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New Whiskies

Batch 213

by
Ardmore 20 Years Old (Single Malts of Scotland); Auchroisk 10 Years Old, Pedro Ximénez Finish (James Eadie); Imperial 29 Years Old (Single Malts of Scotland); Jura 21 Years Old, Tide; Jura 21 Years Old, Time; Miltonduff 9 Years Old (James Eadie)

Jura’s reinvention continues apace with the new Time and Tide, while rarely-spotted Ardmore and Imperial malts spark Dave Broom’s interest.

First up is a 20-year-old Ardmore bottled by Elixir Distillers for its Single Malts of Scotland range. ‘Classic’ Ardmore apple/Calvados notes mingle with smoke, which is only heightened with the addition of water. ‘If you have any sense, grab this,’ Broom recommends.

Distillery character remains at the fore with a 10-year-old Auchroisk bottling from James Eadie, which was finished for two years in a Pedro Ximénez Sherry butt. Vinous elements combine with a ‘punchy’ distillery character to create a well-balanced dram.

The second bottling from Single Malts of Scotland this week comes from closed distillery Imperial. With complex layers of tropical fruits, ‘buzzy’ heat and Vin Jaune, Broom deems this 29-year-old whisky ‘one of the best’ from the lost Speyside distillery.

Jura continues its revival with Time and Tide, a 21-year-old single malt duo that pays tribute to the distillery’s island home. Tide offers depth with black fruits and toasted cereal notes, while the travel retail exclusive Time is the more structured whisky of the pair with layers of caramel toffee, smoked barley and ripe fruit.

Miltonduff, a regular component in Ballantine’s blended Scotch, appears this week as a nine-year-old bottling from James Eadie. Fragrant notes reminiscent of a flower stall and light fruits create a summery dram comfortable ice-cold on its own, or in a long cocktail.

The playlist rambles from an autumnal Captain Beefheart to Lee Hazelwood and Nancy Sinatra’s sleazy summery lust, via Kate Bush’s sensuality, Julianna Barwick on the beach and the Silver Jews having second thoughts.

Scoring Explained

Overview

  • Ardmore 20 Years Old (Single Malts of Scotland)

    Score

    88

    Ardmore 20 Years Old (Single Malts of Scotland)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    51.6%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Highland
    Flavour camp
    Smoky & Peaty
    Nose

    Good Ardmore character from the start: sitting around the fire pit, woodsmoke on your clothes; then some tinned pear, sweet straw, apple and light golden syrup. Water brings out more smoke along with green/vegetal notes of pine and angelica.

    Palate

    A smoky start, and maybe punchier than you might expect from the nose. In the middle of the tongue the smoke parts, allowing the classic Ardmore apple/Calvados-like flavours to flow uninterrupted, along with raw sugar and hazelnut. Then the smoke returns, carrying them all with it towards the finish. Water lowers the smoky element and you see the balance more clearly.

    Finish

    Sage, ashes, apple.

    Conclusion

    There’s not enough Ardmore on the market. If you have any sense, grab this.

    Right place, right time

    Looking beyond the Cinder and Smoke.

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    Auchroisk 10 Years Old (James Eadie)

    Score

    85

    Auchroisk 10 Years Old (James Eadie)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    59.4%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Rich & Round
    Nose

    The Pedro Ximénez here adds not just raisin, but vinosity; in time, there’s turmeric and a light nuttiness mingling with dried flowers. All in all, the elements are well-balanced. In time there’s even a hint of blue cheese, plum jam and Seville orange. Water, it has to be said, makes things just a little ponderous, as it swings between fresh fruit and heaviness.

    Palate

    A sweet start. Again the thick, sweet, sugary vinous quality comes through as the Pedro Ximénez takes charge, but there’s just enough punch from the distillery character to balance. It dries slightly in the mid-palate, before billowing out once again. Water helps, adding spiciness and some citric heat, before the sweet/dried fruits flump back in.

    Finish

    Raisin and sultana.

