Category Archives: Whisky Tastings

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 http://www.trinityhospice.co.uk/

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 tim@whisky-online.com

Book now to avoid disappointment as tickets are limited.

https://www.whisky-online.com/distel-whisky-tasting-evening.html

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AUGUST AUCTION – MORE CASKS HELD IN BOND – TASTING NOTES

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: https://www.whisky-onlineauctions.com/create-account/

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AUGUST AUCTION – FULL CASK HELD IN BOND – TASTING NOTES

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: https://www.whisky-onlineauctions.com/create-account/

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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.

6547-92819281craigellachie2007-20179yearoldberrybros900640

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.

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JOIN US ON OUR FIRST GIN TASTING

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 tim@whisky-online.com

Book now to avoid disappointment as tickets are limited.

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JUNE AUCTION – FULL CASKS HELD IN BOND – TASTING NOTES

Whisky Online Auctions Tasting Notes: Ben Nevis 1996 cask #1458

Colour: Gold.

Nose: As with many of these mid-late 1990s Ben Nevis which are currently reaching the market, this one possesses a typical richness. At first it is dominated by honey and freshly baked bread aromas. Indeed, there is a pronounced autolytic character. The profile develops with further notes of mead and some gentle background fruitiness; white stone fruits; mirabelle; pear eau de vie. Some gingerbread is also present. Globally it is fresh, rich and with a sense of elegance and complexity.

Palate: Here the Ben Nevis personality really strikes deep. Dense exotic and green fruits which are both syrupy and oily in texture. Barley sugar, quince, lemon curd and a turmeric/earthy quality. This really is excellent whisky. It is reminiscent of some of these late 1980s aged Irish single malts which have been bottled extensively these past few years. Underneath there are various tertiary complexities such as toasted seeds, yellow flowers and lanolin. An excellent Ben Nevis.

Finish: Long, heathery, spicy, lightly fruity, oily and with a sense of fragrant, herbal waxiness.

Comments: An excellent example of Ben Nevis at its peak. The sort of cask you could easily bottle now but should also continue to hold its quality or improve for a further 3-6 years. The kind of exemplary, distinctive and characterful Scottish single malt it is increasingly hard to find in this day and age.

Whisky Online Auctions Tasting Notes: Ben Nevis 1996 cask #1459

Colour: Gold

Nose: Aromatically similar to its sister cask although 1459 moves more in the direction of syrupy sweetness; golden syrup, icing sugar, treacle, coconut – even a touch of rancio. There is a more plain, straightforward earthiness as well, and some denser, darker fruits such as sultanas and prunes. Globally though this is a similarly fat, characterful and aromatically rich style.

Palate: Heather ale, fragrant waxes, soot, green banana, ripe melon, guava and dried mango. Some pineapple chunks, toasted sunflower seeds, trail mix, damp earthen floored cellars, aged sweet wines. Again the profile is similar to the sister cask – the differences lie in the subtle, tertiary deviations in flavour. The quality overall is equal and the texture is similarly oily, syrupy and fat with these rather glistening fruit aspects.

Finish: Long, more spice driven, slightly dryer, coal dust, a mineral aspect and some notes of meat and leather in the aftertaste.

Comments: The same conclusion can be reached about cask 1459: this is a cask which is in top condition now but should maintain this quality – or even surpass it – over the next 3-6 years. The kind of characterful, distinctive – and valuable – malt whisky that very few distilleries are producing these days.

Both of these cask are avalible to bid on in our June auction which ends on the 4th July 2018. Start Bidding » from the 27th June, 8pm.

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Crabbie 30 Year Old Single Malt

The name of Crabbie has remained famous throughout its long history in the Scottish drinks trade but latterly only for the company’s peerless Green Ginger Wine, an essential ingredient in the Whisky Mac cocktail, and more recently for a successful alcoholic ginger beer.

This was not always the case.  The Crabbie company can trace its roots back to 1801, when Millar Crabbie first established an upholstering company in Edinburgh. Millar Crabbie soon switched to grocery and from there to import and export of spices, blending and distribution of cordials and eventually, under the control of Millar’s son, John Crabbie, blending whisky.

The company flourished and by the middle of the 19th century had acquired extensive warehousing and bonded premises in Leith and the Haddington distillery in East Lothian which produced grain spirit for the company’s products until the middle of the 1860s.  Subsequently, in the 1880s, Crabbie was involved in the foundation of the North British grain distillery alongside Andrew Usher and William Sanderson, and became the first chairman of the board.

