New Whiskies

Batch 41

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  • Cragganmore 1986 (Adelphi)

    Score 9/10
    Scoring explained >
    Cragganmore 1986 (Adelphi)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    59.2%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Rich & Round
    Nose

    Here, Cragganmore starts by showing its heavier side: lightly meaty (mince), some cypress, then cigar, a hint of woodsmoke, and hazelnut. Things take on a savoury edge with some sun-dried tomato before deepening and sweetening into a hedgerow fruit pie, then toasted teacake with butter. 

    Palate

    A rich and thick feel with a little heat from the alcohol, moving into light leather, those dark fruits, chestnut and very fine tannins. Excellent balance. A strongly opinionated dram. Water adds a certain sophistication but don’t go too heavy on it.

    Finish

    Smoked dark fruits. 

    Conclusion

    Cragganmore is a fascinating beast which can be heavy or light, fruity, spicy, or meaty. This is all of those. Highly recommended.

    Right place, right time

    Wandering through beech woods in early autumn, a cheroot jauntily balanced between your lips. 

    Glentauchers 17 Years Old (That Boutique-y Whisky Co.)

    Score 8.9/10
    Scoring explained >
    Glentauchers 17 Years Old (That Boutique-y Whisky Co.)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    48.8%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Fragrant & Floral
    Nose

    An initial touch of malt bins gives way to dry grass and flower beds. As it opens up, it is this floral aspect which deepens and softens, along with some poached fruits. There’s lily, nemesia, then jasmine which continue to bloom, becoming heavier and more soporific and finally remind you of Chanel No5. Water softens it just slightly. 

    Palate

    There are more fruity elements on the tongue (cooked pears especially), but nothing can stop the flow of these heavy almost soporific florals. It’s Dorothy overwhelmed by poppies on the way to Oz. Water just brings out a light vanilla and a little structure.

    Finish

    Long and soft. I’m drowsy and happily nodding off.

    Conclusion

    Who would have thought Marilyn Monroe smelled of Glentauchers? It explains a lot though. 

    Right place, right time

    Thomas de Quincey meets Marilyn Monroe in Mulben.

    Oishii Wisukii, 36 Years Old, (Highlander Inn bottling)

    Score 9.3/10
    Scoring explained >
    Oishii Wisukii, 36 Years Old, (Highlander Inn bottling)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    46.2%
    Production type
    Blended Scotch whisky
    Region
    n/a
    Flavour camp
    Rich & Round
    Nose

    Mature, immediately elegant, complex, and rancio accented. There’s ripe and dried fruits, turps and a fatty quality that manages to mix the decadent sweetness of apricot and mango pulp with resinous leathery suppleness. The waxiness of age grows throughout. In time, there’s a little touch of creosote and toasted nut. Water makes this waxier, with just a little more oak.  

    Palate

    This is caught at the point when the energy of youth has been spent and all of the elements settle and soften into satisfied contemplation. Gentle and layered with much more chocolate. Water brings out more of the top notes, osmanthus, mace, and still that silky waxiness. It does everything a blend should – offer a complete and sometimes contradictory picture.

    Finish

    Long and fruited. 

    Conclusion

    There’s been a recent clutch of old blends which have been left in a marrying cask. This one was discovered by Tatsuya Minagawa of Craigellachie’s Highlander Inn. Oishii is Japanese for delicious – and this is. £115 is a trifling amount of money for a whisky of this class. You’d be a fool to miss out. Remarkable.

    Right place, right time

    Pour yourself a dram and listen to Archie Shepp playing, appropriately enough, Sophisticated Lady.

    Springbank 12 Years Old Burgundy

    Score 8.7/10
    Scoring explained >
    Springbank 12 Years Old Burgundy
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    53.5%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Campbeltown
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose

    Allow this time to breathe and you’ll pick out light smoke, which then eases itself down into some classic Springbank notes of rich fruits, black olive, spice and a generosity of spirit. There are a few light green notes jagging their way through, adding a sappy lift along with some rubber and old paint (both aromas which I happen to like, by the way). In other words, very Springbank. There’s additional smoke with water.

    Palate

    The wine cask is not dominating, but possibly adding some black cardamom and pepper and that ooze of custard. The mid-palate kicks into life with kumquat, but everything is encased in this unctuous softness with black fruits, and the smoke snaking through. Water releases roasted notes, then Kendal mint cake, and chocolate.

    Finish

    Long, lightly smoked. 

    Conclusion

    There’s 10,260 bottles of this wee beauty. Form an orderly queue.

    Right place, right time

    Campbeltown as an elegant, refined Victorian town. 

    Springbank 16 Years Old, Fresh Sherry Single Cask

    Score 6.8/10
    Scoring explained >
    Springbank 16 Years Old, Fresh Sherry Single Cask
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    54.2%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Campbeltown
    Flavour camp
    Rich & Round
    Nose

    Sulphur to start, mixing with prune and dried ñora peppers. When it lifts slightly there’s dry roasted spices and some sticky date-like sweetness, but it’s a struggle to escape the whiff of cordite.

    Palate

    The palate, amazingly, is clear. Damson, currant loaf, liquorice and then a spread of tapenade and a hint of smoke. Water shows a real elegance and figgy depth, then mulberry jam.

    Finish

    Lightly smoky.

    Conclusion

    A bit too much of the firecrackers for me. The palate is great though. 

    Right place, right time

    Campbeltown as Sodom and Gomorrah.

    Teaninich 1983 (Adelphi)

    Score 8/10
    Scoring explained >
    Teaninich 1983 (Adelphi)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    50.8%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Highland
    Flavour camp
    Fragrant & Floral
    Nose

    A little hot at the very start with a hint of acetone, then some apple, bamboo shoot, then baby oil, scented grasses, white tea, melon and cucumber. It becomes more linseed oil-like in time. Water increases this, with a slightly charred smokiness at the very back.

    Palate

    Very clean and fresh to start, with lemon peels pricking the tongue, before the oils ooze forth, coating the tongue with added touches of beignet and sugared almond before things shift back to zesty citrus. Water increases the slippery texture in a rather delicious fashion.

    Finish

    Lemon oil.

    Conclusion

    It’s a classic Teaninich and if a little one-noted in its delivery, the palate has drive and character. I’d have a couple, possibly mixed with green tea.

    Right place, right time

    Looking after a baby at a cricket match. 

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