Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Hazelburn 15 years old, Cognac Butt

End of 2018 release, a single cognac butt official release.  Darren had split a cage cognac HB he bought after Campbeltown festival 2017 (I think) which was legendary, so much so that I drank my share before I could write notes.   You sometimes do see cage previews of official releases as cage bottles at festival I think.

Anyway, this was only ever going to go one way.

Hazelburn 15 years old, Cognac Butt, official bottling, 53.9% A⊕

hazelburn-15-year-old-single-cask-whiskyNose - It has that super-ripe-almost-rotten-fruit vs burnt caramel thing first and foremost. An extremely enticing balance on that ethereal fruit and peat Hazelburn - bubble gum, burnt planks and silly putty. It's really fruity.

Body - Cigarette tobacco, strawberry Nesquik, black pepper and whistle pops. That black pepper and lowlander-Campbeltown-peat character work really well to balance out the weird fruit, and as a drink it is absolutely crushable.

Finish - Long and sweetshoppy, bourbon cask candy but there are the echoes of grape. Cigarette tobacco and smoke, duck pancakes and lolly sticks. Punches keep being pulled just before they overwhelm, and the result is very moreish.

I’m just in love with Hazelburn at the moment, I have an open bottle of the 10 year old on my shelf and I turn to it all the time.  This one doesn’t disappoint either.

Thursday, 10 January 2019

Chorlton Winter 2018 bottlings

I wrote these notes a little while ago but the end of the year was a bit hectic, so apologies.  The Nevis is still available though and the Coig thingy hasn’t even been released yet.  I would definitely recommend them both.

Thanks David for sorting me out with (some of) these samples, and thanks Ed for sharing the Nevis.

Ben Nevis 21 years old, 52.2% A⊕+

170 bottles

bennevis1Nose - Dark, almost rotten fruit with deodorant, cut, ripe mango, hairy peaches and Haribo. That's the kind of weirdness I love in Ben Nevis, and this is a wonderful one - ripe fruit and plenty of wax and structure.

Body - Tobacco, burnt caramel, sesame snaps and sangria. Lightly butyric.

Finish - Long and full of fruit - travel sweets and a little hubba bubba. Weird lowlandery peach at the end.

This is a real cracker. I love finding these.

Coig Deicheadan, Butt 17 years old, 45.6% A⊕

coigNose - Crushed granite, bright red apple, cherry lip salve and strawberry Nesquik. There's a nice little dirty note underneath that, leather and tarte tatin, dried fruit cake. Christmas cake.

Body - Quite gentle with felt and cardboard, orange segments and fruit toffee.

Finish - Something extremely Christmassy in here, I actually think it might be the smell when you cut wedges off the base of the new fir tree when you're trying to jam it into the base. It's literally that Christmassy. A long finish, with strident tannins and bracing wood against the fruit. Lots of citrus and orange peel at the end.

An extremely delicious blend of stuff that was supposed to be the Christmas bottling but didn't make it to being bottled in time. A great shame as it would have been perfect! I hope it will be out for Burns night.

Ardmore, Barrel, 9 years old, 60.1% A+

153 bottles

ardmore1Nose - Sweet and dusty wood, with burnt cereal, air freshener and cut privet hedge. Floral, stalky with bright burnt peat. Dustier with water, chalky, and a little metallic.

Body - Delicate, considered and delicious, exceeding expectations from the nose. Barley sugar and toffee apples. Much fruitier with water, more complete.

Finish - Long and deeply sweet, with soft brown sugar, malt extract and just a little popping candy.

This is another cracking young Ardmore. I tasted a 4 year old Ardmore in a Springbank dunnage warehouse a late last year and it was absolutely stunning, bought it immediately. This is similarly age-defyingly-good.

Orkney, hogshead, 9 years old, 63.1% B+

191 bottles

orkney1Nose - Crushed malted barley, hard and cold with old freezer ice and cut grass. Whistle pops. More musk, more fruit with water, but even more frost blown.

Body - Stern but sweet, with Marlboro lights, black pepper and crème brûlée. Fruitier with water, more tobacco.

Finish - Medium to short, warm white wine with an underlying fug of cream and sugar.

A hard, closed, slightly grumpy whisky. This grew on me but the Ardmore is a lot better.