Chorlton – Miltonduff 11 years 62%

We kicked off our virtual tasting evening with a Chorlton trio! First up was cask strength 11 year old from Miltonduff.

Miltonduff 11 years 62% 176 bottles

  • Nose – It started off as a refreshing melange of pears, apples, apricot… fruity, then came the toffee and nuts, shifting back to the apple with a clear calvados stamp! Apple strudel
  • Palate – Spicy! With an itchy warming… then it eased into quite a bit character. Chocolate gingerbread, even a bit of coconut, then almond paste
  • Finish – Slightly bitter

Let’s be honest… first whiff was ‘woah!’ as it was going from zero to serious alcohol strength without any easing into it! And first sip? Yeah… maybe starting with 62% was a bit much!

However both as we adjusted and the dram opened up more, it was clear there was much going on. We quite enjoyed the contrast  between the fruity nose and the rich palate.

For me, at least, this one demands generous water… only then does the full character come through!

  • Nose – Yum! First it revealed a lovely fresh green apple, then herbal. Then clearly shifted into baked apple pie, vanilla… and dare I say marshmallow?
  • Palate – Given I’m in the heart of “lebkuchen” land, I couldn’t help but think of Nuremburger gingerbread! It also had a bit of orange marmalade ,

So it turns out that the 1st whisky of our evening turned out to be the one we enjoyed the most. It had a certain ‘oomph’ and character that compelled us to come back!

What does David have to say?

A rollicking joint bottling with my friends at The Rare Malt in Hong Kong! The nose is big and bourbon-forward, with marmalade, custard cream biscuits and plum jam. Underneath that you’ll find more subtle hints of dried flowers, cocoa powder and anise. The palate is also bold and rich, with mocha, chewy gingerbread, nutmeg and fudge, balanced by some zingy fruits. Water is transformative and makes everything more citrussy, clean and herbal.

I purchased this whisky directly from the Chorlton website for £62.50 plus shipping.

Here is the other Chorlton‘s sampled with the Miltonduff:

If you don’t want to miss a post, why not follow Whisky Lady on:

North Star Series 8 – Auchroisk 13 year 51.2%

Next up in our meander through a few North Stars‘ is a cask strength dram from Auchroisk Distillery.

While we tasted blind, with the reveal, our ex-Diageo lady shared how once upon a time it was bottled as Singleton as it was felt Auchroisk (Oth-rusk) would be too difficult to pronounce. This was back in the mid-1980s which also happened to be an early example of finishing as their approach was to decant a 10 year old ex-Bourbon matured whisky into ex-Sherry casks for a further 2 years, before this became a hallmark technique of Glenmorangie.

Was it successful? As a single malt brand, not entirely. And by 2001, bottling under this label stopped with the name changed back to Auchroisk with release of a ‘Flora & Fauna’ official bottling. Followed later in 2008 with release of “The Singleton of Auchroisk.”

In the meantime, the name Singleton was revived as the Diageo ‘brand’ –  The Singleton – which has three distinctly different avatars (and distilleries) depending on the market –  The Singleton of Glen Ord for Asia (fruity), followed by Glendullan for North America (touted as smooth and approachable), and Dufftown for Europe (nutty marmalade).

Confused much?

Auchroisk 13 year (Feb 2006 / June 2019) Oloroso Sherry Hogshead 51.2% (North Star 008)

  • Nose – Wow! Fresh bubblegum, apples – quite a summery greeting. Flower, all sorts of jams, Victoria sponge cake, strawberries and cream, pavlova, marshmallows, cantaloupe… shifting into a touch of port or prunes or something in the darker sherry aromas, perhaps even a hint of sweet tobacco leaf? As it continued to open, just became more and more fabulous in the shifting range of fruity baked deserts with a touch of sweet spices
  • Palate – What a contrast! We hadn’t expected such character – spice, licorice, cheese rinds greeted us with the first sip. By the 2nd sip, the sherry influence was clear. Lots of blackberries, strawberries. Creamy, coating the palate.
  • Finish – Relatively short but satisfying.
  • Water – Definitely has an impact. On the aromas, adding water brought back the floral quality, added mandarin oranges. On the palate it was initially spicier – a lot spicier – with cinnamon, allspice. As it settled down, we thought of old fashioned Christmas oranges with cloves, with a nice dollop of vanilla infused cream!

Overall we were impressed. There was a pleasant complexity to this one.

We returned after sampling the peaty Glenturret 8 year… Sometimes having a sherry dram follow peat, can lead to disappointment. Absolutely not in this case! If anything, we appreciated this Auchroisk even more.

