Glenburgie Newmake

IMG_5052Nose: Cinese cabbage (that’s a first), fruity, but with some strange fruits, like carambola and kumquat. Green apples and malt. With water it turns tarter and balances on a knife’s edge between fresh and …silo? Carbonated orange juice. A little mint, I get toothpaste. After a while in the glass it suddenly smells of Bamsemums (chocolate covered marshmallowy things).

Palate: Green apples and apple peel, congeners, malt and red brick. With water it develops an unpleasant, bitter note.

Comments: Exceptionally active nose, and it’s mostly all good. Unfortunately the taste collapses with water added, and it becomes undrinkable (and no, you cannot drink newmake without adding water. Sip and taste, yes, drink, no).

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.

Glenfarclas Family Cask 1978 46.3%

Matured for 26 years in a refill hogshead, cask number 590, bottled 26.05.2011.

Nose: Dry wood and wood varnish. Hints of rum-raisin. Water emphasises the raisins a bit, and I get fruit compote associations, but the overwehlming impression is of wood.

Palate: Oaky bitterness, wood and bitter, dark chocolate. No noticeable change with water added.

Comments: Too woody. Though the same age (maturation-wise) than the 1980, the oak has been slightly more active here and has taken over, flattening the taste profile. It’s not bad-tasting, just boring.

Thanks to Geir Tore for the sample.

Glenfarclas Family Cask 1980 50.1%

Cask number 1942. Distilled 29.02.1980, bottled 28.02.2007, 26 years, from a refill sherry butt.

Nose: Slightly bitter wood, alchohol-drenched cherries in dark chocolate. Does not change notably with water, other than acquiring a slight orange peel note.

Palate: More wood, less fruit. Varnished wooden bench. The varnish approaches acetone with water, but the water also adds something fruity, possibly banana.

Comments: Approaching the “too woody” age. It’s still drinkable, but I’d have bottled it earlier.

Thanks to Geir Tore for the sample.

Glenfarclas Family Cask 1985 46.3%

Distilled 02.09.1985, bottled 28.02.2007, matured in a refill sherry hogshead, cask number 2826.

Nose: The immediate impression is wood, but then I find tart, dark plums and dark chocolate. After some time in the glass it offers up sweeter fruits; ripe cherries and also a hint of marzipan. With water the fruit tends towards orange marmelade with a hint of aniseed. Even later I find apple compote.

Palate: Plum in Madeira, rum-soaked cherries; fruit in spirits, that is… and dark chocolate. Candied oranges, too, and wood, but in no way overwhelming wood. The palate is rounded off with water and gets more of a milk chocolate character.

Comments: Dessert. The clear favourite of the three vintages I’m tasting this evening. Its oaky character makes its age obvious, but the oak has not yet overwhelmed the spirit, and the whisky may be at its peak, at least as far as “the preserves shelf in the pantry”, there is fruit conserved in any number of ways here.

Thanks to Geir Tore for the sample.

Glenglassaugh Torfa 50%

glenglassaugh_torfaNose: Smoked fudge. With water it develops into smoked cardboard box.

Palate: Foam banana sweets dusted with sugar that have spent som time in the smoke oven (or perhaps the kiln).

Comments: As a peatfreak I naturally like this. However it’s not complex enough, neither is it THAT good, so I wouldn’t consider buying a bottle. But if you’re offering I’ll have another dram.

Inchgower 1974 22 years Rare Malts 55.7%

inchgower_raremaltsNose: 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.

Glenfarclas 30 years 43%

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.

Balvenie 1974 25 years 46.9%

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.