Kavalan Distillery Select No.2 Single Malt Whisky 40% ABV


The second release of Kavalan’s Distillery Select range and intended to showcase the Taiwanese distillery’s skill in blending and cask selection.

Appearance: Honey gold. A thin swirl mark quickly beads up and slowly morphs into a series of teardrops. The semi-viscous film slowly corrugates into many medium trails.

Nose: A nice level of ABV, especially for 40%. Honey, sweet spices, black pepper and berries emerge first, closely followed by raspberry ripple ice cream and subtle varnished oak. After a while brown sugar, grapefruit and a faint tropical fruit note appear.

Palate: A little thin with a somewhat diluted sweet of flavours on the first sip. Honey, brown sugar, those tropical notes (now even more faint) and the oak.
The spice builds a little in the second sip but never amounts to much. Some cinnamon and a little blood-orange bitterness follow.
It starts to get a little drying as the dram is consumed.

Finish: Short to medium. The sugar, spice and oak all last a little while. The drying also liners annoyingly.

Overall: It’s more of a mixer than something to sip, savour and take time over. It’s fairly well-balanced and inoffensive but never really delivers anything notable.

SMWS Glazed with Marmalade 59.7% ABV

This Benrinnes spent an initial 13 years in an ex-bourbon hogshead, then a further 3 years in a first fill Spanish oak oloroso hogshead.

“2024 is going to be a year of celebrating The Scotch Malt Whisky Society’s approach to sherry-cask maturation. If you’ve been exploring the world of whisky, you’ll be aware that the huge variety of styles, sometimes with completely different characteristics that can make the term ‘whisky’ feel a little inadequate.

Sherry casks are prized for the spicy, nutty and rich dried fruits notes that they can contribute to whisky, as well as a deep mahogany colour. There are notable variations depending on the type of sherry that was previously in the cask, from a dry oloroso to sweet Pedro Ximenez and beyond.”


Appearance: Dark ale. A reassuring thick swirl line and many medium/thick trails quickly form. Lots of teardrops form throughout the remainder of the tide mark.After a short while the results of agitation almost freeze in time and cling to the inside of the glass for ages.

Nose: Big syrup sweet hit of ethanol. Orange drizzled sponge cake, oak, marzipan and sweet pastry hit first. Pancakes with orange juice and sugar, mixed nuts and wood shavings.As the dram matures, a more confectionary sweet notes starts to emerge. Foam shrimps, a little foam banana and Strawberry Frutellas.

Palate: A beautifully oily mouthfeel, like dessert wine. The alcohol is carried really well considering it’s near enough 60%, not intrusive or harsh at all, quite sympathetic in fact. Clove studded orange, gentle baking spices, especially nutmeg and cinnamon. Black pepper dusted strawberries and raspberries, custard, oak and cherry Soothers. A lovely jam sweet element intermingling with a wisp of sweet smoke and dried fruits underpins everything, adding balance and multi levels of flavours to explore. The spice and resulting warmth on the chest grow as the dram is consumed, as too does a gentle spice tingling on the tongue and lips.

Finish: Medium to long. The jam, gentle baking spices and subtle tannins last for a good length of time. That tingling also lasts into the finish before slowly dissipating.

Overall: Benrinnes had been a favourite distillery of mine for some time, I find that, whoever bottles their liquid, it’s consistently great quality, and this bottle is no exception. It’s a great dram. Lovely balance between the jam sweetness and gentle spices. An ever evolving flavour profile with multiple layers to discover. It’s one to sit, savour and share. Lovely.

This whisky was kindly sent to me by SMWS for honest review.

Glenglassaugh Sandend 50.5% ABV


Named after Sandend Bay by Master Blender Rachel Barrie. Matured in a combo of bourbon, sherry, and manzanilla casks.

Appearance: Light gold/white wine. A thin micro-beaded tide mark and many short medium-thick trails. The beading increases in size with time, eventually turning into teardrops. The film appears quite sticky around the glass.

