It arrived to market and webshops without much fanfare in May and the release proximity to Feis Ile and the new new 15 yo and Cairdeas releases made it coast to sold-out state under the radar.

But with all due respect to the new 15 Year Old and the Cairdeas, there’s no doubt that the 10 Year Old CS  does stands on it own as the series bottlings are always a favorite of many Laphroaig fans and the new batch is no exception. So let’s check how good is this batch.

Laphroaig 10 Cask Strength Batch 007 (56.3%)

laphroaig 10 cask strength batch 007Nose: Intense with lots of peat, ashes, smoke and to lesser degree iodine/TCP. Lurking right behind the corner are the fruity notes, saucy smoked meat and some touch of vanilla. Also playing: machines diesel oil, oak wood. With time it’s meatier and fruitier with more honey. With a few drops of water there’s also white pepper and touch of oak Continue reading

Whisky Review – Laphroaig Cairdeas 2015

Time for some interlude in the headbangers reviews series. I finally got my Laphroaig Cairdeas 2015 liquid and I just had to taste it as soon as possible :-)

It’s the Laphroaig 200th anniversary bottling, wholly produced in Laphroaig with 100% usage of malting floor barley and according to John Campbell, it should represent how old Laphroaig was used to taste.

Laphroaig Cairdeas 2015 (51.5%)

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Headbangers Whisky Review: Glenrothes 1998 10yo (Bottled 2014) vs Glenrothes Alba Reserve

Fllowing yesterday ‘fight’ between two Glenlivet whiskies, today will bring you a fight between two expressions from another speyside distillery – Glenrothes 1998 Vintage (10 years old but was bottled in 2014) against Glenrothes Alba Reserve.

It was one of the pairs I tasted recently at Dramming.com age vs NAS bling tasting. This time it’s not a whisky vs its’ replacement but one of the regular Glenrothes vintages releases, although this 1998 vintage is the first bottling made with Gordon Motion as the Glenrothes Malt Master and we pit it against their all ex-bourbon (American oak) NAS release.  Continue reading

Headbangers Whisky Review: Glenlivet Founders Reserve vs Glenlivet 12 Year Old

It’s time for a new series on the blog – the Headbangers! No, this is not a series of posts on the WWE wrestling duo or heavy metal band, but a series of posts where we’ll put 2 whiskies in the boxing ring and we’ll see which one fares better, get the laurels and maybe get our approval.

Although it’s a series, I will publish regular posts in between as ‘snacks’ and interludes so you won’t get bored of this too fast.

Anyway, time for the first round – we’ll pit the recently released Glenlivet Founders Reserve against the previous core range lowest offering, the well known and best seller Glenlivet 12 Year Old.

As with other releases in the last year, which some will be covered in this series, Glenlivet released Founders Reserve due to the acute problem of high demand for whisky and not enough good casks for single malt. So we get a new offering, NAS of course, that allows Glenlivet to reduce the consumption rate of those older casks they have in the warehouses. The bad news? Glenlivet Founders Reserve was almost instantly was declared as the replacement of Glenlivet 12 in some key markets such as UK and Germany. Other markets get to keep the 12 Year Old (such as the USA and other European markets) so the question is are they fortunate or maybe the Founders Reserve is a worthy replacement? Continue reading

Chronicles of a whisky – Tasting and comparing three variations of Glendronach 12 Year Old

Glendronach is one well loved distillery due to their heritage, sherried profile and the periodical single casks batches.

Glendronach Logo

A quick history lesson: Glendronach was mothballed since 1996 till May 14th 2002 and it operated under Chivas Brothers until Billy Walker and co (AKA Benriach Distillery Company) bought it in 2008 and the core line (12, 15 & 18 yo) was successfully relaunched in 2009.

Now, If you look at that time table you can see some oddity which was a “secret” for a while (although not that well kept “secret” in the last few years) – All recent Glendronach 12 bottles that were bottled until May 14th 2014, were in fact at least 18 years old Glendronach as the available +12yo spirit was distilled before Glendronach was mothballed in 1996.

Glendronach Distillery

Glendronach Distillery

And so you got additional 6 years for free if you bought a 12yo one bottled before that cut day (and maybe even post this cut date but we cannot be sure of that), so a 18yo whisky for the price of 12yo – quite a good deal.

But it’s true for Glendronach 12yo that were bottled post 2008. As the distillery was still in production in 1996, the 12yo bottlings done by Chivas brothers in 2005 till 2008 will still be a ‘true’ 12yo (or thereabout).

The Glendronach 12yo changed when it was re-launched by Billy Walker & co. the old bottling was double matured, first round in ex-bourbon and then finished in sherry casks, or as the label said “double casks matured in sherry wood and traditional oak barrels” and was bottled in 40%.

The Billy Walker era bottlings are full sherry maturated: “matured in a combination of the finest pedro ximenez and oloroso sherry wood”, and so I was curious about comparing the bottlings both comes from that old stock (that was distilled before Glendronach was mothballed) and recently, with the help of two friends, it was finally possible to go ahead and have this kind of tasting.

So let’s go ahead and review three Glendronach 12 from that old stock, one from the old Chivas brothers regime bottled in 2007 and two from the Billy Walker era, bottled a year or so apart – let’s see how those bottlings differs one from each other.


Glendronach 12 Year Old (40%, bottled in 2007 by Chivas brothers)

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