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New Whiskies

Batch 222

by
Glenmorangie's the Accord, Elementa and Tribute bottlings, Cu Bocan Creations #1 and #2, and Benromach 50 Year Old

Dave Broom opts for the unconventional this week, as a smoky Glenmorangie rubs shoulders with Cù Bòcan’s new limited editions and a rare venerable Benromach.

First up, the 50-year-old Benromach (1969 vintage) impresses with tropical fruit on the nose and light, dusty smoke on the palate. Although, ‘after 50 years, things are inevitably becoming a little more fragile’.

Next, the first of a duo of new experimentaal Cù Bòcans has been aged in stout and Moscatel casks. It’s an strange combination pulled off, rated ‘well worth seeking out’ by Broom.

The second, matured in Japanese shochu and virgin oak, is all texture rather than taste, another radical experiment that ends up an exercise in restraint. Recommended once again.

Glenmorangie’s series of new travel retail exclusives begins with the Accord, a fruit bomb with ‘enough structure to stop any flabbiness creeping in’. Sweet, thick and sticky.

The Elementa leaves the viscosity behind in favour of passionfruit and Jaffa cakes. ‘Understated compared to Accord,’ says Broom. ‘It’s ’morangie in quiet guise.’

Finally, the Tribute is a peated, smoky Glenmorangie designed to evoke the distillery’s Highland peat-fuelled past. ‘It has the effect of a comfortable old woollen jumper’, says Broom, but ultimately becomes one for the ginger ale.

This week’s playlist becomes quite light and bouncy in time, moving away from the slower stylings of Television to post-punk Swell Maps and a lively cover from Karen Dalton. Hit the links in ‘Right Place, Right Time’ for more.

Scoring Explained

Overview

  • Benromach 50 Years Old

    Score

    88

    Benromach 50 Years Old
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    44.6%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose

    It arrives in graceful and calm mood with a mature, oxidised beeswax and tropical fruit accent that aligns it with old Convalmores, though here there’s more apple and a tiny hint of woodsmoke. Soon there’s big hits of vetiver, cedar and tonka. As it opens so it deepens into light oak and sweet dried fruits all the time flirting with savouriness. Water – a drop is all that’s needed – makes things more lifted without losing any of the complex, mature element, while adding in bergamot and old apple barrel. Really glorious.

    Palate

    Lighter than the nose suggests and slightly drier too. Notes of dried lavender, some herbal elements and a little dusty as it begins to show its age. That said, there’s still some resinous elements, a light balsamic touch, raspberry and more of that light smoke.

    Finish

    Drying and short.

    Conclusion

    The nose is stunning, though after 50 years, things are inevitably becoming a little more fragile.

    Right place, right time

    That aroma… you get Carried Away.

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    Cù Bòcan, Creation #1

    Score

    88

    Cù Bòcan, Creation #1
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    46%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Highland
    Flavour camp
    Smoky & Peaty
    Nose

    Rich amber (all natural colour) with a smokiness from the start that’s linked to roasted barley notes and chocolate, balanced by concentrated peachy fruit. Seems weighty and rounded with a slight earthiness in the background, dying embers, a hint of chicory coffee and light tangerine. As it develops, so things become sweeter with candied peels bringing a calming influence. Light dilution brings out marmalade, coffee and woodsmoke.

    Palate

    Has a soft start before a rich ball of cacao and espresso fills the mouth. This then leads into a gently sweet mid-palate all bound together by the smoke. Big and quite bold, but balanced.

    Finish

    Long, lightly smoked, but sweet.

    Conclusion

    Cù Bòcan, aged separately in Black Isle Imperial Stout and Bacalhôa Moscatel de Setúbal casks, then blended. It could seem gimmicky, but it works and is even exemplary – the stout linking to the smoke while the Setúbal gives a necessary balance. Well worth seeking out.

    Right place, right time

    Orthodoxy? Ripped & Torn.

