Dynamic Duo 2 – Bunnahabhain 25 year vs Tobermory 20 year

For our next dynamic duo, we went to independent bottlers – both new to me! From what little I could find, both seem to be German based… and were chosen by our whisky guide to contrast and compare drams in their 20s from Islay and Island.

Now I must admit, I’ve had a mixed relationship with Bunnahabhain – particularly their older whiskies which haven’t always lived up to expectations. However I’m always game to be be pleasantly surprised!

Bunnahabhain 25 years Single Cask (2016) 47.7% (Wiebers Brothers)

  • Nose – Citrus, hay, honey and yoghurt, very light toffee, milky and a bit shy, mineral, musty
  • Palate – Surprisingly light and effervescent, then took a slight odd turn – was that sweet pickles?? Followed by some cayenne pepper, tangy, more of that mineral quality, a tough vegetal
  • Finish – Verbena and cayenne

This definitely fit into the category of “ya gotta work it”… what was interesting is how the empty glass held more aromas than when it held liquid.

I still haven’t been able to find any details on Wiebers Brothers with this having a mere 120 bottles. We aren’t sure when the bottle was originally opened however it is possible it was for some time or not… one never knows the impact of oxidation on a whisky’s character.

Tobermory 20 years (1996/2016) 58.8% (The Alambic Classique Collection)

  • Nose – Lemon balm, beeswax, fresh, sweet grass, honey, fresh raw cashew nut… it began evolving becoming fruitier
  • Palate – Quite a contrast to the aromas! Sweet spices, pink and white peppercorns, lots of character without heat, beautiful and well rounded, light cinnamon
  • Finish – Wonderful! The flavours just carry on and on and on….

Once upon a time, we discovered “mouth breathing” whisky – where you take a good waft of aromas then swig and then breath, seeing what the whisky has to say. In this case, it was like having a lovely aromatic hookah.

Some whiskies are all the nose with the palate a pale shadow, others are the reverse. That would be the case here – an absolute stunner on the palate – really outstanding. This is also one of those drams where just a little goes a very long way – particularly with that remarkable finish. A true class act.

Alambic Classique has been an importer and wholesaler of specialty spirits since 1981, and is also an independent bottler for rare and exclusive single malt whiskeys from Scotland. Our bottle was from their Special Vintage Selection – cask strength, uncolored and not chill-filtered.

What more do we know about this one? It a bourbon barrel from a single cask with 247 bottles.

If you haven’t already gathered so far  – the Tobermory was for us the clear winner!

What else did we explore that evening at The Union Jack in Berlin?

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Dynamic Duo 1 – Benromach vs Cragganmore

It has been nearly three years since I first traveled to Berlin – one of those “live wire” global cities that has a palpable pulse of its own. A fellow whisky explorer let me know he was coming from London for the weekend so it made a perfect excuse to pop over for the weekend.

We went to the very well stocked Union Jack whisky bar! Turns out we were lucky to go on a Saturday – one of the two days in a week they are now open.

We were very well taken care of with carefully thought through choices. Our mandate was clear… we wanted to explore – two at a time til the grand finale of something utterly indulgent and extremely rare.

We wanted to start with an “appetizer” duolll something to ease into the evening. Our guide recommended

The thinking was to match to interesting yet ‘lighter’ options to whet our appetites. Particularly with the Cragganmore, we were assured this Distillers Edition is like none other and well worth trying. As for Benromach, we’ve enjoyed many a solid dram from this distillery.

So what did we think?

Cragganmore Distillers Edition (2008/2020) D6572 40%

  • Nose – Dried fruit, light spice with a woody musty malty aroma, mixed with the sweetness was a salty sour caramel. As it opened up further, it revealed orange marmalade with a citrus twist… and with even more time honeysuckle and a touch of hay
  • Palate – A nice spice, more whisky marmalade, woodiness…even resin, sweet spices of clove and black pepper, oily
  • Finish – More of that light spice, dry in a way that prompts you to ‘pucker up’ chased by oak and a touch of sweetness

It had a nice understated quality…. as for the marmalade? It was a distinctly “whisky” marmalade… which worked rather well. There was also much more body than the aromas would have suggested.

