Colour: Pale Gold
This 10 year entry level from Aberlour is a half-decent malt. It lacks the complexity desired by the experienced palate but may be just the thing for a newbie entering the world of whisky.
The nose is quite nice. There is first a herbacious, clove and honey mixture which tends to linger. But then come the red apples. I have rarely nosed something which is so strong and so obvious. You can try and pinpoint some vanilla and almonds but the red apple keeps distracting you.
The delivery is once again made up of red apples rubbed with cinnamon and light cocoa with a touch of clove.
There is, unfortunately, no finish at all. There might be some figs but that could be my imagination.
A decent, if uncomplicated, malt.
Colour: Young Sauternes
Laphroaig has been releasing a 10 year old Cask Strength version every year for the last five and I’ve managed to get my hands on all except the second. So if you have access to Batch 002 somehow please let me know.
Right, now on to the 5.
Strong Laphroaig-ian nose. Unlike the recent Cairdeas releases where the nose has been very subtle this one makes no excuses about it’s birth-right. The strong peat, seaweed and iodine burst through beautifully riding on a wave of golden, dark oranges coated in a lovely brown sugar brittle. Finally there’s a touch of butterscotch with a crinkling of almond husk and an unusual hint of fresh soap.
The palate is a strong white pepper delivery on a wave of oaky sweet honey, raisins and lemon tart. This one has to stay on the palate for a while to be truly appreciated.
The long long finish is a touch spicy and coats your entire mouth with a slightly chalky (but in a good way), salivating minty finish.
Talisker is one of my favorite distilleries and the ten year old is literally one of the reasons why.
The smooth nose on this Island malt is a thing of beauty. Light, fresh and delicate it first permeates your nostrils with a gorgeous lemon tart on a bed of sponge cake. Stuck to the buttery surface of the sponge cake are chopped nuts and the most delicate of light purple flower petals. Balancing all these is the unmistakable salty smoke bringing with it a touch of iodine. I could enjoy this for hours.
The multitude of flavors on the nose continue their march on the palate. The delivery starts of beautifully honeyed followed by the spiciness of the black pepper and small sticks of cinnamon and with it a touch of nutty citrus. As your palate enjoys the interplay between spicy and sweet the gorgeous salty charcoal smoke comes through reminding you of an early afternoon barbecue.
The long dry finish is a perfect finalé to this outstanding Skye malt.
Rating : 94
How can one distillery go through, what is fundamentally, the same process and produce expressions that are miles ahead of everyone else?
The standard Ardbeg 10 is anything but. Like a young savant it hides the most complex of personalities yet remains buoyantly youthful. As the tangy smoke rises from delicately grilled lemon zest roasting on the grill the chef brushes the main course of sausages with his own brand of special butter glaze. The sweetened smoky peat, mixed with a touch of tincture, remind you where this savant was born.
The palate is like eating a soft pudding under a haze of powdery volcanic ash. I never thought words like tar, soot and tobacco could be used to describe something so utterly scrumptious but then I’ve been proven wrong many a time. A juicy, brightly colored orange kicks in at the last instant re-affirming the massive complexities that lie in this delivery.
Smoked bitter gourd, a touch of medicine, tiny oak shavings and a toss of minty leaves finishes up one of the nicest and longest deliveries that have ever had the pleasure of cascading down my fortunate gullet.
The nose is quite nice with strong vanilla and figs intermingled with citrusy orange. The palate offers you sweet honey and pudding and then towards the end a warm aroma of spicy burnt ginger and orange. The finish could have been longer, in my opinion. Critics love this whisky but I dont.
Rating : 81