Birthday Chorlton – Orkney 22 year 53.4%

The story behind this one was that I was having trouble purchasing this Highland Park when it became available. So my London-based friend also tried… In the end, we both were successful! Which proved to be a good thing as one bottle went almost immediately to India to be sampled on a special evening. Whilst its sibling remained in London…. to later also make most of its way to Bombay!

Orkney (Highland Park) 22 year 53.4%

From our London evening, October 2022:

  • Nose – Fabulous nose – big and full, mineral, a bit of ‘funky forest’, earthy which a fresh maritime sea breeze, then started to shift to sweet heavy fruit, then back to grass stalks, aromatic and herbal with woodruff, sage…. waxy and happy, a touch of sandalwood and tobacco leaf
  • Palate – So much going on, spice, peat, fruit, a “wake up” dram that became sweeter and sweeter
  • Finish – A huge finish, orange marmalade with cinnamon spice
  • Revisit – So incredibly fruity, a veritable fruit basket, especially orange and sweet spices, some leather on the palate, cornflakes drowned in milk, exceedingly tasty

From our Mumbai evenings in November 2022:

  • Nose – A bit acetone at first, a bit sharp, then shifts to sea breeze – coming and going like the ebb and flow of the tide, hay, vegetal then it began to open up revealing some fruity elements – particularly citrus,. The more time in the glass, the sweeter it became -condensed milk, not quite a toffee sweetness… more like a dulce de leche, 
  • Palate – Sechuan peppers and a bit astringent at first, then sweetened into warm sprite
  • Finish – Spicey, dry wood
  • Water – On the nose, it flattens the aromas… bringing back a bit of that light sea breeze, joined by sweet milk however it is rather nice how water opens up the palate – that vegetal element shifts into sweet roasted root vegetables, lightly caramelized then fruity… which continues on to the finish – nice!

Particularly with the Whisky Ladies, there was a real range of reactions to this one… It was also such a contrast to our previous drams…each bringing quite different characters. For the gents, I changed the tasting order bringing this into 3rd rather than last place and think that worked much better – we could more readily discern the different elements and enjoy it for what it is.

Here are a few more Cholton’s from La Nouvelle Vague series:

And those we managed to sample from the earlier L’Ancien Régime series:

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Birthday Chorlton – Bunnahabhain 18 year 53.4%

In many ways, this was the most interesting whisky we tried in an extra special Chorlton birthday quartet. This was exactly why it was the 1st expression that led to acquiring three additional bottles and several evenings of tastings – from London to Mumbai – where we sniffed, swished, and savoured our way through these unique bottles.

Bunnahabhain 18 year (28 Feb 2002 / 2021) Sherry Butt 53.4%

What was our impression from London in October 2022?

  • Nose – Initially very ‘fresh’ yet shy, red delicious apple skins, a hint of sherry, dry wood, a bit of tobacco leaf, something a touch sharp, then started to open up further with banana cake and brown sugar, shifted again to sour cream
  • Palate – 1st sip was harsh then it mellowed into a spicy fruity smoothie, caramel, oily with substance, then roasted nuts
  • Finish – Spice and smoke that gradually sweetens

It was full of contrasts – shy on the nose but forceful on the palate, kept shifting and changing. It is also one of those whiskies you need to spend a bit of time with… try only once and you would miss its quirky chameleon character.

The longer we spent with the Bunnahabhain, the more we appreciated it. For one London-based Whisky Lady, this was the clear favourite.

We also thought it would go well with cheese… which is exactly what I tried later in Mumbai – definitely works – particularly a nice sharp old cheddar.

How did this contrast or compare with our Mumbai tasting experiences just a month later in November 2022?

