New Whiskies

Batch 38

by
Batch 38 whiskies

An even split this week between Islay, Speyside and Highland single malts, from the silent splendour of an old Lochside to the vibrant promise of a new Kilchoman expression. Speyside is represented by a rare Dailuaine release and an old Glen Moray, with the sextet rounded out by a venerable Bunna’ and a mature Teaninich.

Scoring Explained

Overview

  • Bunnahabhain 1979 (Lombard Brands)

    Score 8.0/10
    Scoring explained >
    Bunnahabhain 1979 (Lombard Brands)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    50%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Islay
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose

    A little closed to start with, but then there’s some sandalwood and vetiver, along with a steady build of sweetness, which in turn leads to First Flush Darjeeling, orange peel and, finally, primed canvas. It’s a little hot. With water, there’s some distant toffee and just a hint of candle wax.

    Palate

    A sweet enough start which is quite hay-like, then comes peanut brittle and the distillery’s characteristic sweet ginger. This builds and moves into Muscovado sugar, then Seville orange. With time and a little water, there’s more rancio elements.

    Finish

    Medium length and slightly drying.

    Conclusion

    All very well-mannered with this gentle elegance.

    Right place, right time

    Sitting in a railway car listening to Cary Grant talk.

    Dailuaine 9 Years Old (Douglas Laing)

    Score 7.7/10
    Scoring explained >
    Dailuaine 9 Years Old (Douglas Laing)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    46%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose

    A huge, sweet, even scented start with clotted cream notes given some lift by a sherbety element, which moves towards Space Dust and Jelly Babies, before veering into a timber yard with the aroma of a hot bandsaw. Water keeps everything on the buttery/creamy side.

    Palate

    Naturally it remains sweet, but now has an extra, mead-like element. The distillery weight helps to add a degree of grip and stops it flopping around. Water shows how oak-led things are, but there is balance.

    Finish

    Sweet, hot sawdust and honey.

    Conclusion

    A great fun whisky that’s been bottled at the right time. Fun? Whisky? It does happen, you know! Phenomenal value too.

    Right place, right time

    Eating a hot buttery with butter and plum jam. For those of you not in Aberdeenshire, try a cronut.

    Glen Moray 23 Years Old (Cadenhead)

    Score 7.2/10
    Scoring explained >
    Glen Moray 23 Years Old (Cadenhead)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    52%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose

    Fat, quite spicy and perfumed with boiled sweets, before some lovely fruit begins to come through: stewing quince, poire william, quetsch, alongside oxidised notes. Fascinating. With water, there’s more barley sugar, then old fruits, but it begins to fall apart.

    Palate

    When neat, all of that hefty, fruit-driven sweetness is retained alongside cardamom and barley sugar, but it is hot. That said, with the water you lose the fruits and the definition. I’d keep it neat.

    Finish

    When neat, fruity and long.

    Conclusion

    A bold and somewhat left-field Glen Moray from a Sauternes cask. I like it… neat.

    Right place, right time

    Sipping oak-aged eaux-de-vie in an Alsace vineyard.

    Kilchoman Loch Gorm 2016 release (distilled 2010)

    Score 8.0/10
    Scoring explained >
    Kilchoman Loch Gorm 2016 release (distilled 2010)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    46%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Islay
    Flavour camp
    Smoky & Peaty
    Nose

    A very smoky opening and, though it might be a Sherried dram, other than a touch of clootie dumping and candied peel, there’s low impact from cask. All seems well-integrated in that department. As it opens, you get more hot embers and, with water, there’s a little hint of its youth.

    Palate

    Clean, if fairly dry, with a big smoky impact to start, which takes you to a campfire, but that’s soon reeled in by the sweet fruits and the softness of the centre with its melon-like fruits. Rounded, smoky and balanced.

    Finish

    Maybe just a little dry on the end.

    Conclusion

    A lovely young dram with excellent balance and complexity already building.

    Right place, right time

    Beach campfire on a west coast beach at sunset listening to… this.

    Lochside 1981 (Lombard Brands)

    Score 7.8/10
    Scoring explained >
    Lochside 1981 (Lombard Brands)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    50%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Highland
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose

    Slightly aggressive to start with, but there’s a grassy note and, at this point, very low wood, which opens gently into charred rope and hessian. Elegant and mature, with sweet pear and chamomile. Dry oak begins to pick up in time and with water.

    Palate

    Very gentle and soft, touching very briefly on mango and passion fruit juice before some heat comes in. It does need water, which brings out the most subtle touches of apricot, alongside light wood and some mint.

    Finish

    Dry and slightly fragile.

    Conclusion

    Restrained in a similar manner to the Bunna’ and showing old cask effect rather than old bottle, with the sensation that oxygen has done most of the work here. Charming.

    Right place, right time

    Walking through hot, dry bracken on a summer afternoon.

    Teaninich 22 Years Old (Cadenhead)

    Score 7.6/10
    Scoring explained >
    Teaninich 22 Years Old (Cadenhead)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    51.9%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Highland
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose

    Quite powerful for a Teaninich, although the distillery’s oily elements do come through. Initially it’s lemon, rape seed with this mineral edge, then some Vin Santo elements develop before virgin olive oil stars to dominate. It’s Teaninich, Jim, but it’s on steroids. Water seems to be needed, but adding it shuts that part down.

    Palate

    Big, thick and rich (like Donald Trump), with chewiness and also some heat, it oozes and slides along the tongue with pricks of green herbs, then pepperiness. It’s mad, but it’s lovable (not like Donald Trump). The oiliness begins to assert itself with the water, with some sweet dried fruit, but then oak begins to grip.

    Finish

    When neat, long and thick.

    Conclusion

    Water shows it’s a big beast that plays variations on one theme. Mad and worth a look.

    Right place, right time

    Standing, reeling, beside a working olive press.

Scroll To Top