Overall it was an enjoyable start and much more interesting that we expected – particularly at a mere 40%.

Benromach 15 year 43%

  • Nose – Citrus oranges and calvados then a bit “woodsy” and beeswax polish, a dash of ginger and then…. after the 1st sip – wow peat?! Like having sweet roasted marshmallows crisped on a campfire, then sour cherries and a hint of sherry
  • Palate – Silky smooth with a lovely peat, elegant and balanced with toffee sweetness and fruity, hint of chocolate
  • Finish – A lovely long finish, truly lovely

Carrying on from the Cragganmore to the Benromach was a good choice! It was like shifting into an antique – it was like opening a lovely 1930 Art Deco cupboard to discover a special treat.

What else do we know? It was matured in 1st fill bourbon and sherry casks. An official bottling that is currently still available.

What do the folks at Benromach have to say?

  • Colour – dark amber
  • Aroma – Aromas of sweet toffee leading to notes of cracked black pepper and peat smoke. Rich forest fruits develop with dark chocolate and dried banana.
  • Palate – Creamy and sweet with ripe apples and an undertone of charred oak. Dark chocolate develops and leads to toasted malt and orange peel with a subtle hint of smoke.
  • Finish – Medium creamy finish with soft smoke and dried fruit

No doubt for us – the Benromach was the winner! What a treat!

If you were curious to try, they are both still available with the Cragganmore currently retailing for approx EUR 53 and the Benromach 15 for approx EUR 70.

As for what next? We had a few more to come…

  • Tobermory 20 years (1996/2016) 58.8% (The Alambic Classique Collection) vs Bunnahabhain 25 years (2016) 47.7% (Wiebers Brothers)
  • Scotch Malt Whisky Society 1.208 “Long Conversations by the crackling log fire” (1997) 54.3% vs 46.74 “Orchard perambulations” (1997) 54.4%
  • Glenglassaugh 40 year (1965) 47.8% (Murray McDavid Mission)

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Arran 25 year 46%

Late 2020 I had the pleasure of experiencing a wee sample of the Arran 25 year old at Lochranza Distillery. I didn’t take any tasting notes however remember it being an absolute stunner! It was a remarkable treat, so whilst I have nothing of my own to add, wanted to say congratulations for producing something truly special.

What follows is purely reproducing the distillery information – not my usual approach, but there you have it!

Arran’s 25 Year Old Single Malt

In this, our 25th year of production, we are delighted to present our official 25 year old which now joins our core range for the first time, and will be released in very limited quantities each year.

This 25 year old is truly the jewel in our crown. The whisky has been matured in ex-Sherry and Bourbon Casks and is bottled at 46% Vol without chill filtration or the addition of any colouring. Here’s a breakdown of the life span of the 1995 casks we selected for this very first batch:

Original 1995 Stock
35% ex-Sherry
65% ex-Bourbon

Re-casking
All stock re-casked into 1st Fill and Refill Sherry Hogsheads for 12 months prior to bottling

As one of the first of the new wave of distilleries to reach maturity, this is a proud moment for us to be able to share this landmark Single Malt with you all at the end of what has been a tremendously challenging year for everyone and a very exciting journey that started a quarter of a century ago.  We hope that you will join us in sharing a dram of this special Single Malt over these winter months to toast the continued success of our island story.

Arran 25yo Tasting Notes

  • Nose – Rich oak with a gentle nutmeg note. Sweeter aromas of baked ripe figs, sultanas and black cherries.
  • Palate – Fruit cake with toasted almonds and cinnamon. The juicy zestiness of oranges and mandarins mellows perfectly with manuka honey, muscovado sugar, baked apricots and an interesting white pepper note that provides even more complexity.
  • Finish – Creamy and spicy with dark chocolate, walnuts and dark fruits compote.

It was released on November 16, 2020 for £295 with 3,000 bottles and quickly sold out – with good reason!

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Birthday Dram – Macallan Estate Reserve 45.7%

The Macallan is one of those venerable distilleries that has reached legendary status.

I was very kindly gifted this bottle for my 50th birthday – wow! It was carefully kept aside for nearly two years, waiting for the right occasion.

