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New Whiskies

Batch 220

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Carn Mor Mannochmore, Longmorn and Glentauchers, Benrinnes 18, Clynelish 9 Years Old, Glenallachie 15

Dave Broom stops by Speyside this week, welcoming a return of Morrison & MacKay’s Càrn Mòr range. He also samples a new core range entry from GlenAllachie alongside more indies from Cadenhead and the Thompson brothers.

First up is an 18-year-old Benrinnes, bottled by Cadenhead. Broom finds confectionary aromas giving way to smoked meats. In short – ‘Really good’.

Next, a nine-year-old Clynelish from Thompson Bros. is considered ‘a decent bracer’ with fizzing alcohol, citrus and a light salinity. Down the hatch – responsibly, says Broom.

GlenAllachie’s Pedro Ximénez-matured 15-year-old sits much richer, with ‘fruit skin and leather’ before the Sherry notes kick in. Christmas cake fans will feel right at home.

Into the trio of single cask Càrn Mòrs, and Broom finds a nine-year-old Glentauchers to have ‘excellent balance and elegance for a dram of this age’, with a long, raisin-like finish.

A Longmorn from 2009, however, hasn’t yet reached its full potential, with ‘tinned peach fleshiness’ on the nose while just shy of those signature ripe berry fruit notes. One to keep neat, suggests Broom.

Finally, a Mannochmore matured in a single hogshead is a bouquet of wild roses and banana chews. ‘An excellent nose not quite matched by the palate,’ says Broom, as its delicacy fights for dominance with the alcohol.

This week’s playlist remembers the late guitar genius Neal Casal, of the Chris Robinson Brotherhood. Gone too soon. Click on the links in ‘Right Place, Right Time’ to hear more.

Scoring Explained

Overview

  • Benrinnes 18 Years Old (Cadenhead)

    Score

    89

    Benrinnes 18 Years Old (Cadenhead)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    57.3%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose

    Sweet start with Toffee Crisp, orange peel, white chocolate and freshly-planed oak. In time you get some preserved lemon as things start to fill out, growing in presence while becoming funkier and a little meatier – think pork and apple sauce.

    Palate

    It has that almost smoky, meaty element which the new make sulphur becomes over time. Rich yet soft, it unfolds itself on the tongue and like many examples of the Bens it really only starts to perform here with the signature (albeit light) earthy tones adding depth, while this pithy brightness gives lift. There’s no sense of heat despite the high strength.

    You need to add water to get the full weight and personality. Now there’s some moorland flavours, with hints of dark fruits and a savoury edge that’s always gently pushed to one side by a softer vanilla accent. Oblique.

    Finish

    Long and fruited.

    Conclusion

    After 18 years, this is the Ben starting to move from the brightness of youth to the depth of maturity. Really good.

    Right place, right time

    Look up the mountain… Badlands Here We Come.

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    Clynelish 9 Years Old (Thompson Bros)

    Score

    84

    Clynelish 9 Years Old (Thompson Bros)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    58%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Highland
    Flavour camp
    Fragrant & Floral
    Nose

    Distinct – and indeed distinctive – snuffed candle aroma to kick things off, then some pineapple upside-down cake, a hint of vanilla, starched linen and, in time, lime leaves sprinkled with salt crystals. There’s a touch of heat as well, though for all of that things remain on the more, er… discreet side of the fence. When you add water there’s an intriguing mix of blonde tobacco, coconut, more of the pineapple and then green notes, all sappiness and unripe pear.

    Palate

    The texture is already there, giving a softly clinging quality to the tip of the tongue that then gives way to a hit of fizzing alcohol, citrus and a light salinity. It becomes really dry and needs water to resolve these disparate elements, while adding in some soft fruitiness.

    Finish

    Old Bay (spice) and ginger beer.

    Conclusion

    Fresh and lively. A decent bracer to be taken swiftly – though in a responsible manner of course.

    Right place, right time

    Even after One Hundred Days Of Rain the sun will shine over a silvery sea.

