Category Archives: Whisky Tastings

American Whiskey Blind Tasting Pt. 2

Welcome back to the second part of my Blind American Whiskey tasting! As I explained in Part 1, I’m blind tasting a flight of bourbons and ryes from Hi-Spirits, the UK distribution arm of the Sazerac Company, owners of Buffalo Trace distillery and makers of Van Winkle, Eagle Rare, W.L. Weller and many more of the USA’s finest whiskeys.  I taste each whiskey blind and give my notes before discovering what’s behind the label…

Sample E

Nose:  Fresh red and green apples and cooked pears. Powdered cinnamon and sweet clove rock, homemade toffee apples, Edinburgh rock and an earthy, barky note.

Palate: Medium-full, quite warm and spicy mouthfeel but not too astringent.  Cooked orchard fruit with some apple liqueur notes, leafiness, bark, and of course the cinnamon and a little pepper. Delighted to find a menthol note again, really lifts the palate, makes the whole more lively and adds complexity.

Finish: Long, spicy, warm and drying, nice fruit jammy notes, cigar leaf and a hint of menthol lingering in the cinnamon tingle.

Comment: My kind of Unidentified American Whiskey. There’s a lot going on here, from the orchard fruit to the warm cake spices and the more herbaceous notes that add the complexity I look for and take the whole thing to another level.

Reveal: EH Taylor Small Batch 50%, £92.50.  Another one that I haven’t tried before, and one I’ll definitely be making the effort to try again at any available opportunity. The generous fruit and warm spices really hit my sweet spot. Perhaps the higher strength offsets the sweetness and makes it appeal to a hardened cask strength single malt drinker like me?


Sample F

Nose:  Sweet cinnamon lozenges, sugared plums, hard icing sugar and melted vanilla ice cream. Dark chocolate shavings. A promising herbaceousness, developing into dry autumn leaves and old bookshelves.

Palate: Medium-full, with a warmer mouthfeel, spicier than the others so far.  Dried apples, fruit liquorice, woodglue, Butterkist popcorn, Danish pastries and other patisserie notes. You might think that sounds too sweet but there’s a lot of cinnamon and pepper balancing it out.

Finish: Very long. Fruity boiled sweets, persistent warm cinnamon, faint barley sugar, glue, faint leafiness and menthol hints.

Comment: Another serious, complex whiskey. Big oak spices dominate alongside the sweetness but there’s plenty of fruit and patisserie notes keeping it from becoming one-dimensional.

Reveal: Old Rip Van Winkle 10yo, 53.5%.  Another whiskey that I perhaps should have recognised off the bat, RVW is one of my long-time favourite bourbons. Famously, the Van Winkle line of bourbons are ‘wheaters’, meaning that the secondary grain is wheat rather than the traditional rye.  This is where the extra sweetness comes from, but the higher strength ensures that there’s plenty of balancing spice.

*Note: Due to the extraordinary demand for Van Winkle whiskeys, we allocate our bottles for sale via ballot.  To enter our ballot, just purchase a bottle of Buffalo Trace whiskey here.*


Sample G

Nose: A sweet nose, with apple Chewits, strawberry laces, milk chocolate and red apple peel, but with earthy, woody aromas lurking behind.

Palate:  Quite full-bodied with a very warm, drying mouthfeel. Very spicy, with flavours of cooked green apples in brown sugar, tinned peaches, Playdoh and Fruit Salad sweets, then more woody flavours taking over: clove, cinnamon, varnished oak, icing sugar.

Finish: Very long, hot and spicy at full strength, redeemed by a lasting fruity, appley, brown sugar sweetness.

Comment: I’m not a betting man – I have enough vices already – but if I was I’d wager that this is stronger and/or older than most of the others tasted so far. Certainly it packs a punch with one of the most intense palates yet.

Reveal: EH Taylor Rye 50%, £95. Oh dear. This is why I’m not a betting man, as although the strength is quite high, it’s less than the previous whiskey and the age is only four years old…  I’m glad I picked up on the rye spices, at least – though in fairness, you’d have to be missing a few tastebuds not to notice them! This is a bruiser, with great flavour intensity.


Sample H

Nose: A more custardy kind of nose, with a creaminess and sweet pastry / dough notes taking precedence over the fruitier aspects of its predecessors. Rich Tea biscuits, the milk from a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, then a little fruitiness: apple leather with a hint of dried blackberry.

Palate: Medium-full, with a gently warming, unctuous mouthfeel.  Follows on well from the nose: Cinnamon Crunch, the biscuity notes, apple leather, then hints of sugared almonds, hard icing sugar, dried fruit. Very nice balance, with nothing becoming too dominant.