    Conclusion

    Though a big, sweet, raisin-like mouthful, the tail isn’t totally wagging the dog.

    Right place, right time

    Autumn’s Child sings its song.

    Imperial 29 Years Old (Single Malts of Scotland)

    Score

    92

    Imperial 29 Years Old (Single Malts of Scotland)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    53.3%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose

    Another whisky with strong distillery character undisturbed by wood. Opens with Imperial’s signature American cream soda alongside an almost bland pear quality, then applesauce baby food and a light, green, leafy element (cucumber and celery) that steadily drifts towards more oxidised elements (oil/primed canvas). Water shows its layered complexities and brings out sweet citrus, greengage, preserved fruit and elegant maturity.

    Palate

    Has a sweet, buttery, almost waxy quality to start with, then mango puree and passion fruit, light, oxidised fruits and Vin Jaune. Just as you are relaxing into this expansive mid-palate there’s a buzz of heat. Water brings out those textured silky fruits and emphasises the fantastic length.

    Finish

    Tropical fruit.

    Conclusion

    Imperial is a rare beast these days. This is one of the best.

    Right place, right time

    Living in The Sensual World.

    Jura Tide, 21 Years Old

    Score

    84

    Jura Tide, 21 Years Old
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    46.7%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Islands
    Flavour camp
    Rich & Round
    Nose

    Rich and sweetly caramelised fruits. Some maple syrup, toffee, black fruits and a touch of nut. The wood is well-balanced here; it’s more about a concentration of fruits. Water brings out preserved lemon and coffee cake.

    Palate

    As you expect from the nose: big, sweet and soft, with toasted cereal and blackberry puree. There’s a coconut flesh-like dryness on the sides of the tongue, which balances the mix of malt extract, black cherry and nuts. Water brings out a slightly burnt note, then an almost meaty mushroom quality. It remains soft and sweet.

    Finish

    Clean with a light bite.

    Conclusion

    Aged in ex-Bourbon barrels, then finished in virgin American oak. A solid performer with good depth.

    Right place, right time

    Raised and happily Beached.

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

    Jura Time, 21 Years Old

    Score

    85

    Jura Time, 21 Years Old
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    47.2%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Islands
    Availability
    Global Travel Retail
    Flavour camp
    Rich & Round
    Nose

    Subtle smoke to start with. There’s more clearly-apparent Jura elements here: dry grass/bracken and cereal, before things then move towards hard Highland toffee, walnut and then some bitter chocolate. It maintains this chunkiness even with water, where an oilier mature element pokes out along with bergamot, and ginger stem in syrup.

    Palate

    A calm, soft start, then caramel toffee thickness, smoked barley and nuttiness. By the middle you’re getting into the ripe fruits. There’s more obvious structure here than on the Tide and it’s none the worse for it. Water slightly reduces the impact.

    Finish

    Blackcurrant and light smoke.

    Conclusion

    Rich, with some layering. Jura’s renaissance continues.

    Right place, right time

    I’m Getting Back into Getting Back into You.

    Miltonduff 9 Years Old (James Eadie)

    Score

    90

    Miltonduff 9 Years Old (James Eadie)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    46%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Fragrant & Floral
    Nose

    A mixture of mashed banana, then light floral notes and clover honey, before it springs to life with the aroma of a florist’s stall, and gentle, fleshy fruit. Water makes it spicier with light raspberry and peach, then a tiny hint of marzipan. It’s simply lovely.

    Palate

    Immediately fragrant and lifted. There’s carnation, apricot juice and light cinnamon on the back. By the middle of the palate things have become almost effervescent, with added icing sugar on light fruits, while retronasally there’s a perfumed whiff of iris, lily-of-the-valley and jasmine. Water makes things fresh, sweet and floral.

    Finish

    Light and clean.

    Conclusion

    Have it cold, have it long, but have it. Marked in its competitive set.

    Right place, right time

    A taste of Summer Wine.

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