Crabbie 12-year-old from around the fifties

The Crabbie company continued producing blended whiskies throughout the 20th century but its fortunes dwindled following its acquisition by Diageo forerunner Distillers Company Limited in the 1960s. Production of the company’s own brand whiskies ceased in the 1970s and the Crabbie brand was sold in the 1980s to MacDonald and Muir, owners of the Highland Queen blend and Glenmorangie distillery.  

Halewood International acquired Crabbie in 2007 and set about reviving the brand, first with the previously-mentioned ginger beer. The new owners have ambitious plans for Crabbie, last year announcing a proposed new Edinburgh micro-distillery to produce both gin and whisky.

In the meantime, to continue the brand’s renaissance Crabbie have introduced two new sourced whiskies, an 8 year old Highland dram and a single cask 30 year old Speyside single malt bottled at natural strength from a refill Oloroso sherry butt.  Just 330 bottles of the 30 year old have been released for the UK, but luckily we’ve managed to secure a small parcel of stock, and of course we had to try it. Here’s our tasting notes:

Crabbie 30 Year Old Single Speyside Malt, 48.6%

Nose: A symphony of oak and fruit straight off the bat: the kind of really, really classy polished old wood and hints of raisins and cooked apples that lets you know straight away that this is a great whisky. There’s pretty much everything you’d want: autumn leaves, damson jam, sponge cake and a wonderfully floral edge of orange blossom and honeysuckle. Develops more on patisserie with fruit cookies, then fine milk chocolate, coffee ice cream and roast hazelnuts. The integration and balance are absolutely fantastic, nothing dominating, everything intertwined.

Palate: Medium-full in weight but very full flavours. Big but not overpowering oak attack initially, then hints of marmalade. A flash of dusty bookshelves, faint bonfire smoke, then fruit buns, burnt raisins on the edge of a fruit cake, apple pie, icing sugar, chocolate again, dried figs – absolutely textbook refill sherry. The balance is very good and water isn’t really necessary, but a very small drop lifts a tinned fruit syrup flavour. Gets more nutty with time in the glass.

Finish: Warming and very good length. Cinnamon bark, malt loaf, fruit leather and cracked black pepper on a slow fade.

Comment: Majestic stuff.  This nigh-on perfect refill sherry cask is the epitome of an autumnal whisky, begging for a comfy chair and a fireplace – it’s really got the long-matured, oak-reactive X factor that only a long time in a cask can bestow. There are big, soft-edged tannins and it’s quite warm on first tasting at full strength but the fruit always wins out and the oak is finely-poised but never too dusty or bitter. Just fantastic whisky.

Although we can’t reveal which distillery Crabbie 30 year old is from, we can promise that if the distillery name was on the bottle it’d be cheap at five times the price of this bottling, which is available for £500 here. We suspect there could be a rush on this product once word gets out, so don’t hang around if you want one!

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APRIL AUCTION – FULL CASKS HELD IN BOND – TASTING NOTES

Whisky Online Auctions Tasting Notes: Bruichladdich cask 1641

Colour: White wine

Nose: As is common with lower natural cask strength malts, this has a superb freshness about it. A light green fruitiness, some notes of crushed nettle, bath salts, minerals and wet pebbles. Underneath, with a little breathing time, there are notes of pine needle, light cereals and parsley butter. Touches of citrus throughout.

Palate: Surprisingly creamy. Vanilla foam with banana syrup, cocoanut milk, pink candy floss and strawberry wine. The greener fruit qualities you’d expect from Bruichladdich emerge with a little time. Notes of gooseberry wine, elderflower jam and some drying salty notes such as sandalwood and tea tree oil at the back.

Finish: Good length. Full of lighter cereals, lemon oil, barley water and some notes of green olive and turmeric adding an earthy element in the aftertaste.

Comments: An extremely fresh and drinkable Bruichladdich. Very much an afternoon kind of whisky. The lower strength does not hinder the texture or overtly enhance the tannin, rather it helps elevate the softer cereal and citrus fruit tones throughout the whisky. A cask that demands to be bottled imminently due to the strength, but will yield a highly enjoyable and approachable dram.

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Macallan 18 Year Olds – Tasting Notes

Following on from our triumphant appearance at Old & Rare Whisky Show in Glasgow, we thought it’d be a good idea to publish some tasting notes on some of the whiskies we had on offer at the Show, so that those of you who couldn’t make it can get an (online) taste of what you missed.

First up is a trio of Macallan 18 year olds from different eras. We’ve got a recent Macallan Fine Oak 18 year old, then a 1982 18 year old bottled at the turn of the century and a 1973 18 year old bottled in 1991.

