Oct 212019
 

Long days we’ve waited for this. Not just this for this whisky, in particular, but for Alberta Distillers to finally shake the sleep from their heads and recognize the potential for their ultra pristine, clean and spicy, homegrown rye. I truly believe some of the world’s greatest rye whisky (and I mean real rye whisky, not simply Canadian whisky colloquially referred to as rye) is produced right here in the heart of Alberta’s most bustling metropolis. Even the standard Alberta Premium at 40% and non-age stated is knockout stuff. To finally have a cask strength version of this stuff is like Christmas come early.

But the real question, of course, is whether or not the whisky is actually good. And I’m tickled pink to report that it is much more than good. And every opinion I’ve heard from those who’ve tried it seems to fall in line as well. ADL has killed it with this release. Here’s hoping this isn’t simply a one-and-done sort of offering. It would be great to have this as a permanent addition to the core range. Especially now that Dark Horse is apparently on the way out.

It’s big, bold and brazen stuff. And we love it for all those reasons.

65.1% abv. In other words…hot, hot, hot.

Tasting Notes

Nose: Demerara sugar and maraschino. Eucalyptus. Maple syrup lollies. Coffee liqueur. Pine sap. Toasted wood. Lemon furniture polish. Apple streusel. Butter tarts. Cinnamon. Not as much vanilla as I would have expected.

Palate: Overripe banana. Crème brulee. Some nice fruity, boozy notes. A bit of raspberry and cherry. A bit of both orange and lemon zest. A thread of blueberry coulis. Beeswax. Sweet raisins. More cinnamon. And apple at the back end.

Finish: Apple Cinnamon Cheerios. The aftertaste of mentholated cough syrup. Clean pine or spruce. British treacle toffee.

Thoughts: All I’d hoped for. And maybe a little bit more. The abv is near blinding, so don’t be shy with water (though I prefer it neat).

89.5/100

 Posted by at 3:01 pm
Oct 152019
 

Another beauty from the Lowlands. And another drop of liquid history in the glass. St. Magdalene (or Linlithgow as it has occasionally been known as) was a distillery founded on the site of a former leper colony. I may have mentioned that before. This is one of those lost distilleries that hasn’t quite caught the fancy of collectors to the same degree as a few others (whose names we’ve mentioned enough for now), but whose output unquestionably rivals some of those great legendary releases in terms of intrinsic quality. So the question, as always, is a frustrated ‘why?’ There are always answers, but none that are apt to satisfy the malt historian or closed distillery aficionado. Such is the nature of the game in an industry rife with peaks and troughs.

This uber scarce Mackillop’s Choice St. Maggie is a gem of a malt, though, so let’s simply enjoy the opportunity at hand, and not wax too nostalgic.

62.6% abv. Distilled in 1982 and bottled in 2001, so…a 19 year old. From cask #1336. And sadly, long gone.

Sincere thanks to my mate Brett Tanaka for the opportunity to taste this. The range of bottles he’s been opening for what we’ll call ‘The Brett Sessions’ are simply beyond comprehension. And I am beyond humbled to be able to partake. I’ll be reviewing dozens of them in the coming weeks/months.

Tasting Notes

Nose: Beauty. Soft creamy, fruit notes. Well worn and oiled leather. Honey on crackers. Soft threads of smoke and melted wax. Good pastry. Stewed tropical fruits as it develops. Peach cobbler. Moist tobacco.

Palate: Velvety arrival. High quality melted chocolate. Beautifully smoky. The fruit flavours are everywhere here: threaded throughout, drizzled on top and deeply resonant at the back end. Slightly wine-y (but in a pleasant way). Apple, with some ‘almost tropical’ flavours. Toasty clean oak.

Finish: Apple skins. Pear skins. Peach pits. Clean cereals and firm oak. Loooooooooong, oh so long.

Thoughts: All I can say is…please may I have more?

91/100

 Posted by at 12:10 pm
Oct 142019
 

Jackie Thomson is unquestionably one of my favorite people in the whisky world. Actually, qualifying that statement with the word ‘whisky’ is entirely unnecessary. Jackie is simply one of my favorite people. Period. When I reached out to her some months back about my latest trip to Islay, she immediately said she’d find a way to take care of us. As you can imagine (or have read here on ATW in past jottings), I have been to Ardbeg many times. Yet somehow Jackie and the team at the distillery always manage to make it a special and singular experience. No two visits have ever been quite alike. Each one has become sort of unforgettable in its own right. This 2019 excursion was no different.

