Luxardo Maraschino Cherry Original Liqueur

Rating: 8 out of 10

Maraschino or Maraskino is one of those spirits that you need to have for making cocktails, but unless you’re a bartender, you would be hard pressed to finish a bottle of. Not the kind of drink that normaly gets tasting notes, but in the interest of beginning cockail makers here goes…

Maraschino is supposed to be a cherry liqueur, but on the nose it is very eau-de-vie-ish. You might tempted to think that Maraschino was is some kind flavouring agent, but it’s basically a well rounded Cherry schnaps with some herbal notes, something in between sage and mint. There’s definitely cherry in there but it’s very spirit forward and way different than you would expect a cherry liqueur to smell like. This might be the first liqueur thar I’ve had so far that is actually worth nosing, so kudos to Luxardo.

Tastewise: very sweet, a bit vegetal and with a hint of chocolate and some minty notes. All in all very little cherry, which comes as a suprise.

This stuff is preyyy unique. It’s almost as if they hired a lab to figure out which flavour compounds you only get in cherries and they then cut out all the other stuff. I can see how this works well as an ingredient in cocktails; if you add some sour and fruity notes some cherry might arise.

A wonderfull building brick.

Edit 1: I’ve tested this out by reconstructing a cherry with Amaretto (the almondy notes from stone fruit kernels), cranberry juice (sharp and sour), home made pommegranate lemonade (deep fruity flavour) and Maraschino (the rest) and that turned out pretty amazing. I might even publish a recipe for the Cherry Candy Cocktail.

Laphroaig 10 Cask Strength (green stripe +/- 2000)

Rating: 9 out of 10

The Laphroaig 10 is somewhat of a benchmark whisky. It has been around in one form or another since at least the early 1960’s and the basic recipe has been the same, but there have been  some pretty big ‘generational’ differences. Basically, every now and so often they crank up the phenolic notes in the distilate, making it more medicinal and pungent. It becomes more spirit forward that way, and maybe this is to compensate for uninteresting casks.

For me, the best Laphroaig 10’s are the ones in between generations, and this is such a whisky. This is a great example of an early ‘contemporary’ Laphroaig. The perfect blend of superb older whisky from quality casks and great younger whisky from a characterfull distillate.


Although this is not a really old bottling, it’s clearly WAY more outspoken and less chisseled than contemporary bottlings. This thing has an opinion. Smoke is the main theme here, not iodine.

Smells like the day after a BBQ party that got way out of hand. Wet ashes, cigarettes at the bottom of a beercan, soot, smoke, peat. But all in a good way. After that initial onslaught it’s time to compensate for the hangover with a healthy dose of fresh fruit and some malty cereals and some lemon for the vitamin C.

Tastewise: surprisingly beefy, fruity and rich. Also some top esters that don’t make it past the smoke on the nose; some banana, eucalyptus. There’s a very nice malty sweetness to it that works surprigingly well with the fruit and the smoke. Finish: medium long, very nice, finish.


Bulleit Bourbon (bottled 2019)

Rating: 8 out of 10

A good tipple. Very accesible, very drinkable. It’s not the most complex of bourbons, but it’s very nice and great value for money.

Tasting notes:

Nose: smooth and sweet. Vanilla, apple flavoured drinks. There’s a slight solventy note, but it’s pleasant. Cedar wood. Caramel, but not buttery. Taste: accessible, sweet, but not overly sweet and slightly engineered. Very drinkable. Medium long and creamy finish, slightly hot.

Rutte Selderij Eau de Vie

Rating: 6 out of 10 (Something special!)

I got this from my dear friend Staf when we were discussing wonky spirits. This one fits nicely into the ‘now who would come up with something like that’ category. It’s a sellery eau de vie made by the acclaimed Dutch Jenever distillers Rutte en Zn.

Definitely a novelty drink. Not something you would enjoy as a sipper, but I can see this work as an ingredient in a hearty cocktail like a Bloody Mary.

Tasting notes

Chemical and green. Carrots, wall paint, celeriac and turpentine. Smells pretty ominous. Taste: starts of as a sweeter and slightly less industrial version of the nose and then develops into notes of sellery stalks, sellery seed, fennel and licorice. Finish: short and slightly drying.


A spirit forward cocktail that mixes the sweetness of two classic Italian liqueurs with the smoky smoothness of Mezcal. A true Mexican-Italian love child. I like to think I am the first person to come up with this, but it likely exsists under a different name already. In any case don’t waste any time and make one right now!

How to build one:

  • 1/2 oz of Amaretto
  • 3/4 oz of Maraskino
  • 2 oz of Prosecco
  • 2 oz of Mezcal (smokey, but no too smokey)
  • 5 drops of salt water

Put all the ingredients in an old fashioned glass and stir gently. Set asside for a couple of minues if you want the flavours to intergrate a little and then add some ice.

I recommend the pause between mixing and serving, because it really makes this drink come together. The prosecco has enough sour to balance the sweetness of the liqueurs, so there’s no need for lemon juice or any other fruit juice…

…but if your girlfriend insists you can put in 1/2 oz of orange juice. A 1/2 oz of grapefruit juice is also an interesting option as it bumps up the smokyness of the Mezcal, but I find it makes the drink too sour.

Rating: out of 10

Shawi Mazcal Joven

Rating: 6 out of 10

I brought this one back home with me as a souvenir from Mexico. I’m not sure whether it’s sold outside of Mexico but what I do know is that it says ‘ARTESANAL’ on the label and the bottlenumber is hand handwritten, so supplies probably are limited.

Smokey on the nose, but in the smoothest and silkiest of ways. Typical agave notes and whiffs of fruits and some floral notes. Given some air it develops almost into newmake scotch whisky teritories. Hints of citrus make me think Caol Ila, but way more gentle and subdued. On the palate it’s slightly earthy with notes of laural. Slightly peppery towards the finish.

I’m reluctant to say that this is a pretty boring drink. Don’t get me wrong: there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it. You can tell that the spirit itself is pretty complex and dynamic, but at 36% abv they watered it down too much. As a sipper it’s too easy and wellbehaved for my liking, but as a foundation for a cocktail it works miracles.

As they say on their website: Shawi – the young Mezcal for youngsters. And youngsters being the weak and fragile lot that they are nowadays, they might be on to something 😉

I really wonder what this would be like if it were bottled at 46%.

Centenario Fudacion XX 20

Rating: 9 out of 10

Good, complex and dry nose, with nice citrus notes. Kafir-lime. Key lime pie. Fresh and fruity. Palate: spicy and sweet, medium long dry finish. Good stuff.

Ron Relicario 10

Rating: 8 out of 10

Coconut, coconut milk, Bounty. Bourbon: vanilla, dill. Slight fruityness. Mouth: dry and slightly sour, and less sweet than the nose would suggest.

Atlantico Private Cask

Rating: 7 out of 10

A rum-rum. Rum-flavoured things. Sweet, fruity, vanilla, slightly floral. Good mouthfeel, palate is more on less in line with the nose, but it tastes like quite some sugar was added. Medium long finish with quite some heat.

Esclavo 12

Rating: 7 out of 10

In a sense, this one has a very classic “liqueur-ish” profile: coffee, cola and kahlua and creamy sweet stuff like vanilla icecream and custard. You would expect it to be really sweet, but it’s actually pretty dry.

Flor de Caña 25

Rating: 8 out of 10

Light, pretty neutral,, spirity, woody, foosty, fruity. Less mainstream and less sweet than expected.

Ron Exquisito 1985 solera

Rating: 7 out of 10

Dried fruits. Figs, plums, warm cola. Vanilla and also some smokeyness that seems to be from cask-charring. It’s in line with Don Papa 10, so brace yourselves for ome mental sweetness.
Taste: as exected. Sweet, dates, simple syrup. Something smokey, something rubbery, something medicinal… It has some really nice components in there that are totally overwhelmed by the added sweetness. Also quite woody.
finish: spicy, woody and drying.

This is one of those rums where you know thev’ve put in a boatload of sugar to compensate for the tannins in order to make it palatable. But they’ve really overdone it. If this was half as sweet it would have been really great.

Origenes Reserva Especial

Rating: 8 out of 10

Fresh notes of American oak on the nose, but also some spices and something Cognac-y. Fresh and fruity with vanilla, but without being to much like a liqueur. Something slightly buteric, but not disturbing.
Mouth: coconut, molasses. Rich, but not overly sweet. A nice and slightly peppery finish. Drying, with quite some wood.
A spicy sipping rum.

Damoiseau – VSOP

Rating: 7 out of 10

Nnose: intersting. Similar to the 5, but different. Sweeter with more vanilla, but strangely also more tannic. Cold black tea. The five smells more youthfull but also more chiseled. This one smells ‘chubby’ and more accessible. I don’t know which one is older.
Mouth: less complex than the five years old, and sweeter.
Finish: sweet and short.

I prefer the 5, as this one tastes like the’ve added sugar to make it more accessible.

Damoiseau – 5 ans

Rating: 8 out of 10

Nose: Smells both smooth and spicy. Woody, vanilla, cognac. Candied tropical fruits, not fresh ones. Eucalyptus, herbs, honey and some slightly fusel notes.
Mouth: This is what a well aged rhum agricole tastes like. Strong notes of fresh sugar cane, and newmake straight from the still. Peppery, but sweet. Some bearable heat towards the finish and some really dense woody undertones of laurel.

Both youthfull and well behaved. Quintessentially agricole.

Bowmore 9 years old

Rating: 7 out of 10 (Something special!)

That’s right: a nine year old distillery bottling of Bowmore. No NAS, no: 9 years old. Complimnents to Bowmore!
One the nose this one comes across as a pretty straightforward Bowmore. On opening the bottle there are some very funky/dodgy overtones of wet newspaper and rubber, but they dissapear very quickly, leaving you with a surprisingly clean distilate. Fruity and peaty with slight hints of vanilla and some woody notes. Coal ashes.
Tastewise: sweet, dry, salty, peppery and quite astringent with nice sherried notes. Ever so slightly floral in the background, but in a nice way. Lacks intensity and body though. If only this was bottled at 43% or more.
Short and shallow finish.
Not a high flyer, but believe you me: there’s far worse older Bowmores out there (soapy ones).
People have been commenting on this whisky as being underwheling, and I think they’re doing this whisky wrong.

In my neck of the woods a bottle of this sets you back only €26 euros. That’s right: twenty six euros for a very decent nine year old single malt from Islay. How about that? There’s hope! I think this is really is bang for your buck! Yes, there’s way better young Bowmores and Ardbegs out there, but they cost at least three time as much. Just for that reason I’ve marked this one as Something Special.

Ben Nevis 1998 – 17 years – Claxton’s the Single Cask

Rating: 8 out of 10

Friendly on the nose: malted barly, cereal, fruits. Orchard fruits, plums and peaches. Surprisingly delicate and classy. Vanilla, sultanas. Also some minerals. Goes from fresh and fruity towards more woody bayleaf notes. Akin to bourbon matured Clynelish or Imperial from the same period.Likely a refill bourbon cask, judging by the smell. Clean and pretty sweet in the mouth and with quite some mineral notes and some nice bitternesd. Bit of heat in the finish.
Good stuff, and for around 90 euros I think it’s resonably priced. And it’s not as whacky as many other Ben Nevis
Distilled 14-12-1998, cask 1608-1552.

Mauritius Club

Rating: 7 out of 10 (Something special!)

Mega-fruity, plums. Kleiner Feigling, Haribo Cherry gummies. This is almost a liqueur, very un-rumlike. Taste: almonds, Amaretto. Man, this is weird. It’s like they’ve redistilled a Mai-Tai cocktail and threw a couple of maraschino cherries in the casks. It also has something phenolic
Sweet on the palate. Sweet. Amaretto again. Basically a toned-down version of the nose. Sticky mouthfeel. Short, slightly peppery, fruity finish.
Right. This one certainly has a novelty value. Might even be considered a guilty pleasure.


Rating: 6 out of 10

A funky brother. Musty, foosty, fruity and weirdly rubbery. It might as well be Calvados or French Cider. Crazy, but characterfull.

Millionario 15 solera

Rating: 9 out of 10

Nose: rummy with a weird sour note. Think pickled gherkins and dill. Unorthodox, but not disturbing. On the palate: sweet, cola, vanilla. Slight savory note with a hint of lovage and maggi, and wallnut skins.
This one was quiet a surprise, and way different than expected. I quite enjoyed it.

