Cotswolds Founder’s Choice – Batch 01/2018

ABV: 60.9 %
Origin: England
Type: Single malt
Bottles in collection: 0
Emptied bottles: 1
Impression: 4/5

Tasting notes
Nose: This is high ABV spicy. There are peppermint and rye spices with anise and liquorice root. There are also honey and vanilla and a thin toffee note in the back. The oak peeks through but there’s no direct sign of the red wine casks on the nose at first. A smell of wet clothes after walking in the rain resides in the back. It gets sweeter with time in the glass and a thin savory note builds up as well. There’s no apparent sign of the young distillate.

Mouth: It starts out very mild and honey sweet for about a second before the high ABV brings a hefty spicyness. There’s still anise and liquorice found, but It’s almost directly pushed out of focus and gets overrun by a very pronounced fruitiness mixed with honey and vanilla. The oakiness is shining through and the rejuvinated red wine casks creates a fruitiness with red berries and tropical fruits. There’s a bitter side to it and some dark chocolate notes appear after a couple of seconds.

Finish: It basically gets even fruitier. This is full of every fruit imaginable. There are mangos, pineapple, peaches, raspberries, grapefruit and lemons. The oak arrives late in the finish and isn’t dominant. It’s a fresh oak that doesn’t leave too much of an impression. After everything dies down there’s a slight metallic note left in the mouth giving away the young age. This is a well made whisky.

Additional information
The Founder’s Choice is a cask strength Limited edition whisky. 2850 bottles were produced in this batch. The distillery was founded in 2014 which makes this a maximum of 5 years old. It’s aged in recondtitioned american oak red wine barriques. It’s not coloured and it’s unchillfiltered.

Arran 10 YO

ABV: 46 %
Origin: Islands
Type: Single Malt
Bottles in collection: 1
Emptied bottles: 0
Impression: 5/5

Tasting notes

Nose: This is sweet and sour. At first there’s a nice and rich honey, malt and vanilla layer up front with sour lemons and oranges underneath. There’s a nice top note of a fresh cooling mint even though the whole thing comes through as dense and slightly dusty. It’s very complex and the background is made up by several notes like charcoal, sour dough bread and a hint of iodine. This is a fantastic nose with a lot of things to discover. It feels very homogenous even to there are a lot of things floating around within.

Mouth: It starts out with a sweet honey and vanilla mix in the center with the citrus fruits residing out on the edges. It’s still malty and textured and the sweet and sour contrast works together and makes it both dense and refreshing at the same time. The complex mix of flavours are still found within. Charcoal, salt and sour dough bread especially. The oakiness starts to make itself known at this point and adds another dimension to the array of flavours.

Finish: The transition seems very logical and everything sort of melts together and after a second or two it creates a lemon and honey cake. It’s got a dessert-like quality to it. It’s still a bit dusty and there’s still a bit of charcoal left behind. The oakiness adds some tropical fruit notes on top as well as a dry, yet fresh, oaky layer in the background. When most of the flavours starts to fade out the oak, the sour lemon and the tropical fruits stay behind. This is a fantastic whisky with an almost perfect balance between contrasting flavours and sensations.

Additional information
This 10 YO is part of the Arran core range. There’s no information to be found about the cask type(s). It’s unchillfiltered and has natural colour.

Auchentoshan Three Wood

ABV: 43 %
Origin: Lowlands
Type: Single Malt
Bottles in collection: 1
Emptied bottles: 0
Impression: 3/5

Tasting notes
Nose: This is fresh cola and mixed fruits. At first, a fresh mix of Coca cola and strawberries greets the nose. At the edges there’s a darker fruitiness with overripe plums and liqueur-soaked raisins. Honey, vanilla and sweet liquorice is sort of residing between the fruity layers, but they never seem to touch each other. The oakiness is also in there and it too has it’s own space. It’s a very ”clean” and clear nose making it easy to separate the different flavours.

Mouth: It starts out very mild and the first thing to arrive is a thin oak note and a dark, fruity sweetness. It’s overripe fruits and honey together with vanilla and cola. A small hint of lemon comes through from the back. The brighter red berry note found on the nose is not present at all. With time, the oakiness seems to move out towards the edges.

