Whisky Reviews

Whisky Review #10 – The Dalmore Cigar Malt Reserve

The Dalmore Cigar Malt was created by Richard Patterson due to his love for whisky and cigar. A third cask was added into their usual two in the maturation process – the premier cru Cabernet Sauvignon wine barriques. This innovative combination of spirits from three different casks produces a fine whisky with rich flavours and is perfect for pairing with cigars.

There was actually an older edition that was discontinued in mid-2009 and it caused a huge uproar among the cigar-smoking fans. This ‘new’ edition is slightly different from the discontinued one as it is now made up of slightly older whiskies.

If you are a cigar lover, you might be awed when you find out the flavour benchmark for pairing this whisky – Partagas Serie D No. 4!

Awards:

International Wine & Spirit Competition 2017
Silver – Scotch Single Malt – Highland

International Wine & Spirit Competition 2014
Silver – Scotch Single Malt – Highland

International Spirits Challenge 2014
Silver  – Distillers’ Single Malts 12 years and under

Tasting Notes:

ABV: 44%

Colour: Golden Amber

Nose: The distinctly sweet toffee aroma catches our attention immediately. Shortly after comes the smell of charred oak, ending it all with a slight spice. (14 points)

Palate: The sweetness of toffee fills up the palate, followed closely by burnt caramel. Strong nutmeg spice envelops the mouth as the whisky stays longer. (14 points)

Body: Good balance between the nose and the palate, making it a well-rounded whisky. The sharpness of the spice is cushioned comfortably by the sweetness of toffee and perfect integration of sherry and wine casks.  (34 points)

Finish: The finish is medium, with a lingering sherry oak sweetness. (15 points)

Total grade:  77 points

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    Whisky Review #09 – The Dalmore 18 Years Old Whisky

    This is an upgraded version of The Dalmore 12. This award winning 18 years old edition is matured 14 years in American white oak ex-burbon casks, and the last 4 years in 30 year old Matusalem oloroso sherry casks. The extended maturation and wood exposure creates a more well-rounded finish with a lusciously creamy and sherried body.

    Awards:

    International Wine & Spirit 2017
    Silver Outstanding – Scotch Single Malt – Highland

    International Spirits Challenge 2014
    Silver – Distillers’ Single Malts between 13 and 20 years old

    International Wine & Spirit Competition 2014
    Bronze – Scotch Single Malt – Highland

    International Wine & Spirit Competition 2013
    Bronze – Scotch Single Malt – Highland

    Tasting Notes:

    ABV: 43%

    Colour: Copper Bronze

    Nose: A distinct smell of pine gushes out followed by a strong fruity sweetness, ended by a slight pleasant spiciness. (13 points)

    Palate: Sweetness of chocolate raisins immediately engulfs the palate with slight hints of plums. As the whisky stays in the mouth longer, notes of coffee and vanilla appears and ends with peppery spiciness (17 points)

    Body:  A well-balanced whisky. It is worth noting that the spiciness comes after the fruity flavours and it’s not over powering. (33 points)

    Finish: Long fruity finish with slight taste of citrus. (18 points)

    Total grade: 81 points

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      Whisky Review #08 – The Dalmore 12 Years Old Whisky

      This is the entry level of The Dalmore series. Aged 12 years old, this whisky from the Highlands spent its first 9 years maturing in American white oak ex-bourbon casks. Half of the spirit is then transferred into 30 year old Matusalem oloroso sherry casks for the final 3 years. These spirits are then married together for bottling. What results is a rich and beautiful single malt because of the added maturation in sherry cask – a bold process in making a 12 years single malt.

      Awards:
      International Wine & Spirit Competition 2017

      Silver – Scotch Single Malt – Highland

      Tasting Notes:

      ABV: 40%

      Colour: Golden Amber. Unlike other 12 year old whiskies, The Dalmore 12 years has a darker hue, due to the 3 year maturation in sherry casks.

      Nose: The sweetness of caramel fudge floats to our nose the moment the bottle is opened. Strong vanilla with a hint of citrus follows after. (15 points)

      Palate: Hint of spice hits the tongue before the sherry sweetness takes over. Thick and velvety smooth feel with delicate citrus notes. (15 points)

      Body: A well balanced whisky that is velvety smooth. Easy to drink, suitable for after dinner. (32 points)

      Finish: A medium-long finish that is slightly dry; sweet with toffee notes and a hint of vanilla. (18 points)

      Total grade: 80 points

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        Whisky Review #07 – House of Hazelwood – 25 Years Old Expression

         

        The House of Hazelwood is created by the Master Blender of William Grant and Sons, Brian Kinsman. Inspired by family ancestor Janet Sheed Robert and the 1920s classic elegance of Shanghai, a city that stood at the centre of Cathay elegance in the 1920s. This expression is the pride of the Master Blender as every single malt that earned its place in his final selection are rare in their own ways. All these prized single malts are then married in American oak. The complex and diverse flavours are then allowed sufficient time to infuse and mellow, resulting in a magnificent whisky that is at once rare and unique.

