Archive for the ‘Unspecified Scottish Single Malts’ Category

Gleann Mor ‘A Rare Find’ Secret Highland Malt, Port Finish 2004 (12 year old) 52%

Glenmorangie Cask 4231/ Dist: May 2004 Btl: 2016/ Tasted: Feb 2017

An earthy, balsamic and slightly butyric nose. A pleasant melange of mature-ish baked fruit and winey red fruits. Very natural and reminiscent of Ben Nevis with a straw-like demeanour and slight malty breadiness.

The palate opens with the earthy, lightly syrup coated winey fruit and old wood tannins. Again slightly earthy and balsamic. Very malty and full on the middle with a pleasant natural character. The finish is a little on the dry side as the alcohol and tannins combine, but the winey fruit and earth lingers well.

A drop of water brings out more malt, coffee and some subtle barley notes. The port fruit is a little sweeter and there is a light syrup note which gives it a softer feel, although the ‘natural’ character is still present. The palate is likewise softer, with more emphasis in the sweet port fruit. Longer and with more spice notes than tannin now with a light chocolate malt and coffee finish.

Now I know what the distillery is I’m quite surprised as I was thinking Ben Nevis as their port casks have that intensely ‘natural’ character and I find ‘morangie port has a more silky character. Interesting!

The Big Strand Single Islay Malt 46%

A vatting of 5-11 year old Caol Ila?

Named after the longest mostly uninterrupted sandy beach on Islay. With a total length of 7 miles, it stretches from Laggan Point in the north to Kintra and the Oa Peninsula in the south.

Tasted: Oct 2016

Aromas of fresh, crisp, salty, old skool Caol Ila with briny white fruit, grass and lovely sweet barley. Moderately peated and lightly phenolic with hints of wort and the mashtun.

The palate is fresh and crisp with a touch of digestive biscuit, white fruit and subtly phenolic, briny peat. Pleasant balance of fruit and crisp saltiness. Long, bracing and probably just like walking on the beach! However the fruit lingers and it exits with some pleasant, fragrant peat smoke.

Malts of Scotland Images of Dufftown ‘St Michael’s Episcopal Church’ 53.2%

Tasted: June 2016

A balsamic, volatile and vinegary nose with hard barley, cereal, herbs, coffee and a touch of refill sherry?

The palate is balsamic and treacly with prunes in syrup and sweet chocolate. The enhanced sweetness balances the industrial character better but those notes are still fairly dominant until a shed load of bitter tannins arrive. Hot and bitter finish with lingering leafy herbs and slightly murky coffee notes.

Glasgow Distillery Company Prometheus 26 year old 47%

Tasted: Sept 2015

Nose: Pungent, earthy, straw-like mature fruit aromas. A lovely melange of edgy Colombian coffee, dry, sherry spices, lush honey, plummy stewed fruit, prune and dark chocolate. Evocative and deep with a developing citrus character.

Palate: Gentle, full and mature with prune, walnut, dark honey and a sub-Armagnac-esque rancio. A lovely combination of mature fruit and oak with some biting, bittering, balancing wood spice, citrus and mineral notes.

Finish: Very long and juicy with the mature Armagnac-esque dried fruit and spice lingering. Finishes with a touch of dusty cocoa powder.

Conclusion: Damn, that’s a fine old Speyside malt without a wrinkle in sight! 

Glasgow Distillery Company Prometheus 27 year old Cache 2 47%

Tasted: June 2016

Nose: Dense, walnutty sherry with hints of wood smoke, Armagnac-esque prunes and dried fruit along with hints of freshening citrus, minerals and late mocha and earth notes.

Palate: Intense oxidised fruit and treacle. Quite nutty with walnuts, spice and dark coffee. Becomes rather tannic on the middle which gives it a very raw cask feel.

Finish: Reasonable length with lingering dry, slightly bitter tannins and a smoky after-taste.

Conclusion: Possibly a little too bitter at the end, but it has its merits.

Ben Bracken 22 year old 40%

Unknown Islay Bottled for Lidl

Tasted: Feb 2016

Nose: Chunky, juicy dried prune and walnuts. Very oily and a little spirity (which is strange given it’s only 40%). Lightly herbal with hints of dusty peat smoke.

Palate: Slightly underpowered with a touch of toffee, dried fruit and subtle peat. The oils and the sweetness of the malt build on the middle.

Finish: Medium length with lingering dried fruit.

Conclusion: It’s ok. It has its pluses and minuses.

Ben Bracken 22 year old 40%

WWA 2016 Best Scotch Single malt – Islay

Re-Taste: Feb 2016

Nose: Faintly astringent and herbal with treacly sherry, supple peat and developing medicinal notes. Starts quite reluctantly but builds well. Slightly woody and spicy with hints of apricot conserve.

Palate: Quite juicy but woody. Less intense than the nose with supple dried fruit and a touch of peat.

Finish: Good length with wood spice and lingering herbal sherry.

Conclusion: Best Islay? Really?

Carn Mor Strictly Limited Westport 1997 (17 year old) 46%

Glenmorangie vatted with a teaspoon of Glen Moray.

Bourbon Hogshead/ Dist: 1997 Btl: 2015/ Tasted: Aug 2015

Soft and juicy aromas of fragrant barley, floral honey and a touch of citrus. Subtly but sweetly spiced with hints of buttery/ creamy oak.

