Tasting Notes/Whisky Reviews

Amrut 10yo “Greedy Angels” 46% & 71.05% Tasting Notes – Indian Whisky News

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Amrut 10yo, “Greedy Angels” 46% OB, 2014 

A rare offering from Amrut Distillers and hand delivered to Whisky Intelligence by Mr. Chokalingham himself. On the nose there’s lots of stewed fruit and a very nice ‘clean’ set of aromas, not dramatically complex but very, very nice. There’s also some characteristic Amrut style malt backing the stewed fruits. The taste is a reverse of the nose with the malt arriving first and then a quick switch to show case the stewed fruits once again. Absolutely lovely. The finish is a mirror image of the nose and the taste translates into some very good balance. The lovely malt arrives after a time and continues for an eternity.

Oh my, what a lovely whisky.

Score 90 points

Amrut 10yo “Greedy Angels” 71%, OB, 2014 

A massive cask strength version of the 46% version; 71.05% promises to be dramatic! It’s slightly darker than the46% also. On the nose there’s the appearance of a lot more age, perhaps from the lashings of oak spice that come streaking out of the glass like a missile with a trailing plume of the some really good sweetness. This is truly and elixir of exotic origin. A hold on the water is called for. The taste is aggressive and very, very dry but there is cocoa powder, lemon and coconut matting (think the tropics on really warm night indoors). The finish is more of the lemon with a really nice cream soda along with a late arrival of the wood spices.

A dribble of water turns out to be not enough, a veritable deluge is needed to bring some order to the cask strength melee. Water does the trick and it softens quite a bit and becomes, unsurprisingly much like the 46%… don’t add too much.

Very nice indeed.

88 Points.

Both samples of the 10 year old 46% and 71.05% provided by Amrut Distillers.

Ardbeg Supernova 55% NAS Committee Release 2014 – Scotch Whisky Tasting Note

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Ardbeg Supernova 55% NAS Committee Release 2014 

Buzz Lightyear’s dram. Heavily peated. On the nose there’s lots of juniper, peat smoke and butter or perhaps more accurately fair ground soft fudge or tablet as they call it in some places. It’s a heady combination. Perhaps some slightly burnt embers from a fragrant twig? The taste is of apples (briefly), surprisingly muted peat smoke, perhaps tempered by some sweet chocolate and some of the tablet, not crystal grainy but very smooth and quite lovely. A hint of salted peanut butter (creamy not crunchy). The finish is amazingly creamy and then the peat smoke arrives to assert command (Caine Mutiny style). It’s very, very long and very, very good.

Lovely stuff and a reputation well deserved. No need for water.

90 points

Glenmorangie Companta NAS, 46%, OB, 2014 – Scotch Whisky Tasting Note

AA 3 Glenmorangie’s new 'friendship' single malt Companta, the fifth annual release in its award-winning Private Edition range

Glenmorangie Companta NAS, 46%, OB, 2014

On the nose there’s a very rich presence of some fruit, some chocolate. Surprisingly some hints of the sea shore. Time spent nosing this reveals complex layers of some good fruit. The taste has the richness of the nose, lots of fruit followed by some wine notes. The characteristic maltiness of Glenmorangie is masked by the finishing but it struggles for attention and finally wins through which is a nice addition to the complexity. A welcome arrival of some oak spice adds to the mix. The finish has a good measure of the wine notes and more of the fruit, berries and such. Lots and lots of good chewy malt. A medium long finish.

Score 80 points

AA 1 Glenmorangie’s new 'friendship' single malt Companta, the fifth annual release in its award-winning Private Edition range

Glenmorangie releases Companta – a celebration of kindred spirits

 — The fifth annual release from the award-winning Private Edition range — 

From the deepest recesses of Dr Bill Lumsden’s ‘cabinet of curiosities’, Glenmorangie’s celebrated Director of Whisky Creation and Distilling proudly presents Glenmorangie Companta, the fifth release from the Private Edition – a limited edition range of rare and intriguing single malts, including the recently critically acclaimed Glenmorangie Ealanta, Jim Murray’s ‘2014 World Whisky of the Year’.

A refined balance between bold spice and rich, smooth sweetness, Companta is the result of a careful assemblage of spirit extra matured in renowned French wine casks. Born of Grand Cru casks from Clos de Tart and those of a lusciously sweet fortified wine from Côtes du Rhône, Glenmorangie Companta (Scots Gaelic for friendship) celebrates the kindred spirits discovered through a shared pursuit of perfection, as experienced by Dr Bill:

Having spent over twenty years traveling to some of France’s most renowned vineyards, I’ve had the opportunity to sample many rare and intriguing wines in search of the finest casks to complement the extra maturation of our whisky. As a true wine aficionado, some of my most memorable visits have been to Burgundy, where the dedication and attention to detail that goes into their craft never ceases to amaze me. 

