Review - Balvenie 15 Year Old Sherry Cask

So I move from one sherry bomb to another! It was launched earlier this year and I was very keen to get my hands on it as I'm very fond of Balvenie in general and also love "sherried" whisky. If I'm honest this didn't feel quite right to me, although that could simply be the particular cask that my bottle came from. It's not a bad whisky but I'm left doubting the bang for the buck the release gives.

ABV 47.8% vol
Price £77

Nose 23/25 - this has an excellent nose, christmas cake, marzipan, almond, citrus peel, sherry...
Taste 17/25 - very dry, flat, unremarkable and disconnected from the nose.
Finish 18/25 - it's not all that long and has a very bitter note.
Balance 18/25 - nothing about this said "pour another glass"
Total 76/100

Review - Darkness! Aultmore 16 Year Old Oloroso Cask Finish

Well I picked this up a few months ago, it's part of Master of Malt's new Darkness! range which you can read about here. It's not in any way subtle, but by and large I've greatly enjoyed it., and it seems I'm not alone: "a nose from the old school of faultless oloroso: spiced, dripping in molasses yet a malty sub strata is there for enjoyment" - Jim Murray (94 Points)

ABV 53.6% vol
Price £78
Nose 23/25 - sherry (unsurprisingly), cherries, Mars bar, toffee, malt, shortbread and vanilla ice cream.
Taste 21/25 - tobacco, toffee, fiery heat. This dram benefits from being given the chance to breath, if you don't give it this the finish can feel seperated from the underlying whisky.
Finish 22/25 - nicely long, lots of oak

Balance 19/25 - whilst uneven it's well worth the money.
Total 85/100

Review - Redemption Rye

So my last American whiskey review for a while and boy have I enjoyed my first ever rye whiskey.  If you've never dripped your toe into this type of dram then get a move on!

ABV 46% vol
Price £40

Nose 22/25 - Ginger biscuits, brown sugar, cinnamon.
Taste 23/25 - spice and then some, extremely dry, lovely.
Finish 21/25 - mid to long, oaky, smooth, spicy, warming
Balance 22/25 - as good as much better known and more expensive whisky.
Total 88/100

Review - 1792 Ridgemont Reserve Bourbon

The final Buffalo bourbon of the tasting, the most expensive for sure but sometimes you get what you pay for.

My thanks to @tweettastings and @buffalotraceuk for making this review possible.

ABV 46.9% vol
Price £50

Nose 22/25 -  sweetness, cranberry, oat cakes, green tea, air fix glue, no alcohol burn.
Taste 22/25 - sweet corn, sugar syrup.
Finish 23/25 - long, mellow, rich, spicy, tobacco notes; easy to pair with a cigar.
Balance 23/25 - really good, reminds me a bit of Balcones whisky, I can't figure out why but trust me that's a positive comment.
Total 90/100

Review - Eagle Rare 10 Year Old

The Bourbon journey continues! This another very good quality dram although not my favourite of the three from this distiller.

My thanks to @tweettastings and @buffalotraceuk for making this review possible.

ABV 45% vol
Price £36

Nose 22/25 - shoe polish and oak, vanilla and apple pie, sweet glacé cherries.
Taste 21/25 - sweet rye notes, treadles scones, apples, autumn dew, Halloween; a really good mouthful, chewy.
Finish 21/25 - decent length, oak notes, in fact longer than I at first thought, lingers nicely.
Balance 22/25 - lots of character and hugely enjoyable.
Total 86/100

Review - Buffalo Trace

Yet more bourbon! Totally loved this one, you get a huge bang for your buck and I probably enjoyed this more than the more expensive Eagle Rare 10 Year Old.

My thanks to @tweettastings and @buffalotraceuk for making this review possible.

ABV 40% vol
Price £22

Nose 22/25 - very light rum and toffee notes, pepper coming through later and hot cross buns.
Taste 22/25 - this packs a punch,  burnt sugar, lots of spice, caramac, dark black chocolate...
Finish 22/25 - Leathery and spicy, not overly long, very dry.
Balance 22/25 - really nice balance and great value for money
Total 88/100

Review - Bulleit Bourbon - 45%

Another week another country, this time America, and really it has to be Bourbon hasn't it?  Ralfy sang the praises of Bulleit just a few weeks ago and now it's my turn.

ABV 45% vol
Price £28

Nose 23/25 - lots of vanilla, roses, pear, jelly tots, hint of butterscotch Angel Delight (if you can remember it!) and Madeira cake.
Taste 22/25 - lots of wood, big depth, cinnamon, green pepper corns, burnt toast, toasted hot cross buns, star anise.
Finish 20/25 - surprisingly short and light, hints of cough medicine but not unpleasantly so.
Balance 22/25 - really pleasant, it's a bit drier than is my personal preference but overal a quality dram.
Total 86/100

Review - Three Ships 10 Year Old

South African whisky, the world tour gets more diverse with every dram!

