New Whiskies

Batch 70

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New whisky tasting notes Batch 70

It was earlier this year that Milroy’s of Soho – thought to be London’s oldest whisky specialist – revealed its first rebrand in more than 50 years. And what better way to mark the occasion than by releasing four exclusive whiskies – all of which are included in Dave Broom’s tasting notes this week? To begin with, a 2010 Ardmore that Broom is sure you’ll be queuing up to try (or buy). But, before the other releases are sampled, Arran smuggles a ‘crackerjack’ of a bottling into the mix, ‘The High Seas’. Next, there’s the 28-year-old Blair Athol from Milroy’s that will reward you well if you give it time. But if you prefer something a bit punchier, then the 2008 Glentauchers from Milroy’s may be more suited to your palate. And if that is indeed your preferred whisky style, then stick around for notes on The Hive – one of three limited edition releases from Wemyss Malts’ Batch Strength series. Then, to finish, the ‘polite and charming’ eight-year-old blend to complete the Milroy’s quartet.

Scoring Explained

Overview

  • Ardmore 2010 (Milroy’s of Soho)

    Score 7.9/10
    Scoring explained >
    Ardmore 2010 (Milroy’s of Soho)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    60.8%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Highland
    Flavour camp
    Smoky & Peaty
    Nose

    Smoked cream, light melon and though there’s inevitable nose burn, it also shows real freshness, with apple blossom, fenugreek leaf and Rich Tea biscuit. It becomes smokier with time, with the flames licking around dry grasses. The low oak allows more distillery character to come through. As it develops, you notice some slightly gawky youthfulness.

    Palate

    Sweeter than the nose, with more weight than you expect and an extra layer of roasted barley, and a fragrant mid-palate. It shows decent length and has plenty of energy. The heat is quelled with water, allowing softer elements to build in the centre: light vanilla, spelt flour.

    Finish

    The smoke, almost cosseted throughout, now breaks free.

    Conclusion

    A spot-on Ardmore and at a very keen price. Form a queue.

    Right place, right time

    A distant prairie fire.

    Arran Smugglers’ Series Vol 2 ‘The High Seas’

    Score 8.4/10
    Scoring explained >
    Arran Smugglers’ Series Vol 2 ‘The High Seas’
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    55.4%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Islands
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose

    Immediate cask impact, mixing spice and coconut with some sweet fruits, then orange zest (and orange blossom water). Nutmeg, pumpkin, then a huge hit of stem ginger and slightly smoky oak. In time, a vegetal/mineral note akin to a vintage rhum agricole vieux begins to develop. Good complexity.

    Palate

    A sweet and rounded start, with honeycomb spiciness from the off – some from the alcohol, but plenty more from the spirit. It opens to light menthol, candied kumquat, apple, melon and a scented undertow. Energetic, with good balance and some structure.

    Finish

    Dry roasted spices, smoke and light acidity.

    Conclusion

    A crackerjack of a dram and further evidence (as if needed) of Arran’s excellence.

    Right place, right time

    The pirate’s treasure chest turned out to be filled with spices. 

    Blair Athol 28 Years Old (Milroy’s of Soho)

    Score 8.2/10
    Scoring explained >
    Blair Athol 28 Years Old (Milroy’s of Soho)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    53.6%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Highland
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose

    My sample was slightly cloudy, even when undiluted. A hugely apple-like opening, unusual for Blair Athol, then a more familiar nuttiness drifts into the background, adding a certain crispness. Opens into baked sweet fruits with light cask influence, which then softens further into peach stone. Water brings out more mature notes and a little tropical touch. 

    Palate

    Good mature elements, fennel and light tropical fruit. It grips a little, with the nutty background beginning to make itself noticed. In time, there’s a hint of fruit syrups and waxy rancio, but everything remains fresh, with just a little tightening on the back palate.

    Finish

    Gentle and quiet.

    Conclusion

    Be patient and you will be rewarded.

    Right place, right time

    A bowl of old russet apples scenting a sunlit room.

    Glentauchers 2008 (Milroy’s of Soho)

    Score 7.6/10
    Scoring explained >
    Glentauchers 2008 (Milroy’s of Soho)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    65.1%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Rich & Round
    Nose

    Dark, Sherried (and also slightly cloudy) and a veritable nut feast. Hazelnuts on charred logs, raisin, light clove and a savoury old amontillado note. 

    Palate

    While there’s real heat, there’s also blueberries and a light meatiness alongside chewy tannins. It’s surprisingly drinkable given the strength (65.1% at eight years old?) and, while so cask-driven that the distillery is already virtually obscured, there’s dark chocolate, pot-pourri, big malty notes, red fruits and oxidised Wuyi tea. With water, there’s a more exotic, calamus-like element.

    Finish

    Slightly tart.

    Conclusion

    Bulky, but fun.

    Right place, right time

    Sharing wild boar biltong with a squirrel.

    The Hive Batch Strength (Wemyss Malts)

    Score 8/10
    Scoring explained >
    The Hive Batch Strength (Wemyss Malts)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    54.5%
    Production type
    Blended malt whisky
    Region
    n/a
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose

    Sweet and thick – almost liquorous – aroma, with set clover honey on sourdough toast, roast almond with a touch of tobacco, then dark chocolate. In time, blackberry and apricot. Becomes more oak-driven with water. 

    Palate

    The sweetness (and the oak) continue, but this is well-balanced. Palate-coating, with almond paste, sultana, chocolate nibs and always this sweetness, with oak-enhanced depth. Plunges into chocolate fondant, chestnut honey, light tannins. Has sufficient solidity to cope with water.

    Finish

    Clove and walnut.

    Conclusion

    Bold, even showy, but an appetising treat for those who like it on the bigger side.

    Right place, right time

    As glossy as an Abba classic.

    Milroy’s of Soho Blended 8 Years Old

    Score 7.8/10
    Scoring explained >
    Milroy’s of Soho Blended 8 Years Old
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    40%
    Production type
    Blended Scotch whisky
    Region
    n/a
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose

    Mellow and softly fruity start, stewing apples and some light cereal. Becomes perfumed in time: lavender and butter icing. As it opens, you get a smear of varnish and wood oils, then damson. Dries with water. 

    Palate

    Calm and quite sweet start with butterscotch, ripe fruits and rhubarb. Becomes increasingly creamy, with hints of apricot and vanilla. Well-balanced when neat and, while water brings out some marshmallow, things do become almost too dilute.

    Finish

    Short, with sweet and creamy toffee.

    Conclusion

    Overall, very well-made. Polite and charming. Keep it short and it’s very rewarding. This has been an excellent first quartet from the new-look Milroy’s. Hie thee to Greek Street!

    Right place, right time

    Cup cakes in a cabinet maker’s workshop.

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