New Whiskies

Batch 20

by
New whisky tasting notes Batch 20

Two ripe whiskies aged 43 years apart from Glen Garioch and Octomore bookend a Deanston and three indie single malt bottlings from Douglas Laing's Old Particular range.

Scoring Explained

Overview

  • Ben Nevis 14 Years Old (Douglas Laing)

    Score 5.5/10
    Scoring explained >
    Ben Nevis 14 Years Old (Douglas Laing)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    48.4%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Highland
    Flavour camp
    Fragrant & Floral (because of its lightness)
    Nose

    The pale character indicates low cask influence. Neat, it shows some of that Ben Nevis character – the mix of meatiness, suet, and some cereal. With water, there’s notes of Brasso, and a more delicate fruitiness.

    Palate

    Pretty intense, with that meaty element sitting slap-bang on the middle of the tongue alongside a little oily/creaminess. It’s all about this chewy feel. Water brings out some sweetness, but at the expense of that texture.

    Finish

    Singed cereal.

    Conclusion

    It’s clearly Ben Nevis (no bad thing – the 10-year-old OB is a chez Broom house dram), but the lack of interaction leaves it a little skinny. For completists only.

    Right place, right time

    Early morning, taking break from the polishing, contentedly munching on a white pudding roll.

    Deanston 20 Years Old

    Score 8/10
    Scoring explained >
    Deanston 20 Years Old
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    55.3%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Highland
    Flavour camp
    Rich & Round
    Nose

    A Sherried Deanston is something to get excited about, I’d say. This opens with a little smoky/sulphury whiff (which I don’t mind), before moving into rum-soaked fruits, tea bread and then honeycomb. Becomes increasingly rich.

    Palate

    It is thick and, unsurprisingly given the strength, slightly hot. The tannins are supple, balancing the thickness of the spirit and moving it gently into fruit cake and toasted walnut. As it opens, it becomes increasingly sweet. It doesn’t like water, so keep that on the side.

    Finish

    Long, and gentle.

    Conclusion

    A bouncy, sweetly Sherried example. Worth a punt, I’d say. Now – where’s that Brandy de Jerez cask that’s squirrelled away?

    Right place, right time

    It’s the liquid equivalent of early Scott Walker.

    Glen Garioch 1967 (The Last Drop)

    Score 8.5/10
    Scoring explained >
    Glen Garioch 1967 (The Last Drop)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    45.4%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Highland
    Flavour camp
    Smoky & Peaty
    Nose

    The smoke is what comes across to start with – wood ash in a cold fireplace. Then, slowly, you get argan oil, then cedar. Give it time – by that I mean 30 minutes – and things begin to shift towards waxed jackets and gun oil, before the sweet core starts to show its hand, a mélange of pot-pourri, sweet persimmon, caramelised fruits. Water should be avoided.

    Palate

    Immediately clinging, with that heavy smoke adding a serious aspect before the distillery’s tallow candle note begins to play off a mix of rancio-inflected fruits and thick honey. It’s a serious rather than a playful dram, which is as it should be after all that time in cask.

    Finish

    The smoke returns, mingling with the sweet fruits.

    Conclusion

    From those long-lost days when Glen Garioch made the peatiest malt on the mainland. There are only 118 bottles, so collectors, sharpen up your credit cards.

    Right place, right time

    Late autumn sun, the crack of shotguns, a stirrup cup, the shriek of a peasant accidentally caught in the crossfire.

    Glen Ord 25 Years Old (Douglas Laing)

    Score 5.8/10
    Scoring explained >
    Glen Ord 25 Years Old (Douglas Laing)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    51.5%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Highland
    Flavour camp
    Fragrant & Floral
    Nose

    Another peely-wally dram. It’s clean and, though light, has a lemongrass element. Quite hot initially (there’s little cask influence to help ameliorate the alcohol). In fact, even with water there’s a steeliness, to which is added a note of cut grass and some fresh paint. Zippy.

    Palate

    Surprisingly soft to start – almost marshmallow-like, then the buzz of alcohol hits in the mid-palate, bringing with it a flavour akin to pine needles. Water is needed and, while its addition lightens and dries things, you also lose impact and palate weight.

    Finish

    Fresh and sharp.

    Conclusion

    Pleasant and undemanding.

    Right place, right time

    Getting the town ready for a royal visit. 

    Inchgower 25 Years Old (Douglas Laing)

    Score 5.6/10
    Scoring explained >
    Inchgower 25 Years Old (Douglas Laing)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    51.5%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Fragrant & Floral
    Nose

    Low in the colour stakes once again. The lack of significant cask impact does allow that Inchgower spiciness to come to the fore – almost chili flake-like in its hit, then comes some sourdough starter, and in time some sugared almond. Water allows more biscuity cereal, but things remain spiced up and give the impression of hessian sacks of white pepper… and putty.

    Palate

    The classic Inchgower salinity now comes through with a massive retronasal effect of lime peel and brine. Water shows it lacks depth.

    Finish

    Bracing and needle-sharp.

    Conclusion

    This shows potential, but that lack of cask means you lose depth in the mid-palate. You want this to hang around; instead it flashes by.

    Right place, right time

    Trying to hitch out of Buckie. A car slows, the driver waves at you, then speeds off with an evil cackle.

    Octomore 07.3

    Score 8.6/10
    Scoring explained >
    Octomore 07.3
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    63%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Islay
    Flavour camp
    Smoky & Peaty
    Nose

    Big, smoky... and sweet. There’s plump sultanas, then this weird peppermint, a whiff of Kintyre smoked mussels, machair and hot sand. No reduction of impact when diluted – but there is added daffodil, golden syrup, a touch of cow breath (which, looking back on notes, I got on the 07.2 as well) and lemon barley water and, in time, fresh lavender. The smoke is well-integrated.

    Palate

    Peat comes at you immediately, but its power is checked by the sweetness. A little whiff of firelighter (lighting a barbecue) is the only thing that suggests its youth – a mere five years. In time there’s a lovely note of apricot tarte tatin.

    Finish

    The smoke now begins to show itself. It’s a little tight with a hint of salinity and final grunt of peat.

    Conclusion

    So, is this better than that Glen Garioch? There’s the problem with scores! This has been marked with the knowledge that the whisky is ‘only’ five years old. Whatever the case, I’d snap this up – and stay tuned for more from a dram which is developing rapidly into a cult classic; though can I just say I don’t like the bottle? It makes it look like Alizé.

    Right place, right time

    Snacking on some moules mentales on a summer beach.

Scroll To Top