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 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 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 28 year Glenturret matured in an ex-bourbon hogshead and bottled at 51.8% ABV.
Nose: Super malty with loads of dough – strong candied oranges emerging right away. Quite flowerly overall with lavender – lime juice developing as it opens up.
Palate: Strong heather and quite malty with heavy notes of orange peels and lemon drop candies with a bit of honey.
Finish: Citrus notes dominant as malt lingers on with honey.
Rating: 90/100 – One of the most citrusy malts I’ve had that I can remember – the bright, acidic orange notes complement the strong malt profile nicely.
Value for the money: I think I paid around $200 or so for this one delivered from an EU site awhile back, and I’d gladly pay that again.
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 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 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 a 26 year Balmenach that was matured in an ex-bourbon Hogshead and bottled at 51.6% ABV. Thanks to My Annoying Opinions for the sample.
Nose: Bright, briny malt with tart berries, clay, beeswax, greek yogurt, grassy with some mint and mushrooms. A bit all over the place but some interesting notes in there.
Palate: Quite woody with lots of green/grassy notes while also a bit flowery. Some briny malt with mint.
Finish: Dry and oak heavy with pepper and cloves.
Rating: 85/100 – My first Balmenach expression – don’t know how typical this is to their distillery profile, but I enjoyed it. Reminded me of a cross between a Clynelish and a Talisker.
Value for the money: This retails for $150 at Binny’s, and I think that’s a pretty reasonable price.
This is a 16 year Laphroaig that was distilled in 1998 and matured in a refill sherry butt before being bottled in 2015 at 59.9% ABV.
Nose: Chocolaty malt with ground mustard, grapes, orange marmalade, and an odd chlorine note in the background.
Palate: Weird green vegetable taste up front that struck me as asparagus after a bit – pungent peat, spiced baked apples, funky oak, and barbecue sauce.
Finish: Sherry and peat linger with figs and burnt oak.
Rating: 84/100 – Some interesting notes, but the peat and sherry didn’t marry that well here for me – it came off a bit disjointed.
Value for the money: This retailed around $160 originally, and I’d pass at that price personally. I’d maybe buy closer to $100ish.