Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Dalmore Cigar, Convalmore, Balvenie SiB, Kilkerran 2017, Ohishi Malts Madness

More samples to deal with before I drown in little bottles! Samples have been generously provided by friends,Michael, Jeremy, Logan…

Dalmore Cigar Malt, 44%
Ah general release Balmore. You’re terribly priced and terribly proofed for most of the regular releases. I wonder what does Cigar Malt version offer… For context this is supposed to be paired up with a cigar, if it wasn’t obvious from the name. At least it’s 44% abv for a change. Assuming that this is the new Cigar Malt reserve, and not the discontinued more than a decade ago original edition. Dalmore uses a slightly older base stock of Dalmore whisky and age it in previously used American bourbon casks, Matusalem sherry (which is an enriched 30-year-aged sherry) casks, and the new addition of cabernet sauvignon casks. The spirits are matured independently, and then blended in a 20% / 70% / 10% proportion respectively to make up the Cigar Malt Reserve we see here today. Sherry funk and concentrated flavors on the nose; old leather and wood, some dark dried fruits, prunes, cranberries and cherries are there. The palate falls somewhat flat from that luxurious nose, with mostly wood, bourbon spices, and some savoriness. Medium length aftertaste with baking spice and little charred wood lingering in the back. Overall: One-sided and drinkable neat but perhaps does pair better with a cigar. Value: At $150 in total wine… No, just no.
Score: B+

Convalmore 22, Distilled in 1984 Gordon & MacPhail 52.2%
“Convalmore 1984 22 Year Old Cask #1538 is the official title”. An old bottling of Convalmore by G & M. intense old ex-bourbon nose, though likely a refill cask as it seems a little on the thinner side on the color, with tons of green apples and pears. Slightly nutty palate with orchard fruits and a bit of spice catching up. Medium aftertaste with lightly pears lightly dusted with pepper dominating. Overall: I’ve expected more. This is basically an Old Malt Cask that is tasty and above the average for the peers, not a standout. Value: No clue on the price, but findable only on auction.
Score: B+

Balvenie 12, SiB # 5310, 47.8%
This is in-fact Balvenie 12 Yr Single Barrel Old First Fill Bourbon Cask. Looks like ex-bourbon from the color. Intense and quite spicy green pear arugula and almond salad on the nose dusted with parmesan cheese. The palate is quite subtle comparably, malted butter cookies, hold the sugar. The aftertaste comes back with more white pepper and is quite long if somewhat subtle. Overall: Enjoyable in its subtle-ness, and I like Balvenie usually, but this one is just too young and not a good cask in my opinion. Value: Listed in Total Wine at $84.99, with cask quality variable it’s still an average value. Any more and it’d be a bad value.
Score: B-

Kilkerran 8 Cask Strength 2017 Limited, Ex-Bourbon, 56.2%
Kilkerran is a Springbank’s experimental facility so all sorts of interesting things come out of it. I’ve reviewed a sherried one a bit ago, quite favorably. https://www.aerin.or … y:entry210627-201643 Anyways, this is ex-bourbon variation, released in 2017 or so. Light sweet peat smoke, intense orchard fruits with typical green apple-pear nose. Sweet and savory with good kick of sweet smoke and spice. It’s like smoked crunchy bits from Texas BBQ. The aftertaste is more of the palate slowly fading. Overall: This is great, even if peat isn’t my thing. Somehow this manages to be flavorful enough and not overpowered by the smoke, yet the smoke is still there in spades. This bottle is legit. Value: This was ridiculously priced in 2017 at 45 Euro… That’s… amazing value. Anywhere sub $90 is a good price for this.
Score: A-

Ohishi 7, SCWC / K&L Pick, 41.5%
A Southern California Whiskey Club and K&L Store pick single cask this is a 7 year old rice whiskey finished in Madeira Cask. By the way this is basically a soju/shochu, not a malted barley whiskey but at least this is a single cask. Strong madeira wine notes on the nose. More wine on the palate that’s quite lacking on the secondary flavors. Wine finish all the way down. Yet again noting, this is a rice whiskey so this automatically makes any secondary notes quite light. Overall: Quite solid amount of flavor for the proof and is rather good blend of Madeira notes from likely a good madeira cask. Unfortunate lack of malt makes me think of neutral alcohol with wine influence. Top pick at a bar, combine this with plenty of food and this is a winner. Solo contemplative drink this isn’t… unless you really like fortified madeira. Value: At $80… this is an confusing proposition for a rice whiskey… but considering the pedigree, the finish and the fact this is a single cask this is probably a passable value for the checkbox.
Original Listing: https://www.klwines.com/p/i?i=1595456
Score: B+

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