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28July 2006

Longrow 1995, OB, 10 YO, 46%. Price:

Colour: Pale yellow- straw

Nose: Starts very spirity and smoky, with some gingerbread flavours. After a few minutes of aeration, it gets more fruity (pear) and the smokiness becomes smoother and rounder. At nosing, it seems younger than 10 years old.

Taste:  Clean and light, but not much character. Deceiptful body. The finish is pleasant, on peat bonfire, clean, round and slightly seaweedy

General impression: The nose is good, finish correct, but where is the body? This Longrow tasted very young, probably matured in 2nd or 3rd fill bourbon casks.

Rating: 09/20

Glenmorangie Oloroso 30 YO, OB, 44.3%. B:2005 Price:

Colour: Old gold- amber

Nose: Nice mellow and rich sherry nose, with toffee, some leather and plums flavour.  Diluted, the nose gets richer, on floral notes (geraniums) and on grassy notes.

Taste:  Creamy and mellowy. The sherry influence is pleasant and contributes to the roundness of this whisky. Diluted, it gets more spicy and salty. The finish is long, with wet tobacco pipe ashes and a drop of peppermint and cardboard. Diluted, it gets more spicy and maritime. Some woodiness is also more perceptible.

General impression: Probably matured in 2nd and/or 3rd fill Oloroso casks or only for a short finish, this Glenmorangie has a very nice smooth and mellow mouth feel with a long finish. A bit more personality would have been welcome.

Rating: 15/20

23July 2006

The Glenlivet G. Smith 1974, G&M, B:2004, 46%. Price:

Colour: Dark amber

Nose: Very smooth and very sherried, with some rubber and some fair sweet and ripe dry fruits.

Taste: Dry, intense, powerful and complex body. This whisky has a winey, dry and short finish in liquorice and toffee.

General impression: A good old and complex very sherried Glenlivet.

Rating: 17/20

The Glenlivet, OMC, 26 YO, Douglas Laing, 50%, D: 1974. 242 bottles. Price:

Colour: Straw-gold

Nose:  Round, sherry-like, deep and complex and floral (summer flowers). Quite smoky. Perfume-like. Diluted, toffee flavours are released and the nose gets rounder and more floral.

Taste: Honey sweetness, quite salty and smoky (tobacco ashed). Complex. Diluted, it gets extremely round and more smoky and spicy. The finish is of medium length, on smoke tobacco) and it is slightly dry.

General impression: An excellent Glenlivet, rich, complex and powerful. Keep it in the mouth and enjoy it!

Rating: 17/20

The Glenlivet, Mission 1(I), 28 YO, Murray McDavid, 46%, D: 1974. Price:

Colour: Straw

Nose: Ripe bananas, slightly spirity, spring flowers and notes of freshly grinded malt.

Taste: Sweet (honey)- bitter (undefined), cereals (bread) and rubber. Quite light in taste and not as complex as one would suspect for its age. Nicely balanced whisky. The finish is short and round, on malt and smoke.

General impression: Very nice and pleasant Glenlivet. Less expressive than the two others, it is however the most balanced (less extreme) of the 3 Glenlivets from 1974.

Rating: 15/20

13July 2006

Clynelish 1995, RMW, 10 YO, 59.5%, 436 b. Price:

Colour: Old gold

Nose: Light and sweet sherry flavours, with salty, smoky and grassy notes. Nose quite spirity.

Taste: Honey, seaweeds. Very spicy and peppery, with some ginger. The whisky is relatively dry and slightly bitter. Even diluted, it remains spirity and spicy. The finish is of medium length with dry, pepper and oak notes and a whiff of smoke.

General impression: Pungent and powerful, with the sherry influence very discreet in the nose. The finish is more bourbon-like than sherry. Quite “Taliskerish” and not as sweet as the original bottling. This whisky would have benefited from some extra years in the warehouse.

Rating: 12/20

Mortlach 1993, RMW, 12 YO, 57.8%, 324 bottles. Price:

Colour: Old gold

Nose: Round and sweet, on heather flowers and honey. Some slight spiciness and moderately smoky with some hints of peppermint.

Taste:  Creamy and warm mouth feel, with grassy, honey and heather floral notes. Peppermint is also present. Bold and powerful. The finish is of medium length, sweet on honey and heather, with some smokiness. A smoothness coming from the sherry is perceived, discreet but present.

