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Tops @Spar introduce a pair of excellent single malts from the Knockdhu distillery…..

AnCnoc 12yo Single Malt 43%
The golden warmth of honeycomb and barley with a hint of tobacco ash and lemon sherbet.
The palate offers liquid honey, syrupy with a surprising peppery finish.
Water creates lemon creams on the nose, while the palate has lemon vanilla with a charred oak finish. 85

AnCnoc 16yo Single Malt 46%
Malted barley stuffed with lemon vanilla then prickly spirit is evident with ripe juicy pear winning the olfactory battle.
There is intense vanilla and lemon sherbet on the tongue with a spicy peppery finish.
The age statement, non-chill filtered and the abv pack a huge flavour punch.
Excellent dram but neat or not at all! 87

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Ole’! Oh No!!!!!!

Embrujo de Granada Blended Malt Batch 0L09-040 40% Spain
A distinctly clean barley and oak nose, mashed malt in a light floral dressing with a hint of toffee but in the depths a Marmite note indicating the malt dominance.
However the palate destroys any hope of character that the nose hinted at.
This dram is watery thin, bitter as all aloe with a grapey grappa finish. 55
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Aberlour is Gaelic for the “mouth of the chattering burn” and is one of the top ten bestselling malts in the world…..

Aberlour 10 yo Single Malt 43%
Rich golden honeycomb, oloroso sherry, Spanish wood, sweet liquorice and stewed fruits greet the nose with the malted barley ever present in the background.
Honey then stewed prunes with a slight chilli pepper finish on the tongue.
Water reveals spice notes hidden in the cask along with an orange vanilla.
Now spicy on the palate, the stewed fruits drying on the finish. 85
Aberlour 12 yo Double Cask Single Malt 43%
Matabele ant (formic acid-the closest Scots version of this might be furniture or floor polish). Intense oloroso with a slight woody, musty odour and a hint of rubber in the depths, then dark toffee.
On the palate sherried vanilla, a mid-note of stewed fruit, then a peppery spicy finish, lingering towards an inky, oloroso aftertaste.
Water breaks off the top of the ant nest intensifying the Matatbele ant congener, oiling the palate to a smooth dry sherry finish. 86

Aberlour 15 yo Double Cask Single Malt 40%
Sherry and malt with a coating of vanilla, cardamom and peppery spice, the oak supportive in the lower notes.
The palate has sweet oloroso and liquorice, the oak and sherry combination dominating but a little thin with the trademark Aberlour spice and pepper on the finish.
A dash of water boosts the barley but the palate still lacks in character and body. 80
Aberlour 16 yo Double Cask Single Malt 43%
Rich fruit cake, toffee and sherried barley, cherry, the malt much more prominent than the 12 yo.
The vanillas are rich with rumtopf drying to the usual spice and pepper finish.
Water accentuates the barley marinading in syrupy oloroso, the four more years breaking the youth of the 12 yo and balancing this dram beautifully. 88

Aberlour 18 yo Single Malt 43%
The Matabele ants are on the march again but this time the queen is with them.
PX (Pedro Ximenez) sherry in all its saturated, sweetened glory!
Again, like the 16 yo, the barley is the backbone, then rich toffee and orange marmalade.
Woah! Flavour fireworks as you sip this one….
PX dominates initially and then Aberlour’s classic sherry-soaked spice and pepper take over, lingering for about a decade, leaving the finest, sweetest Spanish oak.
A dash of water thickens this dram to a velvety, syrupy mouthfeel convincing me that this is the perfectly balanced Aberlour. 92
Aberlour a’bunadh Single Malt Cask Strength Batch No:26 60.6%
Rich buttery fudge and toffee made with copious quantities of oloroso sherry laced with garden mint and despite the abv, the malted barley still shows off.
The tongue experiences treacle and molasses. So sweet, you would think a few PX casks were thrown into the marriage, the signature spicy pepper on the finish with a hint of salt this time.
The gorgeous heavy richness of sherried Spanish oak lingering indefinitely. Simply exquisite. 93
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Carpal tunnel syndrome, slipped disc, cricked neck, sprained ankle, tennis elbow…..and then there is the newly released 43% Monkey Shoulder…

Monkey Shoulder Blended Malt Batch 27 43%

A vatted malt of three single malts Glenfiddich, Balvenie and Kininvie.
Monkey shoulder derives its name from a strain condition that malt men used to develop while turning the malted barley with a large wooden shovel known as a shiel.
The pain was most likely eased with “three whites and a goldie”, a traditional staff benefit that comprised three drams of new make spirit and one single malt!

