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Month: April 2018

Jack Wiebers Caol Ila 1997 / 19yo 030167 Great Ocean Liners / 40.2 % Vol.

Jack Wiebers Caol Ila 1997 / 19yo 030167 Great Ocean Liners / 40.2 % Vol.

A good while ago, I was given an almost empty bottle of this JWWW’s Caol Ila Single Cask. There were around 2-3 drams left, and after the first one I wasn’t too impressed to be honest. Okay, to be fair it was in a quite busy and loud environment. But after that first encounter, the bottle went into my stash for about 6 months. Now, the strength is quite low, which makes one wonder if this is natural cask strength or diluted on purpose. If you consider the hefty retail price tag (~200€) that this bottle was carrying, it’s quite mysterious to why the strength is so low. After retasting however, I found it not weak or „smooth“ at all. Let’s see…

Caol Ila 1997 / 19yo

Foto Credit: justadram.org

Nose:

Rich bonfire smoke, the seashore, wet gravel, freshly cut ginger, lime, green apples, vanilla pods, ozone, chlorine. A swimming pool on islay? With time it gets more salty and herbal, even some hints of liqourice appear. Trademark Caol Ila and not shy at all!

Mouth:

Mineral and earthy. Subdued and mature peat, pink grapefruit, appleskin, ginger again. You could even call this refreshing 😉 A nice velvety texture. Some herbs and a little cooling menthol lurking in the rather short finish.

Comments:

Despite the low ABV this one doesn’t feel watered down at all. The mouthfeel is rich and soft at the same time. This CI needs a bit of attention and time to spend with. Maybe you should not drink this after a cask strength malt.  The original retailprice was a little shocking, though. /87

Compass Box “No Name” NAS / 48.9 % Vol.

Compass Box “No Name” NAS / 48.9 % Vol.

End of last year, John Glasers Compass Box released a heavily peated Blended Malt in which they stated that a high proportion (around 75%) of the containing malts comes from Pier Road on Islay (aha). The rest seems to be Caol Ila, Clynelish and some other undisclosed Highland malts. You do the math now 😉 The presentation of this release is just spot on, as so often with Compass Box bottlings. 15000 bottles were made available, so you might still find it in a few online shops as the price was quite high for a NAS Blended Malt. Anyway, lets taste!

Compass Box “No Name” NAS / 48.9 % Vol.

Foto Credit: whiskybase.com

Nose:

Creamy vanilla, whipped cream, salty peatsmoke, the seashore, wet gravel, icing sugar, lemon cake, lemon balm, candy floss, roasted nuts, cashews, almonds (a typical Caol Ila marker). Wet earth, A little freshly sawn oak. Some cooling menthol in the background. Its “one”, nothing sticks out, the malts are perfectly knitted together.

Mouth:

Zingy arrival! Icing sugar and truckloads of tar and brine almost explode on the palate. Turns more herbal and dry. Seasalt and bitter lemonpeel. Roasted cashews, garden herbs, verbene, thyme, spearmint, some licorice. The crisp finish is on peat and menthol, Nice!

Comments:

On first nosing it reminded me of the great Airigh nam Beist, just the oak is a little bit too obvious and of course it feels younger than ANB. Overall its a great Blended Malt. A shame they are not disclosing the age on this one. Anyway, if you like modern Ardbeg, go for it. /88

David Stirks Isle of Islay 2007 10yo CWC

David Stirks Isle of Islay 2007 10yo CWC

This is quite a new release from David Stirks Creative Whisky Company. I have to say I am fairly impressed by the caliber of their bottlings. I could taste quite a few over the last few years and most of them are to my liking. Plus: They’re all colouring  free and with an age statement. This particular juicy sherry hoggie comes from Islay, and my nose & tastebuds clearly say “Laga…”

Isle of Islay 2007 10yo CWC 160101 / 56,8 % Vol.

Foto Credit: justadram.org

Nose:

Wow, very salty! … Seashore, rotting seaweed, kippers, brine, waves of black, leathery smoke, road tar, tobacco leaves, damp earth, shiitake, dates wrapped in smoky bacon, caramel, beef stock and truckloads of rich, fruity sherry.

Mouth:

Hits you like a hammer! The palate is salty, oily and sweet at the same time. Umami! Dark soysauce?! A great japanese miso soup in your glas. The smoke is everywhere now. Mouthcoating. Feels very mature without being to oaky. Smoked beef jerky in the long finish.

Comments:

A great sherry cask Laga… and a winner in my book. Takes water very well, but the fun for me was in the huge initial peatblast when savoured neat. If you like “Classic of Islay”, you’re gonna love this one. A hidden gem. /90

Secret Speyside 10yo and 14yo by The Maltman

Secret Speyside 10yo and 14yo by The Maltman

A new Secret Speyside by the Maltman aka Donald Hart? Of course, I am intrigued. After the very nice 2017 release, I had to see for myself if the new one is any good. Rumors are always around to what the destillery behind this actually is, but let’s just nose and taste 😉

The Maltman Secret Speyside 10yo 10900 / 55.2 % Vol.

