Tag Archives: 100cl

Johnnie Walker Green Label (2015 -)

Bought: World Duty Free, 22nd March 2016

Ratings:
82.67/100 – Whiskybase (average from 8 member votes) for 100cl version
84/100 – Ralfy (of www.ralfy.com)

The Johnnie Walker ‘Green Label’ first appeared in 2005 but by 2013 it was discontinued everywhere other than in Asia. In 2015 it returned (hurray!) with a limited edition to mark its 10-year anniversary. But rather than disappear again it has remained due to popular demand, and by having enough stock of the whisky that go into this blended malt. As it states on the box this is a vatting together of Talisker, Linkwood, Cragganmore and Caol Ila, which all have to be a minimum of 15 years old. And with no grain whisky to interfere with the mix you get to play a guessing game as to which of these 4 classic single malts you can spot in the taste.

Even though it’s been 2 years since the Green Label (GL) returned I see that Jim Murray’s ‘Whisky Bible’ book still contains his review from many years ago (95/100) so I haven’t included that. 82.6/100 on Whiskybase is for my 100cl version but the 70cl scores higher with 83.4/100 from 76 votes (it’s the same stuff in both bottles). That’s a pretty good score. Comments include “no big challenge, no need of too much attention. Simple but decent”, “what it lacks is a bit of power, but then again, the balance between subtle smoke and sweetness is well-done” and “initial taste is very good and promising, but the body never delivers. And it’s just downhill from there, with an almost non existing finish.”

Although ratings appear to be good the new GL clearly has its faults, especially to those who tried the previous incarnation. When Ralfy did his first YouTube review of the GL in 2010 he scored it a fantastic 89/100 but in his re-review in 2016 (below) he’s downgraded it to 84/100. He felt it had been slightly sanitised since his last review. ‘Malts of Montreal’ says in his YouTube review of September 2015 (here) that the old version was more smoky and peaty whereas the new GL is sweeter. This could well upset the Coal Ila and Talisker fans and I certainly didn’t taste as much Talisker as I was hoping when I tried it. But overall, without comparison to the previous version, the Johnnie Walker Green Label is a good blended malt and an enjoyable experience on the palate.

Ralfy’s thoughts on YouTube (April 2016):

Tomintoul-Glenlivet 12-year-old (Perfume Bottle)

Bought: Online Whisky Auction, 26th October 2016

Ratings:
78/100 – Whiskyfun (Serge Valentin)
79/100 – Malt Maniacs (from 8 maniac votes)
82/100 – Whiskybase (from 17 member votes)

There are many reasons for collecting whisky such as having a favourite distillery, bottles from your birth year, closed distilleries, family favourite, love of a particulate flavour, etc. One of my sub-collections focuses on bottle shapes, which is where this Tomintoul comes in. The design first appeared in the mid 1970s but my 12yo dates from the late 1980s / early 1990s. It certainly has a Seventies look to it. The use of ‘hyphen Glenlivet’ seems to have been dropped in the 1990s by all the distilleries in the Glenlivet area.

Tomintoul is generally regarded as good if basic malt where the house style is easy-drinking, sweet with spice, vanilla, fruit and floral notes. The water source comes from the Ballantruan stream, which gives its name to the distillery’s heavily-peated ‘Old Balantruan’ range.

Scoring 78 and 79 from Whiskyfun and the Malt Maniacs is an average to reasonable score but 82/100 on Whiskybase is very good especially after 17 votes. One reviewer for the 70cl bottle (mine is 100cl) leaves these thoughts, “A gentle dram, that’s the true, toffee, chocolate and malt. Well balanced and nice to drink, sweet on the palate, with vanilla and some wood. Amazing chocolate notes in a long finish, bitter herbs remain at the end.” They conclude with “good standard.”

