New Whiskies

Batch 51

by
Tobermory Blair Athol Black Bull Glentauches Wemyss Malts

This week’s collection, nosed and tasted by Dave Broom, includes two Black Bull bottlings, a double whammy from Blair Athol, plus a fruity six-year-old Glentauchers and a ‘so wrong, yet so right’ 42-year-old Tobermory release. 

Scoring Explained

Overview

  • Black Bull 8 Years Old

    Score 5.9/10
    Scoring explained >
    Black Bull 8 Years Old
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    50%
    Production type
    Blended Scotch whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Fragrant & Floral
    Nose

    A zippy, if slightly steely, opening, with some grassiness and then grain – perhaps the bull was wintered indoors. Water adds freshness and some light estery, green apple elements, although everything remains on the firmer side. In time, strangely, there’s the aroma of a hot hairdryer.

    Palate

    A clean and sweet start with the alcohol giving a kick and adding a sherbet-like fizz to the palate on the finish. There’s a steely barrier which slams down from the middle of the palate. Dilution allows some light butterscotch elements to develop, but it remains firm.

    Finish

    Light ginger.

    Conclusion

    Poky strength for this snorting beast and even dilution to mizuwari levels (3:1) fails to shift that rigidity. 

    Right place, right time

    On its way to market, the bull rattles the bars of its trailer. 

    Black Bull 40 Years Old

    Score 8.2/10
    Scoring explained >
    Black Bull 40 Years Old
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    47.6%
    Production type
    Blended Scotch whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Rich & Round
    Nose

    A rich, ripe and resinous start. Highly polished furniture, mixed with fresh mint, medlar jelly, toffee and heavy vanilla before a ripe rancio element develops – all dried chanterelle, sweet leather, walnut and mulberry. Water reveals a lighter and more traditionally elegant side.

    Palate

    Although not quite as thick initially as the nose suggests, this allowing more delicate fruits to show through adding a creamy orchard fruit layer alongside a whiff of coal smoke. The heaviness then begins to build, slowing the momentum draping heavy velvet folds on to the tongue. Water again reduces this and shows more obvious oak.

    Finish

    Long and rich. 

    Conclusion

    Personally, I’d sip this as it is rather than diluted. You may disagree. Whatever, this is well worth finding.

    Right place, right time

    Wandering in Tangier’s medina. Something moves in the shadows.

    Glentauchers 2010, 6 Years Old (Morrison & Mackay, Càrn Mòr)

    Score 7.8/10
    Scoring explained >
    Glentauchers 2010, 6 Years Old (Morrison & Mackay, Càrn Mòr)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    46%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose

    A pretty active cask from the looks of things which has provided an immediate and somewhat funky Sherried element, bringing to mind wet leather hiking boots on damp sand. Caramel comes next, alongside some soft dried fruits. Water opens things up and reduces the funk but allows this delicious dried apricot element to come forward.

    Palate

    A balanced and well controlled start, and while there’s maybe a little too much heat in the centre when neat, the texture is chewy with a distinct note of After Eight mints. While the nose is slightly hard to pin down, the diluted palate is effusive and clear with iris, dried flowers, those apricots, some tweed and dried fruits – all given extra thickness by the cask. Good balance.

    Finish

    Medium length, fruited. 

    Conclusion

    A subtly nuanced dram – already mature at this young age. 

    Right place, right time

    Nursing a copita of amontillado while walking in Moidart.

    Blair Athol 1991, Nuts About Pears! (Wemyss Malt)

    Score 6.1/10
    Scoring explained >
    Blair Athol 1991, Nuts About Pears! (Wemyss Malt)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    46%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Highland
    Flavour camp
    Malty & Dry
    Nose

    Laid-back oak here, allowing plenty of the distillery character to come through with bran flakes and then peanut butter smoothed over warm toast. In the background (and as its name suggests) a very pure, if shy, Poire William element emerges. Water however makes things drier and more distinctly cereal-accented. The fruit element has gone and you are left with your nose pressed to the bark of the tree. 

    Palate

    There’s a slightly odd and ultimately unresolved mix between the heavy (distillery) and this attempt to add in top notes and delicacy, as if the whisky is caught between the two, unsure of which path to take. Water makes things slightly sweeter with some praline.

    Finish

    Short, nutty.

    Conclusion

    The nose remains slightly dumb, the palate never quite reconciled between its two elements. 

    Right place, right time

    In the orchard, a squirrel’s secret hoard.

    Blair Athol 1988, 27 Years Old, (Signatory for The Whisky Exchange)

    Score 8.3/10
    Scoring explained >
    Blair Athol 1988, 27 Years Old, (Signatory for The Whisky Exchange)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    55.7%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Highland
    Flavour camp
    Rich & Round
    Nose

    Thick and rich, and more in line with the Flora & Fauna bottling that is most people’s introduction to this most singular of malts, there’s malt loaf (complete with waxed paper) then roasted red pepper which adds this slightly burnt element that comes through, before heavy yet sweet spices begin to develop adding a richness with semi-dried fruits, almond, sultana and a flare of a struck match.

    Palate

    Chewy and super-ripe, but always with the distillery’s depth adding a suction and gravity to the manner on which it sits on the tongue. The heavy spices and fruits are retained but now there’s an added flavour which brings to mind Scottish 80/- (80 shilling) ale.

    Finish

    Supple tannins and sweet liquorice.

    Conclusion

    Dense and dark and an exemplary Blair Athol.

    Right place, right time

    My childhood morning routine. Standing in the kitchen, mouth agape, being (force) fed a tablespoonful of DCL malt extract.

    Tobermory 42 Years Old

    Score 6.2/10
    Scoring explained >
    Tobermory 42 Years Old
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    48.1%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Islands
    Flavour camp
    Rich & Round
    Nose

    As black as pitch and, it has to be said, sulphury. Firecrackers, then leather, wood glue and this savoury, meaty element like a well-hung (oooh missus) roasted pheasant with chestnuts being placed on a table dripping with scented candlewax. Then comes a whiff of burning rubber. Water brings out mothballs, balsamic notes and a touch of old recipe Potter’s Nodoff (when it still had chloroform).

    Palate

    Big, dry and tannic, with bursts of spent fireworks and a burnt element like a pot of game soup that’s catching on the bottom of the pot.

    Finish

    Brimstone.

    Conclusion

    Even though you know it’s wrong, you keep coming back for more. A fell temptress.

    Right place, right time

    Maleficent rises and weaves her spell. 

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