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Ardmore Tradition

In 2007 the release of Ardmore Traditional Cask (46% ABV) was the first official single malt from the Ardmore distillery. A fairly young whisky (one of the early NAS expressions), but it was finished in 125-litre quarter casks which offers a speedy maturation and masks part of its youth. Good value for money made it quite popular in the lightly peated category.

Fast forward to 2014: I reviewed Ardmore Legacy and wrote that it was going to replace Traditional Cask, but they brought it back in 2015 as Ardmore Tradition , still at 46% but only available in travel retail....

Läs mer https://www.whiskynotes.be/2018/ardmore/ardmore-tradition/

Bladnoch 1990 (Antique Lions of Spirits)

From the latest batch of Antique Lions of Spirits bottlings : Bladnoch 1990 from a bourbon cask.



imageBladnoch 27 yo 1990 (49,4%, Antique Lions of Spirits ‘Butterflies’ 2017, bourbon cask, 276 btl.)

Nose: warm fruity notes (mirabelles, apricots, clementines, papaya) with hints of vanilla and polished oak. Honey, buttercups, subtle linseed oil. Sweet lemons. A very warm, almost tropical version. Mouth: the lusicous fruits are still there (apricots, grapefruits, limes) but it gets a little grassier now, more typically Bladnoch if you like. Fresh minty notes, as well as some star anise. Peppercorns. Green tea. Lightly bitter herbs....

Läs mer https://www.whiskynotes.be/2018/bladnoch/bladnoch-1990-antique-lions-of-spirits/

Green Spot Chateau Montelena

Green Spot Château Montelena is a new limited edition of the Irish Green Spot brand (pot still whiskey crafted at Midleton distillery, also see Yellow Spot ). It has been matured in bourbon and sherry casks and finished for 12 months in French oak casks previously filled with Zinfandel wine from Chateau Montelena located in Nappa Valley.

It is the second release in the Wine Geese series , following the Château Léoville Barton finish in 2015. When Chateau Montelena was introduced in oktober 2017, it had been postponed a little because of the devastating fires in California. So far very...

Läs mer https://www.whiskynotes.be/2018/irish-whiskey/green-spot-chateau-montelena/

New: Glenlivet Code // Darkness sherry bombs // Laphroaig Cairdeas Fino


The Glenlivet Code

It looks like The Glenlivet will try to repeat the Glenlivet Cipher story with a new whisky called The Glenlivet Code . The label is similar so they’ll probably recycle the matte black bottle as well. It comes at 48% ABV.




Darkness first-fill sherry bombs

Sherry bomb alert! Every bottling in the Darkness range has been finished for at least three months in tiny first-fill 50-litre sherry casks. There are now five new releases available from Master of Malt:

Läs mer https://www.whiskynotes.be/2018/whisky-news/glenlivet-code-darkness-sherry-bombs-laphroaig-cairdeas-fino/

Invergordon 25 Years / 43 Years (Darkness!)

So I bought samples of both grain whiskies in the recent batch of Darkness bottlings: an Invergordon 25 Year Old (PX cask) and Invergordon 43 Year Old (Oloroso cask).

Grain whisky matured / finished in sherry casks (especially first-fill) is rare, but I’ve had some great experiences  before.



imageInvergordon 25 yo (46,1%, Darkness 2017, Pedro Ximénez cask, 100 btl., 50 cl)

Nose: nice and rich. The expected plums and raisins, moving towards very jammy blackcurrants and cassis. Plenty of cinnamon pastry. Muscovado. Light hints of coconut, but this is not the usual Batida de Coco profile of common...

Läs mer https://www.whiskynotes.be/2018/grain/invergordon-25-years-43-years-darkness/

Glenury Royal 1984 (Gordon MacPhail)

I can still count the number of Glenury Royal reviews on one hand and it isn’t likely to change of course. The distillery fell silent in 1983 and was closed for good in 1985. Now there are apartments on the site.

This Glenury Royal 1984 was bottled in 2012 by Gordon & MacPhail (who else). It must have been one of the last casks being filled – and one of the last to be bottled…?



imageGlenury Royal 28 yo 1984 (46%, Gordon & MacPhail ‘Rare Old’ 2012, refill sherry butt R0/12/05, 430 btl.)

Nose: old-style and rather understated....

Läs mer https://www.whiskynotes.be/2018/glenury-royal/glenury-royal-1984-gordon-macphail-rare-old/

Mortlach 2001 (SMWS 76.135) // Caol Ila 2010 (SMWS 53.242)


I must admit my experience with the Scotch Maltwhisky Society is limited – perhaps unsurprising for a private membership organisation.

The SMWS was started by Philip Hills (author of the excellent book Appreciating Whisky ). After trying a Glenfarclas directly from the cask in 1978, he was persuaded to buy the cask with a group of friends. This expanded and became a public society in 1983.

