Whisky Reviews

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)

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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)

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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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Whisky Review #01 – The Macallan Gold (NAS)

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The Macallan Gold is part of the Macallan 1824 Series and one of the first ageless whiskies from the Macallan. In a bold move to remove the emphasis on age in the whisky industry, the Macallan released a series of ageless whisky that are dependent on colours alone. The Macallan Gold was released in September 2012. It was created from a combination of 9 to 15 years old first fill and refill sherry cask spirit and is a great stand-in for the now defunct 10 years old Sherry Oak and the 10 years old Fine Oak bottlings.

Tasting Notes:

Colour: The colour looks light gold when held to the light at first, but the slightly burnished gold becomes evident on a closer look.
ABV: 40%

Nose: Lemon citrus and orange peel hits you as we nose it for the first time. A repeated sniff brings an interlace of sweetness that softens but does not compromise the zest.  As we take a deeper breathe, a hint of vanilla surfaced, followed by dark chocolate with lingering floral and light oak notes. It smells light and sweet, something that Geek Flora might love. (16 points)

Palate: The first taste brings citrus and boiled sweets along with subtle hints of ginger and cinnamon. As we rolled the liquid in our mouths, the soft oak tones surfaced followed by toasted apples. (14 points)

Body: The body of the whisky is relatively balanced with the citrus and sweetness gelling nicely together to form a light whisky. (30 points)

Finish: The finish is slightly sweet and malty with a little dryness on the side. (13 points)

Total Grade: 73 points

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Introduction to The Macallan 1824 Series

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The Macallan 1824 series has been launched since September 2012 with a range of different whiskies that are based on colours instead of age. All the whiskies in this series has no age statement but instead, are based on the colour the whiskies take on during the maturation period. Since its first launch, the range of whiskies under the 1824 series have expanded to include some of the rarest and most expensive whiskies that Macallan has ever made.

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The 1824 series started with 4 whiskies – Gold, Amber, Sienna and Ruby. All of the four whiskies used ex-sherry casks, including both European and American oak casks, of which there is a mix of first-fill and second-fill casks. No whiskies from ex-bourbon casks are used. To create the final products, Master Whisky Maker Bob Dalgarno and his team sampled and colour tested 30,000 casks! The final products are then named for their individual colours.

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Macallan then expanded the 1824 series by introducing 5 premium whiskies after the first 4 whiskies were launched. The new whiskies thus formed the Macallan 1824 Master Series. The premium whiskies are the Macallan Rare Cask, the Macallan Rare Cask Black, the Reflexion, the Macallan No. 6 and the Macallan M. These whiskies are similar created using only ex-sherry casks and as you move up the range, the colour of the whiskies becomes richer and the flavours more intense. This premium range was launched between 2013 to 2016 in various countries which attracted many whisky fans and collectors. In fact, the Macallan M achieved a New World Record price at US$628,000 in an auction by Sotheby’s in Hong Kong, making it the world’s most expensive whisky!

In the following posts, we will be doing a series of bite-sized posts to share the details and tasting notes of these whiskies. Keep a look out for them!

More on The Macallan

Macallan was established in 1824 by founder Alexander Reid. It was originally named as the Elchies distillery, after the estate that it was built on. The famous Elchies House, which forms part of the logo of the Macallan today, dates back to 1700 and have weathered through many adventures. The distillery and surrounding estate has the mighty River Spey as its backdrop and are situated near the Speyside village of Craigellachie in Scotland. It is now owned by the Edrington Group and has an annual production of 8 million litres of whisky.

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