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.

Amrut Batch No 2 40%

Bottled 25 June 2004. A tasting note for an almost antique bottle to celebrate the arrival of my welcome package from the Amrut Fever Club.


Nose: Lemon and fresh herbs, malt  and cardamom. Even more malt and cardamom with water, also some apples and possibly a hint of honey.

Palate: More wood on the palate, but mostly malt, oatmeal porrige that’s a little singed, or something like that. Water doesn’t make a lot of difference, a little more vanilla, perhaps.

Comments: For a three year old (or whatever it is) this is quite impressive. The nose is interesting and well balanced, the taste perhaps a little boring, but it’s “boring, but good” rather than “boring and unpleasant”. A pity the bottle is nearing empty. I may have to pour some into a sample bottle for the archive.

Banff 1974 Gordon & MacPhail 40%

Bottled in 1994 in the Connoisseurs Choice series.

Nose: Citrus, more lemon than orange, a little honey, oak and something Play Doh-ish. Water does not have any effect worth mentioning.

Palate: Oak, vanilla, dried cranberries and heather. There is something reminiscent of an open fire here, too, and it becomes more apparent with water, though I think there might be more of the seared outside of meat cooked over open flame rather than the fire itself.

Comments: Gordon & MacPhail had their moments way back when they insisted of dilluting eveything down to 40% too, and this is a very good example. Perhaps this Banff would have been even better at a higher strength, but I find it hard to imagine.

Thanks to Johnny for the sample.

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.

Longmorn 26 years Cadenhead Small Batch 49.5%


Nose: Pick and mix candy; Mint humbugs, Haribo peaches and sour frogs. With water it turns towards a flowery sweetness, with red clovers and dandelion flower.

Palate: Tastes older, and stronger, than it smells. Oaky bitterness and almond oil, but also spices, black pepper and some sweeter ones.

Comments: Fantastic nose, nice flavour. I’ll have another, please…

Tried at a tasting with Frode Harring at Raus, 8 June 2016.

Aberlour a’bunadh batch 53 59.7%

Finally a new batch of Aberlour a’bunadh at under 60% abv, meaning it can be legally sold in Norway. According to the importer, a few bottles were on their way, but it’s possible that they disappeared immediately, at least there are noen available through Vinmonopolet just now.

Nose: Plum jam, plum in Madeira, dark chocolate. A little burnt rubber with water, but also chalk and dry, dark chocolate. After a while I find orange marmalade, too.

Palate: Dried fruits, dark chocolate, burnt rubber. Oak and cocoa powder on the finish. Much the same with water.

Comments: I should really have been paying attention and secured a bottle if it did show up at Vinmonopolet. The a’bunadh is an expression I like to have available at all times, and we’re running low. Batch 53 is a perfectly decent batch. The presence of burnt rubber reveals the heavy sherry cask influene, but it’s nicely balanced and not at all overpowering, and I really like the total. Very drinkable, as usual.

Glenallachie 20 years Cadenhead Small Batch 59.1%

Glenallachie 20 years Cadenhead Small Batch bottle

Nose: Lemongrass, malt and oak. With quite a lot of water it turns towards citrus and grass.

Palate: Overoaked, oaky bitterness. With a lot of water: Much better. Malt, candy floss, hazel nuts, still quite a lot of oak.

Comments: Undrinkable at full strength. Better with water, but it never quite redeems itself in my eyes.

Tasted at Trondheim Whiskyfestival 2016.

Scapa Skiren 40%

Scapa Skiren was launched last year as an addition to the Scapa standard lineup. As with all Scapas the spirit was distilled in Scapa’s Lomond still, the only one still in operation in Scotland. The whisky is issued without an age statement and has matured in first-fill american oak.


Nose: Apples and pears, dry malt loft. Its youth is apparent the moment you add water.

Palate: Malt, yellow apples, apple peel, some bitterness on the finish.

Comments: A pleasant surprise; a simple, but nice, session dram.

Tasted at Trondheim Whiskyfestival 2016.

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.