New Whiskies

Batch 60

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Batch 60 new whisky tasting notes

Take a virtual reality tasting tour around the Highlands with the latest new whisky tasting notes from Dave Broom. This week’s journey starts with a 16-year-old, ‘very sound’ Ardmore, and is followed by ‘old-school’ 26-year-old Glen Garioch. Next up is a younger Glen Ord bottling from Douglas Laing, which is perfect as an early-morning dram (how early is too early, you ask? That’s your call...) Rounding things off is a limited edition trinity of Tomatins: one finished in a Caribbean rum cask, another in a Cabernet Sauvignon cask and ending with an oloroso Sherry cask finish delight.

Scoring Explained

Overview

  • Ardmore 16 Years Old (Douglas Laing)

    Score 7.9/10
    Scoring explained >
    Ardmore 16 Years Old (Douglas Laing)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    44.5%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Highland
    Flavour camp
    Smoky & Peaty
    Nose

    Lightly smoky: apple wood smoke and ash, then some birch sap and white fruit. It becomes slightly weightier as you allow it to breathe, with the smoke somehow softening things rather than drying them. Good.

    Palate

    Lightly oily in texture, with those white fruits now taking front stage along with a hint of cream and then the smoke, which is subtle and peppery. There’s some complexity, a chewy element and good balance. While it might lack a little length, the balance struck between delicacy and smoke makes it a classy aperitif.

    Finish

    Lightly smoky. 

    Conclusion

    A very sound Ardmore that’s all about the distillery rather than cask (or caramel). 

    Right place, right time

    Standing next to the first bonfire of spring.

    Glen Garioch 26 Years Old (Cadenhead)

    Score 9/10
    Scoring explained >
    Glen Garioch 26 Years Old (Cadenhead)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    44.4%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Highland
    Flavour camp
    Rich & Round
    Nose

    A very soft and sound Glen Garioch, with all that fat, beef dripping aroma which you either love or… well, don’t. Put it this way, this is probably not a whisky for vegans. Behind, there are some pecan nuts, new leather/Moroccan market and a touch of malt. In time there’s some cider vinegar, apple skin and, with water, quince. Complex, in other words.

    Palate

    Soft, chewy and palate-coating with surprising touches of heat (this is far from strong). Less fat than on the nose with more mealy elements; then raspberry leaf and, on the end, pepperiness. Much sweeter with water and what you lose in texture, you gain in lemon myrtle and eucalyptus.

    Finish

    Apple skins again and peppery. 

    Conclusion

    Highly individual, old-school whisky – and all the better for it. Highly recommended.

    Right place, right time

    Eating white pudding in Tangier.

    Glen Ord 11 Years Old (Douglas Laing)

    Score 7.5/10
    Scoring explained >
    Glen Ord 11 Years Old (Douglas Laing)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    46%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Highland
    Flavour camp
    Fragrant & Floral
    Nose

    Glen Ord is a grassy whisky and this is bang on-message. Light, intense, perfumed with whiffs of lawnmower box, along with cumin seed and coriander seed’s peppery, lemon note. Even with water it remains in character – if more ethereal – with added lemongrass.

    Palate

    Very clean and seemingly untouched by wood in any significant way, allowing that distillery character to sing out. Lightly sweet and, while not highly complex, it is well-balanced. There’s grass, there’s cucumber, there’s green apple and unripe pears. Some delicate fruity elements come forward with water.

    Finish

    Ginger-infused simple syrup. Perky.

    Conclusion

    Essence of Glen Ord – dab it on your wrist or have as a lovely early morning dram.

    Right place, right time

    Cucumber sandwiches on the croquet lawn.

    Tomatin 9 Years Old, 2007, Caribbean Rum Cask

    Score 7.2/10
    Scoring explained >
    Tomatin 9 Years Old, 2007, Caribbean Rum Cask
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    46%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Highland
    Flavour camp
    Fragrant & Floral
    Nose

    All of the distillery’s estery penetration is on show here: pears, and indeed pear drops and pear eau-de-vie. With time, there’s some banana and pineapple – perhaps from the rum. The cask has certainly added vanilla.

    Palate

    Very soft to start, which is a surprise given the slightly sharp nose. Marshmallows, then the swift and bracing acidity returns, jazzing up the mid-palate before things settle down into soft banana and pineapple syrups. It has balance and medium complexity. It’s young; it’s fresh; it’s a wake-up call.

    Finish

    Becomes aromatic. 

    Conclusion

    In a similar vein to the Ardmore and the Glen Ord – distillery character to the fore, aperitif-style. Fresh and lively. 

    Right place, right time

    As bright and cheery as the Skatalites.

    Tomatin 14 Years Old, 2002, Cabernet Sauvignon Cask

    Score 6.8/10
    Scoring explained >
    Tomatin 14 Years Old, 2002, Cabernet Sauvignon Cask
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    46%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Highland
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose

    A slightly lurid pinky orange colour and some nose burn. Plenty of red fruits: raspberries, redcurrant jelly, rosehips, but still with the distillery’s intensity. Moves inexorably towards crystallised fruits but is a little too finishing cask-dominant. With water, more black cherry.

    Palate

    Sweet and, yes, fruity: fruit syrups, jamminess and currant leaf at the back. Ripe and full, with the balance tipped towards the finish. The complexity – strangely – is low, as the two sides try to find an equilibrium. A little flabby. Water brings out some citrus and acidity, which pulls things together a bit.

    Finish

    Jammy.

    Conclusion

    Has that fat quality which wine casks can bring, and the feeling that aromas have been flattened rather than enhanced.

    Right place, right time

    Prince Jammy to the rescue.

    Tomatin 21 Years Old, 1995, Oloroso Sherry Cask

    Score 8.7/10
    Scoring explained >
    Tomatin 21 Years Old, 1995, Oloroso Sherry Cask
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    46%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Highland
    Flavour camp
    Rich & Round
    Nose

    Classic Sherry elements showing on the nose – and it is Sherry rather than cask, with all the smooth elegance of oloroso to the front. The Sherry’s natural acidity and that from the distillery work together as a bridge. In time there’s wet shoe leather and dried figs. It has depth, elegance and balance, but while you get extra raisin and citrus with water, that richness is lost. 

    Palate

    Supple tannins, dried fruits and dunnage notes, then the distillery character comes through, along with some marmalade, Nutella and a savoury sweetness. Again, the boldness is diminished when diluted.

    Finish

    Light treacle. 

    Conclusion

    An exemplary finished whisky. Highly recommended. Limited to 1,908 bottles.  

    Right place, right time

    Drinking oloroso in a backstreet bar. Can finishes be thought of as dub versions of whisky? I reckon they can.

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