Saturday, October 10, 2015

Glenmorangie Astar

In a previous Glenmorangie review I noted my partiality to the house style, in particular to the reliable 10 year old throughout the heat of summer. While we're still a couple of months away from summer here, somebody forgot to tell The Weather this little fact and we're enjoying the hottest October on record (so far) in these parts (but as it is most certainly cold somewhere in the world, we can be certain that climate change is definitely not happening. No way.) So, time to revisit an old favourite.

I really enjoyed this when first released, so when I saw it again at my local recently (at pretty much the original price, too, actually) I felt compelled to jump on it.

Astar. Virgin oak. Cask strength. NAS.
Peak Glenmo.

Glenmorangie Astar, 57.1%

Nose: Oak, natch. Sweet vanilla and coconut. Lots of all that. Some of the more aggressive wood characteristics blow off a little after some time in the glass. Water perhaps adds the faintest hint of ripe peach.

Palate: Heavy wood up top, sweet coconut and vanilla underneath. A bit of heat too. Quite noticeable layering here. The oak is pretty aggressive and easily the dominant layer. Water adds a hint of honeyed fruit.

Finish: Drying oak spice continues for quite a while, becoming increasingly metallic on the tongue, as the vanilla fades. Water sees the sweetness continue a fraction longer maybe.

Well, it's certainly more woody than I remember, but accusing Glenmorangie - this Glenmorangie - of being oak driven would seem to be a pretty futile exercise.

In any case, it hasn't given me as much fruity pleasure at it once did. Yet on these unseasonably hot nights I have found that the oak can be partially tamed by drinking it over some ice, and so that's how I've enjoyed the bulk of this bottle. Refreshing and thirst-quenching.

But I can of course also get that anytime, quickly and cheaply, from the 10 year old, too.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Springbank 2000, 13 Year Old, SMWS 27.106 "A boiler suit in ballet shoes"

A Springbank from what must be the most active refill bourbon cask in the history of history. And casks.

Springbank 2000, 13 Year Old, SMWS 27.106 "A boiler suit in ballet shoes", 50%

Nose: Quince jam, peat smoke and a touch of ash, too, perhaps. Hint of something herbal in the background.

Palate: Luscious, thick and oily texture. Sweet red fruit and figs. A hint of cabbage-y sulphur too, actually, which I haven't noticed on previous tastes to be honest. Salt and maybe a touch of aged balsamic.

Finish: Peat on the initial swallow, and this lingers through the sweet, thick and rather long finish as the salt becomes increasingly licorice-like.

Well, the label says refill bourbon so I guess it is, but it really is presenting a lot like an ex-sherry.
Anyway, nice "drinking" whisky. Not very complex, but it does have a lovely texture and mouthfeel.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Springbank 17 Sherry Wood (2015)

Forgive me Communist heathen Pope, it's been some time since my last entry.

Springbank 17 Sherry Wood (2015) 52.3%

Nose: Leather, ginger ale, mild and sweet heathery peat, and chocolate. After a while some fruit emerges - papaya mainly, with perhaps a hint of peach too.

Palate: Chocolate, papaya, salt, along with the ol' Springbank tells of  earth and engine oil.
Water doesn't seem to add too much, although perhaps now it serves to heighten both the sweetness and the salt.

Finish: The papaya and salt pulsate through the finish, with the chocolate reappearing before the dirty oil swirls back to the top at the death.
Water seems to add a bit of spice at the end as that increased saltiness from the palate follows through on the finish.

To be honest I was expecting more - or at least something different - from this sherried Springbank. While I have enjoyed it and it has certainly grown on me - this review is from the last quarter of the bottle - I had hoped upon release that it may be a full-sherried (first fill) experience as opposed to the largely re-fill barrel notes this seems to me to offer.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Glen Ord 1983, 31 Year Old, Cadenhead Single Cask

You (and by that I suppose I mean I) don't tend to see a lot of Glen Ord around (although I note that Signatory have just recently released another single cask), the bulk of the 162 independent bottlings listed on whiskybase coming from Signatory and SMWS, with Cadenhead a distant third.

