Glendronach Cask Strength (Batch 5), 20 Years Old Single Cask #1051 Oloroso.

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Glendronach Cask Strength Batch 5

 

Region: Speyside

ABV: 55.3%

E150: No

Chill-filtered: No

Colour: Gold-Amber

Nose: Doesn’t smack you in the face like a classic sherry bomb, instead you get a apples, pears, hints of orange. Dried apricots, hint of nuts, slightly sharp ethanol note, a bit floral, milk chocolate.
The apple and pear reminds me of bourbon cask, which is interesting to find in a pure sherry cask (Oloroso and PX) whisky. The nose got sweeter after 15-20 minutes, and a sip.

Palate: Here comes the sherry! Plums, berries, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, hints of lemon?

Finish: Medium-long finish, a tad on the dry side. Lingering oak, pepper, raisins.

Score: 84/100

Not as complex as I hoped with a cask strength Glendronach, doesn’t have the same impact as two of the A’bunadh (53, 55) I previously reviewed. Rather interestingly on the nose I get some light fruits commonly associated with young bourbon cask. Overall a solid dram, but I would rather have the A’bunadh over this especially when this cost $50 more. Their younger single casks are much more appealing at a lower cost.


Glendronach 20 Years Old Single Cask 1994

Region: Speyside

ABV: 54.2%

E150: No

Chill-filtered: No

Cask Type: Oloroso Sherry Puncheon

 

Colour: Mahogany

Nose: Sweet ripe cherries, plums, berries, cinnamon, chocolate, very slight hint of orange, hint of soy, hint of ginger.
Really smooth on the nose, lots of sweet fruits, touch of spice, really pleasant.

Palate: Stewed fruit jam, very nice mouth feel. Strawberries, cough syrup without the disgusting medicinal taste, blackberries, dark chocolate, hint of tobacco.

Finish: Long finish, dry, pepper, oak appears, sweet berries.
Score: 90/100

Very different from the 12 and the CS Batch 5, a lot more concentrated, not the most complex dram I have tried, but each notes stands out really well. Lots of cherries on the nose and palate, not too much spices and oak despite spending 20 years in Oloroso cask. Has a bit of a unique value being my birth year Scotch. Overall well balanced, bold, sherry cask whisky, would score myself a bottle if it wasn’t so damn expensive now, almost $300 CAD after tax.

Adelphi Limerick Selection Slaney Malt 1991 23 Year Old

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Adelphi Limerick Selection Slaney Malt 1991 23 Years Old

Region: Ireland

ABV: 48.3%

E150: No

Chill-filtered: No

This is an Irish single malt whisky bottled by Adelphi, and from what I learned during the tasting, is that Adelphi is famous for not telling you anything about what they bottle. No information on which distillery and cask type of this whisky. They do tell you the cask number though, which is Cask: 10694, thanks Adelphi. This is 1 of 204 bottles produced.

Container: Glencairn Neat

Colour: Gold-Amber

Nose: Toasted coconut, chocolate, sweet malt, oak, honey, floral, tropical fruits, vanilla, syrupy.

Complex and welcoming nose, smells different from the Irish whisky I have experienced, doesn’t have that distinctive Irish whisky nose.

Palate: Milk chocolate, spicy, citrus, nutty, strawberry, pepper, oak, coconut again. Anyway, very rich and complex, dessert-like on the palate, superb mouth feel, I like everything about it on the palate.

Finish: Long-finish, lingering, interesting oak-earthy finish, honey, spice, COCONUT!, mystery note (fruit+wood+skin of fruit).
This dram took a bit longer to evaluate for most of us, we had a bit of an discussion on what the special note in the finish is like, not real conclusion. Really nice and rich even to the very end, it has that very unique mystery note that I couldn’t figure out.

Score: 90/100


I believe this is my first 90,  and I Probably wouldn’t have come across this myself. It’s not as complex as some of the special cask finished peated whiskies I have tried. But this offers a really well balanced, complete package, absolutely no fault from the nose to the very end of the finish. This gives me a really nice satisfaction factor, it manages to push it to the 90 mark since it checks all the boxes I enjoy in a whisky, and more.