 

Macallan 18 Year Old Fine Oak Edition – often regarded as the best of the bunch from the Fine Oak series, which was met with, shall we say, a mixed response from whisky fans when they first appeared in 2004. The negativity at the time was a reaction against the fact that the Macallan had abandoned its previous principle of only releasing single malt from sherry casks, blending the Fine Oak range with both bourbon and sherry cask-matured spirit. However, let’s let the whisky speak for itself.

Nose: Biscuity initially, with polished wood notes and some honeyed porridge. Classic lighter Speyside character. Develops older ‘church pew’ aromas, apple peelings and hard icing sugar with time in the glass but overall this is quite a restrained nose.

Palate: Mediumweight, with a slightly hot mouthfeel. Classic toasted barley notes and well-integrated flavours from the nose, particularly the apple note. Flapjacks, dry Weetabix, then a cooked lemon sour note.

Finish: Medium length, drying. Tart apples. A little warm but quite gentle nonetheless.

Comments: Fascinating to taste more distillate-driven Macallan, and this is textbook Speyside, but while considered in isolation it’s a perfectly decent whisky, it’s also easy to see why the sherryhead hardcore Macallan fans wanted nothing to do with it. It’s an elegant whisky but lacking in what was considered the Macallan character at the time.

Macallan 1982 18 Year Old – Bottled in 2000 and originally sold at a retail price around £40, although auction prices are now well north of £1000.  1982 is of course the vintage of the famous Gran Reserva bottlings from the early 2000s that were a huge factor in the Macallan boom. Bottled from 100% sherrywood, naturally – the Fine Oak range was a good few years away when this bottling came out.

Nose: Wow, this is definitely more what you expect from Macallan (or at least what you used to expect). Really glorious sherry profile, sweet wood and dried fruits – mixed peel, prunes, dates, dried figs, treacle, cooked raisins, stewed apples. It’s the subtle, perfectly-balanced old oak notes that really kick this up into classic territory, though. One of those achingly gorgeous noses it seems almost a pity to destroy by actually drinking the whisky.

Palate: Medium-full but powerfully flavoured. Yes, this is exactly what you want it to be. All the fruity Dundee cake flavours from the nose, plus the supporting foundation of polished old bookcases. The difference is that the wood is more prominent here, a constant note rather than flitting in and out as on the nose, adding cinnamon and dusty vanilla notes to the swirling dried fruit palate. You’d never call this too oaky though.

Finish: Good length for the relatively light weight. Cooked oranges, cloves, fading cinnamon.

Comments: Absolutely wonderful. One weeps to think that this could be had for £240 a case. Certainly one of the first stops on my (sadly imaginary) Time Machine Supermarket Sweep.

Macallan 1973 18 Year Old – Released in 1991, when whisky was just something you bought and drank rather than collected or invested in, this is sherry-matured Macallan from the distillery’s golden era. This is a fascinating chance to try a relatively younger version of the spirit that would cause such a storm when bottled as a 25 or 30 year old in the late 1990s and early 2000s and was one of the major contributors to the worldwide explosion of  interest in single malt whisky. Auction prices for this bottle are creeping up towards £1500 now.

Nose: Still very sherry-dominated, obviously, but right from the start it’s clear that this is a very different beast to the 1982.  There are many of the same elements, but it’s bolder and with big differences in emphasis. Very upfront burnt raisins, dark toffee, rich marmalade, a little rum fudge, faint (acceptable) sulphur, Christmas pudding, orange liqueur, malt loaf, burnt gingerbread.

Palate: Medium-full. Mouthwatering sweet sherry oak, and for that reason it’s closer to the 1982 than the nose, but there’s still the same big differences in emphasis. The raisins, marmalade and Christmas pud steal the show, but there’s also cocoa powder, rum’n’raisin fudge and orange liqueur.

Finish: Great length for the strength. The intensity of the flavours fades very slowly, leaving the tongue tingling.

Comments: Where the 1982 was exquisite, balanced and elegant this is mostly all about knockout sensuality, with some hidden depths. It’s Audrey Hepburn vs. Rita Hayworth, Monet vs. Picasso. A fabulously expressive whisky.

 

A fascinating mini-flight, and it’s very tough pick a favourite. Macallan 18yo was always sold as a classic after-dinner malt and if I’d just put away a big steak in a nice restaurant I’d be going for the 1973.  Reading a book or staring into the fire on a winter’s evening, though, it’d be the 1982 every time for me. In such exalted company the Fine Oak doesn’t get much of a look-in, but that’s to be expected and it’s a perfectly drinkable whisky in its own right.

