Archive for the ‘Vatted Malt Whisky’ Category

North Star Spirits ‘Vega’ Blended Malt 23 year old 51.1%

Bourbon Hogshead/ Sherry Butt

Dist: Oct 1993 Btl: May 2017/ Tasted: Jun 2017

Aromas of dense, mature sherry, which display an elegant, subtle Armagnac-esque rancio. Dried apricot, prune, raisin and walnut follow, along with both milk and dark chocolate notes. Given time the barley and American oak vanillins come through as does some crisp, citrus notes.

The palate opens with the toasty American oak vanillins before the mature sherrywood character begins to appear. Subtle dried fruits mingle with some lovely, freshening citrus on the middle. The finish is very long and displays a lovely harmony between the two cask types and a lovely maturity of fruit.


Malts of Scotland NAS Blended Malt Whisky 40%

Sherry/ Tasted: Mar 2017

A big, malty and treacly nose with milk chocolate, warm spice and hints of orange peel, lime and herbs. With time a touch of Demerara sugar appears and the dried fruit takes on a very rum-like character.

The palate is malty and dense with milk chocolate, coffee, spice, herbs and citrus. Good depth with a touch of burnt spice and soft tannins. Long and slightly drying, but the faintly bittering tannins are balanced by the milk chocolate and treacle.

Gleann Mor ‘A Rare Find’ Blended Malt 1975 (40 year old) 47.1%

A vatting of Tamdhu, Glenrothes, Highland Park aged in refill sherry

Dist: 1975 Btl: 2015/ Tasted: Feb 2017

Lovely aromas of dusty, mature and chocolaty sherry with hints of malt, violets and Armagnac-esque dried fruit. Wonderfully soft and juicy with the dried fruit showing a delightful sweetness, balanced by granite and citrus notes and the sherry moving in a subtle herbal direction.

The palate is uber soft, chocolaty and malty with a good depth of raisin, dried apricot and subtle citrus. The sherry is wonderfully mature, blemish free and supportive. Hints of mature spice, leather, tobacco and brown sugar come through on the middle. Long and quite fresh as the citrus really kicks in. Light cigar smoke, stewed tea and chocolate-malt finish.

Lombard Blended Speyside Malt 1988 (8 year old) 43%

Casks 1855-1879/ Dist: May 1988 Btl: 1996/ Tasted: Oct 2016

Nose: Youthful cereal, sweet barley and hints of apricot, white fruit and straw. Quite crisp with herbal/ grassy notes. Fills out well as the toasted toffee oak appears.

Palate: Straightforward, youthful, exuberant and very herbal with granity fresh citrus and displaying an almost antagonistic, grain-like vigour. Definitely palate cleansing!

Finish: A little short and austere thanks to the mineral and citrus overload.

Conclusion: Straightforward but bracing and charming with plenty of Speyside character.

Elements of Islay Peat 59.3%

Tasted: Apr 2016

Nose: Lightly toffee’d to begin, followed by fresh lemon, salt, camphor and mint. It unwinds to show sweet, juicy apricot, peach and pear with hints of barley, earthy peat, violets and manure.

Palate: Opens with barley and subtly sweet vanilla. Drying peat, salt and alcohol with underlying lightly honeyed fruit and camphor notes. Water makes it a little homogenous.

Finish: Neat it is very dry and alcoholic with mouth-watering lemon and lingering herbal peat. Diluted there’s a touch of barley, fleshy apricot and wood spice.

Conclusion: Neat this is superb. I love the way the nose slowly unwinds to reveals layers of complexity. Personally I would avoid adding water.

The Exceptional Malt by Sutcliffe & Son, 2nd Edition 43%

Glenfarclas, Ben Nevis, Balvenie, Kininivie, Glenfiddich, Allt-A-Bhannie, Aucroisk, Glenallachie, Westport (Glenmorangie), Speyside and Macallan.

Blended and married in first fill Oloroso butts

Btl: 2016/ Tasted: May 2016

The nose is oily and herbal with plenty of dried fruitcake and dusty sherry spice along with a touch of aromatic apricot. Hints of pepper, cumin, coriander, aniseed and wood smoke. Good vibrancy and intensity with hints of creamy oak, greengage, melon gooseberry and warm vanilla.