    Cù Bòcan, Creation #2

    Score

    87

    Cù Bòcan, Creation #2
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    46%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Highland
    Flavour camp
    Smoky & Peaty
    Nose

    It’s remarkable how some smells are textural – and this is one of those. There’s a whisper of smoke here but what comes out first is a soft rounded mellowness with soft pear, green apple and lychee, given lift by bright citric elements coming through. There’s a tiny amount of spice and, in time, a light pine/larch note which gives a fresh green element to the mix. Water picks up on this before everything relaxes into warm hazelnut oil.

    Palate

    As the nose has already told us, texture is key here. The pear is there, but things become much sweeter, creamy and concentrated in the middle of the tongue. Soft, silky, sweet, with balanced smoke. This is an exercise in restraint and really rather fine.

    Finish

    Smoked pear.

    Conclusion

    If a blend of stout and Setúbal seems out there, imagine ageing a whisky in shochu casks, then blending them with the same whisky in virgin oak. That’s what’s happened here and, again, it works a treat. The shochu gives the texture, the virgin oak some sweetness and spice, but isn’t as aggressive as it can be. Check it out.

    Right place, right time

    Whisky as Sensation.

    Glenmorangie The Accord

    Score

    88

    Glenmorangie The Accord
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    43%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Highland
    Availability
    Travel retail exclusive
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose

    Thick, sweet and quite sticky, with syrups oozing from a rhubarb (maybe plum) crumble. Remains sweet with honey and metheglin, peach tart, then a tayberry-like fruit, ripe apple, orange or osmanthus and finally a drowsy hint of jasmine. Water reduces the thickness and brings out peach skin fragrance, redcurrant jelly and quince.

    Palate

    Very sweet, with those juices now showing a darker edge: blackberry, medjool date, melting chocolate. Chewy, but there’s enough structure to stop any flabbiness creeping in.

    Finish

    Light raspberry and chocolate.

    Conclusion

    A fruit bomb. Grab one next time you are flying.

    Right place, right time

    How Sweet It Is.

    Glenmorangie The Elementa

    Score

    86

    Glenmorangie The Elementa
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    43%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Highland
    Availability
    Travel retail exclusive
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose

    Classic Glenmorangie passionfruit alongside some chamomile, tarte tatin, kumquat and a little touch of Jaffa cake (orange and chocolate for those of you not lucky enough to have tried them) and light honey. There’s oak notes, even a touch of char, overall dry and lightly crisp. Water brings the citrus more into focus, along with the oak.

    Palate

    Soft and quite light. There’s some chalkiness in the centre that’s reminiscent of freshly-starched laundry which sets itself opposite the slightly floral top note. Best having water on the side, for it brings in more of the charred oak.

    Finish

    Banana bread and peach, then crisps up.

    Conclusion

    Understated compared to Accord. It’s ’morangie in quiet guise.

    Right place, right time

    A moment for Quiet Music.

    Glenmorangie The Tribute

    Score

    82

    Glenmorangie The Tribute
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    43%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Highland
    Availability
    Travel retail exclusive
    Flavour camp
    Smoky & Peaty
    Nose

    Smoky Glenmo? Why not. This starts quite funky with a slight cabbage, singed bubble and squeak note and some earthiness, alongside angelica root and horseradish. Water helps to sweeten things up, adding cooked apple and some Brazil nut, while the smoke is now more bonfire-like.

    Palate

    Less confrontational, with a maltier element than you are used to with Glenmorangie which takes it into, oddly, genever territory (a Netherlands liquor, albeit one with peat added). It has the effect of a comfortable old woollen jumper. There’s some nuttiness, still the rooty elements and while there is some of the vegetal aspect, it is more controlled. Water sweetens things up – the smoke now rising from green sticks before balancing sweetly on the back palate.

    Finish

    Light smoke.

    Conclusion

    Genever? Try with ginger ale or as a Martinez. Bet it works.

    Right place, right time

    They Came From The North bearing confusing news.

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