[This, incidentally, will be the second of Cadenhead's gold-labelled Single Cask series that I've tried, the first being this really bloody good Glen Keith.]

I have, though, never actually tried a Glen Ord before this, but from what I've read of the profile, it should fit comfortably up my alley - amongst other euphemistic mixed metaphors.

[For the record, I'm sticking with the more recognisable "Glen Ord" in the title rather than Cadenhead's Glen-less "Ord" - the arcane and eccentric distillery naming system that Cadenhead utilise for their labels goes way above the head of one such as myself, so I wont even bother trying to work this one out.]

Glen Ord 1983, 31 Year Old, Cadenhead Single Cask, 51%

Nose: Sweet honeyed barley at first, soon becoming quite waxy. After a little while some fruits gather - rock melon, kiwi and a hint of orange citrus. Oak spices emerge after even more time.
Water accentuates the fruit a touch, bringing in some sweeter stonefruit like peaches and nectarines, and after a while some less sweet stuff like papaya and cocoa.

Palate: Powerful, mouth-filling arrival, with lots of spice, malt, wax and salt. A touch of Clynelish about it. Something herbal - rosemary? - along with vanilla, passionfruit and milk chocolate.
Water turns down the heat a fraction and releases a whole lot more fresh fruit - orange, peach, melon, mango, pineapple - along with honey and maybe cinnamon. Beautiful bourbon cask notes. The mouthfeel remains creamy yet prickly and lively as it expands across the palate. Maybe a touch of smoke here, too, now?

Finish: It remains quite spicy as it develops, with the salt lingering into the chocolate-laden finish.
Water sees the fruit - oranges, clementines, mango - extend further into the long salty finish with the chocolate now prominent only right at the very death.

Great whisky.
For me, an absolute highland classic. Salt, bucket-loads of (tropical) fruit, spice and a hint of smoke.
The kind of whisky I wish I could drink forever.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Clynelish 1997, 17 Year Old, Maltbarn, 48.6%

Maltbarn would have to be one of my favourite bottlers at the moment. Great selections (I haven't yet tried - in my somewhat limited experience - anything that I'd classify as a complete dud), great labels and great people.

This is the second 1997 Clynelish I've tried from Maltbarn - the first was very good so I was very much looking forward to this which, like that first one, is drawn from a bourbon cask.

Clynelish 1997, 17 Year Old, Maltbarn, 48.6%

Nose: It's really quite reticent at first. Eventually there's hints of butterscotch, salt and wax.
Water releases some menthol (see below), and that distinct Clynelish-y maltiness begins to emerge.

Palate: Butter-Menthol. So much Butter-Menthol. (Butter-Menthol is an Australian throat lozenge comprised primarily of sugar, sodium ascorbate and, yes, you guessed it, menthol and butter. I'm sure there are similar products around, but it's a very familiar taste to an Aussie palate - well, certainly to this one anyway.) Salt builds through the development, as do some sweeter citrus notes. Yellow fruits appear underneath that salt after some more time in the glass.

Water enhances all of the above, perhaps increasing the saltiness above all, as it works in tandem with the menthol to expand and prickle the palate.

Finish: Medium length. It finishes as it began, salty Butter-Menthols.
Water extends the finish dramatically and, as for the palate, increases the saltiness.

It may seem, from these notes, that this whisky is a little one-dimensional and lacking in complexity, but that could just be my palate fixating on the familiar at the expense of everything else. (The nose was also nearly absent at this sitting, so perhaps my senses are just a little dulled at the moment.)

Regardless, this is a deliciously lip-smacking Clynelish. So salty and buttery (and of course menthol-ly). Extremely more-ish.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Ben Nevis 1996, 18 Year Old, Whiskybase

A Ben Nevis tonight, bottled by Menno and CJ at to mark the 60,000th whisky added to the Whiskybase database. The first Ben Nevis on this blog too, it seems.

