Bought: Online Whisky Auction, 10th January 2017
None I can find.
It took me a while to find out that this miniature is by the independent bottler ‘Signatory’. They’re not mentioned on the label but sometimes the bottle appears at auction in a Signatory box (mine didn’t). It was bottled in 1993 as number 2 of a series of four tram-themed miniatures for ‘The Wee Dram’ in Blackpool. I’ve been unable to find out what ‘The Wee Dram’ was but I’m assuming it was a shop, or possibly a pub. It’s not the current ‘Wee Dram’ shop located 90 miles away in Bakewell because that only dates back to 1998.
Although I’ve been unable to find a review about this specific bottle I have a similar mini Glen Albyn 12yo by Signatory bottled in 1993. Unfortunately it doesn’t fair very well where a reviewer says “one of those notorious bad casks of Signatory in the past.” It makes you realise that some whisky has more value in a collection than to a whisky drinker.
The four trams in the series of miniatures were:
No.1 – Longmorn 12yo ‘Blackpool Trams standard car no.40’ (on Whiskybase here)
No.2 – Glen Albyn 12yo ‘Blackpool Trams Dreadnought No.59’
No.3 – Glenury Royal 14yo ‘Bolton Tram no.66’ (on Whiskybase here)
No.4 – Glenturret 14yo ‘Edinburgh Car’
Although this was billed at ‘series 1’ there wasn’t a second series. A list of Signatory miniatures including the Tram series can be found here.
Posted in Glen Albyn (closed 1988)
Tagged 12yo, 1993, 43%, 5cl, Blackpool Trams, Dreadnought No.59, Glen Albyn, Highland, Highlands, Online Whisky Auction, Single Malt, The Wee Dram Blackpool
Bought: Morrison & Mackay, 9th September 2015
80/100 – Whiskybase (average from 2 member votes)
This is my 18th 20cl of the Carn Mor Vintage Collection, a set of 24 quarter bottles of 24 different whiskies, each covering a separate year of distillation between 1983 and 2006. Unfortunately the 6 I’m missing are all early ones from the 1980s, which are practically impossible to find. Sometimes I stumble across a bottle or two online from Italy or Denmark but they never ship to the UK. I will have to wait patiently and see if any appear in future whisky auctions.
Although 80/100 from two reviews on Whiskybase might not sound very promising a reviewer has kindly included their tasting notes and they’re quite complimentary. They say of the taste “barley again (also in the nose), citron-sweet, alcohol, bitter-soft, metal, fish, canned fish, old coins, copper, spruce, resin, polish, wax, soft liqorice, old water, fat, old, metal, peach-very ripe, white peach” and summarises with “nice whisky, but I think the metallic notes seem to come from a rushed distillation. A pity, because the rest of flavours is actually quite nice!”
Bought: Online Whisky Auction, 24th February 2015
Bottled 2005 (left) – 77.4/100 – Whiskybase (average from 7 member votes)
Bottled 2009 (right) – 79.83/100 – Whiskybase (average from 8 member votes)
I’ve complained before about Gordon & MacPhail miniatures not having the same information on them as their bigger counterparts. I didn’t hold out much hope of matching a review against either of my minis of Pittyvaich until I saw “Bottle Code JE/AAB” on Whiskybase. I thought it looked familiar, so I examined both my bottles. Sure enough, looking through from the back, I could see “JE/AAB” printed on the reverse of the front label. This means one of my bottles (left in the picture below) was the first ‘Connoisseurs Choice’ release in 2005. Distilled in 1993, this whisky is 12 years old. Scoring 77.4/100 on Whiskybase isn’t brilliant with comments of “light and unimpressive” but also “a bit unusual (in a good way)”.
My second bottle from the closed Pittyvaich distillery (pictured right) has the new style label that first appeared in 2009 on a 16yo release of ‘Connoisseurs Choice’. My bottle has the code “JI/AABB” on the reverse of the front label but unfortunately this information isn’t given on Whiskybase, so the rating is a bit of a guess. I’m basing it mainly on the colour of the whisky, since the 2011 release is darker amber. Although scoring better than the 2005 release, a comment summarises this whisky with “winey aperitif style whisky. Not very well balanced.”
