Thursday, May 26, 2022

Croftengea, Westport, Kavalan Vinho, Ardmore Samples

More samples than I know what to do with… other than review them as I consume them. As usual thanks for the samples to friends Logan and Shaun.

Croftengea 16, Single Cask Nation, 51.2%
This is one of the several brands that comes off Loch Lomond stills. This particular one was aged in a single Ex-bourbon cask and distilled in 2005. Nose is delectably ex-bourbon orchard fruits with a whiff of sweet and fruity smoke. Well spiced, fruity and slightly ashy mouthfeel that’s quite thick on it’s texture. It really is a bit of a liquid cigar as the best way to describe it. Lots of warming sichuan peppers in the aftertaste that are balanced off by malt sweetness and light smoke. Overall: It’s a liquid cigar pretty much. This is quite enjoyable if a bit dry and ashy at certain points. Doesn’t quite reach the awesomeness of Kilkerran but it sure tries. Extremely enjoyable situationally just like a cigar is enjoyable to a non-smoker sometimes. Value: As with most SCN’s likely about average.
Score: B+

Westport 16, Single Cask Nation, 50.6%
Westport is another name for Glenmorangie btw ;) not to dilute the brand name it’s most often used with independent bottlings or private labels. Distilled in 2005 this is aged in 2nd fill oloroso sherry cask. The nose is gloriously malty with a whiff of oloroso sherry funk and nutty spice. The palate is exactly the sugar-toasted and lightly spiced nuts that my palate goes nuts for, alternatively… it’s ‘charred orange’. Quite long aftertaste with more spice, some charred wood, malt and tons of sichuan peppers at some point lingering forever. Overall: This is rather good, especially if burnt orange zest if right for you as is the overall profile for Glenmorangie. The mid-palate is very slightly chopped off at the rise and but more than makes up for in the a cohesive experience. This reminds me of Glenmorangie 18 from early 2010s, with candied spiced walnuts all the way. Value: As with every Single Cask Nation, slightly above average.
Score: A-

Kavalan Solist, Vinho Barrique, 57.1%
A single cask Kavalan? One of the fancier casks? Hell yeah! Thank you, friend Logan! Obviously it’s wine cask and barrique is just it’s size. The nose is hot and full of wine notes and red fruits. Primarily red cherries and fresh plums mixed with prunes. The palate is scorchingly hot which is surprising for a single malt and being sub 60% avb, the baking spices, more red fruits, and healthy dose of sichuan peppers. The peppers continue into a medium length aftertaste and leave with a small tingle on the tongue. Overall: Very enjoyable… but… I wouldn’t call this cask amazing. It’s like a very peppery Starward single cask and those are quite findable… On the other hand, kavalan vinho… good luck. Value: Horrible awful no good value on these bottles. Kavalan single casks are already overpriced and the premium cask like Vinho carries an extra… Accept pours all night long. Don’t pay for these.
Score: B+

Mystery Sample…
Blinds are a great equalizer… A mystery sample from friend Logan… I wonder what can it be… So knowing a little bit about Logan’s… price range… this can be *literally anything* though there’s good chance it’s ‘fancy’ or at the very least different. Well; the nose… smells a lot like the French Malted Rye i got from DHG that was aged in Macvin (herbal wine) casks… it basically smells like aromatic dry herb mix or a very funky herbal tea. The palate… is flatter than a lot of cask proof stuff… suggesting 40-46% abv. The notes are quite complex with full of heavily roasted nuts and orange zest with some sweetness, yet again suggesting a mix of things. It’s definitely a malt though… The aftertaste is medium and a little drying; that dry sawdust sensation sticks around for a while now and is not unwelcome. Overall: This could be sherried but it also tastes a bit like a blend… What it could actually be… I have absolutely no idea, this doesn’t taste quite like anything else I’ve had other than the nose. That being said… If I had to guess I am getting a solid whiff of burnt orange here… which may suggest Glenmorangie thought it’s not anywhere near the concentration of single casks. Totally random guess: Glenmorangie 25.
After some talking… It’s this: https://www.whiskyan … dro-al-navile-ws0038 A 12 year old Speysider from the 90s bottled for Italian restaurant at 40% abv. While Logan thinks it could be Macallan, my personal guess based on more info and palate is Glenfiddich.
Score: N/A (Solid B+)

Ardmore 23, Single Cask Nation, Rechar Hogshead, 52.5%
An Ardmore from 1997 in a refreshed cask. There be peat in there but overall this seems good. Peat and salty vanilla on the nose with a good dose of fruitiness for bourbon hogshead, salty fruit compote basically. There’s smoky, salty, sweet, almost bubbly palate on this one. It reminds me somehow of a good and very dark smoked porter. Long aftertaste with lingering ashy smoke that lasts for a very long time though overall the aftertaste is quite subtle and fades quickly outside of the smoke notes. Focusing only on the aftertaste, it is rather ashy and drying and reminds of a ashtray which isn’t a good association. Overall: Interesting for peat folks and I really want to like it but it just doesn’t do it for me due to smoking association. That memory aside, it’s rather excellent drinking in its own way that’s full of flavor and would certainly please almost everyone that likes some peat in their glass. Value: As with every Single Cask Nation, slightly above average.
Score: B+

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