Whisky Archive

Browse our archive of over 250 Whiskies

LONGMORN 1992

23 year old Speyside 54.4% vol

1 of only 255 bottles from cask no. 48512

From an active refill American oak ex-Sherry hogshead, this is deep amber (almost “Irn Bru” like), with excellent beading suggesting a rich mouth texture.

LIMERICK SLANEY 1991

23 year old Single Irish 59.0% vol

1 of only 134 bottles from cask no. 8585

From a refill ex-Bourbon barrel, this is the colour of golden syrup with a moderate bead.

INVERGORDON 1972

43 year old Single Grain 42.2% vol

1 of only 140 bottles from cask no. 57150

From a refill ex-Bourbon barrel, this is an inviting deep gold, quite a remarkable age for a whisky of any kind.

GLEN GARIOCH 1993

22 year old Highland 58.6% vol

1 of only 285 bottles from cask no. 775

From a 1st fill Spanish oak, ex-Sherry butt, this is has a lovely, aged amber colour, almost mahogany.

CLYNELISH 1997

17 year old Highland 53.1% vol

1 of only 228 bottles from cask no. 12379

From a refill ex-Bourbon hogshead, this is the colour of summer gold, possibly a Gewurztraminer.

CAOL ILA 2003

12 year old Islay58.1% vol

1 of only 285 bottles from cask no. 301266

From a refill Spanish oak, ex-Sherry hogshead, with a surprisingly good bead for a relatively young whisky, this is the colour of aged Semillon.

BOWMORE 1996

19 year old Islay 59.1% vol

1 of only 304 bottles from cask no. 960033

From a refill ex-Sherry hogshead, this is the full gold with amber lights.

BEN NEVIS 1996

18 year old Highland 54.3% vol

1 of only 576 bottles from cask no. 1146

From a refill Spanish oak, ex-Sherry butt, this is both amber and topaz in colour.

Longmorn

Longmorn 1992

22 year old Speyside53.6% vol

1 of only 248 bottles from cask no. 48510

The slightly more genteel sister cask of 48509 from this now famous batch of American oak ex-sherry hogsheads. Soft, rich and mellow and no need for water.

Linkwood 3542

Linkwood 1990

24 year old Speyside57.9% vol

1 of only 212 bottles from cask no. 3542

More typical Linkwood style than 3535. Lighter, sweeter, and fresher, with crisp green Granny Smith apples and a soft vanilla sponge spread with apricot jam.

aberlour 2000

11 year old Speyside 55.8 % vol

1 of only 284 bottles from cask no. 3070

Matured in a refill European ex-sherry hogshead, this has taken on a deep golden hue.A mild nose feel, with Werther’s Original caramels – rich, rounded and smooth. This develops into custard cream pudding, then steamed sponge pudding. An unctuous texture with crème brulee and crème caramel becoming more toffee-like with a hint of molasses.The addition of a little water brings fresh custard poured over a flapjack biscuit base;  ater some bosky traces, and quite mineralic. Surprisingly well balanced for its age, this is European oak maturation at its most appealing – toffee and homemade tablet in the finish.

adelphi's liddesdale batch 4

21 Year old single malt 46 % vol

1 of only 1523 bottles

LIDDESDALE is a large hill, just a few miles from the location for Adelphi's new distillery 'The Ardnamurchan Distillery' which should be built by the end of 2013.

adelphi's liddesdale batch 6

21 year old single malt46.0 % vol

1 of only 1482 bottles

Liddesdale Batch no. 6 has been carefully put together from 4 European casks (ex-sherry) from Bunnahabhain Distillery.

ardbeg 1998

11 year old Islay 57.9 % vol

1 of only 185 bottles from cask no. 1981

From an American oak barrel, this has a deep gold colour. An immediate nose of pipe tobacco and scented smoke gives way to a hint of smoked herring. This is soon followed by Wright’s Coal Tar Soap, Savlon and plimsoles but with a sweet, buttered, lemon icing sugar reminiscent of lightly baked fairy cakes.The taste provides bags of smouldering green twigs, starting very smoky and sweet and becoming more maritime.More fairy cakes, now with aniseed and a long finish of charred sticks and angelica root, rounded and balanced and best unreduced.

ardbeg 1998

10 year old Islay 58.8% % vol

1 of only 193 bottles from cask 1979

Makes a rewarding comparison with the Breath of Islay 1992 cask no. 5351. Although Ardbeg specifies a higher level of peating than the other, this does not come through so dramatically in the spirit. This bottling is from a first fill Bourbon barrel, and is deep gold in colour. The nose has fruits in front (apricots, soft fruits, stewed gooseberries), with Savlon antiseptic cream and dentists’ mouthwash behind, and a trace of sweet pastry. The first clutch of aromas once water is added are fresh and mineral-like – bath salts, spa scents, swimming pools – but these fill out with maritime scents, linseed oil and honey-roast smoked ham. The ‘honey-roast’ doesn’t prepare you for the sweetness in the mouth, with traces of eucalyptus then plenty of smoke in the medium to long finish.

ardbeg 1998

11 year old Islay58.0 % vol

1 of only 212 bottles from cask 1980

The cask is a first fill ASB (American Standard Barrel), and it has lent the liquid a bright golden hue. The first nose is an un-typically Ardbeg mix of burnt orange peel, Manuca honey (this contributed by our visiting Aussie Master of Wine) and Cape gooseberries, with sanded oak, a bosky charcoal note and antiseptic cream. The taste at full strength is sweet, citric and smoky. Water brings up sponge cake, Kaffir limes (found in Oz) and coriander seed; the mouthfeel is creamy, and the palate a nice balance of primary tastes, with fresh citric notes (orange Tic-Tacs) and Semillon grapes most obvious, with charred wood in the aftertaste and a good lingering length. Light and summery.

ardbeg 1999

9 year old Islay58.5 % vol

1 of only 274 bottles from cask no. 626

From our archives, this appears to be our first bottling of Ardbeg this century! It has certainly been worth the wait as this is young Ardbeg in its most vibrant form.A warming gold, like an autumn sun, a very rich colour for one so young.Straight away we find a chocolate-sweetness – white chocolate Malteasers. Then bags of smoke, nose prickle and apple-smoked cheese. More on the nose – cloves, allspice, bbq smoke, nutmeg and then more smoke, now a recently damped peat fire with hints of smoked meats and burnt wood. Finally, Piko Piko and Horopito (Maori ferns, very peppery).To taste, sweet, then salty, herbal and spicy with distant bonfires. With water, think of oil in the sea, bilge pumps, even diesel then charcoal with smoking, mentholated  eucalyptus on top.The finish is all about sweetness and smoke with a lingering Swiss chocolate aftertaste. Invigorating.

ardmore 1992

18 year old Speyside 50.7 % vol

1 of only 267 bottles from cask no. 4998

A pale green-gold in colour with excellent beading. The nosefeel is mild allowing distinctly smoky notes of smoked sausage and smoked duck to come through, with Savlon antiseptic cream and mineral bath salts: clean and fresh. Water introduces a hint of bicycle inner-tube to the foreground, with grubby smoke in the distance. At full strength the taste is fresh and surprisingly sweet, becoming very sweet when qualified with a drop of water.Most of the flavour is middle palate, with a thread of smoke in the finish. We suggest adding only a drop of water.

ardmore 2003

8 year old Speyside 58.2% % vol

1 of only 240 bottles from cask no. 800017

The 2nd of our young Ardmore bottlings, this one is from a 1st fill American oak barrel – a rich golden colour, excellent for its age, with a moderate bead.Smoked haddock on the nose reminds us of the back streets of Abroath – smokies hanging in the gardens. Behind the smoke, there is a sweet golden syrup with vanilla toffee and a smoldering bonfire of wet leaves.Surprisingly sweet to taste at natural strength with old fashioned hessian notes in the aftertaste. A little water freshens the palate – now, new hessian coal sacks, recently delivered, with traces of dark toffee. A voluptuous mouthfeel – sweet, smoky and peppery. Overall, very complex and rounded for an 8 year old whisky.

ardmore 2003

7 year old Speyside 58.4% % vol

1 of only 224 bottles from cask no. 800019

A harvest gold with little-to-no beading – to be expected in one so young.At Adelphi, we always try to seek out and bottle the casks that offer exceptional flavours, no matter how young or old, and this is no exception.Hessian potato sacks, Physalis, steam trains, licorice, aniseed, dentist’s mouthwash, fennel and a delicate thread of smoke on the nose.A lovely, creamy texture really surprises with more Hessian, and a delightful sweetness.The addition of water brings coal smoke, chewing gum, and Primula smoked ham in a tube.This converts well into the taste with more smoked ham and a buttery, full flavour and texture and a slight medicinal mintiness in the finish.A truly unique and interesting whisky.

auchentoshan 1992

20 Year Old Lowland51.2 % vol

1 of only 158 bottles from cask no. 5426

From our records, this is the first Adelphi bottling from this distillery, and a fantastic one it is too. Matured in an American oak barrel, the colour is buttery gold with a light bead.On the nose, lemon meringue pie, custard creams with melted butter in the background. It briefly becomes more tart, with cranberries and glacé angelica and then sweeter again with a faint hint of Bounty bars, and buttery sponge with marzipan.Bitter lemon on the taste sweetens with fruits of the forest and a dash of runny honey.A little water raises the honey note, possibly even Crunchie bars.The finish continues sweet with a lingering fruit compote.

aultmore 1974

35 year old Speyside 49.6% % vol

1 of only 101 bottles from cask no. 3739

Drawn from an American oak barrel, the colour is deep and rich, a warm gold. The first impression on the nose is tangerine peel and juice, with some candlewax, but this soon edges towards syrup sponge then trifle (with vanilla custard and cream decorated with ‘hundreds and thousands’). After a while the cream becomes cold cream makeup remover. It tastes well at natural strength: smooth and creamy; sweet and fruity. Water reduces the aroma initially, then the fruit notes re-emerge as Fruit Pastilles – denser and sweeter. The texture remains smooth, now slightly spritzich and lively; the taste is predominantly sweet and slightly drying in its effect. A long finish, with hessian in the after-taste. We were reminded of warm sand dunes on a summer’s day.

aultmore 1982

28 year old Speyside 57.6 % vol

1 of only 179 bottles from cask no. 2233

Deep faery gold, with good beading, this promises to be another great whisky from this Top Class distillery.Tasted shortly after Easter, Simnel cake (dried fruits and dry marzipan) immediately springs to mind; then really vivid notes of green apple peel becoming bruised apples. With water the aroma is more of apple pie and well-baked pie crust. A good body, with a pleasant mouth-filling texture, as you would expect from the beading; sweet, with a trace of salt, and the apples are now baked (in their skins). Drying in the medium-length finish, with dessicated coconut in the aftertaste, an excellent example of well-aged Speyside malt.

aultmore 1982

29 year old Speyside 53.9 % vol

1 of only 236 bottles from cask no. 2221

One of our favourite makes – top quality from a Top Class distillery.This one has matured in a refill bourbon hogshead. Vintage Moselle. Mid gold. Underripe bananas. Then the bananas ripen and become banana cheesecake. Sweet and syrupy. Dusty malt and green banana skins in the finish. After water, estery notes of warm polythene or vinyl. Faded dried mixed herbs and muesli. To taste, smooth, sweet with rolled-oats, medium length.The perfect breakfast whisky!

aultmore 1989

15 year old Speyside 57.8 % vol

1 of only 271 bottles from cask 4799

Aultmore Distillery is situated between Keith and the Moray Firth, quite a long way from Speyside proper, although it produces a typical Speyside malt, with a high reputation among blenders, who rank it 'Top Class'. This is drawn from a first-fill ex-bourbon hogshead, and has a deep amber hue, although the wood has not dominated the spirit character. The nose is as clean as fresh washing blowing on a clothes line, with only slight nose-prickle, and a zesty scent, reminiscent of grapefruit or orange peel. Water softens and opens it, bringing up familiar Speyside pear-drops and adding heather pollen and gorse flowers: still fresh and summery. Visions of Laura Ashley frocks! The flavour is very sweet, soft and rounded, with a pleasant thick texture. Some honey and gorse, with a medium length finish and light coconut in the aftertaste.

aultmore 1990

16 year old Speyside 60.7 % vol

1 of only 571 bottles from cask no. 3641

This is one for those of you who like a heavily sherried style of malt. Aultmore is a rich make which can withstand European oak, although this cask is clearly so active that most of the original character of the whisky is now subsumed beneath flavours coming from the wood. Just look at the colour: deep mahogany, like brown sherry, with curious khaki lights. The nose is immediately treacle toffee and crème brulee, then a trace of pastry becoming tarte tatin, with caramelised apples. There is the promise of brimstone. This is identified when you taste it straight, and emerges big-time when water is added: first match-box striker, then settling down to scorched ironing board, with burn holes, against a background of natural, crystalised brown sugar. A big texture; a taste which is very sweet to start, then bitter-sweet in the long cooling finish. Very little sulphur in the flavour, and only lightly tannic. Drink this with Christmas cake, dark chocolate and black coffee!

balblair 1990

19 year old Highland 53.0 % vol

1 of only 158 bottles from cask no. 739

Balblair is one of the oldest distilleries in Scotland, and has recently been brought into a prominent role by its current owners, Inverhouse. From our records this is only the 2nd time we have bottled the make.A rich, deep golden colour thanks to an active ASB maturation, this is a complex dram. Walnut fudge drying to fruit cake with a lovely set, flowery honey nose. Apples, pears and dried apricots follow, finishing with a delicate hint of Palma violet and kiwi fruit.This perfume continues to the taste, now becoming more spicy with cinnamon and walnuts. Keeping it unreduced, the palate soon sweetens to marshmallow fudge with tinned fruit salad and melted marshmallows on the finish. A truly special pre-dinner whisky.

balmenach 1988

23 year old Speyside 54.2 % vol

1 of only 170 bottles from cask no. 3265

Deep gold with copper lights, in the bottle; 18CT gold in the glass. A mild nosefeel, and an aroma reminiscent of Eve’s Pudding (apple sponge), becoming Tarte Tatin (caramelised apple tart) and then gaining a slight crab-apple tartness. Water makes it fresher and more estery initially, then introduces a light Almond Dainty note. At full strength it has a voluptuous texture and a light sweet taste, becoming tart in the finish; water smooth’s it out, reducing both. An early evening malt.

basc centenary whisky

40.0 % vol

Blended Scotch Whisky 40% vol.

The BASC limited edition Centenary blend is an intricate marriage of sweet grain whiskies, Speyside and Island malts - Speyside pear-drops and Islay peat smoke. The mouth-feel is quite remarkably smooth, gentle and well balanced. The tip of the tongue detects traces of salt and, on the back of the palate, a little pepper, suggesting the Western Isles. This harmonious sweet-dry taste takes the whisky to a long, satisfying finish. Overall impression is smooth, sophisticated and very well balanced.The whisky is packaged in an individual, bespoke Adelphi carton and from every bottle sold £2 will be used to promote the sport.

ben nevis 1996

11 year old Highland 60.1 % vol

1 of only 281 bottles from cask 846

This bourbon hogshead was originally filled for the local Fassfern Estate near Fort William, and a very good choice of cask it was - already a deep gold colour after only 11 years maturation. The nose is sweet and inviting: vanilla pods, almost home-made ice-cream, then super-tempting Banoffee Pie, and toasted oats in more toffee sauce. The flavour at full strength is rich and nutty, with a long, sweet finish.With the addition of a little water, a lovely citrus note with fresh scents of jasmine and raisins following behind. The texture is mouth-coating and rich, and the finish full of bitter almonds and icing sugar.

ben nevis 1996

11 year old Highland 60.1 % vol

1 of only 281 bottles from cask 846

This bourbon hogshead was originally filled for the local Fassfern Estate near Fort William, and a very good choice of cask it was - already a deep gold colour after only 11 years maturation. The nose is sweet and inviting: vanilla pods, almost home-made ice-cream, then super-tempting Banoffee Pie, and toasted oats in more toffee sauce. The flavour at full strength is rich and nutty, with a long, sweet finish.With the addition of a little water, a lovely citrus note with fresh scents of jasmine and raisins following behind. The texture is mouth-coating and rich, and the finish full of bitter almonds and icing sugar.

ben nevis blend 1970

34 year old Highland 50.3 % vol

1 of only 186 bottles from cask 4640

ben nevis single blend 1970

37 year old Highland 50.9 % vol

1 of only 135 bottles from cask no. 4642

A welcome return to our ‘single blend’ – that will confuse the legislators who are currently tinkering with Scotch whisky definitions! Joseph Hobbs, a colourful Scots Canadian who had bought Ben Nevis Distillery just before WWII, installed a patent still there beside the pot stills in 1955, making both grain and malt whisky – hence the possibility of a blended whisky from a single distillery. It is fabulous! Deep amber in colour, with a nose of macerated plums, cherries and soft fruits, and a curious medicinal note behind (Friar’s Balsam and eucalyptus), permeated by sandalwood. The flavour is sweet and medicinal at natural strength. Water makes it slightly ‘piggy’ for a moment, then it resumes its medicinal character (now joined by gun-stock oil), with boiled fruit sweets. The taste is sweet then dry with a long finish. Most unusual.

benriach 1977

34 year old Speyside 48.6 % vol

1 of only 217 bottles from cask no. 642

Our first bottling from this fabulous distillery since 1998.This arrived in a 1st fill bourbon barrel although the colour and certain flavours might suggest a different original cask. Deep amber. Unusually dark for American oak. Tinned peaches in syrup and white grapes with zesty orange peel. Behind this, hints of sphagnum moss. Almonds. Oily mouthfeel. Light sweetness with honeycomb in the finish.  An aftertaste of maturation warehouse. Water introduces mint toffee (Murray Mints) on the nose and fruitiness is surpressed. Musty grape skins. Soft, creamy texture, light sweetness – not cloying and now a trace of spice at the back of the tongue with a lovely dusting of chocolate in a long finish.

benriach 1979

32 year old Speyside 48.4 % vol

1 of only 171 bottles from cask no. 515

Drawn from a very active ex-Bourbon American oak barrel, this elderly Benriach has a mellow, rounded nose, with rum and raisin ice cream to the fore; juicy fruit salad (with some orange, melon, pear) behind, and hair lacquer and warm vinyl in the background, with perhaps a trace of sweet tobacco. A typical, very mature, Speyside nose. Fresh and appetising. Drinks well at full strength: sweet, lightly drying, with walnuts in the taste, it is  sweet overall, with an aged mustiness in the aftertaste; water enhances the mouth-feel, reduces the sweetness and introduces an attractive spiciness. Now the aftertaste is of sugared almonds, walnuts and vanilla ice cream.

benrinnes 1984

21 year old Speyside 57.8 % vol

1 of only 576 bottles from cask 146

Another 'Top Class' malt, Benrinnes is a famously big and robust Speyside, so is not completely dominated by 'sherrywood' maturation, although it is not commonly found in first-fill butts like this. As might be expected the first nose is of brimstone and raw egg yolk, fading to crème caramel. There is a trace of sherry, and then soft, sticky ginger bread as the sulphur blows off. Water brings it back again for a time, in the familiar guise of match-box striker, but soon the ginger bread returns. The initial taste is sweet and thick, then dries out as the tannins engage the middle of the palate. Somewhat mouth-cooling in effect, but causing the tongue to tingle, and leaving a spicy aftertaste, with traces of cloves.

benrinnes 1997

15 Year Old Speyside 59.1 % vol

1 of only 148 bottles from cask no. 847

A rare American oak matured Benrinnes, full gold in colour with a light bead.Some initial nose prickle gives way to a minty toffee flavour with a vanilla ice cream soda. The minty theme continues – nose cooling, possibly Glacier mints.Sweet to taste neat with a distinct peppery taste on the tongue.The addition of a drop of water brings kiwi fruit, Chinese gooseberries and a hint of sandal wood to the fore.Strawberry jam to taste, possibly even Jammy Dodger biscuits. The texture becomes more creamy as well, but the peppery note continues into a medium length finish with lingering coconut creams.

blair athol 1976

30 year old Highland 51.7 % vol

1 of only 99 bottles from cask 7315

Founded in the late 1790’s, this distillery is situated, not in Blair Atholl (note the extra “l”), but some 25 miles south. This whole area around Pitlochry was once home to over 30 distilleries. Sadly only 3 are still in production.This extremely rare 30 year old American oak hogshead has produced only 99 bottles. 24 carat gold, it has a complex, but ever-changing nose. Initial old-fashioned furniture polish develops into dried apples, then roasted figs drizzled with honey. After another few minutes toasted almonds, pistachios and coconut join the mix. The addition of water brings a wonderful blackcurrant and elderflower nose (like a good Sancerre!). To taste, this is thick, waxy and oily with great texture and length. On the finish, more wax, dilute Ribena and Star Anise. An exceptional dram to contemplate long into the night.

blair athol 1986

25 year old Highland 52.9 % vol

1 of only 184 bottles from cask no. 20081

Only the second time we have bottled a cask from this lovely distillery in Pitlochry.Deep gold with large, lingering beeds suggesting a voluptuous mothfeel. A slight nose prickle to start, with teak oil, artists’ turpentine and furniture polish; then buttery vanilla sponge behind. The latter moves forward and becomes Eve’s Pudding (apple sponge). A surprisingly perfumed palate, with Parma violets; dry over all.Water supresses the aroma somewhat, although the apple sponge is still apparent. A smooth texture, with a dash of water; sweeter, but still dry overall, and still traces of Parma violets in the aftertaste.Complex and satisfying.

blair athol 2000

13 Year old Highland 59 % vol

1 of only 261 bottles from cask no. 4518

A very welcoming, deep, buttery gold, autumn sunlight colour with a medium bead from this refill American oak hogshead.A slight nose prickle leads to slices of dried orange peel, apricot skins, short-crust pastry, Ferrero Rocher chocolates (hazelnut), Weetabix with honey and a fragrant geranium in a potting shed.  Becoming sweeter and denser as it develops and, at reduced strength, produces delicious notes of Ambrosia creamed rice with flaked almonds on top.  Sweet, white chocolate in the finish, with a hint of coconut. A great fresh, summer whisky.  

