Cue Macallan 12y Elegancia
A reasonable, sherry cask Macallan at a good price, 30GBP in duty free from a friend who travelled recently.
Nose: Dark fruits - raisins, a hint of plum, sherry, oak and even very slightly nutty.
Palate: No surprises, just as you would expect with those dark fruits and a mixture of sherry and oak. If anything, the 'feel' of this in the mouth is a little thin, but the flavour is all there.
Not a very long finish, but slightly tingly on the middle of the tongue for a couple of seconds.
See you later,
Clynelish, 1971, 32y, 54.2% Cask 2704
Nose: Very floral with hints of liquoroce and malt
Palate: Deliciously smooth with an immediate nuttily fruity tingle. This is extremely intense and you can tell it's CS at over 50%!
The rich flavours of nut and fruit (apricot / peach) last almost forever on the front middle of the tongue.
With water: The nose had gained a little vanilla.
The flavours are the same, but fiercely more intense.
I love this whisky!!!
I will, however, compare this Clynelish to the Duncan Taylor NC2 and G&M versions which I tried a couple of months ago and last year, respectively.
I like the G&M one, but it was still quite young and rather under-powered at 40%.
The NC2 is one which I find a little disappointing. It has too little flavour, especially considering the "NC" marketing ideas of No Cill-filtration and No Colouring. This hints at nothing taken away, leaving full-flavours (or at least this is what I read into the NC ideas).
This 1971, 32y Clynelish is expensive in comparison, it is much older and to be quite honest, it is FAR better!
Did I mention that I really like this one?
Some of the syrupy overbearing power has now gone, leaving an excellent dram which just goes on ... and on ..... and on .......
I had sucked a mint on my journey home and it stuck around longer than I thought it would, so when I tried the whisky a good hour later, the flavours were somewhat masked.
The dram was:
Rosebank, Signatory, Vintage 1989 (20.4.89-10.97)
Nose: Wonderful perfume, just how a good Rosebank should be.
Palate: Defintiely light and strong minty flavours Sorry, I really shouldn't have eaten that mint, but it was an hour before!
I did get some delightful Scottish floral notes and I will re-visit this one later, mintless!
Highland Park, Adelphi, 12y (or was it 14y) 60.9%
Nose: Scottish moors, heather and a little faint smoke.
Palate: At 60.9% this is extremely strong and the alcohol slightly overwhelms. There are some lovely smoky notes over heather, but I quickly added water ...
With water: Delightfully smooth, a wonderful HP with heather, smoke and just a hint of treacle toffee.
Overall impression: I love this HP, especially with the water added.
Yes, even though I know I will be very wrong, I'll report back here.
The first is this Royal Brackla which I bought on the strength of just nosing it once a few weeks ago.
Royal Brackla an IB from "The Companion", 25y 46%
Nose: Lots of light herbs, slightly dry and faint hints of liquorice. On further nosing I am getting just a trace of straw, as stored in a barn.
Palate: This one is initially slow. Most of the flavours burst through the aftertaste and are not so evident in the initial taste. At first it seemed quite insignificant, but only for a couple of seconds before the explosion hit.
Those herby & floral notes are splendid and are mostly concentrated on the back, not the front of the tongue. The aftertaste sits purely on the back of the tongue and is one of delicate liquorice.
Further tastes help concentrate the same flavours with that intial floral herbiness followed swiftly by a full, but not too fierce assault of liquorice on the back of the tongue, also making the extreme sides of the mouth water.
Overall impression: This is a good whisky, very good, but quite unusual in the experience it gives. The flavours are very delicate in a powerful kind of way. Initial floral and herb notes turn quickly into a more prominent liquorice which lingers for some time.
I really like this one, not just for the flavours, but for the very different overall experience it gives.
Rosebank, Signatory Vintage 1989; 20.4.89 - 10.97 Casks 894 & 896
Nose: Perfume and only very slightly medicinal herbs. Really quite fresh.
Palate: I didn't write the strength on my little sample label, but I don't remember this being a CS, although it initially tastes rather strong. It has that spicy burn of a CS, it's pretty smooth and not very long. The flavours include an enduring maltiness over something slightly floral but still quite fresh. There is almost some juniper in there too.
No, on the third tasting this no longer comes across as being overly strong, probably around 43% or 46%.
