Whisky Reviews

Whisky Review #67: Arran 14-Year-Old

Arran distillery needs no more introduction after our post of its history and another one on the event at Quaich Bar. The object of our review today is the Arran 14-year-old. Dubbed as the perfect “go-to” dram for a whisky lover who wants to upgrade from the 10-year-old and not yet wanting to advance to the 18-year-old, this whisky here is a beautiful expression.

Arran 14-year-old is made up of whiskies matured in 60% ex-sherry casks and 40% ex-bourbon casks. Therefore, when compared to the 10-year-old, it is not as fruity but sweeter due to the sherry influence.

Let’s check out the review now.

Tasting Notes:

Colour: Copper Gold
ABV: 46%

Nose: Sweet oak mixed with dried fruits, vanilla and toffee, come up front when we first nose it. The spice hides in the background. When we add a little water, some sea salt tang appears alongside caramelised fruits notes. (16/20)

Palate: Sweet vanilla and honey coat the palate with notes of green apples and pears. Charred oak is also prominent with spice at the back of the tongue. Interestingly, the spice disappears, and the honey notes become more noticeable after airing the whisky. With water, the spice comes a little stronger to the forefront, but the vanilla and honey sweetness quickly overcome it. (16/20)

Finish: The finish is reasonably long with dried fruits and vanilla notes. Some honey is also detected at the end. (15/20)

Body: The balance for the 14-year-old is slightly better than the 10-year-old. It is still somewhat singular in its profile but an upgrade from the 10-year-old. (30/40)

Total Score: 77/100

Comments:

Geek Flora: “The 14-year-old is slightly more complex as compared to the 10-year-old. While I still tend to lean towards the simple 10-year-old for my daily dram, this 14-year-old is a potential upgrade for me after I finished the 10-year-old bottle.” 

Geek Choc: “It is singular, but I kinda like it. The higher sherry influence in the 14-year-old appeals to me as the sweetness of the dried fruits makes it more interesting.” 

 

Like what you have just read?

    Join WhiskyGeeks.sg as a member for FREE and receive our curated articles and videos in your mailbox every month!

    [mc4wp_checkbox]

    Whisky Review #66 – Arran 10-Year-Old

    The Arran 10-Year-Old is the entry level to its incredible range of whiskies. Made with the occasional whisky drinker in mind, this whisky is approachable and easy to drink. If it is the first time you are trying Arran, the 10-Year-Old is an excellent bottle to start. The liquid that made up the 10-Year-Old is 20% from ex-sherry casks and 80% from ex-bourbon casks. The result of this mixture is a sweet, fruity and slightly spicy concoction.

    Let’s check out the review without further ado.

    Tasting Notes:

    Colour: Pale Gold
    ABV: 46%

    Nose: Sweet vanilla cupcakes greets the nose with a touch of spicy cinnamon. Notes of citrus fruits (oranges, lemons) follow after to create a sweet and gentle nose. With some time, fresh oak appears to deepen the complexity of the whisky. (15/20)

    Palate: Sweet vanilla notes couple with red apples coat the palate beautifully before citrus fruitiness rush in to fill the palate. The mouthfeel is soft and mellow, creating an almost silky feel. (16/20)

    Finish: A relatively long finish with sweet apples and a slight citrus zest. Hints of spice linger in the throat. (16/20)

    Body: Reasonably balanced for a 10-year-old whisky with a straightforward character. It is indeed an entry level whisky that can be enjoyed by everyone. (29/40)

    Total Score: 76/100

    Comments:

    Geek Flora: “I like the Arran 10-Year-Old for its simple character. It is an approachable dram and one that beginners can easily adapt to. The sweet, fruity spice adds complexity to the mellow notes of the whisky.”

    Geek Choc: “It is a simple drink that can be enjoyed anytime. If you have friends who are not whisky drinkers, this is a good dram to introduce if you want to convert them into whisky lovers!”

     

    Like what you have just read?

      Join WhiskyGeeks.sg as a member for FREE and receive our curated articles and videos in your mailbox every month!

