New Whiskies

Batch 74

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New whisky tasting notes Batch 74

This week’s tasting gets off to a light and gentle start with a 35-year-old anCnoc, before taking a big turn with a Moscatel wine cask-finished BenRiach 22-year-old. The ‘big’ theme continues across the next few whiskies, with a rich, fruity and leathery 25-year-old GlenDronach, and a dense, sweet 26-year-old Glenfarclas. The second Batch Strength whisky from Tamdhu follows in a similar fashion, impressing Dave Broom just as much as batch 001 did last year. Timorous Beastie 21 Year Old then brings us full circle, with its delicate, floral flavours.  

Scoring Explained

Overview

  • anCnoc 35 Years Old

    anCnoc 35 Years Old
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    41%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Highland
    Flavour camp
    Fragrant & Floral
    Nose

    Gently restrained with aromas of hay loft/horse stable, then baked pineapple and, amazingly, a little heat. This is followed by whiffs of fresh blonde tobacco, flowers and fruit. There’s a dry undertow. Water brings out windfall apples and cider press.

    Palate

    Quite peppery and intense to start, with just a hint of drying oak, then mature elements such as vetiver and a little ink. That dry element is always there, adding a certain intrigue. Water helps the petrichor aromas to develop more fully and releases more sweetness and cinnamon accents, pushing the dryness backwards. Gentle and subtle.

    Finish

    Lightly spiced, sandalwood and a pleasing dustiness.

    Conclusion

    Mature, scented, subtle… and dry. I like it a lot.

    Right place, right time

    Horse flanks twitch in the high meadow grass.

    BenRiach 22 Years Old Moscatel Finish

    BenRiach 22 Years Old Moscatel Finish
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    46%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Rich & Round
    Nose

    Big and concentrated. There’s blueberries steeped in maple syrup, marmalade, strawberry jam and toffee, followed by cedar and baked peach. This heavy, fruity element begins to shift towards black Jelly Babies and then, out of the thick sweetness, the malt glances out, making things reminiscent of a mild ale (Harvey’s Old, to be specific). Water makes things slightly less well defined, but actually headier, date-like and ‘Moscatelly’ [Are you sure that’s a word? – Ed].

    Palate

    Well structured with fine tannins. If the nose is all about fruit, then there’s more obvious oak on the tongue. It remains thick and is now slightly hot. There are overripe black fruits, dried cherry and then Black Forest gâteau. Tannins are coated in plum skin. Cherry stone and marzipan with water.

    Finish

    Moscatel depth and fragrance. 

    Conclusion

    Finished in Portuguese Moscatel casks, this is a huge dessert whisky for those who like things thick and sweet. 

    Right place, right time

    An indulgent Sunday brunch.

    GlenDronach Grandeur 25 Years Old, Batch 8

    GlenDronach Grandeur 25 Years Old, Batch 8
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    50.3%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Highland
    Flavour camp
    Rich & Round
    Nose

    This shows the most overt and classically mature notes of this bunch of whiskies: deep, Sherried funk with added moist fruit cake, some hard cheese, gingerbread and molasses. In time, there’s pruneaux à l’Armagnac (prunes in Armagnac) and bitter chocolate. Autumn woods/leaf mulch. Magnificent.

    Palate

    Muscular, yet syrupy, with added scented woods. Then come waves of GlenDronach’s Gothic, earthy power accented by coal smoke towards the finish. The deep, rich dark fruits of the nose now have added fig and liquorice to their bulk. Water does bring out more of the grip, but not in such a way as to affect the silken power. 

    Finish

    Leathery and long.

    Conclusion

    A classically framed, mature Sherried malt. What’s not to love?

    Right place, right time

    A huge Wagnerian edifice.

    Glenfarclas 26 Years Old (Cadenhead)

    Glenfarclas 26 Years Old (Cadenhead)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    50.8%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Rich & Round
    Nose

    Big (there’s a theme this week) and deliciously decadent. A top-end shoe maker, accompanied by sealing wax, damson, blackberry, hedgerow jam and then a touch of East India Sherry and Christmas pudding. In time, it begins to head towards a beeswax, Borderies Cognac-like rancio. Water doesn’t affect things negatively – it remains deep, sweet and rich.

    Palate

    This is slightly lighter than you’d expect from such a sumptuous nose. It’s more grippy too, with Assam tea tannins, a hint of dried lavender, then chocolate and fruit leather. Water softens the tannins, re-energising those riper and more powerfully fruited elements. 

    Finish

    Dense and sweet.

    Conclusion

    Once again, a Sherry hoggie delivers. While the palate struggles slightly to keep up with the fantastic nose, this is one whisky well worth seeking out. 

    Right place, right time

    Sipping on a Sherry in Lobb’s workshop.

    Tamdhu Batch Strength No 002

    Tamdhu Batch Strength No 002
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    58.5%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Rich & Round
    Nose

    Bold, juicy and sweet, with bruised soft fruits, walnut, chestnut honey, sweet sloes and masses of toffee. With water, some polished oak. Rich and appealing.

    Palate

    Big Sherry impact with touches of walnut skin bitterness adding a certain grip, and while it is slightly less sweet (and hotter) than the nose, there’s plenty of treacle toffee. Water shakes the tannins out, but the main activity remains in the centre and back. Sweet, rich, long and some berry fruits. 

    Finish

    Nuts and gentian.

    Conclusion

    Batch 001 was one of my top drams of last year, both in terms of quality and price. This is in the same vein. A full-bodied dram for a winter’s hip flask.

    Right place, right time

    Stumping into the snow with a hum in my head.

    Timorous Beastie 21 Years Old

    Timorous Beastie 21 Years Old
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    46.8%
    Production type
    Blended malt whisky
    Region
    Highland
    Flavour camp
    Fragrant & Floral
    Nose

    Refined and discreetly elegant, with peppery olive oil and some blanched almonds, which adds just a light hint of cereal, then some pot-pourri, apple and dried pear. Sweet, yet with a firm underpinning.

    Palate

    Very spicy, with some light oak and that dry nuttiness. Fine-boned and a little angular when neat. Water is needed to bring out lemon, hay, orgeat, flowers and a return to the mixed fruit orchard.

    Finish

    Hint of vanilla.

    Conclusion

    Well balanced, quite delicate. Well worth a punt.

    Right place, right time

    Tilda Swinton slowly smiles. 

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