Port Charlotte Islay Barley 2008

PC Ilsay Barley.jpg

Recommended use: Enjoy neat

Malt Mileage Rating: stars 4.5

Type: Single malt whisky 

Origin: Islay, Scotland 

ABV: 50%

Price: £65

Cask No: 14/098-35

Distilled: 12/2008 

Drawn: 30/9/2014

Continue reading “Port Charlotte Islay Barley 2008”

Bruichladdich Octomore 7.4 Virgin Oak

octomore 7.4

Recommended use: Serve neat/ with a dash of water

Malt Mileage Rating: stars 4.5

Type: Scotch single malt whisky

Origin: Islay, Scotland

ABV: 61.2%

Price: N/A

Continue reading “Bruichladdich Octomore 7.4 Virgin Oak”

Highland Park 30 year old (revisited, 3/1/2016)

HP30

Recommended use: Serve neat, for God’s sake!

Malt Mileage Rating: stars 5

Recommendation: Buy it!

Type: Single malt

Origin: Orkney island, Scotland

ABV: 48.1%

User rating for Highland Park 30 year old:

Highland Park 30 year old is the epitome of fine Scotch whisky in my opinion, find a labyrinth of notes including  an oak driven entry, dark chocolate, refined and aged peat smoke, leather, herbal tones (eucalyptus), earthy truffle oil, spice (cinnamon, nutmeg), fortified wine (sherry), dark toffee, dark fruit (plum, raisins), blueberries, orange peel, dark honey, and, lingering spicy oak with faint caffè mocha on the finish. This is one powerful, complex whisky. 

You could bribe your way into heaven – or, perhaps more fittingly,  Valhalla – with this stuff. Admittedly over 30 long years of maturation much of this liquid would have, through evaporation, made its way to the angels. Luckily, that having been said, they’ve probably acquired a taste for it. Sin away. 

Highland Park 30 year old is available for about $1,000 per bottle. 

Bruichladdich Octomore 7.3 Islay Barley

Octomore-07.3

Recommended use: Serve with a splash of spring water 

Rating: stars 5

Recommendation: Buy it

Type: Single malt

Origin: Islay, Scotland

ABV: 63.0%

User rating for Octomore 7.3 Islay Barley (VOTE HERE): 

Bruichladdich Octomore 7.3 is a heavily peated single malt whisky that boasts a PPM of 169. Having been distilled from a wash that is made from barley grown on the Isle of Islay in Scotland, and then matured in American oak barrels by the sea on Islay, I am expecting a salty jab in the face and a knockout blow of peat from this whisky. What I found, as the below tasting notes show, was that this whisky is not dominated by salt and peat; rather, the salt and peat buoys flavours from the American oak and malt – it is complex, balanced, and yet seriously ferocious.  

Nose:

Peat smoke, coastal notes, rubber gloves dusted with talc, powered vanilla and chocolate, apple, peach, green pineapple, mars bar, fudge, caramels and denser milk chocolate emerge with walnuts, leather and freshly varnished pine with white chalk. 

Taste:  

Served neat at an alcohol by volume of 63.0%, the ethanol snaps at the palate like grandpa’s perfectly executed moonshine. Then the palate adjusts. It is astringent, and as the vapours evapourate off the palate like a hot steam, find sea salt, heavy peat, maritime notes, toffee apple, caramel, honey, fresh apricot, cigar tobacco and wood tannins. 

Finish:

Curiously, vanilla cupcakes emerge on the finish with heavier notes of salt than on the entry and a twist of minerality. There is plenty of peat smoke and underlying smoked notes, very Russian Caravan and lapsang souchong, with candied ginger and a lingering metallic taste and the faint glow of eucalyptus.  

Bottom line:

Buy it! Bruichladdich Octomore Edition 7.3 is a peaty sea monster, a Godzilla of a dram, bashing its way out of coastal waters to bombard the palate with all the unbridled anger you would expect of a youthful Islay malt – peat, sea spray, smoke – but with the calming sweetness of American oak.   

Compass Box Hedonism Quindecimus

HedonismQuindecimus

Rating: ★★★★

Recommendation: Buy it

Type: Single grain whisky

Origin: Scotland

ABV: 57%

Reaction: 🙂

Nose:

Wood vanilla, varnished pine, white paint and plaster, gooey salted caramel, coconut, cherry ripe, cinnamon, a bag of oranges, and, rum and raisin. 

Taste:

Salted caramel, chocolate, warming spices, cinnamon, pepper and lots of zesty orange. The taste is also strikes me as quite rummy and brandy-like, the initial taste of Cognac fades into sugar rum notes. It is a little drying, more of an English style rum than Spanish or Navy style. 

Finish: 

Candied orange zest, date and cinnamon scone linger with butter, warming spices and clove. After these flavours fade, find cracked pepper and lemon. 

Bottom line: 

Buy it. This is a warming and spice filled single grain whisky bursting with character, especially salted caramel and candied orange zest. My immediate temptation is to smuggle a sample of this fine dram into a chocolate shop, unbuckle my belt, and endevaour to find  its chocolaty soul mate.  A superb product. 

