This is a 12 year Clynelish matured in bourbon/sherry/madeira casks and ACE’d in madeira casks. It’s bottled at 46% ABV.
Nose: Loads of funky wine notes with a kind of musty sherry and some odd motor oil type notes. Strawberry and cherries evident in the wine notes.
Palate: Very heavy grape notes with waxy fruits still coming through – pears and apples. Slightly malty, but overall a wine bomb.
Finish: Wine notes and tannins linger with strawberries.
Rating: 84/100 – A bit heavy handed with the madeira/sherry, but enjoyable as a dessert type pour.
Value for the money: I think I paid around $80 or so for this, and that’s an ok price if a bit high. Would like to see it closer to $60 or so.
This is a 25 year Glen Garioch matured in an ex-bourbon hogshead and bottled at 50.6% ABV.
Nose: Cantaloupe and butterscotch notes leading off with some odd putty type notes developing. Turns slightly briny after a bit with some musty pineapple emerging.
Palate: Some vegetal notes blended with strong cantaloupe with more pineapple and brine showing up after a bit.
Finish: Oaky and malty – simple, but fairly long.
Rating: 87/100 – I don’t have a ton of experience with Glen Garioch as of yet, but I enjoyed the strong cantaloupe notes in this one.
Value for the money: I think I paid a little over $200 shipped for this one originally or so, and I think it’s a bit high at that price but not too bad.
This is an 18 year Longrow OB which was bottled in 2013 (per the laser code under the label). It’s bottled at 46% ABV.
Nose: Quite phenolic with musty oak, strong plastic beach ball notes, nutty with some orange marmalade and oil paint.
Palate: Very plasticky again with smoldering campfire ashes, lemon juice, vegetal notes, and some old tobacco.
Finish: A bit of rubber and plenty of phenols lingering.
Rating: 86/100 – Quite different than a lot of the other peated whiskies I’ve had – the plastic notes were a bit of a distraction for me.
Value for the money: These can typically be found from $150ish (including shipping) from the EU but retail closer to $220 in the US. I wouldn’t pay retail in the US, but when purchased from EU it’s a pretty decent price.
This was Compass Box’s first vatted malt which is comprised of 15 year Clynelish (part of which was matured in re-charred hogsheads) and 12 year Caol Ila. It was retired in 2005 after they ran out of stock of the Clynelish. It’s bottled at 46% ABV.
Nose: Peaty with a good amount of tar, seaweed, a bit if isopropyl alcohol going on with some vegetal notes. The Caol Ila clearly dominates the nose.
Palate: Caol Ila continues its domination here with strong peat, dry smoke, decaying leaves, smoked fish, and some farmy notes.
Finish: Dry smoke and vegetal notes as the oak fades.
Rating: 80/100 – I wish the Clynelish stood out more here as this mostly just tasted like a young Caol Ila for me.
Value for the money: I found this in a shop for around $45 which is a decent price. I wouldn’t chase this discontinued expression on the secondary though unless you find it at retail price.
This is a 16 Clynelish matured in a refill ex-bourbon hogshead and bottled at 52.1% ABV.
Nose: Cinnamon and apples with wildflowers, heather, vanilla, sawdust, and subtle pears. Not quite as fruity as I normally find Clynelish while heavier on the floral notes.
Palate: Musty, earthy oak with mushrooms, pears, pineapple gummies, and a fairly floral malt. Again, a departure from typical Clynelish profile here.
Finish: Dries out quickly with musty oak and subtle fruits.
Rating: 84/100 – A slightly odd, mustier Clynelish that threw me for a bit of a loop at first. Still good though – just not what I was expecting.
Value for the money: I think I paid around $125-150 all in from an EU site a few years back, and I don’t think I’d buy again at that price.
This is a 20 year Glenkinchie that was released as part of the 2010 Diageo Special Releases. It was matured in refill American oak and bottled at 55.1% ABV.
Nose: Candy apples, cookie dough, pear crisp, subtle licorice, vanilla, some grassy notes, and buttercream frosting.
Palate: Beeswax, apples, pears, butterscotch, anise, turning a bit farmy after awhile with some toasted marshmallows appearing.
Finish: Oaky and green with unripe bananas and marshmallows.
Rating: 88/100 – I’m not usually a big fan of Lowlands, but this one was pleasant and quite fruity.
Value for the money: I believe I paid around $150-200 for this a few years back, and I think that’s a pretty decent price for what you get.
This is a 25 year Caol Ila matured in re-coopered hogsheads and bottled at 46% ABV.
Nose: Seaweed, subdued peat, subtle sweet barbecue sauce, lime zest, brackish water, and a bit of buttery scallops.
Palate: Peat still subdued with dried/decaying leaves, earthy oak, mussels, apple peels, and a hint of bitter chocolate.
Finish: Lime notes stick around with mushrooms and woody malt.
Rating: 89/100 – Not an in your face peated dram, but lots of great subtle notes going on forming a great balance.
Value for the money: I believe I paid around $225 shipped from an EU site a couple years back for this one, and I think that’s a pretty fair price for what you’re getting.
This is a 10 year Glenlossie that was bottled at 46% ABV.
Nose: Briny and doughy malt with yeast, lemon, and dried herbs.
Palate: Slightly doughy with some salt, herbs, subtle oak, and a dash of pepper.
Finish: Dry oak and herbal notes remain for a bit.
Rating: 83/100 – Quite a simple dram, but the notes that are there are nice. Would be nice to have some fruits to add a bit more complexity.
Value for the money: I believe I paid around 80-90 for this or so, and I don’t think I’d buy again at the same price.
This is a 19 year Glendronach Single Cask that was matured in a PX cask and bottled at 52.9% ABV.
Nose: Super chocolately up front – but more of a malt chocolate than a sweet chocolate. PX rather muted behind the chocolate notes and heavy oak. Some toffee and black cherries show up after a bit.
Palate: PX much more bold here with those syrupy raisin notes – a bit of chocolate, cloves, and oddly enough some herbal notes tucked away behind the sherry. Just the right balance of other notes besides the PX to avoid becoming too sweet.
Finish: Raisins with citrus and a nice balance of oak lingering.
Rating: 90/100 – I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – these Glendronach single casks are about as consistent as it comes in the malt world in my opinion. If you enjoy heavily sherried malts, you just can’t go wrong with these.
Value for the money: Guessing this retailed between $150-200 based on the typical prices for these, and I’d gladly pay for a bottle in that range.
This is a 19 year Springbank expression from the Archives series. It was matured in a refill bourbon hogshead and bottled at 56.4% ABV.
Nose: Briny malt with bright tangerine notes alongside stale cigarette smoke, wet slate, putty, and licorice.
Palate: Twizzler candies with lemon and orange juice, musty oak, a bit of pepper, and dried seaweed.
Finish: A bit of vanilla with some tobacco.
Rating: 87/100 – A little different from the typical Springbank profile which is quite interesting – a solid dram all around.
Value for the money: These retailed around €160 which I think is an ok price if slightly high (like most Springbanks).