Glenrothes 8 Year Old (Macphails Collection) Review

While we’re on a roll from last week, let’s check another young and low ABV whisky. Today it’s a 8 year old Glenrothes from Gordon and Macphail, another entree in the “The Wood Makes the Whisky” campaign, that was matured for 8 years in a combo of refill Sherry hogsheads and refill bourbon barrels before bottling back in 2011.

Macphail’s Collection Glenrothes 8 Year Old (43%, £31.95)

glenrothes 8 year old macphails collectionNose: Malty and creamy coconut, vanilla with a touch of honey, oak wood spices, develops some green apples at the background with a surprising briney note and then slowly some weak sherry impact shows up: chocolate, nutmeg and cinnamon. A very gentle nose.

Palate: Spicy and sweet, oak wood spices, a little salt, vanilla, floral/herbal edge, some sweet lemon, chocolate and then walnuts in the background.

Finish: Lingering spiciness and walnuts, soursweet lemon and grapefruits, milk chocolate, short length

Thoughts: Relatively young and not an overly complex whisky (as it usually goes together), but it’s an easy to drink whisky with all those gentle and subtle notes.

Beinn Dubh Review

Beinn Dubh is a whisky that is marketed as ‘The Black Single Malt Scotch Whisky”. I must admit that for me, the honor of having the “Black Whisky” title belonged to Loch Dhu (which was distilled in Mannochmore distillery) but it’s not produced anymore and instead we have on the market two candidates for the Black whisky title but as both are coming from the Speyside Distillery (which of course resides in the Speyside region), I supposed that the torch did move on to them. The first one is  ‘Cu Dub’ which is more or less a recreation of Loch Dhu and the other one is the recently launched ‘Beinn Dubh’ which is the focus of today’s post.

‘Beinn Dubh’, similar to ‘Cu Dub’ is aged in heavily charred casks and then finished in Ruby Black Port casks which impart further dark colors to the whisky. Unfortunately, we’re missing a lot of information on the whisky: Is it the natural color of the whisky or was E150a involved here? Is it chill filtered or not? (BTW, I assume it was CF due to the low 43% ABV). Some general information on the different time duration would be useful too.

Beinn Dubh (43%, £49.95/€65)

beinn dubhNose: Starts off with some youth and malt then the ruby impact quickly covers it with plums and raisins, redcurrants and blackcurrant. After a minute there’s honey, artificial sweetener, vanilla and smoke.  Continue reading

Bunnahabhain 2006 8 Year Old The Ultimate Review

Amid all the rising whisky prices and the growing NAS segment, we’ve seen another trend going strong lately: independent bottlings of young whisky, from 5 year old up to 10 year old.

It shouldn’t surprise us as whisky casks prices has risen too, for both new make and aged spirit barrels. The reasoning is simple: bottle it at younger age, maybe even bottle at lower ABV and so it’s cheaper and you can extract more bottles from each cask.

Today’s Bunnahabhaim from Van Wees The Ultimate brand is a classic example of such whisky, distilled 26/06/2006, aged in cask 2127, bottled 4/6/2015 at the tender age of 8 year old (although it was 22 days far from being 9 year old) yielding 815 bottles due to 46% bottling strength.

Bunnahabhain 2006 8 Year Old The Ultimate (46%, €39.20)

bunnahabhain 8 year old 2006 the ultimateNose: It’s young alright with lots of malt notes, sweet malt, bread, cereals and barley sugar. There’s even some roughness but hey, here comes the sherry impact with mellow and sweet dried fruit, some plums, raisins, very subtle comparing to the strong maltiness and is noticeable just enough to balance it out. Continue reading

Royal Brackla 21 Year Old Review

Following the reviews of the Royal Brackla 12 & 16 Year old, it’s time to try the high end expression, the Royal Brackla 21 Year Old. I liked the lower age expressions despite their flaws, can we hope that the 21 is better?