Wayne Gretzky Red Cask

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Wayne Gretzky Red Cask No.99

Region: Canada

ABV: 40%

E150: Yes

Chill-filtered: Yes

Container: Glencairn Neat

Colour: Gold

Nose: Acetone, caramel, corn.
Very unimpressive nose, wouldn’t even have begun to guess it’s a wine cask finish in a blind tasting. I heard they are planning a white wine cask finish, bless them.

Palate: Caramel, corn, damp wood, watery.
Again, it feels like our bottle didn’t really get do the whole wine cask finish thing, it’s quite watery compared to other whiskies I have tried in the past, Chivas 12 feels full in the mouth compared to this.

Finish: Short finish, mineral water, some spice?

Score: 60/100


A worrying trend for them, if they plan to pull off a white wine cask finish. Not sure how long they finish this whisky in the red wine cask, probably like, 3 days? I might be too generous here. That being said, I have had worst in the past, JW Red, Dewar’s White Label. Maybe the nothingness is better than burnt tires and really pungent ethanol.

Ichiro’s Malt Double Distilleries, Mizunara Wood Reserve.

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The Ichiro’s malt is a blended malt whisky (Pure Malt as they call it in Japan); It’s a blend of single malts from the closed Hanyu Distillery and the Chichibu Distillery, which is the spiritual successor of Hanyu.


Ichiro’s Malt Double Distilleries

 

This is a blend of Hanyu whisky matured in sherry casks, and Chichibu whisky matured in new Japanese Mizunara oak cask. No detail on the age and vatting of each malts. Vatted and bottled in 2010.

Region: Japan

ABV: 46%

E150: No

Chill-filtered: No

Container: Glencairn Neat

Colour: Light Gold

Nose: Really sweet and fruity, sharp ethanol, apples, pears, honey, which reminds me of the Glenlivet Nadurra 16, but the Nadurra is much more mellow on the nose. Hints of strawberries, orange, and oak. I would guess a higher percentage of the younger Chichibu whisky is present here.

Palate: Peppery, cinnamon, malt, oak, cereal, nutmeg? slightly hot for 46%, surprisingly not fruity like the nose, not too much going-on on the palate.

Finish: Long finish, bitter oak, more peppery, malt, soap? The finish got really oaky and bitter notes starts showing up, rounding things off with a long spicy finish, some weird soap like notes kicked in on my last sip

Score: 78/100

It was a pretty solid dram until the off notes kicked in, too much bitter oak, and that weird soap note didn’t do it for me. Overall pretty decent nose, not too complex on the palate, and the finish killed it for me.


Ichiro’s Malt Mizunara Wood Reserve

 

This is a blend of malts from both Hanyu and Chichibu Distillery again, but this time, only whiskies aged in Japanese Mizunara Wood have been used. Mizunara is a native Japanese Oak, used by other Japanese distillery usually blended alongside other wood casks.

Region: Japan

ABV: 46%

E150: No

Chill-filtered: No

Container: Glencairn Neat

Colour: Gold-Amber, darker than the Double Distillery.

Nose: Really different on the nose right off the bat. Very aromatic, perhaps this is what Mizunara oak smells like. Really syrupy, honey notes. Sharp ethanol again, not sure if it’s the Mizunara oak, or it has a leather note to it. I get hints of fruits in the background, but the oak/leather notes are so dominating hard to pin-point what they are.

Palate: Leathery on the palate again, starting to believe that’s the characters of the oak. Pepper, very oaky, hint of brine, very slight malty sweetness. Not much fruity or not much going-on again. The oak and pepper is very pronounced.

Finish: Medium-finish, peppery, and oaky.

Score: 79/100

Very simple yet dominating nose and palate, starting to get the hang of how the Mizunara oak smells and taste like. But it lacks complexity, doesn’t have the bitterness of the Double Distillery, and none of that soapy finish I found in the Double Distillery.


I prefer the Mizunara Wood Reserve to the Double Distillery, it doesn’t have the odd finish of the DD, although both are lacking complexity, I like that the notes of the MWR stands out a lot more, allowing me to get a good understanding of the influence. From these two drams I find they both have things in common: peppery spicy notes. Both whiskies enters your mouth and starts tingling your tongue with pepper notes. Overall, good to experience, but there are better Japanese whiskies out there even with my limited experience with Japanese whiskies. I much prefer Nikka From the Barrel, and Yamazaki 12 to both of these.

