This is a 19 year Glenlivet matured in a 1st fill sherry butt and bottled at 46% ABV.
Nose: As odd as it sounds, I was struck with an immediate note of opening up a pack of plastic fishing worms (those of you who fish know the smell I’m talking about) – odd how fast you can lock on a scent that you’ve never encountered in a whisky before. After the plastic, heavy grape notes develop with a bit of pineapple in the background. Sherry seems a bit closed off despite the obvious heavy influence.
Palate: Same plastic worm type note with grape kool aid – much richer than the nose let on with a nice blend of spice with a nutty malt.
Finish: Nice balance of oak, cocoa, and thick sherry linger a long time.
Rating: 84/100 – Good, but didn’t open up as much as I expected. Next time will need to try a few drops of water. The plastic worm note was a bit distracting as well.
Value for the money: This retailed at $90 when K&L had it in stock, and I think that’s a pretty decent price.
This is the 5th release in the Kilkerran WIP series that was matured in sherry wood and bottled at 46% ABV.
Nose: Subtle sherry with a healthy amount of varnish/new make type notes, raw grains, a bit of juniper and pine needle lending to a bit of a gin like nose.
Palate: Pinesol notes with young oak and very faint sherry, raisins with a bit of pepper – a bit harsh overall.
Finish: New make notes fade leaving a pleasant sherry with green/young oak.
Rating: 78/100 – Its youth shows in the new make/varnish type notes throughout. The sherry impact is extremely minimal.
Value for the money: I think I paid around $60 for this, and I’d pass at any price personally.
This is a 15 year Laphroaig matured in a refill sherry butt in and bottled at 59.1% ABV.
Nose: Very pungent peat tinged with just a tiny hint of sherry – peat is quite ashy in character. Really not much else to the nose for me as the peat is so strong.
Palate: Huge peat bomb here again – strikes me as Octomore levels of peat and is definitely the peatiest Laphroaig I’ve had. Very ashy with only minor grape notes from the sherry with burnt hamburger notes in the background.
Finish: Peat lingers fully with the burnt meat/carbon notes.
Rating: 86/100 – If you’re a big peat head, then this will be right up your alley. It’s a bit of a one trick, but nice to have a big peat bomb like this here and there.
Value for the money: This was originally around $160 on K&L which is an ok price (I think they later lowered it after I bought it, but can’t remember for sure).
This is a 25 year Bunnahabhain that was matured in an ex-bourbon cask and bottled at 50.7% ABV.
Nose: Malty with slightly smoke tinged oak, muddled pineapple, some almond extract, and minor farm notes.
Palate: Almond biscotti, orange rind, peppery, some harsh/biting oak, and an earthy element to the malt.
Finish: Mostly oak lingering with some hints of vanilla and fresh grains.
Rating: 85/100 – Not overly exciting, but a solid older Bunnahabhain.
Value for the money: K&L had these for $150 before they sold out, and I think that’s a pretty fair price. I wouldn’t pay anything over that though if these are sold on secondary/auction.
This is a 12 year Springbank matured in a cream sherry butt and bottled at 56.1% ABV.
Nose: Wow – some of the strongest sherry notes I’ve encountered in a Springbank. Cloves and fruit cake with some strawberry and cocoa – very heavy dark sherry notes with a decent amount of sulphur in there.
Palate: Sulphury sherry with dates and figs – sherry is completely dominant with some bitter chocolate in there.
Finish: Raisins and cracked peppercorns with some bitter cocoa.
Rating: 89/100 – The biggest sherry bomb from Springbank I’ve personally had to date. A fair amount of sulphur in there which holds it back slightly for me, but otherwise quite good.
Value for the money: I paid around $100 for this I believe at retail, and I have no qualms with that price point.
This is a 26 year Bladnoch matured in an ex-bourbon hogshead and bottled at 48.5% ABV.
Nose: Flowery malt with cinnamon dusted graham crackers, beeswax and honey with some oats and underlying anise. Fairly strong pear and peach notes show up after a few minutes.
Palate: Pears and peaches leading off with spiced oak, grassy and almost farmy malt with some wax and pepper notes supporting.
Finish: Mostly oak lingering with hints of mascarpone and mango.
Rating: 90/100 – One of the better Bladnochs I’ve tried – very complex nose really helps this one shine.
Value for the money: I got this for around $160 delivered from an EU site, and I think that’s a very fair price.
This is a 29 year ex-bourbon cask matured Linkwood that was selected by K&L and bottled in 2015 at 46% ABV.
Nose: Big citrusy malt with an abundance of lilac and heather – very flowery and sweet turning into a bit of honeysuckle after a bit. Some vanilla/honey notes linger in the background.
Palate: Oak dials up in intensity but the powerful lilac/wildflower notes cut through the bitterness introducing some floral/sweet notes. Vanilla and brown sugar help temper some of the oak tannins.
Finish: Peppery with some lemon juice contrasting nicely with the lingering tannins. Flowery malt notes last awhile.
Rating: 88/100 – Quite good with some unique floral notes throughout.
Value for the money: This retailed for $200 at K&L when it was released and I have no qualms at that price.
This is a 17 year Springbank that was matured in sherry oak casks and bottled at 52.3% ABV.
Nose: Brighty, funky malt with some putty and dry oak – orange marmalade emerging after a minute with some yeast notes in the background. Not a very fruity sherry influence on the nose at least.
Palate: Musty oak, quite malty full of dough and yeast with bright citrus notes. Turns slightly grassy with the oak taking on more of a sawdust profile – sherry is minimal but slightly sulphury.
Finish: Funky/bitter oak with slightly sulphury sherry lingering as it turns quite dry.
Rating: 82/100 – The sherry notes are very weak, and to be honest, if I tried this blind, I wouldn’t be 100% sure it was sherried (except the sulphur note might be the only giveaway).
Value for the money: I think I paid around $160 for this, and it’s an easy pass for me anywhere near that price.
This is a 12 year Longrow bottled as part of their Red series which involves finishing in wine casks. This was finished for one year in French Pinot Noir casks and bottled at 52.9% ABV.
Nose: Peat takes a back seat to very heavy wine notes full of figs, plums, and mulled spices. Some tobacco notes merge with the oak/peat.
Palate: Heavy smoke up front with some smoked, savory meat leading into rich, dark fruits as the wine dials up. After the first few sips, the fruity wine notes take over almost completely.
Finish: Peat lingers through as the wine notes gently fade.
Rating: 87/100 – I generally really like the Longrow Red series, and this one is quite good as well. The balance is a little off for me as the wine on this one takes away a bit too much of the peat for my liking, but still quite good.
Value for the money: I paid around $80 for this, and I think that’s a very fair price.
This is a 27 year Cragganmore matured in an ex sherry hogshead and bottled at 48.7% ABV.
Nose: Quite grapey with banana candies and black cherry. Oak taking on a musty profile with pine needles and bright lime juice showing up after a bit.
Palate: Very spicy/peppery up front with the oak coming through strongly – heavy lime here again which masks some of the sweeter fruits and a hint of ethyl acetate showing up.
Finish: Lemony with cherries and heavy oak lingering.
Rating: 84/100 – Some interesting notes with lots of bright citrus – the palate didn’t fully come together for me though.
Value for the money: I ordered this from overseas for probably around $170 shipped or so, and I wouldn’t buy another at that price.