A wardrobe of Whisky Blog - tasting notes, collection and best shops for buying whisky online A wardrobe of Whisky Blog - tasting notes, collection and best shops for buying whisky online
Login | Register
“Because you can't buy happiness... but you can buy whisky and that's pretty much the same thing”

Read older stories of A Wardrobe of Whisky blog.

You can read here older articles posted in A Wardrobe of Whisky since 2009.
The articles are sorted by publication date. You can either browse here, check the featured articles section or use the search bar on the top of this page.
Library list of older posts

Stories from July, 2012

Smokehead and other Islay mystery malts

By Miguel in Tasting , Featured , Smokehead

I have been around three weeks without much whisky. First, I got holidays and I have been doing some repairs at home and then I have been out at beach. So no whisky for me during the last 23 days.

fishing-ship-barbate-cadiz

That’s quite a record. And also the fact that I have done while on holidays mojitos using gin because all the rum ran out.

By the way, here is a photo of the beach. A must-visit one at Conil de la Frontera.
conil-playa-cadiz-spain

I wanted to return with something nice and special! So I grabbed my box of samples and voila! I wrongly took the Islay box :) Who of you can say no to a nice peat punch?

So let’s taste the stuff. I just grabbed five drams for my first tasting: three Smokehead single malts and two secret distillery from Islay. One of them with a very nice score from Malt Maniacs.

Smokehead Extra Rare 1L

“Just nosing it you can't get an idea of the peat explosion that is coming to your palate”

89
Smokehead Extra Rare 1l

This dram has a white wine-like color.

Nose (89): more than average. smoke, honey, citrus, wood.

Palate (90): oily. peat, earth, honey, citrus, chocolate.

Finish (89): longer than average. peat, honey, wood.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Smokehead Extra Rare 1l with 89 points over 100.

Smokehead

“Nice secret single malt whisky, almost sure it is a Caol Ila with some bold spices notes.”

89
Smokehead
A un-named single malt from Ian Macleod Distillers, with a big South Islay style. "Its like a cannonball!" say the producers. We like it very much, some of our staff loving it. Great value, attractively packaged, and with all that muscly brawn of a young Islay malt.

This dram has a fino-like color.

Nose (89): more than average. smoke, honey, wood, spices, citrus.

Palate (89): powerful, oily. peat, honey, citrus, wood, spices.

Finish (90): longer than average. peat, spices.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Smokehead with 89 points over 100.

Buy this bottle at

Save money when you buy Single Malt Whisky online. Check for the best prices from best online shops below:


Smokehead 18 years old Extra Rare

“Looks definitively older than the other two expressions of Smokehead and older than 18 years old. A nice old Islay malt for a fair price.”

90
Smokehead 18 year Extra Black
A longer-aged edition of Smokehead, the popular mystery Islay Single Malt bottled by Ian McLeod Distillers. This Extra Black expression is 18 years old.

This dram has a gold-like color.

Nose (90): average. honey, floral, candies, peat, wood.

Palate (90): oily. peat, honey, citrus, wood, spices, cocoa.

Finish (89): average. peat, candies.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Smokehead 18 year Extra Black with 90 points over 100.

Buy this bottle at

Save money when you buy Single Malt Whisky online. Check for the best prices from best online shops below:


Islay Storm

“Lovely nose with tons of toffee and vanilla aromas. Can I be wrong if I say this is a Caol Ila?”

90
Islay Storm
An Islay single malt from a secret distillery, Islay Storm has loads of peaty character.

This dram has a gold-like color.

Nose (91): more than average. honey, peat, toffee, citrus, spices, vanilla.

Palate (89): oily. peat, honey, citrus, wood, spices, pepper.

Finish (90): longer than average. peat, honey, wood, floral.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Islay Storm with 90 points over 100.

Breath of Islay 12 years old 1999

“Superb delicious stuff! Looks like an old sherried peated Bunnahabhain.”

