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New Whiskies

Batch 186

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Tomatin 2006 Discovery, Compass Box Juveniles, Speyside Region 43-year-old from The Whisky Agency, Tomatin 17 and Strathmill 11 from Master of Malt, Strathmill 10 from James Eadie

This week, indie bottler Master of Malt (MoM) pitches a Strathmill and a Tomatin against James Eadie’s and Gordon & MacPhail’s bottlings from the same distilleries. Dave Broom also rates a pair of blended malts in Compass Box’s Juveniles and a Speyside from German bottler The Whisky Agency.

First up is Juveniles, a no-age-statement blended malt bottled for the Parisian wine bar of the same name. ‘Deliciously well-made,’ says Broom, ‘and yet another reason to head to Juveniles.’

The 43-year-old Speyside Region, a Whisky Exchange exclusive, fares even better, with a ‘comfortable, elegant’ structure on the palate, and a ‘hugely mature and vinous’ nose.   

A 10-year-old Strathmill from James Eadie veers this way and that, running hot with floral touches. ‘A little short,’ Broom concludes, ‘but, once you add water, an easy sipper.’

MoM’s own 11-year-old Strathmill effort falls slightly short, with a ‘strange’ and somewhat unbalanced palate. Broom feels it’s a little young, only showing ‘flashes’ of its potential.

An 11-year-old Tomatin from Gordon & MacPhail also seems ‘caught in two minds’. After deliberation, Broom eventually declares the whisky ‘very light, somewhat thin’ and ‘rather flat’.

Finally, MoM’s Tomatin 17-year-old maintains a strong alcohol burn, but water brings its fruitiness to life. However, it’s yet another whisky this week where ‘you can’t help but feel there is an underlying and as yet unresolved tension’.

This week’s playlist, like the whiskies, is tough to pin down, veering from cool jazz king Miles Davis to a melancholy Laura Veirs. Click on the links in 'Right Place, Right Time' to hear more.

Scoring Explained

Overview

  • Juveniles (Compass Box)

    Score

    88

    Juveniles (Compass Box)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    46%
    Production type
    Blended malt whisky
    Region
    n/a
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose

    Sweet, with some creamy oak, a little cereal, linden blossom and, just at the back, a charred note with some very slight mustiness (Sherry bodega). It then snaps back with apples, pear drops and soft fruit. In time, there’s sultana, custard tart and milk chocolate, while water brings forth tarte tatin hot from the oven, green mango and supple oak. Altogether rather elegant.

    Palate

    Starts estery-fresh with Williams pear, then begins to show that Compass Box American cream soda thing and a thick, tongue-clinging quality (probably from the Clynelish), with clingstone peaches dribbled with single cream, before you’re surprised by a fusillade of spices. It’s very much in three movements. Water brings these elements into harmony, alongside apricot and cinnamon. Soft and engaging.

    Finish

    Strawberry and stewing apple.

    Conclusion

    Deliciously well-made. Yet another reason to head to Paris and Juveniles Wine Bar, that home of great wines, food and raucous bonhomie.

    Right place, right time

    Feeling peckish while strolling On The Champs-Elysées.

    Available to buy from The Whisky Exchange. It may also be stocked by these other retailers.
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    Speyside Region 43 Years Old, 1973 (The Whisky Agency)

    Score

    92

    Speyside Region 43 Years Old, 1973 (The Whisky Agency)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    47.7%
    Production type
    Blended malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Availability
    Whisky Exchange exclusive
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose

    Hugely mature and vinous. A heady mix of botrytised Sémillon, stewing apricot, sweet persimmon, barley sugar, honeycomb and a decadent sense of decay. You wonder for a second if it’s a wine or a whisky, then comes a touch of fresh barley and Demerara sugar being blowtorched onto fresh pineapple. With a tiny drop of water you get baked quince, and things become brighter without ever losing this succulent, rancio-influenced oozing quality.

    Palate

    As you expect from the nose, but now you can see the layers and this sense of compression which you get from the best whiskies of this age, which can either become thinned-out and emaciated or, as here, find a comfortable, elegant resolution. Now there’s crème brȗlée dotted with black fruits and an increase in the soft waxiness. The water adds a heady scent, mingling day lilies, incense and a saffron-influenced herbal element. Superb.

