Sunday, February 4, 2024

Arran Sherry Cask, Kilkerran 16, Ledaig 10, Balvenie 17, Benromach 12 CS Duo

I’m sneaking in these reviews in, while I continue my break from reviewing guilt-free and to catch up on currently pending open bottle notes.

Arran Sherry Cask (2021), 55.8%
This is new packaging from Arran, a NAS bottling at cask strength. Historically, I do like what Arran distillery does so let’s see if this keeps up. “Aged in sherry hogshead” line on the label suggests that it was aged in ex-bourbon cask that was sherry-seasoned. There’s nothing particularly wrong with that and it’s good note to have for enthusiasts. Notably, it’s quite lightly colored when compared to similar sherry-aged bottlings. The nose. oddly enough, evokes speyside notes, with orchard fruits and some sweet sherry notes, toasted sugar, and vanilla. The palate evokes more Speyside notes, with more of the same as the nose. We’ve got same orchard fruits and sherry sweetness, but it’s backed up by flavorful and nutty core, while the nose evokes red apples, the palate surprises with green apples and salted dark caramel. The aftertaste is long, meandering yet consistent, and gently spiced with a touch of chili heat. Overall: “I enjoy” is about the right summary here. It’s right up my alley, it’s flavorful but not overwhelming, it drinks slightly under its proof and it’s reasonably available. Yet, it’s a generic, sweet, NAS, sherried malt that’s bottled at cask proof and could be just about anything Speyside. Value: At about $75 this is at a price point comparable to its counterparts… I’ll note the value here as ‘reasonable’.
Score: B+

Kilkerran 16 (2021), 46%
A Campbeltown Kilkerran (Glengyle) bottling from 2021. They should get a marketing person, as putting “Matured in Oak” on label doesn’t seem like good use of real estate. Anyways… Light ash on top of malty and slightly salty nose, like an old beach campfire ashes that been sitting around for while. Balanced and mild palate with sweet malt and oak finely balanced out by some salinity and a bare touch of smoke. Long and gently fading aftertaste that gets sweeter and spicier as it lingers yet again with an absolute whisper of wood ash and smoke. Overall: This is a really good bottle. I don’t particularly love every Campbeltown product, yet this one is a solid offering and a solid drinker. Yes the light ashy smoke is there but it’s incredibly well integrated and doesn’t overwhelm. There’s nothing to really fault here, but I’m not going to buy another one of these due to personal preferences. Price: Findable at ~$150 this isn’t a particularly good value for a great drinker. Unfortunately, its price bracket contains a large number of excellent drinkers. Fans of distillery are welcome to apply and are unlikely to be disappointed. Others should know that are plenty of excellent independent bottlings in that price point and may consider something that is more interesting to them.
Score: A-

Ledaig 10, 46.3%
A core range Tobermory (unpeated)/Ledaig (peated) distillery offering. I frequently chime up about my preference for unpeated bottles, but let’s see how this compares. This is quite pungent on the nose, campfire smoke and some brine, not unpleasant by any means. With time roasted nut notes start appearing in addition to the already mentioned smoke and brine. Sweet and smoky palate, tropical fruits that’s been charred, fire-toasted bread. Medium length, lightly spiced and lightly smoked aftertaste that drops off somewhat abruptly towards the end. Overall: I’m enjoying this way more than I initially thought I would. It’s peated, but not overwhelmingly so and despite somewhat briny nose, the actual palate is quite sweet making whole experience reminiscent of smoked candies. Not overly complex but it doesn’t need to be. Value: Total wine has it listed at $70… which is somewhat reasonable for what we get here.
Score: B+

Balvenie 17, Doublewood, 43%
Sadly discontinued in 2021, The Balvenie 17 doublewood, whiskey (ex-bourbon) and sherry. Thanks Uncle Vadim! Malty, peppery, nutty, balanced. Bourbon sherry split somewhere around 80/20, bourbon is all primary notes with sherry mostly secondaries. Not going to bother writing more. It’s really good, though it needs like 3% more abv to be great. Price: Used to be $150. Discontinued.
Score: A-