Ben Nevis 1996, 18 Year Old, "60,000 Bottles on the Wall", 50.6%

Nose: Heavily oxidised wine, beef stock, BBQ sauce, hoisin, sweet soy. A hint of sweet citrussy stuff too, nestled in some really nice powdery oak tannins holding it together. After a little longer some plums emerge, together with walnuts.
Water lightens the nose, emphasising the citrus amid the still dominant oxidised wine, and turning the plums into something more like red berries perhaps.

Palate: Initially a burst of plummy sweetness which is soon joined by that lovely citrus element again. There's some spices - cinnamon and cloves - and some of the savoury stuff promised by the nose - beef stock and something funky and fungal - lurking at the back as well.
Water heightens the citrus - and brightens the palate in general with perhaps a hint of those red berries - at the expense, though, of some of those savoury notes.

Finish: Long  finish, heavy on salted licorice amongst the palate's sweeter notes. There's also notes reminiscent of top-end grappa that linger longest on the finish, (further) evidence, I suspect, of some top quality European oak.
Water does not drastically alter much, but it does perhaps extend some of those plum and red fruit notes further into the finish.

This is a very good drink. I really like it. Great nose and finish. Complex, delicious, interesting and just a bit different, this is a super choice as commemorative bottling by the guys at Whiskybase. Long gone now I think though.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Glentauchers 2010, 4 YO, C&S Dram Collection

If you're stupid brave enough to embark on one, you can learn a lot about yourself on a family road trip. Having just arrived back from a two week holiday that culminated in a final day, ten-and-a-half-hour drive home from the south coast of NSW - our five month old and three year old maniacs strapped in but by no means subdued - I can confirm, though, that a lot of it aint pretty.

I wont bore you (too much/any further) with any of the lessons I learned that day (and will endeavour to unlearn until the next time the lunatics hit the road in pursuit of a "holiday"), but suffice it to say that at one point I found myself muttering "I'm making time" in response to an unasked (but implicit in the white knuckles of my equally desperate better half) question as I planted my foot and overtook three semis at speed on a sharp turn (the stereo belting out not Voodoo Chile, but a continuous loop of tracks from the Brandenburg Concerto, Bringing It All Back Home, and The Very Best of Toots and the Maytals).

So, Glentauchers then. I know absolutely bugger all about Glentauchers. But this is the kind of dram that one might need after such a journey. A very young, strong, sherry butt whisky. I bought these samples from Whiskybase.

Glentauchers 2010, 4 Year Old, C&S Dram Collection, 66.6%

Nose: Caramel, chocolate and chilli at first. Surprisingly, there's not a massive alcohol burn in the nostrils, even as it prickles the lips. After a while, we get BBQ sauce, Thai yellow soy bean paste and white pepper.
The addition of water douses the caramel a little and introduces a bubblegum note as it becomes slightly floral and even a little herbal.

Palate: Here's that alcohol! Fiery heat, naturally, but it's actually not overwhelming at this stage. Milk chocolate, chilli - sort of reminiscent of the chilli pepper I find in Nikka From the Barrel. Gum leaf, menthol.
Water releases some more sweetness as it brings the caramel and chocolate to the fore.

Finish: Long, hot, prickly finish, with some chest burn. Chilli pepper, black pepper, chocolate. Water extends the caramel and chocolate here as well.

An interesting whisky. Brutally strong and young in many respects, but also kind of approachable and enjoyable in others. Not particularly complex. It sure can take a lot of water, so I guess there's plenty of bang for your buck.

I wonder if they decided to bottle it when they did - four months shy of its fifth birthday - so as to release it at 66.6%?

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Longrow 7 Year Old Gaja Barolo Wood

This was the first Longrow I ever tried, back in the day.