  • Nose – Lemon, mint, vanilla, asparagus, mushrooms, stewed cherries… though a bit shy it kept moving around and revealing different elements the longer it was in the glass… next was camomile, waxy, biscuits, tinned peaches, marscapone
  • Palate – Honey, apples, some forest moss and more mushrooms, pine, green chillies, milk chocolate, nutty… take too large a sip and you would be greeted with a brushfire!
  • Finish – Cloves, star anise, pine needles, green chillies, very dry, edging towards smoke

Just like our 1st experience, this Bunnahabhain is not to be underestimated. It captivated us with its curiously shifting character. For most, this was the favourite and our only regret was having to split 100ml between 8 ladies! We would have loved to add a bit more to our glass and settle down with it, see if it continued to morph or rested on a few elements.

Did this contrast much with the gents? For the most part, we agreed, adding a few further observations from our experience:

  • Nose – Began with very light iodine that one gent described as what he typically expects from a Bunna – iodine without the heavy peat of other Islay whiskies – then shifted into fruits like pomegranate, then a cantaloupe, a hint of rye bread, some raisins, followed by a camomile-based herbal tea (think Sleepy Time!)
  • Palate – Incredibly sweet, well-rounded and well-balanced, loads of different kinds of honey, milk shocolate bars
  • Finish – Very long, subtle spices

There was no doubt this is a complex whisky, well worth taking time so that could evolve through its different dimensions.


What did David have to say? The following is an extract from his email…

And, lastly, we have the official festive special – an 18-year-old sherry cask Bunnahabhain. Please note that this is available to pre-order (see note below), and that my tasting notes aren’t super-considered as I’m just going off my brief notes from the cask sample.

So, the nose on this starts with sea air, light wax and mandarin, before richer notes of buttery brioche, praline and milk chocolate covered raisins appear. Just a touch of smoke too: cigar and joss stick.

For the palate I see I’ve written “Lovely!” in my notes… Again it starts in a very clean and crisp way (red apple, pink grapefruit) before the richer development (toasted nuts, honey, Daim bars, cinnamon pastries). Slight smokiness and orange marmalade in the aftertaste.

This is proper Bunna, a great example of the distillery style, and the sherry is beautifully integrated. We got 322 bottles from this sherry butt at 53.4% and they’re available for £150 each.

I purchased this in June 2021 from Master of Malt for GBP 151 as had missed the original Chorlton direct offer in December 2020.

We’ve enjoyed exploring Chorlton’s 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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Birthday Chorlton – Tormore 28 year 42.4%

When David Bennet sent his summer 2021 email letting his devoted Chorlton followers know about this Tormore 28-year, I simply couldn’t resist! At that time, I had tried only one whisky from Tormore – a very special 10 year from the 1970s at Singapore Whisky Live’s Collectors Room. More recently in 2022, I had the pleasure to try the Tormore 29-year bottled by Gordon & Macphail at London’s Whisky Show.

While we had to be a bit patient to try this Tormore 28-year, we made it count! It was sampled over four evenings, of which below I’ve captured an amalgam of impressions from some.

Tormore 28 year (Nov 1992/Jul 2021) 42.45% 253 bottles

What did we think of this dram – contrasting our experiences between a fine fall evening in London vs two warm evenings in Mumbai…

  • Nose
    • London: Incredibly rich, beautiful nose, sunshine sweetness, fruity marmalade, apple crumble pastry, heavy on the cinnamon and brown sugar… as it opened up, there was also light saline, shifting into something heavier… like wandering into a forest, faintly mineral, wet stone, then shifted again into brazil nut, buttery, red food coloring
    • Mumbai: Very salty, metallic, some kelp or seaweed, misty, cold water from a copper jug, slowly opened and sweetened into gingerbread, lebkuchen, candied ginger, followed by fruits, minute by minute becoming “jammier”- starting with plum jam then sweetening into a melange of strawberry and raspberry, like that mystery red jelly that you aren’t quite sure what exactly it is!
  • Palate
    • London: Exceptional! Silky smooth, hot buttery biscuits, a bit nutty too… gorgeous… was there even a puff of smoke too?
    • Mumbai: Honey, ginger, wood tannins, walnut, orange rind, light smoke…. utterly lovely! Light yet complex, very open and approachable, boiled lemon sweets
  • Finish – Very dry, long, and lingers bitter almond
  • Water
    • London: No temptation to add!
    • Mumbai: Brings out a bar of lovely milk chocolate on the nose… needed? No. But still worth trying this way too…
  • Revisit – Fab fruity with nutty caramel – yum!!

