Tag Archives: Caramel

Ben Bracken, Triple Pack, Single Malts, 40%

I’m a big fan of miniatures.

The opportunity to try out a range of styles – or in this case regions – before committing to a full bottle is always a treat.

Having said that. I’d already ruled out buying more supermarket own brand labels. They tend to be chill filtered with added caramel & whilst perfectly fine – they lack finesse.

But spotting these miniatures in my local Lidl.

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A tasty trio! c/othewhiskeynut

I couldn’t pass them by.

Nosing the Speyside first – I choose to do Speyside – Highland – Islay starting from mildest to strongest flavours as recommended by many tasting journals – revealed a pleasant easy honeyed malt.

On a blind tasting this would sit well with any big label brand.

The palate was a bit watery & insignificant to begin with – common to all three malts – before a typical Speyside softly sweet & gentle flavour profile presented itself.

There was even a slight dry spice on the short finish.

Not bad at all.

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Which region is your preference? c/othewhiskeynut

The Highland gave a bit more malt biscuity depth to the proceedings.

The Islay – which was my favourite – offered a straight forward satisfying smoky hit.

Each gave a perfectly decent snapshot of the regional styles – perhaps lacking in depth & complexity – but nonetheless an extremely enjoyable way of discerning your palates preferences.

Nice one Aldi!

Slàinte

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Glenfiddich Reserve Cask & Select Cask, Travel Retail, Single Malt, 40%

I picked up these a while ago.

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Travel retail miniatures c/othewhiskeynut

Travel retail NAS – non aged statement – offerings seem to be the ‘thing’ right now.

Being a category leader – I thought I’d give them a go.

Bad decision.

This is soft, sweet easy going malt for the masses.

Any sparkle of life & vitality has been sucked out by added caramel & chill filtration.

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Glenfiddich Reserve Cask c/othewhiskeynut

The Reserve Cask did have a prickly spice on the finish to give it a lift – but the Select Cask was just sweet, honeyed, biscuity malt.

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Glenfiddich Select Cask c/othewhiskeynut

Fine if you like that sort of thing – but no – they did nothing for me.

Sláinte

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OVD Rum, 40%

In almost every bar, hotel, licenced restaraunt & off-license I went to in Scotland last summer OVD Rum was there.

It’s as ubiquitous as Haggis or Irn-Bru.

First blended & bottled in Dundee back in 1838 using rum distilled in Guyana – OVD stands for Old Vatted Demerara.

OVD twitter
Image c/o@OVDDarkRumtwitter

Demerara Rum is a style displaying sweet & funky qualities – not too heavy nor too light – generally classified as a dark rum.

Interestingly wooden pot stills are used to this day in Guyana to distill rum – creating a link to the past in the present day.

I ordered a glass.

Dark rum indeed!

Definitely sweet – too caramelly sweet for my liking – but with an underlying soft funkiness.

The palate started off silky smooth.

Only on the back end did an earthy, vegetal funkiness peck through the overpowering caramel to give a bit of character & complexity.

OVD notice
Image c/oebay

An easy drinking accessible sweet rum which obviously has the Scottish market covered.

Sláinte

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Header image courtesy of whiskyexchange.

Bimber, 1st Release, 54.2%

OK.

I’ve got this sample bottle.

I deliberately don’t look up the internet to find anything about it.

It’s just me, the whisky, and my palate.

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Bimber is a new distillery in London. c/othewhiskeynut

Lovely dark brown colour.

Crisp, clean & inviting nose suggests port or sherry cask influence rather than added caramel & chill filtering.

I’m getting sweet & dark cherries.

Palate is smooth initially – before flavours burst in along with the high ABV.

More cask influence – more dark cherries over and above a soft vanilla base.

A lovely prickly spice on the finish slowly drying out with the rich dark fruit flavours ebbing away.

A very nice full bodied whisky. Good clean aromas & powerful mouthfeel.