General impression: The sherry influence is present and this Mortlach is quite spicy with a pleasant finish and the whisky is less spirity than the Clylenish RMW (Royal Mile Whiskies)

Rating: 14/20

20June 2006

Port Ellen, Fourth Annual Release, 25 YO, OB, 56.2%, D:1978, B:2003. Price:

Colour: Straw-gold

Nose: Spirity, varnish with a hint of sherry and grape juice sweetness. The smokiness is married with some oakiness. The nose does show more maturation than the second annual release, but is also rather woody.

Taste: Sweet and bitter at first taste. It is also salty, sweet and round with liquorice and toffee. Some woody dryness is also present in the body. Diluted, it gets sweeter, but then the rubber notes dominates the palate. The finish is long and smoky, on dry fruits, chocolate, peppermint and some lemon peel.

General impression: Very nice, powerful and complex Port Ellen, but the nose is not as pleasant as the impression it leaves on the palate and signs of woodiness start to show up.

Rating: 15/20

Port Ellen, OMC, 21 YO, Douglas Laing, 50%, D:1979, B:2001. 636 bottles.

Colour: Straw-gold

Nose: First Varnish and plastic, then pear drops and “new make” sweetness. After a few minutes of aeration, the nose gets very grassy with a good whiff of wood and peat smoke and a zest of lemon and peppermint.

Taste:  Clean, slightly dry, but very powerful and intense smoke, salt and pepper aromas. The finish is long to very long with an intense seaweedy peat fire smokiness, chocolate and fudge. A hint of Port ?

General impression: It is a clean Port Ellen and not the nicest nose I know, but then this Port Ellen delivers an explosion of flavours and peat in the mouth. The finish is similar to some of the best expressions of the other South Islay distilleries. Seems younger than it is.

Rating: 17/20

15 June 2006

Port Ellen, Second Annual Release, 24 YO, OB, 59.4%, D:1978, B:2003. Price:

Colour: Straw-pale gold

Nose: Very rich, with a pleasant sweet smokiness, with hints of leather and rubber. Floral notes are also present, with rose and vanilla flavours. The nose is slightly spirity, with some grassiness. Diluted, the nose gets more mellow, more fruity and lemon flavours are released.

Taste:  Very smoky, grassy and malty. The taste is powerful and intense, with pepper, salt, seaweed. Undiluted, your taste buds will be challenged. It is also slightly spirity and oily, and then the body gets on tobacco and lemon peel aromas. Diluted, it gets sweeter, more grassy and honey and heather flavours are present. The finish is long, smoky, malty and dry, before evolving on dry pipe smoke and toffee.

General impression: A powerful, rich and intense Port Ellen that, undiluted, will seriously challenge your taste buds undiluted. One of the best annual releases.

Rating: 16/20

Port Ellen Sherry, OMC, 18 YO, Douglas Laing, 50%, D:1982, B:2001. 777 bottles.

Colour: Amber- red

Nose: Intense pancake and pastries flavours, before the sherry touch of rubber and grape juice arrives. The smoke is discreet. The nose shows also grassy notes. Diluted, it smells like warm oat porridge with honey.  Rubber and toffee flavours are also present.

Taste: Very sweet, round and slightly sirupy at the first mouthful, then it develops on more peppery, salty and iodine aromas. The smooth smokiness is mixed with some bitterness and rubber. Does not support dilution with water. The finish is medium-long and not as rich and intense as ex-bourbon matured Port Ellens.

General impression: Port Ellen matured in sherry casks are interesting as it smoothes the intense flavours characteristics of Port Ellen. However, it does also hide most of the Port Ellen personality.

Rating: 13/20

06 June 2006

Glengoyne 10 YO, OB, 40%, B:2006. Price:

Colour: Pale golden yellow

Nose: Fruity (mix of pear drops and apple), malty, smooth, with a touch of oak and grape sweetness. The nose is round, clean with some grassy flavours.

Taste:  The first impression is a light bitterness before the maltiness appears. It is lightly creamy and oily in the mouth, quite round and warm. The finish is smooth and pleasant. The malt (porridge) and toffee finish is short.

General impression: It is a clean, smooth and pleasant malty single malt (unpeated), which shows a surprising maturity for its age and worth definitely a try. Excellent nose. A very good dram and inexpensive to share with your friends.