Having bought these bottles from an online auction, I had no idea I was getting a 12yo and a 16yo. Either I will do a taste comparison, or keep them as an investment. Pittyvaich distillery closed in 1993 so even miniature examples will be increasing in value.
Posted in Pittyvaich (closed 1993)
Tagged 12yo, 16yo, 1993, 2005, 2009, 43%, 5cl, Connoisseurs Choice, Gordon & MacPhail, Online Whisky Auction, Pittyvaich (closed 1993), Single Malt, Speyside
Bought: Best of Whisky, Holland, 2nd February 2015
91/100 – Whisky Bible 2015
My apologies for the picture I took of this Irish single malt. It came as part of a triple-set of Knappogue Castle miniatures – 1993, 1994 and 1995. I tried to get them out of the box but I realised I’d rip the thing to shreds in the process, so I left it alone. I don’t know why because it’s never going to be much of a collector’s item. The box will have to go eventually, when I finally have the time to drink them!
I considered doing all 3 bottles in one review until I discovered that each one has its own entry in the Whisky Bible, and the 1994 edition was reviewed by Ralfy on You Tube. I will include that in my next blog. As for this 1993 release, Jim Murray, author of the Whisky Bible, says in his review “a malt of exceptional character and charisma. Almost squeaky clean but proudly contains enormous depth and intensity. The chocolate finish is an absolute delight.” Did someone say ‘chocolate’? I will have to ensure I have some dark chocolate on standby when I do my tasting because it’s always nice when you find a whiskey that marries nicely with chocolate.
The Bible’s score of 91/100 classifies this whiskey as “brilliant”.
Bought – Whisky Exchange, 23rd March 2014
86.5/100 – Whiskybase (average from 26 member votes)
I confess, I’m a sucker for Scapa, and for cask strength, so when I spotted this new offering from Chivas Brothers I had to get it. 86.5/100 on Whiskybase is an excellent score with a comment of “a delicious and very enjoyable dram. The nose is really charming like you open a fresh Toppy Frutty mix fruit candy box.”
This 20yo was distilled in 1993 and bottled in 2013 at the full cask strength of 58.6%. What I’ve discovered with high alcohol whisky wasn’t what I expected. I thought it would need more water than a standard 40% to tame the fire but it doesn’t. The higher alcohol content seems to extend the finish rather than increase the burn. But adding water is a personal thing, and can vary from whisky to whisky even when they have the same percentage. Just a case of sup-it-and-see!
This Scapa is part of the distillery owner’s (Chivas Brothers) ‘Cask Strength Edition’ which also includes similar 50cl bottles for Strathisla (19yo), Glenlivet (17yo), Longmorn (18yo) and Strathclyde Single Grain (12yo) to name another 4. They’ve rather cunningly reduced the bottle size down from 70cl to 50cl to sell around the more wallet-friendly £45 mark. Doing some research on Malt Maniacs, I see that Chivas Brothers have been periodically doing this for at least 10 years under the release name of “Cask Strength Edition”. Definitely bottles to watch out for but I can’t help feeling a little cheated that it’s not 70cl. Part of me would rather pay another £10 and get a full bottle than lose out on 20cl. You just know that Chivas Brothers are packaging it this way for their benefit, not the buyer’s.
Bought – Lincoln Whisky Shop, 4th March 2014
Bottled in 2011, this Glen Keith is at least 17 years old, if not 18. When hunting for reviews I found another two ‘Connoisseur’s Choice’ bottles from 1993, one bottled in 2005 and the other in 2009. This 2011 seems too recent to have got a review but comments on the bottles from 2005 and 2009 suggest it’s likely to be average/good. At least it’s 46% so it will have a decent kick to it. Not a malt that would set the whisky world alight but an interesting one to compare with my earlier bottle of 1983 Glen Keith.
Bought – Lincoln Whisky Shop, 4th March 2014
80/100 – Malt Maniacs – average from 2 reviewers, one of which is:
78/100 – Whisky Fun (January 2009)
Again I have another example of a miniature by Gordon & MacPhail where they don’t mention when it was bottled but the 70cl version does. It seems this was bottled in 2008, so it’s at least a 14-year-old, possibly 15. Serge Valentin of Whisky Fun says it’s a “typical average Speysider, not really mindboggling but perfectly drinkable.” Since I love Speyside whisky, that sounds fine by me!