Benromach 12, Total Wine SP, 58.2%
Benromach 12 Single cask selected by Total Wine. This is a sherry cask #849. As a side note, Benromach is a peated Speysider. The nose is fish bbq shack. That’s basically what it smells like. Salty and sweet, filled with old nutty smoke. Palate is nutty, and salty-sweet, erring on the sweet side, without being overwhelming. Aftertaste got a gentle touch of spice and a lingering sweet smoke note that lasts for a long time. Overall: This is my kind of peated pour. I very much like this! Whenever I say that I’m into sweet smoke… this is IT. Is it complex? No. Is it tasty? Absolutely! Value: At $68 it’s a steal in 2024 values!
Score: A-

Benromach 11, Total Wine SP, 57.5%
A bourbon cask counterpart to the Sherry Cask above with cask #967. The nose is peat, salt and vanilla. It’s punchy, it’s smoky, it’s slightly salty and it’s slightly sweet. It’s exactly what you’d expect a good peated bourbon cask to smell like. Salted, smoked vanilla palate reminds of hard dry-cured salted fish. The smoke doesn’t stick around for the aftertaste and it finishes as a salty, slightly spicy, vanilla number. Overall: Perfectly serviceable but it lacks something for me. Peated ex-bourbon fans of coastal and Islay distilleries that aren’t iodine-forward should apply. Value: Value: At $68 it’s a steal in 2024 values!
Score: B

As a side note… Mixing the two casks above together in a 1:1 combination essentially creates Benromach Batch Strength 1.

Scoring Breakdown: https://www.aerin.or … age=scores_breakdown

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Happy 2024 and beginning of the year pause

Happy Holidays. Happy New Year.

I cannot believe it’s 2024 already with ‘23 really flying by super quick. Quick announcement:

I’m taking a short break from writing up new entries to gather up new samples, finish open bottles and generally not stress about reviewing. Same as in 2023 I’ll be back by April or so.

Monday, December 18, 2023

Raising Glasses Tasting of malt and rums & Brandy mish-mash!

A super fun, informative and enjoyable tasting with Raising Glasses, an independent importer of single casks.

— Raising Glasses Whisky —
Opulence 21 yr Port Dundas Single Grain, 9m Oloroso Cask, 55.7% — Punchy nose, corny. Very sweet palate, though falls a touch flat as is expected with single grain. Oloroso sweet rich and slightly nutty, sherry-dominant syrup, honey. Baking spices in the aftertaste — Score: Yay-
Stories Westland 8 yr Five Malt American Malt, Mt Gay Rum Cask, 55% — Complex and floral nose with rich malt notes. Very chocolate palate with frosted cereal notes. Malty aftertaste with sugars sticking around — Score: Yay
Voodoo Westland 9 yr Peated Malt, Banyuls Cask, 57% — Peated malt, very islay scotch like. Banyuls is a sweet french dessert wine somewhere between sherry and port. Long sticky salty-sweet smoke aftertaste, medium to low peat. — Score: Yay
Bloom Westland 9 yr Pale Malt, PX Cask, #2478 cask!!! 59% — Sister cask to 2479, slightly funkier. Fantastic! — Score: Yay!
Emergence 9 yr Linkwood Scotch, Oloroso Cask, 60.6% — Light honey nose, young malt. Lots of fresh spices. A little young. Honeycomb. Sp — Score: Yay

— Raising Glasses Rum —
Purple Cane Rum - 9 yr Foursquare Barbados finished in Pineau des Charentes, 57% — Good Foursquare with many layers. 1 year in a rye cask and 5 months in Cognac cask — Score: Meh+
Manora - 9 yr Thailand Rum, 55% — Very upfront sweet, slightly funky, reminds me of simple sugar syrup. Enjoyable but not special. — Score: Meh
Whistler - 14 yr Venezuela Rum, 62.1% — Secret Info: It’s diplomatico single cask. Lots and lots of flavors all together. Very tasty — Score: Yay
Yowie - 16 yr Australia Rum, 68.3% — Eucalyptus, mint, tangerine, light funk — Score: Yay