Plantation Barbados 2001

Rating: 7 out of 10

Fruity and rummy on the nose, green and twiggy on the palate, with some added sugar. It’s ok, but I’m not a big fan of the Plantation range of rum, as they tend to taste sweeter than necessary, aka sweetened.

Abuelo 12

Rating: 8 out of 10

Smokey on the nose, most likely this one has spent some time in a heavilly charred bourbon barrel. Fruity, dill, vanilla, pretty woody, with some rough edges. Nice ones. Tastewise: sweet, dry and fruity, good stuff. Nice finish. Pretty woody and somewhat tannic, almost like an aged agricole. Really nice.

English Harbour 10

Rating: 8 out of 10

Woody and fruity on the nose, some Banana and vanilla. Clear hints of molasses on the palate, and both sweet and dry at the same time, which I think is a good thing. Old fashioned rum profile. Pure and with a lot of flavours.

HSE (Habitation Saint Etienne) – Black Sherrif

Rating: 8 out of 10

Nose: lots of American oak. Vanilla, Bourbon, pencil shavings, metholated licorice. Smells like this baby has spent some time in a really active bourbon cask. Really develops with some time.
Mouth: nice. Thick and sweet, with hints of bayleaf. Slightly dry towards the finish.
An unorthodox rhum agricole. Good stuff.

Longuetau VS

Rating: 8 out of 10 (Something special!)

Hmm…now this is interesting. Whisky-ish, almost with a sweet smokyness that you sometimes find in Macallan. Maritime, saline. Fruity, vanilla, candied fruits.
Tastewise: prunes, dates and tropical fruit. Sweet, and pretty thin on the palate.
A very nice and interesting drink.

Chamarel VSOP

Rating: 7 out of 10

Nose: funky, almost Jamaican high ester rum. Eau-de-vie, freshly pressed sugar cane.
Tastewise: dry, very clear notes of fresh sugarcane and young distillate. Surprisingly un-sweet and quite tannic.
Medium long finish with some nice fruity notes.
Good stuff, tastes younger than it likely is.

Dictador – Best of 1982

Rating: 9 out of 10

Typically Dictador, with beatifull herbal notes and quite a lot of nuttyness. Melted walnut-icecream. Coffee-praline, walnut skins. Sweet, but with enough tannins to complete the experience. Fantastic stuff.

Pyrat XO

Rating: 7 out of 10

Right. Weird nose, sour and herbal, with strong hints of orange, think Triple Sec. Bergamotte meets fresh innertube.
Taste: again weird and orangy. And SWEET. Fresh bayleaf, Jaegermeister, and orange gummy-bears. Caramelised ginger. Buttery finish. Absolutely mental.
This is one of those weird style rums along the lines of Don Papa 10, where you get the feeling they’ve added a tonne of sugar to mask the astringency.
It’s not bad, but I don’t like it.

Quorhum 30

Rating: 8 out of 10

Friendly, but powerfull nose. Coffee liqueur, vanilla, some funky fruity notes and cold cola. Very rummy on the palate, with a nice cognac-like sweet and dry tannin. Good stuff.

Kilkerran 12 (first batch)

Rating: 9 out of 10 (Something special!)

I have to say straight away that I’m a huge fan of Kilkerran. I really like their singular style of distillate, and the fact that there’s something distinctly DISlikable in all their bottlings so far. For me, Kilkerran is by far the most characterfull malt out there at the moment, but it’s not to everyones taste, and that’s what makes it stand out.

This one is no exception. Very spirit driven, but packed full of all different kinds of flavours and surprisingly coastal. Salty, maritime and very dry without water. This one really changes when you add water. Gets WAY more accessible, more fruity and sweeter.

They might have tossed in a slightly dodgy sherry cask, but they’re forgiven as it adds to the overall character. The peat and mineral touch has strong resemblance to a really old blended whisky from the late 1800’s. Truely a classic malt.

Unique. Fabulous, I love it.

Lochindaal 2007 – Malts of Scotland

Rating: 7 out of 10

Nose: similar to the bruichladdich, so peaty and art classroom. Quite friendly. This time there’s some notes of coffee-caramels and cola candies. Also some menthol.
Mouth: quite hot, sherried and sweet.

Glentauchers – 58 jahra Kruger

Rating: 8 out of 10

nose: full, classic whisky profile. Archetipically whisky-ish nose. Fruity, full, malty, dried fruit, nice sherry cask, not too sulfurry, old school whisky, not too sweet on the nose. boenwas, klaverhoning.
mouth: classic whisky profile! Lush sherry, but quite dry, Honeyed.
finish: relatively short, licorice root, spices, herbs. Classic.

Auchroisk – 28 years old Rare Malts

Rating: 8 out of 10

Nose: very old-school. Fruity, malty, waxy, dry sherry meets refill-bourbon. White chocolate and coconut, Ferrero Rafaello. Later on you get notes of tropical fruits and green banana. Also some apricot and a slightly smokey edge.
Mouth: Sweet, dry, oily, malty. Mineral notes too. Wet pebbles. Rather complex. Slightly foosty in the background, but in a very nice way. I absolutely love this style of whisky. Surpsingly smooth for it strength.
Finish: rather dissapointing and lacking in power and complexity. Short and sweet, with some tannic notes of walnutskin.

Overall really good stuff. There’s very little not to like about this whisky, and I think this would have really been great if it were a little more “loudmouthed”.

A word of caution for those of you who plan to open their bottle: getting to drink this took me quite some time, as the cork turned out to be crumbly. I’m used to this happening with much older bottles, but apparantly it also happens to ‘young’ ones.

Rutte – Oude 5

Rating: 4 out of 10

Nose: spirity, newmake-ish. Vanilla, unripe fruits, grain. Slightly sickly fatty smell. Unpleasantly ‘in your face’. Smells a lot like newmake spirit, even though it spent 5 years in a cask.
Mouth: slightly sweet, quite dry. I really don’t like this style of Jenever. It has a spicy, almost rye like character, but it lacks the mellow notes too make it palatable.
Finish: short, spicy and dry.

Canadian Club – early 1960’s bottle

Rating: 8 out of 10

Nose: light, crisp and sweet. You can smell this is a pretty clean spirit with a lot of wood influence, but somehow it works really well. It’s almost like they’ve mixed a golden Peruvian rum with an American bourbon. Lots of American oak: vanilla, green herbs, cold tea, pencil shavings. Grainy notes too. Think Korenwijn. Something rummy, and some really nice spicy / herbal notes. This is surprisingly clean after so many years in the bottle. Could have been bought yesterday.
Mouth: estery, sweet, slightly oily. Hot, and also a bit soapy. This time it’s very much like an estery, fruity bourbon like Eagle Rare.
Finish: medium long, fruity, sweet, with lingering a peppery (but not hot) note.

Crawford’s – 3 star (tin cap, 1950’s or 60’s)

Rating: 2 out of 10

Nose: aaaarrrrghhhh! This is really, really, really off! I mean really off! Tinned green beans and dog food. Really, really bad! Wet draff. Very earthy and peaty. Very intense and very very strange. Pretty sweet on the palate, and as with the previous whisky, notes of Amstel Malt beer (non-alcoholic beer from the 90’s). Raisins and grain. Draff. Finish: sweet and vegatal, medium long and sherried. It does get a little better over time, but there’s too many off notes to make it enjoyable.

Well, it’s an experience, that’s for sure. Something went wrong somewhere in the 50 years since is was bottled, and it probably wasn’t the cleanest spirit to begin with. Better luck next time.

There’s something to keep in mind with opening really old bottles of spritis; storage condition have a major influence on the way they taste. Basically, if you get to many off-notes after first opening the bottle, let it breathe for a while. The more off-notes, the longer you let it aerate. This can take up to a couple of hours, but the effects usually are pretty dramatic.

Black & White – early 1970’s

Rating: 7 out of 10

Nose: ooh…this starts of quite iffy. Something weirdly vegetal. After that: dry, salty sherry, Coca Cola, and dark rum. Quite yeasty. It smells very ‘dark’, so a lot of dried fruits, chocolate, licorice root, and rum notes. There’s something fruity in there too and spices, but overall it comes across as a heavily sherried blend, with maybe the odd ex-rum-cask thrown in there too.
Mouth: sweet, sherried, peaty and quite hot. Strong hints of ‘Duimdrop’, which is a kind of licorice, and again yeasty. Reminds me very much of Amstel Malt, that horrible, horrible non-alcoholic beer from the 90’s, which tasted like it was completely off, but which was, as I’ve been reassured countless times, ‘supposed to taste like that’. Why would anyone prefer stuff like that over a glass of Cola or water?
Finish: Dissapointing. Short, more of the same.

Antiquary 12 years old – bottled 20-02-86

Rating: 9 out of 10 (Something special!)

Nose: Wow! This is a big surprise! Herbal, sherried, fruity, slightly smokey. Salty, in a Bowmore kind of way. Maggi soup enhancer. A nice estery edge too, with some mint and pear. This is by far best blend I’ve tasted in a long time. I was not expecting this. This will probably blow most contemporary single malts straight out of the water. It is that good.
Mouth: sweet and very full flavoured. Way more powerfull than anticipated for a blend at 40% abv. Quite fiery on the arrival, after which come notes of bourbon, with a clean and rounded smokyness. Herbal too, with hints of licorice root. Also some OBE, but nothing obnoxious.
Finish: long, sweet and spicy. Also clean, and quite hot.

Caol Ila 1983 – Jean Boyer

Rating: 8 out of 10

Nose: by my book, this is in the category ‘as good as it gets’. Balanced and delicate, estery and peaty. Both light and heavy. Fruits: banana, apple. Waxy and mineraly too. Sweet notes of vanilla, mixed with something oily and green, and a distant hint of medicinal herbs and licorice root. Toasted bread too. And of course a good dose of crisp peat. Also some farmyard smells. Very, very nice.
Mouth: here is where it looses some points. Starts of sweet and chisseled, but immediately after that, there’s a heavily soapy note to it, that I don’t like. I don’t mind whiskies being estery, but I just can’t stand the taste of bubble blowing soap. It’s not overpowering or anything, it’s just very much ‘there’. More crispy peaty notes, something resinous.
Finish: long, sweet and peaty, with quite some heat.

Johnnie Walker – Black Label 1960’s (Foreign Area Officers only)

Rating: 8 out of 10

Nose: surprisingly shy at first. Malty, sweet, fruity and slightly herbal. Fruity too. Ever so slightly smokey, but way, way, way less than expected. Reminds me a lot of Green Label, which I really love. After a while some really nice dry sherry notes come through. Herbal medicin.
Mouth: extremely ‘smooth’. This is one of the smoothest whiskies I’ve tried in a long time. A bit of smoke, followed by a bit of licorice root and some menthol. Again some herbal notes. Strangely enough it takes a while to get used to, which is strange, because it is pretty middle of the road in terms of flavour profile.
Finish: medium long, slightly mentholated and surprisingly hot after the velvetty smooth palate.

Rhum JM 2001-2011

Rating: 8 out of 10

Nose: full, woody and complex. Spicy bourbon notes and pollen.
Mouth: bittersweet and quite tannic, with notes of red fruit and herbal tea.
Finish: medium long and drying with darkspicy woody notes.

Caroni 1974-2008 – Bristol Classic

Rating: 8 out of 10

Nose: heavy and complex. Woody, herbal, slightly mentholated, resinous. Medicinal herbs. Even some smoke in the background. It’s a rum alright, but it’s very much ‘off the beaten track’. Some glue, then melons. Doesn’t smell easy. Almost has a cognac like quality to it. This is very wood-driven, and reminds me of a lot of the 1990 Glen Garioch by Kintra.
Mouth: Christ! This one bites back. Starts of slightly sweet, but then it assaults you with a drying, tannic bitterness. Green stuff. Snapped twigs, nay, whole branches! It’s very, very woody, to the point that it is becoming unpleasant, but strangely enough I quite like it. This is the kind of woodyness that give you a spectacular finish.
Finish: as espected, quite spectacular. Very, very long, slightly hot, but full of development. Ends with a nice buteric note and hints of licoriceroot.