One of our ladies in Mumbai had tried this earlier in the year in London and noted there was some impact of oxidation between the freshly opened bottle she tried and our evening in November, where some elements had muted and shifted.

For myself, I recall the first experience just a month earlier in London as simply stunning – one class act! I could just sit with this whisky alone… savoring it slowly. Remarkable. Lovely… Pure delight in a glass!

What was most appealing is how it developed in the glass – from maritime to mineral to marmalade on the nose, silky smooth, light yet complex on the palate, and closing with a strong, long, dry bitter finish. Simply superb!

There was no doubt this is indeed a special treat – rare and worthy of slowing down to enjoy.

What did David have to say?

Properly matured single malt here from the reliably fruity Tormore distillery!

On the nose this is a real fruit basket (red apples, orange drops, marmalade, juicy Riesling), backed with some mineralic and foresty depth (waxes, flints and ferns). The palate is lightly syrupy and waxy, with cream teas and biscuits mixed in with the fruits. The finish is very clean, with blood oranges and mandarins. Very summery, and utterly delicious.

This whisky was distilled on the 16th November 1992, and matured in a refill hogshead until being bottled in July 2021. It produced 253 bottles at a cask strength of 42.4% and they are available for £175 each.

I purchased this in July 2021 which joined three more from La Nouvelle Vague series:

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Birthday Chorlton – Glen Elgin 12 year 52.6%

The wonderful thing about an ‘Appetizer’ is how it helps calibrate your palate for wonders to come… This was our plan with the affordable Glen Elgin from Chorlton‘s  La Nouvelle Vague series… a whisky that was sampled in several sessions across two continents.

It was the youngest of the Chorlton Birthday quartet which featured the Tormore 28 year, Bunnahabhain 18 year and Orkney (Highland Parrk) 22 year. So… what did we think?

Glen Elgin 12 year (21 Apr 2009/July 2021) refill hogshead 52.6% 287 bottles

From our London evening, October 2022 (alas I missed the June experience!):

  • Nose – Happy day! After an initial sharp spice gave way to a lovely waxy sweetly floral candle aroma, we found white flowers, orchard fruits with crisp ripe pears, with a chasing of citrus….
  • Palate – First sip had a peppery spice, whereas, with the 2nd sip, the spice was joined by  a fruity kiss
  • Finish – Spice with nutty nougat
  • Water – I found a splash of water nicely mellows out this dram. Yellow plums, some malt, freshly baked biscuits on the nose, with the palate rounded out
  • Revisit – Curiously after an hour the initial whiff was a bit sour, then on an even later revisit it was deliciously floral and fruity

Next up from our first Mumbai evening and second tryst from November 2022:

  • Nose – Red apples, including the core and skin! Joined by other orchard fruits like pears, some aniseed, and fennel, then honey sweetness followed again by orchard fruits with perhaps a light lime twist… young, fresh with a bit of ‘malty’ elements
  • Palate – Initially it was rather like sipping Calvados! Some spice, more depth on the palate than anticipated from the nose, and still lots of apples and some pears! Was also quite prickly – like having pop rocks bursting in your mouth! Also found grapes, light licorice, slightly bitter, quite straightforward
  • Finish – Minty, herbal, refreshing
  • Water – Yes, please! Water brings out yellow plums, glucose biscuits (like Marie), more malty notes, and some resin on the palate… and after time shifts more into pastry like an apple crumble or shortbread, vanilla, mint… 
  • Revisit – There wasn’t much remaining in the glass but we had such contrasting reactions – most thought it lovely, whereas one found it foul!

