New Whiskies

Batch 8

by
The whiskies being tasted by Dave Broom in Batch 8.

Dave Broom's latest batch of notes concern a trio from newcomer Edinburgh Whisky, two more of Dewar's Last Great Malts – and a substantial blast of peat from Ardbeg.

Scoring Explained

Overview

  • Ardbeg Supernova 2015 Release

    Score 8.4/10
    Scoring explained >
    Ardbeg Supernova 2015 Release
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    54.3%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Islay
    Flavour camp
    Smoky & Peaty
    Nose
    Oily to start, with well-integrated smoke which initially (and surprisingly – this is Supernova, after all) holds itself back, allowing a peppermint aroma to come through; then comes creosote, pepper and a sudden sweetening into cinnamon toast and even a little cream. Water makes it distinctly mossy and seaweed-like, though by now the chimney is belching.
    Palate
    Enormous. A dry start with smoke from the off. There is a pagan element to its peatiness, almost uncontrolled in its exuberance, but there is just about enough sweetness to claw back the balance and give some mid-palate focus before it blasts off again into fish oil, vetiver and the menthol/minty thing. Water softens it, but you lose that mental impact.
    Finish
    Dry.
    Conclusion
    The most massive of the Ardbegs, this fifth edition is big, bold and smoky, but almost too dry – though its untamed elements will appeal to many. It’s also the final bottling, so you know what to do.
    Right place, right time
    An insane Beltane bonfire, witches shrieking in the darkening skies.

    The Deveron 12 Years Old

    Score 7/10
    Scoring explained >
    The Deveron 12 Years Old
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    40%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Highland
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose
    A rich and spicy start with some boiled sweets, apple pips and a light roasted hazelnut element. Quite weighty. With water it becomes nuttier, showing some cake mix.
    Palate
    Big, thick, stickily honeyed and upfront. The mid-palate shows a little (and much-needed) bite, because this is a chunkily rumbustuous ball of flavour which jostles in the middle of the mouth. The impact is lost with water.
    Finish
    It’s such a mid-palate whisky that you almost don’t notice the finish; it just stops.
    Conclusion
    And so we come to the final releases from the Dewar’s Last Great Malts range and – you know what? – the name is justified. These have all been a revelation. This is also a seriously well-priced dram. Gulp it down. Responsibly.
    Right place, right time
    Walking along a river bank in the October smirr, armed with a hipflask.

    The Deveron 18 Years Old

    Score 7.4/10
    Scoring explained >
    The Deveron 18 Years Old
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    40%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Highland
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose
    Intriguing mix of wet dog and straw, making it seem a little like a mature Loire Chenin Blanc. There are also some heavy florals – rain-drenched iris blooms. Behind this are some baking spices – even a little burn of bicarb, then nuts. Polished, with some burly elegance. Water shows cake icing.
    Palate
    Heavy vanillic notes and, like the 12-year-old, possessing a big lump of flavour in the middle which contains a mix of nuts, seaside rock, then toasty oak allowing the sweet and the dry to play off each other. Water kills the impact, so have it neat.
    Finish
    Sweet and a little short.
    Conclusion
    Bottlings from Macduff/Deveron have been frustratingly inconsistent. No longer on this evidence, though like the recent Bracklas this would have been better at a higher strength – even 43% would have given lift and more complexity.
    Right place, right time
    Same river bank and weather conditions as the 12-year-old, but this time throwing sticks for an over-enthusiastic black Labrador.

    The Glenlivet (Distilled 2007; Edinburgh Whisky)

    Score 6.3/10
    Scoring explained >
    The Glenlivet (Distilled 2007; Edinburgh Whisky)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    46%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Fragrant & Floral
    Nose
    Ever so slightly muted to start, but there are clean, dew-fresh fresh fruits and a little dunnage warehouse back note, leading into ripe pear, cooked apple and scented soap (but not soapiness). With water, macarons, but slightly diminished fruit.
    Palate
    Fine and quite precise. The alcohol gives a good juicy burst to the mid-palate. Shows good distillery character. Water brings out greater mouthfeel and previously hidden substance.
    Finish
    Lightly gingery.
    Conclusion
    This is good, but here’s the issue for an IB. The bottlings have to be as good as OBs while saying something different as well. This is a rock-solid Glenlivet – and I recommend you try it – but being a picky bastard, I just want more.
    Right place, right time
    Taking in the washing on a late spring evening.

    Highland Park (Distilled 2000; Edinburgh Whisky)

    Score 7.2/10
    Scoring explained >
    Highland Park (Distilled 2000; Edinburgh Whisky)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    46%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Islands
    Flavour camp
    Smoky & Peaty
    Nose
    Well-balanced with just a slight hint of smoke before some praline, lemon and a pleasant, sweet turned earth note. Then ink and freshly sharpened pencil. Very impressive. In time, and with a drop of water, some spice cupboard.
    Palate
    Sweet and quite thick to start, then comes a boost up to the mid-palate, where the smoke begins to develop alongside the sweet fruits – quite peachy now, but still with the citric edge. With the water things become more lively, but still with a silky quality and gentle smoke.
    Finish
    Just a little short.
    Conclusion
    Another lovely bottling – and with an extra dimension. On this evidence, a new bottler worth keeping an eye on.
    Right place, right time
    Writing letters by an open window beside an orchard.

    The Advocates Batch (Edinburgh Whisky)

    Score 7/10
    Scoring explained >
    The Advocates Batch (Edinburgh Whisky)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    43%
    Production type
    Blended Scotch whisky
    Region
    n/a
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose
    Fresh, with a light Weetabix/sweet sacking note, then fresh-cut flowers, gentle fruit and a little mint.
    Palate
    Sweet and floral to start. All quite lifted. A genuine bouquet of aromas with a succulent mid-palate. The fruits are ripe and there seems to be a little Sherry element giving some nutty grip. It becomes more creamy with water and also a little more direct. Take your choice.
    Finish
    The nuts return and it dries before some light peach pokes out.
    Conclusion
    Very well-assembled, and keenly priced (which is brought into consideration in the score), but remember the apostrophe though, guys!
    Right place, right time
    Early morning in a flower market.
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