Wednesday, 28 May 2014

New Single Malts of Scotland and Elements of Islay

Last night I attended the whisky exchange’s launch of 15 new whiskies as part of their Single Malts of Scotland (SMOS) and Elements of Islay ranges.  Apparently TWE used to release to SMOS once a year, in December, and have a single, large tasting then, but this has recently been taken over by masterclasses and verticals.  Last night was a festival style tasting, with eight tokens to redeem and some heavy hands with the portion control.  As usual the peated whiskies suffer from being last.  I’ve been having peated whiskies first at home recently to give them their due!  

Anyway, here’s the new range:

Range Distillery Age ABV Price
SMOS Clynelish 18 57.5% £74.95
  Glen Grant 22 57.8% £74.95
  Glenrothes 23 49.4% £89.95
  Longmorn 21 49.7% £79.95
  Tobermory 19 55.8% £69.95
  Aultmore 15 51.3% £55.95
  Aberlour 22 54.1% £86.95
  Speyside 18 52.3% £64.95
  Tamnavulin 21 48.2% £72.95
Elements Ar4   58.1% £89.95
  Bn6   49.95% £49.95
  Cl6   61.2% £59.95
  Lp5   52.4% £69.96
  Bw3   51.6% £59.95
  Br5   53.8% £55.95


Single Malts of Scotland, Clynelish 1995, 18 years old, 57.5% A+

Hogshead #10193

Nose – “Smells like an Asian massage parlour”.  Boiled sweets, perfume, a little musk, fresh tree blossom, crushed malt.  A light wax, lacquered bookcase.

Body – Ripe, fizzing, travel sweets, incredibly sweet in fact.

Finish – Long, balanced, some good wood.  Lacks complexity and extremely sweet but has a balanced, fabulous nose – tropical and sexy. 

With water it’s smoother on the nose, more pineapple and banana, and a little more complexity but the finish lets it down with bitterness dominating.

Single Malts of Scotland, Longmorn 1992, 21 years old, 49.7% A-

Hogshead #110979

Nose – Great, balanced sweetness, restrained but with intensity and balanced maturity and wood influence.  Sunblush raisin, brown sugar, surfboard wax and a winey note.  Absolutely lovely on the nose.

Body – Sweet, a little fire, rich and creamy with boiled sweets.

Finish – Seemingly an edge of peat or sulphur, and again let down by an off kilter bitterness at the end.  This is made worse with the addition of water.

Single Malts of Scotland, Speyside 1995, 18 years old, 52.3% A+

Sherry Butt #18

Nose – More clear, fruited, balanced wax.  Floral, pears, blossom, matured hot wood in summer – just a wonderful nose. 

Body – Sweet, spicy, toffee and boiled sweets, touch of sulphur, very balanced.

Finish – Medium, very good at first but bitterness yet again.  Otherwise wonderful.  Yes I checked my palate against other tasters at this point.  Water reduces the bitterness a little in this case.

Single Malts of Scotland, Glenrothes 1990, 23 years old, 49.4% A+

Bourbon barrel #35484.  Lovely drinking, balanced, clear and clean.

Single Malts of Scotland, Tamnavulin 1991, 21 years old, 48.2% A-

Hogshead #5849.

Nose – Light, cereal, washing up liquid – must be a 3rd fill hogshead, although nicely presented.

Body – Rich, smooth, lots more sweetness and balance.

Finish – Medium, structured, very fine.  However, this tastes like a well presented 10 year old.

Single Malts of Scotland, Tobermory 1994, 19 years old, 55.8% A⊕

Hogshead #5174.  Amazing nose – rich, beautiful, dark and vinegar sour.  Lots of balancing drying peat, very good indeed.

Single Malts of Scotland, Aberlour 1990, 22 years old, 54.1% A

Hogshead #131571.  Lovely nose, clear and dark, numbing peat, massive sweet toffee, cloying at the end.

Elements of Islay, Bn6, 56.9% A⊕

Nose – Lots of lovely sherried mid-range, honey, wax, engine oil, crayon, a light peat edge and banana.  Just wonderful.  The tropical wax works beautifully.

Body – Toffee, light peat, apples, sherry.

Finish – Long, balanced, great numbing peat, lasting toffee and a refreshers finale.  Bought a bottle.

Elements of Islay, Bw3, 51.6% A

Nose – Sweet, light, reasonably uneventful, a little one dimensional. 

Body – Lovely, sweet toffee and ashen edges.  Some sulphur.  Extremely smooth and delicious.

Finish – Quite long, lovely balance and richness.  A good easy going, great drinking dram.  Not a huge amount to write home about though.

With water, the nose improves with some wax coming in and sulphur increases.  But the body is weaker, more sulphur, less richness.

Elements of Islay, Cl6, 61.2% A

Nose – Light, orchard fruit, clean peat, some grapefruit.  Lovely but too light.

Body – Bright, professional arrival.  Does the clear, clean, peat and pear thing nicely.

Finish – Medium, clear, fault free, lacks complexity.

Elements of Islay, Lp5, 52.4% A-

Nose – Sweet peat and cereal – almost too poised?  Great balance but still bold.

Body – Great peat but feels watered and a little one dimensional.

Finish – Spicy, numbing, rich and cereal.  OK.

Elements of Islay, Ar4, 58.1% A+

Nose – Sweet and long, sherry and sugar, peat and engine oil, banana foam sweets and toffee.  Lots of orchard.

Body – Dark, not sherried now, deep peat and liquorice. 

Finish – Medium.  Balanced bitterness.  Allsorts.


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