XOP Caol Ila 36 Years Old at The Drunken Master Whisky Bar, Kaohsiung
Some of you may know that I am a Caol Ila fan as well as a Bruichladdich fan. Both distilleries are on Islay, but the styles are quite different. Nonetheless, I find whiskies from both distilleries enjoyable, and suitable for the various moods that befall me. This review is an independently bottled Caol Ila by Douglas Laing. It is part of their XOP range as it is a distillate from 1980 and matured for 36 years. I had this whisky at The Drunken Master Whisky Bar last year when I was there attending the Takao Whisky Fair.
Colour: Amber ABV: 57.4%
Nose: Sweet caramel finds its way into the nose with warm spice in the background. Hints of dark fruits like raisins float in and out of the nose. After aeration of three minutes, the spice becomes more prominent, and the sweetness of fruits and caramel fade into the background. After ten minutes, light, aromatic peat appears to complement the spice. At the same time, light notes of caramel and dark fruits reappear. The result is intense sherried notes. (18/20)
Palate: Hot spice leads the way, but sweet caramel and dark raisins coat the palate almost immediately after the spice, reducing the fiery hotness. After airing, the spice mellows beautifully. Caramel, raisins, and dark chocolate are evident in the mouth, and we detect hints of honey at the back of the mouth. Unfortunately, the honey notes are quickly overwhelmed by the spice. Light peat comes in at the end, but it is hardly noticeable. (17/20)
Finish: Long finish with warm spice leading the way. Aromatic peat surfaces in the finish instead of the palate. We think that it could be due to the spice. After airing, the peat disappears from the finish, leaving only the mellow spice and the fruity sweetness. (17/20)
Body: It is not the most balanced dram that I had drunk. The peat is hardly noticeable in the palate and finish, though it is promising in the nose. The redeeming grace is the intense sherried notes that are balanced from the nose to the finish. The whisky is likely to benefit from some water, which will open the flavours. Unfortunately, we did not have the chance to do that due to the overcrowding at the bar. (33/40)
Geek Flora: “My first impression was WOW! Then the spice overwhelmed me at the palate. I still think it is a fantastic whisky, but it probably needs more than just aeration. This whisky should open up its flavours if I add some water. It was a pity that I did not get to do that during my time at the TDM bar as it was too crowded! If I get to try this again, I will report!”
Geek Choc: “My mouth burns from drinking this whisky. It is too spicy for my liking, and I do not know why Geek Flora likes it! Hahaha…but I have to admit that it is pretty special. I think I will enjoy it more if I add some water to mellow the spice.”
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http://www.whiskygeeks.sg/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/XOP-Caol-Ila-36-YO_Protrait.jpg800600Zerlina Zhuanghttp://www.whiskygeeks.sg/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/logo_WhiskyGeeks-300x138.pngZerlina Zhuang2018-05-14 19:22:312018-05-14 19:22:31Whisky Review #88 - XOP Caol Ila 36 Years Old
Geek Choc loves to mix things up for fun, especially whisky! He was in the mood for some “mixology” yesterday (19 April), so he decided to mix a whisky that he likes (Macallan 12) with a whisky that he does not particularly like (Kilchoman 2009) and see what happened to the mixture. As I am not into such “mixology”, I stood aside to watch how the experiment went. Hehe!
Geek Choc’s Blending Experiment #1
These are the basis of the blending experiment.
Macallan 12 Years Old – 10ml
Kilchoman 2009 Vintage – 2.5ml
Lots of swirling inside the Glencairn glass to introduce air into the blend
Results of the experiment:
Colour: We see an immediate change in colour after pouring the Kilchoman 2009 into the 10ml of Macallan 12 YO. The dark ruby colour of the Macallan turns pale, and the mixture becomes a dark gold colour immediately. The final colour after swirling remains as Dark Gold.
Nose: The characteristics of Kilchoman overpowers Macallan 12 YO in the first nose. We get slight peat with brine, pepper spice, hints of cherry and raisin sweetness. After airing for 5 to 10 minutes, the notes from Macallan 12 YO overthrew the ones from Kilchoman 2009 and emerged victoriously with muskiness, and the full sherry sweetness reappears!