Finish: Very good length, gently persistent fruit and biscuity notes, becoming drying without any harsh edges.

Comment: A very well-integrated whiskey, with lots going on and a high class balance of wood, fruit and sweet spices, without ever getting cluttered.  The palate is well-developed and structurally strong without any overbearing heat.

Reveal: Van Winkle Special Reserve 12yo, 45.2%. After my previous disgrace, I’m pretty happy with my verdict on this one, as it’s much along the lines of how I’d try to describe this delightful whiskey if you asked me.  Along with the Family Reserve 15yo, this is my favourite of the Van Winkle range.


Sample I

Nose: Nice ‘old church pew’ notes, with milky cinnamon, Weetabix, milk chocolate, custard cream biscuits, and damson jam and cooked apple in the background. Water lifts some pleasant marmaladey citrus notes up from the depths.

Palate: Mediumweight, with an unctuous, mouth-coating texture. More fruity than I’d expected from the nose, with apple and dark fruit conserves, then some more gluey, Playdoh notes, the return of the marmalade from the nose and some background spices that remain much more restrained than some of the earlier whiskeys.  Really, it’s all about the fruit jams here.

Finish: Good length, warm with a little sweet, spicy tingle.

Comment: A more gentle, elegant dram to finish on, with a more fruit-forward character, less spice and a softer, gentler mouthfeel despite a good weight. Impressive, nuanced whiskey.

Reveal: Buffalo Trace Bourbon, 40%, £26.50. I’m very, very impressed with how well this held up against its more lofty peers, especially being tasted last.  It’s one of the unwritten rules of the whisk(e)y industry that your entry-level dram should be your best value for money, because that’s the one that the greatest number of people are going to taste and First Impressions Count.

Well, that was a lot of fun – many thanks again to the folks at Sazerac and Hi-Spirits for the samples, it was great to taste and compare this portfolio of superb whiskeys.


American Whiskey Blind Tasting Pt.1

Time for some fun: after our Ian MacLeod tasting earlier this month, this time my tastebuds are being challenged with a flight of American whiskey from Hi-Spirits, the UK spirits distribution agency now owned by American distillers Sazerac Company.  I’ll be tasting each sample blind and giving my impressions before revealing what it was.

Hi-Spirits has an enviable stable of American whiskeys, as their parent company owns Buffalo Trace distillery, where most of the whiskeys I’m tasting this week are distilled. The Sazerac company also has a few other distilleries, including the Barton 1792 Distillery in Bardstown – producers of 1792 Bourbon – and the A. Smith Bowman distillery, which makes Virginia Gentleman.

Buffalo Trace is arguably the largest producer of what we might call ‘prestige’ American whiskey.  The distillery’s top end brands, including the likes of Eagle Rare 17yo, Thomas H. Handy, William Larue Weller, Sazerac 18yo and George T. Stagg have picked up dozens of awards at international spirits competitions and are routinely named by Jim Murray as the world’s best whiskies – indeed, just last month William Larue Weller was crowned by Mr. Murray as World’s Best Whisky 2018, while Thomas H. Handy Rye came third.  

Buffalo Trace is also the guardian of the Van Winkle and W. L. Weller brands, distilling wheated bourbon to the recipes originally pioneered at the legendary extinct Stitzel-Weller distillery. In combination with their own original brands, this portfolio represents the most distinctive and sought-after bourbons and rye whiskeys produced in the USA today.  So let’s get tasting them…

Tasting Sample A

Nose: Mellow aromas of cooked apple, wood glue and freshly-varnished oak benches. There’s a very nice note of blossom as well. Digestive biscuits, vanilla custard and dry tree bark in the background.

Palate: Medium-bodied, with a gentle mouthfeel. Vanilla custard, cooked apples, sweet pastry, cinnamon – apple pie, in other words, which is always a good thing. Develops a leafiness and a faintly menthol aspect mid-palate.

Finish: Decent length. The menthol leads into a warm spiciness that tingles without burning.

Comment: Very pleasant, easy-drinking whiskey, with the leafiness, spice and menthol kicking the complexity up a notch.


Reveal: Eagle Rare 10 year old (45%, £38.50).  One of Sazerac / Buffalo Trace’s hallmark brands, and one I always consider a safe call in bars. I’m very impressed by how easy drinking this whiskey is for the strength. A good start, let’s see what’s next.
Sample B

Nose: A jammier note, with cooked raspberries and blackberries. There’s apple pie as well, but more in the background, and again there’s a leafy character and some old oak notes. This is both fruitier and woodier than the first sample though.

Palate: Mediumweight, and very soft in the mouth.  There’s the jammy note, plus a more prominent glueiness, warm spice, hints of linseed oil and wood varnish again. The leafiness and menthol reappear again mid-palate.

