Following on from part 1, as promised, here come the riches in richer to richer order.
- N: A lovely green-yellow bourbon cask-hued malt that gives off pear/lemon drops and dried banana skins, covered in a mix of white bread flour, a cracked raw egg, some tahini and hemp/olive oil – all served with a yeasty beer. Furthermore, there are hints of butternut squash, swede, water cress and dried parsley. It’s a nose that firmly suggests the palate will follow suit. Classic refill hoggie action.
- T: More fine & sieved white flour with a sour lemon & soft beer/wash trajectory. A tahini/putty development becomes stronger and stronger. Refined mouthfeel, dry yet salivating. Only hints at oily/waxy. Impossible to enjoy neat.
- F: Powerful to the last [given the fairly high abv], with sour lime/herbal dry/ honeyed cream, a few raisins, chalk and straw. A myriad of small subtle suggestables at the death.
- C: A candid dry sour malt for those who like it stark. Whisky naturists perhaps? It comes with immaculately consistent form. Just don’t expect huge complexity. With thanks to Chris.
Scores 85 points
Glenfiddich 21yo  Ob. ‘Reserva rum cask finish’ batch #49 40% WB60
The 21yo is currently packaged in batches and comes with a rum cask finish as standard.
- N: A fine example of decently matured barley spirit without excessive chill filtration, that allows for those soft oils to shine. Light fruits as expected and pretty lovely too – pears & soft apples, easy on the pineapple drops. Deeper maturity complexities develop. It’s a nose that gets better and better.
- T: More of the same, beginning with a light & soft astringency. Think Auchentoshan/Balvenie blend with only a dash of [white] rum. Light cocoa on the turn with a drop of single cream. There’s a waxy/gummy mouthfeel at times.
- F: Metallic/light barley sweet with cocoa cream. This well aged (straight bourbon refill) barley distillate finishes neatly.
- C: Simple, well balanced light profile – though it isn’t at all exciting. The rum finish appears incidental and we shan’t grumble.
Scores 86 points
- N: Bourbon-cask whisky sugars really are something aren’t they? – seemingly more candid than the more blatant yet also often spell-binding sherried depths. In detail: crystalised cake confectionary fruit sugars, sweet grapefruit<freshly squeezed oranges, vibrant yet matured honeyed clay, cereal lemonade [whatever that is?], polystyrene packaging chips, a distillate/ferment yeasty pong, leathery oats,…. all the ingredients in place. Modern old-skool. [Spot-on]-Serge [WF] says ‘earthy,… leaves’ – brilliant! You could place this right in-between Cadenhead’s Glen Keith and the Glenrothes [coming up]. It displays richness and depth in equal measure. Hints at a rum agricole-like cask-finish, decidedly more than the Glenfiddich 21yo.
- T: Bold, weighty cereal-sweet/sharp-sour, lemon-honey vibrant yeasty porridge-y distillate with dunnage-y, sweet paper-fungal bourbon-cask sugars. What a mouthful! This is text-book stuff with ripe bananas turning decidedly sour on the turn. Edgy, with more white craft rum>clairin vibes.
- F: Starts a slow release of varied complexities, though the [vanilla] Genever reference isn’t lost on me. Mainly we are talking of honeyed barley porridge and savoury rum n raisin, hinting at a waxy-herbal mineral quality, some hemp oil, flax seeds, loose leaf ginseng, dry aniseed and hay. Concludes with sour slightly putrid/decaying oozing, banana cream.
- C: One mark extra today [though no more for this particular bottle/batch], compared to the 85 points I gave it last time around [LINK]. A fine modern example of ready & balanced barley vodka aged in oak, one that is faithful to the core fundamental constituents of whisky making.
Scores 86 points
Glenrothes 1989/2016 27yo Cadenhead [264 bts] 53.7% WB88.53
- N: Given how firmly I associate Rothes with that particular & desirable heavily sulphury-sherried profile they achieve, an un-sherried Rothes will be interesting. After the dry sour Glen Keith, this is far lusher with an oily-waxy cocoa aroma that suggests a luscious mouthfeel also – here’s hoping. The divinely sweetish tropical fruits emerge later, as does the hessian/brown paper wrapper, some beeswax, a bready/dried coconut mouldy>yeasty complex and a slight paraffin/acetone>coppery>sulphury pong.
- T: A creamy-dry, honey oil-waxy fruity lusciousness, slowly turning fruity~sharp>sour. Water encourages a malty hot aniseed/Euthymol freshness.
- F: After the freshness has diminished, we’ve beeswax vanilla cream with a distant yet deep bitter-sour chalky>talc note. Concludes chalky floury sour>dry.
- C: Annoyingly, it doesn’t quite deliver after that delightful spirit-driven nose and fabulous arrival. It’s certainly in keeping with the Glen Keith at the end and not unlike many a decently aged yet youthful Balblair also. With thanks again to Chris.