That freshness does linger on the tongue and it is indeed almost slightly minty. The flavours are now definitely reminding me of a small herb garden, but to be honest, I can't exactly place which individual herbs.
Overall impression: A good fresh dram, ideal for a warm evening in the garden with friends.
Port Ellen, 2nd Release, Bottle No. 1141, 59.35%
Nose: Linseed, Scottish sea air, grass and straw
Palate: Very smooth and surprisingly sweet, but lots of burn from all that alcohol. The aftertaste is very herbal.
Let's try with a little water now.....
With water: (4 drops in 2cl) The sea air and straw are enhanced on the nose.
Deliciously smooth on the tongue and tingling the front and rear of the tongue simultaneously, whilst leaving the middle alone!
Lovely herbal flavours whilst slightly oily and wonderfully smooth with the sweetness remaining, albeit not quite so prominent now.
3 Further drops of water: A little smokiness is starting to develop amongst that straw. For a fleeting second I had a slight taste of one of those liquorice allsorts which comprises liquorice wrapped in a coconut tyre.
Overall Impression: This is an excellent dram and one which shall return to in a few days time. Probably experimenting with a little more water as this time around, it improved both times when I added a few drops.
Collector57 wrote:Malt-Teaser wrote:If I were to put on my collector head I would say buy yourself a cheaper PE, drink and enjoy it, then save your AR2 for 10 years and cash in on what will be a great investment.
And indeed I do have some cheaper PEs open - a well as a PEAR7
I intend to keep the 2 - because I have the full set and want to keep it together, adding any mre as they come.
Is the complete line-up going to be worth more than individual bottles? Who knows - I just like having the full range
Although they are not being released together as a set, I do believe that anyone holding all the releases will profit more than by selling individual bottles.
In years to come.
Arran Cream Sherry, 54.3%, Bottle No. 714 of 800
Nose: Very difficult. Perhaps a creamy cognac with a little sherry and overtones of malt all wrapped in a Christmas pudding.
Palate: Oh yes, the cream is there. As is the sherry. One of my first instincts was to say that I made the comment about Christmas pudding on the nose, but without any trace of custard.
Funnily enough, this is so creamy I am very tempted to say that the custard is on the palate. Strange, I always associate vanilla notes with bourbon casks. But this is creamily sweet and almost gives the feeling of custard in texture and flavour. Somewhere in there is a nice whisky too
Every Arran I have tasted has been very different. This is no exception.
With water: The custard and extreme cream has gone, leaving the cognac and whisky, with sherry elements.
The finish is long and very reminiscent of cognac.
Overall impression: Another success from Arran, but for me, preferably without the water, even though it's just over 54%.
I think I'll have another.
I really do like this one.
Just one Arran I tried some time ago was quite dry and not overly pleasant, this is a good sherry finish dram.
A tad more PE 2nd Edition
Balvenie 15y Single Barrel, 1.89 - 4.05, Cask 820, 47.8%
Caol Ila, IB, 1998-2006, 8y, 59.4%
Connemara Single Cask
But after sampling that lovely Arran, I am looking for something more like the Aberlour A'Bunadh, batch 20 would be marvellous.
I meant to get the remaining PE 2nd, but poured the Balvenie.
Not a wise thing to do after such a strong whisky like the Arran, but never mind, it's done now and I'll have to drink it.
Balvenie 15y Single Barrel, 1.89-4.05
Nose: A wonderfully perfumed meadow of wild flowers with a hint of slightly minty fennel.
Palate: Not the best whisky to try after a strong sherry casked dram. It comes across as very light and very delicate. There are floral and slight perfume notes, but I suspect I am not detecting the wonderful flavours that I should be from this dram.
What a shame as I do generally like Balvenie, especially the SBs.
Oh well, I'll return to it at a later date.
Yes, I put two glorious Connemara bottlings into a head to head.
In one corner we have a quite rare Connemara Single Cask bottling, whilst in the other we have the powerful Cask Strength Connemara.
How will they do, which will conquer Malty's tastebuds, will power reign supreme over exclusivity?
All these and a few more questions will be answered right here, right now ...........
Nose: Gentle peat, true Irish smoothness, summer berries, a tiny hint of almond and some malt.
I expected more peat in the nose, but this is much more sweet, fruity and complex than I imagined possible from a Connemara. But the smoothness of the nose still gives away its true origins.
