Highland Hijinks – Aberfeldy 18 year 40%

Last in our “Highland Hijinks” trio was an 18 year old from Aberfeldy. For the most part, one has Aberfeldy in Dewars blends, less frequently in official bottles however they are now regularly having a  12 and 21 year bottling with the 18 year launched in 2014 for travel retail.

I often think of 18 years as being the “sweet spot” for many Scottish single malts that truly demonstrate the quality and character while still being almost affordable vs 21 years which tend to rise steeply in cost.

For many of this, we simply haven’t tried  much Aberfeldy and it is increasingly rare to have “adult” age statements, so we looked forward to sampling!

And what did the Whisky Ladies think?

Aberfeldy 18 year 40%

  • Nose – Spirity, brash, seemed younger, then with a little effort could start to discern some citrus orange, honey or caramel, followed by nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamon… with the nose becoming increasingly pleasant
  • Palate – Simple, sweet, easy on the palate, like sipping sugar or honey water with a slight injection of fruits, some spice
  • Finish – Where is the finish? Barely there

Overall we just had to admit it was a disappointment. One truly expects more from an 18 year old whisky. We found the nose had more promise then the palate was frankly… bland. Don’t get us wrong, we do appreciate a nice subtle nuanced dram, this one just didn’t have enough character to captivate our attention. Likely on its own, it may be easier to appreciate, but in a trio, it simply didn’t shine.

Talk turned to a rather crude hindi phrase which more politely could be explained as teasing but no real action. That about summed it up.

What did the Whisky Ladies sample in our night of “Highland Hijinks“?

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Highland Hijinks – Glenmorangie The Duthac 43%

Glenmorangie is known for taking its typical highland of sweet honey, citrus and floral to play with different casks, particularly finishes, to create a different profile. The Duthac is one such variant – using a combination ex PX Sherry and Virgin Oak. Originally launched for travel retail, it was named after St Duthac who ‘rests’ near the distillery.

And what did the Whisky Ladies think?

Glenmorangie The Duthac 43%

  • Nose – Grape, initially quite restrained then heavy caramel, some clove, sweet spices, vanilla.. after the 1st sip the aromas shifted to plum skin, apricots, butterscotch
  • Palate – One remarked how it “crackled on the tongue” with the 1st sip then settled into a “typical” Glenmorangie – sweet, lightly fruity, honey, sweet spices with mild candied ginger
  • Finish – Slightly bitter, sits there with a linear yet solid quality
  • Water – Did absolutely nothing significant initially then a remarkable thing happened – the finish took on a distinctive watered down “Thumbs Up” (desi cola) taste!

Overall it was pronounced a terrific party whisky. After time, it settled into a yummy pudding pie or creme brûlée. Nothing exceptionally distinctive yet nothing challenging or off-putting. Nice, easy dram for more sociable occasions.

What do the folks at Glenmorangie have to say?

  • Aroma: Seductive aromas of pear, toffee apple, Brazil nuts in toffee, with an underlying spicy note, some toasty oak. With a splash of water, some creamy vanilla fudge is encountered, along with the classic Sherry cask note of linseed oil.
  • Taste: Mouth-filling flavours of milk chocolate, toffee, Brazil nuts, leather and some aniseed. The spiciness is definite, but gentle, with hints of ginger and clove.
  • Finish: The aftertaste once again reminds drinkers that this is a Glenmorangie, with vanilla, apricots in cream and some almond marzipan.

What did the Whisky Ladies sample in our night of Highland Hijinks?

Other Glenmorangie  sampled over the years….

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Whisky Ladies Highland Hijinks – Old Pulteney, Glenmorangie, Aberfeldy

When we have whisky tasting themes, it tends to be “anchored” by something our host has to share. Which is exactly what inspired  our Whisky Ladies June 2018 session…

It began with a bottle of Glenmorangie and was augmented by two more highlands…

What did the Whisky Ladies sample in our night of Highland Hijinks?

I simply couldn’t help throwing into the mix something that had nothing whatsoever to do with the Highlands… It is the kind of whisky you want to share with others, just to see what they discover!

Just check out the links above to read the full tasting experience…

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A Night with Glen – Glenmorangie The Tayne 43%

The Whisky LadiesA Night with Glen” closed with the Glenmorangie The Tayne.