Finish: It’s now sweet and vanilla heavy. It’s still a very mild experience and the red fruits has now returned and they push the darker ripe fruits towards the edges. The cola note is still creating a red thread through the experience. The oakiness in the late finish is slightly dusty, but still seems quite fresh. Basically every flavour follows along in the late finish. This is a bit uneventful and somewhat lacks connection between the flavours, but it is quite tasty overall.

Additional information
This was released in 2002. It’s aged in american ex-bourbon oak barrels, then in ex-Oloroso sherry casks and lastly moved into ex-Pedro Ximenez sherry casks. All Auchentoshan whiskies are triple distilled.

Ardbeg Corryvreckan

ABV: 57.1 %
Origin: Islay
Type: Single malt
Bottles in collection: 1
Emptied bottles: 0
Impression: 5/5

Tasting notes
Nose: This is sweet, slightly fruity and very peaty. Cold ashes from a burnt out woodfire is dominating the first impression. There are vanilla and, both fresh and ripe, dark berries lurking in the background. It’s got a coastal character and it’s very medicinal. The oak is coming through around the edges of the glass. The vanilla grows more pronounced over time and the fruity note seems to be leaning towards blueberries. This is a very nice complex nose.

Mouth: It starts with a sweet honey layer on top, but underneath it’s very salty and spicy. After a second or two the full peat impact comes rushing in. The peat is now a bit warmer and rounded, but it stays salty and peaty with a medicinal iodine note. A pine note is now peeking through from the back together with the vanilla. The fruitiness is also found, but it seems to bounce around between the other flavours which makes it hard to pinpoint. It still comes through as berries though.

Finish: A sharp spicyness and black pepper flare up and then the honey, vanilla and pine notes return. The fruitiness is still intertwined with the peat and the medicinal side to it becomes more pronounced. The blueberry note keeps on popping up from time to time, but when the oakiness starts to build up it slowly fades away. The oak brings dark chocolate, black coffee and more of the vanilla. The black pepper stays all the way through the finish. This is a great, complex whisky with a lot of exploring opportunities.

Additional information
The Corryvreckan was originally a committee release but it’s now a part of their core range. It’s aged in american ex-bourbon casks, european ex-sherry casks and european ex-Burgundy red wine casks. It’s unchillfiltered and has natural colours.

Golden Shoe Blended Scotch Whisky

ABV: 40 %
Origin: Scotland Unspecified
Type: Blended
Bottles in collection: 0
Emptied bottles: 0
Impression: 1/5

Tasting notes
Nose: This is harsh, sweet and grain spirit heavy. A massive vanilla note dominantes together with what could be described as rubbing alcohol. The sweetness is just generic white sugar-like. There’s no fruitiness nor oak. There’s a hint of cardboard coming from behind. It’s one-dimensional and lacks both depth and complexity on the nose.

Mouth: It starts out very watery with just a touch of sweetness. The vanilla continously move forward and a tiny spicyness appears on the tip of the toungue. A bitterness builds up in the back. The grain spirit is very pronounced and ”boozy”. It’s not a very nice mouthfeel.

Finish: The harsh grain spirit flare up and soon gets replaced with vanilla once again. It quickly switches over to a very bitter and somewhat unpleasant oakiness. The oakiness stays for a pretty long finish, which in this case isn’t a good thing. This is a bad whisky and it should not be consumed neat.

Additional information
The Golden Shoe/Golden Goal whiskies are released as limited editions for soccer championships. The content is not disclosed, but it’s bottled by Schwarze & Schlichte Markenvertreib GmbH & Co. KG.

Ledaig 10 YO

ABV: 46.3 %
Origin: Islands
Type: Single Malt
Bottles in collection: 1
Emptied bottles: 0
Impression: 4/5

Tasting notes
Sample added to queue. Tasting notes pending.

See the queue here.

Additional information
This is made by the Tobermory Distillery. It’s not stated, but suggested that it’s aged in ex-bourbon barrels. The peat level i 37 ppm. It’s unchillfiltered and has natural colour.

