Mortlach 1988 (Gordon MacPhail)

A new release in the dumpy bottles (which means 30+ years old in the Connoisseurs Choice range): Mortlach 1988 from a refill sherry hogshead. As good as the previous Mortlach from Gordon & MacPhail ? Let’s hope so.



imageMortlach 30 yo 1988 (48,8%, Gordon & MacPhail ‘Connoisseurs Choice’ 2018, refill American oak sherry hogshead #4839, 129 btl.)

Nose: intriguing mix of subtle fruits (overripe melon and apples, a little redcurrant), flowers (freesia), lemon meringue and linseed oil. Whiffs of damp chalk. Beehive notes. Crushed leaves, bits of moss…  Mouth: quite punchy, with honey and something vaguely fruity, but...

Läs mer https://www.whiskynotes.be/2019/mortlach/mortlach-1988-gordon-macphail/

Blended Malt #1 18 Years (TBWC)

That Boutique-y Whisky Company has a series of blended malts , numbered according to their recipe.

In this case they say it’s a teaspooned malt , a single malt to which a small amount of Maltwhisky from another distillery is added. Let’s dive in and check it out.



imageBlended Malt No.1 18 yo (47,3%, That Boutique-y Whisky Co. 2018, Batch #3, 1049 btl.)

Nose: bright and fruity in a slightly Irish way. Juicy pears, nectarines, unripe greengages. Floral honey, as well as honeysuckle. Meadows in spring. Fresh and attractive like a lemonade. Mouth: simple pleasures. All on...

Läs mer https://www.whiskynotes.be/2019/blends/blended-malt-1-18-years-boutiquey-whisky/

Octomore 10 Years (3rd edition)

The third edition of Octomore 10 Year Old . Whisky distilled from Scottish grown Optic barley, matured in different casks:

  • 37% first-fill Port pipes
  • 31% first-fill Cognac barrels
  • 20% second-fill bourbon barrels
  • 12% matured consecutively in first-fill American barrels (3 years), virgin oak (2 years) and second-fill American whiskey barrels (6 years)



imageOctomore 10 yo 2008 (56,8%, OB 2018, 3rd edition, 167 ppm, 12.000 btl.)

Nose: rich and powerful. Sweet tobacco with campfire ashes, tarry ropes and shoe polish. Behind this there are vanilla biscuits, chamois leather and sweetened black tea. Plenty of oats. Stewed apples and hints...

Läs mer https://www.whiskynotes.be/2019/bruichladdich/octomore-10-years-3rd-edition/

Johnnie Walker Blue Label Ghost Rare – Port Ellen

The second installment of the Johnnie Walker Blue Label Ghost & Rare series, this time composed around Port Ellen .

Of course the amount of Port Ellen that went into this is small. In an interview Jim Beveridge said they only added the level necessary to make the blend smoky, and anyone who know smokiness in blends know that you don’t need a lot of smoke in there to have that overt smokiness.

Anwyay this Ghost & Rare release includes Port Ellen but also grain whisky from the ‘ghost distilleries’ Caledonian and Carsebridge , as well as whisky from Mortlach,...

Läs mer https://www.whiskynotes.be/2019/blends/johnnie-walker-blue-label-ghost-rare-port-ellen/

New: Ardbeg Traigh Bhan // Highland Park Saltire // Benromach 1972 1977


Ardbeg 19 Years Traigh Bhan

Ardbeg is working on a new 19 year-old expression called Ardbeg Traigh Bhan , named after a beach on Islay. It is matured in American oak and Oloroso sherry casks and bottled at 46.2% ABV. Expect smoky pineapple and chilli chocolate . Expect a high price as well, I guess.




Benromach Heritage 1972 / Benromach Heritage 1977

With the previous Benromach 1978 still on the shelves, two new vintage releases are announced:

  • Benromach Heritage 1972 cask #4471 , 46yo, 55.7% ABV, 75 bottles, around € 1750 each. Already available from The Whisky Barrel...

Läs mer https://www.whiskynotes.be/2019/whisky-news/ardbeg-traigh-bhan-highland-park-saltire-benromach-1972-1977/

Ardmore 2013 (Asta Morris)

You don’t get too many Ardmore bottlings matured in sherry casks, I suppose Asta Morris must have bought it as young spirit and decided to go for a sherry cask himself.

This is just 5 years old . When asked about the young age of this whisky, Bert simply answered because it wouldn’t make sense to age it longer and that’s probably the only right answer. Looking at the colour this must have been a very active (deeply charred?) cask.



imageArdmore 5 yo 2013 (56,4%, Asta Morris 2019, sherry butt, 211 btl.)

Nose: lots of dark candy sugar,...

Läs mer https://www.whiskynotes.be/2019/ardmore/ardmore-5-years-2013-asta-morris/

Benrinnes 1997 (Grindlay’s)

Grindlay’s bottled this 20 year single malt from the Benrinnes distillery after it was drawn from one cask (ex-bourbon probably) which was laid down in 1997 .

