New Whiskies

Batch 75

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New whisky tasting notes Batch 75

Dave Broom has high praise for Benromach 1973, which boldly begins this week’s new whisky tasting notes. Complex, elegant and three-dimensional, this is a whisky that draws an element of nostalgia in Broom of whiskies gone before. Next is a 1990 Bladnoch bottled by Wemyss Malts which, apart from being a ‘touch woody’, is a truly solid dram. Two more Wemyss Malts bottlings are up next, both from Bunnahabhain, one distilled in 1990 and another in 2001. The first, Haven Trail, is a ‘pleasing’, fruity example of the distillery – worlds apart from its Sherried, chocolatey sister, Hickory Molasses Glaze. Two Lady of the Glen expressions complete the set, featuring a 10-year-old Tullibardine aged in Bourbon casks, that’s best enjoyed with an old-fashioned sing-along. And, again, a polar opposite in flavours from the same distillery, this time aged in Sherry casks, bringing us to a ‘funky’ finish. 

Scoring Explained

Overview

  • Benromach 1973

    Benromach 1973
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    48.9%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Rich & Round
    Nose

    A classically complex, mature nose of cooked fruits: apple, quince, poached pear alongside plenty of wax, light rancio and some wood smoke. Thick, old-fashioned and heady, there’s some ripened barley, dried raspberry, light tobacco. A judicious amount of water brings out cedar and dried soft fruits. Elegant.

    Palate

    Lightly dry and a little nutty to start with, this, like so many Gordon & MacPhail oldies, has retained real energy with citrus added to the quince and beechwood elements, while the coal-like smoke helps to add another dimension. Water just brings out a slightly brittle edge, so leave alongside.

    Finish

    Long and elegant.

    Conclusion

    One of those ‘they don’t make ’em like that any more’ kind of drams (though I’m sure they do… somewhere). A real find and highly recommended.

    Right place, right time

    A retired Colonel sucking sherbet lemon through a liquorice straw.

    Bladnoch 1990 Frangipane Canapé (Wemyss Malts)

    Bladnoch 1990 Frangipane Canapé (Wemyss Malts)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    46%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Lowland
    Flavour camp
    Fragrant & Floral
    Nose

    Very Bladnoch in its woozy, drowsy florals: jasmine and honeysuckle, as well as a little oak and some nose burn before brioche and honey. Has lovely complexity and is well-balanced. Water brings out a touch of cow gum and, while the top notes are lost, there is a gain in more obvious maturity. Take your choice.

    Palate

    Slightly spiky, suggesting it needs a little calming down. There’s some barley sugar, yuzu and almond. Drier than the nose initially, but the light fragrance begins to return in time. Water balances the oak, allowing some fruits to develop alongside.

    Finish

    Hot buttered crumpets.

    Conclusion

    Maybe a touch woody, but that’s being a little picky. Lovely.

    Right place, right time

    Dorothy lies down.

    Bunnahabhain 1990 Haven Trail (Wemyss Malts)

    Bunnahabhain 1990 Haven Trail (Wemyss Malts)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    46%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Islay
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose

    One of those older Bunnahabhains where a funky element is added to the fruit, here bringing a touch of hike-moistened socks to the iced gingerbread and chalkiness. After this quite bold opening, it begins to dry and recede, becoming slightly stony, with wet slate/rockface, and dry heather. Water brings out lemon and apple shrub, and light oak.

    Palate

    Peppery and quite intense to start, but softens on the mid-palate, allowing those fruits to come through. It does, however, need water, which brings out firm wood and Demerara sugar.

    Finish

    Crisp and slightly dry. 

    Conclusion

    A slightly muted but still pleasing Bunna’.

    Right place, right time

    Pausing at the foot of the rock, he takes his boots off. A passing stoat collapses.

    Bunnahabhain 2001 Hickory Molasses Glaze (Wemyss Malts)

    Bunnahabhain 2001 Hickory Molasses Glaze (Wemyss Malts)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    46%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Islay
    Flavour camp
    Rich & Round
    Nose

    This behaves in the opposite way to its sister, starting softer and slightly shyer with little hints of smoke drifting in. This closed element then gives way to roast ham, gentle dark toffee, nuts and old palo cortado Sherry. Once this process starts, the aromas just keep on coming: exotic woods, then rummy elements, ginger and mustard seed, always driven by the distillery’s sweet heart.

    Palate

    The cask begins to show its hand more assertively. Like the nose, it needs time to fill out and, when it does, you have a multitude of roasting spices, jaggery and ginger, again with most flavour concentrated on the centre and fading towards the back. Keep it neat with water on the side.

    Finish

    A sudden burst of chocolate.

    Conclusion

    It really pays to give this time to breathe and build in complexity. 

    Right place, right time

    Happily lost in an Indian market.

    Tullibardine 10 Years Old Bourbon Cask (Lady of the Glen)

    Tullibardine 10 Years Old Bourbon Cask (Lady of the Glen)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    57.6%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Highland
    Flavour camp
    Fragrant & Floral
    Nose

    Gentle vanilla ice cream, then banana, white chocolate and glacé cherry, and lemongrass. Delicate and, despite the high alcohol, there’s only low-no heat. Water brings forward some very lightly charred smokiness, cold unsalted butter and, increasingly, pick ‘n’ mix. All rather delightful.

    Palate

    Light and oddly soapy on the tongue, with a lifted, perfumed element. Water reduces it and the sweetie counter comes forward, but it’s still the dominant element.

    Finish

    Strawberry Haribo. 

    Conclusion

    Lovely nose, but a slightly odd palate. 

    Right place, right time

    Freshly washed, he was taken to Zavaroni’s for a banana split. All together now...

    Tullibardine 10 Years Old Sherry Butt (Lady of the Glen)

    Tullibardine 10 Years Old Sherry Butt (Lady of the Glen)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    58.7%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Highland
    Flavour camp
    Rich & Round
    Nose

    Dry, with positive Sherried elements. Touches of walnut and fig, and a growing funked-up element with a little dried flower. In time, becomes more fragrant with some dark chocolate, a pleasant earthiness and a little nuttiness. Lovely.

    Palate

    A big turmeric hit along with light grip, and a fair amount of heat. There’s a whiff of lavender, but that’s balanced by the lightly oxidised fruitiness seen on the nose.

    Finish

    Dry, floral elements poke through.

    Conclusion

    This is a great chance to try two whiskies from the same distillery of the same age but from two different cask types. Very sound and, while cask-driven, it’s balanced with a rather deliciously odd funkiness. For Sherry drinkers as well as whisky lovers.

    Right place, right time

    Lost in deep bracken with hot, steamy earth underfoot.

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