Category Archives: Reviews

Ledaig 18 Year Old (Batch 3) Review

Ledaig, the peated whisky from Tobermory distillery on the island Mull, is quite on the rise in the last two years. It’s getting recognition beyond the inner hardcore whisky lovers circles and is very good. We’ve seen it hailed as the present in the latest Whisky Show by TWE and some of the special releases by the distillery are good.

But today we’ll check one of the core line up offering – Ledaig 18 Year Old which is released in batches and under the microscope today is the latest batch – Batch number 3.

It’s finished in Oloroso sherry casks and bottled at the standard ABV for group distilleries of 46.3%.

Ledaig 18 Year Old Batch 3 (46.3%, £78.95)

Nose: A wee lactic note at first, then sweet and sour dried fruit, mostly raspberry, gooseberry and some unripe strawberry, gentle rolling sweet peat smoke. After a few minutes intense vanilla smoke waves. Overall a good balance of sherry sweetness and sweet peat with the sweetness not going overdrive. Continue reading

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Talisker 8 Year Old (Diageo Special Releases 2018) Review

Yesterday was all about Cladach the blended malt in Diageo Special Releases 2018 and today it’s all about the most eagerly waited member of the line up (at least for me) – Talisker 8 Year Old at Cask Strength.

Until now we didn’t see any young Talisker at Cask strength in the Special Releases line up, hence the hype and expectations for this 2009 vintage targeted at the masses and bottled at a hefty 59.4% ABV.

Talisker 2009 8 Year Old (59.4%, £67.50)

Nose: Sweet with honey and pears, then comes soft peat smoke. There’s Crème brûlée, a drop of vanilla, cake dough, soft crushed black pepper, gentle saltiness and minerals. After a few minutes there’s also brine in addition to the salt. Overall quite a mellow and soft nose. Continue reading

Cladach Blended Malt (Diageo Special Releases 2018) Review

After reviewing two blended malts from Compass Box let’s have a third blended malt review and one that has some high pedigree after being included in a high profile series. Yes, we’re talking about Cladach which is the blended malt that was included in Diageo Special Releases 2018 (2nd year in a row with a blended malt for Special Releases).

Cladach means shoreline/coastline and the whisky uses only single malts made at Diageo coastal distilleries: Inchgower, Clynelish, Talisker, Oban, Caol Ila and Lagavulin.

It was bottled at cask strength of 100 proof (57.1%) and was matured in an assortment of casks (first fill bourbon, refill, refill sherry butts).

Cladach Blended Malt (57.1%, £152/€134,99)

Nose: The nose here starts with gentle peat smoke and then slowly it develops into a pure coastal whisky with brine, sea breeze, salt, some wax, lemon, brioche, white pepper. Also show up: smoked fish and seafood, pears. Continue reading

Compass Box Flaming Heart 2018 (6th Edition) Review

Along with the new release of The Story of the Spaniard, Compass Box also released their 6th edition of Flaming heart, the follow up to the very successful and tasty 5th edition released back in 2015.

Compass Box Flaming Heart 6th edition recipe

Most of the major ingredients that were part of the great 5th edition, are in the 6th edition as well, albeit with different proportions and ages (want to know the ages? contact Compass Box and they will tell you!) and there’s a subtle sherry cask influence that was not presents in 2015 edition but in the 2012 edition.

15,050 standard bottles and 800 large magnums were made, all bottled at 48.9% and as usual are non chill filtered and with natural color.

So how this new 2018 recipe stands up to the 2015 edition?

Compass Box Flaming Heart 6th Edition (48.9%, £114/€129.95/$124.99)

Nose: A no-miss Caol Ila and Clynelish notes, soft, clear and crisp peat, gentle smoke, sweet wax, a dash of lemon, pears, malt, minerals. After a few minutes, subtle waxy red fruit sweetness. Continue reading

Compass Box The Story of the Spaniard Review

Last month Compass Box introduced a new permanent release in their core range called The Story of the Spaniard. In the official press release there’s a nice story about John Glaser and his experiences while traveling in south Spain and this is the result – a blended malt of Highland malt whiskies aged in Spanish Sherry and Spanish red wine casks and some ‘standard’ (by Compass Box standards at least) casks to balance it all. Here’s the recipe as officially published by Compass Box:

The Story of the Spaniard recipe

As you can see, in this initial batch (bottled June 2018), 48% of the whiskies have been aged in ex-Sherry casks and 25% in ex-Spanish red wine casks and a heavy dose from Deanston distillery and Compass Box unique Highland malt blend. If you want more details like exact distilleries and whiskies ages, just contact them and ask.