Hope you enjoyed our tasting notes – stay tuned to the blog, we’ll have more updates very soon.

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Old & Rare Whisky Show – Glasgow 2018

Last weekend the Whisky-Online Auctions team headed to Glasgow for the second Old &
Rare Whisky Show in Glasgow’s Grand Central Hotel, and it was another cracking event.
The team for the weekend was headed by Harrison Ormerod from Whisky-Online, ably
assisted by spirits trainer Tim Roberts and whisky writer Tim Forbes.

The format for the Show was much the same as the previous year, with visitors buying
whichever drams they fancied in 1cl measures that started at just £1 and went up to £200 a dram. Along with the long session times – the Show was open for 6 hours each day – these small measures mean that visitors could take their time and savour many more different drams at cheaper prices than larger measures would allow. We’re big fans of this system, although the long hours meant there were a few sore feet amongst the exhibitors at the end.

The real stars of the Show, of course, were the whiskies – and what amazing drams we had on offer for the lucky punters. The jewel in the crown of our stand was the legendary Queen’s Visit Port Ellen 12 year old, an incredibly rare whisky bottled in 1980 when Her Majesty popped over to Islay to inspect the Port Ellen Maltings.

The whisky for this bottling was drawn from two casks dating from 1967 (the year the
distillery reopened after a 37 year silence), and only a very small number of bottles were
produced, to be given to the Queen’s retinue, local dignitaries and some senior distillery staff on the day of the visit. This Port Ellen is famous for its colossal 99-point score from
Whiskyfun and that reputation ensured a stampede to the Whisky-Online stand as soon as the Show’s doors opened. Over the course of the event almost the entire bottle was sold at £200 per 1cl – a lot of money for a dram, but a bargain considering the bottle’s £12,000+ valuation.

Another standout dram at the Whisky-Online stand was the Brora 1972 Rare Malts 22 year old. This is another whisky with a massive reputation, and it wasn’t hard to see why. Bottled at 61.1% but very approachable nonetheless with a gloriously farmyardy aroma, hints of custard and condensed milk balanced with ashy phenols and wet turf. We only had half a bottle of this one left, and at a very fair £100 per nip (considering the £7,100 recent auction price) the bottle was finished long before the end of the Show – as was the Black Bowmore 2nd Release at the same price.

Of course, the Show wasn’t just about very expensive whiskies, and our stand had a lot of outstanding drams at very affordable prices. As well as the recent Tomatin 36 year old, which flew out at just £5 a dram, we had quite a few very reasonable official Macallans, with the 1982 18 year old available at £10 and the 1973 18 year old at just £15. These made a fascinating comparison with the 25 year old Macallan Anniversary 1965 (£25) and the wonderful 1980s Macallan 25yo decanter (£50).

Talisker was well-represented too, with a dark, earthy 1972 Berry Bros bottling and the classic grassy, smoky 1970s 8 year old both hugely popular at £10 a dram. The word-of- mouth hit of the show for us, though, was the 1955 50 year old Secret Stills bottling of Talisker by Gordon & Macphail. We were practically giving away this sherry monster at just £25 a nip – several punters came back for second helpings – and there might have been a few envious glances from Gordon & Macphail themselves, who had the stand next door…

Blends are always great value at our auctions, and our show offering reflected that as well, with a 1955-bottled White Horse and a Black And White from 1941 wowing the lucky visitors at only £10 each. It’s great to be able to share these historic whiskies with appreciative whisky fans, and the Show stood out for its relaxed atmosphere, no matter how busy the stand got.

We like to bring a few esoteric drams to the Show as well – it’s fun to show people bottles they’ve never even seen before. This year we had two versions of 1960s Four Bells Demerara Rum, one bottled before Guyana’s independence in 1966, the other soon after (and many thanks to former El Dorado ambassador Stefanie Holt for the info!). These dark, sweet, raisiny rums had strikingly different characters but were both delicious.

On the whisky side, some highly discerning connoisseurs were delighted with our massively smoky Caperdonich 5 year old at £10 a nip, and a few clued-up punters spotted our half-bottle of Ben Nevis 1977 bottled by Cadenhead’s in 1991. This was a very austere, but beautiful, whisky at a massive cask strength of 62% – and at just £3 for 1cl, we reckon it was one of the best bargains at the Show.

The event was a great success once again, and everyone on the Whisky-Online stand enjoyed it immensely, as did the hundreds of lucky whisky fans who flocked to try our delicious whiskies! Full credit to the Show’s organisers and we hope to see them again next year.

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