  • Revisit – Gorgeous! Vanilla, tobacco, sweet liquorice, lovely christmasy character without being too intensely sherry. Also had a nice nuttiness. And sipping? Simply delicious. In short – Yum! A delightful dessert-y whisky.

No doubt – we thoroughly enjoyed this dram! And would be interested in exploring more…

This Auchroisk was matured in a Oloroso sherry hogshead which produced 280 bottles. I paid approx GBP 67, ordered directly from the fabulous folks at North Star Spirits.

As for Iain Croucher‘s tasting notes? Here is what he had to say about this Auchroisk:

  • Nose – An oil-burning Rayburn baking an orange sponge pudding
  • Palate – Orangeade Spangles & freshly plundered brambles
  • Finish – Nutty caramel with a plum & vanilla compote

We admit, we had to look up “spangles” to discover they are a British sweet. Just like an oil-burning Rayburn! Once we had a better sense of the references, would agree!

What else was part of my North Star latest score?

Don’t want to miss any posts? Why not follow Whisky Lady on:

North Star Regions – Speyside 12 year 50%

North Star has a Millennial Series with whiskies from Scotland’s four main regions – Highland, Speyside, Islay and Island. I started with the Highland and have now cracked open the Speyside! Alas I haven’t been able to get my hands on either the Islay nor the Island, so this will conclude my exploration of this series.

The distillery isn’t directly stated, but the longitude and latitude provided on the bottle brings one to Aberlour distillery in X (N 57° 26’36.14″ by W 3° 14’17.04′). When I think of Aberlour, what comes to mind is a robust sherry bomb – particularly A’bunadh which was once upon a time regular duty free cask strength purchase.

So what about this one? Well… it was sampled over a few sessions – including with our Whisky Ladies of Europe!

The Speyside 12 year 50%

  • Colour – Dark copper
  • Nose – Rich, fruity with apricots, pineapple, heavy with honey or maple syrup, rum raisins, as it opened up some dark bitter chocolate (think 95%), more raisins which were joined by nuts – particularly walnut, dried figs, some cherries…
  • Palate – Very tasty! Pepper, sweet spices of cinnamon and cloves, dark berries, more of that apricot, perhaps a bit of melon? Nice creamy butter that coats the palate with oils, buttered toast
  • Finish – Quite long. There was an almost coffee-like quality or betel nut? A bit bitter, with some chilly spice.
  • Water – Dampens the aromas… however nuts became slightly more pronounced. Less spice, more sweetness, betel leaf and melons. In some cases adding water transforms a dram. In this case? It neither added dramatically nor detracted.

Overall it lived up to its promise of being a proper sherry dram – though not as overwhelming as some cask strength A’bunadh’s I’ve experienced! What was remarkable was the consistency – from 1st whiff to finish – it followed a common theme. I had jotted down a few notes from an earlier solo tasting months ago… to then see notes from the tasting with the ladies was practically identical!

The only shift was after we set it aside and returned after an hour. We immediately found it a bit sour or tart – crabapples with a bit of medicinal sweetness, orange peels and cloves. And yet – even this was all aligned to the overall character of the dram.

Rather than tasting notes, the North Star team share the following quote from Aedan Andrejus Burt:

Speyside is often considered Scotland’s sweetest and most approachable region. Wherever you go, they’ll introduce you to a dram, and probably something the locals call a ‘breakfast whisky’ soon enough. Home to around 50 distilleries, over a third of Scotland’s total, the area covers a 50-mile strip between Inverses and Aberdeen, around the River Spey. For that, most distilleries have their own water source, of which they are immensely proud. The honeyed and fruity character of Speyside whiskies make them highly sought after, and the banks of the Spey accommodate many of the country’s best known stills.

I purchased this bottle in May 2020 during our COVID ‘shut-in’ from Sansibar for EUR 37.82 plus 19% tax. There is zero doubt this is a value for money dram!

Curious about earlier Aberlour tasting experiences? Well… there have been a few…

Don’t want to miss future posts? Why not follow Whisky Lady on:

Swaggering in a flouncy dress – Longmorn 10 year 48.3%

Longmorn is one of those distilleries that sometimes gets missed and often over-shadowed by its more prominent neighbour BenRiach. And yet after a particular birthday in Singapore, Longmorn will always be one of the very few distilleries I’ve sampled from my ‘birth year’ – 1969!