Finish: Good length, herbaceous, earthy and woody with warming cinnamon spice and faint pepper keeping it fresh and lively on the tongue.

Comment: The leafiness and slightly gentler mouthfeel gives this sample the edge on balance and complexity for me.


Reveal: 1792 Small Batch 46.85%, £39.50. This is made at the Barton distillery that Sazerac bought in 2009.  I remember this brand when it was known as Ridgemont Reserve – back when I was an off-license till jockey this was always a good recommendation for people for looking for something a bit more complex.  1792 is known for having a high rye content, which explains the leafy, spicy notes I found.


Sample C

Nose: A deeper, dustier note, suggesting greater wood influence than the previous samples. Old, seasoned, polished wood like an old church pew. Develops fresh linen, faint damson, dried orange peel aromas and an oaty, porridge note. Water lifts the damson and cinnamon.

Palate: Medium-full with a warm, spicy mouthfeel. The old church pew is upfront, with sweet brown sugar, varnish, furniture polish and wood glue to the fore and the warmth provided by cinnamon and nutmeg notes, even a hint of white pepper. A drop of water brought out the damson from the nose with a bit of cooked plum.

Finish: Long and spicy with the damson coming through towards the death.

Comment: A more savoury dram, a bit more serious for me somehow. The wood is more prominent here. I’d have this as an after-dinner whiskey, perfect to follow a winter stew or a heavy steak.


Reveal: E H Taylor Single Barrel 50%, £92.50.  I haven’t tasted this one before, and I’m impressed.  The higher alcohol gives it a greater intensity of flavour than the gentler drams preceding it and if I was drinking it at home I’d probably have it with a small drop of water to take the edge off the alcohol and lift the fruit. As the sweetness is less prominent here than in many bourbons, this is probably a good one to recommend to Scotch whisky fans.


Sample D

Nose:  Big apple pie and vanilla custard initially, with cinnamon heralding more woody hints of old varnish and furniture polish. Develops milk chocolate aromas and a solid oakiness: bark and old seasoned wood.

Palate: Medium-full, with a luscious, warm, spicy mouthfeel that never gets too hot. Sweet cinnamon custard, cooked apples, hints of dark fruit jam and cookie mix. A complex palate, becoming biscuity midway through – Lotus biscuits and ginger snaps.

Finish: Warm and gentle. Good length. Cooked apples with cake spices, fading sweet cinnamon and autumn leaves.

Comment: I liked this one a lot. It seems to have the depth of the previous whiskey with more of the fruity notes from the first couple of samples.


Reveal: Sazerac Rye 45%, £46. Of course! I’m cross, because I should have recognised this – it’s been one of my favourite American whiskeys for years. It’s one of those bottles that if I see it in a bar… I know I’m in a good bar.

Right, that seems like a good place to stop for now – tune in soon for Part 2 of the Great American Blind Tasting!



Whisky Casks For Sale

This month’s auction features three whisky casks that are currently maturing in Scotland. First up is a an excellent, and at times unusual Macallan. This would currently yield approximately 208 x 70cl bottles of whisky currently at 28 years old.

Then we have a fascinating Tullibardine that’s unlike most other contemporary Tullibardine’s which shows real individuality. This one would currently yield approximately 211 x 70cl bottles of whisky currently at 13 years old.

And finally another Tullibardine that is a clean and richly flavoured sherry cask which has served this cask well. This would currently yield approximately 307 x 70cl bottles of whisky also currently at 13 years old.

Macallan 1990. Cask #4070. 48.4%

Colour: White wine

Nose: A soft buttery note to begin which unfolds nicely onto coal hearths, damp earth, linseed oil, furniture polish and delicate tertiary notes of coconut, lemon balm, dried herbs and cough medicine. There is a resilient cereal note running underneath as well; crisp, lean and malty. In time there are notes of dried banana chips, sunflower seeds and other trail mix qualities. The overall impression is one of a fine-textured, well-balanced malt whisky.

Palate: Good weight and texture. Slightly petroly and oily with notes of grassy olive oil and mineral oil. Very light camphor and wax aspects as well. More well-structured cereal qualities, some natural sweetness and hints of various dried herbs. These ever so slight medical aspects resurge with these notes of cough medicine and orange throat sweets. Get’s spicier over time as well, towards freshly ground white pepper and cinnamon bark.

Finish: Long, spicy, dry, slightly mineral and with some unusual notes of steel wool, pine needles, wood resins and coal dust. Still rather precise and punchy.

Comments: An excellent, and at times unusual in a good way, example of Macallan. One which feels ready now and would probably not benefit from too much further ageing. The strength and flavours are all evenly matched and well integrated. A good, very tasty whole that outweighs the sum of its parts.