bowmore 1995

16 year old Islay 54.4 % vol

1 of only 603 bottles from cask no. 8

The deep colour suggests this is from a Spanish oak butt, but the nose speaks more to me about American oak (sweeter and less tannic), possibly an American oak ex-sherry cask: The nose is closed to start with, then expands into wood ash, natural iodine, groundnut oil and dry banana skins. The taste is oily, very sweet and very smoky – and slips down very easily! Water releases bath-salts and suppresses any smoke, but in the mouth the smoke continues to blast through in the finish, after a sweet mouth-filling start and a fruity middle, leaving an after taste of hemp ropes and waxed jackets. Delicious: an outstanding Bowmore!

bowmore 1996

17 year old Islay 52.5 % vol

1 of only 286 bottles from cask no. 960070

A lovely Amontillado Sherry colour, indicating ex-sherry cask maturation. This is, in fact, a Spanish oak ex-sherry hogshead. The beading is also excellent, so we can expect good texture.Incredibly perfumed (clean), with smoked oysters, mineral oils and machine oil all in the background. Sandal wood develops as does the perfume – now floral like a sweet blossom. Then pipe tobacco and smoked cheese rind appear.Sweet, salty and smoky to taste, with burnt bacon and charred sausages to the fore. Also a little salty liquorice developing.With water: footbaths and maritime notes – dried seaweed and lobster pots (with no catch), tobacco again and dried herbs.A big mouthfeel with herbal “pick-me-up”, an empty herb drawer (slightly dusty), and mussels on a rope.The finish is all about treacle toffee, more dusty drawers and lingering cloves.

bowmore 1998

12 year old Islay 61.9 % vol

1 of only 566 bottles from cask no. 800017

A syrupy, brown gold in colour with mild beading, this promises a huge amount straight from the first nose: burnt, buttered toast with kippers followed by chocolate Hob Nobs, oiled leather, Butterkist popcorn, molasses toffee, liniment, figs (possibly fig rolls), and dried apricots. Tasting at this high strength is surprisingly easy with a lovely, oily texture, gunpowder and cordite, and a salty, burnt toffee to finish. This is an explosive dram!A little water brings in a few Swan Vesta matches with lovely Oloroso sherried notes taking over and a soft, smooth texture.A huge, hot finish that is both peppery and smoky with lingering oils and more cordite…fireworks.A pyrotechnic whisky?

bowmore 2000

10 year old Islay 54.7 % vol

1 of only 306 bottles from cask no. 1883

Matured in an American oak hogshead, this is a full gold colour with lingering beading.A massive nose of ice cream soda, coal dust, footbaths, burnt burgers on the bbq, and even hints of play-doh and Calpol! After a while, the tell-tale Bowmore minty toffee notes appear.Tasting straight, it is sweet then maritime, with plenty of charcoal.A little water brings up exhaust fumes, tea tree oil and Eucalyptus, and old mariners oil skins.An oily mouthfeel harbours more sweetness and saltiness and a smooth-textured, medium-length finish.

bowmore 2000

12 year old Islay 56.1 % vol

1 of only 284 bottles from cask no. 1882

The colour of an old polished oak floor (almost tawny) with a good bead from this refill ex-Sherry European oak hogshead.Dentists mouthwash, medicine cabinet, bath salts and smoked cheese; fragrant bonfire with increasing wood ash notes. Becoming sweeter as it opens – fruit chews and a trace of scented bath oils – developing further with hot buttered toast a hint of hessian.A strong and salty taste with hessian and bath oils (mineral) – both dense and dry.Water increases the mineral notes, and returns the scented oils.A big flavoured, traditional Bowmore with a smooth texture and a spicy kick in the finish.

bowmore 2001

8 year old Islay 59.9 % vol

1 of only 583 bottles from cask no. 1126

Another young-but-perfectly-formed malt, this time from a refill butt which has bestowed only a pale amber colour to the spirit. A slight nose prickle, then full-on Islay character – more phenolic than one would expect of Bowmore: foot baths, sheep dip, carbolic and Coal Tar soap. After a while buttery-minty toffee (Murraymints) – fresh as a sea breeze, sweet malt and a whiff of farm dairies. At full strength the taste is sweet, with cigarette ash in the aftertaste. Water makes for more fruit – blackcurrant leaves, even Ribena – lurking behind tablet/toffee (McCowan’s Highland Toffee to be precise), and somewhere a wet Oban Times. Now the taste is even sweeter and fruitier, and the smoky elements reduced (now no dirty ashtrays!).

bowmore 2001

10 year old Islay 58.8 % vol

1 of only 621 bottles from cask no. 1125

Bottled from a refill sherry puncheon with a pale amber hue, and dull khaki lights. Straight away, sweet highland toffee – a thick and creamy nose that develops with Caboc (highland cheese rolled in toasted oatmeal), and traces of butterscotch and chocolate malt. On the nose, the smoke is apparent, but never overpowering. Surprisingly sweet to taste as well, and now very smoky, with hints of warm railway sleepers; lingering creosote smokiness. Water makes it more mineralic; bath salts, and a trace of carbolic soap. The McCowan’s highland toffee returns in the finish, now swathed in hessian sacks.

breath of islay 1992

14 year old Islay56.5 % vol

1 of only 278 bottles from cask 5347

You have seven distilleries to choose from, but we are sworn to secrecy… The bottling comes from a refill hogshead and the colour is pale gold, with greenish lights. We were transported immediately to the back-streets of Arbroath, where the smokies are made in small sheds. A scent of smouldering green sticks or, we are assured, ‘Skillingaryd Salva’ (a kind of Scandinavian hand cream), and later a trace of vinegar and smoked cheese. Water introduces banks of rotting kelp, tennis balls and blistered boat varnish on a warm day. Appetising? The taste is surprisingly sweet, with a big, full-bodied and unctuous texture, some salt and clouds of smoke. A truly massive flavour, with a long finish and lingering bonfires. Magnificent!

breath of islay 1992

14 year old Islay 56.8 % vol

1 of only 278 bottles from cask 5348

This edition of our now famous ‘Breath of Islay’ comes from a refill hoggie, like previous editions. The colour is mid gold; the beading mild. Not so obviously smoky as former casks: more medicinal (antiseptic cream, Elastoplast), although with resinous sap from a smouldering log, and sweet, tablet-like notes. In the mouth, it is sweeter than expected, with clean, medicinal flavours. Water continues the ‘doctor’s surgery’ imagery; perhaps an old-fashioned medicine cupboard or a freshly spread plaster-cast – clean and fresh and very Islay. The taste is still very sweet, with a thick mouthfeel, gherkins in vinegar, charcoal sticks and lingering smoke in the finish. As sophisticated as ever, with an added sweetness and complexity.

breath of islay 1992

16 year old Islay 56.4 % vol

1 of only 279 bottles from cask 5351

A flawless example of the make from this distillery – too bad we are sworn to secrecy! Drawn from a refill bourbon cask, it is ‘harvest gold’ in colour – a fine rich hue. A penetrating smokiness on the nose: peat reek with smouldering heather and rosemary: ‘suckling wild boar on a barbeque, stuffed with wild herbs’. In time it becomes more medicinal, with coal tar and dentists’ mouthwash. Water reduces the smokiness but makes it more typical of the make, with unripe pears and hard plums and waxed jackets. The taste bursts upon the senses with unexpected vigour! Even bigger than the unreduced aroma. A creamy texture, rich and fruity taste with surprising sweetness and a blast of smoke as you swallow. A long, smouldering finish.

breath of islay 1992

13 year old Islay 57.6 % vol

1 of only 298 bottles from cask 5346

The third edition from our Breath of Islay single cask range, cask no. 5346, distilled in 1992 in an “unnamable” Islay distillery, has produced another glorious “Breath”.Medium gold with hints of amber, this is from an American oak hoggy. The first nose conjures up images of an early-Autumn peat fire in a croft, but all the time, squeaky clean and mineral-like with fresh sea breeze. There is some smoke on the nose, but wait until you add water – now the fire is smouldering, billows of smoke from the ash, and yet, still sweet and fresh.A huge mouthfeel and texture, a chimney full of smoke and a lovely hint of Camomile in the finish.A glorious dram!

breath of islay 1992

12 year old Islay57.2 % vol

1 of only 262 bottles from cask 5345

We have been asked not to name this single malt, but as soon as you smell and taste it you will think ‘Kildalton’: it is big and smoky, but manages to remain well-balanced and ‘polite’. It comes from a hogshead, and has a good amber colour, with a weathered copper tint and green lights. The immedieate scents are footbaths, Germoline, Elastoplast and Wright’s Coal Tar Soap – clean, fresh and breezy. Later a trace of moss and mushrooms was detected. The flavour at this stage was acidic, with cigar ash. Water shifts the aroma slightly towards new plastic buckets, with dentists’ mouthwash and eucalyptus leaves. Surprisingly little smoke – until you taste it, when wham! After an unexpectedly sweet and full-bodied start, with a soapy mouth-feel and a shake of salt, come charcoal sticks in the long finish. Bags of character, but with a measure of sophistication.

breath of islay 1992

16 year old Islay 56.6 % vol

1 of only 235 bottles from cask 5349

Another magnificent example from our ‘Islay distillery which cannot be named’. The cask is a hogshead (U.S. oak) and it has given the whisky a deep golden hue. The first impression is fresh and maritime, with salt air and fresh sea-weed, bath salts - even foot-baths after a while - backed by the fragrant scent of bergamot (as in Earl Grey Tea). Water increases the maritime references – now distinctly saline, fresh and tart – crisp white grapes come to mind – but still with a thread of smoke in the background. The taste is sweeter than expected (as is common with this make), with a shake of salt, then masses of scented smoke and some putty in the finish – another indicator of the make!

breath of islay 1992

13 year old Islay 58.1 % vol

1 of only 266  bottles from cask 5343

We are not allowed to name this distillery, although we have no doubt that you will identify as one of the big four in Kildalton Parish! It comes from a refill hogshead and has an attractive 18CT gold hue. The first nose is deep and sweet – Highland Toffee, but also glace fruits. There is a slight but not sharp nose-feel. After a while the scent of an extinguished fire made from resinous and slightly tarry pine logs is apparent. Water moves the smoky notes forward, and changes the scent slightly towards smouldering tractor tyres. It also introduces a light antiseptic note, like dentist’s mouthwash, which becomes bath-salts as it develops. The flavour is big, full and rounded: sweet to start, some acidity, masses of smoke in the finish. A fine example of a magisterial malt!

breath of islay 1993

14 year old Islay 57.7 % vol

1 of only 265 bottles from cask no. 1637

This time you’ve seven distilleries to choose from, but we are sworn to secrecy… Deep gold in colour, it has spent its life in a first-fill hogshead. The nose is mellow and rounded and redolent of butterscotch, with sage and thyme immediately behind, and glazed smoked ham behind this again. Deep and complex for an Islay – which may give it away! The taste, unreduced, is sweet and gentle, then charcoal sticks. Water freshens it and loosens it up, introducing Plasticine and beaches. Now the texture is mouthfilling, and the taste sweet, salty and acidic, with charcoal as you swallow. A splendid example of this secret make!

breath of islay 1999

13 year old Islay 56.6 % vol

1 of only 291 bottles from cask no. 5873

Another single cask from the famous Breath of Angels series – an homage to “whiskies that cannot be named”.Old gold with copper lights and a good bead.A rich maritime medley: salt breeze, wet sandy beaches, seaweed and iodine. Bath oils, clean and super-fresh – complex and seductive.A big oily texture, very sweet to taste with more than a hint of green stick bonfires (very smoky).A wee drop of water increases the mineral influence: oils and salts and bags of smoke all enclosed in an old canvas tent with hemp ropes.A magnificent, traditional Islay malt.

breath of islay 1999

12 year old Islay 56.1 % vol

1 of only 329 bottles from cask no. 5877

Another cracker in our series from undisclosed distilleries.This has seen 12 years in a 1st fill American oak, ex-bourbon hogshead and has taken on significant colour and sweetness.The initial nose is surprisingly sweet – maraschino cherries and cake mix, then the Islay influence begins to take over: tarry, faded creosote, smoked cheese, smoked sausage, and musty mushroom cellars. Again, sweet to taste but with a blast of smoke when you swallow, almost like drinking a sweet cigarette! With a wee drop of water the smoke becomes cleaner and fresher.This is a complex, rich whisky, but never ‘in-yer-face’ with a finish of “smoked coconut”.

breath of islay 1999

11 year old Islay55.7% % vol

1 of only 306 bottles from cask no. 5875

Another in the range of secret Islays. This one is from a refill American oak hogshead giving it a rich gold colour with good beading – a sign of good mouth texture to come.Smoked cheese in an old fashioned dairy (one that has recently been cleaned with carbolic soap). The powerful nose continues with cough sweets and a hint of pastry, even light sponge with icing sugar on top. The smoke comes back, now extinguished bonfires with a touch of tar.To taste, sweet, salty with bags of tarry smoke. We preferred this one at natural strength – water just reduces the richness of this classic Islay.A teeth-coating texture keeps the lingering bonfires alive for a long time.

breath of islay 1999

11 year old Islay 56.6 % vol

1 of only 286 bottles from cask no. 5882

A harvest gold whisky with light beading.The nose brings smoked cheese and ham slices with a little herbal toothpaste to wash them down. The usual footbaths and bath salts are not far behind with plenty of nose prickle to give it some zip.Warming and mouth coating at natural strength and much sweeter than expected. Coal smoke and Kumquats in the finish.The addition of water introduces some floral notes: jasmine and a little perfume. Altogether, palate cleansing.This is an incredibly well balanced young whisky with both smoke and sweetness in the finish, but we all agreed that it is best tasted at its natural, unreduced strength.A winter warmer.

breath of speyside 1991

18 year old Speyside 54.3 % vol

1 of only 612 bottles from cask no. 5142

Hot on the heels of its sister cask (no. 5145), this is the 4th sherry butt in the Breath of Speyside range from Adelphi.A rich amber hue, we were immediately struck by how clean this whisky was. A lovely nose of well-aged balsamic vinegar with marmalade, plums and Maraschino cherries in the background. The whisky keeps opening, now revealing prunes, marinated in Armagnac; then hints of Calvados and plenty of brown sugar.To taste, the sugar is now more burnt and caramelized, with a thread of dark chocolate and Christmas cake wrapper. A rich, viscous texture to finish with Old English marmalade, and no tannins. Christmas in a glass.

breath of speyside 1991

18 year old Speyside 54.2 % vol

1 of only 520 bottles from cask 5145

This expression of our ‘secret’ Speysides has come from a first-fill Spanish oak butt, and its colour – a glorious deep umber, with crimson lights, like an old tawny port. The nose is of rum toffees, with a heavy fruitiness – dried fruits (cherries, raisins, sultanas, mixed peel) all macerated in blond rum, with a distinct Jaffa Cake aroma behind (dark chocolate, bitter orange, sponge). All these scents hold together well when you add water, joined by a slight waxiness, like buttery cake-mix. A smooth texture, slightly mouth-cooling in its effect; a sweet then dry taste, but not overly tannic, with burnt sugar and bitter orange marmalade in the finish. A superb example of the rich style of Speyside.

breath of speyside 1991

16 year old Speyside 57.9 % vol

1 of only 577 bottles from cask 4229

From a “secret” distillery in Speyside, this whisky has taken much of its character from the cask, a first-fill ex-sherry butt. The colour is deep amber, and the nose seems to match, being at once profound and fresh/citric: plain chocolate oranges, wrapped in orange peel, then caramel creams and real vanilla pods, then sweet tobacco. Water does not raise the ghost of brimstone immediately, although there is a whiff in due course to combine with the overall scent of saddle-soap. The texture is rich, and the taste picked up all at the back of the tongue: there is little sweetnsss, no acidity, a interesting saltiness and an after-taste of coffee beans dipped in chocolate. A manly dram!

breath of speyside 1991

15 year old Speyside 60.3 % vol

1 of only 615 bottles from cask no. 5642

This unnamable Speyside distillery exclusively uses ex-sherry casks for its proprietary bottlings: the rich style of the make suits this wood perfectly. We reckon this might be a first-fill ex-sherry butt: the whisky has a deep magenta hue, shot with ruby. The nose is all rich fruits and mixed peel, with marmalade, then marmalade cake - even Jaffa Cakes, for after a while a distinct chocolate note emerges, becoming cherries ‘robed’ (as they say) in dark chocolate. There is a hint of pencil erasers, especially when tasted at full strength and when water is added, and brown sugar at reduced strength. The latter becomes burnt sugar in the mouth – sweet, then bitter-sweet – and the overall effect is curiously cooling in the mouth after a lengthy finish. An excellent example and a fine digestif malt.

breath of the highlands 1972

35 year old Highland 51.7 % vol

1 of only 130 bottles from cask 1753

This is the best example of the distillery’s make that we have ever encountered. It comes from a first fill American barrel, so has only produced 130 bottles. The colour is deep amber, with chestnut lights. The nose is celestial: stewed plums and baked apples stuffed with bramble jelly, then a light coconut, sanded hardwood in the sun, with fresh varnish. Wonderfully complex! A drop of water reduces the fruity scents, but brings up sandalwood and candlewax –mellow aromas revealing the whisky’s age. The flavour at natural strength is sweet to start, drying out with plenty of oak lactones (i.e. coconut), and this is replicated at reduced strength (don’t add too much water), although less sweet: dry tannins, with lingering coconut in the long finish.

breath of the highlands 1985

22 year old Highland 55.2 % vol

1 of only 159 bottles from cask 1066

We are sworn to secrecy about which distillery this has come from, but it is a classic Highland, and has spent 22 years in an American barrel, giving it a pale polished mahogany colour, and large, pearl-like beads. As you would expect from American oak there are traces of coconut (’creamy coconut fudge’), and some planed oakwood; a waft of hair lacquer, and a fruity complex which included nectarines or cherries. With water, the wood-notes become more herbal/spicy – Garam Massala, allspice, white pepper – and also a ‘herbal shampoo’ scent. Later an intriguing scent of ‘fermenting fruit salad’ . The taste is reminiscent of tablet, with some coconut or whin flowers; dry overall, but not tannic; a long finish with chocolate in the aftertaste. It changes all the time and rewards study!

breath of the highlands 1985

20 year old Highland 54.8 % vol

1 of only 176 bottles from cask no. 1065

Casks from this unnamable distillery are uncommon: the make is much used in de-luxe blends. This bottling comes from an ex-Bourbon cask and has the lovely, full gold colour, with orange lights, that a good quality American oak cask can bestow. The nose is typical of the make: hedgerows and rose-hips and succulent wild flowers – late summer scents. In a moment beeswax emerges, and traces of lemon-peel: natural, Highland scents. Water increases the wax and moves the scene to a forest – beech-mast and moss – then clean cotton, even cotton-wool. An unusual nose; complex and rewarding. The flavour follows through: waxy, mouth-coating, teeth-coating; a heavy sweetness, then drying and cooling in a medium to long finish.

breath of the isles 1992

15 year old Island 55.6 % vol

1 of only 251 bottles from cask 3197

This is a powerful whisky, but more ‘fumata’ than ‘smoke-screen’. It comes from a refill hoggie – a pretty active one, judging by the full 15CT gold colour, the big beads and fat legs. The first nose is of fragrant bonfires, with damp green leaves and fruit wood. Pencil boxes in abundance and even a little creosote; some minty icing sugar with vanilla, then McCowan’s Highland Toffee and dark chocolate, and later some herbal-cure cough linctus. The flavour is sweet, then spicy and smoky with licorice, leaving a lingering taste of Fisherman’s Friend lozenges. Water opens it nicely, reduces the smoke and introduces roasted root vegetables (sweet potatoes, carrots, turnips) – the smell of a Hallowe’en turnip lantern! The taste is sweet and mouth-filling, not so spicy, but firmly smoky in the finish.

breath of the isles 1992

13 year old Island 52.6 % vol

1 of only 299 bottles from cask 3201

The second release of our Breath of the Isles label. Once again, this is from an “unnamable” distillery situated on one of Scotland’s Western Isles (the owners prefer that we do not name it for marketing reasons…)From an American oak hoggy, this is pale gold in colour. Excellent beading – the size and duration of the bubbles created from shaking the bottle – this suggests a thick texture. A strong, peppery nose with hints of sphagnum moss, fragrant smoke and dry spice. The addition of water brings out more moss, but this time fresh like an open moor in a strong north-westerly gale, distant smoke and a lovely sweetness. The flavour is very complex, with long flavours, a good dose of smoke and the tell-tale kick of pepper in the finish.A vivid dram.

breath of the isles 1992

13 year old Island53.4 % vol

1 of only 309 bottles from cask 3203

Although we cannot name this distillery, this example will quickly bring back memories if you have visited, and fire the imagination if you haven’t.Pale gold in colour, from a refill American hogshead, this has a wonderful beading – big and long lasting. The nose is all about “dirty fragrance”. Bog myrtle, out on the moor, sea tangle and then lollipops. The initial peat and exhaust smoke is soon replaced by sweetness while the addition of water heightens the senses and brings out bath salts. On the palate, a lovely thick mouthfeel, much sweeter than expected with a lingering peaty smoke and kick of chilli pepper in the finish.An outdoor whisky to be savoured indoors.

breath of the isles 1993

14 year old Island 57.0 % vol

1 of only 301 bottles from cask no. 3746

Well, you’ve four islands to choose from – and although it’s not from Islay, you might well be forgiven thinking it was!  Mid-gold in colour (from a refill hog), we were immediately transported to a 1960s farm dairy – slightly rancid, with smoked cheeses, but dominated by carbolic soap. Some nose-prickle; vibrant and fresh as sea breeze, which was also discernable. After a while, a distinct whiff of exotic Latakia pipe tobacco, which, when water is added, becomes merely the tarry, charred bowl of an old pipe. The taste, reduced, is shockingly sweet, then salty and very, very smoky. Great dense texture. Big positive flavours!

