Joining fellow Swaggers online to celebrate the founder’s birthday, these are just some of the drams I enjoyed with fellow Swagger and friend, The Foz.
As is often customary, initial offerings are served blind.
Ben Bracken 1995/2019 23yo [W&Y] for Lidl 40% WB0
C: Lovely whisky at a superb price. As impressive at the end of the night as it was at the beginning, this is a reminder for me to keep checking in on Lidl [and Aldi], especially around this time of year.
Scores 87 points
C: Following on from the vintage 23yo, this ain’t bad either. Sure, it can’t compete with its mature counterpart, but it’s presented well enough, given the price.
Scores 78 points
‘You live and learn’
- C: Also presented blind, is a whisky I’d given up on a while ago and subsequently donated to the Foz’s living library. I wrote of this, over a year go: ‘One of very few bottles that got worse with age and one of the very few I’ve been unable to finish [Greenore 8, Laphroaig Select],..’ [WLP274]. Having spend some efforts to get shot of it – a trip to Campbeltown Malts Festival, for example – today, it’s delicious! The feint-y spirity fire has subsided, the butyric sherry cask influence has [somehow] flourished and desirable earthy perfume confectionary tones have replaced the paint-stripper punch. What has now emerged, is a very different/unique subtle whisky with finesse. What a difference yet another year has made.
Scores 86 points
Daftmill 2009/2020 Ob. bottled for BB&R cask #036/2009 [btl #22/321] 58.6% WB90.67
I believe 8000 entrants applied via ballot, for the chance to buy a bottle from an outturn of just 321 bottles. The Foz got lucky and has split his bottle amongst participating Swaggers.
- N: Very Glenallachie 15yo-like [WLP85], sherry-syrup/PX-wise. Almost meaty, certainly with a phenolic oily touch, but mainly, this one talks of boozy raisins.
- T: Very fruity, thankfully not too sweet, but very formidable at strength. Reduced down to 39% abv, we see a similar theme with a different colour palate.
- F: Not exactly resinous, well sort of.
- C: Definitely the most cask-driven Daftmill of those that I’ve tried [just 7 plus a few cask samples]. Very pleasant all the same.
Scores 85 points
Craigellachie 2006/2016 9yo M&M Carn Mor for The Whisky Shop ’10th Anniversary’ cask #900614 [btl #64/270] 57% WB84.36
The second Morrison & Mackay bottling of the night.
- N: Dusty floury lemony raisins,….
- T: As expected, lovely lemony waxy > flour,….
- F: A gentile hum, concluding with a slight congealed nutty oiliness.
- C: Very congenial indeed.
Scores 86 points
- N: Now this is awesome, displaying sugar groups you don’t tend to find in whisky. Remarkably, this is a rum that works alongside whisky and bourbon.
- T: Beautifully presented with a fine delivery, sweet, grassy, never thin,… and reminiscent of Doorly’s 14 [without any madeira mouth gackiness].
- F: It maintains its form without a great deal of movement.
- C: At 62% abv, it seems there’s plenty of experimental wiggle room, but in actuality, I found it best at strength. Astonishingly, around just £60 rrp.
Scores a whopping 89 points
The Foz noted – of the Nobiliary – that it falls between rum and bourbon. I duly pour a seldom-visited Lot 40, blind, to test the hypothesis.
- C: We are surprised how rich, vibrant and layered/interesting this is. Now I’m very tempted to buy a bottle to find out more.
[Provisionally scores around 80 points]
- C: This bottle has been open for a number of years. Since I last tried a F&F Auchroisk [back in 2016], I don’t think much more of it now than I did then. In fact, it’s even rougher now than I remembered it, though its resemblance to the previous Ben Bracken and Whisky Broker Speyside Distillery offerings – in style – is noted.
Scores 79 points
Speyside Distillery 1996/2019 23yo Whiskybroker cask #919 [541 bts] 54.1% WB85.86
- C: Fancy that? – two Speyside Distillery whiskies in one session! If there is still such a thing as a regional style, for me, this is an ideal representation of a Speysider, even if the Speyside distillery isn’t particularly deft at demonstrating that style as a general rule. This is the stand-out malt of the night, a class act from a great cask and – for a 23yo single cask single malt – a steal at £50 rrp.
Scores 88 points
Bunnahabhain Moine [2019/20] Ob. 46.3% WB83.75
- C: Straight bourbon-matured soft generic smoky whisky. Arguably, a little dull and lacking overall, but thank goodness for the abv lift. Against the tide of popularity, I find this underwhelming. Perhaps like the Pot Still Speyside Distillery malt, I’ll change my mind about this next year?
Scores 82 points
Bunnahabhain 2007/2018 10yo Moine Ob. Feis Ile 2018 [btl #1382/1881] 59.5% WB89.74
I’d forgotten I’d tried this before, and at the distillery itself during Feis Ile 2018 [WLP85].
- C: Sherried malty slight-tyre bonfires, the vegetal-sweet smokiness fairly integrated. Overall though, it’s the richness that impresses the most. Doesn’t do a great deal – like the standard Moine – but the rich sherry spicy abv-strength keeps things chugging along very nicely indeed.
Scores 87 points