Wednesday, 18 June 2014

The Naked Grouse - 40%

I took a punt on this blend ages ago after hearing some positive Twitter chatter. I cornered the feathery blighter in a local supermarket and swiftly managed to grab it before it scarpered - and nabbed it for a decent price to boot. It's the first Famous Grouse I've tried and it turned out to be a thoroughly respectable dram, based around whisky from Macallan and Highland Park.
    On the nose there's a definite sherry character, but it's actually quite subtle. I also got scents of eucalyptus, mint, strawberry jam, toasted granary bread, prunes and cocoa. I also got a whiff of smoked ham.
    The palate wasn't exactly complex, but some of those sherry notes returned, along with a lovely thick jam note, making this an incredibly easy-drinking whisky.
    The finish was almost cake-like, thanks to that recurring sweet jam note which was accompanied by a slight yeasty taste. It was a bit short, though, but that didn't really put a dampener on this perfectly decent dram.
    So there you have it, a perfectly good blend for a nice price. Don't let that whisky snob in you prevent you from tasting this. It's fruity, easy drinking and makes a great session dram.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Glengoyne Teapot Dram: Batch 2, bottle 228/3200 - 58.5%

If you've been following this blog for a while, you might remember I had a thoroughly enjoyable visit to Glengoyne last August, where I sampled several top quality drams and had a nose about the picturesque distillery. I left that Sunday clutching a bottle of the Teapot Dram (a distillery only bottling), which I've actually just finished - see, I'm really not necking whisky by the gallon. It definitely took a long time to hit the spot, this one, and while it's not the best whisky in the world, I enjoyed my time with the bottle.
    On the nose the sherry influence is immediately apparent, with pungent dried fruits assaulting the senses. After the initial punch, there's loads of dark caramel, chocolate, toasted oak, black cherries, a whiff of creme brulee, cranberry juice and a savoury note which reminded me of fresh coriander.
    On the palate, there was cinnamon, orange peel, bitter dark chocolate, honey, cloves, peppery mustard seeds and heavy tannins.
    The finish was full of chocolate, vanilla, stewed tea, more dried fruit, brown sugar and caramelised banana.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

AnCnoc 12 - 40%

Last year, I was walking home from work, when I spotted a bottle of AnCnoc 12 on display in the window of my local Oddbins. In need of something light and fruity to counterbalance the peat monsters I had been quaffing, I nipped in and purchased a bottle for a thoroughly respectable £30.
    Bottles of whisky usually last ages in my house, but I enjoyed this so much, that it was polished off within a couple of weeks. Before you start to worry about my alcohol consumption, I'll take this opportunity to point out that I had some help and my friends actually enjoyed far more of the bottle than I did!
    I took down some tasting notes at the time and recently compared them to a dram I had in the pub, so I thought it was high time I updated the blog with my findings.
    On the nose, the AnCnoc 12 is light and fresh with beautiful floral notes dancing around the rim of the glass. There's honey, too, along with barley, orange, grapefruit and fresh ginger. Leave it to settle for a while, and the scent of fizzy sherbet lemons are unmistakable.
    The palate wasn't too complex, but it's a cracking summer light and clean dram, full of vanilla and honey notes. The finish served up more complexity than the palate would have you believe and I got tastes of herbal tea, liquorice, honey and fruit, while a lovely grassy/hay note tied everything together.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

A Brace of Bruichladdich - Part 4

Time to wrap-up this mini-series on Bruichladdich with two peaty belters: the Port Charlotte Scottish Barley and the Octomore 5-year-old: Edition 0.61. As you can tell from the previous entries, I've been quite impressed with the range, with only the Black Art not quite suiting my palate, but it's the peated versions which I've really been looking forward to, so here we go.

Port Charlotte Scottish Barley - 50%
On the nose there's obviously peat smoke, but dig down and there are some wonderful smells to be found. There's bourbon biscuits, sweet baked lemon, smokey bacon crisps, burnt brown toast, orange-flavoured icing, a hint of vanilla, damp leaves, warm sand, tequila, caramel, a freshly struck match and a faint rubber note.
    On the palate, initially there's a delicious honey sweetness, which slowly transforms into burning twigs and leaves and there's an interesting sweet and sour note wrapped up in the glass, too. It's also quite spicy and that rubber note from the nose returns, although it should be noted it's nowhere near as intense as that found in the Balcones Brimstone or the Ardbeg Ardbog. After a while I also picked up some rye notes, burnt toffee and liquorice.
    The finish was full of smoke, sour wood, cinnamon, vanilla rock, honey and aniseed, while a deep caramel note rounded things off perfectly.

Octomore 5-year-old: Edition 0.61 - 57%
The Octomore might be peated to within an inch of its life, but this was surprisingly restrained in the glass - definitely no intense peat blast here. Instead, the peat gives a wonderful complexity to the spirit and I got some amazing aromas, with plums, strawberry jam, banana, bitter dark chocolate, caramel, tobacco, tequila, thick honey and a wee bit of ash wafting from the glass.
    The taste of this stuff was quite something and swishing it around my salivating gob was an experience. It's oily, and tastes of thick treacle and sweet honey and after a few minutes, the most beautiful chocolate notes materialised, in the shape of rich chocolate cake and coffee creams. The fun didn't stop there and before long burned dry wood, ash and mint came through. It was incredibly smooth, despite the high alcohol content and could easily be drunk neat.
    The finish kept the chocolate character going, with rich ganache coating the back of the tongue along with honey, bonfire smoke and vanilla. I even noticed a wee bit of Bowmore-style flat Irn-Bru.
    A truly wonderful dram and, despite the sunny weather in this part of the world, my mind immediately jumped ahead to winter, where this would be amazing on a cold, snowy night. I need a full bottle of this now!

Monday, 2 June 2014

A Brace of Bruichladdich - Part 3

Amazingly, this is my 100th post on The Whisky Moose and throughout the past 99 entries, I've sampled some incredible drams. Can this latest duo of Bruichladdichs make their mark? Pour a glass, settle back and then we'll begin...

Bruichladdich 22 - 46%
This took a wee bit of time to open up, but my patience was rewarded with some amazing aromas rising from the glass. There was thick, oaky honey, blackberries, strawberries, blackcurrant jam, salted peanuts, sugar-glazed donuts, dried banana chips and something like the smell from the inside of a well used pencil case.
    The palate was packed with salty syrup, jammy fruit, mint leaves, black coffee, orange oil, lemon curd and white grapes.
    The finish was dry and packed with marzipan, lemon, rich dark fruit, walnuts, oaky caramel and black tea. Wonderful stuff all round.

Bruichladdich 23-year-old 1990 Black Art 04.1 - 49.2%
Now, it has to be said that I have tried this once before and didn't really get on with it. That said, that was at a whisky festival after several other drams, so I was prepared to dive in again to see if a second dip would change my mind.
    The Black Art smelled amazing and I had my nose in the glass for a good 20 minutes before I took a sip. It's jam-packed with dark stewed fruit notes such as ripe, juicy plums, blackcurrants, baked apples and dates. As if that wasn't enough, there was also damson jam, sweet vanilla, fruit cake, malt loaf, a sprinkling of salt, a spoonful of cough medicine and sweet pipe tobacco. Wow.
    Taking a sip and swirling it around was a taste sensation, with loads of treacle toffee, intense stewed fruit, thick orange oil, tobacco, espresso and creme brulee.
    So far so good, but the finish let the whole thing down for me. While it was dry and spicy with chocolate cake and cigars, the wine cask influence just left me with a bad taste in my mouth.
    This wasn't exactly headline news, as I just can't get to grips with whisky which has spent time in wine or port casks - despite liking wine and port. Every one I've tried, I have disliked and sadly, the Black Art was no different.
    I said a while back after the Newcastle whisky festival that I would be avoiding them in the future, but I had heard such good things about this whisky that I just had to give it another shot. It just doesn't suit my palate and, for my own good, my days of dabbling in the black arts is now at an end.