“The smaller vineyards of the region don’t seem to worry about yields, costs, or timings. They work tirelessly, simply to produce the very best wine. In the same spirit as Glenmorangie, they stop at nothing in the pursuit of perfection. 

“This shared philosophy inspired me to create the ultimate tribute to my longstanding love for French vineyards and the friends that I’ve had the pleasure to make throughout my travels.”

The result; Glenmorangie Companta. The product of extra maturation in several of Dr Lumsden’s most coveted casks, carefully selected from two of the finest French vineyards sharing Glenmorangie’s ‘unnecessarily well made’ philosophy.

“Selecting parcels of Glenmorangie which had been matured in traditional American white oak ex-bourbon barrels, I transferred the spirit into casks having previously contained one of my personal favourites – the rich Grand Cru wine from Clos de Tart, one of the most celebrated vineyards in Burgundy. After a period of extra maturation, the casks imparted additional body and deep berry-like flavours to the trademark elegant, floral character of the Glenmorangie.”

While most would have been satisfied with the result, Dr Bill continued on, seeking to perfect the whisky with additional depth and character.

“To complement the bold, spicy character imparted from the Grand Cru casks, I selected a parcel of Glenmorangie which had been extra maturing in casks having previously contained a lusciously sweet fortified wine from Côtes du Rhône. It took some time, but with careful fine tuning we reached a harmonious assemblage which proved the perfect balance; neither too bold nor too tame!”

On the nose, Companta exudes rich, ‘autumnal’ scents of red berries and damp forest floors, with a hint of fragrant woodsmoke complementing notes of aromatic, nutty oak.

Upon tasting, a spicy palate redolent of cherries and stewed fruits is slowly revealed, as notes of sugared plums, blood orange and rose-hip syrup emerge alongside milk chocolate and brown sugar, leading into a mouth-coating finish.

Bottled at a strength of 46%, and non chill-filtered for extra body and texture, Glenmorangie Companta is available globally from January 2013.

The latest incarnation in the Private Edition’s award-winning range of expressions, Companta once again reaffirms the Glenmorangie Whisky Creation Team’s pioneering spirit and commitment to sharing some of the world’s most highly regarded single malts with a select audience of like-minded aficionados.

NOTES:

About Glenmorangie:

Glenmorangie Single Malt Scotch Whisky originates in the Scottish Highlands where, at the Glenmorangie Distillery, it is distilled in the tallest malt whisky stills in Scotland, expertly matured in the finest oak casks, and perfected by the Men of Tain. The Distillery was founded in 1843 and is renowned as a pioneer in its field, uniting tradition with innovation to create ‘unnecessarily well made’ whiskies.

The Glenmorangie Private Edition Range

Glenmorangie’s Private Edition is an award-winning range that provides an annual opportunity for whisky connoisseurs and aficionados to experience a rare and intriguing single malt brought to life by the Glenmorangie Whisky Creation Team. Glenmorangie Companta marks the fifth annual release in this lauded range.

Laphroaig PX Cask NAS (48%, OB, +/-2012) – Scotch Whisky Tasting Note

Laphroaig PX Cask NAS (48%, OB, +/-2012) 

“Laphroaig PX Cask Is A Special Expression Of Our Famous Whisky Which Has Enjoyed A Final Subtle Maturation In Pedro Ximenez Casks That Previously Contained PX Sherry, Known For Its Rich Aroma And Flavour. Travel retail Exclusive.” On the back label “This Style Of Maturation Brings Together 3 Types of Barrel; Ex-bourbon, 19th Century Style Quarter Casks And Finally Pedro Ximenez Casks. The Result IS A Full And Subtly Richer Laphroaig With A Long And Complex Finish.” On the nose there’s some subtle peat smoke and a rich sherry notes, a combination of which is highly seductive, this is simply lovely on the nose, there’s a little earthiness lurking in the back ground but all in all it’s a tour de force of aromas. The taste is warming and the peat smoke jumps out and then there’s a sweet jam like moment along with some hints of chocolate. The sherry and the peat smoke are a delight together. This is brilliant whisky. The finish is earthy, warming, peated and sweet and then quickly becomes dry and the lovely sherried peat smoke roils around in the very long excellent finish.

Get on a airplane to Heathrow and buy some for yourself. Buy two. Bring your spouse and buy three.