    GlenAllachie 15 Years Old

    Score

    85

    GlenAllachie 15 Years Old
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    46%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Rich & Round
    Nose

    And so to this week’s PX cask (where are they all coming from all of a sudden?) albeit tempered with oloroso. However, it is the former which initially takes charge with stewing plums, prune with added damson jam and blueberry syrup. There’s also glimpses of Seville orange and a twang of kombucha and light oak. Water calms it down a little adding in clove, allspice and candied peels. Christmas has come early.

    Palate

    A fat fruitiness to start with but there’s more obvious tannic structure which is needed to prevent things becoming flabby. There’s also a slightly savoury edge to it alongside fruit skin, leather and then the PX takes hold in the middle. Water amplifies this; steeped raisins, chocolate and black cherry.

    Finish

    Soft and sweet.

    Conclusion

    The latest addition to the GlenAllachie range. If you like ‘em soft and fruity then this is for you.

    Right place, right time

    Beware, Oh Take Care they cried, but there was no need to fear.

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

    Glentauchers 9 Years Old, Càrn Mòr (Morrison & MacKay)

    Score

    90

    Glentauchers 9 Years Old, Càrn Mòr (Morrison & MacKay)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    47.5%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Rich & Round
    Nose

    Starts off soft and dry, with super-ripe dark berries, hawthorn jelly, stewed rhubarb, sultana cake and fresh black Muscat. The wood is there but handled lightly. In time, you’re picking up deeper notes of chestnut purée but also dried flowers. Everything seems perfectly poised and never overstated. In time there’s a wave of hot chocolate, while adding a little water gives a fragrant lift (those flowers) as well as added pipe tobacco and dried red fruits.

    Palate

    Manages to be full and yet, somehow, also restrained (compared to the GlenAllachie for example) with sufficient sweet dried fruits to give depth, coffee to add fragrance, lightly drying tannins for gentle grip. This is about flow and balance. Water takes all of this and adds sweeter black fruits and depth.

    Finish

    Long and raisin-like.

    Conclusion

    Excellent balance and elegance for a dram of this age.

    Right place, right time

    Don’t Mind The Black Clouds, it’s under control.

    Longmorn 10 Years Old, Càrn Mòr (Morrison & MacKay)

    Score

    86

    Longmorn 10 Years Old, Càrn Mòr (Morrison & MacKay)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    47.5%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose

    Mature Longmorn’s full, ripe berry fruits haven’t quite fully ripened here (at least to start with), but there’s some of the same tinned peach fleshiness which you see with its neighbour Glen Elgin, along with light (drying) oak. In time you get some cake mix or cookie dough and then, slowly, tayberry. It’s subtle. Water adds in some Victoria plum crumble.

    Palate

    It starts slightly closed, with a mix of cold pastry/chalk and only starts to get going fully in the mid-palate. As it expands, so you can see the gentle fruits and glimpses of the mature character starting to build and deepen. There’s even a slight oxidised element. Water brings out more apple and some of the toffee, though I’d keep things neat.

    Finish

    Sweetens up.

    Conclusion

    An easy-going young Longmorn.

    Right place, right time

    Let It Fall.

    Mannochmore 9 Years Old, Càrn Mòr (Morrison & MacKay)

    Score

    85

    Mannochmore 9 Years Old, Càrn Mòr (Morrison & MacKay)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    47.5%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Fragrant & Floral
    Nose

    This has a firm and fairly dry opening – rustling corn husks – though as it opens you start to get banana chews as delicate aromas shyly reveal themselves: fresh pineapple, lemon, wild rose and, with water, vanilla ice cream and apple.

    Palate

    That almost bashful quality is there on the palate as well, though here those fragrant floral elements jostle against the warmth of the alcohol. Adding some water allows it to relax a little especially in the middle of the tongue without losing any of the brightness. It remains lifted, now with some green grassiness.

    Finish

    Spiciness with some rose.

    Conclusion

    An excellent nose not quite matched by the palate, but it has real charm.

    Right place, right time

    A Narcissus Soaking Wet.

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