Scotland Grindlay Ltd was founded in 2015 by George Grindlay. They have a blend called Dalriada and a series of single malts / single casks, but other than that little information is available, not even a company website.



imageBenrinnes 20 yo 1997 (56,4%, Grindlay’s Selection 2018, cask #895, 200 btl.)

Nose: very fresh and aromatic, with fruit salad and a slightly floral edge. Oranges (and marmalade), peaches and melons. Bright lime....

Läs mer https://www.whiskynotes.be/2019/benrinnes/benrinnes-20-years-1997-grindlays/

Glen Moray Fired Oak 10 Year Old

Glen Moray Fired Oak is a 10 year-old experimental whisky matured in bourbon barrels and then finished in heavily charred virgin oak casks . The least you can say is that Glen Moray is doing their best to bring out interesting experiments, like the Glen Moray Cider Cask Project before.

The official tasting notes mention amplified notes of vanilla, spice and smoky wood, so I expect it to be closer to American bourbon whiskey perhaps?



imageGlen Moray 10 yo Fired Oak (40%, OB 2018)

Nose: sweet fruity notes to the fore here, lots of apple notes with a...

Läs mer https://www.whiskynotes.be/2019/glen-moray/glen-moray-fired-oak-10-years/

Mortlach 16 Year Old


Let us call a spade a spade: Mortlach failed in their april 2014 relaunch . The quality was uninspired and the bottles didn’t sell because the asking price was way too high.

The new range went back to 70 cl bottles, which are also priced much more reasonably (the 18 Years was € 350 when counting 70 cl, the new 16 Years is well under € 100) and I guess nothing really stands in their way now.

The Mortlach 16 Years is matured in a mix of first-fill and refill sherry casks. Of course there was the respected 16 Years...

Läs mer https://www.whiskynotes.be/2019/mortlach/mortlach-16-years-review/

Jura 10 Year Old

We had a bad experience with Jura The Sound recently. We don’t give up, so let’s try the reworked Jura 10 Year Old and see if this is better. No points for the lousy 40% ABV strength though.

Jura 10 Years was already launched in the US in 2017 but didn’t make it to Europe until the 2018 core range overhaul . It is matured in American oak barrels and finished in Oloroso sherry casks.



imageJura 10 yo (40%, OB 2018)

Nose: better than The Sound, but not much. Gristy notes, hay, a little wet newspaper and a...

Läs mer https://www.whiskynotes.be/2019/jura/jura-10-years/

Springbank 9 Year Old ‘Local Barley’

This is the fourth release in the popular Local Barley series from Springbank . One more and we’ll have a full set:

The latest version is produced with Optic barley from High Cattadale Farm and matured in a mix of 80% bourbon casks and 20% sherry casks.



imageSpringbank 9 yo 2009 ‘Local Barley’ (57,7%, OB 2018, 9700 btl.)

Nose: good but just like the 10 Years this is young and therefore a little less...

Läs mer https://www.whiskynotes.be/2019/springbank/springbank-local-barley-9-years/

New: Macallan Edition No. 5 // Laphroaig Cairdeas Triple Wood // Glenrothes 40 Years


Macallan Edition N°5

The Macallan Edition N°5 celebrates the natural colour of Macallan bottlings. This inspired the renowned Pantone Color Institute to create a unique and ‘exquisitely complex’ shade for the label.

We don’t know what colour this will be. Macallan has been smart: they erased some text on the preview label and completely desaturated it. I’m guessing it will be a shade of red, or majbe brown. What do think it will be?

In any case: bottled at 48.5% ABV and available later this year. Macallan Edition No.4 is still available from The Whisky Exchange .





Läs mer https://www.whiskynotes.be/2019/whisky-news/macallan-edition-5-laphroaig-cairdeas-triple-wood-glenrothes-40/

Glenlivet 1954 (Gordon MacPhail)

In the impressive stream of (usually excellent) premium releases from Gordon & MacPhail , there was this Glenlivet 1954 , a 64 year old expression bottled at the end of 2018 from a refill sherry butt.



It was launched together with the outstanding Caol Ila 1968, both in the Private Collection series.



imageGlenlivet 64 yo 1954 (41%, Gordon & MacPhail ‘Private Collection’ 2018, refill sherry butt #1412, 222 btl.)

Nose: delicate but very good with lots of tiny nuances. Waxed papers, stewed pears, orange peel, with cedar wood and an ever so light smoky undertone. Lots...

Läs mer https://www.whiskynotes.be/2019/glenlivet-2/glenlivet-1954-gordon-macphail-private-collection/

Talisker 2009 (Douglas Laing Provenance)

This Talisker 2009 was bottled at 8 years of age in Douglas Laing’s Provenance Coastal Collection , a series of four bottlings honouring the islands and the seas.

