Tag Archives: 55%

Highland Park ‘Saint Magnus’ 12-year-old (2010)

Bought: Online Auction, 5th October 2017

76.5/100 – Whisky Bible 2013
89/100 – Serge Valentin (www.whiskyfun.com)
86.5/100 – Whiskybase (average from 225 member votes)

Highland Park ‘Saint Magnus’ 12yo was a distillery release in 2010 and was the second edition from the Inga Saga trilogy. The Saint Magnus label isn’t new to Highland Park as I’ve seen bottle examples using it in the 1960s. The Inga Saga trio consisted of:

  • Earl Magnus 15yo, 2009, 5,976 bottles, 52.6%
  • Saint Magnus 12yo, 2010, 11,994 bottles, 55%
  • Earl Haakon 18yo, 2011, 3,300 bottles, 54.9%

When the Saint Magnus 12yo appeared in 2010 it was priced at €100. Some felt it was expensive for what it was but €100 for a similar release in 2017 would seem quite reasonable. The presentation is very good and I like the sturdy wooden display case. An equivalent Highland Park costing €100 today would be the Sigurd, which comes in a solid wooden box but it’s NAS (non-age statement), widely available and only 43%.

Jim Murray’s review of the Saint Magnus in his Whisky Bible 2013 is a bit of an outlier especially when compared to 89/100 from Serge Valentin of Whisky Fun. Mr Murray simply says “tight and bitter” and 76.5/100 classifies this dram as “average and usually pleasant though sometimes flawed”. Serge Valentin only uses the word ‘bitter’ with regards to ‘bitter oranges’ in the taste but I don’t get the impression this is a negative remark. He says “the cinnamon is really big” and, “with water: now it’s really excellent, with a great earthiness”. I’m a big fan of cinnamon so this sounds good to me!

Scoring over 86.5/100 on Whiskybase is a very good mark. Comments include “great malt”, “shows the potential of the distillery” and “one of the most interesting malts that HP has brought to market in recent years” (written in 2016). I’m left thinking that Jim Murray had a tainted sample because his low rating of the Saint Magnus is in the minority.


Ardbeg ‘Dark Cove’ Committee Release

Bought: Ardbeg Online Shop, 17th March 2016

90.5/100 – Whisky Bible 2017
87.98/100 – Whiskybase (average from 96 member votes)
88/100 – Serge Valentin of Whiskyfun.com

My first purchase from Ardbeg since becoming a committee member (which is free via their website) and I appear to have bagged a good one! When I bought the Perpetuum release last year and checked the ratings on Whiskybase against previous Islay festival releases it became apparent that the trend was downwards. Ardbog (2013) had scored less than Day (2012), Auriverdes (2014) had scored less than Ardbog, and Perpetuum (2015) had scored less than Auriverdes. The downward trend was rather worrying but Dark Cove has bounced back and ranks almost as highly as the Day.

Comments on Whiskybase include “a rather rich, spicy, oaky and maritime Ardbeg, intense, with some burnt wood but tasting also rather young.” And “an excellent nose and taste that this new Ardbeg is able to provide. Ardbeg proves that NAS can be brilliant and also so much different than the other bottles the last 5 years.”

90.5/100 in the Whisky Bible 2017 classifies this Ardbeg as “brilliant”. The 46% general release version of the Dark Cove scores a respectable 86/100. The author summaries the ‘Committee Release’ with “big sherry and bigger peat always struggle somewhere along the line. This one does pretty well until we reach the finale when it unravels slightly. But sulphur-free. And challenging.”

