Glenfiddich 15yo 40% ABV

glenfiddich 15yo
glenfiddich logo

Aged in European oak sherry casks and new oak casks, the whisky is mellowed in a Solera Vat.


Appearance

Mid gold with an orange hue in colour, the swirl line is medium thick on my Copita, and it drops quite thick legs. #thewhiskeychaps

Nose

The nose on this too seems higher than 40% ABV, and it does have more substance for me. The fruity/spicy/wood aromas are better married and fuller. Red berries, aromatic wood, and raw linseed, it also has the evergreen boughs like the 12yo #thewhiskeychaps

I have to say that I’m getting an old style bubble gum too, which is rather nice, and digestive biscuits and apricot pastries too. #thewhiskeychaps

Palate

Slightly improved mouthfeel initially, and now I’m getting a sweet sherry mouthful of stewed fruits, with strawberries and raspberries. Almost the syrup from a can of fruit salad chunks. #thewhiskeychaps

Blood arrange zest, some grapefruit too, with black currants, it’s all fruit for me. Black pepper does appear but it’s not overly peppery. #thewhiskeychaps

Finish

Medium long in length, and much like the palate tbh. Perhaps dark chocolate and mocha right at the end. It does stay spicy tbh. #thewhiskeychaps

My thoughts

Well, i have to say i enjoyed the flavours in this 15 year old, it’s a marked improvement on the 12 year old in many ways. The mouthfeel is better, the ranges of aromas and flavours are too, and it’s better married also. It’s not one i’d purchase purely because of where i am on my whisky trail, but it’d definitely be worth paying the extra to buy this over the 12yo offering.

I personally think this is a good 2nd stage whisky for someone new to it all, it’s not a bold dram but it’s definitely offering that bit more, to widen the experience of flavours available in whiskies.


Knockdhu 12yo 53.9% ABV (A.D.Rattray).

knockdhu 12yo
ancnoc logo
a.d.rattray logo

53.9% ABV. / 700ml

Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Cask No. 700307, A. D. Rattray Cask Collection.

Distilled at Knockdhu, 12 Years Old, Cask Type: Bourbon Barrel, Cask No: 700307, Date Distilled: 06.05.2009, Date Bottled: 23.09.2021, Number of Bottles: 195, Cask strength: 53.9%, Un-chill filtered, Natural colour.



Cask Notes; A stripped-back, refill barrel from the home of AnCnoc, exhibiting trademark notes of fresh pineapple and spearmint.


Appearance

This whisky is light white wine in colour, the swirl line on my Copita is quite thick and syrupy, and it drops lovely thick legs. 

Nose

Initially it’s a mixture of sweet fruitiness and evergreen boughs. Green grapes, pineapple, lemonade, and fruit cocktail really do mix nicely with the wood. Plums start to come through, with a real icing sugar sweetness, and waiting in the background are faint hazelnuts and raisins.

Waiting longer seems to bring out a spiciness, with hints of black pepper, and lychees with cereals.

Palate

The mouthfeel is ok, not overly oily, but those potential spices from the nose are all here on the palate. Plenty of cinnamon, bitter lemon, then early cigar leaves, golden syrup, cheesecake base, and milky coffee. 

More time and darker spicy notes come through. Figs, anise add to the spiciness, and black cherries carry it along too, I’d even say cloves arrive late on, with cask char.

Finish

The finish is long side of medium, and for me is a wonderful interplay of the sweetness and spices this dram brings, neither dominate, they bounce from one to the other. Guava, chocolate covered raisins, and dried apricots, with a black pepper tingle right at the very end.

My thoughts

If you know anything about me from my posts on social media, you’ll know i’m very much into independently bottled whiskies, for several reasons. I also make it clear that i do enjoy whiskies bottled by A.D.Rattray, and this is another bottle i bought from them.

The reason for purchasing this bottle is that doing whisky tastings as The Whisky Chaps on Twitter with my Whisky partner @whiskeychap, i has become apparent that whisky from the Knockdhu distillery (Ancnoc) is generally very good. This bottling is a naked offering from Knockdhu, and i just couldn’t resist purchasing it, and i’m very pleased i did.