Cardhu Gold Reserve – Game of Thrones House Targaryen

ABV: 40 %
Origin: Speyside
Type: Single Malt
Bottles in collection: 0
Emptied bottles: 0
Impression: 2/5

Tasting notes
Nose: This is sweet and slightly fruity. Honey, vanilla and toffee are sitting on top of some baked red apples. It’s very mild and nothing really pops from the glass. It’s dusty and there’s just a hint of oak in the back. The toffee note moves forward with time in the glass. It’s very rounded around the edges even if it has a youthness sitting in the back, which manifests as a thin metallic note.

Mouth: A very sweet start with honey and a lemon note quickly passing by. It stays very sweet for a long time with vanilla and toffee slowly moving forward. There’s a white pepper spicyness, but it never really amounts to anything. When it finally sets some of the sweetness aside it slowly reveals a slightly bitter oak, but it just stays in the back. It’s still extremely mild and round like a marble.

Finish: The finish is just a continuation of the sweet and mild parade. A few seconds of honey, vanilla and toffee goes by before it lands in a bland oakiness. It’s a little dusty, but otherwise laid back and it feels like it doesn’t want to be noticed. The toasted flavours do come through though, but they do not do much to create anything. This is too mild and too well rounded to be interesting. It’s definitely a good dram if someone needs an introduction into scotch.

Additional information
The Gold Reserve was first released in 2014 for the european market and they now use the same whisky as a GoT special release. It’s aged in toasted oak barrels.

Highland Park 12 YO – Viking Honour

ABV: 40 %
Origin: Islands
Type: Single Malt
Bottles in collection: 1
Emptied bottles: 0
Impression: 4/5

Tasting notes
Nose: This is sweet fruits and mild peat. Fresh red berries and vanilla create a thick layer up front. There’s also a lemon note in the middle and some dried fruits a bit further out. The mild peatiness seems to sit in between everything else and it brings notes of leather and a hint of tobacco. After a while all flavours seem to merge and agree on a sweet orange fruitiness. The vanilla stays out of it though and mellows out a bit. This is a mild and very pleasant nose.

Mouth: At first it’s just sweet vanilla for a second or two. The first thing arriving is a thin bitter note and the red berries and dried fruits, now presented as dried apricots with a hint of raisins. It soon changes towards oranges again and now the peel is included. The peat is much more noticable here and it now sits on the outer edges. It’s leather, tobacco and a hint of rubber. There’s no oakiness present yet and there’s no perticular change over time.

Finish: The peat slowly spreads out over the palate and then ends up towards the edges again. The frutiness is the same as before with red berries, dried apricots, raisins and orange peel. It takes a second or two for the oak to come through, but when it arrives it’s a great dry and nutty oak. It’s walnuts and a hint of assorted tropical fruits in there as well. The mild peaty aura with leather and tobacco is consistant through it all. This is mild but never boring. This is a great whisky for a tired brain.

Additional information
The 12 YO was first released in the 1970’s as a core range whisky. The ”Viking Honour” name was added in 2017. It’s mostly matured in european ex-sherry oak casks. It’s bottled with natural color.

Jura 18 YO

ABV: 44 %
Origin:
Islands
Type:
Single Malt
Bottles in collection: 0
Emptied bottles:
0
Impression:
4/5

Tasting notes
Nose: This is dark fruits and mild peat. At first, a mix of overripe dark berries and raisins create a top layer above a sweet core of vanilla and honey. There are baking spices and a slight dustiness within. A funky complex note is sitting in the middle of it all which makes this quite interesting even though it seems to lack some flavours from the long maturation. The peat is creating a nice backdrop. It feels like the red wine finish sort of creates a lid on top instead of being integrated with the rest of the content.

Mouth: It starts out with a nice and mild spicyness. The peat comes through as a mild bottom layer with a touch of sulfur, leather and tobacco. The main part is still a sweet honey and vanilla core with the ripe berries and raisins on top. The cinnamon is not detectable anymore. It does a better job in taste than on the nose to create a whole. After a second or to there’s a bitter coffee note coming up from the back. It still feels a bit younger than its age.

