Speyside

Review: Mortlach 22 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky (Single Malts of Scotland) by Jason Hambrey

Mortlach 22 Year Old 1.jpg
ABV
54.2%
Aging
22 Years; Ex-Sherry Cask
Recipe
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Mortlach (Keith, Scotland)

Another cask strength bottling of an old Mortlach – some of these casks are just amazing. I co-bought this with a number of friends for $270 to get a glimpse of another “too-expensive-for-a-bottle-but-i-still-want-a-taste” bottle. This whisky is produced by Elixir distillers, who are also behind the wonderful Elements of Islay series. $270 is a lot cheaper than the prices of the special release Diageo Mortlachs, and there are still some real gems coming from independent bottlers.


Review (2020)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2019

On the nose, quite reminiscent of the 16 year old which I quite like. A very winey nose. Bright orange, slight sulphur, baking spice, and loads of beefy notes. Lots of orange…a bit suprising, but it works really well with the baking spice. Quite an interesting nose indeed – we have cucumber in the mix! It all works together.

The palate is rich, nutty, and oaky, with a decent amount of rancio notes and a long sherry finish. Very savoury. Otherwise, it isn’t too dissimilar from the nose other than a bigger sherry kick.

I’m not sure that I like it much more than the new 16 year old, at the same strength. But this one wins out slightly given the richer and longer finish (aided by the higher ABV) and a greater amount of uniqueness.

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

Value: Very low, at $270.


Review: Caperdonach 1968 37 Year Old Single Grain Scotch Whisky (Duncan Taylor) by Jason Hambrey

Caperdonich+1969+37+YO+Duncan+Taylor.jpg
ABV
40.6%
Aging
37 years
Recipe
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Caperdonich (Rothes, Scotland)

This comes from Duncan Taylor’s Lonach range, which is a label created for whiskies which are approaching ABV levels below 40% due to the evaporation through the barrel (in humid climates, more alcohol evaporates through the barrels than water, thus, the alcoholic percentage drops with age). Thus, this is only 40.6% but it is a cask strength whisky!

The distillery itself was built in 1898 by the founders of Glen Grant, even going by “Glen Grant #2”, but closed after four years of operation until 1965 when it operated until 2002. The distillery is closed now.


Review (2019)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2007

The nose has dried mushrooms, fruit, toffee – very similar in profile to many of the older Scotch distillates I’ve tasted with the earthiness and almost a slight musty woodiness. The palate is very sweet, with loads of fruit – but contrasted with nice, dry barley and a finish which builds into earthy notes. Also, there’s a nice mineral thread throughout. The finish is sweet, rich, and dry – with just beautiful sweet, oaky barley. Quite long, too. It does well – even after 37 years, it’s not over-oaked.

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

Value: N/A


Review: Kininvie 17 Year Old by Jason Hambrey

Kininvie 17.jpg
ABV
42.6%
Aging
17 Years; Oloroso Sherry and Ex-Bourbon Casks
Recipe
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Kininvie (Dufftown, Scotland)

We rarely see many products from this distillery - it is in William Grant & Sons stable and feeds their blends- it is a relatively young distillery, being built in 1990, and it was built originally on the Balvenie property. Very few whiskies have been released out of the distillery - this was one of the first and only bottlings to date that has come out of Kininvie - it is 80% ex-bourbon and 20% ex-sherry.


Review (2020)

  • Batch: 001

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2014

A real richness here, on the nose. Oak, potpourri, chamomile, pear, vanilla, toffee, and nice light barley notes. The palate is rich, with a bit of burnt match, sawdust, apple, pear, toasted oak, beeswax, and honey. Light, tannic finish with lots of apple, pear, baking spices, and slightly bitter oak (in a good way – just a touch of bitterness).
Recommended (82% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).
Value: N/A. This is out of production now, but it was expensive when you can get it and even more expensive now so it would probably be in the low value category.


Review: Balvenie 12 Year Old Single Barrel (First Fill Bourbon) Single Malt Scotch Whisky by Jason Hambrey

Balvenie 12 Single Barrel 2.jpg
ABV
47.8%
Aging
12 Years; First Fill Bourbon Barrels
Recipe
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Balvenie (Dufftown, Scotland)

One of the more highly acclaimed Balvenies from their core range - matured wholly in first fill bourbon casks for 12 years, and then being released with no chill-filtering and a higher alcohol percentage (47.8%) than the rest of their core range. Each barrel yields less than 300 bottles, resulting in batches which consist of less than 300 bottles.


Review (2016)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2015

The nose certainly shows bourbon! Oak, tropical fruit- dried mango, passionfruit – raisins, pear, cinnamon, clove, and some buttery custard, banana cream pie – along with some sour corn, almost like a sour bourbon. A bit confectionary -  even more so as it sits. The palate shows more tropical fruit, a lot of pear, watermelon, and a nice underlaying of fruitcake spices, though without the dried fruit. The finish is fairly sweet and a touch tannic, and is sweet and creamy – with some nice malt, honey, hay, green tea, and tingly spice. The tannins give a bit of dry-ness on the finish which I quite appreciate. The ABV of this is very nice – I think it might be rather sweet and flat otherwise.

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Low, based on $155. I should note that the Balvenie has had a price explosion here in Canada, with this bottling going from $125 to $155 in a short few months. At $125, the value score of this whisky is 25/100


Review (2020)

  • Batch: Cask 6555

  • Bottling Code: L34C 460427061638:33

  • Bottling Date: 2019

A real classic, this one. The last one I had, I liked, but it didn’t score as high analytically as some other barrels. But, I do love the profile of this here. Hay, peaches, dried apricot, vanilla, peaches, stewewd stone fruit, nutmeg, pineapple, and custard. The palate is rich with vanilla pudding, icing sugar, pear, nice earthy notes, slight smoke, and a flourish of dried fruit. A touch syrupy. The finish has malt, vanilla, creamed corn, more vanilla pudding, and oak.

It opens up very nicely with a few drops of water, which is how I like this best. Terrific barrel.

Highly Recommended (50% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: A relatively expensive bottle. Average against the market at $115, low at $140 (Ontario prices…).


Review: Cutty Sark 25 Year Old Blended Scotch Whisky by Jason Hambrey

ABV
45.7%
Aging
25 Years
Recipe
A blend of malt and grain whiskies
Distiller Various (Scotland)

This bottling is a rather fine bottling of whiskies - I don’t love the lower end cutty sark stuff, but this is just awesome. This is built around Speyside whiskies.


Review (2019)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2012

The nose is the perfect picture of rich old heavily sherried Scotch. Very nutty, spicy earth, prunes, raisin, clove, baking spice, candied orange peel, and light fall forest fungal notes. The great earthy notes are backed by orchard fruit in the middle – the apple is just brilliant. A bit of charred oak – the nose evolves with time, and is incredibly complex. The palate is nutty, sweet, and very winey with a nice touch of charred oak. The oak develops into rich leather and tobacco. Terrific dried fruit. The finish carries the theme, and it is sweet and dry. Terrific!

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

Value: Low, at around $275 CAD.