Browsed by
Month: December 2018

Caol Ila 2007 / 10YO / The Maltman Sherry Cask 312 / Germany Exclusive / 54.7% Vol.

Caol Ila 2007 / 10YO / The Maltman Sherry Cask 312 / Germany Exclusive / 54.7% Vol.

Another, fairly recent, release by the infamous Maltman aka Meadowside Blending. I simply adore most of their output so far. This one is exclusively bottled for the german distributor Alba Import. So, let’s taste this dark beauty from Islay.

Foto Credit: justadram.org

 

Nose:

Smoked bacon. Old leather jacket. Freshly squeezed lemon sprinkled with salt. Sea breeze. A bonfire on the beach. Driftwood. Wet stones. Menthol. Fishermen’s Friends. Very mineral and earthy. Some forest honey and orange rind in the background.

Taste:

Very oily and leathery arrival. Afterwards, sweet and salty flavors spread on the tongue. Roasted and salted peanuts. Macadamia. Bacon. Iodine tincture and cough drops. In the finish, a beautiful, leathery bitterness from the oak, with espresso notes and tart orange peel. The nose is now getting fresher and more mineral.

Comments:

Maltman has delivered again. Caol Ila from sherry casks are rather rare. Really nice, maritime malt with not too dominant sherry influence. If you like Caol Ila, you will be very happy here. / 87

Kavalan Sherry Oak / 2018 / NAS / 46% Vol.

Kavalan Sherry Oak / 2018 / NAS / 46% Vol.

When I first came in contact with the taiwanese Kavalan bottlings, I wasn’t too impressed, to be honest. Back then, I tried the Classic, Podium and Concertmaster from their corerange and they where all quite allright but also a little simple and thin im my rememberance. A few years later, I stumpled upon the Solists (Single Casks)  and Selection Range, and things changed drastically.

Today, I want to taste the „Sherry Oak”, which is the entry level sherry bottling of Kavalan. It’s bottled at a little lower ABV (46%) than the cask strength Solists, but the color is nonetheless promising.

Foto Credit: justadram.org

 

Nose:

Cassis, blackberries, raisins and orange peel. Wet tobacco, balsamico, chicken broth, slightly tangy and salty. Hints of menthol and cough drops. With time, earthy notes appear. Rotting leaves in autumn, mushrooms, damp forest floor. A great nose! .. No single off–note is to be found.

Taste:

bittersweet with orangepeel, blackberries, raisins and tobacco. Gets then more salty, meaty and umami. The 46%ABV make for a creamy and velvety mouthfeel. Even though this is NAS it doesn’t feel young at all. Only the finish is a bit short and makes you want to pour the next dram. 😉

Comments:

Holy Sherry Bomb Batman – this is great stuff! I was a little hesitant at first because of the lower ABV and price compared to the Solists and Selection bottlings but this is right up my alley. On par with some of the glorious Glenfarclas Family Casks but for a fraction of the cost. Only the finish gives away the youth maybe. But for that price, I can easily live with that. A modern dark sherry malt that ticks all the boxes. I hope they can continue with this kind of quality. /89

Feasting on Ardbeg. Part 2

Feasting on Ardbeg. Part 2

I recently tasted a couple more Ardbegs. Some recent, some older bottlings but always fun. Here are my notes!

Ardbeg 2000 / 18YO / MoS / Cask 18010 /51.5 % Vol.

Foto Credit: Whiskybase.com

Nose:

Beautiful, rich sherried color, this one! Beef stock, overripe oranges, christmas punch, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, old dusty leatherjacket, some menthol and camphor. “old english candyshop”. Refined and silky peatsmoke. Don’t expect a maritime young peatmonster like TEN or Uigeadail here. This one smells really old and mature.

Taste:

Creamy and sweet. Spicy woodnotes follow up, salty peatsmoke expands on the palate. Dark chocolate with seasalt, bitter orangepeel, and a touch of mint tingling on the sides of your tongue. Great combination of aromas. All seems to fit in perfectly. Sadly, the finish is a bit short for a malt of this age and character.

Comments:

What a nice MoS bottling this is. Finally a really mature, age-stated, sherried Ardbeg again. I think this one should be to many peoples liking. The price is steep, but you get an oldschool quality Ardbeg profile that you can not find in the official bottlings nowadays. For me the best MoS Ardbeg bottling to date. Only the relatively short finish prevents a higher score. I added 2-3 drops of water and let it breathe for around half an hour. The nose opens up and the sweetness on the palate is boosted. /90


Smokehead 18YO Extra Black / Ian MacLeod / Limited Edition / 46% Vol.

Foto Credit: Whiskybase.com

So this one is out since 2010, but sadly it’s mostly gone from retail shelves by now…

Nose:

Salted lime peel! Fruity beeswax candles. Dry vanillapods. Even a hint of tropical fruits like mango or papaya. The peat is delicate but gives a salty and tangy edge to the whole experience. Smoky limoncello. With time, old leatherjacket and dried tobaccoleaves accompany the fruits.

Taste:

A meaty, herbal and mentholated start. Oily and mature mouthfeel. The peat has cigarlike qualitys and you get the feeling of aged smoky mezcal with drops of lemonjuice. A simple, focused and rather delicious dram. Reminds me of the Caol Ila 25YO.

Comments:

At the time when this one was readily available, it was a real bargain. All bourbon matured, no gimmicky Ardbeg at a nice age. What more can you ask for? /88


Ardbeg SMWS 33.74 / 1998 / 10YO / “A dirty dram for Mary Poppins” / 56.6% VOL.

