Bottle Polishing: Summer 2018, Runners-up

There’s no shame in reminding ourselves what the majority of distilleries supply or the majority of drinkers buy. There are aged versions but this is W&M’s entry level blend going for around £8 for a half bottle.

Whyte & Mackay ‘Triple Matured’ [2018] Ob. 40% [35cl] WB77[9]

Whyte & Mackay Triple matured.jpg

  • N: This offers an array of fruitiness [blueberries/ripe plums/ripe gala melon, a squeeze of clementine juice,..] and nuttiness [almonds/macadamias, pumpkin seeds], as well as a metallic raisin<treacle-sweet cornflake maltiness, butterscotch and some bitter-ish dried herbs & caramel. So far, so good. Seems to display some fair ageing at times too.
  • T: Its true colours show through immediately. That is, a blend delivering a dry-sweet~bitter caramel-y maltiness that soon turns grassy, resinous and tannic. Tails off where you’d expect some elaboration from a single malt. Water helps to round off the edges, as it often does for many a dram.
  • F: Short though lingers a tad with a metallic-malty, bitter=sourness, concluding with crumble and cardboard-dry spirity milk of magnesia. It would be of academic interest to try a non-E150 version.
  • C: Mixed reactions from those I subjected this to blind, though most attempted it with enough graciousness to see some positives. A safe enough choice if budget and options are restricted.

Scores 75 points


Aberlour 12yo [2018] Ob. Double cask matured 40% WB79.70[107] WF84

I tried this last year [March ’17] and liked it very much [blog86]. Then it came up for £25 at Asda, in time for the holidays [May ’18].

Aberlour 12.JPG

  • N: With a thick layer of sour-cream, a sweeter fruitiness and a nutty light fungal<malty=cardboard-y<pong, for me something is off. In an article in the SMWS magazine Unfiltered #39 about ‘off notes’, Richard Paterson talks of ‘the occasional “sour cask” caused by bacterial infection, and issues with mustiness from contaminated bung cloths. You can correct some defects through re-racking into fresh casks or, as a last resort, through carbon-filtering, though that risks stripping out some of the good congeners’.
  • T: Surprisingly sour, enough to make this whole bottle fairly unenjoyable. An aniseed-spearmint-peppery grainy/malty heat carries on right through to the finish, the graininess hinting at detergent powder though sweetening a touch in the middle before determinedly heading sour again.
  • F: Hangs on with light yet prominent peppery/waxy/chalky aniseed before concluding with another wave of dry grapefruit sour>cream that hangs on and on.
  • C: Despite giving the bottle three weeks to open out, there was little change albeit slightly less sourness over a touch more maltiness. This is still decent whisky though with a significant consistency drop compared to that more superior batch available just over a year ago.

Scores 79 points


Benriach 17yo [2015] Ob. Septendecim 46% WB84.83[347] [WF]87[2012] WM83[7]

benriach 17yo Septendecim.jpg

  • N: Let’s start off with vegetal lemonade, fungal-y sweet-roasted onions and a tarry>sooty>slate-y onion-y=oiliness. There’s a fruitiness here too, equal to a green/vegetal complex, accompanied by a straight ahead ‘classic’ peated barley note and some sour cream.
  • T: Heavy to lighter, back to heavy – a bumpy journey then, mainly centred around a straight forward smokiness & burnt match box throughout and an allium-herbal & witch hazel firm bitter>sour edge. Whilst struggling to enjoy it, what I favoured most were the soft–intense herbal lemonade/cordial notes with hints of marzipan. Develops with a carb-savoury+herbal/>bitter-sour [abv] bite, the buttery=floury-smokiness carrying over. Quite dry overall with very little juiciness.
  • F: Like chewing on smoky buttered flour dough before moving towards a light fennel, herbal-chocolate waxy>witch hazel and malty-waxy, chocolate=aniseed>allium-freshness. Smoky>lemon>ade at the death.
  • C: I finally finished it, after nearly three years! Whilst I could appreciate it, it didn’t push my pleasure buttons and despite observing the complexity, I I found it quire same-y.

Scores 81 points





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