New Whiskies

Batch 110

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Batch 110

Dave Broom tries out four younger whiskies of varying quality, but is ultimately is won over by a 1972 Highland single malt and a must-have blend.

Starting on Speyside, he discovers two evenly-matched and pleasurable Duncan Taylor bottlings – a rich and figgy eight-year-old single malt, from an unspecified distillery, and a charming nine-year-old blended malt – which take him by surprise with their respective noses and leave him humming an ode to the burning of Auchindoun Castle.

Staying on Speyside, Broom struggles to see the sense in a premature bottling of young Inchgower, which is frustratingly lacking in impact.

Then he hops over to Islay to encounter an eight-year-old single malt from North Star spirits, which makes up in character for what it lacks in complexity.

No such troubles in the Highlands, where a 1972 Tomatin stands tall with its heavy, Cognac-like, floral nose and palate that goes from bitter almond to rich dark fruits. Reeking of rancio, with a charred, earthy finish, the distillery’s second Warehouse 6 offering leaves Broom amazed.

Finally, a 12-year-old William Cadenhead blend hits the mark with its Sherry influence and has Broom dreaming of a last-minute summer holiday to Spain with Jacques Tati.    

Scoring Explained

Overview

  • An Iconic Speyside 8 Years Old, Dimensions (Duncan Taylor)

    An Iconic Speyside 8 Years Old, Dimensions (Duncan Taylor)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    52.8%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Rich & Round
    Nose

    A clean and slightly nutty opening, with subtle sultana shadings (enough alliteration – Ed), wet leaves and light Seville orange on the side. Becomes quite savoury (surprising for one so young), with dried mango and a thick, sweet Sherry – Bristol Milk perhaps. Water brings the cereal element further forward, which adds some balancing dryness along with fruit and nut.

    Palate

    Big, rounded, quite fat and soft, with low tannins. There’s jags of spice, melting milk chocolate and a crunchy, rather than grippy, mid-palate. Takes water well and this addition both softens and lengthens, adding just a tiny hint of soapiness before sweet dark fruits and treacle toffee take over again.

    Finish

    Gentle, fig roll.

    Conclusion

    A really good, crowd-pleasing dram.

    Right place, right time

    Maw Broon relaxes after Christmas dinner with a glass of Sherry.

    Auchindoun 9 Years Old, Cask 1313903, Dimensions (Duncan Taylor)

    Auchindoun 9 Years Old, Cask 1313903, Dimensions (Duncan Taylor)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    53.6%
    Production type
    Blended malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Rich & Round
    Nose

    Sweet and dried fruits combined with Russet apple, fresh fig and a perky acidity which takes you into dry oloroso territory. There’s some complexity (perhaps surprising, given its age). It’s fresher and leaner than the Iconic Speyside with just a tiny touch of smoke and some oak-driven nuttiness.

    Palate

    Big, soft and sweet, with blue fruits, and damson jam. Very soft and gentle and, while cask-driven, has real charm and balance. The addition of water brings out some sandalwood and dustier tannins and, while it makes things drier, I think it’s better for it.

    Finish

    Long, with Assam tea (with added sugar obviously).

    Conclusion

    Named after the site of a battle and commemorated in a ballad, Auchindoun is close to Dufftown, which might give you an idea which distillery it is from (or teaspooned from). Whatever the case, it’s a pleasure to drink.

    Right place, right time

    ‘As I came in by Fiddichside…’ Take it away, Alasdair Roberts.

    Inchgower 9 Years Old, Hepburn’s Choice (Hunter Laing)

    Inchgower 9 Years Old, Hepburn’s Choice (Hunter Laing)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    46%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Fragrant & Floral
    Nose

    Very pale, with a new make edginess to the nose. Slightly hot, even at 46% abv, which along with the colour shows low cask influence. In time, there’s a hint of diluted ginger ale, a little green pepper (capsicum) and this sense of elements still coming together. You feel awkwardly intrusive in nosing this. With water, after the new make element recedes a little, there are frustrating hints of budding fruits.