Rating: 12/20

30 May 2006

Lagavulin 30 YO, OB, 55.3%, B:2006. Price: n.c.

Colour: Pale golden yellow

Nose: Smoky, pungent, with citrus notes and some varnish. The nose is fresh with herbal and grassy flavours. Diluted, leather, toffee and more smoky notes are perceived. With further dilution, the varnish flavour is more pronounced.

Taste: Dry, bitter and slightly oily is the first mouth feel, then it gets more on grass, hay, pepper and dry peat smoke with some discrete tobacco influence. Diluted, it gets more creamy, very grassy, with citric and cayenne pepper/Tabasco flavours. The finish is very long on dry peat smoke. Very long lasting and pleasant.

General impression: The first world tasting was organized during the Lagavulin open day of the Feis Ile 2006. The 6 bottles produced for the event were unlabelled and about 320 bottles of this whisky will be released in the forthcoming months. This whisky needs some time to open up. It is very light in colour for a 30 YO whisky and its nose and mouth are surprisingly young and pungent for its age. More complexity and roundness was initially expected, but the finish is the long dry smoky finish you can expect from such an old Lagavulin. Interesting whisky.

Rating: 18/20

Note: Apparently, Diageo will release 2340 bottles of this Lagavulin 30 YO at 52.6% at a price of £210 PB/31Aug06

17 May 2006

Loch Dhu, 10 YO, OB, 40%. B:2003. Price:

Colour: Dark brown- black

Nose: Toffee, liquorice, fruity and floral.

Taste:  Slightly smoky, syrupy and light, with some oakiness, and toffee aromas covering some floral notes. The finish is slightly dry, syrupy and bitter with liquorice flavours.

General impression: The Loch Dhu differs from the normal single malts by its black colour and its liquorice flavour. Interesting to taste, it will appeal to the liquorice eaters.

Rating: 07/20

Cu Dhub, OB, 40%, B:2006. Price:

Colour: Dark brown- black

Nose: Smoky, smooth, sweet and floral with a weird “Haribo” candy chemical flavour. Unusual and somewhat disturbing nose.

Taste: Sirupy, floral and “fizzy”, smoky and slightly salty. Strong taste of burnt sugar. Short finish on liquorice and burnt sugar.

General impression: Almost “fizzy” (sparkling) in the mouth, this whisky is unique by its flavours, but give the impression to be highly enhanced by chemical additives and the chemical flavours offer a contrast with the natural flavours

Rating: 05/20

09 May 2006

Glen Mhor 1976 Rare Malts, 28 YO, OB, 51.9%. B:2005. 4200 b.

Colour: Straw.

Nose: Extremely fresh and round, grassy with mid-summer flowers. The nose is beautiful with some smoke developing after some aeration. Diluted, the flavours get more on leather and toffee notes.

Taste:  Slightly syrupy, salty, on grassy notes with some oak and tobacco. Diluted, it gets creamy and grassier. The finish is medium long on tobacco and salt. The saltiness comes crescendo.

General impression: Surprisingly fresh for its age, this is a very pleasant whisky to drink as aperitif or digestif. Would be interested to taste it served ice cold. Very good surprise. Neil Gunn considered the Glen Mhor as the best whisky in the world.

Rating: 15/20

02 May 2006

Balvenie PortWood, 21 YO, OB, 40%. B:2005. Price:

Colour: Deep old gold.

Nose: The nose is spirity, winey and oaky with a very stong Port flavour influence.

Taste: Smoky with a winey-port pipes dominance covering other fruity influences. The finish is short, relatively dry, on vanilla and toffee notes.

General impression: I enjoy the Balvenie’s whiskies, but the PortWood finish is dominating all the other flavours and masks the Balvenie character. For the Port finish lovers.

Rating: 09/20

25 Apr. 2006

Caol Ila, 12 YO, OB, 43%. B:2006. Price:

Colour: Pale yellow-straw

Nose: Sweet and very malty nose surrounded by round peat smoke flavours. Fresh floral notes (narcissus) and oak is also present. Definitely from ex-bourbon casks.

Taste: Salty tang, lightly oily with a pleasant sweet maltiness. Taste is quite intense. The finish is medium long, salty and spicy, with some omnipresent maltiness. The finish then continues on smoked bacon and wet tobacco ashes

General impression: Very nice nose, rich and quite complex for its age, this whisky leaves a very good impression and a pleasant mouth-feel.