Finish: It picks up where it left off and the flavour profile is intact all the way through. There’s still a mix of vanilla and honey together with ripe grapes and raisins. The peat is still very mild and creates a nice surrounding layer of leather and tobacco as the oak starts to show up. It’s a very nice oakiness with a walnut nuttiness and a coffee bitterness to it and the late finish is the first time it feels like its age. This is a great whisky, yet it feels a bit manufactured to cover up less active casks used for the long maturation period.

Additional information
This whisky was released in 2018. It’s matured for 18 years in ex-bourbon barrels and then finished in ex-Premier Grand Cru Classé Bordeaux red wine casks.

Box Dálvve

ABV: 46 %
Origin: Sweden
Type: Single malt
Bottles in collection: 0
Emptied bottles: 0
Impression: 4/5

Tasting notes
Nose: This is young and peaty. At first there’s a menthol layer sitting above a fresh herbaceous peatiness. There’s vanilla and some green fruits starting to come through after a few seconds. There’s also a small hint of play-doh floating around in the middle of everything. The peatiness evolves slowly towards ashes and burning tobacco and the smoke mixes with the menthol. It becomes sweeter with time in the glass. This is a nice and interesting nose.

Mouth: It starts out quite spicy with a fruity bottom layer. The peat arrives right away and it’s creating an outer layer together with honey and vanilla. It’s still herbaceous with a side note of tobacco. In the middle there’s a maltiness and a savory note. There’s also a bitter black coffee note and freshly planed oak. It still feels young and unsettled, but there are a lot of flavours seeking attention.

Finish: The menthol returns for a quick but substancial visit and then just sort of lingers through the entire finish. Next to come through are both the peaty outer layer and the honey sweet and malty core. The fruitiness is still there, but never really breaks through the big flavours up front. Eventually the oak shows up and it’s nice enough, but feels a bit characterless. The bitter coffee note is not as pronounced in the finish as it is in the mouth. This is a great, albeit young whisky with a lot to offer.

Additional information
This whisky is matured for about 5 years in american ex-bourbon barrels. The distillate is made from 24 % peated malt and 76 % unpeated. The peated malt has a ppm level of 39. It’s unchillfiltered and has natural colour. This is batch 003.

Loch Lomond 15 YO

ABV: 46 %
Origin: Highlands
Type: Single malt
Bottles in collection: 0
Emptied bottles: 0
Impression: 4/5

Tasting notes
Nose: This is fruity and mildly peated. At first there’s a center of mixed red fruits with a soft and sweet layer of honey, vanilla and malt surrounding it. The peat is creating an outer layer which also covers the background. It’s a herbaceous peat with a back note of assorted flowers. When it settles it also reveals a lemon note in the back. With time in the glass everything slowly merges together to create a very nice and interesting nose.

Mouth: It starts out with a nutty bitterness in the back and the herbaceaous peatiness on the sides. It takes a second or two for the fruitiness and the sweetness to arrive and when they do, they’re a bit more subdued than on the nose. The fruitiness is a mix of darker dried fruits with a twist of lemon and the sweetness is somewhat undefinable. There’s also a slightly dusty note coming through from behind. A thin butterscotch note makes for a nice surprise for those who are patient.

Finish: It starts out quite dusty with a mild toffee and vanilla sweetness. The fruitiness is still a bag of mixed dried fruits, now with an orange peel bitterness attached to it. The peatiness is still present in the background but it’s a bit less noticable. The oakiness comes through in a very subtle way, emerging through the dust and orange peel. It’s a very pleasant nutty oakiness which never overshadows the other flavours. This is a great whisky with a lot of flavours to find.

Additional information
The Loch Lomond 15 YO was launched in september 2018 as a swedish market exclusive. It’s created by a mix of different unpeated and peated distillates. It’s aged in a mix of refill barrels, refill hogsheads and recharred hogsheads.

