Monthly Archives: October 2017

Tasting Notes: Penderyn – Madeira

Penderyn – Madeira

Penderyn is the brand name of the only single malt whisky currently made in Wales (formerly known as The Welsh Whisky Company). Based in the beautiful landscape of the Brecon Beacons, the distillery has been making whisky since 2001 and has since expanded its repertoire to include their own vodka, gin and even whisky cream liqueur. To the matter at hand though, and it’s the distillery’s first main output into the whisky world stored in ex-bourbon barrels and then finished off in a Madeira cask before bottling.

ABV: 46%



M: A real Madeira cake sweetness (the power of suggestion!) but it is quickly blown away by an almost chlorine-like alcoholic burn.


M: Sweet fudge, vanilla and caramel at the start but again quickly burnt away leaving a spicy, crisp, and pine-y attack with only a hint at Madeira.


M: Long with a lasting taste of young wood at the back of the throat and quite an acidic finish.


M: As a Welshman, I wanted to enjoy this so much, but I’m sad to say that this is disappointing for my first Welsh whisky and it is just not to my tastes. Others out there love it and it regularly gets 90+ from Jim Murray in his Whisky Bible but for me though, it’s just not yet the sweet nectar I was after. I’m hoping that it is just maybe hankered by its youth and this only affects the tastes temporarily as it gets older and the barrels and their whiskies mature. I’m also interested to see if their peated expression can hide some of the burn with the smoke and I reckon that their first 10 year old will definitely be one to keep an eye out for!

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Tasting Notes: Glen Moray 30 Years Old (Murray McDavid)

Glen Moray 30yo

September 2017 marked the 120th anniversary of Glen Moray distillery having been first opened and having constantly crafted the water of life. Loyal followers of the distillery on twitter have been using the hashtag #glenmoray120 to tag their celebration of the occasion. Having recently reviewed their regularly available Elgin Heritage 12 and 15 year old expressions, I was delighted that September’s Dram Team delivery contained a new and limited expression from Glen Moray. The mini miniature contained a dram of a 30 year old independent bottling by Murray McDavid under their “Mission Gold” range. There’s limited information available on the whisky itself but as a Murray McDavid release, it has been hand selected from a vintage cask and aged up to the ripe old age of 30.

49% ABV


M: Creamy. Really creamy. A real vanilla bomb. Very little boozy prickle in the nostrils. Really rounded honey and cream. Some gentle sweet fruits there too like papaya. 


M: Vanilla custard. Just like Portuguese tarts. Sweet oak in there too, which intensifies on the way down too.


M: The alcohol only shows itself on the finish as it warms on the way down. Suddenly that 49% is really prominent and leaves a peppery kick.


M: Having tried a few of Glen Moray’s NAS cask finish series releases, I’ve enjoyed their light body and varying flavours and that was what I came to expect of Glen Moray. Delicate and woody. The recent comparison of the 12yo and 15yo however, evidenced a stark difference in flavours and body as a result of a few extra years, so the prospect of 30 years in barrel made me think that this dram would basically taste like chewing a stave. Instead it seems that 30 years have infused nothing but pure vanilla sweetness with a finish that is just sooooo smooth, and at just under 50% ABV, this dram is dangerously easy to drink. At £225 RRP for a bottle though… a small sample is all I’ll be able to enjoy at this stage…

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Tasting Notes: Benromach – Chateau Cissac

Benromach – Chateau Cissac

Speyside’s Benromach have been rapidly expanding their range of whiskies available in recent years, with a solid core range and then seasonal additional releases. One area that has particularly piqued whisky enthusiasts’ interests is their experimentation with different cask influences via their “Wood Finish” series within the “Contrasts” range – see notes on their Triple Distilled release here. This limited new release has been initially matured in ex-bourbon casks and “is finished for 25 months in hand-selected casks from the illustrious Château Cissac within the Appellation Haut-Médoc Contrôlée in South-western France” (to use their own words).




M; Bonfire smoke straight away. A lovely dry smoke & then followed by red fruits – the other way round to a usual smoky dram, when the smoke usually comes last. The smoke reminded me of that smoke you get in German smoked sausages or smoked cheese or any of the Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier range (but in whisky form, obviously).



M: It is smoke and fruit in equal parts upfront. Blood orange and oaked red wine.  The toasty smoke intensifies with the booze on the way down.



M: The red berries fade and the smoke peters out and leaves a drying red wine kind of finish.



M: The more I’ve tried whiskies that have been stored in old red wine barrels, the more I’ve liked them and this is no exception. This is a really rich and fruity whisky that has been coupled with Benromach’s signature smoke, which seems to be more intense in this whisky than in others of theirs, which I guess must have been amplified by the wine casks. There were a lot of flavours at play here and this is definitely one for savouring over time, and definitely fits our current seasonal move into autumn. Sold by the spiel, I may also have to try and find some of the wine itself, but for now, I’ll stick to the whisky.

Benromach Tweet Tasting

PS Many thanks, as ever, to Steve Rush and Benromach for the @TweetTastings via @TheWhiskyWire for the samples and spreading the joy.

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