— Brandy/Armagnacs: —
Cadinat 1988, 33 year old, 48% — Fruity, strongly oaked, pleasant overall. Leans towards some wood bitterness from the age. Somewhat similar note to woody sherry casks but leans towards wood instead of funky spice. Hard yet rewarding to comprehend the layers of flavor — Score: Yay-
Cardinat 2005, 16 years old, 51% — Fruity, slightly drying wood, lots of sweet vanilla, less layered and slightly sweeter when compared to above counterpart. Excellent casual sipper — Score: Yay
Pierre Ferrand, Cigare Cognac, 40% — Classic cognac fresh apples & fruit compote. Very fragrant nose. Light body with dried fruit notes instead. Classic sweet vanilla and a touch of heat in the back of the aftertaste. Excellent all around. Slightly too thin to be truly great — Score: Yay-
Hotaling Apple Brandy, 21 years old, 44% — Dry green apples through and through. Some spice and a touch of yeast. Drinks like a highly alcoholic, very dry, apple cider. Use this for spike your apple cider or something — Score: Meh-
1982 L’Encantada Domaine del Cassou, 35 years old, Cask #187, 46.6% — Woody, very fruity, somewhat tannic and lightly drying, vanilla caramel. It’s lighter but not drastically different from Cardinat ‘88 above. Enjoyable, but I’m selling a kidney for it — Score: Yay-
1975 Domaine Seailles, 45 years old, K&L, 46% — Fruity, woody, funky, umami and not nearly as drying as Cardinat 88. Perhaps slightly one-note, or highly compressed flavor profile, but nothing is bad here. Excellently crushable — Score: Yay

Sunday, December 3, 2023

2023/24 Chris-tmas Holiday Advent 2 (Sample Exchange)

A local group I’m part of is doing a Christmas Calendar of blind samples. There are 22 samples with 22 guesses and 22 blind reviews. This is organized by friend Chris, thus the title. The bottles are supposed to be $80+ which both limits the choices and makes it much harder to guess. I’ll be updating this as I go! Previous year’s event is here: https://www.aerin.or … y:entry221204-210258

The format is going to be:

Name — Brief Notes — Guess: — Like/Dislike — Reveal:

  1. GN (That’s me) — Classic toasted sugar, wood, roasted corn on the nose; all the telltale signs of a bourbon profile. Toasted caramel popcorn, vanilla, alcohol, and sugar on the palate. Cinnamon, baking spices and cigar smoke in the secondaries and aftertaste. Slightly drying seasoned sawdust at the very end — Guess: N/A — Yay — Reveal: Woodinville Bourbon, Hi-Time Wine Cellars SiB #1576, 61.94%
  2. TJ — The nose is spicy, dusty, drying, and nutty. Profile continues the trend of being spicy and nutty evoking bourbon thoughts in my imagination. It’s fiery and laden with wood. Loads of cinnamon and toasted pecans through the entire thing. That proof is literal fire and could be too much for some. I’ve added a drop of water to calm it down — Guess: Beam: Bookers. Uncertain second guess: Coy Hill high proof from Jack — Yay- — Reveal: Bookers 2022-04, Pinkie’s Batch, 61.20%
  3. Josh — Perfume, toasted corn and wood on the nose. Very sweet, yet woody, palate with loads of toasted vanilla. Definitely high proof. Spicy, peppery aftertaste that lingers with residual toasted sugar — Guess: Heaven Hill. Elijah Craig BP or Store Pick — Yay — Reveal: Redwood Empire, Pipe Dream Cask Strength Bourbon, MGP Blend, 58.4%
  4. IT — Punchy, mineral, spicy, slightly salty nose. It’s a rye! Clean, spicy, vanilla and wood palate, yet not overwhelmingly sweet. The ‘typical’ rye notes aren’t as dominant here so it drinks closer to bourbon instead. Lots of secondary notes that are highly enjoyable with warming spice and cooling mint. Subdued, lightly sweet, and unremarkable aftertaste that lingers around without doing much — Guess: Michter’s rye. Possibly: Canadian Rye: Found North? — Yay- — Reveal: Redwood Empire, Rocket Top Straight Rye BiB, Local Grain, 50%
  5. KM — I’m loving the nose, very classic bourbon, yet light and not ‘corny’. Whoa, that palate is punchy and spicy but still speaking bourbon flavors to me. The spice is nearly bitter, yet sufficiently balanced out by the rest. The flavor peaks and then mellows out into a very gentle, but sadly short aftertaste — Guess: Something wheated. Perhaps Maker’s BEP — Yay- — Reveal: Peerless Kentucky Straight Rye, 56.65%
  6. MBA — Punchy and spicy. High proof! Nutty with toasted wood, spicy and untamed flavors on the palate. Did I mention lots of wood? Long and meandering aftertaste with great tropical note at the very end — Guess: ECBP, for funsies: C923 — Yay — Reveal: Elijah Craig Barrel Proof, C923, 66.5%
  7. DW — Very punchy alcohol on the nose; perfume and toasted vanilla sugars. That palate is fiery coming into it cold but grows much better with repeated sips. It’s full of sweet spices and slightly drying. A lightly sour note goes through the palate suggesting a familiar distillery. Long lingering, dry, and spicy-hot aftertaste follows. Plenty of hot peppers in this one — Guess: Old Forester Barrel Proof — Meh+ — Reveal: Elijah Craig Private Barrel 8 years old, Royal Liquors “Joker’s Wild”, 65.45%
  8. MC — Salty-sweet umami nose, light smoke note, thought it’s likely the cask char. What seems like a typical sourced MGP note to me, high proof, high cinnamon and peppers. Lots of vanilla. Lingering and mouth coating. Very sweet and vibrant with fresh cask notes. A fiery dessert pour that I suspect it double-casked or finished in something — Guess: MGP-sourced. Nashville Barrel? Nulu Double Oak/Toasted? — Yay- — Reveal: Obtainium Canadian Whiskey 27 years old, Maple syrup barrel finish; 77.6%
  9. ?? — This brings a smile to my face. Almost certainly because I know this profile. Brown sugar, toasty vanilla, eucalyptus, mint, spice through the entire thing. Finish that lasts forever — Guess: 99% Certain this is an Old Potrero Malted Rye, Single Cask — Yay — Reveal: Old Potrero Malted Rye 9.3 years old, TW SP, 66.1%
  10. KJF — A rye-light nose that’s balanced out by sweet toasted wood. Both proofy and not overwhelmingly so. Lots and lots of wood notes in the mix, the rye is there but not domineering. Something familiar yet I’m unable to put my finger on it. Medium length aftertaste with lightly-drying wood yet again. Enjoyable and forgettable at the same time — Guess: Sagamore Rye SiB — Yay- — Reveal: Nulu Toasted Rye 6.5 years, MGP, TW SP, 60.2%
