Tag Archives: 10cl

Glenrothes 12-year-old 10cl (Soleo Collection)

Bought: Aberdeen Whisky Shop, 26th June 2019

4.5/5 stars – Amazon (from 18 reviews)
80.56/100 – Whiskybase (average from 61 member votes – 70cl)

In June 2019 I found myself in the Aberdeen Whisky Shop on a quest for a bottle of Islay blended malt by Berry Bros & Rudd (BBR). My search was successful (a future blog) but I also spotted a selection of 10cl bottles by Glenrothes. This Speyside distillery was acquired by BBR in 2010 and in 2018 they released the ‘Soleo Collection’ with age statements of 10, 12, 18 and 25 years and a non-age statement called ‘Whisky Maker’s Cut’. I opted for the 12yo as it offered a bit more maturity than the 10yo and costing £10 it didn’t reduce my wallet to tears.

In the YouTube review below by Chris Goodrum I was quite pleased to hear him say “raw” and “hard” but he added that this is the character of the distillery. Yes it is. The Glenrothes ‘Select Reserve’ was all those things but it gets a mention in Ian Buxton’s book ‘101 Whiskies To Try Before You Die’ because he felt it represented the house style of the distillery. Glenrothes can be a bit of a love/hate whisky for a lot of dramsters but if you like a quintessential Speysider with characterful roughness then it’s worth spending some time with this malt. Its neighbour, The Macallan, might be the lord of the manor but the Glenrothes is the gritty gamekeeper that likes to roll around in the grass and get his tartan troosers dirty.

As the ‘soleo’ name suggests, we’re looking at sherry matured single malts in this new range from Glenrothes. The 12yo scores a respectable 80.56/100 on Whiskybase and reviews elsewhere online are very good. Comments include “smooth, creamy vanilla. Beautifully balanced. Definite keeper”, “a great malt”, “very modern and yet unmistakably Glenrothes” and “a delicious well rounded single malt”.

Tasting notes on Amazon:

Nose: Light fragrance, banana and vanilla

Taste: Banana, lemon and melon with a hint of cinnamon

Finish: Long and sweet, galia melon light spice

Here’s ‘The Good Dram Show’ with their thoughts about the Glenrothes 12yo at 15m 47s on YouTube, which are honest and not altogether complimentary (Nov 2018):

Telser IX 7-year-old Pinot Noir Cask (Liechtenstein)

Bought: Telser Distillery, 7th November 2016

94.5/100 – Whisky Bible 2017
77/100 – Whiskybase (from 1 member vote)

The Telser distillery in Liechtenstein was founded in 1880 and has stayed with the Telser family for 4 generations. The distillery produces a variety of spirits with whisky first appearing in 2006. Whiskybase list 15 releases so far. The distillery typically does two releases per year, totally about 1000 bottles. Not surprisingly these can sell out quite quickly.

Telser sell to the Swiss, Austrian and German markets, which are big enough to keep any small distillery busy. To date Telser don’t have a UK distributor but I noticed on their Facebook page in June 2016 that the Golf Inn, St Andrews, Scotland, now stocked a bottle of their single malt. It was seeing this that prompted me to contact the distillery. Marcel Telser was extremely helpful and eventually I had the latest single malt shipped over from a stockist in Austria.

Scoring 94.5/100 in the Whisky Bible classifies this malt as a ‘superstar whisky that gives us all a reason to live’. The author, Jim Murray, says about the taste, “superb delivery with that same firm grape, initially firm, slightly tart and salivating but then softened massively by the texture of the intense malt”. He concludes with “the Burgundian edge to this is clean and almost fascinating: this distillery does Pinot Noir-matured malt probably better than any other in the world. A big treat from a small country.”

The score from Jim Murray is no fluke. The ‘Telsington I’ scored 94/100 when it appeared in the Whisky Bible 2010 and there have since been 6 more Telsington releases, all in locally sourced Pinot Noir casks. Telser also did two rye releases, one of which was finished in Laphroaig casks and scores an excellent 83.5/100 on Whiskybase. It’s still available from a German shop for a very reasonable €62.90. Sadly they don’t ship to the UK. Damn!

