Mackillop’s Choice Longmorn 1988 (28 year old) 60.8%

Bourbon Cask 14357/ Dist: Oct 1988 Btl: Sept 2017/ Tasted: Nov 2017

A big hit of ‘Bourbony’ oak with dark rye-like herbal and spicy notes. Hints of pepper, wood shavings, vanilla, nutmeg and light treacle. Yep, it’s a serious oak fest!

The palate opens with dry, dusty tannins, malt and rye-like spices. Hints of treacle, moist raisinated fruit, violety spice and alcohol follows. The finish is not surprisingly masked and dry, but the sweet vanilla and treacle add some balance. Sweet pepper, cinnamon and ginger notes in the after-taste. Damn that must have been a tight cask!

Water emphasises the oils and brings out some orange and dark chocolate. The palate is still very oaky with dark chocolate and dark wood spice. Long, herbal and peppery finish. It’s a lovely whisky but the character is pretty much all oak derived.


Mackillop’s Choice Glen Grant 1989 (27 year old) 51.7%

Bourbon Cask 23046/ Dist: Oct 1989 Btl: Sept 2017/ Tasted: Nov 2017

A classic old Glent Grant nose of mature, duty oak and violety incense. Taught oak and spice emerge but that’s balanced by the baked apple, prune, sultana and subtle treacle notes.

Mature and mellow on the palate with subtle, mature honey and taught, grainy oak tannins. Luscious baked fruit, incense and woody spice follow. Exquisitely deep and multi-layered and exceptionally long with lingering almond paste, sweet violety spices, prune, apricot and sweet vanilla. Stunning!

Mackillop’s Choice Bowmore 1990 (23 year old) 52.2%

Bourbon Cask 185082/ Dist: Apr 1990 Btl: July 2013/ Tasted: Aug 2013

A beautiful, multi-layered nose of toffee coated apples and cinders with hints of bbq sauce and dark pickles. Hmm, this is a serious food fest of a malt! Hints of old, medicinal seaweed, treacly-peat and light brine. Quite earthy and malty with a developing dark honey/ camp coffee/ chicory note. With time it becomes a little floral and a hint of violet appears. A seriously complex nose which takes some time to unwind!

Soft and toffee’d to start with a developing, light medicinal seaweed and fishy brine note. Stunning depth with hints of roasted meat, malt, treacle, tar, liquorice, camphor and herbal-peat. The peat thickens and becomes quite tarry on the middle along with buckets of lightly bitter, but sweet coffee and tarred rope notes. Very long, fading into a light dark chocolate finish, but the treacle-tar is coating the mouth. Quite ashy on the finish with a light burnt coastal wood and a touch of violets in the after-taste. A truly stunning old Bowmore

Mackillop’s Choice Bowmore 1992 (25 year old) 50.7%

Bourbon Cask 4193/ Dist: Sept 1992 Btl: Sept 2017/ Tasted: Nov 2017

Aromas of barley, incense sticks, cinnamon and all spice. Heavily oiled with plenty of oxidised fruit. Lightly smoked with developing notes of pulped white fruit and fragrant peat smoke. Mellow, deep and dusty with late vanilla and peat dust.

The palate displays more peat and earth with a distinct aged Tequila-esque pulped white fruit character. A little edgy with grippy wood spices and subtle barley. Intensley salt, smoky and peppery on the middle with the tannins emerging on the finish to make it a little drying, but the fruit balances pleasantly. Wow! That pepper lingers along with a faint violet after-taste.

Mackillop’s Choice Macallan 1998 (19 year old) 53.8%

Bourbon Cask 154/ Dist: Feb 1998 Btl: Sept 2017 /Tasted: Nov 2017

Dense and dusty aromas with barley, apple, apricot, pear, rye-like herbal notes and a good dollop of what appears to be first fill Bourbon. Nutty and malty with developing honeysuckle. With time the barley becomes very floral in character and intertwines with the oak wonderfully.

The palate opens with some dusty pollen-like barley and barley husks. Slightly grippy but sweet tannins follow along with hints of apricot, apple, cinnamon sticks and ginger. Vibrant and juicy middle as the citrus really kicks in. Long with lingering Bourbon oak and rye-like herbal notes. The oak bitters ever so slightly but the mouth-watering juicy fruit balances. Hints of straw and honeysuckle in the after-taste.