The palate is soft and mature with herbal sherry, treacle, liquorice and malt biscuits. Full and rich with an earthy, sort of raw cask intensity. Quite a spicy middle with aniseed and coriander. Long and remaining spicy with a mouth-watering citric fruitiness and a touch of chocolaty tannins and wood spice.

Old Perth Blended Malt Batch 4 43%

A blend of Aultmore, Knockdhu, Blair Athol and Tullibardine

Tasted: Nov 2015

Aromas of fragrant barley and plenty of mature-ish Aultmore with hints of citrus and herbal sherry. Pleasantly full with developing honeyed notes.

Full and juicy on the palate with barley and creamy oak, along with hints of earth, citrus and granity Highland notes. Subtle sherry comes through on the middle along with a light earthiness. Long and citric with an almost tart green fruit and coffee finish.

Old Perth Blended Malt Batch 4 43%

Re-Tasted: Sept 2016

A dense, oily and barley led nose with a good depth of fruit, malt, coffee and citrus. Hints of spice and salt appear with time.

The palate is full and barley’d with apricot, banana and apple. Gently spiced with loads of malt character. Subtle vanilla oak and hints of crisp citrus comes through on the middle. Long and remaining citric with a lightly oiled finish.

Old Perth Blended Malt Whisky Batch No5 46%

Tasted: Oct 2017

Fresher and possibly a little younger than batch 4. It’s definitely less sherry influenced and displays more crisp barley and white fruit. Pleasantly aromatic with subtle honey notes.

The palate is fuller and a touch oilier than the nose would suggest with barley and fleshy apricot fruit. The American oak is supportive without being intrusive and there is a suggestion of sherried dried fruit. Less edgy than batch 4 and I’m guessing that’s due to less or no Tullibardine in the blend. Long, crisp, barley’d finish. Still excellent value for money.

Old Perth Blended Malt Sherry 43%

A blend of Glentauchers, Glenfarclas, Aultmore, and Knockdhu

Tasted: Nov 2015

Earthy and herbal sherry with a touch of coffee on the nose. Edgy herbal spices mingle with a touch of boiled sweet sherry, liquorice and balsamic dried fruit.

The palate opens with the soft coffee and toffee, followed by earth, boiled sweets and gentle, herbal spices. Hints of liquorice, raisinated fruit on the middle. Good length with the herbal notes developing and a touch of vanilla and barley on the after-taste.

Old Perth Blended Malt Peated 43%

A blend of Ledaig and Glenfarclas

Tasted: Nov 2015

Coastal, citric and dusty, earthy peat aromas with coal smoke, tar and sweet barley. There’s a very subtle sherry influence, which shows itself as a nutty character. Full and fragrant with a touch of apricot.

The palate is a little cardboard and oily with lanolin, sweet barley and dusty peat. Again the sherry notes are quite subtle and a touch of pepper develops. Long and sweetly peated with a herbal, spirit note on the finish (age giveaway!)

Old Perth Limited Release 2004 (12 year old) 43.9%

A single first fill sherry butt filled with Macallan & Highland Park

Dist: 2004 Btl: 2017/ Tasted: Aug 2017/ Dense and chewy aromas (if aromas can be chewy!) of raisinated fruit. Quite a mature nose for its age with hints of prune, walnut and subtle Highland Park smoke. With time a touch of vanilla and crystalised orange appears.

The palate is full and sherried – raisin, plum, prune along with some lovely, soft but spicy tannins. Again it’s showing more maturity than you would expect at this age. Hints of heather, smoke and black pepper come through on the middle. Good length with a slightly tart finish but the weight of malt balances. Lingering pepper and smoke.

Old Perth Limited Release 1996 (21 year old) 55.4%

First Fill Sherry?/ Dist: 1996 Btl: 2017/ Tasted: Aug 2017

Aromas of gritty, herbal Oloroso with plenty of balancing treacle and mature dried fruit notes. Hints of wood smoke, liquorice, oxidised fruit and green nuts. Good complexity with a developing mineral freshness.

Full and sweet on the palate with dark toffee, treacle and a touch of gritty tannins. Excellent depth of oxidised fruit and citrus. Not unsurprising, given the length of time its spent in the cask it is a bit woody, but that woodiness never overwhelms the spirit. Long, mouth-watering orange/ mandarin finish with lingering wood spices and tannin.


