Master of Malt

Review: Ardbeg 23 Year Old 1991 Single Malt Scotch Whisky (Master of Malt) by Jason Hambrey

ABV
50.6%
Aging
23 yrs Ex-Bourbon
Recipe
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Ardbeg (Port Ellen, Scotland)

Master of Malt, the online whisky behemoth, takes their hand at blending and sourcing casks as well - generally doing a terrific job. Here is an old Ardbeg - a highly sought after commodity.


Review (2017)

  • Batch: Distilled Feb. 1991, bourbon cask.

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2013

It’s amazing the smoke that’s still so centrally here after 23 years. I love Ardbeg smoke. Quite maritime – salty, seashells, damp earth, rich caramel, custard, smoke, vanilla, dark soy sauce, some peat funk – what a nose! It has a bit of a salty element to it as well, quite medicinal, fresh almonds.

The palate is quite full, with roasted dried chickpeas, smoke, vanilla, oysters, earthy very dark chocolate, and some underlying sweetness. Quite savory, in fact, with quite a full body of earthiness and citrus supplementing the rest of the whisky. The palate hits you in different waves of flavor that all fit together.

A full dry finish with spice, smoke, medicinal character, tarry peat, dried apricot, and lemon zest. A brilliant whisky. It shows you why Ardbeg is a cult whisky.

Very Highly Recommended (18% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Low. You don’t buy this for value…


Review: Highland Park 24 Year Old 1990 Single Cask Single Malt Scotch Whisky (Master of Malt) by Jason Hambrey

ABV
57.5%
Aging
24 yrs; Second Fill Bourbon Barrel
Recipe
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Highland Park (Kirkwall, Scotland)

This whisky isn't produced by Highland Park, rather, it is from a cask purchased by Master of Malt - who have selected some terrific casks over the years.


Review (2016)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2014

Orange, vanilla, caramel, heather honey, light smoke, malt, apple seed, and some nice earthy peatiness. Definitely a number of vegetal notes here – cucumber and kale particularly. I just love the floral element to many of Highland Park’s whiskies – terrific. There is a bit of a custard like texture to it – but it isn’t really seen easily because of the smoke.

The palate starts out with honey and light orange, followed by growing peat, heather, black pepper, and soot. Light stewed fruits, too, and some mixed nuts. More caramel and honey emerge on the palate with time.

Butterscotch, smoke, and slightly bitter clove on the finish. And some orange peel, too – but not sharp and vibrant more like it is boiled into something. And, with time, a nice floral touch much like the floral white wines which burst with lychee and honeysuckle.

This is good, but, I think it isn’t quite sweet enough – it needs just the lightest touch. It would have done better with a bit more wood sugar in this – it is a bit dry and a touch bitter without. It’s a bit rough around the edges, surprising after all this time in a cask – but very nice, though. I must say I do like a bit of sherry in my Highland Park…

Highly Recommended (48% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Low, based on $392.