We arrived at the distillery, dropped our bags at Seaview Cottages where we’d be staying for the next three nights, and wandered over to the Old Kiln Café to check in. We were immediately and warmly greeted by Jackie, who then, in turn, introduced us to our guide for the day, Ron. If you’ve not met this gent, you’re missing out. He’s a great addition to the Ardbeg family. A passionate ambassador with a deep well of knowledge. He’s also a very comfortable person to hang out with. Ron led us out behind the distillery to where the pier stretches its time- and water-worn finger out into the cold depths of the Atlantic. There we chatted and enjoyed a dram of the just-launched (that very morning!) Supernova 2019. When the glasses were empty, we went inside for a fantastic ‘pull back the curtains’ kind of tour. I’ll save the details of that experience for a proper trip post in the near future. That’s not why we’re here, after all. So, after wrapping up the distillery tour, we were taken to a special little room where Ron told us what we’d be tasting that day. And oh, man…what a treat the boys were in for.

Jackie had set aside some legacy bottles of The Peaty Path to Maturity line: Very Young, Still Young, Almost There and Renaissance. All sealed; all just begging to be opened. And indeed, that was the goal. Ron said Jackie thought it would be neat if we could take these brilliant old sealed bottles and pop the corks, together, for the first time. Ummm…ok. If you insist.

I have, of course, tried all of these malts a few times before. I’ve even published reviews here on ATW. But I’ve never worked through the entire range in one sitting. It adds context and perspective. It also serves to distinctly highlight the Glenmorangie PLC era of Ardbeg. To say this was brilliant would be an understatement. And at the very end of it all, Ron pulled out a beautiful 14 year old second fill bourbon barrel cask sample. I didn’t take notes on that one – what can I say? The moment kind of stole me away – but I do have a wee sample tucked aside. Maybe I’ll share some thoughts later. Perhaps I’ll even amend this post.

All of these Peaty Path releases were pulled from a fantastic 1998 spirit run. I believe it was parceled into quarters for this series.

I saw Jackie the morning we left Ardbeg. We had a great chat in the early morning lull, before the machinery cranked up and the tourists converged. She made me a wonderful Uigeadail hot toddy to ease my congestion (yes…I caught the inevitable Scottish cold) and we sat and chatted for half an hour or so. This wee visit was one of my trip highlights this time. It was just a beautiful quiet moment with someone I appreciate immensely. And before I left that morning, I caught a peek of the diary entry that marked our visit to Ardbeg. It simply read: “Curt & pals (something different)”. This was certainly that. Incredibly grateful to the good people at Ardbeg once again.

So, how about some tasting notes then?

All notes; no scores.

Very Young

Nose: Prickly and young, beautifully so. Smoke and a deep, clean earthiness. Kiwis. Key lime pie. White pepper and ginger. Lemons and lemon curd. Salted dough. Fennel. Deep minerally notes.

Palate: Sharp arrival, that feels like tongue acupuncture. Smoky as all get out. Uber clean malt. Green gage. Black wine gums. Licorice. Charred lime. More kiwis. Mint Leaves candies. Chlorophyll.

Finish: Herbal notes. Quite grassy. Popsicle sticks.

Thoughts: Brilliant young stuff. Recognizing the level of quality in this parcel of casks must have been the catalyst for this series, ’cause, man…this is really nice whisky. Much more than just ‘potential’.

 

Still Young

Nose: Definitely still young, indeed. Lime and charred wood. Much more savoury than Very Young. BBQ sauce notes, even. Ammonia. Candy apples. A lot of smoke and peat. Solid spice profile. Cumin. Lychee.

Palate: Massive arrival, but less so than Very Young. Sweet and spicy. Cracked black pepper. Grilled bell peppers. Clean woody tones. Plasticine. Grape skins and apple peelings. Smoked oyster. Big, big smoke.

Finish: Seafood. Green under ripe fruits. Quite drying.

Thoughts: A step further, but I think about in par in terms of quality. In other words, love this one too.

 

Almost There

Nose: Oh, wow. A very creamy nose. Orange creamsicle. Big smoke again. Spices are nicely checked. Still notes of ammonia. Lindt chili chocolate. More balance here than its predecessors. Grilled pineapple. Clotted cream.