Rating: 14/20

Caol Ila Cask Strength, OB, 55%. B:2006. Price:

Colour: White wine-pale yellow

Nose: The nose is very spirity with intense smoky flavours and some saltiness. The nose is quite similar to the new make. It is clean and simple. Diluted with water, an explosion of smoke occurs before the flavours moves to malt and green-malt notes.

Taste: Oily and somewhat dry at the same time (alcohol content?), the taste is spicy, salty and malty. Diluted, it gets more simple but lighter and more oily and smoky on the palate. The finish is dry, smoky and tarry with the typical “old damp coir/hemp rope” Caol Ila note.

General impression: The Caol Ila cask strength does reveal its youth (9 years old) by its sweetness and its strong and intense peated flavours. However, it would benefit from an extra couple of years to gain some complexity. If you like young and potent peated whisky, you will enjoy it. If you want something more subtle and complex, try the 12 or the 18 YO.

Rating: 10/20

17 Apr. 2006

Lochside 1981, Berry Bros & Rudd, 43%, Casks 605/6 B: 2001.

Colour: Pale yellow-straw

Nose: Smooth, very aromatic and floral, sweet with a malt-flavoured roundness. When diluted, toffee and chocolate flavours are prominent

Taste: Nutty with cereal notes. Very rich and complex, with liquorice, toffee and tobacco quid flavours. It is also quite spicy (ginger?). When diluted, it becomes very floral in the mouth with a taste of After-Eight. The finish is medium-long, creamy and round before getting drier and evolving on dry smoke.

General impression: Very enjoyable fresh floral and rich East-Highlander coming from a distillery closed in 1996 and demolished in 1999. BBR has also released a second version of the Lochside 1981 in 2004, but from the casks 610/5.

Rating: 15/20

Bunnahabhain XVIII , 18 YO, OB, 43%. B:2006. Price:

Colour: Gold-old gold

Nose: Spirity and restrained with some notes of sea breeze. Discreet floral notes can be identified. Not much else could be identified.

Taste: Oily, mouth-coating, with liquorice and an influence of seaweed. The taste develops on toffee and wet old tobacco ashes. Salty tang coming at the end. Very charming. The finish starts on liquorice, then on salt before finishing in nut oil with a whiff of smoke. The finish is medium, oily with some maltiness.

General impression: This whisky has beautiful legs, a nice mouth-coating effect and a round and complex body with a very pleasant nut-salt finish. However, the nose is deceptive. I had to nose it several times to characterize it. Just drink it and you will find it very enjoyable. According to some sources, the first batch is limited to 1500 bottles.

Rating: 12/20

11Apr. 2006

Glenugie, Mission III, 26 YO, Murray McDavid, 46%, D:1977 Price:

Colour: Straw

Nose: The nose is light and subtle, on tangerine and citrus. Slightly tannic with notes of varnish. With some water, leather, caramel and notes of wet smoke are smelled.

Taste: Light and fresh, the taste develops first on cereal notes and citrus, then on salt liquorice and finally on dried fruits with some fumes of tobacco quid. The finish is rather long, salty and pleasant, on wood fire and biscuits, without being woody or dry.

General impression: Like many East-Highlanders, Glenugie is a whisky often ignored and getting difficult to find. This is an interesting dram and unfortunately, the distillery was closed in 1983. Straight from the cask, the finish of this whisky was beautiful and very long. Reduction at 46% shortened the length of the finish, but without impacting much on the quality of the bottled whisky.

Rating: 16/20

03Apr. 2006

Balvenie, Single Barrel, 15 YO, OB, 47.8%. Cask 6342, D:1990 B:2005 Price:

Colour: Pale yellow-straw

Nose: Intriguing, malty and fresh, with notes of diluted pear juice, coconut and some flowery flavours of jasmine and other delicate flowers. The nose shows some sherry-like sweetness. Diluted, it gets more a touch of malt and bread.

Taste: Malty, oat crackers, dry-very dry and spicy (Cayenne pepper). Liquorice and coffee beans flavours are also present. Light and thin. Does not support water. The finish is very dry and peppery.

General impression: It is an interesting whisky with a charming nose and a very pleasant finish. Very enjoyable as long as you don’t add water.