breath of the isles 1993

15 year old Island 56.3 % vol

1 of only 279 bottles from cask 3748

This is the fifth cask from our secret cellar of rare island malt.The liquid has a deep, faerie gold colour and strong beading. The nose is smoky and very peppery, yet the nose-feel effect is cooling. The overall effect is clean and fresh, like dentists’ mouthwash, bringing to mind wind-swept dunes and sea-wrack strewn beaches. Water introduces some grubby smoke to the scene; a distant bonfire on which a tractor tire is smouldering among drift-wood and dried seaweed. The taste is surprisingly sweet, with some acidity and distinct saltiness. Chilli-pepper as you swallow. Full-bodied, with a long and warming finish. A close to perfect expression of this distillery’s distinctive style. You must guess where it has come from!

breath of the isles 1995

14 year old Island 58.6 % vol

1 of only 254 bottles from cask no. 1786

Yellow-gold with pale green lights, this has been drawn from a refill U.S. oak hogshead. Surprisingly low beading. Ozone and carbolic to the fore on the nose, with greengage tart behind (slightly tart fruit and pastry). In time maritime notes dominate – seaweed, rock pools, salty breeze and distant beach-bonfires. At full strength the taste is sweet, salty and smoky; fresh and clean, with bitter chocolate and lingering smoke in the finish. Water continues to develop the maritime theme – rotting seaweed, minerals and bath salts – but doesn’t add too much. The sweetness in the taste is enhanced, the saltiness reduced slightly; lively and peppery as you swallow. Medium length finish, but the flavour lingers long.

breath of the isles 1995

15 year old Island 58.0 % vol

1 of only 245 bottles from cask no. 1792

The last in the current Breath of the Isles 1995 series, this is a cracker!A warm golden colour, with good beading, plenty of smoke on the nose. This is accompanied by allspice, ripe red apples and fresh oranges. Then comes the pepper and licorice with a little marzipan and burnt caramel followed by decadent, spun honey.The taste brings even more licorice, some cloves, salt and a good dose of chilli pepper.At reduced strength, vanilla is present with plenty of maritime influences – mussels and salty rock pools.The finish is exceptionally long for a whisky of this age with sphagnum moss, bath salts and spicy pepper all wrapped up in a delightful sweetness.A truly grown-up Island whisky.

bruichladdich 1990

19 year old Islay 51.8% % vol

1 of only 65 bottles from cask no. 3646

Warm gold with khaki lights – perhaps on account of the cask itself, a first-fill U.S. oak hogshead, which was a ‘leaker’ and has yielded only 65 bottles. Damp gabardine to start with, then tart apple sponge becoming Swiss roll with apricot jam. In time it becomes more fruity (plum crumble?).  A dash of water introduces Islay/maritime characteristics: bath salts, sandy beaches and perhaps a thread of smoke. As the whisky developed in the glass, we noted Imperial Leather soap and Bath Oliver biscuits. A light body and pleasant texture; sweetish and lightly acidic, with a trace of salt; somewhat mouth-drying; a medium finish, with dry marzipan and chocolate in the aftertaste. Drink as an aperitif but remember that it is only 1 of 65 bottles!

bunnahabhain 1968

41 year old Islay 41.2 % vol

1 of only 719 bottles from cask nos. 12401/3

The glorious deep rosewood colour you only get from a European oak butt – like a much polished antique. Unusually for Adelphi, this has been taken from 2 exceptional “sister” casks. It is wonderfully aromatic, reminiscent of an old-fashioned ladies handbag, or an old library full of dusty books – soft scented leather, face cream, cold cream, powder compact, lingering perfume. Behind the initial nose, fresh oranges and after a while, ‘brandy-soaked fruit cake’, then tropical fruits and chocolate powder. Constanly changing as all good, old whiskies do. A thick, viscous mouthfeel, densely sweet like treacle toffee or molasses cake; black coffee with crystalline sugar in the long, long finish, with a trace of allspice, leaving the mouth cool and clean. A remarkable whisky.

bunnahabhain 1974

35 year old Islay 56.6 % vol

1 of only 200 bottles from cask 4780

This is a stunning example of how good long-aged malt whisky can be. It is the colour of Cola or Olde English Oak and has excellent beading, suggesting a big mouth-feel. The first nose is of scented oil; heavy but with a herbal fragrance which we identify as rosemary – a much reduced, rosemary infused gravy, with balsamic vinegar. After a little while sandalwood and camphor appear, lending a nose-cooling effect when a drop of water is added (it doesn’t need much). This freshens the nose and introduces traces of coconut, treacle toffee, molasses and even liquorice, but no trace of sulphur. Wonderfully viscous and mouth-filling; sweet, mouth-cooling, drying elegantly in the very long finish – like a dried out Christmas cake, with almonds.

bunnahabhain 1975

35 year old Islay 51.8 % vol

1 of only 157 bottles from cask no. 456

A rich orange gold colour, almost “Irn Bru” with a soft but persistent, mousse-like beading.A cacophony of fruits on the nose with an overriding lime pickle. Then, oil paints, furniture polish and candied cumquats. Changing all the time, now breakfast tropical juice laden with pineapple chunks, mango and pawpaw.Sweet to taste, becoming more dry with a long, oaky finish (unreduced).A little water brings up an unusual waxiness, vanilla fudge, and Scotch trifle – sponge fingers and tinned peaches soaked in brandy with custard and cream (artificial) and sprinkled with Hundreds and Thousands. A lovely, soft mouthfeel, starting sweet then drying to a long, long finish with a hint of “old smoke”. Very special.

bunnahabhain 1977

27 year old Islay 50.6 % vol

1 of only 201 bottles from cask 7850

We have always been impressed by how well Bunnahabhain is made: it invariably satisfies, but this elderly expression adds layers of complexity to the original make. It has been drawn from an American oak hogshead and has a deep amber colour, shot with orange. The nose is immediately deep and heady, with an indefinable floral/fragrant note that might be honeysuckle. Some hair lacquer and warm vinyl, then snuff and cedar-lined cigarette boxes and the waxed paper in an empty tobacco tin. It changes all the time. Water increases the waxiness of the paper to candlewax, and raises vanilla ice cream and light coconut (both aromas from the wood). In the mouth, the texture is chewy and the flavour engagingly sweet-and-sour, with lingering coconut. In superb condition for its age, and a splendid example of the make.

bunnahabhain 1979

31 year old Islay 46.5% % vol

1 of only 516 bottles from cask no. 8893

Another great, elderly 1st fill sherry butt from Bunnahabhain. Polished old cherry wood or even a dark magenta colour with crémant beading (just over the magic 46% vol). A first impression of cola bottles and cola cubes, or possibly the cola concentrate for Soda Stream. Then, bitter black cherries and a rich chocolate fondant or soufflé with just a hint of coffee grounds. The nose becomes increasingly Cognac-like, a theme taken up by the taste at natural strength (best tasted this way). The whisky continues to open up with burnt Christmas cake edges, traces of mile chocolate and Christmas spices – allspice and nutmeg.A huge taste and finish.

bunnahabhain 1987

25 Year old Islay44 % vol

1 of only 146 bottles from cask no. 2786

A rare refill Spanish oak ex-sherry hogshead that has produced an inviting deep umber colour. The mild bead is to be expected at this naturally low strength.A rich winey nose of old tawny port is both welcoming and warm, with a mellow rum toft and moist fruit cake in the background. Then roasting tin deglazed with oloroso sherry and a base note of 80% cocoa dark chocolate.A smooth texture on the palate, and a underlying taste that is both sweet and (dried) fruity.  Drying slightly in the finish with a hint of old oloroso and dark chocolate, and developing towards old Madeira.At reduced strength there is a buttery treacle toffee note with more oloroso sherry. Truly venerable.

bunnahabhain 1987

25 Year old Islay 49.7 % vol

1 of only 238 bottles from cask no. 2785

Another rare and venerable single Spanish oak ex-sherry hogshead from Bunnahabhain. Beautiful pinkish polished rosewood colour.  The beading is small, lingering and remarkably good for its naturally low strength.A mix of reconstituted dried fruits including cherries and angelica, with mellow base notes of Friar’s balsam and treacle toffee.  Teak oil comes through with time and a surprising phenolic development. Reducing the strength, it develops a distinctly salty character with salt liquorice and molasses, and a lingering sweetness from the sherry influence.The finish is long, as you would expect, drying like an old fruit cake and a whiff of disappearing 2 stroke exhaust (like a passing Vespa).

bunnahabhain 1987 - sold out

25 year old Islay 46.6 % vol

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bunnahabhain 1997

11 year old Islay 58.6 % vol

1 of only 610 bottles from cask no. 5368

Traditionally, Bunnahabhain is very lightly peated, but in 1997 experiments were done using heavily peated malt. This is a rare example from this period. It comes from an active refill butt and has a chestnut brown hue. Some fresh eggs to start followed by rotting seaweed, dogfish and Twiglets! The Twiglets become more apparent with Marmite and some added chocolate.Unreduced, this is a monster – intense bbq and wood ash smoke, possibly even cigarette ash, followed by hazelnuts, brazil nuts, pistachio nuts and sugar-coated almonds. With the addition of a little water this becomes a super-smooth dram with caramelized peanuts and Peanut Kit Kat Chunkies. A lovely texture with more peanuts, now salty and chocolate. Not for the faint-hearted.

bunnahabhain 1997

13 year old Islay 57.2 % vol

1 of only 369 bottles from cask no. 5372

Specially Bottled in Aid of the Genesis Research Trust

bunnahabhain 1997

9 year old Islay 59.6 % vol

1 of only 597 bottles from cask 5265

From a very rare batch of peated Bunna. Previous owners produced some heavily peated whisky, shortly before the distillery was mothballed in 1999, towards an anticipated requirement for future ‘Black Bottle’ blending. This cask is a refill butt; the colour is green-gold and the beading is weak. The nose is all pickles in vinegar, immediately followed by hot-smoked salmon (‘bradan’), smoked sausage and Coal Tar soap. The latter comes through in the taste, along with sweet vinegar. Water pushes the smoke into the background, and raises the invigorating scent of rotting kelp on the tide-line, with bath-salts and mineral smells in the foreground. A pleasant mouth-feel; a sweet start with some saltiness, smoke in the finish and a chalky dry aftertaste – the latter no doubt from residual tannins in the European oak.

bunnahabhain 1997

11 year old Islay 59.9 % vol

1 of only 587 bottles from cask no. 5367

Traditionally, Bunnahabhain is very lightly peated, but in 1997 experiments were done using heavily peated malt. This is a rare example from this period. It comes from a refill butt and has a golden olive oil hue, with a subtle green tint. The nose is very pungent: a combination of the struck matches and brimstone we associate with European oak, mingling with peat smoke. Behind these lurk more delicate scents of Madeira cake and Perrique Virginia pipe tobacco. Water introduces footbaths, bath salts and antiseptic mouthwash, but the elusive cake note is still present in the background. Not in the taste! Oh no! Powerfully smoky, like coal smoke, after a sweet start and considerable saltiness. A medium length finish.

bunnahabhain 1997

14 year old Islay 57.1 % vol

1 of only 525 bottles from cask no. 5378

Another Bunna from the very rare 1997 heavily peated batch. As with previous examples, this one has been matured in a sherry butt, but has been less influenced by the wood. A mid gold colour with green lights and good beading.Immediately very smoky on the nose with fresh eggs behind: a smoked ham and cheese omelet. The typical bath salts and even beach salts are there, then the tell-tale monkey-nuts when the whisky is nosed on the hands (try it, if you haven’t before!); finally, Coal Tar soap. To taste, an oily texture, with plenty of rock-salt and a smoky after taste - almost lip numbing.With water, think industrial rubbish bonfires with old car tires and recycled plastic detergent bottles; still maritime – fire on a beach? Remaining sweet, salty and smoky to taste and best tasted without water.

bunnahabhain 1998

11 year old Islay 53.4 % vol

1 of only 538 bottles from cask no. 6037

A sherry monster from the first look – dark amber with excellent beading.Immediately we can find burnt sugar, maple syrup, burnt Christmas cake and chewy toffees. Even in such a young whisky, the nose keeps changing: now, caramelised dried bananas (Chinese), reconstituted Christmas pudding (possibly from New Year) and definitely fried in butter with cinnamon, overcooked apple crumble and a dash of fresh mint all thrown in for good measure.To taste, black coffee, dark chocolate and brown sugar all make this quite decadent.At reduced strength, celery, brandy and glazed pork chops enter the frame with a mouth cooling and drying, oily and slightly maritime character.We have been incredibly fortunate to find some stunning Bunnahabhains in 2010, both young and old, and this is up there with the best.

bunnahabhain 1998

13 year old Islay 55.2 % vol

1 of only 616 bottles from cask no. 6039

Matured in a 1st fill European, ex-sherry butt, this has to be one of the darkest whiskies we have ever bottled: the colour of cola with an excellent bead.The nose feel is mild with a slight dryness, possibly dried out fruit cake, crusts and ends, with citrus fruit peel.The taste is far more moist – rich fruit cake now, soaked in molasses, very viscous and oily in the mouth, becoming more treacle toffee-like with a shot of espresso coffee.A dash of water sweetens the whisky again, now coffee beans coated in dark chocolate, even mentholated and mouth cooling.Much smoother now, with lingering notes of Oloroso sherry, brazil nuts and a trace of beeswax.

bunnahabhain 1998

7 year old Islay 59.3 % vol

1 of 260 bottles from cask no. 2921

We defy anyone to guess correctly the age of this malt, or, indeed, its origin! The standard bottling at 10 years from Islay’s most northern distillery is pale and smooth and mild. This is deep crimson in colour – unusually, it comes from a fresh, European oak, ex-sherry hogshead. The nose is incredibly mild for its age, but big and rounded. The first impression is all burnt milk and soft fudge, deep and creamy, with hints of banana chews, treacle toffee, and after a while a curious minty/medicinal note. The flavour at full strength is magnificent: toffee and dark chocolate. Water raises a only a trace of brimstone (the peril of sherry-wood), then continues the toffee theme (McCowan’s Highland Toffee, treacle toffee). The medicinal note has become tea-tree oil (Eucalyptus). The texture is smooth, big and rich, the flavour an excellent balance of primary tastes, with some tannic mouth-drying, as one would expect, and a long finish with lingering milk-chocolate.

bunnahabhain 1998

12 year old Islay 55.0 % vol

1 of only 632 bottles from cask no. 6038

This is the sister cask to the Christmas 2010 bottling, another superb 1st fill sherry butt, but very different.The colour of a Stradivarius violin – deep and profound. The first nose presents treacle toffee, sticky Jamaican ginger cake and rich Boeuf Bourgignon. A hint of smoke, which is more apparent in the finish, when tasted straight. The taste is sweet and the effect mouth-drying. Water raises pencil shavings and a hint of  matchbox striker, with Moffat Toffees and dark chocolate; a dry nose overall, although the taste starts very sweet before drying out in the lengthy finish. Somewhat palate-cooling in the aftertaste, with dark chocolate lingering both in texture and taste.

bunnahabhain 2000

10 year old Islay 59.8 % vol

1 of only 636 bottles from cask no. 948

Ex sherry butt, 1st fill European oak with a beautiful dark colour. Bunnahabhain usually has a maritime character, but not necessarily smoky. Tasted by over 20 agents from around the globe, our combined international palate found: tablet and treacle toffee on the nose, pumpernickel, hazelnuts, dryish, not as sweet smelling as a Speyside. Truffles were spotted. To taste, distinct saltiness, more treacle toffee, bacon, maple syrup and pancakes – in fact, an entire Canadian breakfast (and no Canadian judges). Caramelized red onion pops up, then Sushi nori and Soy sauce. Incredibly mature for its age.  Most unusual for a Bunnahabhain.

bunnahabhain 2000

9 year old Islay 59.2% % vol

1 of only 554 bottles from cask no. 947

This comes from a highly active, first-fill sherry butt and the liquid has a deep magenta hue, dark and rich. The influence of the European oak is immediately apparent on the nose – buttery scrambled eggs on burnt toast – but this soon gives way to rich toffee with lemon zest (Moffat toffee) followed by vanilla ice cream drizzled with chocolate sauce. At full strength, the taste is so sweet it’s bitter – crystalline sugar in espresso coffee – with a hint of salt. A big mouthfeel. Water raises leather and shoe polish, but the Moffat toffee is still there, with buttery notes and walnut liqueur. The taste is now unctuous and sweet, becoming salty; bitter chocolate (85% cocoa) in the finish, and chocolate covered coffee beans in the aftertaste. A massive whisky – astonishing for its age.

cameronbridge single grain 1978

30 year old Lowland56.6 % vol

1 of only 238 bottles from cask no. 5

The stalwart of Diageo’s grain distilleries situated next to Leven in Fife, this is not commonly available as a single cask, especially at a ripe old age of 30! Further detective work has, we believe, determined that this began its maturation in a sherry butt, and was re-racked into a bourbon barrel (probably due to excess leakage) in 2001. The resulting whisky has drawn on the best attributes of both its maturation vessels.A truly magnificent nose of maple syrup, sour plums, Black Forrest Gâteau, and even some pickled gherkins with horse-raddish. Another wee sniff brings Baileys, cedarwood, macaroons, almost a Bourbon or Irish whisky. Finally, some caramel popcorn and Rice Crispy bars. With water, the nose becomes more aromatic – scented candles, even floral (Jasmine).To taste, rich, melted Crunchie bars, plenty of chocolate, then coconut, cedar wood, now chocolate Grappa, Banoffee Pie, and a huge, lingering sweetness – so rare in a single grain. The ideal dessert whisky.

caol ila 1982

27 year old Islay 57.6 % vol

1 of only 227 bottles from cask no. 688

We have always been strong advocates of young Caol Ila whiskies – vibrant, fresh, plenty of iodine and surprisingly sweet. This one, however, has spent 27 years in an American oak hogshead and has taken on a wholly different complexity. Some mild smoke on the nose, sweet and salty with smoky bacon and cheese wafting through. There is a definite maritime influence here with dried seaweed and Lapsang Souchong (with a little sugar). As it opens, there is a hint of menthol giving way to perfumed roses and carnations (the pink ones), backed by vivid, acrid Bakerlite.Very sweet to taste with nutmeg, some salt and bags of smoke in a rich, oily texture; now marmalade appears with pork crackling and blackcurrants, all rounded off with more salt and smoke. Old Caol Ila at its best.

caol ila 1982

26 year old Islay 55.8 % vol

1 of only 207 bottles from cask 686

Another splendid old Caol Ila from Port Askaig. It comes from a refill hogshead and is mid gold in colour, with a moderate bead. The nose is mellow and mineral-like, fresh and somewhat dry. First dentists mouthwash, then some lemon grass, then an old-fashioned farm dairy (whiff of cheese, with carbolic soap in the background), and also a maturation warehouse (damp wood and bung-cloths). Water raises a distinct anise note to start, modified by further wood notes, and resolving as aniseed balls on a scorched ironing board. The light medicinal note is still apparent, and a scent of smoked ham. A pleasant mouthfeel: sweet, then smoky, with light saltiness, and also some pepper or allspice, which lingers, along with toasted neeps (Swedes) in a turnip lantern.

caol ila 1982

25 year old Islay 57.9 % vol

1 of only 225 bottles from cask 685

An example of how well Caol Ila can take long maturation in a refill hogshead. The colour is deep gold, with big beads and fat legs, indicating texture. Powerfully phenolic, but in a deep and satisfying way: carbolic soap immediately, but behind this smouldering autumn leaves and a bright floral fragrance (jasmine, mimosa). With water it remains vaguely floral with advancing lemongrass, but with traces of waxed jackets and freshly laundered linen, modifying the smoke and soap. The taste is surprisingly sweet (caramel toffees), with a voluptuous mouthfeel at reduced strength, and plenty of ominous lingering, smoke in the long finish. Warming, both on the palate and down the throat with hints of wasabe. Big and sensual, and a curious mix of spring and autumn.

caol ila 1982

28 year old Islay56.0 % vol

1 of only 193 bottles from cask no. 687

Well-aged Islays can have so much to offer and this venerable Caol Ila is no disappointment.A warm golden hue with good beading, the initial nose is of tinned tropical fruits: lychees, pineapple chunks, and mango, possibly even a tropical fruit salad. Hard pears enter the mix as the nose develops, and then the expected chimney soot makes a welcome appearance.Tasting at natural strength (recommended), this is an incredibly sweet Islay whisky but never far from sea nor smoke: Cascamite (maritime wood glue), intense wood smoke and all rounded off with more pineapple sweetness.Water introduces a more waxy texture, with Lapsang Souchong and swimming pool footbaths.A long, long finish at natural and unreduced strength. Well worth waiting 28 years to taste this one.

caol ila 1983

28 year old Islay 54.0 % vol

1 of only 250 bottles from cask no. 1463

Golden maize in the bottle, and full gold in the glass. Thick legs indicating good body. A rich and enchanting nose which combines lubricating oil and Swarfega hand wash, mineral rub and bath salts, with a hint of up-market sauna bath. Gorgeous oily texture at natural strength; a sweet then mineralic taste. Turns very cloudy with water (a good sign for me!). The nose is still oily, rounded and mineralic; the texture full-bodied; the taste lightly sweet, lightly salty. A truly elegant example of an elderly Islay: rich-textured and lacking in overly-obvious smoke.

caol ila 1984

23 year old Islay 57.3 % vol

1 of only 232 bottles from cask no. 6262

This unusual old Caol Ila is a well-preserved old sea-dog, recalling his briny youth in mellow old age. The whisky comes from a refill American hogshead, and is burnished gold in colour. The first nose is mellow and reminiscent of old sail-cloth, with salty, mineral-like notes, acid drops (lending freshness and vitality), and a dusty drawer in an antique desk. The taste at natural strength is sweet with bath salts. Both the canvas notes and the bath salts emerge more strongly when water is added, with some putty and an old cigar box. A voluptuous mouthfeel; a big, sweet flavour and a very long finish, with traces of cheese-cloth from a smoked cheese in the aftertaste.

