Small Batch 23
Ex-bourbon hogsheads, 330 bottles
Nose - Orange citrus, sawdust and bright, rich musk. Soft, grainy (texture-wise) toffee with milk chocolate and a little black cherry jam. Men's perfume - leather but slightly floral. More sawdust and musk with water.
Body - Deeply sweet, like toffee plus strawberry sauce on an ice cream cone. Some dusty fence behind that, a little new leatherette and a light punch in the nose. More obviously grain-y (whisky-wise) with water.
Finish - Medium and intensely sweet, but not quite cloying. Strawberry tart (French cooked pastry).
A really beautifully sweet, fruity nose, but a bit clumsy and full on in the delivery.
2 sherry hogsheads, 582 bottles
Nose - A deep one on the nose, almost a little crotchy. But really rich - catching pastry, fruit and nut bars, lots of fat candle wax and some blackcurrant jam (maybe neat Ribena). This doesn't feel overdone, oversherried, or undermatured at all (on the nose at least). With time, crushed blackberries, cut plum and the contents of a tea bag (yes, tea - but dry and small cut).
Body - Very hard and very wooded in the delivery, black pepper and palate biting acidity. Intensely sweet behind it, touching on menthol and lemon. Just pulls that punch near the end of the delivery. Less biting with water, but the reduction in sweetness leaves a hole and makes it more flawed.
Finish - Very long with harsh, bitter and charred woods next to a burning sweetness. You're left with sugar and Ribena at the very end.
Promising nose but clumsy delivery lets it down, reminds me of the virgin oak failures at SMWS. Too much wood, too young.
Campbeltown mix - Longrow, Kilkerran and Invergordon. Approximately 50% malt to grain.
Body - Warm, rich, bold but balanced. Loads of depth, loads of character, this reminds me a lot of the Compass Box flaming heart, with a Springbank note. The grain is really rounding it out but it's somehow punchier than flaming heart.
Finish - Very long with clove, blackberries and cut oak. Lemon sorbet and vanilla buttercream at the end. Very hot black pepper at the end.
This is a huge success, like an old school Ardbeg sandwiching a flaming heart. Extremely drinkable, I didn't get to add water.
Nose - Young and waxy, with hot raspberry compote, flaked almonds and crème patissiere. Rich, grainy and a little clarty, but also confident, satisfying and rich. There's a sort of medical cream in here which is very comforting, perhaps Sudocrem. Better with water, the fruit and wood come together better with the young spirit.
Body - The same sort of thing; this is the kind of confident, young, satisfying whisky that makes you really pucker up in a whisky bar. Lemon pith, hot balsa wood, mulled cider, apple peel - extremely tasty. More pastry with water.
Finish - Long with icing sugar, crisp green apple and cookie dough. A little sherbet lemon with water.
A delicious young drammer, good fruit and structure and wears its spirit well. Recommended.
1 hogshead, 1 butt, 954 bottles
Body - Oranges, beautiful soft, musky fruit and buttercream icing. Strawberry jam, mango smoothie.
Finish - Short and tasty, a creamy and HQ cask. Echoes of raspberry jam at the end.
A warm, reassuring, soft and deeply fruited whisky, yet not without structure and interest. Lovely.
Nose - Bright but clarty cereal, quite new-makey compared to the Ord. But there are depths behind that - behind royal icing and buttercream - a light sourness, some chewy meringue, some candied peel, soft toffee, some handsoap.
Body - Toasty, unexpectedly dark and fruity, with a lightly dirty note to it - again, it's sort of new-makey (that dirty edge is from the spirit) but had the corners rounded. These must have been very inactive casks? Maybe then finished in first fill…
Finish - A café latte and some iron filings.
It doesn't look good on paper but I actually really enjoyed drinking this - a spirit led whisky rather than a cask led whisky, and that's not a bad thing.
Nose - Balance and intrigue. Fresh fruit - green apple peel, lime and half-time oranges. Dusty but wet, cold, hard bourbon cask. A fresh and complete dram in a dunnage warehouse. Cut grass with water.
Body - Very sweet and almost liquorice. Icing sugar and coffee, cold eclairs. Chocolatier with water.
Finish - Long and intensely sweet, a little tobacco and chalky bonbons.
This promises a lot on the nose but the delivery is too overtly sweet and doesn't have that complex, grown up fruit I'm after.
Single cask, 240 bottles
Nose - Immediately this is obviously old and dry - and tropical. Fresh mango and dried orange slices, with cognac-like dry fruit. It's leathery, but with this creamy, plasticky, felted fruit to it. Dreamy.
Body - Ripe, creamy and intense, with more mango, extra-thick double cream and plastic book covering.
Finish - Very long and rich, and like biting into a cream filled canoli. A biscuity end, finishing like one of those peanut-butter-imperial-stouts. Just have another smell of the empty glass…. Wow.
A beautiful, important whisky and sort flawless. Effortless, at the very least.
1 barrel, 1 hogshead, 564 bottles. Matured 6 years in Goa. High expectations.
Nose - Ripe, dark and sour fruit, like a Victoria plum. A gentle peat behind this, and almost sherried, with yoghurt covered raisins and smouldering hard oak. These Goa matured whiskies have this note like really, really old whisky in them which comes out with time, and is really compelling.
Body - A beautiful combination of melon, fireworks, cloves and charred wood.
Finish - Long and incense-y, dusty fruits and candy cigarettes.
Paul John's whisky often reminds me of ancient Scotch mixed with really young, vibrant sweet whisky.
Single cask, 198 bottles
Nose - Soft, creamy, almost English-hoppy. Refreshers, lemon sorbet, baked apples and Neapolitan ice cream. Lightly waxed, cut floor boards, bright but mellow (baked) citrus. Very delicate, but then it is at a painfully low ABV.
Body - Milky, ancient and delicious. Wet pastry and a fresh pack of Marlboro lights. Rhubarb fool, lemon posset.
Finish - Short and sweet. Ghostly peat at the end.
Crushable, light but luxurious. A bottle of this wouldn't last long (and wouldn't survive long due to the low ABV). Really tasty though, more please.
Body - Sharp and acidic, a little butyric, with lemon tart and caramel. A good balance of sweet, fruit and acid, but a little ordinary I suppose.
Finish - Quite long, more citrus, good tannins.
An decent whisky but nothing much to write home about.
Body - Fresh and zesty but still with the brown butter, plus chocolate eclairs (the sweets), black cherry jam, burnt pastry and a little black pepper. A really rich, rolling, fruity delivery.
Finish - Short but pleasantly burnt.
I really like this meaty, buttery whisky - I'm so pleased that it lived up to the colour without being forced (like the Inchgower).
Single cask 144 bottles
Body - Great depth of toffee and fruit, baked plums and a fizzing gunpowder later on. Some sawdust. It's even riper on the delivery than the nose.
Finish - Short but flashes of citrus sour and tannins punctuate the rich toffee fruit.
Very good... but a bit by the numbers.
Body - Soft, glacé cherry and raspberry tea. Brightly wooded and tannic with TCP on the fingers while eating black pepper crisps. Very old school although I would have thought it an old Ardbeg than a Laph...
Finish - Medium, with green apple and Sudocrem.
A stately Islay, beautiful of course.