All these bottles were opened and polished off sometime during 2017. Listed here chronologically by age/vintage which by no means reflects the order that these bottles were drunk. Some lasted weeks, others merely days – unlikely to have been in conjunction with each other.
Midleton Method & Madness Single pot still  Ob. ‘Chestnut’ 46% WB85.33 SW85
Ideally I’d have had a ‘straight’ expression of Midleton’s single pot still alongside, in order to assess by comparison the ‘chestnut’ element.
- N: Refreshingly unusual single pot still whiskey style, the chestnut finish attractive certainly. Not sure what the ratio is however, over the bourbon & sherry casks. The cask blend makes for a desirable nutty sweet whiskey with a definable stylistic character. With a liberal nutty, oily-dry varnished coat, descriptors include linseed treated cricket bats, suede leather, tamari>tamarind paste, sweet-nutty putty and pecan maple pastry amongst others.
- T: The chestnut is even more pronounced on the palate, but it’s along with the base combination of bourbon & sherry casks that makes the profile as a whole so characterful. Vanilla-nutty butters & biscuits [macadamia, pumpkin seeds, savoury-halva], ginger bread, Hobnobs,… Some [rose] floral alongside wild strawberries bloom in the latter stages. Later on there’s a development of a particular sour note that fans of Amazannaise will know well – the related notes here being wine vinegar, lemon juice & guar gum – though not sure I’ve ever tasted guar gum in isolation however. Water acts to release another layer of consolidated=complex fruity/woody wonders.
- F: Again, the bourbon/sherry/chestnut combo is working a treat to bring a refreshingly alternative dessert-style digestif. Leads on to tasty herbal-fruit wood spices with a varnished-barley coat conclusion.
- C: A distinctive flavour that I thought I’d tire of very quickly. Turns out it’s planted in me the occasional craving. An ideal dram to pour when you’re undecided what to have late at night and don’t want to work too hard for good returns. Next mission, a chestnut flight – Irish & Scottish side by side perhaps?
Scores 85 points
Glencadam 15yo  Ob. 46% WB82.79 WF87[’08] WM85
First time i tried this [in 2012], I was sold on its subtle charm. Lets see how I see things five years on.
- N: Isn’t it funny how sugar notes can lead to curry spices, anyone? [The Indians love their sugar, whether it be in desserts [like Gulab Jamun], curries, chutneys, fruits or roadside pure cane sugar juices]. Getting back to the Glencadam, we have ripe, fresh, dried & synthetic fruit notes and specifically fruits such as pineapples, pears, papaya, lychee and custard apples as well as hints of coconut integrated within the bourbon cask notes. A super bouquet that’s not too ‘showy’. The sweet chestnut-y/dry-fusty/yeasty oakiness holds it all in place. A lovely, well balanced fruity Speysider so far.
- T: More kick & oakiness than expected, those 15+ years in conjunction with the [ideal] abv driving that moorish barley and those fruits to a deeper/oakier territory. A little water reaffirms the balance. Moderately aged whisky like this also retains youthfulness & vibrancy. Spritely fruits [from the nose] occasionally appear on arrival with a deeper oaked Coco pop-putty development in the middle stages. Into the finish is a waxy-ish/dry oily=briny-ish mouthfeel & cidre/lager to taste with a soft [cosmetic/acetone] apricot-marzipan note to boot. There’s a consistent body/weight throughout.
- F: A short-medium finish, cruising however at a reasonable depth. Time then to enjoy those deep-oaked bourbon creamy sugars complimented by a sour citrus, that almost only ever seem to arise from slow and timely maturation. Bitter-sweet, touches of molasses, fruits and some clean-fusty, bourbon/vanilla at the final stages. The best boozy bitter-lemon I ever had!
- C: Five years on and to my relatively more experienced palate, this is still a most favourable malt with balance, form, weight & flavour – whats not to like? A must-have bottle for any enthusiast’s living library. Coincidently Ralfy’s ‘Whisky of the year 2017’.
