Caol Ila 10 Year Old 2006 (Gordon & Macphail Cask Strength for KWM Bottled 2016)


Caol Ila 10 Year Old 2006 (Gordon & Macphail Cask Strength for KWM Bottled 2016)

Region: Islay

ABV: 57.5%
E150: No
Chill-filtered: No
Cask Type: Refill sherry hogshead 306200


Colour: Amber

Nose: Rum-like aroma, caramel, menthol, smoke, raisin, cream corn, sherry spice, cherry, tea.

Palate: Ash, oak, dried apricot, orange, smoke, salt, spice.

Finish: Long finish, pepper, cinnamon, ginger, smoke.

Score: 88/100

Another youthful refill sherry cask Caol Ila from G&M, this one is significantly darker than the 2004 one that I own, assuming 2nd fill? Rather interesting rum-like aroma, loads of sherry spice and caramel on the nose, the peat is less aggressive than I expect for a 10 year old. A well rounded palate, full of dried fruits, oranges, salt, spices; followed by a long and spicy finish, very nice.

Caol Ila 11 Year Old 2004 (Gordon & Macphail Cask Strength Bottled 2016)


Caol Ila 11 Year Old 2004 (Gordon & Macphail Cask Strength Bottled 2016)

Region: Islay

ABV: 59.3%
E150: No
Chill-filtered: No
Cask Type: Refill Sherry Cask 306615, 306620, 306621, 306622.


Colour: Gold

Nose: Sweet smoke, brine, rubber, ashy peat, cherry syrup, orange, almond.

Palate: Lemon oil, malt, salt, ash, pepper, red fruit jam, cola, ginger.

Finish: Long finish, earthy, salt, oily, chili flakes.

Score: 87/100

Always enjoy a cask strength, youthful Caol Ila, and this is no exception.

Welcoming sweet, smoky, and salty nose to greet, the sherry influence isn’t as strong as other refill Caol Ila I’ve had, but it lets a lot more of the Caol Ila spirit shine through.

On the palate you get an oily mouth feel, most of the notes from the nose are present, with a slam jam of peppery spice, carries onto a long, earthy and salty finish, with a kick of chili flakes in the end.
Overall, a rather enjoyable dram, glad to have bought a bottle.

Arran 18 Year Old 1996 (Carn Mor Celebration of the Cask 2135)


Arran 18 Year Old 1996 (Carn Mor Celebration of the Cask 2135)

Region: Isle of Arran

ABV: 52.65
E150: No
Chill-filtered: No
Cask Type: Sherry Puncheon
Distilled 17/12/1996, Bottled 30/03/2015


Colour: Amber

Nose: Rum raisin, raspberry, strawberry, pear, custard, malt, grass, orange peel.

Palate: Orange peel, red berries jam, cherry syrup, floral, oak, pear, red mango, red raspberry, ginger, chocolate, mint.

Finish: Medium+ finish, honey, mineral, cinnamon, pepper.

Score: 89/100

The Arran I’ve had previously are usually rather so-so, exception of the Tokaji Aszu CS release. The IBs aren’t exactly mind blowing either, but this changes my view of Arran. Spent 18 years in a Sherry Puncheon, this dram is packed with complexity. Surprising amount of tropical notes alongside the sherry influence, the Arran spirit really shining through. The palate hits you with waves of red fruits and spice, the tropical fruit from the nose is apparent here as well, pear, red mango, with nice creamy chocolate; carried through into a spicy finish with mineral notes. Fantastic stuff!

Glenburgie 17 (SMWS 71.42 – Sinbad preparing for a journey)


Glenburgie 17 (SMWS 71.42 – Sinbad preparing for a journey)

Tasted Blind

Region: Speyside

ABV: 57.5%
E150: No
Chill-filtered: No
Cask Type: Refill Ex-Sherry Gorda
Outrun: 750 Bottles


Colour: Amber

Nose: Fish oil capsule (The smell when you sniff a bottle of fish oil pills), funky, cinnamon, orange, cherry jell-o, cola syrup, ginger, roasted walnut, malt biscuit, sharp ethanol.

Palate: Hot, chili flakes, medicine capsule note, nutty, cinnamon heart, ginger, red raspberry, dark chocolate, orange peel, charred wood.

Finish: Medium finish, worn leather, mineral.

Score: 84/100

Tasted blind as I just grabbed a random sample, the SMWS code means nothing to me as I have no idea what it is.

