After the pretty good Laphroaig Brodir Batch 001, let’s go for a review of another whisky in port casks – Highland Park Fire Edition.
It’s the first Highland Park in Port casks that I have ever encountered so I went ahead and purchased myself a sample because I’m a whisky geek and it interests me to see what Highland Park in Port will smell and taste like because I wouldn’t shell out such a big sum of money on a whisky with one big glaring question: What are those Refill Port-Seasoned Casks that the whisky matured in them (and quite a lot of those to produce 28000 bottles)?
So what impact those casks had on the whisky?
Highland Park Fire Edition (45.2%, £190/€224.95)
Nose: Hmm, the initial sniff isn’t promising, huge notes of youth, almost new make-y. Is it 15 yo? Really? Must be the cask impact and the strong vanilla note that distorts it. After a while it recedes enough to reveal red fruit leaning to the sour side, redcurrants and a bit of strawberries, also a bit of citrus , heather honey and vanilla and some microscopic peat smoke traces. Very light and very un-Highland Park like and I didn’t like it at all. Continue reading
Over a year ago I reviewed a Laphroaig I really didn’t like – The Port Wood Finished Brodir. It was the batch generally available on the market, batch 002. A friend of mine couldn’t believe I found it so bad because he liked it a lot. After a short discussion we found out where the difference in opinions came from: while I was tasting and disliking the second batch, he has a bottle of the first batch, so he generously sent me a sample to check for myself that Brodir can be good (Thanks T!).
A quick refresher: Laphroaig Brodir is Travel Retail NAS bottling, matured in Ex-bourbon casks and then is finished for unspecified time in European Oak Ex-Ruby Port casks before being bottled at 48%.
So, let’s see if the second batch I so disliked is indeed so different from the first batch or maybe it’s only a matter of personal taste.
Laphroaig Brodir Batch 001 Port Wood Finish (48%, €89,95)
Nose: First sniff and it already way better. There’s body and presence that just doesn’t exists in the 2nd batch. Soft peat smoke, sweet berries: raspberries and blueberries, kinda jammy, very well integrated. After a few minutes, stronger iodine and medicinal notes show up along with honey and salt. Continue reading
It’s full blown blossoming spring time here – getting warmer, greenery all around, and so a fitting day for a spring-time Bruichladdich dram. A bottling from Speciality Drinks Ltd (the sister company to The Whisky Exchange, although Billy from TWE may say “it’s complex” on the relationships 😉 )
It’s a 1992 vintage, 23 year old that matrured in a Hogshead #3839 that was bottled in August 2016, yielding 237 bottles.
Bruichladdich 1992 23 Year Old (The Single Malts of Scotland) (55.4%, 237 bottles, £125/€165)
Nose: Starts fruity with a lot of spiced melon, oak wood spices, a bit of a damp wood which dampens my mood as I don’t like it too much, eucalyptus, a weak honey note and after a while, the fruitiness tends towards the sour side with newly developed minerals. Adding some water brings out some vanilla and less of the minerals but also a less fruitiness which is a loss. Continue reading
The success story continues with another vintage release of Benromach Sassicaia, this time a 2009 vintage that more then doubled the bottles count (to 8000 from 3500) of the previous release in 2016, the Sassicaia 2007 which I reviewed before and liked.
The concept stays the same as you don’t mess with a successful and working recipe, first maturing in 1st fill bourbon casks and then finished for 28 months in Sassicaia wine casks from the region of Bolgheri in Tuscany. But it’s interesting to note that previous releases were 8-9 years old while this new Sassicaia 2009 is only 7-8 year old – It might more or less of the same age (8 year old), but we can’t tell from the information we have. Let’s check how the 2009 vintage fares comparing to the older releases.
Benromach Sassicaia 2009 (45%, £39.99)
Nose: Initial notes: sweet wine and smoke but lets dig deeper: chimney smoke, rich like a pipe smoke, but it mostly dissipate leaving a gentle smoky backbone, maltiness lurks behind, red fruit and berries, feeling wine tannins but it ain’t dry as the wine is rich and powerful. With time there are spices: ginger and baking spices. Continue reading
One more Bunnahabhain review in the mini series, this time it’s a youngster, only 16 years distilled in 1999 and bottled by Cadenead in 2016. However, this is isn’t your run of the mill Bunna bottling as it was aged in two different casks over its lifespan. Originally matured in ex-bourbon casks and then finished in a sherry hogshead for almost 3 years.
Let’s check who won here, the bourbon cask or the sherry cask:
Cadenheads Bunnahabhain 16 Year Old (49.7%, €99.99)
Nose: Feels mature for its age, gentle sherry impact with sour-sweet dried fruit, a strong vanilla and cream notes, fresh fruit sweetness with classic dried fruit and berries lurking behind. There’s a constant back and forth game between the vanilla and the sherry fruitiness here. Believe me it’s not getting boring. Continue reading
Following the very good and tasty duo from yesterday, here’s another old and well matured Bunnahabhain and it will be a sandwich vintage to the due (from 1988) but since it was the last to be bottled, it carries the 28 year old sign on the label.
It was bottled by Speciality Drinks Ltd (sister company to The Whisky Exchange), 344 bottles were produced from cask 100229 and I have high hopes from it.
Bunnahabhain 1988 28 Year Old (The Single Malts of Scotland) (46.8%, £150/€209,00)
Nose: Heavy and oily nose (definitely more than the duo from yesterday), strong honey note at first with cream and then the fruit joins the party with pears, apples and a few apricots and but the real surprise (for me) is the strong waxiness that popped up here along with a wee salt note that balance the the sweet fruit. After a few minutes there’s gentle spiciness with white pepper and oak spices along with vanilla pudding and soft cereals. With a few drops of water the waxiness is almost gone but the nose gets ultra creamy, A very delicate and beautiful nose. Continue reading
It’s time for some Bunnahabhain love. Our local whisky club had a Bunnahabhain evening last week and there are a few more bottlings waiting for a review so I think it’s time for a mini series of Bunnahabhain reviews to start the week, it bounds to be spirit lifting!
First up – review of a duo of 26 Year Old bottlings!
The first one is a recent bottling from last November, done by WhiskyBroker.co.uk. It’s cask 7730, one of three casks filled with spirit distilled on 22nd December 1989 and bottled on 18th November 2016.
Bunnahabhain 1989-2016 26 Year Old WhB (48.1%, £97)
Nose: Starts with a classic Bunnahabhain bourbon cask profile. There’s honey, and sweet fruit notes that slowly develops into a huge tropical fruit attack and I don’t mind getting attacked like that! Pineapple, ripe banana and passionfruit (passiflora). There’s a dash of peppermint and vanilla pudding. After a while there’s also a slight old bookshop feeling and dark sweet honey. Continue reading