Finally back in Mumbai over the summer, I thought our Whisky Ladies 6th anniversary the perfect moment! I’m so proud this tasting group hasn’t fully fallen apart in the wake of COVID restrictions, limited travel and vastly changed circumstances for many.

We split the tasting into two parts:

  • One live in person with restricted numbers in an attempt to have a modicum of social distancing in our modest home
  • Another fully virtual with our Euro ladies in Paris and two in Mumbai on the waitlist plus myself back in Nuremberg

This meant I needed to open the bottle just prior to the session and to my horror – the cork crumbled!

To be honest, I’m surprised this doesn’t happen more with older bottles. In this case, with surgical care and precision, I eased out the biggest chunk, then went on a delicate fishing expedition for as much of the remaining bits as I could. Tip for others facing a similar challenge – a lobster fork is a great tool for such a scenario!

I was a bit trepidatious the whisky may have suffered… thankfully it seems to have survived what could have been a disaster!

The Macallan Estate Reserve 45.7%

  • Colour – Dark copper
  • Nose – A complete sherry bomb! Very rich and intense… amusingly we found cherry cola! Followed by prunes, wood, a hint smokey
  • Palate – Spice with attitude, rich dark woods, tannins, the kind of whisky that prompts you to ‘pucker up’, like a dry deep robust shiraz, black currents, followed by rich sweet spiced marmalade
  • Finish – Spicy raisins, cloves and ginger – delicious!

As we sipped, one of our lovely ladies recalled her time at the distillery – before COVID. She described its remarkable facilities and the whole curated “experience” – very professional and on a completely different scale. They know they are leading the pack of the “big leagues” and this exceptional bottle was no accident.

And what about our second session a month later? Each of us sipped from small samples that had been bottled up in August.

  • Nose – We found none of the earlier intensity, though clearly it had a strong sherry influence. Instead we found it slightly medicinal, sour cherry and salted banana commingling with prunes
  • Palate – Mild… one comment was “like it is trying to be elegant but isn’t quite there”, a bit herbal, metallic, opening up more to soft dark fruits, becoming a bit chocolaty
  • Finish – Initially it was a bit shy, then revealed coffee beans – like an espresso candy

There was a bit of division on this one – some liked, others were indifferent, more for the style than the whisky itself. It wasn’t one of those strident “pay attention” to me kind of whiskies. Instead there was an understated element… we also wondered if perhaps we erred having it follow the robust Glenrothes.

After our session, I had a break from our whiskies (German class!)… 1.5 hours later what did I find? Remember that “trying to be elegant” comment? It had indeed become elegant, perfectly poised and balanced. Leading me to conclude this is one best had where there is no distraction, simply a single focus on just this whisky.

Here’s what the folks over at Macallan have to say:

  • Colour – Dark Amber
  • Nose – Soft fruits, ginger, vanilla, fudge and citrus
  • Palate – Rich and fruity with intense oak wood and spiced orange
  • Finish – Long with sweet citrus and oak wood

If you also want to enjoy this remarkable dram, I found it is still available – at least on TWE for GBP 399. I was very blessed to have been gifted it in November 2019 and we opened it in August 2021.

What else did we enjoy in our Birthday / Anniversary celebrations?

Unbelievably, both evenings were anchored with GBP 400 whiskies?! For the Whisky Ladies, this gem and for the Gents, the TWE Speyside Blended 45 year.

Now, I’m very much the kind of whisky explorer who enjoys tracking down worthy yet affordable drams. Typically I won’t go above EUR 100 if I can help it! However it is such a treat to experience exceptional whiskies well beyond our normal budgets – so huge thank you to kind benefactor and combined purchasing power respectively!

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Birthday Dram – Speyside 45 year 45.1%

Our “Birthday Dram” evenings were primarily prompted by this bottle… Which a fellow whisky aficionado and I were lucky enough to sample in London last year with Sukhinder Singh.

Released at Whisky Show 2019 by The Whisky Exchange, it was matured in a single sherry butt for 45 years before being bottled in 2019 with a dash of another Speyside distillery so it could be released as a blend of 549 bottles.