ABV 43% vol


Price £48

  • Nose 22/25 - honey, almond, shoe polish, salt.
  • Taste 20//25 - soft easy drinking but with a huge whack of oak.
  • Finish 21/25 - oak, oak, oak, bit of menthol, mid length.
  • Balance 20/25 - really interesting and exciting, it's not wholly successful but it has a damned good try and I certainly enjoyed the ride.
  • Total 83/100

Review - Sullivans Cove French Oak Cask

So a second Tasmanian whisky, one awarded the title Worlds Best Single Malt 2014 which is no mean feat, can it live up to expectations?

ABV 47.5% vol


Price £90

  • Nose 18/25 - surprisingly light on the nose, reminds me a light bodied red wine, surprising for the ABV.
  • Taste 17/25 - apple, grass, rocket, some spice and then a very uneven whack of alcohol.
  • Finish 19/25 - really short, flat and bitter.
  • Balance 18/25 - I'm a bit disappointed it just doesn't seem balanced at all, for me their Double Cask is far superior. 
  • Total 72/100

Review - Sullivans Cove Double Cask

Tasmanian whisky, it's a new one for me and probably for most Scots!

ABV 40% vol
Price £65

Nose 22/25 - seems strong considering the ABV, very spicy, not sure of the age statement on this but it seems old before it's years, there's date and fig and bourbon coming through and it's very impressive.
Taste 22//25 - mellow, creamy, some spice but not too much, vanilla and oak there too, goes to show that you can produce a distinctive and characterful dram at 40%, shame on all those who can't.
Finish 24/25 - more spice in the finish than in the body, black pepper and it stretches off into the distance, really nice.
Balance 23/25 - exceptional, why can't this standard be reached by more distillers.
Total 91/100

Review - Strathclyde 36 Year Old 1977 (cask 9912) - The Sovereign

My knowledge of Strathclyde is extremely limited, I'm pretty certain I tested one last year at a whisky festival and enjoyed it. Ironically it may well be the closest working distillery to my home here in Glasgow and yet I've tasted it only once. It's Chivas Brothers’ only grain distillery, and the whisky produced there is used in blends such as Chivas Regal, Ballantine’s and Royal Salute. There isn't an official distillery bottling so we need independent bottlers such as Hunter Laing to fill the gap.

ABV 58.1% vol
Price £112

Nose 23/25 - a really big nose, stunning, plummy toffee, vanilla. Did I mention how big this is? Wow!
Taste 23/25 - butterscotch, cocoa powder, boiled sweets.
Finish 24/25 - long, warm, slightly bitter, great after dinner drink, big and strong.
Balance 23/25 - superb, despite it being 58% you'll have no problem drinking this neat. Sheer class in a glass. Couldn't recommend it strongly enough.
Total 91/100

Review - Nikka Whisky From The Barrel

Well I'm relatively familiar with Nikka Whisky From The Barrel, if memory serves correct I've had two bottles in past years, although I don't really recall my opinions at the time of consumption. It is certainly nicely packaged and if you can get one of their retail gift packages including glasses it makes a lovely present.  I was left wondering why it's taken me so long to revisit it!

  • ABV 51.4% vol
  • 50cl
  • Price £30
  • Nose 22/25 - cut flowers, apple, pear, a touch of peppermint, fresh pine and a hint of orange peel.
  • Taste 22/25 - caramel and sherry, but not overly sweet, bourbon like at times.
  • Finish 22/25 - long, mellow, rich, spicy, tobacco notes; easy to pair with a cigar.
  • Balance 22/25 - really good, reminds me a bit of Balcones whisky, I can't figure out why but trust me that's a positive comment..
  • Total 88/100

Review - Scallywag

I'm not going to beat about the bush I totally love this little mutt, launched in November 2013 it has become a firm favourite, whilst I'm sure there's bound to be someone who doesn't like it I've not come across them yet.  It's a blended malt (including Mortlach, Macallan and Glenrothes) and it's quality foundations are there for all to see.

  • ABV 46% vol
  • 70cl
  • Price £40
  • Nose 23/25 - sultanas, raisins, fruit cake, sherry, extremely sweet.
  • Taste 22/25 - less sweet (it could only be!), lots of spice, soft vanilla at the end. The choice to bottle at 46% definitely aids enjoyment.
  • Finish 22/25 - medium length and complex, steady move from oaky sherry through spice and onto vanilla.
  • Balance 21/25 - easily my favourite dram in the last 12 moths save for The General, but that's a bit like comparing a Mini Cooper with Rolls Royce.  Great value for money.
  • Total 88/100

Review - Glenrothes 1998

I've a real soft spot for Glenrothes, in fact it was my choice when celebrating my 40th birthday.  I don't think I've ever had a poor bottle and the 1998 is no exception.. My one criticism: the bottle.  It looks bonny and it's distinctive but boy is it a pain to pour!

