Bought: Whisky Auction, 9th February 2017
85.33/100 – Whiskybase (average from 5 member votes)
Released in 2012, this Travel Retail exclusive was a replacement for the 1990 bottle. At the same time the 2001 came in to replace the 1998 release. Unlike the Highland Park (HP) 1990 the HP 1991 was limited to the Singapore market. This may explain why it didn’t appear in Jim Murray’s ‘Whisky Bible’. Strangely it took over 4 years after the release before the HP 1991 started to appear in UK auctions. I’ve heard of the slow boat from China but these bottles must have been on a tortoise from Singapore! Auction prices have ranged from £77.50 to a whopping £165, which is a lot for a 10-11yo HP. Nevertheless I foresee prices going up because this seems to be quite a rare bottle.
Scoring over 85/100 on Whiskybase is a very good score but the HP 1990, which the 1991 replaced, scores 86.44/100. The 1990 was bottled in 2010, which makes it slightly younger than the 1991. So being older doesn’t necessarily mean being better.
Tasting notes about the HP 1991 from ‘Scotch Malt Whisky’ say:
“Golden with glowing coppery tones, Vintage 1991 (40% ABV) has aromas of dried orange peel, vanilla with toasted cedar wood and rich fragrant spicy notes such as nutmeg, a hint of cloves and incense. Mouth-watering lemon and orange citrus flavours in the mouth, with sweet vanilla custard notes wrapped in subtle yet complex spices at the end. The finish is medium sweet with a lingering, smoky spiciness.”
Bought: Online Whisky Auction, 6th January 2016
81.9/100 – Whiskybase (average from 12 member votes)
Since the 1970s I’ve travelled through the town of Montrose many times on the train between Aberdeen and Edinburgh, on the east coast of Scotland. It became a family saying “hold your nose, here comes Montrose!” The town is situated between the north and south Esk rivers. If the tide is out then the bay of the south Esk is exposed and smells terrible as the train goes over the bridge. The Lochside distillery was situated in the town of Montrose but sadly closed in 1992. It was later demolished in 2005 and turned into apartments. Thankfully you can still find examples of the Lochside single malt (mostly at auctions) and it doesn’t smell anything like the south Esk bay!
Lochside only started life in 1957 so it’s not one of the historic distilleries of Scotland. It did have one of the more imposing buildings, perched on the edge of a roadway. Sadly this area of Scotland has seen the majority of its distilleries dwindle away. Glenesk, North Port and Glenury Royal all closed in the 1980s leaving only Glencadam and Old Fettercairn holding the whisky flag for the Montrose area of the North East.
Scoring nearly 82/100 from 12 votes is a very good rating for this bottle of Lochside on Whiskybase. One member leaves these tasting notes “sweet and herbs with a nice maltyness in the nose. Malty nice notes with a nutty background. A middle long finish brings some smoky and heather notes.” Bottled in 2006, this 15-year-old by Gordon & MacPhail is a good example of Lochside so well worth getting if you see it at auction.
‘A Dram A Day’ review on You Tube (August 2016):
Bought: The Whisky Shop, 27th October 2015
84.29/100 – Whiskybase (average from 26 member votes)
This is my 3rd bottle of Kininvie and most definitely my last. I might be a crazy whisky collector but the latest Kininvie 25yo for £400 is bonkers when you consider it’s only 35cl. Even if it were 70cl it would be competing against the likes of the Highland Park 30yo and Kininvie isn’t in the same league as the Orkney giant. The novelty of these ‘rare’ Kininvie bottlings has worn off for me and if they keep churning out the releases it wont make much of an investment either!
As I did a bit more research into Kininvie I discovered that the Wikipedia entry about the distillery is several years out of date. Only the single malts named ‘Hazelwood’ are mentioned (a 15 and 17-year-old). There is no mention of the 6 single malts released with the Kininvie name, 3 batches of a 23-year-old and 1 batch of a 17-year-old. Whiskybase mention 2 batches of the latest 25-year-old. What’s also strange is the absence of the distillery in Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible. Perhaps he couldn’t afford a sample?!
84.29/100 on Whiskybase is a very good mark for my latest Kininvie 23yo. One reviewer summarises with “the combination of bourbon and sherry casks along with the 23 year maturation generates a wonderful balanced malt with lots of depth and richness. Dried fruit, zesty orange, flower meadow and quite a hot mix of spices compose this luxurious whisky, which definitely has a fair amount of American oak maturation.”
A good whisky that’s overpriced and half the quantity it should be.