  11. SP — The runners in the glass for this are epic. Clean nose with lots of toast notes, a touch of mint. Medicinal. Seems like a rye, but I’m having doubts. Yet another one where spice is present but doesn’t dominate. Mouth-coating with with a notable note I’m not sure how to describe. Blueberries? Blackberries? Lingering aftertaste with more of that berry pie, cinnamon and toasted sweet wood — Guess: Kinda stumped. Likely American. Barrell? I can see this as a blend. Subtle Spirits? — Yay+ — Reveal: NBC Straight Rye (MGP) 6 years old, Golden Gate SP; 60.53%
  12. BT — Punchy, toasted wood on the nose. The absolutely first thought that popped into my head when I licked it in passing was ‘Blanton’s’, but it’s too proofy for regular one. Sweet & woody palate, lots of baking spices and cinnamon, but it’s sugar sweetness not corn syrup. High ‘perfume’ content, aromatic and punchy palate. Warming, enveloping aftertaste that lingers around — Guess: Maker’s Private Cask? Buffalo Trace: Weller Full Proof. Possibly: Stagg Jr — Yay- — Reveal: Jack Daniels Barrel Proof Rye, SiB, 64.25%
  13. SR — Something familiar, again. The nose is sweet toasted wood and vanilla powdered cinnamon sugar. More cinnamon and sugar on the palate. This reminds me of MGP bourbon profile. Cinnamon, vanilla and sugar all the way into the aftertaste. Not funky, highly enjoyable — Guess: MGP sourced… Remus. NBC. Clyde May’s 110. — Yay — Reveal: Michter’s Barrel Proof Rye, 54%
  14. PC — Sugar, vanilla and alcohol nose, not much else going on in there. Dripping, perfumed, agave syrup basically. Sweet, yet not very complex palate, balanced alcohol, yet still proof-forward as there’s nowhere to hide. Full of sweet and hot peppers. Same sweet & hot peppers continue into long aftertaste — Guess: Light whiskey of some kind. Unfinished obtainium. Balcones something? — Meh+ — Reveal: Frey Ranch Bourbon, PlumpJack SP, 64.23%
  15. KT — Smelling salts? Geez that nose is pungent. Mint, untamed alcohol, this smells like something from a workshop can. Sweet & punchy palate with light mint and spice notes. Same on the aftertaste — Guess: Obtainium Rye? Reminds me of Balcones Rye on profile though. — Nay! — Reveal: Frey Ranch Bourbon, WFM Norcal SP, 62.23%
  16. JDK — Familiar. Familiar. Floral palate, nose, aftertaste. Bourbon. Spices. Great body. — Guess: Four Roses — Yay- — Reveal: Four Roses Barrel Strength (OBSV), Sam’s Club PS, 53%
  17. KK — Familiar. Familiar. Floral palate, nose, aftertaste. Bourbon. Very Spicy. Minty. Woody. — Guess: Four Roses — Meh+ — Reveal: Four Roses Barrel Strength (OESF), Bevmo SP, 60.5%
  18. BL — Hot & floral nose. Sweet & hot palate with lots of toasted wood. Drying aftertaste that doesn’t do anything special, keeping the entire experience mostly in-line with itself and only varying in its intensity — Guess: Woodford Reserve High Proof — Yay- — Reveal: Old Forester Barrel Proof, QBB & Neat Drinkers Association SP, 65.55%
  19. TT — Great nose, lots of toasted vanilla sugar and wood notes. The palate… malt? Hot cherries? Aaaaand I’m fairly sure I know what this is. There are tons of bottles with similar profile, but i’ll go with what came to my head first — Guess: Aberlour A’Bunadh — Yay — Reveal: Glendronach CS Batch 10, 58.6%
  20. CB — Spicy and slightly nutty nose, subdued. Rye-light palate, mint, slight malty notes, nuttyness. Reminds me very vaguely of malted rye profile but super subtle. Long sweet and slightly spicy hot aftertaste that lingers — Guess: I cannot quite figure out if it’s a malt, a rye, or a bourbon! Hedging my bets here with all three. Shenks, WhistlePig, and wildcard malt being Amrut Malted Rye — Yay — Reveal: Stranahan’s Single Malt 10 year, Mountain Angel; 45.1%
  21. TV — *Very* corn-forward nose. High proof, corn-forward palate, vanilla and wood. Toasted cask notes dominate the palate and greatly contribute to the experience. Long aftertaste with gentle spices. — Guess: Maker’s Mark Private Cask — Meh+ — Reveal: Cali Gold, Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, SFBWSS SP, 59.5%
  22. VS — Very nice woody and somewhat proofy nose. Actually not that proofy palate. Sweet and vanilla-dominated balance with some more wood in the mix. Gentle, cereal and vanilla pancake lingering aftertaste — Guess: Blanton’s Gold — Yay+ — Reveal: Old Weller Antique/107, Beer Baron SP, 53.5%