Laphroaig 10 – 1970’s

Rating: 7 out of 10

Nose: sherry, peat, tropical fruits, OBE (Old Bottle Effect). Herbal sherry notes with a touch of saltyness. There’s quite a lot of OBE in this bottling, which I think doesn’t do this whisky much good. It feels like the peat has lost most of it’s intensity, and mingled in with the rest of the aromas, leaving us with a very nice, very rounded, but not very characterfull nose.
Mouth: quite sweet and reasonably powerfull, but it’s the same story as with the nose. It’s nice, but not very distinctive. The OBE has taken over here, and mellowed everything out. Don’t get me wrong: this isn’t bad at all! It’s just that it doesn’t have any distinct features anymore.
Finish: Medium long, sweet and spicy.

Wolfburn – Peated newmake, 17 months old.

Rating: 7 out of 10 (Something special!)

Nose: sweet, fruity and peaty. Hay, wet dog, apples and plums.
Mouth: sweet, lush. Strangely enough this is very drinkable, even at 69 point something abv.
Finish: medium long, slightly peaty and nice.

Balvenie 25 years old – 1974-2003

Rating: 80-100 out of 10

Nose: WOW! Immense and epic. Simply brilliant. This is LIGHTYEARS away from the Old Pulteney 21 that I tasted before this one. Immense complexity, without being all over the place. Fruity, herbal, tonka bean, vanilla, cola, watermelon, ripe fruits, bayleaf. Reminds me of the TUN1401 in many ways, but it’s a bit less herbal. Love it.
Mouth: a-typical and not accessible at all. Strange but fun. Bitter in a good way. The kind of bitter that is going somewhere. Punchy.
Finish: medium long, slightly bitter and flinty with some green twigs. A bit boring.

Clynelish 1991-2014 – The Ultimate

Rating: 6 out of 10

Nose: starts of estery and slightly soapy, but in a very good way. After that it’s on to waxy and fruity notes. I think this is a sherry cask, but there also might be bourbon wood in there. Buttery. Caramel. Caramelized fruit. Twigs. Mint?
Mouth: Fresh, not very sweet. Starts of slightly smoky, which is very nice.
Finish: hmm…relatively short, but nice, with something peaty.

Bunnahabhain 1990-2012 – Captain Burns

Rating: 7 out of 10

Nose: Clean, fresh, fruity and waxy. Some mineral notes and some apples. A nice nose. Classic dry-sherry profile.
Mouth: dissapointing. Weak and watery. Malty, with a bitter toasty note.
Finish: short with some buteric notes.

Bruichladdich 2004 – Malts of Scotland

Rating: 7 out of 10

Nose: supposedly not peated, but compared to the previous whiskies this might as well be heavily peated. Pungent and carbolic. Smells like an art classroom. Paint (more specifically ‘plakaatverf’ of gouache as it’s called in English), peat, vanilla and bourbon. Very nice nutty notes too. Rambol walnut cream cheese. Walnut and pecan. Walnut skins. Salted nuts. It’s actually very salty. Also something quite sooty.
Mouth: hmm…quite dissapointing. Quite shallow. Sweet, with some notes of mushroom and bourbon.
Finish: short, hot and sweet.

Mortlach 1997 – Malts of Scotland

Rating: 8 out of 10

Nose: hmmm. I like this. Estery, with a lot of citrus. Lemons, orange peel, dishwashing liquid. Very estery, but in a very nice way. Apple, vanilla, herbs. Complex stuff, but very balanced. Menthol.
Mouth: as with the two whisky I’ve tasted before this, it’s quiet explosive and hot. But it caries it well. More woody notes towards the finish, with some light notes of licorice root. After the initial punch in the face it continues to be surprisingly smooth.
Finish: medium long, with more of the same as on the palate, and some licorice root.

Tullibardine 2007 – Malts of Scotland

Rating: 8 out of 10

Nose: light and sweet. Hints of white chocolate, chaff. Condensed milk. Continues with buteric notes and vanilla. Brioche. Rich Tea biscuits soaked in coffee.
Mouth: ooh, this one is feisty! Hot and offensive, but in a good way. Coffee with loads of condensed milk. Grainy notes too. Reminds me of clynelish. Pretty aggressive. It hacks its way down your throat with a machete.
Finish: funnily enough the finish is quite herbal, and quite long, but again pretty hot.

Images of Dufftown – St. Michael’s Episcopal Church

Rating: 6 out of 10

Nose: flowery, fruity and sour. Notes of honey. Slightly spirity, a notes of glue. After a while the fruityness subsides and quite a lot of sulfury notes start to appear.
Mouth: light. Sweet, sour, grainy. Strangely enough this is both light and full-bodied at the same time.
Finish: a bit sweet and quite fiery, with hints of hard candy.

Bowmore – 16yo, 1989

Rating: 5 out of 10

Nose: Sweet and confectionary. Very buttery: butterscotch and butter candy (most notably ‘boterwafeltjes’) but made of margarine instead of real butter. It almost smelss like drinking Irn Bru. Slightly smokey, slightly floral.
Mouth: Mega, mega soapy and very floral. Green soap, glycerine, fabric softner. Also some vanilla and butterscotch, but overall the soapy notes are dominating everything else here. Too much.
Finish: hot, sweet and floral, and not very interesting.

The mouth ruins the experience.

Peruano 8 Years Old – Rum Nation

Rating: 9 out of 10

Nose: sweet and very balanced. Fruity, chocolaty, confectionary (think: Mars-bar) with some leathery woody notes. Not too complex, but very, very decent, and great value for money. Pretty big bourbon notes, but in a good way.
Mouth: ahhh…this is what I expect rum to taste like: like rum! Huge! Quite sweet too, but in the best of ways. It’s almost like a liqueur. Chocolate, espresso, Baileys, Jersey chocolate eclairs, cupcakes with raisins.
Finish: relatively short, with more of the same as the mouth, and some fruity notes.

This is truly bang for your buck, and a great introduction into rum for the novice drinker.

Cutty Sark – Prohibition Edition

Rating: 7 out of 10

Nose: Crisp smoky notes. Apple, pear, apricot, vanilla and crisp smoky notes, like a more rounded, less sweet vesion of Johnnie Walker Black Label. SLightly herbal and spicy. It’s clearly a blend, but in a good way. There’s a soft. rounded side to it that you get from well matured grainspirit. It took me some time to get used to it, but it’s actually quite nice.
Mouth: light, sweet, and quite mellow.
Finish: medium long and fruity.

Ron Malteco – 15

Rating: 3 out of 10

Nose: sweet, extremely similar to Kahlua coffee liqueur. It smells exactly the same. Coffee, chocolate, vanilla, caramel: all very sweet and a bit cloying. Somehow it smells very unnatural and artificial.
Mouth: basically Kahlua, but with less sugar. Still very sweet though! Butterscotch and Bayleys. Somehow this rum tastes very ‘marinated’, like it’s been infused with all kind of stuff. Very engineerd.
Finish: short and sweet with mocca like notes and some green notes of broken twigs.

Jamaica 2000-2014 – Isla del Ron

Rating: 9 out of 10 (Something special!)

Nose: more of classic demerara rum than a jamaican, very nice and complex. Sweet and sour. Fruits, both unripe and overripe. Vanilla. Also some fussel oils and some tannic woody notes. Cola-cubes. Also slightly gluey.
Mouth: sweet and full flavoured. Very ‘rummy’. I really hate this description, but I can’t find a better word for it. It’s something sweet and buteric. Quite woody, but in a nice way, with all the vanilla sweetness you associate with American oak bourbon casks.
Finish: Medium long, bittersweet.

Adriano White Reserva – Ramos Pinto

Rating: 9 out of 10 (Something special!)

Nose: fruity and estery, and reminiscent of a great whisky like Arran or imperial. Very complex, and both fresh as well as fully mature. Superb stuff.
Mouth: sweet and sour, rich, fresh and0 fruity, and insanely drinkable.
Finish: medium long, and herbal

Ginja Sem Rival – J.Manuel L.Cima

Rating: 3 out of 10

Nose: port wine with some cherries. It carries far less cherry aroma than expected.
Mouth: Sweet and slightly spirity, and again far less cherry than expected
Finish: sticky and port-like

Beirao – Portuguese liqueur

Rating: 8 out of 10

Nose: sweet, aniseed, honey flavored licorice, vanilla, and something strangely fruity. Reminds me strongly of the type bubblegum with a tattoo sticker.
Mouth: sweet with a slight sour note. Fennel, fruit, aniseed, eucalyptus, mint, mastich…very different than expected.
Finish: sticky and sweet.


Rating: 8 out of 10

A local specialty from the Algarve, more specifically from the Monchique-region. I’ve tried this at a local pub, and quite liked it.
Nose: clean and slightly spirity, but superbly distilled. Clean. Fruity and estery, clearly eau-de-vie, but with a surprising depth of character.
Mouth: fruity, and sweeter than expected.
Finish: A surprising vanilla-like note suggest barrel maturation, but it’s supposed to be straight from the still.

Amarguinha – Almond liqueur

Rating: 6 out of 10

Nose: sweet, bitter almonds, almonds. Similar to Amaretto Di Saronno, but cleaner, and more natural, and without the ‘Chlorix’ kind of smell.
Mouth: sweet and clean. Again loads of almonds and some honeyed notes.
Finish: short and sweet.

Rhum Agricole Martinique Hors d’Age – Rum Nation

Rating: 8 out of 10

Nose: estery, fresh, fruity. Reminds me of Eiswein (a sweet German white wine (very nice btw)) and couch syrup. Some fusel notes and something sooty too. In the background some sweet notes, and something medicinal and herbal. Some green notes too, but less of the distinctive fresh sugarcane than expected.
Mouth: starts pretty thin and weak, but then develops some tannic notes and notes of molasses and bayleaf. And then there’s some nice guarapo notes. Freshly pressed sugarcane juice. Very nice development.
Finish: Short, with notes of molasses and guarapo.

Belize 2005-2014 – Isla del Ron

Rating: 7 out of 10

Nose: very cask-driven. Massive bourbon-notes, with the usual sweetness from the American oak, and a lot of dill and some vanilla. Quite estery, with some classic rummy notes in the background. The spirit has little to say here, which is a shame, because I was really looking forward to what Belize had to offer.
Mouth: sweet, lush. Ah, there’s the rum-flavour. It’s still very bourbon-y (stylewise I’d say they’ve used Maker’s Mark barrels), but there’s some really nice mature, but still fresh, notes of chocolate, capuchino and spices.
Finish: medium long, with really nice buteric notes, and something slightly vegetal.

Note: Christ almighty! I just found out this was bottled at 66.4% ABV! I wasn’t expecting that. I could have sworn it was bottled at a mere 50% or something. I’ve never tried something so dangerously drinkable at such high strength. Adding water kills the nose, but it enhances the rum-notes on the palate.

Don Fernando – Anejo

Rating: 8 out of 10

Nose: hmm…and now for something completely different. It’s clearly a tequila, but it doesn’t have the rough edges. Beefy and smokey. Almost salty. BBQ-sauce. Charred oak.
Mouth: smooth, sweet and vegetal. Medicinal and grainy. Licorice root. Lots of woody notes.
Finish: long, with hints of vanilla and loads of licorice root.

Matusalem – Platino

Rating: 80-100 out of 10

Nose: light, slightly spirity and fruity. Buteric.
Mouth: Buttery, caramel, chocolate, capuchino, creamy. Alsmost has a Bayleys kind of taste to it.
Finish: short and sweet.

Diplomatico – Reserva

Rating: 80-100 out of 10

Nose: sweet, spicy, very distinctly rum-ish. Vanilla-coke, caramel. Slight alcohol nip, it’s still a bit rough around the edges. Buteric notes too.
Mouth: sweet, with a really archetipically rum-flavour. Very drinkable, and yet complex enough to be sipping rum. Also works wonders as a mixer. I really like how this feels like a mature rum, but still has a distinct hint of sugarcane.
Finish: quite long. Both slightly buteric and vegetal, with quite some heat.

Gosling’s Black Seal

Rating: 80-100 out of 10

Nose: thick and quite sweet. Molasses, some spices. Slightly fruity. Overall it’s better than expected. It’s also remarkably clean: this is well made spirit.
Mouth: sweet, spicy and woody. Some slight bitter notes too. Remind me of cola. This is a great mixer btw. I think this will also do quite well instead of a black strap rum when mixed with A tonic.
Finish: short, and slightly ‘green’.