      [mc4wp_checkbox]

      Whisky Review #65 – Bruichladdich 20 Years Old Duncan Taylor

      Bruichladdich fans will agree that it usually taste of sweet vanilla notes and is spicy on the palate. However, have you thought about a Bruichladdich that has almost no spice, and instead, takes on a light, grassy note? No? Well, neither have we! Until now…that is.

      The subject of this review is a Bruichladdich 20-year-old by the independent bottler, Duncan Taylor. Distilled in 1992, the liquid matured in oak casks for 20 years before getting bottled in 2013. The total yield is 300 bottles.

      Let’s look into this excellent dram now.

      Tasting Notes:

      Colour: Pale Gold
      ABV: 52.4%

      Nose: Grassy to the max! It smells like an early morning stroll in a meadow, where flowers are just starting to bloom. The sweetness is minimum, but instead, floral notes are prominent. Peppery spice floats in the background, but it is not strong. Un-typical Bruichladdich! After airing for near 30 minutes, the sweetness of white peaches can be detected in the background, making it more typical Bruichladdich. (17/20)

      Palate: The taste is light grass and floral all at the same time. Slightly acidic with light peppery spice. Unlike the Classic Laddie, this whisky has almost no spice. After a while, honeyed notes surface and push the spice further into the background. After airing for near 30 minutes, the palate changes completely. The grassy notes are gone and are replaced by sweet white peaches, making the taste more like a typical Bruichladdich. (18/20)

      Finish: The finish is short with some sweetness. It does not change with time. (15/20)

      Body: It is a simple whisky, but well-balanced. Mind-blown at first but slowly, it develops typical characteristics of Bruichladdich. This is a shot of whisky that can be savoured over an extended period just to see it blossom into its full Bruichladdich character. (32/40)

      Total Score: 82/100

      Comments:

      Geek Choc: “I did not expect a surprise when I ordered this dram, but boy, did it surprise me with its difference from the typical Bruichladdich. I like the grassy notes and the fact that the spice is minimum. It is nice to taste something different now and then! It is probably a good idea to drink this again in a month’s time to see if the oxidation in the bottle makes this “more Bruichladdich” than what I had.” 

      Geek Flora: “When Choc told me that this is grassy, I thought he was drunk! Nonetheless, I was impressed when I nosed and tasted this dram. That is fantastic! Well, it is a pity that Spice did not get to try this one because he was overseas. We will drag him along if we try this again!”

       

      Like what you have just read?

        Join WhiskyGeeks.sg as a member for FREE and receive our curated articles and videos in your mailbox every month!

        [mc4wp_checkbox]

        Whisky Review #64 – Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky

        Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky is a single grain whisky that shares its home with Three Ships at James Sedgwick Distillery. As a single grain whisky, it is highly regarded in South Africa and also in the world. The distillate is made from yellow maize (corn) and matured in first fill bourbon American casks. Bain’s Cape Mountain may not be well-known in Southeast Asia, but it is popular in its home country.

        Let’s see how this measures up to some of the American straight rye that we have tried previously.

        Tasting Notes:

        Colour: Dark Gold
        ABV: 43%

        Nose: Straight-up toffee sweetness engulfs the nose immediately with hints of white pepper in the background. The sweetness is not overwhelming like most grain/rye whiskies. (16/20)

        Palate: Fantastic delivery of toffee sweetness in the palate without numbing the senses to the hints of gentle spices in the background. Similar to the Sazerac Rye but Bain’s is less sweet. (18/20)

        Finish: The finish is reasonably long with sweet toffee trailing all the way to the end. It is slightly astringent towards the end but nothing major. Good dram. (17/20)

        Body: This is a well-balanced single grain whisky that is not overwhelmingly sweet. It is sweeter than Chita, the Japanese grain whisky from Suntory, but the sweetness is pleasant. Lovely toffee notes that warms the body also add to the appeal. (34/40)

        Total Score: 85/100

        Comments:

        Geek Flora: Well, this is a pleasant dram to enjoy on a lovely night. The gentle spice and toffee sweetness are spectacular on the palate. I love how it balances the sweetness with a little spice to create more character than what Chita offers.”