We found many similar elements though one lady found this one a bit tough and rough, much heavier… she also found the revisit, not at all to her liking. Whereas for others, this was a good place to begin, appreciating the fruity flavours and how they contrasted with something of more substance followed by a pleasant finish. When I read David’s tasting notes, there was overall agreement!

And finally, from our next Mumbai evening, November 2022, did we have anything to add? In truth, much of what the ladies found rang true.. so much so that I simply blended the observations with the gents into those of the ladies!

Overall we thought whilst adding water didn’t do too much for the nose, it really improved the palate, bringing out the fruity elements, apple jack, grapes, reinforcing the herbal close.

And with that, our explorations began… next? The stunning Toremore 28 year!
What did David have to say?

I’ve always been a fan of this distillery’s charming and somewhat classy spirit, even if it’s often felt a bit under the radar.

The nose has a toffee-apple-esque balance of sweetness (butterscotch, cinnamon sugar, pain au raisin) and tart green fruits (lime, apple). The palate has a thick and oily texture, with caramel wafer, malted milk biscuits, peachy fruits and lemon peel. The finish is malty and hazelnutty. A hefty spirit, here, but with light feet!

This whisky was distilled on the 21st April 2009, and matured in a refill hogshead until being bottled in July 2021. It produced 287 bottles at a cask strength of 56.6%.

I purchased this in July 2021 for £65 plus tax and courier charges.

Here are a few more from Chorlton‘s earlier L’Ancien Régime series:

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Chorlton Birthday Drams – Glen Elgin, Tormore, Orkney, Bunnahabhain

This Chorlton quartet was the birthday gift that just kept giving! It began as a single bottle purchased as an extra special 60th birthday gift. Then the other Bombay Malt & Cigar gents offered to ‘chip in’, so I purchased another 2 bottles. The trio was then augmented with an additional bottle to become a remarkable quartet!

All four were from the La Nouvelle Vague series:

The quartet was originally opened in June 2022 in London during a special evening with Sukhinder Singh (Elixir, The Whisky Exchange) and two Bombay Malt & Cigar gents (naturally including the “birthday boy!). As I missed it, we rescheduled for October 2022, also in London, sharing with a former Bombay Whisky Lady and other friends.

However, our tastings with these bottles weren’t done! Two sets of 100ml samples were re-bottled and dispatched to Mumbai for two evenings:

  • Whisky Ladies on November 1 as a special joint birthday treat for myself and one other Whisky Lady (sharing the same birthday) who flew in from Hyderabad… the only challenge here was splitting 100ml between 8 ladies!
  • Bombay Malt & Cigar gents on Nov 6 to share with the others who were intended to be part of the original 60th birthday celebration that inspired the whole set! Which just so happened to also be my partner’s birthday (who joined us for dinner)

It was so interesting to see the commonalities and differences between the tasting sessions! Different settings, different personalities, and different whisky style preferences meant we could experience different dimensions. What an incredibly rewarding way to experience such lovely and varied whiskies!

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Chorlton’s marvelous Mannochmore 13 years 59%

There we were, one fine summer evening… back from a day of catching great music at Nurnberg’s Bardentreffen festival. As the sun set, it was still clearly a gin & tonic kind of evening… however as my companions are also fellow whisky aficionados we simply could not call it a night without a wee nip! Nicely poised on the “top shelf’, this beautiful Mannochmore beckoned… simply too enticing to resist.

This is the 2nd Mannochmore I’ve tried from the Chorlton La Nouvelle Vague series. I missed being able to purchase it when first released in the UK and was exceedingly thankful a few eventually made their way to The Netherland’s Whisky.Base, enabling me to have it shipped directly to Deutschland.

