Nose - Fresh, mineral, with a kind of foam sweet sugariness to it. Perhaps a little chalky. Men's shower gel and a freshly opened packet of crayons. Cleaner but fruitier with water, fresh but fridge cold raspberries.
Body - That mineral sweetness continues, very white and chalky with whistle pops and some white pepper. Oilier with water but a lot more ordinary.
Finish - Medium and very sweet, quite drying though and hot. Very hard wood at the end.
Clean, competent, some character but nothing to distract you from your drinking. The nose is very reassuring though.
Nose - Riper, more rotten than expected, with waxy old vanilla, sponge cake and warm buttercream. There's something in between fecundity, flower and wood here - strikes an interesting balance although I'm unconvinced I'd feel the same way after living with it for half a bottle.
Body - Even more “challenging but good”, this is hot like an ammonia heavy Roquefort might be, and as rich and compelling as that can be too. Oil, gunpowder, red fruit, quite rum like.
Finish - Long and richly spiced, almost meaty. Black peppercorns, more vanilla sponge and that fizzing blue cheese thing at the end.
Extremely tasty this one, if a little challenging- chaotic but balanced, it does work. It'd be a good "character" whisky in a small collection of open bottles but it might get passed over quite a lot if you've got a lot open.
222 bottles, rum cask since October 2014
Nose - Having just come from a rich, rum laden cask this is actually a lot more refined. Perfumed, with liquorice torpedoes, barley sugar, men's deodorant and hand soap. After sipping, the malt makes itself known over the rum in the nose. More soap and pepper with water.
Body - Clean, bright and green, it tastes decidedly rummy but with that bright, clean, boiled-sweet sweetness to it from the spirit. It is dangerously moreish too - the fire and sweetshop together. Less compelling with water.
Finish - Medium, leaning more heavily on the sweetshop and rum again, with lemon pith and cough candy at the end.
Weird and delicious in a different way to the Benrinnes, extremely drinkable (I could drink this all evening) but what a thing to do to an mature Longmorn! I would like another dram though please.
Nose - Candy cigarettes and candle wax, some kind of red berry (not a very sweet one), distant frying fish and more foam sweets - maybe those foam bananas (note they do not really taste or smell of banana). There's an old school feel to the nose here, but it is very, very faint, the cask was a very tired one.
Body - Ultra calm, almost not there - some Pritt Stick, some burnt toast, a café latte, good drying woods but it's a very faint whisky.
Finish - Short, a little crotchy. No.. that passes, it might have been the rums before. Perhaps, minty?
A very tired cask and low ABV, this drinks like a whisky that's had too much oxygen (although probably, prior to that was decent). Quite like the nose I suppose.
180 bottles, sherry hogshead since June 2015
Nose - Restrained but ripe, instant hot chocolate powder but with an underlying polished character and slightly tropical with varnished woods. This has the confidence of a young but official bottling (by which I suppose I mean it has the completeness and balance of a blend of casks). Even better with water, the fruit is fresher, the wood feels more important with a touch of cigar.
Body - Absolutely unexpected, this is unmistakably virgin oak, I feel like I'm back at SMWS! Hard, tannic, palate wreckingly dry with sawdust and misguided craft bourbon out of tiny barrels. Rescued slightly with water, it's just a bit more boring (which takes the edge off).
Finish - Long and awful.
I've never had such a big gap between nose and delivery before. I've no idea what casking this has been subject to before the sherry hogshead (or was that virgin oak and rinsed?), but it doesn't work.
Body – Deep and a little hot, with cigarette tobacco, hot radiator and dandelion stalks.
Finish - Green peppercorns and quite bitter, a little short. That hot pepperiness at the end, quite a lot of wood.
A beautiful old school nose and initial delivery that doesn't quite make it to the end. Delicious though.
Nose - Bright, slightly sourer but even more old school than the Strathisla. Cream with fresher fruit, cut plums - deeply but classily sweet balanced against a cold, white waxiness (it's almost laundry powder) - extremely compelling.
Body - Soft and creamy with a fizzing pepperiness. Some plywood. Toasted sesame seeds.
Finish - Long with black pepper and a touch of popping candy. Some more plywood.
A gentle yet rich whisky, with overtones of wine cask and hidden structure. Moreish if a little harsh at the end.
Nose - Medium dry with leather jacket and men's perfume. Light grain tones with cut celery and cold cut peach. Fresh and appley - more laundry powder, maybe it's just his deodorant. Even more masculine with water, some gun oil.
Body - Extremely and obviously delicious, apples burst out in the initial delivery, lots of grain but oddly some rum too. Vanilla cream late in the delivery, lots of oils.
Finish - Very long and cleanly fruited, appletize at the end. A little tobacco with water.
This is one of those grains that sneaks up on you - a fantastic whisky that you'd enjoy over the whole bottle. Recommended.
Nose - Vanilla cream, maybe nougat with white acrylic paint and Italian meringue. Very gentle, but there's a really buttery, almost butterscotchy note underneath that's very classy against the pure white. Even better with water.
Body - Utterly clean, too clean, bordering on a white rum. That butteriness is there, but the meringue is almost minty, and there's some sponge cake.
Finish - Very long and extremely drying, not tannins though. Some apple sweets, salty at the end.
What a difference a cask makes. This is a non-event, the Cameronbridge is leagues ahead.
Nose - Super musky. Rich vanilla, buttercream (maybe carrot cake), Pritt Stick and a slightly sour but mineral feel. Water brings more of a wood glue but there's orchard fruit in with the buttercream and a little lemon juice.
Body - Light but citric and biting (a welcome relief from the white grain), extremely drying even in the late delivery, but really mouthfilling and wholesome at the same time. Water makes it gentler, with cloudy lemonade and wet wood.
Finish - Medium to long, coffee and cream. Lip smacking stuff.
A ripe, complex drinking whisky. Perhaps on the clumsy side but I could settle into a bottle of it for an evening.
Nose - Wet glass, petrichor, orange pith and more bloody buttercream. There's an element of the highly laundered here too, perhaps fabreeze - an old lady's living room. I prefer the other side of it; sitting by an open window, early evening, heavy Summer rain.
Body - Just perfectly graduated, balanced. Malt sweetness, liquorice imps, burnt toffee, instant coffee. The peat is more obvious with water.
Finish - Long, coastal, ending with chilled chardonnay and liquorice root. Very compelling.
Highland Park 1989, 28 years old, 48.8% A⊕'
Nose - Sweet and minty, but also jaffa cakes with old acrylic paint and that beautiful old dustiness you get from three decades of mellowing peat. Fresh, cold Summer soil, cheap chocolate and pacers. Very special.
Body - Perfect. The dusty peat is perfect. White and waxed, extremely oily with sun baked clay and chapulinas.
Finish - Extremely long, elegantly fizzing and ghostly, but balanced right to the end with spearmint and stir fried, dried tangerine peel (we used to dry the peel on the radiator and use it with Sichuan peppercorns and beef).
Fascinating and compelling, this is an important whisky and shows why 99% of the bottles I've bought are indies.