Whisky Review – Laphroaig 20 (SMWS 29.172 – Smoked Beer)

Laphroaig 20 (SMWS 29.172 – Smoked Beer)

Region: Islay
ABV: 58.2%
E150: No
Chill-filtered: No
Cask Type: Refill ex-Bourbon


Colour: Straw

Nose: Vanilla, apple, smoke, peanut, lemon, malt biscuit, brine

Palate: Brine, lemon, ashy peat, dried apricot, pepper, vanilla, honey

Finish: Medium+, mineral, lemon drop, pear, pepper, salt

Score: 88/100

Tasty Laphroaig from SMWS, very sweet nose full of vanilla, sweet peat, citrus, and saltiness. The saltiness carries through to the palate, along with dried fruits, peppery spice, and a nice blast of ashy peat. Followed by a nice finish, that lingers the previous notes for some while. Haven’t had a disappointing old SMWS Laphroaig yet, this one is very promising!

Whisky Review – Kilchoman 4 2011 (Single Cask 446 PX Finish)

Kilchoman 4 2011 (Single Cask 446 PX Finish)

Region: Islay
ABV: 57.5%
E150: No
Chill-filtered: No
Cask Type: ex-Bourbon, Pedro Ximenez Finish


Colour: Copper

Nose: Raspberry, oily, peat, toffee, salt, apple skin, honey

Palate: Ash, earthy peat, brine, honey, cherry, cocoa,

Finish: Long finish, smoke, mineral water, pepper

Score: 85/100

First time trying a single cask Kilchoman, and this one is finished in PX Sherry cask. The peat is more prominent than the Machir Bay, perhaps due to the even younger age, not hiding its youthfulness on the nose, brash peat, salt, red fruits, and honey. The palate is similar to the nose, with a touch more red fruit, and cocoa, followed by a long finish, full of smoke, minerals, and pepper.

I wish they did a longer finish on this one, as the PX influence are more subtle than I would like, still rather solid.

Whisky Review – Caol Ila 15 Unpeated (2016 Release)

Caol Ila 15 Unpeated (2016 Release)

Region: Islay
ABV: 61.5%
E150: No
Chill-filtered: No
Cask Type: American and European Oak


Colour: Pale Gold

Nose: Honey, white chocolate, vanilla, light malt, lemon, pepper, mineral

Palate: Ginger, lemon, honey, salt, vanilla, dried stone fruit, pepper

Finish: Medium+, ginger, pepper, vanilla, melon

Score: 85/100

A nice fruit forward dram with a great mouth feel, not as complex as the 17 unpeated release, still a great buy. Only a point off from the 17 Unpeated (2015 Release).

Wine Review – Pierre Sparr Alsace Gewurztraminer Reserve 2016

Pierre Sparr Alsace Gewurztraminer Reserve 2016

Country: France
Region: Alsace
Grape: Gewurztraminer
ABV: 13%

Colour: Medium- straw

Nose: Rose pedal, lychee, orange flower water, light honey, faint green tea

Palate: Touch of residual sugar, off-dry. Medium- body, medium- acidity. White flower, chalk, grapefruit

Finish: Medium finish, crushed stone, citrus zest, lemon

Score: 77/100

A rather textbook example of Alsace Gewurztraminer. The usual aromatic nose of rose pedal, lychee is definitely present, with orange flower water, light honey, and faint suggestion of green tea on the back end. The palate is off-dry, and simple, could do with more acidity, fresh notes of citrus and minerals all the way to the finish. I would drink this within a year or two.

Whisky Review – Laphroaig Cairdeas 2015

Laphroaig Cairdeas 2015

Region: Islay
ABV: 51.5%
E150: Yes
Chill-filtered: No
Cask Type: ex-Bourbon


Colour: Straw

Nose: Cured meat, smoke, vanilla, sweet corn candy, brine, lemon

Palate: Menthol, seaweed, bandage, peat, mineral, caramel, pepper, nuts

Finish: Long finish, salt, ash, lemon, mineral

Score: 87/100

The quintessential Laphroaig? This hits every single notes I expect from an ex-Bourbon cask Laphroaig. All the costal influence, sweet vanilla, peat smoke, rubber, you name it. This is what I would pour someone, if I were to show them Laphroaig.

