New Whiskies

Batch 86

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New whisky tasting notes Batch 86

Though the name suggests otherwise, the 1987 Bunnahabhain from Wemyss Malts is less about diving for scallops and more akin to having high tea at your auntie’s house, according to Dave Broom. From this follows an ‘intense, young’ Caol Ila, before a second helping of cake at auntie’s with a ‘fun’ and ‘fresh’ Clynelish that has oodles of distillery character. A nutty Fettercairn from Cadenhead is sampled next, with wild mushrooms and cereal notes. Then it’s onto the second edition of Glenrothes 1988, which opens with oloroso Sherry aromas and turns out to be a ‘gentle, slow sipper’. A 16-year-old Glen Scotia rounds things off nicely with a welcome dose of sulphur for added ‘funk’.

Scoring Explained

Overview

  • Bunnahabhain 1987 Scallop Diver’s Dram (Wemyss Malts)

    Bunnahabhain 1987 Scallop Diver’s Dram (Wemyss Malts)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    46%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Islay
    Flavour camp
    Fragrant & Floral
    Nose

    Very sweet custard slice with icing, strawberry sauce on vanilla ice cream that’s countered by touches of earthy maturity behind. Some sharp lemon develops, though it does lose some impact with water.

    Palate

    More penetrating than the nose. The acidity clears the palate but the flavours reassemble on the back where there’s ginger biscuits and cream-filled brandy snaps. Adding water leads to a loss of definition. 

    Finish

    A touch of dry cereal.

    Conclusion

    Pleasant, but you get distracted in the middle of the tongue.

    Right place, right time

    High tea at yer auntie’s (part one).

    Caol Ila 7 Years Old (Càrn Mòr)

    Caol Ila 7 Years Old (Càrn Mòr)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    46%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Islay
    Availability
    The Whisky Exchange exclusive
    Flavour camp
    Smoky & Peaty
    Nose

    An intense, young Caol Ila with the sour green tomato/tomatillo, grassy/vegetal mash-up of agave notes, along with shoreline smoke. In time, some lychee.

    Palate

    There’s some sweetness building here, bringing to mind apples and pears. The smoke emerges properly from the mid-palate on. Water simplifies things… 

    Finish

    …But then the mineral salts and smoke come raging back extending it for longer than you’d imagine.

    Conclusion

    The energy seen on the end suggests what might have been.

    Right place, right time

    A short sharp blast. I just wanted to Love You More

    Clynelish 1995 Peppered Biltong (Wemyss Malts)

    Clynelish 1995 Peppered Biltong (Wemyss Malts)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    46%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Highland
    Flavour camp
    Fragrant & Floral
    Nose

    Plenty of gentle distillery character. Nicely rounded with pineapple chunks, orange zest and some scented candle. That citric element continues with water: old lime and grapefruit hulls, then distant wax and Starburst.

    Palate

    Typically for Clynelish more has been saved for the palate. Soft and quite sweet with a good waxy feel. The candle has been snuffed and there’s a floral element, alongside hints of citrus and sweeter soft fruits given a quick bite of acidity towards the end. Big estery notes retronasally. It fades just a little with water.

    Finish

    Plenty of pineapple again.

    Conclusion

    Fun and has retained its freshness even after two decades.

    Right place, right time

    High tea (part two). Now yer auntie brings out the pineapple tarts. 

    Fettercairn 23 Years Old (Cadenhead)

    Fettercairn 23 Years Old (Cadenhead)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    50.7%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Highland
    Flavour camp
    Malty & Dry
    Nose

    A basket of freshly picked wild mushrooms, potting compost, spent coffee grounds and then polished church brasses. A slightly hard edge develops in time along with draff/mash tun. The cereal elements begin to grow when water is added, moving aromas towards amber malt and wet bracken.

    Palate

    A sound and solid start where those nutty elements have been retained fully. It remains firm, stony even, giving the impression that all of the softer elements have been forcibly held back. Water calms the heat and brings out more cereal and, strangely for a whisky of this age, some sappiness.

    Finish

    Nutty and firm.

    Conclusion

    Opens pleasantly enough but its rigidity counts against it in the mouth.

    Right place, right time

    Standing around at the church dance, too nervous to make the first move.

    Glenrothes 1988 2nd Edition

    Glenrothes 1988 2nd Edition
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    44.1%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Rich & Round
    Nose

    Rich dried fruits, old oloroso Sherry, steeping dried raisins, sultanas and black cherries, alongside ripe hedgerow fruits, mulberry jam and a tickle of leather. Old, spicy (but not Old Spicey) and complex. Elegant. With water, there’s more sweet cake mix, dried cherry and plum. Very soft.

    Palate

    This gentle quality continues. Slow paced, with those sweet dried fruits, roasted nuts and mature autumn fruits. Water is too disruptive, pulling the tannin, acidity and core apart, and exposing its age.

    Finish

    When neat, soft and wistful. 

    Conclusion

    Keep things neat and take it slow. It’s lost some energy but is a gentle, slow sipper.

    Right place, right time

    Shuffling in slippers around Rawlinson End.

    Glen Scotia 16 Years Old (Cadenhead)

    Glen Scotia 16 Years Old (Cadenhead)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    57.8%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Campbeltown
    Flavour camp
    Rich & Round
    Nose

    Robustly rich with big Sherry from the off. Fresh espresso mixed with dark hazelnut chocolate, there’s a little sulphur note which drifts into soot sacks. Plenty of cask elements in other words, but the distillate is chunky enough. Coffee cake with water.

    Palate

    Though the wood remains bold, there’s an extra meatiness: searing steak on a hot cast iron griddle with a thick mushroom sizzling beside it. Dark fruits, treacle and smoke. The sulphur sneaks out with water.

    Finish

    Oxidised and nutty.

    Conclusion

    Rich and powerful. I don’t mind this level of sulphur, it adds to the funk.

    Right place, right time

    Sitting next to a sweaty gaucho at an Argentinian asado.

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