This Clynelish is smooth and creamy. A great Whisky to sip and relax. Maybe on the front porch or next to a fire place. But one should really have a rocking chair to get the full experience.
So with no further ado: Eric Clapton!
This flight will conclude the Mystery-Tasting Series for 2016. I hope we can finish this year with a bang. From Speyside we will have Glenfarclas 18 year old. From the Highlands a Clynelish with the working title “Waffles and Ice Cream” and from Islay a Bunnahabhain from our friends at Adelphi. We should be able to find some gems here. Let’s see…
Glenfarclas 18, Original Bottling, 43% vol.
S:5 G:3 P:1, Colour: dark amber, Score: 83
The Glenfarclas-sherry-arrival, just the way I like it. Christmas cake (how appropriate) and spices with almonds. Some over ripe pears and some orange peel, or make that candied orange peel since the Pannetone is just around the corner. On the palate it starts with spicy oak then becomes medium sweet and creamy. Really quite dry and with compliments from the cask. Not as fruity as the nose would suggest but well balanced. By adding water the whole gets younger and lighter. The concept is lost and the oak feels more. Don’t do it. A higher strength would have helped. Finishes medium long and drying, could this be European oak?😋
Clynelish, Wemyss Malts, 54.2% vol.
“Waffles and Cream”, 1997-2015
S:5 G:3 P:1, Colour: gold, Score: 88
On the nose I get vanilla, floral notes and some yeast. As weird as it sounds I do get something creamy. Could be the ice cream they are talking about. Peaches, Apricots and minimal oak. Also pencil shavings and old school shoe polish. There is a savoury note in there and just a whisp of smoke. It tastes sweet and round with a wonderful creamy mouth feel. I don’t find any waffles but maybe it should rather be “Peaches and Cream”. With water it gets fresher, more lemons but the general profile remains. Lots of tinned fruit and and cream. Looses some depth but it’s worth playing with water. The finish is long with good lingering oak. Quality liquid from Wemyss.
Bunnahabhain 11, Adelphi Selection, 56.4% vol.
S:3 G:4 P:4, Colour: light amber, Score: 85
Mmm bonfire, brine and juicy lemons. I like! There is something nutty and definitely umami. A tiny floral note and maybe some green tomatoes. Quite strong nosing at 56.4. Taste: Spicy and dense arrival, sweet but drying. Quite oily and savory with well balanced peat. Some quality oak, ash and lemons. Easy drinking, even at full strength. But just for fun: Water please! Lemons in brine, that’s it for the nose. Less immediate but still oily and dense. Less spicy but the oak remains present. Holds up to a lot of dilution. Long and warming finish with some tingling in the cheeks. Some dunnage taste arriving late. Once again Adelphi delivers…
We have a winner. No surprise really, since Springbank is one of the most consistent and dedicated distilleries around. Producing consistently good quality as well. So grab a Springbank 12 CS, poor yourself a dram and listen to the radio playing at the Campeltow docks.
We are getting towards the end of this Endeavour. Interesting Flight today. Some surprises and a no brainer. We have a Glen Order from the Highlands a Bowmore from Islay and a Springbank representing Campeltown. We will have them in this order. Lets go!
Glen Ord, Clydesdale, 57.2% vol., 2006-2013
S:5 G:3 P:1, Colour: white wine, Score: 82
Starts fresh and floral with some grassy notes as well. Peaches and cream emerge in the follow-up. Some good oak, leather and some shoe polish. Possibly some artichokes and certainly an umami taste. How about artichoke stock. Creamy mouthfeel with a sweet and fizzy introduction. Vanilla, Lemons, limes and again the flavours from a quality cask. Quite singular but most definitely a new perspective. Long finish with a lot of oak. Great work by Clydsdale (Blackadder) which have surprised me more than once with some excellent bottlings.
Bowmore, Malts of Scotland, 46% vol., 2001-2015 S:2 G:3 P:4, Colour: white wine, Score: 81
Fresh lemony beginning which moves right on to the coal smoke. A walk on Islay with kelp and seaweed and the remains of a bonfire. Some green branches and after the first taste I get some peaches and raw asparagus from the garden. On the palate: Fizzy and sweet with a great creamy mouthfeel. Surprisingly I find some peaches and apricots. The whole thing gets a bit thin after a while but its well balanced. Medium to long finish with hints of oak and rancio ( thanks to Alex Bruce I now know the “professional” word for a dunnage flavour). A few more years and it might have been a lot more complex. Whisky needs time…
Springbank 12 CS, Original Bottling, 54.1% vol.
S:4 G:3 P:2, Colour: gold, Score: 90
Oh…quite different here. Caramel, stock, brine and oranges on the nose. Really dense and heavy nose with lots of layers. Take your time… After the firs taste I get barley sugar, pineapple, ripe peaches, marmalade, cured ham with cantaloupes (how nice is that ;)) I’m not done yet: caramelised chestnuts and a wisp of smoke. Initially sweet with a lovely peppery oak. Oily mouthfeel with blackcurrant, ripe cantaloupe, candied ginger, grated orange peel and premium shoe polish (if that exists). Wonderful mouthfeel! Long and smooth finish with some great rancio. So nice to see that some distilleries don’t change their style just to make an extra buck. Consistency wins in the long run especially if the whisky is this good. Keep up the good work…
A worthy winner. Solid performance, classic appeal and just right for any time of the day… (…after Lunch, we’re not alcoholics! Are we?). I know just the song to match this profile. Mind you, the boys in the clip are not performing quite like our Whisky here but I am sure they would feel alot better after having one 😂
Here we go with the fourth session for October. A flight with quite some differences. Hailing from the Highlands we have a Glen Garioch. They have recently re-branded their range. We’ll check what the spirit thinks of that. Our Speysider is a Benromach which is always pleasant in my books. Scapa, from the island of Orkney, is not very common and I have yet to try one myself. Lets start with that one!
