Posts Tagged With: Highlands

Tasting Notes: Compass Box – Asyla

Compass Box Range – Asyla

When reading any material about the current trend/boom of premium blended whisky, you will not have to look too far before discovering the influence of Compass Box. The London-based scotch whisky bottlers (yep – they are London-based, but they have an office in Edinburgh though, so that’s legit, right?) have very much been at the forefront of the current movement, amongst other initiatives within the whisky market (which we will look at in another post). The independent bottlers have developed five unique scotch whiskies that sit with their core signature range, of which this sits at the lightest end of the spectrum. The “Asyla” blended scotch offering takes its name from the plural of “asylum” and contains a 50:50 blend of malt whisky to grain whisky. To be precise, this release contains 50% Cameronbridge grain whisky (American Standard Barrels “ASB”), 5% Glen Elgin malt (Hogshead), 23% Teaninich malt (ASB) and 22% Linkwood malt (ASB) – all bottled together at 40% ABV. As per Compass Box’s Scotch Whisky Transparency initiative, the full details of the contents, maturation process and flavour profiles are all available on their website – click here to find out more.

 

Nose: Very vanilla rich. Light and delicate flavours at play here. A pinch of fruitiness makes its way through and the boozy burn is quite grain heavy – adding some depth and subtleties to all of that upfront vanilla/custard.

Taste: The vanilla flavour continues strongly here – again, with the grain and bourbon barrels presumably doing the hard work here. Lots of flavours in the background for a light dram – showing some of the fruits (apples and white grapes) under that custard coating.

Finish: Very light and leaves the throat with a slight coating. Vanilla/custard sweetness lingers and a little booze tingle makes it a very more-ish finish.

Verdict: Well, they describe this as their “everyday / before dinner / Sunday afternoon whisky” and we couldn’t agree more. If anything, we’d call it a breakfast whisky. Really light and delicate. Incredibly more-ish. Sweet, creamy (without the heavy body) and so inoffensive you’d barely notice you’d had one but for the smile on your face afterwards. (Big fans, if you couldn’t tell!)

J&M

Advertisements
Categories: Compass Box, Tasting Notes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tasting Notes – Aldi’s Glen Marnoch Range

The Glen Marnochs

The Glen Marnoch Range

First, let me get the disclaimer out of the way. This is Aldi’s own single malt range, Glen Marnoch. Yes, Aldi. As in the German discount supermarket. Let’s not go looking for lost lochs, misty Cairngorms or enchanted islands where there (may) be none. So, this review isn’t about finding your new desert island dram, or adding to your whisky pantheon, it’s about seeing what bang you can get get for your hard earned buck–and whether Aldi deserves any of it. The Glen Marnoch expressions retail at £17.49 a pop. Here at WU, we’ve done the hard work so you don’t have to and assembled all three Glen Marnoch entry-level malts: Speyside, Highland and Islay.

 

First up, a trip to Speyside.

Nose: Quite delicate for cheap–sorry inexpensive– whisky. Mainly barley. Hint o’ spice. A subtle butterscotch undertone sneaks up on you. Upon reflection, there’s marmalade too.

Taste: The Speyside soul doesn’t mess about here, with a dominant sherry coming on strong. And with it, raisins, vanilla and marzipan.

Finish: Very shallow as might be expected but not unpleasant. It warms nicely enough, leaving a spicy trail along with that marmalade that is fairly consistent throughout the whole experience.

For the sake of comparison, I’d give it a score of 6.5/10

 

Next, come with me to the Highland, laddie.

Nose: Quite captivating, actually. Earthy with a gentle smokiness. Wood and winter spices in there, nutmeg and the like.

Taste: Very woody. Perhaps a tad disappointing after that promising nose. There’s a sweetness–dare I say caramel–in here that is not unpleasant but does feel rather injected. A drop of water does reveal some fruitiness.

Finish: A little deeper than its Speyside cousin. Said sweetness mingles with a light smokiness–maybe a few sprigs of peat chucked in. That drop of water has helped it along to balance the wood, fruit and embers.