As for this particular dram – it came from That Boutique-y Whisky Company. One of the things I get a kick out of from this bottler are their labels and the stories these graphic-novel style images tell:

Back in 1894, the Longmorn distillery was founded in Speyside. Four years later, the founder John Duff founded a second distillery a couple hundred metres from Longmorn, called Longmorn 2: Electric Boogaloo (maybe not that last part, but it was called Longmorn 2 until it became BenRiach). The two distilleries worked together, and eventually had a private railroad built between them to transport barley, peat and other sundries. In fact, if you visit Longmorn today, you’ll find a steam engine in the distillery – a sneak peek of which you can see on our Longmorn label.

For us, as interesting as the story around the distillery is… it is the stuff in the glass that matters most! So what did we find?

Longmorn 10 year Batch 3, 48.3% (TBWC) 1793 bottles (available in 2019)

  • Nose – Toffee, salty, creamy… a lip smacking creme caramel, fruity, apple strudel, carrot cake, freshly baked bread, bit floral too
  • Palate – Unexpectedly lively – fruits come to the fore with more apple, pear and even some berries then the white and black pepper spice kicks up in a delicious interplay
  • Finish – Peppery with a tangy citrus zing that mellows into honey

There was much more oomph and character on the palate than anticipated from the aromas. We found of all sampled that evening, this one had the most ‘swagger’ and ‘spunk.’ And yet was still dressed up in a pretty flouncy dress with all the fruit, floral and baked goods… just strutting about with dock martins!

Here are tasting notes from the chaps over at Master of Malt:

  • Nose: Sponge cake with honey and strawberry jam initially, then a bit of floral barley and toasted oats. A hint of orchard fruit and wood spice underneath.
  • Palate: Baking spice, toffee and dark fruits, with some minty herbal notes, orange zest and drying oak.
  • Finish: Black pepper heat develops alongside white grapes and shortbread.

Would I agree? Pretty much jibes with what we found… Our mini came as part of the Master of Malt 2019 Advent Calendar and was tasted one fine weekend in Dunkerton, Somerset. A full bottle would set you back around GBP 77.

What else did we try that summery evening?

As for other brushes with Longmorn? Just check these out….

If you don’t want to miss a post, why not follow Whisky Lady on:

TBWC – Auchroisk 12 year 47.9% (CNY Tasting Set)

Auchroisk is the last mini in our That Boutique-y Whisky Company Chinese New Year tasting set. Auchroisk isn’t one of those “we have history stretching back hundreds of years” kind of distillery. Nope. It is a more modern entry into the whisky fabric, built in 1974 for blending – think J&B Rare.

What did we discover with this particular cask strength single malt?

Auchroisk 12 year 47.9%, Batch 7 with 2,400 bottles. GBP 23.95

  • Nose – Dried leaves, herbal sweet, sweet grass, lemon, sweet spice, caramel, malty, wet cloth, all sweet smoke, think chestnuts roasting
  • Palate – Sweet then smoke, restrained yet spicy, herbal – think Underberg
  • Finish – Very dry, more of that nutty slightly sweet element

I honestly wasn’t sure I would like this one… nothing against the distillery but with the lovely summer weather I wasn’t keen on even a lightly smoky dram. Whereas this one so gently curled that element into the mix and was so smooth and easy to sip that any misgiving dissipated! Instead, it became more and more enjoyable… it was completely lip smacking in a delightfully autumnal way.

What do the folks over at Master of Malt have to say?

The zombie apocalypse has returned in the form of the seventh batch of this delicious indie Auchroisk! This one was matured for 12 wonderful years before the folks at That Boutique-y Whisky Company bottled it up at 47.9% ABV. If you look very carefully at the blood-curdling label, you’ll see that, amidst the chaos of finding people to recruit to the undead, one of the zombies has found the time to get his hair dyed. Self care, and all that.

Tasting Note by The Chaps at Master of Malt

  • Nose: Through dry smoke there’s fresh malt, lemon peel and dark berry syrup, with plenty of toffee, coconut husk and brittle.
  • Palate: Warming baking spice adds an initial burst of spice. Lime peel, caramel and orchard fruit bring sweetness. A little salinity and smoke develop underneath.
  • Finish: Delicately sweet with some prickles from ginger root.

TBWC – Linkwood 10 year 48.2% (CNY Tasting Set)

I really enjoy the fun graphic art labels that That Boutique-y Whisky Company create – often with a quirky story to go with it!

