Anam na h-Alba
dist. 1991 - bottled 2014 -
no of bottles 84 - vol. 55,9%
Vol. 46% - this sample contains 25 ml of whisky.
Ardbeg Ten Years Old is revered around the world as the peatiest, smokiest, most complex single malt of them all. Yet it does not flaunt the peat; rather it gives way to the natural sweetness of the malt to produce a whisky of perfect balance.
Typically most whiskies are chill-filtered and reduced to a strength of 40% ABV. Ardbeg Ten Years Old, however, is non chill-filtered and has a strength of 46% ABV, thus retaining maximum flavour, at the same time giving more body and added depth. It’s whisky with none of the goodness taken out!
Ardbeg ‘Dark Cove’ (46.5%, OB, general release, 2016) I had enjoyed the committee release quite a lot back in March (WF 88). Let’s see if around 9 less degrees will make a difference. Colour: gold. Nose: there is a feeling of new American oak, with this vanilla, but we’re below the limits. I remember I had tried the two components of the popular Ten a while back at the distillery, one was ex-refill bourbon, the other ex-first fill. We’re closer to the latter here, and once again, I do not get much sherry, let alone ‘dark’ sherry. A little crème brulée, perhaps, and then whiffs of ginger and nutmeg from the wood, before more coastal and – of course – smoky notes start to rise to your nostrils. Triple-sec as well. And bandages. Feels a little sweet, pleasantly so. Mouth: indeed, it is a little sweet, with a citrusy blast at first, then some ginger and plenty of ashes, then a touch of salty tar. Perhaps a little rubbery ginger (or gingery rubber) before it gets even saltier. It’s not the most complex Ardbeg ever, this is no 1960s or 1970s distillate, but as they say in mail order, it does deliver. Finish: long and rather more nutmeggy/gingery. Typical young Ardbeg aftertaste, as if you had just chewed a rubber band. Comments: it feels young and sometimes a little rough, but we haven’t got anything against young whisky. SGP:467 - 86 points.
On the eye warm amber.
Breathe in subtle lemon and honey, balanced beautifully by Bowmore's trademark peaty smokiness.
Sip sweet and delicious heather honey and gentle peat smoke.
Savour the long, mellow finish.
Bowmore 15 yo 'Darkest' (43%, OB, +/-2014) This one's finished for three years in sherry casks, so it's more double-maturation than a finishing stricto sensu. I think the first versions, back in around 2000, used to be terrible, but newer batches have been much more to my liking. Colour: reddish amber. Nose: starts with big whiffs of bicycle inner tube, new tyres and roasted chestnuts. That’s not exactly rubber in my book. Then more black chocolate, dried seaweed and plenty of tobacco. No wrong note so far. Mouth: good arrival, smoky, briny and full of tobacco and bitter chocolate. It’s quite big, but not stuffy at all. A pleasant feeling of dirt – don’t ask - and then really a lot of walnuts and leather, plus tar and liquorice. A growing sour note after a few minutes, like some black tea with a lot of lemon, as some do ;-). Finish: good length, salty as often, very tarry and somewhat acrid. Comments: it’s really lost the ‘lavender’ notes that earlier bottlings had in their core. Having said that the style is pretty extreme and it’s no ‘clean’ Bowmore. SGP:455 - 84 points.
Quite a typical peaty nose where some typical farmy smells are not far away. Wet hay, cereals and peat. This is the major part of the quite nice smells characterizing this whisky. The pear remains present in the mouth, very smooth with however a touch of bitterness on the background. And here again, peat is dominating. A pleasant mouth, even if it is quite different from other Islay whiskies. Different form the peated whiskies fron Islay and different from the Bunnahabhains... Fruity hints seem to appear behind the peat. Not so much smoke traces. The finish is quite interesting, still on the same peaty notes. It is rather long and prolongs the pleasure of the mouth still without any aggressiveness.(by: www.whisky-distilleries.info)
Review by www.whiskyfun.com
Bunnahabhain 33 yo 1980/2013 (45.6%, Whisky-Doris, sherry butt, cask #92) Colour: full gold. Nose: the oak’s more apparent in this one, but that’s normal. Polished wood, chocolate, praline, walnut cake, honey cake… It’s rather ‘beehivy’ in fact, which is most pleasant. You’ve got the wood, the wax, the honey and the pollen. No, no royal jelly. Also a wee smoke, charcoal, then hints of menthol and milk chocolate. Maybe dried seaweed? So far, so good. Mouth: the oak is more obvious this time, and probably a little drying (strong green tea), but the honey and the nice notes of tarte tatin keep the whole balanced and lively. Mulled wine, orange cake, cinnamon flavoured chewing-gum (do they still make that?) and gingerbread. Finish: long, rather more on praline and gingerbread/speculoos. The honey’s still there in the aftertaste. Comments: the oak starts to show a bit but it does act more like some spice and just underlines the very lovely honey notes. Excellent, I think. SGP:651 - 88 points. Sample contains 25ml of whisky
Caol Ila 12 yo 1991/2005 (56.9%, Artist Edition by Ian Gray, 145 bottles) Nose: very austere, grassy… Faint coastal notes (sea breeze). With water: more olives but more cardboard, wet paper. Mouth (neat): again, better than on the nose. Sweet quince jelly, kumquats, pepper, peat and orange marmalade. Hints of marshmallows. With water (while it gets completely opaque): even better, a young Caol Ila in its full glory. What a bit difference between nose and palate! 80 points. Source: www.whiskyfun.com
Introduced in 2010, after cask strength versions in 2004 and 2005, this is the first officially-bottled Caol Ila 25yo to be bottled at 43%.