Here’s Maltman Mike with his review on You Tube (April 2016):

Ardbeg Dark Cove Committee Release NAS 70cl

Cawdordew (Royal Brackla) 18-year-old

Bought – Online Whisky Auction, 31st October 2013

I must never become a collector of whisky miniatures! This bottle of Cawdordew is a perfect example of the frustration all 5cl collectors must have. This was one of several strangely named bottles up for auction where the distillery of origin was on the listing but not printed anywhere on the bottle. It seems that a private bottling company called ‘The Whisky Connoisseur’ decided to release different distillery whiskies under names of their choice, and it’s hard to find accurate information about this anywhere. Google led me to a miniature collector who thinks they have the full list but finishes it by asking to be contacted if anyone knows of any more. I’d love to know when these cute little bottles were first released and for how long but that’s too deep a question for Google to answer. I found a link to ‘The Whisky Connoisseur’ website only to be taken off to a company selling ‘house and home’ products with no mention of whisky. And I can’t find a book about miniatures either. Aaaarrrghhh!!!

Update – since my link to the full list is now dead, here it is from my archives showing The Whisky Connoisseur names and their associated distilleries:

Aberlogie – Macallan
Auchenhame – Tamdhu
Auchenlone – Glenburgie
Aucindoun – Mortlach
Auld Land Syne – Dalmore
Balcarron – Dailuaine
Barstruie – Balblair
Beinaigen – Glenburgie
Blythe & Merry – Balvenie
Braemoray – Glenrothes
Brodgar – Highland Park
Burns The Poet – Linkwood
Caskieben – Glen Garioch
Cawdordew – Royal Brackla
Corryhabbie – Balvenie
Corshelloch – Dufftown
Craigardle – Blair Athol
Cromdale – Benrinnes
Cullicudden – Dalmore
Drumbowie – Craigellachie
Dunnottar – Glenury Royal
Edina – Linkwood
Fall of Fyers – Linkwood
Glen Quaich – Aberfeldy
Highland Mary – Blair Athol
Honest Tam – Balvenie
Largiemeanoch – Bowmore
Lossieburn – Glenlossie
Miltonhaugh – Balmenach
Ochterglen – Glenturret
Pluscarden – Miltonduff
Red Rose – Old Pulteney
Rhinnesdhu – Glenfarclas
Rosscanich – Teaninich
Scots Wha Hae – Blair Athol
Skerridhu – Scapa
Slochmor – Tomatin
Spyniemor – Linkwood
Strathblair – Glenfiddich
Taranty – Glencadam
Tarracroy – Aultmore
The Alloway – Tomatin
The Annan – Tomatin
The Auchtertyre – Dailuaine
The Auld Brig – Old Pulteney
The Banks O’Doon – Dailuaine
The Ellisland – Old Pulteney
The Friars Carse – Dailuaine
The Kenmore – Balmenach
The Lincluden – Balmenach
The Lochmaben – Tomatin
The Tarbolton – Dalmore
The Twa Brigs – Tomatin
Tullichmhor – Glenlivet
Whalligoe – Old Pulteney

Royal Brackla 'Cawdordew' 18yo 5cl

Caperdonich 17-year-old

Bought – Whisky Broker, 25th October 2013

85/100 – Malt Maniacs (see link in case more reviews get added: here)
87.67/100 – Whiskybase (average from 5 member votes)

The second of my three 20cl bottles from the Whisky Broker and I was pleased to find that someone has already reviewed it on the Malt Maniacs website. The reviewer doesn’t leave any tasting notes but 85/100 is a good score, especially from a reguluar reviewer such as this. The write-up about this Caperdonich from the Whisky Broker website is:

This speyside whisky, distilled on 13th June 1995 at Caperdonich Distillery, has been matured in an oak hogshead for over 17 years. The whisky has not been chill filtered, nor has any colouring been added. Caperdonich Distillery has been closed since 2002.

This whisky has been lightly filtered to remove large particles of wood sediment from the cask, but may still contain small traces, which are visible only when bottle is left standing for a period of time. Details:

  • Hogshead number 95068
  • Distilled 13th June 1995
  • Bottled 13th February 2013
  • Strength: 55%
  • Bottle Size: 200ml

Caperdonich 17yo 20cl