Glen Grant-Glenlivet 31 (Cadenhead’s 1984/2016 Sherry Butt #414) Review

This is a 31 year Glen Grant matured in a sherry butt and bottled at 46.1% ABV.

Nose: Dry, brittle oak with a bit of pine sap – menthol and maraschino cherries as it turns just a bit rubbery. Strawberry hard candies emerge as it sits for a bit.

Palate: Quite oaky with the strawberry hard candies carrying straight through. Tobacco, red grapes, and white pepper with a nice thick mouthfeel.

Finish: Tobacco, cherry cordial, and dry oak – medium length.

Rating: 88/100

Value for the money: The cheapest I could find this for online still is €219 which is too high for me. I’d be a buyer at €150 or under or so.

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch #9 Review

This is batch #9 in the ECBP series. It’s aged for 12 years and bottled at 67.8% ABV.

Nose: Almonds and rich yeast – almost Beam levels of yeastiness. Cherry compote, french vanilla, and notes of corn chowder.

Palate: Very sweet with loads of caramel and brown sugar with some almond tart and roasted peanuts.

Finish: Very dry and very short with oak and dry roasting herbs.

Rating: 88/100 – Drinks way easier than expected given the high proof – great nose, but lackluster finish holds it back a bit.

Value for the money: ECBP typically retails around $45-60 depending on market, and they usually make a great buy for that money. I wouldn’t pay any kind of secondary prices on this older batch though, as they’re consistent enough, I’d be happy to just buy whatever latest batch you can find available.

Cadenhead Creations 36 Year “Rich Fruity Sherry” Batch 2 Review

This is essentially a blend of blends from Cadenheads consisting of a vatting of two blended whiskies matured in sherry butts – each of which consists of various blends, blended malts, and blended grains all distilled in 1980. It’s bottled at 44.5% ABV.

Nose: Cinnamon and cloves with stewed fruits – vanilla peaking through a thick fog of rich oak, a hint of licorice, some cherry cobbler. Very bourbon like nose to me.

Palate: Biscuits topped with strawberry jam, fairly oak heavy, but plenty of sweet notes offsetting the tannins – caramel, black cherry, and toffee.

Finish: Nice long finish with fruit candies, cinnamon, cloves, and slightly tamed oak.

Rating: 90/100

Value for the money: I bought into a bottle split of this at right around a $200 valuation, and based on how much I enjoyed it, I have no qualms with that price point.

 

Nikka Taketsuru 21 Review

This is a 21 year vatted malt from Nikka that is bottled at 43% ABV.

Nose: Apricot jam with honeydew melon, toffee, and nutmeg – hints of sawdust and butterscotch.

Palate: Strawberries and honey with nutmeg dusted oak. White pepper and cantaloupe develop as it turns a bit fruitier/spicier.

Finish: Quite a long finish turning a bit herbal on top of the lasting honey and malt notes.

Rating: 87/100

Value for the money: This originally retailed around $165 which would’ve been a fair price, but not it looks like you can’t get it under $225 or so in most places I’m seeing online, and that’s pushing it for me. If it was proofed a bit higher, I could see me paying north of original retail a bit, but not as it stands.

Linkwood 24 (Old Malt Cask 1980/2004 Cask #1203) Review

This is a 24 year Linkwood matured in an ex-bourbon hogshead and bottled at 50% ABV.

Nose: A real malt bomb full of loads of yeast and bread dough, a bit of charcoal and camphor oil appear with spiced pears.

Palate: Yeasty still here with the oak becoming bolder – overtones of tart apples and honeysuckle with a hint of lavender.

Finish: Quite dry and bitter as the oak takes over alongside traces of bread dough.

Rating: 86/100

Value for the money: I can’t find any pricing data on this, but I’d be happy to buy a bottle anywhere up to $150 or so (guessing this is closer to $250).

Edradour 16 (Spec’s Single Cask Selection Bordeaux Finish) Review

This is a 16 year Edradour that was finished in a Bordeaux cask. It was a single cask selected by Spec’s liquor store and bottled at 56.1%.

