Saturday, 15 March 2014

Gordon & Macphail – 16YO Old Pulteney single cask bottling

Eyes down, tail between the legs; complete and utter apologies for so long between posting! Life has become somewhat more hectic since the arrival of our bonnie baby boy in August last year. He has bought a stupendous amount of joy to our lives, while at the same time unfortunately limiting those times suitable for sitting down with a dram and pondering its complexities while slowly stroking the stubble on my chin.

Joyous exhalations, finally I’ve found the time to put fingers to keys and mouth to glass (mind you if you look at the photo you can probably calculate how many times I’ve started “reviewing” this whisky by the high air to whisky ratio).

Bring out the tweed and Cubans for this one. It’s a combination of licking sandalwood and chewing a chesterfield. In the mouth it’s rich and syrupy, intensely so, and longer than any storyline in Days of Our Lives. Without water the nose is a tad punchy on the alcohol side (to be expected at 59%), but notes of spiced honey and forest floor come pleasingly through.

To be honest at times I’ve really struggled with this one. What hints of sandalwood on a good day seems to scream of resinous pine sap on other days. On those days it can be genuinely difficult to finish the dram, which for me is really saying something.

This bottle has slowly disappeared over several tastings because it doesn’t seem to draw you in for that second dram. But at the same time it is a whisky I’ve shared with anyone willing to taste it because it can’t be denied that this is an interesting one.


Region                        Highland
Distiller                       Old Pulteney
Bottler                         Gordon & Macphail
Name                          Cask no. 5469
Distillation date           15th of October 1990
Bottled                        26th of May 2006
Age                             16 years old
Cask type                    First Fill Sherry Butt
Strength                      59.0 % Vol.
Bottle size                   700 ml

Thursday, 4 July 2013

21 Year Old Gran Reserva by Glenfiddich

My enormous apologies for the long intermission between reviews. As much as I wish at times that life would pause at least long enough for me to nestle back in my favourite chair and ever so slowly sip and savour a large dram, it doesn’t seem to happen often enough.

21 Years in a variety of casks (of-course most notably the last 4 months in ex-Caribbean Rum) has made the Gran Reserva by Glenfiddich an interesting and complicated whisky. The nose is elegant, blowing wafts of roast almonds, brown sugar toffee and mixed spice, with a firm backbone of sweet rum, while to taste there is a bitter flavour similar to pine-needles (the things I ate as a kid hey…) balanced by sweet over-ripe fruit and more mixed spice (cinnamon is definitely present). Not the longest finish around, but decent nonetheless.

Definitely worth a look if you are hunting for something different.

Region:        Speyside
Distillery:     Glenfiddich
Age:             21 YO
Cask Type:  Caribbean Rum-Cask finish (4 months)
Strength:      43.2%
Bottle size:   700ml

Monday, 8 April 2013

Edradour 10yo - Signatory Vintage unchill-filtered bottling

The first time I tried Edradour single malt was at the distillery. Not an experience I’m likely to forget. The stunning setting is burnt into my memory. The mountains. The stream. The fields. The cool Perthshire air. It get’s into your blood. Not to mention the amazing smell of the heated draff sitting on a carriage waiting for delivery to the local cows (draff is the waste product of barley husks post fermentation).

Edradour 10 year old, unchill filtered edition is dark amber in colour with a woody, spicy and ever so slightly musty nose. There is also a big punch of alcohol heat on the nose, which may be due to the bottling being at 46% alcohol.

The spice promised on the noses is very present on the palate, and is joined by some generic citrus flavours as well as pine needles and aniseed. There are also some rather interesting forest floor characteristics; a kind of dirty, mossy, mustiness that I really enjoy. The finish is very long, which is satisfying considering the complexity of the flavours.

A great whisky for the Chrissy pudding lovers. Get it. Try it.



Region:                Central Highlands
Distillery:             Edradour
Bottler:                 Signatory Vintage
Age:                     10 YO
Cask Type:          gotta be ex-Sherry fill
Strength:              46%
Bottle size:          700ml
Distilled/bottled:  30.10.2000 / 24.08.2011
Cask no.:             435
Bottle no.:           20 of 907

Monday, 11 March 2013

Lagavulin 16YO

Relaxing in an antique leather wing-back chair by a large open fire with a slowly smouldering pipe in hand peering out to a rocky, wind-smashed coastline. It’s romance.  It’s rich, bold and seductive.

Golden amber in colour with a punchy peaty nose, this has got to be my favourite of the smokey Islay tipples. Even with the highly phenolic tones the palate is extremely smooth. I get creamy vanilla with mild citrus balanced by spice and dry dates. The ocean spray saltiness works nicely with the generous oiliness that persists the entire length...which is unrelentingly long.

I know this style isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but for the fans of peaty whisky’s they don’t come much better.

Region                        Islay
Distillery                     Lagavulin
Owners                       Diageo
Age                             16 years old
Cask type                    Refill European Oak (…mainly)
Strength                      43.0 % Vol.
Bottle size                   700 ml