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31 Dec 2007

Auchentoshan 1965, 40 YO, OB, 41.6% B: 2006, 200 bottles. Price: rating
Colour: Gold
Nose: Soft, sweet, immediately complex, with very ripe fruits (peach, dates, and quince), beautiful oak, and juicy malt. A pleasure for the nose!
Taste: Very malty, soft, oily, very fruity (quince, dates and peach), beautiful oak, some lime and a very slight touch of smoke. The finish is medium, soft, sweet and fruity, on dates and quince. Flawless.
General Impression: A superb whisky, soft, but with a lot of fruitiness and without any woodiness in spite of its age. A must for the Lowlander enthusiasts and for the others too who can afford it (£800)! A whisky with finesse.

Rating: 18/20 rating

30 Dec 2007

Port Ellen 1979 Sherry, 23 YO, Signatory, 56.3%, cask 6774, 359 bottles. Price: price
Colour: Old gold-amber
Nose: Sweet sherry, maritime, on toffee, chocolate, clean peat, cold ashes, and tangerine.
Taste: Very fruity (pineapple and tangerine), peaty, very salty, maritime, on sweet juicy malt, rye bread and hemp rope. Complex and rich. The finish is long, smoky, peaty, clean, oily, on mineral notes and tangerine.
General Impression: An excellent old Port Ellen, on clean peat, with the sherry not taming the peat, but enhancing the flavour profile.
Rating: 18/20 rating

Port Ellen 1979, 26 YO, Blackadder, 56.9%, cask 497 Price: price
Colour: Straw
Nose: Peaty, maritime, floral, smooth, quite mineral, on dry hemp rope, kelp, and cold ashes.
Taste: Dry, very peaty, bitter, citric (grapefruit), floral, intense, spicy (chilli), on liquorice, and dry meat. A bit rough. The finish is of medium length, clean, meaty, peaty, smoky, slightly maritime, round, oily and very pleasant.
General Impression: A punchy Port Ellen, quite mineral and peaty, that some might find a bit rough.
Rating: 17/20

Port Ellen 1976 Decanter Collection, 30 YO, Signatory, 46%, cask 6757. Price: price
Colour: Straw
Nose: Dry and clean old peat smoke, maritime, light and fragrant notes. Complex and subtle.
Taste: Peaty, fruity (pear and papaya), maritime, mellow and subtle. The finish is long, mellow, on old dry peat, lingering, without any dryness.
General Impression: A remarkable Port Ellen, for its smoothness and balance. Thank you Alain M.
Rating: 17/20

28 Dec 2007

Bowmore 1991, 15 YO, Dewar Rattray, 56.5%, B: 2006, cask 2053, 433 bottles. Price:

Colour: Amber

Nose: Smooth, on marshmallow, discreet round peat, some discreet maritime influence, and sweet fruits, with a round sherry influence. Complex.

Taste: Very smooth, spicy, salty, slightly peaty, smooth, creamy with a lot of berries (raspberries, brambleberries) and on melon. Beautiful and complex. The finish is smooth, long, creamy and spicy.

General Impression: A superb Bowmore, less peated than usual, but very complex, multi-layered, fruity and changing all the time. Thank you Jean-Marie.

Rating: 18/20

27 Dec 2007

Mortlach 1971, 32 YO, OB, 50.1%, B: 2004. Price:

Colour: Nice sherry notes, spicy, hot, floral, on eucalyptus, burnt sugar and pollen. Complex. Diluted, it becomes more on lemon.

Taste: Oily-waxy, very fruity (oranges, tangerine, and cooked apples), spicy, resinous, on cinnamon and with a nice sherry influence. The finish is fruity (melon, peach, tangerine, and orange), oily, on pollen, sweet malt, and lemon. Long and keeps changing.

General Impression: One of the best Diageo bottling of their Super Premium range, fresh and complex.

