Finally, we have Whiskies again. Or is it Whiskeys? How else should we distinguish Whisky from Whiskey in the plural? I have no idea. Neither did I really know which ones to put here but I think the following cover a broad array of what’s out there, and what I can find at home. Let’s start with a Sherry-bomb.
Glendronach 1993 16YO (Glendronach, 60,4%): This is a single cask bottling from Oloroso Sherry Butt No. 523. I have had a bunch of other Gledronach vintage single casks but decided to only review one of them. Nose: Way better and not as sweet as the ex-Predro Ximinez bottlings I have tried before. I get lots of dried fruits (apricots, raisins, oranges, cherries etc), bitter chocolate and hints of leather. After a while more herbal notes and beeswax. Quite good I must say. At the palate grain, dried fruits (now mostly cherries, plums and strawberries) dipped in chocolate, candied ginger and figs. Lovely! The finish is long, sweet and a bit too sticky if you know what I mean. Sherry maturations can be excellent, especially if you have a characteristic malt to back it up. PX was too sweet for my palate, but these drier Sherries work quite well. This one had some ups and downs but all in all it is a good one.
Booker’s 6YO Batch 2017-01E (Jim Beam, 62,7%): This Bourbon is produced in Kentucky at Jim Beam. Nose: Glue galore! Really, there’s glue and then there’s Booker’s. Awesome! This is intense, oh dear. It’s not complex but straight to the face, take no prisoners kind of booze. I love it. There’s absolutely nothing special about it but it is just incredibly well made. Dammit, let’s just take a sip. Now here we go. Glue, orange peel, papaya, oak, sweet corn and candies. Just what a Bourbon should taste like if you ask me. Later more bitter notes akin to citrus peel. The finish is quite short with oaky notes; basically the only weak point here. Well, I have to admit that I am biased since this is the first and only Bourbon I ever bought but this is value for money, my friends!
Octomore 6.1 (Bruichladdich, 57%): This one has 167ppm (parts per million), a measure of a Whisky’s smokyness. The typical, peated Islay Whiskies have about 40-50ppm, to put this number into perspective. Nose: Plenty of peat indeed, paired with iodine, daisies, earthy notes and a mix of citrus fruits and wild herbs towards the end. It’s not very complex, not even imposing as you might expect at this smokyness but actually quite nice. Palate: Camp fire with sweeter notes of marzipan and pastry. Ashed, roasted marshmallows perhaps. Now wild mushrooms and oily walnuts. I like this a lot, even though it’s not a Whisky I’d want to drink every day. Finish: Long, warm and full with notes of smoke and the oily walnuts. Straight and simple. Bruichladdich just produces Whiskies like only few others can, whether it is the standard range, Port Charlotte, or well, Octomore. All are outstanding on their own, and this one is no exception. If it were more complex I’d need a bottle of this I think. Barely got away without spending any money this time. Puh.
…and how could we possibly close this without some Ardbeg!?
Slowdrink Crois Chill Daltain II (Ardbeg, 50,8%): This is a cuvée of some very, very old Ardbegs, dating back to the ’70s. Nose: At first the alcohol burns a bit in the nose but after a pivot of the tasting glass we know right away that we are in for something special. Something very special. I get smokey notes enhanced by iodine, moss, freshly composted soil and biodegradable waste (no, not like Hampden). Then sweet and lovely notes of rotting mangos and more of the moss- and bog-like notes. Next we have dry and old, cheap candies, vanilla and too much oak. It feels like I am discovering something new every second; caramel and increasingly sweeter notes (more and more cheap candies – not at all in a bad way!). Palate: Slightly thinner than the full and heavy nose suggested but still very creamy and mouth-filling. There’s moss and swampy flavours and whatever you might pick up in the first aid kid. Behind that, caramel, cinnamon and pimento. With the third sip also honey peppers and stale water, as well as some fruity notes such as apples, ripe pears and gooseberries. Finish: Incredibly long with all kinds of notes that come and go. The level of peat is simply perfect if you ask me and this is soo much better than the current, more heavily peated releases (which are mostly still excellent if you ask me – I’d take a dram of the Uigeadail every day). The Whisky is so complex and multifaceted that none of these impressions can really describe it, let alone do it justice. This has to be the very best Whisky I have ever tasted. By far.