This is an older OB from Longrow – a 10 year expression that I’m unsure if it was matured or finished in sherry casks. I’m assuming finished based on what I tasted, but I can’t find any definitive info.
Nose: Butyric acid with subtle sherry – qutie briny with some burning rubber among the minimal peat with some smoked fish.
Palate: Salty but sweet with some subtle fruits blended with the peat, some chalky notes are present with a bit of rubber carrying forward from the nose.
Finish: Disappears rather quickly with mostly the peat lingering.
Rating: 84/100 – Interesting to try a younger, sherry influenced Longrow, but the sherry doesn’t add a whole lot for me.
Value for the money: These are hard to find these days as they were bottled in early 2000s, but I believe this bottle was purchased around a $150-200 retail price point which I would not pay. I’d like to see this closer to $80-100 if it was still produced.
This is a 13 year Benrinnes that was matured in an Oloroso sherry butt for 13 years before being bottled at 53.5% ABV.
Nose: Fruit cake, walnuts, banana bread, butterscotch, and muddled fruits – dark, rich fruit notes permeate this sherry bomb.
Palate: Quite flinty with plums among a nutty malt, cocoa and cherry notes mixed with a lot of tannins.
Finish: Quite bitter from all the lingering tannins with a good amount of fruits lingering.
Rating: 88/100 – A very good, heavily sherried Benrinnes. I’m amazed at the color and flavors this has picked up after only 13 years.
Value for the money: Looks like this has been averaging around €150 at auction in recent months which is a pretty great price for what you’re getting.
This is an 18 year Mortlach that was selected by The Whisky Exchange. It was finished in an Oloroso sherry butt for 54 months before being bottled at 55.8% ABV.
Nose: Cherries, nice malty/sherry combo while coming off quite oak heavy for 18 years. A hint of acetone mixed among mineral oils with some banana appearing after a bit.
Palate: Strawberry hard candies with a thick sherry influnce – a tiny bit of farmy malt in the background mixed among the sherry fruit notes.
Finish: Cherry and cocoa notes linger.
Value for the money: This can be bought from the TWE currently at around $125 (excluding shipping). I think that’s a pretty reasonable price for what you’re getting.
This is a 25 year Glen Grant aged in an ex-sherry refill butt and bottled at 57.5% ABV.
Nose: Quite malty with loads of heather and fresh grass notes – some plum developing alongside a healthy dose of bread dough.
Palate: Doughy with harsh oak and a cotton note – quite dry with heather and malt remaining strong.
Finish: Dries out quickly with dough notes lingering.
Rating: 80/100 – A bit dry all around – very little indication on nose/palate of any sherry involvement.
Value for the money: The retail was around $220 for this one but I saw it on sale closer to $180 at one point. I would pass at either price.
This is a TWE Selection 22 year Longmorn matured in an ex-sherry hogshead and bottled at 51.4% ABV.
Nose: Loads of spices with a lot of black pepper – dark chocolate covered cherries, fairly heavy oak, and almond extract.
Palate: Oak is heavy here again with muddled fruits and cocoa in background – the sherry influence is minimal and the palate seems rather closed off.
Finish: Bananas and bitter cocoa notes linger.
Rating: 83/100 – I had high hopes for this one as it was quite dark – I was expecting more of a sherry bomb, but the sherry is very tempered/minimal. Tastes much older than 22 years and not in a good way.
Value for the money: I think this was around $175-200 delievered from TWE and I would not buy again at that price.
This is a TWE Selection 26 year Balmenach matured in an ex-bourbon Hogshead and bottled at 51.1% ABV.
Nose: Honey and lavender with heavy beeswax – some fenugreek developing with tart apples, cherries, and vanilla.
Palate: Loads of honey and wax with the oak coming off harsh – cherry and strawberry notes with vanilla and butterscotch.
Finish: Buttery oak with dried herbs – some harshness from the oak.
Rating: 84/100 – Some promising notes but a bit rough around the edges at times.
Value for the money: I believe I got this delivered around $200 from TWE and I wouldn’t buy it again at that price.
This is a 29 year Caol Ila matured in a refill sherry hogshead and bottled at 55.1% ABV.
Nose: Blackberry coulis, honey, faint smoke, subtle peat, sour oak, and some licorice.
Palate: Quite oaky with blueberry/blackberry notes, mild peat, grassy, nutty, some brown rice, and plum wine.
Finish: Oak dominant with leather and black cherry.
Rating: 89/100 – Quite good – the sherry influence isn’t overwhelming and the peat has mellowed to a good, complimentary level.
Value for the money: Looks like this might run $250-300 which is in line with most other Caol Ilas of this age, and it would be toward the top of my list if you’re looking for a 25-30 year Caol Ila around $300.
This is a Compass Box expression produced for the 10th anniversary of The Nectar (what appears to be a distributor in Belgium). It consists of around 50% ex-bourbon Ardbeg and 50% Highland Malt in French Oak. It’s bottled at 46% ABV.
Nose: Dry smoke, heavy lemon oils, burning tires, bread dough, tangerine, and a healthy dose of minerals.
Palate: Lemon candies, slate, quite oaky all around with some brash peat influence and a bit of rubber.
Finish: Burnt oak and clementines linger awhile.
Rating: 87/100 – The Ardbeg certainly takes over here with the strong smoke/peat/lemon notes.
Value for the money: These could be found for around $150-200 delivered to the US when they were released. I’d be more willing to buy a bottle around $100, but these will be harder to find over time.
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.