Allt-a-Bhainne 1995 C&S Dram Collection | 52.1% ABV | Bottled 2012

Allt-A-Bhainne is quite rarely talked about. It’s the main malt component of many Chivas Regal blends. The distillery doesn’t put out any official bottlings, so it’s up to the independent ones.

This one was distilled in 1995 and bottled in 2012, it was bottled at a cask strength of 52.1% ABV.

Color: Pale gold

Nose: Starts of very clean and fresh: some lemon and melons. Then comes a grassy note followed by oak. After some time you get some hay. A very clean nose.

Palate: Lots of fruit on the first sip: Lemon, melons, green apples. Then some cereal and grain, ginger and spices. It’s a bit hot but not overly so.

Finish: Very long! Becomes bitter, liquorice. Wow this is really a long aftertaste…I’m impressed.

This was much better than I expected, considering there’s little to no fanfare about this distillery. It’s also quite complex. There’s some very nice play between the fruity and oaky influences.

87/100

Hazelburn 2002 Sauternes Wood | 55.9% ABV | Bottled 2011

Another one from the Springbank distillery tonight! Hazelburn is it’s unpeated brother, which is distilled 3 times. This one matured in ex-Bourbon casks and finished in Sauternes wood. It’s been in casks for only 8 years.

Color: Mahogany, quite dark, looks promising!

Nose: Oh my, there’s a lot in here: strawberries and red fruit, blue grapes, some hazelnut. Going a bit deeper there’s plums, orange and chocolate with a cherry liqueur. Very interesting for it’s age!

Palate: Dark chocolate, raisins, tannins, some matchsticks in the distance.

Finish: The wine comes through very clearly here, a rounded sweetness that lasts for quite a while

Another loverly whisky by Springbank, the nose on this one is simply fantastic.

88/100

Ardmore 1992 Kintra | 49.8% ABV | Bottled 2011

An 18 year old Ardmore bottled by the Dutch Kintra Whisky. This comes out of a bourbon hogshead, cask 4907. It was bottled in 2011 at 49.8% ABV.

Color: Pale straw

Nose: Delicate fruit at first but it quickly gets overwhelmed by other notes. A strong vanilla one comes out at first. Digging a bit deeper, I get unripe banana and marshmallow. Play Doh! Almonds too, with time some more citrus. All of it is wrapped in a gentle dose of earthy peat.

Palate: Smooth vanilla again, quickly spiced up by black pepper and jalepeno. Banana, mandarin oranges, lychee, orange zest… this has some complexity to it. Some bitter oak to dry things out and a tarry note.

Finish: Oak tannins, some grass. Slightly ashy but still a fresh citrus note going on. Quite a long finish too.

Well, this one definitely surprised me. Lots going on, complex and ever-changing. I love the slight peat influence to make it bolder. A great Ardmore.

88/100

Laphroaig 1997 SMWS 29.163 | 52.9% ABV | Bottled 2015

Today we have a Laphroaig bottled by the Scotch Malt Whisky Society. This one was distilled in 1997 and bottled in 2015, at 17 years of age. It’s bottled at a good 52.9% ABV. The SMWS named it Fantastical, magical, transporting… Let’s see where it takes us.

Color: Pale straw

Nose: The medicinal peat smoke jumps out, loads of antiseptic and ash. If you dig a little deeper there’s brine and some fresh lime. Then seafood, think lobster and crab. With more time in the glass, some more fruity notes come out, but they are burried beneath the peat.

Palate: Quite gradual arrival, especially considering the ABV. Peat smoke ofcourse, smoked sausage and seafoods, lobsters and crabs are back, joined by some oysters. Salt as well. Digging deep, some hints of marshmallow, vanilla and green apple.

Finish: The medicinal notes continue, obviously. Some green apple gives it a hint of sweetness. Grapefruit at the tail end of this quite long finish.

This is a textbook example of how medicinal a Laphroaig can get. It’s not bad, but a bit of a one trick pony. I prefer my heavily peated malts to be a bit fruitier.

84/100

Arran 1996 Càrn Mòr Celebration of the Cask | 52.6% ABV | Bottled 2015

An 18 year old Arran today, bottled by Càrn Mòr in their Celebration of the Cask series. This one matured for 18 years in a Sherry Puncheon, bottled at 52.6% ABV.

Color: Copper

Nose: A little shy at first, but wonderful after you let it breathe for a while. Dark fruits, berries in particular, peach, pear, pudding, crème brûlée and some creamy butter that’s so typically Arran.

Palate: Nice smooth development here. Sweet & sour, tropical fruits, peach and pears again. Some Mirabelles. The cream/butter combo is back as well.

Finish: Blackberries and cherries linger for quite a while, showing it’s sherry influence. Tobacco leaves, tea and milk chocolate.

Another cracking Arran single malt. It needs some time to open up but it rewards you greatly. Very nice balance between the nose and taste too.

88/100

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