As for the whisky…. read on…

Mannochmore 13 year 59% 162 bottles

  • Nose – Mmmmm fruits! pears, plums shifting into dried fruit… like trail mix with coconut flakes, raisins, nuts and more… then shifted further into banoffee, vanilla, creamy… then a tropical delight with pineapple, caramel, raisins – think a rich pineapple upside down cake… further evolved into lemon curd, waxy, shortbread, honey sweetness… with a hint of amaretto…
  • Palate – Oh my! Very clear its higher proof, intense and flavourful with a nice spice kick, think banana bread that is generous with nuts, toffee
  • Finish – The slightly bitter nutty element carries through – almond or roasted hazelnuts – or perhaps something more like chikki – a kind of Indian peanut brittle

I expected another delightful summery dram… it delivered that and more! It is one of those fruity sunshine whiskies… however, at full cask strength, it is intense and powerful on the palate. But wow! That nose – so delicious and intoxicating! Just makes you come back over and over and over for a blissful whiff!

Curious, we added a few drops of water…. on the nose it simply made it sweeter and fruitier with a citrus twist – made me think of lemon meringue pie. While on the palate, it smoothed out the intensity while retaining the voluptuous fruity element chased by sweet spices. And with that yummy sweet and salty nutty finish? Put simply, this is a summer dram that invites you to simply slow down, savor and enjoy.

Above all – that nose! Better than perfume… even after the last sip, the aromas in the glass were so sweetly fragrant. Such a treat!

What did David have to say? Here is what he shared in his release email:

So, the first new bottling is this 13-year-old Mannochmore. The cask yield for this was a bit of a disaster (about 100 fewer bottles than I’d expected, probably due to a slow undetected leak…).

On the nose: lemon syrup, limoncello, lemongrass (there’s a theme emerging!) plus orange barley sugar and a little honey. I also find some spearmint chews, and a touch of minerality and something a little bit beery (or maybe pet nat yeastiness for the hipster crowd!).

The palate has a rich, almost syrupy/waxy texture, with tons of clean, sweet lemon, menthol, and balanced by some butterscotch and millionaire’s shortbread. The finish is clean, citrussy (surprise!), slightly salty and honeyed. I wrote “awesome” in my tasting notes which is not something I am typically wont to do.

This is an impeccable whisky for the spring/summer. Wonderfully textured spirit given a good dollop of sweetness from an active cask. I think we’ll all be talking more about Mannochmore in the future.

I purchased it in June 2022 from Whisky.base for EUR 96 plus shipping. (originally £78.50).

Here are a few more from La Nouvelle Vague series:

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

With more coming up soon (I hope!)….

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Coveting Chorlton… Delayed pleasures

We’ve been on a bit of a “Chorlton” journey… I’ve become a complete fan of David’s cask choices, his gorgeous labels and so over the last few years I’ve done my best to snag a nice set or two with plans of having a few special tastings.

Last week I was supposed to be enjoying these beauties… carefully collected as a special 60th birthday celebration which was postponed a few times as we struggled to organize a gathering across countries. Finally the night was planned in London, flights booked and the bottles ready and waiting to be opened! And then along came a rather unpleasant bout with COVID…. sigh… So whilst I missed the evening, considerable enjoyment was reported along these lines:

  • Glen Elgin 12 year 56.6%A lovely appetizer dram
  • Tormore 28 year 42.4% One of those rare remarkable whiskies
  • Bunnahabhain 18 year 53.4%Really stood out
  • Plus a bonus bottle purchased by our birthday boy – the Orkney 22 year 53.4% (aka Highland Park) which also made quite the impression!

Hopefully, in a few months, there will be an opportunity to get to London and quite possibly snag a wee sample to experience myself!

