Whisky Review #221 Ardbeg 17 yo 40%

ard17A 17 year old Ardbeg now, bottled in July 2004 which makes this bottling (almost)exactly 10 years of age these days.

On the nose: Sweet, light smoke, plums, sherry, red gooseberries, cherries and strawberry milk. Hints of vanilla, raspberry jam and honey with water.

On the palate: Sweet and fruity with just a subtle whiff of smoke. Very mild and palatable. Water brings out bitter chocolate and marzipan. Pink bubblegum in the finish as well as a hint of mint. Malted barley with water. Dark roaster chocolate malt.

A decent and candy-ish Ardbeg that kind of reminds me of the irish Connemara.

85/100 points

(Thanks to Håvard for the sample!)

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Whisky Review #220 Ardbeg Auriverdes 49.9%

auriverdesReleased May 31st (Ardbeg Day 2014). Just over 6500 bottles. About 10 years of age.

On the nose: Sour and salt smoke, charcoal, oranges, oak and a hint of herbal spearmint. Smells like an Ardbeg. Saltier with water added. Hints of beach sand, seaweed and seashells.

On the palate: Salt and cold in a way. Hints of lemon, grass and the smoke from burning straw. Fruitier with water. The finish has earth, smoke and salt. Slightly more bitter with water. Driftwood and icy mint.

Based on my 3cl sample of this whisky it seems extremely salty. A bit too salty maybe? Might have felt differently about it if I had a full bottle I could go back to and taste over a couple of days, but that goes for most of the whiskies I review here. So, all in all, not a favourite of mine but I still appreciate the herbal, icy spearmint notes.

84/100 points

(Thanks to Johan for the sample!)

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Whisky Review #219 West Islay 2003 (Svenska Eldvatten) 60.8%

west islayThere’s really not that much mystery to this bottling even though there’s no distillery name on the bottle. West Islay only has two up and running distilleries – Bruichladdich and Kilchoman. Since Kilchoman started producing in 2005, this 2003 vintage has to be a Bruichladdich.

This particular bottling spent 10 years in a first fill rum barrel(#882). 120 bottles in total.

On the nose: Yes, definitely a Laddie! Smoked cheddar, ash and lemon juice. Acidic and medicinal. Seasalt, fish on a bonfire and red currants. More herbal with water. Cleaner and thicker smoke. Hints of raspberry sweets.

On the palate: Salt, peaty and strong. Not a lot of smoke initially, more at the second and third sip. Sweeter and fruitier with water. Pears. The finish is ashy and reminds me of burnt mackerel on a bonfire. Still very salt, but with a perfumey sweetness. Water brings out hints of plums and more smoke. Drying smoke in a way.

Furious and engaging stuff! Best served with a generous dash of water, in my opinion.

90/100 points

(Thanks to Johan for the sample!)

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Whisky Review #218 Bunnahabhain Darch Ur (Batch 10) 46.3%

bunn darach urPicked up a bottle of this from a duty free shop a couple of months ago.

On the nose: Warm honey, well balanced oak, baked pears, red apples, vanilla pods and butter. More foresty with water. Gooseberries, more vanilla and sweet mellow wood.

On the palate: Brown sugar and nuts. Warm and velvety. Hints of toffee, even banana toffee. More malty with water. The finish has mild, spicy oak, oranges and more nuts. Still very velvety in the mouth.

Fabulous! Really impressed by the high quality of this one. It’s not necessarily what I was expecting from a relatively cheap, duty free, NAS bottling, to say the least, but this really took me by surprise. Will probably buy this again..

91/100 points

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Whisky Review #217 Bushmills ‘Black Bush’ 40%

bushmillsA marriage of oloroso matured single malt and grain whisky. About 10 years of age I think.

On the nose: Brown sugar. Mild and sweet with hints of sherry and red berries. Green twigs and toffee. Quite perfumey after some time in the glass.

On the palate: Sweet and fairly delicious. A bit thin. Oaky and sharp maple syrup. Hints of malt. In fact, if you’ve ever chewed malted barley, this is quite similar. The finish has charred sherry wood and burnt sugar.

