Posts Tagged With: Single Malt Whisky

Tasting Notes: Miltonduff 7 Years Old (Douglas Laing)

Miltonduff 7 Years Old 

Well, it’s my first whisky review of the new year, and it’s a new distillery to me, despite being one of the first distilleries in Scotland to get an official license and still being one of the largest working distilleries in the Speyside area. Miltonduff distillery is located in the northern part of the world-famous whisky-making region, situated near Elgin. The site has traditionally produced two styles/brands of whisky: Miltonduff (unpeated) and Mosstowie (lightly peated). The majority of Miltonduff’s output currently goes into the Chivas Regal blend, however they have been known to release their own single malt expressions in the past. Nowadays, Miltonduff single malts are more readily available via independent bottlings, of which this dram is one such example and features in Douglas Laing’s Provenance range. This whisky had been maturing for just 7 years in a refill hogshead barrel before being selected by the revered indies for bottling and sale at 46% ABV.

 

Nose

After a fairly light boozy burn, there’s a distinct set of sweet and nutty smells at play here. Marzipan. Almond. Warm custard. After a little while, the sweetness fades and there’s a tiny liquorice/anise smell that pokes through and a damp oak scent that lingers.

 

Taste

Ooooh it’s sweet. And I like it. It reminds me of walking passed (who am I kidding) Patisserie Valerie. There’s a creaminess to the body too that adds to the cream eclair and pastry flavours. There’s a little bit of a ‘cooked’ taste to it too. Finally, there’s a slight bit of spice towards the end too. Again, reminiscent of sweet baked goods.

 

Finish

Fairly quick and tingly. That sweetness lingers longer than the booze itself.

 

Verdict

Wow. This dram appears to be some sort of pudding whisky! I’m surprised by its gentle flavours too because it is so young and has lots to give. This clearly must be displaying the flavours of the original product as much as the barrel’s influence here. It is fresh and punchy enough for a young whisky but it’s not too wild and seems to have already matured into a pretty mellow whisky overall. It’s final delivery is sweet and warming. For an uninitiated Miltonduff drinker, this is a great experience for my first dram from this distillery.

M

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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

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Tasting Notes: Penderyn – Myth

Penderyn – Myth

In 2015, Penderyn expanded their core output of whiskies with a brand new range of releases, aimed at the more affordable single malt whisky market. The Penderyn “Myth” sits within this “Dragon” series of expressions , alongside its no-age-statement bedfellows “Legend” and “Celt”. The three releases have all been bottled at 41% ABV and feature the Welsh spirit having been matured in different cask finishes. This “Myth” release has been aged “in a range of specially selected ex-red wine and ex-bourbon casks” and comes in at roughly £35 RRP.
41% ABV 

Nose

M: Quite a piercing alco-burn on the nose to begin with. Once that subsides there’s a syrupy sweet smell to the whisky. A bit more time and there is vanilla, red fruits and cake-like flavours all present – basically like a Victoria sponge! A little soapy/perfumed at the end though.

Taste

M: Woody flavours up front and then sweetness spreads. Dark sugars this time though. I’m thinking more in the realms of a sticky toffee pudding, with dark fruits and a little cakey spice. Marsala wine on the close.

Finish

M: Oh, this dram warms you up from the inside out, for sure. Almost too much. A bit heartburn-y but those sweet flavours linger to even it out.

Verdict

M: Well, I can’t blame Penderyn for exploiting their main USP in the whisky world here: being Welsh. And it doesn’t get much more Welsh than having the national flag’s dragon emblazoned across the packaging and the blurb embellishing on nation’s proud history and patriotism. Given my previous experiences across the years however with the Penderyn Madeira, I was a bit tentative going into this but still hoping for bigger and better things from the Dragon series. I’ve read that the Penderyn Legend is essentially the same liquid as the Madeira finish release but watered down to 41% ABV.  This is probably a good thing as I thought that the full Madeira, at 46% ABV, needed a fair bit of harnessing with water – proving to be a fine balance to avoid adding so much water as to kill it.  A few years ago I tried a Penderyn “41” expression which I remember liking much more than the Madeira, and I’m not sure if that expression is now replicated as the Myth or the Legend (Celt is a peated expression), but either way, this Penderyn Myth has been a better dramming experience in my book. A lighter dram by colour and body but with some heavy hitting flavours still amongst the melee. A touch of water helps again, as it still has that youthful power and burn but the sweet, fruity and woody elements are far more noticeable and appreciable here.

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