Colour: Amontillado Sherry
I chanced upon this gem of a whisky by accident some time ago and managed to secure a bottle. After tasting it and realizing how scarce it was on the ground I stored it away for a special occasion. Little did I know that special occasion would be me buying another two bottles more than a year later. So now here I am writing another review.
Nose: Just gorgeous. Absolutely flawless. It starts off like a sherried-whisky (only I know it’s port but it has all the characteristics of one). The strong red grapes come crunched with pepper corns, almonds and a fistful of dark raisins and figs. This is covered in the most divine of thick, dark honey slathered on fresh toast sitting atop an oak slab strewn with a touch of hay.
Palate: The full bodied texture is exactly like a good quality after-dinner port apertif. First the strong cinnamon then the flowing charred caramel and the aniseed infused maple syrup cascade over your palate and wrestle your taste buds into a delightful submission.
Finish: The gloriously long finish is chock full of exotic spices like star anise and black pepper on honey; all of which is encompassed in an oaky brilliance.
This is the dram against which all drams will forever be measured.
Distillery/Brand: Glen Spey
Colour: Pale Straw
This is a gentle dram slightly north of average. Ideal to kick off an evening with or introduce a first-timer.
The bourbon cask on the nose is obvious (I suspect may even be a second fill) with vanilla, butterscotch and a touch of oak. The sweets come through second with apricots, some citrus and, what I strongly suspect, the faintest of chocolate covered waffles.
The texture is lovely velvet which starts off with some white pepper, honey and lemon. But then that’s it really.
The medium finish is a touch spicy with oak overtones. This malt is pleasant enough but too one-dimensional to really impress me.
Colour: Old Gold
One has come to expect, and quite fairly, good things from Talisker. The standard 10, the lovely 18 and the delicious 57 North are the reasons for that. So, as a fan, it’s disappointing to try hard and eke out positives from their last two No Age Statements; Storm & Port Ruighe. And this is what I think about the latter.
The nose has the reassuring and familiar sea salty dampness that one expects from all malts from Skye. There is then a healthy ladle of meat stew with thick chunks of sausage sprinkled liberally with fiery black peppercorns. Cold cuts on the side are accompanied by a bowlful of pomegranate and raisins. I quite like it which makes the delivery that much more disappointing.
You are greeted with an unbalanced palate of caramel, molasses, spicy clove mixed with cherry syrup and a stick of licorice on a bed of mild peat. It has all the ingredients to make this a cracker but I think the spirit weighs far too heavy on the spicier notes not allowing the gentler sweeter profiles to come through. Plus there is a nagging bitterness in there some where which is hard to catch.
The lingering, spicy finish also retains that irksome bitterness.
I really wanted this to blow me away. Instead it chose to remain borderline average.