Lastly, I absolutely love the unique diamond bottle shape that Telser use. I also couldn’t resist the cute triangular 10cl, which I’ll use for tasting so I can keep the 50cl version unopened in my collection.


Arran 15-year-old (SMWS 121.66)

Bought: SMWS, 30th October 2015

93/100 – Whisky Bible 2016
86/100 – Whiskybase (average from 5 member votes)

My 3rd and final 10cl sample from the SMWS membership pack and I’m surprised and delighted to find it’s included in the Whisky Bible 2016. Not only that but the author, Jim Murray, scores it 93/100 which classifies it as “brilliant”. He describes the taste as “spectacular mouth feel: the softest of oils allows the salivating butterscotch and barley to do its thing” and summarises with “the way in which it keeps its sweetness in such delicate voice is a thing of wonder”.

86/100 on Whiskybase is also a very good score. The society entitle this dram “Foamy strawberries in a cigar box” with tasting notes of “sugary cola bottles, crème Anglaise and raspberry jam. Deeper resonances of cedar, cigar boxes, putty, mint and menthol cigarettes. Luxurious, strawberry sweetness; custard donuts, banoffee pie and menthol cough candies.” Completely over-the-top description as usual but clearly it must be worth it, especially if Jim Murray thinks it’s brilliant!

Here’s a quick video on the origins of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society:

Arran 15yo SMWS 121.66 10cl

Caol Ila 19-year-old (SMWS 53.224)

Bought: SMWS, 30th October 2015

90/100 – Whiskybase (from 1 member vote)

SMWS name: Jekyll & Hyde

Up until a few days ago there was no rating on Whiskybase for this Caol Ila but thankfully someone came to my rescue with a stunning 90/100. The tasting notes on the bottle read “honey glazed ham and boozy grilled pineapple. The taste is an explosion of peat smoke and brown sauce served with fish and chips. With water, smoked scallops and a peat smoked pineapple soufflé.” Sounds lovely!

Although Jim Murray doesn’t mention this exact Caol Ila 19yo in his Whisky Bible 2016 he does include 9 bottlings by the Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) including four 18-year-olds. This is a similar maturity to my 19yo sample and their scores range from 85.5/100 to 91/100, which is excellent news. Of the 9 bottles the lowest mark is 81/100, which is still “good whisky worth trying” according to the book’s score chart. This might not seem 100% relevant since every whisky is different but it lets me know that those within the SMWS that taste and select Caol Ila casks for bottling are consistently good in the eyes of Mr Murray.

I’ve yet to taste a bad Caol Ila and this sample isn’t likely to change that fact. Now, where’s my glass…..

Caol Ila 19yo SMWS 53.224 10cl

Glen Grant 26-year-old (SMWS 9.94)

Bought: SMWS, 30th October 2015

84/100 – Whiskybase (average from 4 member votes)

As I waited for the arrival of my SMWS membership pack I allowed myself to dream about the three 10cl samples I would receive; perhaps something rare, interesting or from an unusual distillery? The society used to send out packs containing four 10cl bottles and I spotted some at auction that included Macallan and Laphroaig. Perhaps I’d get a Highland Park or, God forbid, an Ardbeg! When the pack arrived it contained a Glen Grant, Caol Ila and Arran…..{tumbleweed}. It was like hoping for an X-box at Christmas only to receive an apple, pencil and a pair of socks.

Don’t get me wrong, Glen Grant, Coal Ila and Arran are all excellent distilleries that can produce fantastic whisky but they’re a bit, well, common. Practically every independent bottler’s website I’ve visited in the last 2 years has had all three of these distilleries available, often several versions. I was hoping the SMWS would be a little less predictable, especially having reduced the membership pack down to three bottles. Forgive me, I’m transcending into a grumpy old man! The male equivalent of menopause. I will chop the apple into the Glen Grant, stir the Coal Ila with my pencil and wear the socks whilst drinking the Arran. There, I’ve spiced up the experience!