 Being something of a wine wanker at the time (now long since lapsed), I guess I was immediately seduced by that magical word on the label (at least to an Italian wine lover) "Gaja", makers of some of the best - and most expensive and sought after - Barbaresco (like Barolo, made exclusively from nebbiolo) the eponymous commune in Piemonte has to offer. They also own a couple of small parcels of land in Barolo and produce a good quality - but far from earth shattering like their Barbaresci - cru from these vineyards called "Dagromis" (at least it was called this the last time I tried it (the 2004 vintage) in 2010 - not too long before I tried this whisky I guess - but the name has changed previously so may well have changed since, I don't know.) It is (or was, see previous disclaimer), at least in Barolo terms, an approachable, early drinking style, less tannic and more fruity than some other examples.
And so, the barrels used to finish this whisky - and the more recent Springbank bottling (more on that below) - must have once housed this Dagromis, or an earlier iteration of it.

Wow, how easy is it to fall back into bad habits? I just blah-blahhed on there about wine for ages without even realising it. Anyway...

"Gaja" on a whisky bottle - a Springbank-made whisky no less, although this was before I truly knew much about the stuff - meant I just had to try it. And also meant that I was probably positively inclined to it even before actually drinking it. If you're still here reading and you actually care either way, I'll tell you that yes, I really quite enjoyed it. It was different, obviously, than anything I'd ever had before - Longrow peat, wine-y fruit - and was a bit of a brute to boot, but I recall enjoying it more and more the deeper I got into the bottle.

Now, years later, time to open another bottle and see what I makes of it - this time as something of a whisky geek as opposed to wine wanker, with all the experiences and expectations that this may or may not entail.

[As an(other) aside, the Australian distributor of Springbank has stated that Gaja requested that their name be removed from all paraphernalia associated with the subsequent (2013) Springbank bottling [it was OK - good, even - not nearly as wine-influenced as the first, my brief notes describe it as grapey (as opposed to wine-y), coastal notes accompanied by ginger and spice, with building ash and smoke], which apparently saw these same barrels used again, pretty much straight after (as per the labels, the Longrow was bottled January 2008, while the Springbank was racked into the Gaja barrels some time after February (but before October) 2008). When I asked him why Gaja disowned the second release - I assumed that it was simply unauthorised, the name used again without permission - the distributor had no idea either. He had been told by Springbank, though, that "if the barrels still have the winery's name stamped on the heads, then they, Springbank, will use it."

So, it probably is just a case of Gaja not being happy about their name being used a second time. One thing I did notice, however, when looking at my empty bottle (*see pic below) of the Springbank version, is the use of the words "Fresh Gaja Barolo Casks" again on the label (you'll note that these same words appear on the Longrow label, below). Now, if these are the same barrels - as I have been told they are and as surely they must be - then they can no longer be described as "Fresh" casks, can they? Surely they are now "Re-fill" Gaja Barolo casks, no? (I suppose "Fresh" can be made to mean anything really, though, can't it?)

Is this what someone at Gaja objected to? Probably not, as it seems a bit of a stretch for a wine company to bother itself with the arcane arts of whisky labeling nomenclature rules and regulations, but interesting all the same.]

Longrow 2000, 7 Year Old, Gaja Barolo Wood, 55.8%

Nose: Choc-caramel Rolos at first. Then after a little while comes some mulch, heather and peat. Soon after there's also BBQ sauce and sweet underarm BO.
With water, the nose lightens a little, less mulch and more nutty peat. Still a touch of BO and BBQ sauce.

Palate: Heavy peat, and not - at first - nearly as sweet as suggested by the nose. Aggressively hot. Smoke builds at the rear. After some time the sweetness arrives. At first it's fairly subtle, but slowly becomes full of red berries - lots of raspberry - and jams, sitting in a heavy layer on top.
The addition of water further integrates that sweetness and tempers the fierce heat somewhat, making the whole thing more comprehensible.

Finish: Quite long. A layer of sweet fruit, coupled with smoke, peat, heat and menthol that lasts and lasts.
With water, the smoke seems to dominates more, while as with the palate, the sweet fruit is better entwined with the peat. More acrid than menthol at the death now.

