New Whiskies

Batch 67

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Batch 67 New whisky tasting notes

Let’s prep ourselves for this week’s tastings, shall we, with an ‘aperitif’ dram from Allt-a-Bhainne. Everybody’s appetite suitably whetted? Wonderful, because next up Dave Broom has chosen a ‘big and grippy’ 25-year-old Aultmore sure to satiate Sherry-lovers, before moving on to a delicate and floral 26-year-old Bruichladdich. Dalmore Quintessence is sampled next, the release that celebrated Richard Paterson’s 50 years in the whisky business, and – much like the man himself – full of surprises... of the right sort, of course. Littlemill then provides a juicy, fruity penultimate serve before an eight-year-old Talisker brings a smoky finale to this week’s line-up. 

Scoring Explained

Overview

  • Allt-a-Bhainne 7 Years Old (Hunter Laing)

    Score 7.4/10
    Scoring explained >
    Allt-a-Bhainne 7 Years Old (Hunter Laing)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    46%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Fragrant & Floral
    Nose

    A decent colour for such a young stripling. Sweet fruits from the word go, backed up with wheat chaff and dried flowers. Allow it to open and you get a mix of light butteriness and agave syrup over pecan nuts. Shows good maturity for its age, while water just adds to that sweet, syrupy core.

    Palate

    Very soft start and maybe just a little light, but the character seen on the nose continues apace here, all the way to a delicate and almost floral finish. In time, you get apple sponge. It’s gentle, but everything is so seemingly fragile that you tiptoe through it, afraid that it might all disappear. Water, however, adds a presence, though it still falls off slightly.

    Finish

    Light and fresh. Short.

    Conclusion

    All rather lovely. A pretty aperitif.

    Right place, right time

    Cue the wonderful Shirley Collins.

    Aultmore 25 Years Old (Douglas Laing)

    Score 7.8/10
    Scoring explained >
    Aultmore 25 Years Old (Douglas Laing)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    54.4%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Rich & Round
    Nose

    Full-on Sherry character, with only a slight green twang suggesting Aultmore’s perkiness. Instead, there is walnut, roast chestnut, dry leaves and the scent of an old briefcase. A tiny hint of struck match adds some lift. Water brings forth black cherry in syrup and rice crackers.

    Palate

    Thick in texture, with initially light tannins that lead into sun-dried tomato, tart red fruits, then tree bark and Earl Grey tea. Lightens but tightens with water, so leave alone.

    Finish

    Big and grippy. 

    Conclusion

    Sherry-lovers apply here.

    Right place, right time

    With saddlebags filled with nuts, he headed into the woods. 

    Bruichladdich 26 Years Old (Douglas Laing)

    Score 7/10
    Scoring explained >
    Bruichladdich 26 Years Old (Douglas Laing)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    52.1%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Islay
    Flavour camp
    Fragrant & Floral
    Nose

    Though light in colour, this has retained the distillery’s signature fresh edge, alongside hints of greengage and gooseberry jam. Slightly hot, so water is required. This brings out some intense, yuzu-like aromas.

    Palate

    Typically sweet, though this example is slightly more perfumed than you often find. A silky texture contains notes of face cream and rosewater. Everything is rather delicate. When dilute, you get cold, unsalted butter, then some lavender.

    Finish

    Increasingly floral.

    Conclusion

    A fresh and pleasant example.

    Right place, right time

    A sea breeze on a cool spring day.

    Dalmore Quintessence

    Score 8/10
    Scoring explained >
    Dalmore Quintessence
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    45%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Highland
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose

    Much crisper and more focused than you often get with Dalmore – almost restrained, in fact. Soft, with cereal elements (Brazil nuts, Ryvita), then light oak and a growing orange zest element. Slowly, things deepen into black fruits and some liquorice as the mature elements show their cards.

    Palate

    It remains fresh and zesty, but now the distillery’s signature blackcurrant fruit begins to build, alongside some vanilla, almond and a soft, thick, sticky toffee pudding element. Water brings back the citrus – now much more marmalade-like – while the currants drift back, but with a concentrated, Demerara-accented element.

    Finish

    Dries, and in comes the citrus and the cereal. A circle completed.

    Conclusion

    I must confess I wasn’t expecting such energy and delicacy on this, Richard Paterson’s 50th anniversary celebration, but he always does something to surprise. 

    Right place, right time

    Jam-making time.

    Littlemill 24 Years Old (Cadenhead)

    Score 8.4/10
    Scoring explained >
    Littlemill 24 Years Old (Cadenhead)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    52.4%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Lowland
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose

    Mature, with Littlemill's oils upfront alongside concentrated fruit and a little heat. It moves into pollen and mead/metheglin, then concentrated apple. In time, oil paints creep through. Water brings out more oak and oils.

    Palate

    Gorgeous, with baklava, cinnamon, caraway and cumin in honey. Thick, clinging and juicily layered with apples, and a growing peachy element. The maturity is confirmed, but there’s always a little heat. Adding water, however, means you lose some of the more hedonistic elements.

    Finish

    Ripe and nectarine-accented. 

    Conclusion

    What a strange bugger Littlemill was. Given time, it could blossom into a truly remarkable whisky, but one which was never classically beautiful – which I like.

    Right place, right time

    A properly pagan harvest festival. Morris On!

    Talisker 8 Years Old (Douglas Laing)

    Score 7.2/10
    Scoring explained >
    Talisker 8 Years Old (Douglas Laing)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    46%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Islands
    Flavour camp
    Smoky & Peaty
    Nose

    This is pale, intense and after all of the fruity richness of the previous drams, a sharp reminder of a different style. Like all young Taliskers it has a briny element, backed with some pear, but any new make sulphur has gone, showing it’s on its route to full maturity. That said, there is sweetness here that comes across like fresh langoustine.

    Palate

    This briny sweetness continues on the tongue, with the smoke almost invisible. It gently picks up as it progresses, but you could never accuse this of being the lava of the Cuillin. It’s less intense with water – indeed quite mellow – and lemon-accented.

    Finish

    Lightly smoky and returning to fruits de mer.

    Conclusion

    A tricky one for those of us old enough to remember the original OB. Have with soda… and prawns.

    Right place, right time

    Loch Harport in repose.

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