Palate: Sweet arrival. Mouthwatering, actually. Tangy citrus and chili peppers. Grilled whitefish. Good mix of spices. Smoked tangerines (could there be such a thing?). Eucalyptus. Lapsang souchong tea. Tar. Moist vanilla. Black licorice.

Finish: Long, long, long. Firm oak. Vanilla extract. Citrus extract. A licorice note that hangs around too.

Thoughts: Here we go. Much more complexity and integration. Some of our crew said this was the best of the bunch. Best of first three, yes. Best of the series…errrr…maybe not.

 

Renaissance

Nose: And even more fruits! Orange and lime. Fruit salad. Great smokiness. Vanilla. Kippers. Iodine. Vicks Vapo Rub. Hot cross buns. Matcha. And mochi. Fantastic nose.

Palate: Man, what an arrival! Sooooo juicy. Licorice and smoke. Rubber and tar. Impressively fruity. Nice mid-palate spices, dominated by ginger. Plaster. Some bread notes. And sorta hospital-y.

Finish: Long and smoky. Salt licorice. Granny Smith apples.

Thoughts: Yep. Undoubtedly my favorite of them all. The apex of the range. And rightfully so. Here’s where it all comes together. Why a whisky like this isn’t a regular addition to the Ardbeg range, I don’t know. Beautiful clean spirit, well chosen wood, and a perfect age that balances high phenols and rising fruit tides. Love it.

 Posted by at 10:38 am
Sep 242019
 

Another of the great lost distilleries. Dallas Dhu was one of the fallen soldiers in the rash of 1983 closures that permanently shuttered some of the most iconic producers in Scotland. Now…whether or not all of said distilleries would have been held in the same esteem they are now if they’d not had their lives shortened is a matter of some debate, but hey…a lot of…err…less than premier distilleries have survived the ages and are still kicking out juice, so who knows?

But let’s not confuse Dallas Dhu with some of the greats (port Ellen, Brora, St. Mags, Rosebank, etc). It’s stocks have never really been held in the same esteem by most connoisseurs. I have a personal bias in favor of this distillery, but I know others who are rather indifferent. I hate to say I’m right and they’re wrong, but…y’know…I’m right and they’re wrong.

The Rare Malts series contains some absolutely legendary bottlings, as many of you are probably aware. The absolutely stunning twenty-somethings Broras and Port Ellens are lights out malts. This DD isn’t quite of the same caliber, but make no mistake…it’s a gem.

60.54% abv. Distilled in 1970; bottled in 1994.

Sincere thanks to my mate Brett Tanaka for the opportunity to taste this. The range of bottles he’s been opening for what we’ll call ‘The Brett Sessions’ are simply beyond comprehension. And I am beyond humbled to be able to partake. I’ll be reviewing dozens of them in the coming weeks/months.

Tasting Notes

Nose: An absolute fruit bomb. Candy and chewing gum. Grilled pineapple. Under ripe kiwi. Warm caramel. Meringues. Warm fudge-y notes. Crème brulee. Soft chocolate poured over peppered fruits. God…so much fruit here.

Palate: Again on those crème brulee notes. Grilled fruit (caramelized syrupy flavours). Sea salted caramel chocolates. Nice toasty malt and toasted oak tones. Less deeply fruity now than the nose lets on. Chocolate covered candied ginger.

Finish: Long and warm, with sot fruits and beautiful fade.

Thoughts: Yet another spectacular example out of the Rare Malts range.

92/100

 

 Posted by at 3:09 pm
Sep 222019
 

Can’t lie. I’m pleased as punch with this one. For personal, biased reasons and just for the way it sits on my palate.

Now, before we go further…I did warn you, remember? I did say that I’d be reviewing some store casks from time to time. And by that I mean the barrels we (as a small committee) select for Kensington Wine Market to purchase as store exclusives. I remember the range of Glen Scotia cask samples we received being quite good, and I remember this particular cask being a stand-out amongst them, but when the actual bottles arrived they were so much better than I remembered. In fact, I have to say that this is one of the store casks I’m most tickled to have played a part in selecting. I should also add that this is probably the most interesting Glen Scotia I’ve ever tasted.

But ultimately, does my bias really matter? It’s not like I made the stuff. All credit goes to the folks at Glen Scotia. We were just lucky enough to score a fantastic selection of cask samples. And this particular expression is almost the epitome of Campbeltown single malt whisky. A great cask at a great age.