After aeration of about 20 minutes, the mixture appears to settle, and interesting cereal notes surface, quite like Nestum in a tin, I must say!
Palate: The first sip reveals slight peppery spice with soft peat and seaside brine. Notes of sherry sweetness surface beautifully with the spice, peat and brine. It reduces the horrible chilli spice in Kilchoman and brings out the peat and brine in Kilchoman. The combination reminds us of BBQ bacon! Yummy! After 5 minutes, the peat disappears completely. Cherry liquorice and raisin sweetness replace the peat and turn the whisky slightly oaky. It appears that the Macallan 12 YO has once again exerted its power over Kilchoman 2009.
After aeration of 20 minutes, the sherry notes from Macallan 12 YO come to the forefront. Cereal notes quickly followed and finally, slight peat comes in the tail. The oak influence also increases. The peat reduces after aeration, which, we suppose, is a typical occurrence.
Finish: Long and quite dry. The peat lingers in the mouth before the sweetness of the sherried Macallan joins the fun. The finish ends with a nice oakiness that coats the mouth. The finish does not change with aeration.
Verdict/Balance: Wow! It is one hell of a dram! Simple but surprisingly balanced! We did not like the Kilchoman 2009 due to its extreme chilli spice, but the Macallan 12 YO brings out the peatiness of the Kilchoman and also reduces the spice drastically. At the same time, the primary flavours of the Macallan 12 YO remained more or less intact!
Geek Choc: Haha! It was a fun experiment. I did not know how it would turn out but just wanted to try something with the Kilchoman 2009. Geek Flora suggested to mix it with something sherried, so I grabbed the only opened bottle of sherried whisky that sits on our shelf – the Macallan 12 YO. The experiment is a success I think. I will try more experiments in future!
Geek Flora: It was interesting to see how this turned out. We were toying with the idea, and then we decided just to do it! Haha! We will try more experiments soon! Stay tuned!
Picture of Bottle and Cask details – Courtesy of a friend
Edradour is a fascinating distillery as we have discovered in an earlier post. A friend had given me a pretty sample of an Edradour single cask some time ago, so I think this is the best time for me to drink and post some tasting notes. It is my first whisky from Edradour, and I am excited to get going!
So here are the details of the single cask.
Edradour 2002 13 Years Old Distilled: 28/08/2002 Bottled: 01/10/2016 Cask No: 1412 Outturn: 700 bottles
Note: The liquid is 13 years old as stipulated by the regulations of SWA – the bottled date does not add up to 14 years in total.
Colour: Dark Gold ABV: 54.6%
Nose: Caramel and peppery spice surface almost immediately with some dark, ripe fruits in the background. After aeration of five minutes, intense dark chocolate notes triumph over the caramel and push the spice into the background. There are hints of raisins and cherries floating around, but the dark chocolate notes overwhelm the other notes most of the time. (16/20)
Palate: There is an initial bite of the spice, and then caramel leads the way in the mouth, with dark chocolate and raisins coming soon after. Warm peppery spice reappears in the back, coating the back of the mouth and the throat pleasantly. The mouthfeel is oily and creamy with faints hints of oak at the tail end of the palate. (17/20)
Finish: Long finish with an increase in oakiness from the palate. The sweetness of the raisins follows closely, and the creaminess of the whisky coats the mouth thoroughly. Some caramel notes appear shortly and linger long into the end of the finish. (17/20)
Body: It is a balanced dram with a sherried profile. Approachable and easy to drink, even at 54.6% abv, this single cask Edradour is an ideal whisky to introduce to drinkers who are exploring higher abv drams. (33/40)
Geek Flora: This is not a bad whisky; in fact, I like it for its balance and the gentle sherry notes. However, it is slightly one-dimensional and not as challenging as expected. Mellow and approachable, I think this is perfect for whisky drinkers who are starting out on their journeys for a higher abv dram.