Nose: Sugary and honey-sweet. Some topical notes like melon and a little lime.
Mellow vanilla, like creamy custard along with some musty basement aromas and ‘funk’.
Some pleasant baking spice notes follow, asking with spiced orange chocolate.

Palate: Quite a thin mouthfeel and plenty of spice on arrival. Honey, vanilla, red apple and black pepper next, and a little cloying at the back of the tongue and throat.
The second sip is far more mellow with toffee apple, lemon pepper and faint grapefruit.

Finish: Medium in length. The spices, grapefruit and apple all last a little while. There’s also a little mild chilli tingle.

Overall: I quite like this one. It didn’t blow my mind but I’d happily pour a few.

A.D.Rattray Glenburgie 12yo 53.8% ABV

AD Rattray Glenburgie 12

From the 2010 Cask Collection, this Glenburgie was matured in a Bourbon Hogshead for over 11 and then a 1st Fill Oloroso Sherry Hogshead for 18 months before being bottled on 12.01.2023. 1 of 319 bottles.

Appearance: Sunset gold/apple juice. An oozy thick tide mark seeps into a few large teardrops. Many thin to medium trails form around the glass, within a sticky viscous film.

Nose: A decent ethanol hit from that higher ABV along with some dried fruits, icing sugar and Christmas spices. There’s also a little black pepper, pastry and green apple skin.
Some red currant and vanilla appear after a while too.

Palate: A semi-viscous mouthfeel with plenty of spice and a little acrid. The ABV is also obvious on the palate. An earthy quality is at the front of this whisky, damp twigs and leaves as well as the smoke that would be produced by trying to burn them.
After a while, some syrupy blackberry sweetness appears with a little mild white pepper.
Some citrus elements and wheat biscuits.

Finish: Medium to long. The citrus, pepper notes and berry sweetness all last a good length of time. There’s still the acrid note though, which I’m not fond of.

Overall: Not a huge fan of this one. I don’t get on with the flavour profile. I do appreciate the complexity and the ABV level is spot on.

Michter’s US*1 Bourbon Whiskey 45.7% ABV


The US*1 Bourbon from Michter’s in Louisville, Kentucky, is made in small batches, typically comprised of no more than two dozen barrels. Usually aged for four to eight years.

Appearance: Dark amber/rust. A thick swirl mark with plenty of medium trails, droplets and teardrops. The film in the glass is lovely and viscous.

Nose: Plenty of cherry, oak and cinnamon. Honey and vanilla appear soon after.
Brown butter cookies and a little raspberry jam.

Palate: A semi-viscous mouthfeel and immediate cherry cola note. Oak appears soon after along with orange chocolate and cinnamon. A mineral element emerges as the dram matures.

Finish: Short to medium. Cherry, cinnamon and that mineral note last for a while.

Overall: A very drinkable bourbon. Nice flavours, well-balanced and pleasing. A great summer BBQ drink!

Crabbies Yardhead 40% ABV

crabbies yardhead

A no-age-statement single malt from an undisclosed distillery bottled by Crabbie’s and named after the company’s old home in Leith, Edinburgh. This is a single malt designed for mixing.

Appearance: Apple juice/white dessert wine. Lots of medium trails, a medium-thick tide mark and a few teardrops. The film is sticky and semi-viscous.

Nose: Vanilla-forward with no real ethanol to speak of. Mixed nuts, big caramel/toffee apple notes and sugary fruit crumble.

Palate: Not a bad mouthfeel, a little oily. A subtle black pepper tingle along with the elements from the nose. There’s a little blood orange/gentle lemon bitterness too.

Finish: The vanilla, caramel and apple all last longer than I expected. Black pepper tingles along in the background too.

Overall: Yep, it’s a sweet inoffensive mixer and it does it very well. That’s about all.

Glasgow 1770 Tequila Cask Finish (Triple Distilled) 55.3% ABV


This is the second Tequila cask finished single malt from the Glasgow Distillery, but the first was using its double-distilled unpeated whisky, so this is the first release with its triple-distilled unpeated single malt has gotten this treatment. The spirit was filled on 3 February 2018 into a first-fill bourbon cask and then laid to rest for two years and six months in a Tequila cask. On 27 June 2023, a total of 272 bottles were filled at 55.3% ABV.

