Tag Archives: Tar

Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar dram # 24 – Weymss Malt’s “Old Spiced Balm.” 29yo Dailuaine, Cask # 4339


Region – Speyside – ABV – 46%

Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar 2015

Excited that I’ve got a Dailuaine in my glass.

Primarily used in blends, Dailuaine is another distillery you never see bottlings from unless they’re independently bottled or in a “Flora and Fauna” bottling.

Having said that, Diageo have just released a bottling of a 34yo Dailuaine for around £380/$550.

Not a bad price for a 34yo whisky, I suppose. Could be worse! Could be an over hyped, over-priced bourbon. (I’m looking at you Pappy van Stagg-Weller.)

Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar 2015

Dailuaine is a favorite of mine and often times reminds me of one of my favorite people: Bill Morgan.  Bill Morgan is a gent who’s had quite a life in the whisky biz and was actually born at the Dailuaine Distillery.

To find more out about Bill, and read a few of his stories, click here.

On the nose — Tamer than the majority of Dailuaines I’ve reviewed.

Softly spiced. Hearts of palm, cigarette ash, mahogany tables, and etrog (slight citrus note).

Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar 2015Kicks in a little more here: Havdalah spices (cinnamon, bay leaves, cloves, and others), mountain high fall air, new rain on new tar, tarred telephone poles.

In the mouth — Heaven, really.  All of the above in liquid form and with a righteous spicy kick.

Finish — Lasting with Havdalah spices.

In sum — Yet another shining Dailuaine. It started off a bit soft but the whole experience ramped up after a few minutes in the glass and I ended the experience wanting another pour. That’s a sign of a good whisky.

A slightly older Springbank – 1972 (bottled in 1994)

Campbeltown Region – 46%ABV -$/£/ € A lot (good luck finding a bottle – this was bottled 17yrs ago)

Many years ago, the Campbeltown region of Scotland was the epicenter of Scotch whisky distilleries.  Today, there are only 3; Springbank, Glen Scotia and Kilkerran.

Springbank is an unusual distillery as it creates 3 different whiskies using three very different distilling practices.  The three whiskies that Springbank produces are: Springbank, Hazelburn and Longrow.

Hazelburn is an unpeated whisky that is distilled 3 times (like most Irish whiskies).  Longrow is a heavily peated whisky that is distilled twice.  And lastly, Springbank is a lightly/moderately peated whisky that has been distilled 2-1/2 times (the only distillery that uses this practice).

What, 2-1/2 times distilled?  What on G-d’s green earth does that mean?  How is that possible?  Jason over at Guid Scotch Drink gives a good explanation of this process.

Let’s move from the whisky lesson over to the whisky review…

On the nose –  Mint, perhaps unlit menthol cigarettes (with the addition of dried tobacco).

Sour sugar and a lovely mix of golden raisin and beeswax.

Delicious golden delicious apples both of the fresh and baked variety.

Lightly malted, salted and citrusy (the salty citrus combo reminds me a bit of a margarita sans the agave notes).

Fresh poured and paved road tar.

This is a confident nose.  Not aggressive in anyway just present in every way.

On the mouth Very shy upfront (even a bit watery).

More mint and a touch of smoke with a thin/watery mouthfeel.

Some slight fizz on the center and sides of the tongue with some nondescript fruit notes… maybe some apricot.

A good bit of salt as we get closer to the end and a bit more [dried] fruit.

Finish Dry on the finish and I would venture to say there’s a bit of sweet creamed corn in here (an odd note).

In sum A nice older dram to get my nose on, that’s for sure.  Truth be told, while the nose was grand, I was let down by in the tasting of it.  I hoped/anticipated that the palate would have had the same confidence as the nose.  I guess I shouldn’t complain though.  I consider myself lucky to even have a chance to taste a whisky that was distilled before I was born (even if it was only by one year)!

Special thanks goes to Marshall N and the good folks at the LA Scotch Club for the sample!

Ardbeg Corryvreckan – Malt Advocate’s Whisky of 2009

Islay region – 57.1%ABV – cask strength – 750ml bottle – $79-89 | £60 | €66

Such a strange thing.  You know, when I first got into Scotch whiskies, it was the peatier ones that drew me in.  I wanted to do nothing more than drink brimstone.  The peatier, the better.  And when I first started drinking whisky, that’s all I could taste; until, that is, I started “tasting” whisky rather than “drinking” whisky.

Once I started “tasting” whisky I had a tough time getting past the smokey peat – all I could taste was smoke so I figured I branch out and try ANY whisky as long as it had NO peat.  I abstained from peat for a bit more than a year and during that time I really began to hone my tasting skills (I’m still not a professional by any stretch of the imagination but I can hold my own.  At least, that’s what I tell myself…).  I was feeling good about my whiskying (is that even a word? My guess…no).  So good that I decided to branch out a bit more and reintroduce myself to peat, slowly but surely.  I started with Dalwhinnie, sprinkled  in some Springbank (great Campbeltown malt!!), Highland Park, then winter finally came back to New England and I decided to get back to the big peat – Ardbeg!

Tasting the Ardbeg 10yr again after going through so many lighter Speyside & Highland whiskies was like a reawakening!!  I was able to start pulling out the citrus notes, the tea leafiness, brine — this was a whole new experience for me!  My eyes were reopened.

Fast forward a year and a half or so and we get the announcement from John Hansell of the Malt Advocate that Ardbeg’s Corryvreckan got the prestigious Best Single Malt of 2009 award.  I have so much respect for John Hansell and much of what he says has helped and continues to help me choose the direction I take on this fun-ass whisky journey.  This being said, I had to get some Corryvreckan for myself and see what this was all about.

So, here we go.  Ardbeg Corryvreckan, 2009 Single Malt of the year:

Initial whiffEven though this is 57.1%ABV, I had no problem jamming and keeping my nose in the glass.  Sweet smoke, big smoke but very sweet, briney (think sushi roll seaweed), lots of citrus, the smell of freshly tarred cut tree-limbs, telephone poles on a hot summer day (sorry for that one but growing up we had a telephone pole at the end of our driveway and there was some tar on it and during the summer it had a smell that was similar to what I’m smelling here).  Very complex.  Pleasant and making me reminisce of days gone by (this is what whisky is all about!!).

On the mouth Sweet & bitting smoke, oily but not as much as the Uigeadail, iodine, wet ropes, back to the citrus, maybe some figgy stuffs?

Finish Lasting, bubbly, like boozy seltzer, getting grassy (is this the stuff that made up the peat?).  A big smokebomb but so much more!

In sumNo where near as angry a malt as the Uigeadail.  Though close…  So the question is: is the the best single malt of 2009?  The great thing about whiskies and the tasting thereof is that it’s all up to you!  For me, yes.  It’s quite apparent that Ardbeg knows what they are doing.  They’re making damn good whisky.  This is my favorite whisky released in 2009 (that I’ve tasted).   Was it the best single malt I’ve tried in 2009?  No way.  Enjoy toward the end of Autumn or on a cold-cold night.  Bundle up, grab your favorite book and let yourself be taken away!