New Whiskies

Batch 93

by
New whisky tasting notes Batch 93

With the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival under way, Dave Broom has picked an assortment of new Speyside whiskies. A 1995 vintage Benrinnes, aged 20 years and bottled by Single Malts of Scotland, gets things going, with a ‘funkiness’ on the nose and a ‘surprising’ lick of heat. Then there’s a 15-year-old Braeval, not often seen. Its nutty, sweet and spicy character is followed by Glen Grant, with gentle orchard fruits and a hint of leather. Hunter Laing then delivers a 19-year-old Linkwood that shows ‘zippy acidity’ and ‘spring-like’ qualities. The 24-year-old Speyside-Glenlivet that comes next leaves Broom somewhat baffled (and sadly, not in a good way), before a tricky 24-year-old Tormore with red fruits and nutty notes brings this week’s tasting to a close.

Scoring Explained

Overview

  • Benrinnes 20 Years Old (Single Malts of Scotland)

    Benrinnes 20 Years Old (Single Malts of Scotland)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    51.5%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Rich & Round
    Nose

    A weird, wild note of freshly grated horseradish assails the nostrils first, with some wet leather underneath. It’s a whisky with definite age, shown by the slightly musty funkiness and wax. The alarming opening steadily recedes into an earthy background note, leaving concentrated orchard fruit and butterscotch, though with water added that heat returns.

    Palate

    Thick, and while the heat is there – and more wasabi-like – it now plays a minor role, allowing the fruit to come through, alongside light structure and some marshmallow.

    Finish

    Medium length.

    Conclusion

    The heat is the surprise factor here. Could do with a little more sweetness and mid-palate depth.

    Right place, right time

    A memorable Sunday lunch.

    Braeval 15 Years Old (Hunter Laing)

    Braeval 15 Years Old (Hunter Laing)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    50%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose

    While there’s some nose burn, the opening is more about a toasty, almost milky warmth that brings to mind late-night drinks (or a mash tun). There’s a decent level of maturity, as well as firm oak, honeycomb and chocolate. When water is added, nuttiness begins to dominate.

    Palate

    A sweet start that’s all honey-coated roasted nuts, toffee and citrus. Soft and pleasing.

    Finish

    Cereal crunch.

    Conclusion

    This Speyside outlier isn’t that commonly seen. A good cask has added some depth to a light character. Decent balance.

    Right place, right time

    Mug of Ovaltine, fluffy slippers.

    Glen Grant 31 Years Old (Cadenhead)

    Glen Grant 31 Years Old (Cadenhead)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    46.1%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose

    Supple and mature with hints of new leather briefcase, mixed with light savoury elements that bring to mind shiitake mushroom and white truffle. At the same time there’s typical Glen Grant freshness – here, Russet apple (core and all) – adding lift and, in time, some powerful oak. When water is added, more rancio develops.

    Palate

    A rounded, soft start with gentle fruits backed now by the leather. The apple is now reduced to a syrup. Understated.

    Finish

    Soft fruits, then a bite of oak.

    Conclusion

    The lowish strength flattens everything a little, but think in terms of grace rather than power and you’ll be in the right frame of mind to best appreciate its subtleties.

    Right place, right time

    Driving through an orchard in a new Maserati.

    Linkwood 19 Years Old (Hunter Laing)

    Linkwood 19 Years Old (Hunter Laing)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    50%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Fragrant & Floral
    Nose

    Light nose prickle gives way to sweet fruits, green apple, nectarine. A little fragile. Water brings out the distillery’s classic fruit tree blossom character. Light, but pleasing.

    Palate

    Clean and sweet with, again, good distillery character – this time the soft, almost oily texture. Some heat picks up from the mid-palate onwards. Clean and spring-like. With water, you pick up melon and freshness.

    Finish

    Zippy acidity, but no great development.

    Conclusion

    Light and balanced, albeit just a touch fleeting in its charms.

    Right place, right time

    A chiffon scarf in a spring breeze.

    Speyside-Glenlivet 24 Years Old (Cadenhead)

    Speyside-Glenlivet 24 Years Old (Cadenhead)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    50%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Fragrant & Floral
    Nose

    Bone dry. Images of bleached wood, nut shell, then peeled bark. With water, a sterile, metallic edge akin to a clean restaurant kitchen post-service.

    Palate

    Oddly perfumed, mixing nuts and bubblegum, candy floss and cigarette ash. The palate is sweet and artificial.

    Finish

    Sadly, it lingers…

    Conclusion

    Frankly… bizarre.

    Right place, right time

    A failed date at a run-down carnival. Lights off, stuck on the big wheel, contemplating the cruelties of life and love. Cue Roy Orbison.

    Tormore 28 Years Old (Single Malts of Scotland)

    Tormore 28 Years Old (Single Malts of Scotland)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    63.3%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose

    Broad beans, mint and a hint of olive, which in turn has some added Brazil nut. Firm but mature. In time, things become drier with hay/raffia and balsa wood blandness. When water’s added, there’s a surprising whiff of Sharpie pen and peanut butter.

    Palate

    Initially, this shows good maturity with a red fruit element beginning to peek out, before that Tormore crunch comes in and locks such frivolity away.

    Finish

    Rigid. 

    Conclusion

    It was all going well, but Tormore’s a tough customer.

    Right place, right time

    The headmistress entered the class, slamming her ruler down on the desk. 

Scroll To Top