Midlands Whisky Festival 2017: Part 3/3

Here’s my final session of the day.


Girvan 25yo [2017] HL Sovereign 58.9%


  • N: Musty & dusty cereal grain, some sweet putty and bitter treacle. Some dunnage complexity and fruity toffee with water.
  • T: Well varnished and creamy for a modestly/relatively aged grain with good form and shape.
  • F: A longish finish on flapjack and decent bitters in the form of burned raisins and treacle. Creamy dry vanilla from a prolonged death.
  • C: This would make for a good introductory grain for the uninitiated.

Scores 86 points




Tobermory 1996 18yo HL First Editions [487 bts] 54.5%

  • N: Wowee, all the things – massively old style. Carbolic dirty/gritty garage notes, malty old sherry leather and all the stuff in-between.
  • T: Same again, a dirty sherry malt.
  • F: More dirt on oily creamy sherry and woody toasted sherry vanilla. Lovely dry sweetness, a little nutty.
  • C: A fine demonstration of how superb Tobermory can be when the distillery’s issues & idiosyncrasies work together.

Scores 88 points


[Caol Ila] Port Askaig 19yo [2017] Speciality 50.4% WB87.60[150] WF88

Port Askaig 19.jpg

  • N: Rather like the previous Tobermory, yet all polished up. Notes of sweet vegetal, oily cream, creamy bacon,..
  • T: A sweet vegetal arrival, Part refined, part brash. Water straightens it all out, then becoming perfectly polite on malty oily smoke.
  • F: Wispy milk chocolate finish with long & complex tasty trails.
  • C: The form is splendid. This has been skilfully worked.

Scores 88 points


Ardbeg Ar8 [2017] Elixir 54.3% [50cl] WB88.73[17] WF? WM??[]

Ardbeg Ar8.jpg

  • N: Not dissimilar to the Askaig, albeit slightly bolder yet just as brilliant.
  • T: Notes of wet oysters, an oily garage and dry yet luscious smoky chilli chocolate. Needs some abv tempering as it’s prickly even with water.
  • F: Aniseed chocolate and vegetal malt smoke with tasty cask wood.
  • C: Another superb small batch from Elixir<Speciality.

Scores 87 points


Glenglassaugh 1975/2015 40yo Ob. Massandra Madeira Puncheon #2180 43.9% WB92.23[28]


It’s ‘shouty hour’ at the Midland’s Whisky Festival. Next to me a man is shouting off and rhetorically asking why this whisky is more than 10 times the price of his beloved Glenfarclas 18 which he says is so much better.

  • N: I’m not sure i’ve had the pleasure of the Glenfarclas 18yo but straight away this Glenglassaugh provokes ‘dad noises’ for it’s a fruity & oily vintage bourbon dunnage cracker, marvelously mature and beautifully soft.
  • T: Given its age, texturally it’s beginning to enter sweet-medicinal liqueur territory, with coffee herbal malt notes ensuing. It’s ‘wows’ all the way down.
  • F: Hums as ‘dad noises’ continue.
  • C: This is the show-stopper right here.

Scores 91 points



Penderyn NAS ‘Rich Oak’ [2016] Ob. Small batch [2248 bts] 50%

  • N: Glacier cherries, blackcurrant cordial, raspberries, vanilla essence,..
  • T: More cordial, raspberry lollies, vanilla ice cream.
  • F: Fruity ice cream vanilla
  • C: A fun one.

Scores 82 points


Jura 16yo ‘Diurachs’ Own’ Ob. 40% WB82[171]


I can’t believe i only tried this 16yo once before, way back at the distillery in 2012.

  • N: Sweet malty raisin sponge.
  • T: Basic cereal mash malt, a little clogged up.
  • F: Putty sweet mash with raisins.
  • C: Jura is a distillery i don’t get too excited about though this 16yo is decent enough. Same score as last time or thereabouts.

Scores 83 points


Rock oysterRock Oyster 18yo [2017] DL 46.8% WB86.54[15] WF89

  • N: “No barriers”, says AD – meaning it’s an easy access malt.
  • T: A good dry combo, rounded.
  • F: Rounded cask & spirit mix on chocolate malt.
  • C: Well respected blended malt.

Scores 84 points


Benriach.jpgBenriach 2010/2017 6yo DL Provenance [379 bts] 46%

  • N: Light as. Malty & yeasty.
  • T: Soft distillate that drives towards fruit seeds, pollen and chocolate.
  • F: Carries through prettily with overlapping notes.
  • C: Very likeable young distillate.

Scores 85 points


[Tobermory] Ledaig 1996/2015 19yo Ob. 46.3% WB87.14[44]

Ledaig 1996.jpg

Matured in oloroso casks

  • N: Comparable [somewhat] to Mortlach 18 with its soft & sweet veg decay notes. An Interesting start but much is lost to the heavy-handed oloroso covering.
  • T: Frisky as opposed to pokey.
  • F: Weird sherry finish, like a smoky px.
  • C: Not my bag at all.

Scores 78 points

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Not the most ideal dram i would have chosen to finish on, but my lasting memory of the festival is that fabulous 40yo Glenglassaugh. The 1992 Dailuaine reaffirms my respect for the distillery. The 1996 Tobermory was a nice surprise and their Ledaig 18yo was great also – two scores for Mull! Islay does well with Ardbeg, Bowmore & the Port Askaig 19yo and that Fettercairn is well worthy of a look in. A super precursor to the TWE London show in a weeks time. See you there!




5 thoughts on “Midlands Whisky Festival 2017: Part 3/3

  1. Pingback: A handful of grain

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