1990 Macallan Whisky Cask For Sale

Tullibardine 2005. Cask #186. 57.7%

Colour: Oaked white wine.

Nose: Potted plants in a greenhouse. Lots of greenery, cut grass, cactus, green banana, peppery salad leaves and some rather oily, fatty green fruit notes as well. Lime cordial, gomme syrup, various fruit liqueurs and a fascinating note of mustardy vinagrette. Quite unusual, but big, oily and very inviting with this rather opulent fruitiness. Unlike many other Tullibardines. Continues with notes of gauze, oily rag, marzipan and sweetened herbal extracts.

Palate: Big, fatty, spicy, sooty, herbal and rich. There’s a rather impressive oiliness and aspects of crisp maltiness, lean bacon fat, turmeric, salted flat breads, muesli, sweet oatmeal and wood glue. Quite unlike most other malt whiskies of similar age. In time it goes towards cod live oil, white flowers and soft waxes. There’s also a fermenting, yeasty quality about it – hints of sourdough, fizzy lemon and ink.

Finish: Rather long and mouth coating. It’s a big, textural, fatty style of distillate. Leaves behind notes of mixed dried herbs, wood spice, glue and strong, earthy teas.

Comments: A fascinating cask. Unlike most other contemporary Tullibardines. This one shows real individuality, great texture and a beguiling fruitiness. Could easily be bottled now or left to age for at least another decade quite comfortably. A very fun style of whisky that should make for a great conversation stoker.

2005 Tullibardine whisky cask for auction

Tullibardine 2005. Cask #267. 58.4%

Colour: deep amber / polished rosewood.

Nose: This one feels very much about the cask at first nosing. Lots of sweetened black tea, jasmine, tea tree oils, creme de menthe, black pepper and cured meats. Thick, fatty, earthy and with plenty hessian and coal dust. There’s also toasted oak, ripe banana, milk chocolate, walnuts and mixed dark fruits soaked in cognac. Quite excellent.

Palate: Big, thick, resinous and sweet sherry. Lots of coco, walnuts, strawberry wine, gingerbread, lemon thyme, espresso, bovril and damp sack cloth. Some wee touches of treacle, salty old oloroso and rancio as well. It’s really the sherry that does the talking with this one but it’s an excellent and characterful – and most importantly clean – style of sherry so it works very well.

Finish: Long, earthy, gingery, spicy and ultimately syrupy, sweet and slightly mentholated. Comments: An excellent, clean and richly flavoured sherry cask which has served this Tullibardine well. Would continue to mature well for at least another decade.

Comments: An excellent, clean and richly flavoured sherry cask which has served this Tullibardine well. Would continue to mature well for at least another decade.


Tullibardine whisky cask for sale

If you are interested in buying this cask, you can register to bid on our auction here:


Glengoyne & Tamdhu Tasting Notes

Founded in 1933, Ian MacLeod Distillers are one of the unsung independent distillers and bottlers in the UK, despite being the 10th-largest Scotch whisky company in the world.  This may be because much of the company’s business is behind the scenes – they are one of the largest suppliers of own-brand whiskies to bulk markets and some of their biggest brands are marketed mostly overseas.

In the UK, the company has a reputation among whisky cognoscenti as a reliable source of high quality, great value whiskies. Ian MacLeod have a diverse range of proprietary and independent bottlings, with Smokehead, Chieftain’s Choice and Isle of Skye among the most prominent.  The company is not just involved with whisky – they produce a variety of other gins, vodkas and rums and in 2016 they acquired Spencerfield Spirits Co, producers of Edinburgh Gin.

Ian MacLeod  & Co. became Ian MacLeod Distillers in 2003 with their acquisition of the Glengoyne distillery; Tamdhu distillery was purchased in 2011 and relaunched in 2013.  In October 2017 it was announced that Ian MacLeod had acquired and were rebuilding the lost Lowland distillery Rosebank – a stunning coup that gladdened the hearts of whisky fans the world over. It’ll be a while yet before there’s any new Rosebank to be tasted, so we’ll be focusing on Tamdhu and Glengoyne today…


Glengoyne 18 Year Old, 43%, £82

Nose: Hot-buttered brown toast and a rich brown sugar aroma, then raisins, flapjacks, oatmeal, Digestive biscuits. Develops a pleasant leafiness, and prominent vanilla and biscuity aromas never allow the sherry to dominate.

Palate: Medium-full; a very clean, generous, soft mouthfeel with a little tingle. The flavours sync clearly with the nose: bready and biscuity with the fruitcake sherry sweetness again prominent without being too dominant – the balance is excellent, with a really crystalline barley edge rounded out by a hint of soft vanilla and chocolate cake.