53.6% abv. 227 bottles from an ex-sherry hoggy.

Tasting Notes

Nose: A dirty dram; one where most of the fruits are buried. Leathery, with notes of spent engine oil. Smoky and salty. Coastal, without hitting too deep on brine or decaying kelp notes. Mince tarts with slightly burnt pastry. Darkly smoky. Graham cracker crust under blueberry cheesecake. Pepper, nutmeg and cinnamon. A wee bit ashy and sooty. Notes of Sen-sens.

Palate: Oil again. What I’d imagine linseed oil would taste like. Sunflower seeds. Dark purple grapes. Much jammier and fruitier here than on the nose. Caramelized ham skin. Reminds of Bowmore Laimrig in ways. Almost seems like this could have been chocolate malt (read: heavily toasted malted barley). Black currant cough sweets. Sweet and syrupy before it plummets into ashy dryness.

Finish: Uber long and oily. Mid-firm tannins.

Thoughts: In some ways, this makes me think of a filthy armagnac. A none-too-fruity dram that defies a lot of description. One to be tasted in order to properly be appreciated. Great stuff.

91.5/100

 Posted by at 11:22 am
Sep 182019
 

Earlier this year Ardbeg Drum shook my faith in the Great Big Green. It was…less than stellar in this cat’s humble opinion. Bad? No. Of course not. Good? Meh. Not even quite. But Drum is now in the rearview mirror. We’re now on the eve of the proper arrival of Traigh Bhan here in Canadian waters. Traigh Bhan – named for a local beach, and translated as ‘the Singing Sands’ – is what we’ve been waiting for: proper age-stated Ardbeg. And not just age-stated, but what an age! Traigh Bhan is a meant to be a permanent addition to the core range, albeit in batch releases that will vary year upon year. The price? Well…let’s leave that aside for a few moments and just revel in the fact that this iconic much-loved distillery has finally reached a point – post-renaissance – that they are able to release a regular release at a brilliant state of maturity. Apex Ardbeg. Not much more to say really.

Consider me on record here and now saying that this is spectacular. And I can’t lie…it’s nice to be able to ‘fanboy’ it up a bit again for my beloved Ardbeg.

46.2% abv. An utterly perfect drinking strength. Matured in ex-bourbon and ex-Oloroso sherry.

Tasting Notes

Nose: Oh. Oh, boy. We’re tiptoeing up to the line where we cross over into tropical territory. Especially with those grilled pineapple notes. Lime. Orange. A faint hint of cherry. Black wine gums. Lemon pound cake. Kumquat. The smoke is quite subdued, and there’s little in the way of real earthy peat. Vanilla cupcakes. Caramel sauce on pineapple (again with the pineapple!). The five flavor Lifesaver packages. Eucalyptus. Toasted marshmallow. Ginger. Complex and perfectly integrated.

Palate: Quite soft for an Ardbeg (mind you…we are at nearly two decades here). Mid level smoke profile. Licorice. Oily vanilla seed. Mocha. Orange and citrus. And here we go: there’s the pineapple again. Greengage. Smoked sausage. Ginger and white pepper. Clean wood. Nice harmony between nose and palate.

Finish: Long and perfect. Lime zest. Vanilla ice cream popsicles. Faint green fruit skins at the end (green apples and green grapes).

Thoughts: Ardbeg back at the top of their game. I adore this release. Can’t wait to drink more of it. Much more.

92.5/100

And yes…I will update the photo when I get my hands on a bottle proper.

 Posted by at 6:39 pm
Sep 142019
 

A new big and bold Kilchoman. But that could be any Kilchoman, really. What sets Loch Gorm apart from the rest of the range is the sheer heft of sweet, sticky sherry that permeates every crack and crevice of the malt, underscoring the malleability of the base distillate. It works beautifully here, speaking to the sky-high quality of both the spirit and the barrel it went into.

I truly believe it’s hard to mess up a spirit this good. You’d have to actively try, in fact. Such is the lightning in a bottle singularity which Anthony Wills and team (with the guidance of the late Jim Swan) have been able to capture at Islay’s landlocked farm distillery. There are occasional missteps in cask choice (the wine casks, guys, the wine casks. <shudder>), but I suppose we should chalk that up to a matter of personal preference, since I know many folks who adore that style. Fear not, wineheads, you’ll have no competition from me for those releases. They’re all yours. But sweet sherry like this? Yes, please.