Malted barley is immediately evident awash with vanilla and orange cordial. There is also an oaky spice of cardamom and ripe banana.
Intensely sweet vanilla on the tongue, then a mid-palate of seville marmalade drying to a sweet chilli finish with lingering sherry and oak.
Water adds to the citrus notes then pineapple emerges, now oily and velvety on the palate giving an exotically honeyed mouth feel with the barley adding character to the long finish. 86 Available in South Africa to taste and purchase at Wild About Whisky in Dullstroom.
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LEAPING LEPRECHAUNS!!…A South African field guide to 12 available Irish blends (in descending order)…

Clontarf Irish Blend 43%
Perfumey/acetone and then rum ‘n raisin, toffee ‘n chocolate…an inspired nose! The palate is a delicious mix of mocha and coffee liqueur. This is stunning in its complexity and range of flavours. Water ups the ante revealing a greater depth of richness with

more vanilla and oak supporting the rich mocha. Outstanding! 88

Locke’s Irish Blend 40%
Intense vanilla, then menthol and garden mint, a touch of peat smoke and sweet grain. Smooth and velvety on the palate, the dense vanillins balanced nicely with the peat in the background. The finish lingers with apple sweetness and smoke. 85

Kilbeggan Irish Blend 43%
Layers and layers of sweetness, then vanilla, caramel and condensed milk..a golden dram. The palate is oily and smooth-bodied, the vanilla balanced perfectly with the grain and malts. Water just boosts all of the above. 82

Powers Gold Label Irish Blend 43%

Slightly solvent and acetone initially, then vanilla and toffee break through, then fruit gums and mocha. A smooth and oily delivery on the tongue with cherry vanilla, grain on the mid-palate and a dry finish. Water improves more of the grain element and a cherry toffee develops. 77

Jameson Irish Blend 43%
A metallic off-note initially, then a vanilla and grapey note appears, developing into icing sugar,mocha and malt, sweet grain and iced lollies. Despite the complexity of the congeners on the nose the palate offers very little but the strawberry lolly which then dries to nothing. Water intoduces a distinct coppery note along with more vanillins. The palate now a touch sweeter and the finish has pink sweets and chardonnay. Fascinating nose but the palate has very little character. 76

Tullamore Dew Irish Blend 43%
Metallic initially, then syrupy guavas. Fruity vanilla with a guava twist on the tongue, the finish is dry and coppery. Water helps sweeten this dram tenfold but still remains too dry and thin on the finish. 75

Bushmills Original Irish Blend 43%
Grain and barley with light coating of vanilla…knock, anybody there?…light, soft fuzzy cereal….mmmm…that’s it? The palate has snatched whatever character remains after I smelt most of it out of the glass. Smooth, soft vanillas and then a chilli-bite finish…much ado about nothing. 74

Finnegan Irish Blend 43%

Overripe bananas, banana skin and honey. Honeycomb is evident on the palate but it is thin and dries to nothing. Water does little to develop any other character. 72

Erin’s IsleIrish Blend 43%
Grain and woody vanillas on the nose with sweet chilli on the palate. A simple Irish dram…simply put it in a Irish coffee. 70

O’briens Irish Blend 43%
The signature Cooley Connemara elastoplast Irish peat smoke (Doom) note is evident but softer here with toffee and the malts trying to make this dram a little more respectable. However the palate, despitethe vanilla sweetness is bitter and dry on the finish. 57

The Wild Geese Rare Irish Blend 43%
Elastoplast and sugary sweet with a little pepper on the nose. Vanilla initially on the tip of the tongue, then chemically harsh and brutally bitter and dry on the finish. Appalling whiskey. I cannot find anything remotely redeeming about this Irish disaster. 56

Millars Special Reserve Irish Blend 0L8194 40%
Another Cooley special. I think they lost the plot with these last three. This would kill any mosquito within a three mile radius with so much chemical and elastoplast on the nose. A touch of vanilla on very young grain….unpalatable. This dram is just so plain awful I wouldn’t even put it in my Turkish coffee. 55

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In celebration of the 2011 award for Best Highland Malt…Glenmorangie SIGNET

Glenmorangie Signet Single Malt 46%
Using an innovative and secret recipe that includes 20% “chocolate” roasted malted barley and combinations of old and rare malts from the Glenmorangie warehouses, this is an exotically rich offering….
Cherry liqueur chocolates, orange segments soaked in PX sherry, and a rich honeyed stew of cranberries and blueberries.
The palate is full-bodied, oily, sultry, silkily smooth, rich oloroso, oaky with a delightfully soft bitter finish reminiscent of a Guiness.
A dash of water blows all the molecules apart offering vanilla and mocha on the nose, while the sweet dark berries soak the tongue leaving a finish of iced coffee and a lingering sherried oak.
Unorthodox, a flavour sensation and simply…a masterpiece. 95