Glenmorangie The Tayne 43%

  • Nose – Wah! A welcome nose bursting with character. Initially figs, prunes, Christmas pudding with dried dark fruits, burnt sugar, walnut and coffee…. Glorious rich coffee! Edging into mocha… it kept evolving, added to the aromas was almonds, toffee, noughat, caramel, then after more time it circled back to the dates and prunes
  • Palate – Bitter dark chocolate, slightly woody, very smooth, with a little mandarin, butterscotch, dash of ginger, and a delicious espresso
  • Finish – For all the complexity in the nose and follow through on the palate, the only element left a bit wanting was the finish which had a nice holiday sherry character, just didn’t stick around as long as one would want

What made this distinct from Olorosso sherry bombs was a more restrained sherry quality. Not overly sweet, retaining the tiramisu coffee quality interplaying with shades of sherry. There was not a single harsh element. Pronounced a ‘winter’ whisky…

The key element making this whisky burst with character appears to be the Amontillado Sherry Cask Finish.

Here is what the folks over at Glenmorangie have to say:

The resulting single malt, Glenmorangie Tayne, is a rich mahogany whisky showcasing a unique harmony of deep, spicy Sherry cask notes, and unusually fragrant, floral topknots of rose petals and roast chestnuts, with a warming texture leading into rich, sweet flavours of toffee, Muscovado sugar, and tropical fruits – peaches, mango and orange, finishing with a long gentle nuttiness, like Brazil nuts embedded in toffee. 

Other whiskies sampled during A Night with Glen:

Related posts:

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Bowmore Travel Trilogy – 17 year White Sands 43%

Last in our Bowmore travel trilogy was the 17 year “White Sands.”

I’d picked this bottle up in Singapore duty free back when it was 1st launched. It was one of my “speed date” sample that lead to a clear “buy” decision! And since then I’ve been patiently waiting to open the bottle with our Whisky Ladies.

Bowmore 17 year White Sands 43%

  • Nose – Rich vanilla, citrus orange, honey almonds, very floral, raspberry treacle, light peat smoke, chocolate coffee then cotton candy
  • Palate – Spices, light creamy toffee, cloves, quite a delicious curl of peat, nice and chewy without being heavy, smooth as silk
  • Finish – A long lingering sweet spice with a bitter cinnamon tail

And what did the Whisky Ladies really think?? We LOVED it!

We found it was one of those whiskies that says – “Pull up a nice comfy chair, curl up and pay attention to me. Trust me, you absolutely will not regret!”

There is something quite sophisticated about this whisky. One mentioned ballgowns and tuxedos about to take a twirl on the dance floor…. that spins into a seduction!

For others it was just nice to settle down with an amiable whisky with multiple dimensions. The nose especially has such a lovely range of aromas, it is delicious to sip and savour, with a surprisingly long finish. In short – ticks the right boxes!

Here is what the Bowmore folks have to say about this whisky:

“Inspired by Islay’s pristine white beaches.”

Islay’s coast line boasts seven miles of pristine white beaches and has been the inspiration for White Sands. Matured for seventeen long years, this is Bowmore Master Distiller’s personal favourite. Matured in the finest ex Bourbon casks, the treacle toffee and ripe exotic fruits bound together by warm peat smoke.

  • Nose: Light peat smoke, rich treacle toffee and ripe exotic fruits
  • Taste: Creamy toffee and malty sweetness, together with a delicious warm smokiness
  • Finish: The incredibly smooth, warm and comforting finish

In this case, we would agree with the tasting notes… and of the three whiskies, there was zero doubt which was our favourite! In terms of the three, Black Rock is the most readily available. While not a bad whisky, it unfortunately is outclassed by the other two. Gold Reef may be slightly more challenging to find. And White Sands? Excellent value for a beautifully balanced whisky with enough character to keep you well engaged! It is certainly one to recommend to those who enjoy their whisky with a bit of smoky sweetness.

So while it was long after the initial launch, it was still fun to explore the Bowmore ‘travel trilogy‘:

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Bowmore Travel Trilogy – Gold Reef 43%

Next up in our Bowmore travel trilogy was another NAS – Gold Reef.

This particular bottle was acquired on my partner‘s trip to Beirut, Lebanon on behalf of our host – a fellow theatre actor. Since last year we have impatiently waited for an opportunity to bring our trilogy together…

And what did the Whisky Ladies think?

Bowmore Gold Reef 43%

  • Nose – Treacle, apple, summery caramel, toasted coconut, marzipan, with tropical fruits. As it opened, particularly after sipping, a delicious maple syrup joined some peat with sweet vanilla and hint of spice
  • Palate – Peat, citrus, heat, bitter chocolate, a bit of dry wood
  • Finish – The heat opens up revealing honey sweet, cinnamon then after a few more sips settles into a bitter finish

We found it very inviting on the nose, the palate was such a contrast – in a good way. The finish remains.

Here is what the Bowmore folks have to say about this whisky:

“Inspired By The Sun’s Reflection On Islay’s Coral Seabed.”