Rating: 16/20

29Mar. 2006

Millburn, Rare Malts, 35 YO, OB, 51.2%. D:1969 B:2005 4620 b.

Colour: Gold-old gold

Nose: Alcoholic, tannic and with aromas of mothballs. The influence of the oak is quite strong and the nose needs some time before peat smoke and fruitiness can be nosed. With water, it gets more fruity and peaty

Taste: Smoky and salty (maritime), before getting dry to very dry and wood. Diluted, it gets more maritime and smoky. The smoky notes are of cigars and tobacco quid. The finish is rather short on camphor and woody notes.

General impression: Well, to make a long story short, this whisky lost its flavours during its long maturation and got woody instead. Should have been bottled some years before 2005.

Rating: 08/20

20Mar. 2006

Highland Park, 30 YO, OB, 48.1%. B:2005 Price:

Colour: Old gold-amber

Nose: Spirity, smoky, tannic, heavy and complex with fruity notes of sweet pear. After a slight dilution, honey and heather can be smelled and keeps changing from rubber and old dry bonfire to caramel and beeswax/soap

Taste: Dry, smoky and rasp, with some saltiness and pepper. Diluted, it gets smooth and oily with a floral note on pear. Woody. The finish is medium, dry and smoky and (tobacco) quid.

General impression: The nose is pleasant, rich and complex, but the taste and finish are not on the same level. This is a rather heavy and complex whisky, but thirty years of maturation in wood has unfavourably influenced the spirit. I was expecting more from Highland Park.

Rating: 13/20

14 Mar. 2006

Bruichladdich Twenty, 2nd ed., 20 YO, OB, 46%. B:2004 Price:

Colour: Pinkish-gold straw

Nose: Tannic and very sweet. Definitely matured in bourbon casks. It is also sweet and winey with strong notes of Mediterranean fruits, such as peach, lavender and water lemons. When water is added, more Bruichladdich-like flavours are released: apples and pear drops, with some maltiness.

Taste: Sweet, light and oily, with some dryness. The aromas of water lemons are strong, followed by biscuits, dry pepper and notes of tobacco ashes . The finish is short: liquorice and pepper with a medium-long tobacco and smoke aftertaste.

General impression: Called also “Flirtation”, this is the second edition of the Twenty Bruichladdich. Its colour is unusual and the influence of extra-maturation (finish) in wine cask from Riversaltes is non-negligible. It is an unusual Bruichladdich, fresh and pleasant for the aperitif. I had the opportunity to taste it straight from the cask and it lost some character after the dilution at 46%. A whisky for wine drinkers.

Rating: 13/20

07 Mar. 2006

Talisker 1955, 38 YO, G&M, 53.6%. B:1993 Price:

Colour: Deep brown amber

Nose: Surprisingly strong and pungent for its age. Deep round and sweet peat with a sweet and round sherry note. The aromas then develop on leather and rubber with old rape fruits. Waxy, rich, complex and equilibrated.

Taste: Oily at the start, its moves then on salty and bitter notes, with sherry and some pepper. Diluted with water, it gets more peppery and salty with citrus flavours released. The finish is on dry sweet smoke, leather and later on, more on tobacco. The finish is long and intense and leaves a strong and long lasting smoky aftertaste.

General impression: Superb old peaty and smoky malt from Talisker,

surprisingly pungent for its age, without being woody. With a strength of 53.6% ABV after 38 years, the whisky was very likely not reduced before maturation in the cask (like the Broras). This is one of the best Gordon & MacPhail I tried for a long time. This malt was a vatting of the casks 1310, 1311 and 1257 distilled on the 28/5/1955 and 12/5/1955. The bottle tasted was 35 cl and price indicated for a 70 cl equivalent bottle.

Rating: 19/20

27 Feb. 2006

Hazelburn First Edition, 8 YO, OB, 46%. B:2005 Price:

Colour: Old gold-amber

Nose: Very smooth, light, sweet and rich, with Sherry and Port notes. The panel of flavours includes candied-fruits, peach, toffee, burnt sugar and caramel influences.

Taste: Light, salty, peppery and bitter. The body is very rich and the flavours difficult to differentiate, but does not support water. The finish is short to medium, smoky with some maltiness and rubber before ending on a Port aftertaste.

