Yet More Loose Ends: April 2020

Yet more odds & ends, two of which I tried on the back of other sessions. The three in the middle coincided with one another. We start with a modest blend.


Highland Black 8yo [2019] Aldi Special Reserve 40% WB74.98[58] MR6/10 Mark Ralfy88

This followed my sherry-off tasting [WLP], the lineup consisting of Glenfarclas 105, Macallan 14, Glendronach 15yo and Arran 16yo, finishing with a bonus Sirius 31yo from NNS. Good luck HB!

Highland Black 8yo [2019] Aldi Special Reserve 40%.JPG

  • N: With only a loose resemblance to the previous Glenfarclas 105, this is a youthful [spring water]-clean oily/briny grain-forward blend that suggests it hasn’t quite been filtered/distilled to within an inch of its life.
  • T&F: Almost void of detail, let’s not bother with descriptors, just two words – ‘lemonade malt’. There’s nothing wrong here. There’s not much, but there are no flaws as such. This could be considered a masterclass in using just enough malt to perfectly temper young grain to produce a pleasing arrival, subsequent travel and overall form.
  • C: Think of this more as decent young grain [than a blend], around 33% cheaper than Famous Grouse and with an age statement.

Scores 79 points


To another 8yo, this time an Indie single malt from Teaninich. This is a sample from a bottle I polished some time ago. This is the last [5cl] drop.

Teaninich 2009/2017 GM CC New Map [orange] 46% WB81.33[3] WF85 WLP85

Not sure why I took such brief notes before. No doubt it was my daily drinker at the time. I can’t remember why I bought this bottle. Oh, that’s right, it was £36!

Teaninich 2009

  • N: One of those refill sherry noses that I often read as bourbon. What’s the character like then? With oily nutty cereals, a touch metallic, and a hint of lapsang souchong tea, it’s young but competent and true to its ingredients. SW tells us Teaninich’s fat stills give us the oiliness, and the absence of a mash tun makes for a clear wort which promotes the exotic grassiness.
  • T: The sherry cask maturation is clearer for me on the palate and decidedly & desirably refill. You can imagine this as a CS presentation could be tricky to tap into. Here, I think 46%abv is spot on. The profile talks of soft grassy-dry malty raisin-y cereals and a hint of char.
  • F: Attentive yet relaxed raisiny and chalky/milky into a varied [chocolatey] confectionary grassy ashy < mashy fading finish.
  • C: I should replace this bottle with something similar. It was good.

Scores 85 points


In real-time, this next dram did actually follow the Teaninich.

Ben Nevis 1996/2009 12yo Cooper’s Choice cask #817 [420 bts] 46% WB81.75[4] tOMoH1NS tOMoH27/10 WLP87

It’s a month shy of two years since I tried this lovely aperitif at tOMoH‘s 40th Birthday. Given I’d enjoyed it so much, The Old Man kindly sent me a generous sample after the event. Tonight’s the night!

Ben Nevis 1996

  • N: As I remembered and most in keeping with the distillery’s 10yo profile, we are talking of a measured oily phenolic touch melding with ripe fruits and rather sweet single cream poured over the top. Slightly eggy, yep – thick US pancake-style eggy and slightly eggy creamy custard too, almost cheesy at times – bovine for certain. At the base, pleasantly sweet candid peated barley.
  • T: I get that Brora-esque thing again. It’s fleeting on the arrival and rather associated with the mouthfeel. That’s all it is. After that, you’re nearer Port Ellen as I often find with Ben Nevis. Sweeter to start, it swiftly becomes decidedly sour and citrusy with an omega-3-grapefruity mouthfeel mid-palate, a slight bitter phenolic oakiness that might clash with the sourness [for some], followed with a decent minerality and just a little ashiness. There’s a moment where you may expect some fizz but fizz that doesn’t materialise. Then it all somewhat shrinks/narrows, not in intensity but in size.
  • F: With a soft metallic-ness, it remains citrusy, sour and sweet with a commendably soft barley-faithful finish, loosely reminiscent of Springbank’s softness. That cask was happy to comply all the way through.
  • C: Nevis is rather a Marmite whisky and I can see why this may trouble some palates. For me, it’s a winner. With thanks to tOMoH.