Royal Brackla 21 Year Old (40%, £135/€139.75)

royal brackla 21Nose: Unlike the 12 & 16, the 21 Year Old starts with a grassy tone instead of the floral one, a lot of meadow grass and hay notes but slowly the floral notes crawl back. White chocolate, honey, dry but less so than the younger siblings, sweet golden apples, slight sherry impact with dried fruit, nutmeg and cloves, creamy and a bit waxy. After a while, maltiness, subtle dark chocolate and some eucalyptus and menthol shows up. Continue reading

Royal Brackla 16 Year Old Review

A couple of months ago I reviewed the entry level expression from Royal Brackla distillery which is part of the Last Great Malts series from Bacardi. It’s time to move up in the line up and review the higher level expressions from this new line up.

Today we’ll check the mid level expression, the Royal Brackla 16 Year old and the next post will review the high-end offering, the Royal Brackla 21 Year Old.

Looking back at my review of the 12 Year Old one, it seems that I liked it as it sports a unique profile of dry, lightly fruity, a bit herbal and a touch of sherry impact. What does the 16 YO has in store for us?

Royal Brackla 16 Year Old (40%, £69.95/€85.90)

royal brackla 16Nose: Starts with floral note of violets and a springtime meadow grass, flint and limestone, white chocolate, honey, pears and a lots of apricots. It’s very dry, getting sweeter and fruitier over time, green melon, green apples and unripe mango.
Continue reading

Glenmorangie A Midwinter Night’s Dram Review

This past week was the coldest one of the winter. It was so cold and freezing that we avoided a snowmargeddon only because we didn’t have precipitation at the same time. Usually such weather calls for heavy-weight whisky, peated or sherred, but this time I opted for a dram that celebrates the midwinter time and it did feel like midwinter here last week.

Glenmorangie A Midwinter Night’s Dram is a limited edition (like all of their releases in the last few years) that celebrates a Glenmorangie tradition of bottling a special whisky for the sixteen men of Tain by the master distiller. This year, the special whisky was available to the public with this new release.

Glenmorangie A Midwinter Night’s Dram (43%, £28/€94.99)

glenmorangie A midwinter night's dramNose: Well, you can’t miss the fact it’s a Glenmorangie whisky with such a creamy and very soft nose with all those citrus, honey and nutty notes. Upon further nosing there are almonds and some macadamia nuts, even some floral edge, oak wood spices and with some time more explicit malt note. Continue reading

Macallan Rare Cask Black Review

lately I’ve been beating the TR market and the late trends it’s going through. But not all new TR exclusive whiskies are bad. Macallan has been doing some good TR exclusive releases for a while but even those come with issues of their own.

For example, the Macallan Rare Cask Black lacks transparency big time. The bottle itself is opaque and you can’t gauge how much whisky left in the bottle and also lacks transparency for the liquid inside – we don’t know much about the whisky. Yes, it’s somewhat peated (either the result of peated malt or usage of casks that held sherry and peated whisky in the past), and there are less than 100 such casks in Macallan warehouses. But how many of those were used here? what about casks information?

I don’t think that additional transparency will hurt sales. I understand Macallan’s decision to go the taste-is-the-only-thing-that-matter route they chose in the last few years but I don’t have to like it as I like my whisky to be less mysterious, especially when they ask consumers to pay $450 for said bottle. Does it justify that price tag?

Macallan Rare Cask Black (48%, $450 RRP)

macallan rare cask blackNose: Macallan? Are you sure? It smells like sherried Highland park to me. Peat smoke, lots of sherry goodness, There were multiple casks involved in creating this whisky but I bet there were a lots of Spanish wood casks in the mix. Prunes, dried fruit, gentle nutmeg and to lesser extent cinnamon, quite a fresh and polished nose. With time it gets sweeter and further sherried but still keeping the fresh theme and not going into cloying territory, spicy with a nice dose of white pepper, a bit of dust, cloves, gentle smoke going through all the time. Continue reading