Category Archives: Whisky Reviews

Kingsbarns Dream to Dram

Just before the year and decade are over, lets have another first for the blog: the first review of whisky from Kingsbarns Distillery – Dream to Dram.

Kingsbarns is a new distillery – working and producing for just 4 years old or so. It’s located in Fife in what I’d call the Golf country and is classified as a Lowlands distillery and is owned by Wemyess Malts.

Their first whisky, Kingsbarns Dream to Dram, was distilled in 2015 and bottled in 2018. 1st Fill Ex-Bourbon & 1st Fill Ex-Wine (Actually STR casks – Shaved Toasted Recharred) were used to mature it for the short period. Thankfully Wemyss Malts and Kingsbarns didn’t go the Lets-Bottle-First-Whisky-For-Million-Dollars route so we can all go ahead and try it…

Kingsbarns Dream to Dram (46%, £44.95/€39.00)

Nose: The STR casks has a clear and strong presence here with subtle winey tannins and a bit of red berries, honey and sweet vanilla coming from the active casks, barley sugar, cereals, and after a few minutes there’s lemon, pineapple, banana and soft herbal edge. Continue reading

Bunnahabhain 1988 30 Year Old Marsala Finish

Earlier this year many of special editions in Distell 2019 Collection were covered here but some avid readers noticed I didn’t post reviews for some of them for some reason.

The headline of the collection is Bunnahabhain 1988 30 Year Old that was finished in Marsala casks. I skipped reviewing it back then as it wasn’t yet available in shops, but now that it did hit the shelves, here are my impressions of it:

Bunnahabhain 1988 30 Year Old Marsala Finish (47.4%, £450/€489,95)

Nose: Soft, there’s nice depth here, tropical fruits, pineapple, kiwi. Meshes well with the Marsala impact of soursweet red fruit and tingling spice, roses petals and cinnamon. Continue reading

M&H Classic

Recently I reviewed the M&H Founders Edition and remarked at the first official core line-up whisky will be here before 2019 ends. And here it is – M&H Classic has already hit the shelves locally in Israel and will be available in Europe next month and in the USA later in 2020.

The distillery also plans to release a new series of whiskies called Elements with the first member being M&H Elements Sherry Cask to be released in Q2 2020 and future members (Red wine cask and Peated cask) to be released in Q3 2020.

But let’s get back to the M&H Classic – Based on the plans set up years ago by the Distillery team (led by Tomer Goren the master distiller) and the late Dr. Jim Swan, the selected recipe for the Classic edition is a combination of Ex-Bourbon casks with Red Wine STR (Stripped, Toasted and Recharred) Casks.

M&H Classic is bottled at 46% and costs 199NIS (Although I’ve seen it for 189NIS in some shops) and should cost around €50 in Europe and $65 for 750ml version in the USA once it hits the shelves there.

M&H Classic (46%, 199NIS/€50/$65)

Nose: Clean, fresh and subtly sweet. There’s honey, gentle red grapes and red wine tannins, a hefty dose of vanilla, some earthy tone (dry earth and a touch of nutmeg) that adds some surprising depth, white pepper, – all in all a very rich nose despite the young age. After a few minutes there are some fresh floral side (floral wine) to the sweetness, quite a good balance between the Ex-Bourbon and STR casks.

Palate: Mildly sweet, spicy with white pepper and earthy nuttiness, soft cereals notes of bread bakery, caramel, vanilla and honey, soft wine tannins and red fruits in the background, good texture and body.

Finish: Short medium length. A very pleasant sweetness, lingering soft pepper spice, caramel, honey and red wine tannins.

Thoughts: For a first whisky it’s a very good expression. The combination of Ex-Bourbon and STR Wine casks at Tel-Aviv hot and humid weather delivers here a nice and pleasant whisky even at 3 years old. It’s an easy drinker and I’m sure many will like it.

Glenallachie 15 Year Old

in 2018 Glenallachie Distillery was reborn at the hands of Billy Walker. We’ve seen a new core line up and few waves of single casks released to different markets and countries.

Initially the line up announcement included five expressions: 10 Cask Strength, 12 Year Old, 15 Year Old, 18 Year Old and 25 Year Old. Out of those five, four were released in 2018 and we checked them out here:

But the Glenallachie 15 Year Old wasn’t released until last summer (August 2019) and now it’s time to check it out.

The Glenallachie 15 whisky was matured in PX and Oloroso Sherry Hogsheads and Puncheons and was bottled at 46% and of course without chill filtering or adding color.

Glenallachie 15 Year Old (46%, £59.95/€59.95)

Nose: The Sherry casks influence is here front and center with notes of chocolate. cinnamon, dried fruits (a lot of peaches and apricots) and generally rich fruitiness. Continue reading

Laphroaig 16 Year Old (2019)

Earlier this year when I saw the news on a forthcoming Laphroaig 16 Year Old I was very happy to speculate that a new core line up expression is coming but at the same time was a bit worried following the latest official releases were I found out to be a bit average or disappointing (Yeah, 4 Oak, Lore and 1815 I do look at you).

My speculating was proved to be wrong as this is a limited edition and an Amazon exclusive in Europe. If you live in the USA, you fare better as it’s available at different retailers and isn’t an Amazon exclusive (probably due to the very complex system of taxes on alcohol between states).

But even if I was wrong on the release and was disappointed from recent official releases, I did have high hopes for this release based on my experience of the previous (yet different) 16 Year Old Release from 2015 (the 200th Anniversary one). But it’s ex-bourbon casks and it’s bottled at higher abv of 48% so let’s stay optimistic and hope it’ll pan out just fine:

Laphroaig 16 Year Old (2019) (48%, £89/€94,70/$139.99)

Nose: Big peaty and coastal nose. Peat smoke, sea breeze, the return of medicinal Laphroaig with iodine, TCP and bandages, honey, very crisp, more peat smoke. After a few minutes green fruits, ripe and unripe apples, kiwi, more honey and sweet peat with medicinal notes in the backseat along with hints of tropical fruits. Continue reading

Bunnahabhain 2007 11 Year Old Port Pipe Finish

Yesterday we checked out the Bunnahabhain 2007 Brandy Cask Finish which was good but I felt was missing something to be a special offering and today we’ll check his twin – the Bunnahabhain 2007 11 Year Old Port Pipe Finish.

This whisky spent almost full 9 years in refill hogsheads and then was finished for 2 more years in Portuguese port pipes. Only 1578 bottles were made at abv of 55.3%.

Bunnahabhain 2007 11 Year Old Port Pipe Finish (55.3%, €159)

Nose: Sweet nose, red fruits with  plums, sour-sweet red berries, blueberries, roses, honey, vanilla, oily and heavy. After a few minutes the berries legion is led with raspberries mixed up with a few strawberries, hints of spice and white pepper, cinnamon and hard candies. Continue reading

Bunnahabhain 2007 11 Year Old French Brandy Finish

This year, Distill collection contained 3 Bunnahabhain releases and for the first time in a few years none of the special releases is peated.

The first one we check out is a 11 Year Old Bunnahabhain from 2007 that was finished in French Brandy casks before being bottled at 52.5%

Can it live up to the expectations of previous years releases?

Bunnahabhain 2007 11 Year Old French Brandy Finish (52.5%, £109/€149.90)

Nose: Somewhat dry and quite oily, A very airy feeling like we’re sniffing it from afar time does the trick and the it’s getting stronger and bolder: grapes, a bit of smokiness (and no, it’s not a Moine release), sultanas, sweet honey, pears and peaches, beeswax. After a few more minutes, soft and gentle peat, nuts and honeyed grapes. Fruit blossoms perfume. Continue reading