Appearance: White wine. A micro-bead-encrusted tide mark quickly forms. Several thick legs form and seep to towards the surface. The film is nice and oily and coats the glass for some time. After a while an upside-down crown of teardrops forms around the inside of the glass.

Nose: Quite light on the alcohol. Tequila! It actually has a tequila aroma. Vegetal sugar (if that makes sense?!), dare I say “a little floral soapy”? Lemon Meringue Pie biscuit base (digestives and butter). Some citrus zest comes through after a while adding balance against the vegetal notes.

Palate: A semi-viscous mouthfeel. Sweeter on arrival than I thought it would be. A little black pepper spice warmth along with granulated sugar, red berries and a pleasant tingling in the mouth. The vegetal element shows up a little after a few sips, quite earthy and natural. The more I sip this one, the sweeter it gets. It’s one of those rare drams where I prefer the palate to the nose instantly.

Finish: The earthy sugar notes and hot aniseed last for a decent length of time. There’s also an orange note lingering in the background too.

Overall: A lovely pour and one that I believe would really open up and develop during the lifecycle of the bottle. Great balance of flavours and aromas and some unique elements. It has an obvious premium tequila influence.

Glasgow 1770 Manzanilla Sherry Cask (Unpeated) 59% ABV


A limited edition release of 813 bottles at 59% ABV. A single cask, No. 18/218 is Glasgow Distillery’s unpeated double distilled spirit filled on the 12th of March 2018 into a refill Manzanilla Sherry Butt that was previously used to mature peated single malt scotch whisky.
Bottled on the 25th of July 2023, this is the first release of a Manzanilla Sherry Cask matured single malt from the distillery

Appearance: Copper/tea. An instand semi-oily coating of the inside of the glass when agitated. Many thin to medium trails form as well as quite a chaotic mix of droplets and small beads around the tide mark.

Nose: Sweet BBQ ribs and a little ash, struck match (not too much sulphur though) and cherry wood. Lots of steeped dried fruits and oak, along with a little salinity and vegetal notes. Some leather notes together with a subtle damp basement funk (never a bad thing!). Crispy steak fat cooked in butter and well-salted crispy potato chips!

Palate: A lovely mouthfeel and an immediate smokey/meaty/ashy/salty melding of flavours. The struck match element is present along with sizzling steak fat, bacon and syrup pancakes and salty pork chops, it’s a mixed grill of a dram! A little drying as the dram matures, I’m usually one for big bold drams but I think I actually prefer the slightly more delicate drams such as the Calvados or Tequila. That is lovely though!

Finish: The meaty and ashy elements last a decent length of time, as does the match note. I like the steak flavour that lingers as it’s very moreish. There’s also a growing candies meat flavour that appears late on which is lovely.

Overall: It’s a banging dram but I prefer the more delicate flavour profile of the Calvados and Tequila finishes, I don’t know why, but I do!

Glasgow 1770 Calvados Cask Finish 58.7% ABV


A limited edition release of 270 bottles at 58.7% ABV. The contents of a single cask, the unpeated double distilled spirit was filled on the 23rd of May 2017 into a first fill ex-bourbon cask and then laid to rest for two years and five months in a Calvados French brandy cask. Bottled on the 20th of June 2023, this is the first release of a Calvados finished single malt from this distillery.

Appearance: Old gold. A micro-beaded tide mark forms instantly when swirled along with a few thick trails within the semi-viscous film.

Nose: A nice level of ethanol. Sugary orchard fruits spring from the glass first, very friendly! Fruit pie with buttery pastry and baked brown sugar next, lovely! Giant Apple Solur Chewits and toffee pudding with custard next. Some hot, freshly drilled, sawdust adds another aroma layer to this dram.