It takes water well, this. And needs it, I reckon, along with a bit air. It's pretty fierce. (The first couple of pours from this bottle were a jumbled, scorching mess. I left it alone for a few weeks to sort its shit out before coming back to it again.) The integration that time and water bring turn it into quite an interesting dram actually. Not complex, but interesting and tasty all the same.
And no, probably not quite as "good" as I remember it being the first time round, but that's taste and experience isn't it? Both always changing.

*Here's the empty bottle pic

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Glenfiddich 8 Year Old Unblended Scotch Whisky

I picked this jug up with a low-ball bid at auction.
I have no idea as to the provenance of it, and the cork quickly crumbled when I tried to extract it, necessitating a decant into another bottle.
I'm not even sure what era it emanates from - I can't seem to find any marker on the jug to point to this - but I'm guessing 70s or 80s?

Glenfiddich 8 Year Old Unblended Scotch Whisky (Ceramic Handle Decanter) 43%

Nose: Something sour at first, quickly turning to waaaay too over ripe fruit. Pureed apples. Something lactic and yoghurt-like. It's pretty out there. After a while some more recognisable notes appear underneath - some wood spice, a faint trace of honey. After even more time there's signs of integration as that near-rotten element dissipates, although hold on, now there's something plasticky lurking beneath. There may be traces of sweaty armpit and fish sauce there too, for good measure.

Palate: A fairly rich and full mouthfeel, considering the degrees Gay-Lussac stated on the jug. Ripe red apples. Over ripe oranges. Cumquats. A bit of spice. The fruit quickly becomes increasingly acrid and pungent. After 30 minutes or so things settle down a bit and we get a little more roundness. A touch more sweetness as the spice gains greater definition - cloves predominantly I reckon - while the (rapidly browning) red-skinned apples are joined by something red-fleshed like plum perhaps.

Finish: Medium long. A drop of plum sweetness initially, then increasingly pungent down the line. As time passes it takes on dried tea notes, all the while redolent of something vaguely sickly and milky. There seems to be a touch of smoke at the death too. Ashtrays.

Wow, pretty bizarre . But I kinda like it.
Old-school whisky. Old bottle ceramic handle decanter effect. Who-knows-what kind of storage conditions. All of that I guess.
The  initial nose is as close to rancid as you get without crossing that line, and while that fades over time, its feinty replacement is no less challenging. But after half an hour in the glass this becomes more "recognisable" and enjoyable to taste, while prior to that it is never anything short of interesting and bewildering to sip.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Glen Keith 1985, 29 Year Old, Cadenhead

Tonight, a review of a 29 year old 1985 Glen Keith from Cadenhead's gold-emblazoned Single Cask range, following ever-so-quick on the heels of yesterday's Maltbarn bottling.

It's Glen Keith madness.

Chivas got Glen Keith back up and running in 2013, saved from the mothballs it had been wallowing in since 1999. Another interesting fact that I just gathered from Malt Madness is that up until the 1980s Glen Keith switched between double and triple distillation. This bottling from 1985, though, is - I am fairly certain - the product of double distillation.

Glen Keith 1985, 29 Year Old, Cadenhead Single Cask, 47.5%

Nose: A gorgeous nose right from the outset. There's honey and cinnamon, ripe peach and nectarine, and subtle oak spices. Water releases more yellow fruit, as well as something floral and lifting too - white flowers and mangoes.

Palate: Narrow and slightly sharp to begin with. Very ripe tropical fruits soon emerge, but are hidden somewhat by the heat. Water broadens the palate and improves things immensely. The fruit is still quite ripe - mangoes, papaya, melon  - but is now released from the alcohol slightly and accompanied by a slight waxiness. Something herbal there now too - sweet basil perhaps? - and it's lending a freshness, just as things threaten to become cloying.

Finish: A little oak-dominant at first, grippy and drying too. Air and water push back much of the oak and let the fruit and spice through too, completely transforming things. The now very long, lively finish becomes slightly acrid right at the death.

Superbly aged Glen Keith this. Just so juicy and alive despite its age. It did need just a touch of water though, for my tastes.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Glen Keith 1992, 22 Year Old, Maltbarn

Today, a review of a 22 year old Glen Keith from the German bottler Maltbarn.