General impression: Hazelburn was only bottled once for the Springbank Staff and later on for Switzerland. The First edition is thus the first worldwide available (5100 b.) triple-distilled whisky from the Springbank distillery. As a

result of the triple-distillation, the whisky is light and easy to drink. The marriage of whiskies matured in Bourbon, Sherry, Port and Rum contribute to the rich gamut of flavours that one can perceive in this whisky. The texture is quite different from the other Springbank bottling.

Rating: 16/20

21 Feb. 2006

Highland Park Exceptional Single Cask (ESC), 15 YO, OB, 59.8%. Cask 7453 (for Switzerland) D:1990 B:2005 Price:

Colour: Dark Amber

Nose: The sherry impact on the nose is deep, smooth and sweet, with heather and honey. Once water is added, pear drops can be smelled, as well as honey-sweetness an some vanilla. Then comes delicate heather-smoke flavours.

Taste: At first impression and full strength, it is quite round and sweet, but needs to be diluted to appreciate the pears drops notes and the sherry caracter. Some dryness is left on the tongue, before the wet tobacco aromas of the medium-long finish come, with nice round and sweet peat. The finish is somewhat longer diluted with water.

General impression: A nice clean and fresh very sherried Highland Park bottled exclusively for Switzerland. I have been told that an another very sherried HP will also be released this year for Switzerland

Rating; 16/20

13 Feb. 2006

Caol Ila, 12 YO, Adelphi, 59.9%. Cask 7850 (201 b.) D:1993 B:2005 Price:

Colour: Clear-pale yellow

Nose: Peat and smoke! Intense peat and bonfire smoke with the typical “old damp coir/hemp rope” Caol Ila nose. Notes of sweat. Diluted with water, it gets sweeter and less dry.

Taste: Dry, smoky, peaty and sweet at once with tobacco and salty aromas. The finish is lingering, long and intense on peat fire flavours with old tobacco notes and ashes.

General impression: A typical Caol Ila profile, but more heavily peated. Excellent malt for the peat freaks!

Rating; 17/20

Ben Nevis blend, 37 YO, Adelphi, 50.3%. Cask 4640 (186 b.) D:1970 B:2005

Colour: Amber.

Nose: Unusual and fresh, with fudge, floral and vanilla notes. Restrained. Reduction with water maintains this flavour profile.

Taste: Sweet and refreshing on liquorice and corn. The finish is long and sweet, with berries, vanilla and light roses fragrance. Dry.

General impression: Surprisingly fresh for its age. Complex, it has matured well, but difficult to characterize. This cask was labelled as “blend” and was a blend of malt and grain whiskies married together in the cask 4640 for an unknown period.

Rating: 15/20

Bunnahabhain, 27 YO, Adelphi, 50.6%. Cask 7850 (201b.) D:1977 B:2005

Colour: Light amber.

Nose: Restrained nose with bee wax, tobacco and indefinable floral notes. With water, sweet and round flavours of coconuts are smelled as well as fresh floral notes.

Taste: Round and waxy body, with a sweet medium-long finish with tobacco notes and chocolate.

General impression: An old and complex chewy Bunnahabhain.

Rating: 14/20

Highland Park, 13 YO, Adelphi, 65.2%. Cask 20361 (516 b.) D:1992 B:2005.

Colour: Golden Yellow.

Nose: The flavours are light, dominated by heater, and then come some “hidden” floral notes and some smoke. More floral notes and heather are released after water has been added.

Taste: Relatively light and simple, but round and sweet with scents of Jasmine (?) and smoke. Quite waxy and mouth coating. The finish is short, round and smoky.

General Impression: This is a Highland Park with moderate peat and relatively little sherry influence. It is light and not as aggressive as the volume content would suggest.

Rating: 14/20

Macallan, 14 YO, Adelphi, 53.9%. Cask 10136 (211 b.) D:1990 B:2005 Price:

Colour: Old gold-amber.

Nose: Nice round notes of sherry and orange with light heather and berries (red-currants) flavours. Very complex and pears drops are smelled after adjunction of water.
Taste: Wax. Smooth and woody (tannic), with fudge and floral notes, as well as some fruitcake. The finish is long and lingering on sweet and slightly dry notes. Smoke at the end.

General Impression: A fine example of Macallan with a beautiful nose. Complex and rich for its age. Better than most of the recent Macallans I tried lately.