Scapa, Gordon&McPhail, 43% vol., 2001-2016
S:3 G:3 P:1, Colour: white wine, Score: 78
Starts with lots of fresh fruit: I find ripe lemons, pears and kiwi accompanied by some vanilla. Sugar cookies and some yeast. Also a slight mineral accent, wet rocks by the sea. Smell the ocean breeze? Initial oak attack on the palate, medium sweet anf drying, lemons again. A stack of drying hay some Marzipan and oddly, sweet Mustard. The finish is rather short with lots of tannins from the wood. Some rebellious 3rd fill…😂
Benromach 15, Original Bottling, 43% vol.
S:5 G: 5 P:2, Colour: amber, Score: 87
Off the bat it’s quite sweet and full, some barley sugar followed by brine. Sweet and salty is always a favorite! Beeswax, a little new leather and moss in the forest. I find all sorts of jams as well: Apricot, peach and my beloved orange marmalade. The mouth feel is creamy and start with a peppery catch. Good wood and lots of it. Medium sweet a little drying, compliments to the oak. Malted barley and some candied oranges. This one gets smoother and more palatable the second time around. Once in a while I encounter a Whisky that seems to improve with every sip, I do think that’s an asset. Slight hint of smoke and a salty breeze from the ocean…How poetic! Finishes long and leaves your mouth wanting more. What I always enjoy with Benromach is the lingering aftertaste of a traditional dunnage warehouse. Quite spectacular, as expected. G&M are doing what I would like to see more often: Single malt with character produced the traditional way! Big thums-up from me.
Glen Garioch 12, Original Bottling, 48% vol.
S:4 G:3 P:2, Colour: light copper, Score: 86
The nose is intense and somewhat heavy. Full and spicy. Dark fruits abound: Plums, figs maybe some forest berries, some rising bread in the background. After a few minutes the fruit disappears and I get much more substantial aromas. Some game stock and cured bacon from a backwoods butchery. This nose is a meal! Could I order a side of curly fries? 😂 …back to work! Tastes sweet and spicy. There is a zippy and quite peppery oak but that remains pleasant. Dried apricots and seaweed. There’s something to try! In the background there is a trace of strong Ethiopian coffee. The finish is medium long and getting dryer.
I like this heavy nose a lot too bad the palate doesn’t deliver. Still, very solid uncommercial style…
Lets tackle the third Flight in this entertaining Series. I do hope you are enjoying it as much as I am!
For September we have the following Drams: From Speyside we will try a Glenlossie, a Jura from the Islands and last but not least an Ardmore from the Highlands. Here we go, lets start with a distillery I have not yet come across. How exciting!
Glenlossie, Hart Brothers, 46% vol., 1998-2012
S:4 G:3 P:1 / Color: white wine / Score:85
A rather fresh and summery start. Loads of lemons and their flowers. Vanilla, vanilla and a little more vanilla. Very pleasent, yet delicate composition. I also get fresh malt in a tin box, if that makes any sense? How about chalk and whiffs of almond oil. In the far background I find some chicken broth as well. The taste is light and smooth with a hint of oak wood. It’s medium sweet and drying. Nice to see the distillery character dominating. Not overly complex but very well done. Really like the texture better with every sip, some kind of chewy lemon candies for grown-ups. Keeps improving. Now I get peaches and cream! By adding water we break the concept. There is some spirity notes and the fruitiness goes away. Lets hope the taste has gained some…Sweeter but lighter. Becomes quite sour and bitter, water is not recommended. Stick with the above, much better. The finish is long and drying with a nice cask flavor lingering. What’s to say: There will be a place in my Hart for these Brothers…Good work!
Jura “Duirachs’ Own”, Original Bottling, 40% vol.
S:3 G:2 P:1 / Color: light amber / Score: 76
A meaty start on smoked ham. Some peaches and Demerara sugar. Feels thick and a little unsettled. A floral note comes forward once in a while. The longer I nose this the thinner it gets, odd! The mouth feel is good with some tingly wood. Malty sweetness and quite a lot of tannins from the oak. How to put this: Simple and un-challenging. Not that I want to add water the way this is going, but here we go: Same, same but lighter. Any lighter and this would be air…(lame, I know). Tastes really thin now. Mind you, the bitterness is less intense but so is everything else. NO SWIMMING on the Isle of Jura I’m afraid. Medium finish leaving you behind with bitterness on the inside of your cheeks. We have had better and worse before…moving on!
Ardmore, Gordon&McPhail, 43% vol., 1995-2012
S:4 G:2 P:1 / Color: amber / Score:81
This one is a little shy. Quite closed to begin with, then some lemons and apples. Malted barley with honey, old metal coins and a side of chalk. Usually Ardmore has at least a hint of smoke but this baby is “naked”. On the palate it’s sweet and sour. The texture is nice and chewy and the wood is good. Rather singular but definitely good quality. Many “non-Whisky-drinkers” could manage this one. Even with the addition of water it still doesn’t want to open up! Gets a little more floral with lemons or maybe even lemongrass this time. Tastes sweeter and less sour. Handles water well, not an improvement but a perspective. Finishes medium long with some good dunnage aftertaste. Look at that: Ardmore with a happy end…😂
The Kilkerran wins this one by a smidgen. Close but a fair winner. Pour yourself a Kilkerran and lets see what music I can come up with. The future of Kilkerran is bright, so here comes the sun. The image is linked to youtube for your convenience.
With Spanish subs, tribute to the Sherry casks…lol