Category Archives: Whisky Reviews

Ledaig 13 Year Old Amontillado Finish

Distell, the owners of Tobermory, Bunnhabhain and Deanston distilleries (after purchasing Burn Stewart Distillers back in 2013), has announced last week a formal collection of limited editions for 2018 with six whiskies from those distilleries.

In 2017 we had a similar collection from Distell although it was not officially announced as a global and unified series. The 2017 collection included two Bunnahabhain whiskies (Moine Brandy Finish and PX Finish), Deanston in Bordeaux wine casks and a few more releases from Tovermory and one of those ‘extra’ releases was the Ledaig 13 Year Old Amontillado Finish which became a big hit that largely flew under the radar but was coveted by many whisky lovers.

Ledaig 13 Year Old Amontillado Finish (59.2%, £74.99/€102.78)

Nose: Sweet pears and cured meat, soft earthy sweet peat, then big grapes and fuzzy white wine (Cava) notes with pears interwoven with the Ledaig sweet peat, vanilla, soft subtle smokiness. Continue reading

Advertisements

Syndicate 58/6 12 Year Old

A review of a blended whisky? Sure, why not? Especially when it’s a blended whisky with a pedigree:

All the way back in 1958, a rare blend of Scotch malt and grain whiskies was found in 10 casks in a warehouse owned by William Muir Bond 9 Limited. Having been distilled in 1954 and made to a recipe that dates back to the 1800s which was enjoyed by royalty, it’s safe to say it was quite a good find indeed.

In 1966, when the whisky was 12 years old, a quantity was bottled for the Directors of William Muir Bond 9 Limited and a close group of friends. A total of 6 accountants and lawyers made it possible, forming Syndicate 58/6.

The Syndicate blend contains 18 Single Malt Whiskies and 4 Single Grain Whiskies. A ‘Solera’ system is used and additional 12 year Old whiskies are added so they are reblended with older stock (Thus it still contains small quantities of the original 1958 blend). The blend is then married and finally matured for up to 2 years in 4 year old Oloroso Sherry casks from Andalucia.

Syndicate 58/6 12 Year Old (40%, £30)

Nose: Sweet, fruit and grain, pencil shavings, oranges and dried fruit, raspberries and strawberry, cinnamon, a bit of wood glue, then it becomes fruity again with the addition of green melon, harmonized and balanced. After a while develops some fruity perfume. Continue reading

Glenmorangie Signet

Another day, another review of whisky I liked in the past up to the point I had a bottle but never took notes and this time it’s Glenmorangie Signet.

Glenmorangie Signet is the only NAS whisky in the core line up (the annual Private Edition notwithstanding) and it features some percentage of heavily roasted chocolate malt in the recipe.

The chocolate malt is used a lot for beers but rarely for whisky as the yield is far below the commonly used barley strains in the industry. But it does add some different flavors to the whisky.

Glenmorangie Signet (46%, £135/$163/€149)

Nose: Light and gentle fruit sweetness (as expected from a Glenmorangie), malt, charred malt, and dark chocolate, floral fragrance and honey. It’s rich but could be a real bomb with an higher ABV (not that 46 is bad mind you).

Continue reading

Highland Park 14 Year Old Cask #3376 (Distillery Exclusive)

Highland Park offers a distillery exclusive but only if you shell out enough £££ for one of the premium tours and then you have to spend another £120 for the actual exclusive bottle.

In the last few months the distillery exclusive bottling was a 14 Year Old offering from a Refill Butt #3376 that yielded 582 bottles at 57.8%.

Highland Park 14 Year Old Cask #3376 (Distillery Exclusive) (57.8%)

Picture source: whiskybase.com

Nose: Dried dates and figs, cinnamon and some nutmeg, demerara sugar with a touch of brown sugar. After a few minutes there are some dried berries with gooseberries as the dominant variant. It’s very smooth (gasp!) and even perhaps a bit bland at first but it does get better with time and oxidization. Continue reading

Dalwhinnie 15 Year Old Vs. Dalwhinnie Winter’s Gold

It’s time for another post on those entry level classics I drank in the past before starting blogging. A few months ago we had a Dalwhinnie event at our local whisky club, going over the full official line up of the distillery, giving me a perfect opportunity to check out again the Dalwhinnie 15 Year Old after not tasting it for a while. But this time I’m going to spar it with a review of its younger sibling, the 2015 NAS variant Dalwhinnie Winter’s Gold.

Dalwhinnie resides on the spot between the western highlands and Speyside regions. if you drive from the south to Inverness you can easily stop there (or see the distillery and the pagodas from the railroad if you’re on the train going north).

Dalwhinnie Winter’s Gold was distilled in the Scottish winter (between October and March), when it’s cold so the whisky went through quicker condensation with less copper interaction, making the new make heavier. (Diageo offers to serve it from the freezer but I’ll stick to the regular method of tasting it at room temperature.)

Dalwhinnie Winter’s Gold (43%, £39.95/€35.95)

Nose: Malty, sweet with gentle nuttiness, honeyed citrus with lots of oranges and mandarins, heavy and full bodied, cake-y and bread-y, Continue reading

Lost Spirits Abominations: Crying of the Puma & Sayers of the Law

Lost Spirits are a Californian Distillery (Yeah, USA California) producing American whiskey, Rum and other spirits including some interesting whisky under the Abomination brand. Why Abomination? Because what they did here is very unique and different, harnessing their technology to create them. They got some 45-55 ppm peated whisky from Islay, aged for 12-18 months in Bourbon casks before crossing the ocean to California. Some late-harvest Riesling seasoned oak staves were added and then those young spirits were  ‘tortured’ by the Lost Spirits Reactor for a few days. The reactor bombs the whisky with light, pressure, oxygen and who know what else, all to fast track the aging process – maybe even up to 15 years in a few days.

Both Abominations were named after a chapter of the island of Dr. Moreau and the difference between them is that Crying of the Puma was ‘reacted’ with Toasted Oak staves while Sayers of the Law was ‘reacted’ with Heavily charred Oak Staves (late harvest Riesling seasoned oak in both cases).

So does the reactor really works? How does it taste with speed aging?

Lost Spirits Abomination – Crying of the Puma (54%, £56.75)

Nose: Unmistakably Islay peat, malt, sweet vanilla and concentrated wood extracts like bourbon , soft sweet smoke. Continue reading

Strathearn 3 Year Old Single Cask #115 ‘Sauron’s Eye’

It’s a great feeling crossing off another distillery from the “yet to taste” list of Scottish distilleries. And it’s even more satisfying when it’s the smallest active distillery in Scotland – Strathearn distillery.

“Strath” means valley and so Strathearn means “the valley of the River Earn”. The distillery near Perth started distilling back in 2013 and is known for using a variety of small casks for the 30,000 liters or so of new make they made every year.

Since there are no official bottlings out there (The special inaugural release notwithstanding), the best way to acquire a Strathearn whisky bottle is to purchase a private cask. I didn’t purchase a cask but Anders, a Finnish friend of mine did purchase such a private cask back in 2014 and I was lucky enough to taste the result.

The Sherry Octave cask was fully filled with 49 liters of unpeated new make on 07/08/2014 and was bottled on 17/11/2017 at 57.1%

Strathearn 3 Year Old Single Cask #115 ‘Sauron’s Eye’ (57.1%)

Nose: Fresh. Malt, sweet dried fruit, pine and mint spiciness. The sherry influence starts in the far background slowly creeping forward a bit with milk chocolate and berries but the malt and freshness still leads the way for a very balanced nose.

Continue reading