Rating; 17/20

Inchgower, 19 YO, Adelphi, 55.5%. Cask 5677 (257 b.) D:1985 B:2005. Price:

Colour: Gold with a brownish tone.

Nose:  Very strong, round, sweet and waxy notes of cream-butter fudges. It smells like home made cream fudges with floral notes in the background.

Taste: Thick and waxy mouth-coating feeling. Fudge flavours are still strong but the floral notes of roses are more intense than in the nose.
The finish is medium long, with the same characteristics as the nose: sweet, thick and creamy (fudge) mouth coating with roses and some orange peel.

General Impression: It is a rather unusual Inchgower and complex for its age. It might not please everyone, but some will love it. Worth definitely a try. A whisky to eat and drink.

Rating: 15/20

07 Feb. 2006

Knockando,OB, 43%. D: 1979, B: 1994 Prix:

Colour: Straw gold.

Nose: Nice, smooth and floral, although quite "alcoholic" and slightly peated.

Taste: Grassy with floral notes, becoming acidic. The floral notes are rich and various before the finish comes on smoky and woody notes with a pleasant lemon grass flavour. The finish is dry and slightly bitter.
General Impression: A good introductory malt with characteristic speyside notes. Knockando bottle their whiskies when they considered it matured, therefore the age of the spirit varies with each batch.

Rating: 11/20

30 Jan. 2006

Glen Lairg, 12 YO, OB, 40%. B:1996 Prix:

Colour: Old gold-amber.

Nose: Smooth, round, sherried, slightly rubbery and with light peated notes. Fresh. Very good.

Taste: Very round and slightly oily, on strong citrus flavours with oakiness and caramel. The finish is very short and it does give barely time to be appreciated before some smokiness comes and disappear quickly.

General Impression: The nose is very pleasant and rich, very similar to some single casks expressions of Glenmorangie, whereas the taste,

unfortunately, does match the quality of the nose.

Bottled by Clydesdale Scotch whisky, a subsidiary of the Swedish owned Blackadder Company, this highland pure malt is not a single malt of the Clydesdale distillery closed in 1919, but a vatted malt. I would not be surprised if some Glenmorangie was used.
Rating: 10/20

23 Jan. 2006

Ardbeg Single Cask Ex-Oloroso (Feis Ile 2005), 30YO, OB, 47.2%. Cask 4704. D: 1975 B:2005. Price:

Colour: Deep old gold.

Nose: Sweet and round smoky flavours mixed with a smooth fudge and chocolate flavours. Sweet fruits and cherries to round the edges.

Taste: Soft, rounded and creamy, with again a strong fudge and chocolate flavour dominating this charming dram. Smoke has melted with those tasty aromas.
The finish is long to very long, always with those fudge cream and chocolate characteristics, waxy and creamy.

General Impression: An excellent dram to eat and to drink. All the flavours are beautifully married and flawless, but not as peaty and robust as some old Ardbegs matured in bourbon. The bottle was emptied before I thought of adding water.
Rating: 19/20
Ardbeg Ten, 10 YO, OB, 46%. B:2005. Price:

Colour: Pale yellow.

Nose: An intense peaty and fruity nose, with a sea influence and salty tang. Clean and powerful, with the fruity notes difficult to identify.

Taste: Starts oil before becoming quickly, salty and acidic/bitter, with the same fruity taste as the nose. Clean and relatively simple. The finish is long with very intense smoky and tobacco flavours, like a big and powerful peat fire.

General Impression: Very robust and peaty whisky, with a pleasant nose and impressive beautiful robust finish, whereas the body is not as complex as its older expressions. Very different from the ex-oloroso.

Rating: 16/20

16 Jan. 2006

Glenfarclas 8 YO, OB, 40%. B:2005. Price:

Colour: Deep old gold.

Nose: Caramel and chocolate with a strong sherry presence are dominating fruity flavours. With a drop of water, the whisky opens up and releases an intense fruity note of pears and other juicy fruits.

Taste: Floral and fruity flavours are trying to dominate each other until the sherry does comes into play. Smoky notes are also present with a hint of sulphur? The finish is of medium length, dry to very dry with a touch of smoke. Caramel and rubber flavours are more persisting.

