Nikka Pure Malt White 43%

This is a rather unusual vatted malt, as it’s a vatting of Japanese malt whisky from Yoichi and Scottish malt whisky from an unnamed Islay distillery. The latter is probably Caol Ila, from the simple fact that that is the Islay malt most readily available, but it may be one of the others even so.

Blind tasting.

Nose: Newly lit barbeque (charcoal lighter fluid and fire). Lightly smoky and quite a bit of vanilla. With water I get red Hubba Bubba (chewing gum from the 80ies), and some barbequed meat.

Palate: Clearer smoke, but some charcoal lighter fluid here too. Baked apples. Water emphasises fire and ashes, but with an underlying sweetness.

Comments: You’d think that charcoal lighter fluid would be negative as a tasting note, but as it provides images of summer and barbequeing it’s not unattractive. Otherwise the whisky is not quite interesting enough and at the same time not quite peatmonstery enough to become a new favourite, but it’s quite drinkable.

Glenmorangie Nectar d’Or 12 years 46%

Nectar d’Or has been finished in Sauterne casks. Blind tasting.

Nose: Acetone and oak, lightly perfumed and quite bourbon-y. But then, after some time in the glass: Raspberry jam and pancakes. With water it developes a trace of wax or Play-Doh and burnt matches.

Palate: Oaky perfume, faint bitterness, burnt sugar. Malt and orange marmelade. The marmelade turns to berry jam once water is added.

Comments: On first sip I was hesitant, but after some time in the glass it’s quite nice, really. Not something I’d buy a whole bottle of, perhaps, but I’d not say no to another dram.

Glen Spey 17 years Cadenhead Small Batch 46%

From 2 ex-bourbon hogsheads. Blind tasting.

Nose: Immediately some gin notes, juniper and a hint of liquorice. That disappears after a while and instead I get orange, milk chocolate and eventually malt. Water brings out pear ice lollies and vanilla.

Palate: Orange chutney (is there such a thing?), in other words: Spiced orange marmalade. Grain dust and a little metal.

Comment: I like it. I’d love a top-up and would even buy a bottle if the chance offered.

Old Pulteney Noss Head 46%

From Old Pulteney’s Lighthouse series, which is only available at Travel Retail. Noss Head is from ex-bourbon casks. Blind tasting.

Nose: Curry, coriander and garam masala. With water I also get green apples, malt and rock dust.

Palate: There is something curryish on the palate as well, but also malt and vanilla.

Comment: An unexpected nose and taste combination, I must say, but I rather like it. I need to try to get hold of another sample and try it again to see if it’s just my nose that’s out of whack today. And if this is how it appears to me consistently, I will probably try to get hold of a bottle, because this is unusual – but good – stuff.

Arran Sherrycask 1998-2014 cask #43 54.2%

Distilled 19 January 1998, bottled 10 February 2014.

Nose: Vanilla, citrus and flowery notes. Cinnamon and nutmeg with water, after a while green apples.

Palate: Vanilla and sap. A little more bitter with water, but also more depth. A hint of cigar smoke and spice.

Comments: A fantastic nose, and a nice taste. A little bitterness on the finish detracts, but overall a very, very nice dram and pretty much perfect on a warm spring evening in Trondheim. A good candidate for this year’s summer whisky.

Tasted half-blind. I knew the importer, but not the whisky. I’d never have guessed that this was from a sherry cask, but with hindsight I see that the spices and the cigar smoke are clues I should have picked up.