Finish: That clear barley edge with a generous, warming, spicy tingle. The balance here is flawless. The sherry and spices fade slowly to reveal a delicate chocolate note.

Comment: Clearly, I don’t drink enough Glengoyne. This is a brilliantly put-together whisky and while the wood is impressive – obviously excellent casks – it’s the punchy, unpeated barley character that really impresses me. In short, the distillate and the oak complement each other beautifully, and that’s down to great cask selection and masterful blending.

Glengoyne 21 Year Old, 43%, £120

Nose: Big sherry, a much deeper oak presence than the 18 year old. Gingerbread, cinnamon biscuits and rich Dundee fruitcake.  Develops malt loaf, cooked raisins, muscovado sugar, homemade wholemeal bread, old church pews, cookie dough, old soft leather. In these days of ‘wood technology’ and various techniques designed to pimp the whisky, it’s an absolute joy to encounter a more old-school sherry-cask character – and not even the slightest hint of the dreaded sulphur.  

Palate: Follows on perfectly from the nose – a big hit of brown sugar sweetness initially, then settles down into lovely fruitcake and patisserie notes.  A strong nuttiness – brazil nuts, hazelnuts, noisette – then milk chocolate and Ovaltine, before the cooked fruit returns with a spicy overtone.

Finish: Lingering fruitcake, candied mixed peel and growing spices – cinnamon, nutmeg, faint white pepper. Again, the balance is exquisite.  Nothing feels overblown, the sherry and spices sit beautifully together and there’s enough clear barley punch to keep the whole thing rounded.

Comment: I don’t understand why so many whisky companies – some of whom have far vaster resources than IMD – waste so much time and money trying to game the system with ‘wine-treated’ or ‘sherry-seasoned’ casks that aren’t really sherry casks, or multiple re-rackings, red wine finishes and so on. The formula is simple: make the best distillate you can, put it in the best bourbon or sherry casks you can afford and you’ll most likely end up with a very good whisky. This is Exhibit A – a great after-dinner option, especially with Christmas coming up. This could easily steal the show on the big day.

Two absolutely cracking drams from Glengoyne, so the stablemate Tamdhu has a lot to live up to! Onwards…


Tamdhu Cask Strength, 58.3%, £57.95

Nose: Once more, there’s a big sherry hit straight off the bat.  There’s a big emphasis on rich brown sugar character initially, then milk chocolate, walnuts and hazelnuts, vanilla ice cream, chocolate milkshake. Becomes earthy, with notes of autumn leaves or compost, old bookcases.  I have to assume, given the lack of an age statement, that this Tamdhu is a relative youngster, but whatever the actual age is, this is a nose of admirable character and maturity.

Palate: Full-bodied but not too hot or punishing to the tastebuds. Remarkably palatable at full strength.  A huge initial sweetness without being cloying, then plum duff, sugared almonds, nougat and chocolate cake.  Once again, as with Glengoyne, the barley edge of the distillate comes through strongly, providing a counterpoint to the generous sweet oak. The fruitcake, chocolate and dried nuts are all here, with faint vanilla custard and bark. Very intense, well-defined flavours. With water:  Swims well and can handle plenty of water without losing its shape. The water brings more old oak character to the fore alongside chocolate milk and golden syrup.

Finish: Very long and satisfying finish. Young, sherried, cask strength drams can be very bitter at the death but there’s none of that here. It’s strong, sweet and spicy, certainly, but never goes over the top.

Comment: With a NAS whisky bottled at 58.3%, you might expect a certain brutality, but while this is a powerful dram it’s certainly far from vicious.  As with the Glengoyne, there are clear signs here of an adherence to traditional standards, excellent wood policy and serious skill in the cask selection and blending. Long may this dram confound our expectations. What’s clear is how criminally underrated both of these distilleries are.



Macallan Whisky Cask For Sale

Maturing stock is becoming a regular feature in our monthly auctions now.  And this month we have another Macallan cask that will hit 30 years old in June next year.  Have a read of our tasting notes and let us know what you think…

Cask #9313: Originally filled on the 12/06/1989  into a 3rd fill Hogshead. This cask would currently yield approximately 213 x 70cl bottles of whisky currently at 29 years of age.

Colour: Straw

Nose: Light and very fresh. Cut grass, bailed hay, straw, citrus rind, peppery watercress and some light notes of shoe polish and new leather. Definitely towards the softer side of Macallan. With a little breathing time it begins to reveal herbal notes such as fresh oregano and rosemary. Also some earthier, rootier qualities and a sweetness that alludes to milk bottle sweets.