Glendullan Rare Malts – 23 years old 1974

Rating: 8 out of 10

Nose: very old school whisky. In line with the Pittyvaich 20 years old OB. Fruits, malt and minerals, with an ever so slight hint of smoking embers. I love this. Quite hot and spirity at firsrt nosing, but Smells like a mix of bourbon and sherry barrels, with the bourbon being the most influential, but without being too sweet and vanilla-ish. Very, very nice.
Mouth: for something bottled at a whopping 63.1%, this is stunningly drinkable without water. It’s actually quite smooth. Velvetty even, with a nice complexity. Slightly salty, with more fruits and some really nice cereal notes.
Finish: medium long, and not very intense, but strangely satisfying.

Berry’s Caribbean XO

Rating: 80-100 out of 10

Nose: big, spicy and sweet. Coconut, cinnamon and custard. Some ‘creamy’, sweet fruits too: think banana and jackfruit. Hmmmm…after the initial fresh sweetness, the wood is becoming more present. European oak? All kinds of spicy notes. Something leathery, probably quite tannic.
Finish: medium long and tannic. Leaves you with a hot and sweet sensation and hints of coconut. A Christmas day rum.

Arros do Rei – Aguardente Vinica Velha VSOP

Rating: 80-100 out of 10

Nose: WOW! I was expecting something timid and sweet, but this is very, VERY intense and characterfull. Starts of on a very estery note (acetone and kids’ glue. Quite woody and tannic, but in a good way. Cola, fennel, mentholated tobacco, treacle, licorice allsorts. Somewhat salty. Dry sherry. Very nice. A real surprise.
Mouth: Again, wow! This is not at all sweet, which is a good thing, because sweet nowadays really is a sign of the times. Slightly floral, and strangely coastal. It’s almost like a grape version of an unpeated islay malt. Also quite tannic, and slightly bitter.
Finish: green fruits and twigs, bitter and drying. Shorter than expected.

Pusser’s 15 year old

Rating: 80-100 out of 10

nose: heavy, heavy, heavy. Very heavy aroma’s of what my mother would associate with rum. Sweet. Cane-sugar, brown sugar, molasses and golden syrup. Not cloying though. Slightly sulphury, and strangely tarry. Also some buteric notes.
mouth: Sweet and lush and quite buteric. Hints of jackfruit. Smouth and polished.
finish: medium long, not tannic at all, notes of freshly pressed sugarcane. Shockingly, shockingly drinkable.

Black Bull – late 1960’s

Rating: 7 out of 10

Nose: light, slightly sour, very reminiscent of a dark demerara rum. Butterscotch, sherry and herbs.
Mouth: packs a lot of punch. Soft, sweet, rumlike start, immediately followed by a powerfull and quite fiery blast of sherried malt whisky. Treacle, and dried fruits too. A pleasant surprise.
Finish: short, with chocolate and vegetal notes. Slightly bitter, but nice.

Grand Marnier – Cordon Rouge 1960’s

Rating: 9 out of 10

Nose: tripple sec. Orange and bergamot, peel and piff. Vibrant and clean. Good base-spirit, but likely very high ABV.
Mouth: huge! Explosion of orange-flavours. Sweet and bitter. Citrusfruits of all sorts. Even something slightly medicinal. Very chiseled. Finish: short, clean and confectionary. Lyle’s Golden Syrup.

Henkes’s Dry Gin – Mid 1960’s

Rating: 7 out of 10

Clear as water, literally. Jonge jenever. Citrus, Orangepeel. Clearly a Dutch-style gin. Quite spirity and ‘light’, but well made. Mouth: spicy, more herbal then expected, with obvious lemon and some fennel. Also quite bitter. Finish: short and dry. It misses a lot of the herbal notes you usually get with UK-style Gin.

Torres – Gran Reserva 10 VSOP Imperial Brandy

Rating: 6 out of 10

Nose: spicy, herbal, a lot of dry sherry notes. Dried fruits, chocolate, but also still quite estery. Mouth: slightly sweet and earthy, but way dryer then expected. Buttery notes. Long and fiery finish, with a big afterburn and some green flavours.

Rhum Negrita Bardinet – Circa 1980

Rating: 5 out of 10

Rum. Smells like a well aged agricole, so there’s still a lot of sugarcane in there. Quite light and estery. Eucalyptus, dried fruits, bit of vanilla. Bit of old bottle effect on the palate, with some floral estery notes, together with a nice saltyness, but overall the mouth and the finish are way too weak, which was to be expected since it was bottled at 35%.

Springbank 12 – Whisky & Blues edition

Rating: 8 out of 10

Fabulous mix of smoke, peat, leather, woody notes and fruit. Very mature, drinkable yet complex. Fantastic development. I really like how this is very drinkable, without being a crowdpleaser. There’s reason to dislike this whisky. It’s unlikable, which I think is one of the primary ascpects of a truely great whisky. Top notch stuff, and very affordable.

Caol Ila 18 years old 1995 – Wilson & Morgan

Rating: 9 out of 10

Superb nose, with rolling tobacco, sherry, peat and other healthy stuff. Good complexity. Great mouthfeel. Silky smooth, but with a lot of oomph. Again, superb stuff. Finish could have been a bit longer, but still very nice.

Glenlivet – 21 years old Rum Cask Finish

Rating: 7 out of 10

Good nose, quite fruity, with lots of pear, red fruits, and some nice sherry-influences to it. More of the same on the mouth, with a little bit of the sweetness of a well made 10 year old Barbados rum. Youthfull, doesn’t taste like 21 years old.

Glenfiddich – Select Cask

Rating: 4 out of 10

Very much a product of it’s time, so loads of vanilla, candy and fruits. Youthfull stuff, without much of a character. Drinkable, but also quite forgetable.

Eagle Rare – Single Cask

Rating: 80-100 out of 10

Insanely fruity and big on high-esters. Chewing gum, red-fruits, barely ripe fresh fruits. Surprisingly little vanilla. Quite floral on the palate, but in a nice way, so without a soapy mouthfeel. Medium long finish with hints of unripe fruits

Isla Del Ron – Guyana 1998

Rating: 8 out of 10

Nose: full on. Quite some wood. Lots of spices and some sappy notes. Also vanilla, mint. There’s little of the fruity estery notes you get with younger rum. Develops more depth over time.
Mouth: full on again! Very big and explosive, similar to the nose, with some waxy notes.
Finish: relatively short, and less drying than I expected.

Macallan Select Oak

Rating: 6 out of 10

Nose: quite sherried, slightly sulphury.
Mouth: sweet malty
Finish: waxy

Glenfiddich 21 Rum Cask Finish

Rating: 7 out of 10

Nose: Typical Glenfiddich in style, but a little bit sweeter. Decent, fruity nose, but not very powerfull, and the rum has very little to say. Apples, banana, freshly pressed sugarcane, and some spices.
Mouth: more of the same, with some more estery notes.
Finish: better than you would expect. More ‘dark’ notes coming through. Quite some woody spicy notes, vanilla. I would say the finish is the most rum-y part of this whisky.

Glenfarclas – 1966 Feral Clangs

Rating: 80-100 out of 10

Nose: Had I tried this blind, I would have guessed it was Glenfarclas. Smells like old whisky, in that there’s quite a lot of ‘sour’ notes. Lime-juice, fruit flavoured yoghurt drink. Clearly bourbon-matured: vanilla, honeysuckle,
Mouth: nice and surprisingly gentle, even if it has quite some tannins. More of the same, but with some more spices.
Finish: quite drying, but nice and long. There’s a strange kind of earthyness to it, of which I’m not sure yet whether I like it or not. It is interesting though.

Captain Morgan – Spiced Rum

Rating: 2 out of 10

Nose: spirity and spicy. Smells like…ehm…a spiced up rum. There’s notes of spent gunpowder and pepper in there too. There’s a pungent smell of pure alcohol in there which I really, really disklike. I don’t want my rum to smell like ethanol, I want my rum to smell like rum.
Mouth: sweet and spicy, quite hot.
Finish: short and spice.

Teachers – bottled 2012

Rating: 7 out of 10

Nose: smokey and fruity. All in all this smells pretty engineerd. Young estery fruity notes, with pear adn green apple, some smoke and slight hints of vanilla. Less sweet than expected, which is a very good thing.
Mouth: quite rich and sweet. More of the same, with some woody spicy notes. Definitely not a sherrymonster, but there’s far less of the toffee-ish sweetness going on than is usualy the case in contemporary blends.
Finish: quite short and smoky.

New Grove – Single barrel 2004

Rating: 8 out of 10

Nose: big and estery. Fruity and woody, apples, fresh pineapple. There’s also a cognac-like fruityness to it. Slightly
Mouth: lush and mouthcoating. Sweet and spicy, with lot’s of cask-influence. Dates, figs, eucalyptus, tobacco. Some ‘green’ notes (think:twigs), but also quite some tannic notes. This shouldn’t have spent a day longer in the cask, but as it is now, it’s very impressive. It’s sweet, but not too sweet, engaging but not too demanding. It’s simply great.
Finish: very long and very pleasantly ‘green’. Butter, green twigs and green fruits. Green walnuts and fresh plums. I would expect the finish to be more tannic, but not at all. further towards the end there’s even some really nice notes of newmake spirit and ‘Guarapo’ (freshly pressed sugarcane juise). Wow. Great stuff.

I didn’t do any research into this, but you can tell that these guys know what their doing. Well recommended.

Barbados 10 yers old – Rum Nation

Rating: out of 10

Nose: quite shy, and not very sweet. Slightly fruity.
Mouth: sweet, woody and minty. Very, very minty. Even my grandmother would pick out the minty notes in this one. This is almost like a Creme de Menthe. It’s a bit of an oddity.
Finish: relatively short

Teachers – late 1960’s bottle

Rating: 80-100 out of 10

Smokey: barely. There’s a whisper of smoke, but nothing peaty.
Nose: surprisingly big and complex. Salty, herbal and sherried. Lot’s of stuff going on here. Dry sherry, sultanas, calvados.
Mouth: again, surprisingly big and balanced. Not too sweet. Strange rubbery smokyness. Nice development.
Finish: a bit dissapointing. Rather short, and more of a ‘fade out’ than a final chord.

Images of Islay – Carraig More Lighthouse

Rating: 6 out of 10

Nose: newmake, peat. Estery, fruity and peaty with some rubbery notes. This is clearly a very young whisky, but already it’s pretty well rounded. I’m surprised that it’s bottled at 53.2%, I would have expected it to be 43%. Very dominant notes of newmake. I would be surprised if it’s more than 6 years old. Sweet and mashy, but not cloying.
Mouth: sweet and rich. Peaty and slightly rubbery, also pretty hot.
Finish: sweet and clean.

Port Ellen Lighthouse

Rating: 80-100 out of 10

Nose: clean and pretty timid. Peaty, sherried and fruity. Peat, fresh apples, dried fruits, than some leather bag.
Mouth: Quite sweet and peaty. Way more peaty than the nose suggests. Slightly metholated and medicinal. Packs quite a lot of punch. Treacle, dried fruits. Smells like old school peated whisky, think of a toned down, more rounded version of Ardbeg Corryvreckan.
Finish: more of the same, but surprisingly short.

This isn’t as stunning as I hoped in terms of complextity and development, but is seriously, no, dangerously drinkable.

Littlemill – Tony koehl

Rating: 9 out of 10

Nose: Fruity, spicy, estery and big. Starts of quity feisty and estery, but quickly turns towards fruity and spicy notes. First there’s an estery fruityness, with both unripe and overripe bananas and applesauce, then rich sweet notes of custard, and then some really nice spicy notes. And then some more fruits: jackfruit and roseapple. I reallylike this fragrant and estery style of whisky.
Mouth: Surprisingly different from the nose. Big and bittersweet with lots of cereal grainy notes. Fresh toast with a side of ovaltine. Also some waxiness and a very, very distant hint of freshly burnt firewood.

Finish: medium long and waxy, with more fruityness and some chocolaty notes.

I don’t hold any stock of this or something, but this really is my style of whisky: fruity, quite estery, and complex. It’s really nice how the nose, the mouth and the finish each tell a different story.

Glen Keith 1991 – Tony Koehl Series

Rating: 80-100 out of 10

Nose: fresh and fruity, light and round. As with all of the whiskies from the Tony Koehl Series, this one has a very fruity and clean nose. Fresh fruits. Green apples, unripe pears and some mango. Also some dried, sugared pineappleslices. Slight hint of vanilla and creamy custard. No smoke. Very smooth. A summerwhisky. It’s all very subtle and delicate.