        Where to buy: If you are looking to purchase this bottle, you can find it at Quaich Bar, Singapore’s first whisky bar. Alternatively, visit their online store at www.whiskystore.com.sg to get it delivered to your doorstep.

        Like what you have just read?

          Join WhiskyGeeks.sg as a member for FREE and receive our curated articles and videos in your mailbox every month!

          [mc4wp_checkbox]

           

          Whisky Review #63 – Three Ships 15-Year-Old Pinotage Cask Finish

          The Three Ships 15-year-old Pinotage Cask Finish is the first whisky in the world to finish in a pinotage cask. The Pinotage is a uniquely South African wine made in 1925 by Abraham Izak Perold. The whisky is the oldest whisky released in South Africa to date. Andy Watts specially crafted this whisky to reflect the unique heritage of South Africa. The whisky is rich and complex.

          The Pinotage Cask Finish is not a single malt. It is a blend of malt and grain whiskies which were matured separately in American casks for 15 years before being finished in eight Pinotage casks. Due to the higher climate in South Africa, the whisky extracts flavours from the casks faster than usual. It resulted in a whisky that feels much older than 15 years old.

          Let’s check out the review.

          Tasting Notes:

          Colour: Dark Amber
          ABV: 46.2%

          Nose: Tropical fruits and plums hit the nose with “Juicy Banana” chewing gum notes following right after. Sweet Pinotage earthy notes linger in the background. (18/20)

          Palate: Robust, earthy notes combine with banana and pineapples coats the palate beautifully. The whisky is dense and full-bodied. The spice is gentle on the palate even at 46.2% abv. (19/20)

          Finish: It has a medium to long finish with warm spice and tropical fruits lingering in the mouth. (17/20)

          Body: The whisky is well-balanced and consistent throughout. The earthy notes from the Pinotage cask are special and create an interesting experience. (33/40)

          Total Score: 87/100

          Comments:

          Geek Flora: “This is the first time I tried the Three Ships 15 YO, and I am impressed with the Pinotage Cask Finish. The earthy notes from the cask add an element of surprise to the otherwise sweet whisky. The complexity is fair but not as good as the 10 Years old single malt, even at a higher age statement. The selling point is the unique Pinotage finish, and you should try it if you have not.”

          Where to buy: If you are looking to purchase this bottle, you can find it at Quaich Bar, Singapore’s first whisky bar. Alternatively, visit their online store at www.whiskystore.com.sg to get it delivered to your doorstep.

          Like what you have just read?

            Join WhiskyGeeks.sg as a member for FREE and receive our curated articles and videos in your mailbox every month!

            [mc4wp_checkbox]

            Whisky Review #62 – Three Ships 10-Year-Old Single Malt

            The Three Ships 10-year-old is the only single malt in the Three Ships range of whiskies. James Sedgwick Distillery made the distillate in 2005 after a successful run of their single malts in 2003. As the first ever single malt whisky to carry an age statement in their core range, this expression is carefully crafted by Master Distiller, Andy Watts.

            Andy made the distillate from peated barley and used the winter months for fermentation so that the yeast can follow its natural fermentation curve without too much influence from the hot weather in South Africa. After distillation, he housed the spirits in older American oak to compliment the gentle flavours of the spirit.

            Let’s look at how this whisky performs.

            Tasting Notes:

            Colour: Amber
            ABV: 43%

            Nose: Sweet oak mixed with honeyed roasted meat wafts up the nose with slight peat. White pepper surfaces after a while with dark toffee and digestive biscuits in the background. (18/20)

            Palate: Rich, honeyed sweetness coats the palate before some creamy butterscotch notes appear. Gentle peat smoke lingers at the back to complement the sweetness of the whisky. (18/20)

            Finish: It has a relatively long finish with sweet oak, honey and peat smoke lingering in the mouth. (18/20)

            Body: It is a well-balanced and complex single malt whisky. The lovely peat smoke combines with the honey sweetness to bring on a beautiful expression from Three Ships. Good stuff. (35/40)

            Total Score: 89/100

            Comments:

            Geek Choc: “This whisky is my favourite from Three Ships. It has depth, and yet it is approachable even for beginners. The spice is minimum, and the peat smoke is gentle. It is not a peat monster for sure, but one that lures you to keep trying. Good efforts!”