The nose and palate offer plenty to enjoy, in my opinion it really is a pleasant fruity/spicy dram, with plenty of depth and roundedness. At £67, with free delivery and a free sample of something else from their current stock i think it’s a winner, and i don’t honestly expect it to last too long here.


The Sipping Shed Aultmore 11 48.5% ABV

aultmore-11-year-old

The second batch from a refill sherry cask that leaked, intensifying the cask influence.


Appearance: A lovely dark gold, like a pint of ale. A lovely viscous film and substantial swirl mark quickly form and cling to the glass. Lots of medium/thick legs.

Nose: Sweet, slightly sulphuric smoke, like a freshly struck match. Toffee, butterscotch and dark fruits and berries. The ABV just underpins the aromas nicely, not interfering. Coffee, campfire ash and chocolate provide a more mellow set of aromas. There’s blackcurrant and apple squash now, which is a lovely fresh and fruity dimension that took me by surprise!

Palate: A more meaty BBQ smoke than the nose, along with those dark fruits, blackberries and that spent match. There is also a buttery pastry flavour which is lovely. A slight dryness on the tongue.
The ash note is consistent with the nose but, again, more of a flavoursome BBQ ash.
Towards the end of the dram, a spice builds in the form of white pepper and mild chilli.

Finish: Long. Full of lovely smokey BBQ aromas, along with sweeter blackberries and dark fruits.

Overall: This is pretty bang on my kind of dram. Love the fruit-forward, but with that meaty smoke in support. It also drinks like a higher ABV.

Glenfiddich 12yo 40% ABV

glenfiddich 12yo
glenfiddich logo

This Speyside whisky is matured in American & European oak sherry casks for at least 12 years.


Appearance

Mid gold in colour, has a medium to thick swirl line on my Copita, and thick syrupy legs. #thewhiskeychaps

Nose

Noses higher than 40% ABV for me, faint cherryade, icing sugar, evergreen boughs, a little botanical too. Not as light as I remember it from the past tbh. #thewhiskeychaps

It has a good level of wood coming through, lightly floral, perhaps a walk through a dryish woods. #thewhiskeychaps

Palate

Mouthfeel is as expected for 40% ABV, and it brings a sweet and lightly spicy character for me. Royal icing, cream soda, lemonade, then cinnamon and light cumin. #thewhiskeychaps

More time brings liquorice allsorts, black coffee, and cranberries. #thewhiskeychaps

Finish

Medium in length, still stays lightly spicy until the end, perhaps orange zest comes through too. #thewhiskeychaps

My thoughts

Glenfiddich 12yo, along with Glenlivet 12yo were the first two Scotch single malt whiskies that i tasted back in the late 1980’s, after drinking only Jameson before them for a few years. MY recollection from that time was that the Glenlivet won the tussle back then. Tasting the Glenfiddich 12yo now means i’m trying a different whisky altogether now.

I came to tasting this offering with some preconceptions, and i have to admit that i was quite wrong, this bottling was better than i remember the old bottle being. For an entry level dram i quite enjoyed this, yes there’s no mouthfeel, and it’s quite light in general but i enjoyed its flavours. I can’t say i’ll be buying a bottle this morning, but i think it is a good introduction to the lighter Speyside whiskies, exactly how i came to drink Scotch single malt whisky years ago.


The Sipping Shed Glenshiel 10 59.4% ABV

glenshiel-10-year-old

In the style of Inchmurrin so no peat. Distilled at Loch Lomond distillery and matured in a 1st fill bourbon barrel.


Appearance: White wine/diluted apple juice. A hairline swirl mark forms above a viscous film, with numerous beads and teardrops. Quick-forming medium legs line the circumference of the glass.