Mouth: Sweet (but not too sweet) and creamy. Very smooth and very drinkable neat. Slightly tannic. Starts of with the same hints as the nose, but develops more spices. Again, this is pretty subtle and smooth and quite unobtrusive, and again I think this one will do great on a hot summer’s day.

Finish: quite long, and a bit drying. After some time a realy nice creamy malty sweetness kicks in.

Glengarioch 1990 – Kintra

Rating: 80-100 out of 10

Nose: herbal, fruity and sweet. Very wood-driven, almost un-whisky-like. Fresh oak casks, with bags of herbs and vanilla. It’s almost like a well aged bourbon or a rum. Doesn’t come about as being very sherried. Caramel, toffee and Baileys: quite sweet and creamy, but in a very good way. Also some licorice root and a hint of smoke. This one needs a lot of time to show it’s full potential, but it’s really nice.
Mouth: very different from the nose. Woody and pretty tannic. Herbal and medicinal, almost a bit like Jaegermeister. Quite spicy and very full bodied. Also very drinkable neat.
Finish: long and herbal. Not spicy, but herbal. It’s almost like a bourbon. Very nice.

Glenlivet – Nadurra (bottled 2013)

Rating: 7 out of 10

Nose: Big, with quite some alcohol nip. Fruity. Apple, pear, melon, vanilla, peach. Licorice root, treacle. Surprisingly fresh and sunny, but also a bit rough.

Mouth: whoa! Hold your horses. Big, big, big alcohol nip. Even for something bottled at 54 point something percent, this is quite harsh, if not to say hot. This really needs water. Fruity and sweet, with hints of banana, tannic Granny Smith apples and clover honey. There’s also quite some bitter tannic notes in there.

Finish: medium long, bittersweet and spicy.

Ichiro’s Malt – Double Distilleries

Rating: 7 out of 10

Nose: interesting, complex and quite sweet. Fruity and spicy. Apple, malt and a distant hint of smoke. Colacubes, sour cola candy and other woody spicy notes. Quite estery, with minty medicinal notes. There’s also a distant floral note to it that I really like, and that reminds me of Imperial a lot.

With time: more sweet creamy notes. Clear notes of custard and semolina pudding. Also more vanilla.

Mouth: sweet and quite hot. Malty. Also quite tannic and drying. The palate has a roughness to it that reminds me a lot of Deanston Virgin Oak and Glenglassaugh Revival, both of which I don’t really like. Misses the complexity of the nose. It somehow reminds me of a good blend: it’s almost as if there’s some grain whisky North British.

Finish: surprisingly short. Woody, malty, with bitter notes, and a bit of heat. A bit dull.

Lustau – East India Solera Sherry

Rating: 80-100 out of 10

Nose: big, and very rich. Tangy, sweet an beefy. Fruit. Dried prunes, dried cherries and figs. Think of it as a Pedro Ximenez sherry with the sticky sweetness toned down. Quite sweet,but not obnoxiously.

Distant nutty notes, and distant mentholated. There’s a medincal / reform-shop side too it as well, which reminds me of the Balvenie TUN 1401 batch 5. Strangely enough there’s also some distant sulphuric notes in there, but nothing too offensive.

Mouth: very big. Sweet and sour, and again, beefy. Fresh grapes and sultanas. Mirabelle prunes. Develops into more more herbal notes. Quite drinkable, but it packs quite some heat for something bottled at 20%.

Finish: not very long. Herbal and beefy, with hints of fresh garden herbs.

Fundador – Pedro Domecq (driven cork, +/- 1950’s)

Rating: 8 out of 10

This one was in honour of the late and great Michael Jackson (27 march 1942 – 30 august 2007), may his angel’s share be big. As with most old corked bottles, this too is a nightmare to open, and seems to be undrinkable at first. Pure ethanol and kiddy glue. After 15 minutes of breathing however, things start to change.

Nose: Spicy, fruity, chocolaty. Salted dark chocolate, red fruits, fresh ripe pears, mentholated licorice, chipped oak, treacle, vanilla, caramel. Also distant floral notes. Very intense nose.

Mouth: Explosive, lush and mouthcoating, quite sweet and slightly sour. You can taste that it’s lost a bit of alcohol over the years, but still: this is immense. Dark chocolate, vanilla and well seasoned ox-tail soup. Very big meaty / beefy notes. Think meaty Glendronach.

Finish: medium long, and quite dry. Herbal and fruity. It’s not bad, but it’s a bit of a let-down when you compare it to the nose and the palate. The loss of alcohol becomes clear in the finish.

Bertola – Amontillado Sherry (+/- mid 50’s)

Rating: 5 out of 10

Color: gold
Nose: Quite intense, but smooth. Creamy, buttery and nutty. Green walnuts. There are rancio notes to it, but they are very creamy.
Mouth: extremely dry, quite bitter and slightly sour. Not at all sweet. I would say it’s off, but it might also just be rediculously dry.
Finish: long and nutty, and quite beefy. Walnutskins and salted macademia nuts. Notes of cherry and stone fruit.

Although it’s not very pleasant, it’s a very usefull experience to have try this stuff, because it gives you a really good impression of what layers of flavour a dry amontillado cask will impart on a whisky. The palate on this is it’s main weakness, but the nose and the finish are actually quite decent.

Auchentoshan – 21 years

Rating: 80-100 out of 10

Nose: clean an fruity. Nice light, fruity nose. Not overly sweet. Peach, pear and apple. Orange-peel. Distant mentholated notes. Smells like it would have been even crisper if it weren’t colored. Salty sherry notes.
Mouth: Sweet and velvetty. Dried, waxy sultanas. Slightly floral and ever so slightly cardboardy, but nothing disturbing.
Finish: long and lovely. Sweet and waxy.

Lochside 18 years – Gordon Mac Phail Reserve

Rating: 5 out of 10

Nose: spirity and sweet. This really burns in your nose. Really needs water. Without water it’s quite timid and insanely stingy. Toffee, caramel, caramelised apple. Nice floral notes lingering in the background.
Mouth: hot and sweet It’s quite sweet, but with very little vanilla notes.
Finish: hot, burning.

Glenturret – Signatory Cask Strength 1985

Rating: 6 out of 10

Nose: Quite intense, and quite unusual. Sweet, fruity and sour. There’s quite some woody-sour notes in there, and they manifest themselves in the form of vanilla-yoghurt with waxy apricots. Also distant earthy notes.
Mouth: bitter, fruity, and drying. Again there’s waxy apricot, but also bitter notes of apricot kernels and almonds. Again vanilla-yoghurt.
Finish: medium long, bonedry and fruity.

Macduff 1980 – Malts of Scotland

Rating: 8 out of 10

Nose: Quite intense. Sweet, fruity and estery. Quite intense. This one starts of a bit glue-y, and continues with estery notes and different kinds of fruit. Tropical fruits, red fruit, and waxy apples, vanilla and hints of coconut and white chocolate. Think Ferrero Raffaello. Distant salty and even some minty notes. Lush and rich, very nice.

Mouth: Very intense and quite explosive, even for something bottled at 54.1%. Bittersweet -not too sweet though. Waxy and malty. Quite spicy, a kind of woody spicyness. It’s got a lot of ‘oomph’, but IMHO it’s a bit too tannic.

Finish: long and quite drying, with a toasty bitterness.

Pampus – Seeheld

Rating: 80-100 out of 10

Nose: loads of carbonation. Zesty and creamy, with notes of fresh, unpasteurised dairy. It’s like a light-version of Emelisse Blond. Somehow it’s very ‘fresh’ and airy. It’s like walking around the countryside on a clear day.
Mouth: nice hoppy bitterness with
Finish: short, crisp and nice. Very drinkable.

Cragganmore – 12 years old (early 1990’s)

Rating: 7 out of 10

Very nice nose. Surprisingly complex. Sweet and toffee-ish, with ripe fruits. Ever so slightly smoky. Some waxy and herbal notes, and . Coffee.
Mouth: soft and slightly sweet. Very round.
Finish: long. Fruits. Stewed tea. Funnily enough the finish is quite hot.

Imperial – Gordon & MacPhail

Rating: 7 out of 10

Nose: fruity and quite shy. At 58.?% this one really needs water to open up. Tutti frutti with clear hints of dried apricot. With water: more fresh fruits. Also some slightly floral and medicinal notes. Need time to develop. The Imperial distillery profile is clearly there.
Mouth: bittersweet and quite explosive. Fruity, and overall quite in line with the nose.
Finish: long and fruity with hints of banana and spices.

I like Imperial a lot, but so far I prefer the bourbon matured ones, because somehow the nicer sides of the distillery character tend to stand out more.

Strathmill – Signatory Vintage (I think it was a 1995 vintage)

Rating: 5 out of 10

Nose: hmm…Fruity, slightly smokey and sherried. Notable sulphury notes. Spent matches, bruised mealy apples, applejuice, butterscotch and caramel…not very pleasant.
Mouth: bittersweet and malty, with more fruits and hints of strawberry.
Finish: short with hints of burnt toast and burnt sugar.

Johnnie Walker – Green Label

Rating: 80-100 out of 10

Nose: smokey, fruity and malty. Surprisingly good nose! Clean and smoky, with smoke from a fireplace, fresh green apples and lemon juice. Also quite sweet with vanilla and butterscotch. Crisp and pleasantly estery, with a beautiful distant floral note and some pear and menthol. Develops more spicy notes and different kinds of fruit over time. Leather and tobacco.

Mouth: sweet and fresh. Very smooth, but also pretty weak. Malty and smoky, with hints of toasted bread. Pretty estery, with hints of tinned pear.

Fnish: medium long, bittersweet. Malty, with a calvados like apple note. Pleasant, lingering smoky notes. Also pretty tannic, with hints of cold tea.

Don’t be fooled. This is seriously good whisky, and I think it blows many reputed single malts clear out of the water.

Glendullan 1996 – Duncan Taylor NC2

Rating: 7 out of 10

Nose: waxy, sweet and fruity. Calvados and waxy applepeel. Also pear and other estery notes. Funilly enough it develops some more fruity and estery notes over time.
Mouth: pretty light and sweet. Bourbon. Fruity and malty, with a ever so slightly floral note.
Finish: grassy and malty.

Grant’s Morella – early 1900’s bottling

Rating: 9 out of 10 (Something special!)

Old bottle, +/- 1910’s, with a driven cork.

Nose: …I am speechless. Wow. WOW! You have to imagine that my expectations were pretty low, as I first had to pass it through sieve and a filter to get rid of all the sediment and of what was left of the cork. I would have expected this to be as dead as a doorknop, but no…

It’s as if it was bottled yesterday. A wall of vivid aroma’s! Cherry and sherry. Black cherry, amarena cherries, dried fruits, and big, salty sherry flavours. It’s like they took barrels of 20 year old sherry matured Mortlach and old Armagnac and topped them up with the best morella cherries they could find.

Mouth: An orgy of different flavours. Un-fucking-believable. Bittersweet and quite tart, which is a good thing, because I often think liqueurs are way too sweet. Extremely dense and full flavoured. Black cherries, red cherries, candied cherries, herbs, spices and some nice salty dry sherry notes.

Finish: again, WOW! Very long, sweet and spicy, and slightly drying, but overall very refreshing.

A true eyeopener. This is not just great because it’s really old, it’s great because it’s…well…just great. If you think away the cherries, the spirit alone would be in the 90’s. This is a testament to the craftsmanship of a bygone era, where both buyers and producers appreciated quality.

Simply jawdropping.

Clynelish – First Cask 1996/2013

Rating: 9 out of 10

Nose: Woody, fruity and spicy. Although it’s sherry matured, judging by the nose it could just as well have been a bourbon cask. Starts of almost like a gin from Filliers: juniper, lemon and clean newmake spirit. Sandalwood, unripe banana’s, and sweet custardy notes. Also hints of dried fruit. With water: more fruits and estery notes. Very powerfull and demanding: excellent nose!

Palate: as big as the nose. Bittersweet, slightly salty and waxy. Very full flavoured. Hints of coconut. At 54% this is still very drinkable.

Finish: long and very nice. Herbal and malty.