caol ila 1984

21 year old Islay 59.2 % vol

1 of only 270 bottles from cask 6263

We often find that Caol Ila is best drunk young – full of medicinal charm, seaside smells and sweet smoke. Fortunately, this example from an American oak hogshead has not only retained its youthful vigour, bud added complexity in its maturing years. Medium gold in colour, this has a reassuringly medicinal nose with washing up water, citrus fruit and seaweed. Then comes carbolic soap and smoked sausages with juniper berries. Finally, coal tar soap and sweet, sweet tablet. With water, the sweetness is magnified, and then bags of smoke. On the palate, more berries, herbs and spices, really thick and oily, plenty of smoke and pepper, but all the time shampoo-fresh.A classic, complex Islay.

caol ila 1990

13 year old Islay 56.9 % vol

1 of only 273 bottles from cask no. 4842

Not as widely promoted as other Islay distilleries (because it is in big demand by the Johnnie Walker blends), Caol Ila is nevertheless a classic ‘big’ Islay malt, and this is a good example of the make. The bottling is from a re-fill American oak hogshead, which has allowed the true character of the whisky to come through. The first nose is somewhat agricultural (‘cow-pats in the early morning’ and ‘industrial cleaner in a dairy’); after a while this settles down to ‘swimming pool changing room’ (i.e. light chlorine and damp towels) and ‘dentists’ mouth-wash’. Water reduces this and raises rubber or plastic swimming rings and a waft of woodsmoke. The mouth-feel is smooth and rounded; the taste sweet and aromatically smoky and the finish very long and warming. An elemental whisky; drink out of doors.

caol ila 1990

14 Year Old Islay 57.7 % vol

1 of 274 bottles from cask no. 13142

Caol Ila is firmly in the classic Islay camp – big and pungent – until recently it was something of a secret malt, but now it is being bottled at various ages and promoted by its owners, Diageo, as it deserves to be. This example has come from a refill American oak hogshead and is the colour of topaz. The first nose immediately identifies it as an Islay – bags of medicine and smoke – but if you explore behind the surface you can identify sheep dip and smoked sausages. Clean as an operating theatre. At full strength the flavour is very sweet, with a blast of smoke in the finish. Water reminds us that the distillery is only yards from the sea – the Sound of Islay, from which it takes its name: seaweed, brine and plastic detritus. Mouthfilling in texture, sweet, then both acidic and salty before the long smoky finish. A surprising perfumed flavour towards the end. A beautifully structured, elegant example of this distillery's make.

caol ila 1990

14 Year Old Islay 57.7 % vol

1 of 274 bottles from cask no. 13142

Caol Ila is firmly in the classic Islay camp – big and pungent – until recently it was something of a secret malt, but now it is being bottled at various ages and promoted by its owners, Diageo, as it deserves to be. This example has come from a refill American oak hogshead and is the colour of topaz. The first nose immediately identifies it as an Islay – bags of medicine and smoke – but if you explore behind the surface you can identify sheep dip and smoked sausages. Clean as an operating theatre. At full strength the flavour is very sweet, with a blast of smoke in the finish. Water reminds us that the distillery is only yards from the sea – the Sound of Islay, from which it takes its name: seaweed, brine and plastic detritus. Mouthfilling in texture, sweet, then both acidic and salty before the long smoky finish. A surprising perfumed flavour towards the end. A beautifully structured, elegant example of this distillery's make.

caol ila 1990

13 year old Islay 56.9 % vol

1 of only 273 bottles from cask no. 4842

Not as widely promoted as other Islay distilleries (because it is in big demand by the Johnnie Walker blends), Caol Ila is nevertheless a classic ‘big’ Islay malt, and this is a good example of the make. The bottling is from a re-fill American oak hogshead, which has allowed the true character of the whisky to come through. The first nose is somewhat agricultural (‘cow-pats in the early morning’ and ‘industrial cleaner in a dairy’); after a while this settles down to ‘swimming pool changing room’ (i.e. light chlorine and damp towels) and ‘dentists’ mouth-wash’. Water reduces this and raises rubber or plastic swimming rings and a waft of woodsmoke. The mouth-feel is smooth and rounded; the taste sweet and aromatically smoky and the finish very long and warming. An elemental whisky; drink out of doors.

caol ila 1991

12 year old Islay 57.5 % vol

1 of only 317 bottles from cask no 13374

Not as widely promoted as other Islay distilleries (because it is in big demand by the Johnnie Walker blends) Caol Ila is nevertheless a classic ‘big’ Islay malt. This is a ‘beginners’ example of the make. The bottling is from a re-fill American oak hogshead, which has coloured the whisky pale gold. The first nose is more Speyside than Islay – acid drops, pear drops, soor ploom sweeties, with only a trace of smoke-and-carbolic in the background. Water raises this, however, but in a clean, fresh way – dentists’ mouthwash and Andrew’s Liver salts come first, before the familiar Wright’s Coal Tar soap – and there is even a good sprinkling of fresh basil leaves. The mouthfeel is pleasantly full-bodied and the primary taste sweeter and fruitier than usual, although backed by masses of smoke. We were reminded of fruity barbeque sauce, and would recommend it to accompany such al fresco entertainment.

caol ila 1991

12 year old Islay 57.5 % vol

1 of only 317 bottles from cask no 13374

Not as widely promoted as other Islay distilleries (because it is in big demand by the Johnnie Walker blends) Caol Ila is nevertheless a classic ‘big’ Islay malt. This is a ‘beginners’ example of the make. The bottling is from a re-fill American oak hogshead, which has coloured the whisky pale gold. The first nose is more Speyside than Islay – acid drops, pear drops, soor ploom sweeties, with only a trace of smoke-and-carbolic in the background. Water raises this, however, but in a clean, fresh way – dentists’ mouthwash and Andrew’s Liver salts come first, before the familiar Wright’s Coal Tar soap – and there is even a good sprinkling of fresh basil leaves. The mouthfeel is pleasantly full-bodied and the primary taste sweeter and fruitier than usual, although backed by masses of smoke. We were reminded of fruity barbeque sauce, and would recommend it to accompany such al fresco entertainment.

caol ila 1993

12 year old Islay 57.7 % vol

1 of 310 bottles from cask no. 3348

Caol Ila invariably produces good whisky, but this is breathtakingly good! We feel privileged to be offering it! From a refill hogshead, its colour is pale gold with green lights. The nose is fresh as a sea-breeze; squeaky-clean, with malt vinegar, hair lacquer and super-glue; behind this fragrant smoke (almost joss-sticks) and smoky-bacon crisps (the latter something of a hall-mark of the make). The flavour at full strength is very sweet, with appetising vinegar, masses of charcoal as you swallow and a lingering flavour of picalilli) The addition of water reduces the aromas noted above, but leaves them intact: overall fresh and clean. The flavour is at once sweet, acidic, salty and smoky, with a long finish and an aftertaste of gherkins. A magnificent example of a fine malt – if you like the big Islay style.

caol ila 1993

12 year old Islay 59.1 % vol

1 of only 315 bottles from cask 9155

Pronounced `cull-eela`, Caol Ila is Gaelic for `the Sound of Islay` (the strait separating that island from the Isle of Jura).Islay whiskies are in huge demand at the moment for their big, smoky style, and although Caol Ila can’t replicate the power and weight of some of its more famous neighbours, it can quite often have a lovely sweetness to balance the smoke.This cask is no exception – the initial antisceptic cream and carbolic soap on the nose becomes sweet vinegar and smoke on the palate, finishing with more smoke, this time bacon, and a little seaweed to remind you of its beautiful location.A whisky to be savoured with smoked salmon or rich cheese.

caol ila 1993

12 year old Islay59.9 % vol

1 of only 259 bottles from cask 6779

caol ila 1993

12 year old Islay 60.0 % vol

1 of only 266 bottles from cask no 6797

Not as widely promoted as other Islay distilleries (because it is in big demand by the Johnnie Walker blends), Caol Ila is nevertheless a classic ‘big’ Islay malt, and this is a good example of the make. The bottling is from a re-fill American oak hogshead, which has allowed the true character of the whisky to come through. The first nose exhibits a lovely freshness, with paint thinners and hair lacquer in the background. This changes quickly into  moorish smoked cheese. With water the smoked cheese remains and is joined by pine essence and swimming baths. The palate is fresh and sweet with bags of charcoal, some “Plasticine” and “Uhu” glue.Both powerful and complex at the same time.

caol ila 1993

13 year old Islay 59.4 % vol

1 of only 282 bottles from cask 1954

One of the classic Islay distilleries, Caol Ila is now in production 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – all to meet demand for its make.This refill American oak hogshead has produced a mid-gold, unoaked Chardonnay colour for its incumbent. As clean and sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel,  transiting from operating theatre to mouthwash, to a lovely Frisian Nagelkaas (Dutch soft cheese with cloves). The flavour is massive: sweet, vinegary, then typically tarry with a huge, acrid bonfire aftertaste.With water, the medicinal aromas become more like Elastoplast, with beach scents behind, and a vinyl polish like a new car interior.Mouth filling and sweet to start, a nice acidic interlude and then bags of smoke on the finish. The after effect is clean and satisfying – an excellent example of the make.

caol ila 2001

9 year old Islay 60.7% % vol

1 of only 254 bottles from cask no. 303804

Taken from an active 1st fill bourbon barrel, this has a deep gold colour with mild beading.A surprisingly mellow nose for one so strong, reminiscent of sun-kissed, peeling yacht varnish and bath salts. Overall, a very fresh and rounded nose.Extremely sweet to taste, with a buttery and herbal complexity. Smoldering moss and scented fires on the open moor give way to dried herbs and sphagnum moss. The fragrant smoke continues with the addition of a little water, and a thick mouth texture, both smooth and rich, finishes sweet and long.

caol ila 2001

8 year old Islay 61.3 % vol

1 of only 318 bottles from cask 303801

We believe in bottling when a cask has matured its contents fully. Very active casks do the job surprisingly quickly, and this is an example. The colour is deep gold (from an American oak hogshead which had formerly held sherry), and the first nose is of butterscotch and ‘Caramel Danette’ (according to one member of the panel: this is a kind of vanilla cream). Soon Coal Tar soap and smoked cheese join the mix. Water reduces the sweetness and adds traces of gun-stock oil and Shreddies breakfast cereal, but the sweet smokiness returns in full measure in the taste, which is bigger than expected, with wine vinegar and billows of fresh, fragrant woodsmoke.

caol ila 2003

9 year old Islay 59.6 % vol

1 of only 285 bottles from cask no. 301261

From a refill sherry cask, this has a lovely full gold hue with amber lights. A light to moderate bead points more at its youth than the alcohol percentage.Buttery, creamy and distinctly cheesy, like an old dairy, or possibly a tasty Caboc.The usual carbolic notes are in full evidence, but there is also a lifting acidity from Seville oranges.Smouldering, leafy bonfires, charred newspapers and hot pipe tobacco embers start to come through, followed by ice cream and a hint of kiwi fruit.The latter is more obvious with the addition of water.A very thick mouthfeel – sweet and salty at the same time.The sweet theme grows and then becomes more salty and smoky again – now billows of smoke from charred, green sticks.A feisty, young Islander.

caperdonich 1970

38 year old Speyside47.1 % vol

1 of only 184 bottles from cask no. 4378

Closed in 2002, and often referred to as Glen Grant no. 2, Caperdonich is still very visible as you pass through Rothes. Its make is becoming increasingly hard to find, and especially welcome when found at this age and quality.A rich gold with light beading, as you would expect from the lower strength.The nose delights with decaying tropical fruits and a little face cream. Quickly moving to over-ripe kiwi fruit, cape gooseberries, tangy oranges and pomegranates. Surrounding the fruits, the lovely old rancio nose that well-matured whisky develops.The taste brings tea tree oil and eucalyptus with a mouth-cooling menthol and a thread of smoke. Then oiliness, some mint and a slight drying on the palate. With just a dash of water, more oiliness, smoked mussels, teak oil in the sunshine, linseed oil on a cricket bat. A long finish, as you would expect, sweet with plenty of licorice.

clynelish 1989

13 Years Old Highland 56.7 % vol

1 of only 640 bottles from cask 3281

Clynelish Distillery stands on the edge of the fishing port of Brora, overlooking what used to be called the German Ocean. It’s malt has long been esteemed. This example is the colour of old gold, probably from a first-fill ex-Bourbon cask, and has one of the heaviest beads we have ever encountered – an indication of thick texture, and it does not disappoint. The nose presents slightly overdone baked apples (skins scorched; slightly caramelised), with some dried herbal notes – the latter becomes smouldering dried moss when water is added, and the apple-skin is restored and made slightly waxy. Wonderfully thick in the mouth and bitter-caramel-sweet – reminiscent of old Sauternes, but more acidic. A pudding whisky?

clynelish 1989

23 Year old Highland 52.1 % vol

1 of only 239 bottles from cask no. 3847

A rare and exciting refill hogshead from this famous Brora distillery. The pale gold indicates that the cask hasn’t been too active, which is a bonus at this age. The beading is one of the best we have seen for a long time, indicating a viscous mouth texture.A bright nose with just a slight prickle, with overall hints of scented wax with a floral top note.  Then, moorland plants, heather and bog myrtle, fresh pine sap and wild flowers – a walk in Highlands!Tasting straight it is remarkably smooth and viscous with honeycomb and honey in the warming aftertaste.  At reduced strength there is light candle wax with faded pop pourri.Tasting again, it is smooth with a soft texture, and a nice balance of primary tastes. A hint of white chocolate in finish rounds off this exceptional whisky.

clynelish 1989

13 Years Old Highland 56.7 % vol

1 of only 640 bottles from cask 3281

Clynelish Distillery stands on the edge of the fishing port of Brora, overlooking what used to be called the German Ocean. It’s malt has long been esteemed. This example is the colour of old gold, probably from a first-fill ex-Bourbon cask, and has one of the heaviest beads we have ever encountered – an indication of thick texture, and it does not disappoint. The nose presents slightly overdone baked apples (skins scorched; slightly caramelised), with some dried herbal notes – the latter becomes smouldering dried moss when water is added, and the apple-skin is restored and made slightly waxy. Wonderfully thick in the mouth and bitter-caramel-sweet – reminiscent of old Sauternes, but more acidic. A pudding whisky?

clynelish 1992

12 year old Highland 60.1 % vol

1 of only 272 bottles from cask 15100

An old favourite (and also of Professor Saintsbury, author of the seminal ‘Notes to a Cellar Book’ (1926)). Clynelish Distillery is situated on the north-east coast of Scotland, in the village of Brora. Its make is unique, and this is an excellent example. It is drawn from an American oak refill cask and is mid-gold in colour. The nose is immediately maritime (iodine and traces of seaweed), with a hint of tea and scented smoke (Lapsang Suchong?), and sweet ‘runny honey’ or pink marshmallows. Only when you add water does a light waxiness emerge (the key-note for this whisky), rather like waxed paper, there is an elusive scent that reminded us of drying rooms (complete with soap powder), and a faint whiff of scented smoke. The wax really comes into its own in the teeth-coating mouth-feel; the flavour is lightly sweet, then acidic then gently dry, with fragrant smoke in the finish.

clynelish 1993

16 year old Highland 56.4 % vol

1 of only 204 bottles from cask no. 7545

A light gold colour with mild beading, we would assume that this whisky is from a refill American oak cask. The nose is immediately maritime and fresh, like the a Brora sea breeze. Underneath, there are floral notes with light gun-stock oil and a buttery creaminess.The true distillery character comes through on the taste with a lovely, inviting honeycomb sweetness and waxy texture. Then spicy and flinty, possibly even a thread of smoke, with green Wine Gums, even greener sticks, some menthol, and citrus flavours following. The finish is pastry-like with a maritime influence and buttery, waxy mouthfeel. An ideal aperitif.

clynelish 1993

15 year old Highland 58.4 % vol

1 of only 289 bottles from cask 7548

An elegant and typical example of this distinguished malt. It is drawn from a refill hogshead and is the colour of autumn sunlight. The first impression on the nose is lemony, with soft, sweet sponge pastry behind (we were reminded of lemon meringue pie). A faint, green, floral note (both daffodils and hyacinths) comes and goes; water raises a waxy note – a key characteristic of this malt – and a trace of sphagnum moss. The taste is sweet and waxy (honey-comb), slightly salty and dry overall, with a medium length finish. Warming, subtle and spring-like, with uninhibited distillery character.

clynelish 1993

14 year old Highland 57.0 % vol

1 of only 282 bottles from cask no. 7541

This is drawn from a refill hogshead, so the distillery character emerges unmasked: fruit salad to start with (apples and pears, but also a hint of bananas and mandarin juice – sweet and fresh. Behind this a dusty scent of very pure chocolate (85% cocoa), which develops into liqueur chocolate after a while. Water brings up Clynelish’s key-notes: scentedwax, with a briny, mineral-like aroma, and then an elusive floral scent – lilies or perfume. Unctuously sweet to start, then crisply acidic, with a dry finish: well structured and balanced, with a medium length finish, and a development towards dry tablet.

clynelish 1995

10 year old Highland 59.3 % vol

1 of only 698 bottles from cask 12783

In his seminal Notes To A Cellar Book (1920) Professor George Saintsbury mentioned Clynelish as a particular favourite. This example is from a refill Sherry butt (unusual for this malt, which is usually filled into American wood). It has a burnished amber hue, and the identity of both the wood and the make comes across well on first nosing: crème brulee, with scented smoke and candlewax, developing into treacle toffee. Water gives much of the same, with a hint (only) of matchbox striker, and some bruised-pear fruitiness. The flavour is only slightly waxy, but full in the mouth, burnt-sugar sweet and well balanced. Excellent for its age and a good example of balancing distillery and wood character.

clynelish 1995

16 year old Highland 55.8 % vol

1 of only 630 bottles from cask no. 8668

It has been a while since we bottled Clynelish from a sherry cask, but it has been worth the wait. This has matured in a refill European oak ex sherry butt, giving it a lovely deep amber colour with moderate to good beadingKeynote Clynelish waxiness comes through immediately - warm, scented wax – behind this, saddle soap, new leather and bog myrtle. Highland toffee takes over, quickly becoming Banoffee Pie; then Pineau des Charantes (from the ugni blanc grape: bitter/sweet) finishing with angelica root.The initial taste is very sweet and rich, with a waxy mouthfeel. A perfect example of the make.Water raises maritime notes (sea breeze, decaying seaweed and sand hoppers). The smooth waxy mouthfeel remains but now with sweet, dark chocolate creams in the aftertaste.

clynelish 1996

10 year old Highland 59.6 % vol

1 of only 580 bottles from cask 8250

Clynelish Distillery sits high up on the North-East coast of Scotland in the famous town of Brora. Famous for producing top-quality malt, this single cask from 1996 is no exception.From a refill sherry butt, this has a lovely burnished copper colour, with a moderate beading (pointing to good mouthfeel and texture), and a fairly lively nose.Soft leather in the front, giving way to apple pie with spices (cloves?), then slightly caramelized with a trace of honey comb. There is also a strong sense of waxy apple skins, even a hint of toffee apples.The flavour starts with a light sweetness (heather honey), and then a distinct waxiness after a while – both strong characters of the make. Then, some hot spice at 50% reduction, but remaining sweet.All in all, an extremely well-balanced and shaped whisky for its age.

clynelish 1996 - sold out

17 year old Speyside 57.1 % vol

1 of only 264 bottles from cask no. 6417

This has also been drawn from a rare Spanish oak, ex-Sherry hogshead.A lovely amber colour – inviting and almost sparkling bright like an Amontillado sherry.  Very good beading indicates great mouth viscosity. A light prickle with dried fruits and spice; moist fruitcake, toasted almonds; allspice; key-note wax tucked well in the background. A rich, oily mouthfeel; sweet and spicy taste and a thread of scented smoke in the long finish. More obviously waxy with water, with herbal, dry moorland scents and a trace of butterscotch. The taste still mouthfilling; still sweet and spicy (and warming), but drier and with some hessian or canvas in the aftertaste, suggesting an older whisky.Remarkable and very unusual.

clynelish 1997

15 year old Highland 54.5 % vol

1 of only 283 bottles from cask no. 6510

Deep gold – just like the missing sunshine. Good beading, suggesting good mouth texture, and a little nose prickle.The initial nose is of French apple tart, with rolling tobacco and sphagnum moss behind; later a trace of sweet shortbread and toasted flaked almonds.Sweet and hot to taste, with a fresh, perfumed aftertaste. The Clynelish characteristic waxiness appears with water, and a fresh floral note (freshly laundered linen). Then a trace of the biscuit note re-emerges.Buttery Jersey cream in the development with a very soft mouthfeel; teeth-coating. An overall sweet taste, with a hint of salt and a lightly spicy finish. An excellent summer’s dram on a wet day!

clynelish 1997

14 year old Highland 57.2 % vol

1 of only 201 bottles from cask no. 4721

Full autumn gold: drawn from an American oak hogshead. Mild nosefeel, with a slightly maritime scent: brine, dry seaweed, warm sand. Beyond this some dried herbal notes (oregano?), becoming slightly medicinal (sphagnum moss). Not as waxy as one expects Clynelish to be, although candles are there, particularly when you taste, when beeswax and thin honey predominate.  With water, the wax emerges more obviously, with fragrant dried herbs behind, and it becomes a classic Clynelish. Smooth, soft and lightly teeth-coating, with a taste which balances all the primaries: sweet, salty, acidic, umami!

clynelish 1997

14 year old Highland 59.1 % vol

1 of only 260 bottles from cask no. 4720

Another great cask from this well known North-East Highland distillery. This one is from a refill hogshead and has a rich yellow golden colour that you would expect from active American Oak. On the nose also, the expected sweetness. Pineapple chunks, fresh-cut oranges, dried apricot with caramelized hazelnuts following along behind. Sweet to taste, with tongue-coating waxiness (key to this distillery) and a hint of honeycomb. After adding a little water, we get sugar puffs, whiffs of bog-myrtle, and a twist of lemon zest on the nose. Slight tongue prickle when tasted in reduced state, Sauvignon blanc. Medium length finish.A tea time dram, or perhaps even breakfast on your porridge…

clynelish 1997

14 year old Highland 59.5 % vol

1 of only 247 bottles from cask no. 4715

Good colour – aged copper lights, with a moderate beading. Slight prickle on the nose, increasing as the whisky warms and begins to open. Initial dried mixed herbs, with a trace of Chartreuse; then vanilla ice cream and set honey behind, with a tradititional Danish wood oil. Water immediately raises the keynote candlewax we expect from Clynelish, with coconut biscuits and vanilla creams. Mouthcoating, with a light sweetness and lively acidity, and a curious (natural) liquorice saltiness (this surprised us), with coconut and vanilla. A medium length, warming finish and lingering summer whin flowers in the aftertaste.

clynelish 1997

16 year old Highland 58.0 % vol

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clynelish 1997

15 Year old Highland 53.2 % vol

1 of only 293 bottles from cask no. 6521

An active American oak hogshead has produced the sharp, clear orange lights and golden syrup colour of this intriguing north Highland whisky which takes a little time to reveal itself. Excellent beading indicates the usual thick mouthfeel that we expect from Clynelish.The opening notes of dusty drawers in a wax polished desk give way to dried Madeira cake with manuka honey in the background.  Reducing the strength produces fragrant beeswax and a delicious bowl of mushy berries.The searching mouth texture finds every nook and cranny and finishes off with a sprinkling of white pepper.  Another great cask from this excellent vintage of Clynelish!

cragganmore 1993

13 year old Speyside 60.2 % vol

1 of only 265 bottles from cask 1906

Cragganmore Distillery is situated on the Ballindalloch Estate beside the Strathspey railway line. Founded in 1869, it has deservedly become one of Diageo’s flagship single malts. As a result, independent bottlings are both rare and highly sought-after.This bottling is from a refill American oak hogshead. On the nose we can find white raisins, possibly soaked in brandy, with some leather soap and caramelised oranges. With water, there is a hint of fresh toast, pear drops and citrus fruit - dried bananas and orange peel. The palate brings cold meat, fresh dates and a lovely mouth drying acidity to round off the finish.An excellent accompaniment to fish.

cragganmore 1993

15 year old Speyside 59.1 % vol

1 of only 268 bottles from cask 1907

From a refill sherry hogshead, the colour is mid amber, or deep gold with copper lights. It has retained its distillery character well – saddle soap, the skin on a rice pudding, orange peel and then fondant (i.e. Dolly Mixtures). Water adds to the complexity – and Craggers is a very complex Speyside: green banana skins, ripening as it opens; polished leather, and a trace of wax. The mouthfeel is smooth and slippery, with a sweet taste balanced by bright acidity. Clean, fresh, rounded and satisfying – and a first rate example of the make.

dailuaine 1983

27 year old Speyside 58.1 % vol

1 of only 219 bottles from cask no. 4319

A rare ex-sherry European oak hogshead had given this a gorgeous antique polished mahogany hue – one of the most appealing natural colours we have seen in a whisky for a long time. Beading fades fast, but big blebs. A first scent of madeira cake, with maraschino cherries; then a trace of Oloroso sherry. An unctuous mouthfeel and a sweet start, then tannic-dry – European oak, but without any sulphur: long warming and pleasant at cask strength. A drop of water opens and freshens it, with polished wood and pine resin; more than a hint of over-cooked Xmas cake. A slightly teeth-coating texture, a rich, tannic taste and a long finish with lingering dry sherry. Superb!

dailuaine 1983

27 year old Speyside 55.9 % vol

1 of only 189 bottles from cask no. 4318

Another rare Spanish oak refill hogshead, with a rich amber colour. The nose explodes with lovage, curry, walnuts a hint of vanilla, basil, tinned tomatoes, pineapple, Black Cavendish pipe tobacco, cherry brandy, and marzipan. Robust to taste, with the Dailuaine characteristic meatiness, then sweetness, and a few lurking peanuts. After water is added, nutty chocolate, a little coal smoke; sweetness increases when tasted, old canvas tents spring up in the background, great texture. Drinks very well either straight or with dash of water. Smooth and oily, a cracker!

dalmore 1990

17 year old Highland 59.7 % vol

1 of only 590 bottles from cask 7327

Dalmore is a big, oily whisky, but this example holds back its innate character until the end. The refill butt has given it a first aroma of dried fruit-cake, becoming more juicy and fruity as it develops in the glass, with coffee dregs and crystalline sugar. The taste at this stage is sweet and nutty (Brazil nuts), with distinct Grappa notes. Water continues the theme into panacotta – the Italian sponge-cake with nuts and dried fruit. Also creamy rice pudding, and a curious citric note after a while (Seville orange?); the tell-tale oiliness which is Dalmore’s hall-mark is only apparent at a certain sage of dilution. The spirit is lively on the tongue, even at reasonable dilution, almost spritzich. It has a sweetish start and a bitter-sweet finish with lingering chocolate in the aftertaste.

fascadale batch 1

10 year old Island 46.0 % vol

1 of only 3797 bottles

A specially selected 10 cask batch from a single Island distillery, this highlights the best of the West – “ship’s haven”, Fascadale lies on the north-west point of the rugged, and timeless, Ardnamurchan peninsula. Its hidden, pebbled beach looks West and North towards the islands of Eigg, Rum, Muck and Skye. Whispered tales of smuggling abound…

fascadale batch 2

10 year old Island 46.0 % vol

1 of only 3746 bottles

A specially selected 10 cask batch from a single Island distillery, this highlights the best of the West – “ship’s haven”, Fascadale lies on the north-west point of the rugged, and timeless, Ardnamurchan peninsula. Its hidden, pebbled beach looks West and North towards the islands of Eigg, Rum, Muck and Skye. Whispered tales of smuggling abound…

fascadale batch 3

12 year old Highland 46.0 % vol

1 of only 1471 bottles

Fascadale lies on the north-west point of the rugged, and timeless, Ardnamurchan peninsula, just a few miles from the location for Adelphi’s new distillery – The Ardnamurchan Distillery – which should be built by the end of 2013. Fascadale’s hidden, pebbled beach looks West and North towards the islands of Eigg, Rum, Muck and Skye. Whispered tales of smuggling abound…

fascadale batch 4

12 Year Old Highland 46 % vol

1 of only 1396 bottles

Fascadale lies on the north-west point of the rugged, and timeless, Ardnamurchan peninsula, just a few miles from the location for Adelphi’s new distillery – The Ardnamurchan Distillery – which should be built by the end of 2013. Fascadale’s hidden, pebbled beach looks West and North towards the islands of Eigg, Rum, Muck and Skye. Whispered tales of smuggling abound…

glen elgin 1978

27 year old Speyside 47.5 % vol

1 of only 208 bottles from cask 4512

glen elgin 1978

30 year old Spesyide 46.9 % vol

1 of only 159 bottles from cask no. 4511

Dark, brooding gold in colour with a lovely “old rancio” nose to start. Ever-changing, like all good, old whiskies, first apricots with a hint of balsamic vinegar (all taken in an old library), then assorted glace fruits, greengages, over-ripe figs, now macerated fruits and a rich banana cake. Finally, a bowl of slightly burnt rice pudding.To taste, plenty of sherbet, cooked pears, sour plums, caramelized sugar and a hint of mint.On the finish, waxed apples, tobacco pouch and lingering sherbet. A very complex elderly whisky from this Top Class distillery.

glen elgin 1991

16 year old Speyside 55.1 % vol

1 of only 566 bottles from cask 2599

Glen Elgin is highly regarded in the whisky trade, but it is not commonly encountered, being very popular with blenders. Since 1930 it has been licensed to White Horse Distillers. Unusually, this example comes from a first fill ex-sherry butt, which has given it the colour of pale mahogany. It also has unusually good beading. The first nose is exquisite: thick Devon cream with soft fudge fruit & nut (raisins and almonds). As might be expected from such a cask, there is a distinct scent of match-box striker when water is added, but this soon blows off to reveal Highland Toffee, with a trace of braised fennel. It has a big, chewy, texture, and an overall sweetness to taste, with wafts of brimstone and a tannic finish.

glen garioch 1990

20 year old Highland 54.9 % vol

1 of only 234 bottles from cask no. 2691

Deep gold with excellent beading, we are already assuming a great texture to this whisky.Tell-tale ginger, spices and even ginger cake on the nose. Being an older whisky, the development continues: now, maturation warehouse, Green and Blacks dark chocolate, with oak lactones turning this to bitter chocolate.A little water introduces old fashioned tents and hemp ropes (possibly some phenols), pear drops and fresh apricots.More ginger on the tongue (spicy), with red peppers and dried orange peel.A warming tea time dram with ginger cake.

glen garioch 1990

17 year old Highland 55.8 % vol

1 of only 285 bottles from cask 2689

The distillery does not stand in a glen, but it is seated among the rolling pastures of ‘The Garioch’ (pronounced ‘Geerie’), some of the best farm-land in Aberdeenshire. This example of its make comes from a refill hogshead, and the whisky’s colour is bright amber. There is some nose prickle, then an aroma which reminded us of ‘pre-mix lemon meringue pie’ – both sweet (icing sugar) and fresh (lemon curd and peel). It has a cleanness, combined with a very slight phenolic component, akin to lint bandages, and when water is added, this emerges as sphagnum moss, and even lint smeared with Savlon cream. Behind this there is both baked pear and tinned pear. The taste is sweetish, clean and fresh, with some lingering acidity and a trace of smoke in the finish.

glen garioch 1990

19 year old Highland 53.8 % vol

1 of only 234 bottles from cask no. 2697

This American oak hogshead has given the whisky a lovely warm gold colour, and there is promise of good mouthfeel from the generous beading.On the nose we are reminded of soft vanilla cake with pears and apricots, then a good dose of marzipan and almonds.Immediately spicy on the tongue with a thread of gingernut and coconut biscuits (ginger is usually found in proprietary bottlings), becoming more akin to macaroons.As suggested by the beading, there is a lovely velvety mouth texture, becoming more oily and perfumed with the addition of a little water. The finish is medium length, nicely balanced, leaving a warming gingernut taste. An excellent aperitif or tea-time warmer. 

glen grant 1985

25 year old Speyside 55.0 % vol

1 of only 185 bottles from cask no. 10192

From a first fill ASB, this is a deep gold colour.A beautifully rounded nose of apricot sponge, rich fruits (possibly gooseberries), with Dundee cake and vanilla ice cream drizzled in butterscotch. Behind, a hint of freshly sawn oak.Unreduced, it lights up the taste buds with a lovely spiciness, slightly mouth drying with a hint of sandal wood.A dash of water brings up a more perfumed nose – fragrant blossom, oaky notes and ripe bananas.Velvety smooth on the palate, some acidity and a light sweetness with a rounded mouthfeel and medium to long finish.

glen grant 1985

23 year old Speyside 55.9 % vol

1 of only 191 bottles from cask 10197

Proprietary bottlings of Glen Grant come from much refilled casks and are frankly somewhat anaemic, which is a shame: it’s a Top Class malt. This one has been drawn from a first-fill ex-Burbon barrel and is a gorgeous polished chestnut hue, like a fresh conker. The beading is excellent. Butterscotch, vanilla toffee, Walls ice cream (melted), with an increasing jammy aroma: we summed it up as ‘raspberry ripple’ ice cream. The vanilla ice cream comes through in the taste (unreduced), with milk chocolate and cocnut in the aftertaste (the green Quality Street sweeties!). Water develops estery, Speyside notes, with hints of coconut and orange zest. The texture (reduced) is soft, and the taste a nice balance of sweet and sour, with coconut returning in the aftertaste.

glen grant 1985

22 year old Speyside 62.1 % vol

1 of only 167 bottles from cask 10184

Glen Grant was one of the earliest to be made widely available as a single. Today it is usually found as a pale 10YO. Not this one. It is drawn from a first-fill, ex-bourbon Hogshead and has the colour of old polished mahogany. The nose is prickly and takes a while to yield its secrets: first red wine vinegar, then glacé cherries, glacé kumquats and angelica root, and finally vanilla sponge. Water opens it considerably: fragrant jasmine tea, fondant sweets, and still some glace fruits (now greengages?). The fruits come through delectably – very sweet, but vivacious and even peppery. Creamy but light in the mouth with a long, sweet finish.

glen keith 1991

20 year old Speyside 59.9 % vol

1 of only 138 bottles from cask no. 73667

From an American oak ex-bourbon barrel. Pale amber with light beading, but big beads.Some nose prickle to start with; underneath, a light fruitcake, with dried apricots and  angelica. Soon becomes denser – now alcoholic trifle, with custard, sponge fingers, maraschino cherries and cream. The nose continues to open, now somewhat nose-drying with a very interesting earthy note.Sweet and fruity (boiled sweets), to taste, with a trace of white chocolate in aftertaste.More estery with water: warm vinyl, wildflowers (light fragrance), Sweet and pleasant.An ideal tea-time dram with a trace of blackcurrant in the after-taste.

glen keith 1991

21 Year old Speyside 53 % vol

1 of only 228 bottles from cask no. 85170

An active American oak barrel from this recently re-opened distillery. Lemon lights with a very good bead, indicating good texture.A prickly nose feel to start, soon mellows to present scents of white grapes and Riesling wine – very unusual and quite refreshing. Delicate and shy to start, then buttery lemon drizzle cake.Tasted at full strength it is both soft and mouthfilling, sweet and perfumed: “Love Hearts”, sherbet and slightly spritzich. It needs only a little water, becoming slightly mineralic and bringing a hint of lychees.In the mouth, it remains fresh, a little less sweet but more acidic with a delicate chocolate fondant finish.

glen scotia 1991

14 year old Campbeltown 61.6 % vol

1 of only 258 bottles from cask 1071

Glen Scotia has always been the poor relation of Springbank, and its make is inconsistent – which makes it all the more exciting when you find an exceptional cask! This example, is from a refill hogshead and is pale gold in colour. At natural strength, the nose is of French apple tart, but made with Granny Smith apples (slightly acidic), and a hint of icing sugar with lemon juice. The nose remains fresh when water is added, joined now by wood shavings and a light vanilla toffee note. There is a trace of smoke (char) behind and a curious meaty (haggis) note. The mouthfeel is oily, with an attractive balance – light sweetness, drying to slightly bitter, with a lingering nutty flavour and a slight medicinal trace (Elastoplast). Sweet tobacco in the development.

glen scotia 1992

13 year old Campbeltown 66.8 % vol

1 of only 186 bottles from cask 434Bottled Specially to commemorate the 700th Anniversary of the Enthronement of King Robert the Bruce

Glen Scotia has always been the poor relation of Springbank, and its make is inconsistent – which makes it all the more exciting when you find an exceptional cask! This example, from an American barrel, is the colour of Golden Syrup, with copper lights. At natural strength, the nose is reminiscent of French apple tart (sliced and glazed), with a curious Elastoplast aroma behind; water raises oak lactones and fresh wood shavings (sandalwood rather than oak), and scent of natural varnish, like a cabinet maker’s workshop. The flavour is warming, with a slightly oily mouthfeel; sweetish then drying and peppery, leaving a lingering woody taste. Peppermint toffees in the development.

glen spey 1977

28 year old Speyside 51.2 % vol

1 of 154 bottles from cask 3655

Glen Spey Distillery was built at Mill of Rothes in 1884, and sold to Gilbey's, the gin people, two years later. It plays a key role in the popular J&B blends, and as a result is not commonly seen as a single malt today. This is the best example of the make we have ever encountered. It comes from a refill hogshead, which has preserved the original character of the spirit, without dominating it with wood-notes. The colour is yellow, 'faery' gold; the first nose of fragrant oil, the kind you use for polishing the stocks of shot-guns. Behind this, tinned peaches and Fruit Gums, and beyond this, after a while, white candlewax. It drinks very well at natural strength: smooth and sweet, with a trace of camphor. Water transforms the above aromas into apple dumpling (with a suet crust), even spotted dick and possibly apple-flavoured Chewits. The texture is pleasantly viscous and unusually mouth-drying; soft and sweet, and having an unusual 'spice-drawer' flavour, leaving a memory of apple dumpling.

glenallachie 1973

36 year old Speyside 48.1% % vol

1 of only 201 bottles from cask no. 1873

Glenallachie is uncommon, and can be very good. This venerable example is drawn from an American oak hogshead and its character owes more to the wood than the spirit. The strength is low – it drinks well straight – and the colour a deep copper-gold. The first impression on the nose is rich and unctuous; scented oil (hair lacquer, Brylcream), sandalwood and tinned fruit salad. The taste is old fashioned, a reminder of how whiskies tasted long ago: canvas, guy ropes, a distinct whiff of coal smoke; sweet (crystalline coffee sugar) and slightly mouth drying. A drop of water raises fruity and waxy notes – stewed gooseberries in suet dumpling, then stewed apples. A smooth texture and a taste reminiscent of old Calvados. Sweetish to start, with some spice and mouth-drying liquorice; a long finish, and distinct cloves in the aftertaste. Complex and interesting.

glenlivet 1968

40 year old Speyside 51.0 % vol

1 of only 139 bottles from cask no. 5252

40 years in a single cask is very rare for any Scotch whisky, especially one so noble as Glenlivet. When the maturation is a gentle as this particular cask, you know that you are in for a treat!Rich, glowing gold with amber lights, the nose is immediately of expensive Tokajii. Very tangy, deep rancio, mashed bananas, sweet sherry, chocolate orange and Cointreau. Changing with every nose, this soon becomes tinned pineapples, then baked pineapples, Upside Down Pudding and Sloe Gin. Underneath, a more meaty nose with mint sauce, a lively vinegar and a hint of sanded wood and tobacco – definitely some distant smoke here.At natural strength this is truly medicinal, mouth drying, minty, herbal sage becoming progressively sweeter with toffee. A little water brings out sour fruits, then lively green fruits, a hint of Hessian, bung cloth and light licorice and fennel.A long, long, creamy finish as you would expect from such a “King ‘o Malts”, with lingering sage stuffing and dried Christmas fruits. One to truly cherish.

glenlivet 1977

26 Year Old Speyside 57.0 % vol

1 of only 192 bottles from Cask 13120

This Adelphi example of the 'King O'Malts' has wonderful beading (bubbles when shaken) giving a clue that the cask has been a benign influence on the spirit. The nose confirms this as it is very mellow with rum, toffee and orangery notes initially. Given a little more oxidation, burnt sugar and freshly ground Kenyan coffee emerge. With water, the sweetness is accentuated as peach melba, banana toffee and later creme brulee bursts through. The taste is smooth, oily and chewy with a water melon aftertaste. An afternoon aperitif dram – perfect for watching the Olympics

glenlivet 1977

26 Year Old Speyside 57.0 % vol

1 of only 192 bottles from Cask 13120

This Adelphi example of the 'King O'Malts' has wonderful beading (bubbles when shaken) giving a clue that the cask has been a benign influence on the spirit. The nose confirms this as it is very mellow with rum, toffee and orangery notes initially. Given a little more oxidation, burnt sugar and freshly ground Kenyan coffee emerge. With water, the sweetness is accentuated as peach melba, banana toffee and later creme brulee bursts through. The taste is smooth, oily and chewy with a water melon aftertaste. An afternoon aperitif dram – perfect for watching the Olympics

glenlivet 1978

31 year old Speyside 53.9% % vol

1 of only 163 bottles from cask no. 13515

This example of RLS’s ‘King o’Drinks’ is a-typical in some respects, but classic in others. It has a gorgeous copper-gold colour, derived from an ex-bourbon hogshead, and heavy beading. The first impression is of fruit salad with maraschino cherries; behind this a soft pastry base, then slightly burnt chocolate brownie, then (curiously) sphagnum moss and lint bandages. After a while it settles to coconut and almonds, the former coming through in the taste at full strength. Water changes it again, towards barley sugar and citric boiled sweets, with a waxy background. The texture is very smooth; the taste not as sweet as expected, some salt but still dominated by coconut. Appetising and fresh for its years, with treacle toffee in the development.

glenlivet 1978

29 year old Speyside 52.1 % vol

1 of only 193 bottles from cask 13503

The grand-daddy of them all! And this cask has reached grandpa age, in whisky years. It is an American oak hogshead and has a glorious polished mahogany hue. A fresh nose, with Speyside pear-drops. Marshmallows behind and mellow soft fruits, brown apples, desiccated coconut and marzipan. Eve’s pudding? Surprisingly lively for its age at natural strength, although more wood-notes emerge when water is added: varnished wood, the inside of an old desk drawer. After a while the fruitiness returns in the form of apple-flavoured Chewits. ‘A warm summer’s day among whin bushes’. The taste is much sweeter than the nose suggests, with tablet (Strathavon Toffee), grated coconut and boat varnish, but also fresh and tingling. Mellow but vibrant.

glenlivet 1980

23 year old Speyside 50.6 % vol

1 of only 241 bottles from cask no 13743

Described by Robert Louis Stevenson as 'the King O'Malts', The Glenlivet has enjoyed a high reputation since the 1820s. This stylish example is drawn from a hogshead and has a pale amber colour. The nose is rich and fruity – fruit salad and fruit salad chews; oranges, peaches, apricots, applies and sun-dried tomatoes were all identified, along with almond paste, gorse flowers and coconut milk. The latter increased when water was added and was joined by fresh plumbs and pain au chocolat (with a slightly burnt base). The mouth-feel is voluptuous and mouthfilling; the primary taste sweet then dry, and the overall flavour; Ferrero Rocher chocolates. A long, comforting finish and overall a sophisticated and classy malt. Drink when you’ve time to appreciate it.

glenlivet 1980

23 year old Speyside 50.6 % vol

1 of only 241 bottles from cask no 13743

Described by Robert Louis Stevenson as 'the King O'Malts', The Glenlivet has enjoyed a high reputation since the 1820s. This stylish example is drawn from a hogshead and has a pale amber colour. The nose is rich and fruity – fruit salad and fruit salad chews; oranges, peaches, apricots, applies and sun-dried tomatoes were all identified, along with almond paste, gorse flowers and coconut milk. The latter increased when water was added and was joined by fresh plumbs and pain au chocolat (with a slightly burnt base). The mouth-feel is voluptuous and mouthfilling; the primary taste sweet then dry, and the overall flavour; Ferrero Rocher chocolates. A long, comforting finish and overall a sophisticated and classy malt. Drink when you’ve time to appreciate it.