Maltbarn, I have come to learn, release some seriously good booze. I've recently enjoyed this awesome Clynelish, and have another couple of bottles of theirs still waiting to be opened. While I've purchased mine from Whiskybase, they also sell their own bottles through their website, along with a smattering of other bottles they consider worthy.

Glen Keith 1992, 22 Year Old, Maltbarn, 49.4%

Nose: Austere at first, but after a little while some chardonnay-like spice begins to emerge, soon followed by sweeter honey notes. The addition of water sees an immediate change as a bowlful of fruit is uncovered - tropical stuff like mango, passionfruit and maybe pineapple, along with some red fruit like strawberries and plums.

Palate: Quite a hot arrival. Starts out rather dry at the front but gets sweeter as it circles the back palate. After a little time in the glass the heat mellows somewhat. With water it becomes fruitier, although not as much as the amazing diluted nose promised. We do still get, though, the addition of some riper fruit like nectarine and peach drizzled with a hint of honey.

Finish: Shortish, dry finish at first, that gets a little fruitier as it lingers. Drying oak. Gets longer as it breathes. Water fans out and extends the finish greatly. While it remains slightly puckering and drying, the astringency is not unpleasant as it's accompanied by some warming spice and the emergent fruit from the watered-down palate.

To be honest, this isn't the best showing from this bottle. I have enjoyed it much, much more on previous occasions, but I can only describe it as I see it tonight I guess (I will check back in in the comments section below, though, as the bottle empties).

Still, it remains a lovely dram, one which I could - and just about have - happily enjoy every night. It has those lovely, classic, bourbon-matured notes that are so prominent in good Glen Keith and that I never tire of - particularly on the nose, which is absolutely bloody lovely, even tonight in what has proved to be a somewhat diminished outing.

It has, I think, simply suffered in comparison to another Glen Keith that I've had since, one that will - all going well - be reviewed here shortly as well.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Amrut Cask Strength

Amrut week continues (you can refresh your memory and relive the good times here and here for the earlier installments) with a review of the Amrut Cask Strength.

Now, I'm afraid, ashamed and alliterated to say that I've not had the standard strength Amrut Single Malt and thus don't strictly have a reference point for this - beyond the Fusion and the aforementioned "wine sandwich" malts. But hey, who gives a fat rat's clacker? Ignorance and stupidity are the foundations upon which this blog are built.

Amrut Cask Strength 61.8% (2014 release?)

Nose: After first pouring there's butter, banana and honey. Some lighter malt aromas develop with time in the glass. With the addition of water some oak spice comes out. Even later something like peanuts with skins on emerges.

Palate: Big arrival, with a blast of heat and serious penetration. It becomes a little maltier after a while, in a brioche bun kinda way, followed by dry spices and tannin. With water, some mild bourbon fruits emerge - sweet citrus, white peach - followed by a green, grassy note which seems to sit slightly sublingual.

Finish: A shortish finish as the huge arrival ebbs as rapidly as it flowed. Water lengthens the finish a little as the oak spices begin to dominate. It becomes increasingly acrid as it fades.

It's a good drink - mature beyond it's years (whatever they are - 6 or 7 maybe? I don't know, I should look it up), very drinkable - but it's a touch too inoffensive. Lacking in complexity I guess, and the finish lets it down I reckon. Not bad, but, for me, not a patch on the Portonova.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Amrut Intermediate Sherry

A review of the Amrut Intermediate Sherry today, following on from yesterday's review of the Portonova, its "sandwich" sibling.

I'm knackered, and have nothing else to say, so here 'tis.

Amrut Intermediate Sherry 57.1% (2014 release?)

Nose: Straight out of the bottle there's clove studded oranges, and some mild varnish, but it's pretty low key. After some time in the glass these aromas build and swirl and are joined by something sweeter and biscuit-like. Water releases some sweet soy sauce and a hint of spice.

