Posts Tagged With: whisky

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

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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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