Geek Choc: This is a typical sherry whisky but not a sherry bomb. The dark chocolate notes are memorable though. It is too easy to drink at 54.6%. The price point is another contender for the lower score. While it is not an expensive bottle, it is not the price of a “daily dram” too. Nonetheless, it is a lovely whisky that I enjoyed!
This sample is part of the last drops in the bottle. It might not be the exact reflection of the whisky but should be close enough. The bottle is probably opened for about 3-4 months.
Rosebank generated a lot of buzzes recently with the news of its revival as well as the upcoming release of its new bottling. Since we have yet to hear news of the new release, we are satisfying our craving for its beautiful liquid from the old stocks! What we have here is a sample of a Rosebank 20 Years Old distilled in the 1970s by the Zenith Italia S.A.S Import. We bought this sample at TMA Vol. 1 and have only recently tried this.
Let’s look at the review now.
Colour: Gold ABV: 57%
Nose: Sharp cinnamon and nutmeg spices lead the way before green apples and pears surface. After two minutes of airing, it turns grassy (like a sweet meadow) and melon sweetness appears! Wow! (18/20)
Palate: Cinnamon spice leads the way again but nutmeg is nowhere to be found. It has an oily mouthfeel and light green fruits appear on the palate. The melon sweetness that we got in the nose appears for a brief while and disappears too quickly. There is also a slight alcohol burn down the throat that lasted almost a minute. After airing for a while, the oak influence comes in and the side of the tongue gets some bitterness. The sweetness returns after that to create a sweet taste in the middle of the tongue, but the fruitiness does not reappear. It is a little disappointing as the palate does not deliver what the nose promises. (15/20)
Finish: The finish is relatively long with the sweetness lingering briefly. Oak influence rushes in to overwhelm the sweetness soon after, making the long finish astringent and slightly bitter. (16/20)
Body: It is a relatively balanced dram but not impressive to wow. A one-dimensional dram with a disappointing palate and a beautiful nose. (31/40)
Total Score: 80/100
Geek Flora: “Well, I am greatly disappointed with the palate and finish. The nose promises such wonderful things but the palate and finish fall flat on it. It would be an impressive dram if the palate and finish follow through.”
Geek Choc: “Sigh, I had high hopes for this dram because the nose was pure bliss but I was disappointed with the palate. I wondered if we had aired it too long after purchasing the dram. We wouldn’t know it unless we tried this again from a full bottle, I suppose.”
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http://www.whiskygeeks.sg/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Rosebank-20YO-Zenith-Italia.jpg800600Zerlina Zhuanghttp://www.whiskygeeks.sg/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/logo_WhiskyGeeks-300x138.pngZerlina Zhuang2018-04-15 15:18:532018-04-15 15:18:53Whisky Review #85 - Rosebank 20 Years Old (Zenith Italia)
Cadenhead is well known to everyone, and there is no need for us to do a further introduction. Cadenhead bottles some of the most excellent whiskies in their series of Cadenhead Small Batch and this bottle under review is one of them.
The bottle is a Bowmore 14 years old in a dumpy bottle. It looks gentle and invites the drinker to taste it. So we took the bait and ordered a sampling of this expression.
Colour: White Wine ABV: 46%
Nose: Gentle spice floats into the nose before zesty citrus fruits follow. Green fruits develop after a while and add complexity to the nose. We detect zero peat at first, but light peat begins to surface after about 15 minutes of airing. (16/20)
Palate: Sweet, zesty, citrusy fruits explode in the mouth with some gentle spice in the background. Slightly lemony with no smoke or peat initially. A soft peat surfaces after 15 minutes of airing and lingers at the back of the throat. It feels like having a cigar at the back of the throat, in a pleasant way. (17/20)
Finish: Medium long at first with fruity sweetness. The impressive punch of the finish comes after 15 minutes of airing when the finish lengthens stunningly, and it becomes fragrant peat smoke all the way! (17/20)
Body: A relatively balanced dram but it can be better. I wonder if the flavours will be stronger if the abv is higher? The liquid improves with 15 minutes of airing and expands beautifully after that. Perhaps it will benefit from more oxidation in the bottle. (33/40)
Total Score: 83/100
Geek Flora: My impression of Bowmore is that of gentle peat. This expression is entirely consistent with my idea of a Bowmore, but I feel it could be better if the abv is higher. It is likely that the whisky is too watered-down for the flavours to develop fully. Lots of patience is needed for this dram.
