Thursday, November 20, 2014

Balvenie 15 Single Barrel (Bourbon Wood) No.10787

The Balvenie 15 Single Barrel Bourbon Wood has apparently been discontinued and replaced by a sherry cask version. Should it be lamented? Much like everyone else, I've drunk a bit of this over the years but I've not re-visited for quite some time, so I figured I'd give it one last spin to see how a (relatively) recent iteration from 2013 was looking.

Balvenie 15 Year Old Single Barrel (Bourbon Wood) No.10787

Nose: Honey, Manuka honey, lots of honey. With water there's honey, peaches and nectarines. Vanilla. It's become increasingly maltier as the bottle has emptied.

Palate: Honey - again and of course - but this time against a backdrop of thyme and maybe lavender. A strange oxidised white wine note follows, but largely fades after a short time. With more time and water there's also pineapple, vanilla and apricots.

Finish: Quite long. Nearly cloying in its sweetness at first. With water the finish loses some of this sweetness and seems to gain some tannin. There's still honey on top of stonefruits, but the wood is more prominent and there is something green and herbal - much like menthol - emerging halfway through the tail as well, leading to quite a bitter finish. This too has become much more pronounced as the bottle has emptied.

To be honest, I've had better versions of Balvenie 15, but based on this bottle I wont much miss this.
Simple, sweet, and increasingly not particularly enjoyable to drink.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Longmorn 12 Year Old Gordon & Macphail

This is a bottling from a few years ago - around 2008/9 I think - when it was bottled at 40%, as opposed to the current bottling's 43%. There's a few of these bottles still kicking around Dan Murphys' shelves, and as they're still at '08 prices, worth a look. Let's see...

Longmorn 12 Year Old Gordon & Macphail, 40% (circa 2008)

[This review comes from near the end of the bottle, which is now disposed of. Thought I had a photo but can't seem to find it, so here's a nice shiny pic instead.]

Nose: At first a small burst of tropical fruit, but this is quickly followed by, and washed over with, malt vinegar and wet cardboard (a very similar oak profile to the G&M Mortlach 15 actually). With a fair bit of time in the glass (and indeed the bottle, for the end of the bottle is a bit better in this regard than the beginning) some stewed fruit does also eventually emerge, and it's quite nice.

Palate: Some decent sherried fruit and lots of spices initially - cloves, cinnamon, pepper - before that wet cardboard takes over again, the latter keeping it on the dry side. Some struck match appears after a while as well.

Finish: The spices continue, and some fruit - dried apricots, orange rind - hangs about for a bit. It finishes a little dry and dusty, along with - you guessed it - wet cardboard and malt vinegar too. These last two linger longest, and remain with you as the abiding impression.

There are some nice Longmorn-y notes lurking in this malt, but unfortunately it's impossible to get past the crappy cardboardy casks that dominate the spirit. At $60 AUD, this is pretty cheap (in Australian terms), but still probably not worth the dosh.