At the time, we were struck by how it was both fruity and rich without being heavy. We found it simply delicious! An autumnal dram, the kind of mature, classic, complex whisky you imagine slowly sipping and savouring while sitting in a leather armchair of an old family library, full of dusty books, a thick carpet, relaxing in warmth from the fireplace…

We thought it worthy of our friend and whisky expert who has been brand ambassador in India to top Scottish distilleries.

TWE’s Speyside 45 year (1973 / 2019) Sherry Cask 45.1%

  • Colour – Rich amber
  • Nose – Treacle, sweet wood, generous maple syrup, boiled sweets… quite a kaleidoscope of aromas, from dried fruits to cherries, sweet spices of cinnamon to oak and something hinting of the forest
  • Palate – At first quite unusual – green leaves, sap, a hint of acetone, young wood, then it was like pushing through a top layer to discover something quite meaty and remarkable below… tobacco leaf, toast, raisin butter tart
  • Finish – Quite sweet

Overall we found this whisky is quite complex. However it wasn’t ‘classic’ in style, instead it had a unique combination of elements we don’t often find. Certainly we didn’t see this as a typical Glenfarclas or the unnamed other Speyside in the blend.

However as it kept shifting and evolving in our glass, I strongly suspect this is the kind of whisky that won’t be harmed by a bit of oxidation. In fact may actually be even more interesting as time passes – hence the perfect gift for our friend who can slowly, carefully, share with select folks a special dram or two!

Here’s what the folks over at TWE have to say:

Aromas of brown sugar and fruitcake open on the nose, followed by brown bread with butter, maraschino cherries, raisins, cinnamon-baked apples, dried mango and rich, earthy aromas. The palate offers notes of toasted oak, baked apples, sultanas, bitter char, soft spice and light fruitcake.

Billy Abbott from The Whisky Exchange has this to add:

  • Nose: Brown sugar and light fruitcake lead: Mr Kipling’s Country Slices with a side-order of brown bread and butter. Darker, savoury notes slowly build, with char and singed raisins balanced by rich earthiness and old-Cognac rancio. Fruit sits at the core: maraschino cherries, plump raisins, baked apples, wine-poached pears and a hint of dried mango.
  • Palate: Venerable but fresh – old oak is poised against sweet baked apples; sultanans balance bitter char. Soft spice builds across the palate: brown sugar and nutmeg lead to the fruit from the nose. The fruitcake is back and remains light, sprinkled with crunchy crystals of sugar. Thick damp oak and fragrant riverbank earthiness provide a backbone.
  • Finish: Brown sugar lingers, accompanied by char and a parade of fruit: apples, sultanas and, finally, sticky raisins.

Now this is one that would set you back a pretty penny or two or three! Obviously we purchased it through The Whisky Exchange – currently available for GBP 425. This bottle was opened in August 2021 in Mumbai on a special belated birthday evening for a fellow whisky traveller’s 60th birthday.

What else did we try in our Birthday drams evening?

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Birthday Drams – The Glenrothes Elders’ Reserve 18 year 43%

Many years ago I sampled a bottle of Glenrothes. I found it a rich, robust, heavy sherry whisky… not a daily dram but something for a special evening. Think oversized leather chairs, dusty library, glass in one hand with a cigar in the other accompanied by a roaring fire.

So when wandering through Singapore airport duty free in 2016, I spotted this Elders’ Reserve and picked it up… For years it quietly and patiently waited in the back of my whisky cabinet for the right occasion. In the meantime, our Mumbai tasting groups tried both of the other travel retail Glenrothes Reserve expressions from this set:

Recently I decided enough was enough – it was high time to revisit something from this distillery. What better excuse to open than an evening of belated birthday celebration with our Bombay Cigar & Malt gents! So what did we think?

The Elders’ Reserve 18 year 43% (official bottling)

  • Colour – Golden amber
  • Nose – Oh my! It comes across more like a robust ruby port than whisky! Followed by Christmas pudding, dates – more tart than sweet. Then it shifts into sweeter and sweeter notes with marmalade and ginger spice
  • Palate – Even more port-like… though now more a tawny port style, lots of tannins that cause one to pucker up, raisins, prunes, quite dry… as in incredibly dry on the palate! Coffee and wood, black pepper
  • Finish – The dryness carries though fully into the finish, chewy almost like tobacco leaf

Whilst we kept thinking of port, it wasn’t matured in a Port cask – instead American and Spanish oak casks – presumably ex-bourbon and ex-sherry respectively.

