Whisky Tasting Notes


BENRIACH

Nose
Peat. Smoky and turfy moving into coal tar/bitumen with real baked fruit sweetness behind.
Opens up into dried heather and turf.
Palate
Immense smoke, then sweet rich mouthfeel with nuttiness and a slight medicinal edge.
Finish
Cereal and smoke. Long. Bitumen. Embers.
Comment
A shock to find something this phenolic in this part of the world but a great dram.

GLENKINCHIE

Nose
Lots of fruity, fresh-apple, oak extract.
Palate
Firm, rich, rounded. Dessert apples, peaches, honey.
Finish
Crisp, clean, oakiness.
Comment
The oak does not dominate, but is quite powerful for such an elegant malt.

LAGAVULIN

Nose
Big, with Lapsang Souchon and newly-tarred roads.
Palate
Warming and full, with lots of peat smoke and wet seaweed.
Finish
Dominant peat lingers all the way.
Comment
Complex, sophisticated heavyweight. The one they all have to beat.

OBAN

Nose
Spicy. Hot sawdust, fresh ginger, citrus zest. Crisp. With water fragrant oak, allspice, shortbread with sugar. Palate
Dried apricot, tingling. Slightly sweet with good balance in the mid-palate. Hint of menthol.
Finish
Tingling ginger. Short but fresh.
Comment
Good energy, balance with surprising weight.

TALISKER

Nose
Complex, burning heather, sweet tobacco, old warehouse, spent bonfire. Underneath is almond paste/nougat, butter biscuits and a lightly herbal note. Plenty of smoke. Rich and complex.
Palate
A slow start, then pepper, a light smoked fish note, fruit syrup. Builds to an explosive finish.
Finish
Red peppercorn.
Comment
Truly fantastic.

LAPHROIG

Nose
Intense nose, well integrated and complex.
(straight) Peat-smoke first, accompanied by a chemical-floral scent (like aerosol spray), then a deep fruitiness (melon balls, nectarines, over-ripe plums, boiled sweets, Cinnamon Balls, brand of sweets); some scorched wool. (dilute) With water, the scent becomes more smoky and tarry – tarry rope and Lapsang Suchong tea. Slightly oily.
Palate
The mouthfeel was mouth-cooling and pleasantly dry. The primary taste was surprisingly sweet to start, then a smoky interlude with a hint of salt and a sweetish finish, but with a firm peat-smoke ‘catch’. The overall flavour was of burnt sticks.
Finish
Its phenolic character reduces over time, to be replaced by heather and cereal notes, with some plastic. Flavour remains iodine/smoky to start, then mash tun, then eggy.

BALVENNIE

Nose
Aromatic intensity and pungency. Rich.
(straight) First impression: dark cooking chocolate and cocoa. Sherry trifle emerges after a while.
(dilute) Tight aromatic complex, difficult to isolate aromas. Sweet overall with green floral fragrance. Toffee.
Palate
Mouth warming, sweet, becoming oily. Very smooth. Becoming dry with chocolate and caramel in the finish. Balanced flavour.
Finish
Caramel returns after a while, and a distinct and pleasant scent of blow-torch blistered paint.

JURA

Nose
Oily, lightly piney, earthy, salty, dry.
Palate
Sweetish, soft, malty, oily, slowly developing a slight island dryness and saltiness.
Finish
A little malty sweetness and some saltiness.
Comment
A lovely aperitif.

GLENLIVET

Nose
Lots of fruity, fresh-apple, oak extract.
Palate
Firm, rich, rounded. Dessert apples, peaches, honey.
Finish
Crisp, clean, oakiness.
Comment
The oak does not dominate, but is quite powerful for such an elegant malt.

DALWHINNIE

Nose
Wholemeal and honey quality to the nose and slightly smoky.
Taste
Smooth, soft and lasting flavours of heather, honey sweetness and vanilla followed by deeper citrus-fruit flavours and hints of malted bread.
Finish
Long smooth, lingering, surprisingly intense finish that starts sweetly, then gives way to smoke, peat and malt.
Comment
The whisky itself is often referred to as ‘The Gentle Spirit’, in contrast to the rugged environment it is produced in.



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