Geek Choc: I cannot taste the peat. It is not something a peathead will be happy with, but I guess it improves with airing. Love the explosion of smoke and peat after 15 minutes of airing.
Malts of Scotland (MoS) is probably not a stranger to you if you are a fan of independent bottlers. MoS is a consistent award winner as an independent bottler and has won many different awards across the whisky industry. The most prestigious of all awards is likely the “Independent bottler of the year”.
Thomas Ewers heads MoS and earns the reputation of a “whisky talent” at a young age. His first foray into whisky was in 2003 when he had his first single malt. The second dram of a 10-year-old Aberlour sealed his fate as a whisky lover and eventually an independent bottler.
The bottle under review today is a Port Charlotte distilled in 2002 and bottled in 2013. Matured in a bourbon hogshead, it has been known to give rise to tasting notes such as “baby vomit”, “rotten milk” and “spoiled milk” at the bar where we had this.
With such a fascinating reputation, let us get started to see if we can find the “baby vomit”.
Colour: Amber ABV: 57.4%
Nose: Smokey and sweet. Dark, dried red fruits with smoke. It is gorgeous indeed. The nose boasts of notes typical of a sherry cask, but this is a bourbon hogshead! Isn’t that amazing? Raisins, dried figs, stone fruits are all presented in the nose. Sweet and beautiful indeed! (17/20)
Palate: Sweet and flavourful, with smoke in the background developing beautifully as we drink. Raisins, sultanas, figs and cranberries combined in a sweet and fruity palate. Hints of raspberries are detected in the back of the throat. That sourness from the raspberries may be the answer to the “baby vomit” and “spoiled milk”! (18/20)
Finish: Long and smokey! Cranberries and raisins linger forever and ever. Gets a little dry after a while and almost feel like an elegant, old red wine. (18/20)
Body: This is balanced brilliantly. The smoke is consistent from the nose to the finish. Add the raisins and dark fruits, and you get a divine drink! (36/40)
Total Score: 89 points
Geek Flora: Well, well, well, this is an exciting tasting of a Port Charlotte. I like the uniqueness of this whisky, and it is an excellent example of how independent bottlers can make a whisky better.
Geek Choc: I must be honest and say that I am in the camp of those who think of “baby vomit” when I tried this PC. Not my favourite for sure.
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http://www.whiskygeeks.sg/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Port-Charlotte-2002.jpg800800Zerlina Zhuanghttp://www.whiskygeeks.sg/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/logo_WhiskyGeeks-300x138.pngZerlina Zhuang2018-04-03 10:47:012018-04-03 10:47:01Whisky Review #83 - Port Charlotte 2002 - MoS
Some of you may know that I have a strong love for Littlemill. I never passed a chance to try new expressions from this closed distillery. I was again, given an opportunity recently, when I got to taste a Littlemill.
This expression is distinctive on its own. It is a bottling from WhiskyBase, in celebration of their 40,000 bottles on the wall. Matured in a bourbon hogshead, it is a 22 years old whisky distilled on 20th Dec 1990 and bottled 10th Feb 2013. Not quite a 23 years old whisky, so as per SWA’s rules, its label reads 22 years old.
Let’s dive straight into the notes!
