Distillery/Brand: Suntory Yamazaki
Colour: Deep Gold
Suntory is a powerhouse and even when some of their offerings fall short they still manage to stay reasonably north of average. This 18 year expression falls into that range.
The sherried nose is quite nice even though I started to detect a hint of fatigue. Nevertheless the dark chocolate, mocha coffee and strong almond figs make for a decent bouquet of aromas. There are also subtle woody mint overtones. But all of this is rounded off by a peculiar egg yolk note which I can only attribute to sulphur.
The palate is a swirl of honey and maple syrup sprinkled with chocolate rum raisins and finished off with a pinch of banana cinnamon.
The only draw back in this expression is the finish as it leaves a cloying sulphury after taste which is quite dry.
Colour: Pale Straw
Ah, yes! Finally some real flavors to sink my teeth into. I had been holding off this classic for a while choosing, instead, to sample some of their newer expressions like the Storm & Port Ruighe, before turning my attention to this gem. While the new expressions from the Skye distillery are doing it no good it’s the classics like this 18 year old that keep the faith alive.
The nose is truly a work of art. First the classic peaty smoke but so distinctly understated. Confident in it’s maturity. The salty pineapple citrus is next coupled with a refined lemon-lime toffee tartness. And finally a whiff of fresh cucumber sprinkled with the loveliest of white pepper. Oh, yes. This is what I had been waiting for!
The creamy mouthfeel is laced with intense black peppers but then mellows out to give you honey, lemon and chocolate with a dash of tobacco.
The long peppery finish is fruity with a hint of limestone.
These are the classic flavors that made Talisker one of my top distilleries and this expression should be on your list of malts to try before you die.
Colour: Full Gold
I think Bowmore is a dependable distillery with some solid expressions (Tempest Batch 2) and some not-so-solid expressions (Mariner & Enigma). And that’s what makes a distillery exciting and human, in my opinion. So when I uncorked the 18 year old I had no idea what to expect.
The nose is salty and instantly reminds you of a dank warehouse. The musty smell, I imagine, can be found in the actual Bowmore warehouses housing all the maturing casks. From within the salty sea spray then comes a warm mix of bananas, tangerines and peaches followed by nutty peat and a touch of iodine. The final flourish is unmistakeable butterscotch.
The palate is strong and oaky with a vigorous application of dark spice rub. Bananas and nuts then decide to make a come back accompanied by something pleasantly sweet
The woody medium finish is, of course, peaty with a touch of salt and fennel. There is, though, a hint of something bitter but it’s faint enough not to be a nuisance.
Distillery/Brand: Glen Scotia
I have always had a fascination with Campbeltown whiskies and it all started when I tasted a smashing 10 year old Springbank at a friend’s place. Which is why every time I uncork an expression from that part of Scotland I am always urging it to be good. However, it is not the case with this 18 year old.
An unremarkable nose greets me as we are introduced to each other. There is the damp and musty smell of curdled milk in the air along side a day old piece of kneaded dough. I summon all my powers of concentration and eke out a handful of dry raisins. But that’s it.
This journey of unremarkable-ness continues on the palate with a more than necessary burst of fiery black pepper corns. One has to fight through the pin pricks to single out a touch of honey lemon and something faintly nutty.
A mentholated short finish later I am left pondering over what I just experienced.
This expression had been on my radar for a while but I never got around to acquiring it for my self so I was quite excited when a friend of mine popped it out one night over at his place.
Being partial to anything with sherry I quite eagerly went in for my first nose. The smell is autumn. All around me are scattered dry leaves gently rustling in the wind. As I go foraging through ankle deep foliage I find sweet bananas and dark berries glistening with a sherry coat. I look up and nestled in the branches of a dry oak tree is a wooden box filled with dark chocolates and butterscotch. As I look down I see in my hands a bowl of fudge sprinkled with fruits while all around me is the smell of dry oak trees.
My only problem with this picture is that everything is just a little bit dull.
I tipped the glass back expecting a sugar rush of sherry and dark berries and I wasn’t wrong. But before I could get my head around the initial flavors the dry oak kicked in and arrested what was going to be a great first impression. As I pressed on I began to detect bits of dark chocolate, citrus and walnuts in the mix. Unfortunately, though, as I tried to savor the new flavors my journey was abruptly ended with the bold arrival of cinnamon spices.
I think this expression has all the necessary flavors to deliver something remarkable. However, they are not in the right proportion. Much too dry and a little too spicy for my liking.
Rating : 83
A single malt this good? Such an absolutely complex whisky. Starts of discerningly sweet and floral and then suddenly out of no where the fragrant smoky oak hits you at the back of the throat. Such a pleasant contrast. The start and finish are so different it’s almost like tasting two malts – that are made for each other. Awesome!
Rating : 94
Such a nice oaky nose with a bold mix of tobacco and citrus. Creamy honey texture where all the spices interplay with the glorious sweetness of honey, vanilla and figs. But the champion is spectacular charred orange. Long satisfying finish. This one is a keeper!
Rating : 94
I can’t get over how good bourbon is for the soul. Smooth and satisfying nose full of chocolate and leather. A little subdued on the palate for my liking (I like my bourbons to kick me in the face). Unmistakable oaky fruits and tobacco on the palate. Medium to long dry finish. Extremely accomplished drink named after a Baptist preacher.
Rating : 90
A brilliant nose smacking of honeycomb, burnt citrus, chocolate, treacle, traces of banana and fruity barley.
Dry and silky smooth palate full of glorious spices like star anise and cinnamon. But mostly honeycomb, citrus and strong, mature oak covered in thick burnt caramel.
Substantially long dry finish that stays on and on.
A must have late evening dram!
Rating : 90