All in all, it has a ‘vintage’ feel like something that is a throwback to another time. Again, not an every day dram… instead this is a deep rich dram for an occasional indulgence. For some, it may even be “too much”… it all depends on palate and preference.

Here’s what the folks over at The Glenrothes have to say:

The Elders of the Kirk are the pillars of society. Highly respected and elected to represent the community, they are looked up to for their knowledge.

Spicy with notes of coffee, wood and polish, this expression shows levels of  complexity that can only be achieved by extended maturation. Matured for a minimum of 18 years in equal proportions of American Oak and Spanish Oak casks, it reflects the wisdom of the Elders of the community of Rothes.

  • Bouquet: Ripe, tropical mango, vanilla pods ginger and toffee apple
  • Palate: Sweet, creamy vanilla ice cream dusted with nutmeg, mixed dried citrus
  • Finish: Sweet vanilla and lingering oakiness

Tasting Elders’ Reserve is like waking to a dawn chorus but instead of a cacophony of bird song it offers flavours and lots of them. The first wave is followed by another and another. These collectively herald the complexity of this delicious dram. The overall result is a pleasing collection of wonderfully mature flavours apparently justifiably proud to be upholding the great name.

This bottle was opened in Mumbai, August 2021. As for where and how this bottle was acquired? It was from back in the days when I regularly commuted back and forth between Mumbai and Singapore… purchased in June 2016 from Changi Airport duty free for SGD 160.

The Whisky Ladies in Mumbai didn’t get a chance to try this one as it remained with our host. However I kept aside samples for our ladies in Paris and then pulled out an old North Star Glenrothes 20 year for the two Mumbai ladies who plan to join us remotely. That tasting experience awaits a date much later in September!

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Birthday Drams – Balblair 18 year 46%

The Bombay Malt & Cigar gents and I first convened over a Balblair 38 year… so it was perfectly fitting this bottle joined our special birthday evening… even more so as it was my 50th birthday gift from the gents (a few years ago!). I simply had to wait for the right evening to share it with them! And, as my birthday gift, I also wanted to share it with our Whisky Ladies too – so I did just that a couple days later!

What did our gent think?

Balblair 18 year 46%

  • Nose – Freshly opened, we were greeted with a bit of iodine and sea salt, then it shifted into fruity sweetness, ripe plums morphing into sugar plums, raisins and cream, sugar syrup… as it rested longer in the glass, a nice citrus twist emerged, waxy lemon polish… followed in time by fresh pear and honey
  • Palate – Gorgeous, full and well rounded, delicious.. we had no more words as it just satisfied us fully – full stop.
  • Finish – Beautiful, long and elegant

A classic highland dram. Completely worth the wait! It was an excellent reminder of why we’ve consistently enjoyed whiskies from this distillery over the years.

As for the ladies turn?

Balblair 18 year 46%

  • Nose – Salty citrus – think of salted lime rind – that shifts into sweetness, cereals, loaded with honey, a hint of spice just adds to its allure… as it continued to open in our glass, the honey was joined by orchard fruits – particularly pear and fresh apples
  • Palate – Absolutely superb! The kind of dram that fully satiates, elegant and classy.. While overall it is “sweetness and light” there is also substance, with enough elements to keep it interesting
  • Finish – Long lasting with spice chased by an enjoyable bitterness

Narry a thought of adding a drop of water. We had a wee debate whether this was a spring, summer or autumnal whisky – all that mattered is the more we sipped, the more we enjoyed. Simply put this was a class act.

As one lady quipped “Pure seduction! With this who needs a date?”

What do the folks at Balblair have to say?

This late-night expression is rich and autumnal, developed and amplified to unexpected heights, while staying perfectly balanced and closely tied to the bright and fruity character of the Distillery.