In the case of Linkwood, their choice of a fellow fixing a broom is quite apt… and here is why:

The Linkwood distillery was founded in 1821 in Speyside. It distilled tasty single malts and top whiskies for blends until 1971, which is where it gets a little confusing. In 1971, Linkwood was expanded with two more stills, although these stills actually belonged to a new distillery, which would be called Linkwood B. In 1985, Linkwood A (the original Linkwood) was closed down, making Linkwood B just Linkwood. It’s a different distillery, but it’s still Linkwood. Right? It’s a bit like that chap with the ship and had all its wood replaced. It’s the same ship, even though everything has been replaced. Right? The chap on the label is fixing a broom – the owner has had the same broom 20 years just with different heads and handles. It’s still the same broom, though. Right?

And so we dove into the Linkwood B.. I mean Linkwood distillery… you get the picture! What did we think?

Linkwood 10 year 48.2%, Batch 7 

  • Nose – Mmm… lemon grass, a dash of pink Himalayan salt, green peppers, wax, lots of character, lemony spice
  • Palate – Fresh green chillies, black peppercorns, touch of garam masala, dry red chillies… yes this sounds spicy but actually an interesting yet light melange of different peppers, peaking out from underneath these was a lovely fruit bouquet, a bit thin on the palate but quite tasty
  • Finish – Bitter almond, light liquorice root

While not the most amazing Linkwood I’ve ever had, it was interesting. The citrus, spice and light salt made for a curious combo that somehow worked quite well.

What do the folks over at Master of Malt have to say?

  • Nose: Saline, lemony nose, with spicy black pepper and lemongrass
  • Palate: More spice; black pepper and chilli, then citrus fruits, oranges, limes and lemon rind
  • Finish: Even more peppery spice and some hazelnut

TBWC – Speyside #3 8 year 50.7% (CNY Tasting Set)

The weather in London while we’ve been here has been absolutely stunning – glorious sunshine, warm breeze… in short it feels like full blown summer instead of being mid September.

So it is somehow fitting that our Chinese New Year tasting set had a few more summery drams – with this Speyside clearly very much in keeping with our environment.

Speyside #3 8 year 50.7%, Batch 1 

  • Nose – Started with a bit of resin, restrained orchard fruits – mostly pears, hint of ginger… in short delicious! Fresh and juicy, then stewed fruits… light liquorice, then shifting back into fresh pear then stewed apricot – wonderful!
  • Palate – Peppercorns, fruity with a lovely nice mouthfeel, pears and apple crumble then shifting into melons, then a lightly bitter edge
  • Finish – Lovely long finish – fantastic! Imagine apricot leather – yum!

Like all the whiskies in this particular tasting set, we didn’t even think of adding water. However I did wonder later if that might bright out even more juicy fruits. This was my favourite of the evening, followed by the Glenburgie.

And here are the tasting notes included with our Drinks by the Dram package:

  • Nose – Lots of new make character, fruity cherry and peach notes with grassy vegetal flavours
  • Palate – Fiery alcohol, very peppery, but tempered by some sweet notes, green banana, and a creamy texture
  • Finish – More spice, lingering taste of Thai green curry

We didn’t find it was so ‘fiery’ and also didn’t discover any Thai green curry, however the apricot leather finish could also be described as green mango. Interesting.

North Star Series 8 – Inchgower 11 year 52.5%

The minis can’t have all the fun in virtual tastings! It was time to also crack open one of the big boys! And that is exactly what happened one fine eve with the Bombay Malt &Cigar gentlemen. What did they have? It was a revisit of standard bar fare with Bowmore 12 year, Caol Ila 12 year with a Mortlach thrown in for good measure.

As for me? I let them decide… and here is what they picked!

Inchgower 11 year (July 2007 / Mar 2019) Refill Hogshead 52.5% (North Star 008)

  • Nose – It started with light peat, caramel and spice, leaves
  • Palate – First sip was bursting with lots of pepper, spice and fire… then it opened up to reveal treacle and maple syrup
  • Finish – The finish was like chomping down on a cigar with a leather chaser

Something about this one clearly called for some water… and no careful 2-3 drops but a generous dollop. What did this do? Transformed the Inchgower!

  • Nose – That caramel cola quality came through even more, sponge cake
  • Palate – Lots of cinnamon spice…. with a bit of tart kumquat
  • Finish – Retained the sweet spice

This was no easy drinking dram but one that demanded attention… a bit of an unruly beast… tamed slightly by diluting.

What else do we know? It was matured in a refill hogshead which produced 321 bottles. With shipping and tax, it came to approx GBP 60. Which frankly is quite reasonable for a  cask strength original!