ABV 43% vol
Price £44

Nose 21/25 - really quite slight, but there's a sweetness coupled with nutmeg and cinnamon 
Taste 22/25 - beautiful, smooth, spicy cinnamon, real heat in the mouth, some pepper and a sort of sweet marshmallow note
Finish 23/25 - a decent length, a hint of toffee and a lovely warmth that just keeps going
Balance 22/25 - a really good dram, one I'd choose without hesitation, I'm perhaps hesitant on value for money
Total 88/100

Review - The Glenlivet (12 year old)

I've heard this malt described as a work-a-day dram, and certainly it would be a good first introduction to whisky. That's not a slight, most of us drive common mass produced cars, and most of us drink mass produced whisky. A damed fine dram.

ABV 40 vol
Price £29
Nose 20/25 - light and floral, honey, vanilla pods, coconut and apple jelly.
Taste 21/25 - very quaffable at 40%, more honey, apples and almonds
Finish 21/25 - pretty short but that's really to be expected at this age and price point

Balance 22/25 - the Ford of whisky, widely available and widely enjoyed.
Total 84/100

Review - Connemara Peated Single Malt

Really disappointed with this, just didn't win me over.

ABV 40% vol
Price £29
Nose 17/25 - furniture polish, salt, seaweed and peat, training shoes, not entirely appealing.
Taste 18/25 - cough medicine, very sweet, smoky and cigar like
Finish 21/25 - quite long

Balance 18/25 - drinkable but it's not one I'll rush to repeat.
Total 74/100

Review - Mackmyra First Edition

Mackmyra Brukswhisky served as an aperitif for this First Edition, and whilst I enjoyed it I really have taken a shine to the First Edition.  If you want a change get yourself down to Oddbins and buy one!

ABV 46.1% vol
Price £40
Nose 21/25 - much more civilised, you still get vanilla but there is also oak and honey.
Taste 22/25 - smooth, sponge cake, honey and apple.
Finish 20/25 - pretty short but quite appropriate 

Balance 22/25 - very nicely balanced, a good bang for your buck, if only all drams at the price point were this well constructed.
Total 85/100

Review - Mackmyra Brukswhisky (The Swedish Whisky)

I take my hat off to the Swedes who made this, it's a fine easy to drink beverage,  it's made with skill and panache, in fact I enjoyed it greatly. It's not a Scottish malt but so what? 

ABV 41.4% vol
Price £36
Nose 18/25 - vanilla loads and loads of it, a touch artificial, fruit salad and sweat peas.
Taste 21/25 - vanilla, oak, spice, all of which is very light but still tingles the tongue.
Finish 18/25 - it doesn't hang around, gone in a flash.

Balance 20/25 - it's a nice pleasant drink, I'm less sure it's a true whisky but I enjoyed it all the same.
Total 77/100

Review - Dalmore King Alexander III

Well this has had a complex upbringing having matured in wine, Madeira, Sherry, Marsala, Kentucky bourbon and Port casks. It's from a very respected brand and it's not cheap at around £115, however it has no age statement and is bottled at 40% abv. Personally I wonder if that's part of the problem, would a slightly higher abv improve it?

  • ABV 40% vol
  • 70cl
  • Price £115
  • Nose 12/25 - very strange there really isn't much, there's some alcohol and perhaps oak but it's almost non existent.
  • Taste 19/25 - a hint of citrus,  some pepper, perhaps honey and a drop of marmalade but very light.
  • Finish 18/25 - they think it's all over, well it is now... Gone in a blink of an eye.
  • Balance 22/25 -  well yes it is, very smooth, calm, relaxed but in all honesty not all that exciting.  
  • Total 71/100

Review - Glenfarclas 40 Year Old

Knowing so little about Glenfarclas I had no preconceptions with this whisky but wow I'm impressed, it is one of the finest I've ever tasted. Of course at this price point it really should be, but I'd say it's worth every penny.

ABV 46% vol
Price £309
Nose 23/25 - Leather, unsmoked cigars, coffee, cocoa, citrus and toffee, very complex.
Taste 23/25 - overwhelming chocolate, espresso, raisins and cocktail cherries; really delightful.
Finish 23/25 - ginger and coffee with light chilli and then bitterness, it goes on and on, possibly one of the finest finishes I've ever experienced.
Balance 23/25 -   Awesome, I could drink this for ever and ever.
Total 92/100