Category Archives: Whisky Tastings

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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January Auction – Full Cask Held in Bond – Tasting Notes

As another cask of Macallan in bond arrives for auction, it is worth remembering that this year the new Macallan distillery will open to the public. As full production commences at this new distillery the original Macallan distillery – where this very cask was distilled back in 1989 – will cease production. Leaving aside the arguments about the implications of this decision, the fact remains that this is a scarce opportunity to acquire a cask of Macallan from the original distillery – a liquid that some may come to consider increasingly historic and valuable in light of these aforementioned forthcoming developments. On top of this, this particular cask has spent its entire life maturing on site at the distillery. Something which adds that extra layer of history and romance to what is, most importantly, an excellent whisky in its own right.

Whisky Online Auctions Tasting Notes:

Colour: Gold

Nose: This is a classical, aged Speyside profile with a forward note of honey, buttered toast, sweet and savoury patisserie, yellow flowers, pollen and various notes of toasted sunflower seeds, cereals, hay and, with a little opening up time, a rather beautiful and fragrant aroma of orange peel and citrus cake. Develops with white and green fruits and more citrus aspects.

Palate: Surprisingly spicy. Spice cake, cinnamon buns, pumpernickel and rye breads, olive oil, a light mineral aspect and subtle earthiness. Develops towards quince, turmeric and this orangey note again, manifesting here as orange bitters and mulling spices.

Finish: Long with drying earthiness, light waxes and more cereal and hay loft notes. Still slightly buttery in texture with some background green fruits.

Comments: A perfect example of well-aged Macallan that displays the distillate weight and character extremely well without any undue or excess influence from the cask. This could be bottled now but it seems a shame not to allow it to reach 30 years. The freshness and the flavour profile are still perfectly vibrant and I see no reason why the cask could not be allowed to mature for anything up to a further five years.

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September Auction – Full Casks Held in Bond – Tasting Notes

It has been quite remarkable seeing the results that these bonded casks of mature whisky – in particular Macallan – have achieved over the past few sales. So, we’re pleased to be able to offer the final two ex-sherry hogsheads of Macallan from this parcel of stock in our latest auction. The character of the whisky in both is of exemplary quality and both casks exhibit great maturation with at least a further decade of ageing potential ahead of them. Similarly, they are joined by an unusually characterful barrel of 2006 Tullibardine which shows a remarkably complex sweetness. This will no doubt be a more affordable cask for anyone looking for something interesting as a future bottle share with friends or something special as a bit of fun or an investment for themselves. Like the Macallans, it already exhibits good maturity and should continue to improve for at least another five years.

 

Macallan 1995 – Cask 7738: Refill Hogshead – 58.00% ABV – Approximately 205 Bottles

Nose: Beautifully earthy and fragrant. Full of moss, ferns, all kinds of dried herbs, pumpernickel bread, wet leaves and mushroom powder. A cooling coal hearth, a touch of strawberry liqueur, some hessian and dunnage warehouse and a dusting of cocoa powder. Beautifully integrated sherry and distillate.

Palate: Big, a little sharp at first, and full of spices like nutmeg, cinnamon powder, cloves and various other mulling spices. Some cured meats, freshly baked brown bread, black olives, sage, rosemary and gorse flowers. A touch of desiccated cocoanut and muesli comes through as well. Some more meaty notes in the form of bovril and beef stock.

Finish: Long, earthy, meaty and full of dark fruits and warming spices. Quite a layered finish ending up on a long chocolatey fade.

Comments: Another blinding good mid-aged Macallan. Again, this could easily sail to 30 years of age without too much trouble it would appear. One that will certainly reward a little patience in the bond.

Macallan 1995 – Cask 7739: Refill Hogshead – 60.00% ABV – Approximately 236 Bottles

Colour: Gold.

Nose: A rather elegant, plush and fatty nose at first. Notes of wax, wood resin, camphor and furniture oil give way to greener and lusher fruit notes and floral scents such as geranium, rosehip and Turkish Delight. There are some notes of dried rosemary, motor oil, pistachio nuts and a background note of mint.

Mouth: A big oily delivery full of spice, seville orange marmalade, fruit compotes, some traces of tar resin, pine cones and orange cocktail bitters. Notes of turmeric, greengages, lamp oil, hessian, clove rock and madeira cake. Quite rich, oily and intense.

Finish: Lengthy and with more of these polished wood, oil and dark, preserved fruit qualities. Quite spicy towards the end and with a lingering leathery note.

Comments: This is a big and relatively uncompromising example of Macallan, already showing good maturity at around 22 years of age. However, I feel it has great potential and could go to 30 years or more quite easily. A good one to sit on if you have the patience.

Tullibardine 2006 – Cask 806: Bourbon Barrel – 57.09% ABV – Approximately 219 Bottles

 

Colour: Gold

Nose: A warm butterscotch arises at first. Followed by subtle notes of treacle, soft toffee, vanilla ice cream, some wood shavings and candy floss. Quite a confectionary nose this one, but cleanly and vibrantly so. Time reveals some more farmyard touches of wet hay, damp sack cloth and various oils and industrial aspects. Quite straightforwardly ‘highlands’ in style.

Palate: The strength is surprisingly shy at first which is a good sign. This has pink grapefruit, foam shrimp sweets, barley sugar, red strawberry laces. A whole sweetie shop full of flavours. Red liquorice, caraway liqueur, some grassy touches perhaps hinting at a dryness peeping through. With time some nutmeg and fresh herbs emerge.

