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New Whiskies

Batch 212

by
Cameronbridge 21 Years Old (James Eadie); Clynelish 9 Years Old (Single Malts of Scotland); Glenmorangie Cask 1784, 16 Years Old; Johnnie Walker Blue Label Ghost & Rare, Glenury Royal Edition; Royal Salute 21 Years Old The Lost Blend; Royal Salute 21 Years Old The Malts Blend

From light grain whiskies to syrupy malts, and blends featuring whiskies from lost distilleries, Dave Broom and Richard Woodard tag team six new releases with a variety of flavour profiles.

Things are off to a ‘zippy’ start with a sweet, crisp 21-year-old Cameronbridge grain whisky, bottled by James Eadie. It’s a light grain – perhaps the lightest of the batch – though the slight metallic nose disguises the whisky’s crisp ginger and lime elements.

The next dram, a nine-year-old Clynelish bottled as part of the Single Malts of Scotland range by Elixir Distillers, is a fruit salad that clings to the tongue, perfect for a summery day, says Broom.

Glenmorangie’s 1784 Cask is a ‘highly limited’ expression that was finished in a Pedro Ximénez Sherry butt for six years. With thick and syrupy berry fruits at the fore, a drop of water brings out balancing woody elements.

Johnnie Walker’s latest Blue Label Ghost & Rare blend features whisky from lost distillery Glenury Royal. It’s an exercise in patience, as Broom finds the whisky’s subtle depths require time to uncover.

Royal Salute’s latest 21-year-old expressions – The Lost Blend and The Malts Blend – are now permanent additions to the brand’s core range.

With a whisper of smoke lingering throughout the dram, Woodard finds The Lost Blend, which also contains whiskies from lost distilleries, is an excellent example of how to combine peated whisky in a blend. Royal Salute’s signature opulence is on display in The Malts Blend, which manages to alternate between ‘sophisticated’ and ‘explosive’.

The playlist starts in a Lowland morning with Annie Briggs and Holly Herndon before Donald Fagan gives things a slinky twist and Weyes Blood takes things widescreen. 

Scoring Explained

Overview

  • Cameronbridge 21 Years Old (James Eadie)

    Score

    82

    Cameronbridge 21 Years Old (James Eadie)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    54.4%
    Production type
    Single grain whisky
    Region
    Lowland
    Flavour camp
    Fragrant & Floral
    Nose

    There’s a slightly angular start to this, with some crisp bread crust/wheat chaff and intense green grassiness, before things soften a little into macadamia, smooth toffee and light syrup. In time there’s even a little injection of wild rose, but even when water is added there’s an unresolved tension between the edgy, green elements, and the soft silkiness.

    Palate

    It is much better on the palate, where the previously conflicting elements begin to work together. Things start in a fresh, lightly lime-like acidic fashion, then start to pick up an increasingly gingery note. The firmness seen on the nose remains but has shifted towards the back, giving the whole mix a balancing crispness. Water makes things sweeter, with some concentration and a zippy, brisk mid-palate with added green banana.

    Finish

    Light, then dusty spices.

    Conclusion

    Once you sort out that slight aluminium thing on the nose, you have a decent lifted grain.

    Right place, right time

    Drifting through the Lowlands

    (Dave Broom)

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    Clynelish 9 Years Old (Single Malts of Scotland)

    Score

    88

    Clynelish 9 Years Old (Single Malts of Scotland)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    55.7%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Highland
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose

    A fresh and appealing nose of apple puree, fresh citrus, prickly pear, melon, tinned pineapple and quince jam. In time there’s a hint of liquorice, then pencil shavings and that cow gum glue aroma you (or I) get from young Clynelish. Water softens things further into mashed banana, cane juice and a greener, more obviously youthful edge.

    Palate

    A very sweet start, with all of those soft orchard fruits immediately apparent. There’s also more mandarin and nectarine with a bright, almost mineral quality. By the middle of the tongue you’re hitting Clynelish’s classic tongue-clinging qualities with even more succulent, almost chewy fruits. It gets gingery hot by the end, but trying to dampen this down with water results in a loss of focus.

    Finish

    Lightly citric.

    Conclusion

    Light fruits on a summer’s day. Lovely. Marked in its competitive set.

    Right place, right time

    …in the Morning Sun.