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, November 26, 2023

Dailuaine 9, Tamdhu CS, Glen Scotia 8, Glen Keith 24, Hazelburn 12, almost finished!

The title refers to me almost catching up with reviews of pending open bottles and samples I have. Don’t be alarmed, there are more reviews planned ahead as well as a return of local gift exchange. With 22 samples this year this will be its own post, similar to the one I’ve covered just about a year ago… But, I digress. Here’s the usual mish-mash malt reviews from the shelf:

Dailuaine 9, Firkin Rare, K&L SP, 57.0
A Firkin Rare bottling in a ‘zebra’ custom cask of oloroso and amontillado sherry staves. Aged 9 years. The nose is both sweet and funky, with the overall impression tends towards a modern syrupy-sweetness mixed with somewhat sulfuric note instead. The palate is rather a wild ride of sweet graham cookies, toasted almonds, dark salted chocolate. Cinnamon starts mid-palate and continues into a reasonably long aftertaste. Water helps a lot here to tone down the alcohol somewhat and bring the flavor intensity down. Overall: Very complex and multi-layered though most of the flavors are surface-level primary ones. It lacks delicate secondaries, but more than makes up for that in cornucopia of bold flavors here. It’s fun, it’s young and it could be too weird for most with the age and cask combination. It’s a very loud and not-quite-in-tune band that plays songs that I do enjoy. I’ve reviewed Dailuaine before several times and have noted that it does take to sherry well as well as the fact that there doesn’t seem a shortage of their product on the market in all sorts of iterations of casks. This one seems to be an utter overkill on cask craft applied, bordering on some sort of madness, different woods, different sherries, different everything and it does seem like a very unique product… but ‘unique’ doesn’t always substitute for ‘good’. While this mostly worked out for the producer… this should be looked as an exception rather than the rule. Value: Priced at $79 for a 9 year single cask IB product… seems creeping into ‘yellow/warning’ part of the value spectrum.
Score: B (B+ w/ Water)

Tamdhu Batch Strength, Batch 2, 58.5%
“Exclusively matured in sherry casks”. This is clearly Tamdhu’s take on all-sherry matured cask proof NAS expression. Similar types of releases are also bottled by other distilleries in Speyside. The nose is lightly sulfuric, dry, sherry and alcohol. The palate, on the other hand, is quite sweet, frutty, slightly nutty and well spiced. Though it never quite reaches syrupy consistency it certainly got some viscosity in the glass. Well-oaked sweetness, vanilla, and peppery cinnamon close off respectfully long aftertaste. Overall: Warming, enjoyable and flavorful, this hits that ‘good but not memorable’ niche for me. It’s exactly the comfort drink that’s needed on a chilly evening when one wants that sweet, spiced, sherried pour. And it’s the type of pour that will be fondly remembered in generic brushstrokes as there doesn’t seem to be anything that truly stands in the glass. I personally have 3 or 4 other bottles right behind this one that will be just as good. All that said… Is it as good as the others that i’m trying real hard to not name in this niche? Yes, yes it is! Value: $130 at Total Wine solidly puts this into the the orange/high-warning area for value with comparables. This compares well with the review above… and that bottle is half the price.
Score: B+ (A- w/ water)

Glen Scotia 8, K&L SP, Rum Cask, 58.4%
An original, yet exclusive, bottling (is EB a thing, along with OB and IB?) Glen Scotia’s exclusive cask for K&L Wines # 20/329-3, aged in ex-bourbon and finished in demerara rum cask. Aside: Glen Scotia is the somewhat under-appreciated distillery in Campbeltown, the home of Springbank and Glengyle/Kilkerran. I also happen to have some mixed feelings on Glen Scotia’s bottles… I feel that their quality is inconsistent with some bottlings being amazing and some being mediocre. Anyways, back to this! It really benefits from sitting in a glass for about 10 mins to open up. The nose got salt and iodine, a very light whiff of smoke, and lots of vanilla notes between punchy alcohol and prominently fresh oak. It’s lively and pungent. Sweet vanilla, tropical fruits and minerality on the palate slide into sichuan peppers almost immediately. It’s also impressively viscous for the age. Essentially zero peat or smoke that I can detect on the palate or aftertaste. The secondaries got grassiness and funk from rum and more lovely peppers. Medium-length aftertaste follows with more of the same from the palate. Overall: A treat for the senses; this is lively, fun, enjoyable and sweet, while being punchy and spicy. Think ginger-forward tropical fruit salad. I expected it to be peated, yet it’s not. Very solid offering here. The age is a little young, but when it tastes this good… I don’t care. I will note that it mostly falls apart with water. Value: I don’t regret paying $89 for this at the retailer.
Score: B+