glenlivet 1991

15 year old Speyside 59.9 % vol

1 of only 258 bottles from cask no. 55486

The Glenlivet was the first malt to win a reputation beyond Scotland, and the first distillery on Speyside to be licensed. This cask, a re-fill sherry hogshead, has given its contents a glorious deep amber colour, although the first impression on the nose is not overly oaky. Rather, we were reminded of rum and raisin ice cream, then sultanas or prunes swollen in liquor, glace fruits (particularly orange peel), nuts and fruit-cake mix, and behind this some scented wood (cedar balls). A little water brings out a light boat-varnish aroma, but retains the fruitiness and cedar-wood, but be careful how much you add. A big mouthfeel; very sweet flavour to start, then drying gently to a medium-length finish. The overall impression is subtle and reserved: a genteel example of this make.

glenlivet 1994

14 year old Speyside 61.0 % vol

1 of only 560 bottles from cask 61416

A stately example of ‘The King o’Malts’! Bottled from a first-fill ex-Oloroso butt, the colour is deep umber with crimson lights, like polished rosewood. Surprisingly light beading, given its ABV. Some nose prickle, with a distinct ginger edge – ginger snaps and syrup sponge – edging towards Scotch trifle (sherry-soaked sponge, tinned peaches, custard, cream). Rich and rounded, and not at all dominated by the wod. Water introduces an unexpected hint of celeriac or fennel, with chopped walnuts and the slightest hint of struck matches. A smooth mouthfeel, the taste starting sweet then drying; mouth-drying overall, with nuts in the aftertaste.

glenlossie 1966

40 year old Speyside 50.0 % vol

1 of only 215 bottles from cask no. 3779

Glenlossie Distillery was doubled in size in 1971 when Mannochmore was built next door, and connoisseurs look for bottlings from ‘the old distillery’. Not only was this cask filled before the expansion, the whisky was made when Glenlossie still had its own floor maltings. The cask itself is a hogshead, and has given the whisky a rich amber, coppery, hue. The first nose is wonderfully fruity – tinned peaches and mandarins – surprisingly fresh for its age. There is more than a hint of oak, fresh sawn, with Bourbon notes, but the only indication of advanced age is a scent of Manilla envelopes and coated card. The flavour at natural strength is very sweet and soft. Water does not alter the aromatic profile, but changes the flavour dramatically – still fresh and clean, but now mouth-drying and somewhat mouth-cooling (like oil of cloves, especially in the aftertaste), with plenty of fresh oak and vanilla. A taste of the 60’s?

glenrothes 1969

41 year old Speyside 42.6 % vol

1 of only 297 bottles from cask no. 2

An incredibly old and rare European oak cask of Glenrothes. Very dark, almost rosewood with magenta lights.The initial nose is all about cola cubes and furniture polish; then Holy Communion: wafers, oxidized wine, recently polished church pews and old leather hymn books – damp and dusty.On the palate, bread and butter pudding with swollen sultanas and cold, creamy coffee with brown sugar and a slight hint of molasses.The flavour is changing all the time: Cointreau liqueur chocolates, or alcoholic Jaffa Cakes; black cherries, Cognac and toffee with a layer of bitter chocolate.No reduction required, just Sunday afternoon in a glass.

glenrothes 1980

25 year old Speyside 56.2 % vol

1 of 182 bottles from cask no. 7127

The Glen of Rothes reaches behind the village of the same name, and the distillery overlooks the village’s ancient cemetery. Its make is licensed to Berry Bros & Rudd, the distinguished London wine merchants. This is a superb example, but curious: it has the kind of deep polished mahogany colour we associate with sherry-wood, yet it is drawn from a hogshead, which are almost always made from American oak. The first nose is winey – like old Cognac - with grape pips, nuts and Christmas cake (iced, with marzipan). Delicious to taste straight – reminiscent of Cognac, with a hint of Friar’s Balsam. Water mellows it and introduces baked crab-apples and good quality furniture polish. The mouthfeel is smooth and full-bodied; sweet (again reminiscent of Cognac), but with traces of toffee and an aftertaste of vanilla pods. These are flavours one associates with American oak. A long, reflective finish; a perfect digestif dram.

glenrothes 1990

13 year old Speyside 59.6 % vol

1 of only 586 bottles from cask no 15355

Glen Rothes Distillery stands in the village of Rothes on Speyside, and has nothing to do with the ghastly New Town of the same name. Proprietary bottlings are all done by Berry Bros. & Rudd, the London wine merchants, and most of the distillery’s output goes in their famous blend, Cutty Sark. The colour of polished rosewood, this bottling has been done from a first fill sherry butt. The aromatic profile is similar to the Linkwood (Cask 4816); ‘melted butter prior to making an omlette, strong Highland cheddar cheese, traces of linen’, but it adds a perfumed wine note, like Burgundy or Malmsey. Water brings up crème brulee (with a pear base), treacle toffee and scorched linen. The flavour is smooth and sweet, then dry and tannic; rounded with some dried fruit and burnt sugar. Great with black coffee and dark chocolate.

glenrothes 1990

20 year old Speyside 58.6 % vol

1 of only 527 bottles from cask no. 12898

Mid-umber in colour points towards refill European oak maturation. Possibly polished old oak floorboards. A moderate bead. A sharp nose-prickle, then somewhat nose-drying with Kirsch-filled liqueur chocolates and Terry’s chocolate orange behind the alcohol. Water changes it dramatically: old-fashioned barber shop, polished leather, dried fruits and ginger snaps. A soft, smooth texture (mouth-filling), and a very sweet taste throughout, with traces of molasses and soft fudge, burnt sugar and fruit-cake in the lengthy finish. Walnuts in the aftertaste.A super-clean, sherried Glenrothes.

glenrothes 1990

13 year old Speyside 59.6 % vol

1 of only 586 bottles from cask no 15355

Glen Rothes Distillery stands in the village of Rothes on Speyside, and has nothing to do with the ghastly New Town of the same name. Proprietary bottlings are all done by Berry Bros. & Rudd, the London wine merchants, and most of the distillery’s output goes in their famous blend, Cutty Sark. The colour of polished rosewood, this bottling has been done from a first fill sherry butt. The aromatic profile is similar to the Linkwood (Cask 4816); ‘melted butter prior to making an omlette, strong Highland cheddar cheese, traces of linen’, but it adds a perfumed wine note, like Burgundy or Malmsey. Water brings up crème brulee (with a pear base), treacle toffee and scorched linen. The flavour is smooth and sweet, then dry and tannic; rounded with some dried fruit and burnt sugar. Great with black coffee and dark chocolate.

glenrothes 1991

21 Year old Speyside 55.5 % vol

1 of only 176 bottles from cask no. 5111

An unusual refill American oak ex-sherry hogshead has produced a burnished copper colour and an excellent bead.A fair amount of nose prickle to start with notes of cut grass that rapidly fade to mature cigars.  As it opens, we find a trace of mint humbugs and honeysuckle.A sweet start then slightly tannic (mouth drying), leaving a tingling sensation.At reduced strength the cigars have become cigar boxes, possibly even sandalwood with over-ripe tropical fruit and more sweet tobacco.It is also much sweeter with rich honey notes in the development.

glenrothes 1991 - sold out

22 year old Speyside 56.7 % vol

1 of only 168 bottles from cask no. 5115

Drawn from a refill American oak, ex-Bourbon hogshead, this has a lovely, inviting deep gold hue with good beading. An easy, mild and mellow nosefeel with a noble, rich and fruity nose, caramelised – tart tatin – but with a fresh, zesty note lending a trace of acidity and some Fino sherry behind. The typical tangy flavours of Glenrothes are also apparent, and possibly a hint of mature banana.A smooth texture and a wholly sweet taste, with kirsh cherry liqueur in the middle and a long warming finish. Water generates warm vinyl, a trace of wax, then a faint floral note (wallflowers?). The taste is smooth, sweet and well balanced; drying in the finish, leaving an aftertaste of almond slices.

glenrothes 2000

6 year old Speyside 56.5 % vol

1 of only 317 bottles from cask 2413

Famous for its use in the Cutty Sark blend, Glenrothes is a highly-respected Speyside distillery whose make takes sherry maturation particularly well.This is from a 1st fill sherry hogshead giving the whisky a wonderful polished rosewood colour even after only 6 years! With a Guinness bead (settling to frog spawn) you know that this is going to be a special whisky.A great, full-fudge nose with bags of raisins and almonds (even Cadbury’s Fruit & Nut), then through the Oloroso sherry stage and briefly, top class balsamic vinegar, before reverting to toffee (now treacle).Wow! The flavour at full strength is sweet, then dry with herbs and brimstone (the latter is very faint and blows off quickly).A little water is enough, retaining the vinegar note with burnt sugar and even the de-glaze after roasting game.A big mouthfeel: sweet start, tannic middle, long, dry finish with herbal notes. An exceptional, young whisky!

glenrothes 2000

8 year old Speyside 58.0 % vol

1 of only 309 bottles from cask 2414

By popular demand… another magnificent ex-sherry hogshead from Glenrothes Distillery. And possibly the best so far! Rosewood in hue, with crimson lights and a decent bead. A first nose of Caboc (Highland cream cheese rolled in oatmeal), then coffee cream with hazelnuts or coffee cake with buttery icing: incredibly mellow for its age, smooth and rounded. After a while a hint of pomegranate and fresh green plums. A dash of water raises Highland Toffee, then syrup sponge or brandy snaps with whipped cream; only a hint of brimstone. A sweet taste, but lively and spicy across the tongue – a delicious brandy-snap/ginger-snap combo, with an after-taste of syrup sponge – or cake mix with loads of butter. Exceptional!

glenrothes 2007

6 Year old Speyside 67.4 % vol

1 of only 327 bottles from cask no. 3520

For such a comparative youngster, in fact one of the youngest we have ever bottled, this unusual, Amontillado-coloured Speyside shows remarkable style and character. Interestingly, the beading is virtually non-existent despite the high strength.Given this high strength, there’s a surprising lack of nose prickle before the sweet shop opens – Werther’s Originals, McCowans Highland Toffee, a greased baking tray of toffees, chocolate éclairs and a suggestion of crème brulée with clotted cream on top.There is also fresh butter, apple sauce (for the pork roast) and ginger bread, developing into something with more of an after-dinner character:  slightly bitter chocolate, Camp coffee and warm space hoppers.Very warming, with an after taste of double cream and a big kick of sherry.

glenrothes 2007

6 year old Speyside 66.6 % vol

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glentauchers 1990

15 year old Speyside 58.5 % vol

1 of only 179 bottles from cask 14429

The make from Glentauchers is not common – the last time it was bottled by its proprietor was in 2000 – and four independent bottlings from the same year as this one (1990) are fondly remembered. This cask is a U.S. hogshead, and the whisky’s colour is deep gold. The first impression on the nose is of dried fruits (including dried banana and glace orange peel), resolving into a light fruit cake complex, complete with toasted almonds and (later) icing sugar. Water freshens the nose, making its more estery and Speyside-like. Green apples, sherbet and fenel were all noted, and later a sweet fudge-like aroma (tacky meringue) and zabaglione. A creamy mouthfeel, with a sweet start, giving way to pleasant acidity; surprisingly warming (in the mouth and down the gullet) and peppery on the tongue, finishing on the long side of medium. Drink with hard cheese.

highland park 1981

24 year old Island 55.8 % vol

1 of only 247 bottles from cask no. 6088

Difficult to tell from the deep amber colour of this whisky whether it comes from a sherry butt or a bourbon hogshead (actually, it’s the latter), and the nose gives little away. The first scent is reminiscent of sewing-machine oil (a light mineral aroma) with a whiff of smoke in the background, as if the sewing machine had been over-worked! Soon this changes to ‘flaking varnish’ – an old, clinker-built rowing boat in the sun – and later a scent of fudge, with dried heather roots and extinguished bonfire. The smoky element comes through well when tasted at natural strength. Water opens it up and makes it more floral (jasmine?), and the oil now has a heavier scent. The mouth-feel is big and oily; the taste sweet to start, with some acidity, drying pleasantly with a thread of smoke in the finish. A big, manly dram, and an excellent example of the make.

highland park 1986

26 Year old Orkney 47 % vol

1 of only 287 bottles from cask no. 1011

A refill American oak hogshead, still with plenty volume remaining. The polished brass colour indicates reasonable activity, while the almost non-existent bead is to be expected at this sub-48% strength.A mellow nose of singed orange peel, with ash in the background, becomes an old drinks cabinet, possibly containing a leaking bottle of vermouth.In the mouth it is sweet then immediately salty, as you would expect from Highland Park,  with light allspice and a smoky wax jacket in the finish.At reduced strength it becomes slightly musty with dried cranberries.  Sweeter and less salty with a fragrant winey aftertaste reminiscent of the Moscatel grape.

highland park 1992

13 year old Island 65.2 % vol

1 of only 561 bottles from cask 20361

highland park 1995

15 year old Island 55.4% % vol

1 of only 299 bottles from cask no. 1477

A very bright mid-amber with golden notes and excellent beading.The initial nose is all about brown sugar and treacle, possibly even molasses. This richens to dark tablet and burnt sugar with a delicate thread of smoke in the background. Even richer on the palate with plenty of smoke now: hessian sacks, singed sheep’s wool (Hebridean) and a waxy smoked cheese coating. Water introduces some brine notes – memories of standing on a wind swept beach on the north coast.A lovely mouthfeel – all sweetness and smoke, drying to a long finish.

highland park 1997

13 year old Island 58.0 % vol

1 of only 263 bottles from cask no. 981

Mid gold, with khaki lights and a fine, moderate bead. A slight nose prickle with chocolate malt and hessian, when nosed on warm hands. At first in the glass, the aroma is of chocolate boxes (possibly cherry liqueur chocs) later some fondant and dry peat. A very pleasant texture with a sweet initial taste, drying with sackcloth and ashes in the aftertaste. Water continues chocolates, fondant and ashes, with maritime under-notes on the nose. The texture is soft, the taste lightly sweet to start, with some salt and a whisper of peat in the warming finish.

inchgower 1980

24 year old Speyside 60.4 % vol

1 of only 574 bottles from cask no. 14152

inchgower 1980

26 year old Speyside 59.8 % vol

1 of only 223 bottles from cask 14155

What an incredible colour! Molasses with magenta lights; Coke and crimson… The first-fill ex-sherry butt has done the business, and only yielded 223 bottles. Concentrated nectar. The nose is cherries covered in dark chocolate and treacle toffee, but dry overall, and nose-drying. The taste at natural strength is big and sweet, with traces of brimstone and a long bitter-chocolate finish. Curiously mentholated and mouth-cooling as well. Water raises sulphur initially, but this soon blows off, leaving a roasting tin, de-glazed with red wine and redcurrant jelly after over-cooking a rib of beef or a haunch of venison. The taste at reduced strength holds up well, with a big mouth-feel, tannic dryness, a very long finish and a lingering taste of dark chocolate. A massive whisky, and one to savour long into the night!

inchgower 1985

19 year old Speyside 55.5 % vol

1 of only 257 bottles from cask no. 5677

This cask of Inchgower has been drawn from an American oak hogshead, and the colour is an attractive orange-gold. The first impression was of wax floor polish, immediately giving way to a jolly bowl of fruits (Chinese gooseberries, common gooseberries, orange peel), with wild roses (sweet briar, rolling tobacco). With water the nose becomes more waxy – now candles, with traces of oil or butter – and sweeter (tablet). The latter comes through strongly in the flavour, which is sweet to start, with a thick mouthfeel, drying pleasantly, with masculine, leathery, old flashioned tastes.

inchgower 1985 rolf kaspar bottling

19 years old Speyside 60.7 % vol

1 of only 227 bottles from cask no. 5664specially bottled for Rolf Kaspar GmbH, Limburg 2005Inchgower The distillery was built in 1871 in an area renowned for illicit distilling. Although it is described as a Speyside, it is a long way from the region on the Moray Firth, near the fishing port of Buckie. A rich orange-gold colour, you could easily believe that this was from a sherry cask. However, the nose tells a different story. Thick, almost industrial floor wax reminiscent of well-polished old floors, gives way to tangy orange peel and sweet coconut. There are also traces of briar wood and tobacco pouches. With water, more wax, but much sweeter. Moorish marzipan flavours on the palate last for an eternity, with a dash of orange marmalade and old-fashioned “medicine bag” leather to finish.

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invergordon 1964

41 year old Highland 47.1 % vol

1 of only 105 bottles from cask 57637

invergordon 1966

46 Year Old Highland 51.5 % vol

1 of only 257 bottles from cask no. 4

An intriguing look at an extremely rare and mature single grain whisky from this famous northern distillery. A mid amber colour with copper lights and a light bead.Alcoholic fruit salad to start, possibly even rum toft. Bags of coconut and caramel behind this, with a thread of linseed oil.The fruit salad returns, now as orange peel soaked in brandy or even Bourbon.A very thick mouth feel with milk chocolate and Highland toffee drying in the finish.Water introduces fresh oil paints and cigar box with memories of a warm summer’s day in the sand dunes – possibly the coconut oil suntan lotion!An old and venerable whisky to be savoured over a long evening.

isle of jura 1996

12 year old Island 60.3 % vol

1 of only 217 bottles from cask 5191

A complex and somewhat unusual example of the make, well matured in a first-fill American barrel, which has imparted a rich golden hue. The first impressions are predominantly fruity – baked apple and plum, soon joined by an acidic note which may be pineapple, all on a pastry or flap-jack base. Behind these aromas is a hint of sphagnum moss – a very light medicinal smokiness. The latter becomes more apparent when water is added, becoming mineral-like (bathsalts?), while the fruit aromas become Dolly Mixtures or boiled travel sweets. There is a hint of sweet tobacco or dog-roses. The taste is sweet, with some acidity, a hint of white chocolate, then plenty of cask-derived coconut in the aftertaste.

laudale batch no. 1

12 year old Speyside 46.0 % vol

1 of only 3567 bottles

A specially selected 10 cask batch from a single Speyside distillery – “valley of the mountain streams”, Laudale nestles on the southern side of Loch Sunart on the Morvern peninsula. It is a place of pristine peace and beauty, where eagles soar and deer roam the rugged hills that rise steeply from the sea.

liddesdale 5

21 Year old single malt 46 % vol

1 of only 1498 bottles

LIDDESDALE is a large hill, just a few miles from the location for Adelphi’s new distillery – The Ardnamurchan Distillery – which should be built by the end of 2013.

liddesdale batch 1

18 year old Islay 46.0 % vol

Limited Edition Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Bottled from 5 refill European oak ex-sherry butts, the Liddesdale is the third whisky in Adelphi’s limited edition single malt range. Warm beaches, gun stock oil, burnt crystalline sugar and mince pies with brandy butter; a mouth coating sweetness drying to waxy Seville orange peel in a long finish.Named after famous landmarks on the Ardnamurchan and Morvern peninsulas, home to Adelphi’s owners, Liddesdale 18yr old Islay (Morvern) joins the award winning Laudale 12yr old Speyside (Morvern) and Fascadale 10yr old Island, now batch 2 (Ardnamurchan). LIDDESDALE, rising gently from the southern shore of Loch Sunart, Liddesdale Brae is steeped in folklore. Some speak of the “Devil’s Acre” where the old widow “sell’d her coo to the De’il”; nothing grows there. Others whisper of the “Fairie Knoll”, protected for all time by the “Deaf Shepherd” looking down from the skyline.

liddesdale batch 2

18 year old Islay 46.0 % vol

1 of only 1473 bottles

LIDDESDALE is a large hill, just a few miles from the location for Adelphi’s new distillery – The Ardnamurchan Distillery – which should be built by the end of 2013.

liddesdale batch 3

18 Year Old Islay46 % vol

1 of only 1432 bottles

LIDDESDALE is a large hill, just a few miles from the location for Adelphi’s new distillery – The Ardnamurchan Distillery – which should be built by the end of 2013.

linkwood 1984

26 year old Speyside 57.6 % vol

1 of only 113 bottles from cask no. 5266

Another woefully small amount from a Linkwood cask – a great shame, but the whisky is worth every last drop! Deep coppery gold with good beading. Immediately wine gums, Cape Gooseberries and Camp coffee (a coffee essence, once quite famous, made in Scotland to provide coffee on the move); behind these, school desks and polished church pews, with a whiff of coal dust in the distance. Water changes it, introducing a tart, lime-like scent (Pisco sour), with dusty coconut, tangy tangerine peel and Fruit Gums. Fresh, sweet and somewhat peppery to taste, with a return of the coal dust in the slightly dry finish. Medium length, but the flavour continues to develop.

linkwood 1984

26 year old Speyside 53.2 % vol

1 of only 216 bottles from cask no. 5269

From a fairly active refill European oak hogshead, this has a gorgeous polished mahogany hue. Give it time to open up, and develop: on the nose, After Eights, Simnel cake, fresh Cep mushrooms. Sweet on the mouth, typical Speyside, some Hessian, chocolate, good texture, brandy snaps on the back of the tongue lend an extra spiciness. With a wee dash of water, it opens up even more and becomes more fragrant. Candied orange peel, thyme and tarragon, burnt sugar and peppermint also appear. Very dark chocolate lingers at the end, with a hint of pepperiness. Still lively despite its age. A complex whisky which changes in the glass.

linkwood 1984

27 year old Speyside 53.3 % vol

1 of only 261 bottles from cask no. 5300

In the bottle: old polished mahogany, with scarlet lights – as if it had been wine finished, but we know that this one is from an unusual European oak ex-sherry hogshead. In the glass: Amontillado sherry. A mild nose; profound, but slow to give up its secrets: first sweet fondant, then crystallised plums, then bruised apples in calvados, with a whiff of candlewax. A drop of water loosens the aroma complex and introduces scents of warm vinyl/expensive motor cars. At natural strength the taste is sweet overall, with an aged mustiness in the aftertaste; water enhances the mouth-feel, reduces the sweetness and introduces an attractive spiciness. Now the aftertaste is of sugared almonds.A hint of smoke shows the true age of this fascinating whisky.