Nose: Honey, light caramel, pear drops, barley and cereal are the initial notes. Subtle floral notes, hints of summer berries, red apple skin and vegetal cut grass and hedgerow aromas now. Although the ABV is evident (I think it would be impossible to not be given the 59+%), it’s not overpowering and carried very well. It’s a clever dram in that it’s obviously high ABV, the aromas are quite delicate but the two work well together.
As the glass matures there’s a sweeter, more dessert-like quality to the nose. The caramel note intensifies, along with icing sugar and watermelon pastel sweets (ALDI).
There are some wood notes and a faint spice
It’s a lovely varied nose and a great start to the dram, I’m impressed at how under control the ABV is.

“This is in the style of Inchmurrin so no peat and a lovely fruity clean spirit. It’s matured in a first fill bourbon cask which is quite evident adding custard and coconut. Quite hefty at cask strength so i like just a drop of water with mine…”

– Dan Hipshon – The Sipping Shed Founder

Palate: A lovely mouthfeel, like melted butter. Spicier on the palate than the nose would suggest (as many are), but not overly so. The ABV is also more evident on the palate, with that ethanol tingle and chest-warming ‘hug’!
As the palate acclimatises, there are flavours of honey, digestive biscuit, a touch of eucalyptus and black pepper.
Adding a drop or two of water releases cherry soothers, hot aniseed and mild chilli. Wood spices and char are in abundance now, as are wood sugars (is that a thing? it’s the first thing that sprang to mind) like caramelisation.
The sweetness grows as the dram ages, revealing a subtle candied orange segment element.

Finish: So long! Full of spice, barrel char and caramel. There’s also that cooling note and chilli tingle.

Overall: It’s a beast of a CS whisky and in a very good way! Adding water opens a whole new set of flavours. 2 whiskies in 1 – awesome!

Glen Scotia 21-year-old 46% ABV

glen-scotia-21

Introduced as the pinnacle of the distillery’s 2013 upgrade, Glen Scotia 21-year-old is matured mainly in bourbon casks.


Appearance: Diluted tea. Lots of medium legs, teardrops and a beaded tide mark. A decent film quickly forms and clings to the glass for a good amount of time.

Nose: A nice level ABV, what I’d expect from 46%. Tropical fruits, tinned fruit syrup, lemonade and condensed milk.
Again there’s that mixture of coastal air and a distant BBQ. A natural spring aroma, pure water that seems to layer other scents.
After a while, there’s butterscotch, vanilla and honey.

Palate: Semi-viscous mouthfeel. A spice tingle: hot aniseed and cinnamon.
Lemon and tropical fruits also appear on the palate, together with the syrupy sweet fruits.
As the dram matures the jammy fruitiness increases. It’s a lovely element and a very welcomed metamorphosis.
A tannic taste appears just before the finish.

Finish: Sweet berry jam, cinnamon and fading aniseed. The tannic note also transcends to the finish but fades quickly thereafter.

Overall: It’s a very nice dram but I’d gravitate towards other distillery’s 18-year-olds that seem to pack more flavour and complexity.

Tobermory 2004 16yo PX Butt hand fill 56.7% ABV.

tobermory 2004 px cask handfill
tobermory logo

We know Tobermory spirit and sherry casks go well together and this warehouse 1 release is no different. After being transferred to a Pedro Ximenez Sherry Butt in 2013, this whisky has taken on a beautiful burnt copper colour from the cask.

Tobermory Whisky

Appearance

This is a lovely chestnut brown in colour, and when first poured there were bubbles evident on the surface. The swirl line on my Copita is nice and syrupy, and slowly drops thick legs.

Nose

Jeez that’s some nose, it’s made my eyes water to be honest. Initially the nose brings me Lychee’s, rose Turkish delight chunks, lots of aromatic wood, evergreen boughs, and lots of stewed dark fruits, as you’d expect.

More time and black cherries and molasses coke through, and there is a lighter sweetness too, perhaps lemon bon bon’s. Cola cubes with dandelion and burdock arrive next, with dark shag tobacco, chocolate coated raisins, black Jack kids sweets and interestingly a bubble gum aroma.

Palate

The mouthfeel is rather nice, quite oily, and for a second or two it was sweet, then they’re overtaken with the stewed dark fruits, a dampened cigar, cola cubes like the nose, and again there is a sweetness, something like green apple juice.