Ileach – 2012 bottling

Rating: out of 10

Nose: salty, smoky and sour. BBQ-smoke and ashes. Not very peaty, funilly enough. Extremely maritime and ‘fishy’. Grilled fish, smoked haddock, pickled gherkins, course mustard. Slightly medicinal, and hints of codliver oil.
Mouth: quite sweet, and far less smoky than expected. In line with the nose, but more oily.
Finish: short and slightly vegetal, snapped branches. Honestly, it’s also a bit boring.

Roullet – VSOP

Rating: out of 10

(bottled 12-01-2012)
Nose: Woody and sour. Although it’s bottled at the same strength as the Monitfaud, the Roullet is way more ‘in your face’. Rougher, more intense and very woody. Lot’s of wood-spices, and a strange sour note. Funilly enough it’s not very fruity at all. It takes quite some time to open up. After a while you get more spices and sweeter notes. Cola, maple syrup, chocolat, treacle and licorice root.
Taste: bittersweet, slightly acrid and very drying.
Finish: long and spicy, and again quite drying.

If you look past the woody notes, this actually is a pretty complex cognac. But I think it takes too much effort. I think this has spent too much time in the cask. It’s pretty rugged, and really needs time to open up. This one is definitely not for the faint hearted.

Montifaud – VSOP

Rating: out of 10

Nose: Fruity, sweet and spicy. Very smooth and polished. Fresh white grapes, green apples, sultanas and a distant hint of candlewax. Also pollen. Also slightly vegetal. Very nice, but also a bit…ehm…conservative?
Mouth: Sweet and rounded, and very much in line with the nose.
Finish: Sweet, medium long and slightly drying. But not very exiting.

If you’re looking for an affordable and easygoing cognac: look no further. This montifaud is smooth as a baby’s butt and treacherously drinkable. It isn’t overly engaging, though. Still: great value for money.

Balvenie – TUN 1401 Batch 5

Rating: 80-100 out of 10

Nose: Spicy, herbal, fruity and sweet. Very complex. Surprisingly, it’s quite feisty and spirity at first. Fruity notes followed by confectionery. Cherry-bonbons. It’s very layered, and very herbal. It’s almost like they put some Jägermeister and cognac in there as well. Clear notes of valerian and mentholated licorice, the kind of stuff you would find in a reformshop. In that sense it’s quite medicinal.
This one really develops over time. Dry sherry followed by subtle floral notes, followed by the kind of friendly herbal notes you generally get from American-oak casks. With water you get more citrus, and other tart notes like cola.

Mouth: it falls a bit short on the palate. Don’t get me wrong: this is good stuff, but is a bit of a dissappointment when you compare it to the smell. Hot, spicy, explosive and bittersweet. It actually has quite a lot of woodbitters. Also a bit waxy. Clean, dry sherry.

Finish: medium long, bittersweet and a bit drying. There’s a nice developement of the spicyness, where it ends in nice vanilla-ish bourbon notes.

Overall: very expensive and really nice, but not in the 90’s.

Ledaig 1993 – G&M Private Collection

Rating: 7 out of 10

Nose: hmm…For something that’s supposed to be peated tobermory, this is not smoky nor peaty at all. There’s some hints of smouldering fireplace in there, but only in the distant background. It’s actually pretty old-school in style, and not very clean. Reminds me of 1960’s blended whisky. Toffee, vanilla, red fruit, bruised apples and some sherry-spicyness. Also a nice medicinal note.

Mouth: sweet and fruity, with some heather and honey. Also unpleasant hints of stale garlic. There’s a lot of cask involvement of a so-so sherry cask going on in the background. It’s not bad, but I don’t think I want to know what’s underneath this really thick layer of make up.

Finish: medium long and soft, with more heather and honey and some sherry-spiciness.

Braeval 1998/2011 – Signatory Vintage

Rating: 6 out of 10 (Something special!)

Nose: Wow! This is extremely funky. Banana, vanilla. Also overripe banana, banana candy and mini-banana’s. Also some banana. And smoke. Smoked banana custard. A bit one-dimensional.
Mouth: creamy and very rich. Again, lot’s of banana and vanilla notes, and again pretty one dimensional.
Finish: Pretty long more of the same, and a nice charry smokey note.

This one is difficult: this is so freaky and funky that even my grandmother could tell there’s banana, vanilla and smoke in there. Not great as single malt, but it scores high on the likability scale because of it’s quirkiness.

Red Tape – 1960’s blend

Rating: 6 out of 10

Nose: full and quite smoky. Smoked meat, salty sherrynotes and tea.
Mouth: Slightly bitter. Like other blends from it’s day, the palate on this is very light. Less so than the 1970’s Vat 69 or the 1960’s Haig, but still there’s very little happening on the palate.
Finish: medium long, and quite hot and fruity.

It’s almost like they engineered blends to smell nice, but taste like water in the 1960’s. Either that, or most of these old blends have lost much of their original (already low) ABV due to evaporation. It’s a petty, because the nose was promising, but it didn’t quite deliver.

Vat69 – mid 1970’s bottling (half size bottle)

Rating: 2 out of 10

Nose: very light. Mineral notes and plastic beachball. Also some slight notes of vanilla, but overall it’s pretty light.
Mouth: Nothing. Water with a drop of honey.
Finish: short and slightly bitter

I think this bottle can officially be declared dead. It was bottled at 40% and it had almost no evaporation, but it still has gone bad. I think the screwtop on this was bad.

Ben Nevis 27 years old – unknown sample

Rating: 6 out of 10

Nose: Ayayay! I smell mustard and sweaty feet, and it’s not me. Sour and sweet. Strange sweet smell of tropical fruits. Banana and forest fruits and strawberry yoghurtdrink. Cola. Very strange and very funky!
Mouth: Soft and sweet. Also slightly fosty and ‘dusty’. Pledge furniture polish and wax.
Finish: quite sweet and waxy, but there’s little development.

It’s not a great whisky, but I have to give it 80 points for likability, because it’s so weird.

Imperial 1995, cask 50324+50325, Signatory Vintage

Rating: 8 out of 10

First impression: light, both in color as on the nose.
Nose: lovely and crisp on the nose. Very crisp and fruity. White fruit and fresh stone fruit. Pear, apples, apricot. Eucalyptus. Slightly buttery, spicy, and malty. Also slightly floral, but in the most elegant kind of way. Laundry drying in the wind on a breezy summer’s day. Quite sweet and bourbon-y, but without much vanilla. This is definitely not everyone’s cup of tea, but I love this style.

Mouth: beautifull. Bittersweet, and slightly saly. Also slightly waxy and oily. I don’t know if one of the casks is refill-sherry, but it has a little bit of the buttery, salty, ‘rancio’ character.

Finish: pretty short but very pleasant, with hints of buttered toast and fresh espresso.

Chateau Dereszla 2005 – 3 puttonyos

Rating: 8 out of 10

Time for some reference material for all the Tokaji finished whiskies out there.
Nose: complex, dynamic and very balanced. Lots of development over time. Starts of very fruity and tangy. Lychee, citrus (kumquat, organge zest) and stonefruits (peaches, tinned apricot). There’s also a very nice bitter, slightly almond-like note in there. Clear herbal notes of dill, so it probably spent quite some time in new oak. There’s even a very slight smokey note to it.

Mouth: yet another surprise! It’s far less sweet than expected. It’s very balanced and concentrated. Zesty and tart, with hints of marmelade, orange peel, and slightly spicy.

Finish: quite long and with a pretty prominent sherry-ish ‘rancio’.

Lovely stuff. A pleasant surprise. Less sweet and more engaging than expected. Recommended material for whisky lovers, if only to get your bearings right when it comes to tasting Tokaji finished whiskies.

Bowmore – 12 years old OB

Rating: 7 out of 10

Bottled 2013. Fruity, salty, smokey and slightly waxy. Also youthfull. Nice whisky, pretty straightforward and smooth.

Vallein Tercinier – X.O.

Rating: 80-100 out of 10

Nose: At first the nose is pretty, shall we say, assertive. If not agressive. It doesn’t smell of clean spirit or glue, but it is pretty in your face. Spicy, hot and estery at first, followed by nice fruity notes. Stewed pears.
Mouth: spicy, lush and bitter-sweet, with dried fruits and quite a lot of cask-influences. Nice, but not stunning.
Finish: looooooooooooooooooooong. Very, very long. Beautifull finish, maybe the best finish I’ve ever tasted in any spirit. Spicy and herbal, with buttery notes and a nice rancio-type of flavour to it. Develops into more waxy notes of dried fruits: sultanas and prunes.

Bowmore – Tempest Batch 1

Rating: 80-100 out of 10

Popped this one open with my dad on christmass.
Nose: At first it’s spirity, fruity, with hints of vanilla and fudge. Creamy. Melted icecream. Slightly floral. There is peat and smokey, but it is restrained. Very in your face, yet very balanced. It smells old-fashioned, like an old blend. Apple, citrus, banana, tropical fruits and even some distant notes of menthol. Very christmassy, with spices like cinnamon. Fascinating nose,and much better than I expected.
Mouth: Sweet and explosive, with way more of a peat than I expected. Rich and beefy. Vanillanotes.
Finish: Balanced and quite long, with more of the same, but in a good way.

Although it’s pretty friendly for a cask strenght Islay whisky, I really enjoyed it. It also bears the Parental Seal of Approval, as my dad asked me to take the bottle with me, because else it would be empty the next morning.

Haig Gold Label – 1960’s bottling

Rating: 6 out of 10

Usually, old bottles of strong spirits take time to settle down and become dinkable after you open them up. This one was completely undrinkable even after a couple of hours, and I disliked it so much that I closed the bottle and put it back on the shelf. We’re half a year later now, and it’s time to see if we managed to domesticate this monster.

Nose: Pfff…Finally it smells like whisky. And like sherry. Very promising. This one has that classic dry and salty sherry nose that you get with older blends. Very beefy and also slightly fruity, with peaches and dried prunes. Also almond, cold espresso, and something very remotely medicinal. No smoke and no peat though. Very nice.

Palate: Whereas the nose smells like a good single malt, the palate is that of fairly ok blend. dry and slightly waxy, with some treacle and sultanas. Round. Sweet and bitter.

Finish: rather short and sweet, and also pretty hot. It’s bottled at 43.5%, but you would say it’s stronger.

A nice and beefy sherried blend, but not stunning. I think this is a good example of bad bottle maturation. It has a lot of character, especially when you considering that in it’s day this probably was a pretty middle of the road blend, but you just know it has seen better days.

Brora 30yo 2007

Rating: 9 out of 10

There’s little to add to the tonnes of stuff written about this Brora, except that it actually is really, really nice. I was hoping it would be hyped and overrated, but no: it’s great. Powerfull yet subtle, fresh yet complex, challenging yet annoyingly drinkable…

Rum Plantation 20th Anniversary – 12 years old

Rating: 8 out of 10

The nose starts of almost like a bourbon, with woody notes of vanilla, herbs and dill. Also fruity notes: apple, candyapple and cider. Both sweet and sour. On the palate it’s very round and creamy. Custard with advocaat and whipped cream. Sweet, but very pleasant. Candy-ish, honey. Insanely smooth, but very full flavored. The finish is long and herbal with more spices than on the nose and some more notes of apple.
Very good stuff, but I think it would have benifited from a higher ABV.

Arran – Millennium Casks

Rating: 7 out of 10

Nose: Starts off pretty estery and fruity. Pretty open and crisp, but not as crisp as the Devil’s Punchbowl Chapter 2. Apple candy, toffeed apple, peardrops on a firm malty base. In the background there are really nice biscuity notes that become more present after a while.

Mouth: sweet and just a little bit floral (but in a nice way) and very round and full. Reminds me of 1980’s Dalmore 12 years old, but this is better. Finish: quite short, with a malty sweetness and hints of treacle.

Both the Devil’s Punchbowls and the Orkney Bere Barley were way better than I expected them to be. This one however doesn’t quite deliver. It lacks the complexity and ‘clarity’ of the other ones. All in all, it’s a drinkable, yet overpriced malt.

Bowmore 2001 – Wilson & Morgan Barrel Selection

Rating: 7 out of 10

Starts of with a very saline and smokey nose. Very hearty and herbal. It almost smells like soup, with lots of sellery and lovage. After a while sweeter notes of vanilla and fruit start to emerge.

