Tag Archives: 100cl

Aberlour ‘Casg Annamh’ Batch 0001

Bought: World of Whisky, 28th June 2018

Ratings:
84.55/100 – Whiskybase (average from 119 member votes)

The Aberlour ‘Casg Annamh’ (meaning ‘rare cask’) first appeared at the end of 2017. About 6 months later the legendary Aberlour A’bunadh almost doubled in price causing fans to froth at the mouth and swear allegiance to the likes of the Glenfarclas 105. Some quarters felt that the Casg Annamh had been introduced to replace the A’bunadh but this was mostly based on both whiskies having a batch number. A year after the launch of the Casg Annamh and it’s still only on Batch 0001. The A’bunadh has had 62 releases in 21 years, quite typically 3 or 4 releases per year in recent years (but only two in 2018, perhaps due to the price increase reducing sales). The big difference between the Casg Annamh and A’bunadh is the strength. The Casg Annamh is fixed at 48% and the A’bunadh is cask strength around 60%. Basically they’re two different beasts.

So how has the Casg Annamh done in its first year? 84.5/100 on Whiskybase is a very good score. It’s doing better than the standard Aberlour 16yo (83.2/100), which costs about £15 more than the Casg Annamh. By the time you get to the Aberlour 18yo (85.5/100) it’s over £80 so you might as well buy the A’bunadh. Comments online about the Casg Annamh include, “enjoyed this more than A’bunadh. Whereas A’bunadh is a whisky disguised by sherry, Casg Annamh is a whisky featuring sherry without covering up the other flavours within”, “it contains considerably younger whisky than the 15YO, but makes up for that by a higher level of first fill and a higher ABV” and “an excellent value dram which won’t disappoint any sherry cask enthusiast”.

You have to feel this new Aberlour has found its place in the market. Currently £60 for a litre at certain airports it’s good value for what it is. But after a year of ‘batch 1’ it’s definitely not a ‘rare cask’ as the Gaelic name implies.

Here’s Horst Luening of Whisky.com with his thoughts about the Aberlour ‘Casg Annamh’ on YouTube (May 2018):

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Bunnahabhain ‘Eirigh Na Greine’

Bought: World of Whisky, 28th June 2018

Ratings:
81.94/100 – Whiskybase (average from 20 member votes)
5/5 – Master of Malt (average from 5 member votes)

I do love a 1000ml bottle of whisky, especially if it contains good uisce beatha. You’ll often read online that Travel Retail used to do more 1 litre bottles but there are still some to be had and new ones being introduced. The ‘Eirigh Na Greine’ (meaning ‘Morning Sky’) by Bunnahabhain first appeared in airports in 2014 as a ‘limited edition’ and has only ever been available as 1 litre. The distillery say it’s been exclusively matured in French red wine casks, which makes it interesting. Just to be awkward Master of Malt say “a portion of this single malt was matured in red wine casks” and Whiskybase says “Italian & French red wine casks”. Confused? Personally I’ll stick with what Bunnahabhain say as they make the stuff.

Nearly 82/100 on Whiskybase is a very respectable mark, although the standard 12yo scores over 85/100. You get the impression that Bunnahabhain fans don’t like the distillery profile being messed around with. Comments online include “very well balanced, beautiful presence”, “lovely rich and complex nose, wine-cask dominated palate and a pleasant finish”, “smooth as silk” and “if you like Bunnahabhain, this one is a must try to take your senses to new places and evolve your knowledge of this fine distillery”.

What Master of Malt have to say:

Nose: Toasted sugar, vanilla, raspberries and a little honey.
Palate: Apricot, sea salt, black pepper, more wine cask-influence berry sweetness.
Finish: Smoky and quite long. A little bit spicy, too.

Here’s Horst Luening of Whisky.com with his thoughts about the ‘Eirigh Na Greine’ on YouTube (August 2015):

Glen Ord 12-year-old (100cl)

Bought: Online Auction, 5th October 2017

Ratings:
85.65/100 – Whiskybase (from 8 member votes)
78/100 – Malt Maniacs (from 4 maniac votes)

This 40% Glen Ord 12yo was introduced in the mid 1990s (according to Malt Maniacs) and superseded in c.2005 by a square bottle version at a more potent 43%. I’ve wanted this distillery bottling of Glen Ord for a while because it was a classic of its day. There is certainly plenty of it about because it regularly appears in UK auctions where bottles make a modest £30-£60. The square bottle arguably contains better whisky than the earlier version from the 1990s but I was delighted to win this 100cl 40% for £42. After auction costs £55 doesn’t seem much for a whisky discontinued over 10 years ago and possibly bottled over 20 years ago. The whisky inside could have been distilled in the 1980s.

Scoring over 85/100 on Whiskybase is an excellent score, albeit only from 8 member votes. Someone leaves the comment, “quite a good and complex dram for its age. A good bottling from the past.” The 70cl version listed on Whiskybase was bottled in 2003 and scores a more modest 81/100 from 64 votes. Comments include “much better than I was expecting, not exciting or anything but easy to drink”, “just ok, certainly not offensive and even positively cordial”, and “this one goes excellent with a good coffee, a lovely malt from a nice distillery”.

Serge Valentin, one of the Malt Maniacs, scores the Glen Ord 12yo 76/100 with the comment “the new one in the rectangular bottle is much better, but this old version is rather amiable, after all”. The picture of his bottle shows it came with a square box, which is probably the early presentation from the mid 1990s. I suspect my 100cl with the round tube is from 2000+. Serge Valentin’s review can be found here.

Here’s Ben of ‘A Dram A Day’ with a history of the Glen Ord distillery and his thoughts on the square bottle of the 12yo:

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. In the early 1990s the use of ‘hyphen Glenlivet’ was dropped by all the distilleries in the Glenlivet area after the Glenlivet distillery got a bit shirty about it.

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 Ballantruan’ 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