Glenfarclas 15 YO

ABV: 46 %
Origin: Speyside
Type: Single Malt
Bottles in collection: 0
Emptied bottles: 0
Impression: 4/5

Tasting notes
Nose: This is vanilla and dried fruits. At first a layer of vanilla and dried exotic fruits sit beneath a thin veil of menthol. There’s a fresh lemon and peach note as well. It becomes fruitier with time in the glass. There is a tiny hint of salty caramel in the background. There is a sweeter side to it as well, like an icing sugar on top of a fruit cake. This is a very pleasant nose.

Mouth: It starts out with a darker fruitiness with raisins and overripe plums. There is a clear sulfur note sitting in the back. It’s oily and the lemon is still detectable. The dried exotic fruits are still in there, as well as the vanilla, but they are not especially pronounced. The salty caramel note is completely gone. There is a speck of dust in the middle and as well as a honey sweetness. It gets somewhat spicy after a few seconds.

Finish: A mix of both dark and dried fruits flare up together with the menthol. When it settles it reveals the sulfur as well as a savory note. It then switches over to the oakiness, which is a nice dry, slightly bitter oak with notes of coffee and hazelnuts. The sherry notes stay as a top layer throughout the long oak finish. There is a hint of smoke coming through in the late finish. This is a liquid fruit cake, and a great whisky.

Additional information
The Glenfarclas 15 YO is aged in european ex-Oloroso sherry casks. It’s lightly peated with 4 PPM. It’s unchillfiltered and has natural colour.

Glen Deveron 16 YO – Royal Burgh Collection

ABV: 40 %
Origin: Highlands
Type: Single malt
Bottles in collection: 0
Emptied bottles: 0
Impression: 4/5

Tasting notes
Nose: This is dark fruits and honey. At first there’s a dense sweetness with malt, vanilla and honey with a thick layer of dark ripe fruits on the outside. It’s raisins and overripe, almost molten plums together with a black liquorice note. It’s got a dusty and damp feel to it and after it settles it also produces a slightly fresher fruitiness as a nice contrast. It’s fresh, but still dark, berries like blueberries. This is a really nice and rich nose, but it presents itself a bit too mild due to the low ABV.

Mouth: It starts out with a mild and sweet approach. The sherry notes with raisins and plums are next to arrive and they bring a thin layer of sulfur along. After that some kitchen spices and a nice bitter note come through. The dusty feel is still in there, but it’ not as dense as on the nose. The oakiness is detectable and it brings a hint of walnuts to the table. The fresh fruits are not present anymore.

Finish: The first impact is somewhat muted and it’s a seemless trasition to the finish. There is a mild spicyness on top but the main flavours are still the sweet honey and vanilla mix in the middle and the dark fruitiness and sulfur on the outside. It stays that way until the oakiness starts to push through. It’s a nice, slightly astringent oak with hints of walnuts and black coffee. It never turns over to become bitter though and the finish is quite long and rewarding. This is a fantastic whisky, but it’s hurting a little bit by the low ABV. It puts up a fight against it though and delivers quite a lot of flavours.

Additional information
This is made by the Macduff distillery and was released in 2013 as a part of their travel retail exclusive range ”The Royal Burgh Collection”. It’s aged in ex-sherry casks.

Tamnavulin Red Wine Cask Edition – Cabernet Sauvignon

ABV: 40 %
Origin: Speyside
Type: Single Malt
Bottles in collection: 0
Emptied bottles: 0
Impression: 3/5

Tasting notes
Sample added to queue. Tasting notes pending.

See the queue here.

Additional information
This is a single malt first aged in american ex-bourbon casks and then finished in Cabernet Sauvignon red wine casks. There is no information on aging time. This bottle is from batch 001243.

Tamnavulin Red Wine Cask Edition – Grenache

ABV: 40 %
Origin: Speyside
Type: Single Malt
Bottles in collection: 0
Emptied bottles: 0
Impression: 3/5

Tasting notes
Nose: This is mixed fruits and butterscotch. At first there’s a bright and slightly pointy fruitiness hitting the nose. Behind that there are notes of oranges, red fruits and butterscotch. A cooling mint is hovering above everything else. With time in the glass the red wine berries start to be more detectable as a single entity. This is a very approachable and quite fantastic nose.