£57.49

92 points

Laphroaig Triple Wood NAS (48%, OB, +/-2012) – Scotch Whisky Tasting Note

Laphroaig Triple Wood NAS (48%, OB, +/-2012) 

A cornucopia of cask used to produce this whisky; “The Most Richly Flavoured Of All Scotch Whiskies. Matured In Ex-bourbon Barrels And Quarter Casks, Then Finished in European Oak.” And non- chill filtered and at something resembling cask strength. So, on the nose there’s a really good combination of peat smoke and grain backed by some sweetness (think warmed honey) and then some subtle cask notes. There’s also a subtle hint of juniper and cocoa powder. It’s very intoxicating and luxurious. The taste is big but not overly aggressive, the peat smoke is obviously present as is the cocoa and the two make a very good combination. The juniper shows up after a moment or two but is not over whelming. There’s also some nice dryness but it has a difficult time battling the sweetness. All in all the combination of flavours in excellent. The finish is dry and long with the cocoa and the peat smoke working well together for a long lingering finish.

My oh my, how nice.

$90

Score 90 points

Bowmore 15yo 1998 (61.0%, SMWS 3.184, refill hogshead, USA 60 Bts., +/-2012) – Scotch Whisky Tasting Note

Bowmore 15yo 1998 (61.0%, SMWS 3.184, refill hogshead, USA 60 Bts., +/-2012) 

“Arabesques of ash and high kicks of coal”

The nose reveals excellent peat smoke and lots of, concentrated Islay and honey, lashings of peat smoke and honey, this noses like a much younger whisky but none the less it’s very good. Hot stone or concrete in there also. Oh bravo! Time to move onto the taste which has lashing of the peat smoke and a little juniper (very Ardbeg like) and a whole truck load of black pepper; the juniper adds to the mix. This is excellent whisky and in some way very un-Bowmore like but who cares it’s good. The finish leans towards more of the peat smoke and then handfuls of peated grain straight from the kiln floor munched like a breakfast cereal.

All very invigorating and very much an early morning dram. 

$115

Score 88

Sample 4 of 4. Samples kindly provided by the Scotch Malt Whisky Society of America

Loch Lomond 11yo 2000 (57.8%, SMWS G9.1, Refill barrel, USA 48 Bts., +/-2012) – Scotch Whisky Tasting Note

Loch Lomond 11yo 2000 (57.8%, SMWS G9.1, Refill barrel, USA 48 Bts., +/-2012) 

“Sweet and sour mélange”  

From the distillery that Captain Haddock was so fond of. On the nose it’s very ‘whisky’ but different (that last is a cop out) however there is some good earthiness and a certain creaminess along with a little ‘metallic’ notes and it is actually quite different. There is still some grain and wood notes but the earthiness and the metallic are very prevalent. There is also a really strong presence of American whisky, specifically Buffalo Trace but this could be imagination masquerading as talent. The taste undiluted in cool-aid powder, lots of cask influence, the earthiness and the metallic with the B.T. taking a position in the rear. This is good but quite different. Lots of black pepper in there also, a curious combination with the pepper, the earthiness and the B.T. The finish is long and warming with more of the pepper (now muted), the earthiness and the B.T all merrily going to meet Captain Haddock.

Certainly different and curious.

$100

Score 83 points

3 of 4 this week. Samples kindly provided by the Scotch Malt Whisky Society of America

Benromach 23yo 1988 (50.5, SMWS 48.26, refill butt, USA 120 Bts., +/-2012) – Scotch Whisky Tasting Note

Benromach 23yo 1988 (50.5, SMWS 48.26, refill butt, USA 120 Bts., +/-2012) 

“In a wild garden, late summer” 

On the nose it’s a little closed at first but then with a little coaxing some promising richness starts to emerge but event hen it’s a little shy but there are hints of greatness here. The taste is of gentle malt, the afore mentioned sweetness in the form of some sherry notes and some good wood notes which adds spiciness but does not over power. Taken all together and it’s very intoxicating. The finish is a perfect match for the nose taste and it’s long, even and very good. The cask notes take over from the sherry sweetness but only just so. Some really sensational malt lurks in the finish to tie everything together.

Despite a little hesitation on the nose this is sensational stuff.

$155

Score 91 points

2 of 4 this week. Samples kindly provided by the Scotch Malt Whisky Society of America

Glenmorangie 9yo 2001 (57.4%, SMWS, 125.51, First Fill Barrel, USA 150 Bts., +/-2012) – Scotch Whisky Tasting Note

Glenmorangie 9yo 2001 (57.4%, SMWS, 125.51, First Fill Barrel, USA 150 Bts., +/-2012) 

“Perfumed Sweetness and zesty fruits” 

The nose (undiluted) offers some good sweetness and malt and after a few moments in the glass this increases dramatically to become rich, intense and concentrated with lots of notes to reflect the American heritage of the cask. Really very nice and quite vibrant. A dash (or even a splash) of water brings out much more of the sweetness and it’s very good. The undiluted taste shows the perfume (and some good malt) that was described in the title along with the really good malt. All very vibrant and very good. With water the cask is reflected and it’s all leather and tobacco and oak spice and again, it’s very good. The finish is as with the nose and the taste however here the dry dusty malt and the perfume work well together for a really good finish. Long into the finish the malt wins the battle for dominance.

