Posts Tagged With: 12 Years Old

Tasting Notes: Strathisla – 12 Years Old

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Strathisla – 12 Years Old

When it comes to scotch whiskies, heritage is an important driver in ensuring quality of a distillery’s product. Strathisla distillery in Kieth is no exception to this and boats to be the oldest operational distillery in the Highlands of Scotland. The distillery is also home to the Chivas Regal whisky blends which are probably far more renowned around the world, and are currently in the final stages of a large refurbishment project, which should see visitors and fans of the brand come together in numbers. This whisky is therefore more of a treat in one sense, as it is not part of the blending process and is granted its own single malt profile, being comprised of whiskies at least 12 years old, and having been, in recent years, repackaged in the Stockholm style bottle and sold at 40% ABV.

 

Nose

Oh this is so sweet! The kind of sweetness that you get from candied oranges, or ‘candied’ anything for that matter. It also has a zest and zing to the nose that reminds me of sherbet & love heart sweets. There’s a good bit of citrus too adding to that zing.

 

Taste

That sherbet sweetness and tingle carries on through the palate, but now the malt shows up to play and mingles effortlessly with the sweetness to create a digestive biscuit sort of flavour profile. The citrus fruit zest also develops to apricot and mango. Its definitely a sweet fruit experience.

 

Finish

It has a lip-smacking finish. The  alcohol disappears almost instantly but that sherbet tingle lasts forever and leaves behind the zest and sweetness of oranges and strawberries – definitely one for the summer!

 

Verdict

This is such a light and summery drink. Dangerously so given that it is still a 40% ABV drink, but I’m sure it would lend itself to some very refreshing long or short cocktails if you could bring yourself to put a single malt whisky into a cocktail! On its own though, the booze and sweetness interplay to create a light treat and feels like a very different sort of malt whisky. I would go as far as to say it is the sweetest single malt scotch whisky that I’ve tried (to date), even compared to Cardhu 12 (which I guess is Diageo’s closest equivalent to this Chivas output) and have suggested it as an entry whisky to a handful of people who want to get into malts but from a very light starting point. In the UK, this is often in the larger supermarket stores and can be seen on offer from time to time, sometimes dropping to ca. £25 if you catch it at the right time. For the whisky enthusiast who is a little longer in the tooth, there is the firm old guard who swear that the older bottling at 43% ABV was a lot better and may not have been stirred as much with ye olde caramel stick to ensure consistency in its colouring, but for me, as the nights draw out and the mercury rises, this would be a great choice to have waiting in the wings.

M

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Tasting Notes: Tullamore DEW Special Reserve 12 Years Old

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Tullamore DEW 12 Years Old

Tasted as part of the recent Dram Team subscription package, this whiskey is actually only readily available as a travel retail bottling from Tullamore DEW – or “Tully” as their fans more often refer to it. What this “Special Reserve” contains is a blended batch of pot still, malt and grain whiskies that have been matured in a combination of ex-sherry and ex-bourbon barrels over the course of 12+ years.

40% ABV

 

Nose

M: Bit more going on here than their standard offering. This has a woodier, maltier nose. The distillery’s characteristic sweetness is there, but dark sugars are here now in place of the lighter, vanilla sweetness. Sweet biscuity-like flavours are there too, like hobnobs and digestives. The alcohol gives the nose a fair tingle too.

 

 

Taste

M: That digestive biscuit flavour really comes out when it hits the tongue. There’s a sort of wholemeal-meets-cereal flavour that dominates. After a little bit of time there seems to be a bit of honey poured onto that porridge mix of flavours bringing out a sweetness and a little oaky tang at the back which leaves a few, gentle, spiced elements on the way down.

 

 

Finish

M: The booze intensifies a little down the throat meaning that those malty, biscuity flavours fade away pretty quickly. Fairly lingering finish.

 

 

Verdict

M: This was a really enjoyable dram. It has still got that Irish sweet, silky texture about it but the wood and grains seem to have a lot more of a say than the standard bottling’s toffee blast. Thankfully there is not so much of the dreaded “creamy mouthfeel” here from this Irish whiskey either, though it is still satisfyingly smooth. The influences of the oak from the 12+ years of maturation really help round this whiskey out into an easy sipping drink with a little something more about it. Very easy drinking.

Categories: Tasting Notes, Tullamore DEW | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Happy Birthday Glen Moray!

Today sees Glen Moray distillery celebrate its 120th birthday, because on 13th September 1897 the little distillery based in Elgin made its first batch of new-make spirit. In order to join in on the celebrations, I’ve taken my two Dram Team miniatures and have done a side-by-side comparison of their cracking Elgin Heritage releases.

Glen Moray 12yo Elgin Heritage

12 Year Old Elgin Heritage

40% ABV


Nose

Light. Really light. It’s only got a gentle boozy tingle on the nose but seems quite perfumed – kinda like nail polish fumes, but in a good way?! If I had to pick one smell, then it would be barley. Pure and simple.

Taste

Light vanilla upfront. More of the same barley flavours from the nose. Light oak/barrel influence toward the end.

Finish

Over and done with pretty quickly, leaving a warming, vanilla taste. Simple and effective! 

Verdict

Very simple. Very easy drinking. Maybe too simple and too easy drinking if you’re after a whisky for savouring. The quality is not in question though and with this palate you could drink a lot of this. Pure and simple.
 

Glen Moray 15yo Elgin Heritage

15 Year Old Elgin Heritage

40% ABV


Nose

And there’s the body!! The barrel’s influence is so much more present. A slight bit of salinity to the smell and a lot more barley too. Like all the light notes of the 12yo have bulked up and come out to play. Caramel sweetness throughout.

Taste
Rich caramel flavours continue – sweetness up front but things soon take a turn and the flavours become more and more savoury and ultimately leave a black peppery spice.

Finish

Woody. Really woody. Like, chewing on some wood kinda woody. The peppery flavours have removed all that initial sweetness and it coats your thought with a spiciness that could cure the common cold.

Verdict

Well, what a difference the 3 years seem to make. I’m not sure if there are different types of barrel used but this has such a contrast to the 12yo. This I couldn’t drink too much of! Lots of flavours for savouring, with some strong elements at play. My personal preference would have been for the sweetness to stick around a bit longer, but that is hardly a criticism. Maybe my perfect Glen Moray Elgin Heritage would split the difference and be a 13.5 yo? Either way, these are two different drams that are both rather good at what they do.

Elgin Heritage Head-to-Head

Edit: Thanks to @faycoull “Mr Master Distiller’s wife” of Glen Moray for confirming that the 15yo is combination of ex-Bourbon and Sherry Cask whiskies which are married just before bottling! 👍🏻

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