New Whiskies

Batch 48

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Batch 48 new whisky tasting notes

A fruit-laden basket of young and old Speyside bottlings are tasted this week by Becky Paskin, including two new releases from Glen Grant, two Douglas Laing expressions from Longmorn and Aultmore, an interstellar Linkwood from SMWS, and a rare Strathisla from Gordon & Macphail.

Scoring Explained

Overview

  • A Toast to Tim Peake’s Return, 39.124, 29 Years Old (SMWS)

    Score 9/10
    Scoring explained >
    A Toast to Tim Peake’s Return, 39.124, 29 Years Old (SMWS)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    42.9%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    n/a
    Flavour camp
    Fragrant & Floral
    Nose

    If whisky were a season, this would be summer. Ripe nectarines and tantalising peach Melba are at the fore, while hints of cedar wood, sultanas and even spotted dick, punctuated by black pepper and cinnamon, provide the bass line. It’s all about that sweet, second-fill Sauternes cask. 

    Palate

    Delicate. Soft and sweet white fleshy fruit, conducted by more of that Sauternes sweetness. Peaches topped with Chantilly cream.

    Finish

    Dry, long and satisfying.

    Conclusion

    SMWS put this one together to celebrate astronaut Tim Peake’s return to Earth on 18 June, but if he had any inclination that his bespoke dram tasted so good, he would have made for Mission Control much sooner.

    Right place, right time

    A lazy, sun-drenched summer afternoon. Here’s hoping the weather turns about for Tim.

    Aultmore 7 Years Old (Douglas Laing)

    Score 7.2/10
    Scoring explained >
    Aultmore 7 Years Old (Douglas Laing)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    46%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Rich & Round
    Nose

    A dollop of strawberry jam with an undercurrent bass line of earthy cassia bark and oak, while fragrant heather and jasmine playfully dance back and forth.

    Palate

    An engulfing wave of thick black treacle hits the front of the tongue but subsides into delicate rose oil and Parma violets. 

    Finish

    Thick and jammy, with a hint of menthol.

    Conclusion

    Spritely yet mature, with just the right level of influence from a first-fill Sherry butt. It may be young, but this Aultmore is by no means immature.

    Right place, right time

    Listening to 17-year-old cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason play at the Barbican.

    Glen Grant 12 Years Old Non-Chill Filtered

    Score 7.6/10
    Scoring explained >
    Glen Grant 12 Years Old Non-Chill Filtered
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    48%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Fragrant & Floral
    Nose

    Unwrapping the paper of mouth-watering green and orange Opal Fruits (Starburst for those not quite old enough to remember), chewy vanilla toffee and a sprinkling of icing sugar. All the light confected fruit you’d expect from Glen Grant.

    Palate

    Sweet and fresh to start, the Opal Fruits living up to their aromatic promise. It becomes spicier on the mid-palate, before thickening into toffee, vanilla and caramel sauce. 

    Finish

    Slightly dry with a lingering burnt brown sugar note.

    Conclusion

    A non-chill-filtered and stronger version of Glen Grant’s new 12-year-old (tasted by Dave here), it delivers slightly more weight and texture. One to entice the frequent flyers as a travel retail exclusive.

    Right place, right time

    Weightier than its original, it’s an Alessia Cara cover of Taylor Swift.

    Glen Grant 18 Years Old

    Score 6.9/10
    Scoring explained >
    Glen Grant 18 Years Old
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    43%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Fragrant & Floral
    Nose

    Crème pâtissière, almond croissants, vanilla custard: all the sweet delights of a bakery. In time, lemon curd emerges. Glen Grant’s apple character is revealed with water.

    Palate

    Lemon jam and lime zest, before a slight rancio note in the middle (quelled with water), which becomes spicy but eventually gives way to crème brûlée.

    Finish

    A short burst of burnt sugar.

    Conclusion

    A proper dessert dram.

    Right place, right time

    With coffee and croissants, watching the sun rise behind the Eiffel Tower.

    Longmorn 18 Years Old (Douglas Laing)

    Score 8.4/10
    Scoring explained >
    Longmorn 18 Years Old (Douglas Laing)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    48.4%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Rich & Round
    Nose

    The sugar-crusted pastry lid of a summer fruits pie, hot and buttery, oozing cooked raspberries and cherries.

    Palate

    Cinnamon and baking spice at the fore, building toward the mid-palate but giving way to warm tarte tatin, while a hint of sandalwood lingers behind. Water brings out more of a summer pudding personality.

    Finish

    Spicy.

    Conclusion

    A pudding of a dram that, despite spending 18 years in a ‘new wood’ hogshead, retains Longmorn’s rich, viscous and fruity character.

    Right place, right time

    Served in the drizzling rain at the close of a quintessential British street party.

    Strathisla 1967, 45 Years Old, (Gordon & MacPhail, Wood Makes The Whisky)

    Score 9.4/10
    Scoring explained >
    Strathisla 1967, 45 Years Old, (Gordon & MacPhail, Wood Makes The Whisky)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    43%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Rich & Round
    Nose

    An inviting deep amber hue. Polished mahogany furniture, ripe morello cherries atop a rich black forest gâteau mingle with more exotic notes of caramelised pineapple, blood orange flesh and walnut skins. Time allows the oakiness to mellow and fruits to ripen further. In the distance there’s some struck match.

    Palate

    Thick and rich. Caramelised pineapple, dried sultanas and dark, bitter chocolate roll around the palate as some cigar box tobacco wanders into play and unravels a chewy texture. Water disintegrates the flavours. At 43% abv you don’t need it anyway; so don’t add it.

    Finish

    It’s loooong. Those rich, chocolate-covered dried fruits linger and linger, carried by a soft, tannic taste of cigar tobacco.

    Conclusion

    This dram really is all about the wood, and Gordon & MacPhail has once more demonstrated its meticulous cask management talent.

    Right place, right time

    A dimly lit, smoky jazz club listening to the late, great Amy Winehouse. Sadly, you’ll have to make do with your imagination and this exotic, sexy track.

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