linkwood 1984

25 year old Speyside 56.4 % vol

1 of only 80 bottles from cask no. 1623

From one of our favourite distilleries, imagine our disappointment when only 80 bottles were forthcoming from this 25 year old cask.Rich gold in colour with good beading, promising good mouth texture, this has a lovely fresh fruit salad nose full of ripe strawberries. As with most older whiskies, there is a distinct rancio note (old warehouses), and an ever-developing complexity as the whisky breathes properly for the first time in ¼ of a century: raisins, ripe Gala melon, an Autumn forest (with the sun shining), a super-tempting, glazed fruit topped, French patisserie, then custard creams, apricots and vanilla pods.A delicate whisky to taste with some light coconut and an tell-tale thread of coal smoke (from previous malting techniques), drying on the finish. One to savour long into the night.

linkwood 1987

18 year old Speyside 52.3 % vol

One of 260 bottles from cask no. 4495

Many blenders would position Linkwood as the‘classic’ Speyside malt, and it has long been ranked ‘Top Class’. This is drawn from a refill American oak hogshead, which has given the whisky a deep gold colour, shot with bronze. A mild ose-feel, with only a trace of prickle, allows a deep, fruity/nutty aroma to emerge: dry fruit-cake, dates, slightly mouldy oranges and apricots, almonds (rather, dry marzipan), with honey behind. The whole complex it reminiscent of heavily botrytised wine. With water the fruitiness becomes less intense, but remains, now joined by brown sugar and fresh vinyl (new car fascias). The mouthfeel is pleasantly smooth; the flavour a nice balance – sweetish then dryish, with medium length and leaving an attractive aftertaste of almonds. Sophisticated and easy drinking whisky.

linkwood 1989

18 year old Speyside 55.6 % vol

1 of only 590 bottles from cask no. 7323

Linkwood is ranked Top Class and is usually matured in refill American casks. This example is from a first-fill, European oak puncheon, and has a gorgeous rose-wood hue as a result. The nose is subtly gingery. After a fruit-cake start, we began to think about ginger-bread and ginger snaps, and the whisky seemed to become sweeter in the glass, passing through brown sugar to molasses sugar – by which time we were detecting a soft leather tobacco pouch, filled with moist Virginia tobacco. The taste was of brown sugar, and quite tannic. Water relaxes the whisky, but doesn’t change its essential character, and the taste now is of brandy snaps, sweet and warming, with light tannins and a medium length finish.

linkwood 1990

16 year old Speyside 49.3 % vol

1 of only 566 bottles from cask 2599

Glen Elgin is highly regarded in the whisky trade, but it is not commonly encountered, being very popular with blenders. Since 1930 it has been licensed to White Horse Distillers. Unusually, this example comes from a first fill ex-sherry butt, which has given it the colour of pale mahogany. It also has unusually good beading. The first nose is exquisite: thick Devon cream with soft fudge fruit & nut (raisins and almonds). As might be expected from such a cask, there is a distinct scent of match-box striker when water is added, but this soon blows off to reveal Highland Toffee, with a trace of braised fennel. It has a big, chewy, texture, and an overall sweetness to taste, with wafts of brimstone and a tannic finish.

linkwood 1990

13 year old Speyside 56.1 % vol

1 of only 660 bottles from cask no 4816

A famous blending whisky, Linkwood is not that well known as a single malt. The distillery stands close to Elgin (‘The Malt Whisky Capital’) and was founded in 1820. The bottling is made from a refill sherry butt and has an attractive pale mahogany colour. The nose-feel is mild and the first aromas are of dried fruit (apricots and sultanas), fresh linen and scrambled eggs (often found in sherry-wood). The addition of a little water rounds off the aroma and introduces treacle toffee and liquorice, with some ground nuts and an interesting scorched cloth/ironing board note. The flavour is smooth and sweet, with the nuts and treacle toffee coming through; mouth drying (from tannins in the oak) and dry in the finish. An any-time dram.

linkwood 1990

13 year old Speyside 56.1 % vol

1 of only 660 bottles from cask no 4816

A famous blending whisky, Linkwood is not that well known as a single malt. The distillery stands close to Elgin (‘The Malt Whisky Capital’) and was founded in 1820. The bottling is made from a refill sherry butt and has an attractive pale mahogany colour. The nose-feel is mild and the first aromas are of dried fruit (apricots and sultanas), fresh linen and scrambled eggs (often found in sherry-wood). The addition of a little water rounds off the aroma and introduces treacle toffee and liquorice, with some ground nuts and an interesting scorched cloth/ironing board note. The flavour is smooth and sweet, with the nuts and treacle toffee coming through; mouth drying (from tannins in the oak) and dry in the finish. An any-time dram.

linkwood 1990

17 year old Speyside 48.0 % vol

1 of only 204 bottles from cask no. 9734

Another top class malt from this Top Class Speyside distillery just outside Elgin.Rich gold, with almost no beading.Immediately you are standing in a maturation warehouse, with an added nose of Russian Fudge, soft toffee, marzipan, prunes, apple Tarte-Tatin. This soon becomes coconut, sugared almonds and Bakewell Tart. Overall, soft and sweet with violets and Turkish Delight. With water, a hint of rosewater also comes through.On the palate, a light oiliness, sweet, then drying with caramelized yellow fruits on top of a tart and lingering persimmon.The perfect tea-time dram

lochside 1965

47 Year Old Highland

1 of only 552 bottles from cask no. 6779

The sister cask to last year’s wonderful, and very rare, “Single Blend” from this now defunct distillery. Also matured since birth as a blend of both Lochside grain and malt, this whisky arrived in an original Williams and Humbert shipping butt and has provided an astonishing 552 bottles at 54.6% after all these years of maturation.Dark copper in colour, with amber lights and polished mahogany and a medium bead.Tinned peaches with glace cherries, macerated dried apricots and figs and a trace of walnut cake. In the background some Mr. Sheen furniture polish and treacle toffee with apple balsamic vinegar.Very smooth in the mouth with marzipan, hessian and Pedro Ximenez – “Umami” in a glass. A rich and complex mouthfeel with astonishing depth.Rancio, old Armagnac, cedar wood and sesame seeds all in the development. This is very fresh and lively for its age and the finish lingers and lingers.

lochside 1965 single blend

46 year old Highland 52.3 % vol

1 of only 499 bottles from cask no. 6778

There are many extraordinary traits to this cask. Firstly it is from a distillery which no longer exists (closed in 1992); secondly it arrived in its original Harveys Bodega Spanish shipping butt complete with red seal; thirdly it still sports a hefty 52.3% alc/vol despite 46 years of maturation; and last, but by no means least, we managed to extract 499 bottles from the cask after all these years of angelic participation. The term “single blend” relates to the fact that Lochside had both Patent and pot stills, allowing them to distill both grain and malt whisky. Occasionally these makes would be blended at birth into single casks to mature together – this is one such cask.The European oak has given it a fantastic dark rum colour - and an extraordinary balance if you estimate a 50-50 malt-grain blend. Red fruit, cherries damsons, toffee, balsamic vinegar, dried figs, dates, sweet and balmy. Opulent, but elegant. Light, but luscious. Enigmatic. Italian white truffle, hazelnut and dark chocolate.Quite superb but we recommend that you do not reduce with any water.

longmorn 1985

27 Year old Speyside 53.2 % vol

1 of only 184 bottles from cask no. 8898

A refill American oak hogshead, fairly active judging by the full gold colour.  An excellent bead indicates good texture.A mild nose feel to start, slightly nose warming, with hints of soft ginger cake, peaches, apricots, and sea grass.  As anticipated, there is a smooth texture, quite teeth-coating. Plums and prunes dominate the taste with coconut in the finish.At reduced strength the ginger disappears and is replaced by a scent of almonds - almond slice. Now slightly waxy with a light oily base note.An overall soft texture, sweet with light acidity and considerable peppery spice across the tongue, and desiccated coconut in the finish.

longmorn 1985

28 year old Speyside 50.6 % vol

1 of only 247 bottles from cask no. 9077

Drawn from a refill American oak, ex-Bourbon hogshead, this has a pale gold hue with excellent beading.Initial slight nose prickle, in spite of its low ABV. A dense and fruity (mellow) nose; scented oil – slightly mineralic and Chablis-like - light toffee and raspberry boiled sweets, becoming more like a sweety shop as it opens; a dry note at the back. Rich, oily and mouth-drying after a sweet start, at full strength with fruits of the forest, even slightly tropical. It does drink very well at natural strength, but a little water opens it up a bit and introduces more pronounced fruity and dusty notes – both sweet and dry, with hints of white chocolate. This combination comes across elegantly in the taste, with a medium length, savoury finish.

longmorn 1990

20 year old Speyside 55.6 % vol

1 of only 193 bottles from cask no. 48429

Treacle gold in colour with great beading.An immediate nose of boiled sweets, honey, Opal Fruits, and gooseberries. These become more minty, even garden peas in mint.To taste, coconut sweet with a slight acidity and soft chocolate in the finish.With a little water, the nose becomes more flinty, almost Chablis-like. Then, elderflower with Laura Ashley fabric drying in a summer breeze!Tasted reduced, it is sweet to start, slightly drying with plenty of minerals on the finish. A lovely, creamy texture, a little caramel and just a hint of smoke carry the whole experience into a medium to long finish.

longmorn 1990

21 year old Speyside 53.3 % vol

1 of only 106 bottles from cask no. 30035

Sadly only 106 bottles were yielded from this ex-bourbon, American oak barrel.Good colour – 18CT gold – and good beading, with large blebs. Slight prickle.Almond oil, even dry marzipan, with juicy fruit salad (peach, pear, apple, banana, orange), but slightly artificial – like ‘fruit salad chews’. Nice texture at natural strength, with a taste like a (non sickly) Bounty Bar! Water releases more almond oil, with desiccated coconut and milk chocolate, perhaps a hint of sweet basil. A smooth texture; light sweetness, centre palate, with slight spiciness on the tongue, followed by cleansing bitterness and an aftertaste of coconut milk.

longmorn 1992

17 year old Speyside 53.6 % vol

1 of only 112 bottles from cask no. 48431

A Top Class malt which is rarely seen in proprietary bottlings, it has been drawn from a 1st fill ex-Bourbon hogshead, which has given it an unusually dark golden hue, even amber. The first nose is orangey, with earthy and spicy notes behind (we thought of horseradish), then a trace of light sponge and macaroons. A drop of water develops the citric note and increases its fragrance – Muscat grapes, wall-flowers, natural floor wax. A smooth, soft texture and a rounded taste, lightly sweet and lightly drying in the medium-length finish, leaving a lingering taste of desiccated coconut.

longmorn 1992

17 year old Speyside 53.9 % vol

1 of only 186 bottles from cask no. 48430

Our overall comment on this malt was ‘a sunny day in the Highlands’. The deep gold colour suggests that the ex-Bourbon hogshead it is drawn from is 1st fill. The first impression is gorse flowers, macaroons and almond paste, with fragrant jasmine behind, some ash, and after a while, light sponge. Water introduces a pine-like note, heather flowers, yielding to buttery tablet with tinned mandarins. The latter give a fresh acidity to the taste, which starts sweet, but not cloying and drying elegantly to a medium length finish. Well balanced and stylish.

longmorn 1992

20 year old Speyside 57.2 % vol

1 of only 286 bottles from cask no. 48433

Polished mahogany/mid amber from a first fill American oak, ex-bourbon hogshead. Moderate to good beading suggesting a good mouth texture.A light nose prickle, vibrant, with hard toffee (McCowan’s Highland Toffee) in the foreground and tinned tropical fruit salad gradually emerging, followed by scented candlewax. The latter becomes more pronounced with a dash of water (lanolin-oiled wool), comb honey and dried figs. The taste is sweet and mid palate at full strength, becoming smoother, and more mouth-filling and teeth-coating with water, with a sweet overall taste, and just a hint of brandy butter lingering in the long finish.

longmorn 1992

21 year old Speyside 52.1 % vol

1 of only 256 bottles from cask no. 48436

One of a number of recent Longmorn casks from 1992. This one is from an ex-sherry hogshead, most likely European oak.A rich copper colour, with very good beading and a gentle, lingering mousse.Cake mix and brandy butter are immediately apparent, this turning to Panettone – sponge cake with dried citrus peel, raisins and almonds.Initially, very sweet to taste with a super-smooth texture, then mouth drying as the tannins kick in.A little water adds butter into the mix, now with almond oil. The taste is not quite so sweet but brings in a vivid memory of Victoria Sponge cake – full of strawberry jam, with cream on top.Hot wood and toffee flavours remain in the finish.

longmorn 1992

20 Year Old Speyside 55.1 % vol

1 of only 215 bottles from cask no. 48432

Deep amber or even polished mahogany in colour with first rate beading, suggesting excellent texture in the mouth.Candied fruit – glacé and reconstituted apricots, sweet peaches, marmalade and orange peel, soaked in Gran Marnier; then ladies old fashioned face powder compact and scented face cream.Sweet on the taste, with dark chocolate fondant, becoming drier in the aftertaste.The addition of a little water turns the fruits more citric, adding a bitter orange note.The mouth texture increases with a bitter-sweet twist and lingering notes of dark chocolate.

macallan 1976

30 year old Speyside 45.3 % vol

1 of only 206 bottles from cask no. 2749

Classic Macallan comes from ex-sherry casks: the new make has an oily richness which matures perfectly in such wood, but with very old casks, such as this, the wood can take over completely. The first indication that this has not happened here is the colour – deep amber, with tawny and mahogany lights, indicating a re-fill cask (unusually this turns out to be an ex-sherry hogshead, not a butt). The nose has that wonderful ‘rancio’ note only found in venerable whiskies: rich and fruity, with orange peel and Coopers Oxford marmalade; alcoholic Christmas cake with marzipan, the latter moving towards Manilla envelopes after a while. A mild nosefeel, but still with vitality. The flavour at natural strength is cognac-like: sweet and fruity. Water adds some faded lavender to the mix, and natural turpentine, and the flavour now is sweet then gently drying in a very long finish, leaving an after-taste reminiscent of a maturation warehouse. A superb example of The Macallan at its prime.

macallan 1988

24 year old Speyside 52.4 % vol

1 of only 527 bottles from cask no. 13931As rare as “hens’ teeth”, this cask arrived in the warehouse to great excitement. A refill Spanish oak, ex-sherry butt, matured for 24 years and bottled at its prime.The traditional Macallan colour (mid amber) and a rich, mellow nose with classic Macallan style: at once fruity and resinous (wood resin, dried orange peel, other dried fruits), with a topping of crystalline brown sugar. The taste is drier than the nose, with dried fruits, bitter coffee and chocolate orange, and a tannic-dry mouthfeel. The finish is wonderfully long and pleasantly warming, mellow over all. A drop of water enhances and freshens the orange note, and deepens the overall aroma, introducing a hint of soft fudge. Enjoy!

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macallan 1988

16 year old Speyside 56.6 % vol

One of only 300 bottles from cask no. 4922

Having made a virtue of the ex-sherry cask for many years, Macallan has recently discovered that refill American wood presents a whole new range of aromas and flavours, deriving more from the excellent inherent character of the spirit, rather than the wood. We have long known this, and this cask is an example. The whisky is yellow-gold in colour and the first nose somewhat closed, but with a curious carnation note in the background. Water brings up the light coconut (even, later Bounty Bars) one associates with American oak, traces of Madeira cake (with Maraschino cherries), and an exotic trace of spice in the distance (Garam Masala?). The flavour is very sweet to start, with traces of cherry, drying in the medium length finish.

macallan 1990

16 year old Speyside 57.4 % vol

1 of only 399 bottles from cask 14995

Macallan is renowned for maturing its whisky in sherry casks, and this refill butt from 1990 is certainly traditional Macallan. Polished mahogany in colour, the initial nose is quite etheric, becoming richer with scents of tangy cherries and bitter-sweet Seville orange marmalade, even slightly caramelized. There is also a faint dustiness behind with a slight herbal note.Water freshens the nose considerably with zesty orange peel (again bitter-sweet). The flavour matches the nose, both sweet and then dry with a lovely texture, nicely balanced and refreshing. The dustiness returns with more water, but the cherries insinuate in the otherwise dry aftertaste. The sherry has not dominated this maturation, allowing the original character of the make to shine through. All in all, a lovely example.

macallan 1990

14 year old Speyside 53.9 % vol

1 of only 211 bottles from cask no. 10136

This has been drawn from a ‘traditional’ ex-sherry butt – a refill, so the distillery character has not been masked by the wood. The colour is amber and the first nose is of alcoholic fruit-cake – gloriously moist fruits to star, becoming more crumbly and drier after a while – then flowering currant bushes and a sharp fruity note like unripe red-currants or rowan jelly. There is little change to the aroma when water is added; it just beomes more relaxed. Perhaps a hint of fennel. The flavour, at both natural and reduced strength, starts sweet and finishes dry. Smooth and somewhat tannic, it has all the best characteristics of European oak, without the oft-encountered sulphury drawbacks.

macallan 1990

18 year old Speyside 52.8 % vol

1 of only 244 bottles from cask no. 1117

A rare refill sherry hogshead of 18yr old Macallan, a rich gold in colour with long legs and excellent beading.At first, a mild nose of bruised apples, then baked apples and brown sugar. A hint of matchbox striker, now madeirised with a dusting of chocolate and a rich, baked apple tart.At natural strength this is hot! Plenty of coconut, rich spices and mild licorice. With water, a fresher feel – some apple Chewits, Appletizer and burnt sugar. The mid-palate brings shows an oiliness with caramel, burnt orange peel and some lovely floral notes.The finish is fennel and licorice, mouthfilling with chocolate and aniseed lingering.

macallan 1993

17 year old Speyside 53.7% % vol

1 of only 279 bottles from cask no. 11641

A lovely amber colour with copper highlights – a product of good European oak maturation. We were amazed by the beading in this whisky, so long lasting that it was still going long after we had finished writing the notes.A mild nose feel gives way to French apple tart (open style), with soft and moist rolling tobacco. Now, baked apples and boiled sweets with a trace of almonds.Water accentuates the tobacco, possibly even a freshly opened cigarette box. The sweetness returns with apple sponge and custard in an extremely well-balanced palate.Lively on the tongue with lingering vanilla custard and fudge.

macallan 1995

14 year old Speyside 57.0 % vol

1 of only 268 bottles from cask no. 10450

This has come from, we believe, an American oak sherry hogshead given the range of flavours it displays. It is the colour of Golden Syrup, and the first impression on the nose is ‘ginger cake with Golden Syrup and whipped cream’. The latter grows more vanilla-like (dairy ice-cream), and the nose takes on a dry orange-peel note, with brittle toffee. Tasted straight, we found creamy caramel toffees, then a treacle-toffee bitterness. Water increases the caramel note and introduces a trace of tinned peaches and freshly ironed cotton. The taste now is very sweet, with a soft, rounded texture, bitter chocolate in the finish; somewhat gingery and tannic overall. A longish finish. An interesting example of the make.

macallan 1996

13 year old Speyside 58.8 % vol

1 of only 306 bottles from cask no. 1883

Matured in an American oak hogshead, this is a full gold colour with lingering beading.A massive nose of ice cream soda, coal dust, footbaths, burnt burgers on the bbq, and even hints of play-doh and Calpol! After a while, the tell-tale Bowmore minty toffee notes appear.Tasting straight, it is sweet then maritime, with plenty of charcoal.A little water brings up exhaust fumes, tea tree oil and Eucalyptus, and old mariners oil skins.An oily mouthfeel harbours more sweetness and saltiness and a smooth-textured, medium-length finish.

macallan 1997

14 year old Speyside 51.6 % vol

1 of only 216 bottles from cask no. 1046

Deep amber with crimson lights, or polished rosewood and excellent beading.Dried fruits with a hint of fresh apple (green) in the background. Starts to open up with polished leather, and a mixture of cedar and sandal wood – possibly individual cigar wrappers. A hint of burnt toffee also apparent.Tasted straight – a very thick mouthfeel, both sweet and tannic, and very warming. Water highlights the burnt toffee, bringing in ginger – possibly brandy snaps - and sandalwood notes, increases the mouthfeel and adds an even smoother texture, reducing the tannins.A lovely, traditional Macallan.

miltonduff 1980

26 year old Speyside 45.1 % vol

1 of only 124 bottles from cask 12501

Miltonduff is ranked ‘Top Class’ by blenders and is a key component in the Ballantine’s and Teacher’s blends. As a result little is available as a single – indeed, Allied Distillers, its owner, do not bottle the malt themselves.This 26 year old hogshead has only produced 124 bottles, and the whisky is a lovely rich, gold colour. On the nose, an enticing rum and raisin, even Mackie’s Honey Comb ice cream with a caramel topping. Then Bounty Bars, apple crumble with added cherries, nuts and cinnamon, and finally some coconut oil. Best tasted without water, this is mouth-filling with a rich texture and plenty of coconut and whipped cream in a medium to long finish.

miltonduff 1981

31 year old Speyside 53.8 % vol

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miltonduff 1982

30 Year Old Speyside

1 of only 244 bottles from cask no. 3714

A very old hogshead from one of Speyside’s Top Class distilleries. Old oak in colour with excellent beading, suggesting a good mouth texture.An initial nose of face cream and licorice with sweet tobacco and dark chocolate coming through.Behind this, cooked sultanas and more chocolate, becoming bread and butter pudding, with slightly burnt at the edges and crème fraiche. The sultanas are soon joined by tinned fruit as well – pears especially.The sweet tobacco note continues into the taste with coconut biscuits and hot chocolate drinking powder.A lovely antique, almost rancio style whisky for long contemplation.

miltonduff 1994

11 year old Speyside 57.0 % vol

1 of only 320 bottles from cask 10615

Miltonduff is ranked 'Top Class' by blenders and is a key component in the Ballantine's and Teacher's blends. As a result little is available as a single – indeed, Allied Distillers, its owner, do not bottle the malt themselves. The cask is a hogshead and the colour full gold. The nose at natural strength is immediately reminiscent of warm vinyl in a new car, but soon becomes custard-cream biscuits and then tarte tatin, with a shake of cinnamon. Water alters the apple aroma, making it at once more 'brown' (windfall russet apples) and synthetic (Chewit sweets); cut flowers wilting in a vase. The mouth-feel is unctuous – soft, creamy and mouth-filling. The tarte tatin comes through clearly, perhaps now with a 'dod o'cream'. Very well balanced and mature for its age.

