Thursday, 27 September 2018

Daftmill’s first two


Daftmill Summer Release A⊕+

daftmill-2006-summer-batch-release-whiskyNose - Light, citrus, wax, insistently creamy. Then there's a much dirtier depth to it, a lowlandery fecundity which has rosemary and roasted pork fat, cut flower stalks and peach.

Body - Extremely fruity if understated, it has that '76 Tomatin funky tropicality to it, perhaps a little Irish too. Some petrol/plastic book covering.

Finish - Long and ripe, really quite sweet and full of apple and ripe nectarines, orange jelly sweets and cut oak. It seems to get fruitier as it fades.

If the excitement dies down a little I'm looking forward to drinking bottles of this.  Such deep fruit and sugars, but balanced by weird, slightly alien funk.

Daftmill Inaugural Release A+

daftmill-2005-inaugural-release-whiskyNose - Noticeably rawer and more angular than the summer release, with acrylic paint, fresh planed oak and liquorice rizlas. It feels like there's some virgin oak in the mix here. That character from the Summer release is here too though; waxy, fruity, a bit weird, herbal and winey. It feels a bit more "single cask".

Body - Fresh, then sugar sweet, then sort of meaty (slow cooked pork belly and soy) with sugar coated fennel seeds.

Finish - Long with the same astringent sweetness from the initial delivery. Spicier, hotter than the summer, but robustly fruity with a big bourbon cask woodsy pepper. Feels like something you'd have at the bar in SMWS.

Another delicious whisky, nowhere near as luxurious as the Summer though.

Thanks a million EdC for sorting out these!

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

SMWS 35th Anniversary Tasting Pack

This was a tasting hosted by John virtually and in person from Leith!  I couldn’t attend at the time but have been allowed to taste them.

It’s been nearly a year since I stopped tasting the outturn every month but the relatively small number of casks I’ve tried in that time have been really good on the whole.  And honestly it is quite nice to not be quite so obsessive about it.

SMWS 135.6, Inchmoan, Cones versus crones, 10 years old, 57.1% A⊕

13th September 2007, 2nd fill bourbon, 297 bottles. I had a couple of 135s in the London bar the other night with Mr. Storry and they were both great.

135.6Nose - An immediately arresting nose, very confident. Waxy is the main thing - rich, plasticky wood with vanilla sponge, raspberry jam and party balloons. It must be the weird stills that makes this unmistakable and very drinkable character. Underneath the wood glue thing there's warm, cut peach and apricot sweets. More citrussy with water, and a little more anty.

Body - Sweet but balanced, Fizzers and a coke float. A sherbet dib-dab dibber. A little more herbal with water, rosemary and poached pear.

Finish - Turns into Refreshers (they are different from Fizzers, but subtly so) and buzzes round the lips and tongue with twisted orange peel, grapefruit peel and sherbet.

What a cracking whisky; confident, interesting, well balanced and a real pleasure to drink.


SMWS 35.214, Glen Moray, Without pretence, 22 years old, 55.7% C+

27th October 1995, 1st fill bourbon, 221 Bottles

35.214Nose - Waxy but much more cautious than the 135, with boiled sweets, linseed oil, blue-ball-liquorice-allsorts and custard creams. I'm still getting those Fizzers on exhale but I think they're a remnant from the previous. Deeper and better with water, with candied orange peel and beedis.

Body - Strange… some of it's young, some of it's bitter and some of it's virgin oaky. It's a bruising delivery, palate stripping. Orange oils at first, then this oaky, liquorice fire comes down on you…

Finish - Long and bitter with burnt orange, rolling tobacco and chewed liquorice root. There's a deep sweetness underneath but it's crushed by this bitter wood oil, like a young, black, cask strength bourbon.

An interesting nose, but an extremely clumsy delivery full of chilli, bitter oak and numbing oils. I suspect this has been finished in something extremely active, and it hasn't worked. A shame because the nose is great.

SMWS 63.49, Glentauchers, In the dark of the abyss, 11 years old, 60.6% B+

29th June 2006, refill oloroso butt, 549 bottles

63.49Nose - Just ever so gently dirty, a charred, nutty (waxy) but imprecise sherry nose. Hazelnuts, filter coffee and posh dark chocolate, and a very dark sweetness - prunes, fig rolls, treacle pudding. It really is a very compelling, exciting nose.

Body - Flaking, dark varnish, then chewy toffees, Christmas cake icing, burnt orange and acrylic paint. Brighter orange with water, cake with an apricot jam filling.

Finish - Medicinal, dirty again - bandages, hoisin sauce and Durian. Very long with more prunes (the packet has been open a while and they're drier) and sweet, cumin-y mukhwas.