Dove into the nose, WHAT ON EARTH IS THIS!? IT smells exactly like the capsule smell of a bottle of fish oil, weird. Diving past the weird funky note reveals some sherry cask notes. On the palate its more or less the same as the nose, but packs a huge punch of spice on the entry, carried throughout to the finish.

Overall a solid whisky, if you can enjoy the funky notes, personally not the biggest fan, but it’s got good complexity and depth.

Compass Box – This is Not a Luxury Whisky


Compass Box – This is Not a Luxury Whisky

Region: Blended

ABV: 53.1%
E150: No
Chill-filtered: No
Cask Type:
– 79% First Fill Sherry Butt from Glen Ord (Malt) – 19 Year Old – 10.1% Refill American Hogshead from Strathclyde (Grain) – 40 Year Old
– 6.9% Refill American Hogshead from Girvan (Grain) – 40 Year Old
– 4% Refill American Hogshead from Caol Ila (Malt) – 30 Year Old


Colour: Gold

Nose: Oily, red apple, herbal, spruce tips, coconut, stewed red fruits, floral, strawberry syrup, smoke, spice.

Palate: Orange peel, ash, peat, rubber, raspberry, oak, strawberry, salted honey.

Finish: Long finish, ginger, incense, oily, pine.

Score: 89/100

Very welcoming nose, full of light smoke, and herbaceous notes; touch of syrupy red fruits and spices, along with tropical coconut notes. On the palate the notes are well-integrated, ashy peat, orange peel, red fruits, touch of salted honey, followed by a long finish with interesting incense-like note, round things off nicely, the finish lasts for minutes.

An amazing blend, wonder how this would compare against the JW Blue Cask Strength. The “This is not a luxury whisky” is very well made, welcoming nose and taste to a lot of people, without being boring like the regular Blue Label. The finish is very remarkable.

Glen Moray 13 Year Old (SMWS 35.165 – Variety – the spice of life)(1st Fill ex-Chenin Blanc)


Glen Moray 13 Year Old (SMWS 35.165 – Variety – the spice of life)

Region: Speyside

ABV: 52.9%
E150: No
Chill-filtered: No
Cask Type: 1st Fill Ex-Chenin Blanc Hogshead
Outrun: 180 Bottles


Colour: Amber

Nose: Oily, white grape, smoke, rubber, tar, strawberry, blackberry, spice.

Palate: Oloroso nuttiness, almonds, rubber, tar, mineral, oak.

Finish: Long finish, tar, mineral, stone, charred wood, nutmeg, more spice.

Score: 86/100

Really funky, nothing like a Chenin Blanc wine, and nothing like a Glen Moray, the amber colour isn’t helping either.

Super funky nose and palate; full of smoky tar, rubbery notes throughout, with a touch of red berries on the nose, definitely would’ve guessed a funky red wine cask, such as Barolo (one of the top Italian red wines, known for having rubber notes in the wine, especially the matured ones).

The palate copies the nose, with a lengthy funky finish, full of mineral, charred wood, and spice. Weird but quite a character.

Domaine de la Vieille Julienne Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2009


Domaine de la Vieille Julienne Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2009

Colour: Dark ruby-purple core, light garnet rim.

Nose: Ripe cherry, raspberry, liquroice, plum, graphite.

Palate: Dry, full bodied, medium+ acidity, full grippy tannins. Black cherry, plum, graphite, black raspberry, faint orange peel.

Finish: Long finish, pepper, plum, earth, alcohol kick (went away after 4-5 hours of decanting).

Score: 79+/100

Not sure if the wine is in a dumb phase, but the nose seems somewhat closed after 2 hours of decanting. Not showing too much on the nose or palate. Despite the higher 15.5% alcohol, the wine isn’t jammy, matured black cherry and plum forward. The wine isn’t showing much at the moment, would check back on day two.

Day two is more or less the same story, nothing much have changed. Perhaps this is the true form of the wine in this stage, or it needs a much longer cellar time. Drink 2020+.

Bottom line:

Rather disappointing experience, even on day 2, I decanted it for 5 hours. It feels to me as a nicer village level Cotes-du-Rhone, like a Rasteau of some sort, instead of a midrange CDP. Concentrated berries fruit, but lacks complexity and depth. Got a lot of tannins for further aging, but I am not sure it got what it takes to become a great wine. What a shame at this price.

