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.

Lost Spirits Leviathan II 53%

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.

Thanks to Daniel for the sample.

Laphroaig QA Cask 40%

This bottling is exclusive for Travel Retail (for the time being). The whisky has been finished in new American oak casks (quercus alba). According to Laphroaig this finish achieves ” a blend of peat smoke balanced with warm, spicy vanilla notes.”

Nose: Smoke, a hint of liquorice, cold smoke. Water brings out vanilla and an intense apricot chocolate filling (the Norwegian Twist Aprikos, just the filling), as well as something a bit flowery and yeasty baked goods.

Palate: Smoked, cold rock. With water vanilla and yeasty baked goods.

Comment: Neither the nose nor the palate provides the classic Laphroaig medicinal character. It should also have been bottled at a higher strength (40%? Why, oh why?), but otherwise it is quite nice.

Mackmyra Special:09 – Vildhallon 46.1%

Finished in ex-raspberry wine casks (“Vilkdhallon” means “wild raspberries”).

Nose: Alcohol. After a while peach and lemon, and quite a bit of vanilla.

Palate: The cask is present, even if I doubt “raspberry” would have been my first thought had I had this blind. I get more of a rhubarb, actually. And citrus. A lot of vannilin, so one suspects relatively new oak. In the background I find raspberry jam.

Comments: This stretches the concept of whisky, really, something it shares with a few other “finishes”. This does not make it a bad product, in fact it is rather nice, but it raises issues with branding.

Arve says it was much more raspberry-like from a newly opened bottle, my sample has had some air.

Bowmore 100° Proof 57.1%

We visited my parents on Sunday and this was temptingly placed on the kitchen counter, so I grabbed the opportunity to write tasting notes for it. My mum was quite pleased with the purchase, complaining only that it seemed to disappear very quickly.

Bowmore 100° Proof
Bowmore 100° Proof

Nose: Orange peel, juniper berries, pine needles, surprisingly little smoke. Only with water does the smoke manifest, as well as green apples and (smoked) meat.

Palate: Warm peat smoke, salty sea, tar, orange, spice. With quite a bit of water I also get apples and spicy sponge cake.

Comments: I will definitely buy a bottle if I get the chance.