New Whiskies

Batch 2

by
The whiskies being tasted by Dave Broom in Batch 2.

Jura, Oban and Dalmore all feature in Dave Broom's latest roundup of the new whisky releases – along with a couple of smoky indie bottlings and a peat blast from the latest Octomore.

Scoring Explained

Overview

  • Jura 1984

    Score 7.1/10
    Scoring explained >
    Jura 1984
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    44%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Islands
    Flavour camp
    Rich & Round
    Nose
    Big Sherry notes greet you immediately, with stewing fruits and sultanas steeped in… well... Sherry. Then come Jaffa cakes with a touch of Jura’s dry bracken behind. In time it is reminiscent of a brandy-filled liqueur chocolate. Water brings out more layers, including wine gums and black fruits.
    Palate
    There seems to be a touch of smoke at the start and a little sulphur (but not in a bad way). Chewy and dense. Here, however, water just shatters the effect.
    Finish
    When neat, it is all dark chocolate bitterness with a hint of sour black cherry.
    Conclusion
    There were only 1,984 bottles released of this malt, which had been aged in American oak, and casks which had previously held either Amoroso or Apostoles Sherries. This is conceivably from the same batch which went into the 19-year-old George Orwell commemorative edition back in 2004.
    Right place, right time
    Late night, Rebus on the TV.

    Oban Little Bay

    Score 7.3/10
    Scoring explained >
    Oban Little Bay
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    43%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Highland
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose
    Very fruity with marmalade, a touch of cinnamon and a note that reminds me of a damp face flannel (a strangely pleasant memory). Clean and ripe with a good purity to it, though this sweet, ripe character is lost when diluted.
    Palate
    A very sweet start. Clean and highly spiced. Almost powdery, but saved by the ripe citrus in the mid-palate with what seems to be a hint of smoke – but could also be char. It’s at its best neat.
    Finish
    Moves speedily into preserved ginger.
    Conclusion
    Oban gets the NAS treatment. It’s a very decent daily dram in line with the always excellent 14-year-old (try that with ginger ale.. mmmhmmm!), but this could do with an extra kick. It also has a slightly peculiar orange hue – as if it’s been given a spray tan – and is another with a bemusing name. As ‘Oban’ means ‘Little Bay’ this is, basically, Oban Oban. Give it the American pronounciation Oh-BAN then you can sing it to the same tune as New York, New York. It is, after all, a wonderful town.
    Right place, right time
    Afternoon, munching on a ginger snap biscuit looking at the sea.

    The Big Smoke 60 (Duncan Taylor)

    Score 6/10
    Scoring explained >
    The Big Smoke 60 (Duncan Taylor)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    60%
    Production type
    Blended malt whisky
    Region
    n/a
    Flavour camp
    Smoky & Peaty
    Nose
    Strangely, given the second part of the name, this isn’t that immediately smoky. The first part is, however, bang on. This is indeed a big dram – the high strength is what’s keeping the smoke at bay – leaving you with an initial impression of hot charcoal rather than a smoking fire. There’s a little rockpool action behind, along with cereal. Even with water, its intensity remains. In your face.
    Palate
    Good weight and fizzy from the heat. An explosion in a peat shed next to some fishing creels. It then dries quickly and brings out Szechuan pepper.
    Finish
    Smoking embers.
    Conclusion
    This would make a great and serious Highball. Maybe soda is the only way to mitigate the heat.
    Right place, right time
    A sea battle with a Spanish galleon off the coast of Islay.

    Cask Islay (A Dewar Rattray)

    Score 8/10
    Scoring explained >
    Cask Islay (A Dewar Rattray)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    46%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Islay
    Flavour camp
    Smoky & Peaty
    Nose
    Immediate maritime brininess to open, with slightly sooty smoke veiled behind. There’s also lychee-like sweetness providing balance. Has good elegance. Water shows how well integrated the peaty element is. Punchy, but balanced.
    Palate
    What is most impressive here is how the sweet fruits dominate the centre before the gentle, rolling smokiness starts to take over and permeate every crevice of the mouth.
    Finish
    Lifted spice.
    Conclusion
    Balanced, integrated – and great value. What’s stopping you?
    Right place, right time
    Delicately eating smoked fish beside a beach bonfire.

    Dalmore Distillery Exclusive 2015

    Score 6.5/10
    Scoring explained >
    Dalmore Distillery Exclusive 2015
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    48%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Highland
    Availability
    Distillery only
    Flavour camp
    Rich & Round
    Nose
    Very Dalmore in its ripe blackcurrant/crème de mûre opening: anyone fancy a whisky kir? Then comes a big hit of intense marmalade and Dundee cake with some light, malty nuttiness helping to add another dimension. This element is amplified with water.
    Palate
    Medium weight, but not too Sherry-dominant (often an issue with Dalmore), which allows the spirit to come through and speak. A ripe autumnal feel to it: all brambles and black cherry. Thick spirit, but it is slightly dumb. Good though.
    Finish
    Fruity and long.
    Conclusion
    Only available at the distillery – which gives you a double reason to go.
    Right place, right time
    Autumn woods, your fingers and lips stained with wild fruits. A pheasant erupts from the undergrowth.

    Octomore 07.1

    Score 9/10
    Scoring explained >
    Octomore 07.1
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    59.5%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Islay
    Flavour camp
    Smoky & Peaty
    Nose
    Rounded and sweet with some iris/lilac. A sense of a thick, slightly oily spirit. In time there’s light cow breath and a decidedly lovely farm note. Smoke controlled and elegant – if big.
    Palate
    Soft and slightly understated opening, which allows the Laddie signature floral/hot sand notes to have a say before the smoke surges through with masses of robustly sweet liquorice, smouldering peat, light minerality and a pleasing smear of old-fashioned cough syrup. All in all, quite amazing for a 5-year-old. When you consider that this is still slightly tense, you get an idea of where this distillate will go.
    Finish
    Long, smoky but then sweetens.
    Conclusion
    It’s the texture and balance which impresses the most. A star is born. Highly recommended.
    Right place, right time
    Listening to Kathleen MacInnes’ Gaelic blues.
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