    Palate

    A light start, with a touch of sweetness in the centre of the tongue. Tinned pear juice. Quite fragile though, a quality which is accentuated when water is added.

    Finish

    Short, some apple and a light mineral touch.

    Conclusion

    There’s nothing wrong with young whisky – look at the other examples this week. It’s knowing when (and when not) to bottle. Here, for me, the cask isn’t providing any impact, while the distillery character is low in terms of expressiveness. It’s a classic example of a young whisky going through a dumb period. You could speed things up by recasking, or just wait. I really can’t see the commercial sense in bottling a whisky at this point in its development.

    Right place, right time

    A peely-wally boy sitting on a bucket in the rain.

    Islay Single Malt 8 Years Old (North Star Spirits)

    Islay Single Malt 8 Years Old (North Star Spirits)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    58.3%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Islay
    Flavour camp
    Smoky & Peaty
    Nose

    Light and clean, with assertive smoke but sufficient cask influence to add some weight and mellowness, along with some mineral, salty elements. Becomes more green and fern-like, with seashore elements. With water you pick up perfumed peat smoke, which brings to mind catnip, burning sage, some bay (laurel), as well as that salinity.

    Palate

    More rounded and silky than the nose suggests, with the cask adding a lightly creamy and sweet mid-palate. It’s very peppery though – more Talisker-like, in fact, just balanced sufficiently by some bland, palate-easing fruit. Water pushes all of the smoke to the back.

    Finish

    Lightly acidic, some seaweed, pepper and peat.

    Conclusion

    OK, it could maybe do with a little more complexity, but there’s character, sweetness and length here. Would make a great Highball.

    Right place, right time

    Skimming stones on Lochindaal.

    Tomatin 1972, Warehouse 6 Collection

    Tomatin 1972, Warehouse 6 Collection
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    42.08%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Highland
    Flavour camp
    Rich & Round
    Nose

    OK. It would be wrong to compare this with anything else in this flight. Hugely complex and reeking of rancio, old tropical fruits and leather. It has a dense, drowsy, heavily floral aroma which brings to mind pre-phylloxera Cognac, and is then amplified by a growing waxiness. Glossy, rich and refined, and massively complex. I hesitated to taste, worried that the palate might not live up to this…

    Palate

    …but it does, albeit in a slightly more diminished way. There’s some bitter almond to start with and the slow reveal of those tropical fruits, which now have an extra layer of richer, darker, almost prune-like fruits. Thick and almost liqueur-like with some hazelnut on show, it has huge length and, while the tannins inevitably play a part, they are (initially at least) relatively restrained. In time they become slightly more forceful and close the fruit down, meaning this is one for mid-term contemplation.

    Finish

    A light charred note. Drier and deeper, moving into earthiness.

    Conclusion

    An amazing glass from Tomatin… again. The product of three Sherry hoggies from dunnage warehouse six. Single layer of casks, earth floor, damp conditions. Cognac, y’see!

    Right place, right time

    A Victorian explorer heads east of Suez.

    William Cadenhead 12 Years Old Blend, Batch 3

    William Cadenhead 12 Years Old Blend, Batch 3
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    46%
    Production type
    Blended Scotch whisky
    Region
    n/a
    Flavour camp
    Rich & Round
    Nose

    Good Sherry cask influence here. Rich and generous, with some walnut and raisin, gingerbread/moist Soreen malt loaf along with allspice and a fat, oily element. There’s a whiff of smoke and a suspicion that some seriously mature stock has been used. Water adds a more resinous note, along with ginger and chocolate.

    Palate

    Sweet and rounded with some nut. There’s rich, soft fruits and cherry pipe smoke, some plum jam, light raisin. Everything’s chewy and soft. A drop of water doesn’t harm things. If anything, the little grip it pulls out adds some control.

    Finish

    Soft and just slightly short, but I’m being picky… again. 

    Conclusion

    A great everyday dram. Every drinks shelf should have one.

    Right place, right time

    Monsieur Hulot en vacances en Jerez. 

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