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How much information do you need to enjoy a whisky? c/othewhiskeynut

Bodes well for future releases.

Well done Bimber!

Sláinte

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Hunter’s Glen, 5 Year Old, Premium Scotch Whisky, Blend, 40%

Random town.

I was away for a few days taking advantage of the fine weather.

Random pub.

Entering a bar for the first time always engenders a sense of excitement.

Random whisky.

You never know what to expect.

Spotting the large green label of Hunter’s Glen on the shelf – it immediately stood out as something I’d not had before.

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Hunter’s Glen Scotch c/othewhiskeynut

Establishing it was Scotch Whisky and not rum – either would have been acceptable – a glass was ordered.

Mmmmmm.

Standard entry level blend material.

Caramelly nose, sweet, smooth & soft with a hint of smoke enlivening an otherwise easy drinking experience.

But who or what is Hunter’s Glen?

The front label states ‘Clydesdale Scotch Whisky Company’, who are part of the Whyte & Mackay group specialising in supermarket blends for Lidl.

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All the way from Greece? c/othewhiskeynut

The back label does mention Lidl, but of Greek origin.

Quite how it ended up in a bar in the West of Ireland is beyond me.

But as a whisky with no pretensions or provenance – I enjoyed it for what it is – a perfectly acceptable everyday sipper with a slightly smoky tingly dryness on the finish.

Sláinte

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Header image courtesy of Irish Times article here.

Glenfiddich, Special Old Reserve, Pure Malt, Single Malt, 40%

It was a new experience for me – taking part in a Whisky Auction.

I wasn’t after rare or collectable bottles – just a few odd ones to try at an affordable price.

I bid on some mixed bags of miniatures – a broad sweep of whiskies to sample – and happily managed to secure one.

The first result flunked.

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A drained Dimple. c/othewhiskeynut

An old Haig Dimple bottle with indeterminate writing on the back had obviously suffered some spirit loss.

The cap was loose too – allowing air in – with predictable results.

Rancid!

The whiskey inside had deteriorated to such an extent the nose was painful – the sample went straight down the sink!

I ploughed on with an intact bottle of Glenfiddich Pure Malt.

Now Pure Malt is an outdated term. It began to fade in the 1980’s and generally denoted what we’d now call a single malt i.e. malt produced at one distillery.  It could also have meant a blended malt i.e. malt produced at more than one distillery, but as Single Malt also appears on the Glenfiddich label – we can count on the former interpretation.

Basically what I had in front of me was an old Glenfiddich Whisky bottle – so I cracked it open and poured myself a drink.

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Glenfiddich Pure Malt c/othewhiskeynut

Mmmmmm!

Clean & fresh!

A heavy butterscotch sweetness combined with a gentle soft smokiness greeted me.

I was just happy to get a bottle that hadn’t gone off!

To be honest I found the sweet caramel too much – but the gentle smokiness – like the wisps of a fire – made it an enjoyable experience.

A pleasant easy drinking single malt with enough character & flavour to keep it cheerful.

The joys of auctions!

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Kilty Pleasure, Blend, 40%, Wee Couper Of Fife, Anstruther.

Spotting a new whisky shop in the pretty East Neuk village of Anstruther what else was I to do but go in and buy a few?

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The Wee Couper Of Fife Whisky Shop c/othewhiskeynut

The Wee Couper Of Fife stocks a highly varied selection of whiskies and a wide array of whisky paraphernalia – from tartan hip-flasks & quirky miniatures for the tourists – which I bought – to select single malts & single casks for the purists.

One I purchased was the cheekily named & labelled Kilty Pleasure Scotch from Select Drams.

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Kilty Pleasure Scotch c/othewhiskeynut

Select Drams have built up a wholesale drinks supply business specialising in ‘miniatures, gifting and specialist bottlings’ – of which Kilty Pleasure is part of a series.