Braeval 1995/2013 G&M Connoisseur’s Choice 18 Year Old, Benriach 1984/2012 Single Cask #1114 27 Year Old, Arran 19 Year Old SMWS 121.77,Glendronach Single Cask PX #1598 10 Year Old 2002/2012, Tamdhu 17 Adelphi Cask 1043, Caol Ila 16 SMWS 53.234.

Here is the reviews I’ve done during the Toronto Whisky Society November 6th tasting event. We had some great bottles lined up, the review quality drops as I drink more and more, I am posting them in the order I drank, in between there were bourbon, Irish whiskey, CS Rum, Calvados, Gretzky’s whisky, and local Apple Jack.

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2nd pour of the day

I brought this bottle, we figured it will be on the lighter side compared to others we got, so this went after the Gretzky. No one knew what distillery Braeval was, they were originally Bares of Glenlivet, in the heart of Speyside. Was a risky buy by me since I couldn’t find much info on the bottle and the distillery.

Braeval 1995/2013 G&M Connoisseur’s Choice 18 Year Old

Region: Speyside

ABV: 46%

E150: No

Chill-filtered: No

Cask Type: Refill Sherry Hogshead

Colour: Light Gold
Nose: Poweful fruit bomb! Apricots, citrus, apples, pears, spice, malt, red jolly rancher, floral.
Tons of fruit on the nose, very light sherry influence.
Palate: Stewed fruits, strawberries, chocolate, apple pie, melons, pepper, honey, syrupy, peppery, more spice, and a hint of smoke.
Did I mention fruit bomb? Yep, really delightful, I love a nice fruity whisky, where did the smoke came from??
Finish:Long finish, syrupy, red fruits, spices, oak, slight earthy notes.
Pretty delightful finish, really syrupy, still loaded with fruits, and slightly earthy towards the end.
Score: 78/100

This kind of whisky what I enjoy, loads of fruits without being really sweet, got some good complexity and pretty well balanced overall.


4th pour of the day (Had Adelphi Limerick Slaney Malt 23Y before this)

Benriach 1984/2012 Single Cask #1114 27 Year Old

Region: Speyside

ABV: 46%

E150: No

Chill-filtered: No

Cask Type: ex-Bourbon Hogshead #1114

Colour: Gold Amber
Nose: Vanilla, caramel, oak, sweet fruit, banana wax, chocolate, malt, honey.
Few strong dominating notes, and banana wax! Don’t exactly know how it smells like, but that’s that!
Palate: Very oaky, malt, cereal, digestive biscuit, chocolate, faint hint of pineapple.
Really dominating bourbon notes again, very oaky, each notes really stand out.
Finish: Long oaky, malty, chocolate, buttery, grass.
Nice long finish, I kept getting malt and chocolate alongside the oak.
Score: 87/100

Not a complex dram, but what surprised me is how deep each flavor is, just lingers in your mouth. Really well done whisky, gave it a higher score despite the lack of complex notes. This is the oldest whisky I’ve had so far to date.


5th pour of the day

Arran 19 Year Old SMWS 121.77 Dunnage warehouse orange boxes

Region: Isle of Arran

ABV: 53.4%

E150: No

Chill-filtered: No

Cask Type: Refill ex-Bourbon Hogshead

Colour: Light gold
Nose: Light fruity nose, malt, orange, brown sugar, light stone fruits, vanilla, interesting herbal spice, sharp alcohol, bit of cereal.
Palate: Not too complex, dry, malt, sugar sweetness, citrus, oak, pepper.
Finish: Medium finish, malt, more sugar, oak, peppery.
Score: 83/100

My first SMWS experience, surprisingly this isn’t as complex as their younger OB offerings, like the 12CS, and 10Y CS First-fill bourbon LCBO cask. Perhaps the refill cask killed the complexity. I also believe the OB 12CS uses a mix of bourbon and sherry casks to improve complexity as well.