As for Iain Croucher and his delightful tasting notes? Here is what he has to say:

  • Nose – Kola Cubes & pancakes with maple syrup
  • Palate – White pepper & caramel shavings
  • Finish – Tobacco (Montecristo not Marlboro)

Prior to this, my only brushes with Inchgower were 13 year olds bottled by G&MP from their Connoiseurs Choice range – one at cask strength and the other not.

Don’t want to miss any posts? Why not follow Whisky Lady on:

Minis – Dailuaine 10 year 46%

Deprived of whisky festivals and tasting events, online versions aplenty have sprouted up all over the place!

As for our three whisky tasting groups based in Mumbai? We’ve also switched to catching up virtually… which enables me sitting here in Nurnberg to have an opportunity connect too.

Truth be told, our Bombay Malt & Cigar group is a rather international lot. As things started to shut down, one member was in his UK home, another in Belgium, of course I’m here in Germany, leaving only two anchoring our Mumbai presence. With the booze shops in India firmly shut, supplies dwindled.

So what did our gents chose to accompany their cigars? We had a Glenlivet 12 year, Glenfiddich 18 year and Bowmore 100 proof… and me? What did I select? In our last gathering I cracked open a big bottle so this time was more sensible and went for a mini…

Dailuaine 10 year 46% (Douglas Laing’s Provenance) 

  • Colour – Like a pale white wine, almost without any colour
  • Nose – Mmmm apple sauce, then a bit salty, sweet, reminded me of sesame snaps, then revealed a copper quality, a bit vegetal, sweet hay, then saline and leafy, increasingly woodsy, even a bit toast, sour mash then back to butterscotch cream
  • Palate – Cooked fruit and cream, malty, barley… it continued to evolve, nice and oily,  shifting between sweet and a hint of bitter, chased by light pipe tobacco
  • Finish – A nice spicy zing, ginger, cloves and cinnamon with a bit of bitter bark and more of that slightly metallic twang with a touch of minerals too

There was enough going on here for it to be interesting yet was somehow personable too.

I tried to find out more – checking the options on Master of Malt to see what might be a likely candidate for inclusion in the advent calendar.

I can’t say for sure, but think what I tried may be from Cask 11618… If correct, the folks at Master of Malt have this to say:

A single cask bottling of Dailuaine single malt, independently bottled by those ever-wonderful Douglas Laing folks. This whisky was distilled by Dailuaine back in January 2007 and left to age in a refill hogshead for 10 years. In February 2017, it was bottled as part of the Provenance range with an outturn of 357 bottles.

  • Nose: Oily malt balanced by gristy sweetness, followed by a touch of heather honey.
  • Palate: Buttered bread, fresh ginger, sliced apple and a subtle hint of toasted barley smokiness.
  • Finish: Mineral hints linger on the finish.

The other option could be Cask 11777 (Mar 2007 / May 2017) however the tasting notes don’t jibe and specifically miss the clear mineral qualities found in the one I sampled.

Either way, you can find a cousin of this bottle in Europe for around EUR 45. Quite reasonable for a decent dram….

Here are a few others I tried from my advent calendar minis:

Curious to check out more? Why not follow Whisky Lady on:

Balvenie evening in Mumbai

Now I have to admit, this post is rather late… the event occurred many months ago in Mumbai at the St Regis – Aug 28, 2019 to be precise.

The occasion was sparked by the Mumbai visit of Gemma Paterson, Global Brand Ambassador for The Balvenie. We had visions of a very private evening with just a few tables, proper sit down tasting with interesting anecdotes and insights into The Balvenie distillery, its people, the whiskies. The usual masterclass format.

Nope! It was a complete jam of people, a mash up of inaudible stories and poetry, flute and was.. well… unexpected.

True – the cocktails flowed generously and one after another tasting glasses with different expressions of The Balvenie made their rounds but it was a far cry from being able to connect with someone close to the whisky makers, who is known for collecting stories or being able to truly focus on the whiskies.

Which is exactly why I have zero tasting notes, only a recollection we were partial to the 14 year…

Which is exactly why I dug up notes from some of our other Balvenie experiences as it would be a shame to miss insights into this distillery and its drams:

With such a crowd, the St Regis did a brilliant job with the food and keeping the throngs happy. But as a whisky event, I couldn’t even hear Gemma speak let alone meet and make some kind of connection. Which is ultimately for me what is terrific about the whisky fabric – the way different lives and experiences are woven together over exploring and enjoying a good dram.

On a more personal note, it was terrific to see so many familiar folks so close before my move to Germany. For that alone it was a good evening, so Slainthe!

Curious to know more? Why not follow Whisky Lady on: