Nose: Malt and tobacco. With water I get more smoke, as well as lemon curd and digestive bisquits.
Palate: Bonfire and malt. With water the tobacco shows up on the palate, but also lemon.
Comments: Yummy. It’s funny how the smoke and tobacco exchange places nose/tastewise with water. Not complex enough to be worth several hundred pounds at auction, perhaps, but certainly moreish.
Nose: Orange, melon and malt. With water green leaves and after a while in the glass suddenly intense butterscotch, then later again goat willow and lemon sherbet.
Palate: Malt, wood, herbs, Bitter finish. With water it develops fruitiness with underlying moss.
Comments: Very intriguing, a lot happens in the glass and I was told even more happened when the bottle was newly opened (I had one of a bout three drams left in the bottle for a month). One of those Rare Malts I’d really like more of, because it’s interesting, but also very, very nice.
Distilled 1989, bottled April 2002 (newly opened bottle).
Nose: Rum, apple, butterdough. Chalk and ashes. More ashes with water, but also fresher fruit, green grapes and spruce shoot tips.
Palate: Butterscotch first, malt and cedar wood. The finish is dry, bitter and somewhat ashy, but the buttery taste stays. Water brings out oatcakes with butter, with green grapes, but no cheese.
Comments: Original, but is it good? Unfortunately I have to settle for “No”. It’s the bitterness on the palate again, and there is not enough sweetness to balance it. And this weird buttery character. Is it because of the rum cask? Rum hardly tastes of butter, so I don’t know. Could it be the fattiness of the spirit that reacts this way with the rum cask? In any case, I’m underwhelmed, again.
Distilled 1989, bottled 2003 (newly opened bottle).
Nose: Plums, apples and a hint of cinnamon. Vague whiff of a lit fireplace and ashes. With water it develops sweathy leather and a lightly bitter note, green tree, tobacco and herbs.
Palate: Dusty malt floors, apple compote with cinnamon, red berries, lightly bitter. The bitterness grows with water, it develops tobacco on the palate as well and gets an obvious saltiness (especially on the tip of the tongue). It’s the bitterness, salt and lightly ashy notes that stick around as a finish.
Comments: The nose is lovely and complex, but the palate reminds me of why I’m never completely sold on Springbank. There is too much bitterness for it to work for me.
Distilled 1989, bottled 2003 (newly opened bottle).
Nose: Red, sweet plums, vanilla and oak, strawberry jam. With water it develops marzipan. Only once I’ve added quite a lot of water does a faint smokiness appear, and at the same time it smells like a boiled sweets factory.
Palate: Sweet wood, a hint of smoke, sweet liquorice. Water gives it a bitter, oaky bite, which for once is a good thing as it balances the sweetness a bit. There is also a whiff of burnt rubber.
Comments: Well. Too sweet by far to be a winner, but a decent session dram.
Nose: Fruity, red currant and melon, cinnamon, vanilla and oak, but the oak is quite muted. With water I find dark chocolate and cherries, but also fresh apples.
Palate: More oak on the palate. A bit of chewing on sauna planks. Also some apricot jam and orange marmelade. With water it develops a bit of oaky bitterness and singed caramel sauce.
Comments: Lovely nose, just a tad too woody on the palate to make the “very drinkable” segment. A nice dram, in any case.
Another sample I cannot remember the origin for, thanks to whoever it may concern.
Nose: Raspberry sweets, bonfire smoke and blackcurrant bush. More spice on the nose with water, but also malt. Ginger snap bisquits.
Palate: Fruity smoke. Peat smoke, tropical fruits, raspberries. Cold rock and singed wood on the finish. With water the malt makes its appearance, and I am reminded of cherry pie.
Comments: A successful combination of fruits and smoke. I will definitely purchase one as a session whisky on a suitable occasion.
Thanks go to Geir Tore for the sample.
Cask number 3209.
Nose: The first impression is fruity and flowery. Vanilla, tinned fruit salad, cedar wood and dry oaky bitterness follows. Water brings out apple pie with cinnamon, a pie with a somewhat soggy crust.
Palate: Banana and oak, clear malty notes. Dry oakish bitterness on the palate as well. Water doesn’t make much difference, the oak turns greener. The finish has something reminicent of calvados.
Comments: Quite nice, but doesn’t quite make the grade. I can’t help think price/performance. It’s nice, yes, but not THAT nice. My main gripe is with the dry oaky bitterness permeating the whole. But would I go for a second dram if offered? You betcha.
Thanks to Geir Tore for the sample and the picture.
Cask number 1973, distilled 11.12.1996, bottled 31.03.2011.
Nose: Apple compote with cinnamon, dark chocolate, fragrant roses. A little water adds mint, orange peel, jasmine and lemon.
Palate: Oak and apple peel, honey, black pepper and dark chocolate. More chocolate with water, orange marmelade and bay leaf.
Comments: Yet another stunning sherry cask from Arran. Confirms the rule that these are a steal at almost any price (this particular cask has not been available in Norway, but those that have have been just as good).
Thanks to Bjørn for the taster.
Bottled June 2012.
Nose: Marsipan covered in a thin layer of dark chocolate. Fruit tree. More fruity with water, tinned fruit coctail with mint and chocolate chips.
Palate: Plum in Madeira, dark chocolate, a little After Eight. Maltiness shows up with water, also oak and a hint of pepper.
Kommentar: Quite simply really, really good.