Malt n Copper: Christmas Tasting 2018, Part 2

Following on from Part 1:

According to FaD, the Blair Athol distillery received around 75,000 visitors in 2017, second only to Talisker at 72k and Lagavulin [7th] with just shy of 24k visitors.

Blair Athol Distillery.jpg

Cloudy worts and a short fermentation time give the nutty base, but it is distillation which adds real weight to the distillate. A controlled level of solids coming across in the wash still add a rich, deep, malt-loaf character to the new make. It is this character which allows it to show so well in ex-Sherry, although for blending purposes the majority of the make is destined for ex-Bourbon’. [SW]

Blair Athol 1988/2016 27yo SV For TWE cask #6845 [565 bts] 55.7% WB89.67[5] WF86 SW83 Blog84

[Pic from 2016 tasting]
  • N: Lots here [nothing blatant], with an amalgamated & serendipitous complexity that changes with every sniff – that is, of an old sherry nose with delicious combos, sherry lactose notes and earthy fungal tones. Check out Dave Broom’s excellent description for this one [SW].
  • T: A rightly precocious, strong, sugary soup that develops on chocolate with floral/soap/oily touches – oh, and that sherry swims just fine. More & more materialises as it opens out.
  • F: Lovely bone-dry sherry with desirably light tannins, if at all. Plenty going on until the end, and with lovely bitters to boot.
  • C: There’s nothing not to like, and accordingly, everyone loves this straight off. But did we have this before? We did! – at Christmas 2016 in fact [blog], and it’s gained three more points two years on!

Scores 87 points


[Tobermory] Ledaig 18yo Batch 3 Ob. 46.3% WB86[3] [WF]85 Dramble84 Blog88

Ledaig 1996
Representative example

I’ve also had this before. It’s peated Tobermory finished for an unspecified time in Spanish sherry (oloroso) casks. Mull’s only distillery dates back to 1798 when John Sinclair established the Ledaig distillery. Like most, it’s faced a chequered history, closing many times [41 years in 1837], and closing again in 1930 for 42 years, 14 years after re-opening. Burn Stewart acquired the distillery in 1993, re-launching the Ledaig brand again in 2007. Distell took over from Burn Stewart in 2013.

  • N: It’s a top ‘ole, large vegetal number with sweaty pickled onions, sweet-sour Thai flavours, sweet crisps, [violin] resin, scallops, squid ink, Tupperware, cabbage, smoked turkey sticks [Twizzlers?],….. The nose at least, is a winner. I guessed this as an Islay through & through.
  • T: Arrives just fine with a buttery > medicinal touch. A decent slugger this.
  • F: Smoked butter.
  • C: Decent peated whisky, if a little same-y.

Scores 86 points


Compass Box Flaming Heart [2018] Ob. 6th Edition [15050 bts] 48.9% WB87.79[69] [WF– 5th Ed.]91

In this 2018 edition, we have reintroduced a subtle sherry-cask influence that adds an additional layer of complexity and richness. A medium smoky-peaty base is enriched by a sweet maltiness and notes of baking spices and dried fruit’. [CB]

Compass Box Flaming Heart.jpg

  • N: The building blocks of this blend spell out the profile [as it’s been widely reported], rather succinctly. Namely ‘39% Caol Ila, 29% Deanston, 17% Clynelish and another 17% Highland Malt Blends’. So we’ve a very whisky-ish, yeasty-ish, [refill French & US cask matured] blend with a hint of smoke.
  • T: Vanilla & smoke. Again, the casks speak clearly, as do the component parts.
  • F: Butyric yeastiness, or is that my palate calling time?
  • C: Though it doesn’t deliver on price point [£120, Dec ’18], even if my notes don’t reflect it, I found this to be a great example of fine blending.

Scores 85 points


With thanks to Malt n Copper.




christmas 2018 flight

2 thoughts on “Malt n Copper: Christmas Tasting 2018, Part 2

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