Mackillop’s Choice Dailuaine 1998 (19 year old) 57.7%

Bourbon Cask 9288/ Dist: Jun 1998 Btl: Sept 2017/ Tasted: Nov 2017

The nose is juicy, moist and malty with oat biscuits, fragrant oak and baked apple. Hints of dark honey emerge along with some subtle wood spice.

The palate is lusciously honeyed with baked fruit and malt. Multi-layered and mouth-filling with gentle, sweet vanilla, ginger and tart citrus. The finish is long and surprisingly quite salty with lingering grapefruit, malt and baked fruit.

Mackillop’s Choice Balblair 1997 (20 year old) 55.2%

Bourbon Cask 124/ Dist: May1997 Btl: Sept 2017/ Tasted: Nov 2017

A lovely, mature nose of oxidised baked fruit along with hints of lime, barley, manuka honey and aromatic American oak. The oak becomes quite buttery with time and the barley becomes wonderfully fragrant.

The palate opens with fresher barley and citrus before the mature, baked fruit arrives. Buttery and toffee’d oak follows and the mid palate is incredibly granity with building lime and lemon notes, which adroitly balances the oak. Mouth-watering citrus finish with a touch of coffee, anise, sweet barley, straw and earth.

Bareksten Botanical Gin 46%

Distilled at the Oss Craft Distillery in Norway from Potatoes

Batch 0018/0757

Botanicals: Juniper, coriander, blueberries, grains of paradise, cardamom, angelica root. nutmeg, rose root, lemon peel, orris, rhubarb, lime peel, lavender, orange peel, chamomile, fennel, cinnamon, caraway, aniseed, red clover, lingonberries, elderflower,mint, arnica flowers, rose flowers.

Tasted: Nov 2017

Intense, but very fresh, slightly bitter juniper with pine-like notes, rose, berries, earth, bark, cinnamon and a subtle floral note. The citrus and salt sit in the background adding to the freshness.

The palate is full and slightly starchy with sweet juniper, orange, fern/ pine along with woody/ bitter spice notes. Hints of caraway, aniseed, cardamom and earth come through on the middle along with a subtle berry note. Long, wild and spicy finish with lingering bitter juniper.

Gordon & MacPhail Private Collection Ledaig 2005 (11 year old) 45%

Hermitage Cask Finish/ Dist: Sept 2005 Btl: Aug 2017/ Tasted: Nov 2017

A serious sulphur overload! Yes, there are hints of syrup coated red fruit, peat and manure, but by god I haven’t smelt a whisky so sulphur ruined like this in ages!

The palate is, funnily enough, sulphur tainted with hints of dry peat and syrupy red fruit. A touch of coffee and dark chocolate come through on the middle but the finish is tart with the sulphur lingering. Whether the sulphur is cask or spirit derived I couldn’t say, but either way, it’s truly dreadful!

Gleann Mor ‘A Rare Find’ Royal Brackla 2006 (10 year old) 59.8%

Refill Sherry?/ Dist: Nov 2006 Btl: Jun 2017/ Tasted: Nov 2017

Pungent aromas of toffee and honey with hints of barley, vanilla and what feels like subtle herbal Oloroso dried fruit and spice notes. It develops some lovely baked fruit notes and feels a little older than 10 years.

The palate opens with a lovely barley’d intensity, followed by hints of dried fruit and bitter spice. A touch of honey balances the bitterness and hints of vanilla and pepper appear on the middle. A little masked on the finish but the spices linger.

A drop of water emphasises the vanilla and brings out the natural oiliness of the spirit. On the palate it emphasises the honey and vanilla and brings out soft apricot and tangerine notes. Subtler on the spice but the finish is pleasantly honeyed now.

The Single Cask Tobermory 1994 (22 year old) 59.1%

Cask A394/ Dist: Mar 1994 Btl: Jan 2017/ Tasted: Nov 2017

Dusty, mature and quite spicy on the nose with subtly, sooty peat, thick malt, dark honey and slightly marc-like note. It becomes quite earthy with time and a light manurey note appears. For an old ‘mory, it’s very impressive.

The palate opens with some delicate dark honey, malt and mature oak. Now that’s a sentence I never expected to write about an old ‘mory! Hints of milk chocolate, peat, sweet barley and liquorice follow. It’s not 100% clean as there is a faint edginess in the background, but it’s sort of wrapped up by the bitter spice and citrus. Good finish with hints of salt, coffee, vanilla and sooty peat.