Scores 87 points
It’s been a few years since I last tried the 18yo. I’ve adored it on occasion and been apathetic on others.
- N: Sweet grasses and raisin-y plasticine with fusty green dry & sharp fruits lurking within. An hour later there’s a decidedly fruity putty Irishness with the distillate speaking loud & clear.
- T: Soft/sharp citrus putty, wet clay and dry putty fruits, with more of that Irishness that speaks even more firmly an hour later. Also, more honeyed~sweet-to-sour. Decent weight too.
- F: The journey continues & concludes somewhat inevitably yet poetically with dry fruits in clay, sweet wax and dry sour/sweet-ish cream.
- C: Really fabulous. A lovely edgy alternative to the simpler 21yo.
Scores 88 points
George T Stagg 2001/2016 15yo Ob. [9150 bts] 72.05% [750ml] WB89.42
- N: Almost farmy-smokey which I hadn’t noticed when I had tried this a year before. Then there’s a petrol-fruitiness followed with many vibrant things, all with consolidated clarity.
- T: Although I remember enjoying this best neat before [amazingly], today I definitely require water. Having said that, there is more complexity neat.
- F: Sweet oaky herbal to dry varnished vanilla.
- C: I’m somewhat out of practice at the moment, so I struggled with the formidable abv strength. Though the complexity dips with dilution, it still remains a brilliant & powerful bourbon.
Scores 89 points
- N: I went off sherried whisky for a while. Actually I went off sherry-duped whisky. With A’bunadh however, Aberlour appear to succeed in integrating a fruity fungal & perceived dunnage-y/malty depth from their modern seasoned vibrantly active sherry casks – a depth I’ve begun to witness in Aberlour’s latest 12 & 18yo batches . It’s no wonder we continue to rave about these quality & affordable NAS batches, and whilst they vary [which is the point, right?], the quality still remains high. Armagnac fans I’m sure will be pleased by the sheer array of fruit complexes from the grape-based casks – old fusty wine cellars in tow. Serge [WF] just nails this one once again: “Cigars, soy sauce, humidor, earthy tea, old leather (horse saddle), hay…”.
- T: It’s big and bold which will come as no surprise. After the fruit bomb on the nose, I find it initially more [hazelnut & chest]-nutty on the palate and bourbon/barley-sweet/savoury too. Every sip however brings a refreshed view. Descriptors then on fungal herbal/botanical [holy basil & juniper], liquorice wood, slowly drying cherries, blueberries, blueberry juice, prune juice, lime in lemonade….. It’s so much fun. Again, Armagnac fans will surely love this as equally as malt fans can enjoy many Armagnac’s that display similar grainy/dunnage-y traits to single malts – I find. After time, more lime – this time in Opal Fruits=Starburst form.
- F: Shimmers with activeness, displaying a melted Feast bar & honey-comb icecream drizzled over a rapidly cooling Christmas cake. I pick up plenty of warehouse references alongside an array of umami-esque Chesterfield/tobacco, polish/soot suggestives. Lingers with a fungal wafer/vanilla dunnage Genever vibe,….
- C: Often blissful, forthrightly engaging and rewarding, it remains a modern NAS classic. The kind of whisky I want around all the time. Time to order a bottle.
Scores 89 points
There’s much less Glenlochy around than Brora or Karuizawa. A 75cl bottle is very soon about to finish on an online auction. I conveniently have a miniature of it on my shelves, so I shall try before I consider buying.
- N: Smells like a hundred other 60-70’s vintage G&M single malt presentations, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Notes of freshly cut sweet>sharp apples, rum-like sugars, nutmeg, smouldering onion-y/swede-y/>rhubarb-y rubber-sappy oak, silicone, sweet Vietnamese broth with spring onions, fried smoked soy & boot-polished pork in black bean sauce and sugar-doped crispy seaweed<kale. Anyone would think this was Japanese. [How did the enthusiasts back in the day discern distillery character from these bottles, or is OBE more profound than even they had realised?] Potent sweet-pongy>peaty saline/mineral notes throughout. Fabulous start.
- T: Energetic arrival and sustaining carry=through. Adding water reveals a dry yet tarry-oily slick with more of those rum-like dry-caramel-y>fruity>vegetal sugars and a desirable wide-spreading yet temporary mouthfeel. There’s a lovely weighty feel & balance between the caramel-chocolate>sugar liqueur-sweetness and a more earthy/savoury/vegetal-freshness. An enjoyable & accomplished ride.
- F: A bone-dryish waxy mouthfeel on the turn. It’s subtlety smokey & salty with sappy caramel, sugared old drift wood off-cuts and tobacco. A respectable medium-length, dusty/earthy tarred & woody finish that never loses it’s vitality or focus. A touch of witch hazel at the death.
- C: Thoroughly convincing throughout. Probably the finest 14yo I’ve tried. I shall certainly put a bid on!
Scores 90 points