Gjoleid Blindpassasjeren

November sees the release of two new Gjoleid bottlings at Vinmonopolet (not available from other retailers, as far as I know) I should have had tasting notes for both to share, but due to a mix-up I’ve only had the chance to taste the one they’ve named “Blindpassasjeren” (The Stowaway). It has matured in an ex-sherry cask for “almost five years”, but the unusual thing about it is that before the malt spirit was filled into this cask it had held aquavit for a period, which it is natural to expect will have had some influence on the whisky. The cask has also been walkabout (or sailabout, rather) along with the Linje Aquavit, and has crossed the equator twice between February and June this year.


Nose: Cumin, some newmake character, oaky sweetness. Towards aniseed with water, and aquavit-notes, but the malty spirit is still discernable beneath it all.

Palate: A light note of cumin, clear oak notes, the relatively high ABV is obvious. With water the taste also turns to aniseed.

Comments: Very easy drinking, and quite “aquavit-like”. A nice combination of the two types of spirit, who’d have thought aquavit-cask would be a success? I’m definitely bagging a bottle or two come November.

Imperial 1995 van Wees 46%

Distilled 21 August 1995, bottled 8 December 2014 in the van Wees series The Ultimate. Cask number 50168, which was a hogshead.

Nose: Malt, oak, a little black pepper and something fruity, kiwis perhaps. More appley with water, still very obvious oak.

Palate: Oak, vanilla, citrus, some spruce needles. With water still a lot of oak, yellow apples and some gooseberries on the finish.

Comments: A decent Imperial, but it comes across as a little washed out. I suspect it would have done better at a somewhat higher strength.

Thanks to Håvard for the sample.

Blair Athol 1991 22 years Berry’s 46%

Bottled in 2014, cask reference 7279.


Nose: Quite a bit of citrus and orange peel, bitter vanilla. More towards baked apples with water and hints of liquorice.

Palate: Malt and liquorice (or “sisselrot”, common polypody, or rather the edible root of it which has a vegetal liquoricy taste).

Comments: Something of a surprise, not a typical Blair Athol at all, but very nice, even so.

Tasted at Trondheim Whiskyfestival 2016.

Old Pulteney 1989 25 years 54.1%

Distilled 15 November 1989, bottled at the distillery by Leif Olav 23 May 2015, cask number 4148.


Nose: Fruity. Candied oranges, passionfruit, dried apricot, vanilla and oaky perfumes. With water it gets a faintly perfumed smokiness, incense, perhaps?

Palate: Chocolate confectionery. Dark chocolate with a pssion fruit filling, brittle and i touch of salt. Engine oil shows up when water is added, as does old, dry oak. The finish is long and consists of oak, dark chocolate and dark cherries.

Comments: Very nice indeed. Classic Old Pulteney in many respects, and age has weathered it nicely without letting the oak take over. I’ve only got a sample, unfortunately, I’d really like a bottle – or five – of this one.

Imperial 1976 35 years Old Malt Cask 50%

Matured in a refill butt, bottled 2011, DL Ref 7431.

I’m expecting to find this too oaky, considering its age, so let’s see if that’s a self-fulfilling prophesy or not.

imperialsNose: Vanilla and orange peel, malt and melon. With water oak and bitter, dark chocolate. After some time in the glass it develops more fruitiness and I am put in mind of Jucy Fruit chewing gum.

Palate: Tobacco smoke, oak, cinnamon bark. More bitter with water, still with a rather strange smokiness. The bitterness disappears after some time in the glass, but is replaced by something plastic-ish.

Comments: An odd thing. Not too oaky in the way I expected, at least, but still not entirely pleasant.

Thanks to StianT for the sample.

Box Lengyel Utca 9 63.1%

This is a bottling from a private Box cask, a so called “ankare”. The cask – or rather the contents of it – belong to Tobias Johnsson, who explains that Lengyel Utca 9 means Poland Street 9, which was his first address in the Hungarian town of Szeged where he studied. He chose a cask of hungarian oak for sentimental reasons. A big thank you to Tobias for the sample, it tempts me further towards buying my own “ankare” when the results can be this good.

Foto: Tobias Johnsson

Nose: Juniper and cask. Lemon and oak staves. More spice with water; rosemary and thyme, vanillin, cinnamon and oak.

Palate: A somehat harsh and bitter oakiness, but also vanilla and dark chocolate. With water the harshness disappears and it aquires some black pepper.

Comments: The only drawback to this one is that the spice and vanilla in combination reminds me of scented candles and I really do not like scented candles. Apart from that it’s a lovely dram, much better than the other Hungarian oak bottlings I’ve tried. It keeps nicely to the distillery character and is well integrated in a way small cask bottlings rarely are.

Aberlour 1988 25 years Old Malt Cask 52.3%

Nose: Tinned peaches, newly broken fruit tree branches, pear peel and the inside of an ex- bourbon cask. Adding a little water gives me fresh pears, maltiness and a very slight hint of liquorice.

Palate: Vanilla, warm sauna, applesauce, coriander seeds and tinned peaches. Water brings out tart fruit and a hint of black peppercorns.

Comments: This is just how it should be. An integrated wood character which does not overwhelm and a fine fruitiness from the spirit. I’d happily buy a bottle of this.

Thanks to Geir Tore for the sample.

Cragganmore 2000 11 years Old Malt Cask 50%

Distilled June 2000, bottled December 2011, matured in a refill hogshead, released in the Advance Sample range, DL ref 7983.

Nose: Malt, lemon, well-worn socks. With water the socks turn to flat, tepid lager. After a while it mercifully disappears and the whisky starts smelling like green apples and fruit trees.

Palate: Malt and white pepper, but mostly, well, congeners and a sickly sweetness. More pepper on the finish. Water brings out the oak, there is still malt and a lot of pepper.

Comments: Definitely best with water added. The first impression was that this was well-nigh undrinkable, but with water and a little time in the glass it’s quite all right. The pepper adds interest, but otherwise this is too bland to win any prizes.

Thanks to Geir Tore for the sample.

Highland Park 1995 18 years Old Particular 48.4%

Distilled November 1995, bottled December 2013, from a refill hogshead.

Nose: Fruity, lemon, apple and peach, with an overlaying smokiness. With water the smoke is emphasised and the fresh fruit gives way to lemon and lemon peel.

Palate: Digestives with brown goat’s cheese. Smoke and dry oak. With water added I find dry honey, a bonfire-like smokiness and “Non-Stop” (a Norwegian sweet, similar to M&M’s, but with dark chocolate) on the finish.

Comments: Also a perfectly decent Highland Park, but of a completely different character than the 17 year old from the Old Malt Cask range. This is a little bit better, if only marginally.

Tasted at Oslo Whsikyfestival 2014.

Highland Park 17 years Old Malt Cask 50%

Distilled September 1996, bottled September 2013, from a refill hogshead, DL ref 9903.

IMG_3413Nose: Smoke, honey and heather. With water it develops a fresher character, of green apples and grass.

Palate: Honey! Lightly smoked. Water opens for malt, but there is still a lot of honey.

Comments: A perfectly decent Highland Park.

Tasted at Oslo Whiskyfestival 2014.