Tasting notes: Caramel and salt, with peaty undertones and a little herbal.
About Bunnahabhain: One of our favourite drams, well, the 18 year old that is. The 12 year old is also very drinkable. Sadly, we did not manage to visit the Bunnahabhain distillery on our whisky tour to Islay last year.
Amazon sells it for £35 on amazon.co.uk.
Tasting notes: Caramel and sherry, oily and dense. Perhaps a little salt and nutty too
About Bunnahabhain: The bigger brother of yesterday's 12 year old. It's quite a bit nicer, but also quite a bit pricier :-)
Amazon sells it for £80 on amazon.co.uk.
Tasting notes: Apple toffee - very mellow, and easy to drink. I guess that's why the Lords don't get a lot of stuff done.
About the House of Lords whisky: This Speyside Single Malt whisky is aged for 10 years. It's specially selected for the House of Lords, this Single Malt has been aged in oak sherry casks in Scotland for a minimum of ten years. It has been distilled following the age old tradition of the Scottish Highlands, from the finest selection of malted barley.
Tasting notes: Sweet vanilla custard with caramel, with a hint of pepper at the end.
About the whisky: It got given to me by an anonymous benefactor—allegedly because of my work on Xdebug. It's single cask and one of only 294 bottles at 50% ABV. The Strathmill distillery itself is in the heart of Speyside and is currently owned by Diageo. They mostly use the whisky that this distillery produces in blended malts such as J&B whisky. Luckily, this one has escaped this horrendous outcome and stayed a nice single cask whisky for us to enjoy.
Tasting notes: Honey, peat, and some herbal tones, and alcohol. It lingers very long.
About the whisky: The Octomore 06.3 is a 5 year aged whisky, made from single field of barley from Islay—and hence, party of their "Islay Barley" series. It is one of the heaviest peated whiskies with a phenol count of 258 ppm, and it's cask strength at 64% too. Although it is so heavily peated, and it is most definitely there while tasting it, it is not overreaching and drowning out everything else, which I sometimes find with some of the much less peated Islay whiskies. We bought this bottle on our first anniversary at Milroy's after having gotten a free tasting at their bar after dinner. It does not come cheap at about £150.
Tasting notes: Peppery and very big. It's a bit chewy with hints of Sherry and toffee.
Tasting notes: Light fruity whisky with some grass and ginger hints. A bit buttery on the palette.
About the whisky: A single malt whisky by Suntory. The Japanese distillery of Hakushu set in a forest, and often touted to be the source of the grassy notes of the whiskies.
Tasting notes: Sweet oranges with a hint of cloves. A wee bit of oak and sherry on the palette.
Another Japanese whisky for tonight. This 12 year old blended Japanese whisky. Hibiki includes malt whisky from Yamazaki and Hakushu, as well as grain whisky from Chita. The whisky is partly matured in plum liqueur barrels.
Tasting notes: A caramelly peaty expression from Lagavullin. Ending in a typical Pedro Ximenez sherry.
At some point in the mid- to late 1990s, Diageo started releasing versions of their "six classic malts" which had all been finished in some kind of fortified wine. This series of whiskies, called Distiller's Edition.
This whisky is an 18 year old limited edition of about 3000 bottles, distilled in 1995 (and bottled in 2013). It's double matured, of which the second maturation in a Pedro Ximenez sherry cask.
Sadly, with this tasting, I finished the bottle :-(
Tasting notes: Christmas pudding in liquid form. Honey and butter, with oranges, cloves and nutmeg. Finalizes with some spicy smokey hints.
About the whisky: This is a relatively new anCnoc, distilled at the Knockdhu distillery. Its relatively low profile compared to some other Speyside malts, they've been quietly producing very good whiskies for some time now. It is aged in both American bourbon casks and Spanish oak Oloroso sherry-seasoned casks for a period of 22 years.
Tasting notes: Warm mellow honey. Hints of peat perhaps? But a bit of bitter oak. Doesn't linger long, and it's a little bit creamy on the palette.
About the whisky: This is a 17 year old blended malt named for Nikka's founder, the whisky-pilgrim Masataka Taketsuru. It won a few awards (best Blended, and best Blended Japanese malt) at the World Whisky Awards.
Tasting notes: Oaky vanilla and sharp berries. Lingers medium long with an orange and red wine hint, a little bit tangy.
About the whisky: A single cask whisky distilled in 1995 and bottled in
2015. This 19 year old whisky was bottled at 55.1% ABV and was finished in a Château Lafite wine cask for the last 6 years. It's one of 264 bottles.
Tasting notes: Warm honey, cherries, and chocolate on the palette. Notes of rum on the finish.