Palate: Rich, smooth and really quite surprising. The peat is there, but so is that hard to define fruit. This one grows in stature over the first 35 seconds on the palate, then fades gradually with a lovely long finish of gentle peat and that fruit again.
A second sip produces the same wonderful result with the finish appearing even longer.
With 4 drops of water in about 1cl: The nose is less sweet and a little more sharp.
The taste is less intense, perhaps 2 drops would have sufficed here, but the finish is still long and not too much is lost.
Overall Impression: This is much more than I expected. More complex, more flavours, smoother and extremely round.
This is most definitely Irish peated whisky at its very best.
I really do like this dram.
That finish is gloriously complex and long, even repeating again and again.
Colour: This one is extremely pale with hardly any colour, whereas the SC was a lovely pale gold.
Nose: Some peat and quite an acidic freshness. This really grabs the inside of the nose and lets it know there is some alcohol in the glass. But it isn't unpleasant, just really quite fresh.
Palate: Also quite sweet, but not quite so rich, although it is also very smooth. This one doesn't have the depth of flavours or complexity of the SC, but it is far from being one-dimensional.
The first sensation on the tongue is a hint of peat, but this soon expands to include a fresh, almost citrus experience which soon fades into a more floral one.
The finish is also quite long, but not as rich or complex as the SC.
With just a drop of water the citrus element disappears, leaving a very pleasant, but quite unidentifiable flavour which is still very pleasantly long.
Both whiskeys are good, in fact very good. If I had only tried the Cask Strength I would probably have enthused poetically over the unexpected lightness of flavour and long finish. But there is no holding back of a great whiskey. The Single Cask is truly magnificent. Much richer and more complex than I thought possible from an Irish peated whiskey. It grows on the palate into a great and complex explosion of flavours and then sticks around for much longer than you would dare to hope for.
I really like both drams, but I adore the SC.
They were both so good, I want some more.
This time I immediately added 6 drops of water to 2cl of the CS. It is a little more spicy than before, but otherwise nothing changed in the flavours or finish.
I am now going to savour this one before I move back to the SC.
(I know I will).
Ledaig, (OB) 10y, 43%
Nose: I so much want to be really unkind here and say something like a cross between ***k* *o*** and **i** ***i**e*, but I won't and I doubt whether anyone would ever guess what the asterisks mean. So, I will be kind and say the nose is very pungent with some slight burn. Is there some mint in there? Maybe a little. There's definitely some sea air to be found and maybe even a little touch of bilge pump in the bottom of a trawler.
Palate: The taste is much gentler than the nose suggested. Maybe this is a result of using my super Adelphi glass which gives power to the aromas when other glasses just allow them to fade away in comparison.
I would describe this as a maritime as opposed to peaty whisky. It has that touch of sea air, a little salt and it retains a light freshness which is not unpleasant.
Overall impression: A fresh, maritime, smooth whisky which is much better on the palate than the nose. In fact, if you can drink it without inhaling, you will be much better off.
Having said this, it isn't a whisky I shall rush to come back to.
I do recall trying a Ledaig in the past and I remember it being considerably better than this one.
Recently, one of my regulars in the pub was extolling the virtues of a Cadenhead Ledaig which he sampled at Christmas back in England.
Ganga, I have experienced a couple of whiskies where the nose and palate were slightly different, but this is the first where one was almost unbearable and the other acceptable.
Glen Garioch, 10y, OB, 40%
I do like all of my GG experiences so far, therefore I am looking forward to this 10y.
Nose: Amazingly, the initial nosing produced a slightly burned toast effect, but after a few minutes in my super Adelphi glass this disappeared to leave a more 'normal' one of sultanas and raisins, a little fresh oak and maybe even a hint of faint raspberry.
Palate: Creamy smooth with a slightly dry aftertaste, or should this be after-sensation?
There are definitely some dark fruits in there, but also cream, toffee, perhaps a touch of banana and yes, something very faint in the background which could be weak raspberry.
Overall Impression: I do like the 8y and 15y GG and can never decide which one I prefer as it depends upon my mood and feeling at the time. This 10y now complicated things further as it is just as good, but slightly different to the other two.
This element of a hint of raspberry is quite new to me in a GG and I have to say, I like it!