Mouth: It starts out very sour. There’s a big layer of lemons sitting on the outside. In the center there’s a mix of butterscotch and ripe red grapes together with grey oak planks. There’s also a coffee bitterness. It feels quite young and a little bit prickly on the tongue. It becomes honey sweet after a few seconds.

Finish: A honey sweetness fills the mouth and it is soon joined by a butterscotch note. The ripe red fruitiness comes through almost as a part of the butterscotch. The lemon sourness is not as pronounced in the finish but it still creates a layer surrounding everything else. The oakiness is still dry and brings the mind towards dry grey oak planks. This is a good whisky with a fantastic nose.

Additional information
This is a single malt first aged in american ex-bourbon casks and then finished in Grenache red wine casks. There is no information on aging time. This bottle is from batch 001075.

Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 Legacy Edition – 1st Edition

ABV: 43 %
Origin: Tennessee, USA
Type: Tennessee whiskey
Bottles in collection: 1
Emptied bottles: 0
Impression: 3/5

Tasting notes
Nose: This is mild and fruity. There’s a handfull of hard fruit candies and it’s surrounded by brown sugar and cinnamon. There’s an overlay of ripe bananas and a hint of nail polish remover. The oakiness is residing in the background together with charcoal and some dust. This is very easy on the nose.

Mouth: At first there’s just a sweetness and the whole thing comes through as a bit watery. The spicyness and the cinnamon breaks the silence and lead way to dusty corn and oak. The ripe banana note is still present. It is quite dry and astringent and the oakiness brings some bitter notes.

Finish: It’s still very dry and astringent. A mild spicyness comes first, then vanilla, cinnamon and brown sugar take over. The oakiness still got a bitter side to it and the dusty corn notes move forward with time. The oakiness stays a long time in the end and the banana note returns for a revisit. This is not complex, and not a heavy hitter by any means, but it’s a very drinkable whiskey.

Additional information
This is a bottling of the classic Old No. 7 with the label as it were somewhere before 1904. The ABV is slightly higher than the standard version, but otherwise it’s the same whiskey.

Auchentoshan American Oak

ABV: 40 %
Origin: Lowlands
Type: Single Malt
Bottles in collection: 1
Emptied bottles: 0
Impression: 3/5

Tasting notes
Nose: This is light and sweet. There’s a floral layer with heather in the back. Up front it’s Coca cola, honey and vanilla. There’s a ginger note somewhere in the middle and some lemon comes through after a while. It’s quite shallow and there’s not much to go hunt after. It’s extremely mild.

Mouth: It starts out quite watery and then the honey sweetness is first to come through. A small spicyness prickles the tip of the tounge. There’s a little more substance in the taste compared to the nose. The Coca Cola note and the honey is still in there. A tiny hint of oak rests in the back. There’s also a backdrop of lemon and flowers.

Finish: It starts out mild with a tiny veil of menthol and then it turns over to a honey sweetness before switching to the oak. The oakiness is quite fresh and it almost feels like it’s been sitting outside in the rain. There’s a small nutty tone to it’s but not leaning towards any specific kind. This is way too mild and a little bit boring. It’s a good whisky to offer as an introduction to Scotch.

Additional information
As all Auchentoshan whiskies, this is triple distilled. It’s the entry level whisky in the core range and it’s matured in first fill american ex-bourbon oak barrels. It was released in may 2014.

Bowmore 18 YO

ABV: 43 %
Origin: Islay
Type: Single Malt
Bottles in collection: 1
Emptied bottles: 0
Impression: 4/5

Tasting notes
Nose: This is leather and dark fruits. A mellow peatiness with leather and tobacco notes sits in the middle of a dark fruitiness with overripe plums and raisins. A row of old books and a tropical fruitiness (with a twist of lemon) sit in the background. The contrast between the dirrerences make this a complex nose. All flavours seem integrated and they fit nicely into the whole. The dark fruits become more pronounced over time and they bring a black liquorice sweetness. This is a fantastic nose.