Carn Mor Celebration of the Cask Westport 1995 (22 year old) 52.6%

Bourbon Hogshead 360091/ Dist: Mar 1995 Btl: Apr 2017/ Tasted: May 2017

A dense and succulent nose with oodles of mature honey, floral white fruit, apricot, apple and gentle American oak. Stunningly deep and fruity with developing notes of kiwi, lime and green banana. Almost tropical with time.

The palate is luscious and honeyed with apricot, peach, pear and barley. Subtly mineral middle with a touch of citrus too. The wood spices and vanilla come through and the finish is tongue tinglingly spicy with nutmeg and cinnamon, before signing off with apple, lime and oak/

A drop of water makes the nose less citric and emphasises the honey and oak. Likewise on the palate. Mouth-filling and rich with a long fruity finish with a light malt and wood spice after-taste.

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!

Peat’s Beast 46%

A vatting of Benriach, Laphroaig, Ardbeg and Caol Ila

Tasted: Mar 2012

A pleasant nose of youthful cereal and briny-peat. Slightly perfumed with hints of sugar coated barley and herbs.

The palate displays plenty of youthful and briny Caol Ila with a fresh coastal edge, but beneath is a good depth of apricot and sweet barley with a gentle herbalness. The finish is quite sugared with hints of coffee but the brininess balances.

Peat’s Beast 46%

Re-Tasted: ?

Quite a sweet and phenolic nose of young, crealy ‘phraoig(?) leading off, but tempered by some Coal Ila(?) Quite a gentle beast with hints of bog myrtle-peat, manure, creosote, wet tar, liquorice and rubber. Gently coastal with late burnt wood and a touch of Arbeg-esque blood orange.

The palate opens with a brief granulated sugar note before the very young, oily, peppery, tarry peat arrived. Quite a bracing coastal middle balanced by a malty sweetness leads into a long citrus and tar finish. Lingering peat.

A beast? Well a few years ago it probably would’ve been considered heavily peated, but with Octomore, maybe freakisly raising the bar for peat levels, this really is just a moderately hairy chested beasty. A pleasant beasty at that though.

Peat’s Beast 46%

Re-Tasted Oct 2013

A pleasant nose of youthful cereal and briny-peat. Slightly perfumed with hints of sugar coated barley and herbs.

The palate displays plenty of youthful and briny Caol Ila with a fresh coastal edge, but beneath is a good depth of apricot and sweet barley with a gentle herbalness. The finish is quite sugared with hints of coffee but the brininess balances.

Peat’s Beast 46%

Re-Tasted: Apr 2015

Fresh, crisp, herbal and citric aromas as the Benriach opens the proceedings followed by some gentle medicinal peat. Wow! It becomes very stinky and manurey with time. Beneath the oak and barley adds structure.

The palate is a little fuller than the nose with succulent apricot and honey mingling with dusty, dry peat. The crisp Caol Ila character comes through on the middle with a lightly salted demeanour. Good length with light brine, iodine and medicinal finish with a touch of mocha.

Peat’s Beast Cask Strength 52.1%

Tasted: Apr 2015

The nose is oilier and heavier than the 46% bottling, showing more fleshy apricot, violets and almost rye-like herbs. Tighter and maybe less fragrant than the 46% bottling but there’s hints of manure, burnt wood, coffee and sugar coated almonds.

The palate is full and oily like the nose suggests, opening with burnt wood and coffee. Quite spicy with gentle, dusty peat. The middle is more fishy and maritime than the 46% bottling and shows a little more youthful spirit notes. Long, tongue tingling spicy, lightly salted and peated finish.

With water the nose becomes a little soapy with more manure and farmyard character as well as more sugared barley. The palate is still quite oily and a little watery to be honest. Yes, there are hints of toffee and dusty peat but it’s a bit sugar water-like. Now it lacks the vibrancy of the 46% bottling

Maverick Drinks Reference Series I 47.5%

Tasted: Dec 2014

Nose: Gorgeously tropical with squish banana, pineapple, cantaloupe and gala melon. Gently honeyed with some dusty, mature oak. With time some light grain notes appear along with hints of toffee. Water makes it more oiler and mutes the tropical fruit while emphasising the barley and herbal grain-like notes.

