Nose: Cold smoke and brick, malt and barbeque. With water it turns fruitier, but there’s smoke hanging over the whole.
Palate: Smoke, barebeque and green grapes. Water emphasises the smoke.
Comments: Nice, but a little one-dimensional. Best without water.
When I set out to record the details for this cask, which Mackmyra brought a sample of to Östersund Maltfestival, I got confused. What do they actually mean by “förlagrad” (“pre-matured”)? When the label says that the cask was filled (“fatfyllning”) 30 June 2010 I’m assuming they mean filling of the 30 litre bourboncask which the whisky is then bottled from, but what, exactly, is being filled into this cask in 2010? How old is the spirit and what had it been stored in previously?
A quick search, and I found that Mackmyra provide the answer on their cask offer pages. If you buy a cask from them, one of the spirit varieties you can choose is “förlagrad elegant”, which means that the spirit will first have been matured in a 200 litre ex-bourbon cask (i.e. a bourbon barrel) for three years before it is filled into your 30 litre cask of choice. In other words, it is already whisky by the time it’s filled into the tiny cask, and you would be justified in calling the extra maturation a sort of “finishing”.
In any case, here are my notes for this specimen of Macmyra’s “elegant” (that is: not peated) spirit, matured for three years in a bourbon barrel and then for almost three years more in a 30 litre ex-bourbon cask.
Nose: Vanilla, fresh herbs, gooseberries and tropical fruit. More oaky with water, and some sweetish spices; cinnamon?
Palate: Vanilla, wood and oaky bitterness. Tropical fruit and a hint of coconut (pina colada!). Water tempers the bitterness somewhat and I’m left with vanilla, fruit and coconut.
Comments: A very pleasant dram. A little too bitter on the palate, but nice even so.
Filled 4 July 2012, bottled 6 February 2015, peating level 43 ppm, matured in a 40 litre ex-bourbon cask.
Nose: A bonfire that someone’s thrown some juniper branches on over which spareribs are being grilled. When I add water the sweetness and heat disappears and I am left with cold smoke, flint and juniper berries.
Palate: Cold smoke, in contrast with the heat on the nose, lemons and herbs. No significant development when water is added.
Comments: Wow, that’s a bit of a split personality on the nose. I liked both varieties, but preferred the hot and sweet undiluted character. The palate is perfectly fine and demonstrates how much can be disguised with a bit of peat, this they could easily bottle and sell as far as I’m concerned, something I wouldn’t advice doing with the unpeated variety. Another dram? Well, if you won’t need to twist my arm.
Filled 30 June 2012, bottled 8 January 2015, unpeated spirit matured in a 40 litre ex-bourbon cask.
Nose: Cumin and pine needles, vanilla and some congeners. A little lemon with water, more congeners and black pepper.
Palate: Black pepper, vanilla and spice, but also a little sulfur and congeners. The young age is emphasised with water, but the pepper stays, also on the finish, and I get some candied lemon.
Comments: Young, but promising. Definitely appears unfinished, not really ready for drinking, but then the point of these cask samples is not to sell drinking whisky (yet).
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: Young wood, lime, juniper wood and vanilla. With water I find more citrus and lemon, dry herbs (rosemary?) and malt.
Palate: Dry wood, vanilla, spruce needles and citrus. Water brings out a more bitter woody note, but also malt and dusty wooden floors.
Comments: Not exactly unpleasant. I like WIP 1 the best, and regret not buying more. However, this is quite pleasant enough to make WIP 6 tempting.
This is one of three Bladnoch bottlings from 2008, released to showcase the spirit made after Raymond Armstrong & Co purchased Bladnoch. The two others are Sherry Matured and Lightly Peated, tasting notes to follow. As the fate of the distillery is uncertain again, it seems an appropriate time to taste these. I hope a serious buyer turns up soon; that there is potential for great whisky to be made at Bladnoch is beyond doubt.
Nose: Young spirit. Citrus, especially lemon, and a somewhat chemical whiff, which leads the mind to lemon-scented cleaning solutions. There is also a flowery note. With water vanilla makes an appearance, and I am strongly reminded of the lemon-flavoured vanilla cream filling our local Italian cafe favours. I’m not such a big fan (I like my vanilla cream filling to taste of vanilla), but in a whisky it’s not all wrong. Unfortunately there is also a sweetish off-note and a whiff of barnyard (the sort of notes likely to be polished off with a few more years in the cask, though).
Palate: The malt is apparent on the palate, but the main impression is again young spirit. Vanilla bitterness and a light oaky note, as well. With water it turns undefinably nicer.
Comments: It’s not undrinkable, but it’s not a stirlig advertisement for Bladnoch, either. First and foremost 6 years is obviously not long enough for this spirit, but I’m also missing some complexity which is normally evident in young whiskies aspiring to be great when older.
Distilled 21 August 1996, bottled 26 April 2005, bottle number 158 of 240.
Nose: Malt, a hint of menthol and juniper berries. After a while in the glass tart raspberries appear. Water opens for black pepper and tart pears and a hint of fruity chewing gum.
Palate: Malt, Vademecum, oaky bitterness. Water lessens the impression of Vademcum and develops into something vegetal.
Comments: I can’t remember the herby and spicy character being so strong before, but this is another bottle that has been left less than half full for a while. In this case, though, it’s a beneficial development. Very nice – and intriguing – nose, somewhat less interesting taste.
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.
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.