The second official tasting organised by my own Whiskyclub. This time the spotlights were focused on the Highlands (not including the Speyside and the Islands). The line-up consisted of the following 7 whiskies (glasses used: Glencairn).
Gordon&Macphail Distillery Range Balblair 10 year old 43%
Smelled very smooth, but also with faint hints of spices, very fresh and light. The taste is rather delicate (or if you want very light) and soft. Again very fresh and would do well as starter before a meal or as a summery dram. The finish is short and drying. Nothing special about this one, but not bad as a starter of the evening. Scoring would be just about 70 points.
Exclusive Range Royal Brackla Single Cask 2000 11 year old 45,8%
This was the starter at the masterclass with David Stirk awhile ago. By then I stated this as a very nice starter and somewhat light, but now following the Balblair it shows much more warmth and depth in its flavour profile, more spicy and smoky with several hints of lemon and nutty spices (Cinnamon/cloves). Didn’t score it back then, but would gain several points. Pleasant whisky. Scoring would be just in the low 80’s
Fettercairn Fior 42,9%
One of the new releases in the re-styling of this distillery. Nose gives a mid peaty and ginger spicy smell with several woodnotes, some fruity notes also. Little bit of vinegar. The taste is giving more warmth and depth. Quite rich with dark chocolate, sweet barley sugars and again the smoke and the spices. The finish is again a little bit short and disappointing, nothing much happening now. Enjoyable, but where is the “espresso” influence? Scoring it would give again a score in the low 80’s.
As seen by the colour of this dram it had some wine-influence. Apparently this one is married in Tuscany red vine barrels before bottling. Nose gives a lot of winy notes. Lots of red fruits appearing, but it is still a Glenmorangie. The taste is quite full bodied with again a lot of fruits, more going to the forest fruits with gentle woodnotes and just a slight hint of mint. The finish is excellent, nicely sweet and fruity. Hell of a dram, scoring it would be in the high 80’s.
Aberfeldy 21 year old 40%
Very light for a 21 year old whisky. Very soft nose with just a hint of sherry, very floral and some lemon. Nothing much is happening. What is this? Just in need of more time or is this one so blend in its profile? Very disappointing. Scoring it would be low to mid 60’s, don’t understand the usually much higher points given in reviews.
Ben Nevis 25 year old (1984) Cask Strength Single Cask 56,3%
After the disappointing Aberfeldy this one came along and how. Wow, nose is superb. Beautiful sherry notes present (sultanas/dried fruits apricot/hints of balsamic vinegar), also and luckily just a slight hint of sulphur. The taste is nuttier and quite a heavy one, again the sherried flavours, but also nutty woodnotes and a slight gingery spiciness appears. Wow, what a difference. This is an excellent dram, keeps evolving and finishing in some leather/polishing wax. I could see myself sitting on the couch for an entire evening with just one dram of this dram. Scoring would give it around mid 90’s!
Signatory Glenlochy 04/09/1980-2011 Single Cask Cask Strength 55,9%
The nose is displaying much more vanilla and is very velvety. More soft but also very complex. Freshly mowed grasses, malty but also a slight hint of peat smoke. The taste is beautiful soft and creamy, with hints of several fruits (apple/pear). Quite a long finish, very pleasant, but looking back on this tasting it would be much better before the sheer sherry power of the Ben Nevis. Next time doing a pre-tasting to figure out the order would be in place!. Would want to give this one a go just by itself. For now scoring it lurking at the 90’s.