Very decent. Of course, I didn’t do this whisky justice when I chose not to add water to it but the only water I had available was israeli tap water that tastes more like a swimming pool than the norwegian water I’m used to. #snob

80/100 points

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Whisky Review #216 Whyte & Mackay ‘Special’ 40%

whyteTried this one in a bar in Israel and wrote a few notes.

On the nose: Honey, oatmeal, cherries, dried bananas and caramel.

On the palate: Thin mouthfeel. Sweet with hints of dusty oak, chocolate and sherry. The finish is fairly short and quite spirity with a vague hint of smoke.

Tastewise this is decent stuff. It’s just extremely thin. Feels like it’s drowning even though I haven’t added any water.

73/100 points

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Whisky Review #215 Ardbeg 1977 46%

arbdeg1977Another oldie, but(probably) goodie! This one was distilled back in 1977 and bottled in 2002, which makes it the same age as the previous one – 25 years old.

On the nose: Dark chocolate and salted nuts. Not super big on the smoke.. more like a dying, slightly wet bonfire. Hints of wet leather also. More bitter and dark chocolate with water. Hints of red apples.

On the palate: Rich! Sweet, thick and ashy smoke. Slightly herbal. Dustier mouthfeel and more oak with water. Hints of citrus.  The finish has burnt sugar, salt and smoke. Green bitter herbs and charred wood. The smoke lingers..

Still very, very decent stuff, but I’m not mindblown. More oaky than the previous one.

88/100 points

Thanks to Ragnhild for the sample/pic!

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Whisky Review #214 Ardbeg 1975 43%

ardbeg1975Time for an old Ardbeg! This 1975 vintage was bottled in 2000 which makes it approximately 25 years old. This specific bottle has been open since 2005 according to my fellow whisky blogger, Ragnhild, who was friendly enough to send me a drop. Let’s see if 9 years of oxidation has managed to tame this beast.

On the nose: Salt fish on a smoking bonfire. Pine needles, peat and resin. Sweeter after a while. Hints of gasoline. Greener and more ‘forest-y’ with water.

On the palate: Extremely maritime. Sea spray, earthy smoke and sweet oak. Silky mouthfeel. Ashier with water. The finish has wet sawdust, charred wood, salt a hint of cardamom.

Good whisky, but it doesn’t quite live up to the hype that Ardbegs from the 1970’s has obtained over the last years. Still very good though.

88/100 points

Thanks to Ragnhild for the sample/pic!

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Whisky Review #213 Springbank 15yo (early 2000 bottling) 46%

springbank155So this is the old version of Springbank 15 year old, bottled around 2002 I believe. I actually found this on the floor(!) in the rum section(!) of an old liquor joint in Amsterdam a few months ago. Needless to say I felt like a pirate discovering a hidden treasure.

On the nose: Brown sugar, sherry, marzipan, dark chocolate, orange marmelade and overripe plums. Very rich, to say the least. More herbal and spicy with water.

On the palate: Oily mouthfeel! Salt, orange marmelade and prunes. Dark chocolate and marzipan here as well. Seems like the nose and palate is very synced. Sweet prominent sherry wine in the finish. Hints of oak. Sweeter with water.

It’s been a while since I’ve had the “new” 15 year old from Springbank so it’s hard to compare the two, but as far as this one goes – it’s bally delicious! Complex and rich on both flavour and mouthfeel. Two thumbs up!

92/100 points

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Whisky Review #212 Glen Keith 1995 / 16yo (Closed Distilleries, Part des Anges) 55.5%

glenkeithWell, it’s not a “closed distillery” anymore, actually. Although it was closed when Part des Anges bottled this specific bottling in 2012, Glen Keith distillery was reopened last year in June. So there you have it. Let’s get on with the review:

233 bottles in total.

On the nose: Citrus, lemon sorbet and green twigs. Hay and resin also. Hints of peaches and green grass with water added.

On the palate: Covers the mouth like a blanket! Green apples, pears and gooseberries. Juicier and grassier with water. Spicy yet sweet oak coming through in the finish. Dry and long.

Crisp, green and very much enjoyable. DWN-recommended!

89/100 points

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