        Tasting Notes:

        Colour: Amber
        ABV: 40%

        Nose: We get hit by refreshing caramelised brown sugar at first waft followed by variants of vanilla, maple and soft spice. Hints of freshly sawn wood adds to the complexity while citrus zest and orange blossoms lingers in the background. (16 points)

        Palate: A pleasant combination of spice and sweet vanilla rolls off the tongue as we sipped. The spice adds a tingling to the tongue while the sweetness of vanilla softens the sharpness of the spice. (15 points)

        Body: While it may not be as well balanced as the 21 years old expression, this expression adds points to the body by keeping true to its sweet vanilla overtones in both the nose and the palate, making it a pleasant and luxurious drink. (32 points)

        Finish: Long and yet dry, the 25 years old expression lingers long in the mouth with the hint of sawn wood. (17 points)

        Total Grade: 80 points

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          Whisky Review #06 – House of Hazelwood 21 Years Old Expression

          The House of Hazelwood is created by the Master Blender of William Grant and Sons, Brian Kinsman. Inspired by family ancestor Janet Sheed Robert and the 1920s sultry beauty of Mumbai. This expression is the bolder, slightly spicier version of the 18 years old expression, making it a more robust and well balanced whisky. The special notes for this whisky is the addition of some 21 years old malts which were aged in sherry casks made of European oak.

          Colour: Dark Gold
          ABV: 40%

          Nose: Spice and dried fruits dominates the nose with a somewhat sticky sweetness of rich fruit cakes. A splash of water changes the nose and adds complexity to the whisky by bringing a subtle hint of tobacco leaf. (16 points)

          Palate: A bold taste of woody spice coupled with cinnamon and clove hits our tongues immediately with the first sip. To bring out the influence of the sherry casks, a splash of water is needed. Water changes the palate a little, bringing out the sweet oiliness of treacle, dates and polished leather. (16 points)

          Body: A more robust expression than the 18 years old, this whisky delivers in its palate what is promised on the nose. A well balanced whisky with a little bite. (34 points)

          Finish: Dry but short finish, the spiciness does not stay long in the mouth, making it pleasant to drink. (17 points)

          Total Grade: 83 points

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            Whisky Review #05 – House of Hazelwood 18 Years Old Expression

             

            The House of Hazelwood is created by the Master Blender of William Grant and Sons, Brian Kinsman. Inspired by family ancestor Janet Sheed Robert and the 1920s classic elegance of Paris, this expression releases a classic and elegant whisky blended from the purest expression of Kininvie and Girvan spirits married in Portuguese oak.

            Colour: Soft Gold
            ABV: 40%

            Nose: The tender notes of sweet vanilla waft up the nose and stays dominant for the whole time. Possibly the simplest nose with just soft oak to add to the complexity. (15 points)

            Palate: Creamy toffee with a soft sweetness of vanilla gently rolls through the tongue as we sipped. The sweetness is enhanced by soft oak undertones, making this whisky gentle and approachable, but yet defined by age. (17 points)

            Body: The body of this whisky is balanced and consistent. Light and luxurious in feel as compared to other blended whiskies. (30 points)

            Finish: A long and elegant finish with lingering vanilla and oak undertones. A thoroughly enjoyable whisky. (17 points)

            Total Grade: 79 points

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              The Handy Guide to WhiskyGeeks’ Tasting Notes

               

              We must emphasise that whisky tasting is subjective and every whisky blog has a different opinion on the whiskies that they have written about. While there might have been similarities, there will always be something that we might not agree on. The same could be said between us and you, as our readers. Perhaps the whiskies that we love and grade highly taste horrid to you; or the whisky that you absolutely adore is trashed by us. None of us is right, but none of us is wrong either! Remember, it is always subjective!

              Nonetheless, we would like provide you with a handy guide so that you can easily use our tasting notes as a way to help you decide if you might like or dislike the whiskies you want to try. Our tasting notes are simply broken down to the following:

              1. Nose
              2. Body / Structure
              3. Palate
              4. Finish

              Grading is done using the following:

              1. Nose – 20 points
              2. Body / Structure – 40 points
              3. Palate – 20 points
              4. Finish – 20 points

              With a total of 100 points, we will use the above grading system to determine whether we think the whisky is good in our opinions. The reason that we give the body a much higher weightage is because we believe that the body of a whisky is a determining factor to whether the whisky is a good one.

              We will also talk sightly about the colour, the alcohol content and the packaging whenever these information is available to us.

              We hope that this simple guide is useful for you when reading our whisky tasting notes! Feel free to reach out to us if you have any comments, questions or feedback.

              Thank you!

