New Whiskies

Batch 55

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Batch 55 New Whisky Tasting Notes

An assortment of single grains and single malts comprise this week’s selection of new whiskies. Dave Broom kickstarts the tasting with a delightfully fruity Caledonian, followed by an aperitif dram from Glen Spey and a 2000 vintage Jura. The latter half features a fruity Imperial, a Sherried single grain from Invergordon and a floral North British. 

Scoring Explained

Overview

  • Caledonian 28 Years Old (Cadenhead)

    Score 8/10
    Scoring explained >
    Caledonian 28 Years Old (Cadenhead)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    52.3%
    Production type
    Single grain whisky
    Region
    Lowland
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose

    A sultry and sound kind of grain with an aroma reminiscent of tinned fruit salad. It then opens rather beautifully into cream with lime jelly and/or Sugar Puffs with milk. Water shifts things towards Canada. All very soft and gentle.

    Palate

    A very sweet and rounded palate; thick and quite chewy, and rounded with some butterscotch to help things along. The alcohol provides a certain frisson before spicy oak kicks in. Water allows the flavours to be more extended and spiced. 

    Finish

    Slightly peppery with powdered bay leaf.

    Conclusion

    All in all, rather delightful.

    Right place, right time

    Eating fruit salad for breakfast in a Scottish B&B. 

    Glen Spey 14 Years Old (Cadenhead)

    Score 7.1/10
    Scoring explained >
    Glen Spey 14 Years Old (Cadenhead)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    46%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Malty & Dry
    Nose

    Weetabix doused in warm oat milk and then fresh Amalfi lemon, before a herbal (thyme-like) back note comes through. It continues to shift between the malty and the citric/herbal aromas as it develops. Water brings out proving dough and dries slightly.

    Palate

    Clean, nutty and a little short. Quite intense acidity with a return of the lemon zest. With water you get greengage jam and it dries and becomes slightly brittle. I’d keep it neat.

    Finish

    Fresh and sharp. 

    Conclusion

    An aperitif dram that behaves like a Scotch Martini, in fact, which is appropriate enough for a former Gilbey’s distillery.

    Right place, right time

    Shaken, but not stirred, in Rothes. 

    Imperial 20 Years Old (Signatory for The Whisky Exchange)

    Score 7.2/10
    Scoring explained >
    Imperial 20 Years Old (Signatory for The Whisky Exchange)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    50.8%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Fragrant & Floral
    Nose

    Slightly aloof on initial nosing and remains closed. I kept adding water and finally pulled out some fragile fruits.

    Palate

    Very fine-boned and, thankfully, more expressive than the nose. Shows pretty classic Imperial qualities of gentle and subtle fruits, overripe pear, quince tart, strawberry and yellow cherry tomato. Opens a little more with water showing some soft texture, but it is tentative in the extreme.

    Finish

    Lightly zesty with some tangerine.

    Conclusion

    Everything very restrained and slightly ethereal.

    Right place, right time

    As delicate as a song by Tara Jane O’Neil.

    Invergordon 1988 Mocha Moment (Wemyss Malts)

    Score 8.7/10
    Scoring explained >
    Invergordon 1988 Mocha Moment (Wemyss Malts)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    46%
    Production type
    Single grain whisky
    Region
    Highland
    Flavour camp
    Rich & Round
    Nose

    A mix of sultana, nougat, Milky Way, then some more ferocious chocolate notes, before a rustle of autumn leaves and dry amontillado Sherry. Big in nature and very different to your standard grain. More like builder’s tea when neat, but coffee comes through when it is diluted. 

    Palate

    Very soft and no real tannins, as if the cask has given liquid, rather than structure. Water does lengthen things and brings out walnut, a touch of clove in the background, and a flavour similar to Madrono liqueur. 

    Finish

    Soft, with some sweet dried fruits.

    Conclusion

    A grain from a Sherry butt, which is fairly unusual. I’d keep this neat in order to retain the impact, but there’s balance, and indeed complexity, whatever way you go. Highly recommended.

    Right place, right time

    Hansel and Gretel get stuck into the witch’s house. 

    Isle of Jura 2000 (Morrison & MacKay, Càrn Mòr)

    Score 7.6/10
    Scoring explained >
    Isle of Jura 2000 (Morrison & MacKay, Càrn Mòr)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    55.3%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Islands
    Flavour camp
    Malty & Dry
    Nose

    Another that sits in the malty camp. This time it’s Horlicks and powdered hot chocolate, with a creamy edge that drifts towards the slightly sour lactic element which you can get with Jura. As it develops, more wholemeal aromas come through, while water triggers a tussle between the malty/nutty side of things and pine wood. 

    Palate

    Dry deer grass element, with a tingle of acidity and dried orange peel. Slightly chewy, with good richness from the cask, which balances Jura’s hard core.

    Finish

    Clean and long. 

    Conclusion

    A decent Jura with some complexity. 

    Right place, right time

    Hotel room. Pyjamas on. Time for a bedtime drink.

    North British 31 Years Old (Cadenhead)

    Score 6.7/10
    Scoring explained >
    North British 31 Years Old (Cadenhead)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    54.3%
    Production type
    Single grain whisky
    Region
    Lowland
    Flavour camp
    Fragrant & Floral
    Nose

    Fairly pale in colour with a Juicy Fruit aroma, backed with some blackcurrant leaf and unripe yellow fruit. It’s North British in a slightly leaner – and indeed greener – style than usual.

    Palate

    The palate goes slightly soapy, before oils more typical of the distillery begin to coat the tongue. The spirit is rich with some violet chocolate, some mint. Even with water there’s some palate burn. 

    Finish

    Light and crisp.

    Conclusion

    A bit messy, to be honest.

    Right place, right time

    Loitering on a street corner trying to look tough. Your mum shouts that it’s time for your tea.

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