Following on from Part #1, we continue to sail into the eye of the storm and embark on a flight of new make’s.
Wolfburn Peated New Make [+/-2020] Ob. 46% [5cl] WLP80
C: I was so endeared with Wolfburn’s spirit back in July 2017 [WLP80], but then, that was at the distillery itself. Subjectivity can easily creep in when ‘on-site’. Of course, I’ve also changed aplenty in the last four years. Today, and in context, this new make leaves me unmoved, though it naturally remains faultless ready-spirit begging for wood. On a side note, I’ve not yet seen a Wolfburn release from an independent bottler, despite the distillery being established since 2013. I’m sure TBWC have tried and/or are trying.
Unfortunately, I missed the opportunity to snaffle a 20cl bottle of Dornoch’s new make from TWE/MoM when they were briefly available. I did, however, manage to try this at a London Whisky Club event last year  led by the Thompson Brothers themselves [WLP].
- N: Very classy genever-like soft green-fruit spirit that is right up there with Lagavulin’s new make [from distant memory]. Over Bimber’s new make [to follow], this has a timeless quality about it, as if it has come from a distillery that has been established for 100 years or more.
- T: Raspberry leaf amongst the usual suspects,…. this rolls along.
- F: Concluding light and oily, it rings true from start to finish.
- C: Dornoch has made a distillate beautifully poised for maturation with a focus seemingly distinct from Bimber’s.
- N: By comparison, this spirit celebrates the beer-led fruitiness in a way that Dornoch’s spirit does not. Dornoch’s new make is cleaner/more poised,… elegant, whereas Bimber’s has a aliveness about it. It’s ready to go, now!
- T&F: With some shape and sustain, this spirit captures the lively essence of its fermented fruity legacy,.. the yeasts, the esters,..
- C: Delicious beer/wash-centric spirit that certainly suits Bimber’s short-term maturation programme. Perhaps Dornoch’s spirit into whisky has more staying power as things stand right now?
Bimber Peated New Make  Un-Ob. Test Batch Sample 63.5%
I tried this last year at the distillery and was very impressed [WLP80]. I’ve always been a fan of young smoky spirit and tonight is no exception.
- C: This is a release the Bimber Brigade seems to rave about more than all the others [so far]. Being so ‘hell for leather’ cask-driven, it’s a bit disappointing straight after the fabulous new make, but these are still just early days for the London-based distillery, and indeed, for many of its fans. Bimber offers exciting new developments in the current climate, but I won’t be wearing their scarf just yet.
We finish [almost], with a brace of young blends. First up, a release from Duncan Taylor.
- N: ‘Mineralic’ and buttery?,.. no it’s margarine!
- T: Pleasantly innocuous. Neither good nor bad, there’s little to speak of.
- F: A faultless nothingness remains.
- C: Sure it’s just another blended malt, but in perspective – as a £20 whisky [15 euros in Germany] – things look more favourable. However, aside from the established brands – undisclosed or branded [JW Black, £20 / Chivas Regal 12yo, £20] – competition-wise comes similarly-priced disclosed & undisclosed single malts with age statements at a similar price [Glenfiddich 12yo £20 / Tesco’s Finest 12yo £23]. Jeez, Ardbeg 10 was down to £24 on Amazon last night!! Tough gig.
Scores 74 points [a near miss in my book]
- N: This ‘sourced’ triple distilled Irish peated blended whiskey gives off caramel-y Oxo stock over raspberry & apricot jam, marg into cake mix, ham,… peat.
- T: Fairly soft at 46%, we’ve a pleasant entry with the peat picking up pace and becoming more creamy.
- F: More margarine quality and a mineralic peatiness.
- C: A decent peated Irish blend for £32, but like the Politician, competition at this at price-point is fierce.
Scores 82 points
Land ahoy! For the home leg of our journey, we finish with a single malt classic I last tried at Islay’s Feis Ile in 2018 [WLP83], thereby completing our whisky triangle: single malts to new make spirit to blends and back to single malts again.
- N: Soft-smoked lavender, thin dirty mechanical/sooty sweet jammy quince jelly,… Any briny ex-bourbon cask resinousness as dropped off from this particular bottle opened many years ago.
- T&F: Really soft and lacking in body with a deep/faint sootiness, spent [one-use BBQ] charcoal,.. more [briny] lavender, and with a deep yet distant mineral vegetal conclusion.
- C: Despite being a tired bottle, the story remains [as it has in recent years since] the same – I’m left wanting for more.
Scores 83 points [same as before]
It’s time to disembark. That’s more than enough whisky,.. for a week!!