46% abv (and really no need to be higher. This is the perfect drinking strength). 15,000 bottles. The neck tag says this was a vatting of twenty Oloroso sherry butts from 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011.

Tasting Notes

Nose: Immediately reminds of Bowmore Laimrig. Stylistically, at least, if not the same sort of nuance and ppm equality. Mixed berry fruit leather. A mix of orange, lemon and lime juice. Ammonia. Smoke and charred wood. Burnt lemon. Savoury, barbecue sauce. Grilled shellfish.

Palate: Smoke and loads of it. Big. mouthwatering arrival. Grape jam. Cola syrup. Licorice babies. Apple peelings with a fresh squeeze of orange. A bit of a minty-ness going on. Caramelized ginger. Cherry cordials. Like what I imagine smoldering cedar might taste like. Big sherry, but not top-heavy. Lindt dark chili chocolate.

Finish: Long and exactly as you’d expect: ebbing notes of oak and drying sherry. Leaves a bit of a dry-mouthedness. Last flavours are green apple skins and charred white fish. Beautiful finish.

Thoughts: Very coastal. Rich and decadent. Dirty and oily. Love it. A great variant in the range. But I must confess…I love Machir Bay a little bit more.

88/100

 Posted by at 4:18 pm
Sep 092019
 

Sherry fiends…here you go. This one should be right up your alley. This is what old sherried whisky should be: thick, rich, gooey, complex and multi-faceted. There was a time when this sort of flavor was what I expected from sherry-matured malts. Unfortunately, those days seem to be largely behind us.

Most of what’s hitting the tastebuds nowadays is an anemic facsimile of this beloved old style. The words ‘sherry-seasoned’ have begun to ring as a death-knell for a lot of malts in the eyes of most of my whisky mates. They simply look the other way for decent drams when they see these syllables strung together. There are, of course, great drams out there that fall under this appellation, but the real problem is that they’re being sold at the same sort of price point that old school proper sherry bombs used to sell at. Y’know…the ones matured in gorgeous, ancient bodega butts. The savvy among you will likely immediately see the issue here. The industry always told us that the higher prices levied against sherried whiskies (compared to their bourbon casked cousins) was justified by the price of sherry butts (ten times the price, they’d say!*). So why is that the case now then, when most of what we are seeing are just seasoned hogsheads? Hmmmm.

Anyway…

Glengoyne. The older the expression, the more proper sherry influence. The younger expressions are a mix of bourbon and sherry. Those beyond the 18 are exclusively sherry. The 21…s’ok. The 25, though? Wow. On a rainy day like today I can 100% say that I could happily sip this all evening while the storm rages on outside my window. Beautiful stuff.

And love, love, love the 48% bottling strength.

*A rubbish idea. The cask itself may work out to about ten times the purchase price, but it also holds two and a half times what a bourbon barrel does, so it’s far from a ten to one kinda comparison.

Tasting Notes

Nose: Bucketloads of sherry (for those from eastern Canada: that would a be a ‘shit ton’ in your dialect). Sultanas and figs. Cuban Lunch bars slammed headlong into Eat-More bars. Mincemeat tarts. Lots of nutmeg. Lots of mulling spices. Burnt berry compote. Eucalyptus. Licorice. Treacle toffee. Sticky toffee pudding. Morello cherry. Moist cigar leaf.

Palate: Good, rich, old school sherry. Dumpy and delicious. Great arrival, great structure. Old woods and a bit of furniture polish. Orange oil and rich marmalade. Jammy fruits. Dark chocolate. Spicy fruit cake. Toasted whole grain bread. Coffee liqueur. A decent nuttiness too, bringing a bit of dryness.

Finish: Long, deep and dark. Melted cocoa and some herbal notes. Late tannins. Black tea.

Thoughts: Just some good ol’ well-aged, Oloroso-soaked whisky. Brilliant expression from Glengoyne.

90/100

 Posted by at 1:57 pm
Sep 042019
 

This style of malt has huge appeal for me. I may have used this analogy before in some other context, but a whisky like this is a coelacanth. In other words, a Lazarus. A dead style, come to life again long after we thought we’d kissed it goodbye. That analogy applies both to the distillery and the style. Benromach was Gordon & MacPhail’s first foray into distilling and distillery ownership, while the style is sadly anachronistic in this day and age.*

When G&M reopened Benromach in 1999, after a near 16 year closure, their aim was to produce a 1950s style Speyside malt. You know what that means, aye? Bingo! Peat. It’s a different dimension added to a familiar style, and one that works extremely well against such a rich and robust spirit.