Rating: 17/20

19 Dec 2007

Longrow 1990 114.6, 17 O, SMWS, 56.1%, B: 2007, 583 bottles. Price:

Colour: Old gold –amber

Nose: Smoky, peaty, mineral and on seaweed. Similar to the Samaroli, but the sherry gives a rounder nose.

Taste: Peaty, meaty, on juicy malt with a sweet sherry influence, on seaweed and wood smoke. The peatiness is less apparent than the Samaroli because of the sherry influence. The finish is long, peaty, smoky, with some bitter toffee and slight rubbery notes.

General impression: Very similar to the Samaroli, but with a nice sherry influence. Personally, I preferred the more masculine side of the Samaroli, but both are excellent Longrows and can’t wait to taste the 18 YO OB Longrow when it will be released next year!

Rating: 17/20

Longrow 1987, 15 YO, Samaroli, 55%, B: 2002, 312 bottles. Price:

Colour: Gold

Nose: Clean and dry peat, mineral, meaty and maritime.

Taste: Dry, salty, maritime, peaty, fruity (peach), clean, very smoky and on grilled bread. The finish is long, clean, peaty, mineral and smoky.

General Impression: An excellent Longrow, very peaty and mineral

Rating: 18/20

17 Dec 2007

BenRiach Pedro Ximenez, 15 YO, OB, 46%, B: 2006 Price:

Colour: Old gold

Nose: Very sweet, ripe raisins, floral, some dryness and fruity (strawberries and apricots).

Taste: Quite winey, on strawberries and apricots, very sweet and then it becomes more smoky. The finish is of medium length, winey, quite dry and on strawberries.

General Impression: A sweet and sugary BenRiach, quite enjoyable.

Rating: 13/20

15 Dec 2007

BenRiach 1986 Fino, 19 YO, OB, 55%, B: 2006, cask 9362 Price:

Colour: Gold

Nose. Heavily peated,;clean peat smoke,  quite sharp, intense and maritime (on kelp), with some saltiness and hemp rope flavours. Diluted, the nose gets rounder, softer, sweeter, more fruity and floral.

Taste: Heavily peated, salty, spicy, on hemp rope, gentian and with some fruitiness. The finish is dry, heavily peated, smoky, on gentian, long and intense.

General Impression: The fino single cask bottlings from BenRiach are very rare. This bottle is an excellent BenRiach, with the peaty flavours enhanced by the dry and clean fino influence. A whisky with a strong personality.

Rating: 17/20

07 Dec 2007

BenRiach Dark Rum, 15 YO, OB, 46%, B: 2006. Price:

Colour: Gold

Nose: Very sweet, light, clean and floral, with a quite strong presence of the Rum, and slightly buttery. Some vanilla.

Taste: Dry peat, sweet Rum, malty, winey, fruity (dry apricots and some melon), some vanilla and on raisins. Slightly bitter. The finish is of medium length, very sweet (candy sugar), malty, smoky, with some rubber and strawberries notes.

General Impression: Not overly complex, but sweet and with a strong Rum influence.

Rating: 13/20

03 Dec 2007

Banff Rarest of the Rare 1980, 26 YO, Duncan Taylor, B: 2006, 56.1%. cask 2913. Price:

Colour: Gold-old gold.

Nose: Smoky, sweet, grassy, fruity (melon and passion fruit), with a zest of lemon. Diluted, it becomes more smoky, more grassy and the floral notes are reinforced.

Taste: Buttery, salty, maritime, quite smoky and fruity (strawberries and passion fruits). Diluted, it becomes smokier, rounder, but also a bit simpler. The finish is rather short, sweet, syrupy, malty, slightly bitter and with some fruitiness.

General Impression: A very good Banff, buttery, fruity and smoky. Easy and very pleasant to drink.

Rating: 16/20

30 Nov 2007

Nikka Taketsuru pure malt 21 YO, OB, 43%, B: 2007. Price:

Colour: Old gold

Nose: Fruity (pear, apple and ripe fruits), floral (a mixture of geranium, lime tree and heather) and round. Nice and subtle.