Caol Ila 25 yo (43%, OB, +/-2011) I liked the earlier batches very much (WF 88). Colour: gold. Nose: starts soft and complex, with notes of almond oil, linseed oil, soot and then citrus, a bit ala ‘old’ Coal Ila (pre-extension), which is a profile I already found in the first 25s. There’s also delicate floral notes, which is unusual (roses, old style perfume ala Jean Patou) and then more costal notes, such as ultra-fresh oysters. In short, a very delicate Caol Ila, very different from most other newish bottlings, especially by the indies. Mouth: maybe it’s a tad lightish at the attack (please note that this is a ‘first’ dram, so no influence of a bigger previous dram) but again, it’s complex whisky, rather more on brine and plain salt this time. There’s also quite some lemon and these notes of roots that I already found in earlier versions (ginseng powder). It’s a medium bodied CI, with excellent complexity. Liquorice wood. Finish: a tad short for Caol Ila but clean and very salty. Moderate peatiness. Comments: the light and elegant side of the famous Islayer. I think it’s a good example of a whisky that would please wine lovers who aren’t into whisky too much. SGP:355 - 88 points.
Hart Brothers can trace their origins in the licensed trade back to the late 19th century when the family were licensed victualers and publicans in Paisley, the mill town on the outskirts of Glasgow. However, it was not until 1964 that brothers Iain & Donald Hart incorporated the company as Wine & Spirit Wholesalers and Scotch Whisky Blenders. Pale, gold in colour. The nose is seaweed with a hint of peat. A full bodies dram with an amazing sweet, smoky, iodine taste. It has a dry finish making it similar in character to an Islay.
Originally called the Brora Distillery, it was built in 1819 in the fishing and golfing resort of Brora, in Sutherland, by the Marguis of Stafford. He intended that it would provide a market for the grain grown by his tenant farmers who were forcibly moved by him to the coast during the Highland clearances to make way for the sheep farming. Many crofters emigrated to North America rather than try to make a living in their harsh new environment in the east coast. In 1896 James Ainslie & Company acquired the distillery, and in 1925 DCL took over. By now the distillery was called Clynelish and a new one was built in 1967. The original Brora, closed in 1980's.
vol. 50,5% - 160 bottles - "All you need is whisky"
Nose: fruity and fragrant. A lot of juicy pear and gooseberry aromas. A little sweet oak and vanilla. Creamy banana. Lime candy. Very seductive, the usual mineral / waxy notes are certainly there, but they’re wrapped in a sweetness. Very nice. Mouth: oily and quite sweet again, with some pineapple sweets and apple / pear. Lime and grapefruit. Punchy and much spicier than the nose suggested (ginger and nutmeg). Some oak shavings and waxy notes. Finish: half fruity, half spicy with the trademark wax.
Notes from: (http://www.whiskynotes.be)
Distilled: 2007 - Bottled: 2013
Review by www.whiskyfun.com
Kilchoman ‘Loch Gorm 2015’ (46%, OB, 2015) A vatting of ex-oloroso butts and ex-sherry hogsheads. Colour: amber. Nose: much, much dirtier than the Machir, and you see, we love dirt in our whiskies. Soot, damp gravel, saltpetre… In fact it’s got something of Longrow, which just can’t be bad news. Cigar ashes, smoked fish, brine, new plastic, engine oil, moss… All great! Mouth: oh very excellent! Same dirty side, ashes, sooty things, bitter oranges, plenty of salt, brine, our beloved olives, a touch of caramel and raisins, caraway… Well I guess I don’t have to oversell it. Finish: quite long, extremely well constructed, always appropriately dirty, a little leathery, citrusy (cleans the dirt), ashy… Comments: it’s a winner in my book, and it’ll join the same cluster as Benromach 10 and Kilkerran Bourbon. I should have tried it earlier. SGP:457 - 90 points.
Lagavulin is one of the great classics from Islay (not only because it is part of the UDV series “Classic malts”). All the spirit of Islay, (the sea, the peat and the smoke), remarkably balanced
is concentrated in it. I do not think it is the best malt from Islay but this bottle is essential. Especially for smoked whisky lovers.
A kind of hay smell developing on floral hints is followed by a very nice and complex taste, recalling sea and peat at the time. A rather long and dry finish is marked by smoke. It remains a great classic.
A clear nose with interesting mixes of peat and leather withs some vegetal smells, wet hay and malt. The palate is nicely peaty and smokey with a maritime aftertaste. A nice finish, somewhere between the smoothness of malt and the salt of the sea, with some bitter hints (wood).
Rather farmy nose with hints of cereals behind humid undergrowth smells. A touch of smoke. Nice peat. In the palate, first a strong peaty impression and quite a limited tastes palette, with hints of milk chocolate and nuts. Smoke and peat mix nicely with pleasant salted notes. This is not a cask strength... and for those who are used to stronger percentages, this one feels a bit watery....
A lingering warm finish, developing in the mocha register.