Benromach 10 year old 100 proof 57%

Benromach-100-Proof-10-Year

Rating: stars 4.5

Recommendation: Buy it! 

Type: Single malt whisky

Origin: Speyside, Scotland

ABV: 57%

Reaction: 😀

Nose:

Chocolate and stewed fruits, cooked strawberries, drying grapefruit, nuts and balsamic; this a lusciously sweet and yet drying bouquet with waves of Oloroso sherry and wood dominating over mild smokiness. 

Taste:

Sweet sherry, dried fruit (dates, raisin), wood and undercurrents of honey unleash on the palate with a medicinal and herbal eucalyptus/menthol hue that is interlaced with peat smoke. The malt becomes more potent towards the finish. This is a serious flavour packed malt with an angry slugger’s punch – Kapow! 

With time it becomes clear that the peat is the backbone, supporting sherry, dark chocolate and the herbal eucalyptus/menthol

Finish:

The finish is slightly drying with underlying creaminess, dark dried fruit and wisps of smoke remaining on the palate.

Bottom line:  

Buy it! This is a complex malt with a big sherry nose and palate that seems to inspire a wrestling match between the dry notes and sweet notes, as they vie for supremacy on the palate amidst mild peat smoke and a herbal hue. Tasting this whisky is almost as phenomenal as watching Hulk Hogan and the Macho Man Randy Savage, back in the – *ahem* – “olden days”. Oooohhh yeahhhh!   

Benromach 10 year old

brmob.10yov1

Rating: ★★★★

Recommendation: Buy it

Type: Single malt whisky

Origin: Speyside, Scotland

ABV: 43%

Reaction: 🙂

Nose:

Vanilla, milk chocolate, fruit mice pie, matches and warm fabric taken out of the drier.

Taste:

There is a surge of apple with wave after wave of milk chocolate softening the whack of peat, which then quickly softens and accompanies a slight herbal menthol and licorice note. Towards the finish, this malt reminds me of a white Russian with a splash of grenadine. The sherry notes, while there, resemble more of a sweet red raspberry candy or grenadine.

Finish:

The finish is creamy, with stewed red berries and lingering cocoa notes. Big malt notes become noticeable, with sweet barley sugar and spicy ginger bread.

Bottom line:

Buy it – this is a very drinkable Speysider with cream, mild peat, malt, mild herbal notes and a hint of sherry. This malt becomes very luscious and creamy, with so much milk chocolate you’ll start to wonder whether you are drinking a whisky spiked Big M chocolate milk. Now I feel like watching The Big Lebowski… with a bottle of this malt in hand; it won’t last very long.   

Port Charlotte PC 12

PC12

Rating: stars 4

Type: Single malt

Origin: Islay, Scotland

ABV: 58.7%

Port Charlotte PC 12 is Bruichladdich’s eighth release of the PC series, which is a series of heavily peated cask strength malts. It has been aged in oak casks for 12 years. 

Nose:

Imagine going to a coast side farmer’s festival with a bunch of cigar smokers. This bouquet is packed with barnyard aromas, wood and dry hay, with beaming heart notes of a butter, toffee, nut nougat, bubble gum, sweet rose, cinnamon, cotton candy, citrus, sweet sappy wood, and sea salt. All the while, the aroma of burning matches and the chocolaty and woodsy scent of a fresh maduro cigar gently whispers… “drink me”. The smell of Neapolitan salami and taralli, packed with anise seed, is carried by citrusy notes of lemon cake and Cointreau.

Taste:

Immediately, the sweet nip of sherry strikes the palate. It succumbs to waves of peat smoke, woodsmoke, dates, and marshmallows over a campfire of twigs and hay. There is something spectacularly complex and woodsy about this malt. Then the palate dries, buoyed by cinnamon, lime, green toffee apple, and honey.  

Finish:

The finish is smoky, peaty, peppery, woodsy, drying, spicy, and, citrusy; particularly of lime, orange peel and mouth puckering lemon meringue. Fading notes of anise seed, raisin, sarsaparilla and licorice also intermingle with warming overtones of cinnamon and pickled ginger.

Overall

Buy it. Jack Nicholson’s face has never randomly come to my mind. For some reason, I can see his raised eyebrows, trade mark smile and dark sunglasses. It might be my subconscious calling. Maybe this whisky is “As Good As It Gets”. Whatever the reason, there is very little I would change about this malt. If potent and fiery peaty malts are your thing, with a bit of sherry oak and a guaranteed 12 years of age on the clock, this is your whisky!