Keith Wood mentions in his comments on Malt Maniacs that there’s quite a long finish with redcurrants providing a slightly bitter aftertaste. I’ll have to watch out for that. It’s always nice when you find a non-cask strength whisky that has a long finish because you feel you’re getting more value from your dram.
Bought – Lincoln Whisky Shop, 4th March 2014
Review: Daniel Jakobsen, Youtube
One of the annoying things I’ve discovered about some Gordon & MacPhail miniatures is that their labels don’t always have the same information as their bigger 70cl brothers. This Tullibardine is a perfect example. According to the Malt Maniac’s database there is a Tullibardine 1993 that was bottled in 2003, and another bottled in 2004. I then discovered Daniel Jakobsen’s review on Youtube for an 18yo Tullibardine distilled in 1993 with exactly the same label on it as my miniature, except my bottle makes no mention of when it was bottled up. Very frustrating!
Does it really matter which bottle it is?! Not really. Whether it’s Daniel’s, the 2003 or 2004, none of them get an excellent rating. The distillery was closed between 1994 and 2003 so I’m wondering if the problem with the taste is due to how the casks were kept during this period. Perhaps the temperatures weren’t controlled correctly.
Any fellow collectors reading this will notice that the photo of the miniature below shows a badly damaged label. This is how it arrived from the Lincoln Whisky Shop, and it clearly didn’t happen in transit. They knew I’m a collector but, even if they hadn’t, this product is sub-standard and they should have told me in case I didn’t want it. I suppose the good news is it’s not worth keeping so I get to drink it! 🙂
Bought – Online Whisky Auction, 11th December 2013
81/100 – Malt Maniacs (average from 3 reviewers)
My second bottle of Scapa and also my second from the bottlers ‘Gordon & MacPhail’. At some stage I’d like to get an official bottling from the Scapa distillery but, as I write this, the entry level 16-year-old is nearly £50! It seems rediculous when you think an excellent 12yo bottle of the orcadian neighbour to Scapa, Highland Park, can be bought on discount from Tesco for £25 – half the price! And the Scapa 16yo gets some very mixed reviews.
Speaking of reviews, this mini Scapa 1993 gets a good mark on Malt Maniacs with 81/100. The one reviewer that leaves a comment says it goes very well with a chocolate-based dessert. I’ve heard that about whisky and chocolate before but I can’t say I’ve ever tried it (apart from mixed in to my mother’s whisky pudding). Sounds like something new for 2014!
Bought – Justminiatures, 13th November 2013
85/100 – Whisky Bible 2009
84.2/100 – Whiskybase (average from 7 member votes)
81/100 – Malt Maniacs (from 1 review)
Inchgower – a whisky distillery in Scotland, not to be confused with a very small, former England cricket captain. I’ll be surprised if David Gower has ever drunk any Inchgower, or played cricket on many goat’s meadows, which is the meaning of the word ‘inchgower’. But if he’s ever drunk Bell’s then he’s experienced a hint of Inchgower as it’s one of the malts used in the blend.
The most commonly available single malt from Inchgower is a 14yo by Flora & Fauna. The miniature I have is one of the Connoisseurs Choice range by Gordon & MacPhail (G&M). They have a newer version available now, distilled in 1997, so I’ll be drinking old stock with this one. But from the review comments it looks like good stuff, described as “clean” and “really pleasant drink”. The review in the Whisky Bible 2009 says “sharp as a knife with the malt bristling with attitude. Pleasant, not without the odd dirty moment but with no shortage of muscovado sugar, either.”
84.2/100 on Whiskybase is a very good score albeit for the 70cl version. My miniature has the code JH/BAA printed on the back of the label and I know from the G&M coding that ‘JH’ means it’s bottled in 2008. This allowed me to find the correct bottle on Whiskybase and Malt Maniacs.
Here’s Ben of ‘A Dram A Day’ with his review on You Tube (November 2016):