Further out to sea and deep beneath the waves lies Gold Reef. Named for the way the glow of the sun’s rays reflect off the coral seabed, this same old catches the eye inside every bottle of Gold Reef. Predominately matured in 1st fill ex-bourbon casks, it rewards with notes of smooth vanilla, citrus fruits and sea salt.

  • Nose: Vanilla, coconut milk, delicious baked peach, oranges and lemons
  • Taste: Tangy peat, pineapple, juicy mango and kiwi fruit tempered by sea salt and olive oil
  • Finish: The long, honeyed, zesty finish

Not so sure about the kiwi fruit or olive oil but certainly the balance is more or less what we found!

Our Bowmore ‘travel trilogy‘ evening included:

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Bowmore Travel Trilogy – Black Rock, Gold Reef, White Sands

As Whisky Ladies, we enjoy celebrating the contributions of whisky women to the industry.

Rachel Barrie has a career that started with the Glenmorangie team, gaining experience to become a whisky creator and master blender for The Glenmorangie, The Scotch Malt Whisky Society, Moet Hennessy (LVMH) before joining Morrison Bowmore Distillers, Beam Suntory in 2011. As Master Blender, she described “Islay is my escape. There’s part of me that’s a free spirit and very elemental.”

As Whisky Ladies, we thought it rather apt to have a session featuring whiskies where a professional Whisky woman was involved!

So we set about early 2016 to collectively acquire a ‘travel trilogy’ from Bowmore with:

For once, it was surprisingly easy to buy… the trick turned out to be finding an evening when all three ladies who purchased the bottles were `free on the same night!

This finally happened in April 2017… by which time Rachel Barrie had changed jobs and joined BenRiach and Glendronach Distillery Company as Whisky Maker.

Didn’t matter to us – we toasted her in spirit anyways!

Other Bowmore‘s tasted over the years include:

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Irish Night – Bushmills Steamship 40%

Our Irish lads n lasses evening moved on to Bushmill‘s newer offering to the travel retail market – Steamship!

Susan Dias is our next Whisky Ladies of Mumbai guest whisky reviewer… 

(Susan's LInkedIn profile)

(Susan’s LinkedIn profile)

What does a Chartered Accountant with a fierce pride in Indian traditions and keen interest in local spirits do? Naturally start a venture, Native Brews, with a dream of celebrating traditional artisanal Indian spirits in a contemporary context.  

After a year of extensive exploration and research into remote corners of India, Susan returned to Mumbai to begin playing around with the distillation of Mahua, a flowering tree found in central India. While still in the early stages (so be patient!), exciting experiments are already under way!

Having focused more on native Indian spirits, Susan is newer to exploring the world of whiskies… however this lass is fast catching up! 

Here is what Susan has to say about the Bushmills Steamship….

Bushmills Steamship – Sherry Cask Reserve is part of Bushmill’s first ever travel retail exclusive, ‘The Steamship Collection’. The collection is inspired by the historical SS Bushmills steamship and celebrates its maiden voyage in the 1890s. Story goes that after being commissioned by then owner the Boyd Brothers, it sailed to America, travelling as far as Philadelphia and Yokohama, and returning with refilled casks of rum, fortfied wine and Bourbon.

The Steamship Sherry Cask Reserve is a no-age-statement single malt Irish whiskey exclusively matured in Oloroso Sherry casks.

(Bushmills)

(Bushmills)

Susan’s Tasting Notes

  • Color: Medium rich gold
  • Nose: An intriguing almost spicy aroma, burnt sugar sweetness
  • Palette: Sweet, dried fruits, vanilla
  • Finish: Medium finish, sweet
  • Water: Brings out spice. Opens it up and after sitting for a while becomes more enjoyable.

It is quite evidently a young whiskey. The first launch under new owner Jose Cuervo’s expansion plans, it has the characteristics typical of the brand, but lacks the maturity (pun intended) of its older siblings.

Colum Egan, Master Distiller at The Old Bushmills Distillery, said about the Steamship Collection

“For centuries distillers have experimented with different barrels so naturally I was inspired by the adventures of the ship and the opportunities it opened to experiment with various casks from around the world. So, together with Master Blender Helen Mulholland, we created a whiskey with a rich, complex flavour and a smooth finish – a characteristic synonymous with our range of triple distilled whiskeys.”

The experts at the tasting gave the Steamship a thumbs down although quite a happy one. This is because at some point (I don’t know how it came up – I was quite a few drams down by then) it was compared to a gay lad on the Love Boat. I will let you figure that one out yourselves!

PS Poor wee whisky, in the consumption contest, Steamship lagged behind all the other Bushmills…

Bushmills Steamship, 10, 16, 21

Bushmills Steamship, 10, 16, 21

Here are more guest reviews by different Whisky Ladies of Mumbai!

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