Friday, September 24, 2021

Glenfarclas, Ben Nevis, North British, Tamdhu

Glenfarclas 18, 43%
An original distillery bottling that’s not available in USA… this 18 years old is from UK (and is also 1L)… Everything else is very likely standard stuff including the liquid inside. I’ve reviewed the 12 before briefly and while it was a crowd-pleaser, it wasn’t very memorable. I hope that the 18 will buckle a trend, The nose is in-my-face malty with some sherry and bourbon spice notes. Dried apricots and prunes are there as expected as well as a bit of wet rubber smell (in a good way). The palate is a little on the thinner side texturally but more than makes up for in nutty bitter sweet vanilla palate as expected out of a highlander. Still more malt and surprisingly a bit of salt come up in the aftertaste so abv isn’t a too detrimental to this. Overall: It’s a workable daily drink with reasonably alcohol/flavor balance that transcends @work drinking but doesn’t quite reach ‘in front of the fire with a glass’. Share it with a neighbour that wants to get into Scotch… they’d love it. Drink it casually while watching TV… It is a workhorse that performs well but will not win any races. Value: I got it for about $60 open… and it’s $80+ closed so the value is reasonably solid here for an 18 year old single malt.
Score: B

Ben Nevis 21, Faultline, 46.4%
A Faultline (private label of K&L) bottling of a 21 year old Ben Nevis from 1995… This comes by way of friend Charu… who is generous enough to share some of his deep collection with me on occasion. The nose is all vanilla and malt with some kind of apricot or dried orchard fruit compote mixed in. Creamy consistency with basically pecan pie flavor with some fruit underlay, mango perhaps. Unbelievable. The aftertaste is the only real let down fading fast into some mellow spice and vanilla notes. Overall… A rare gem in the ‘they don’t make them like they used to’ category of a bourbon cask single malt. Value: At $89… that’s incredibly good value at the age price and vintage. I cannot believe I didn’t get a bottle of this myself.
Score: B+

North British 30. Single Grain. Old Particular. 49.4%
Another Old Particular Single Grain by way of K&L. Single Grain is… It’s own beast and often leads to… surprisingly amazing or mediocre results but I digress. Nose is deliciously butter citrus cookie as is common with grains with lemon meringue or curd shining through. Palate is marzipan, more lemon curd, nutmeg and clove spices; it is quite sweet and potent to boot. Aftertaste: Sweet nuttyness with tropical fruits primarily mango and pineapple dominating and of course some spiced ginger. Overall: Good, unique, tasty and not a slouch this is certainly also a niche drink, with grains being essentially aged neutral spirit, typically into the direction of vodka or bourbon-like distillation process. Is it tasty? Yes… Is it for everyone? No! Value… I got it at $120 or so and I think it’s alright for the age overall buuuut single grains aren’t prominently priced to begin with so I’d judge it at about average due to being 30 years old (especially few years ago when some fantastic single grain bottles went through K&L inventory at $80-$140).
Score: B

Ben Nevis 7; 2013; Redacted (Thompson/Dornoch) Brothers 50%
A small sample shared for me for a review. Even though I try not to review same distillery multiple times. It’s a shame to not do it since it’s already there. Incredibly funky on the nose… My wife described it as “a mix of Windex, rubbing alcohol and paint stripper”… and while I certainly don’t believe it’s quite that, the nose does have that whiskey-flavored alcohol wipe sort of notes when sniffed. This also happens to be the youngest Scotch that I’ve ever tried at least to my knowledge. On the palate the story is actually entirely different. Waxy red apple skins dominate the entire palate almost to the point of soapiness (but not quite). Followed by some sherry sweetness and nutty spice character. It’s almost that feels like some sort of salinity is fighting with sherry sweetness on the palate. With repeat sips… I feel like more soap is coming to the front. Medium length aftertaste is pleasant and is quite sherry-dominant again fading slowly into pleasant peppery warmth. Overall: Very interesting, if disjoint between the nose and the rest of the palate and aftertaste experience that is rather unique. Value: This was $60 which is about the area I would have expected to pay for a 8 year old independent single cask… OK value i guess.
Score: B

Tamdhu 19, Old Malt Cask, 50.3%
Another Old Malt Cask… A refill of a refill of a refill likely of a color of pale straw. Nose is green apples in the store, perfume, bubble gum, vanilla. Palate is zippy with malt, more apples, some honey, even more vanilla. With time in the glass this develops into peppered honeycomb with perhaps just a touch of anice. Aftertaste is medium with brown sugar vanilla and oatmeal cookies, some pepper and a bit more of honeycomb. Overall, delicious for those that are seeking an interesting and subtle refill scotch and this certainly delivers layers and layers of delicate flavors. Value: This was $80 so this is super solid yes on value side with a 19 year old malt. As a personal experiment, I’ve added a few drops of sherried Clynelish to this pour… O.M.G.
Score: B+

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