Old St Andrews “Nightcap” 15 year old

OSA Nightcap

Rating: ★★★★

Reaction: 🙂

ABV: 40%

Origin: Scotland

Price: £37

Old St Andrews, purveyors of blended Scotch whisky in fancy golf ball inspired bottles, produce the Old St Andrews “Nightcap” 15 year old. Old St Andrews “Nightcap” is a blended malt Scotch whisky that contains malt whiskies that have been aged in European oak casks for at least 15 years. A number of Old St Andrews bottles have sat collecting dust in many liquor cabinets I have seen, never to be opened. The bottle design, which admittedly looks pretty spectacular when the light catches it the right way, means that Old St Andrews has always had a reputation – at least in Australia – as a “display bottle”. Many people buy Old St Andrews for the bottle, not the whisky. That is a real shame, because having just tasted it I can say that the Old St Andrews “Nightcap” 15 year old is one of the better blends I have tasted.

The nose is rich, aromatic and vibrant – a fusion of vanilla, honey, flaky baklava, crushed nuts, preserved cherries, icing sugar, brown vinegar preserved plums with raw sugar and fruit pie fills the glass with undertones of anise alongside piercing spices and the warming burn of fresh chili and drying yellow plum. As the whisky rests, more pronounced coffee notes emerge with raw sugar and chocolate milk splashed over honeycomb, fennel fronds and increasingly denser chocolate. What a fascinating bouquet on this dram! On the palate the whisky is sweet and sugary with reduced brown pear in syrup, browned toffee, cracked cinnamon and heavy layers of rich Navy style rum with sticky molasses, counterbalanced by drying and astringent fruits such as damson plums. The finish offers brown sugar and aged rum notes, as the crystalline sugars emerge with maraschino cherries, coffee drops and the aftertaste of chocolate cake.

Overall, Old St Andrews “Nightcap” 15 year old is a whisky that belongs in your belly, not on display. Its smoothness is accompanied by a flavourful malty punch that offers a very distinctive rummy style, crystalline and almost sticky, that is balanced by undertones of drying fruit notes and enhanced by the European oak.  At its price, it is great value for a blend of whiskies that have aged for at least 15 years.

Old St Andrews have hit this one right on the green. A job well done. Fore!

Glengoyne Teapot Dram batches #1 and #3

Teapot dram

Glangoyne Teapot Dram is a whisky that is only available for purchase at the Glengoyne distillery in Scotland. It is matured in ex-sherry casks and bottled at cask strength, ready to quench the thirst of some of the whisky faithful who embark on a pilgrimage to the land of Scotch. The Teapot Dram commemorates a 150 year old tradition at Glengoyne which resulted in leftovers from the daily staff ration of three large drams being stored for (quite understandable!) safe keeping in a copper teapot. Fun times.  

Malt Mileage has been very lucky to secure samples of Glengoyne Teapot Dram batch #1 and batch #3, so without further ado let me introduce you to these two fine drams.  

Name: Glengoyne Teapot Dram batch #1

Rating: ★★★★★

ABV: 58.8%

Origin: Highlands, Scotland

Match with: Bocconcini, pecorino or a tea/botanical infused cigar

On the nose batch #1 glistens with poise, elegant yet bursting with the aroma of cherries, cocoa, dry Oloroso, crushed whole walnuts, vanished wood, fresh herbs, mint, anise seed, fruit cake with glazed cherries and undertones of toasted and fleshy coconut with banana and a nutty Moroccan baklawa shining through it all. On the palate batch #1 is smooth, balanced and yet manages to electrify the taste buds to life with a sudden surge of dry woody Oloroso, nuts and the most delightful crumbly cocoa rich cherry pie infused with cinnamon, natural mint, herbs and tea. The finish is long, and the palate gently dries as the flavour of Oloroso, cinnamon and dark honey lingers.

Overall Glengoyne Teapot Dram Batch #1 is the kind of dram that makes most other whiskies seem clumsy, unbalanced and pretty darn average as it ignites the palate with what I can only describe as a dramgasm of heavy Oloroso goodness. For an added bit of guilty pleasure try matching it with some creamy bocconcini, pecorino or a tea/botanical infused cigar.    

Name: Glengoyne Teapot Dram batch #3

Score: ★★★★

ABV: 59.4%

Origin: Highlands, Scotland

On the nose batch #3 is sweeter and softer than batch #1, being less dry and projecting less woody Oloroso and varnish notes. Batch #3 offers more sweet vanillas and subtle undertones of sherry, with a herbal cough drop glow that melds with green jelly beans, mixed fruit cake and rummy notes very similar to spiced English style rum, and, an earthy coffee heavily spiked with anise seed liqueur and cinnamon mixed with brown sugar. As the whisky rests notes of toffee develop with banana and coconut. On the palate batch #3 offers more pronounced wood notes and Oloroso than the nose suggests, weaved together with chocolate and a vegetal burn that is accompanied by the taste of vanished wood. The finish is drying and woody with intensifying notes of Oloroso, wood varnish and tannins.   

Overall, Glengoyne Teapot Dram batch #3 is a complex and interesting dram that offers a descent hit of Oloroso on the palate but for me it tasted over-oaked with varnish and excessive tannins, falling short of the delectable Glengoyne Teapot Dram batch #1.