Palate: Less tropical than the nose with more barley character. Quite intense and mineral with the alcohol masking. Dilution makes it watery and unfocused.

Finish: Long and spicy with hints of chilli pepper and coriander along with the lightly herbal grain nibbling-like notes.

Conclusion: A lovely nose and finish it’s the bit in-between that is the disappointing bit.

Maverick Drinks Reference Series I.1 47.5%

Tasted: Dec 2014

Nose: Dusty barley with hints of lemon, thyme, burnt earth and cold tea leaves along with hints of menthol. A curious mix of aromas.

Palate: Soft and dusty. Quite herbal with heather and thyme. Again that burnt earth-like note is prevalent and a touch of industrial spirit character and caramel comes through.

Finish: Medium length. A little hot and bitter.

Conclusion: Some very odd aromas/ flavours going on here. 

Maverick Drinks Reference Series II 47.5%

Tasted: Dec 2014

Nose: Hard barley with lightly cardboard spice. There’s a hint of honey but it’s quite bland.

Palate: A little bitter and gently woody with barley and cardboard spices. With time it becomes harder and more industrial in character.

Finish: Hot, grainy and bitter too!

Conclusion: Hard work!

Maverick Drinks Reference Series II.2 47.5%

Tasted: Dec 2014

Nose: Gently phenolic and briny with smoky peat and juicy, honey coated fruit. Some lightly buttery oak appears, but the spices have a sort of Ledaig-like cardboardy character. With time hints of gooseberry and under ripe apple become apparent.

Palate: Woody and grainy to begin with. Hints of toffee mingle with barley, green fruit and lightly phenolic peat. The grain nips and becomes a little overt.

Finish: Good spicy finish with the herbal grain in the ascendancy. The combination of alcohol and salt makes the finish quite dry.

Conclusion: Pleasant enough, if a little too drying on the finish.

Maverick Drinks Reference Series III 47.5%

Tasted: Dec 2014

Nose: Hard barley and hard grain-like notes with hints of oily dried fruit – prune, sultana and apricot. Plenty of wood spice emerges along with some lightly fragrant barley and a touch of tropical fruit. This appears to have some serious age. With time the buttery oak comes through along with hints of gooseberry.

Palate: Opens with the mature grain-like notes. A plethora of dried fruit mingles with a touch of wood spice and violets. The malt comes through on the middle bringing some mature tropical fruit and the oak becomes wonderfully dusty and spicy.

Finish: Long and luxuriously honeyed. Quite violety with cinnamon, marzipan and a beautiful oily dried fruit fade.

Conclusion: Now, that is what I call a blend!

Maverick Drinks Reference Series III.2 47.5%

Tasted: Dec 2014

Nose: Pollen laden flowers and barley. Lightly spiced with hints of baked herbs, menthol and some late toffee’d oak and grain notes.

Palate: Soft and straightforward but deeply honeyed. Hints of baked fruit and herbs appear along with a touch of spice and creamy toffee.

Finish: Good length with lingering spice, toffee and grain

Conclusion: Pleasant enough, although the finish is a little hard.

Maverick Drinks Reference Series III.2 47.5%

Best Scotch No – Age Statement

Tasted: Feb 2016

Nose: Oily apricot and unsweetened pineapple to begin with. The vanilla oak is beautifully integrated and the nose hints at some age with a good dollop of mature honey, minerals and soft spice.

Palate: Gorgeously mature with honey, barley and hints of roasted coffee bean. Hints of oxidised fruit and malt come through on the middle, carried on a wave of deliciously gentle spices and almost imperceptible peat.

Finish: Lovely, spicy, dried fruit finish. Very vibrant and intense with a touch of dusty violets and salt.

Conclusion: It was going to take something special to beat the Japanese blended whisky, but this did it for me!

Maverick Drinks Reference Series III.2 47.5%

Re-Tasted: Apr 2016

Lovely aromas of sweet barley, dusty oak and stewed fruit along with a touch of vanilla and very light, duty peat, violets, toffee, coffee and herbs.

The palate opens with barley, apricot and sweet, dusty American oak followed by malt, treacle, liquorice, dried, spicy fruit, nuts and vanilla. Long, with lingering baked fruit, vanilla, malt. Lightly smoky after-taste. Elegant and wonderfully balanced.