I had to order a bottle of Bushmills 21 years old, as there is reason to wonder if the importer has been in the sun too long or something. The price in Norway is 599,90 NOK (around 60 GBP) – which is cheap for a 21-year old in any case, but seems like the sale of the century compared to prices in the UK where the RRP is 137 GBP. But is it worth it? That, obviously, is the salient point, because if it’s undrinkable it’s money out the window whatever the price.
Nose: Clear bourbony notes, oak and vanilla. Plums in Madeira, lemon peel, toffee and spice; curry, in fact. Water brings out more fresh fruits.
Palate: Oak and vanilla. A somewhat bitter oakiness. I was hoping water would open it up and bring out more flavours, but was disappointed.
Comments: Very lovely nose, pretty bland taste. Nothing wrong with it, though, and certainly worth the 60 pounds, but not the 137, I don’t think.
Hand filled from a cask at the distillery by Snorre (by order of me). Distilled 21.11.1995, bottled 08.07.2010, matured in an ex bourbon cask, numbered 2851.
Nose: The ABV is noticable, otherwise it smells of vanilla, wood and dried cranberries. Water opens it a bit and adds dark chocolate, toasted almonds and barley.
Palate: good quality vanilla ice cream with brittle. Water brings out a woody note, but the vanilla and brittle stay. The finish is very long and tastes mostly of sweet but pure liquorice.
Comments: Definitely needs water. I seem to like it better now than when I first tasted it, so it is possible that a little air has helped it along. Not the best Pulteney I’ve had, but it would not deter me from filling a bottle myself if I ever get to visit the distillery.
Nose: Toffee, rose water, dry birch wood. With water dried raspberries, green jelly babies, blackboard chack and a hint of aniseed.
Palate: Half-rotted wood, but also something fruity. Somewhat more bitter with water added, and the impression of decay is lessened.
Comments: My first reaction when taking a sip was “Ouch”. That’s not really a reaction you want, to put it that way. The nose is really very good, but the taste is just not working for me at all. With the reservation that it was tasted in the middle of the 7 Stills Tour of Dufftown, the only other single Kininvie I’ve had was much better.
Distilled 2001, matured in an ex-shiraz hogshead. Purchased at the Cadenhead’s shop in Campbeltown in 2010, I split a bottle with Leif Olav (after a week on Islay we both had enough bottles in our luggage so a shared bottle seemed like a good idea).
Nose: Pretty spirity, some smoke, the insides of a damp, wine-soaked cask (as if you stick your nose in the bung hole of a recently emptied cask and sniff it). More obvious smoke with water, since the intense spirit disappears. Dried apricots and grilled pineapple, green apples and lemon balm (the herb).
Palate: Immediately a little anonymous, a lot of alchohol and a touch of oak. With water it develops smoke on the palate as well, cold rock and some tropical fruits.
Comments: Definitely needs water to flourish, but is scarily easy to drink at full strength, though rather boring. Very fruity once water is added. The wine cask is not obvious at all, except for that initial “damp cask insides” on the nose.
It’s not often a new beer pops up in Norway that has no hits on the interwebz. This is such a beer.
Innis & Gunn are famous for their wood matured and cask matured beers and this newest one is no different. It’s matured over Bourbon-infused American oak heartwood for a full and rich bourbon flavour. So let’s see if it’s true.
Colour: Deep golden, edging towards light brown.
Nose: Vanilla and oak, in other words bourbon. A hint of fresh green apples is also present.
Palate: Light almost a bit watery start. But the bourbon flavours come out in force as we go along. The green apples still linger in the back. The bourbon lingers on and stay on the palate for a long time.
Summary: If you don’t like bourbon, stay away. It’s refreshing and a bit different, but the bourbon flavours are a little bit overpowering for me.
This is a special bottling Laphroaig did last year exclusively for the Scandinavian market.
Nose: Smoked and barbequed meat, bonfires and cheese. I get Applewood vibes and that is never a bad thing. With water there is less meat and more ashes, but also red berries and smoked seaweed.
Palate: Less interesting than the nose, but very nice. Fridge ice and ashes. Water sharpens the taste and brings out a slight bitterness and orange peel.
Comments: Perfectly drinkable at full strength, but water gives it another dimension. A great dram. The only negative thing I can think of is a somewhat short finish, the smoke lingers but nothing else.
Nose: Toffee with a hint of mint. Dry oak and vanilla. With water it develops raisins and baked apples, but the vanilla gets a somewhat rotten side note.
Palate: Too much oak? After only 13 years that’s actually kind of impressive. Oak, varnish, slightly rotten wood. With water it develops some bitterness, which for once is a good thing as it kills off the note of decay.
Comments: I’m ambivalent, but land on “No”. Too much cask and it’s also all over the place and tastes different for every sip.