Palate: A sweetish, fruitcake entry rapidly transitions into dry sherry notes. Water expands the entry and makes the mouthfeel increasingly grippy. Sherry spices - cloves, cardamom - join the fray. A little lighter in feel and texture to the Portonova.

Finish: Long, flowing back and forth in in waves. Drying, but with ripples of fruit running through as well. Water increases the dried fruit presence as the grippiness from the palate continues and serves to even further lengthen the finish.

The finish here is epic, and the sherry notes pristine, but I think I prefer the slightly more hedonistic and mouth-filling Portonova.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Amrut Portonova

The Amrut Portonova and Amrut Intermediate Sherry are (I believe) both newly arrived in Australia. Having previously tried only the Fusion - it's great value, fantastic for the price, and I bought two bottles only the other week when on special and probably should have bought more - I was very keen to try both, so purchased some samples (from - they're selling samples, but not full bottles of this), along with a sample of the Amrut Cask Strength for good measure.

Today I review the Portonvova (with the Intermediate Sherry to soon follow), a whisky matured first in bourbon barrels, then in Port pipes, and then racked back into (the same? I don't know) bourbon barrels to make something that is now known, apparently, as a "port-pipe sandwich".
Mmmm, sandwich.

Amrut Portonova (NAS) 62.1% (2013, Batch 4)

Nose: Surprisingly, given the ABV, it's not super-aggressive first up out of the sample bottle - rather closed in fact and revealing only shortbread, vague malt aromas and a touch of butter. After fifteen minutes or so the wine has really come to the surface and begins to dominate - proper fortified fumes coming off it now. Water releases a bit of peat, as well as some spiced orange, dried apricot and sweet spices.

Palate: Powerful and invasive, clawing its way up the back of the throat. Hot and sweet on red fruits. Water expands and levels out the palate a fraction, bringing out spices, gentle peat, dried fruit, oranges and dark chocolate, while knocking back some of the fire. The port itself is now nowhere near as obvious as it was on the nose.

Finish: Emphatic, but short. Water both lengthens and broadens things, lengthening the dried fruit and spices from the palate while introducing some slightly drying cigar notes, which end up lingering longest and balancing out any residual sweetness.

I was a little late to the Amrut party, but now that I'm in I aint leaving anytime soon. This is an excellent (partially) Port-matured whisky. I'm buying.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Clynelish 1997, 17 Year Old, Maltbarn

Another Clynelish 1997, this time a 17 year old from German bottler Maltbarn.

It's been some time since my last post.
It's not like I haven't been drinking. Boy, have I been drinking. It's just that I've become so incredibly time-poor - with the newborn and toddler dominating us and our home like so many pint-sized tyrants - that I've had little time to record anything. Hopefully things will ease soon, though, and I'll be able to get to the rapidly expanding backlog.

Clynelish 1997, 17 Year Old, Maltbarn, 52.4%

Nose: Lemons, sugared fried pastries (farfallette dolci, if you know your festive fried Italian goodies), and sweet malt. Water releases lemon-talc, clementines, red berries and peaches, as the nose really explodes with dilution.

Palate: Sweet malt - that typically Clynelish tongue-coating maltiness. Pretty hot as it hits the back palate, and perhaps a tad metallic too. A burst of citrus immediately after swallowing. With water, really interesting layers of flavour develop. On top, there's a thin layer of rich malt, but underneath there's this lovely sharp-but-sweet fresh, yellow fruit thing going on. Sweet citrus, salt and spices.

Finish: Medium long. Spicy initially, but then it becomes quite dry and prickly. Water lengthens and broadens things considerably. The fruit is extended and the finish softened accordingly, as the stonefruit and citrus continue down the line as a gentle saltiness rises.

This bottle actually took some time to open up and grow on me. At first opening it presented as very  malty and quite one-dimensional. It wasn't until after four or five drams that the bottle's qualities began to appear and shine. Once they did, though, this whisky quickly became a firm favourite. It's absolutely delicious - once water has been added - in its lip-smacking goodness.