Saturday, December 5, 2020

Scallywag, Highland Park, Lost Blend, Bunnahabhain PX Unique malt samples 1

Over the course of my wheelings and dealings in the bourbon world… (read: meeting random folks from whiskey groups and whatnot) I try to share as many samples as possible to both spread the joy and allow others to try things they may not had an opportunity to do so in the past… Similarly, others are oftentimes willing to share samples with me. So I tend to accumulate random mini-bottles that contain whiskey. As the reader may have surmised from my more recent reviews I have enough to start grouping things into ‘themed’ articles but there are also plenty that don’t fit in with any others… So, no themed reviews today… just random samples…

Douglas Laing Scallywag Blend Special Edition 13 years old
EDIT after writing the below and doing a 10 seconds of research… This is supposed to be sherried!? I did leave it in the glass for probably solid 30 mins and somehow in that time all the sherry was gone. Trying it fresh from the bottle brings all the sherry back. I’m so confused. Okay okay… Seems I’m not crazy… after letting this breethe for solid 20+ minutes most of the sherry notes do disappear into peppery maltiness. Such a two-faced whiskey… quite interesting indeed.
Original: A blend of Speyside whiskeys with youngest being 13 years old, 46% abv and, if i recall correctly, this happens to be a special age-stated 13, edition. Malt malt malt on the nose. Reminds me of Longmorn 14. light citrus malt character. On the palate same light citrus malt from the nose but now with some noticeable notes of sweet vanilla from the oak. Not very sweet, if I had to describe this in terms of recent drinks… this is a mix of Longmorn 14 and Auchroisk 24 while being a little bit less concentrated than either due to 46% abv. Some white pepper spiciness works well and the aftertaste is quite pleasant, even if its not spectacular. Basically lemon meringue pie with vanilla custard, mostly hold the sugar? Very very pleasant malt. Water doesn’t do much other than open it up to more white pepper without the age or proof to balance it out. I’m torn on the grading… On one hand I really like both of the whiskeys I’ve mentioned… on the other… it’s not quite as good as either of them separately (though admittedly both are single cask bottles). If you want a great example of refill refill Speysider (without sherry or fancy barrel magic) this one may be easier to chase down than single barrel bottles of Old Malt Cask… because great things are rarely easy.
Score: B

Highland Park 8, McPhail’s Collection 43%abv
Prefacing this that I’m not a fan of young peat that has no sherry.
The nose got wisps of smoke and some stewed fruit though the relative youth of the malt makes itself known after a few minutes. The palate… is smoke, trending towards savory flavors with almost zero sweetness or vanilla. Aftertaste and second half of the palate unfortunately falls into unpleasant spicy bitterness that I’m really not a fan of but perhaps some may be. Unfortunately without anything outstanding about this whatsoever, this isn’t good to me. It may appear to the narrow overlap portion of Venn diagram that like both Highland Park, young malt, and refill barrels but even still I think there are better options available. Give me a nice 1st fill sherry Highland Park single cask and then we may talk.
Score: D

Compass Box Lost Blend
Blend: 70.8% Clynelish, 22% Caol Ila, 7.5% Alt-A-Bhainne… Bottled at 46% abv.
Oh Compass Box… The first and mostly only company that consistently puts out good blended whiskey. Sure, plenty of others have put out good blends, but consistently great ones? Yeah nobody, that I’m aware of. This particular bottle is a tribute to one of their first blends called “Eleuthera” for which the components are no longer available in quantities to sustain production. So seeing that they were able to get their hands on a small amount, a limited run this is! Read more details here: https://www.compassb … kies/index.php?id=14 … Also as per modus operandi this has Clynelish… Compass Box really likes their Clynelish in the blends but who can blame them, really? It’s a great multilayered whiskey that does extremely well as a middle layer of flavor to build on… Anyways!!! Smoke and light citrus fruits on the nose as well as tons of malty notes. The palate is more citrus, with some smoke and malt, but surprisingly low sweetness; all in balance, leaning towards nearly-sour notes. Perhaps smoked lemon drops, reduced sugar would be a good description? The aftertaste brings light nutty bitterness which once again works great with light Clynelish smoke and malt flavors. This reminds of summer shandy (beer+lemonade), but in a whiskey bottle. Bring it to your summer getaway and you won’t be disappointed.
Score: B (B+ if it’s summertime)

Bunnahabhain Pedro Ximenez Finish 54%
Note: No age info given on the sample. It is probably this, though it’s not a 100% guarantee: https://www.whiskyba … 30/bunnahabhain-2003
Finishing up this set of reviews in style! The nose is salt brick and stewed fruits from the sherry with peppered bits and a tiny whisper of tobacco. Perhaps lightly-smoked dried figs or dates if I had to call it out. I can keep on smelling this for quite a while. The mouth is pure indulgence of sherry, thick, syrupy, oh so delicious, definitely dried fig preserves is what I’m tasting now. Few wisps of smoke, but almost unnoticeable under all that cloying sherry, I’m probably imagining them as its supposed to be unpeated. Almost too sweet, the aftertaste lasts a long while and it feels just as if I ate a spoonful of caramelized fig preserves that were covered with burnt sugar caramel. Amazing dessert or after-dinner drink and I would take any day…. But it’s basically a high-proof syrup. I love the sample but I’m not sure I would love the entire bottle of it.
Score: B+

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