Finish: Quite long and lemony with vanilla cream, some slightly salty notes like frying pancetta and touches of grass and rosewater.

Comments: A surprisingly lively, flavoursome and idiosyncratic cask of Tullibardine. One that could be bottled now or continue up until around 15 years of age quite easily.

 

Auction Ends Wednesday 1st November From 8pm.

Any further queries please do not hesitate to ask.
Call: 01253 620 376  | Mobile: 07767 22 22 00 | Email: auctions@whisky-online.com

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September Auction – Full Casks Held in Bond – Tasting Notes

casks in bondIt seems that the impressive recent results for casks of whisky still held in bond in our previous sales have unearthed some more tantalising examples for auction. Another pair of Macallan 1994 ex-sherry hogsheads and – intriguingly – a 1990 barrel of Littlemill. To see a name as sought after as Macallan come up for sale is always exciting, but a cask of whisky from a closed distillery adds an extra layer of intrigue to the sale. Here are our notes for these casks based on the most recent samples drawn at the time of their last gaging.

 

Littlemill 1990. Bourbon barrel. Cask number 918. Remaining Litres of Alcohol (RLA) 85. 50% abv. 

Littlemill 1990 - Cask 918 - Held In Bond - Tasting Notes

Colour: Plain gold.Nose: At first an even balance between fresh fruits such as banana, kiwi, cider apple and pineapple, alongside touches of varnish and wood spice. The profile is immediately reminiscent and typical of other early 1990s Littlemills. Develops further with notes of fresh gooseberry, gorse and some grassy and wildflower qualities.

Nose: At first an even balance between fresh fruits such as banana, kiwi, cider apple and pineapple, alongside touches of varnish and wood spice. The profile is immediately reminiscent and typical of other early 1990s Littlemills. Develops further with notes of fresh gooseberry, gorse and some grassy and wildflower qualities.

Palate: Surprisingly zingy at first. Sharp fruit notes of tart gooseberry, citrus and a light grassiness. There is a substantial cereal aspect as well; notes of porridge oats, toast and barley sugar. The sweetness from the wood is noticeable but well integrated with the distillate. Some further notes of milk chocolate, vanilla fudge and cocoa. A little more tropical fruits towards the finish.

Finish: Medium length. Lingering butterscotch, barley sweetness and some green fruitiness.

Comments: The nose was the best part of this one, although overall it is a fine and classical example of Littlemill from this era. At times it is reminiscent of some of these Irish single malts of similar vintage. It retains good freshness for its age and shows a lively and often delicious fruit character. The purchaser of this cask may want to consider getting this one bottled sooner rather than later as, while it may reach 30, it is already showing signs of full maturity and may not benefit particularly from further extended ageing.

littlemill cask 918 -BID HERE

 

Macallan 1994. Refill sherry hogshead. Cask number 2316. 58.9%. 

Macallan 1994 - Cask 2316 - Held In Bond - Tasting Notes

Colour: Full Amber

Nose: An immediate and beautifully earthy, nervous and resinous sherry. Surprisingly old style and reminiscent of some old Campbell Hope & King bottlings of Macallan with these bold notes of walnut wine, earthen floors, dunnage, many dark fruits such as dates, prune juice and sultanas along with rancio and pipe tobacco. Develops further tertiary notes of mint leaf, eucalyptus and camphor. Quite a remarkable nose!

Palate: The sherry character still dominates, although the weightiness of the distillate still matches it well and there is wonderful balance between these notes of truffle, earth, fruit jams, molasses and black pepper. Quite stunning really. With time some flecks of green fruit, tree bark and hessian emerge.

Finish: Long and very warm. A glow of dense, chocolatey sherry with dried herbs and morello cherries.

Comments: A spectacular and delightfully old style Macallan. Reminiscent in some ways of some early 1970s Glendronachs. The sherry is clean but dense and earthy, although never too intense or overbearing on the spirit. This could easily be bottled now or be left for up to another five years. Any longer however and I get the sense that it could easily start to become imbalanced.

Macallan 1994

 

Macallan 1994. Refill sherry hogshead. Cask number 2317. 60.5%.

Macallan 1994 - Cask 2317 - Held In Bond - Tasting Notes

Colour: Light Amber

Nose: Lighter, leafier and a little hotter than cask 2316. This is more towards green pepper, dried mushrooms, red fruits and notes of pollen, wild flowers, mead and dried herbs. More powerful and perhaps more singular than its sibling but not quite in the same old style vein.   With time becomes more menthol and waxy giving way to some lovely green fruits.

Palate: Juicy fruits in the form of fruit jams and cordials with some dark chocolate, mint choc chip ice cream and herbal liqueurs. Cocktail bitters, caraway, rosewater and beeswax all appear. It wears its high abv surprisingly well. There is an oiliness and more overt fruitiness that betrays the fact this one is more dominated by the distillate and the cask is slightly less active than 2316. A meatiness towards the finish like beef stock.

Finish: Long with plenty of green fruit, wet leaves, cigar boxes, cured meats and peppery notes. Towards the end quite a distinctive note of orange bitters and orange peel emerges.

Comments: Perhaps not as stellar as 2316 but this is still excellent Macallan. The freshness means it could easily stand further ageing for a number of years should the purchaser choose to keep it in bond for extended maturation. However, it is already an excellent Macallan and it would not be too soon to bottle it in the coming year.

Macallan cask 2317


 

Auction Ends Wednesday 2nd August From 8 pm.

Any further queries please do not hesitate to ask.
Call: 01253 620 376  | Mobile: 07767 22 22 00 | Email: auctions@whisky-online.com

 

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