New Whiskies

Batch 109

by
Knockdhu, Inchmoan, Aultmore 73.84 SMWS, Strathclyde, Invergordon

Freshly rejuvenated from his hols, Dave Broom gets stuck into six new Scotch whiskies released from distilleries and producers all across Scotland.

First to garner his attention is a feisty and hugely quaffable Aultmore from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, which Broom recommends sitting on with friends.

Moving south to Alexandria, he picks up with two smoky new single malts from Loch Lomond distillery, in the form of Inchmoan. A fat, oily 12-year-old is porky and sweet, yet leaves Broom feeling hollow, while a powerful 1992 vintage emanates class.

Onward north to Invergordon, and a 15th edition of That Boutique-y Whisky Co.’s 27-year-old. This fruity, rummy single grain, he finds, is a perfect tonic for those with a sweet tooth.

On his way back south, Broom stops in at Knockdhu for a taster of independent bottler Cadenhead’s 10-year-old, which he finds to be floral, spring-like and positively charming.

Finishing off back home (where else would you go after your holiday?), our Glaswegian chief engineer arrives at Strathclyde for another Cadenhead offering. This occasion calls for a steely 27-year-old – fat, fruity but rigid, and imagines a rather unsavoury encounter on Glasgow Green. Not quite the return home Broom had in mind.

Scoring Explained

Overview

  • 73.84: Tug of War in a Meadow, Aultmore 15 Years Old (SMWS)

    73.84: Tug of War in a Meadow, Aultmore 15 Years Old (SMWS)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    57.4%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose

    Immediately attractive, showing some complexity from the off, with light touches of oak mixing with apple syrup, hot bracken, a tiny hint of perfumed soap and light spices. Some more positive (but well-balanced) cask elements come through when water is added, along with ripe pear, elderflower cordial and twist of citrus and those delicate spices.

    Palate

    Unsurprisingly, this has a sweet start and is fairly front-loaded when neat with some fresh apricot, that mix of concentrated apple and pear, and some lively ginger. Has a perky intensity, but without any great heat. Water brings out a big, spicy attack and more rich depth (rich in this case being relative).

    Finish

    Just slightly short in terms of flavour. Flat Lucozade and barley sugar. Light acidity.

    Conclusion

    Hugely sessionable. Throw away the cork and enjoy with friends. Responsibly.

    Right place, right time

    Romping in the bracken.

    Inchmoan 12 Years Old

    Inchmoan 12 Years Old
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    46%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Highland
    Flavour camp
    Rich & Round
    Nose

    Quite fat and lightly oily, with gentle smoke and a hard-to-pin-down green vegetal element (hops? Ransoms? Wild sorrel?) stirred into buttery champ alongside a definite porcine quality – sticky char siu. More blunt than the 1992, with lighter smoke and a return of the gentian-like element. Calms down with water.

    Palate

    Gentle smoke to start, with a caramel toffee note. It relaxes just a little too much in the mid-palate for me, giving a slightly hollow feel. While there’s thickness, there’s not huge flavour development. Gentle vanilla with water.

    Finish

    Then everything picks up again with the porky smoke now coming through more assertively along with oak, ripe berry fruits, then nuttiness and that hop note. Saved by the bell. 

    Conclusion

    A blend of three peated variants, distilled in Loch Lomond’s swan neck and straight neck stills, aged in recharred and refill American oak. Were it not for that mid-palate hole this would be a belter.

    Right place, right time

    A Chinese doughnut. 

    Inchmoan 1992

    Inchmoan 1992
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    48.6%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Highland
    Flavour camp
    Smoky & Peaty
    Nose

    Smoky cereal elements from the off, a mix of a garden bonfire with a vegetal note underneath – buddleia, elder leaves and then some gentian (Suze). A slight medicinal element is there, then smoked brazil nuts. Water brings out more estery elements, with the smoke receding in a very well-mannered fashion.

    Palate

    Big and quite dry smoke to open with. There’s surprising power in here, and peppery, ember-like heat on top of this intriguing mix of dry cereal and green apple (soor plooms). Becomes sweeter towards the back palate with a hint of smoke. Water is needed to give better balance and bring out a soft, lightly creamy element.

    Finish

    Gentle smokiness. Relaxed. Like it. 

    Conclusion

    Made in the distillery’s straight-neck pot still and aged in refill American oak, here the smoke is an influencer rather than a dominant feature. Well worth a look. 

    Right place, right time

    Smelling smoked rice at St.Monans* on a spring day.
    * Yes, I know it’s the wrong coast, but try it and see what I mean.

    Invergordon 42 Years Old, Batch 15 (That Boutique-y Whisky Co)

    Invergordon 42 Years Old, Batch 15 (That Boutique-y Whisky Co)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    48%
    Production type
    Single grain whisky
    Region
    Highland
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose

    One of those rummy Invergordons, with full-on tutti-frutti ice cream, mango sorbet and a light lime touch in the background, before muscovado sugar is piled on. You can smell the calories. There’s more overt oakiness with water, lactone notes, char, slightly dry wood and latte.

    Palate

    Fat and rounded; in fact, slightly flabby. The alcohol adds a buzz, alongside custard tarts dusted with cinnamon. Soft and sweet. Water reveals a light distillate in the grip of wood, so leave neat.

    Finish

    Chocolatey and soft when neat, more astringent with water.

    Conclusion

    Perfect for those with a sweet tooth.

    Right place, right time

    Eating Ben & Jerry’s in the Algarve.

    Knockdhu 10 Years Old (Cadenhead)

    Knockdhu 10 Years Old (Cadenhead)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    56.5%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Fragrant & Floral
    Nose

    Lifted, and slightly hot. There’s a slight dry edge akin to an ice cream wafer, then lemon posset, along with white florals. Things become increasingly fresh and spring-like, with a touch of cut grass, then tangerine, raspberry. There’s more green edges with water, but everything remains fresh and clean.

    Palate

    Slightly hot, but to start with it adds energy rather than obscuring the flavour, though it slightly dominates the back palate. The floral elements are retained nicely, alongside some sweet spice. Water adds a powdery dryness on the sides, alongside cut flowers and fruit blossom. Rather delicious. 

    Finish

    Blonde tobacco and vanilla.

    Conclusion

    A wee charmer.

    Right place, right time

    A freshly bathed baby drying in the orchard (what, you don’t do that?).

    Strathclyde 27 Years Old (Cadenhead)

    Strathclyde 27 Years Old (Cadenhead)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    52.8%
    Production type
    Single grain whisky
    Region
    Lowland
    Flavour camp
    Fragrant & Floral
    Nose

    Clean with a firm underpinning – that steely, glacial quality of Strathclyde on show. Light, not overly obtrusive cask influence. There’re little hints of ripe banana, then pineapple and butterscotch. It retains that slight edge when water is added, along with banana skin.

    Palate

    Fatter than the nose suggests, and initially it’s almost chewy with some citric elements in the centre. Diluted, however, things become more angular, though it’s not as if you weren’t warned. Softens slightly towards the back.

    Finish

    Lightly sweet with some aluminium foil. Steely. 

    Conclusion

    Though the cask tries its best, it’s unable to unbend what is a pretty rigid spirit.

    Right place, right time

    Moonlight on Glasgow Green; a chib flashes in the dark.

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