Wine Review – John Duval Eligo 2008

John Duval Eligo 2008

Country: Australia
Region: Barossa Valley, Eden Valley
Grape: 100% Shiraz
ABV: 14.5%

Colour: Deep purple, slight clear garnet on the edge

Clean, medium+ intensity, fully developed. Plum, blackberry, blueberry, pepper, savoury smoke, oak, graphite, touch of leather

Dry, medium+ acidity, medium+ tannins, medium+ alcohol, full body, medium+ flavour intensity.
Plum, saline, black cherry, blackberry, liquorice

Finish: Long finish, pepper, integrated oak, waves of dark fruits for a good 15-20 seconds.

Score: 88/100

A great wine from the legendary Australian wine maker – John Duval, and Eligo being their flagship wine. Decanted for 1.5 hours. Fully developed, with some structure to hold onto its prime for at least 2-4 more years, would highly recommend drinking in the near future if you still have a bottle.

The nose is rather intense, showing a great balance of fruit, matured notes, and the classic peppery spice. On the palate, abundant of mellow black fruits, liquorice, and pepper, with a touch of saltiness, followed by a long finish that lingers for 15-20 seconds.

This is a very good wine, riding right on its prime. Although not as complex as a I thought it would been, the wine as a whole is well composed, from the nose, flavour, mouthfeel, and finish. Not the typical fruit bomb of Barossa, but shows a nice balance of power and elegance.

Whisky Review – Longrow Red 11 Fresh Port Cask

Longrow Red 11 Fresh Port Cask

Region: Campbeltown
ABV: 51.8%
E150: No
Chill-filtered: No
Cask Type: First-fill Port Cask


Colour: Amber

Nose: Plum, peat, oily, strawberry, baking spice, honey, brine, cranberry

Palate: Dried leaf, brine, honey, peat, red berry gummy, strawberry jam, cereal, wood

Finish: Long finish, pepper, ash, salt, red fruit gummy

Score: 89/100

This dram encompass everything I love about the peat and wine cask combination. Really rich dram with a great balance of fruitiness and peat. Full of red fruits like strawberry, cranberry, berry jam and gummy, coastal character present throughout, followed by a long, ashy, spicy finish. The balance of this dram is great, along with great deal of complexity, can drink this all night long.

Whisky Review – Aberfeldy 16 (A.D. Rattray 1994/2010 Cask 4017)

Aberfeldy 16 (A.D. Rattray 1994/2010 Cask 4017)

Region: Highland
ABV: 55.5%
E150: No
Chill-filtered: No
Cask Type: ex-Bourbon Hogshead Cask 4017


Colour: Straw

Nose: Vanilla, honey, pineapple, apple, cinnamon, citrus, malt, Bounce outdoor fabric softener dryer sheet

Palate: Honey, malt, citrus, ginger, vanilla, pineapple, nutmeg

Finish: Medium, mineral, black tea, pepper, oak

Score: 85/100

First time having a cask strength Aberfeldy, this one is aged in an ex-Bourbon hogshead.

It’s more memorable than their OB lineup, but circles around the classic ex-Bourbon cask notes, full of tropical fruits and citrus, vanilla, honey, spices, and malt, the usual lot.

The palate is not particularly interesting, similar to the nose, but with a lot of spices like ginger, vanilla, and pepper kicking in, transitioning into a warming, and spicy finish.

Solid dram overall, but that’s about it.

Whisky Review – Bruichladdich Octomore 10 2nd Edition

Bruichladdich Octomore 10 2nd Edition

Region: Islay
ABV: 57.3%
E150: No
Chill-filtered: No
Cask Type: Fresh Bourbon and Grenache Blanc casks


Colour: Light Copper

Nose: Raspberry, acetone, caramel, vanilla, apricot, cherry syrup, ash

Palate: Caramel, salt, peanut, chocolate, vanilla, clove, pepper, oily

Finish: Medium+ finish, cherry syrup, mineral, earthy, pepper, smoke

Score: 86/100

Oldest Octomore? Here it is, aged in first-fill ex-bourbon, and Grenache Blanc cask (probably from Rhone?). I find with Octomore, the ppm count doesn’t really mean much, as the ppm is measured before distillation, and the final product always seem to be a lot less peaty than the number suggests, and it really shows here.

The nose is really rich and oily, full of vanilla, stone fruits, red fruits, and of course, ashy peat. It’s a lot mellower than normal Octomore, but it’s less brash than some of the similarly aged cask strength offerings from Ardbeg, or Caol Ila.
The palate is rather smooth, but not without a kick of alcohol, full of sweet vanilla, caramel, peanuts, chocolate, saltiness and spiciness. The finish lingers with earthy peat smoke, cherry syrup, and peppery spiciness.

I rather enjoyed this, I will judge it like it’s a blind tasting, which the name Octomore doesn’t matter here, a nice bit of complexity despite some rough edges, worth trying a dram. As an Octomore however, I much prefer the more youthful releases.

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.