The Story of the Spaniard was bottled at 43%, but it wasn’t chill filtered and no caramel was added.

Compass Box The Story of the Spaniard (43%, £49.95/€44.95/$54.99)

Nose: Soft and rich, red wine tannins, malt pudding, strawberries and raspberries, soft spiciness with oak spice, white pepper and cinnamon. Honey cake and after a while a big coating of citrus peels. Continue reading

Invergordon 44 Year Old ‘The Future of Whisky – The Future’ Review

The last part in ‘The Future of Whisky’ trio that was bottled for The Whisky Show last month is a Single Grain Scotch Whisky from Invergordon distillery that stands for ‘The Fututre’ in the series.

The Past was Ben Nevis 21 and the present is Ledaig 12 and ‘The Future’ means it’s what the folks in The Whisky Exchange think the future of whisky will be: old grain. But I think they are wrong.

I know that old grain whisky is far cheaper than single malt whisky when the age counter is rising above 20 (hey, even young grain whisky is cheaper than comparable malt whisky) and for people who look for a suitable aged bottle to celebrate their birthday once they are over 30 year old, it’s far more logical to go for single grain and its cheaper price tag. There’s a reason that it’s cheaper – the process is more efficient and basically strips the resulted new make from most of its origin flavor and it tends to be quite neutral, so you pay for it being cheap.

Also, we should remember that the prices for old single grain whiskies are on the rise as well as they more or less (probably more) doubled in the last 3-4 years. Bottlers and Distilleries got smart and started reserving more old stock towards single grain bottles.

What I think the future of whisky will be is younger whisky. We already see that youth movement with independent bottlers and some official bottlings and this trend will intensify and this market segment will have the highest growth rate. Until the next market correction (or the return of the whisky loch).

And still, there is market for older whisky with their heavy price tag, just like with this Invergordon which was distilled back in 1974 and bottled earlier this year. There are 246 bottles at 51.6%. So how did this Hogshead performed

Invergordon 44 Year Old ‘The Future of Whisky – The Future’ (51.6%, £250/€294,90)

Nose: Old (and not so old) grain notes with wood glue, polish, varnish, vanilla and caramel, pencil shavings. After a few minutes there’s perfume and depth, fruitiness with pears and peaches, nuttiness.

Continue reading

Ledaig 12 Year Old ‘The Future of Whisky – Present Future’ Review

Yesterday which is the past, we checked out the ‘Past Future’ bottling from ‘The Future of Whisky’ trio which was bottled for the 10th Whisky Show last month in London.

Today (which is the present, yes?), we’re checking the ‘Present Future’ bottling. This Ledaig 12 Year Old (also from Sherry Butt), represent “what we presently think the future will be”.

So they think that big, flavourful smoky whiskies will be prominent and popular in the near future.

But there’s a slight problem with this assumption as 10-12 Year Old sherried Ledaig bottles are already very popular within large (and fast growing) whisky drinkers audience for the last few years, but if we’re talking about their plans to conquer the world, it may explain it.

This specific Ledaig was charged from a Sherry Butt that yielded 636 bottles at 58.4% (and some bottles are still available to purchase at the time I write this post), lets check it out!

Ledaig 12 Year Old ‘The Future of Whisky – Present Future’ (58.4%, £79.95)

Nose: Strong sweet earthy peat smoke, Very Ledaig-y peat profile. Salty, sea breeze and waves on beach, sweet dried fruit and dried sour berries lurks behind the smoke screen and then comes the chocolate. After a few minutes it’s nuttier, tarry and with more chocolate-y and sweetness. Continue reading