              Regards,
              The WhiskyGeeks

              Whisky Review #04 – The Macallan Ruby (NAS)

              Source

              The Macallan Ruby is the last of the four whiskies in the 1824 Series and is considered the crown jewel of the lot. Having the richest and deepest colour in the range, the Ruby is majestic to behold. Matured and aged in the finest sherry casks, its appearance is natural; the colour and flavours are drawn directly from the casks.

              Tasting Notes:

              Colour: The darkest and richest red that a whisky can give, the Ruby is almost dark mahogany as we hold it up to the light.
              ABV: 43%

              Nose: We get strong European oak almost immediately before hints of rich, dried fruits and a trickle of treacle creep in to tickle our noses. The subtle sweetness of the dried fruits does not last and the oak reasserts itself quickly. It is burnished and matured, something that Geek Spice and Geek Choc appreciate. (15 points)

              Palate: Ginger, nutmeg and resin rush in the moment the liquid touches the mouth, giving a rather sharp taste. Orange, sultana and raisins take over with their subtle sweetness to soften the taste, before we taste a subtle hint of clove before it is gone. The final winner is oak as we swallow. (15 points)

              Body: A balanced whisky that deliver what the nose promised. Definitely a more assertive whisky than Macallan Sienna, the balanced body takes its time to reassert the strong oak character. (30 points)

              Finish: A long and lingering finish that is reflective of the palate. Strong and definitive; suitable for those who loves a long finish. (16 points)

              Total Grade: 76 points

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                Whisky Review #03 – The Macallan Sienna (NAS)

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                The Macallan Sienna is the third bottle in the 1824 Series and was released together with the Macallan Amber. Being the third darkest out of the 4, it is also matured in sherry casks. This whisky comprises of naturally coloured whiskies that are selected by hue and flavour. Its name, Sienna, refers to a naturally occurring pigment, highlighting Macallan’s practise of not adding colours to their whiskies.

                Awards:

                Gold – Liquid Gold Award – 2014

                Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible

                 

                Tasting Notes:

                Colour: As the name suggest, the colour of this whisky is sienna, or shall we say dark amber?
                ABV: 43%

                Nose: A very pleasant subtle yet persistent vanilla nose greets us before we are attacked by a zesty and sharp orange. Green apples came in almost immediately after to soften the sharpness, adding freshness and balance to the already pleasant nose. White chocolate truffles come after, with elegant oak notes as a close to the complex, flavourful liquid. (16 points)

                Palate: A mixture of spice and fruits -dates, figs and raisins march in when we drink it, before bowing out to nutmeg and ginger. The slight sharpness is softened by a hint of oranges and apples before strong vanilla overpowers them to form a slightly sweet taste as we swallow. (15 points)

                Body: A well balanced whisky that holds up the promise of the nose magnificently. The persistent vanilla lingers from the nose to the palate, while the green apples keeps the sharpness of the zesty orange at bay. A good whisky – in our opinions! (32 points)

                Finish: A beautiful finish that is gentle, smooth and warm all at the same time. The warm feeling that it gives comforts even the most stressful of us. (15 points)

                Total Grade: 78 points

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                  Whisky Review #02 – The Macallan Amber (NAS)

                  Source

                  The Macallan Amber is part of the Macallan 1824 Series and one of the later batch of Macallan’s ageless whiskies. In an attempt to move the whisky industry away from the age statement whiskies, Macallan boldly made the move to release limited edition bottlings that are ageless. Launched after the Macallan Gold, this whisky is a predictable, amber-coloured dram. Having matured in sherry casks, it is chosen to be more fully flavoured than the Gold.

                  Awards:

                  Bronze – Scotch Single Malt – Speyside – 2013

                  International Wine & Spirit Competition

                  Tasting Notes:

                  Colour: The colour is distinctly from sherry casks. The liquid glinted amber as we hold it up to the light.
                  ABV: 40%

                  Nose: Floral, citrus and sweet come on strongly as we take the first sniff. This is slowly taken over by a chorus of vanilla notes over freshly harvested grains as we take a second sniff. A subtle hint of raisins, sultana and cinnamon comes through in the third sniff before toffee apples and candy floss take over. The sweet smell can become overpowering if you are not a lover of sweet whisky. (14 points)

                  Palate: Fresh green apples and lemons wash over us at the first taste. The sweet citrus is mixed with cinnamon and just a hint of ginger as we rolled the liquid in our mouths. As we swallow, subtle oak lingers at the back of the mouth pleasantly. (15 points)

                  Body: This feels less balanced when compared to Macallan Gold as we feel that that palate does not come through as strongly as the nose, making the whisky a little disappointing. Nonetheless, the sherry casks that this whisky was matured in gives the body a strong sweet flavour that can be a hit with lovers of sherry casks. (28 points)

                  Finish: The slightly dry finish is light but it can be a medium finish for some. Soft fruits and cereal roll in our mouths for a while – quite a pleasant finish in our opinions. (15 points)

                  Total Grading: 72 points

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