Loose Ends: Spring 2022

No explanations or crappy puns today, simply some brief observations on a bunch of whiskies I’ve enjoyed at various times in various places in recent weeks. I persevere with the 10-point scale alongside the 100-point scale, but today’s session shows me [again] that it’s too broad a brush for my liking.

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Bunnahabhain 12yo [>2022] Ob. 46.3% WB84.91[1270] WF85 ralfy(2020)88 WLP82

  • C: When in a pub/bar, the Bunna 12 remains a solid selection. As ever, it has plenty to offer the beginner and enthusiast alike. Quibbles? It plays a little safe/clinical for my liking, but the quality of the malt still occupying supermarket shelves – with an age statement – is as high as ever.

Scores 85 points [6/10]

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Glen Marnoch 18yo [2021] Ob. [Aldi] 40% WB0

  • C: THIS is what you give, blind, to an already very tipsy whisky enthusiast in the wee small hours. Well played, Peter. A solid BFYB, I’d put a dram on it being Dalwhinnie over Tamnavulin.

Scores 84 points [6/10]

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Macduff 1997 14yo Murray McDavid ‘Aficionado: The Final Drops’ [btl #6/7] 59.1% WB0

Sadly, I’ve not seen much from Murray McDavid in recent years, but I’m told on good authority that the fabulous Dean Jode is still at the helm.

Macduff also, is a sadly under-represented single malt, generally only seen ‘officially’ under the Glen Deveron moniker. The SMWS release some from time to time.

  • C: Only 7 bottles? Final drops indeed! This is a good example of an all-round hearty malt. You’d never guess the abv higher being than 50%.

Scores 85 points [6/10]

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Glenfiddich Fire & Cane [+/-2021] Ob. Rum Cask Finish 43% WB82.74[543] WF85

C: This one won’t change your life, but it’ll keep you company in the wee small hours. A gentle sweet dram, I find it similar to JW Green > Black in calibre and comfort.

Scores 83 points [6/10]

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Dumbarton 1997 22yo AWWC Infrequent Flyers cask #178 [202 bts] 55.3% WB84.57[12] WLP187

  • C: I just had to try this again. Admittedly, it’s not quite as inspiring as I first remembered it – context, eh? It remains a flawlessly presented grain, however, from a slick cask.

Scores 85 points [6/10]

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Knockdhu 2013/2021 08yo CYWL Refill Sherry Hoggie 58.4%

  • N: Perfectly age-preserved new make, this is an exemplar of the essence of barley beyond simply eau-de-vie. Descriptors,… if I must! Here’s four: raisins, radish~rhubarb, and raspberry leaf.
  • T: You can tell by the colour – almost clear – that the [sherry] cask has been remarkably hands-off. Not sure I’m wanting for much more here. Perhaps it’s a little too polite, restrained even – only hinting at the fabulous 3yo Loch Lomond from SWC [WLP87].
  • F: Playing around with water provides variations on the theme. 
  • C: I can’t not love this style, once in a while – the cask, the epitome of refill.

Scores 85 points [6/10]

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Knockdhu 2013 08yo Infrequent Flyers ex-bourbon cask #1 [210 bts] 58.9% WB86.50[2]

  • N: Resinous bourbon-ey icing sugar, so a rather different prospect to the previous CYWL offering, though there are side-by-side resemblances.
  • T: Dryish floury bourbon=grain-like sweetness, the distillery swamped.  
  • F: ,…. little.
  • C: Simple, pleasant enough, but I’m still pining after the CYWL dram.

Scores 81 points [5/10]

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Caol Ila 2010/2022 11yo Chorlton [281 bts] 60.4% WB0

  • N: Creamy, smokey, vanilla-sweet melon/citrus fruits.
  • T: A coal~coke/burning log-phenolic bitter-sweet number I find dirty if not utterly filthy.
  • F: Neither succulent nor dry, it soon concludes over burnt charred [deep-fried] vanilla ice cream.
  • C: If you’re going for vanilla, let it be in this vein. Yet another tick for Chorlton, yet another tick for independent bottlers coming up with the goods time and time again.

Scores 86 points [7/10]

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Last up and returning to Bunnahabhain:

Bunnahabhain 1995/2021 25yo CYWL [btl #1/2] 41.6%

After a few attempts by Seb to bottle this before the abv dropped to below the legal abv minimum, this 25yo has finally found its way into an ICB. As 1 of only 2 bottles [for CYWL], the remainder will likely be bottled under the Artful Dodger moniker for considerable dosh.

  • N: Floral beeswax, unbaked meringue, Ben Nevis-esque plasticine, fruity shortbread,..  though listing notes for this one is a futile exercise given the exceptional evolution in the glass. Getting better and better all the time, we are nearing ‘maltoporn’ territory.
  • T: Sour arrival. If not faint or frail, perhaps you’d describe this as a faded version of its former self. As a result, we ponder what it was like at 18-20 years. 
  • F: Commendable attempts to muster energy, what an extra few abv degrees would have done, eh?
  • C: If the palate had lived up to the nose, we’d be soaring. Still, not too shoddy as is.

Scores 88 points [8/10]

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END

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