Breca Old Vines Garnacha 2010


Breca Old Vines Garnacha 2010

Decanted for 3 hours.

Colour: Dark ruby core, lighter on the edges.

Nose: Noticeable alcohol on the nose, jammy; black raspberry, blackberry, black cherry, dark chocolate, baking spice, stone, violet, touch of meatiness.

Palate: Dry, medium+ body, medium+ acidity, full grippy tannins. Concentrated and rich; black raspberry, blackberry, sour cherry, crushed stone, spices.

Finish: Medium finish, black raspberry skin, touch of pepper.

Score: 79/100

Purchased this wine 3 years ago based on Robert Parker’s rating of 94, and set it aside. Figured it should be a good time to open in 2017, let’s see how it developed.

It took a long time decanting to somewhat tamed the still noticeable whiff of alcohol on the nose. After I got behind that, you can tell this wine is right up Parker’s alley; very rich and concentrated on the nose, with waves after waves of black fruits such as black raspberry, blackberry, and black cherry throughout, followed by touch of dark chocolate and spices, with some violets, stone, and meaty notes to add to the complexity.

The palate is more or less the same story, concentrated black fruits, minerals and spices, followed by a dab of pepper in the finish. The tannins are not yet resolved, still grainy and grippy, which suggests the wine still have more life to come.

A big, jammy, bold wine from Spain, I checked the label afterwards found out it contains a whopping 16.1% alcohol, although the alcohol is mostly tamed on the palate, still very noticeable on the nose. Not a very complex wine just very concentrated. This wine isn’t for everybody, some might think it’s too heavy and jammy. Decant for 3+ hours, drink now or hold for 2-3 more years.

Side note: Would recommend this wine with food, something fatty like a nice rib eye steak.

Domaine de la Denante Les Maillettes Saint-Veran 2014


Domaine de la Denante Les Maillettes Saint-Veran 2014

Colour: Pale straw

Nose: Honey, peach, melon, stone, grass, white flower, light citrus, touch of oak.

Palate: Dry, medium+ body, medium acidity. Melon, citrus, mineral, honey.

Finish: Long finish, crushed stone, salt, faint nuts.

Score: 77+/100

First time having a wine from Saint-Veran, and it was a pleasant surprise. The wine throughout gives me a very rounded impression.

The nose was youthful, but rather complex, showing various concentrated stone fruits and touch of floral and grassiness, alongside a touch of oak.

It feels very rounded on the palate, but falls short on complexity, wouldn’t describe it as elegant either, just rather simple. Followed by a mineral driven finish with a touch of warm nuttiness in the very end.

Even though on the back label it says “Drink by 2020”, I would say this wine will definitely evolve with 1-2 more years of age. Drinking well now despite falling short on the palate, would hold.

I brought this wine to a blind tasting, since one of my whisky friend said him and his wife doesn’t enjoy chardonnay, and I went on a mission to find one that they will enjoy. I assumed he didn’t enjoy the new world, bold style, buttery Sonoma/Napa chard. This wine was a great success, it was a lot more to his liking and it feels good to re-introduce someone to a grape.

BenRiach 14 Year Old Single Cask Virgin American Oak Finish (Cask 2828)


BenRiach 14 Year Old Single Cask Virgin American Oak Finish (Cask 2828)

Region: Speyside
ABV: 55.9%
E150: No
Chill-filtered: No
Cask Type: ex-Bourbon, finish in Virgin American Oak.

Colour: Chestnut

Nose: Cocoa, apple, orange peel, caramel, oak, icing sugar, ash, oily honey, floral vanilla, mineral, pepper, faint cinnamon.

Palate: Pink bubblegum, malt, strong oak, banana, pineapple, almond, smoke, black tea, apricot.

Finish: Long tannic finish, salt, tropical fruit, oak, caramel.

Score: 88/100

I would describe this as best of both worlds, perfect balance between ex-bourbon cask notes, and strong powerful influence of virgin American oak. The previous virgin oak I had were frankly too oaky, bites your tongue off. This is very complex which is unusual for just virgin oak.

Fruity and malty notes, along with cocoa powder, icing sugar, ash, honey, vanilla, spices, goes on and on. The virgin oak is very apparent on the palate, smack of oak, bubblegum, tropical fruits, smoky black tea, with a long oak tannic finish. Exceptional.