Palate: A lovely arrival! A lovely oily mouthfeel together with orchard fruits smothered in caramel and a nice balance of black pepper just tingling away in the background. Candied ginger, cinnamon and Custard Creams add a sweet biscuity layer to the palate. There’s a growing spice warmth with this dram, quite ‘Christmassy’ and comforting. There’s a beautiful mellow caramel covering to all of the flavours for me.

Finish: The comforting mellow caramel-smothered orchard fruits, gentle warming spices and pastry notes all last for a good amount of time. The finish definitely leaves you wanting more.

Overall: A dangerously friendly and easy-to-drink whisky. This one is very clever in that it would make a great intro whisky but also holds its own with seasoned drinkers too.

Glasgow 1770 – The Original 46% ABV


The Original is Glasgow Distillery’s inaugural expression. It combines concerto malted barley with the Scottish water from Loch Katrine.
A minimum of 72 hours of fermentation combined with a slow distillation, the new make spirit is then matured in first-fill ex-bourbon casks before a finishing period in virgin American oak barrels.
Bottled at 46% ABV, non-chill filtered and natural in colour.

Appearance: Light amber. A decent swirl line forms and loads of medium/thick trails. An abundance of small teardrops and droplets appear after further agitation.

Nose: A good level of ABV, obvious but not overpowering. BBQ’s bananas in caramel with chocolate (the ones in foil), vanilla, Fruit and Nut bar and baking spices. Some subtle orchard fruits, particularly red apple and pear, icing sugar and foam sweets. There’s a wax crayon element too. Some jam-like notes appear after a while, such as blackberry or maybe raspberry jam.

Palate: A pleasant semi-oily mouthfeel and quite a subdued arrival where flavour’s concerned, maybe a little sugar and vegetal element. Further sips reveal vanilla, oak, caramel/brown sugar and that Fruit and Nut bar flavour. A little drying at the back of the tongue together with a gentle black pepper spice tingle. The palate actually seems to mellow as the dram matures with a more vanilla/oak flavour just humming along while a few new elements develop, such as satsuma and lemon drops (maybe?!).

Finish: Medium in length. Black pepper, Werthers Originals, a touch of banana and a black pepper tingle. There’s also an orange note, but it fades quickly.

Overall: Solid.

Glasgow 1770 Triple Distilled 46% ABV


This single malt is made from premium malted barley and clean Loch Katrine water. It ferments for more than 72 hours and is then carefully distilled three times in ancient copper pot stills.
To obtain the lightest and purest spirit, a third distillation is added to remove heavy oiler components from the spirit.
Aged in a blend of virgin American oak and former Bourbon barrels, which are mated prior to bottling.
Natural in colour, non-chill filtered, and bottled at 46% ABV.

Appearance: Light gold/diluted apple juice. A beaded swirl line which quickly morphs into an unbroken chain of small teardrops. After a time many sticky medium trails form. The film has a good viscosity to it.

Nose: A pleasing ethanol strength, present but sympathetic to the aromas. A sweet nose: caramel, confectionary sugar, banana foam sweets and a touch of furniture polish. Some fruit bowl aromas like green apple, grape and pineapple (anyone remember Cariba??) add a little light and zingy lift. A little cream soda on vanilla ice cream! It’s a lovely nose, very moreish indeed!

Palate: A pleasantly semi-oily mouthfeel and a little kick from some white pepper spice on arrival. The caramel smoothness and wood notes are consistent with the nose. After a few sips, the sweeter confectionary and fruit notes start to emerge (slowly). The apple and banana first, followed by pear drops and a little cloying. Bananas and custard now, along with the pineapple and pear.

Finish: Medium in length. Banana, confectionary sugar, custard, caramel and some mild oak. Some black pepper and aniseed right at the end.

Overall: A very pleasant dram indeed. Friendly, well-balanced and plenty to explore. Nice!

Four Roses Small Batch Select Whiskey 52% ABV

four roses small batch select

Four Roses Small Batch Select is the first permanent addition to the range made with Brent Elliott as the Four Roses master distiller, bringing together six of the brand’s ten recipes. It’s the OBSV, OESV, OBSK, OESK, OBSF, and OESF recipes.

