New Whiskies

Batch 9

by
Batch 9 whiskies

From Fife to Scotland's far north, taking in two bovine blends, a lightly peated Speysider and Belgian surrealist art along the way. Yes, an eclectic bunch of whiskies tasted by Dave Broom this week.

Scoring Explained

Overview

  • Black Bull 12 Year Old (Duncan Taylor)

    Score 6.8/10
    Scoring explained >
    Black Bull 12 Year Old (Duncan Taylor)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    50%
    Production type
    Blended Scotch whisky
    Region
    n/a
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose
    Clean and, though initially quite lean, there are soon some estery notes – green pears and grapes – which then become increasingly sweet and floral: think light freesia and wet reeds. With water there’s key lime pie and light vanilla.
    Palate
    Fresh and quite intense to start, though sweetened with wood sugars – right enough, at 50%, there’s no real surprise in its bite. Good and seamless balance struck between grain and malt, providing a soft, medium-weight mid-palate. It softens with water, but doesn’t fall apart – which is vital as it will be best consumed long.
    Finish
    Sweet and lightly Sherried.
    Conclusion
    I like the mix of richness balanced by freshness. Would be happy to have this as a house blend.
    Right place, right time
    More of an Ermintrude chewing on a flower than a raging bull.

    Black Bull Kyloe (Duncan Taylor)

    Score 5.9/10
    Scoring explained >
    Black Bull Kyloe (Duncan Taylor)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    50%
    Production type
    Blended Scotch whisky
    Region
    n/a
    Flavour camp
    Malty & Dry
    Nose
    Sweet, with some big cereal notes: hot draff, Ovaltine and proving wholemeal bread, behind which are light red fruits. There’s a decided zestiness as well, but it veers towards the fat and slightly funky (Sherry casks). There’s depth for sure, but it lacks a little in definition.
    Palate
    Light almond, then a thick and lightly honeyed mid-palate with supple tannins and some heat. In time there’s a little cooked apricot before it dries and issues a hint of smoke. Becomes softer with water.
    Finish
    Soft and a little short. Nuts.
    Conclusion
    Pleasant enough, but just slightly disjointed.
    Right place, right time
    A country kitchen on baking day. Flour everywhere.

    Cameronbridge 1978 (35yo; Duncan Taylor)

    Score 8/10
    Scoring explained >
    Cameronbridge 1978 (35yo; Duncan Taylor)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    54.1%
    Production type
    Single grain whisky
    Region
    Lowland
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose
    Huge, soft and sweet, with toffee/Caramac bars. There’s big cask influence on show here, lending it the aroma of butterscotch Angel Delight cut with lemon and tangerine. In time, lactone and coconut cream; light cashew. There’s more overt oakiness with water. It could easily be mistaken for a rum.
    Palate
    Big and equally sweet. The citric note continues to add lift, while there’s now some added cinnamon dusting, but it remains so sweet it’s like having bits of a Crunchie bar stuck between your teeth. The good thing is that there is weight of spirit, as well as cask.
    Finish
    Buttery and long.
    Conclusion
    For those who like their grain whiskies big – or for adventurous rum lovers.
    Right place, right time
    Glugging down a Piña Colada on a hot afternoon in Cuba.

    The Glenlivet Nàdurra Peated Whisky Cask Finish

    Score 6.7/10
    Scoring explained >
    The Glenlivet Nàdurra Peated Whisky Cask Finish
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    62.2%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Availability
    Also in travel retail (48% abv)
    Flavour camp
    Fragrant & Floral
    Nose
    Very Nàdurra: fresh pineapple, cut blooms, green apple. Effervescent and sherberty with very light vanilla behind. Even with water there is minimal smoke. Maybe it will come across when it hits the tongue?
    Palate
    Actually, rather than any overt smokiness, what happens is that a slightly medicinal and distinctly flinty/mineral quality develops which, when added to the crunchy, fresh palate, makes this come across like a whisky equivalent of Pouilly-Fumé.
    Finish
    Clean and tight.
    Conclusion
    A solid and well-made addition to the range, but you can’t help but feel that Chivas could have been bolder with the smoke/cask.
    Right place, right time
    Jogging through a frosty landscape desperately looking for the peaty fires of home.

    Old Pulteney 1989

    Score 6.9/10
    Scoring explained >
    Old Pulteney 1989
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    46%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Highland
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose
    Fruity, like a forgotten fruit bowl with browning apples and softening pears – and all the more pleasant for it before a marzipan element comes out. Very fresh for its age and, although water does bring out a little more weight, this aspect is retained – as is a slightly marine/chalky note. All in all, very pretty.
    Palate
    A discreet start, with classic Pulteney oiliness adding a silky weight to the palate. The effect is slightly unusual as the flavours dissolve rapidly in the mouth, making this as much an exercise in texture as taste.
    Finish
    The almond returns.
    Conclusion
    Lively, balanced, easy-going and very approachable.
    Right place, right time
    Standing, blindfolded by silk, on Wick harbour wall. What could possibly go wrong?

    This is not a Luxury Whisky (Compass Box)

    Score 9.2/10
    Scoring explained >
    This is not a Luxury Whisky (Compass Box)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    53.1%
    Production type
    Blended Scotch whisky
    Region
    n/a
    Flavour camp
    Rich & Round
    Nose
    Mature, but with a green oily note reminiscent of extra virgin Italian olive oil, even a whiff of shiso leaf and parchment. Becomes rich and plump, opening into elegant oak, some waxiness and, with water, some gentle and integrated smoke. Becomes increasingly polished (in both senses). Deep and elegant.
    Palate
    Big and generous start, with some vanilla and soft black fruits in the centre. Layered and complex, creamy and generous. It benefits from a small drop of water.
    Finish
    Long and fruity.
    Conclusion
    Inspired by Magritte’s 'The Treachery of Images', a painting of a pipe which wasn’t a pipe because it was a piece of paper with a pipe painted on it, which therefore made you think of representation. This is luxurious because it makes you think of what is in the bottle, rather than the packaging, which after all is how you should always judge things. Highly recommended.
    Right place, right time
    Listening to Dexter Gordon’s 'Ballads' – even the cover is perfect.
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