On the palate it’s sweet and surprisingly smooth. Lots of mineraly notes and peat, but a not as interesting as the nose. Slightly waxy.

Short and bittersweet finish with a faint hint of a floral soapyness that disappears as quickly as it comes.

A nice and a-typical, but simple dram that really makes me want to eat. It is a good example of the unique characters you get with independend bottlings of well-known distilleries.

Jefferson’s Rerserve – Very Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon

Rating: 80-100 out of 10

Nose: Very fragrant. Fruity and estery, with the fruity notes being somewhat artificial: bubblegum, apricot and homebrew prunevodka. Also some sawdust, sandalwood and dill, and hints of vanilla and custard. After a while there are notes of marzipan , with rosewater and almonds.
Taste: full, explosive and woody. Not very sweet. Pretty floral and strangly medicinal: think Valerian-tea. The finish is hot and long, with a lingering spicyness, herbs and a nice butterscotch notes towards the end.
Very nice, well crafted stuff. It’s pretty wood-driven, but in a very nice and balanced way.

Yamazaki – 10 years old

Rating: 7 out of 10

Fruit, estery nose. Apple and pear, and also some more troplical fruits like pineapple. The profile is quite similar to the 12 year old, but it’s less intense, and less ‘crisp’. It’s like they’ve diluted the 12 years old and then bottled it. Light, and a bit sharp on the palate. It tastes much lighter than the 12 years old, and also sweeter. Some very nice notes of pineapple in the finish.

Yamazaki – 12 years old

Rating: 80-100 out of 10

Pretty aromas on the nose: eucalyptus, pear, green apple, slightly spirity (but only in the beginning). Continues with caramel, fudge, bayleaf and even a hint of coconut. Very nice nose.

Taste: sweet and a little bit savory. Continues with more bitter notes. Nice malty flavours, and also faint spicy notes in the form of allspice (piment) and cinnamon. Also something faintly oily.

Finish: Very nice. Long and warming, and relatively bitter. Also some honey.

Overall: a very nice

Images of Tain – Malts of Scotland

Rating: 80-100 out of 10

A true sherrymonster. Clean, full, and herbal, with quite some wood influence and a distant smokey note. Chocolate, treacle and dried prunes. Quite bitter and drying on the mouth, with some waxy notes and more herbs. Very nice whisky, and good value for money.

Glen Scotia – Warehouse Diamonds

Rating: 80-100 out of 10

Nose: Wow, this one is very, ehm…exotic!

The nose is captivating, but also very weird. It’s immediately tart and fruity. At first I thought it might even be a bit off, but after it settled down, things really start to to get better. Bags of tropical fruit and citrus. Grapefruit, organges and orangepeel. Also clear notes of vanilla. At first nosing it really reminded me of vanilla yoghurt. After a while we’re in more regular teritory, with hints of pear and eucalyptus. Also herbs, and some very distant almond notes.

Taste: Quite explosive. And waxy. Starts of sweet and sour, and then develops more bitter notes. There’s a really nice development in the fruity notes: some pineappel starts creeping up, and cherrybonbons, again very tart. Sour-bitter.
Medium long and very drying finish. Literally made my mouth water.

Overall this is very funky and unorthodox whisky. It’s very interesting, but with a pricetag of 275 euro’s I’m sorry to say that I think there’s better value for money.

Suntory – Royal

Rating: 7 out of 10

Nose: starts off pretty glue-y and sour, but I think this is because the bottle spent quite some time on the shelf. Also slightly salty. Hmm…this actually has a very interesting nose. It’s surprisingly complex and busy. Almost a bit nervous. Fruity and spcy. Almond, pear and herbs. Vanilla. There are very clear notes of sherry- and bourboncask in here. It’s like they matured the grain whisky in a really high quality sherry cask, and the malt in a refill bourbon cask.
Finish: medium long, with citrus and something vegetal.

Overall a very nice and excentric blend. Recommended.

MacDuff Exclusive Malts

Rating: 80-100 out of 10

Every now and so often I buy some semi-random samples of whisky to see if I can find some hidden gems. Somehow I never tried MacDuff aka Glen Deveron before, so I decided to give it a go. I was in for a surprise.

schuimblokThis MacDuff is almost like a cognac when you first nose it. Very fresh, and fruity, with a nice, grapelike sweetness. It’s quite sweet and ‘confectionery’ (most noticably ‘schuimblok‘, which I think is something typically Dutch), and quite young, but all a good way. There’s lots of rich and creamy comfortfood in there too. Custard, home made cookies, vanilla, chocolate, rich tea biscuits. Also some broken twigs and, and quite a lot of spices.

At fiftysomething percent alcohol it’s also pretty feisty, but it tones down very nicely with some water. More fruits start to appear -guave- and also subtle notes of licoriceroot. The taste is bittersweet, with some nice hearty notes in the background, that leave me wanting some more. Which is quite deceiving. The finish is harmonious and warming, with very nice cholcolaty undertones and a surprising ‘green’ note, that reminds me of freshly pressed sugarcane juice (guarapo de caña – if you ever visit Cuba: try it).

This is a schoolbook example of a sherried whisky, but it’s far more balanced than many of its cousins . I had some recent bottlings that were very dense and ‘thick’, almost to the point where you think that it’s physically more viscous.  Whisky dominated by sherry. This one isn’t.

All in all it’s very balanced and characterfull. Not the most complex whisky, but complex enough to be really engaging, and very, VERY drinkable! Highly recommended.

Johnnie Walker – Blue Label

Rating: 7 out of 10

As it came from a freshly opened bottle, this one started off very, very shy. When it finally opened up after 10 minutes or so, it was different than I expected.

You can clearly taste that the people at Diageo have tried to produce a ‘delicate and complex’ blend. It’s way more subtle and engaging than the rest of the Johnnie Walker range. And there’s none of the biting spirityness you get with JW Red or Black.
It’s surprisingly floral and ‘perfumy’, with delicate hints of smoke. Overall the nose is very bourbon-barrel-speysider-ish. It’s has striking similarities with the Tony Koehl Imperial it tasted earlier, in that it reminds me of ‘laundry drying in the sun’.

A nice blend, with a big but: Blue Label is the top of the Johnnie Walker range. Yes, it’s better than the others (with the possbible exception of the less delicate, but more powerfull Platinum Label), but it’s better for the wrong reasons. It’s better because it fits nicely in some marketing managers’ market segmentation strategy. I feel that it’s not the best they have to offer. That it could have been even better if they tried a little bit harder. It lacks passion and pride.

If you want to buy a nice premium blend, buy a bottle of Compassbox Flaming Heart. It’s better, more engaging, and it’s more honest. And it’s half the price.

Cardhu – Special Cask Reserve

Rating: 6 out of 10

Many people thought this tasted a bit off, some even described it as smelling of sewer. I actually thought it was quite nice. It’s very different from the more likable 15yo, and it does have some strange foosty notes of garlic to it, but I don’t think it’s all that bad. I really liked the slight smoky edge. Decent stuff, but not really engaging.

Cardhu 15 years old

Rating: 5 out of 10

This could be a Glenlivet 12 years old. Very fruity and estery, with loads of pear and overripe melon. It misses depth, and I think it’s too fruity.

Johhnie Walker Platinum Label – 2013

Rating: 7 out of 10

For me, this was the winner of the lot. It’s a robust malt, and really sippable. Smoky fruit-sweets. It’s very reminiscent of old Johnnie Walker Red Label from the early 50’s. Quite a solid and tasty blend, and WAY better than JW Red, Black, and IMHO even better than JW Blue Label. I think, however, that there’s better value for money.

Aberlour A bunadh Batch 42

Rating: 7 out of 10

Very heavily sherried, very PX-ey. Vanilla, dried fruits, bit of wax. Also licoriceroot and spices, and clear notes cola. Tastes quite sweet and sour. Nice finish, but rather hot, and a bit drying. All in all a good dram, albeit a bit predictable. Something for Christmass.

Benrinnes 1998 – Wilson & Morgan

Rating: 4 out of 10

Nose: sherried, sour and fruity. After the initial sherry blast, there’s freshly cut fruit. Or better: the fresh from the fridge kind of fruitsalad they have in supermarkets – minutes away from its expiration date. Also quite a lot of sulphur, but in an unpleasant way. Think pickled onions.
Mouth: dry, sweet and resinous, with liquoriceroot and vanilla, and again quite sulphury.
Finish: short with lingering hints of sultanas and liquoriceroot.

It smells pretty old-school at first (it reminded me a lot of this 1960’s White Horse), but the sulphur is just too much for me. I was hoping this would fade away over time, but if anything, it only got worse.

Ardbeg – Boutique-y batch 4

Rating: 80-100 out of 10

I’m not a big fan of peaty whisky, but every now and then something great rises from the peatbogs. Especially the indi’s are sometimes very interesting, as they tend to be slightly off-centre compared to the regular bottlings. Needless to say, I had to give this one a try.

At first nosing you get loads of smoke, peat and tar. Peaches and vanilla, and a bit of edible kiddy-glue (which I think is called ‘Gluton’ or something) too. It’s not very friendly, but interesting and quite complex. Very medicinal at first. It smells of indoor swimmingpool: antisceptic stuff with chlorine. Weirdly enough, it strongly reminds me of wet swimming clothes, left to ripen in a plastic bag for a day.

In the background there’s some licoriceroot. After a while there’s also quite some really fresh and zesty sweet lemon. With some water you get more fruit, eucalyptus and some floral notes. It also gets more salty. It tastes far less extreme than I had expected: sweet, salty and bitter, and surprisingly light. Macademianuts and earth. De finish is long and surprisingly bitter and woody. For me, it’s a bit too bitter.

A nice and complex whisky. Highly recommend it if you’re into peaty whisky.

Ben Nevis – ???

Rating: 60-80 out of 10

Rich and full, with big sherry-tones. Sweet, sultanas, spices, slightly old butter and funnily enough a little bit of Parmesan cheese. Not very complex, but likable.

Glenrothes 25 years Wilson & Morgan

Rating: 60-80 out of 10

Distilled in 1988 and bottled in 2013. Sweet, chocolate, wax-coat and dill. There’s also a lot of maltyness and coconut. It really reminds me of ‘Zaanse Kermis’, I think their called ‘Nice biscuits’ in English. After a while you get some nice heavy herbal flavours, of sage and laurel.

I never read the specs before I taste a whisky, and I really thought it was a bourbon matured whisky. I was wrong. Surprisingly enough this spent 25 years in a Sherry butt.

A Nice biscuity whisky, and very drinkable.

Flaming Heart – Compass Box

Rating: 80-100 out of 10

Nose: Full and intense. Grilled meat, fresh stone-fruits. The salty/meaty notes really stand out in this one.
Mouth: intense, balanced and quite chiseled. In line with the nose: smokey and meaty. According to Edo it tastes like fried bacon, and he knows, because he’s a vegetarian. Also hints of mustard.
Finish: medium long, balanced.

Arran – Devils Punchbowl 2

Rating: 80-100 out of 10

No sulphur, no rotting corpses. Where’s the agonising pain and the scorching heat? I’m alive!

First impressions are good: it’s friendly, not diabolic at all. On the nose it’s surprisingly delicate, without being shy. It’s exactly the way I like it: nice and crisp. Fruity and estery, with fresh apricot, melon, white wine, and some very faint smoky notes. Some candy too: marshmallows, and hard fruitcandy. The kind of fruitcandy that tastes of god knows what, but is most likely supposed to taste like melon. With water you get a bit more floral notes.

After that some clear sherry notes, with licoriceroot. Tastewise it’s both bitter and sweet, and malty. The finish is medium long, with quite some woody notes, and more licoriceroot.

This is a really nice whisky. Complex, and straightforward at the same time. Engaging yet accessible. The nose mislead me to think there were some ‘exotic’ casks (Amarone or Sauternes for example) in there, but in fact it’s the traditional mix of sherry (17 casks) and bourbon casks (10 casks).

I like how Arran has developed a clear distillery profile that is present in all their bottlings. This one also has it, albeit a bit less pronounced. Absolutely lovely stuff though. One of the best Arrans I’ve tasted so far.

Johnnie Walker Black

Rating: 6 out of 10

Typical JW in character. Pears, a bit of smoke, and caramelly sweet stuff. It tastes rather sweet, but it’s quite uneventfull, and it has no finish whatsoever. A good mixer, but it lacks the character needed to be a good sipping drink. I liked the JW Double Black more, because it also worked well as a sipping blend.