Very nice with some very good youthful notes.

$90

Score 89 points

Part 1 of 4 this week. Samples kindly provided by the Scotch Malt Whisky Society of America

Scotch Malt Whisky Society of America Christmas Outturn Tasting Notes – Scotch Whisky News

Carsebridge 35yo 1976 (53.6%, SMWS, G2.2, Refill barrel, USA 60 Bts., +/-2012)  

A Vaudeville Act 

From a grain distillery closed in 1983…always sad to see a distillery closed. Sweet corn on the nose with some alcohol with some nice oak spice (black pepper, snuff etcetera) and with some time in the glass it opens quite nicely. Some hints of Canadian whisky in the nose. The taste is sweet corn, some good dry cocoa powder and then some creamy goodness, caramel cream or similar but with a vegetal note. Some American moments in there also. The finish is much like the taste but with some liquorice thrown in there for added pizzazz.

Water only adds to the honey crème brûlée effect. Very nice.

$250

Score 85 points

Glen Grant 8yo 2002 (62.1%, SMWS, 9.62 First fill barrel, 149 Bts., +/-2012) 

Mouth Watering Sharp & Sweet 

On the nose there’s a sharpish note, like young goat’s cheese along with lots of cask influence in the form of leather and tobacco (unlit of course). A little menthol perhaps?  Time in the glass brings out a little honey. The undiluted taste is very much of pears and wood shavings (a little pencil lead too) and then it takes off but the pear is very predominate. With some water things calm down somewhat and the pear becomes slightly smoked (just a hint – perhaps it’s simply the cask effect. Moments later it’s pears in sweet syrup (is there any other kind??)

The finish starts off with the pears but ends with the leather and tobacco, a little more of the tobacco at this point. A little dusty malt too. Long and chewy.

Big and aggressive and well worth it.

$85 (only)

85 points

Springbank 13yo 1998 (57.6%, SMWS, 27.97, refill Gorda, USA 180 Bts., +/-2012)

Glazed cashews and lemon lollies 

On the nose there’s rich cream sherry, a good heft adds to the initial impression. There is also a good sugar sweetness present (the ‘lemon lollies’ in the title is very apt. While the ‘glazed cashews’ is also apt it needs modification ‘glazed chili pepper cashews’ is more evocative and correct (IMHO). The taste is also very much of the rich cream sherry with some tobacco rolled in. It’s also quite dry and very malt chewy. It’s unusual and good. The finish is very much of the nose and the taste, either there’s great balance or the sherry have taken over from the distillery character. Late moments of malty chewiness, much like an Isle of Arran.

No matter about the distillery character it’s quite good.

$110 

Score 86 points

Ledaig 7yo 2005 (62.7%, SMWS, 42.10, refill barrel, USA 60 Bts., +/-2012) 

Straighforward Sweet & Spicy  

Clean sheets, green nettles, tweed couches and hints of coal smoke are all found on the nose and when taken altogether contributes to a pleasant nose. Time in the glass brings out more of the ‘green’ notes so before it takes over let’s move onto the taste which is quite good but a tad bitter. But water brings out more of the green and some very nice sweetness but the bitterness is still present. Think green twig. The finish is good and long and vibrant and active and chewey and very good. The peat smoke arrives late and compliments the bitterness some what, taming it a little. Late, late into the finish there is a sensational malt moment….

All’s well that ends well…

$85

Score 78 points

Laphroaig 20yo 1990 (58.2%, SMWS, 29.104, Refill sherry butt, USA 120 Bts., +/-2012 

Not for wee boys

On the nose there’s some really, really nice peat smoke and some really, really nice sherry notes along with some brown sugar and a very good richness. Oh so very nice Laphroaig with sherry! Sherry and peat smoke, sherry and peat smoke! The taste is dry, like wood shavings, and then the sherry comes climbing aboard with the peat smoke in hand. Oh the glory and the rapture this is sensational! Chocolate intermingles with the rest to form an unbeatable combination. The finish is perfectly tuned to nose and the taste and is quite long.

A glorious Laphroaig to be sure…

$140

Score 91 points

Samples kindly provided by the SMWS of America.

December 2012 Outturn


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