They also do aged statement single malts from renowned distilleries – but this non age statement blend from unknown sources caught my eye – well – it does play up on the stereotypes – and it amused me!

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What else do you need to know? c/othewhiskeynut

So was it pleasurable?

In a word – yes!

To be honest it’s fairly standard stuff.

A soft, sweet caramelly nose.

A honeyed smooth palate – easy accessible drinking – no jarring notes – yet  developing into a decent prickly heat with just a touch of oaky spice.

If you were buying this as a present – or just for the laugh as I was – Kilty Pleasure possesses enough character & style to carry the whole presentation off.

Congratulations to Select Drams for bringing some light hearted fun to the category!

Sláinte

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Wolfhound Irish Whiskey, Blend, 40%

The ‘Gentle Giant’ it says on this attractive bottle of Irish Whiskey – and when it comes to the Wolfhound – they certainly are gentle giants of the dog world.

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The Gentle Giant c/othewhiskeynut

But what of the whiskey?

Another sourced brand brought back by my better half & purchased at a Total Wine store in Baltimore.

Prestige Wine And Spirits Group are the company behind this one – or so it says on the label – but Prestige Beverage Group come up on an internet search here.

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Part of the group. c/othewhiskeynut

The nose is mild, caramelly & malt biscuit like.

The palate is soft easy drinking.

Nothing really exciting – but it slowly grows with grainy heat to a bit of a spirity bite at the end – which doesn’t last long.

The spirity bite was the part I enjoyed the most – as otherwise Wolfhound lacks character & depth.

A bargain basement blend.

Sláinte

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Havana Club, Anejo Especial, Cuban Rum, 40%

It’s International Rum Day today – 16th August.

I’ve just found out – which was a bit of a surprise – as I’d only been down my local Tesco & picked up a bottle of Havana Especial to continue my exploration of all things rum.

Already my limited tastings are taking me down the barrel aged dark rum route.

The contrast of sweet caramels or darker molasses contrasting with spicy oaky tannins appeals to my palate – which is just what I found with this Cuban Rum.

Double matured in ‘old oak barrels’ & ‘ex-whiskey casks’ it says on the label – ex Irish Whiskey casks I later found out on Havana Club’s website – certainly piqued my interest.

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Especial back label c/othewhiskeynut

Described as ‘amber coloured’ I found the nose caramelly sweet – with no real depth to it.

The palate started off very smooth & sweet too – but gradually built up a nice oaky spice as it warmed up.

Most of the flavour I found on the finish.

A prickly spiciness contrasting with a dark, almost burnt molassey note just rescued it from the overt sweetness at the start.

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Garantia Cuba! c/othewhiskeynut

Overall an easy drinking everyday rum with just enough character & depth to enjoy of a balmy summer evening.

Happy Rum Day!

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Old Hopking, Dark Rum, 37.5%

Welcome to the dark side.

Of rum at least.

Dark Rums are characterised by their – well – darker colouring.

This can come about through the use of heavily charred casks & longer maturation times – although as in whiskey, added caramel is not unknown.

Dark rums are also usually stronger flavoured than their lighter colleagues – and it was for this reason I picked up a bottle of Old Hopking in my local Aldi.

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Funkin’ For Jamaica c/othewhiskeynut

‘Imported from Trinidad and Jamaica’ also piqued my interest.

Jamaican rums are generally made from molasses, distilled in pot stills & are considered full bodied with strong flavours. Suits me!

So how was Old Hopking Dark Rum?

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Old Hopking back label c/othewhiskeynut

The nose certainly offered a lot more than the clearer rums I’ve tried. Soft, funky & sweet with some burning rubber going on.

An easy delivery slowly developed through a burnt caramel sweetness into a touch of warm woodiness & gentle spice.

A long lasting hug of warmth.

I really enjoyed this one.

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Ruby Ruby Ruby Ruby! c/othewhiskeynut

I think I’ve just been touched by the dark side!

Sláinte

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