This is all over the place, but fascinating for it. This is another palate crusher and would make a good end of evening dram at the bar, or as a bottle - something out of the ordinary if you are starting to build up a collection of so far "safe" society bottles.

SMWS 93.94, Glen Scotia, The final trawl, 15 years old, 56.8% A+

6th May 2002, refill bourbon, 226 bottles

93.94Nose - Blessed Campbeltown! Dry and dusty, yet intensely sweet with dusty Kipling slices and jelly lemon sweet slices. This is so ripe, balanced and well composed compared to the last two, it's night and day. Waxy, sweetshop, weird Campbeltown heaven.

Body - The same - dry and sweet, waxy and weird, dirty and fun - coffee chocolates and leatherette.

Finish - Long and very sweet, with milk chocolate icing, warm double cream and a little stilton at the end. Deep wood varnish with time though, it builds and builds.

Citrus, farmyard and a lingering sensation of blue cheese. Glen Scotia plays a dangerous game with its Campbeltown cards and sometimes wins - this is one of the winners.  Yum.


SMWS 29.249, Laphroaig, Sweet black tea in the surgery, 21 years old, 48.6% A⊕+

26th November 1996, 2nd fill PX hogshead, 230 bottles. 19 years in refill bourbon before.

29.249Nose - Felt lined box, old varnished wood, Refreshers again (old Islay being where I'd expect them) and royal icing. One of those posh nylon-looking tea bags ([googles] tea pigs apparently, and it's made out of biodegradable corn starch) and that wonderful smell of Summer-into-Autumn evening air. Pellet smokers, cut orange, carpet tiles.

Body - Sweet and medicinal, with star anise, soy sauce and new magazine.

Finish - Medium-long with dirty, medicinal peat. A longed-for cigarette on a cold, windy day. It's not quite TCP though, those days, apparently, are gone.

The nose is extremely special on this, the delivery is a little more tricky in terms of the prestige this whisky should have, however I'm more excited by this than the others.

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Compass Box The Story of the Spaniard

A new addition to the core range for Compass Box and a lovely drammer.

Compass Box The Spaniard, 43% A+

Compass-Box-The-SpaniardNose - Rich and sweet at first, then lots of wine - sweet and sour - some pineapple. Musky and soft toffee underneath that, and a candy necklace. As always, a beautiful nose from CB.

Body - Slightly gunpowdery, licks of a red wine cask - nutty but no sulphur. Reminds me in some ways of the Macallan 12 sherry oak, which I tasted at the start of this session (but not this post). Lots of depth to this, but also quite waxy, quite painty, quite burnt.

Finish - Medium but highly tannic, burnt toast with fizzers and a little bit of cigarette smoke. Black pepper and red wine at the end.

Compass Box blended malts are a great opposite to single cask/cask strength and this is a proper drinker. I wouldn't have too many problems seeing one of these bottles off in half a year or so (that's good going) although it could do with 3% more ABV.

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Compass Box Flaming Heart 2018 edition

The 2016 version of this was just brilliant, I have squirrelled away a few bottles for the whiskypocalypse, so I have eagerly cracked a bottle of the 2018 version. 

Compass Box Flaming Heart 2018 edition, 48.9% A⊕+

compass-box-flaming-heart-2018-edition-whiskyNose - Ripe, fruity, waxy, grown up - spent gunpowder peat, caught caramel, a little blown electrical components, some furniture polish and chocolate mousse. Baked fruits, boiled sweets and apple pie. All of that beautifully balanced, it's brilliant.

Body - Earthy and spicy from the designer woods, rich and waxy with plum crumble (a little caught), some sweet and sour peat at the end of the arrival - like the nose, the delivery is a journey.

Finish - Sweet and fruity, then into perfumed, waxy peat. Medium length and very graceful at the end.

A superb drinking whisky, perfectly balanced and extremely moreish. Rich, waxy and fruity with quite robust peat, the lick of sherry cask is very welcome. Another success.

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Aldi Irish 26 years old

Read all about it here, this was sold at some ludicrous price like £40, then actually discounted later on. Thanks so much to the ever awesome Jon for sending me a dram of this.

Aldi, Irish 26 years old A⊕

Nose - Dark fruit and fizzy sweets; a little bit of musk at first then a surprisingly nice complexity - cask and Refreshers. The fruit is sort of blackcurrant travel sweets, icing sugar and that almost petrol structure. Very promising.

Body - Orange chews and blackcurrant jam under buttercream icing. A luxurious, fruity arrival.

Finish - Quite long with the cream and fruit well balanced.

To be this well balanced and structured despite the fruit, sugar and age is quite a feat. Very impressed. They should have given this to the whisky agency to bottle for £260 a bottle.