Scores 87 points


[Springbank] Hazelburn 2003/2014 10yo Ob. Rundlets & Kilderkins [12000 bts] 50.1% WB86.82[330] WF83 Ralfy89

This sample I decanted from a bottle I bought and finished back in 2014. I cracked it open for a vPub titled ‘All Roads Lead to Campbeltown’. Let’s see how I see things six years on. I shan’t consult my previous notes. Different place, different time, different perspective.

teaninich 2009:2017 GM new map 40%.jpg
[WB photo]
  • N: Sure this has a bottling strength of 50.1% but it’s good to know my samples are staying nicely intact as the years pass by. In comparison to the Ben Nevis [WB], with significantly less sugary sweetness, the savoury > sweet citrus and phenolic minerality profile is desirably similar. I get a bitter soil note from cask and phenols perhaps, and a particular note of oven-baked then char-grilled lime from a dish I regularly ordered at a restaurant I used to play at.
  • T: Boy this sample sure has maintained its essence. Decanting really pays off! With a little water, I get more limes/sweet limes/ baked limes/confectionary limes, with both oils and spice giving out some. A chewy mouthfeel comes at times. It’s refreshing to taste a desirable oak influence without overt resins or previous cask contents [Glen Scotia 15yo WLP]. There’s so much I haven’t mentioned, the light fudge, the sweet-citrus-laced honeyed maltiness,… Tonight I’m focusing on the general overview. Every sip gives a unique cask-unique & distillery-unique funk that wouldn’t be amiss within a [pure sugar cane] rum. Last time [so I did refer to my previous notes eventually], I mentioned candy and bubblegums appearing with mint and coriander, those last two herbal descriptors contributing to that [Chalong] rum reference/likeness.
  • F: Soft fading finish on sooty = phenolic > > citrusy < minerality with a confectionary-fruity toilet roll-cardboard insert and ashy vanilla.
  • C: This was a whisky sensation for me in 2014. The strength would have blown my buds! I’m significantly further down the whisky road but I still find this expression pleasingly and uniquely characterful.

Scores 85 points


Last one for today then.

[Bruichladdich] Port Charlotte 2002/2008 5yo Ob. Giorgio D’Ambrosio Private Reserve [134 bts] 46% WB90.25[14] WF92 WM90[4]

I had this after Two-ee Glenugie [WLP]. I had to go somewhere completely different to avoid any ‘death seat’ possibilities. After all, I’d heard great things about this 5yo.

Port Charlotte 2002:2008 5yo Ob. Giorgio D'Ambrosio Private Reserve [134 bts] 46%.jpg
[WB photo]
  • N: Laphroaig-esque though harks to Ledaig are a fair shout. A shopping list inevitably ensues. We start with salty meaty-herbal-oniony malty toffee-d-oat peat and mineral-y oysters, yet it’s sweet too, towards sweetened [sashimi] seaweed with a touch of sweet soy sauce, a drop of Encona, a few drops of sriracha and a pinhead of wasabi. After that second firm sherry cask-steered Glenugie [WLP], this is an example where sherry cask and peated spirit work in partnership = no [Benriach] Heredotus nonsense here! Here, the sherry itself sings like sweet port at times, which is just lovely and understandable, and with only a suggestion of rubber under some streaky bacon. The sheeny barley certainly shines through as well. Becomes a tad more floral over time. In short, this contains a gamut of flavours that spread widely across the flavour wheel. A 5yo too, some cask!
  • T: Lusciously herbal salty-sweet toffee with fruity crystalised [Golden Syrup] sugars, though very soon there’s a tac change towards garage diesel oily mineral-y peated > coke-smoke. Water elongates the sweetness. Eventually, it turns more savoury in keeping with the rhythm,… of the night?! Strange dance reference there!
  • F: A long and chatty finisher with a few highlights, namely bitter sour smoky dry herbal peat becoming lightly gritty/sand-paper/grainy before a touch of rubberiness akin to Glengyle’s raved about Kilkerran 8yo. Totally in control of itself, finally it moves into a light moist-dry smoky [still] slightly dirty oily-sweet charcoal-y oaky < mash. The fire burns brightly, long after the last drop. The empty glass talks of kilns, a smell that never gets tired – as long as you don’t work in a maltings I guess.
  • C: Only 134 bottles! What was the rrp I wonder? The current price of €527 [at Whisky Antique] is more like RIP. Imagine this after 20 years in glass? For now:

Scores 92 points





Bunnahabhain 2013, loose ends

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