If what I’ve read is correct, Benromach is peating to about 12 ppm. Not high, by today’s metrics, but substantial enough that phenol-phobes will definitely be turning a nose up at this one. Irrespective of the actual numbers, the smoke is an omnipresent entity, weaving its way through all other nuances and flavour notes. And for my tastebuds…it works beautifully. Is the 10 a knock-out? Nah, of course, not. But it is really, really good. And as close to a knockout as you can get at this age and price.

I also want to add that the more mature malts under the new ‘romach regime are already showing signs of being something very special. This is the sort of whisky I want to drink at about thirty years of age or so. I think that’s where it will really shine.

Shame about the 43% bottling strength, but we’ve already harped on G&M’s propensity for these ‘no man’s land’ abv’s, so let’s move on.

43% abv

Tasting Notes

Nose: A light smokiness, as we’d expect, knowing what we do about Benromach. Oil lamps. Unbaked pastry shells. Wind over hay fields (I know, I know…settle down, Auden). Warm suede and polish. Orange marmalade and orange juice. Berry compote. Toasted almond.

Palate: Gentle earthy, peaty notes, with threads of clean smoke and toasted oak. Warm leather (horse saddle? And no…I’ve not licked saddles). More orange, vibrant and lovely. Citrus pith and rind. Dusty wood. Hints of corn (think dried stalks, unbuttered popcorn, etc). Vaguely nutty.

Finish: Mid length. Slightly tannic at the back end. All pleasant.

Thoughts: Any day, any time. Adore this style. And not just this style; I adore this dram. One of the best 10 year olds on the market.

89/100

*Yes, I’m aware Ardmore is much in the same camp, though they’ve been consistent about it for a very, very long time, and in this guy’s humble opinion, lack the multifaceted profile.

 Posted by at 2:51 pm
Aug 302019
 

Oh, man. I really don’t relish talking about Macallan much these days. It kinda feels like picking on a very weak bully, if that makes any sense. Macallan is more of a monolith than ever before, but at the same time it’s but a shadow of its former self. I find it increasingly difficult to reconcile the contemporary profile of the brand with those massively sherried, brooding old beauties from past decades. The lack of decent sherry butts plays its part, of course, but let’s also shoot the elephant in the room while we’re taking aim: the prices being levied against any Macallan that breaches that 18 year mark are bloody offensive. Marry that concern to the amorphous flavour profile that neither adequately reflects what Macallan has always been about, nor does it any favours, and…well…it’s hard to love this great old icon with the same zeal I did in earlier times.

So, as I said…I don’t really like discussing Macallan. Mama always said ‘if you can’t say anything nice…’ And you know where it goes from there.

Triple Cask. Three wood types. Okay. Nothing really innovative here, but I can’t lie: seeing the word ‘sherry’ on the label makes me grit my teeth. Because with Macallan, it rarely seems to stand in isolation. Inevitably these days, ‘sherry’ is being chased by the word ‘seasoned’. You know what that means, aye? Sherry Lite; just a suggestion of what we hope for in our Macallan, due to little real wood penetration (minds out of the gutter, kids!). And the resultant whisky here, even at 18 years, is about as exciting as a lukewarm bowl of Cream of Wheat porridge. Is it bad? Nah. But neither is it really good. Certainly not good enough to justify that nearly $350 price tag anyway. At $150 or $180? Maybe. Maybe.

43% abv

Tasting Notes

Nose: A fairly pronounced spiciness, right out of the gates. But almost like cinnamon, nutmeg and cocoa powder stirred into cream or custard. Still sorta floral and perfumed. Caramel cake with candied nuts. Lemon and honey. Spanakopita. Soft toasty notes.

Palate: Quite sweet and almost syrupy, despite its anemic body. Terry’s Chocolate Oranges. Cinnamon sticks. Hints of chomping on an unlit cigar. Just suggestions of mince pies. Slightly wine-y actually. And a bit flinty. Nose was more interesting than the palate, if I’m being honest.

Finish: Slightly tannic. More oak and vanilla than I hoped for at the back end. Shortish.

Thoughts: Credit where credit is due, though: there’s a decent balance struck here. And while 43% is better than 40%…46% would have been much more to my liking.

86.5/100

 Posted by at 3:35 pm