            Where to buy: If you are looking to purchase this bottle, you can find it at Quaich Bar, Singapore’s first whisky bar. Alternatively, visit their online store at www.whiskystore.com.sg to get it delivered to your doorstep.

            Like what you have just read?

              Join WhiskyGeeks.sg as a member for FREE and receive our curated articles and videos in your mailbox every month!

              [mc4wp_checkbox]

              Whisky Review #61 – Three Ships 5-Year-Old

              The Three Ships 5-year-old is another core range for the long-living brand in South Africa. It is a premium blend of malt and grain whiskies that starts its journey as an excellent whisky in 1991. James Sedgwick Distillery made the 5-year-old with a heavily peated malted barley before mixing it with a grain whisky. The result is soft smoke and caramel sweetness.

              Here’s what we think.

              Tasting Notes:

              Colour: Deep Gold
              ABV: 43%

              Nose: Soft, peaty notes gently caressed the nose with sweet tropical fruits in the background. There are some hints of vanilla notes mixed with the tropical fruits. (16/20)

              Palate: Caramelised red apples with soft smoke coats the palate gently without fighting with dominance. There are also small traces of vanilla cupcakes found in the background. (18/20)

              Finish: It has a relatively long finish with sweet vanilla and caramel notes lingering the mouth. The sweetness is gentle and not overwhelming. (18/20)

              Body: This is a soft whisky with almost no spice. The peat smoke beautifully complemented the sweetness of both caramel and vanilla. It is balanced and feels much older than a 5-year-old whisky. It is likely due to the climate of South Africa for a 5-year-old to display such characters. (32/40)

              Total Score: 84/100

              Comments:

              Geek Choc: “I think the 5-year-old has a high complexity as compared to the Bourbon Cask Finish. Of course, it should get a higher complexity due to age, but I think that the peat smoke also plays a part in making it more special.” 

              Where to buy: If you are looking to purchase this bottle, you can find it at Quaich Bar, Singapore’s first whisky bar. Alternatively, visit their online store at www.whiskystore.com.sg to get it delivered to your doorstep.

              Like what you have just read?

                Join WhiskyGeeks.sg as a member for FREE and receive our curated articles and videos in your mailbox every month!

                [mc4wp_checkbox]

                Whisky Review #60 – Three Ships Bourbon Cask Finish

                The Three Ships Bourbon Cask Finish (BCF) is a special release by James Sedgwick Distillery (JSD) in 2005. It is the first blended whisky that is 100% South African because JSD distilled and matured both the malt and grain whiskies used in this expression. The Three Ships BCF matures in American oak casks for three years before being placed into first fill American Bourbon casks for another 6-month marrying period. It results in a blended whisky with an interesting character.

                Let’s check out the whisky next.

                Tasting Notes:

                Colour: Rich Gold
                ABV: 43%

                Nose: Soft caramel sweetness wafts into the nose gently followed by hints of vanilla cupcakes. White pepper spice lingers in the background. (17/20)

                Palate: Soft caramel and vanilla notes complement each other beautifully in the palate. As the liquid stays in the mouth, the vanilla notes became stronger but did not overpower the caramel notes. Gentle spice swirls in the background pleasantly, creating a sweet and spicy flavour. (18/20)

                Finish: The finish is medium with sweet vanilla lingering in the mouth. (16/20)

                Body: Well-balanced whisky with pronounced vanilla notes and caramel sweetness. The bourbon cask finish gives a higher complexity to the whisky. While it may not be the most complicated whisky, it has an interesting character that makes it better than the Three Ships Select Whisky. (33/40)

                Total Score: 84/100

                Comments:

                Geek Flora: “I love my bourbon cask, and this whisky did not disappoint me. The influence of the bourbon cask finish may be a little stronger than needed but it has a good character. Overall, this is a fantastic bottle.” 

                Where to buy: If you are looking to purchase this bottle, you can find it at Quaich Bar, Singapore’s first whisky bar. Alternatively, visit their online store at www.whiskystore.com.sg to get it delivered to your doorstep.

