New Whiskies

Batch 21

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Batch 21 new whiskies tasting notes

The new single malt range from Glenturret goes under Dave Broom's microscope, as do two oak-focused Ballantine's expressions and a grain-heavy John Walker & Sons edition.

Scoring Explained

Overview

  • Ballantine's Hard Fired

    Score 7.6/10
    Scoring explained >
    Ballantine's Hard Fired
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    40%
    Production type
    Blended Scotch whisky
    Region
    n/a
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose

    A slightly alarming marmalade colour. Big and sweet, with a little menthol and baking spices (clove and cinnamon especially). Bold, and deeply fruited with a slightly charred note and heavy caramelisation that shifts into treacle toffee. 

    Palate

    As rich, sweet, and oak driven as you might expect, but not woody. It becomes zesty with some ginger snap biscuit crunch on the sides and back but the soft mid palate helps to balance. With water it goes all hot chocolate.

    Finish

    Sweet and spicy.

    Conclusion

    This is a rock solid, mixing dram – I’d try it with ginger beer or cola. 

    Right place, right time

    Quite why Ballantine’s think this is men-only territory is beyond me. That’s like saying women can’t rock. Cue Sleater-Kinney.

    Ballantine’s 21 Years Old Signature Oak – European Oak

    Score 9/10
    Scoring explained >
    Ballantine’s 21 Years Old Signature Oak – European Oak
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    40%
    Production type
    Blended Scotch whisky
    Region
    n/a
    Flavour camp
    Rich & Round
    Nose

    Big, with light woodsmoke, then rancio notes of cep, moist earth, liquor-moistened dried fruits and sandalwood. Elegant and complex. The wood has an influence, but in a very discreet fashion – just sufficient to remind you that there’s ex-Sherry casks in here. Things become bolder in time as the extra-mature elements come through but never at the expense of energy – even with a little water.

    Palate

    Here it reveals layers of subtle, soft, preserved pulpy fruits (apricot, peach) with honey, and a balancing acidic bite. The tannins are gentle. All very well balanced. With water, and time, the Sherry influence increases in the mid palate.

    Finish

    Gentle, soft and long. 

    Conclusion

    Complex, layered and multifaceted. What blending is all about. Seek it out.  

    Right place, right time

    Listening to Gil Evans. It seems placid, but there’s depth and edge as well.

    Glenturret Peated Edition

    Score 7.5/10
    Scoring explained >
    Glenturret Peated Edition
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    43%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Highland
    Flavour camp
    Smoky & Peaty
    Nose

    A slight farmyard note with light nut and a little citric edge. The smoke starts with the flare of a struck match, then the first flames from burning paper, before the leaves in the autumn bonfire ignite. 

    Palate

    Though smoky, this is actually the sweetest of the new trio and shows excellent balance between the smoke and the nutty/citric/fruity base. Water adds a certain grip to the tongue, but that’s no bad thing.

    Finish

    Gentle smoke dying away into embers.  

    Conclusion

    A well made and well balanced dram. Worth a punt – and it’s keenly priced.

    Right place, right time

    Warming your hands around an autumn bonfire. Feet stamping to keep the cold away. 

    Glenturret Sherry Edition

    Score 6.8/10
    Scoring explained >
    Glenturret Sherry Edition
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    43%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Highland
    Flavour camp
    Rich & Round
    Nose

    Fresh, with a mashy note that then throws out a tiny squeak of rubber which rapidly skids off to leave gentle and sweet Sherried aromas with plenty of gingerbread (slathered in thick butter) and black fruits. Opens well into freshly polished furniture. 

    Palate

    As sweet as you might expect from the nose, but with considerably more punchy spiciness. Light grip and a creamy mid palate. Water makes things more fluffy and toned down.

    Finish

    Back to ginger and sultana.

    Conclusion

    The jump from sweet to spice is a little abrupt when neat, but this is a very amenable dram. I’d happily have a couple if you’re buying.

    Right place, right time

    Hands wrapped around a mug of Horlicks after a long walk.

    Glenturret Triple Wood

    Score 6.3/10
    Scoring explained >
    Glenturret Triple Wood
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    43%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Highland
    Flavour camp
    Fragrant & Floral
    Nose

    Starts in a similar vein to the Sherry Edition (light cereal), but this is considerably more floral and lifted with some wet hay, then lemon and soft pear. 

    Palate

    Gentle and very Glenturret, with the wood not intruding too much. Like the Sherry Edition there’s a slightly sudden gear change into spice at one point. Creamy zesty – sumac and poached pears. Water calms things down.

    Finish

    A little jangly. 

    Conclusion

    A pleasant dram at a fair price. 

    Right place, right time

    In the hip flask for a game of golf.

    John Walker & Sons Private Collection, 2016 Edition

    Score 9.2/10
    Scoring explained >
    John Walker & Sons Private Collection, 2016 Edition
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    43%
    Production type
    Blended Scotch whisky
    Region
    n/a
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose

    Rounded and gentle, slightly honeyed and buttery, with some oily grain. It then gently moves into juicy sweet fruits, a little lime, strawberry, Comice pear. Everything is very subtle and refined.

    Palate

    This is a grain-led blend, so it has an unctuous, fruit syrup quality, studded with jags of bergamot and candied lemon peel. It has a soft, slow, mouthfilling flow, with a slight charred note adding a different texture to the back palate. Just before that are hints of American oak and red cherry.  A dribble of water shows tinned mandarin. 

    Finish

    A slow, gentle lift into citrus.

    Conclusion

    ’Edition’ is clearly the word of the moment. This is a stunning blend of two vattings of grain and a smaller amount of experimental casked single malt. A masterclass.

    Right place, right time

    Dim light, friends, Talk Talk. 

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