Here are the tasting notes from Serge Valentin of Whiskyfun, which don’t sound too bad if you like toffee:
Nose: lots of caramel at first nosing, developing on burnt cake, malt and praline. Nicely balanced. It then gets slightly sour, with some notes of vanilla and old wood. It’s not complex but quite nice and compact, getting more and more toffeeish.
Mouth: very sweet attack, again on caramel and malt. Cake, dried oranges, camomile, grains… The caramel gets then heavier and heavier, which makes the whole a little bitter, but not un-enjoyable.
Finish: rather long but too toffeeish, alas.

tomintoul-glenlivet-12yo-100cl-perfume

Talisker ‘Dark Storm’

Bought: World of Whisky (Heathrow Airport), 10th September 2016

Ratings:
92/100 – Whisky Bible 2016
83.85/100 – Whiskybase (average from 309 member votes)

The Talisker ‘Dark Storm’ first appeared in 2013, the very year I got into drinking, collecting and investing in whisky. Even though I love Talisker it’s taken me 3 years to get the Dark Storm because of the NAS (non-age statement) war that was raging in 2013. The younger Macallan age statements (10yo, 12yo & 15yo) were being replaced by NAS and most new NAS bottles were greeted with scepticism and sneers. As I searched for advice online I got unfairly tainted by the NAS jibes, often by people who hadn’t even tasted the whisky they were insulting. Not that the Dark Storm was easy to acquire being a Travel Retail exclusive (airport Duty Free) but it also took me a while to get the ‘Storm’. Of course ‘exclusive’ means the Dark Storm is available in numerous shops in Germany and Holland, as well as £62.90 from Amazon UK (£44.99 at airports).

The Whisky Bible’s score of 92/100 relates to the 2013 edition of the Dark Storm but I have the 2014 version. Not that there’s much difference between the two. If anything the 2014 is slightly better as it scores 83.85/100 on Whiskybase with the 2013 release scoring 83.77/100 (from 344 votes). Both are fantastic scores. Comments for my bottle include “not your typical Talisker, but still very serious and complex”, “a very round and delicate malt” and “damn good release from Talisker”.

As Horst Luening says during his review on You Tube (here) there’s probably colour added but neither he nor any review I’ve read say this affects the taste. He suspects the Dark Storm is a young spirit but the heavily charred wood has been used brilliantly in smoothing and shaping the flavour. There are several other You Tube reviews, all very complimentary (Jo of Whisky Wednesday loves it and scores it 9/10) but I’ve added the following review from Scotch 4 Dummies because they give us four different opinions (April 2016 – 15 minutes):

talisker-dark-storm-nas-100cl

Haig ‘Supreme’

Bought: Online Whisky Auction, 7th September 2016

Ratings:
76.5/100 – Best Shot Whisky Reviews

This bottle of Haig ‘Supreme’ was a crazy “I like the bottle shape” online auction purchase. What was I thinking? But I thought 100cl for £22 was a very good price, especially as bottles can sometimes reach £60. From what I can deduce the Supreme was launched in 2013 for the South American market and doesn’t appear to be available anywhere else, expect at auctions. In Brazil the Supreme sells for the UK equivalent of £23.50 so I hardly got a bargain. It’s a budget blend produced from 20 different whiskies and matured in European oak.

76.5/100 on ‘Best Shot Whisky Reviews’ is a reasonable score. The author prefers the Supreme to the Johnnie Walker Red Label, which is in the same price bracket. Online shops in Brazil that allow drinkers to submit star ratings for the Supreme generally score it 5/5 so it seems like a decent dram. I’ve been unable to find any reviews in English on You Tube but I’ll be sure to add one if any appear.

Here are the official tasting notes:

Nose: aromas of fresh fruits with the sweetness of homemade apple pie. The delicate toffee and caramel nose is gently replaced with smoke and oak.
Pallet: sweet fruits with hints of melon and tangerines, creamy and sweet.
Finish: drying, gentle smoke aftertaste.

If they ever sell this in the UK I’d recommend the slogan “Haig Supreme – if you want to feel like a Columbian drug warlord. When you’ve drunk the whisky use the bottle to club your enemies to death.”