                 

                Like what you have just read?

                  Join WhiskyGeeks.sg as a member for FREE and receive our curated articles and videos in your mailbox every month!

                  [mc4wp_checkbox]

                   

                  Whisky Review #59 – Three Ships Select Whisky

                  The Three Ships Select Whisky is a blend of high-quality Scotch malt, and African grain whiskies aged for only three years. It launched in South Africa back in 1977. As one of the core range of Three Ships, it has upheld its reputation as an exceptional whisky with its consistently high quality. The gentle profile caters to a broad audience from whisky connoisseurs to new whisky drinkers. The Three Ships Select Whisky competed in many international awards over the years and won many awards that make the distillery proud.

                  Let’s dive into the review.

                  Tasting Notes:

                  Colour: Pale Gold
                  ABV: 43%

                  Nose: Soft, perfumed nose with hints of peaches. White pepper hides in the background, creating a warm and pleasant spice. (15/20)

                  Palate: Soft and mellow peaches push through with a little maltiness that stays on the tongue. White pepper drifts gently in the background without overwhelming the sweetness.. (16/20)

                  Finish: The finish is medium with sweetness lingering in the mouth for a while. It is slightly astringent at the end but pleasantly so. (15/20)

                  Body: It is a well-balanced whisky that is easy to drink. As a blended malt and grain whisky, the flavours are reasonably complex for a 3-year-old whisky. In fact, it tasted like a 7 to 8-year-old whisky regarding flavour. (31/40)

                  Total Score: 77/100

                  Comments:

                  Geek Flora: “I did not give the Three Ships Select Whisky a high score because the complexity of the whisky is not high. Nonetheless, it is a beautiful expression from Three Ships and is one of the most drinkable blended whiskies I have tried.” 

                  Where to buy: If you are looking to purchase this bottle, you can find it at Quaich Bar, Singapore’s first whisky bar. Alternatively, visit their online store at www.whiskystore.com.sg to get it delivered to your doorstep.

                   

                  Like what you have just read?

                    Join WhiskyGeeks.sg as a member for FREE and receive our curated articles and videos in your mailbox every month!

                    [mc4wp_checkbox]

                    Whisky Review #58 – Springbank 17 Years Sherry Wood

                    We visited Quaich Bar recently to catch up with the wonderful people there and had some special drinks that are available at the bar. Springbank 17 Years Sherry Wood was one of them. Now, this is different from the Springbank 17 Years Sherry Wood CASK STRENGTH version, which we did not get the chance to try it yet. This baby here is bottled at 49.2%, much lower than the Cask Strength of 52. 3%.

                    Let’s dive into the review!

                    Tasting Notes:

                    Colour: Deep Amber
                    ABV: 49.2%

                    Nose: Strong sherry (read: caramel) with relatively high sulphuric notes. There is a hint of white pepper hiding in the background. After airing for 15 minutes, sweet aromas of honeyed meat (like honeyed bbq meat) waft into the nose elegantly. The sulphuric notes recede into the background. (17/20)

                    Palate: Oily mouthfeel with sweet caramel coating the palate at the first sip. Malt is noticeable on the palate as well with a hint of sulphur at the back of the tongue. After 15 minutes, the sweet caramel becomes more prominent, coming firmly to the forefront and muscling the malt and sulphur out of the way. Peppery spice springs out as well, bringing an additional layer of complexity to the palate. (17/20)

                    Finish: It is a relatively long finish with sweet caramel lingering in the mouth. (16/20)

                    Body: It is a lovely full-bodied whisky with a robust profile. Moderately complex for a 17 years old especially after airing the whisky. Makes me want to try the cask strength version to see how it differs. (32/40)

                    Total Score: 82/100

                    Comments:

                    Geek Flora: “Well, it is a great dram, but perhaps I was looking for more complexity in the whisky. Nonetheless, it is a bottle that I would gladly buy if my pocket allows it as I think it is an interesting whisky to share amongst good friends.” 

                     

                    Like what you have just read?

                      Join WhiskyGeeks.sg as a member for FREE and receive our curated articles and videos in your mailbox every month!

                      [mc4wp_checkbox]