Glen Scotia 1992 Thosop | 48.2% ABV | Bottled 2012

A nice dark single cask from the Glen Scotia distillery. Bottled after 20 years in a sherry cask by Thosop import at 48.2% ABV.

Color: Dark amber

Nose: A whole lot coming at once: raisins, christmas cake, brown sugar, leather, old musky notes. Some eucalyptus and menthol to keep it fresh. Sigars as well. With time some berries pop up

Palate: This busy bee continues, nutmeg, clove and ginger amongst other spices. The raisins and leather are here as well, and I love some leather notes in my whisky. Chewing tobacco as well, with strawberry’s to balance the sweetness out.

Finish: A medium long finish with nutmeg, leather, menthol, white pepper and raspberries.

This was a very active cask, a heavy style of whisky but it strikes a perfect balance in it’s accessibility and complexity.

88/100

Bruichladdich 15 | 46% ABV | Bottled 2005

This is a 2005 bottling of Bruichladdich, matured for 15 years in bourbon barrels and finished in sauternes casks. It was bottled at 46% ABV.

Color: Gold

Nose: Rich fruit notes jump out immediately. Some pineapple, mango and lime. A coastal note is in there also, oysters perhaps? The sauternes influence makes itself clear, but it’s married nicely with the spirit. With time, some wet hay and a nougat note come to the forefront.

Palate: A soft arrival, sweet and sour. The pineapple’s there again, some green apple and grapefruit. Then there’s a big, unexpected confectionery note, icing sugar. This tames itself after some time in the glass.

Finish: A nice, medium long, clean finish. The sweetness from the icing sugar lingers and is then overtaken by some salt. With time, some lemon notes pop up as well.

This is a strange one. When I first tried it I was disappointed. Now, trying it again, I like it much better. Maybe it just needs some air, or patience, or both.

85/100

Bowmore 1997 The Nectar of the Daily Drams | 52.1% ABV | Bottled 2012

I’ve never had a bad bottling by The Nectar of the Daily Drams, and I was quite looking forward to this Bowmore bottled in 2012 at 52.1% ABV.

Color: Straw

Nose: This is quite a sweet nose. Mostly sweet corn and lime. A confectionery sugar. The smoke is blended in nicely, accompanied by hints of salt.

Palate: This continues with what the nose promissed. Quite sweet, feels like I’m in a candy shop. Sweet lime, hints of orange.

Finish: Keeping with the theme, the sugar continues. Some pepper notes carried along by the smoke.

This is a fun one, although not the most complex of Bowmore. Right up my alley.

87/100

Bunnahabhain 2007 Berry Bros | 57.2% ABV | Bottled 2014

This is a very young Bunnahabhain, bottled in 2014 by Berry Bros & Rudd at 6 years old. It comes from cask 800097 and was bottled at a cask strength of 57,2% ABV.

Color: Very pale

Nose: This one is clearly one of the more peated Bunna’s. The peat smoke dominates the notes, along with some iodine and salt. Some vanilla sweetness and lemon zest can also be found.

Palate: A surprisingly soft arrival, considering the ABV and it’s age. Barbecue smoke, some vanilla and honey in there as well but the smoke dominates.

Finish: Again, the smoke dominates. Some bitter oak shows up as well and a slight metallic note at the end. Medium-long finish.

It’s a well made, young Islay malt. A good one if you want an easy drinker, but it lacks complexity. Still, it’s well made and there aren’t too many sharp edges.

83/100

AnCnoc Flaughter | 46% ABV | Bottled 2014

AnCnoc has been expanding their range of whiskies with some peated ones. This AnCnoc Flaughter is in the middle of the range, peated at 14.8 PPM.

A Flaughter is one of the tools used in peat cutting. This one is bottled at 46% ABV.

Color: Pale gold

Nose: The peat comes out very strongly, more so than I expected. It’s very mineral, some slight vanilla and floral notes, but the peat covers most. If this was a blind tasting I would have guessed it was an Islay malt.

Palate: Gentle arrival but the peat grows. It’s nicely balanced. There’s some sweetness in the form of honey and vanilla, some mineral and minty notes and some earthy tobacco going on. Quite complex for a young NAS.

Finish: Smoky, some tobacco and a hint of sweetness. Some mineral notes in there again.

This is an Islay away from Islay, I like it quite a bit. I know I can’t complain at 46% ABV, but I would’ve liked a bit more punch in it. Overal a very good whisky.

84/100

Benromach 10 100° Proof | 57% ABV | Bottled 2014

Benromach started revamping their range late 2014, with great effect. The standard 10yo is one of my favorite bang for your buck whiskies on the market today.

This 100 proof expression is the same as the regular 10 year old, but bottled at 57% ABV instead of the regular 43%.

