Laphroaig 18

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Laphroaig 18

Region: Islay

ABV: 48%

E150: Yes

Chill-filtered: No

Container: Spiegelau Snifter

Colour: Gold(E150)

Nose: Waves of sweet mellow peat, layers of sweetness complied of lemon, oranges, vanilla, butter, candied sweetness, and hints of dried fruits. Not the typical medicinal Laphroaig nose.

Palate: First it hits you with peat in harmony with the sweetness, salt, some cured meat, citrus, sweet earthy malt, oak, and medicinal notes.

Finish: Nice lingering finish, peat smoke, cacao, some sort of spice, cirtus, more meaty notes.

Score: 88/100

 

This is really different from my past Laphroaig experiences, I have had the OB 10 43%, Quarter Cask, and the 15 (Small sample from LCBO). This doesn’t smack you in the face with strong medicinal notes like the 10 and the QC, and it has a nicer mouth feel and complexity compared to the new 15Y (sadly only 43%). I love the well balanced sweetness and peaty notes without going into different casks finish. Overall a lovely, complex dram, really sad to know it was discontinued, should’ve bought another bottle or two for the future.

Aultmore 12

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Aultmore 12

Region: Speyside

ABV: 46%

E150: No

Chill-filtered: No

Container: Glencairn Neat with a few drops of distilled water
Colour: Straw
Nose:Fruity sweet notes, pears, hints of bananas, fresh, green apples, pineapples, malt, floral, well rounded.
Day 2: I noticed the grassy notes people are on about, maybe placebo or maybe my nose is better today, and honey as well.

Palate: Chocolate, dried fruits, slight malt, tartness, hints of spice, slight citrus, a bit of heat on the back end.
Day 2: a bit of raw notes.

Finish: Medium-long finish, malt, slight vanilla, hints of spice and fruit,
Score: 82/100
Pretty decent summer dram, not exactly complex, this dram would’ve been more interesting if more first fill casks were used. A whisky in a good direction, 46% ABV, NCA, NCF, looking forward to more Aultmore expression.

Edit: Adjusted score after trying another dram today. Note that scores are based on my personal preference and experience.

Glendronach 12

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GlenDronach 12

Region: Highland

ABV: 43%

E150: No

Chill-filtered: No

 

Container: Spiegelau Whisky Snifter with a few drops of distilled water.

Colour: Light Amber

Nose:Upfront Sherry notes, raisins, slightly under ripe strawberries, slight caramel, more red fruits, hints of spices, plums.

Palate:Red fruits, thins out quickly, spicy, cinnamon, apple pie.

Finish:Short finish, Pepper, hints of cinnamon and oak, dry.

Score: 82/100

 

One of the first few sherried whisky I have purchase, near the end of the bottle, not sure has it changed, I was enjoying this a bit more few weeks ago, thin on the palate, the finish falls a bit short, still really decent for the money. Can’t wait to pop open the cask strength sample, and waiting for the 18 to come in. Not sure if I would re-buy in the future when whiskies like Bunnahabhain 12 exist for $20 more, which comes in a much more balanced and complex presentation.

Stronachie 10, Benrinnes 14 Hart Brothers.

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Stronachie 10 Year Old

Stronachie (pronunciation: “Stron-a-key”)
Gaelic for “prominent nose/headland in the valley”

Background of Stronachie: A. D. Rattray acquired a bottle of Stronachie single malt which dated back to 1904. Using this, they tried to find a current day whisky that matched the flavour of the expression from the long closed distillery. They decided that whisky from the Benrinnes distillery in Speyside matched it very closely and have bottled some under the Stronachie name. (Source: Master of Malt)

Region: Speyside

ABV: 43%

E150: No

Chill-filtered: No

Container: Glencairn Neat, rested for 20 minutes with a few drops of distilled water

Colour: Pale Gold
Nose: Honey, lots of honey, slight earthiness, hints of stone fruits, slight citrus undertone, all covered by layers of honey, hints of floral notes, hints of pineapples, also covered by honey.
Palate:Interesting mouth feel, kinda massages my tongue a little bit, more honey, makes me wonder if I am drinking honey whisky without the added sweetness. Cereal notes, spicy, honey fruits, slight chocolate feel, lingering notes of pepper, some oak and slight earthy notes on the exhale.
Finish:Long lingering finish accompanied with spice, and hints of oak, and a tiny tiny tiny faint appearance of seaweed. Dry.
Score: 82/100

I am not sure where I got the slight hint of seaweed from, but it’s in my mouth for a brief moment, in the very end of the finish, I swish my mouth a little as it’s drying. Overall an interesting dram, dominating honey notes throughout, not exactly complex, but that seaweed note in the end got me thinking.