Glen Keith 24, The Munros, K&L SP, 55.6%
The munros line has an interesting story. The stocks were brought into NYC by a defunct importer, the gentleman owner had unfortunately passed away, and then languished in the warehouse for years. K&L was able to grab a large chunk of the stock on clearance and then offer it to the consumers are very affordable price. I don’t see a lot of Glen Keith out there under its own name as majority goes into Chivas/Ballantine’s blends. Also this is a Speyside distillery! This particular cask was distilled in 1993 and bottled in 2017. Aged in a dump hogshead which is a slightly smaller sized cask than a typical hogshead. Let’s dig in! Characteristic red apples and ripe pineapple, with some zesty freshness on the nose. Sweet and highly tropical palate, retains some of the citrus to balance out the sugar. Buttery vanilla with some hebatiousness follows. The aftertaste is a bit of a standout here that lasts for a very long time. It starts with that sweet butter, then slowly come in the spices, with peppers and gingers leading the way then slowly it fades away into a touch of sweet lime. Overall: I’m not sure here. On one hand… it’s old, it’s good tasting and it’s a fruit bomb. On the other hand… it’s not very exciting. Perhaps my palate is too pedestrian to recognize greatness? Or perhaps the flavors are wound so tightly as to lose any meaningful separation? I’m not sure. It’s an honest malt that doesn’t have anything particularly wrong with it. After having a bit of chocolate, the answer may have come to me. There’s a great deal of cask influence that hides in here. If you take away the sweetness balance, it’s basically bitter which may explain why i feel weird about this one. A grapefruit of malt I suppose. Value: A 24 year old single cask priced at $109!? Oh hell yes. A screaming good deal. Unfortunately, the description is a copy from Glen Grant bottling and is consequently wrong :(
Score: C
Edit: I’ve adjusted the above grade down to a solid C in retrospect and ended up using the rest of the bottle in a “Canyon Blend” with some young sherry bomb leftovers… Which made the Glen Keith taste infinitely more interesting than the original version. Yay for home blends…

Hazelburn 12, Distillery Exclusive, 58.5%
Distilled on 11/6/2010. Hazelburn isn’t actually a real distillery but part of Springbank that uses historical name of a real distillery to bottle their product. I’m also led to believe that Hazelburn is typically unpeated. So basically springbank experimentation with different things. Thank you, friend Charu for the sample. Dusty and funky sweet wood on the nose. Like a dry wood pile or a whiskey aging wearhouse on low humidity, or a woodshop. The palate is super creamy and buttery, with drying vanilla notes yet again backed by somewhat bitter baking spice mix… just when you think it’s over… something magical happens and the malt absolutely explodes into tropical flavors. Coconut, pineapple, mango, it’s a literal fruit punch of sweet flavors. All the spice and the wood are gone, just like a curtain being flung aside. Which leads to sweet and lingering aftertaste with all those fruits, just like drinking light tropical punch that’s also punching you in the face with alcohol. With water the flavors are more integrated together and no longer offer that bonkers shift from dry wood to tropical sugars. Overall: It’s somewhat above average for the first half of the experience and then absolutely sublime in the second half. Which makes me a little torn on how to grade it. Still, it’s bloody good! Value: N/A. Distillery exclusive bottle for export.
It’s this guy: https://www.whiskyba … 16213/hazelburn-2010
Score: A-

Scoring Breakdown: https://www.aerin.or … age=scores_breakdown