Old Particular Mortlach 12 Year Old (DL12363) Review

We had a lovely weekend with colder weather and rain but seems like we’re cutting straight into springtime here with warmer weather and greenery everywhere. Time for some springtime fitting whisky, a 12 Year Old Mortlach charged from a single bourbon cask.

Mortlach fitting for springtime? Well, Even though I’m coming from the “whisky fits all seasons” school, if you’re not following this rule, just bear with me for a little more and read the tasting notes below before disagreeing with me.

Douglas Laing Old Particular Mortlach 12 Year Old (DL12363, 48.4%, £60.95/350NIS)

Nose: You feel the Mortlachness here with dense and heavy nose, hazelnuts, fresh grapefruit peels and juice, bread-y, dough, fresh Granny Smith apples, vanilla and a big dash of honey. Continue reading


Glenmorangie Allta (Private Edition #10) Review

Last month, like every winter in the last decade, Glenmorangie distillery released their latest Private Edition (always one of the rare high points of winter time  whisky releases). Yes, a decade has passed and we have ‘Allta’ (Wild in Gaelic) is the 10th Private Edition.

While most of the editions in the last decade were focused on the casks and how they influence the Glenmorangie whisky, Allta and Tusail are like the black sheep of the family. Tusail was all about barley and Allta is all about yeasts. Instead of using the standard yeast strain, Dr. Bill Lumsden went with a different yeast strain – a local strain from around Tain.

After some work and time, they found a wild and suitable yeast strain on barley from Cadboll Estate near Tain and they started distilling using this strain.

Glenmorangie Allta (Private Edition #10) (51.2%, £78.95/84,50/$85.90)

Nose: Bubblegum, very wild and not very Glenmorangie like, malt, I would swear it’s a distilled beer, orange, nuts in the background and a bit of freshness. After a few minutes more nuts and menthol, pears, pine forest, very beer-y. With a few drops of water it’s fruitier and there’s fresh beer froth. A unique nose (especially for Glenmorangie). Continue reading

Compass Box ‘Stranger & Stranger’ Review

Yesterday it was Compass Box Juveniles day and today we review the other whisky released on the same day – Stranger & Stranger.

Just like Juveniles, ‘Stranger & Stranger’ is a whisky release with some external entity in mind and this time it’s the ‘Stranger & Stranger’ – the package design company that Compass Box has been working with for the last decade.

this blended spirit (spirit, not whisky and it’s no mistake) has a unique recipe, 99% is a classic scotch single malt and 1% is a very young malt/wheat spirit which didn’t hit the required 3 year old barrier to be called whisky:

4,802 bottles at 46% were produced and it’s interesting to see how the combination with the young spirit affects the liquid (if at all).

Compass Box ‘Stranger & Stranger’ (46%, £148.95/€169,90/$199.99)

Nose: Honey and wax, yellow plums and pears, very fruity with rich fruit juice. dusty (or perhaps powdery), very dense and intense for 46% whisky. After a short while even some tropical fruits, nutmeg, becoming orchard with added floral side to the fruitiness. Continue reading

Compass Box Juveniles Review

Just before 2018 closed down, Compass Box released to the markets (in time for x-mas of course) a set of two whiskies: ‘Juvenils’ and ‘Stranger & Stranger’.

Juveniles is a whisky released in collaboration with Juveniles Bistrot à Vins (residing in the 1st Arrondissement of Paris). Tim Johnston, the owner of Juveniles, asked Compass Box to create something:

“…bright, smooth, not smoky…an assemblage perhaps between 12 and 15 years old…”

Below you can see the recipe for Juveniles. While the components age are not exposed here (you can email Compass Box and ask them for the info!) you could say that the age average is indeed between 12 and 15 year old:

Total of 14,894 bottles were produced and as usual the whisky is non chill-filtered and comes at natural color.

Compass Box Juveniles (46%, £94.95/€104,90/$119.98)

Nose: Sweet honey, wax and vanilla, feels quite spirity – a bit surprising considering the malts age and composite but we should remember that age isn’t everything in whisky. Green peaches and pears, brioche with canned fruit. After a few minutes it gets dryer with oak spice but also getting notes of grass and meadow. Continue reading

Port Charlotte 10 Year Old Heavily Peated Review

The peated Port Charlotte whisky (from Bruichladdich distillery) is a fan favorite, very much liked just like the ultra-peated Octomores. I’ve had my share of previous official Port Charlotte limited editions and of course many independent bottlings (which I must add that many of them are excellent) But I was looking forward this kind of release, a core line-up release.

This Port Charlotte 10 Year Old was released last May and is the first on-going and permanent release of age-statement carrying Port Charlotte bottling and while I’m late in reviewing it, it kinda beat the alternative which is finishing the bottle without publishing a review.

Port Charlotte 10 Year Old Heavily Peated (50%, £48.95/€49,99)

Nose: Very smoky, blobs of vanilla and honey, then comes the BBQ meat with dripping sauce and coal smoke. The nose is quite sweet with sweet earthy peat and some sweetened bread. Greenery and fruitiness blossoms after a short while and smoke becomes drier. Continue reading

Mortlach 25 Year Old (G&M Distillery Labels) Review

Not all Mortlachs were born alike. For many years, Mortlach and Gordon & MacPhail were synonymed for their semi-official releases back in the days before the official lineup from the distillery. The 15 Year Old and the 21 Year Old Mortlachs from G&M were (and are) a classic example of what Mortlach is all about – meaty sherried whisky like no other.

In late 2018, as part of the re-branding of the Distillery Labels series, G&M launched a new member for the Mortlach line up. Now in addition to the 15 and 21 Year Old whiskies we now had a new top of the line expression – a new 25 Year Old Mortlach.

Since I liked the 15 and 21 Year Old versions a lot, I was very eager to taste the new 25 Year Old, hoping it will deliver similar experience yet more complex and refined.

Does it deliver?

Mortlach 25 Year Old – G&M Distillery Labels (43%, £175/178,90/$149.99)

Nose: Not so meaty as I expected considering the other members in this family, honey, dried berries and then some meatiness. Balanced and well defined, everything’s sharp, meat, oak spice, pepper, Biltong, raspberry and red gooseberry. After a few minutes there’s soft cinnamon buns, vanilla buns and nutmeg. Continue reading

Ben Nevis 1990 27 Year Old (SCOMA.de) Review

Ben Nevis distillery garnered a lot of positive publicity in the last 2-3 years with lots of successful independent releases. We even see shortage of stock for the official 10 Year Old in the markets as it becomes a fans favorite.

I have a few opened Ben Nevis bottles at home but today I’ll focus on another Ben Nevis – a 27 Year Old from 1990 which appeared in the latest blind tasting competition I participated in (sort of).

This Ben Nevis was a bottling for the 40th birthday of SCOMA shop in Germany. It was distilled in 14.12.1990, filled into a Bourbon Cask #1368 and was finally bottled on 25.04.2018. Only 317 bottles of 500ml were made and they were bottled at cask strength of at 56.4%

Ben Nevis 1990 27 Year Old (for Scoma.de) (56.4%, €129,99)

Nose: Dusty, some old, tired and slightly damp cask oakiness, nutty, cereals and bread, honey but not much herbal or vegetal notes as I noticed in many younger Ben Nevis I tasted lately. Continue reading