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.

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.

Cambus 1988 26 years Cadenhead Single Cask 47.5%

Bottled in 2015.

Nose: Vanilla and oak, but also peaches and cinnamon. Citrus and something tropical, maybe pineapple, with water. After some time in the glass aok becomes more apparent again, but it’s a sweet, spicy oak which compliments the fruity notes.

Palate: Vanilla, oak and peaches. Other fruits, too, gooseberries, I think. The oak turns slightly bitter with water. Cinnamon and black pepper on the finish. After a while banana & spice sponge cake and well-balanced oak.

Comments: This is what a good grain whisky should be. There is absolutely nothing to detract from this other than the fact that I only have a 3 cl sample instead of a bottle (or three).

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.

Myken Arctic Gin 47%

In May Myken Distillery finally release their first product, a gin, on the Norwegian market (i.e. Vinmonopolet), and I thought that a good excuse for a vertical tasting. So here we have batch 1 at 47.3%, which I’ve already got notes up for, batch 2 at 47%, a sample I got when I visited Myken for their official opening i September, and batch 3, the one which will be available from next Friday, also at 47%, in an appealing half litre bottle with the awesome label designed by Metric Design. Please note that I happen to have the coolest bottle from the batch, number 42 (the answer, as we all know, to life, the universe, and everything). Pretty much the best birthday present I’ve had for some time (and, yes, I turned 42).


Batch 1

Nose: Cucumber, juniper, fresh herbs, coriander and cumin.

Palate: Juniper twigs, light liquorice. More soapy coriander with a few drops of water.

Batch 2

Nose: Herbs and sea foam. Juniper and cumin. Something quite waxy, as well as warm wood.

Palate: Soapy coriander, herbs and more sea influence.

Batch 3

Nose: Juniper berries and a sweet juniper wood note, fresh herbs, black pepper and sea.

Palate: Soapy coriander, faint liquorice, juniper berries, spruce twigs and orange peel.

Comments: There is definitely a clear relationship between the three batches. A little tweaking of the spice mix has obviously been going on, but no radical changes. In my opinion they’re going in the right direction with the tweaking, too, I marginally prefer batch 3. All three are excellent sipping gins, and it would suprise me if they didn’t also work in drinks, from the reasonably simple G&T to those with a list of ingredients as long as your arm.

Myken Arctic Gin will be available to order at Vinmonopolet from Friday May 6, for 509.90 NOK for 0,5 litres. The order number is 3957902 and there are only a couple of hundred bottles available in this first release, so if you want one you shouldn’t hang around.

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.

Clynelish 18 years Old Particular 48.4%

Old Particular is a series of bottlings from the independent bottler Douglas Laing. The spirit in this Clynelish cask, a refill hogshead, was distilled in April 1997 and bottled in May 2015. The cask provided 216 bottles, and at least some are available at Vinmonopolet. It has the reference DL10770.

Clynelish 18 years Old Particular

Nose: Fruits and berries, gooseberry bush, green apples. With water the fruit intensifies.

Palate: Black pepper, a lot of sweetness, cask as well, somewhat musty oak, cinnamon.

Comments: Not a text-book Clynelish, but it’s complex and certainly very nice.

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.

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.