Scores 87 points
Glenlivet Nadurra 16yo  Ob. Batch 0313W 54.8% WB86.50 [WF]87
- N: Waxy-buttery nose with a little earthiness, ice-cream sweet with nuts [think Feast Bars], from the bourbon initially but followed up by a thoughtful sherry cask proportion. Fruity development. Easy & pleasing and hard to fault.
- T: Sweet=waxy mouthfeel/taste, quite peppery & straw-dry before a long unravel. Much chew on sweet barley-bread puddings.
- F: Moves sweet~savoury. Balanced with a good length finish. Surprisingly grassy/dry, raw-ish/astringent at the death with waxy-oaky green notes. Peppery-fresh oak spices till the last with a little more bourbon-led Feast bars and some vanilla concluding.
- C: Well presented, good form, easy pleaser – save for a relatively more challenging finish. A mere £38 when I bought this bottle in 2013.
Scores 87 points
Teaninich 2009/2017 GM CC New Map [orange] 46% WB81.33 WF85
The first GM bottle I’ve bought that’s bottled at 46%. About time!
- C: It’s only in context of the Balblair 1975 & 2003 [reviews to follow], that I truly start to appreciate this has more going on than first meets the eye. This distillate-led young malt displays some distillery character [malty, sweet-cereals, caramel, leather, apple crumble], whilst showing a maturity way above its 8 years. Well worth the punt, especially if you’ve not had Teaninich before.
Scores 85 points
Tullibardine 2008 8yo SMWS 28.33 [637 bts] 60.4% WB87
There’s one thing having a whole bottle to study, as opposed to [sometimes inadequate] miniatures/sample bottles, but to have three bottles from the same cask – now that’s an opportunity to truly get inside this thing!
- N: I remember my first impressions of this were most favourable [Blog86], with subsequent visits somewhat diminished. I’ve now come full circle – I’m a total sucker for this one, and rightly so. I won’t just give yet another shopping list of stuff because really this is all about combo magic, the whole lot bound up and in it together – namely a rubbery/waxy>creamy<sulphury sweet petroleum, earthy vegetal-oily musty-malty spicy-sweet thing. Super stuff, compliments to the chef! Though it appears at first to be all-sherry to the point of hilarity, that’s not where this story is at all. It can and does indeed transcend it’s heavy [oloroso] inheritance. Within the recipe I pick out lardy cake, Smiths Cheesy Moments, raspberry/tutti-fruity coulis and vibrant [truffle] oils to drool over. A great example of where high abv really pays dividends. And yet there is a fabulous soft-coppery barley spirit at the core.
- T: Whilst I’ve found the sherry influence to be utterly outrageous in the past, it doesn’t seem so detrimental now i’m fully inside my third [and last] bottle – I know right, a sucker I tell you! Soon all is well when the malty/oily/vegetal sweetness hits the chew. Even though it seemingly couldn’t be more sherried, there’s something distinctly different here compared to other direct sherry-delivered bombs. The sulphury sherry has a vegetal quality that’s more akin to a rum<malt complex given all that waxy vegetable tannin around. Keep going with it and the sherry ‘boing’ is now only the most minor of distractions. Mouthfeel and flavour combos rule this roost. Not once are you concerned about age, immaturity and even balance – once you’ve let go [analytically perhaps]. The chew goes on with sherried tree-rubber and waxy/creamy, vegetal vanilla cream.
- F: Petroleum and rubbery-malty-waxy raisins moving slowly into guar gum and raw chocolate with macha. Rice paper-dry. Later on, occasional waves of rubbery sherry are met with a putrid/sick note that passes by – but it’s the waxy malty>fungal>vegetal chew that remains.
- C: Despite some ‘You have failed me for the last time’ moments, get inside it and discover an ‘Impressive, very impressive’ combo of things. The power of the dark side is strong. I’m going to miss it as I return to my Jedi training.
Scores 87 points
Part two sees older, earlier vintages.
14 thoughts on “Bottle Polishing: 2017, Part 1”