Advertisement
New Whiskies

Batch 206

by and
Ben Nevis 22 Years Old (Single Malts of Scotland); Benrinnes 13 Years Old, Bual Madeira Finish (James Eadie); Benrinnes 13 Years Old, Marsala Finish (James Eadie); Glen Keith 23 Years Old (Adelphi); The Macallan Boutique Collection 2019; Mortlach 13 Years Old (Thompson Brothers)

Dave Broom rummages about in a pick ‘n’ mix of independent bottlings from Single Malts of Scotland, James Eadie, Adelphi and Thompson Brothers, while Becky Paskin jets to Dubai to sample Macallan’s Boutique Collection 2019 single malt – all in this week’s new whisky tasting notes.

Kicking things off is a 22-year-old Ben Nevis bottling from the Single Malts of Scotland range by independent bottler Elixir Distillers. It’s a meaty dram, although water brings the whisky’s citric and grassy elements to the fore.

Two 13-year-old Benrinnes bottlings from James Eadie come next, the first having been finished in an ex-Bual Madeira cask, the second in an ex-Marsala hogshead. Broom finds the first dram a pleasant, if not fully integrated whisky, whereas the second is bolder and fruitier, with a good balance between its distillery character and cask finish.

Everything’s peachy with the next whisky, a 23-year-old single malt from resurrected Speyside distillery Glen Keith, by the bottling arm of Adelphi. Fragrant oolong tea and tobacco help balance the whisky’s estery and overripe stone fruits.

Next up is the no-age-statement Macallan Boutique Collection malt, available from the Speyside distillery and from its newly-opened shop in Dubai International Airport. Paskin finds it a rich whisky that coats the palate in warm baking spices.

A 13-year-old Mortlach from distilling and bottling duo Thompson Brothers brings a fierce finish to this week’s tasting. Its high abv makes it a difficult whisky to analyse, but the addition of water washes away its complexity.

The playlist this week pays tribute to two giants of music who died recently – Dr John and Roky Erickson – showcasing catchy hits by psychedelic rock pioneers The 13th Floor Elevators and from Irish musician Seoirse Ó Dochartaigh.

Scoring Explained

Overview

  • Ben Nevis 22 Years Old (Single Malts of Scotland)

    Score

    86

    Ben Nevis 22 Years Old (Single Malts of Scotland)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    58.5%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Highland
    Flavour camp
    Rich & Round
    Nose

    It starts meaty, a vegan-unfriendly mixture of mutton stock, gravy, and steak-and-kidney pudding (rather than pie, because of a suet-like quality) and, in time, biltong. Then comes roast chestnut and, finally, dried orange peel. Water brings the oak forward, adding a slightly twiggy quality, and while you lose that density, there is now the aroma of an old antique shop.

    Palate

    Unsurprisingly, there’s a thick, rich and generous start, with pricks of citrus and spice rub before the meatiness returns (it’s now mole sauce). Water takes things in a more savoury direction, but now you get some sweet, wet grassiness, then the bitter orange.

    Finish

    Gentian and dry grass. Slightly greasy.

    Conclusion

    Bold, if not massively complex. Completely bonkers, but very Ben Nevis.

    Right place, right time

    Creates a huge Reverberation in the chest.

    Dave Broom

    Advertisement

    Benrinnes 13 Years Old, Bual Madeira Finish (James Eadie)

    Score

    80

    Benrinnes 13 Years Old, Bual Madeira Finish (James Eadie)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    56.1%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose

    Onion skin in colour. Slightly shy, with light touches of fresh fruit, then a little apricot stone and, in time, figs, black cherry and an earthy quality. Water brings out more strawberry, but the rooty dustiness remains.

    Palate

    Precise, dry and slightly heathery to start with, before picking up fruit tea and blackcurrant (leaf and fruit). It seems slightly stunned at being taken out of one cask and put into another, and only shakes itself together on the back-palate, where you get carrot cake and some raisin. Dilution brings red cherry and marzipan, while the wood starts to tighten its grip.

    Finish

    Ripe fruits.

    Conclusion

    Pleasant, but a sense that things aren’t quite integrated.

    Right place, right time

    Goes this way, then that. A proper Roller Coaster.