About the whisky: This is a 10 year old whisky aged in a Bourbon Butt. It is one of 420 bottles and bottled at 60.9% ABV. Technically, this is not mine, but the Mrs'.
Tasting notes: Butterscotch, and raisins. Hints of spices (nutmeg? cloves?) and lingering honey.
About the whisky: This is a twin whisky to yesterday's malt. Just like above, this is a 10 year old whisky aged in a Bourbon Butt. It is one of 450 bottles and bottled, slightly less, at 60.5% ABV.
Even though the whiskies are the same age, from a similar type of cask, and distilled and bottled at the same time, their characteristics are really quite different different. It all comes from the differences between single casks only.
Tasting notes: Definitely an Islay, as the peat is very much centre stage. It is oily, and it has a finish of ash. It is a little better with a drop of water.
About the whisky: Very difficult to find information about on-line. It is an Islay whisky, but they're being secret about which distillery. Whiskybase does not have this specific whisky yet - although there are 2012, 2013 and (I believe) 2014 variants on there. I got it as a gift from Daaron, through my Amazon wishlist.
The whisky is bottled at cask strength at 58% ABV. Some more information at http://www.vintagemaltwhisky.com/finlaggan/.
Tasting notes: Light and a bit salty with oak. Sweet sherry, but chewy. The finish isn't very long at all.
About the whisky: This the fifth batch of the cask strength 12 year old Arran malt. It's a reasonably small batch with 18000 bottles, and it is bottled at 52.9% ABV. It was bottled in May 2015.
Tasting notes: Sweet berries, and a little woody. Minor hints of peat, but that makes it nice and Christmassy. With a little water there are more gently flavours, such as some prunes and raisins. Ends with peat and hints of mango.
About the whisky: This whisky aged 12 years - 11 years in a standard bourbon cask, and another year finished New Zealand Pinot Noir wine casks. The whisky is distilled at the Springbank distillery in the Campbeltown region. It's a limited released, and bottled at 52.9% ABV. There are only 9000 bottles of it—well, 8999 at most, as mine is nearly finished!
Tasting notes: Light fresh caramel and smoky spices. The finish is little oaky, and the palette is a bit watery. There are also lingering hints hints of aniseed.
About the whisky: The 21 year old has one Best Single Malt of the Year at the World Whisky Awards 2009. It is bottled at a higher strength than normal non-cask-strength whiskies at 47.5% ABV. The whisky was released in 2007 and considered one of the better expressions from Highland Park. I find it a bit expensive for what it is, and would prefer many single cask whiskies over this one. The distillery itself is based on the Orkneys, a group of islands North of Scotland.
Tasting notes: Very smooth, and little hints of peat. It starts with a little peppery spice, and there is vanilla, and then it ends with smoke. The palette is a little watery, but this is a very drinkable whisky.
About the whisky: It is an "Islay" whisky from Waitrose. But they're secret about which distillery it is. The label hints that it is a seaside whisky from Islay (which excludes Kilchoman), and that it's over 150 years old. Ardbeg, Laphroig and Lagavulin are over 200 years old, so that should leave only Coal Ila. Then again, it doesn't taste like a Coal Ila… who knows? That's all the fun :-) This is a bottle I got given for my birthday (which is coming up on the 22nd).
Tasting notes: On the peatier side, with burnt oak, but at the same time some vanilla and caramel. The peat is quite medicinal. It is a little watery on the palette, and it has a long smoky after taste bordering on ash.
About the whisky: A special edition single malt launched on Ardbeg Day 2014. Auriverdes stands for Gold and Green, and is a name used to refer to Brazil's sports teams, most notable the football team. In this case, it refers to both the football world championship in Brazil, as well as the golden whisky and the iconic Ardbeg green bottle it dwells within. It is quite a limit release, and not easy to get any more. I've just opened it!
Tasting notes: Oaky on the smell and lingering oak on the after taste. Quite alcoholic which overpowers a little. Needs a drop or two of water. Scent has a little vanilla, and it is a little sweet like a dry fino sherry.
About the whisky: Got this as a minature from Cadenhead's on the birthday trip as Belgium isn't known for its whisky.
Tasting notes: Peaty earths, but it has sweetness.
About the whisky: It is a non-chill filtered whisky, so it can get a little cloudy - but it does have additional colouring added. I got this given as part of my birthday presents.
Tasting notes: It's quite a strong whisky, which definitely needed water. Without there were harsh bourbon and oak flavours. But after a drop of water, there is a very oaky taste with a hint of vanilla-y sweetness. Lingers quite long with oak, but otherwise a little disappointing.
Tasting notes: Light creamy whisky with oaky hints. Smells of wood, tiny bit of caramel on the nose and on the palette. Wood finish too, but not very long lingering.
About the whisky: Last whisky of the calendar, sponsored by my dad! Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.