    (Dave Broom)

    Glenmorangie 16 Years Old, Cask 1784

    Score

    90

    Glenmorangie 16 Years Old, Cask 1784
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    55%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Highland
    Flavour camp
    Rich & Round
    Nose

    A sumptuous mixture of stewing red and black fruits alongside red cherry juice and pomegranate. In time there’s some oak, chocolate and heavy maple syrup. Water adds in some stewing citrus, while a coffee element starts to build alongside the almond-like quality of cherry stone. Mature and elegant.

    Palate

    Really thick and unctuous, dripping with fruit syrups/jellied fruits. The tip is all purple berry fruits and melting chocolate that moves into sweetened coffee. There’s also noticeably more cinnamon/nutmeg spiciness. There’s just enough wood to add structure, which comes in handy when water is added as it adds a drying balance to the fruit-laden elements. Shows a lightly oxidised element.

    Finish

    Ripe and decadent.

    Conclusion

    A sipper for contemplation. It might seem slightly showy, but there’s enough grip. It ain’t cheap though.

    Right place, right time

    Slide around like a Slinky Thing.

    (Dave Broom)

    Johnnie Walker Blue Label Ghost & Rare, Glenury Royal Edition

    Score

    89

    Johnnie Walker Blue Label Ghost & Rare, Glenury Royal Edition
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    43.8%
    Production type
    Blended Scotch whisky
    Region
    n/a
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose

    Slightly shy to start with, so you have to concentrate to pick out the honeyed fruits, cashew, Oolong tea and tobacco leaf. There’s obvious depth, but it takes an age to open. In time there’s toffee and vanilla pod. Somewhat counterintuitively, water is your friend here. A tiny amount seems to concentrate, almost solidify, the aromas rather than dilute them. Now you get some tropical fruit, blueberry, sandalwood and a little drying hazelnut.

    Palate

    Like many blends this is more palate-driven (and once again is best with some water): all peach juice, butterscotch ice cream, stewed rhubarb and then, nutmeg. The tip is slightly oily, while the mid-palate shows the mature cedar-accented elements: a cigar box with that tobacco leaf note seen on the nose.

    Finish

    Clean, fruity, blackcurrant.

    Conclusion

    An exercise in subtleties, this demands your time.

    Right place, right time

    Sit, sip and pretend you’re at the Movies.

    (Dave Broom)

    Royal Salute 21 Years Old, The Lost Blend

    Score

    90

    Royal Salute 21 Years Old, The Lost Blend
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    40%
    Production type
    Blended Scotch whisky
    Region
    n/a
    Flavour camp
    Rich & Round
    Nose

    There’s that Royal Salute feeling of self-indulgence, but we’re in more savoury territory here, with a whisper of smoke undercutting the refined fruits, creamy vanilla and gentle spice. The overall effect is to lift and make everything more aromatic. Baked apples, cinnamon and a few morsels of vanilla fudge.

    Palate

    Silky-smooth. There’s earthy smoke from the off, that grows into more maritime notes of smoked eel. This is all beautifully integrated with robust spices – ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon – and an antique shop aroma coming from the wood. Seamless, but characterful. Water relegates the smoke in favour of sweet fruit, particularly dessert apple.

    Finish

    Sweetly fruited. A hint of mint.

    Conclusion

    The smoke makes this a bit of a Royal Salute outlier, although the trademark opulence remains. An excellent example of how to incorporate peated whisky into a blend.

    Right place, right time

    ‘Now the Shark Has Pretty Teeth, Dear…’

    (Richard Woodard)

    Royal Salute 21 Years Old, The Malts Blend

    Score

    88

    Royal Salute 21 Years Old, The Malts Blend
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    40%
    Production type
    Blended malt whisky
    Region
    n/a
    Flavour camp
    Rich & Round
    Nose

    Rich and opulent – even more so than the Royal Salute signature blend. Peaches in golden syrup, polished parquet and some aromatic spices – cumin and ground dried coriander. Also lighter notes of pear and Red Delicious apple, spiked with cloves and ginger. There’s an inescapable sense of density and richness. Water teases out orange zest and sweetshop aromas of Parma Violets and Love Hearts.

    Palate

    Savoury at first – spices and more obviously woody notes, then darker fruits, including plum and damson, all drenched in more of that golden syrup. A hint of date and prune, but somehow this manages never to be cloying. Mouthcoating.

    Finish

    Sweet, oozing caramel, relaxed, savoury, aromatic oak that’s also slightly drying. Explosive.

    Conclusion

    At times a beast, at times completely smooth and sophisticated. A sense of the core Royal Salute 21-year-old turned up to 11.

    Right place, right time

    It’s a perfectly well-behaved blend, Most of the Time.

    (Richard Woodard)

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