General Impression: The first time I opened the bottle, the nose just smelled like rubber and nothing else. After a few days, the nose started to open and intense flavours were released. It is a correct whisky, with a fine nose, but an acidic finish with a lot of caramel. Would benefit of an extanded maturation.
Rating: 10/20

10 Jan. 2006

To define some standards for the whisky tasting notes, I have selected the six whiskies which are the Classic Malt selection. They offer a wide range of flavours and they also represent probably the most known and accessible single malts in Europe.

Glenkinchie, 10 YO, OB, 43%. B:2005. Price:

Colour: light straw

Nose: The nose is smooth, sweet and gives an impression of dryness. All these flavours are relatively restrained, with a mix of fruity, floral aromas and a hint of hay.

Taste: The mouth feel is simple and round, but dry with some bitterness and the dominant taste is floral which scents of grass and malt mixed with hay. In contrast to its smooth and soft nose, it does reveal a surprising peppery spiciness. The short after taste is dry and malty.

General impression: With its grass and hay notes, Glenkinchie shows the typical profile of the Lowlands whiskies. Diluted 1: 1 with water, it makes a good combination with hard cheese as aperitif.

Rating: 10/20

Dalwhinnie, 15 YO, OB, 43%. B:2005 Price:

Colour: Straw/ light gold.

Nose: The nose is sweet, round, smooth and light. It is dominated by heathery flowers spreading some honey and a squezze of citrus.

Taste: It is light and sweet with some oiliness enveloping the palate, as if heather extracts and freshly cut grass were trapped in the whisky. With the extinction of those aromas, a whiff of smoke and tobacco is revealed in a mouth coating finish.

General impression: The floral notes of this Highland whisky are charming, but light and somewhat weak. A good after dinner whisky to have with chocolate.

Rating: 12/20

Oban, 14 YO, OB, 43%. B:2005 Price:

Colour: straw

Nose: Saltiness and maritime flavours are dominating the nose of this whisky, behind some heather smoothness and an acidic and spicy touch.

Taste: The mouth feel is round and oily with a saltiness playing with the taste buds. I got the impression of an oily layer covering my palate. Very nice.

The finish is going crescendo from oily to dry with a peaty aftertaste.

General impression: The Oban whisky is a reflection of its location close to the pier and its sea influence. The taste is very pleasant and I like its maritime characteristics. It is quite special and some might not like it.

Rating: 13/20

Cragganmore, 12 YO, OB, 40%. B:2005 Price:

Colour: straw

Nose: The intensity is relatively light, but rich in flavours, very floral. It does smell like a sping field full of flowers.

Taste: It covers the mouth with a delicate layer of sweet oil with a creamy texture. It is very round on the palate and very enjoyable with some saltiness and a hint of smoke. Well balanced. The finish is of medium length and lacks the richness of its body.

General impression: The body of the Cragganmore is excellent and the mouthfeel is delicate and very enjoyable. It is round, mellow and equilibrated, but the nose is relatively light and the finish thin in regards to its body. It would benefit from a higher strength (43-46% ABV).

Rating: 14/20

Talisker, 10 YO, OB, 45,8%. B: 2005 Price:

Colour: light gold-gold

Nose: The nose is robust and develops into a salty maritime breeze, with an intense smoky-peaty flavour and some floral note mixed with maltiness.

Taste: In the mouth, the first impression I got was a pleasant taste of salted cream, which gets dryer and dryer until there is an explosion of spiciness dominated by pepper with smoky notes. It is clean, straight and robust with a long finish with wet tobacco.

General impression: The nose is somewhat restraint, but as soon as drink it, Talisker does show its pungency. With Talisker, there are no compromises. If you don't like whiskies with a punch, you will be KO!

Rating: 16/20

Lagavulin, 16YO, OB, 43% B:2005 Price:

Colour: gold

Nose: Intense round peat flavour surrounded by vanilla and bananas notes and some liquorice and malt flavours that appear after a while. The sherry influence is discrete.

Taste: Mellow, rich and balanced, the Lagavulin starts oily in the mouth before moving to more saltiness. The finish is long to very long with an intense peat influence mixed with seaweed and wood.

General impression: Lagavulin is one of the best whiskies you can get. It is well balanced and equilibrated, with the nose in accordance to its body. Unless you don't like peaty whiskies, it is hard to be disappointed with the Lagavulin.

Rating: 17/20

Copyright © 2006 Patrick Brossard. All Rights Reserved.

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