Appearance: Autumnal auburn. A series of short thick trails form quickly atop a viscous film. The beaded swirl mark appears sticky and sits beneath a few droplets.

Nose: A decent level of ABV. Cherry forward with vanilla ice cream and honey. Plenty of oak too, as you’d probably expect. Some petrichor and burnt orange.
A Christmas spices element emerged after a little more nosing, which brings with it a balance against sweet notes.

Palate: Fairly thin mouthfeel with a mild to medium ABV spice note. The vanilla, honey, Christmas spices and oak are all joined by black pepper and a little aniseed heat.
There’s a savoury note too now, along with an ever-increasing pepper heat.
Cherries in syrup and milk biscuits now.

Finish: The spicier notes last the longest. The sweeter notes fade after a short while.

Overall: It’s ok, nothing special and I’d probably go for the standard Four Roses over this.

SMWS Walk-In Cigar Humidor 55.5% ABV

SMWS Walk In Cigar Humidor

Distilled: 13.02.2018 and one of only 241 bottles released. This Balcones was aged for 3 years in Texas Rum Barrique and Refill French Oak Barrique.

Appearance: Lager amber. A thin beaded swirl mark forms with an immediate series of teardrops. After a while delete also appears above a thin sticky film.

Nose: For 55.5% there’s not much ethanol. Initially very bourbon-forward with oak, honey, vanilla and cherry. There’s also a richer pastry and stewed red fruit aroma. Orange chocolate, subtle black pepper and cinnamon.

Palate: A pleasant mouthfeel, not oily but definitely not thin either. A good balance of pepper, spice and honey-drenched red berries sweetness on the first sip.
The second sip reveals some lovely Christmas spices and rush and tangy orange. There’s still a tingling from the ABV spice too, which is welcomed.
Oak appears next, bringing with it a little drying in the mouth.
After a few sips, there are some caramel and tropical fruit sweet elements that resemble rum, it’s an interesting and pleasant flavour layer.

Finish: Long. The rum notes, spices and honey all last for sure some time.

Overall: I like it, it’s got some lovely syrupy sweet elements and that hit of spice to balance. I’m a big fan of Balcones and this didn’t disappoint.

DS Tayman Blair Athol 12yo 2009 Syrah Edition 46% ABV


Distilled at Blair Athol in November 2009, this single malt matured in a virgin oak hogshead, before finishing in an ex-syrah (shiraz) wine cask! Bottled in January 2022 as part of a total outrun of 388 bottles.

Appearance: Rust/amber. An immediate forming of many thick trails, large teardrops and viscous tide marks. The film had a pleasing viscosity and stuck to the glass for ages.

Nose: The level of ABV feels about right for 46%. Spicy bourbon notes with cherry, honey and vanilla. Some cinnamon and black pepper.
After a bit more nosing some more mellow notes appear such as digestive biscuit and cake sponge, there’s also icing sugar and Fruit Salad chews in the mix too. As the dram matures there are a few blackberry and strawberry elements.

Palate: A spice-forward first sip with black pepper, cinnamon, ginger and aniseed. The semi-viscous mouthfeel is welcomed. The blackberry and strawberry fruit notes are more evident on the palate, adding a much-needed sweetness to balance the initial spices.
Honey, subtle cherry and forest fruit pie with custard complete the flavour ensemble.

Finish: Short to medium. The spices and blackberry linger for a little while before fading. The icing sugar note is also evident in the finish.

Overall: An inoffensive, if not a little uninteresting dram. There’s nothing not to like, but equally nothing particularly memorable either.

Caisteal Chamuis 15yo 46% ABV

Caisteal Chamuis Blended Malt Whisky

Caisteal Chamuis is a blended malt Scotch whisky produced by Mossburn Distillers. The bottling gets its name from the ruins of Caisteal Chamuis, also known as Knock Castle or Castle Camus, which is located on the headland on the eastern side of Knock Bay on the Isle of Skye. The ruins of the castle can be seen from the grounds of the Torabhaig Distillery. Interestingly, the stone used to build the steading that would eventually become Torabhaig was taken from the by-then derelict castle.