It’s young and comes from a refill cask – that could leave us with the natural character of this distillery.



imageTalisker 8 yo 2009 (48%, Douglas Laing ‘Provenance Coastal Collection’ 2018, refill hogshead #12611, 319 btl.)

Nose: quite maritime indeed, very spirit-driven with echoes of the newmake. Beach sand, sea breeze and hints of wet shells. Malty notes underneath, a little pear and sweet lemon. Light hints of pencil shavings....

Läs mer https://www.whiskynotes.be/2019/talisker/talisker-2009-douglas-laing-provenance/

Macallan 10 Year Old (1970s)

Macallan from the 1970s, matured in sherry wood as stated on the neck label. This seems to be a standard bottle from Macallan-Glenlivet themselves, no mentions of Italian importers in this case.



imageMacallan 10 yo (70 Proof, OB 1970s)

Nose: great nose, with a whole array of old-style notes like turpentine, furniture wax and just a hint of copper polish, but also juicy plums, raisins, even cooked strawberries. Whiffs of wet wood and old books. Me gusta mucho. Mouth: slightly less convincing. It does show a similar (nice) fruitiness, lots of apricot jams, red berry jams, as well...

Läs mer https://www.whiskynotes.be/2019/macallan/macallan-10-years-1970s/

New: Laphroaig 30 Years // Tamdhu 15 Years // Glendalough 25 Years


Laphroaig 30 Year Old – The Ian Hunter Story

First-fill bourbon casks and filled at “high strength” (just 48%), that’s the recipe for an upcoming Laphroaig 30 Year Old . It has the subtitle The Ian Hunter Story , referring to the last member of the Johnston family to run the distillery in the 1950s, before it was taken over by the manager Bessie Williamson.

It appears to go back to the green bottle of the 25 Year Old, whereas in the past few years limited releases like the Laphroaig 27 Years were mostly bottled in clear glass.




Läs mer https://www.whiskynotes.be/2019/whisky-news/laphroaig-30-years-tamdhu-15-years-glendalough-25-years/

Old Pulteney 15 Year Old

Old Pulteney 15 Years is a new expression, part of the 2018 overhaul of the core range. Check my review of the newish  Old Pulteney 12 Years for more information.

The 15 Years is matured in first and second fill bourbon barrels and finished in Oloroso sherry butts.



imageOld Pulteney 15 yo (46%, OB 2018)

Nose: a fresh and rather recognizable Pulteney nose, full of yellow apples, barley notes and heather honey with a lovely coastal side. Sea breeze, pine wood and mint. Soft vanilla and hints of golden raisins. Mouth: juicy and rather bright. A nice sweet...

Läs mer https://www.whiskynotes.be/2019/old-pulteney/old-pulteney-15-years/

Laphroaig 25 Year Old (2018)

The new 2018 edition of Laphroaig 25 Years was matured in ex-bourbon casks (earlier versions often had some sherry influence).

The last one I tried was the 2014 edition and that was rather excellent.



imageLaphroaig 25 yo Cask Strength (52%, OB 2018)

Nose: rather mineral start, pretty punchy for such an old malt. Sunflower oil, ashy notes and carbon paper. Underneath there is a nice layer of grapefruits, lime and grilled pineapple – almost tropical. Also a buttery touch. Top notes of eucalyptus and sea spray. Burnt orange peel. Mouth: very big, with minty smoke and medicinal notes....

Läs mer https://www.whiskynotes.be/2019/laphroaig/laphroaig-25-years-2018/

Speyside Malt 1989 (Maltbarn)

No shortage of undisclosed Speyside malts these days (a squirrel, how appropriate), although this Speyside 1989 is not a blended malt but a single malt. We’ve seen similar 1989’s from other bottlers and they hint towards totally different distilleries, just like these 1970s siblings. It’s part of the latest batch of Maltbarn releases.



imageSpeyside Malt 29 yo 1989 (49,1%, Maltbarn 2018, bourbon cask, 133 btl.)

Nose: starts malty, showing corn flakes, oranges, honey and nice hints of apricot. Some spiced tea, mint and liquorice wood. Dried flowers. Waxy notes, a light yeasty side and a whiff of vanilla....

Läs mer https://www.whiskynotes.be/2019/undisclosed/speyside-single-malt-1989-maltbarn/

Mount Gay 7 Years (TWE exclusive)

Mount Gay Distilleries is supposedly the oldest commercial rum distillery in the world (going back to 1703). Located in Barbados, it is now part of the Rémy Cointreau group. It is made from molasses and distilled in both copper pot stills and column stills before being aged in American oak

This 7 year-old release is exclusive to The Whisky Exchange and the first-ever exclusive bottling from Mount Gay. Not counting the bulk sales or occasional independent bottlings which come under another name. It comes from a selection of 20 barrels and has a higher proportion of pot still than most...

Läs mer https://www.whiskynotes.be/2019/other-spirits/mount-gay-select-blend-rum-whisky-exchange/


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