Haig Supreme launch video on You Tube:

haig-supreme-100cl

Glenmorangie ‘Tayne’

Bought: World Duty Free, 29th March 2016

Ratings:
87.5/100 – Whisky Bible 2016
81.6/100 – Whiskybase (from 17 member votes)

The ‘Tayne’ is Glenmorangie’s second bottle in their ‘Legends’ series following on from ‘The Duthac’. Both are 1 litre and Travel Retail exclusives. Usually that means it’s available in lots of shops on mainland Europe but that doesn’t seem to be the case with the Tayne. Surely not an ‘exclusive’ that’s actually exclusive? {faints}

87.5/100 in Jim Murray’s ‘Whisky Bible’ classifies this malt as “good to excellent whisky definitely worth buying” and his review consists of “tangy back story. But also a curious early combination between butterscotch and Werther’s Original candy. The malt – topped with a splash of double cream – in the centre ground, though, is the star showing.”

81.6/100 on Whiskybase is a good mark but not outstanding. Comments include “this is a good sherry whisky. Dark fruits, a spicy sweetness and well balanced. Good whisky for the money, nice.” Dramlicious score the Tayne 84/100 and their review and tasting notes can be found here.

Here’s WhiskyWise giving us his thoughts on You Tube in his very first whisky review video (April 2016):

Glenmorangie Tayne NAS 100cl

Old Pulteney ‘Spectrum’ WK217

Bought: Online Whisky Auction, 24th February 2016

Ratings:
88.5/100 – Whisky Bible 2016
85.22/100 – Whiskybase (average from 34 member votes)

Appearing in 2012, the Spectrum was the final release of three Old Pulteneys for Travel Retail named after extraordinary boats. Here are the three with their ratings from Whiskybase:

  • 85.22/100 – Spectrum, 2012 (average from 34 member votes)
  • 82.17/100 – Isabella Fortuna, 2011 (average from 62 member votes)
  • 80.29/100 – Good Hope, 2010 (average from 37 member votes)

There was a stronger version (52% instead of 46%) of Isabella Fortuna that came out in 2009 which scores 85.37/100 from 54 member votes, so very similar in ranking to the Spectrum. The standard 12yo scores 81.33/100 from 283 votes to give a point of reference.

It seems the Spectrum was the best boat out of the three, which is reinforced by Jim Murray’s score in his Whisky Bible 2016. The Spectrum first appeared in the 2013 issue where Mr Murray says of the taste “the delivery reveals unusual youthfulness, amply balanced by a more impressive saline contour which hits you like sea spray in the face: a rare eruption of flavour in a sensual experience.” 88.5/100 classifies this single malt as “very good to excellent whisky definitely worth buying.”

Tasting notes from Whiskybase include “malty and fruity aroma, heather honey, mango, oat porridge, cinnamon, prunes, peat and toffee. Vanilla sweet taste, sweet mustard, pepper, grapefruit marmalade, bitter herbs and malt. Medium long, malty, fruity and herbal end.”

Old Pulteney Spectrum WK217 100cl

Highland Park 1997 (Travel Retail)

Bought: Online Whisky Auction, 24th February 2016

Ratings:
81.3/100 – Whiskybase (average from 12 member votes)

Where did this Highland Park come from? Before you say “a mummy whisky and a daddy whisky” I’ll rephrase my question – I thought the main ‘Travel Retail’ dates for Highland Park had been 1990, 1994, 1998 and 2001? It would make sense since they’re nicely spaced. A 1997 seems a bit out of place. I’ve checked through the HP bottles listed on Whiskybase and I think this is the only ‘Travel Retail’ year version I missed but I’m not sure it was ever available in the UK. The reason I say this is because it rarely, if ever, appears in a British auction even though it was bottled in 2009. When I spotted it, trying to find previously sold versions was practically impossible.

81.3/100 on Whiskybase is a reasonable score but falls short of being amazing. Experienced reviewer Mark Dermul leaves us his thoughts about the taste “good start on the palate, slightly bitter but certainly not oaky, with loads of oranges, but also figs. The Orkney peaty is very prominent now. Caramel and some coconut.” He summarises with “this is pretty good stuff and a whole other story than the standard 12 Year Old.” Mark lives in Belgium and his review is from a few years ago when he ends with “last seen for around €45.” I doubt it was ever seen in UK airports for the GBP equivalent (about £35), which is why I think it’s so rare on these shores. It’s certainly a curiosity for a British collector of HP and it’s nice to know it’s a different experience to the standard 12yo.