Colour: Bright Gold ABV: 56%
Nose: Hmm…a typical Lowlands nose with aromatic dried grass. Floral and perfumey, almost like sniffing a particular brand of perfume. Sweet pears, melons and berries dance gracefully in the nose. Warm spice lurks underneath, waiting for its turn to dance. (18/20)
Palate: Sweet fruits – pears, apples, melons and berries – explode in the mouth. The sweet overtones bounce all over with warm spices catching up in the background. The floral, grassy notes come last, rounding up the perfect and typical Littlemill notes. Warm spice tingles in the back of the throat pleasantly. (18/20)
Finish: Medium finish with dried grassy notes that become herbaceous after a while. Sweet and perfumey all the way, the finish boasts pleasant spice that lingers comfortably while it lasts. (17/20)
Body: This is a typical Littlemill that boasts the usual grassy notes, but what is worth noting here is that instead of the fresh grass that we usually find in Littlemill, this expression features grassy notes of dried grass! The fruitiness is beautiful and welcoming to anyone who is a Lowlands fan. Excellent mix of spice, fruits and grassiness to make an unforgettable whisky. While it does not have the most exciting profile, it has the strength of the character from Littlemill Distillery. (37/40)
Total Score: 90/100
Geek Flora: I love this! It features the characteristics of Littlemill without taking on too much character from the bourbon hogshead. I simply adored the grassiness of this dram!
Geek Choc: Well, it is nice, but I think I prefer something a little sweeter. A bourbon hogshead is too mild for me. Maybe a sherry cask Littlemill will do the trick!
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http://www.whiskygeeks.sg/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Littlemill-22-YO-Portrait.jpg800600Zerlina Zhuanghttp://www.whiskygeeks.sg/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/logo_WhiskyGeeks-300x138.pngZerlina Zhuang2018-04-03 10:46:452018-04-03 10:46:45Whisky Review #82 - Littlemill 22 Years Old (WhiskyBase)
Clynelish – a name that resounded with Brora – is an underrated whisky that whisky drinkers do not talk about. The irony of the phenomenal is the fact that Brora was the old Clynelish. How? The original Clynelish distillery completed construction in 1819 and ran its stills until 1967. The original distillery closed as the owners built a new distillery for Clynelish. Unfortunately, (or should we say, fortunately), there was a shortage of peated whisky for blending in 1969, and hence, Diageo reopened the old distillery, renamed it Brora and distilled a heavily peated spirit between 1969 to 1973.
This expression of Clynelish is exquisite. Distilled in September 1970, it slept in an oak (bourbon?) cask for 31 years before getting a finish in a sherry cask for a minimum of 6 months. Bottled in September 2001, it is officially a 31 years old whisky at cask strength. It was so exciting to try it finally!
Let’s check out the review!
Colour: Gold ABV: 48.4%
Nose: Liquorice and mineral notes lead the way while caramel, vanilla and sweet barley lurk in the background. Spice moves around like a roving circus on a good day. It has a fascinating nose. (18/20)
Palate: Ooo…this is oily! There is a perfect combination of minerals and spice at the first sip. The second sip reveals liquorice and sweet barley as they coat the palate. Caramel and vanilla come last, completing the different layers of flavours together in a complex and excellent mouthfeel. (18/20)
Finish: Long and tannic like a lovely wine. Sweet barley, caramel and vanilla close the finish perfectly, bringing the complexity to a satisfying conclusion. (18/20)
Body: Superb balanced dram! I love the touch of sweet barley that lingers on and on from the palate to the finish. The sherry influence is evident in the liquorice nose that appears consistently in the nose, palate and finish. This expression seems to support my theory that bourbon-matured whisky finished in sherry casks are some of the best whiskies around. (38/40)
Total Score: 92 points
Geek Flora: Oh my God, this is possibly one of the best Clynelish that I had tried. The other Clynelish expression that I love is from Douglas Laing’s XOP series Clynelish 1995 21 Years Old.
Geek Choc: Hmm…this is a very good Clynelish to be sure. The flavours blend so well together that I think I might have fallen in love without knowing it!
