Tag Archives: Tesco

Bowmore No.1

Bought: Tesco, 25th May 2017

79.83/100 – Whiskybase (average from 14 member votes)

The Bowmore No.1, new in 2017, replaces the ‘Small Batch’, which appeared in 2014. Both are NAS (no age statement) and matured in bourbon casks so you have to wonder if anyone will notice the difference? The No.1, unlike the Small Batch, is exclusively aged in first-fill bourbon casks, so maturation is quicker. I hope this doesn’t mean the No.1 is younger than the Small Batch, which was young enough!

The Small Batch on Whiskybase ended up with a score of 81.5/100 after 229 votes so the No.1 is lagging behind, although it’s early days yet. Comments on Whiskybase include, “reminds me rather of a strongly diluted mixture of (too) young Laphroaig and Caol Ila” and “the sweet ashes are nothing special but nice. For me this has more than a few mistakes”. At least someone on Amazon says, “wonderful nose you can’t go wrong with Bowmore”, but another comment adds, “spend the extra for the 12yr old. You won’t regret it.” Or get the 9yo if you’re on a budget and prefer a sherry influence instead of bourbon.

Tasting notes from Master of Malt:

Nose: Nutella on brown bread, sea salt and a hint of lemon zest.
Palate: Vanilla notes are up front and sweet (though earthy vanilla pod does appear after a minute). Plenty of coastal peat smoke.
Finish: Lingering smokiness.

Here’s Horst Luening of Whisky.com with his thoughts on YouTube about the Bowmore No.1 (May 2017):

Haig Club ‘Clubman’

Bought: Tesco, 6th October 2016

4/10 – Whisky Wednesday (video review below)
2/5 – Master of Malt (from 9 reviews)
0/100 – Whiskybase (no member votes yet)

It’s been over 2 months since the Clubman was added to Whiskybase but still no reviews. If it were a new bottle of Ardbeg there would be over 100 ratings by now but that’s because Whiskybase is more about single malts. The Clubman on the other hand is a cheap single grain and, unlike the original Club, the Clubman is priced correctly for its use in whisky-based cocktails. At £15 it’s a bit more expensive than a Lidl or Aldi basic grain but you’re paying more for the marketing and stylish blue bottle. Indeed, comments on Amazon suggest it’s being bought as a Christmas present, which has more to do with the presentation. In fact, stick a light in an empty Clubman bottle and you’ve got a festive bauble for Christmas 2017!

Although scores from most whisky drinkers aren’t great there are some fans of the Clubman. Comments online include “superb for a mixer drink”, “smooth, sweet and light” and “not particularly complex or deep in flavours, but just a really nice light whisky to sup.” Remarks about the taste say it’s sweet and the bourbon ageing give it vanilla notes so it sounds perfect to mix with cola, lemonade or ginger ale.

Here’s Whisky Wednesday with their review on You Tube (October 2016):


Tamnavulin ‘Double Cask’

Bought: Tesco, 29th September 2016

80/100 – Malt Box (video review below)
81/100 – Whiskybase (average from 2 member votes)

A new release for 2016 is this no-age statement single malt from Tamnavulin. Certain reports online suggest this is the first release from the distillery for about 20 years but in 2015 I bought a 12-year-old that first appeared in 2005 (according to Whiskybase). The official tasting notes for the ‘Double Cask’ are:

Nose: rich, warm aromas of apple, toffee and honey with sweet marzipan and subtle tangy marmalade notes.
Palate: fresh, mellow notes of pear, creamy peaches, pineapple and a hint of Demerara sugar.
Finish: rich, smooth and refreshing. A signature Speyside malt.

Although 81/100 from two votes on Whiskybase may sound good comments on the Malt Maniacs Facebook page have been quite critical. It will be interesting to see where the Double Cask’s score levels out after 20+ ratings.