More time in the glass brings mocha coffee, molasses, cinnamon, cumin, prunes, and a coffee stout kind of thing. Jamaican ginger cake now, I love Jamaican ginger cake, and almost a smokiness even though it’s unpeated.

Finish

The finish is long, and it’s spicy with a touch of sweetness all the way through. This is very much a chest warming dram actually. Black Forest gateau with plenty of sherry going on, with the faintest touch of sulphur.

My thoughts

This particular dram has been sitting in a drawer for quite some time, which is surprising considering i enjoy official bottlings from the Tobermory distillery. So it’s a distillery exclusive, full PX cask matured , and hand filled at the distillery.

I have to say that iv’e enjoyed every Tobermory bottling iv’e tasted, including their Ledaig bottlings. For some reason they seem to slip under the whisky radar of many, unless your’e in certain whisky circles ie social media, in which case you’ll more likely be very aware of their whisky. Knowing this i have to try and be as impartial as i can be, whilst nosing and tasting this what i consider a fantastic whisky, (impartiality gone out the window straight away).

I have to say that i really enjoyed tasting this bottling, it’s what i call “another banger” from Tobermory, it shows the quality that the distillery are looking for when selecting a single cask, which iv’e found across their range so far. It has everything and more that would be expected from the maturation, it’s literally a chest warming gob full of wonderful sherry cask matured whisky.


A big thank you goes out to Steve – @whisky_brers, a whisky friend over on Twitter, for this super sample. Please do give Steve along with us a follow on Twitter using the buttons below.

Glen Scotia 18 year old 46% ABV

glen scotia 18yo

Introduced in September 2017. Initially aged in American oak casks and treated to a finishing period in Oloroso sherry casks.


Appearance: Honey gold. Many huge thick legs quickly form and run hurriedly back to the surface. No sooner does the swirl line form than it becomes a chaotic mess of teardrops and scattered beads.

Nose: Quite light on the ethanol, a very friendly first sniff.
Coastal salinity greats the nose initially, together with petrichor, orchard fruits, barrel char, caramelised wood notes and barley.
There is also a confectionery sweet side (verging on foam sweets) to the nose, adding some balance to the salt and ocean aromas.
To add another layer, vegetal notes appear after a while. Cut grass and nettle.

Palate: The ABV is more prominent on the palate. There is a viscosity, but I’d expect more from an 18yo if I’m honest. It’s got that spring water thing going on. It doesn’t take too much away from the overall dram experience though.
There’s a salted chocolate edge which I like, initially sweet and smooth but little crystals of salinity twang on the tongue.
Black pepper, buttered bread and the slightest of clawing. As more sips are taken a honey cereal side presents itself.

Finish: Medium to long. Salt, chocolate, black pepper and that cereal note. The slight dryness also lingers.

Overall: I have a huge respect for Glen Scotia and really enjoyed this friendly and well-balanced dram. With many distilleries pushing their prices up to unaffordable levels for their higher end whiskies, this has to be a ‘go to’ 18 year old, at around £95.

I’d like to see this presented at cask strength, the spring water note dilutes some of the flavours that I believe would shine at a higher ABV.

Ledaig 26yo 45% ABV cask #245, from The Single Cask.

ledaig 26yo
ledaig logo
the single cask logo

A rather old Ledaig single malt, brought to life at the Tobermory distillery way back on 5 March 1993. It’s seen over a quarter of a century of maturation in just one cask (number 245, for your information). Just eight days after its 26th birthday, this peaty whisky was bottled on 13 March 2019 by The Single Cask. At 45% ABV, only 94 limited edition bottles were released. An absolute cracker, this one.

Master of Malt

Appearance

Damp straw, a little darker than white wine in colour, it has a nice thick swirl line on my Copita and initially creates an all over the glass film, followed by several slow medium thick legs.

Nose

Initially I’m finding it a combination of herbaceous peat, with stoned fruits, peach slices and apricots, and some bitter lemon, and at 45% ABV it comes across higher.

