BenRiach 1997 Connoisseurs Choice (Bottled 2014) Review

Today’s dram is another fine example from Gordon & Macphail “The Wood Makes the Whisky” campaign. It’s a 16 or 17 years old BenRiach, distilled in 1997 and bottled in 2014 and it was matured in refill Sherry hogshead casks.

BenRiach 1997 Connoisseurs Choice (46%, Bottled 2014, £58.50)

BenRiach 1997 Connoisseurs ChoiceNose: Elegant and light sherry notes at first: sweet dried fruit with some fresh berries thrown in for a good measure accompanied by cinnamon. Then honey, cereals, pears and white fruit, soft and creamy vanilla with crushed nuts, quite a rich nose and after a while the lovely sherry notes comes back for good. Continue reading

Imperial 1995 20 Year Old Signatory Vintage for TWE Review

It’s always a treat to taste a whisky from a closed distillery. Imperial distillery was closed down at 1998, mothballed in 2013 and a new distillery, Dalmunach Distillery, was setup on the same ground by Chivas Bros.

1995 Is a very popular vintage with independent bottlers for Imperial whiskies. I had a few of those in the past although most were just meh so this Signatory bottling for The Whisky Exchange has piqued my interest.

Imperial 1995 20 Year Old Signatory Vintage for TWE (50.8%, Cask #50252, £69.95)

imperial 1995 20 year old signatory for tweNose: Fruit and herbals, eucalyptus, mint, nuts, flower petals (of light colors), floral meadow on a spring day, oranges, peaches after a while with more flower petals. With water it’s lighter and sweeter with added fragrance. Real nice! Continue reading

Laphroaig Lore Review

I’ve been wary of Laphroaig Lore. In fact, I was a bit dreading to taste and review it as it’s the official replacement for Laphroaig 18 which I dearly love. I admit I was angry at Laphroaig’s decision to drop the 18 year old and bring Lore instead as I hate the on going trend of replacing a good matured whisky with a NAS expression.

Usually we don’t know much about the composition of NAS whiskies but John Campbell, the manager of Laphroaig distillery, told the world that Laphroaig Lore is a vatting of casks aged 7 up to 21 year old. But since vatting can change for future batches, I assume they went the NAS route and also because a 7 years old label doesn’t cut it for a whisky replacing a 18 year old expression ah?

So let’s go ahead and check if Lore is indeed ‘The richest of the rich’ and is a worthy replacement for the 18 year old.

Laphroaig Lore (48%, £77.95/€89,95/$109.99)

Continue reading

Craigellachie 1997 Connoisseurs Choice (Bottled 2014) Review

I’m very fond of Craigellachie distillery due to the seemingly irrelevant fact that I slept at a B&B in the Craigellachie village on my first Scotland pilgrimage. Since then I tasted a few Craigellachie bottles, indie and official and it’s time to review another one, a 1997 vintage from the Connoisseurs Choice lineup of Gordon & Macphail.

It was bottled in 2014 (making it about 17 year old) and it was aged in refill ex-bourbon casks, unlike the 1997 vintage that was bottled in 2013 that was aged in first fill sherry casks. I do know that Craigellachie works well with sherry but how about bourbon?

Craigellachie 1997 Connoisseurs Choice (46%, Bottled 2014, £64.45/€88,90)

connoisseurs choice craigellachie 1997 bottled 2014Nose: Fruity with apples, red apples peels, a touch of peaches, it very much reminds me some of official Craigellachie lineup traits with those apples, roasted/burnt matches and the oily and smooth feeling. bakery full of fruit cakes, some nuttiness, cream, ginger and spices. Continue reading

Blair Athol 1988 27 Year Old Signatory Vintage for TWE Review

Blair Athol distillery is a distillery which most whisky drinkers never heard of. It’s acting as a workhorse for Diageo, producing 2,500,000 liter of alchol a year with most of its’ output going into blends (and a very minor portion goes towards the Blair Athol 12 in the Flora and Fauna series).

But a few years a go a big batch of 1988 vintage casks found itself in independent bottlers hands with Signatory leading the way here and one of those Signatory casks popped up lately as an exclusive release for The Whisky Exchange. Let’s check it out!

Blair Athol 1988 27 Year Old Signatory Vintage for TWE (55.7%, £120 ,Cask #6845)

blair athol 1988 27yo signatory for tweNose: Sherried and a bit dirty nose with struck matches, weak sulphur, sour berries, cinnamon and nutmeg, espresso, dark chocolate and wax. After a while more coffee and dark chocolate shows up and it becomes less sulphury. With water it’s fruitier with cherries and raspberries, some malt and chocolate with lower percentage of cacao. Continue reading

Dalmore 2001 Connoisseurs Choice (Bottled 2015) Review

There are some distilleries you play love/hate games with and in my case one of them would be Dalmore. I usually just can’t stand the caramel and the chill filtration they do with their official line up, hence the sparseness of Dalmore reviews here. Of course when you go to special aged editions the situation is a tad bitter (like the 1981 Amaroso I reviewed) but the global picture is pretty gloom.

That’s why I was happy to receive a sample of an indie Dalmore from Gordon & Macphail. There aren’t too many of those in the market, and I instantly grabbed the chance to try this Dalmore 2001 – it’s au natural without additions or damaging filtering!

Dalmore 2001 Connoisseurs Choice (46%, Bottled 2015, £32.08/€54,90)

connoisseurs choice dalmore 2001Nose: It’s a very fruity nose with a lot of pears and pineapple notes. Also some creamy malt, liqorice, bitter grapefruit and gentle oak wood spices. After it sat down in the glass for a few minutes there were red apples, lemon, herbal eucalyptus and light spearmint perfume. Continue reading

Douglas Laing Scallywag Cask Strength Batch #2 Review

Better late than never but it’s about time I’ll check out the latest batch of Scallywag Cask Strength. I had the magical opportunity to be at Douglas Laing HQ when the original Scallyway was released and I loved it so lets check it out and see if this batch of the Cask Strength (4800 bottles) manages to keep up to the high standard of the original.

Douglas Laing Scallywag Cask Strength Batch #2 (54.1%, £45.98/€54,90)

douglas laing scallywag cask strength batch #2Nose: Malty which isn’t surprising as I assume it will be young, and energetic (thanks to those extra %), strong sherry impact, dried berries, sultanas, white pepper, demerara sugar, vanilla pods are scatter through, quite lively and punchy. Continue reading