New Whiskies

Batch 82

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New whisky tasting notes Batch 82

Like honey? Then you’ll love this week’s whisky tasting notes from Dave Broom. The first of five Murray McDavid bottlings – a 20-year-old Coinnich blended malt – sets the tone with its honeyed, yet slightly smoky, notes. Then a ‘clean and fresh’ 17-year-old Eòrna-Lòin follows, chased by a 10-year-old Laphroaig from Douglas Laing, which Broom recommends in an aperitif. Back to Murray McDavid, up next is a six-year-old Peatside for those who like their whiskies ‘hardcore’, and then a 10-year-old ‘afternoon dram’ Rìgh Seumas. All this is rounded off with big chocolatey notes from a 20-year-old Tobermory. 

Scoring Explained

Overview

  • Coinnich 20 Years Old (Murray McDavid)

    Coinnich 20 Years Old (Murray McDavid)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    46%
    Production type
    Blended malt whisky
    Region
    n/a
    Flavour camp
    Rich & Round
    Nose

    As well as immediately showing good mature elements (waxiness), there’s a good, balanced mix of Spangles and honey (which becomes one of this week’s themes) – manuka, if you are interested. Then there’s a spritz of lemon, a sliver of sandalwood and a dribble of ginger cordial. Deepens in time, moving to roasted barley/brown ale and a little smoke.

    Palate

    A solid, tongue-clinging start with some slightly buzzy alcohol. That aside, it soon softens down into gentler flavours, with praline, liquorice, barley sugar and soft fruits. That darker underpinning seen on the nose is now a smear of treacle. Water picks out the smoke, but softens things a little too much.

    Finish

    Gentle and lightly smoky.

    Conclusion

    Coinnich means ‘meeting’ in Gaelic, which seems an appropriate name for a vatted (sorry, blended) malt. Mature and gentle. Worth a look.  

    Right place, right time

    Bright yet mellow, sweet with some smokiness. It’s Cassandra Wilson in a glass.

    Eòrna-Lòin 17 Years Old (Murray McDavid)

    Eòrna-Lòin 17 Years Old (Murray McDavid)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    46%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Fragrant & Floral
    Nose

    Quite light with an aroma like starched shirts/crisp linen, then there’s a touch of cream along with a light floral element. The slightly dusty element now comes across as flour. Calm and gentle with the water.

    Palate

    Soft, gentle and light with some milk chocolate. It’s surprisingly hot for the strength and maybe just a little light in the centre, though it soon picks up some weight and a little smoky/charred note towards the end. The water brings these elements together along with a new layer of mace-like spice.

    Finish

    Crisp with some acidity.

    Conclusion

    Clean and fresh. Balanced too. It’s good. 

    Right place, right time

    Eating a Tunnock’s teacake in hospital, nurses rustling around.

    Laphroaig 10 Years Old (Douglas Laing)

    Laphroaig 10 Years Old (Douglas Laing)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    46%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Islay
    Flavour camp
    Smoky & Peaty
    Nose

    Whiffs of creosote and tarred road, but also a little pineapple and some grassiness. Pale in hue and pure in heart, with a subtle water mint element, some bay leaf and then Germolene. Not great with water.

    Palate

    Sweet to start (always good in a smoky dram), then there’s slowly developing smoke that is initially only picked up retronasally, along with light pimenton, then those grassy elements. It just needs a little bit more weight mid-palate, but it has charm and just enough sweetness to balance.

    Finish

    Gently smoky. 

    Conclusion

    You’re left wanting just that little bit more. It would make a great aperitif with a spanked mint leaf.

    Right place, right time

    Asleep by a lochan, alone and palely loitering.

    Peatside 6 Years Old (Murray McDavid)

    Peatside 6 Years Old (Murray McDavid)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    46%
    Production type
    Blended malt whisky
    Region
    n/a
    Flavour camp
    Smoky & Peaty
    Nose

    Michty me! Huge, meaty, orange blossom honey-glazed smoked ham, then comes the green, sappy, herbal mineral smoke you get on some mezcal. It’s, er, robust in its intentions, with twangs of apple shrub, pickled walnut and dill. The meatiness grows alongside a drier gentian note. Becomes oakier with water.

    Palate

    Mouth-filling and massive. Immediately oily and phenolic: a puffer engine going full blast, coal tar, burning old whisky casks in an oil drum, fish oils. Dry. Water kills a lot of this boisterous nature and makes things considerably drier.

    Finish

    Pine forest on fire.

    Conclusion

    As you might have gathered, this blended malt is not exactly subtle. You feel that you’ve been bludgeoned by a pig butt. Peaticide rather than Peatside. For the hardcore only.

    Right place, right time

    Para Handy cooking a bacon sandwich on top of the boiler.

    Rìgh Seumas I, 10 Years Old (Murray McDavid)

    Rìgh Seumas I, 10 Years Old (Murray McDavid)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    46%
    Production type
    Blended malt whisky
    Region
    n/a
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose

    Cereal-driven. Has the softness of oats and the sweetness of green malt. There’s some Mr Whippy-style vanilla ice cream, tangerine, osmanthus/hyacinth. Plump, bold and lovely. The cereal note increases with water, which also brings out warm Victoria sandwich with raspberry jam.

    Palate

    Drier start. Light sawdust and a soft mid-palate with that barley sweetness swanning in at the end. Everything is very supple and hits an ideal balance between its sweet and dry elements. Water makes things more buttery with some cinnamon. A lot of fun.

    Finish

    Baked apple.

    Conclusion

    Lovely and, while not immensely complex, it’s a great late-afternoon dram. It’s named after ‘King’ James McEwan, by the way. Sooks.

    Right place, right time

    Sneaking off with a white bread thickly spread with salted butter and clover honey.

    Tobermory 20 Years Old (Murray McDavid)

    Tobermory 20 Years Old (Murray McDavid)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    46%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Islands
    Flavour camp
    Rich & Round
    Nose

    Dark with a massive dark chocolate impact – think Fruit & Nut bar, rum and raisin, and a hint of sticky toffee pudding mixed with some Walnut Whips. Rich and mellow. All very cask-driven, but this is a good cask, which adds touches akin to an old cream Sherry. When you add some water, you get more damp brown bracken, and some tatami-like scents (if you haven’t smelled tatami, think cedar mixed with dry grass and you’re kind of there). Mature.

    Palate

    Yielding tannins and seemingly lightly smoked. You’re soon back to the chocolate notes, though this time there’s added coffee. Water, as is usual with a Sherried whisky, increases the tannic grip and you therefore lose the sweet density. There again, you pick up some old cigar and increased length. 

    Finish

    When neat, thick and sweet. 

    Conclusion

    It’s not discreet, it’s not even particularly distillery-focused, but it is rather delicious.

    Right place, right time

    Sweet and just that little bit funky. Bring on the jazz flute!

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