Friday, March 28, 2014

Longrow 18 (2013)

I've had a few different expressions of Longrow over the years - Burgundy and Barolo finishes, Shiraz casks and small casks - but my favourite has probably remained the (sadly now no longer) CV. A great value non-Islay peated malt. I've enjoyed those others too, to be sure, but the sureness and sheer drinkability of the CV has always stood out.

So, the 18 Year Old, then, is one to look forward to. The original, unadulterated, peated malt from Campbeltown's finest.

Longrow 18 Year Old 46% (2013)

Colour: Deep copper

Nose: Dusty leather and gentle smoke. Beautiful Szechuan pepper comes through, along with a gentle sweetness. Later, ash and soot develop.

Palate: A smooth and supple entry. Soft and round. Gentle peat - a lovely nutty peat - encircles honey and leather. A tingly spiciness begins to emerge.

Finish: That lovely grassy sweetness from the nose comes through. Super length. Fans out beautifully in the mouth. A smoky, slightly bitter finale.

A lovely (middle-) aged malt this. You just want to cuddle up to it in front of a fire. Soft and comforting while simultaneously remaining complex and dangerously drinkable. Delicious.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Tomintoul 14

Tomintoul 14 Year Old 46%
Non-chill-filtered and no colouring added.

Colour: White Wine

Nose: Citrus initially, and some not-too-sweet vanilla. Then lots of fresh green apples. Later, quality grappa notes appear.

Palate: Really oily mouthfeel. It coats the palate as it rolls around. Smooth, almost sensual.
Strong grapefruit notes, pear, followed by a gentle maltiness.

Finish: A touch of fruitiness. Quite a long finish here, aided by that luscious oiliness.

I really like this whisky. I've had several drams of it over the last couple of weeks and have enjoyed it more each time. I really like the grappa notes on the nose and that thirst-quenching grapefruit, but really this malt, for me, is all about that palate-coating oiliness and mouthfeel. Fantastic. As a standard distillery bottling, it presents really well.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Glen Moray 22 YO (D/T Rare Auld)

This is the third and final of the three Duncan Taylor Rare Auld samples I bought recently (from The first two, an Aultmore and an Auchroisk, were both new distilleries for me, and thus I approached both with no expectations (but much curiosity) whatsoever. This next one, though, I have encountered a few times before.

Glen Moray 1988, 22 Year Old, 54.6% Duncan Taylor Rare Auld

Colour: Pale gold.

Nose: It opens with lots of green apples, enveloped in a hazy swirl of booze fumes. Once these blow off somewhat, some light citrus notes come through. Later, something pungent begins to develop.

Palate: Lots of lemon first up, as the whisky hits the upper palate and circles around the back of the mouth. This is where any hint of fruitiness finishes, though, as a sour maltiness develops and takes over proceedings.

Finish: The finish is quite dry. And very bitter. Pretty hot too.

Fair to say I didn't enjoy this very much. It was quite different to other fresher, sweeter offerings that I've tasted from this distillery before. Not a great cask perhaps.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Auchroisk 22 YO (D/T Rare Auld)

This is the second of three Duncan Taylor Rare Auld samples that I bought from a little while back. The first, an Aultmore (reviewed here), was an eye-opener for me, not having tried a dram from that distillery before.
This one is also a first for me - two in a row!

The Rare Auld series are all single cask (#30453 for this Auchroisk), non-chill filtered and natural coloured.

Auchroisk 1988, 22 Year Old, 48.1%, Duncan Taylor Rare Auld

Colour: Oxidised white wine.

Nose: Nuts first up - brazil, almonds. Then honey and malt. Lemon kicks in next, coupled with a slight brininess too. The (relatively low) booze seems to poke out a bit here. Paint strippers develop after even more time in the glass.

Palate: A nice oily mouthfeel. It slips around the upper palate nicely, coating the back of the tongue.
Oak. Lots of it here. It's also quite spicy first up. Some chocolate notes next, a little honeyed fruit, but too little perhaps. Drowned in oak.

Finish: Not a super long malt, but long enough for bitterness to set in. It finishes almost acrid after a while. A little unpleasant really.

Well, I can't say I really enjoyed this one too much. Unexciting and forgettable - except for that finish, unfortunately.
I'm sure there are other, better, examples of this malt around.

After doing my reading I learn that Auchroisk is a relatively new distillery, built in 1973 (production began in 1974), and owned by Diageo. The majority of spirit goes in to J&B Rare and Johnnie Walker Red, apparently, and it seems to have been built primarily to meet the demands of such blends.
I'm glad, then, to be getting in early on this one, as Auchroisk will, no doubt one day soon, be super-premiumised and sold to desperately thirsty billionaires in designer crystal eye-droppers.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Aultmore 21 YO (D/T Rare Auld)

I ordered a bottle of Tomintoul 14 the other day (I was feeling like trying something new and had heard good things about both the standard bottling (the aforementioned 14 YO) and the distillery itself. Review to come possibly. Was good, I liked it, but haven't spent enough time with it yet to do it justice.) and thought I may as well buy a few samples whilst there ("there" being: ).

The first of these was another new distillery for me - Aultmore.

Aultmore 1989, 21 Year Old, 55.2% Duncan Taylor Rare Auld 

Colour: Light golden.

Nose: Sweet biscuits, Cornish fudge, tropical fruit. Later, malt and honey.

Palate: Hits the front palate hard first up, then gently winds its way back. Remains predominantly in the front palate though. Smooth, silky texture.
Initially sweet, then quite herbal - thyme, lavender too maybe...Very herbal. Floral too. A nice lick of honey completes the circle.

Finish: Long. quite long. The honey carries on while the herbs linger underneath, the whole contracting to a sharply focused point of intense flavour. Very well done.

Delicious. Interesting. Refreshing. What more can you ask for from a drink?