Although this Glen Grant isn’t in the Whisky Bible 2016, the author includes 3 examples by the SMWS. A 12yo scores 89/100, a 16yo scores 94.5/100 and the one closest in age to mine, a 25yo, scores a lowly 79/100. Thankfully that doesn’t mean my 26yo is likely to be sub-80 and 84/100 on Whiskybase is a very reasonable mark, albeit from only 4 votes. One reviewer includes the official tasting notes for my dram, which are “sweetened coffee with chocolate brazils, stem ginger and sour cherries. Well handled leather, exotic woodiness and raspberry jam. Figs, date syrup, rich balsamic then creamy mint chocolate.” I think the addition of an apple could work well!

Glen Grant 26yo SMWS 9.94 10cl

Bladnoch 2001 13-year-old, Single Cask, 53.1%

Bought: Demijohn, 27th May 2015

None as yet.

I was all set to buy a bottle of Bladnoch 20yo (Sheep Label) from Holland for £42 earlier this year when I discovered the distillery was in liquidation. Before I could blink the whisky had sold out and I’ve not seen it since. Even if I did it wouldn’t be for £42, which was ridiculously cheap at the time. But all whisky collectors can feel my pain. With so many distilleries and bottles out there it’s impossible to be ready to pounce on every good deal you see. I have a budget and some months I’ve spent it all by the end of the first week! These days I’ve stopped looking at whisky shops when I’ve spent my budget so I avoid temptation. Anyone would think I was an addict! 😉

Thankfully Demijohn came to the rescue and I selected one of their quaint, squiggly bottles to contain a cask-strength Bladnoch they had available (sadly no more). The website details for this 13-year-old were:

“This delightful single malt whisky is from cask no.130, filled on 30th May 2001. It is one of the first few casks produced by Armstrong Brothers’ Raymond and Colin at their Bladnoch Distillery after taking ownership from United Distillers in 2000.”

Bladnoch 2001 13yo 10cl

Bladnoch 2001 12-year-old, Single Cask, 55.2%

Bought: Demijohn, 27th May 2015

None as yet.

I love whisky and I like curious bottle shapes, so buying from Demijohn is a match made in heaven. You select what liquid you want and then the size and shape of the bottle you want it in. I first bought from Demijohn back in September 2013 when I got an 11yo Bladnoch. Since then the Armstrong brothers no longer own the distillery and I’m not sure what the latest news is on its fate. Finding bottles of Bladnoch suddenly became difficult as collectors and enthusiasts dived in. Thankfully I discovered that Demijohns had added a new 12yo and 13yo to their website. The details for this 12yo were given as:

“This delightful single malt whisky is from cask no.227, filled on 28th September 2001. It is one of the first few casks produced by Armstrong Brothers’ Raymond and Colin at their Bladnoch Distillery after taking ownership from United Distillers in 2000.”

Sadly this whisky has sold out and it’s so obscure it’s not even listed on Whiskybase. Would it make a good investment? Probably not because the seal can be easily removed and resealed (it’s very basic) but I’ve seen plenty of bottles sell at auction where this is also possible. Yet another reason I don’t like whisky auctions because it seems to be a case of ‘buyer beware!’

Bladnoch 2001 12yo 10cl

Caol Ila Single Cask 2004

Bought – Demijohn, 4th September 2013

81/100 – Whiskybase (from 1 member vote)

Quote from Demijohn website about the whisky: “This particular single cask malt is from Cask No. 304640, filled in 2004 and limited originally to approximately 275 bulk litres. It took over a year to secure, so appreciate this single malt whisky while you still can!”

I’m delighted to find that someone has now added this independent bottling (IB) of Caol Ila on Whiskybase where they say “Young and feisty, with lots of peat on the nose and palate. Rather expensive compared to other young Caol Ila IBs.”

Caol Ila SingleCask 2004 10cl

Bladnoch Single Cask 11-year-old

Bought – Demijohn, 4th September 2013

Quote about the whisky from Demijohn: “This delightful single malt whisky is from cask no. 317, filled on 12th December 2001. It is one of the first few casks produced by Armstrong Brothers’ Raymond and Colin at their Bladnoch Distillery after taking ownership from United Distillers in 2000.”

Bladnoch SingleCask 2001 10cl