I’ve never been a member (representation in Belgium has been a bit problematic in recent years – it’s now run by someone with a background in bartending) but on the other hand I’ve...

Läs mer https://www.whiskynotes.be/2018/caol-ila/mortlach-2001-smws-76-135-caol-ila-2010-smws-53-242/

Irish Single Malt 1989 (LimitedWhisky)

Limited Whisky Investment is a whisky shop in Ulm (Germany) which aims to guide people in their whisky shopping (or investment). It was founded only in 2016, so releasing one of these undisclosed Irish single malt 1989 as a first bottling in its Monkey series is a nice move!



imageIrish single malt 28 yo 1989 (56,2%, Limited Whisky Investment & Sansibar ‘Monkey series’ 2017, bourbon cask, 164 btl.)

Nose: a slight alcohol tingle at first, as well as some malty notes and subdued fruits compared to other malts from this parcel. Gooseberries, coconut macaroons, some citrus green tea....

Läs mer https://www.whiskynotes.be/2018/irish-whiskey/irish-single-malt-1989-limited-whisky-investment/

Caol Ila Cl8 (Elements of Islay)

This Caol Ila Cl8 in the Elements of Islay series is a marriage of five bourbon barrels from the mid-2000s.



imageCaol Ila Cl8 (55,2%, Elements of Islay 2017, bourbon barrels, 50cl)

Nose: a very fresh, bright expression. Lots of lemon sweets, lime peel and truckloads of Granny Smith apples. Medium smoke, hints of bacon and soot. Hints of popcorn and just echoes of tequila – youthful spirit after all. Classic brine as well. Mouth: fairly oily and rounded. Lemons, lime cordial, a bit of honey and custard. Light earthy notes, more mineral towards the end. Citrus zest. Quite...

Läs mer https://www.whiskynotes.be/2018/caol-ila/caol-ila-cl8-elements-of-islay/

Springbank 1996 (WhiskyNerds)

The Dutch WhiskyNerds announced this Springbank 1996 not long ago, rather soon after their Inchmurrin vatting . They are a highly ‘irregular’ bottler, something we can only applaud. Instead of working on a steady flow of whisky, they are only bottling the really great ones, not hesitating to patiently wait for months if nothing happens to cross their path.

If I’m not mistaken this is their most expensive release so far, I’m sure they thought about this one twice before deciding to bottle it.



imageSpringbank 21 yo 1996 (58,1%, WhiskyNerds 2017, hogshead #471, 180 btl.)

Nose: starts on...

Läs mer https://www.whiskynotes.be/2018/springbank/springbank-1996-whiskynerds/

New: Laphroaig 28 Years // Kilchoman single casks // Glenmorangie Cadboll


Laphroaig 28 Years

The new release in the series of limited editions from Laphroaig (check my review of Laphroaig 27 Years and Laphroaig 32 Years ) will be the Laphroaig 28 Year Old . It is matured in quarter casks, ex-bourbon barrels and Oloroso sherry butts and bottled at cask strength 46.3% ABV.




Kilchoman single casks

In the UK we’ve noticed two new Kilchoman single casks. One is the Kilchoman 10 Years 2007 for The Whisky Exchange , a sherry cask #401/2007 bottled at 58.5%, available for around € 145.

The other is the Kilchoman 5 Years 2001...

Läs mer https://www.whiskynotes.be/2018/whisky-news/laphroaig-28-years-kilchoman-single-casks-glenmorangie-cadboll/

Laphroaig 27 Years

Laphroaig 27 Year Old is the third release in an annual series of limited editions showing the more mature expressions (after the 30 Years and Laphroaig 32 Years ). It was matured in hogsheads and then transferred to first-fill bourbon barrels and refill quarter casks, before being bottled at cask strength 41.7% ABV in mars 2017.

When Laphroaig announced this 27 Year Old, they showed us the mock-up to the left (similar to the 32). To the right is the actual bottle (in reality I would say it is even more pale than that). Very odd.




imageLaphroaig 27...

Läs mer https://www.whiskynotes.be/2018/laphroaig/laphroaig-27-years/

Dewar’s 25 Year Old

Dewar’s 25 Year Old is a new premium blend that will replace Dewar’s Signature in travel retail. They are replacing a NAS expression with an age statement, that’s nice to hear.

Composed by Dewar’s master blender Stephanie MacLeod, this has been finished in freshly disgorged casks that previously held Royal Brackla single malt (which is also part of this blend). A single malt finish? Not sure there’s proof for the claim that this adds extra smoothness (or anything else).



imageDewar’s 25 yo (40%, OB 2017, travel retail)

Nose: bright and juicy. Plenty of honey, peaches and stewed pear....