Highland Park 1997 100cl

Highland Park 16-year-old

Bought: Just Whisky Auction, 15th November 2015

Ratings:
88/100 – Whisky Bible 2008
82.68/100 – Whiskybase (average from 33 member votes)

This discontinued distillery bottle of Highland Park first appeared in October 2005 and was a new addition to Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible in 2007. The 100cl version I have was exclusive to ‘Travel Retail’ so found in certain airport terminals. There was a 70cl and miniature more generally available. The bible score of 88/100 classifies this HP as “very good to excellent whisky definitely worth buying”. The author says of the taste “mouthwatering and delightfully weighted barley with soft nuances of liquorice and smoke” and concludes with “I tasted this the day it first came out at one of the Heathrow whisky shops. I thought it a bit flat and uninspiring. This sample, maybe from another bottle, is more impressive and showing true Highland Park colours”.

Although 82.68/100 on Whiskybase is a reasonable score it’s only marginally ahead of the standard 12yo (82.38/100) and lagging slightly behind the 15yo (83.13/100). It certainly can’t hold a candle to the 18yo (87.42/100), which is a classic of its time. But if you love Highland Park this 16yo is certainly a good dram and worth looking out for. Hard To Find Whisky are selling a bottle for £120 but it goes for about £80 at auction.

Here’s a short Highland Park distillery video about the 16-year-old:

Highland Park 16yo 100cl

Glenmorangie ‘The Duthac’

Bought: World Duty Free, 10th September 2015

Ratings:
83.6/100 – Whiskybase (average from 42 member votes)

The ‘Duthac’ is the first of a new range of whiskies by Glenmorangie that they’re titling the ‘Legends Collection’. According to the official Glenmorangie video below this new dram is “a whisky fit for a king, Glenmorangie Duthac honours the annual pilgrimage of King James IV to the shrine of St Duthac – the patron Saint of Tain – at the home of Glenmorangie. Exclusive to Travel Retail, Duthac is the first release from the Glenmorangie Legends collection, a unique range of single malt whiskies inspired by the legendary lands that have been home to the Glenmorangie Distillery since 1843.”

Try as I might, I can’t find the name of the next whisky to be added to the ‘Legends Collection’ but I bet it will be more expensive (but still a non-age statement). By the time we get to the 3rd of 4th release in the collection I imagine it will be closing in on £150-£200. All part of the cunning plan to get collectors hooked so they feel compelled to shell out a fortune for the final releases. I think I’ll pass but I’m glad to see a solid 83.6/100 for this single malt on Whiskybase. And it’s 100cl so there’s more to enjoy.

Here’s Whisky Whistle with their thoughts about The Duthac on YouTube (Nov 2015):

Glenmorangie Duthac NAS 100cl

Johnnie Walker ‘The Spice Road’

Bought: World Duty Free, 2nd July 2015

Ratings:
84.5/100 – Whisky Bible 2015
77/100 – Whiskybase (average from 10 member votes)

A 1 litre Johnnie Walker on sale for £25 with the word ‘spice’ in the title – YES PLEASE! This bottle is the cheapest of the JW ‘Explorer Club’ series that Diageo have put together for Travel Retail shops in airports. Apparently Diageo were successfully sued by the real Explorer Club for using their name – ooops! But there were no hard feelings as Diageo have now become a corporate sponsor of the club. One small boo-boo by Diageo, one giant cheque for explorer-kind.

77/100 on Whiskybase is a so-so score for a blend but Jim Murray’s 84.5/100 in his Whisky Bible classifies this JW as “good whisky worth buying”. Mr Murray’s whole review consists of “sublime delivery of exceptionally intense juiciness: in fact probably the juiciest blend released this year. But the bitter, fuzzy finish reveals certain casks haven’t helped.” As noted before, several of the JW range have a problem with their finish. More reason to get quickly to the next sip!

Johnnie Walker The Spice Road NAS 100cl