New Whiskies

Batch 19

by
Batch 19 whisky line-up

A straight split this week between blends and malts, with age statements ranging from 18 to 48 years, a couple of NAS whiskies and new expressions from Scapa and Kininvie. As ever, chief engineer Dave Broom gives his verdict.

Scoring Explained

Overview

  • Chivas Regal 18 Years Old Ultimate Cask Collection

    Score 8/10
    Scoring explained >
    Chivas Regal 18 Years Old Ultimate Cask Collection
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    48%
    Production type
    Blended Scotch whisky
    Region
    n/a
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose

    Thick and sightly closed to start, but as it opens (slowly) you sense good mature elements and a complex mix of squished red and black fruits, chocolate ganache, caramelised nut, a light bready note, then rich toffee, ripe red apple and Turkish Delight. Water makes the toffee note more prominent, along with chocolate.

    Palate

    Good depth, with concentrated, rich fruits. Gentle, crème brûlée-like elements sitting on top of a core of damson and sweet spices. Layered and balanced.

    Finish

    Liquorice comes through on the end along with a light, earthy Jerusalem artichoke-like flavour.

    Conclusion

    Finished in first-fill American oak, at higher strength and with no chill filtering this is a bigger, sweeter, more layered expression of what is already a classy blend.

    Right place, right time

    An old gardener’s shed. He always had a packet of Werther’s Originals in his pocket.

    Kininvie 23 Years Old, Batch 3

    Score 8.2/10
    Scoring explained >
    Kininvie 23 Years Old, Batch 3
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    42.6%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Fragrant & Floral
    Nose

    Lovely, and I mean really lovely, floral lift that’s like walking past a florist’s shop. There’s a hint of drying grass, lemon bon-bons. Water enhances this rather charming air and also brings out Pastéis de Nata (Portuguese custard tarts). Things becomes slightly more green with water (grassy, flower stems, fresh herbs) and then creamy.

    Palate

    As the nose indicates, this is really clean, but there’s sufficient substance on the palate. The flowers have now moved into the sweet, heavy flavours of chamomile with the perfume and cutting acidity of elderflower. Balanced.

    Finish

    Clean and soft.

    Conclusion

    At last, Kininvie appears and it’s balanced, subtle and has considerable finesse.

    Right place, right time

    Lying on the grass, sunshine, listening to Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci.

    Kininvie 25 Years Old 'The First Drops'

    Score 7.4/10
    Scoring explained >
    Kininvie 25 Years Old 'The First Drops'
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    61.4%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose

    Richer than the 23-year-old, with more cask influence from the off. Caramelised fruits, the dark ooze from a plum-and-apple crumble, then Bourbon-like cherry. With water, it becomes more cappuccino-like, the fruits become riper and more melon-like, along with a glucose-like sweetness – oh, and more oak.

    Palate

    A sweet start, then some fruits emerge, now with coriander seed and scented pepper spiciness. The acidity helps to reduce some of the oaky grip, but this is still cask-driven.

    Finish

    Clean, oaky.

    Conclusion

    Not one – but two! Though coming from a pretty active ex-Bourbon cask, you can still detect Kininvie’s sweetness and fresh acidity.

    Right place, right time

    Trying to assemble Ikea bookcases while dessert is cooking downstairs.

    The Last Drop 48 Years Old

    Score 9/10
    Scoring explained >
    The Last Drop 48 Years Old
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    48.6%
    Production type
    Blended Scotch whisky
    Region
    n/a
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose

    An immediately spicy and, amazingly after all this time, slightly minty start before huge rancio notes of tropical fruits, sandalwood, wax and dunnage warehouses. In time you get baked earth, sandalwood, spice market, acacia honey, chocolate and the elegance of palo cortado Sherry. A tiny drop of water expands the pure fruits.

    Palate

    Lightly unctuous, the fruits starting gentle and syrup-like before twanging slightly – and pleasingly – to the sour side in the centre, where there’s also a maraschino note. Things then return to the succulent theme as it ends. There’s a light grip – but what do you expect from a blend whose youngest element is from 1965? In time, and with the water, a cherry tobacco note typical of ex-Bourbon comes through.

    Finish

    The dry glass emanates an astonishingly pure clover honey aroma.

    Conclusion

    A blend which, 27 years ago, was transferred to first-fill American oak and then left (or forgotten). The nose is extraordinary, the palate succulent and long. There’s also not a lot around – 592 bottles to be precise. Probably fewer now.

    Right place, right time

    Billie Holiday looking tenderly at Lester Young (02.20).

    Royal Salute The Eternal Reserve

    Score 8/10
    Scoring explained >
    Royal Salute The Eternal Reserve
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    40%
    Production type
    Blended Scotch whisky
    Region
    n/a
    Flavour camp
    Rich & Round
    Nose

    Big, mature, waxy/oily rancio notes, with dense fruit paste, sweet potato, chestnut honey. Complex and layered with ripe fruits behind, it then moves into some faded flowers/pot-pourri, before being enlivened by fresh black grapes.

    Palate

    After a lightly tropical opening, this just flows across the tongue in sumptuous fashion: dark chocolate, dried fruit, prune, marmalade, a jag of sumac and once again light waxiness.

    Finish

    Long, elegant with a hint of smoke.

    Conclusion

    This has a totally relaxed but somehow enclosed character, as if it continues to hide something. Even with time it won’t fully reveal its secrets. I’d have liked just a little more light shone in. Still, it’s a belter.

    Right place, right time

    A gentleman’s gentleman in a country house in the 1930s.

    Scapa Skiren

    Score 5.6/10
    Scoring explained >
    Scapa Skiren
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    40%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Islands
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose

    Very Scapa: all bouncy, ripe fruits. Jelly cubes, mango, mashed banana and passion fruit, with an undertow almost like Carnation condensed milk. Water shows more (tinned) fruit salad, sultana and flour dust.

    Palate

    Very light, considering what was suggested on the nose. A light green note is in the centre and, with water, a strange burnt element develops. It collapses on the tongue.

    Finish

    Short.

    Conclusion

    I love Scapa for its ludicrous fruits, its oiliness, its clinging persistence. The nose suggests all of that, but the palate is a let-down.

    Right place, right time

    Miss Congeniality 2. It promises a lot, but… you know.

Scroll To Top