8th pour of the day (Had Cadenhead’s Heaven’s hill 11Y, George T. Stagg 2015 before this)

Glendronach 2002/2012 Single Cask #1598 10 Year Old

Region: Speyside

ABV: 54.1%

E150: No

Chill-filtered: No

Cask Type: PX Sherry Puncheon #1598

Colour: Amber
Nose: Stewed fruits, strawberries, cherries, brown sugar, raspberry jam, orange, chocolate, spice.
Palate: Oranges, strawberry jam, brown sugar, chocolate, oak.
Finish: Long, spicy, raspberry, strawberry, oak.
Score: 85/100

This tasted a lot older than a 10 years old, love a nice sherry bomb, not as complex and in your face as A’bunadh, still really enjoyable.


9th pour of the day

Tamdhu 17 Year Old 1995/2012 Adelphi Cask #1043

Region: Speyside

ABV: 58.8%

E150: No

Chill-filtered: No

Cask Type: Unknown

 

Colour: Light gold
Nose: Possibly sherry cask, light red fruits, raspberry, strawberry, vanilla, light oak, malt.
Palate: Strong malt, a bit of off weird notes, pepper, orange, hint of cinnamon.
Finish: medium- long, oak, sherry spice, cereal.
Score: 84/100

Much nicer than their OB 10, not too complex, the higher proof and age definitely helped.


12th pour of the day (Had Applewood Farm winery Apple Jack, Boulard Calvados Pays d’Auge XO before this)

Caol Ila 16 Year Old SMWS 53.234 Smoke without fire

Region: Islay

ABV: 64.1%

E150: No

Chill-filtered: No

Cask Type: Refill ex-Bourbon Hogshead

Colour: Light straw
Nose: Smoked meat, peat, honey, meaty, vanilla, brine, slight sharp ethanol note.
Palate: Powerful peat, ash, dry, oaky, citrus, pepper, more smoked meat, alcohol.
Finish: Long finish, brine, oak, heavy peat, vanilla.
Score: 86/100

Quite like this, well I am 12 pour in, most stuff we had were cask strength, has that Caol Ila ashy peat, not too complex, I prefer the Caol Ila CS over this.

Ardbeg 1991/2001 10 Year Old Murray McDavid

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Quick review from a dram I had at The Feathers Pub in Toronto.

Ardbeg 1991/2001 MurrayMcDavid 46%

Region: Islay

ABV: 46%

E150: No

Chill-filtered: No

Cask Type: ex-Bourbon

Container: Feathers Pub Glassware, neat.
Colour: Light starw
Nose: Vanilla, peat, floral, brine, light sweet smoke, faint hint of citrus, honey.

Really simple nose, clean, loads of vanilla from the ex-Bourbon cask.
Palate: Oily mouthfeel, Lots of woody peat, oak, vanilla, salt, citrus, pepper.
Finish: short finish, faints away pretty quickly, leaving a bit of vanilla behind
Score: 82/100

Good mouth feel, more or less a single dimension, no off notes, decent nose, and falls short on the finish. I enjoy the OB 10 more than this.

Laphroaig PX Cask

This is a travel retail whisky from Laphroaig, matured in 3 types of casks despite the name. It first went through ex-Bourbon, then quarter-casks, and finally into PX Sherry casks. Bottled at 48% just like the Quarter cask, and Triple Wood.

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Laphroaig PX Cask

Region: Islay

ABV: 48%

E150: Yes

Chill-filtered: No

Container: Glencairn Neat

Colour: Gold

Nose: Smells awfully similar to the Laphroaig 18, I notice the similar citrus notes, peat, sweet smoke, perfume, cherry soda, hint of pineapple?, malt, frosted cereal, hint of spice, sharp ethanol.

The nose isn’t influenced by the PX cask that much, just smells sweet without the red fruits.

Palate: Raspberry, peat, salt, citrus, oak, cranberry, caramel, pepper, smoke, mineral, not as red fruit forward as I thought.

Very oak dominant, didn’t notice much sherry fruits here, sweet peat transition into salted caramel and some mineral notes, again not a lot of sherry going on, feels more like an older Laphroaig’s sweetness rather than sherry sweetness.