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http://www.whiskygeeks.sg/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Clynelish-1970_Portrait.jpg800600Zerlina Zhuanghttp://www.whiskygeeks.sg/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/logo_WhiskyGeeks-300x138.pngZerlina Zhuang2018-03-18 13:30:272018-03-18 13:28:22Whisky Review #81 - Clynelish 1970 31 Years Old (OMC)
McDonald’s launched their famous chocolate pie on March 1st in Singapore and long queues formed outside many of the outlets for the next few days. While many fans choose to queue for this decadent chocolate pie, lazy me decided to order for McDelivery instead. So, the chocolate pie came, and I was so excited to try it that I decided to leave the “Fish & Fries” (also new) aside. I needed to try this pie first while it was piping hot!
The first bite into the crust confirmed what I suspected all along. I needed to pair this with a peated whisky! The pie’s crust was slightly bitter when I took the first bite, but the delicious flow of molten chocolate made the whole experience great! So, I hunted around for a peated whisky to pair it with. I rejected a Laphroaig bottle because it is a PX cask, and finally settled on the Omar Peated Cask Strength Whisky, which matured in a bourbon cask.
I was fully aware that what I was about to do was crazy, perhaps even sacrilegious!
Now, let’s see what happened.
The Omar Peated is a gentle, lightly peated whisky full of creamy vanilla and some coconut. When I took a sip of the whisky after eating the pie, smoke burst forth in the mouth and enveloped the palate thoroughly. Then all the bourbon flavours followed after – creamy vanilla, coconut, malt and some tropical fruits danced happily together in the palate. The finish was spicy but elegant. I figured the spice was just the high abv showing its character.
Wow, that was quite an experience! I never thought that I would pair McDonald’s with any whisky, but there is always a first time!
The whisky, unfortunately, did not improve the pie much, except to make it less sweet. Nonetheless, I had an enjoyable dessert before eating my lunch properly, and that was what matters most! Hahaha!
Now that I opened a floodgate of pairing McDonald’s with whisky, I am looking forward to pairing something else from McD with whisky. What would be a good choice? Suggestions anyone?
http://www.whiskygeeks.sg/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Omar-Peated-Mcd-Choc-Pie-small.jpg800600Zerlina Zhuanghttp://www.whiskygeeks.sg/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/logo_WhiskyGeeks-300x138.pngZerlina Zhuang2018-03-18 13:27:052018-03-18 13:27:05Whisky Review #80 - Omar Peated CS with Mcd Chocolate Pie
Fans of Aberlour A’Bunadh loves the deep sherry and caramel notes of these beautiful sherry bombs. We know that these are favourites among many whisky lovers just by looking at the sheer number of releases of the Aberlour A’Bunadh. The current release appears to be Batch 61!
We tasted two older batches of the Aberlour A’Bunadh, namely Batch 19 and Batch 20. The liquids are quite different, which prompted us to do a battle of the Aberlour A’Bunadh – Batch 19 VS Batch 20.
How would they stack up against each other? Let’s find out!
The battle starts now:
Aberlour A’Bunadh Batch 19
Neat from the bottle The nose is full of sweet sherry, cherry liquorice and caramel. There is a hint of raspberries (sourness) and blackcurrant sweetness hiding in the corners. Some spice lurks in the background, and no sulphur is detected. The mouthfeel is oily with sweet berries and spice mixing together at the first sip. The spice leads the way, which is unpleasant but it goes away quickly, leaving a burst of cherries and blackcurrant sweetness! The sweetness coats the mouth on the second sip to give superbly rich, sherried notes and caramel. Rich and fruity! The finish is slightly disappointing as it is not as long as expected. It gets a little dry towards the end but is enjoyable.
With a drop of water The spice increases with a drop of water when we nose it. The sweetness does not change and still makes for a lovely nose despite the increased spice. The water dilutes the spice on the palate, making it acceptable with the first sip. The fruity sweetness takes full control, with the berries in the limelight. The sherry and caramel coat the mouth beautifully. The finish lengthens with a drop of water, which improves it by leaps and bounds. Even if the sweetness in the finish reduces, the water did wonder to the finish.