Foto Credit: justadram.org

Nose:

A ruff arsed sherry hit to the nostrils! Nutella! Seriously, this reeks of nougat and Fererro Rocher, a clear M*callan marker for me. The alcohol feels a bit. Its even a bit rough to be honest, but not unpleasantly so. Is that a hint of peat or just the oakchar? A few drops of water and we’re almost hitting Mac12 territories. Okay, this is too obvious now guys. Pears, white grapes, overripe banana and nougat again.

Mouth:

Salty chocolate and hazelnuts, brown sugar and a tiny hint of peat. Develops on caramel, cocoa powder and tinned pears. Gets meaty and pleasantly bitter in the medium long finish. The alcohol still feels a bit, and the roughness is definetly there. It’s quite a character!

Comments:

This is a beast that needs to be tamed with water. Reminds me of some of the younger G&M Speymalt Macs that I’ve tried in the past. The provenance of this cask is quite obvious. Fair price tag! /86


A while back, I wrote some notes for last years release, which I really liked. Here they are:

 

The Maltman Secret Speyside 14yo 007 / 55.2 % Vol.

Foto Credit: justadram.org

Nose:

Oak & sherry, oak & sherry, oak & sherry…. Raisins, figs, various herbs and spices, dark chocolate, walnuts, maggi, beef stock, old armagnac, grandpa’s leather armchair, polished mahogani wood, rancio, damp wine cellar, cigar box, cough syrup, embrocation and menthol.

Mouth:

Very oily, dense and spicy arrival. Stewed plumes and sweet soysauce come to mind. Like a plumsauce that has been boiled down and reduced for hours. Aachener Pflümli! Finish: Very long – quite herbal and a little bitter, but nicely so. Licorice and dark chocolate. This needs a few drops of water to open up. … With water and a bit of time, it’s still really dense and thick, but also a bit more aproachable. Still no easy sipper, more of a big late night dram.

Comments:

I guess this one would perfectly pair with a cigar or dark chocolate. For some people this might be too much, because it’s definetly far away from being a balanced dram. I just love those kind of “over the top” malts from time to time. It obviously has spent its time in a very active cask and tastes more like a 30yo to 40yo malt. An absolute belter if you’re into this style. My guess is Glenfarclas or Tamdhu. /89

Feasting on Ardbeg. Part 1

Feasting on Ardbeg. Part 1

I tasted quite a few Ardbegs in the last days, and since the mighty Islay destillery released its annual fetish bottling, I thought if everyone and their mother has an opinion on it, you can also read mine.  Lets see…

Ardbeg Grooves Committee Release 2018 / 51.6 % Vol.

Foto Credit: justadram.org

Nose:

Prototypical Ardbeg peatsmoke and salted lemons, mixed with orange peel and red berries. Vanilla icecream and salted caramel. Not too complex, rather mellow and somehow closed nose. Not very impressive but not bad either. A few drops of water and a bit of time help open it up. The orangepeel and berries start to shine now. Inviting!

Mouth:

Bold arrival. Quite sweet and zesty on orange peel, wood spices and of course some maritime peatsmoke and salted lemons. The fruityness reminds me of classic english orangejam. Develops into more leathery and peppery aromas. Sadly, a rather short finish with some oriental spices like cedarwood, nutmeg and cinnamon. A nice oaky bitterness lingers together with salted lemons.

Comments:

This one delivers on the palate. While the nose is kinda soft (which is still a good thing), on the palate its a whole different story. A very moreish ‘beg. I think it has lots to offer and is different enough without being too weird (like the marketing suggested). I am happy to have bought it. Much better then last years Kelpie virgin oak desaster. Next year caribbean Arrrdbeg? 😉 /88

Here’s the rest of the party!


Crois Chill Daltain / 51.2 % Vol.

This is a cuvée of different Ardbeg vintages, finished in a private bodega sherry cask. Thx to Pit and the Regensburger Whiskyclub we can try some of their weird and beautyful experiments from time to time.

Foto Credit: whiskybase.com

Nose:

Ozone, subdued and well matured peatsmoke, blonde tobacco, orange peel, old leather, shoe polish, toasted wood, oldschool sherry profile, not overtly px-ed. More nutty than plain sweet. Gets saltier with more time in the glas. It manages to show different facets everytime you come back to it. Its great fun but also a little hard to pin down.

Mouth:

Much sweeter than the nose. Great impact. Oranges again, typical ardbeggian seaweed and brine, dark chocolate, after eight dinner mints in the long finish. Maybe just a little cloying, but nothing too disturbing. Its simply delicious!

Comments:

The nose and taste are deep, rich and complex. The sherryoak is quite dominant but very well integrated. This is one of the finest independent Ardbegs I could taste so far. Needs time in the glass to develop. So be patient, add a drop of water and you will be rewarded. /89


Ardbeg MoS 16016 /54.8 % Vol.