White Horse – probably late 60’s

Rating: 60-80 out of 10

There’s a lot of myth surrounding old White Horse, so I decided to open a bottle to see how much of it is true. To cut a long story short: this is a seriously BIG and characterfull blend.
My initial response to this classic blend from the late 1960’s or early 70’s) was one of awe: ‘OK’ (stretched to the length of an 8 syllable word). It is big, it is sherried, it’s surprisingly complex. The on this blend really is massive: it hits you like a ton of bricks. Not necessarily subtle or elegant, it’s just very, very intense.

From the start it’s very full, with lots of dry sherry. I don’t know which type of sherry, but I once drank a bone-dry, salty, and ‘fusty’ sherry, and the similarities are striking. Lot’s of appley stuff (bruised apples, cider and calvados) and white pepper. It also has a clear Islay character to it, with some peatsmoke, tar, hot road, and the big earthiness you get from Lagavulin.

Time for a sip. WTF?! The taste is completely different than the smell would suggest: I would have expected something bold, waxy and malty, but instead it’s very friendly and sweet, almost like a bourbon. Rich and salty. The same things as  in the nose. After the initial sweetness, some bitter notes start to evolve, with nuts and coffee. The waxyness also reappears, and there’s qquite some smokey, rubbery stuff.

The finish is surprisingly long, with more of the same, but with an unpleasant peppery heat to it. For something bottled at 40%, this is very hot.

All in all a very full, complex, drinkable blend.Very outspoken. This is a very interesting whisky, while at the same time it’s not very likable. Think of it as listening to Tony Clifton: absolutely briliant as a concept, but so-so as a musician.

Glen Scotia 20 years old – Wilson & Morgan

Rating: 60-80 out of 10

It’s not a really young whisky, but it certainly tastes older than it is. Very rich, with loads of sherry and loads of wood. There’s some fresh fruit, but it’s overshadowed by a blanket of sticky, sweet stuff.

Treacle, Golden Syrup, dried fruit and raisins. Also lots of tobacco, spices and licorice root. This almost could have been a really old dark rum.

A nice whisky, but a bit to sweet and woody for me.

Summer malts: Kilkerran W.I.P. 5 – Bourbon cask

Rating: 60-80 out of 10

No fresh laundry here.

Engine oil, WD40 (or 10W40, I always mix them up), cold tea, rolling tobacco. Mostly unhealthy stuff, larded with vanilla and Lyle’s Golden Syrup (which is perfect on pancakes). After a while there’s apricot and apple, and some eucalyptus.

The taste is both bitter and sweet at the same time, and slightly oily. Cod-liver oil. At first it’s the pretty in your face. Smoke! Linseed oil and grease, and some sawdust. It then develops a lighter, friendlier character. It tastes pretty young. with a fiery, peppery finish a bit like Longrow Rundlets & Kilderkins.

With water you get a bit of the sourish smell of newmake spirit.

An interesting whisky for sure, but not the classic I was hoping it would be. However, it improves a lot after time. The bottle is about halfway, and the whisky has lost it’s rough edges. It actually turned out be quite a nice dram.

Summer malts: Imperial – Tony Koehl Series

Rating: 80-100 out of 10

Some malts really do the trick for me in warm weather. Imperial is one of those distilleries that never fails, with its light and elegant character. This Tony Koehl Series really fits the profile. Lots of fresh fruit and subtle, delicate, floral notes (without overdoing it).

The nose is crisp as a springday. Fruity, as one would expect. Very fruity, actually: applejuice, apples, apricot and peach. There are also distinct notes of tart/sour fruitjuices along the lines of grapejuice. In the background there’s a very delicate floral note: heather or lavendar: laundry in the sun. The bourbon-maturation gives it quite a bit of the vanilla-sweetness, but it’s not overpowering. The taste is a bit waxy, sour and sweet, and quite candy-ish, with quite a hot and drying finish with more bitter notes.

Overall a very nice and whisky. Crisp, light, and treacherously drinkable. Similar to the Signatory Imperials, which IMHO offer better value for money.


Glen Hood – Extra Special Scotch Whisky

Rating: 3 out of 10

‘Product of Scotland, Premium Blend, Extra Special Scotch Whisky, Quality Guaranteed, 100% Scotch Whisky’…This must be good.

At €8.99 Glen Hood is about the cheapest whisky money can buy, and I have to admit that I’m a bit predjudiced when it comes to really cheap whisky. There’s just so much really bad stuff around, that I make sure I have the lowest of expectations, so I won’t be dissapointed.

On first nosing: Alcohol, sterilizing alcohol and lens tissues. After getting used to the sting there’s butter candy, salted caramel, burnt toast and grainyness. There’s also a clear note from sherrycasks in there. Not unpleasant, but it in the end, the smell of raw alcohol dominates everything, which makes it taste really cheap. On the mouth it’s more of the same, with a short, bitter-sweet finish, and a hot alcoholnip towards the end.

This is the stuff that you put in your cola in preparation of a rowdy night out with your friends: it’s cheap, not too obnoxious, and it’s 40% abv.

Glen Moray – 1984 OB

Rating: 5 out of 10

At €45 a bottle, in terms of years-per-euro this 20 year old Glen Moray should be good value for money. But is it any good tastewise?

This Glen Moray is what I call ‘plump’. Full, rich, friendly, round, and VERY sweet. It’s so sweet in fact, that it’s somewhat offputting: it feels a bit like being forced to down a pint of custard. There’s more to it than just custardy sweetness, but it all seems to be very understated. Clear bourboninfluences, with some soft herbs, toffee, caramel and brown sugar.

Some whiskies are meant to sip, some are meant to drink. This one is meant to be served with a spoon, and some whipped cream. Don’t get me wrong: it’s not a bad whisky, but it’s just too rich.

Deanston – Virgin Oak

Rating: 4 out of 10

Nose: harsh, fruity and sweet. Starts of with notes of dry white wine, sour white grapes and other tannic stuff. Pear, caramel and clear spirit. Also some spices and some very faint floral notes. There’s also quite a strong smell of pure alcohol, which I really dislike.
Mouth: The contrast between the smell and the taste is pretty big, if not huge. It smells of sour and bitter things, but it actualy tastes pretty sweet and friendly, with malty tones and hints of almond and vanilla.
Finish: medium long and drying.

Although it tastes better than it smells, all in all I think it’s a pretty mediocre whisky. It’s simply too raw.

Teaninich 15 years 1996 / 2012 – Connoisseurs Choice

Rating: 0 out of 10

Nose: This doesn’t smell right at all: it’s corked. The distinct smell of mouldy, damp cellar dominates everything else. This is completely off. Mouth: there’s fruits coming through in the distance, but, again, the cork tainting ruins everything.
Finish: same story. This was simply undrinkable. Kudos to Whisky van Zuylen for being so kind to let me swap this bottle.

Springbank – Rundlets & Kilderkins

Rating: 80-100 out of 10

Nose: big and complex. Smoky and spicy. Dark notes of rolling tobacco and leather furniture. Also quite some dried fruits. Very intense stuff.
Mouth: full, quite sweet, chocolaty and spicy. This really has a character of it’s own.
Finish: medium long and spicy.

Bowmore – Kintra

Rating: 60-80 out of 10

Nose: shy, sweet and citrussy. Very citrussy. Lots of lemon peel. This strongly reminds me of Dutch gin – give van Kleef Oude Jonge a try and you’ll see what I mean. Not very smoky.
Mouth: sweet, tart, and slighly floral, but all in a good way. Needs water to develop different fruity notes and more vanilla.
Finish: hot, sweet and medium long.

Strathspey – Gordon and MacPhail

Rating: 60-80 out of 10

Nose: hmm…ehm…Sweet and sour, with hints of metal. Young Gouda cheese, tropical fruit and vanilla. Passion-fruit-deserts from Aldi.
Taste: waxy, green and floral. Reminiscent of Edradour 10 years old.
Finish: nice and long. Keeps on lingering in the background.

I have no idea what’s in this bottling, but it tastes like there’s something old in there.

Dalmore 12 year old – 1980’s bottling

Rating: 60-80 out of 10

Great nose. Surprisingly open and spicy, with pretty big greasy, waxy notes to it. It’s not as overtly sweet and sherried as I expected, which is a good thing. Not that there’s anything wrong with heavily sherried whiskies, but it’s a refreshing change on the contemporary Dalmore profile.

The mouth doesn’t quite deliver. What strikes me most is that it’s pretty floral and slightly soapy. I wouldn’t say its off, but it’s rather dominant. The finish is strangely cooling: imagine the mouthfeel of sugar free candy or gum.

All in all a good malt, which I think would have been better if it was  bottled at a higher strength.

Ardbeg – Introducting Ten Years Old

Rating: 80-100 out of 10

Nose: Smoke, peat and fruits: waxy green apples and apricot. Vanilla and also some distant fruity notes. Surprisingly nice and clean. Also very delicate. I think it’s really charming, and very different from the regular ten.
Mouth: Sweet and peaty, and also very soft. It’s like it’s underproof.
Finish: quite short and green.

Bowmore – the Ultimate

Rating: 60-80 out of 10

Nose: smoky, fruity and a bit shy. Malty, and also notes of ripe cereal. Vanilla and custard. The influence of the bourbon-cask is quite noticable, but it’s quite balanced. I thinks there’s also much of the original spirit left on the nose, which I think is a good thing.
Mouth: sweet, smoky, malty and grainy.
Finish: medium long, and quite hot and spicy, with some green, vegetal notes towards the end.

Bowmore – Prenzlow

Rating: 60-80 out of 10

Nose: smoky, earthy and pretty shy. A fire in the garden, the day after. Quite sweet, with some vanilla. There’s also some spices in there, and cola.
Mouth: Sweet -but balanced- and spicy. Although it’s a bourbon cask, the mouth has the kind of spicyness you usually get with sherry-matured whiskies in it.
Finis: nice and medium long, but again quite hot.

Bowmore – Maltbarn

Rating: 60-80 out of 10

Nose: sweet and salty. Vanilla, custard and flinty notes. It’s pleasantly funky on the nose: smells of spent fireworks on new-years day, at around four in the morning. Old sweaty laundry. After a while I get hints of grease.
Mouth: balanced. Sweet and quite hot, with hints of spices.
Finish: medium long and drying. Sappy and quite bitter.

Gerston – Lost Distillery Company

Rating: 60-80 out of 10

Nose: medium intense. White wine, and smoke. Chardonay and garden bonfire. A very clean style, and it also still has some of the nicer qualities of newmake spirit to it. Beautifull smokyness. With water: more citrus and mentholated notes. Sweet notes in the background. Quite grainy, a mix between Kilchoman, Ardbeg, Clynelish and Glen Garioch. Reminiscent of Johnnie Walker Green Label, but crisper, and less sweet sweet
Mouth: way more peaty than the nose. Quite sweet and fizzy, and quite gentle.
Finish: relatively short and minerally.

Daftmill – bourbon barrel matured (sample)

Rating: 9 out of 10

I got a sample of this during a visit at the distillery. Lovely stuff. Right up my alley, as I’m a big fan of fruity, fragrant whiskies and this is one of them. Amazing stuff, and according to the distiller this was not one of their best casks, so the future is very very promising.

Nose: Fresh fruits and minerals. This has that lovely crispness to it. It’s not very accessible, which for me is a good thing. Very zesty and fruity. It’s a complete fruitbasket: apple, banana, orange, apricot, peach, pear. Very fresh. It has resemblance to Imperial, but it’s less floral. And then, all of a sudden, there’s a completely unexpected tarry note. Roofing felt. A nice surprise.
Mouth: different than expected. Quite bitter and not bourbon-like at all.
Finish: medium long and very nice.

Bowmore – Malts Of Scotland

Rating: 8 out of 10

Nose: Spicy, herbal and sherried and slightly austere. Way different from the previous Bowmores. Thankfully, this one doesn’t have any of those overly sweet butterscotch notes. Instead there’s a lot of spices and herbs and a distant hint of smoke, but not at all peaty. Reminds me of couchsyrup.
Mouth: Very pleasant, and very clearly a sherried whisky. Balanced, bittersweet. Quite tannic, but in a nice way. Interesting woody notes. Pinetree, pine sap, willow-branches.
Finish: Good, medium long.