Score: 6.5/10

 

Finally, journey to Islay with me.

Nose: Jumps and punches you in the nose, this one does! Briny, peaty, a whiff of petrol and iodine. Yes ma’am, we have essence of Laphroaig!

Taste: A campfire in your mouth–think scouts’ rather than Bear Grylls, but it’ll do. That’s balanced by vanilla and sweetness in here too, like a proper Islay, don’t you know.

Finish: Was willing this to success and a plume of smoke does develop to warm your cockles, still satisfying, but it’s nothing more than that.

Score: 7/10

 

There you have it, three very serviceable whiskies. The Islay is the pick of the bunch for me, cruising way above its sub £20 weight. Never mind if it’s watered down Laphroaig (just a guess), I’d drink this any day.

The Speyside and Highland scored the same but for different reasons. The Speyside is the more consistent of the two. The Highland promised so much after that nose but remains a bit flat after that.

Considering you can snag all three for the price of a Lagavulin 16, the Glen Marnoch range presents excellent value. Whether or not you trade all three for a Lagavulin 16 is another matter. Still, kudos to Aldi for offering some good quality whisky at fair prices. Regular whisky drinkers will appreciate them any day of the week. I’d like to think the novice out there might take a punt on these and they’re good enough to kickstart a voyage of whisky discovery towards those lost lochs, misty Cairngorms and enchanted islands.

S

Categories: Glen Marnoch, Tasting Notes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tasting Notes: Fettercairn 20yo (Old Particular) Douglas Laing

Fettercairn 20yo (Old Particular)

This (old) particular whisky was originally created at the Fettercairn diatillery in the Highlands and has been especially bottled by the Douglas Laing Company within their “Old Particular” brand. The whisky has been maturing for two decades and, as previously noted (here), is a welcome sight to see given the scarcity of the distillery’s own single malt expressions, particularly ones with age statements. Whilst we do not usually discuss the colour, it is worth noting that this whisky is so light in colour that it seems almost translucent. With that in mind, here are the tasting notes on this devious dram…

51.5% ABV

Nose

M: Ooh it’s punchy. Really strong in fact. Letting it breathe does little to tame it. Despite its clarity, there’s definite barrel influence in this nose if nothing else. You can basically smell the staves.


Taste

M: Fresh, white grapes. Bloody punchy. Needs some taming. Vanilla and oak at the forefront once some water has been added.


Finish

M: There’s that deep burn. A little toasty on that long finish. Pretty sweet / vanilla custard-like once the burn has worn off.


Verdict

M: Very light in colour and body. It looks like the pre-whisky spirits I’ve seen extracted from barrels before they’ve even hit the 3 year mark to be called ‘whisky’. The booze content makes for a strong, strong whisky, but what the whisky lacks in colour it makes up in the complexity of the delicate flavours that do come thorugh. which you’d hope after 20 years in a barrel. The oak itself is the most dominant feature though and that the grape-like fruitiness meant that, for me. this was just like a light white wine with its booze strength cranked up to 11. Or 51.5, to be more precise. Not a leisurely whisky, but not unpleasant either. Nice flavours in there once you’ve fought off the high booze content.

Fettercairn Indie Face-Off


Side note: This short was enjoyed courtesy of the Dram Team monthly subscription. As part of their package, you receive the team’s own tasting notes on their themed selection and I prefer to hold out and only read the notes afterwards so that I remain untainted by their opinions. It is then interesting to see the crossover (if any). On this occasion, my vanilla pudding matches their creme brûlée note, but I’ve written that any fruits are delicate along the line of white wine grapes whereas the Dram Team writers have opted for “zesty citrus fruits”. It is this variety that makes whisky tasting such a great experience, as each taster will always be correct when it comes to their own opinions and notes. Tasting notes on the younger expression here.

Categories: Fettercairn, Tasting Notes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Blog at WordPress.com.