Scoring 80/100 from Andy of Malt Box is quite a reasonable score. Here is his review on You Tube (November 2016):


Knob Creek Small Batch

Bought: Tesco, 8th October 2015

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

Dalwhinnie Distiller’s Edition 1992/2010

Bought: Tesco, 8th October 2015

84.55/100 – Whiskybase (average from 22 member votes)

Dalwhinnie, the quiet distillery. You don’t get many distillery releases but what they do produce is excellent (except for the ‘Winter’s Gold’ and the less said about that the better). There are 37 distillery releases listed on Whiskybase and 18 of these are versions of the ‘Distiller’s Edition’ (DE) over the years. Ratings range from between 83.5/100 to 85.5/100 with one or two outliers. Interestingly the classic Dalwhinnie 15yo scores 81/100 (from nearly 800 votes) and this little beauty scores 95/100 in the Whisky Bible. Hmmm!

In the video below, Captain Whisky gives us his opinion of the DE compared to the standard 15yo release. He scores the 15yo higher with 15/20 versus the DE’s 14/20 (mostly based on price, which is a reasonable comment). Nevertheless he says both are very drinkable, which is what you’d expect from such a distinguished distillery. In his review he reminds me that both whiskies probably contain colouring and are chill-filtered. Naughty Dalwhinnie! One of these years I must find a version that’s raw and natural. Sadly Whiskybase only list 18 independent releases of Dalwhinnie, so finding one could be quite a challenge.

For future reference, I don’t know if the ‘DE’ Captain Whisky is reviewing is the same version as mine but it’s Oloroso Sherry Cask so likely to be very similar.


Caol Ila Distillers Edition 2001/13

Bought: Tesco, 10th September 2015

84.67/100 – Whiskybase (average from 101 member votes)

In the Whisky Bible 2015 the previous ‘Distillers Edition’ 2000/12 scores an amazing 95/100. It also scores 86.13/100 on Whiskybase from 54 votes. 84.67/100 for my bottle is a bit of a slip but both are the same age, strength and double matured in Moscatel cask wood. You’d expect a lot of similarity between the two releases and clearly the quality is kept high for this delightful Islay single malt.

I was hoping to pick out some interesting comments from the reviews on Whiskybase but the majority are in German. English comments about the taste include “peat, chocolate, salt, liquorice, toffee, lime and peach” also “ashes, spices, some gun powder, liquorice and citrus – lemon”. Someone summarises with “nice Islay, to bad for that weak finish” although others say the finish is ‘medium’. Each to their own as usual but clearly this is a very pleasant dram.

Caol Ila Distillers Edition 2001 70cl

Lagavulin Distiller’s Edition 1995-2011

Bought: Tesco, 31st July 2015

88.78/100 – Whiskybase (average from 188 member votes)

I was quite surprised to find this bottle of Lagavulin in a local supermarket since it was released in 2011 and this is 2015. Why hadn’t it sold out in 4 years? Perhaps the £70 price tag was the reason. This is a 15yo or 16yo Lagavulin, which is 43% when you can buy the standard Lagavulin 16yo (also 43%) for nearly £20 less. I’m always baffled as to why distilleries do this. Why have a “Distiller’s Edition” that’s practically identical in age and strength to a cheaper, standard release? OK, so it’s matured differently, I understand that but surely the reason to pay more is to get something better rather than slightly different? But to say this would suggest I don’t understand the mind of a collector or serious whisky drinker, and I do. The standard 16yo goes on year after year but this interesting Distiller’s Edition is a snapshot in time from Lagavulin.

88.78/100 is a very high mark on Whiskybase. The standard 16yo scores slightly less with 88.21/100 but that’s from 1667 member votes. Comments for the Distiller’s Edition include “this is a lovely, complex peated malt, tempered by the sweetness of the sherry. A good long-lasting finish”, “great whisky but also ‘drinking’ whisky” and “delicious!”

Perhaps I’m being a bit unfair on Lagavulin but I do feel a Distiller’s Edition should have a clear distinction from a standard release. Even just making it 46% instead of 43% would have ticked that box for me.