Foto Credit: whiskybase.com

Nose:

Loads of Sherry to begin with. Raisins, beef jerky, leatherboots, some rancio, old style cough medicine. A fireplace thats almost burned down. A little sulphur. This one needs time to let the typical ardbeggian salted lemons and seaweed find their way through the sherrymuddle.

Mouth:

Tar and peatsmoke battle with the sherry and toasted oak. Lindt’s seasalt chocolate served alongside an espresso! Some exhaust fumes and sherry linger in the medium long finish.

Comments:

A nice bottling. Would love to see more of these at affordable prices (yeah, right…). Certainly one to crack open and enjoy! /89


Ardbeg MoS Amazing Casks 14027 /58.2 % Vol.

Foto Credit: whiskybase.com

Nose:

It bites your nostrils when undiluted. Very sharp and alcoholic. This one needs water! After some time, it opens up. Dry sherry, seaweed, briny seashore, marzipan, roasted hazelnuts, some wet cardboard, burnt driftwood. The nose is still kinda closed.

Mouth:

Prickles on the tongue. Sweet and sour, oranges, lemonpeel, soysauce, salted caramel, sweet popcorn, a rush of ultra-black peatsmoke coats my mouth, walnuts appear, cardboardy in the finish. Slightly odd. The salt stayed on my lips after I swallowed.

Comments:

I honestly don’t know why they named this one the “amazing” cask. It is a good one no doubt, but definetly not better than the other MoS in the flight. Too expensive for what it has to offer. /88


Ardbeg Dark Cove Committee Release 2016 /55.0 % Vol.

Foto Credit: whiskybase.com

Nose:

Much more “Ardbeg” right away. Lemons sprinkled with seasalt, fishy peatsmoke, seabreeze, ozone, road tar, burnt twigs, pineneedles, incense, wet earth, mushrooms, hints of px-sherry emerge, a dry tobacco pouch, old leatherjacket, beef stock and some plumjam. Love this nose!

Mouth:

Ardbeg! Peaty and savoury, menthol cough medicine, slightly chemical (in a good way). Reminds me of Fishermens Friends, of whom I’m addicted to (the green ones, of course). The sherry comes through in the chocolaty and mentholated finish. Not too complex, but everything sings in tune, so to speak.

Comments:

Pheew, I have to say, I simply adore this one. Its the best official Ardbeg in ages, and I think its highly underrated. This has everything I expect from a modern Ardbeg. I’m also glad that they did not drown it in sherry. The “darkest Ardbeg ever” is obviously marketing drivel, but this bottle keeps on giving. /90

I also compared it with the 46% release of Dark Cove afterwards.

Foto Credit: whiskybase.com

Everything is a bit dialed down. The fishy peatsmoke comes out first on the nose, followed by a more pronounced and slightly chemical sweetness. Also good stuff, but the whole experience is a bit more tannic and lacks the assertiveness and intensity of the committee release. Nonetheless it’s worth buying and enjoying if you can still find it for a reasonable price. /86


More Ardbegs soon… 😉

Ralfy’s Port Charlotte 12y.o. “Meteorite” / 56.2 % Vol.

Ralfy’s Port Charlotte 12y.o. “Meteorite” / 56.2 % Vol.

Welcome to my new blog “justadram.org”. Basically, this blog is meant to be an outlet for me to collect all my tasting notes in one place. Also, I will probably organize some tastings in the future and write about whisky related stuff. To kick things off, I decided for a review of one of my favourites. It’s a 12 year old Port Charlotte heavily peated Islay Single Malt destilled by Bruichladdich. It has been matured in a superfresh oloroso sherry hogshead. Around 230 of these bottles were made available to the public. It created some buzz when it came out and I was lucky to get this one and share it with friends who also like it very much. So here goes:

 

Foto Credit: justadram.org

Nose:

Full on sherry and peat galore from the get go. The oloroso profile is very clean and matches perfectly with the creosote and soot notes of the heavily peated port charlotte spirit. The combination of these two extremes brings out almost chemical aromas of black shoe polish, bitumen and burnt electricity cables. Despite the super heavy sherry coating it somehow manages to stay fresh and vibrant, when you swirl it around the glas. The distillate still sparkles. A drop of water will open it up, and pronounce the peatyness while dialing down the sherry a notch.

Mouth:

Mixed berries, most prominent black currants and blueberries, salty peat smoke, tar, cola cubes, creamy balsamico and old leather. Not too sweet. The vibrancy of the nose mirrors the palate. Fresh, zesty and oily. Almost perfect mouthfeel. The finish is very long and reminds me of cigar ash and wild honey.

Comments:

Ralfy was lucky to have bought this particular cask. A real gem. This bottle was worth every cent and it’s one of the best heavily sherried Islay malts I have tasted so far. Outstanding. /93

Foto Credit: justadram.org

 

For more information on this bottle, please visit whiskybase:

https://www.whiskybase.com/whiskies/whisky/96370/port-charlotte-12-year-old-meteorite

Also, Ralfy has created a vlog to announce the release of this bottle. You can check it out here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHYH08t0ikU&t=3s