Whisky Review and Tasting Notes: Glen Elgin 12 Year Old

The local blind tasting competition continue and I had another good revelation with last night dram: Glen Elgin 12 year old.

Last night was not my first encounter with this whisky as I tasted it last summer, but the previous encounter wasn’t in a proper tasting environment, small dose in a small plastic cup so didn’t write myself notes and all I remembered was its fruitiness. That truly made it hard to make the connection to last night dram as the saltiness here was a key factor.

Glen Elgin 12 Year Old (43%, £31.95/€32.99)

glen-elgin-12-year-old-whiskyNose: Those are ex-bourbon casks for sure with vanilla and heather honey. At first there was even a big floral note bordering perfume. Some concentrated fruits (mainly apricots), lots of saltiness. heavy yet fresh. Continue reading

Whisky Review – Tobermory 10 Year Old (46.3%)

I’m taking part in (yet another) blind tasting competition. This time it’s an event organized for the local wine & alcohol forum. The first entry was Tomatin 14 which I reviewed in the past and failed to recognized it. The 2nd one was Tobermory 10 (the newer version with the higher ABV). I failed to recognized it but did get some points for guessing the age correctly :)

Tobermory 10 Year Old (46.3%, £29.45)

tobermory 10 new 46.3Nose: Heavy notes of malt, ‘dirty’ hay, honey and vanilla. This one is surely young as there are whiffs of new make notes and lots of malt. Given some time there’s a bit of milk chocolate, , sour berries with sugary sweetness which then develop and almost overtake the malt/honey/hay combo with strong strawberries note.
Continue reading

Whisky Review of SMWS 127.40 Mango chicken vindaloo- Port Charlotte is a perfect storm dram!

As the storm is now in full force over my little country, and snow is covering some surprising places, it’s time to review a storm dram, a peated and sweet-fruity dram, something like a Port Charlotte from the SMWS – 127.40 Mango chicken vindaloo.

It’s no secret I’m a fan of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) and their bottlings, their venues are on my must visit places whenever I come over to UK/Scotland and I LOVE their peated bottlings. A previous SMWS Port Charlote bottling was one of my favorites of 2013 and I was waiting eagerly to lay my hands on another bottle. I tried in vain to get a bottle of this but had to settle for a bottle-share (although I did get another one later, but that’s a review for another time).

And so, armed with a 100ml bottle of this Port Charlotte, aged 12 years from a Refill Ex-Bourbon Hogshead that yielded only 159 bottles, I’m ready for mother nature this weekend.

SMWS 127.40 Mango chicken vindaloo (63%, 159 bottles)

Photo credit: benswhisky.co.uk

Photo credit: benswhisky.co.uk

Nose: Massive peat and fruity nose, chutney, pears, peaches and a bit of apricots, the peat is there in the background (quite a massive background!) supporting the front fruits. After a few minutes there are strong notes of malt and cereal. Added water and all I can say is WOW. It opens up fantastically, retaining the palette of the notes but it’s now layered and sharpened. The fruits notes gets tropical with added tanned pineapples juice, there’s less peat, indeed chicken meat shows up and it’s lovely and deeper.

Palate: Sweet peat with ashes and a bit of soot, sweet stewed fruits, cereals, very thick and meaty. With water, less sweet and less peat, lighter and better. grilled chicken, tropical fruits and depth.

Finish: Very long with peat, ashes, lingering fruits sweetness.

Thoughts: Cold, rain, hail or snow, I’m ready! It’s a top dram, rounded and nicely balanced notes. Best to have it with a few drops of water, maybe melted snow will do? :)

Whisky Review – Laphroaig 15 yo (1998-2014) Signatory Vingtage Cask #700384

It’s a gloomy and wintry weather here this week and the forecast for the weekend promise a real cold, rainy and snowy weekend around here. I guess it’s time to prepare with another peated dram, right?

Let’s get back to my favorite distillery and pick a 15 year old bottling by Signatory, bottled as part of their Un-chilfiltered Collection from  a refill sherry butt.

Laphroaig 15 yo (1998-2014) Signatory Vingtage Cask #700384 (46%, 797 bottles, €69.90)

laphroaig 15 signatory vintage 1998Nose: Ahh, love that Laphroaig nose – Peat and soot, engine oil and BBQ coal, a bit of burnt matches, dry warm rubber boots. There’s the sherry impact with nutmeg, soaked raisins, sour berries. Continue reading

Lagavulin 12 Year Old (Special Releases 2012) Review and notes: Revisiting and faith restoration

While doing the last two posts, I recalled there was one more I wanted to taste. Actually, to re-taste. Back in 2013 I visited Lagavulin and as part of the premium tasting event I tasted the Lagavulin 12 CS (2012 version). You can read all about it here but it was horrible and vile whisky.

I didn’t have time to investigate it on the spot as we were in a hurry to reach another tour, but later I got feedback and remarks that led me to the conclusion it was probably a improper cleaned glass and so I promised myself to revisit it someday, and that day finally arrived now following all those reviews in the last few days.

Thanks to my friend Michael, I got a small sample of this Lagavulin and tasted it again last night. How was it? vile again or a proper Lagavulin?

Lagavulin 12 Year Old (Special Releases 2012) (56.1%, £84.95/€89.95)

Lagavulin-12-2012Nose: Big peat note, not so smokey but there’s a nice layed down burnt down wood smoke. It’s very sweet & fruity with a touch of lemon. Oily and even had a passing by note of rubber and liquorice. Continue reading

Whisky Review & Tasting Notes: Caol Ila Unpeated 15 year old (Special Releases 2014)

From one Special Releases whisky to another Special Release whisky. In the last few iterations of Diageo Special Releases lineups, we learned to expect two affordable whiskies in the lineup: The Lagavulin 12yo cask strength and the the one we review today – the Caol Ila Unpeated.

The 2014 edition is 15 year old version, matured in first-fill ex-bourbon casks, where all previous editions were up to 14 years).

Caol Ila Unpeated 15yo (Special Releases 2014) (60.39%, 10,668 bottles ,£72/€89.95)

caol ila unpeated 15 1998 special releases 2014Nose: Starts with a wave of sweet fruits and it’s very dusty (partially due to the high ABV) and heavy, creamy cereal, lemon and despite it being unpeated, I occasionally do smell some sweet peat. With a few drops of water the ABV drops down and the dusty notes turns to mineral notes with salty touch, it becomes more sweet and fruity with tropical fruits like mango and passion-fruits. Continue reading