Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban

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Distiller:
Glenmorangie

Region:
Highland

ABV:
46%

Colour:
Pale Gold

Nose: 22
Taste: 23
Finish: 23
Balance: 23

Review:
What an absolute corker this one is!

I recently had the 10 year old Glenmorangie on which this port finish version is based and, I tell you, it was an absolute pleasure. So this expression, with it’s added maturity and consequent complexity, is a must have in any budding bar.

The nose is strong and sugary and the ripe bananas make me feel like I’m on a paradise island in the Caribbean. There is the smell of fresh grass, coconuts hanging from the trees and a mound of glistening grapes in the sun. In the very distant background is the wafting smell of a juicy meat stew emanating from one of the nearby wooden shacks that dot the beach.

The dry palate is oaky goodness on a slice of burnt toast. The red grapes try and come out in full force only to be subdued by a massive cinnamon jolt. The spices, though, balance marvelously with the sweeter flavors and make for a strong and robust impression.

The long finish is like opening a cupboard full of cloves, aniseed, almonds, and dark fruits. I love it!

Rating : 91

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Glendronach 12 Sherry Wood

NewImageDistiller:
GlenDronach

Region:
Speyside

ABV:
43%

Colour:
Deep Sherry

Nose: 21
Taste: 23
Finish: 23
Balance: 23

Review:
I decided to crack this one open late at night after an evening out with some friends. And it looks like I made a super choice!

It has an unusual nose for a sherry finish. Mostly like sitting in a dank warehouse surrounded by mounds and mounds of moist sugar. The sherry brings out the dark autumn fruits like plums. This is accompanied by raisins. Then there’s something nutty in there and finally a second stronger sniff reminds me of some kind of wood varnish.

While I think the nose may need a bit of work the palate is a work of art! It’s spicy, it’s sugary, it’s caramely and all other sorts of misspelled sweet adjectives. Once again the dark autumn fruits jump in and start to make an impact while the spices, strong at first, mellow out and give this malt just the balance it needs.

A nice 43% finish which is dry, woody and full of liquorish, aniseed and plums. There is also an undercurrent of a bubbling meat stew which adds to the complexity!

Not sure how many people know about this expression but they should!

Rating : 90

Bruichladdich Sherry Classic

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Distiller:
Bruichladdich

Region:
Islay

ABV:
46%

Colour:
Pale Straw

Nose: 23
Taste: 24
Finish: 24
Balance: 23

Review:
Sherry can go horribly wrong or wonderfully perfect. So it was with a sense of trepidation as I uncorked this bright blue opaque bottle only to discover the poetry that is perfectly balanced sherry.

Set against the backdrop of a musty, yet oddly comforting, wooden laundry room comes the interplay between the brilliantly balanced barley and grapes. The odd spices then work in tandem with the subtle oak to produce, what has to be of late, one of my favorite noses.

The delivery is pure sherry passion and juicy juicy barley. The full bodied liquid then courses the palate like a sweet honey river infused with licorice, aniseed and cinnamon. Oaky mild spices finally round off an absolutely scrumptious experience.

The long all-spice finish, mixed with a crumbling slice of apple pie, rounds off my newly crowned favorite ‘Laddie.

Rating : 94

Glenmorangie 10

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Distiller:
Glenmorangie

Region:
Highland

ABV:
40%

Colour:
Pale Straw

Nose: 23
Taste: 23
Finish: 23
Balance: 23

Review:
This gem is used as a base to make the exceptional Quinta Ruban and Necta D’Or. And that’s what this entry level Glenmorangie is. Exceptional.

The nose is bright and sunny like the first day of spring. A picnic basket of goodness sits nearby with buttery biscuits covered in honey dipped raisins. A small fruitbasket of citrus, tinged with vanilla, comes out next followed by just a handful of moist almonds. The air is then filled with a touch of something delicate and floral.

The surprisingly robust delivery brings with it the juiciest of sugarcane and orange and lemon zest. Then adding complexity to the palate are cardamom seeds coated in the most faintest of silver mint. Finally the spices appear accompanied by a trickle of nuts.

The medium finish brings with it spicy black peppers which dry out to a more oaky finish. All in all a dram worth savoring.

Rating : 92

George T Stagg

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Distiller:
Buffalo Trace

ABV:
71.4%

Colour:
Copper

Nose: 24
Taste: 24
Finish: 24
Balance: 24

Review:
There are few sights in this world that can have a whisky drinkers’ heart racing than 71.4% ABV scrawled across a bottle of bourbon. I mean who in their right mind would let mere mortals drink this?

The geniuses at Buffalo Trace, who else?

Get past the heady alcohol fumes and you will find a treasure trove of dynamite aromas in this bourbon; like sitting down for breakfast at the local tanner’s, some where in the Wild West. All around you are piles of wood and leather products. His wife graciously serves you a cup of steaming mochaccino and ladles a healthy dollop of dark caramel into the giant steel cup. She then proceeds to add cloves, cinnamon and black pepper corns to spice things up a bit. And last, but not the least, gives you a thick piece of burnt toast spread with a chunky coat of orange marmalade to complete your meal. Gorgeous!

Have it unadulterated and you are thrown head-first into a hot chocolate fudge cake covered in wild gooseberries, treacle, cinnamon, black peppercorns, cloves and burnt sugar on top. Possibly one of the most delicious palates that exist.

The finish stays with you, I suspect, until you retire and start collecting pension. Chocolate brownies covered in nuts and massive spices round off this awe inspiring Wild West experience.

Why are you still reading this? Go get one now!

Rating : 96

Arran Malt Amarone Cask Finish

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Distiller:
Arran

ABV:
50%

Colour:
Full Gold

Nose: 21
Taste: 22
Finish: 23
Balance: 22

Review:
I like my wines. Maybe not as much as single malts but I’m quite happy swirling a glass or two of red the odd evening. And so the prospect of trying out a single malt aged in Amarone wine casks was quite an exciting prospect.

This no age-statement, deeply colored offering from Arran has possibly one of the sweetest noses I’ve ever come across (so sweet that I suspect Mr Richard Paterson has something to do with it!). There’s honey, there’s caramel, there’s molasses and it’s all simmering in a large oaky bowl. Thrown in the mix are a handful of nuts and a cup of dark grapes. Finally a fresh fruit platter of bananas, melons and black currants are added to round off a dizzying combination of all that is sweet and saccharine!

As the spicy, woody clove bombs burst in your mouth they are accompanied by large pieces of red licorish and tangy sweet cherries. This is, of course, in stark contrast to the sweet sweet nose experienced just moments earlier. As the spirit dries in your mouth the sugars finally come into play in the form of burnt treacle and dark jam.

A long, dry finish rounds off an interesting and highly likable single malt from Arran.

Rating : 88

Talsker 10

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Distiller:
Talisker

Region:
Island

ABV:
45.8%

Colour:
Pale Straw

Nose: 23
Taste: 24
Finish: 23
Balance: 24

Review:
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