Taste: Very sweet, fruity (peach, apple, tangerine, orange and some lychees), some peat, and cinnamon. Complex and keeps changing. The finish is medium, round, oily, and clean, on peat smoke and some fruitiness.

General Impression: Not surprised that Whisky Magazine rated this Taketsuru the best blended malt of the world in 2007. The mouth feel is very pleasant, but even more, the balance between the flavours is superb.

Rating: 17/20

28 Nov 2007

Miyagikyo 1989, OB, 60%, Cask 105419, 459 b., Price:

Colour: Old gold-amber

Nose: Very nice sherry, round, slightly peated, on cherries, plums, old polished furniture, beeswax, leather, some floral notes and Earl Grey tea flavours.

Diluted, it becomes more on chocolate and toffee.

Taste: Dry, fruity, light, fragrant, with some sweetness, lots of lime tree (herb infusion), spices (cinnamon powder), some tannins and chocolate. The finish is short, slightly winey, on chocolate, cinnamon powder, cherries and apricots.

General Impression: An excellent nose, but it becomes a bit dry-woody in the mouth. Never the less, this is a very good whisky, better slightly diluted.

Rating: 16/20

26 Nov 2007

BenRiach 20 YO, OB, 43%, B: 2006. Price:

Colour: Gold

Nose: Peaty, fresh, floral (some lavender and fragrance), malty. Gristy and fruity (pineapples). Quite clean.

Taste: Peaty, slightly dry and gristy, quite simple, smoky (tobacco) and slightly acidic, with some fruitiness. The finish is short, fruity (melon and pinapple), smoky, malty, with some bitterness and liquorice flavours.

General Impression: Compared to the 16 YO, the 20 YO is more peaty and fruity, with more punch, but with some acidity in the mouth. The 20 YO (end of 2006) is composed of 40% 20 YO whisky, 10% of peated 21 YO whisky and 50% of 23 YO first fill bourbon cask.

Rating: 14/20

24 Nov 2007

BenRiach 16 YO, OB, 43%, B: 2006. Price:

Colour: Gold

Nose: Peaty, floral, light, fresh, malty and on marzipan (almonds).

Taste: Sweet, malty, with some peatiness, saltiness, and a zest of orange. Quite smoky. The finish is smoky, on toffee, quite dry at the start, of medium length and with a certain fruitiness.

General Impression: A pleasant and gentle dram, although a bit weak. The 16 YO BenRiach in 2006 was in fact an 18 YO whisky, made with 80% of 18 YO BenRiach and 20% of 20 YO 2nd and 3rd fill casks, including 20% of peated BenRiach.

Rating: 13/20

21 Nov 2007

Clynelish 1990 Straight from the cask, 14 YO, Signatory, 58.4% Price: (for 50 cl)

Colour: Straw-gold

Nose: Floral, clean to very clean, on honey and dry peat. Not very expressive. Diluted, it becomes smoky and more peaty, smoother and rounder.

Taste: Slightly maritime, waxy, dry, very fruity (pineapple, grapefruit and papaya), and on bitter smoke. The finish is maritime, dry, bitter (gentian), slightly fruity and rather short.

General Impression: Dry, bitter and astringent, but it improves with some water. Pleasant but not very complex.

Rating: 12/20

18 Nov 2007

BenRiach 1976, 29 YO, OB, B: 2006, 56%, cask 8084, 194 bottles Price: 16/20

Colour: Gold-old Gold

Nose: Soft peat smoke, sweet malt and with a nice fruitiness (pineapple and melon).

Taste: Fruity (lots of pineapples), smoky and peaty, spicy (ginger), intense and with a hint of rubber and of bitterness. The finish is quite thick, juicy, fruity (pineapple), on soft peat, dry tobacco leaves, with a hint of toffee, bitterness and slightly oaky.

General Impression: It might not be the sweeter and fruitier 1976s BenRiach, but the fruitiness is definitively there, and quite peaty.

