Sunday, June 25, 2023

Glen Ord 8, Balmenach 10, Glengoyne 16, Glenturret 17, Bimber SB; Malty Mixed Bag

Glen Ord 8, Hart Brothers, K&L SP, 57.5%
A 2013 Glen Ord aged in 1st fill sherry butt by Hart Brothers. Delicious sherried nose, stewed fruits and brown sugar with some sherry sweetness and a touch of spiced vanilla. This is more of a modern sherry profile but it still got some of the spicy funky complexity notes still mixed in with more straightforward modern profile. Delicious sherry-forward palate that starts sweet and escalates into woody spice while losing most of its sweetness, yet never becoming dry. Warming lingering lightly salted syrup laden with gentle baking spices in aftertaste. Yet again not dry but more of a toasted sweet vanilla cookie. Water amps the bitterness note and arguably not needed as this drinks way below its proof. Overall: Enjoyable sherry bomb that imminently drinkable. I wish that malt could shine a little brighter here but the sherry is quite good in its profile so there’s not much to complain about. Arguably best Hart Brothers bottle I’ve tried so far. Straightforward and enjoyable flavor explosion for sherry lovers. Just avoid putting water into it. Value: Priced at $50 this is a ‘heck yeah’ of a deal.
Score: B+

Balmenach 10, Hart Brothers, K&L SP, 58.8%
A 2011 Balmenach from Hart Brothers, aged in 1st filled port pipe. A side note on color, for a port pipe this is actually quite lightly colored comparably and looks more like an ex-bourbon than port in the glass. On the nose, chocolate, pine needles, very potent alcohol. The palate is sweet with some port notes, but it’s mostly about the malt. Cask character does comes through but doesn’t dominate, syruped and spiced cherries coated with chocolate is the best approximation. That aftertaste is a literal ball of hot spice slowly rolling downhill. Literally nowhere to hide from alcohol here but it’s sure is a flavor bomb on the level of malted rye. Oh and it unfortunately falls apart with water. Overall: This is my second Balmenach cask and both are absolute flavor monsters. Perhaps it’s something with the malt itself. In the end, subtle this isn’t but it’s got *character*. I really wish it was not a port cask but good refill sherry, then it’d be positively stunning. I’ll wager that this is quite a polarizing bottling. Value: Priced at $75 it’s a pretty solid deal nowadays on pricing…
Score: B

Glengoyne 16, Old Particular, K&L SP, 59.1%
A 2005 Glengoyne from Old Particular, aged in refill hogshead. The nose is cracked pepper key lime pie. Palate is vanilla custard-smooth with tons of malt, yet not too sweet, hints of white peach and apricots appear somewhere there. Aftertaste is long and initially very active with pepper and cinnamon. The spices then tame down to a lingering sichuan pepper note. Water doesn’t seem to do much here, though perhaps allows a little more fruit to shine. Overall: Fruity, malty, and peppery mix that’s fun to drink. Value: Priced at $80 this is very solid value for the specs. If I recall, I was tempted to pick it up, being generally a fan of the distillery but opted not to.
Score: B+

Glenturret 17, Old Particular, K&L SP, 55.8%
A 2004 Glenturret from Old Particular, aged in sherry puncheon. Nose and color is very unmistakably sherry-driven. There’s also some sweet woodiness on the nose, meaning it’s not an absolute sherry bomb. Palate is quite… woody, with vanilla and toasted nutty note, almost completely ignoring it’s sherry influence. Very long and lingering aftertaste with spicy ginger and baking spices. There’s an interesting note at the very back of the aftertaste, that of a hot chocolate mix (nesquik comes to mind here) that I’m quite enjoying but it is subtle and gets lost behind spices easily if you’re not expecting it. Water amps the sweetness and offsets some of the drying spice, very recommended. Overall: Nice off-profile sherry cask that’s not too sweet but leans towards toasted wood notes instead, perhaps bordering on tannins. With water it’s definitely better and becomes a spiced chocolate-forward, enjoyable pour. Value: Priced at $99 this is a reasonable deal, especially for the age, uncommon distillery and a sherry cask.
Score: B (B+ w/ water)

Bimber Small Batch #3, 51.6%
A sample courtesy of friend Ivan. Ex-bourbon small batch from Bimber, which is actually bottled at cask strength. Fruity, perfume-forward, slightly spicy malt note with tropical notes, fried plantains come to mind and squarely put me in front of a plate of cuban food in my imagination. Some kind of green tropical fruit medley/fruit salad on the palate with that starts sweet but unfortunately thin and subtle, which is disappointing after punchy and interesting nose. Baking spices, cloves and peppers take over mid-palate continuing into the aftertaste. Medium length aftertaste with pepper and cinnamon, few wisps of wood char also appear. Overall: This is a flavorless plantain chip that’s been dusted with spice mix. I am not loving the combination. Youth of majority of the components and thin mouthfeel doesn’t mesh with spicy palate and aftertaste. Almost everything from the malt is completely overwhelmed by the cask spices after the first sip. The nose is great but there’s no interesting substance past that. It gets more and more unbalanced on the palate each time. Value: Priced at $100 for a NAS this is easily priced on par with a well-known blender that is named something-box. I’ll put this at ‘average-at-best’ for value, leaning towards not being worth it for a young NAS.
Score: C

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