  • Colour – Oiled cedar
  • Aroma – Rich toffee and baked pears shine bright against an elegant backdrop of new leather
  • Palate – A masterful balance of juicy apricots, seasoned oak and vanilla custard
  • Finish – Long and warming with chords of fresh spices and raisins 

Matured initially in American oak ex-bourbon casks, followed by first fill Spanish oak butts, adding depth and charisma.

We opened this bottle in Mumbai in August 2021. When I last checked, you could still find this whisky at duty frees (do people even travel??) such as Le Clos at Dubai for AED 500 / $140.

I must say… I simply felt exceedingly blessed to have fabulous whisky companions and the care taken to chose such a perfect birthday gift!

What other Balblair‘s have we enjoyed?

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Birthday Drams – Glentauchers 8 year 48.2% (Sansibar)

It seems a bit ironic that I first discovered independent whisky bottler Sansibar in Singapore, thanks to La Maison du Whisky. At the time, living in Europe was not on the horizon… my life was instead firmly based in Asia, unpacking my bags in Mumbai.

However I’ve since discovered that Sansibar have developed an impressive range! Much more than their “classic” black bottles which I could buy in Singapore. Many of their more colourful and fanciful labels I realized later were displayed in Berlin’s Union Jack where you can also find examples of their joint collaboration with Spirit Shop Selection displaying with their Samurai or Chinese Theatre Masks and many other series.

Fast forward and I now live in Germany, home to Sansibar… however I’ve yet to buy a bottle in Europe! Instead I came home to Mumbai to pull out from the whisky cabinet this delightful dram from a much earlier Singapore to India trip.

We began by giving our gents a chance to taste the freshly opened bottle…

Glentauchers 8 year 48.2% (Sansibar)

  • Nose – Mmm…. lemony, candied orange peel, vanilla sponge cake dusted with sugar, marmalade, lots of candied fruit, milk bread and sugar… the more it opened up, the fruitier it became, also revealing sweet spices to join caramel apples… delicious!!
  • Palate – 1st sip was a bit sharp and chilli spicy, then sour lemon drops that melt into honey sweetness, then shifted into wonderful fruits, cinnamon spice, followed by a yummy toffee coffee twist
  • Finish – Long tasty finish

A classic highland whisky. Completely worth the wait! As we sipped, the more we enjoyed… like basking in the sun in a warm summer’s day. An absolutely delightful dram.

As for the ladies turn? Just a scant couple days later…

Glentauchers 8 year 48.2% (Sansibar)

  • Nose – Wow! All sorts of sweets. Honey and buttery caramel, brioche, nutty, cereals, mmmm…. delicious toffee
  • Palate – Sweet spices, substance, oily with a gorgeous mouthfeel, toffee… almost mocha… indulgent without being heavy
  • Finish – What a lovely long finish, apple and red cinnamon heart candies

We found it sophisticated and romantic, something comforting that simply puts you into a great mood.. one of those happy whiskies that invite you to just slow down, relax and enjoy the ride. Utterly charming

Our best comment of the evening? This whisky is like a much needed “socially distanced hug!

Is it young? Certainly! However clearly a quality cask and a great way to kick off an evening of classic Scottish malts. This particular Glentauchers is from Sansibar’s Classic series with only 244 bottles from a single cask.

What do the folks at Sansibar have to say?

  • Colour – Amber
  • Nose – Mint, fresh sweetness, whole milk chocolate
  • Taste – Chocolate with chilli, toffee & coffee, aromatic wood influence
  • Exit – Soothing warmth with unobtrusive charm

When sold in Europe, it was available for EUR 69. However I picked this beauty up in Singapore for SG$197 from La Maison du Whisky at the 2017 Whisky Live – practically double the price! But completely worth it and so happy could finally share it with friends in India. We opened this bottle in Mumbai, September 2021.

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Chorlton – Croftengea 13 year 53.9%

So there we were, one fine evening in Paris with two beautiful bottles from Chorlton‘s  La Nouvelle Vague series…  We began with the superb Orkney that surprised us with its lush complex character. We then turned to the Croftnegea…

If you aren’t immediately familiar with Croftnegea, perhaps you have heard for Loch Lomond? Just in this case it is the brand for their heavily peated version… much like Glenturret is also known as Ruadh Maor

It was with this heavy peat expectation that I had thought to try this after the Highland Park “Orkney”. However what we discovered was quite the opposite!

