It’s time for Whisky again (for the rest of the month I think) and given our habit of doing comparisons we shall be doing at least pairs from a few distilleries as much as possible. Today however, we will have a completely mixed bag with a focus on different cask types
With Whisky it’s apparently all about cask types as I’ve learned and lately we are having all sorts of different ones. Pardon me, but I believe the reasons for this mania are twofold. Firstly, it easily boosts young, potentially immature distillates which eases the constant, continuous supply of interesting Whiskies despite the exceedingly higher demand for aged expressions. Secondly, and many will kill me for this, it allows producers to differentiate themselves in a very homogenous mass of rather similar tasting Whiskies (of a high quality, mind you). But I am right, am I not?
Edradour SFTC 2007 10YO (Grand Arôme Cask, 58,9%): I have to admit that I am not the biggest fan of Edradour but if they mature their Whisky in a former Grand Arôme cask from Savanna my attention has surely been caught. Nose: Uhh, I didn’t expect this. This smells like a weird mix of Nine Leaves and Bruichladdich, but surely not like I expected an Edradour in a Grand Arôme cask to smell like. Wheats and grains as well as some oat meal paird with citrus is all there is, and even that isn’t really good. How about the palate? Well, it’s not much better. The balance shifts a bit away from the grains towards more of the citrus fruits but next to these and some vanilla perhaps I am not getting much. The texture is quite creamy but the alcohol isn’t integrated very well. I have absolutely no idea why you would bottle this as a single cask. Finish: Medium long with the citrus/ grain combination and some multi-grain bread. Oh dear, I hope the session won’t continue like this… (64/100)
The Whisky Cask Glentauchers 2008 10YO (Olorosso Sherry, 57,2%): Here we have a somewhat more traditional first fill sherry butt (which also become increasingly rare these days!). Nose: I have no concrete idea what the Glentauchers profile smells and tastes like but here we get a mix of plums and dark, sour cherries, Spanish orange tea and a rather herbal, slightly mossy background note. I am bit puzzled but I think it is rather interesting. Palate: Slightly sharp and a bit indecisive if it wants to be dry or sweet. Sour cherries, dark chocolate and even darker, basically burnt coffee beans, bitter oranges as well as the herbal/ mossy notes again. Then slightly bitter woody notes. Just like the Whisky cannot decide if it wants to be sweet or dry, the texture also seemingly shifts back and forth beweteen thin and creamy. The finish is not too long and comes with the coffee beans, sour cherries and wooden sticks. Interesting, but with a few weak spots here and there. (82/100)
SMWS 76.141 (Mortlach) “Toasted Vanilla Beans” 2002 15YO (Moscatel Cask, 57,7%): Sometimes SMWS gets their names right! The label says 1st fill ex-Moscatel Hogshead finish by the way. Interesting! Nose: Yes, toasted vanilla beans indeed. Then pastry, spices (then wine, I assume) and more and more vinous notes. I actually do like a good Moscatel! Some hay, yeast, and grapes that slowly start to rot. It’s far from a complex or amazing nose but it is to my liking. Palate: The entry is rather spicy but then quickly “sweetens out” into sugar, vanilla and caramel. Behind that we find a rather unpleasant vinous note though that feels as if it shouldn’t be here. As if drops of it have just been added. It’s getting increasingly buttery, something that’s a no-go with spirits for me. If only there was even more of that lovely vanilla note! Finish: Relatively short with the spices that I once again would associate with Moscatel. I’d say it is an experiment that was worth making, for me it just didn’t succeed. (77/100)
Douglas Laing Inchgower 1996 22YO (Sherry Butt, 51,5%): This Whisky seems to require quite some time but eventually it opens up with rich, dark, orange flavoured chocolate, apricot marmelade, leather, plums, dates, gingerbread and ginger syrup as well as juniper and brambleberries. It’s the kind of Whisky that you could keep on sniffing for hours but that really makes your mouth water. Tastewise we’re in similar territories. Gingerbread, chocolate, orange marmelade, cloves, cinnamon, dates, mokka, hints of sulphur and dark caramel are just some of the impressions I get. This is all really, really nice! The finish is medium long and warm with spices (ginger) and orange peel. A very interesting and complex Whisky that’s not as one-dimensional as your usual Sherry cask maturation. (87/100)
A wild session. How about a Rye to finish it!?
Angel’s Envy Rye (Plantation XO Finish, 50%): Well, I do not like the rum of this finish but that usually doesn’t mean a lot. The nose starts with spices, sugar and some alcohol and then transitions over to tangerines, apricots, banana bread and orange liquer. Not complex, but quite nice. The palate is just about as sweet but in some weird kind of way. I taste mixed wheat and rye bread, vanilla and other, sharper spices, clearly also ginger, vanilla-raisin ice cream and above all of this some rather parfumed, almost artifical sweetness. It’s a rather weird mix; not horrible, but you need to get used to it, to use some kind words here. The finish is actually kinda nice and while very similar to the palate, works very well for me since it all seems to dry out here. I’m torn and don’t really want to grade this but for the record, let makes this a… (79/100)
Somehow I feel like we should have another one. Ah right, Ardbeg of course!
Ardbeg Grooves (Bourbon and Red Wine casks, 51,6%): While we love Ardbeg, it is way too hyped if you ask me. But then again, we mostly love the old Ardbegs, and those are hyped for all the right reasons. These Committee Releases can be hit and miss but wine casks can be really nice with Whisky, right Laddie and co.? Nose: Oh yeah, I don’t think I would have been able to call this Ardbeg immediately in a blind tasting as Port Charlotte would be way more obvious here. Lots of wine, ash (cold and hot), dark berries, chocolate, caramel and old tobacco perhaps. Really nice but rather one-dimensional. Palate: Quite a bit sweeter than the nose as the ash moves further into the background to make space for the wine barrels, dark berries, stroopwaffel, Earl Grey, burnt vanilla and again, more and more vinous notes. I do like this a lot, even though it is quite an atypical Ardbeg. Finish: Long and indesicive between dry and sweet elements as well as some ash and tobacco. Hype yes or no, I don’t care. It is a great Whisky. Who needs full bottles of this anyway as long as there are the magnificent standards!? (87/100)