    Finish

    Stewed fruits sprinkled with cinnamon.

    Conclusion

    Late harvest whisky or a butt of already-blended Speyside malts? Marked – like them all – in its competitive set.

    Right place, right time

    I’ll walk and talk in gardens all wet with rain, you Sweet Thing.

    Strathmill 10 Years Old, 2008 (James Eadie)

    Score

    81

    Strathmill 10 Years Old, 2008 (James Eadie)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    59.3%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Fragrant & Floral
    Nose

    After the initial whiff of Cow Gum you get oleo-saccharum (sugared citrus syrup), wet grass, then homemade wholemeal bread. It’s one of those whiskies whose angles seem to shift each time you look at it, switching from this very pure, albeit slightly spirity, high-toned quality to maltiness, then lilac and dusty ivy. A greener, vegetal element emerges when water is added, mixed with melon, sesame oil and pancake batter.

    Palate

    Sweeter and more floral, with some green apple to start with. Although there’s touches of coconut and gooseberry, it’s pretty hot. Water thankfully calms things down, allowing the more succulent fruits to develop, alongside a light chalkiness, like ivy on a plaster wall.

    Finish

    Hot, with touches of flowers.

    Conclusion

    A little short, but once you add water, an easy sipper.

    Right place, right time

    Hard to pin this Shape Shifter down.

    Strathmill 11 Years Old, 2006 (Master of Malt)

    Score

    77

    Strathmill 11 Years Old, 2006 (Master of Malt)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    58.9%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Fragrant & Floral
    Nose

    A distinct perfumed note, all Parma Violet and lavender, with a slight artificial lemon soapy quality. With water, some blanched almond, rouge and cut flowers.

    Palate

    A strange one. It’s so pale and yet delivers a fragrant, floral element alongside some oats and hazelnut. Has a similar quality to the Eadie, with dry malt suddenly pivoting towards citrus and light fruits. Quite tight in the middle of the mouth. It's another which is really hot, demonstrating the lack of any soothing balm from a slightly more active cask. Water brings the violet thing back again. It remains hot, even at high dilution, which buggers up the overall balance.

    Finish

    Tight and hot.

    Conclusion

    With more time this would have developed nicely, but it only shows flashes of what might have been.

    Right place, right time

    Miss Otis sits at her dressing table. She regrets nothing.

    Tomatin 11 Years Old, 2007, Discovery Range (G&M)

    Score

    79

    Tomatin 11 Years Old, 2007, Discovery Range (G&M)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    43%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Highland
    Flavour camp
    Fragrant & Floral
    Nose

    Soft and light, with some tinned apricot, kiwi fruit, elderflower and hyacinth, then comes some slightly plain oak which flattens that exuberance a little. In time, you get coriander powder. It seems undecided as to which way to go, and this restlessness continues when water is added. There’s some tinned rice pudding, grassiness, then bread and grist.

    Palate

    Very light and somewhat thin. It starts quite watery and dry, with flaky pastry, then green pear and some banana. Lacks a little mid-palate energy and, though water offers an initial lift, binding in some soft vanilla and more of the cut grass, overall it’s rather flat.

    Finish

    Cereal and lemon peel.

    Conclusion

    Caught in two minds.

    Right place, right time

    Wracked with adolescent angst, when will it start to Creep forward?

    Available to buy from The Whisky Exchange. It may also be stocked by these other retailers.

    Tomatin 17 Years Old, 2001 (Master of Malt)

    Score

    82

    Tomatin 17 Years Old, 2001 (Master of Malt)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    56.4%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Highland
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose

    There’s some maturity on show here, along with frothy apple juice, green peaches, sweet baking spices, then a yeasty element with green olives and lemon. There’s a similar tension here to the G&M, along with some spirity notes. Water drifts it towards the aroma of a young Cuban rum with green pepper, lime and slice.

    Palate

    Initially, there’s a slight waxy feel, then the alcohol chimes in (a theme this week) and rages across the back palate. There’s clearly potential, so add water. This improves things, adding a charred element and, though the heat still niggles away, now it’s adding spice and helps to lift the top notes, allowing the fruits to push through underneath.

    Finish

    Heat.

    Conclusion

    It’s another where you can’t help but feel there is an underlying and as yet unresolved tension.

    Right place, right time

    Stuck at an awkward dinner Party.

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