Nose: Overarching mineral notes in a mixture of rum soaked raisins, molasses, apple crisp, and just a hint of rubber. Nice blend of tart and sweet fruit notes throughout.

Palate: Even fruitier here with cranberry muffins, plums, cherries, and almond extract.

Finish: Cranberries and apples with bitter cocoa – dries out fairly quickly.

Rating: 87/100 – I really enjoy these interesting Edradour finishes as their malt takes well to them.

Value for the money: Looks like this retails around $160 which I think is fairly reasonable.

Strathclyde 23 (Battlehill) Review

This is a 23 year single grain scotch from Strathclyde bottled by Battlehill at 46% ABV.

Nose: Strange combination of pine-sol and overripe bananas off the bat. Grain notes are quite pungent with a slight rubber cement like profile.

Palate: Much sweeter and better put together here with banana cream pie, vanilla custard, and nilla wafers. Grain funk is still present along with a bit of rubbing alcohol, but more muted here than on the nose.

Finish: Funky grain lingers with a bit of vanilla and banana – short finish overall.

Rating: 75/100 – These single grains can be hit or miss for me, and this one is more in the miss category.

Value for the money: It looks like this might retail around $95, and I’d pass at that (or most) prices.

Laphroaig 25 (2008) Review

This is the Laphroaig 25 cask strength release from 2008. It was pulled from a combination of bourbon/sherry casks and bottled at 51.2% ABV.

Nose: Iodine and a well aged peat leading off – the peat gives away its age as its mellowed out substantially allowing an earthy, charcoal like oak to come through with some watermelon bubblegum.

Palate: Beautifully balanced peat/oak intermingle with briny malt taking on earth notes from time to time. Overarching ash notes persist throughout.

Finish: Peat and a slightly citrus-laden oak last for some time in a fairly long finish.

Rating: 90/100

Value for the money: You’d have to turn to auctions to find this particular Laphroaig 25 at this point, and most recent results I’ve seen point to this being just north of €400 which is a pass for me.

Bruichladdie The Laddie Ten (Second Edition) Review

This is the second edition of the Laddie Ten which was released as a limited edition after the first one was cancelled a couple years ago. It is bottled at 50% ABV compared to the 46% ABV of the original. It was drawn from a combination of bourbon, sherry, and french wine casks.

Nose: Chocolate chip banana pancakes, cherry cough drops, slightly grassy with playdough, and a bit of baby vomit.

Palate: Buttermlik/sour malt with biting green apple, sharp oak, black pepper, and fermented rice.

Finish: Dry oak and sour malt lingering with green apple overtones.

Rating: 82/100 – Quite funky (as is the case with a lot of young Bruichladdich for me), but enjoyable.

Value for the money: This was released with a retail of $60 which is a decent price for what you get. I wouldn’t pay more for it though since this is discontinued, but I doubt there’s a large secondary market for this bottle.

Highland Park Saint Magnus 12 Year Review

This is a 12 year Highland Park that was released as the second part of the Earl Magnus (Inga Saga) trilogy. It was distilled in 1998 and bottled in 2010 at 55% ABV.

Nose: Funky sherry notes with some sulphury smoke in there, fresh cedar, new leather, msuty old books, subtle dried seaweed, cigar smoke, and figs.

Palate: Cigar smoke carries through here with woody malt, sulphur notes appearing briefly with black cherry and leather as well.

Finish: Sherry influence lingers with faint strawberry and oak notes – long finish overall.

Rating: 89/100 – A very good/complex Highland Park – especially given its age. I love how sherry maturation interacts with Highland Park’s distillate – the briny/smoky elements of the malt play so well with the rich sherry.

Value for the money: I think the original retail for this was around €100, but now online, it’s mostly €250+ from what I’ve seen. I’d be happy to pay original retail for it, but it’s definitely not worth €250+ in my opinion.