Here’s Ben of ‘A Dram A Day’ with his review on You Tube (November 2016):
Bought: Morrison & Mackay, 9th September 2015
85.5/100 – Whiskybase (average from 2 member votes)
I’m always delighted to find a new source for whisky. Morrison & Mackay (M&M) started business in 2014 and are home to the Carn Mor collection (formerly produced by the Scottish Liqueur Company of which the Morrison and Mackay families were stakeholders, I believe). My eyes lit up when I saw they had 20cl bottles from the Carn Mor Vintage Collection, a set of 24 years covered by 24 whiskies (and subsequent replacements when certain years ran out). They’d been released for several years before I started collecting whisky in 2013 so I was a bit late to the party. I got 16 of the 24 before sources ran out. I acquired my last example in June 2014 and thought I’d only find the rest at auction, until now.
Things didn’t start well for me using M&M. I was over-the-moon to discover that the 1998 Miltonduff had been replaced by a Highland Park 20cl (one of my favourite whiskies) so I added 2 bottles to my basket. It took 5 days for someone at M&M to reply to me to say the HP was out of stock. 5 days! And their website shows 4 people working in sales so it’s not like they’re short staffed. They asked if I wanted a replacement or a refund so I asked for a Macduff and a Glen Grant. They were slightly more expensive than the HP but, since they were my 2nd choice, it was only fair that M&M agreed to supply them at a lower price.
85.5/100 on Whiskybase is a good score, albeit from only 2 members. One reviewer says of the taste “malty. Not as fruity as on the nose. Instead more delicate and gentle oakiness developing into more bitterness. Later on cinnamon and ginger. Also nutiness” and summarises with “not as stunning as those 2000 sherry matured Macduff. The nose is light and clean, the palate more heavy and complex.”
Bought: Whisky Exchange, 18th March 2015
83.88/100 – Whiskybase (average from 10 member votes)
I’ve only recently taken an interest in single grain whisky, and the same can be said for closed distilleries. Cambus was a Scottish lowland, single grain distillery, which closed in 1993. When you get to my age, you have to pinch yourself when you realise that’s 22 years ago! But it amazes me when I see young adults performing on TV talent shows that were born in this millennium. 1993 to them must feel like ancient history.
Like blends, bottles of single grain whisky tend not to make good investments. Certainly not when compared to single malts. Nevertheless, I did buy this bottle of Cambus with an eye on the future. Bottled by Signatory as part of their ‘Vintage Cask Strength Collection’, this independent bottler has good pedigree, and releases from this closed distillery are only going to get older and older (and more expensive) in future years.
Although Jim Murray doesn’t review this exact bottling in his Whisky Bible 2015, the seven Cambus releases he talks about all get excellent marks. Scores range from 85.5/100 to a fantastic 97/100 for a 47yo bottle. Clearly Jim Murray is impressed with the house style from the lowland distillery. My bottling scores an excellent mark on Whiskybase. If you have a bottle, whether you drink it or save it as in investment, it was definitely an excellent purchase!
Posted in Cambus (closed 1993)
Tagged 1991, 23yo, 54.1%, 70cl, Cambus, Cambus (closed 1993), Cask Strength, Cask Strength Collection, Lowland, Lowlands, Signatory, Single Grain, Whisky Exchange
Bought – Lincoln Whisky Shop, 4th March 2014
84/100 – Whisky Bible 2006
83/100 – Malt Maniacs (average from 4 reviews)
Issued in 2005, this bottling of Royal Brackla by Gordon & MacPhail appeared as a new entry in the Whisky Bible 2006 where Jim Murray says of it “wonderful honey thread on the nose, but the oak jumps in a little too early”. A small negative but getting 84/100 it’s classified as a “good whisky worth trying”.
On the Gordon & MacPhail website they say this 2005 release is now discontinued, and only miniatures are left in the shops. But it seems that several Royal Brackla releases have since appeared in the Connoisseurs Choice range. In 2014 the Whisky Bible has a newer version from 1995 that gets 88/100 and another version from 1997 that gets 84.5/100. Looking online, the most commonly available Royal Brackla in the Connoisseurs Choice range is now the 1998 starting at £33 for 70cl. It’s a safe bet that this would score in the 80s too.
Posted in Royal Brackla
Tagged 1991, 46%, 5cl, Connoisseurs Choice, Gordon & MacPhail, Highland, Highlands, Lincoln Whisky Shop, NAS, Royal Brackla, Single Malt