Thanks to shipments finally making it to Europe, I have these lovelies with me in Nuremberg;

  • From April 2022 releases: Mannochmore 13 year 59%Caol Ila 11 year 60.4%
  • From December 2021 releases: Staoisha 8 year 59.9% (aka Bunnahabhain)

Whereas I’m not sure when I will be united with these waiting for me in London or Paris:

  • From December 2021 releases: Ledaig 12 year 55.5%Speyside (Glenrothes) 13 year 64.6%
  • From the May 2022 releases: Faemussach 21 year 56%Teaninich 12 year 54.2%Benrinnes 14 year 55%

However, I won’t be sampling these anytime soon! Not being very patient, I’m left with memories of previous tastings…

However rather than long for what I can’t try, here is a quick summary of those from Chorlton’s La Nouvelle Vague series I have had the pleasure of trying:

And from Chorlton‘s earlier L’Ancien Régime series:

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Chorlton’s Orkney 22 year (1999/2022) 53.4%

These days trying to acquire one of the beautiful bottles from Chorlton‘s  La Nouvelle Vague series requires lightning speed! If you miss the email for even an hour you very well may be out of luck!

When I scored this bottle in Feb 2022, I suspected it would be many months, perhaps even years before I would find the right opportunity to open it! First was getting it from London to Mumbai – which happened in March 2022. Then I needed to join from Nurnberg to Mumbai – also happened by April 2022. And most importantly, finding the right occasion? And that’s when India’s Malt Maniac Krishna Nakula mentioned he would be in town, together with two founders of SMAC India. I also knew once opened, an additional tasting session could follow where this could be shared as a “bonus”! Including the very person who kindly let me use his London address and brought the bottle to India!

So what did we think?

Orkney 22 year (9 June 1999 – February  2022) bourbon hogshead 53.4% (311 bottles)

  • Nose – Subtle and mellow at first, salt spray from the seashore, lovely herbal notes, then started to reveal butterscotch and gingerbread, fruit strudel – perhaps apricot? Then pears and melons, then tart slightly sour stewed apples. Then sweet varnish.  A nice earthy element kept the desert qualities in check – sweet but not overly so!
  • Palate – Wonderful! Buttery brandy. Salted old-fashioned black licorice, a hint of tobacco. Such a fabulous mouthfeel – tempts you to just keep rolling it around, enjoying its marvelous viscosity, a marvelous mix – from herbal to lightly fruity to smoke and pepper – all beautifully balanced and creamy
  • Finish – Rewarding, dry, bitter cinnamon bark, more of that enchanting herbal element… only complaint is that it dissipates too quickly leaving only a faint impression
  • Water – Necessary? No however also lovely with! Makes it sweeter, black peppercorn pops out, cloves and still nice and buttery

Take your time with this one… the more time you give it, the more it gives you! I was so happy to revisit it a few days later in a leisurely long evening over excellent cheese, fresh bread, and conversation.

Simply put – what an utterly lovely dram. If you blind tasted it, I strongly suspect Highland Park would NOT be the obvious option.

What did David have to say in his email?

Also available is a new 22-year-old Orkney. H*ghl*nd P*rk produces a consistently excellent distillate, but I always think these late-1990s vintages have a special something about them.

So, the nose starts on soft notes of lemony wax, honey and orange, with a wee clean herbal backing (eucalyptus, spearmint, lime leaves) and then really opens up the longer it breathes. There’s something fruity and lightly medicinal happening (think cherry lozenges), banana Nesquik powder (my secret shame), sea air and a thin thread of bonfire smoke. Adding water is transformative: tangerine Altoids, spearmint chews, angelica, sea water and heather.

The palate is rich, resinous and honeyed in texture. I get malt extract, lemons & limes & salt, plus a peppery peatiness that almost has a gentle Talisker feel. I also find seafood with salty-buttered brown bread, herbal liqueur and cough syrup. The finish is really long, with dried herbs, sweet citrus, and lingering smoke. Water again opens things up in a herbal direction: crushed mint leaves, lemon tea, pine needles and salty orangey honey.

This bourbon hogshead produced 311 bottles at 53.4% for £135 plus tax and courier charges.

Here are more from La Nouvelle Vague series:

Here are the Chorltons we’ve sampled from the L’Ancien Régime series:

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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:

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

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:

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