Tag Archives: E150a

Speyside Selection, Glenlivet v’s GlenAllachie.

Lockdown means opening & sampling my accumulated miniature collection.

A Speyside trio surfaced.

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A trio of Glens. c/othewhiskeynut

How would the old established Glenlivet fare against the newly rebranded & refurbished GlenAllachie?

Now Speyside is single malt central.

The largest concentration of distilleries, the biggest sales & market leading brands – but I’m not a fan.

If smooth honeyed sweet, subtle & soft sherry influenced malt is your thing – heaven.

My tendency is for bold & exciting whiskey – but the GlenAllachie design caught my eye and I’d not encountered it before.

So with that caveat in mind – what did I find?

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Glenlivet 12 c/othewhiskeynut

The archetypical Glenlivet 12 delivered it’s subtle sweet Speyside Malt signature statement.

Nothing here for me.

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GlenAllachie 12 c/othewhiskeynut

GlenAllachie 12 was an immediate improvement. Cleaner, fresher & more pronounced flavours. Perhaps the 46% ABV, non chill-filtered & natural colour presentation helps. A nice little bite at the end & longer lasting bourbony notes too.

This raised my hopes for the GlenAllachie 10 Cask Strength.

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GlenAllachie 10 CS c/othewhiskeynut

Oh dear!

The nose was inviting – but not overpowering.

The palate was just – well – empty!

I struggled to get anything here before the 54.8% ABV kicked in giving an alcoholic rush to the proceedings.

Even though I was disappointed with the Cask Strength – sampling this trio solidified 3 truisms of mine.

1 – Speyside doesn’t suit my palate.

2 – Anything without e150 & chill filtering is automatically more agreeable.

3 – If Cask Strength is your only character – something else is missing.

Stay safe & enjoy whatever your having.

Sláinte

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Loch Lomond, Triple Pack, Single Malts, 46% x 3

Oh dear!

Are you ever disappointed reading positive reviews & kind comments regarding a whisky or distillery?

Well Loch Lomond was my moment.

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Loch Lomond miniature pack c/othewhiskeynut

Presented in an attractive triple pack for last years Open Golf Tournament – these 3 whiskies promised ‘innovation & character’.

I got smooth, soft, caramel laden blandness.

It started with Inchmurrin Madeira Cask.

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Mit Farbstoff c/othewhiskeynut

A fudgy caramel nose immediately repulsed me. The palate was far more forthcoming though. Soft fruits danced merrily with a lovely little flourish of gentle prickly spice on the finish.

The Lock Lomond 12yo was a sweet, honeyed, biscuity Single Malt that just lacked character.

I was hoping the peated Inchmoan would save the day.

Alas not!

Any welcome oomph the peat would deliver just got drowned out by soft, smooth blandness on the palate. Only on the finish did a gentle smokiness make it’s presence known.

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Nice design! c/othewhiskeynut

If I’m looking for caramelly single malts, Ben Bracken offers the same experience at half the price. Their Islay version knocks the socks off Inchmoan.

It’s not often I leave unfinished miniatures behind……………

If throwing caramel at your single malts is ‘innovative’ – forget it.

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Waitrose 3 Year Old Blended Scotch, 40%

In London for the weekend – waking up to Brexitland – I needed a drink.

All the supermarket stores do their own label Scotch.

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Waitrose 3yo c/othewhiskeynut

Waitrose’s is a 3yo proclaiming itself  ‘Rich and Warming’.

It’s certainly rich – with added caramel – which dominated the taste for me.

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Back c/othewhiskeynut

There were hints of fresh young malt & sweet grain underneath – and it is warming – but those caramelly notes lingered.

Basic entry level fare.

Slàinte

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Teacher’s, Highland Cream, Blend, 40%

I had the privilege of attending The Brand Ambassador’s Tasting at the fabulous Celtic Whiskey Bar & Larder in Killarney recently.

Fine whiskey, great company & mighty craic ensued.

I came away with a nugget of Irish Whiskey sales information however.

The biggest selling whisky in Ireland from the eclectic & well represented Beam-Suntory brand portfolio is by a long shot – Teacher’s Highland Cream.

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A naggin of Teacher’s c/othewhiskeynut

So I bought a bottle.

It’s yer standard Scotch Blend product.

It’s chill filtered & has added caramel. It’s non age statmented and gives no list of the 30 or so distilleries that have contributed their malt and grain whisky to construct this historic blend – yet it sells bucket loads.

It’s a straight forward no nonsense attractively peated whisky that outsells all others on the Beam-Suntory portfolio.

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The light of Scotland is added caramel. c/othewhiskeynut

The colour is ‘The Light Of Scotland’ – according to the label.

A decent hit of peat on the nose is mellowed by a sweet honeyed palate. A slightly drying peaty bite leaves toffee notes to finish on.

Plain, simple peated whisky.

Clearly what the market wants.

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Inishowen, peated Irish Whiskey c/othewhiskeynut

Yet ever since the demise of the gorgeous Inishowen – Irish Whiskey has no peated blend currently for sale.

Seems to be a big omission.

Slàinte

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Islay Storm, Single Malt, 40%, The Sequel

After my initial findings with a washed out bottle of Islay Storm from last year – available here – I chanced upon a miniature bottle sporting a shiny new label & thought I’d check it out.

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A fresh Storm c/othewhiskeynut

I still had the old bottle – so did a comparison.

First off – the older bottle is slightly darker.

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Dark Storm v Light Storm? c/othewhiskeynut

More added caramel?