Color: Dark gold

Nose: After an initial hit of alcohol there’s raisins and cherries, oranges, vanilla and honey and a grassy note, some very faint hints of smoke, but in the very back 

Palate: Orange zest, dark chocolate, raisins, some tannines. It’s quite thick and dense.

Finish: Lovely sweet notes from the sherry casks, some peppers, hints of cinnamon, some leather.

It’s both crazy and wonderful how much difference the alcohol makes in a dram. There seems to be less peat and more sherry influence than the standard 10, and it’s a fair bit heavier to drink, although that’s to be expected.

88/100

Ardmore 1991 Gordon & Macphail | 57.9% ABV | Bottled 2006

With a capacity of 4.2 million liters of alcohol per year, Ardmoe is one of the biggest distilleries in Scotland. Most of it however, is used in blends like Teacher’s.

Single malt Ardmore is mostly found at independent bottlers, with official bottlings only consisting of the NAS Traditional and Legacy expression. Ardmore is also one of the few Speyside distilleries to use peated barley.

This Ardmore has aged for 14 years in First fill Bourbon casks, it’s a vatting of cask 6158 and 6160. It’s bottled at 57,9% ABV

Color: Pale gold

Nose: Some pears and sour lemon, then some ash. The peat is quite subdued, but there’s quite a bit of heat coming from the nose. After a while, it gets a bit sweeter with banana notes.

Palate: Drying oak, tar and ash, then some pepper. A very simple palate, too bad some of the fruity notes from the nose don’t come through.

Finish: The ash continues for a while, some very feint hints of honey.

I’m not a fan of this one. The nose is already quite simplistic, and the palate even more so.

77/100

Bowmore 2002 Signatory | 46% ABV | Bottled 2014

Signatory’s Un-chillfiltered line is somewhat considered their “budget line”. Still, they produce some cracking good stuff. It’s single cask whisky bottled at 46% ABV.

This Bowmore has aged for 11 years in a refill sherry hogshead, cask 2187. They were able to produce 341 bottles. It was selected by The Nectar for the Belgian market.

Color: White wine, quite light for a sherry cask.

Nose: This nose blasts everything at once: barbecue smoke, some seaweed, lime and a bunch of salt. Gummy bear sweetness. After a while, some distant raisin and orange notes appear. This gets a lot sweeter with time.

Palate: It’s quite timid! Some hints of peat, lemon juice and salt, some orange zest and parsley. If you let it rest a bit, the salty notes are a lot more present.

Finish: BBQ smoke with sugared candy. Some peppers and again the salt.

I like this one as a daily drinker. It needs about 10 minutes in the glass to show all it’s colors. Originally priced around €55, it’s good value for money.

86/100

Kilchoman 10th anniversary | 58.2% ABV | Bottled 2015

At Feis Ile 2015, Kilchoman released this 10th anniversary release, only available at the distillery shop. It contains whisky distilled between 2005 and 2012, both from bourbon and sherry casks. It’s limited to 3000 bottles and bottled at a cask strength of 58,2% ABV.

Color: Amber

Nose: Some very sweet peat smoke, citrus. A farm-note is also to be found. After some time in the glass some it smells like pork on a BBQ! This is a great nose that could keep me busy for hours. I love that sweet barley note most Kilchomans have.

Taste: First you get a blast of peat, followed by the sweet barley. There’s a very earthy, green note in there as well that brings it somewhat out of balance.

Finish: medium-long finish, drying the mouth somewhat. The sweet barley continues alongside some lemon juice and cotton candy.

A really good Kilchoman, too bad the green note brings it out of balance a bit. The palate doesn’t quite live up to what the nose promises.

87/100

Arran 10 for IWF Gent | 49.5% ABV | Bottled 2015

The Isle of Arran distillery is one that is seemingly gaining popularity. If I look on the shelves, it’s quite common to see a couple of expressions from them.

In my head however, I labeled them as “cask finishers”. They produce some whisky finished in Sauternes, Amarone and Port casks, but that’s not all they do.

I’ve got a sample of a private cask for the 2015 Whisky Festival in Gent, it comes from a Sherry hogshead and has matured for 10 years. It’s bottled at 49,5% ABV.

Color: Beautiful amber with an orange hue

Nose: Sherry of course, this is probably a first fill cask, oranges, plums, raisins. There are some fresh notes in there as well. Some brine and mint, hints of vanilla. The alcohol stings a bit but nothing too distracting. There are some green herbs as well, like parsley. With some time there’s orange marmelade and esthers.

Palate: very oily mouthfeel, raisins, dry plums. Mushrooms, dark chocolate. There appears to be some sulphur.

Finish: A long lingering taste of black pepper and chocolate, with some added orange for good measure.

I think it’s an intriguing dram. It shows a fair bit of complexity at it’s relatively young age. Belgian retailer Delhaize have recently brought out one of it’s sister casks, distilled on the same day, I’m curious to see what the added 5% ABV does to this!

86/100