Whisky Review – Springbank 12 1996 (Single Cask Sherry Butt 591)

Springbank 12 1996 (Single Cask Sherry Butt 591)

Region: Campbeltown
ABV: 51.5%
E150: No
Chill-filtered: No
Cask Type: Oloroso Sherry Butt


Colour: Amber

Nose: Cinnamon, clove, ginger, raisin, sulphur funk, smoke, strawberry

Palate: Light peat, cranberry, mineral, red apple, brine, caramel

Finish: Medium finish, red fruit jam, raisin, funk

Score: 85/100

A rather nice and complex Springbank, full of oloroso goodness, great deal of funk, perhaps the finish was a bit of a let-down, since there were a weird note to it that I didn’t quite enjoy.

Whisky Review – Kilkerran 12

Kilkerran 12

Region: Campbeltown
ABV: 46%
E150: No
Chill-filtered: No
Cask Type: 70% ex-Bourbon, 30% ex-Sherry


Colour: Straw

Nose: Vanilla, floral, melon, grass, cereal, honey

Palate: Honey, orange, vanilla, pepper, malt, melon

Finish: Medium finish, ginger, smoke

Score: 80/100

A solid whisky, not a great deal of complexity, very malt centric, with cereal, light fruit. At roughly the same price, I would rather be buying a Springbank 10 or 12 Cask Strength, which offers more complexity and enjoyment.


Whisky Review – Tobermory 21 1995 (The Whisky Agency – Toronto Whisky Society)

Tobermory 21 1995 (The Whisky Agency – Toronto Whisky Society)

Region: Isle of Mull
ABV: 51.9%
E150: No
Chill-filtered: No
Cask Type: ex-Bourbon


Colour: Light Gold

Nose: Honey, pepper, vegetal, brine, lemon, peat, floral

Palate: Ginseng, charcoal, honey, mineral, lemon, salt, pepper

Finish: Medium finish, cinnamon, mineral, cocoa, light oak

Score: 86/100

Bottled for the Toronto Whisky Society, by The Whisky Agency. This is an unusual Tobermory, since it is lightly peated.

A rather nice and complex nose to greet, followed by a promising palate and finish.

The peat really adds to its identity, the flavour profile is on the simpler side, but the flavour works well in harmony, integrated. Overall rather nice, really glad on this pickup.

Whisky Review – Glendronach 43 1971 (Single Cask PX 2920)

Glendronach 43 1971 (Single Cask PX 2920)

Region: Highland
ABV: 48.6%
E150: No
Chill-filtered: No
Cask Type: Pedro Ximenez Sherry Puncheon


Colour: Deep Mahogany

Nose: Raisin, cinnamon, dates, oak, raspberry, chocolate, chenpi, tobacco, dried mango, leather, plum

Palate: Raisin, leather, oak, tobacco, stewed figs, cherry, milk chocolate, menthol, chenpi

Finish: Long finish, oak tannins, nutmeg, tobacco, more spice

Score: 95/100

Incredible complexity and ever evolving. Personally a big fan of Glendronach, and this is the oldest Glendronach I’ve ever had. The nose greets me with waves after waves of different notes, rich and layered. The palate can back up the complexity I got from the nose as well, lots of old sherry cask notes, rich but not cloying, tobacco dominant with leathery and stewed fruit notes on the side, and a touch of chenpi. What’s even more impressive is it manages to be balance all the subtle notes without the dominate note being overwhelming. Impeccable balance, not just a sweet syrupy malt I would expect with something that’s been sitting in a PX Sherry cask for 43 years. Would definitely need to try more old Glendroanch.

Wine Review – Chateau La Fleur Pourret Saint-Emilion Grand Cru 2009

Chateau La Fleur Pourret Saint-Emilion Grand Cru 2009

Country: France
Region: Saint-Emilion Grand Cru AOC
Grape: Merlot based Red Bordeaux Blend
ABV: 13.5%

Colour: Dark purple core, light garnet on the edge, showing some sign of age

Nose: Potpourri, smoke, integrated oak, plum, black raspberry, blackberry

Palate: Full-bodied, dry, medium acidity, medium+ tannins. Plum, tobacco, integrated oak, raspberry

Finish: Long finish, plum, drying

Score: 83+/100

I rather nice Bordeaux at this price point, showing signs of maturity, but still have the structure to live on and further develop. The nose is very generous, potpourri, smoke, dark fruits, with a nice integrated oak aroma weaving in and out. Drinking very well now, similar to the nose on the palate, with a nice touch of tobacco giving it extra complexity, followed by a long, drying finish. Perfect paring to a nice prime rib roast. Drink now, or hold for 3-5 more years.