Palate: Similarly soft, delicate and gentle. Lots of citrus oils, earthy turmeric, a gentle sunflower oil note and some supple mineral notes. Again these greener qualities come through as chopped parsley and chives, cut grass and a foresty bracken note. Some hints of pine resin, clove, more polish notes and a light green pepper aspect.

Finish: Medium in length. A rising sootiness, more lemon aspects although this time manifesting in a more medicinal, cough syrupy fashion. These soft peppery qualities persist into the aftertaste giving a warming sensation.

Conclusions: A cask which really shows the lighter side of Macallan. Could potentially last until 30 quite well, although probably not much beyond. At the moment the alcohol level gives good bite and mouthfeel which helps bolster the otherwise rather soft qualities of the distillate.

If you are interested in buying this cask, you can register to bid on our auction here:


Whisky Tasting – Friday 19th October 2018

Whisky Online – Distell Tasting 2018

We’re delighted to announce we will be teaming up with Distell International to host a malt whisky tasting.

Our hosts Brian Houston (Deanston Head Tour Guide) and Stevie Clarkson (Brand Ambassador for Whisky) will educate us all and take us on an amazing tasting tour journey from the Highland distillery of Deanston and onto the Isles of Islay and Mull with Bunnahabain and Ledaig.

We will be tasting the below on the evening:

* Deanston 10 Year Old
* Deanston 18 Year Old
* Bunnahabhain 12 Year Old
* Bunnahabhain 18 Year Old
* Bunnahabhain 25 Year Old
* Ledaig 10 Year Old
* Ledaig 18 Year Old

The tasting will be held on Friday 19th October 2018 at Blackpool Football Club in The Directors Box.

All attendees should arrive at 19:30 for 20:00 start.
On arrival, you will be greeted by a member of the Whisky-Online team and our hosts from Distell.
Brian and Stevie from Distell will be delighted to educate everyone throughout the evening and will be keen to taste and talk you through the 7 different whiskies on offer.

We will also be holding a charity auction on the evening for Trinity Hospice who are based in Blackpool

All whisky tasted on the evening will be available to purchase with a 10% discount. Please note discount is only available at the event.
Tickets are £15.00 per person and can be purchased by contacting Debbie or Tim on 01253 620376 or

Book now to avoid disappointment as tickets are limited.



Two Tobermory Whisky Casks For Sale

Joining the 1989 Macallan in our August whisky sale are two 1994 Tobermory casks.

Cask #39 was originally filled on the 14/12/1994 into a First Fill Hogshead. This cask would currently yield approximately 244 x 70cl bottles of whisky currently at 24 years old.

Whilst cask #5015 was originally filled on the 20/06/1994  into aFirst Fill Butt. This cask would currently yield approximately 461 x 70cl bottles of whisky currently at 24 years old.

Whisky Online Auctions Tasting Notes: Tobermory 1993. Cask #39

Colour: Pale Gold

Nose: A more straightforward, lemony and briny example. Lots of soot, yeasty notes, chalk, limestone, minerals and sea air. Impressively fragrant and floral, with more of these notes of linen, bath salts and fabric softener. Background hints of lemon peel, gravel and menthol cigarettes. Quite a lot of cereal qualities as well.

Palate: Very taught, chiselled and pure in style. Brittle minerality, toasted cereals and seeds, some brake fluid, light medicines and more chalky notes. A more typical, perhaps ‘classical Tobermory’ example but in a good way. Perhaps more idiosyncratic and characterful than cask 5015. More lemony and yeasty notes. Lots of hay and grasses as well.

Finish: Long, ashy, mineral, brittle, flinty and slightly saline. A slightly chemical aspect as well but in a good, characterful way.

Comments: The cask here is quieter and the distillate louder. It should comfortably mature well for a further 5-10 years. It still retains a lovely freshness and fragrant quality. A very interesting and rather good example of Tobermory.

Whisky Online Auctions Tasting Notes: Tobermory 1993. Cask #5015

Colour: Gold

Nose: A good and pleasingly textured sweetness. Notes of lemon cake, poppy seed, some beach sand and sandalwood. Fresh, clean and elegantly coastal. Develops further tertiary notes of bread, sourdough, fabric softeners and lemon barley water. The underlying maltier tones get more pronounced with time.

Palate: Many toasted cereal notes, butterscotch, cream soda and hints of grass and olive oil. Again it’s quite clean and with a kind of porridge-like stodgy texture. Some brittle, concrete and chalky notes along with some soot and mustard seed. Surprisingly powerful and still possessing some hints of sea air and beach minerals.

Finish: Medium-long. Some wood ash, butter, more taught minerality and a few white floral aspects. Good.

