Bottle polishing: 2017, Part 2

[Following on from Part 1].

There are a couple of stray miniatures in this lot also, both featured in front of my new musical toy!


Linkwood NAS [1970’s] GM ‘Distillery label’ 100 proof [5cl] 

Could this be an undisclosed [1970’s] 15yo Linkwood, as reviewed by Serge WF back in 2012? My tasting review below is from a 5cl miniature with too-low-a-level, sadly.

Linkwood 100 proof.JPG

  • N: Wafts of old man and old tobacco followed by decaying valerian root tincture and exquisite dried teas & herbs – smells commonly associated with vintage bottled malts with OBE. Certainly could be 15 years+ matured.
  • T: Heavy OBE arrival following up with a dense, bitter>fruity>smokiness.
  • F: Dry bitter herbs.
  • C: There are flashes of gold here, but there’s no getting over the ‘tainted’ vibe brought on by a corrupted miniature.

Provisionally scores 78 points, and showing great potential for an intact bottle.


Tomatin 1991/2017 26yo Whiskybroker cask #49 [btl #67/257] 54.9% WB89.43[9]

It’s normally a good sign when a bottle falls beyond the last few inches before I’ve even taken down a single note. First impressions were fair, but exceeded by higher final reflections.

Tomatin 1991 26yo.jpg

  • N: The entire presentation rings with intent and vibrancy, the CS abv contributing enormously as is my [TWE’s] 1920’s style Blender’s glass – highly recommended. A touch of peat and a floral pinch is added to the oily<runny honeyed barley straw mixing bowl to set up a decent base. Opens out with sweet oaky lemon doughy-sponge and a linseed-y [somewhat dried~fermented] floral fruitiness. The more subtle colour tones include oily yeast flakes/yeast extract, polyurethane, a touch of fruity nail varnish, fruity scented stationary,… every nosing bringing new perceptions.
  • T: Comes in as you would expect, consistent with the nose profile. Only a few drops of water helps ease the journey, allowing things to flow more effortlessly. The oak is more prominent on the palate but far more balanced with the water. It’s not long nor overly complex but delivers a firm, large, confident, rich and satisfying mature mouthful.
  • F: Finishes consistently with oily~dry linseed-y/oaky sweet lemon<honeyed barley straw, reiterating what has gone before. Just a hint of farmy peat accompanies the putty fruits to complete the picture. Rock cakes and [ginger] biscuits at the death.
  • C: What a find, if I do say so myself. A no brainer at £66 a bottle. Needs optimal conditions in my view.

Scores 89 points


Bunnahabhain 1989/2013 23yo Whisky Barrel ‘Burns Malt’ cask #5739 48.2% WB89[4] WF86

Would you look at the price in 2012: £45!

Bunna malt burns.jpg

  • N: I wasn’t expecting such an ‘Islay’ signature but it’s pleasingly farmy. Blind tasting-wise, only a lack of salty lemon removes it from almost-certain Port Ellen territory. Melon & grapefruit provide the fruits. We must surely be talking refill bourbon? Wood paint, a little creasote, plasticine, bakelite,….
  • T: Those peated maltings speak freely as does the saltiness & brininess with grape-skin and a little fizz, but it’s the waxiness that remains solid. Though there’s not a great deal of movement, it’s undoubtedly a tasty number. Initially dry, savoury-sweet liquorice on the turn, but some drams later it develops on chocolate liquorice to die for.
  • F: Woody & waxy smoke with more grape-skin dryness – but it has given plenty.
  • C: The story so far: A well-aged [Bowmore/Lagavulin-esque], peated malt from a decent refill bourbon cask makes for a joyous outcome. Add a drop or two of Aberlour A’bunadh [sacrilege I know], for even more remarkable results!

Scores 87 points


Strathclyde 1977/2013 36yo HL Sovereign cask #9912 58.1% WB88.45[13] AWD92 tOMoH8 Blog

Strathclyde 1977.jpg

  • N: After my initial disappointment on opening, some days later the development of rich fungal complexities begun to replace the soft & somewhat flat yet candid oloroso. Then came fruits with a vegetal [buttered] broccoli note and some corn oil.
  • T: Surprisingly more vibrant/less flat on opening out. Like on the nose, the more blatant oloroso notes fall away to reveal instead a sweet & oaky fungal soup with some Vegemite leading into an initially dry development. Later the arrival is on mocha caramel followed by a darker, dry sherry complex. The middle stages see a little baked pear, dark cherry liqueur and sweet bitters – the woodiness never overshadowing. A touch of cocoa butter milk into the finish, almost a waxiness. A drop of water [for the relative heat], provides an alternative & favourable chewing experience – almost gummy-like, with a touch of Muscovado.
  • F: There’s some aniseed heat that I read as coming from both the wood spice and the high abv – very little for the angels here. A wisp of used match [the nearest to sulphur this one’s going to get], and the development of a dirty sooty/ashy/ mechanics oiliness wraps this one up.
  • C: Delicious juice, easily drunk.

Scores 88 points


Benriach 1969 GM CC brown label 40% [5cl] [WF]88 WM87[5]

Benriach 1969.jpg

  • N: Vibrant yet soft/dense fruits hit first. Then there’s hay followed by some floral notes before we head into creme brulee and ‘dirty’ old pastries filled with metallic cream, a drop of weed killer, earthy TTW notes and more besides. Really good, dense, dirty, old skool start.
  • T: It’s surprisingly zingy/vibrant for an old vintage miniature bottled at 40%, one that doesn’t mind a little water actually. Aside from the initial peppery/spicy arrival there’s Armagnac-ey dark bitter wood spice and herbal treacle turning towards herbal caramel [more toffee with water], old soot & shoe polish, thoroughly faded & weathered creosote fence panels, larders and old Lino floors. With water: Dry garage floor oil stains. Water thoroughly elongates the journey also.
  • F: Creamy dark herbal oakiness with lingering bitter oaky liquorice & treacle, a touch of gravel,… Finishes clean on oaky caramel=toffee.
  • C: A bumpy horse & cart ride with some fabulous views en route.

Scores 88 points


I shall be returning to memories of 2017 in the following weeks as I conclude my reflections of Orkney [Highland Park], as well as visits to Pulteney, Wolfburn and Yorkshire thereafter.

Up next though is a selection of Armagnac, recently released [mostly], by Darroze.

Happy new year 2018 2



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