 

Benrinnes 14 Hart Brothers

Never had anything from Hart Brothers, this would be my first! Matured in ex-Bourbon casks, aged for 14 years.

Region: Speyside

ABV: 46%

E150: No

Chill-filtered: No

Container: Glencairn Neat, rested for 20 minutes with a few drops of distilled

Colour: Gold
Nose:Minty on the nose, honey, but not dominating like the Stronachie 10, some spice, pepper? Fruity pineapples and light floral notes.
Palate:Weird, the very initial expression reminds me of sesame oil, or skunk spray, but not unpleasant, I get that distinctive relation with sesame oil, odd. Tropical fruit, some citrus, and oaky. (Is it the oak that I am relating to the sesame oil??)
Finish: Long finish, more tropical fruit on the exhale, spicy, slight seaweed salt, just like the Stronachie (are they supposed to be salty), pepper.
Score: 83/100

 

 

Glenlivet Nadurra NAS, Nadurra 16.

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Glenlivet Nadurra First Fill NAS 

Region: Speyside

ABV: 59.8%

E150: No

Chill-filtered: No

Batch: FF0115

Container: Spiegelau Whisky Snifter – Rested for 20 minutes – splash of water

Colour: Pale straw

Nose: Full blown vanilla, edges of alcohol, small hints of mints??, pears, with water: wow! Opens up more fresh fruits, tons of apples, floral.

Palate: Nice wave of fresh fruity sweetness, hints of oak, more hints of mints (is it even mint??), custard sweetness, some bananas, nice layers of sweetness.

Finish: Long warming feel in the mouth, hints of oak and nuts, with the sweetness and slight spiciness undertone lingering on. Real delicious treat!

Score: 85.5/100

This is what I have been looking for as a replacement for my first single malt the Glenlivet 12, retains that profile but a lot more punch and complexity.

Moving onto the 16, let’s see why most people love this dram!

Glenlivet Nadurra 16 

Region: Speyside

ABV: 55.3%

E150: No

Chill-filtered: No

Batch: Unknown
Container: Spiegelau Whisky Snifter – Rested for 20 minutes – splash of water

Colour: Darker than the NAS, Gold.

Nose: Really different right off the bat, instead of sweet fruits, the first impression is honeydew melon, less alcohol on the nose, more tamed, cooked apples, honey, bananas, vanilla, small hints of oak, doesn’t have that minty notes I was getting on the NAS. With water: Opens up some floral undertone, more sweetness, strawberry jam and apple juice.

Palate: More apple juice, slight peppery, citrus, slight mineral/smoke, more of a cooked fruits approach vs. the NAS’s fresh cut fruits, oak, unknown herbal notes, pears and hints of smoke?(Am I drunk???)

Finish: Nice lingering finish, slight spice, malt, more apple sweetness, more oak, then slight mineral taste in the very end.

Score: 85/100

I feel like I am about to get stabbed for rating the NAS higher, I enjoyed them both equally. Instead of thinking they are the same product line, I would think them as different whisky, with different approach.

The NAS made me look back to my first single malt, the Glenlivet 12, afterwards I have been searching for something more or less the same, but with more complexity. I think I have found what I have been looking for, big bourbon cask flavor profile, fresh fruits and nice lingering sweetness.
The Glenlivet 12 has a special place in my heart even tho I no longer enjoy it as much, it reminds me of the same feeling as discovering a new continent, excitement. “WOW I can’t believe whisky tastes like this!” This has that magic, the innocence. In the same way how Richard Hammond on Top Gear compared Pagani to Ferrari/Lamborghini. Pagani (NAS First Fill) is where they still carries the innocence, the Nadurra 16 feels like the grown up Ferrari/Lamborghini (As I have driven a 458, and been in my friend’s Aventador multiple times), it’s really safe and predictable, more tamed, more grown up.

Wiser Last Barrel

This was a mystery sample, tasted completely blind.

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Container: Spiegelau Whisky Snifter – Rested for 20 minutes

Colour: Goldish Amber

Nose: Smells suspiciously like a bourbon, possibly corn base. Bananas, toffee, caramel, hints of ginger, hints of orange zests, cake mix.

Palate: Not particular hot on the palate, guessing 43-46%, not oily on the tongue suggests chill-filtering, dry, slight honey, slight vanilla, spices, what happened to the flavors? It’s already gone! There is nothing that stands out particularly.

