New Whiskies

Batch 18

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Batch 18 new whiskies

A smoky start with the last of a cult Bowmore trio and the latest peated anCnoc – then chief engineer Dave Broom gives the lowdown on the new NAS quartet from stalwart Speysider Glenrothes.

Scoring Explained

Overview

  • Bowmore The Devil’s Casks Double the Devil

    Score 7.9/10
    Scoring explained >
    Bowmore The Devil’s Casks Double the Devil
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    56.7%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Islay
    Flavour camp
    Smoky & Peaty
    Nose

    Make no mistake, this is BIG. Layered, rich, depths that slowly reveal molasses, along with leather, raisin and freshly waxed floors. The smoke is well-integrated, with a few wisps hanging in violet fug above this morass of darkness. With water, some lighter, sweeter fruitiness comes through, along with clootie dumpling.

    Palate

    There’s touches of frying tomato purée alongside those black fruits and slightly tight tannin (as you’d expect from a combo of Oloroso and PX). It has heat, but unlike many Sherried drams it can take a drop of water. This allows a wider array of fruits to smear along the tongue. Polished and powerful, but there is an astringency to the back palate which knocks the balance.

    Finish

    Tight and slightly bitter. Some smoke.

    Conclusion

    Sadly, the final instalment of a series which has helped to revitalise Bowmore – and it doesn’t disappoint.

    Right place, right time

    Let’s not cry that this is over… Cue Kylie!

    anCnoc Rascan

    Score 6.7/10
    Scoring explained >
    anCnoc Rascan
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    46%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Highland
    Flavour camp
    Fragrant & Floral (with smoke)
    Nose

    Clean and cool. An intriguing mix of green grass, green tomato, some blanched almond, light florals, apple and a hint of cucumber. Behind all of this is a subtle, smoky presence which is allowed to show itself due to the low cask influence. Well-balanced.

    Palate

    A fresh start with very light malt to kick off with, then come puffs of light cigar smoke. The lemon-like acidity comes through well towards the back. With water (and it does benefit from dilution) there’s a good mintiness. Sweet and clean…

    Finish

    …but a little short.

    Conclusion

    This, the latest in the ongoing peated series, is a crisp and cool customer and is ideal material for a smoky highball. Great price as well. Try it.

    Right place, right time

    A refreshing highball next to a garden bonfire.

    Glenrothes Bourbon Cask Reserve

    Score 6.9/10
    Scoring explained >
    Glenrothes Bourbon Cask Reserve
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    40%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose

    Light and immediate, with some cereal in the background, before a procession of hyacinth, crème caramel/vanilla pod and subtle dry spices. With water there’s banana chips, cream and soft fruits. With water – and time – heavy coconut aromas come out.

    Palate

    A good, thick, sweet start which is considerably spicier than the nose suggests. Good mid-palate creaminess with some red fruits, and light honeycomb on the back.

    Finish

    Sweet and soft.

    Conclusion

    A very summery Rothes, and the most straightforward of the quartet.

    Right place, right time

    Drinking a piña colada alongside a dish of Queen of Puddings (does anyone remember Queen of Puddings? Mary Berry does).

    Glenrothes Peated Cask Reserve

    Score 5.6/10
    Scoring explained >
    Glenrothes Peated Cask Reserve
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    40%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Fragrant & Floral (with smoke)
    Nose

    Unlike some peated casks, where the smoke seems to be hidden, there’s no doubt from the off that there’s been something burning here. Trouble is, it’s a bit like stale tobacco. This then flies off, revealing a lemon/geranium note. Quite penetrating aromatically, something which is enhanced with water.

    Palate

    In much the same manner as on the nose, the smoke shows itself at the start, along with some dry wood. The spirit seems to exist separately and it is this lack of integration which holds it back. Dilution eliminates the smoke.

    Finish

    Short, dry.

    Conclusion

    I’m slightly at a loss to work out what the intention is here. Put it down to a worthy, but unsuccessful, experiment.

    Right place, right time

    A busy beer garden on a Sunday in summer. Staff too busy to empty the ashtrays.

    Glenrothes Sherry Cask Reserve

    Score 7.9/10
    Scoring explained >
    Glenrothes Sherry Cask Reserve
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    40%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Rich & Round
    Nose

    Full and forward with an exotic, savoury Oloroso-style power. The distinctive Rothes mix of spice and fruit now comes further forward, allowing good layering to develop. The Sherry is in balance with the super-ripe and dried fruits. Becomes more glossy in time, with some coffee, biscotti and a perfumed, cedar-like aroma.

    Palate

    A big if slightly blunt start, then it opens up, allowing the lighter – and more citric – elements to come through with the spices giving little jags of impact. Slightly drier than the nose suggests, in time there’s more almond, fruit cake, and dark cherry. Becomes more tannic with water, along with walnut and light prune.

    Finish

    A little bitter when neat.

    Conclusion

    Sound Sherry expression with good distillery character.

    Right place, right time

    Watching a repeat of Antiques Roadshow on a Monday afternoon.

    Glenrothes Vintage Reserve

    Score 8.4/10
    Scoring explained >
    Glenrothes Vintage Reserve
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    40%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose

    Ripe and slightly mealy nose, with some oxidised fruits, this manages to mix fresh date, vanilla and a light, almost meaty, edge – almost like black pudding – that drifts everything towards towards the savoury spectrum. Like all Rothes bottlings, it needs time and in this instance the savoury is replaced by dried, soft fruits, and a light lift of sulphur. With water becomes more funky, but again in time there’s a sweeter edge – this time caramel-coated popcorn and rice pudding.

    Palate

    A mellow, fruit cake richness with a thick mid-palate. It tightens and gets a little nutty before relaxing into vanilla and toffee on the back palate. With water there’s more spice, along with cocoa.

    Finish

    Gentle, slightly spiced. Long.

    Conclusion

    For me, the most rounded and multi-faceted of the range.

    Right place, right time

    Brunch being served with style and grace to a large – and demanding – family.

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