Balmenach 1988 23 years Adelphi 54.2%

the_whisky_bar-2Nose: A little sickly and “chemical”, malt and yeasty dough. Water helps by bringing out citrus, mostly lemon, a light oaky perfume. Still a lot of malt and bun dough.

Palate: Malt, yellow apples and sweetish glue. With a drop of water it’s much better, as the glue disappears and it tastes of apple pie with custard. More water adds a vague taste of vomit.

Comments: A drop of water was good, more a bit of a disaster. Once the water was added it was almost undrinkable.

Dalmore 21 years 43%

This bottle has been languishing at the back of our cupboard for a while. Purchased at Kastrup for a ridiculously low sum some years back.

Dalmore_21Nose: Apple and pear compote, but not an overly sweet one. Light oak and vanilla. A hint of menthol. The menthol is emphasised with water and other herbs and juniper wood also appear.

Palate: Vanilla and dried apricots. Dry wood on the finish. With water menthol appears on the palate as well, green wood and conifer needles, possibly from juniper.

Comments: An attractive 21 year old. It’s rather surprising that the bottle has been left untouched this long, I think we may have to do something about it.

Mortlach 1992 21 years Director’s Cut 56.7%

From a sherry butt.

mortlach_dircut_1992-1Nose: A lot of oak, clear sherry note, but dry sherry and oak rather than dried fruits, very little sweetness. With water I get dried cranberries, candied orange peel and milk chocolate, but it’s still on the dry side.

Palate: Dried cranberries and raisins, but also a lot of oaky dryness. Vanilla. With water I get both oaky bitterness and sherry sweetness, vanilla and oak chips, floor varnish.

Comments: Even though there’s not even a whiff of burnt rubber, my main impression is “over oaked”. It tastes of oak chips. The nose is beautiful, but can’t make up for the taste. It’s not a bad dram, but it’s no where near worth the asking price (2495 NOK at Vinmonopolet, I paid 200-something NOK for 2 cl at The Whisky Bar in Oslo).


Port Ellen PE5 Elements of Islay 57.9%

pe5Nose: Vanilla, baked apples and light smoke. Water turns the apples tarter and adds wax, salt, slate and a little seaweed. A bonfire on the beach and malt.

Palate: Smoked meat, vanilla, unripe melon and smoke. The smoke becomes more obvious with water, which also adds waxy malt and a hint of pepper.

Comments: A Port Ellen that goes a long way towards confirming the legendary status of the distillery. There is something a little off on the taste, which keeps me from scoring it as a bullseye. But it’s not bad, and it’s complex enough to keep me searching for words to describe what I’m smelling and tasting until the dram is done and beyond. Probably one of the last Port Ellens I’ll ever had, unless I get hold of more samples. The prices for Port Ellen nowadays has entered the ridiculous sphere, and I can’t even be bothered thinking about it.

Thanks to Håvard for the sample.

Ardbeg Auriverdes 49.9%

ardbeg_auriverdesNose: It smells like Ardbeg. Well, ok, smoke, a little banana, log cabin, a little varnish and some dark chocolate. Water brings out a bit of wax and rosemary and leaves a lot of smoke.

Palate: Smoky log cabin and dark chocolate. Cold rock on the finish. With water the smoke is still dominant, but I find some tropical fruits and a hint of menthol. A little bitterness develops on the finish, and I conclude I prefered it without water.

Comments: For a peathead this is obviously not bad, but it’s not exactly worth the asking price, either. You get smoke, and plenty of it, cheaper from other sources. The nose is best with a little water, the taste without. I will probably drink the rest of my share (I split the bottle with a couple of other people) without adding water.