Isle of Arran distilleryIsle of Arran Single Malt “Cask Finishes” The Port Cask 50%Pomegranate, guava, strawberry fruit gums on the nose with a sweetly honeyed red fruit stew and a hint of musty, moist European oak.Red, royal and robust, richly sweet, full bodied and oily coating on the tongue, there is hot peppery spice, sweet red ruby grapefruit and a lingering dry vinous finish-a delicious dram! A dash of water sweetens the red berried mix with a vanilla dusting of stewed cranberries, allowing the port cask character to emerge. Stunning! 87
Tomatin 12yo Single Malt 43% First Fill, Refill American Oak and Spanish Sherry Butts, Then Married Exclusively in Spanish Sherry Butts Prior to Bottling.Honeycomb and oak, buttery with sweet lemon zest on the nose, the barley sugar sweet and scented with lemon cream biscuit and then eventually toffee.Thin but vanilla sweet, the mid palate charcoal and oaky, wooded and spicy, the finish nutty and vinous. A few drops of water release the orchard fruits coated with lemon vanilla and introduces the 18yo style of ruby grapefruit on the finish. 85
Tomatin 18yo Single Malt 46% 18 Years in American Refill Oak Then Married in Oloroso Sherry Butts Prior to Bottling-Non Chill Filtered.A vanilla-laced red-berried stew. Cranberries dominate with honey soaked greengages and toffee apple, then the malt and the sweetest lemon citrus appear.Sweetly honeyed on the tongue , then a mid palate of lemon spice, drying to a wooded fino and red ruby grape fruit finish.87
Tomatin Cu Bocan Single Malt 46% Peated to 15ppm Matured in a Mix of Virgin, Ex-Bourbon and Spanish Sherry Casks-Non Chill FilteredPink sweets and over ripe fruits of banana, pear and apple hit the top notes…the fruit has been knocked off the trees but there is an abundance of jasmine around this orchard. The barley is profound and starts to dominate with lashings of lemon custard. Hints of cardamom and clove seep into this syrupy sweet stew with a topping of lemon meringue.Deliciously and moreishly citrus sweet on the palate, this is a work of art, an exquisite balance of the sweetest lemon vanilla and soft spicy oak.This whisky should have a warning sticker on the bottle…”HIGHLY ADDICTIVE”!!P.s. Best sampled neat and naked….90
Ardbeg on the summit of KilimanjaroArdbeg 1999 First Fill Bourbon 54.6%This could only be a classic Ardbeg in all its elemental livery on the nose. The instant hit of pear drops and vanilla juxtaposed by the salty sea breezes and the creosote covered kelp with top notes of sweet new paint..Sweet ‘n succulent, then hot’n spicy on the palate, with a lick of hot wellies, this is not a wham, bam, thank you dram, this is an Islay malt showing heaps of peated sophistication. An Ardbeg for our whisky times.This dram is an exquisite balance of sweet, softly yielding vanillas and maritime salted seaweed…an exemplary smoky vanilla ice-cream! 94
Kavalan Single Malt 43% Matured in Fresh Bourbon, Fresh Sherry, Refill Bourbon, Spanish Red Wine & Portuguese White Wine Casks.Floral top notes on the nose, of jasmine and strawberry flavoured chewy sweets, with toffee and barley humming sweetly in the depths.Oily texture on the palate, the fruit and malt more evident with spice and dark chocolate on the mid palate, the finish short with red grapefruit. 82
Kavalan Solist Ex-Bourbon Single Malt 58.8% Cask0B070611012 Bottle No. 008/209 Bottled 02/07/2010Molten toffee and malted barley dominate the nose with floral freesia top notes and sweet pears.Fudge-sweet on the tip of the tongue, the abv ambushes the mid palate, combustive and salt-laden, leaving a short barley-infused chenin blanc on the short finish.One of the few cask cask strength expressions that exceeds expectations when a dash of water is added, particularly on the palate. Now the toffee vanillas are boosted tenfold, taming the explosive mid palate, the finish still short, vinous and salty but now well balanced with the rest of the palate. Delicious! 89Kavalan Solist Sherry Cask Single Malt 58.6% Cask05060904046 Bottle No.22/180 Poached plums and stewed prunes, pressed raisins and sultanas, inky molasses, a hint of tobacco and liquorice, a cornucopia of dark and red fruits dusted with sweet spice mesmerise the nose. Rich, robust with spicy red berries, the palate mimics the nose creating a perfect balance. There is sweet sherry on the tip of the tongue, then a hot stew of plums and prunes drying to a heavy European wooded finish, the raisins lingering on for eternity. I tend to drink these magnificent creations neat as they tend to reflect the essence of a distillery but a little water brings out an interesting hint of the sweetest Bowmore, while the rumtopf fruits are now wrapped in dark chocolate. 97 Do sherry bombs get any better than this? Karuizawa has always been the reference for whiskies like this but the Solist Sherry is sublimely the best….
Aultmore DistillerySituated near the village of Keith in the Speyside area, Aultmore’s production of malt mostly goes into the various Dewar’s blends, consequently Aultmore single malts are very scarce. Interestingly the distillery, in the early 1950’s, pioneered the production of “dark grains” or protein-rich animal feed,from the waste products of the pot ale and draff.
Aultmore 1997 16yo Berry’s 43% Bottled 2013 Cask03584 Non chill-filtered/No colouringSweet meadow grass, malted barley and honey cereal with lemon curd dominating this honeysweet dram on the nose.Viscous and velvety, with honeycomb coating the palate, the liquor dries on the tongue after a wash of lemon schnapps, leaving a red grapefruit and almond finish.This dessert-wine style of Speyside whisky is best drunk neat as water tends to bitter the aftertaste. 84