Rating: 16/20

15 Nov 2007

Glenallachie Distillery Edition, 15 YO, OB, D: 1989, B: 2005, 58%. Price:

Colour: Pale amber

Nose: Floral, quite spirity, rubbery, on plums, grape, some oranges, leather and spearmint. Diluted, gets more floral and vegetal.

Taste: Malty, dry, spicy, bitter, rubbery and on hay, with some floral note and leather. Diluted, gets more floral, more spicy (vegetamine). The finish is on bitter chocolate toffee, on raisins and plums with a syrupy consistency. The finish is of medium length and quite dry.

General Impression: A good sherry Glenallachie, quite heavy, but pleasant.

Rating: 14/20

12 Nov 2007

Glenfiddich 1973 Sherry for Waldhaus am See, 33 YO, OB, B: 2006, Cask 9883, 44.7%. Price:

Colour: Old gold- amber

Nose: Some floral notes, sweet sherry liqueur, and some grassy notes. Nose quite close and not very expressive.

Taste: Very smooth and mellow, slightly rubbery, some mild spices. Round and complex, on plums and berries, with a whiff of smoke. The finish is quite short, on roasted coffee beans and coffee chocolate, slightly rubbery, on leather and roasted almonds.

General Impression: A good and venerable Glenfiddich, sweet and mellow like a liqueur, with a strong coffee-like finish.

Rating: 15/20

09 Nov 2007

Caol Ila 1979 Cross Hill, 27 YO, Jack Wiebers, B: 2006, 60.9%, 204 bottles. Price:

Colour: Straw-gold

Nose: Heavily peaty, mineral, on smoked bacon, old charcoal ashes, with some light sea kelp influence.

Taste: Very peaty, fruity (pineapples), acidic, spicy, meaty, mineral, soapy-waxy. The finish is not very long, but clean, peaty, mineral and fruity.

General Impression: A very pleasant mix of peat, mineral and cleanness. Very enjoyable! Thank you Patrick S.

Rating: 17/20 

06 Nov 2007

Caol Ila 1975, 32 YO, Signatory, 58.4%, B: 2007, cask 458, 221 bottles. Price: N.C.

Colour: Old gold

Nose: Peaty, smoky, mineral, on cold ashes, and some hemp rope. Quite gentle and rather different from the post 1970s Caol Ila. I liked the nose very much.

Taste: Sweet, peaty, mineral, salty, tarry and quite fruity, with some maritime and chocolate influence. The finish is clean, quite long, peaty, very mineral, on ashes, kelp and some liquorice.

General Impression: Caol Ila was rebuilt in 1974 and the Caol Ila from that period are very difficult to find. In spite of its 58.4%, It can be drunk straight quite easily. This Caol Ila is rather gentle but very mineral.

Rating: 17/20

05 Nov 2007

Port Ellen 1982, 24 YO, Acorn, 55.6%, B: 2007. Price:

Colour: Old gold

Nose: Peaty, very maritime, some floral and fruity (plums ?) notes, on beeswax, hemp rope, and nice round sherry notes. Well balanced. Diluted, there are some notes of diesel, and it becomes more floral, on honey, tangerine and more sherry.

Taste: Salty, very maritime, floral (dry lavender), on dry peat smoke, smoked fish, kelp, and some dry hemp rope. Rich, fragrant, and sweet. The finish is round, sweet, peaty, slightly rubbery, tarry, and quite long.

General Impression: The sherry gives a nice complexity to this very good Port Ellen.

Rating: 17/20

03 Nov 2007

Port Ellen 1978, 23 YO, Signatory, 59%, cask 5266. Price:

Colour: Straw

Nose: Peaty, clean, quite young, spicy (Maggi), and maritime. Not very complex for its age. Diluted, it becomes more on heather.

Taste: Very salty, peppery, peaty, dry, smoky, maritime, on kelp and liquorice root. Very intense and a bit woody. The finish is of medium length, dry, slightly bitter, on peat, sea salt and liquorice.

General Impression: A nice “young” Port Ellen, with a strong liquorice influence. Thank you Pierre N.