Finish: Short, the flavors trying to escape precisely 1 second after come in contact with my tongue, more dryness, slight hints of…water?

Score:75/100

My guess: Nikka Coffey Grain

Overall just really dry on the mouth, the opposite of mouthwatering. Nothing stands out in particular on the palate. Waiting for reveal.

Reveal: Wiser Last Barrel

Whisky Review – Caol Ila 17 Unpeated 2015 Release

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Caol Ila 17 Unpeated 2015 [Link]

Region: Islay

ABV: 55.9%

E150: Yes

Chill-filtered: No

Container: Spiegelau Whisky Snifter, neat with a splash of water. Rested for 20 minutes.

Colour: Golden amber

Nose: Hints of smoke, toffee, citrusy fruitiness, vanilla, ripe fruits undertone, I detected hints of absinthe then after resting it was gone. Slight malt and nose from above the glass, dried fruits. Bright fruit notes after a splash of water. Really nice and complex notes.

Palate: Surprisingly smooth on the tongue at this ABV, added a splash of water after. Nice oily sweetness, slight herbal notes, citrus, hints of salt, mouthwatering, slight spice? A taste I can’t describe when I took my last sip and breathe in some air.

Finish: Medium-long, tingling spice, oak, some mineral? OH, after a minute hints of mints!

Score: 86/100

Whisky Review – Arran Private Cask 10 Year Old for LCBO

 

Arran Private Cask for LCBO 10 Years Old [Link]

 

Region: Island

ABV: 55.4%

E150: No

Chill-filtered: No

Cask type: First fill bourbon cask

Cask No. 2005/800228

Bottle No. 233/236

 

Container: Spiegelau Whisky Snifter with a splash of water, rested for 30 minutes.

Colour: Pale Gold

Nose: Vanilla, caramel, honey, sweet nose, apples, hints of peaches, dried apricot.

Palate: Cereal, sweet malt, honey, apples, hot on the palate needed to dash it with more water. Slight hint of salt, slight spice.

Finish: Medium-long length finish, sweet malty in the mouth, slight oak, spice.

Score: 83/100

Whisky Review – Tomatin 14 Portwood

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Tomatin 14 Portwood [Link]

Region: Highland

ABV: 46%

E150: No

Chill-filtered: No

Container: Spiegelau Whisky Snifter, splash of water, rested for 20 minutes.
Colour: Coppery Gold
Nose: Strawberry, raisins, spices, cinnamon?, red fruit jam, stewed fruits, hints of citrus, hints of oak, slight nutty aroma. Palate: Stewed fruits, cereal, wood, dark chocolate, nuts, fruit jam, spices.
Finish: Long finish, after the fruit exits leaves the mouth with oak, spices, dark chocolate. I think dark chocolate is what I think of the most despite the fruitiness as I don’t have to think much before describing it.
Score: 83/100

 

Since currently it’s summer mostly not in the mood for peated whisky, this is a lovely full-bodied fruity whisky. This is packed with stewed fruits which is a nice change of paste from my recent hunt for sherry whisky. Pretty smooth on the palate, delivering nice and rich flavor you would expect from a port cask finish.

Whisky Review – Bunnahabhain 12

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Bunnahabhain 12 [Link]

Region: Islay

ABV: 46.8%

E150: No

Chill-filtered: No

Container: Spiegelau Whisky Snifter Neat with some water

Colour: Copper/Honey

Nose: Creamy rounded sweetness, sherry, honey, some unknown notes(maybe is what people call brine? I have no idea what brine smells like), cooked apples, really really faint smoke, chocolate, really interesting, smooth on the nose, no pungent alcohol notes, tiny tiny hint of orange?

Palate: Umami, some nuttiness, malt, slight fruit, sherry, spice, oak, something happening on the side of my mouth I can’t describe. Nice oily mouth feel, swirls in the mouth very smoothly.
Finish: Short finish, the flavor goes away quickly (so you can drink more!), I might have added slight bit too much water?

Score: 83/100

 

Saw this on the shelf today, always wanted to try Bunnahabhain but not at the stage to shell out $180 on the 18Y, still want to buy more bottles for my money to explorer different distilleries and their offerings, this is really interesting as one of the few unpeated Islay whisky, it’s the first whisky that let me notice the coastal notes that people talks about, I like the sweetness, overall well balanced whisky at a good price, been looking for a nice summer dram, I think this will do it!