With 15 minutes of airing Wow! The spice is almost gone, but the sweetness of sherry and caramel deepen. The dark berries dance around the nose playfully. The cherry liquorice and blackcurrants are exceptionally strong in the nose, but interestingly, the hint of raspberries intensify as well. Fantastic nose! The palate and finish did not change from the taste we get when we first try it neat from the bottle.
Conclusion Batch 19 is exceptionally balanced with all the right notes in place for us. It is a typical sherry bomb, but with more surprises! The only thing that we did not like is the spice initially, but it improves with water and airing. It is very enjoyable indeed!
Aberlour A’Bunadh Batch 20
Neat from the bottle Strong spice leads the nose and makes it almost impossible to get any other notes. There are caramel and sherry initially, but the spice overwhelms them almost instantly. We detect faint cherry notes and sulphur in the background, but nothing is certain. The palate is full of spice and caramel. The mouthfeel is drier than Batch 19, and the sweetness is a lot more mellow. While we get the caramel in the palate, the sherry notes are less prominent, making it a little disappointing. It almost feels like the whisky is somewhat flat. The finish is short and sulphuric! The caramel sweetness disappears in a flash and sulphur takes over completely.
With a drop of water The spice becomes stronger, and the sweetness of the caramel, sherry and cherry is almost all but gone in the nose. It is quite horrible unless you happened to like rubbing chilli on the nose. Water does not seem to improve the palate in batch 20 as well. While the caramel appears to increase a little, but the change is minimal. The finish is still short and sulphuric with no changes even after a drop of water.
With 15 minutes of airing Wow! Airing makes a lot of differences to the Aberlour A’Bunadh Batch 20. We detect no spice on the nose, and cherry liquorice replaces it. The sherry and caramel notes are also prominent now. In the palate, the spice returns in full force, but together with the spice comes the sweetness of the sherry and caramel. It is a beautiful combination! The finish is still disappointing though. While airing lengthens the finish, it causes it to become even more tannic and sulphuric.
Conclusion The Aberlour A’Bunadh Batch 20 is rather disappointing. While it appears to be balanced, the notes that we get are not a typical sherry bomb. If we compare it to a sherry bomb, it lacks in many departments.
The Result of the Battle
We declare Aberlour A’Bunadh Batch 19 as the winner of this battle. The expression is more robust and balanced as compared to Batch 20 and honestly, much more pleasant to drink. The complexity is evident and beautiful to catch. On the other hand, Batch 20 appears to be more challenging and is less robust. The one thing that we dislike is definitely the sulphur that comes with it.
EXPERIMENT BY GEEK CHOC:
It is BLENDING TIME!
Geek Choc loves to mix things around. He is the unofficial mixologist at WhiskyGeeks, so he decides to mix things up after the comparison and see what happens. He pours 10ml of Batch 19 (with a drop of water) and 10ml of Batch 20 (with a drop of water) into a new glass. Now, let’s see what the notes are like!
Nose: Sweet caramel, sherry and dark berries with hints of muskiness and sulphur. Faint vanilla (what??) floats in the background with some spice.
Palate: Straight spice but it is not overwhelming like either of the drams on their own. Then surprise strikes! Strong vanilla taste appears for a while before strong sherry notes rush in at the back of the throat. There is cherry liquorice, caramel, dark raisins and berries hitting all the right spots. The mouth is warm and pleasant. Very yummy! Oh, and there is no sulphur!
Finish: It is long and sherried. Superbly pleasant but it does get very dry in the end. Sadly, the sulphur came back at the end too.
Body: Balanced! Wow, this seems like an experiment gone RIGHT! We thought batch 19 will overpower batch 20 but looks like batch 20 held its weight. The combination takes both whiskies’ good points and makes it excellent. That extra vanilla note was a real surprise too!
Conclusion for the blend:
Batch 19 is better than batch 20 as concluded earlier but batch 20 stood up to the test in a blend. The two batches also created a new profile when mixed, which is a pleasant surprise! We expected 19 to overwhelm 20, but looks like we are wrong, in a good way! Experience successful!