Finish: medium-long finish, smoky, earthy peat, citrus, deep oaky flavor, turns bitter in the end.

Score: 86/100

 

Overall a nice sweet smoky dram, wouldn’t have guessed it’s PX finish if tasted blind, feels like a younger version of Laphroaig 18, with a bit more peat, more oak, and less mellow. I much prefer this to the Quarter-cask. The finish is a not too ideal, but didn’t kill the overall balance.

Current Laphroaig Tier List:
Laphroaig 18 (88)
Laphroaig 15 200th Anniversary 43% (Not Reviewed)
Laphroaig PX Cask (86)
Lphroaig 10 43%= QC (Not Reviewed)

Caol Ila 2001 Hermitage Wood Finish Gordan & MacPhail

Quick background on Hermitage wine, Hermitage is a small appellation part of the Northern Rhone Valley, with only 345 acres of planted vineyards producing only 55,000 cases of wine per vintage. The Hermitage AOC only allows 1 red wine grape to be planted, which is Syrah, the most common Rhone valley grape, and two white grapes Marsanne and Roussane. Syrah creates is one of the darkest, most full-bodied wines in the world, usually spicy with loads of dark fruits, chocolate, and some herbal notes. Unlike most other French wine region, Hermitage usually never blend their red wine.

With the boring wine facts over, here we go:

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Caol Ila 2001 Hermitage Wood Finish Gordan & Macphail

Region: Islay

ABV: 45%

E150: No

Chill-filtered: No

Container: Glencairn Neat

Cask Type: Finished in First Fill E. Guigal Hermitage Casks

Colour: Golden Amber

Nose: Waves of sweet peat, smoke, lots of red fruits, strawberries, cherries, hint of light herbal note, cacao, pepper, light orange note, red jolly rancher.
Love the nose, really reminds me of the Longrow Red Australian Shiraz, hold on a second! They are both in the same type of grape varietal barrel (French Syrah and Australian Shiraz)! No wonder!

Palate: Nice and syrupy on the palate. Peat with distinctive ash characteristics, never experienced this before. Sweet cherries, jolly ranchers, charred thyme, cacao, oak, pepper, something I keep chewing on but I have no idea what it is, not exactly tobacco but something woody/muted in that direction.

Finish: Long and smoky, it has that mineral water aftertaste to it, earthy, vegetal, hint of bitter oak, unripe tropical fruit – mango?.

Score: 85/100

 

Overall an interesting dram, but after trying the Longrow Australian Shiraz, the Caol Ila Hermitage is no match for it. The bitter finish I am not a big fan of, then it turns into mineral water, which I also prefer not to drink. I’d imagine this would be great at a higher proof, sadly G&M seem to enjoy watering things down.

Dalwhinnie 15

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This is one of the first few scotch I purchased, it’s getting low, and so I figured I better review it soon before it’s gone.

Dalwhinnie 15

Region: Highland

ABV: 43%

E150: No

Chill-filtered: No

Container: Glencairn Neat with a few drops of distilled water Colour: Gold
Nose: Apples, honey, citrus, hints of smoke, pears, smell of an apple from the skin, hint of vanilla.
Very aromatic and fruit forward, exactly the reason why I bought it. Palate: Citrus again, smoked honey(wtf is smoked honey), vanilla, more smoke, cinnamon, pepper, cereal, malt, a bit of oak after I chew on it a bit more.
Nice and lush on the palate, good mouth feel for a 43% chill-filtered whisky, not a super smoky but it merges well with the sweet notes.
Finish: Medium+ finish, still smoky, oak, malty, peppery, more smoke.
Decent finish, well balanced overall.
Score: 82/100

 

Interestingly, I still enjoy it! The “starter pack” (Glenlivet 12, Glendronach 12, Nikka Taketsuru, Benromach 10, Dalwhinnie 15, Auchentoshan Three Wood, Aberlour A’bunadh Batch 53) Only the Dalwhinnie and the A’bunadh I still quite enjoy, the rest I think I “developed” out of it. I like the touch of smoke alongside the honey-sweet fruits. Not super complex by any means, but overall well balanced, good mouth feel, well-made whisky.