Lagavulin Distiller's Edition 1995 NAS 70cl

Glenmorangie 18-year-old ‘Extremely Rare’

Bought: Tesco, 17th July 2015

91/100 – Whisky Bible 2015
94/100 – Whisky Bitch (her You Tube video below)
86.18/100 – Whiskybase (average from 291 member votes)

I would say “extremely rare my arse!” except there’s only one of my butt and many thousands of the Glenmorangie 18yo. If it’s in a supermarket then it’s not even rare, let alone ‘extremely rare’. But there’s no denying the quality of this dram from Glenmorangie, even if their terminology for its abundance is questionable.

91/100 in the Whisky Bible from Jim Murray categorises this whisky as ‘brilliant’. Commenting about the taste “sharp, eye-watering mix of fruit and mainly honeyed barley; nutty and, with the confident vanillas, forming a breakfast cereal completeness.” Mr Murray summaries with “having thrown off some previous gremlins, now a perfect start to the day whisky.” Hmmm! Don’t drink whisky for breakfast kids; it makes your cereal go soggy!

Over 86/100 on Whiskybase is an excellent mark with reviewers commenting “whisky of serious distinction”, “wonderfully creamy and thick” and “better than the Original 10yo”. The Whisky Bitch in her review below from February 2014 absolutely loves this whisky and gets a strong taste of bananas. That’s not a flavour I’ve commonly seen in reviews for this Glenmorangie but every palate is slightly different. See what you think.

Glenmorangie 18yo Extremely Rare 70cl

Jim Beam ‘Devil’s Cut’ 90 Proof

Bought: Tesco, 12th June 2015

8.5/10 – Whisky Wednesday (video review below)
76.11/100 – Whiskybase (average from 49 member votes)

A new bourbon to add to my collection for £20 from Tesco?! Oh, go on, if I must! I’d heard of the Angel’s Share but the Devil’s Cut was new to me. This is the spirit that gets absorbed into the cask. I can imagine that would have quite an intense, concentrated flavour. Jim Beam manage to extract it with a process of steaming/sweating. However it’s done it can’t be too laborious or the whisky would be over £100 per bottle!

Although 76/100 on Whiskybase is a fairly hmmm score the experienced whisky reviewer Mark Dermul gives the Devil’s Cut a healthy 82/100 with a closing remark of “it is indeed significantly better than the standard Jim Beam bourbon, available for around 30 EUR, which is fair. Goes down very well in a tumbler with a cube of ice. Oh, blasphemy!” I wouldn’t worry Mark because I tend to have cheap bourbon with coke – shocking!

I’ve added an excellent video review below by Jo of Whisky Wednesday on You Tube, which gives some background about the creation process and insight into the taste experience for this interesting bourbon:

Jim Beam Devil's Cut NAS 70cl

Cardhu ‘Gold Reserve’

Bought: Tesco, 3rd March 2015

78.38/100 – Whiskybase (average from 28 member votes)

This NAS (non age statement) Cardhu was released in 2014. Initial reviews on Whiskybase weren’t very good (low 70s out of 100) but after 28 votes it’s above 78/100. Unfortunately that suggests the ‘Gold Reserve’ is a fairly average whisky. Looking on Amazon, there are 11 reviews for the Gold Reserve, 9 of which give 5/5 stars, and 2 give 4/5. One of the reviewers that gave 4 stars only docked a star because the bottle is cheaper in supermarkets even when Amazon have reduced it in a ‘lightening deal’. That’s hardly the fault of the whisky!

Comments on Amazon include “delicate and mellow”, “gorgeous”, “subtle flavours and a warm finish” and “much too nice to share”. Overall, it seems this new Cardhu is well liked, at least by Amazon customers.

For an insight into the taste of the Gold Reserve, here is a video by Horst Luening:

Cardhu Gold Reserve NAS 70cl