Longer in the cask?

A completely different source of single malt?

All of the above?

Who knows?

Being an independent bottling for C.S. James & Sons Ltd of Glasgow there is no guarantee what was in the old bottle is the same as the new. It’s the same for all bottlings – they change & evolve -and I have no problem with that.

On the nose the miniature was cleaner, fresher & more lively.

A lovely bright & full on smoky peat hit enveloped my palate from the start. Briny & a tad sweet at the end – but very enjoyable.

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Dull Storm c/othewhiskeynut

The old bottle was dull & flat in comparison. Only on the finish did the ashy peat rise up to give some life to the washed out contents.

If you enjoy a smoky number – Islay Storm clearly delivers.

Just drink your bottle in timely fashion to get the full effect!

Sláinte

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Kilbeggan, Single Pot Still, Irish Whiskey, 43%

There has been a positive explosion of Irish Single Pot Still Whiskey on the market.

It’s marvelous to witness the revival of this historic style of whiskey.

Originally created as a tax dodge – malted barley attracted duty, unmalted did not – so distillers used unmalted barley in the mix to avoid the burden and created a well loved flavour profile in the process.

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Westmeath whiskey c/othewhiskeynut

Distilled & matured at the old Kilbeggan Distillery itself – which has maintained a continuous licence since 1757. This whiskey marks another milestone in the long – and often chequered – history of this esteemed distillery.

Living – as I do – only half an hour away, I popped down to purchase a bottle.

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In the glass! c/othewhiskeynut

Mmmmmm.

This is on the more soft, caramelly sweet, subtle & safe side of single pot still.

It didn’t reach out and grab me.

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Front c/othewhiskeynut

A delicate creaminess at the start – a small percentage of oats are used in the mix – gave way to a smooth honeyed middle – followed by a lovely dry prickly spice on the finale.

It’ll probably please many.

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Back c/othewhiskeynut

Just lacked a certain pzazz & flair for my palate.

Sláinte

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Bell’s 21 Year Old Royal Reserve, Blend, 40%

I picked up this unusual bottle of Bell’s in a job lot auction win of miniatures.

Having tasted a few that had clearly ‘turned‘, I’d resisted opening this one as the fill level seemed low – a sure sign things were not good inside.

Only when the magnifying glass picked out 3cl on the rather sparse label – total 15 words – did I get my hopes up.

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Bell’s 21yo Royal Resreve c/othewhiskeynut

Could I be in for a treat?

Sadly – my nose said not!

Like opening a long closed cupboard – an intense rank foostiness assaulted me.

Undeterred – I ploughed on.

The palate started off dull – but a richness of depth, warming vanilla, oaky woodiness & a solid alcoholic kick greeted me.

Oh to have enjoyed this one in it’s prime!

Even on the turn there’s an attractiveness to the flavours within this Bell’s.

A joyous prickly heat danced off the palate on the satisfyingly long finish.

This must have been a belter in it’s day!

Hells Bells!

 

Sláinte

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The Snow Grouse, Blended Grain, 40%

As it’s St Andrew’s Day – a Scotch review is in order.

The UK is on the cusp of change. Brexit raises the possibility of a split with Europe – a big chunk of the whisky market – and Independence for Scotland.

Changes are also occurring in the whisky world. New brands, new countries and new styles are pressurising the pole position enjoyed by Scotch.

That position was achieved back in  the early 1900’s by the adoption of new technology allowing a new style of whisky to rise to the fore – blended whisky.

One brand that has had immense success with that style is Famous Grouse.

The Snow Grouse is one of their newer releases.

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Seriously chilled Snow Grouse c/othewhiskeynut

A blended grain – rarely encountered – much like the proud bird on the attractive label – a Ptarmigan.

This species of Grouse inhabits the higher & often snow covered ground of the Scottish Mountains.

The clever marketing suggests ‘freezing’ the whisky – much like the birds habitat – which goes against the – ahem – grain of allowing the whisky to sit at room temperature to enjoy the aromas.

So I did.

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Deep frozen. c/othewhiskeynut

Bad move.

The nose was decidedly silent – apart from a healthy dose of added caramel.

Ice cool on the palate – unnaturally sweet – oily & viscous on the mouth.

No warmth here for me.

I enjoy the marketing and the added theatrics of freezing – but the overall experience just leaves me cold.

Any soft or delicate notes exhibited by the grain have been frozen out & drowned by added caramel.

At room temperature it was far more palatable.

Slàinte

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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 Lidl!

Slàinte

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Irish Reserve 12 Year Old, Single Malt, 40%

Aldi continue their well received own label Irish Reserve series with a 12 year old single malt.

Tastefully packaged in a light green bottle with a thick neck & cork stopper – Irish Reserve 12 uses the same attractive label design as previous 26yo and similar 4yo offerings.

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Irish Reserve 12yo c/thewhiskeynut

At only €25 – I couldn’t resist.

A golden brown hue in the glass.

Sweet honeyed nose – delicate & restrained.

The palate was soft & warm. No real flavour explosion – just pleasant easy drinking with a gentle drying prickliness at the end.

After the richness & depth of the 26yo – or the fresh graininess of the 4yo – this 12yo left me a tad disappointed.

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Basic info, basic single malt. c/othewhiskeynut

Like a decent Speyside – it was smooth & easy.  Just lacking a certain sparkle or character to engage me.

Having said that – it’s obviously a popular style.  My bottle was the last on the shelf.

Get it while you can!

Slàinte

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