Tasting Notes


BenRiach 16 years

four miniatures of benriach whisky
During the Spirit of Speyside festival, at the end of April and the beginning of May last year, I visited BenRiach distillery for the first time. It was very shortly after the announcement that Brown-Forman had acquired the three distilleries in the BenRiach Disitllery Company – BenRiach, GlenDronach and Glenglassaugh – for £281 million. Widely agreed that £281 million was over the odds but, now, Brown –Forman have a stake in the scotch malt whisky industry once again.  Everyone at the distillery seemed very positive about the news and, I’m guessing, none more ...

Midleton Barry Crockett Legacy

miniature of midleton barry crockett whiskey
Midleton Barry Crockett Legacy is a single pot still Irish whiskey named after Midleton's master distiller who retired in 2013 after 47 years at the distillery. The majority of this whiskey has been matured in first fill bourbon barrels. However, a proportion was also matured using virgin American oak. In an effort to make a dent in the samples and miniatures cupboard, I've decided to make each Monday a #MiniatureMonday. This was my first choice and an absolutely fine dram it turned out to be. Midleton Barry Crockett Legacy (NAS) - 46% abvNose: peardrops; foam ...

The old and the young…

sample of glenmoranigie whisky
Other than the end product itself, and all the history, tradition, heritage and craftsmanship that it encompasses, one thing that makes whisky such a compelling drink is the people.  ‘Discovering’ whisky many years ago has given me the opportunity to meet so many likeminded folk - some I’m now very happy to call friends - from all walks of life.  What I love about the whisky community is that it is a cask load of contradictions; simultaneously diverse yet similar, exclusive yet inclusive. These two samples were given to me by two people who exemplify this. ...

Deanston 20 yrs Port Wood Finish

sample of deanston 20 year old whisky
Deanston Port Wood Finish - 20 years - 54.2% abvMatured in ex-bourbon casks for 16 years and, then, matured for a further 4 years in port wood, here are my thoughts on this distillery exclusive from Deanston: Nose: apples; Calvados; there's something quite sharp, a bit like cider vinegar; a hint of oak; pineapple juice; marmalade; after a while, when left to open up, there are damp cloth aromas and hints of foam strawberry sweets. Palate: lovely, thick texture; fruits such as strawberry and blueberry start to emerge; there is an apple undertone which, once again, ...

Tomintoul Five Decades

sample of Tomintoul whisky
To celebrate its 50th anniversary, Tomintoul created Five Decades - a special release composed of whisky from 1965, 1975, 1985, 1995 and (yep, you guessed it!) 2005. Tomintoul Five Decades - NAS - 50%abvNose: instant hit of peardrops; vanilla; cream; pineapple cubes; unripe bananas; damp cardboard initially in the background, becoming more prominent after a short while. Palate: a thinner texture than I was expecting - creamy rather than syrupy; malty; oak spice; hazelnuts; honey; slightly bitter towards the finish.With a few drops of water, the fruitiness on ...