Bottle polishing: 3 by 3, part 2

Following on from Part 1, here’s the second trio.


Glendronach 1995/2001 15yo Ob. cask #4681 [725 bts] 56.2% WB89.12[59] tOMoH

After recently caning a beautiful 1994 vintage [blog88], I was keen to replace it and enjoy a similar experience. I had to pay a lot more this time around, given all these vintage Glendronach single casks now sit on a similar evaluated price shelf. Question is, are they all worth it?

Glendronach 4681 .JPG

  • N: Sweet raisin-fungal<toffee=dates & fruity [peach & orange] sugars kick off proceedings, enduring/coexisting within the over-keen [first-fill?] cask. The high-octane rum-like ethanol power of the spirit [56.2%!], with its herbal waxy>petroleum side creates a wide and interesting dialog between this and the initial sweeter notes. I remind myself that [PX] sherry isn’t particularly sweet, and this cask highlights the more bitter-herbal-grape-tannic side of sherry [casks] rather well. There’s plenty here to occupy us geeks.
  • T: Opens with a style I dislike – a blatant sherry punch; one that hardly mellows after a month or so. It delivers then [and with as much water as you like], a puckering, volatile oaked-sherried wax-jacket [much like some A’bunadh batches if you will], albeit with a drier, more bitter [PX] sherry profile. Along the way there are some sugary complexities to be had alongside the murky fruity>industrial waxy notes, but the cask and locked-in abv strength doesn’t allow too much through. The distillate is continually undermined though toasted popcorn/crunchy nut cornflakes on the turn show there are some signs of the malty distillate after all.
  • F: The savoury, waxy dry herbal side continually balances against the sweeter notes. As the dry oaky sugars assemble then slowly dissipate, there’s now a more subtle bitter industrial waxy, mildly bitter [PX styley], dry herbal flow with a hint of sour Montenegro Amaro orange liqueur & Giuseppe Alberti’s Liquore Strega [see last blog] – shadowed by an astringent ginger, baked cinnamon and chill/peppery heat that hovers in the wings. More dry bitter/sour, soft waxy oak at the death and a slight corn~hops reprise.
  • C: You have here something akin to a cask strength 15yo Revival, but one plagued by a single hyper-active cask. Sure it’s decent whisky [are there any duffers in this range?], but this cask is currently past its/my [secondary market] price-point.

Scores 86 points


Benrinnes 20yo [2016] TWE Time Series II [280 bts] 50% WB87.75[4] WI89 MAO87 Blog88


  • N: Beholds that moorish profile that befits only well-aged bourbon casks, a style held together by a floury>chalky, sweet>sour, firm dunnage-y>honeyed<porridge and floral<vanilla profile. Periphery notes include lime-cream, two wild strawberries and a touch of rubbery beeswax/linseed oil. Ideal start.
  • T: Add water or you’ll be facing an astringent sweet-to-sour, dry citrus, oat-dunnage arrival, a body more in tune with a current-modern, cask strength [SMWS] style. I can’t quite tame it however much I try. Get the water about right however to receive more of an oily honey/nectar-led delivery – one I loosely associated with Tokaji or Sauternes dessert wines, albeit with a deep dry sour and more of that moorish dry chalky/floury profile. It’s accompanied by some subtle yet persistent peppery/chilli action positioned well in the background. Glen Moray-esque at times.
  • F: Light sour>putrid creamy>vanilla porridge with a coppery/metallic edge and dried mushroom finish. Stretches out nonchalantly, slightly ashy/mushroomy with clean light sour oat cream. The dunnage-y porridge>ashy clay eventually permeates/dominates the finish.
  • C: At times it’s frustratingly straight/plain/vanilla coupled with a nagging astringency, and there’s no change after a few months of air time. At other times it really sails. It remains however a very decent whisky, it’s just never that relaxed. Scores one less point than my first contact though the nose carries much of that. Still in stock at time of writing – you know where!

Scores 87 points


Talisker 57° North [2014] Ob. 57% WB85.37[358] WF88

Talisker 57 degrees.JPG

  • N: As sparkly a peat smoked whisky as ever. Fresh, clean yet a little malty. The longer you leave it the maturer it appears. Whilst being super vibrant/active, flavour molecules on offer include olives in brine, some savoury pickle, pickled onions, onion bread, paprika, pan=fried onion seeds,…
  • T: Delivers with the same aplomb as on the nose. Similar in spirit [excuse the pun], to an Octomore style yet without the dark, thick, deep vegetal denseness. I find it to be like onion-y barley in the main with the same vegetal faithfulness as craft rum [agricole] has to the essence of sugar cane juice.
  • F: A nice array of flavours to finish. Continues Octomore-light but with an abv drive that gives it the air of matched confidence. Concludes appropriately enough as onion-y vegetal spirit, one that frequently reminds us of it’s barley roots.
  • C: I thoroughly enjoyed this NAS malt as much as i did way back in the 2000’s when it was introduced through travel retail. For me this is still one of the best NAS’s around as well as one of Talisker’s better expressions in their current range, NAS or otherwise. Hard to fault, but then I havent spent much time faulting it. Mainly I’ve been enjoying it.

Scores 87 points





Botte polishing 2


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