Foto credit: whiskybase.com

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society is almost always Top Notch when it comes to Ardbeg. So let’s taste this older single cask. Hopes are high 😉

Nose:

There are sulphury sherry casks that are absolutely horrible and then there are these rare instances where the touch of sulphur, the sherry residue and the peated malt just sing in tune to absolute perfection. Which is the case here: Tart orangepeel, subdued and salty peatsmoke, a bonfire on the beach, fresh seabreeze, wet flintstones, copper coins, Zippo lighter, grilled BBQ ribs, buttery corncobs, strawberry bubblegum, cooling menthol, green vegetables.

Taste:

Pungent arrival on toffee sweets, lime, sherry and copper. Waves of black peatsmoke roll over the tongue. Very fizzy and alive. orangepeel, lime, liquorice, rosmarin, thyme, fleur de sel, a bit of sulphur, the ribs again. Chocolate mints and a nice astringent bitterness in the finish.

Comments:

I have yet to find a bad SMWS Ardbeg. This one has quite a bit of sulphur, so if you can’t handle that, stay clear. I think, with this cask it was rather an asset than a flaw. /89


Ardbeg Rollercoaster / 2009 / NAS / Committee Release / 57.3% Vol.

Foto credit: whiskybase.com

This one was bottled in 2009 to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the infamous Ardbeg committee. A blend of casks from ten different vintages, according to the backlabel, and bottled at cask strength. The secondary market prices for this one are of course insane these days.

Nose:

Seabreeze, ozone, salted lemons, fishy peatsmoke, some vanilla, honey, ashtray, lychees, fresh, young, vibrant and very “modern Ardbeg”. My guess would be that they used predominantly first- and second-fill bourbon casks for the mix.

Taste:

A fistful of Ardbeg! Pungent peatsmoke, vanilla, leather, tobacco, crushed seasalt, limejuice, liquorice, vanilla, mineral riesling, green grapes and seawater. Hits you like a hammer (or a rollercoaster ride) and then its gone.

Comments:

Not too sure… Its a good one, but I have to say I expected a bit more. Maybe because of the high price nowadays? For around 80€, I would grab one no doubt, but the current pricing is absurd. Its good, not great Cask Strength Ardbeg, nothing more, nothing less. Taste- and qualitywise its very near to the readily available Corryvreckan. So I recommend you go for that one instead. If you are just looking to add to your collection, I wish you good luck in finding one at an affordable price. /87

 

Smokehead Sherry Bomb / Limited Edition / NAS / Ian Macleod / 48% Vol.

Smokehead Sherry Bomb / Limited Edition / NAS / Ian Macleod / 48% Vol.

I recently bought this new Limited Edition Smokehead Sherry Bomb because of two reasons: First: I am a sucker for peat & sherry and you can sell me almost anything in this direction (just kidding). Second: The fancy metall tube with its punk-rock-style embossed red skull made me really want to buy this bottle (sadly, not kidding). So, when it finally became available, I shelled out the dosh ASAP, and opened the bottle right away as to check if this was just a brilliant marketing stunt/collectors bottle, or if this NAS juice is actually worth the 75€ I paid (holy sh*t).


Foto Credit: justadram.org

Nose:

A very coastal, saline and youthful peatiness first jumps out the glas, followed by leathery and herbal sherry. A minty and somehow artifical, rubbery sweetness that reminds me of Kids toothpaste. A bit weird, but hey, it works… These were definetly not some old, vintage Bodega sherry casks. 😉 Roasted cashews and salted peanuts, a few raisins, a bag of trail mix. After some time in the glas, it gets more “one”. The aromas come together and create a nice, modern sherried Islay Malt.

Taste:

Sturdy arrival on astringent peat and leather. Licking a flintstone on the beach (I did many weird things as a kid). A funky, nutty and slightly chemical sherry flavour flashes up before the herbal and dry peatiness takes over again.

 

Comments:

Obviously, this is young stuff. I expected that, when I ordered the bottle. But I have to say, it’s really fun to sip. Leave the pricetag aside and you get a decent, very modern take on Islay and sherry. This one shouldn’t be taken too seriously (it’s definetly NOT a sherry bomb), just crack the bottle and enjoy it with friends. This is a session malt like the younger Port Askaigs, Classic of Islay or Ileach Cask Strength for example. I like it. /86

Secret Speyside 2002 / 16yo / Cask 900145 The Maltman / 51.8% Vol.

Secret Speyside 2002 / 16yo / Cask 900145 The Maltman / 51.8% Vol.

Well, this bottling and its precursors (you can find my notes here) seem to stir up a lot of drama in certain circles of the whisky world. There were just not enough bottles to satisfy the ever growing demand for these heavily sherried speysiders. Those who managed to be quick and snatched up a few bottles can consider themselves lucky in my opinion, as these oldschool sherrycask flavour profiles are getting less and less obtainable for reasonable money.

Foto Credit: Whiskybase

Nose:

Yes! Pure Dark Sherry Galore: blackberries, black cherries, blood oranges..The usual suspects 😉 Red apples, beef stock, drops of soysauce, damp forest floor, rotting autumn leaves, dusty humidor, tobaccopouch, old leather, lots of rancio. Resembles a meaty, musty, old armagnac.

Taste:

Bold, astringent arrival on blackberries, cassis, creamy balsamico and sour black cherries. The ABV is perfect here. Develops on grilled meat, dark chocolate and dried tobacco leaves. Its even a little salty around the edges. Lovely… The long finish leaves you with a pleasant minty and herbal bitterness.

Comments:

Where do they still get these glorious paxarettelike casks? Even better than the 14yo because it lacks the wooddriven bitterness of its precursor. This one is more balanced and complex. I really hope there will be more editions of these not so Secret Speysides. Lovers of older Glendronach Single Casks, oldschool Macs and dark sherry bottlings will be very pleased. Give it a few drops of water to open up and you can nose this one for hours. /90