Rating: 16/20

Port Ellen 1982, 24 YO, Berry Bros & Rudd, 46%, B: 2007, cask 2469. Price:

Colour: Pale Yellow

Nose: Young (new-make like), peaty, sweet and very clean.

Taste: Sweet, dry, very bitter and maritime, salty, peaty, fresh, on iodine, new made hemp rope and some saw dust. The finish is short, meaty, peaty, bitter, and maritime. After some time, some deep and nice old peat smoke appear.

General Impression: It gives the impression that the spirit had not much interaction with the wood. If you like young, peaty, and sweet whiskies, then you might like this one.

Rating: 10/20

07 Oct 2007

Ardmore traditional cask, NAS, OB, 46%, OB, B: 2007 Price: N.C.

Colour: Old gold

Nose: Peaty, spirity, meaty, and surprisingly maritime for a distillery so far from the sea. Quite intense.

Taste: Dry, very peaty, salty, maritime, quite mellow, on fresh wood and smoked meat. The finish is rather short, peaty, on roasted coffee beans and some toffee.

General Impression: Matured in bourbon casks and finished in quarter casks, this Ardmore is heavily peated and quite pleasant, reminding the Laphroaig quarter-cask. This whisky should hit the duty shelves this week and in the UK market for Christmas.

Rating: 14/20

Ardmore 12 YO 100th Anniversary, OB, 40%, B: 1999. Price: N.A.

Colour: Old gold

Nose: Nice round peat smoke, mineral, clean and a bit meaty. Diluted, it becomes fresher and on lime.

Taste: Peaty, smoky, mineral, malty, with some heather and a slight bitterness on liquorice root. The finish is short, clean, peaty and mineral.

General Impression: A good old clean, peaty and mineral whisky that I enjoyed very much. This bottle was released for the centenary of the distillery.

Rating: 17/20

04 Oct 2007

Special Whisky-Live Paris Part 2

Port Ellen 1982 for la Maison du Whisky, 25 YO, Signatory, 58% B: 2007, cask 07/258, 288 bottles. Price:

Colour: Gold

Nose: Peaty, very maritime (kelp and iodine), tarry, smoky, meaty, quite mineral and smoky.

Taste: Surprisingly mellow, peaty, salty, maritime, mineral, with some bitterness coming from the gentian, jasmine and bergamot. Complex. The finish has a long and complex development, clean, peaty, smoky, and mineral, with some bitterness and on jasmine and smoked fish.

General impression: It is not one of the most peaty Port Ellen, but this is rather mellow, complex and with a long development in the mouth. If you like a complex Port Ellen, this one will appeal to you.

Rating: 17/20

Benromach Peat Smoke, OB, 46%, Price:

Colour: Old gold

Nose: An interesting mix of peat smoke, grapes and burnt sugars, with some light fruity flavours (freshly cut apples). Seems quite young and sweet.

Taste: Dry to very dry, woody, astringent, on grilled bread, with some light floral flavours. The finish is very dry, bitter, peaty, smoky and on gentian.

General Impression: A young peaty and floral Benromach, too young to my taste. Would however to the amateurs of young peat monster.

Rating: 09/20

Benromach 2000 bottled for LMDW, OB, 60.4%, B: 2007, cask 724, 250 bottles. Price:

Colour: Straw-gold

Nose: Young, fresh, peaty, malty, on grilled bread and slightly floral.

Taste: Dry to very dry, very peaty, on grilled bread, and with some lemon flavours. The finish is dry, intense, peaty, meaty, smoky, and malty, with some floral notes.

General Impression: Quite different from the peat smoke, more complex and matured. This is a serious challenger to the young Islay whiskies!

Rating: 14/20

26 Sep 2007

Special Whisky-Live Paris

Dalmore 1973 Cabernet Sauvignon, 33 YO, OB, 45%, 1000 bottles. Price:

Colour: Amber-red

Nose: Floral, malty, acidic, dry, winey, lots of vanilla custard, hay, toffee and grapes. Diluted, it becomes very winey.