Mouth: It starts out mild yet flavourful. It’s very sweet with the dark fruitiness up front. A lemon note shoots through the dark fruits and, together with a saltiness and the peat, it creates a complex sensation. The old books still sit in the back and after a few seconds the tropical fruitiness return. The peat is now leaning towards tobacco with a hint of burning charcoal. It becomes spicier with time. The oak is not yet present.

Finish: At first, it becomes very dusty and the age is coming through clearly. The darker fruitiness is immidiately toned down to make room for a brighter tropical fruitiness with pineapples as the main flavour. Within this fruitiness the oak slowly emerges. It’s a dry oak with a hint of walnuts and black coffee, but it still got a freshness to it. The bitter notes never really take over, they just seem to add another layer. In the late finish the leather returns. The tropical fruitiness stays in the mouth long after everything else has subsided. This is well made, and a great dram. It is a bit too mild, but still delivers complexity and a lot of flavours.

Additional information
This was added to the core range in 2007. It’s aged in american ex-bourbon oak barrels and ex-sherry casks separatly and then mixed together.

Glenfarclas 12 YO

ABV: 43 %
Origin: Speyside
Type: Single Malt
Bottles in collection: 0
Emptied bottles: 0
Impression: 4/5

Tasting notes
Nose: This is sweet and fruity. At first there’s a layer of vanilla and honey on top and sweet liqeuer-soaked red berries in the back. There’s a hint of dry smoke floating around as well as hint of sulfur which together create a nice, slightly gritty background. With time the fruitiness settles and the honey becomes the top note. A mix of lemon and ginger can be found in the back. This is a pretty straight forward sherried nose with a nice array of sensations to discover.

Mouth: It starts out with lemon and honey. It then becomes malty and the sherry fruitiness starts to emerge around the edges with raisins and overripe plums within. There’s a dusty texture to it and the smoke and sulfur is still creating a nice gritty background noise. There’s also a good amount of wood spices coming through as well as a hint of the oakiness itself.

Finish: It starts out quite spicy and it feels potent despite the low ABV. The lemon and honey do come through around the edges quite early. When it settles it a nice complex mix of everything emerges. The sherry notes, vanilla, malt, ginger, smoke and sulfur are all fighting for attention in the center of the palate. This leaves room for the oakiness to come through in the surroundings. It’s a very nice oakiness with a lot of hazelnuts within. This is a great whisky which produces a lot of flavours despite the low ABV. It rewards both the explorer and the occasional drinker.

Additional information
The 12 YO was originally intended to be a travel retail exclusive but it’s now part of the distillery’s core range. It’s aged in ex-Oloroso and ex-Fino sherry casks for the entire aging period.

Bowmore Black Rock

ABV: 40 %
Origin: Islay
Type: Single Malt
Bottles in collection: 1
Emptied bottles: 1
Impression: 4/5

Tasting notes
Nose: This is dark and fruity. At first there are tropical fruits mixed with raisins and dark chocolate. Honey, vanilla and black liquorice sits in the back and create a nice rich backdrop. A brigther note of red berries with some raspberries sort of comes and goes on top of the dark fruitiness. The peat manifests as a leather note and sits in between the layers of sweetness. The focus lies on the heavy sherry overlay.

Mouth: At first honey, red berries and a slight bitterness turn up. It then slowly changes into black liquorice, vanilla and raisins. There’s a lemon note surrounding the other flavours. The oakiness comes through together with leather and tropical fruits. It’s a nice oakiness with a slight bitterness that sits well with the other flavours.

Finish: A thin note of menthol passes by before moving directly into a big bowl of assorted tropical fruits. The oakiness comes through as well as the darker sherry notes and the leather, but the main focus is all about the pineapples and mangos and a slight hint of grapefruits. There’s a chalk note sitting on top of the oak in the finish and the oak is somewhat dry and bitter with some coffee and hazelnuts. There’s no astringency until after a few sips. This is very good for an entry level NAS travel retail release.

Additional information
Black Rock is the entry level of the travel retail exclusive range released in 2014. It’s primarily aged in ex-sherry casks. It was discontinued in 2017.

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