The palate is broad, full and barley’d. Slightly sweet and generously endowed in the fruit department with hints of citrus and sweet spices. Long, citrus and mineral finish which cleanses the palate. Pleasant lightly coffee’d after-taste. In conclusion it is a little too expensive (£58.95) for what it is.

Carn Mor Strictly Limited Westport 1995 (21 year old) 46%

Bourbon/ Dist: 1995 Btl: 2016/ Tasted: May 2016

Wonderfully honeyed aromas of mature, tropical melon, juicy apricot and sweet barley. Hints of sawdusty American oak, gooseberry, lime and sweet vanilla follow. Gorgeously poised and elegant.

The palate is equally as honeyed as the nose suggests with a touch of toasted vanilla. Deep and complex with apricot, minerals, lime and barley. Hints of white fruit, mature, dusty oak and grippy wood spices come through on the middle. Long and succulent with lingering white fruit, honey and sweet tannins. At this price (£70 – web price) it’s an absolute steal!

Highland Laird Williamson 2006 (8 year old) 46%


Dist: 2006 Btl: 2015/ Tasted: Aug 2015

Named after a remarkable woman called Bessie Williamson, who became the manager of a certain Islay distillery when it was un-mothballed after the end of WWII.

The nose is very buttery and oaky with plenty of sweet and herbal peat. The oak calms down with time and an almost Tequila-esque pulped white fruit note becomes apparent along with hints of rhubarb, manure, cut grass and a faint whiff of aniseed and biscuity spirit notes.

The palate is full and biscuity with malt and plenty of oak. Subtly peated with a little background salty notes and again some Tequila-esque fruit. The earthy and sooty peat and iodine builds on the middle and explodes onto the finish along with salt and medicinal notes. Now, that is a lovely Islay finale!

Hunter Laing Old Malt Cask Speysides Finest 1986 (28 year old) 48%

Sherry/ Code: OMC2458/ Dist: Nov 1986 Btl: Mar 2015/ Tasted: Apr 2015

A dusty nose of mature spices, malt, earth, digestive biscuit, vanilla and a touch of shortbread. The cask adds notes of raisin and prune but the biscuity notes begin to dominate although a touch of green apple attempts to freshen the aromas.

The palate opens with vanilla toffee and malt along with hints of treacle and baked fruit. A touch of lightly bitter spice appears on the middle. Long with lingering toffee, naked fruit and malt. Pleasant if a little simplistic.


Hunter Laing Hepburns Choice Nice ‘N’ Peaty 2006 (10 year old) 46%

Bourbon/ Code: HEP0197/ Dist: Mar 2006 Btl: Sept 2016?/ Tasted: Oct 2016

Young and feinty, possibly Ledaig with dusty peat and non sherried sulphur, iron and manure notes. late medicinal peat note but this is barley out of its nappy!

The palate is a little watery with some ‘off the still’ oiliness and feintiness. Nascent peat build reasonably well but the finish is short with the ‘off the still’ notes lingering. Far too young, but it has a pleasant peppery after-taste.

Glen Marnoch 1989 (24 year old) 40%

Unknown Speyside bottled for Aldi

Tasted: Nov 2013 

The nose is sweet, toasty and honeyed with barley, coffee, toffee, violets and a touch of refill sherry richness. A bit bland to be honest and the sherry does display a light fly spray character. 

The palate is soft and bland with hints of coffee, malt along with some refill sherry and caramel. Good length with a sharp citrus, if a little bitter finish.

Port Askaig 8 year old 45.8%

Tasted: Feb 2017

Aromas of sweet barley and crisp, salty notes along with lightly phenolic peat and oily Caol Ila fruit. Lightly smoky and manurey with a subtle touch of oak. With time the fruit becomes quite grassy and Sauvignon Blanc-esque.

Full and salty on the palate with hints of earthy peat and burnt wood. Lightly phenolic and crisper on the middle as the white fruit and citrus arrive. Lightly smoky finish with the richer, oilier fruit arriving along with a touch of menthol, camphor and herbal peat.

Port Askaig 12 year old 45.8%

Coal Ila bottled by Speciality Brands

Tasted: Mar 2013

A fresh, lemony and salty nose with a light tarry-peat, creosote and garden fruit note. The aromas definitely have an old skool Caol Ila character. There’s a pleasant barley sweetness with hints of charred driftwood and American oak. With time it becomes quite earthy and herbal.

The palate is not quite as fresh as the nose which is in part due to the oak making inroads. A touch creamy but still pleasantly salty with hints of earthy-peat, parma violets and a good, fresh salty/ citrus middle as he spirit escapes the oak. Lovely length with white peach, pear and apple along with hints of peat smoke and a sweet earthiness. I think if this had been bottled at 40% the alcohol wouldn’t have imparted the same degree of freshness. That theory is attested to once diluted.

Port Askaig 19 year old 45.8%

Coal Ila bottled by Speciality Brands

Tasted: Mar 2013

The aromas are rather herbal in nature with a gentle, but astringent maritime note and a touch of lemon. Mature and lightly peated with the peat developing a manure note along with hints of compost and lightly sweetened barley. Cleaner with less oak than the 12 year old.

The oak although not so noticeable of the nose is definitely noticeable on the palate, and leads off with a pleasant sweet creaminess. Again lightly peated with earth, herbs and a touch of smoke. The middle displays a vibrant coastalness aided by the alcohol. Long with an oily, lightly tarred rope finish and a return of the sweet parma violets and barley. Good sweet/ sour balance with a relatively fresh and herbal character throughout.