mortlach 1987

24 year old Speyside 55.3 % vol

1 of only 226 bottles from cask no. 3209

An incredibly deep amber colour for an American oak, ex-bourbon maturation. Very good beading also suggests great texture.A rich and complex nose, with Scotch trifle – sponge soaked in sherry, with tinned pears and apricots, Maraschino cherries, raspberry jam, custard and thick cream, decorated with glace angelica root. A hint of cigar box after a while. Sweet then quite drying, to taste. Water makes the nose less sweet and introduces a tangy note (Cape gooseberries?) and a trace of dessicated coconut, which comes through in the taste - sweet and not so drying as before, with a hint of chocolate in the aftertaste. Noses well, straight; tastes better with a drop of water.

mortlach 1987

25 Year Old Speyside 56.1 % vol

1 of only 200 bottles from cask no. 3210

From an American oak hogshead with good beading. Autumn gold, almost chesnut in colour.Cooked fruits (slightly waxy) in a jammy sponge cake – apricots and pears to the fore.The jammy note increases with strawberries and a tangy Dundee marmalade and a hint of sweet pipe tobacco in the background.A huge texture in the mouth, sweet and inviting, with dark chocolate and more strawberry jam.Water brings back the waxiness and the fruits become tinned – now pears and melons.A complex, and rare example of well-aged Mortlach from American oak.

mortlach 1988

17 year old Speyside 51.5 % vol

One of 188 bottles from cask no. 3572

Mortlach was the first distillery to be founded in the ‘distilling capital’, Dufftown. It is a big, oily new make, although this cask - a refill hogshead – has mellowed and lightened it considerable, as well as lightly colouring its contents pale gold (flax or 9CT gold). It has a fresh-fruity nose, like a fruit salad made with Kiwi and melon, with an interesting linseed oil note behind (cricket bats) and beyond this a slight mossiness. Water advances the fruit (fruit soap?), and introduces a trace of cherry cake. The flavour is light and delectable, sweet to start, then drying gently; smooth, but not big in texture, leaving a lingering memory of pears. Like the Linkwood above, it is easy to drink, even refreshing.

mortlach 1990

16 year old Speyside 57.5 % vol

1 of only 492 bottles from cask 5947

Sometimes referred to as ‘The Mighty Mortlach’ on account of its overall weight of character (bestowed by a curious two-and-a-half distilling process and by the use of worm tubs), the make stands up well to European oak maturation. This is a perfect example: unusually, a first-fill ex-sherry puncheon. The colour is polished mahogany, the nose deeply fruity (oranges and plums in liquor; plum pudding; then, increasingly, prunes in syrup). The overall effect is slightly bosky, and when water is added this continues, although the fruit dries out somewhat (dried fruits and glace cherries). Interestingly, there is no trace of sulphur. The taste is deep and sweet, with a thick mouthfeel; not as mouth-drying and tannic as we would have expected, with dark chocolate in the lingering aftertaste.

mortlach 1990

17 year old Speyside 57.5 % vol

1 of only 516 bottles from cask no. 5945

Another Top Class Speysider, Mortlach is famously heavy in character, contributed by worm tubs and a curious distilling regime involving a small still called ‘The Wee Witchy’. It benefits from ‘sherrywood’ maturation, and this cask is just that: a first fill butt, which in 17 years has tinted its contents to the colour of old oak. Heavy beading. A mellow first nose with treacle toffee and moist, alcoholic Christmas Pudding. Long and sweet to taste, with vanilla toffee and bitter chocolate in the aftertaste – a winter warmer. Water doesn’t change the profile, adding some boat varnish and wax polish.  The texture is smooth and mouth-coating, with chocolate and toffee flavours, some tannin, and a curiously mouth-cooling aftertaste, like spearmint or menthol.

mortlach 1991

17 year old Speyside 57.0 % vol

1 of only 620 bottles from cask 4235

We all know how well Mortlach matures in European oak. This example comes from a refill butt and is a sun-bleached polished mahogany colour. It has mighty beading and a mellow nose. A classic ex-sherry butt nose: cake mix, with plenty of peel, glace cherries and butter and a shake of allspice; a hint of eggs and a development towards treacle toffee. Water increases the eggy/sulphury note for a moment, but this blows off to be replaced by baked apples. A big, smooth mouthfeel, at once mouth-drying and mouth-cooling; sweet to start, then the tannins kick in and it becomes coffee-bitter, with lingering treacle toffee. A perfect digestif.

night cap gift box batch no. 2

Batch no. 2

Clynelish 1997 14yr old Highland, 57.2% vol, cask #4721An ex-bourbon cask from this famous North East Highland distillery. Tropical fruit salad with a drizzle of heather honey. Fresh as the Brora breeze, smooth and waxy on the finish.

night capgift box batch no. 3

Batch no. 3

Clynelish 1995 16yr old Highland, 55.8% vol, cask #8668A rare, refill sherry butt. Deep amber; scented wax, saddle soap and bog myrtle. Highland toffee becoming Banoffee Pie, then Pineau des Charantes, angelica root and a lovely maritime influence.

north british 1962

50 year old Lowland 44.2 % vol

1 of only 173 bottles from cask no. 39

Only the 2nd time that we have bottled a whisky at this extreme age. Normally you would expect the wood to have taken over, but this has retained a perfect balance.Polished antique oak: very deep amber with no beading due to the low, natural alcohol strength. A first nose of ‘grog’ (taken from the nickname for Admiral Vernon C1749 who wore a coat of grogram – silk mixed with coarse wool – and introduced the idea of diluting rum with water and citrus juices to prevent scurvy amongst the British navy). It soon becomes more perfumed (face cream, make up remover), with butterscotch sauce and cigarette box (Virginia tobacco). Then, baked apples, with waxy skins, stuffed with over-ripe strawberries, and a dod of cream. The waxy note becomes furniture polish in time, with dark fudge in the development. A light sweetness to taste, with a scented middle and a relatively short finish, leaving an aftertaste of sugared almonds.A truly magnificent old whisky that rewards long contemplation to release the constantly developing flavours.

rosebank 1991

14 year old Lowland 53.3 % vol

1 of only 237 bottles from cask 2022

Sitting close to the River Forth between Edinburgh and Glasgow this was probably the finest Lowland distillery in Scotland. Sadly it was closed in 1993, and slowly, but surely the make is becoming harder to find.This 14 year old example is from a refill American oak barrel. Pale gold in colour it is fresh and fragrant on the nose with summery scents of washing up water and herbal shampoo. However, there is also a hint of liquorice or even black treacle in the background with acidic fruits, sherbet and boiled sweets to the fore. Water brings out more shampoo and some lychees, while the palate is mouth-cleansing, fresh and light.The perfect aperitif whisky.

rosebank 1991

14 year old Lowland 54.1 % vol

1 of only 217 bottles from cask 2051

Rosebank was always considered by connoisseurs to be the best of the Lowland malts; in spite of this great reputation the distillery was closed in 1993. This is a superb example of the make. Deep gold in colour (it is drawn from a refill American oak hogshead), the nose is rich, sweet and fruity. We detected moist lemon sponge, Madeira cake; syrupy tinned peaches and juicy oranges. Fragrant and summery – herb gardens and freshly laundered frocks. The last comes through as lemon washing up liquid even lemon-grass, when water is added, and there are traces of silver polish and Caramac. The flavour is ‘palate cleansing’: soft and sweet, with crisp acidity and still some lemon-grass. A very short finish, as one would expect from this malt. Drink as an aperitif, or chilled, with fish!

rossend castle

15 year old Single Malt 46.0 % vol

A Limited Edition of only 495 bottles

Rossend Castle is the oldest building in the ancient Royal Burgh of Burntisland, in the Kingdom of Fife, Scotland. Although its present name dates from the early 18th Century, at least as far back as 1383 the castle was owned by the Durie Family, who extended an older building. It was still in the family when Mary Queen of Scots stayed there in 1563, and was held by them until 1584. The current owners, the Hurd Rolland Partnership Chartered Architects, saved the castle from demolition in the 1960’s and carefully restored it to its former glory. The Durie Family has commissioned Adelphi to select this 15 year old single malt Scotch whisky commemorating their long and historic connection with Rossend Castle and the surrounding estates of Cunyngarland, Kinghorne Wester and Grange.Traditionally, Scotch whisky is matured in oak casks, previously used for Bourbon or Sherry, for a minimum of three years. The Adelphi nosing team, chaired by whisky expert Charles MacLean, is dedicated to finding the unique casks of Scotch whisky where the wood and whisky have “married” perfectly. For the Rossend Castle single malt, Adelphi has chosen just two casks, aged for 15 years, to be bottled at natural colour and unchill-filtered, retaining the maximum flavour and texture of the whisky. The colour is harvest gold, the nose is soft and rich, with pineapple chunks and spiced pears, and an intriguing waxy smokiness, reminiscent of both faded incense and allspice. These aromas hold together well when water is added, joined by oak lactones (whin bushes, coconut), a trace of lemon grass and soft brown sugar. The taste is very sweet and voluptuous, with a light acidity to lend freshness. Medium length finish, with oaky flavours lingering in the aftertaste. A near perfect balance of original and mature chacteristics.

royal brackla 1997 - sold out

16 year old Highland 56.8 % vol

1 of only 604 bottles from cask no. 675031

An unusually active Spanish oak, ex-sherry butt from this famous Island distillery. A polished mahogany hue and moderate beading.The nose is warm and drying and initially rather fruity, with macerated raisins, prunes in brandy, dried figs and dates.   This develops subtly, introducing top notes of sun-kissed seaweed, toasted brioche, Virginia plug tobacco and deglazed roasting tin (roasted cloves), with subtle, tantalising hints of cooked pineapple and tomatoes still on the vine.Better tasted without water, there is a long finish with white chocolate and oloroso notes.A most venerable after-dinner malt. 

slaney 1988

24 Year Old Irish 56.8 % vol

1 of only 180 bottles from cask no. 10516

Archibald Walker added Limerick Distillery in Ireland to his portfolio, which also included Loch Katrine Adelphi Distillery in Glasgow.As an homage to this, and the fact the current Adelphi has reached its 20 year milestone of independent bottling, we have been fortunate enough to extract a wonderful, and very rare cask from an unnamed distillery in Ireland.Matured in an American oak ex-Bourbon barrel, this is a rich copper colour with orange lights and a good bead.The orange colour continues into the taste, with an immediate nose of Seville oranges, orange zest, tangerines and tangerine oil, becoming Gran Marnier. Then, Rowantree blackcurrant Fruit Pastels, bung cloth and rancio.Very sweet to start with toffee and fudge, mango, papaya and guava – a peppery tropical fruit salad. Bitter almonds, macadamia nuts, blackcurrant juice and spice in the medium length finish.

slaney malt 1991

9 year old Irish 59.8 % vol

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springbank 1969

35 year old Campbeltown 58.8 % vol

 

1 of 425 bottles from cask no. 149 

springbank 1969

35 year old Campbeltown 58.8 % vol

 

1 of 425 bottles from cask no. 149 

springbank 1992

17 year old Campbeltown 54.3 % vol

1 of only 257 bottles from cask no. 132

There is always a sense of expectation when we find a Springbank, especially one with a little age, and this is no exception.Matured, unusually for this distillery, in an American oak hogshead, the whisky is a warming gold colour. Medicinal, slightly phenolic notes of Savlon and elastoplast give way to hard-worked Hornby train sets and fairgrounds. Now, some mineral notes coming through with dried seaweed to the fore, then tarry ships’ ropes and a lovely toffee sweetness.Incredibly robust and complex to taste, starting sweet, and becoming more tarry and oily with a huge mouthfeel. The oil soon becomes more earthy, possibly green olives, and now a hint of aniseed. The finish is maritime with a generous helping of brown sugar. This will not disappoint.

springbank 1996

16 year old Campbeltown 53.9 % vol

1 of only 220 bottles from cask no. 72

A rich golden syrup colour with excellent beading from a refill ex-sherry Spanish oak hogshead.A surprisingly mild nosefeel with fruit cake mix (Granny’s Christmas cake mix), seaweed and new hessian coal sacks in the background. Sweeter notes become apparent as the whisky opens: black cherries, thick cream and meringue (slightly burnt). All the time becoming smokier – a very well mannered but old fashioned example of this famous make.A very smooth texture with a sweet start and then billows of smoke, drinking very well straight.A little water adds a mineralic element, reinforces the hessian notes and actually increases the nose prickle. Mulchy fruits with browned apples and green grapes and a hint of a Highland Toffee.Complex and yet, very easy to taste.

strathmill 1976

31 year old Speyside 44.8 % vol

1 of only 227 bottles from cask no. 1126

Apart from two butts of 25YO in 1992, and a 12YO in the Flora & Fauna series, Strathmill has never been bottled by its proprietor, and is uncommon in independent bottlings. This is a treat! It comes from a refill hogshead and is the colour of old Sauternes. The nose is immediately ‘elderly’ - sandalwood and sawdust – but this is soon replaced by scents of Eve’s Pudding (apple sponge) then Madeira cake, with glacé cherries, decorated with glacé Angelica root. Complex aromas, constantly changing. The taste at full strength is sweet, with a long finish, like coffee beans dipped in bitter chocolate. Water brings out sugared almonds, and memories of Italian weddings. It has a soft mouthfeel, is sweet overall, with a centre-palate engagement, and a long finish with chocolate and almonds. One to linger over.

strathmill 1986

24 year old Speyside58.6 % vol

1 of only 168 bottles from cask no. 10222

A deep gold colour with moderate to good beading. This starts with a very light nose, and a little nose prickle, unusual for a whisky of this age. Underneath, we noted pale sponge cake with whipped cream, topped with fresh strawberries (similar to our previous bottling of Strathmill which we suggested might be suitable for enjoying at Wimbledon). Becoming dusty with water, possibly a hint of cedar-wood cigar wrapper; only the dried edges of the sponge cake remain. Full and creamy in the mouth; sweetish, with vanilla sponge and dry coconut in the dryish finish, and milk chocolate in the aftertaste.

suir peated malt 1992

8 year old Irish 60.8 % vol

1 of only 222 bottles from Cask No.  3946

This whiskey has been made with heavily peated malt, in the same stills as its sister, Slaney.  Like the Slaney sample, it has been matured in a vigorous first-fill ex-Bourbon cask, so a comparison between the two provides an opportunity to measure the effects of peating on this malt whisky.  The colour is orange-gold; the nose-feel mild; the unreduced nose of dry peat and fresh cow-pats, developing towards the rich pastoral scents of a milking byre.  The cows are banished when water is added, however, and replaced by carbolic soap, coal tar, new rubber and wet leather – robust, old-fashioned bathroom scents, one might say.  The flavour is very smooth and very sweet.  Smoky in the finish, with some soapiness and lingering carbolic.  In a blind tasting you would place it as an Islay, but you would be foxed to say which, because of the big sweetness.

tamdhu 1982

22 year old Speyside 58.2 % vol

1 of only 211 bottles from cask no. 2453

We always find Tamdhu to be a most reliable malt, well made and well matured. This is a good example. It has spent its 22 years in a re-fill American hogshead (so has a deep gold colour), which has retained the distillery character while rounding and smoothing and adding its own nuances. A mild nose, to start with at least; fresh-fruity, with typical Speyside esters (nail varnish remover, vinyl); some sandalwood in the background and an unusual head-clearing property, like a Vik inhaler. When water is added, this becomes tea-tree oil, bay leaves or rhododendron leaves, with traces of dry chocolate. The flavour at full strength is sweet and biscuity, with citric and eucalyptus elements; water brings up the full, oily texture of the whisky and a sweet, fresh taste to start, with traces of coconut, drying in the medium-length finish, via a mouth-tingling phase.

tamdhu 1984

27 year old Speyside 51.2 % vol

1 of only 251 bottles from cask no. 2840

Deep gold in colour, such as only comes from first rate American oak. A rich, gentle, comforting nosefeel and a predominantly fruity aroma – a fruit salad including cling peaches, ripe pear, apple, green banana and even a squeeze of lime. A drop of water reinforces its Speyside pedigree, and introduces a hint of pale vanilla sponge. Drinks well at natural strength: sweet, with light acidity and an aftertaste of Terry’s Chocolate Orange. The water enhances the smooth texture, reduces the sweetness and makes the whole impression more tart/acidic. A perfect aperitif.

tamdhu 1984

26 year old Speyside 48.8 % vol

1 of only 269 bottles from cask no. 2836

Tamdhu was mothballed in 2010 by the then owners, Edrington. However, it has recently been purchased by Ian MacLeod Distillers and we hope to see the stills firing again before too long. This elderly example is bright gold, with orange lights. A moderate bead, with cremant bubbles settling. A sweet, fruity nose (bruised apples, cherries – even Cherry Heering liqueur), with some malt to start yielding to pear drops; layered and changing. A silky texture and a sweet taste, with some fruit; drying in the finish.  Water introduces an attractive waxy note and alters the nature of the fruitiness, but flattens the aroma. The taste at reduced strength is not so sweet, with light chocolate in the aftertaste. Better enjoyed at natural strength.

tamdhu 1989

15 Year old Speyside 57.9 % vol

1 of 249 bottles from Cask 8126

We always find Tamdhu to be very ‘well made’. It epitomises the lighter style of Speysides – fresh and fragrant, and perfect for drinking at any time of day. This bottling is from a refill American oak hogshead, which has given the whisky a Chardonnay hue – polished gold in certain lights. The nose at full strength is reminiscent of honey-comb (clover honey), with both floral and fruity notes behind – possibly gardenias and tangerines. The flavour is hot and sweet, but palatable. Water turns the whisky slightly opaque, a sign of flavour-bearing compounds which are usually filtered out. Now the nose is lighter and fresher, but consistent with the first nose. The mouthfeel is smooth; the flavour sweet, with a trace of crisp acidity. Feminine in style – a wonderful aperitif!

tamdhu 1989

15 Year old Speyside 57.9 % vol

1 of 249 bottles from Cask 8126

We always find Tamdhu to be very ‘well made’. It epitomises the lighter style of Speysides – fresh and fragrant, and perfect for drinking at any time of day. This bottling is from a refill American oak hogshead, which has given the whisky a Chardonnay hue – polished gold in certain lights. The nose at full strength is reminiscent of honey-comb (clover honey), with both floral and fruity notes behind – possibly gardenias and tangerines. The flavour is hot and sweet, but palatable. Water turns the whisky slightly opaque, a sign of flavour-bearing compounds which are usually filtered out. Now the nose is lighter and fresher, but consistent with the first nose. The mouthfeel is smooth; the flavour sweet, with a trace of crisp acidity. Feminine in style – a wonderful aperitif!

tamdhu 1991

15 year old Speyside 60.0 % vol

1 of only 257 bottles from cask no. 1955

The make from Tamdhu has always impressed us for its consistency, but this cask is as good as any we have ever seen. The distillery favours American oak, ex-Bourbon casks, and this is no exception, only the whisky is such a deep amber that it might have come from a re-fill butt. The first nose is of soft sponge, filled with vanilla cream. After a short time a delectable perfume emerges (face cream or hair lacquer), and then a floral note: geraniums in a pot (there’s a mossy note as well). With the addition of water the provenance of the cask comes through loud and clear, but it retains the delightful floral/perfumed aroma, joined by a sherbert-like ‘sparkle’. A smooth mouthfeel and a flavour which remains sweet throughout, leaving an aftertaste of white chocolate. Try it frozen, with dessert!

the whisky that cannot be named 1953

1953 to 2003, 50 year old Speyside 54.3 % vol

1 of only 501 bottles from Cask 1668

Celebrating a decade of decadence from Adelphi. Probably our finest bottling as one would expect.

tobermory 1994

18 Year old Highland 58.8 % vol

1 of only 604 bottles from cask no. 675031

An unusually active Spanish oak, ex-sherry butt from this famous Island distillery. A polished mahogany hue and moderate beading.The nose is warm and drying and initially rather fruity, with macerated raisins, prunes in brandy, dried figs and dates.   This develops subtly, introducing top notes of sun-kissed seaweed, toasted brioche, Virginia plug tobacco and deglazed roasting tin (roasted cloves), with subtle, tantalising hints of cooked pineapple and tomatoes still on the vine.Better tasted without water, there is a long finish with white chocolate and oloroso notes.A most venerable after-dinner malt. 

tomintoul 1967

38 year old Speyside 49.2 % vol

1 of only 196 bottles from cask 4485

This cask was filled only two years after the distillery was opened in ‘the highest town in Scotland’. This is the second cask from 1967 we have been lucky enough to secure, and it has yielded a mere 196 bottles. The colour is deep amber, although it comes from an American cask. The nose is full of ginger – stem and powdered – to start with, then tablet, dried apricots and almonds (and someone suggested Dutch sweet and sour sauce). The flavour at full strength is pleasant, fragile, oaky and surprisingly salty. Water brings out linseed oil and dry putty, with a trace of cinnamon, billards chalk, garlic and cold black coffee! Hugely complex. The flavour at reduced strength is like liquid sugar, incredibly smooth and compex, with traces of scented wood and a very long finish. An experience.

tomintoul 1967

36 year old Speyside 46.9 % vol

1 of only 194 bottles from cask no 4481

Tomintoul is famous for invariably being the first village to be cut off by snow in the UK and when this cask was distilled it was not available as a single. Having been owned by Whyte & Mackay for many years, it passed to Angus Dundee Ltd last year. This bottling is from a hogshead, and the colour is deep gold. The first impression is rich, sweet and fruity; appetizing, but elusive and difficult to describe; ‘tinned mandarin oranges, fresh plumbs and pears, toasted oatmeal' is the best we could do. Water bring up the key-note, however; Victoria sponge-cake (light, plain sponge, butter icing and home-made raspberry jam in the middle, dusted with icing sugar). The mouthfeel is smooth, the primary tastes sweet then bitter and the overall effect pleasant. A tea-time dram, with cherry cake.

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