As for the whisky…. read on…

Croftengea 13 years 53.9% 231 bottles

  • Colour – Bright gold
  • Nose – Pear, ripe bananas, caramel, a bit of spice, cough syrup, malty, after the 1st sip, the aromas shifted to a delightful lemon meringue pie, strawberries, subtle spice and honey
  • Palate – Buttery sweet brioche, then citrusy with light peat at the end
  • Finish – Lingers, wonderful
  • Water – Made it even more accessible and very yummy, more fresh sweet bread, lemon curd

There was such a contrast between the aromas and palate, quite dynamic on the nose and subtle yet lovely on the palate.

We set it aside and revisited comparing the glass without water which had become perfumed and sweet, citrus and sugar. The one with the water was fruitier with the peat a bit more pronounced, cinnamon mini donut, Christmas market!

What did David have to say?

Peated single malt from Captain Haddock’s favourite distillery! This one starts on a sweet note, with banana milkshake, Milky Bars and a funky sort of fruitiness on the nose. The palate starts with fudgy chocolate, soft ginger and mango, before the peat makes itself felt with light smoke and a hit of black olive saltiness. This is a hugely fun whisky, and enjoyably weird around the edges.

I purchased this in December 2020 for £62.50 plus tax and courier charges. And I am sooooooo glad I managed to grab this while it was still available!

Here is are two more from La Nouvelle Vague series:

Here is the full set of Chorlton‘s sampled til date from the L’Ancien Régime series:

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Chorlton – Orkney 15 year 57.1%

This is my 2nd Chorlton from the La Nouvelle Vague series… I’ll admit that I had high expectations however this one blew us away!

While the distillery is not explicitly named, considering there are only two distilleries on Orkney Island with quite different characters, and David mentions it is the more famous of the two, it will clearly be Highland Park rather than Scapa.

As for the whisky…. read on…

Orkney 15 years 57.1% 121 bottles

  • Colour – Deep copper
  • Nose – Smoked pork? Wow! What an active aroma – jumping all over the place in an amazingly powerful way the sweet smoke was initially predominant but not alone. From strawberries to cherries, hibiscus with a bouquet of flowers, citrus then shifted to red berries or French sweet red currents, a gorgeous dessert, underlaid with old wood, dark bitter chocolate, nutty, treacle and ham
  • Palate – Fabulous! Sweet, peat, generous berries, bitter coffee, absolutely flavour packed with so many layers, complex… all on the 1st sip. As we went in for our second sip, it was meaty, spicy, some french toast drowning in maple syrup, buttered brioche, caramelized banana, honeyed ham
  • Finish – Long and strong, phenomenal, with a rich mocha coffee initially which then also morphed from coffee and chocolate to cherry
  • Water – Needed? No. However is it also brilliant with water too? Yes. We found it was even more chocolatey

Even before opening, we started speculating about the cask given its incredibly dark hue and a mere 121 bottles from a hogshead barrel which typically would produce more than double!  And then we cracked it open and were amazed at the promise shown just from the cork alone – strawberries and bubblegum!

Then to have the kaleidoscope of aromas then richly complex palate and stellar finish? We were floored. Our experience went well beyond any expectation and was decidedly different than recent brushes with Highand Park.

When we set it aside and revisited it was equally enjoyable. This time with a new briney seaside quality we missed in our earlier exploration. It is clearly a whisky to savour and enjoy – over and over!What did David have to say?

This whisky (from the more famous of the two Orkney distilleries) has been matured in a very active cask, giving it the sort of hue you might expect from first-fill bourbon. The nose has waxy citrus, sea water and sticky cherry-flavour cough syrup alongside a lightly fragrant peat smoke. The palate is oily and chewy, with stewed red berries, smouldering wood, rose petals, herbal pastilles and a long coastal finish.

I purchased this in December 2020 for £75 plus tax and courier charges, back when it was still possible to get whiskies directly from the UK.

Here are two more from the La Nouvelle Vague series:

Plus the Chorlton‘s sampled til date from the L’Ancien Régime series:

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