Taste: Sweet, oily, sugary, winey, quite acidic, on strong red wine influence, grapes, hay and some lavender. Diluted, its becomes extremely winey (red wine) and dominates the spirit. The finish is dry, very winey, bold, and with some hay.

General Impression: A good Dalmore, but the Cabernet Sauvignon is too pronounced for me. I liked much better the 1974 OB bottled for La Maison du Whisky last year, which was sold for a third of the price of this new bottling (€599). The wine tames the sherry influence in this bottling. If you like whisky with a strong red wine influence, then you will enjoy it!

Rating: 14/20

Glenkinchie 12 YO, OB, 43%, B: 2007 Price:

Colour: Gold

Nose: Clean, light, malty, on hay, some roasted nuts, oranges and grapes, with a nice sherry touch. A bit rounder and heavier than the former 10 YO.

Taste: Dry, malty, mellow, on hay, grape and bitter toffee. The finish is short, on toffee, malt, vanilla and rubber.

General Impression: This Glenkinchie is now replacing the 10 YO. These 2 additional years give it more roundness, thanks to some sherry influence, but make it also heavier. Better than the 10 YO? Not necessarily better, but different.

Rating: 10/20

Glenkinchie 20 YO, OB, 58.7% B: 2007, Price:

Colour: Old gold.

Nose: Very intense and round, sweet, fruity (pears and apple), floral, with a nice oakyness, grapes and a light sherry note.

Taste: Sweet and juicy malt, quite oily, slightly salty, spicy, on oranges, beeswax, tangerine and grapes. Diluted, it becomes more winey. The finish is clean, malty, of medium length, with a whiff of rubber and hay coming at the end. Diluted, it gets more on fresh rubber.

General Impression: This Glenkinchie is a good surprise, rich, complex and smooth. This is the first official cask strength Glenkinchie, delivering a rather unknown side of this lowland distillery.

Rating: 15/20

Glen Grant 1970 sherry, 37 YO, Duncan Taylor, 52.6%, B: 2007, cask 837 Price:

Colour: Amber

Nose: Starts on cheese (the swiss Sbrinz), rubber, and sulphur, then gets on a very smooth, round and intense sherry nose, with lots of oranges, beeswax, old furniture, some tangerine and berries. Deep and complex.

Taste: Spicy, salty, tannic, with a nice sherry, with some old rubber, beeswax, and some sawdust. The finish is dry, tannic, on strong rubber notes (burnt tyre), and with cinnamon powder.

General Impression: This is a rather difficult sherry monster, quite tannic, and with a strong rubbery influence. It reminds me of the Glenfarclas 1966 bottles for the Whiskyfair. The nose was excellent, but this is not really not my style.

Rating: 12/20

Laphroaig 25 YO, OB, 40%, B: 2007 Price:

Colour: Old gold

Nose: Very “fishy”, strong maritime note, seaweed, some iodine, disinfectant, dry peat smoke and hemp rope. When nosing this whisky, it gives the impression of being in a fishing boat.

Taste: Peaty, tarry, dry to very dry, and on liquorice root. The finish is short, dry to very dry, peaty, tannic and salty.

General Impression: Dry and tannic, this Laphroaig is rather disappointing and a pale copy of the former 30 YO. It should probably not have been diluted that much.

Rating: 10/20

Laphroaig 10 YO Cask Strength, OB, 55.7%. B: 2007 Price:

Colour: Gold

Nose: Heavily peated, mellow, strongly maritime, on iodine, seaweed and disinfectant.

Taste: Heavily peated, fruity (pear), salty, tarry, oily, rich, on hemp rope, iodine, and some smoked fish. Diluted, it becomes more complex. The finish is dry, peaty, tarry, oily, on hemp rope and some liquorice.

General Impression: I tasted the 10 YO CS after the Laphroaig 25 YO to know if I had a problem with the perception of the flavours and I was pleased to see that my taste buds enjoyed fully this malt, which is to my opinion much better and cheaper than the 25 YO.

Rating: 17/20

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