Lille Gadegaard is a vineyard, but in 2005 they also started distilling malt whisky. The spirit is matured in french oak casks that have been used for maturing the vineyard’s red wine first.
Nose: Relatively rough, with oaky notes and acetone. With water burnt rubber takes over the nose and blocks any other aromas.
Palate: Tobacco, some acetone, oak and burnt rubber. Raisins or other dried fruits on the finish. Hardly any development with water.
Comments: This is an example of how wrong you can go with “speed maturation”, this is both too young (which the nose proclaims loudly) and at the same time the cask influence is too heavy. I think the spirit in itself is pretty decent, but it’s hard to tell, because it’s not been given the chance to shine. The taste is better than the nose in this one, the tobacco saves it from being totally undrinkable.
Mackmyra Midvinter has been finished in Bordeaux casks, glühwine casks and sherry casks. Which leads me to expect mulled wine, really. We’ll see.
Nose: It definitely smells of herbs, and herb schnaps. Not quite Underberg, rather a sweeter version. Sweetness and Christmas spices, and a hint of toothpaste. There’s this odd (to me) toothpaste variety with cinnamon flavour; that’s what this smells like! More of that with water. With a lot of water some fresh fruit emerges, pears, perhaps?
Palate: Toothpaste with cinnamon flavour is a pretty accurate description of the palate as well. Cloves and other Christmas spices also appear. Bitterness, oak and cloves on the finish. Water makes no noticeable difference.
Comments: This is just plain weird. It’s not unpleasant as such, but it’s not “whisky”, and not quite good enough to convince me not to care.
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.
Leviathan II, according to Lost Spirits, has a ppm of 110 (measured in the malt, I assume) from American peat and has been matured in ex-Semillion casks, casks that have been used to mature white wine, in other words.
Nose: Newmake (sulfur and malt spirit). Sweet yeallow raisins. Apple pie and custard.
Palate: Smoke, but wrapped in interesting ways. Raisins, peat smoke and dark chocolate with coffee notes, especially on the finish.
Comments: First and foremost: Weird. A somewhat split personality, as if it needs more time, either in the cask (well, the newmake character would suggest that anyway) or in the vat. Did they skip the marrying period? I’d also seriously consider other casks for further maturation, or at least some other casks in the mix. However weird, though, I don’t dislike it. Rather the opposite. Once you get past the newmake on the nose it’s rather nice in its way. Smoked dark chocolate with raisins? Who wouldn’t buy that? The VERY young nose detracts, though. And who knows where the 110 ppm ended up, not in the bottle, that’s for sure. Peat monster it ain’t.