Läs mer https://www.whiskynotes.be/2018/blends/dewars-25-years/

Orkney 2004 (Whisky-Fässle)

Another undisclosed Highland Park – the name can’t be mentioned and apparently the underlying idea is “when a single cask is good people praise the bottler, when the cask is bad people blame the distillery”.



imageOrkney single malt 13 yo 2004 (50,5%, Whisky-Fässle 2017, sherry cask)

Nose: subtle sherry, in the sense that the cask brings a sweet, almost syrupy fruitiness (peaches on syrup, golden raisins) but no darker notes. Baked apples, oranges and heather honey. Also wet branches and coastal notes. Good. Mouth: oily texture, with the same sweetness (oranges, lemonade, peaches) but also a firmer, slightly...

Läs mer https://www.whiskynotes.be/2018/highland-park/orkney-2004-whisky-faessle/

GlenDronach 21 Years Parliament

The GlenDronach 21 Years Parliament is the oldest core range expression and one that I hadn’t tried before. It was launched in 2011 and aged in a mix of Oloroso and Pedro Ximénez sherry casks.

It has been named ‘Parliament’ after the colony, or ‘parliament’, of rooks that have been nesting in the trees that overlook the GlenDronach distillery for almost 200 years.



imageGlenDronach 21 yo ‘Parliament’ (48%, OB +/- 2017)

Nose: a bit of an old-style, autumnal sherry profile. Quite thick and sweet, with toffee, maple syrup and a darker side of roasted nuts. Pecans, walnuts, hazelnut....

Läs mer https://www.whiskynotes.be/2018/glendronach/glendronach-parliament-21-years/

Best wishes best whiskies of 2017


Best wishes for 2018

A quick look at some of the highlights of 2017 before we start a new year of (almost) daily whisky reviews.



Best new whiskies in 2017

We saw basically the same trends already mentioned in 2016: the excellent parcel of undi sclosed Speyside 1970s whisky hasn’t dried up yet. On the other hand old Irish whiskey keeps amazing us.




For the undisclosed Speyside whisky, it seems this year it was mostly the 1973 vintage scooping the awards. My personal favourites:

Läs mer https://www.whiskynotes.be/2018/whisky-news/best-wishes-best-whiskies-of-2017/

Redbreast 2001 (#18829 for Master of Malt)

Master of Malt recently had an exclusive Redbreast 16 Year Old single cask bottled from a first-fill Oloroso butt. Official Redbreast single casks are quite rare so we’re still discovering what they can be like. Older expressions ( Dream Cask and LMdW ) are often excellent.

When this came out, the 582 available bottles went fast…



imageRedbreast 16 yo 2001 (60,2%, OB for Master of Malt 2017, first-fill Oloroso butt #18829, 582 btl.)

Nose: aromatic spices up front. Dried ginger, cinnamon. Then moves to cocoa, blackberries, figs and cassis. Baked apples with (dry) raisins. Black Forest gateau. Also...

Läs mer https://www.whiskynotes.be/2017/irish-whiskey/redbreast-16yo-single-cask-master-of-malt/

Glenrothes Oldest Reserve

imageGlenrothes Oldest Reserve used to be the oldest expression in the core range of this distillery and one of their most interesting expressions of the past few years in my opinion.

To create it, they combined casks from five vintages : 1967, 1972, 1977, 1979 and 1980. It was launched in the summer of 2012 so all components were aged for 30 to 45 years . Originally a travel retail expression (in the old wooden enclosure), it was also made available from other retailers (in a new cardboard version).



imageGlenrothes Oldest Reserve (43%, OB 2012)

Nose: ah, classic...

Läs mer https://www.whiskynotes.be/2017/glenrothes/glenrothes-oldest-reserve/

The Gauldrons (Douglas Laing)

The Gauldrons is the last member of the Remarkable Regional Malts series, which includes other blended malts like Big Peat , Scallywag , The Epicurean … The only region missing was Campbeltown and given the limited amount of active distilleries in the region, this expression should be based around Springbank and Glen Scotia whisky.

The Gauldrons name comes from the sandy coves on Campbeltown’s west shores and literally means bay of storms . It refers to the local legend of King Robert the Bruce, who was defeated by his enemies but was inspired to carry on fighting by a spider...

Läs mer https://www.whiskynotes.be/2017/blends/the-gauldrons-douglas-laing/

Linkwood 1987 (Cadenhead Small Batch)

Buying whisky without having a sip beforehand is so dangerous. Today’s example is a Linkwood 1987 from Cadenhead .



imageLinkwood 28 yo 1987 (58,4%, Cadenhead ‘Small Batch’ 2015, two sherry butts, 1062 btl.)

Nose: very shy sherry influence, majbe Fino casks. Leafy notes, raw barley, hints of chalk. Some citrus and garden fruits underneath (apples, peaches). Hints of bread with salty butter. Green walnuts. Rather austere, few notes that get me excited. Mouth: sharp and rather hot. Common peaches and pears again, before the oak comes rolling in. Slightly tannic, dry and chalky. White pepper and ginger. Grapefruit...

Läs mer https://www.whiskynotes.be/2017/linkwood/linkwood-1987-cadenhead-small-batch/


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