I am also enjoying this so much that I won't be trying it with water today.
Nose: Gently aromatic with a very faint hint of citrus. The main aroma is not citrus, but one of light perfume containing an element which is almost marzipan-like in character.
Palate: Initially very smooth and creamy, targetting the front of the tongue with an assault of tingles. The perfume from the nose is also greatly in evidence, but this has now extended to include a selection of herbs and maybe even rose petal.
That initial creaminess prevails through the whole experience, but it does so in a kind of almost dry way. Don't get me wrong, this is far from unpleasant, in fact it is a lovely experience.
Finish: Long, very long.
With water: Three drops of water do almost nothing to change the nose, but the floral and perfume notes of the palate are definitely enhanced even more.
In fact, I now recognise the main floral note; Violet! Yes, those funny little hard violet sweets we ate as kids have just returned, in a glass of whisky!
The whisky is also a little more dry with the water!
Overall impression: This is quite a different whisky. Very floral and aromatic, but not in a Lowland kind of way. There again, it isn't a Lowland dram.
I like the creaminess and also the mixture of violet and herb flavours. I love the long finish, but I am not a big fan of the dryness.
Would I want to explore this whisky further?
Would I spend good money on this whisky?
Meanwhile, it is NOT a Knockando.
I have often been accused on WM Forum of being biased in favour of the traditional sherry cask Macallan and not giving the FO's a chance.
Well, let's see what I can do here.
Macallan Sherry cask, 12y, 40%
Colour: A nice rich amber.
Nose: Dark fruits, raisins, currants and some slight almond aroma
Palate: Smooth and creamy with an initial hit of marzipan and raisins. This tingles the front - middle of the tongue and although the finish is quite long and smooth, the tingle fades very quickly.
Overall impression: This really is a typically good sherried dram. Nothing like as powerful in flavour or strength as something like the A'Bunadh, but all those sherry elements are there in abundance.
Right, here we go .....
Macallan Fine Oak, 18y, 43%
Colour: Pale yellow, but not as pale as Dallas Dhu, Rosebank or some others.
Nose: Really quite pleasant there's definitely wood and some malt in there. Not a hint of sherry. After a while I am now getting a hint of dry leafiness too.
Palate: Smooth but not so creamy. An initial flurry of wood and something I can't quite identify, but it is something slightly floral or herb-based. This is also quite fresh. The finish on this one is longer than the 12y sherry, even the tingle tingles on a while.
Overall Impression: Not a bad dram, but far from a great. Let's say it's good, but not unforgettable.
I am still trying not to refer to body and sherry, but if someone gave me this blind and said it was an 18y, then I may be quite disappointed. Somehow, I expect a little more from an 18y 'premium' dram. Not sherry, but just ...... more.
In the way the Talisker 18y is far and away superior to the 10y. That same gulf is not apparent between the Mac 12 and 18.
The inevitable comparison: OK, so I held off as long as I could. These are two different whiskies and they always will be. Macallan has built a reputation based upon their first-fill sherry policy and that is what they are good at. This 18y is not a bad whisky, but if this had been their initial direction, I doubt they would have achieved the same success as they did with the traditional sherry bottlings. This would just have been another 'good' whisky, as are so many others .... Balvenie, Dalwhinnie, Glenmorangie ... but it wouldn't have stood head and shoulders above the rest.
Ben Nevis, 1999, 6y, 46%, Bourbon and Port Casks, Murray McDavid
Colour: Pale yellow and it even looks a little oily
Nose: Strange, slightly insipid. I said it looked slightly oily, the nose now has an oily wine-ness in the background.
Palate: Not oily, quite smooth with a weak fruity wine flavour which diminishes pretty quickly. The tingle stays far longer than the primary flavours.
Overall impression: For some unknown (to me) reason, I expected quite a lot from this whisky but I am initially quite disappointed. I expected more ....... oooomph. More flavour, perhaps along the lines of the old Bowmore Dawn & Dusk bottlings. But no, I get a weak wine flavour which rapidly runs away to hide, as if this is a rather shy dram, wanting to hide its true potential.
Strangely, after three or four tastes, the wine flavour is building a little on my palate, even becoming quite sweet. But this one you have to entice out. You have to persevere to get any of that hidden potential.
Is it worth that effort and time ...... only YOU can decide that when you try it.
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