This blended malt whisky is a classic representation of the Hebridean lifestyle and folklore. It evokes memories of a time spent in the company of lively people, around peat fires, and with bold spirits. The whisky was initially aged in both refill and first-fill American Oak Hogshead casks. Then, the individual malts were blended and finished in fresh 200-litre Bourbon Barrels.

Appearance: Rose wine/copper. A thin film and even thinner tide mark forms when agitated. A few very faint thin trails appear with further agitation.

Nose: A big hit of struck sulphur and burning wood. A little minerality, toffee apple and Jaffa Cake (although I’m struggling to get past the struck match element! It’s a no-holds-barred and full-on nose, that’s for sure! An intense non-descript fruit syrup and a wisp of sweet smoke?

Palate: The matchstick element definitely remains evident, with lots of sulphur and burning wood. Some fruit jam and a little meatiness. I can’t get anything other than this, it’s way too sulphur-forward for me!

Finish: Struck match

Overall: Too sulphur-forward for my tastes, I struggled to get past that and enjoy anything else about the dram.

Torabhaig Distillery Reserve 2023

torabhaig distillery

Appearance: Summer honey/light gold. A thin beaded tide mark appears along with some droplets and small teardrops. A fairly viscous film with several medium to thick trails cling to the inside of the glass.

Nose: A decent hit of ethanol. Roasted salted nuts (possibly spiced nuts), chocolate, damp leaf litter and bark and a sweeter note of toffee and caramel. Berry fruitiness appears after a short while, with some honey nut cornflakes and milk.

Palate: Sweet honey, cereals, vanilla and subtle black pepper. It’s a lovely gentle and harmonious palate. Some zingy citrus but restrained and controlled, along with a little lime-encrusted dark chocolate and slight drying. Some pickle juice and smoke appears later on, along with ever-growing spice: aniseed and lemon pepper.

Finish: Long. Smokey lemons and pickle juice at first. Some meaty elements appear but fade just as quickly.

Overall: A quintessential distillery release. Big, bold and unapologetic. Lots going on, mostly good, some odd, but that’s the point I guess, it’s a bit more ‘raw’ than a polished retail release! I really like this!

Torabhaig Allt Gleann 46% ABV

Torabhaig Allt Gleann

The second release in Torabhaig’s Legacy series single malt, Allt Gleann is a smoky whisky made with a small parcel of casks from 2017 and 2018, each filled with heavily-peated whisky. 

Appearance: Very light gold/white wine spritzer. A thin beaded swirl line quickly appears along with many small teardrops, which form an upside-down crown and faint medium trails. The film isn’t particularly thick but does appear sticky.

Nose: Quite gentle on the ABV. Subtle sweet smoke, vanilla, brown sugar and black pepper first. White chocolate, faint orchard fruits and confectionary sugar follow. There’s an arable element: cereals and oats, along with a little sugar-dusted red apple. Some salinity (possibly salted nuts) as the dram matures, again, adding more interest and flavour layers. Every time I take a sniff, there’s something new with this one, now I’m getting bubble gum!?

Palate: Nice semi-oily mouthfeel. A little smoke, citrus and honey. That cereal element follows through from the nose, now honeyed, along with some gentle pepper and a little drying. Some white grape, a metallic element and fresh lemon juice.

Finish: Short in length. The metallic element, honey and smoked lemon last for a short while before fading. It’s a little drying in the finish too.

Overall: A solid dram with plenty going on. The aromas and flavours all work well together.

Torabhaig Cnoc Na Moine 46% ABV

Torabhaig Cnoc Na Moine

Part of Torabhaig’s Legacy Series, Cnoc Na Moine was inspired by the Isle of Skye’s rugged coastline, which the distillery overlooks. Matured in bourbon, oloroso and Pedro Ximenez casks, which is followed by waves of savoury barbecue smoke.

