Springbank 1997 20 Year Old (Whiskybroker) Review

This is the sad story of how I once went to lunch without my phone and when I got back to the office I found out this Springbank 20 Year Old which I coveted for over a week since I heard on it was suddenly released and got sold – all during lunch. Allow me to add that since then I don’t go out to eat without the phone. 😀

And the whisky itself? A sherried Springbank in a fantastic price. The whisky was distilled 14.03.1997, filled into Sherry Hogshead #108 and bottled 5.09.2017 after 20 years. The cask yielded 268 bottles that were sold out in a matter of 10 minute.

Springbank 1997 20 Year Old (Whiskybroker) (48.9%, £135)

Source: whiskybase.com

Nose: Silky, dried fruit, Kirsch and cherries, soft earth dirtyness, peat smoke, oily, vines greenery, brown sugar, citrus peels. After a while getting a bit floral with dark chocolate. Such a smooth texture! Continue reading

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Ardbeg An Oa Review

Ardbeg An Oa is the latest addition to Ardbeg core range. It was released in late 2017 and I totally neglected to review it till now.

Despite the hope we’d get an older Ardbeg with an age statement (say 15 or 18 Year Old), Ardbeg An Oa is like Corryvreckan and Uigeadail and doesn’t carry an age statement. So it’s a NAS whisky and it contains spirit that was aged in PX sherry casks and bourbon barrels that were married together in a French oak vat. Let’s check it out:

Ardbeg An Oa (46.6%, £48.95/€47,90/$52.99)

Nose: Sweet, rounded and restrained (relatively to all those modern Ardbeg) peat, a bit of lemon, honey, a touch of vanilla, smoke, apricot, herbal notes after a while with mint and aniseed. Very approachable. Continue reading

Glenlivet 13 Year Old Sherry Cask Matured Review

We’re familiar with the Glenlivet range of products and the changes in the line up such as the introduction of Glenlivet Founders Reserve and the (seems to be temporary) pull of Glenlivet 12 year old from certain markets to ease the pressure on matured stocks.

But some special yet official Glenlivet has popped up late in January in a certain ‘hot’ whisky market – A sherried 13 Year Old Glenlivet was released exclusively for Taiwan market.

Thanks to a friend, I was fortunate enough to get a bottle and check out how a 40% and chill-filtered sherried Glenlivet tastes like.

Glenlivet 13 Year Old Sherry Cask Matured (40%, Taiwan Market)

Nose: Soft nose, dried dark berries, slightly caramelized, brown sugar, dark chocolate, plums compote, heavily sweetened black coffee with cardamon. After a few minutes there’s dark chocolate and coffee with a bit of dried fruit, sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg. Continue reading

Golan Heights Distillery Golani Brandy Finish Review

Yesterday we celebrated our 70th Independence day and with such a round nice number our lively local whisky scene didn’t kept quiet. The Golan Heights Distillery released a special limited anniversary edition of their two grain whisky Golani that was finished in a Brandy cask.

The Golani spirit spent 2.5 years in red wine cask (like the regular Golani Vino) and then 50 liters were finished in a 50L cask which held Brandy (distilled at the distillery) for another 6 months. 70 bottles were released to the market bottled at 49.7%.

Golan Heights Distillery Golani Brandy Finish (49.7%, 250NIS/~€57)

Nose: Soft brandy influence, sweet grapes, red wine, then there’s the trademarked toffee and butterscotch of the distillery in the backseat and green apples. Continue reading

Octomore 8.3 Masterclass Review

After being a bit distracted by the Old Pulteney 2004 we’re back at some more Octomores and today we’re checking Octomore 8.3.

Unlike Octomore 8.1 and Octomore 8.2, Octomore 8.3 is only 5 year old which is more or less in line with previous Octomore generations. The barley was grown in a single field at Octomore farm (Bruichladdich Distillery neighbors) and 56% of the whisky was matured in ex-Bourbon casks and 44% matured in European oak casks. 18,000 bottles at 61.2% were produced.

The 309 PPM (Phenols per million) figure for Octomore 8.3 is mightly impressive, and probably holds the unofficial Guinness world record for the peatiest barley, but we do know that the PPM level drops rapidly from the malted barley stage to the final product (depending on distillation, barrels, etc). Nevertheless, I guess we still should expect heavy influence in the whisky so let’s check it out.

Octomore 8.3 Masterclass (61.2%, £156.55/€189,95)

Nose: Malt, damp peat bomb, thick and dense heather honey with little vanilla. Salt and meat. Vinegar (like pickles in vinegar), overripe pears and peaches, cream. With water: the intensity goes down and we get some wood smoke, chocolate and more pears and peaches. Continue reading

Old Pulteney 2004 Single Cask #128 (TWE Exclusive) Review

Whenever The Whisky Exchange has a new single cask exclusive it is quite a thrill. Usually Sukhinder Singh does his magic and conjure some uniqe and good (or interesting at least) cask. I had my issues with their last Kilchoman exclusive but this time he actually managed to get Old Pulteney Distillery to bottle him a sherried Old Pulteney.

How rare is it? I can’t recall any fully matured sherried Old Pulteney from the last few years besides this one and the LMDW bottling. and to boot – this single cask is a first fill sherry cask (a sherry butt probably with 612 bottles available) so a proper Old Pulteney sherry bomb? Let’s find out.

Old Pulteney 2004 Single Cask #128 (TWE Exclusive) (62.1%, £99.95)

Continue reading

Octomore 8.2 Masterclass Review

I reviewed Octomore 8.1 last week but I can’t really stop here so let’s head on to the next one in the series – Octomore 8.2.

Just like Octomore 8.1, it’s 100% Scottish barley peated to 167 ppm level and carries an 8 year old age statement.

The x.2 suffix in the series is reserved for wine maturation or finish, but this year it’s kind of extreme as the casks composition is complex. At first, the Octomore spirit spent six years in one of three different types of wine casks (all second fill casks):

  • French Mourvedre
  • Austrian sweet wines
  • French Sauternes

And then finished (or as Bruichladdich call it: ACEd) in fresh Amarone casks for additional two years. From those Amarone casks, 36,000 were produced for the travel retail shops.

Octomore 8.2 Masterclass (58.4%, ~€159.90)

Nose: Sweet malt and sweet red wine, tannins, nuts, lactic, moss, big time leather- new shoe leather and smoked leather. Red gooseberry, freshly cut wet peat. After a few minutes, perfume, bay leaves, cloves, and more and more leather. Continue reading