Cream soda starts to come though with more time, with a botanical aroma. Light rose water and dunnage, with a slightly earthy tone are developing now, along with Virginia rolling tobacco, royal icing, and a balsa wood feel.

Palate

The mouthfeel is pretty good, and the peat is everywhere on the palate, along with tangy spices from a good possible 1st fill bourbon cask. I’m getting white pepper, loads of peat, green grapes, bitter lemon like the nose, greengages and unripe plums.

More time and the peat settles a little, letting black liquorice to come through, dates, mocha coffee, and even cola cubes. Flat dandelion and burdock, and cough syrup, mixed with cask char, and still the spices are there. 

The peat is very much Smokey now, with seared pineapple chunks, lemon drizzle cake, vanilla pods, some hazelnuts, and toasted tea cakes.

Finish

The finish is long, and those spices just go on and on and on, and it’s very much a continuation of the late palate. Perhaps espresso creeps in right at the end, and the spices are still here, though very slowly fading.

My thoughts

Fancy doing a whisky sample swap with a fellow whisky lover, and getting this 26 year old Single cask Ledaig, this is how i came to have a generous sample released by The Single Cask Independent whisky bottlers. I have been an advocate for Ledaig whisky from the Tobermory distillery over on Mull , as well as their Tobermory whisky, for some time, not all peated whisky comes from Islay after all. Iv’e been lucky to try a few from them now, both official distillery releases and independently bottled offerings.

For me so far they seem to far into two camps. Younger Ledaig’s can be hot and full of peat, not only peat, but other flavours fight to get through at times, quite regularly offering tropical fruits. Older Ledaig’s are more balanced, where the peat and other flavours are equal in strength, and this comes at a cost of course, but gives a better idea of what Ladaig whisky can fully offer.

This is the oldest Ledaig iv’e tasted so far, and the 2nd time iv’e enjoyed an older Ledaig type flavour profile, giving up more of a fruit spectrum with initial peat influx, and moving onto darker heavier flavours towards the end.

I have to say that in my opinion this is a super dram, for many reasons, and not really because of it’s age, but mainly because of what the cask has done to the spirit during this time, everything that’s happened in it’s 26 years has been positive, and coming it at around £200 it should have. If i had the funds i would have one of these in my whisky cupboard, and it’d be savoured.


A big thank you goes out to Jason – @jason85388511, a whisky friend over on Twitter, for this super sample. Please do give Jason along with us a follow on Twitter using the buttons below.

Bottle image – Golden Drops.

Glen Scotia 16 year old 46% ABV

glen-scotia-16-year-old

Made available for the travel retail sector, a 16-year-old single malt from Campbeltown’s Glen Scotia distillery. This expression is bottled at 46 per cent alcohol by volume and let to mature in American oak and bourbon casks.


Appearance: A touch more yellow than white wine, slightly diluted apple juice. A thin beaded swirl mark forms, with a film that ripples the circumference of the glass.

Nose: I can smell the sweetness in this dram from some distance away from the glass. For 46%, this dram carries quite an ABV-heavy scent.
Initially, there’s candied fruit. Red apple, pastry and raspberry. Notes of lemon sorbet and honey too.
A meaty BBQ smoke also lingers gently, mingling in and out of the other aromas. Sweet spices are also present. Cinnamon, ginger and allspice berries.
It’s a well-balanced nose of very pleasant and friendly elements. Even as the glass matures, the ABV strength remains high.

Palate: A nice semi-oily mouthfeel. More spice than sweetness in the first sip. White pepper, lemon pepper and a mild chilli tingle.
Ashy smoke accompanies the spice, along with custard and a slightly bitter note. A white wine reminiscent flavour pops in and out of the palate.

Finish: Medium to long. Back to sweet but with the touch of bitterness and lemon. The chilli tingle and pepper notes linger for some time.

Overall: Not my favourite Glen Scotia. I’m not a fan of that bitter lemon tang. I’d not say ‘no’ if offered a dram again though.