    Dave Broom

    Benrinnes 13 Years Old, Marsala Finish (James Eadie)

    Score

    86

    Benrinnes 13 Years Old, Marsala Finish (James Eadie)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    55.6%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Rich & Round
    Nose

    A chunkily sweet offering, with lots of dried blue fruit, energy bar and touches of cooked plum and raspberry, alongside date, apple skin and pecan. Altogether bolder than the Bual finish. Remains thick and fruity even when water is added, with similar stone fruit kernels and rooty elements to the Bual, as the distillery begins to muscle its way in.

    Palate

    Rounded and quite heavy. Some prune elements, stewed plum, touches of heather and thick grape concentrate. There’s a balancing, lightly drying quality on the mid-palate. Water amplifies the vinous elements, with added dark fruits.

    Finish

    Dark and slightly earthy fruit.

    Conclusion

    Good integration and balance between the finishing cask and distillery character.

    Right place, right time

    Sometimes it pays off to Mess Around.

    Dave Broom

    Glen Keith 23 Years Old (Adelphi)

    Score

    92

    Glen Keith 23 Years Old (Adelphi)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    60.5%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose

    Chewy to start with: all boiled sweets, hints of agave syrup, warm barley straw and lemon, before it relaxes into ridiculously waxy fruits. Pillow-soft, with overripe peach, the lightly acidic element of passionfruit then, in time, a mixture of anise and banoffee pie. The addition of water reveals its mature elements, along with added sandalwood, dried apricot, marzipan/Bakewell tart and those tropical fruits.

    Palate

    Soft and unctuous. It smooths its way in, trailing lightly fragrant oolong tea, mango lassi and then tobacco. It sweetens rather than dries as it progresses. In time, you get bruised peaches and super-ripe mango. Superb balance and, even at 60%, is magnificently drinkable. Water helps to reveal supple tannins, Greek yoghurt with pine honey, kiwi fruit and yet more of the peachiness.

    Finish

    Long and elegant, with lemon and cooked fruits.

    Conclusion

    A phenomenal dram. Adelphi does it again.

    Right place, right time

    One sip and I’ve Got Levitation.

    Dave Broom

    Macallan Boutique Collection 2019

    Score

    83

    Macallan Boutique Collection 2019
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    52%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose

    Sweetly spiced, with candied ginger and cinnamon swirled into vanilla custard with cooked green apples. There’s a nutty element from roasted hazelnuts in the centre, while a soft, floral breeze of orange blossom and manuka honey gives a refreshing lift.

    Palate

    Dry spices from the ex-oloroso Sherry casks warm the tongue, with more of that cinnamon and ginger playing with anise. Rich and chewy, it coats the mouth with orange-flavoured toffee, smooth milk chocolate and freshly-grated nutmeg.

    Finish

    A touch dry, with a tingle from those warm baking spices.

    Conclusion

    A well-choreographed dance between light wood spices and Sherry sweetness. One to pick up if you find yourself travelling through Dubai, or at the Macallan distillery.

    Right place, right time

    A hazy, summer afternoon spent Lazing amongst the wildflowers.

    Becky Paskin

    Mortlach 13 Years Old, 2005 (Thompson Brothers)

    Score

    79

    Mortlach 13 Years Old, 2005 (Thompson Brothers)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    57.5%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Fragrant & Floral
    Nose

    One of those slightly flowery Mortlachs, mixing that fragrance with tinned bamboo shoots, grass, mint cordial, rosemary and lemon. There’s a touch of jasmine, but also a slightly perfume-like quality that starts a little like Dior Eau Sauvage, but heads towards cleaning products. With water there’s more of a stony quality, with unripe pear/juice. Intriguing.

    Palate

    Intense, and while there’s a suggestion of sweetness, the lack of any great wood influence means there’s pretty fierce alcohol, resulting in it being slightly hard to get into. Add some water and you can get cool mint and lemon on the tip, sugared almond in the middle, and then the floral notes, though you lose the bracing heat; the dilution also eliminates any complexity.

    Finish

    Hot, tight and fizzy. Lacks maturity.

    Conclusion

    Under certain conditions Mortlach can switch from meaty/sulphury to floral. This is an example of this phenomenon, making it fascinating from a geeky point of view, though it really should have been left in the cask for a few more years.

    Right place, right time

    A distortion of a Familiar Reality.

    Dave Broom

This article contains affiliate links, which means we may earn a small commission if a reader clicks through and makes a purchase. All our journalism is independent and is in no way influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative.
Advertisement
Scroll To Top