Comments: An excellent mid-aged Tobermory. Good sweetness and texture. Lacking some of the more ‘unlikely’ characteristics this distillery could be prone to in this era. The cask has had a clear voice with these sweeter aspects, although I expect this could easily improve further over another five years of maturation.

If you are interested in buying this cask, you can register to bid on our auction here:



Macallan Whisky Cask For Sale

Coming up in our August auction is a selection of casks held in bond. Highlighting the bunch is this 1989 Macallan. Originally filled on 06/03/1989 into a refill Hogshead with 249 bulk Litres. 

This cask is held at Macallan Distillery, Easter Elchies House, Scotland. It was regauged on 04/06/2018. The new regauged litres were found to be approximately 132 Bulk litres at a strength of 42.4%. This would currently yield approximately 188 x 70cl bottles of whisky currently at 29 years old.

Whisky Online Auctions Tasting Notes: Macallan 1989. Cask # 3480

Colour: White wine

Nose: surprisingly, and rather thrillingly, quite fruity. There are these distinctly tropical aspects which nod towards these old Irish single malts from similar vintages. Lots of lemon, melon, ripe apple, gooseberry, banana and guava. An even mix of ripe green and tropical fruits that gives an abundance of freshness. There’s also raw malt, buttery cereals and barley water. A wonderful example of a naked and distillery character forward old Macallan. 

Palate: cornflour, buttered toast and earthier, sootier qualities as well. Some hints of peppery watercress, ointment, sack cloth and lemon balm. Milk bottle sweeties, cornflakes and drier notes of crushed aspirin and menthol gum. Some dried herbs as well, bouquet garni, olive oil and a hint of angelic root. Light in texture but there’s still a firmness about it overall which is quite satisfying.

Finish: Good length. Rather oily, buttery, cereal and lemony. Moving more towards a classical style Speyside. 

Comments: Ready for bottling now. More textbook on the palate but the nose is really terrific. Overall an excellent Macallan that shows the distillery character up front and in a lighter profile than usual. The emphasis on fruits is extremely interesting. 

If you are interested in buying this cask, you can register to bid on our auction here:


Berry Bros & Rudd Tasting Notes

We’ve always rated Berry Bros & Rudd as excellent independent bottlers, so we were delighted recently to receive samples of some of their recent bottlings covering a spread of ages and vintages ranging from 1983 to 2002. Without further ado, here’s Tim’s tasting notes for five of the crop.  You can check out all the BBR bottlings we’re currently stocking here.


Craigellachie 2007 9 Year Old, Cask 900640 (Hogshead), 46%, £51

Nose: Immediately recognisable youth, with fresh grass, hay and raw cereal aromas. Lurking lemons, sour green apple, faint notes of sweetpea and pine resin.

Palate: Light-medium in weight with a fresh, crisp texture. The grassy aromas are the strongest, though mid-palate some very fresh lemon juice creeps in, giving racy acidity. There’s also a nice little hazelnut backnote adding some depth. Water mellows the acidity and draws out a pleasing creamy, biscuity flavour.

Finish: Decent length, drying. The green apples return with a hint of unripe pears.

Comment: A textbook, straightforward young Speyside, very reminiscent of a youthful Glenlivet. Obviously at this young age you don’t expect a huge amount of complexity, but this is a refreshing, summery dram that likes a small drop of water.


6543-9291glenkeith1995-201721yearoldberrybros171273Glen Keith 1995 21 Year Old Cask 171273 (Hogshead), 49.8%, £98.50

Nose: Very fresh despite the age, even a little nervous, with enticing meadowy aromas on a bed of dried driftwood, with faint vanilla, cinnamon cream, sugared almonds, very faint orange zest, bon-bons and hard icing sugar. Becomes more grassy with time in the glass. In short: classical bourbon-matured Speyside.

Palate: Mediumweight. Clean and lively mouthfeel. Initial acacia honey sweetness, then some old wooden bookshelves as the oak asserts itself. The palate closely follows the nose, with perhaps more emphasis on nutty characteristics: almonds, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts; plus hay and green apple flavours. Water lifts the grassiness from the nose with hints of sweetpea.

Finish: Good length, drying, lemony, a little papery oak towards the end.

Comment: At its best, Glen Keith produces very clean, light, yet powerful distillate perfect for refill hogshead maturation. It needs a long time in such a cask, but the best examples are worth the wait. This is another summery dram that rewards a small drop of water.


6538-9297teaninich1983-201733yearoldberrybros6739Teaninich 1983 33 Year Old Cask 6739 (Hogshead), 46%, £246.95

Nose: Lovely intense grassy / honey combination to start, then polished mahogany, vanilla custard, raspberry jam spongecake. Develops more on old bookcases, aromatic woods (cedar, sandalwood). The grassiness remains at the top with a hint of honeysuckle and sweetpea. Just the kind of top class nose that immediately lets you know you have a serious whisky in the glass.

