New Whiskies

Batch 84

by
New whisky tasting notes Batch 84

An alphabet soup of whiskies for starters this week from James Eadie, bottled exclusively for Royal Mile Whiskies and Drinkmonger. Dave Broom begins with ‘A’ for Auchroisk, featuring a sweet and malty eight-year-old expression. ‘B’ is for Blair Athol 12-year-old, with its velvety texture and dried fruits. ‘C’ stands for Caol Ila 12 Year Old, which brings to mind windy walks along the coast. While ‘D’ delivers an eight-year-old Dailuaine that requires a little water to bring out its best-self. And never one to stick to the rules, Broom then skips a few letters to ‘L’ for Laphroaig Four Oak, which leaves an aftertaste of disappointment, before ending with ‘R’ for Rasaay While We Wait Second Edition – which he finds far more memorable than the first.

Scoring Explained

Overview

  • Auchroisk 8 Years Old (James Eadie)

    Auchroisk 8 Years Old (James Eadie)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    46%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Malty & Dry
    Nose

    A nutty aroma, stirring together draff and Bran Flakes, with a twist of pencil shavings. A slightly dry opening, but there is some concentrated fruit: old apples and a little orange maintaining some lift. In time, some proving wholemeal bread and a move towards the sweeter end of the spectrum helped by more cask influence. With water, sweeter bread (though not sweetbread) and hazelnut butter. 

    Palate

    There’s a reversal of the nose. Here, sweetness has the upper hand; there’s enough from the casks to give that sweetness along with a creamy element, and some roasting barley/dry-roasted spice, a tiny touch of chocolate and good mid-palate sweetness. Becomes slightly heavier with water. 

    Finish

    Now dryness returns.

    Conclusion

    Exclusive to Royal Mile Whiskies/Drinkmonger, this is a vatting of three first-fill Bourbon casks and they’ve done their job well. A great everyday dram at a keen price. Recommended. 

    Right place, right time

    A baker’s mid-morning break. 

    Blair Athol 12 Years Old Single Cask (James Eadie)

    Blair Athol 12 Years Old Single Cask (James Eadie)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    46%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Highland
    Flavour camp
    Rich & Round
    Nose

    Sweet and polished, with a glossy aspect. This is the other side of malty to Dailuaine (see further down). None of the cereal, this is malt extract and meaty, but also with some gentle sweet red fruits. Water brings out a Garnacha-like depth, along with honey and treacle. All of this is distillate-driven rather than cask, so it’s never heavy and oaken.

    Palate

    Big, quite velvety in texture, which balances those malty depths with increased black fruits and light burlap. Very much mid-palate-focused with some dried fruits sneaking in at the end.

    Finish

    Touches of Sherry cask.

    Conclusion

    A great and well-priced introduction to Blair Athol. Once again it’s exclusive to Royal Mile Whiskies/Drinkmonger.

    Right place, right time

    Sunday afternoon tea – Soreen malt loaf, thick with butter and blackcurrant jam.

    Caol Ila 12 Years Old (James Eadie)

    Caol Ila 12 Years Old (James Eadie)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    46%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Islay
    Flavour camp
    Smoky & Peaty
    Nose

    Sea spume, mineral and (Hebridean) salt elements to kick off with, before green bonfire and grassiness come through. A note of cockles in pickling brine and winkles, while in time – and with a dash of water – you pick up more cool pineapple and a sweeter side.

    Palate

    Almost hay-like and utterly fresh, with a little stoniness: sea-washed pebbles (and yes, dear reader, I have sucked them). There’s just sufficient oils to soften the mid-palate, which smooths out what could otherwise be too austere. Water brings the sun out but if you prefer things brisk, then keep things neat.

    Finish

    Zingy and spritzy.

    Conclusion

    Caol Ila in windswept and interesting form. A single cask for under £50? Form a queue outside. Again, a Royal Mile Whiskies/Drinkmonger exclusive.

    Right place, right time

    Head down, walking into the wind on a cold beach.

    Dailuaine 8 Years Old (James Eadie)

    Dailuaine 8 Years Old (James Eadie)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    46%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose

    Good to see Dailuaine in this guise. It has indications of richness from the off, though it is slightly numb. A light polished brass note along with some berries, and a touch of dry coconut.

    Palate

    The complexities begin to show their hand more clearly. There’s real fruity substance now alongside light oils. Chewy with a ferny backdrop and a whiff of cereal retronasally. It remains slightly enigmatic until water is added, which pulls out more soft creamy elements from the (first-fill) oak alongside toffee, but there is the sense of this slightly grumpy power behind. There’s also a touch of sweet turned earth.

    Finish

    Good persistence with a little meat.

    Conclusion

    Rounded and rewarding. Four drams, A-D. Is James Eadie simply going through the alphabet? This is also mongered by Royal Mile.

    Right place, right time

    Ivor the Engine, freshly buffed, headed off through the hills

    Laphroaig Four Oak

    Laphroaig Four Oak
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    40%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Islay
    Flavour camp
    Smoky & Peaty
    Nose

    Light. There’s a sweet seaweed/samphire thing going on, and rather than iodine there is some neoprene, then light Chinese green tea and freshly sawn wood, at which point the smoke clears and cereal crunches through. The phenolic elements return, but only lightly, with Savlon ointment, camphor, benzoin and Olbas oil. Becomes increasingly wooded as the distillery slides away. Water doesn’t help.

    Palate

    Light, thin and dilute from the off. OK, there’s some smoke, but you don’t want ‘some smoke’ with Laphroaig. In fact, there’s actually more nuttiness. Water shows it to be a bit of a wimp with a dry element of burning sticks and pepper.

    Finish

    Light.

    Conclusion

    A lack of mid-palate drive and low in impact, this is not what Laphroaig should be about. Instead of being proudly divisive this is a compromise. Disappointing.

    Right place, right time

    Gingerly picking your way around a peat bog in stilettos. 

    Raasay While We Wait Second Edition

    Raasay While We Wait Second Edition
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    46%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Islands
    Flavour camp
    Fragrant & Floral
    Nose

    It’s light and sweet: glazed doughnuts, raspberry chocolate bars, but with the airiness of fresh spirit. You pick up some pink peppercorn and (diluted) pomegranate juice in time. There’s a green edge alongside the plump and slightly ponderous effect, which wine casks often bring. Water gives more smoke and some yeast.

    Palate

    There’s much more coherence in the mouth as the smoke begins to participate more, along with some added spice. More of the chocolate and cherry, and – if light – the wine casks seem better controlled and begin to fuse with the spirit. Decent balance if not hugely complex.

    Finish

    Soft light fruits.

    Conclusion

    I wasn’t convinced (at all) about the First Edition, but this shows more character with the elements beginning to work together. 

    Right place, right time

    As the kids gorged themselves on sugar, the parents knocked back more wine. 

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