Tag Archives: Small Batch

Old Pulteney 2006 11-year-old (Cadenhead)

Bought: Cadenhead, 5th December 2017

Ratings:
84.78/100 – Whiskybase (average from 11 member votes)

When you look at Old Pulteney (OP) in Jim Murray’s ‘Whisky Bible 2018’ you realise how rare it is to see independent bottlings from this illustrious distillery. In fact Mr Murray only mentions Cadenhead and Gordon & MacPhail. Of these only the two bottles by Cadenhead are cask strength. The distillery itself rarely releases a whisky that hasn’t been diluted down. But if you’re a fan of a particular distillery it doesn’t take long before you want to try the raw liquid straight from the barrel. And as a fan of OP, this 11yo by Cadenhead gives me my change to do just that. It’s Old Pulteney au naturale.

My OP 11yo is made from a combination of two hogshead casks distilled in 2006 and bottled at 55.8% in 2017. It comes from ex-bourbon barrels, which is the standard wood used by the distillery. 570 bottles were produced. Although Jim Murray doesn’t review this particular dram he scores a similar Cadenhead 2006 11yo a very respectable 87/100. This was also an ex-bourbon hogshead but only one barrel was used to produce 294 bottles. It scores 82.39/100 on Whiskybase from 25 votes. My 11yo scores a fantastic 84.78/100 from 11 votes so far, which suggests a marginally better dram.

Cadenhead release cask strength Old Pulteney quite regularly so if it’s something you’re interested in then keep an eye on their website. My 11yo was bottled in 2017 but Cadenhead have already bottled two OP 12yo cask strengths in 2018 (one of which is still available on their website for £54.30 from a run of only 282 bottles, so cask strength AND single cask).

Tasting notes by Cadenhead:

Nose: Toffee popcorn, cereals, barley sugar, developing rich notes with this coastal dram. The nose is great now into the palate!
Palate: The palate is driving in some incredible richness with some fresh ground black pepper, haggis crisps, cardamon pod. We also find a sweet note after this dram is left to open in the glass.
Finish: The finish is really good with a hint of red liquorice, banana loaf and marshmallow, the finish coats the palate with a lingering sweetness before the spicy mid note on the palate comes back in for a few moments.

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Teeling ‘Small Batch – Rum Cask Finish’

Bought: Auriol Wines, 10th October 2016

Ratings:
85.5/100 – Whisky Bible 2017
79.34/100 – Whiskybase (average from 242 member votes)

Whiskybase have a record of 13 different releases of this Teeling blend from November 2013 to April 2016 but this doesn’t include the version in the Whisky Bible dated November 2015. My version was bottled in September 2015. It’s listed on Whiskybase here but with only 9 votes I’ve decided to take the score from the default bottle with over 240 votes. It seems fairer and it’s all going to be very similar stuff.

85.5/100 in the Whisky Bible classifies this blend as “very good to excellent whiskey definitely worth buying”. The author, Jim Murray, says “an attractive malt, showing both its rum qualities and, sadly, a slight strain of tired oak.” He goes on to talk about the bitterness that comes from maturing in rum casks and concludes with “still, the delivery offers much to enjoy.”

The score on Whiskybase is quite average where comments include “good weight on the palate, mild on the tongue with toasted sweet malt and citrus peel”, “light Irish blend, although the rum is only recognized with the cane sugar” and “it’s a good blend but the finish bothers me a bit it taste too young and spicy”.

Here’s Whisky Wednesday with their review on You Tube where the Teeling ‘Small Batch’ scores an excellent 8/10 (April 2014):

teeling-small-batch-nas-70cl

Glenlivet (Minmore) 1973 42-year-old

Bought: Cadenhead Online Shop, 6th April 2016

Ratings:
90.07/100 – Whiskybase (from 16 member votes)
88/100 – Whiskyfun
91/100 – Whiskynotes

As my whisky collection draws to a close I’m looking to tick off the remaining items on my wishlist. I haven’t bought directly from Cadenhead before but I’ve been admiring the look of their ‘small batch’ range for years. I also don’t have a single malt over 40yo. I have single grain and malted spirit but not a single malt, until now. With only 630 bottles of this Glenlivet it makes a good investment but over 90/100 on Whiskybase tells me it’s a fantastic drinking dram too.

I was wondering why Cadenhead saw fit to add ‘Minmore’ to the title of this whisky, given that’s the location of the Glenlivet distillery. Then I realised it’s because of the age of this whisky, which dates back to a time when lots of other distilleries put ‘Glenlivet’ in their names. Cadenhead are just making it absolutely clear that this single malt is from the Glenlivet, not another from the same glen.

Here are the tasting notes from Cadenhead:

Nose: Soft and juicy. Peaches, passion fruit, soft lime notes and also kiwi and watermelon. A great age whisky delivering a truly amazing nose.

Palate: More juicy fruits. For such a delicate whisky this feels very thick and rich. Olive oil, hints of Sauvignon blanc and lots of syrupy fruits coats the whole palate.

Finish: Dried citrus fruits with some soft woodiness. Creaminess grows but mingles with lots of thick tropical fruits.

Glenlivet 1973 42yo 70cl

Knob Creek Small Batch

Bought: Tesco, 8th October 2015

Ratings:
83.25/100 – Whiskybase (average from 4 member votes)

With my collector’s hat on, I do like bottles with wax seals! I have this uneducated idea that they’re difficult to fake, unless you’re a pirate from the 16th century, or related to Captain Jack Sparrow. Not that it really matters because this bottle of bourbon by Jim Beam only set me back £16.33 in a Tesco half-price sale. It’s hardly a collector’s item where experts will be carbon dating the wax when I sell it in 2036.

So why Knob Creek? Because I first stumbled across it in the book ‘101 Whiskies To Try Before You Die’ by Ian Buxton. Unfortunately he was talking about the 9-year-old but this NAS (non-aged statement) is as close as I’m bothering to get. Both are 50% bourbon so that’s near enough for me! Ian Buxton says about the name “mildly titillating for UK drinkers in a smutty sort of way”. Oow-er-madam! I will be getting out my box set of Carry On movies when I crack this bottle open and reshaping the seal into an erotic candle! That’s my Saturday night arranged.

Knob Creek Small Batch NAS 70cl

Bowmore ‘Small Batch Reserve’

Bought – Sainsbury’s, 22th September 2014

Ratings:
80.5/100 – Whisky Bible 2014
81.78/100 – Whiskybase (average from 69 member votes)

I’d hate to know what Bowmore describe as a “Large Batch” given how long I’ve seen bottles of this “small” batch on the shelves of local supermarkets. Perhaps a large batch of Bowmore would go on forever, or until someone noticed that the level of the Irish Sea had gone down. Thankfully I can’t see any fish swimming around in my bottle!

The Whisky Bible has very little to say about this single malt. Small by name, small by review. It does however score 21/25 for taste, which equates to a very respectable 84/100. Just shy of 82/100 on Whiskybase is a surprisingly good score with comments of “well made for a young malt” and “seriously good value for money”.

As I write this, Morrisons supermarket have this Bowmore for £24.99 but I’m stunned to see that The Whisky Exchange online are trying to sell it for £36.99! It’s certainly not worth that much. £25 is a fair price for this non-aged statement single malt that will give you a pleasant taste experience from a good, well established Islay distillery.

Here’s Horst Luening of Whisky.com on You Tube with his thoughts about this entry-level Bowmore (April 2014):

Bowmore Small Batch Reserve 70cl