Palate: Mediumweight, with a fresh, tingly mouthfeel.  A sweet honeyed hit first, then tingling acidity, lemon sherberts, really exquisite polished oak, sugared almonds, the spongecake from the nose, then dry leaves, resin, cocoa powder and furniture polish as the oak muscles in. Develops more patisserie aromas – brioche, pain au raisin, icing sugar etc – then becomes quite spicy. Nice interplay of spirit and wood, with the oak inevitably winning out. A tiny drop of water soothes the wood and renders the palate pretty much flawless.

Finish: Very good length, warming, becoming dry and spicy. In a word: moreish. In two words: Very moreish.

Comment: Seriously impressive whisky from an overlooked Diageo workhorse. A great distillate in a really great cask, aged pretty close to perfection. You can see why so little Teaninich makes it to the independents, there’s nothing not to like here. Sadly, quality like this doesn’t come cheap these days, but this is one long-aged dram that’s worth every penny.


6548-9289orkneyislands1999-201816yearoldberrybros281Orkney 1999 16 Year Old Sherry Butt, Cask 28, 53.6%, £85.50

Nose: Oof! A pure blast of very rich, clean, aged sherry. Lots of cake: dark fruit cake, chocolate sponge and homemade gingerbread, burnt raisins, balanced with faint woodsmoke, dry leaves and a very faint hint of bitumen. Enticing stuff.

Palate: Medium-full. Nice rich yet lively texture.  Golden syrup, then the gingerbread and fruitcake from the nose, a little woodsmoke again and then hot chocolate, toasted scones and cooked raisins. The smoke becomes a little more prominent with time in the glass. Big and assertive without the faintest suggestion of hotness or harshness even at full strength.

Water’s not really necessary here. I was worried about spoiling the balance, but it actually worked pretty well, in a superfluous way. Stick with full strength.

Finish: Long, warming, dry, sweet and spicy. In a nutshell, it’s lovely.

Comment: It’s immensely encouraging to think that there were still sherry casks of this quality around less than twenty years ago and that there is whisky in many of them that’s just reaching its peak.  Delicious now but would certainly have kept for at least for another five or ten years, probably longer.

6536-9286orkneyislands2002-201814yearoldberrybros1Orkney 2002 14 Year Old Sherry Butt, Cask 1, 56.8%, £75.95

Nose: A similar profile to the ‘99 – very clean, rich, intense sherry, lots of dark cake aromas, raisin syrup, cooked raisins, some treacly aromas, mulch, wet turf, chocolate syrup and faint rye bread hints.

Palate: Medium-full, quite lively without becoming too hot. Rich and sweet but well-balanced. Quite pruney from the outset, also dates, marinated dark fruit, dark muscovado, damson jam, molasses, all accompanied and balanced by some racy acidity.

Finish: Very good length, juicy, tannic, metallic, warming, very slowly fading sweetness.

Comment: It’s fascinating to taste unofficial bottlings from this distillery, unencumbered as they are by any tenuous back stories, OTT packaging or outlandish price tags. This is very good distillate from a very active sherry cask. It’s a bold, in-your-face dram – not exactly subtle, but it makes the most of its obvious charms, and fans of the style will not be disappointed.

That’s all for now, folks – many thanks again to BBR for the samples of their fine drams and don’t forget you can check out all the Berry Bros & Rudd bottlings we’re currently stocking here.



We’re excited to announce we will be teaming up with Halewood International to host our first ever Gin tasting.

Halewood boast a quality selection of Gins with the following featuring on the evening.

  • Whitley Neill Gin
  • Whitley Neill Rhubarb and Ginger Gin
  • Whitley Neill Raspberry Gin
  • Liverpool Rose Petal Gin
  • Aberfalls Sweet Violet Gin Liqueur
  • Aberfalls Orange Marmalade Gin

The tasting will be held on Friday 10th August 2018 at Blackpool Football Club in The Directors Box .  All attendees should arrive at 19:30 for 20:00 start.

On arrival you will be greeted by a member of the Whisky-Online team and offered a Mystery Gin & Tonic and a selection of Canapés.

Our host Jenny from Halewood will be delighted to educate everyone throughout the evening and will be keen to talk you through their 6 different gins on offer. Jenny will also be keen to guide you on the perfect serves for each Gin.

All Gins tasted on the evening will be avalible to purchase with a 10% discount. please note discount is only avalible at the event. 

Tickets are £30.00 per person and can be purchased by contacting Debbie or Tim on 01253 620376 or

Book now to avoid disappointment as tickets are limited.