New Whiskies

Batch 30

by
New whiskies include Rock Oyster Cask Strength, Elements of Islay Peat, Ledaig 1996, Strathmill by Cadenhead and two Douglas Laings/

An 'ethereal' Bunnahabhain joins a new addition to the Elements of Islay range, a cask strength Rock Oyster, 20-year-old Ledaig plus a spate of indie bottlings in this week's batch of new tasting notes, courtesy of Dave Broom.

Scoring Explained

Overview

  • Bunnahabhain 25 Years Old (Douglas Laing)

    Score 5.7/10
    Scoring explained >
    Bunnahabhain 25 Years Old (Douglas Laing)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    44.2%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Islay
    Flavour camp
    Fragrant & Floral
    Nose

    Very sweet, with delicate and rather beautiful crystallised ginger, sherbet, lemon, and rosehips though even at low strength it has some heat.  Water is not advisable however.

    Palate

    Very, very soft with a fresh and almost briny note. Disappears with water.

    Finish

    Ethereal.

    Conclusion

    Fantastic ‘whispering’ nose, but the palate has no substance. 

    Right place, right time

    A doze in the afternoon is suddenly disturbed as a shuttlecock hits you on the head. The dream fades into the air.   

    Elements of Islay: Peat

    Score 6.4/10
    Scoring explained >
    Elements of Islay: Peat
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    59.3%
    Production type
    Blended malt whisky
    Region
    Islay
    Flavour camp
    Smoky & Peaty
    Nose

    Immediate bold dynamic smokiness balanced with shellfish-like sweetness and a little touch of heather blossom, then bay/laurel. While it shows a light succulence there’s real freshness here, mainly because there’s no oak on show.

    Palate

    Big smoke from the outset with a peppery edge. You struggle slightly to find a way through anything but the smoke when neat, but there is some oiliness. Water pushes the smoke back to the back palate where it sits in a foggy sulk. A little angular, but sound.

    Finish

    Spent peat ashes the morning after.

    Conclusion

    Fresh. Would make a great highball. 

    Right place, right time

    Eating spaghetti vongole on the seawall after a storm.

    Jura 25 Years Old (Douglas Laing)

    Score 5.2/10
    Scoring explained >
    Jura 25 Years Old (Douglas Laing)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    54.2%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Islands
    Flavour camp
    Malty & Dry
    Nose

    An odd meaty, muttony nose with some burnt edges. Somewhat agricultural with typical Jura rigidity. With water it becomes nutty and cereal-like. 

    Palate

    Better than the nose. There’s some cattle cake/pot ale aspect to it which while unusual isn’t that unpleasant. Still unyielding however. Water washes it all away.

    Finish

    Slightly metallic.

    Conclusion

    Hard, farmyard-like and simple.

    Right place, right time

    Munching on a slightly burnt Scotch pie near the cowshed.

    Ledaig 1996

    Score 7.8/10
    Scoring explained >
    Ledaig 1996
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    46.3%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Islands
    Flavour camp
    Smoky & Peaty
    Nose

    Very Ledaig in its weird mix of robust smoke, a whiff of bashed neeps, wellies, and oil. Water makes it much more orthodox adding in brown bread sweetness to a soft animalic warmth.

    Palate

    Neat, it smoulders from the off, showing good maturity while the farmyard element continues before a soft succulent central element anchors things in the centre of the mouth. Water lightens proceedings, and brings out some oxidised mature qualities. Soft, but still bulky.

    Finish

    Smoky and long.

    Conclusion

    It is weirdly loveable. Kind of wrong, kind of dirty, but compelling.

    Right place, right time

    Earth, Wind and indeed Fire. Farewell Maurice White.

     

    Rock Oyster Cask Strength

    Score 6.3/10
    Scoring explained >
    Rock Oyster Cask Strength
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    57%
    Production type
    Blended malt whisky
    Region
    Islands
    Flavour camp
    Smoky & Peaty.
    Nose

    Hot, and therefore slightly hard to get into. Has a naked smoky quality (i.e. there’s little oak to get in the way) and while it could be no more than autosuggestion there’s lemon and a lovely vinegary, shrub-like/sorrel note alongside rockpool-like salinity. Opens into ripe melon, but slightly austere.

    Palate

    A considerably sweeter distillate than you’d expect from the nose with a certain soft juiciness balancing the shoreline phenols. Cool, clean, slightly peppery.

    Finish

    Salty.

    Conclusion

    Easy drinking (especially with soda water) but I long for a bit more cask to add another layer of complexity.

    Right place, right time

    Guddling among the rocks on the west coast. 

    Strathmill 23 Years Old (Cadenhead)

    Score 6.7/10
    Scoring explained >
    Strathmill 23 Years Old (Cadenhead)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    47.2%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Fragrant & Floral
    Nose

    Clean, quite crisp with some digestive biscuits, a little heat and then candied fruits, almond milk, fruit pie ooze, before flax oil and melon. Rather lovely.

    Palate

    A lightly perfumed start then this clean and slightly green oiliness runs down the centre. It needs water which magnifies the potpourri element before it firms into violet root. It becomes almost gin-like. 

    Finish

    Perfumed.

    Conclusion

    A mixed bag. Glorious nose, but the sudden switch on the palate makes things a bit incoherent.

    Right place, right time

    Drinking gin in a garden centre.

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