This bottling is the third chapter in the Legacy Series, the first of which; Legacy Series 2017, launched back in February 2021. Each release is said to capture a stage on the journey from inception and youth through to coming of age and full maturity – leading up to the launch of their 10-Year-Old release in 2028.

Appearance: Light copper/white wine with an orange tinge. A medium tide mark and semi-viscous film form. Many medium to thick trails form around the glass, creating a corrugated effect. A few small teardrops appear after a short while too.

Nose: A well-balanced ABV on the nose. Immediate sweet meaty BBQ smoke, caramelised steak and red wine. Honey, black pepper and a little blackberry jam. The smoke element becomes a little more ash-like as the dram matures, there’s a hint of citrus/lemonade now too. Quite a concentrated ‘fruit reduction’ element where the blackberries and a little strawberry are concerned.

Palate: A semi-viscous mouthfeel and lovely gentle sweet smoke element again, like the nose, meaty and a little ashy. A subtle white pepper tingle and the richer deeper dark fruits come through, blackberry again as well as plum. The flavour profile is very pleasing, nicely balanced flavours and all lovely in their own right. The citrus and fruit reduction are also consistent, I’m really enjoying their ever-increasing sweetness. A touch of pipe tobacco and leather appears towards and into the finish. Blackberry cough sweets make an appearance really late on in the dram.

Finish: Medium in length. That faint tobacco, citrus, blackberry reduction and smoke all linger for a decent length of time. The fruits almost drown out the meat element from the nose and palate, but it manages to hang on into the finish.

Overall: A banger in my opinion. A really well put together, harmonious and interesting whisky. Love it

The Octave Glentauchers 2008 14yo 53.9% ABV


The Glentauchers Octave cask NO: 8535929 has aged for 14 years in oak casks, then spent the final 9 months in a sherry octave cask. This release of only 94 bottles, is bottled in 2023 at cask strength, non-chill-filtered and natural colouring.

Appearance: Dark and moody. Strong tea with a thin film and a few medium trails. Some teardrops and droplets form too.

Nose: Cola syrup, heaps of oak, smouldering chipboard and cherries. It’s not so much the ABV that hits the nose, but more the strength of the aromas.
Some sweeter notes appear after a little while in the form of honey, vanilla and confectionary sugar.

Palate: A lovely oily mouthfeel with a lovely mix of sweet and hefty spices on the first sip.
Chocolate, black pepper, popping candy and coffee appear next. The cola syrup is also consistent with the nose, adding an intense sweetness.
The spice increases as the dram matures, almost to a chilli tingle, I like it, it warms the chest nicely.

Finish: Long. The spices and cola element last for ages, as does a little honey and cinnamon.

Overall: I really like this one, it’s big, bold and unapologetic, but it’s warranted. A well-balanced and flavour-packed whisky.

M&S 10yo Speyside Single Malt Whisky 40% ABV


Grabbed on the way to a stay with friends in Devon last weekend, this whisky doesn’t exist anywhere apparently! I can only find a 12yo mentioned online.

Appearance: Old gold. Many thick trails seep down the glass underneath a substantial swirl mark. Quite a few teardrops form and a surprisingly thick film wraps around the inside of the glass.

Nose: Not a bad level of alcohol for the ABV. Toffee apple, confectionary sugar, done oak and orchard fruits, especially plum. Some dark chocolate and plywood notes emerge as the dram matures too.

Palate: Quite a thin mouthfeel. Again, a decent level of ethanol and a nice warming in the chest and throat.
Plenty of caramel, honey, oak, the confectionary sugar note and toffee apple.
Some Christmas spices show up after a few sips, adding a new mellow layer to balance the sweetness.

Finish: Medium to long. The spices, sugar and toffee apple notes all last a good amount of time. The caramel lingers well too.

Overall: I’ll be honest, I’ve tasted much worse for much more. It’s full of pleasant and friendly notes, both in the nose and palate, all balanced nicely and with a good deal to discover for such a reasonably priced whisky.
Don’t get me wrong, it won’t light up your tasting evening, but for £30 it’s not bad, not bad at all.