91
Breath of Islay 12 Year Old 1999 (Adelphi)
This Breath of Islay was distilled at a secret Islay distillery in 1999.

It was aged for 12 years in cask 5877 and was bottled by Adelphi in 2011.
A lovely whisky with an out-turn of 329 bottles.

This dram has a cooper-like color.

Nose (90): more than average. nuts, peat, honey, citrus, wood. This sherry aged whisky smells like some of the best Bunna I have had.

Palate (92): powerful, oily. peat, nuts, honey, wood, smoke, spices. Oh my! The cask strength really does the work.

Finish (91): longer than average. peat, honey, nuts.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Breath of Islay 12 Year Old 1999 (Adelphi) with 91 points over 100.

Yep, definitively Malt Maniacs know about whisky. Breath of Islay is by far the most solid dram of this flight and a very good whisky on itself,

This the beginning

On the following months I plan to start writing about my tasting sessions instead of just isolated bottles. I think it is more fun for both of us. And it is possible because I finally sorted and classified my samples library. :)

I would love to read what you have been drinking this summer.


Review of Blair Athol 1995 Managers' Choice

By Miguel in Tasting , Blair Athol

“Lovely toffee and biscuits nose that opposes to a dried floral taste”

89
Blair Athol 1995 / Managers' Choice / Sherry Cask Highland Whisky
A single sherry cask of Blair Athol 1995 bottled for Diageo's Managers' Choice series in 2009. A medium-full biscuity dram, with background notes of syrup and fudge.

A lovely cask strength highlands whisky but Diageo clearly missed the goal when the marketing deparment set the price for the Managers' Choice range.

Awfully expensive.

This dram has a amber-like color.

Nose (91): average. some toffee, malt, floral, apricot, citrus .

Palate (88): smooth, powerful, oily. honey, floral, wood, vanilla, spices, pepper.

Finish (88): longer than average. honey, wood, floral.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Blair Athol 1995 / Managers' Choice / Sherry Cask Highland Whisky with 89 points over 100.

Buy this bottle at

Save money when you buy Single Malt Whisky online. Check for the best prices from best online shops below:



Tasting Balblair 1978 Highland Single Malt Whisky

By Miguel in Tasting , Balblair

“Very floral and dry. I usually don't like this kind of whiskies but there are times when a man has to accept defeat and say this Balblair is a great whisky!”

90
Balblair 1978 Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky
The replacement for the 1975 in Balblair's vintage range, the 1978 is a 30 year old whisky bottled with natural colour and un-chill-filtered.

This Highland single malt whisky is really floral and fruity, which I don't really enjoy. But on this Balblair whisky the style simply rocks! Awesome whisky.

This dram has a gold-like color.

Nose (91): more than average. honey, fruits, pineapple, citrus, floral, candies. Deliciously sweet fruits there.

Palate (90): dry, powerful. sweet, floral, spices, liquorice, wood, vanilla. Quite dry and floral

Finish (90): average. sweet, spices, floral.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Balblair 1978 Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky with 90 points over 100.

Auchentoshan 1999 Bourdeaux Cask Tasting note

By Miguel in Tasting , Auchentoshan

“Nice nose in this interesting Auchentoshan whisky with a taste that remind me of sweet sherry cask matured whiskies.”

87
Auchentoshan 1999 Bourdeaux Cask
This casks strength, bordeaux cask matured Auchentoshan whisky was released to celebrate Bastille Day and the auld alliance between Scotland and France.

The open grain of French Oak helps develop a full oaky character in this cask strength, non chill-filtered release.

The result is pleasantly sharp, countering the sweet Auchentoshan style.

This dram has a cooper-like color.

Nose (89): more than average. honey, fruits, cherry, citrus, custard, spices, vanilla.

Palate (87): smooth, powerful, oily. honey, nuts, wood, cocoa, spices, fruits, citrus, floral. Great at first then something strange happens.

Finish (85): average. wood, nuts, spices, sweet.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Auchentoshan 1999 Bourdeaux Cask with 87 points over 100.

Tasting Glencadam 15 years old Highland Whisky

By Miguel in Tasting , Glencadam

“Lovely taste in this Glencadam whisky with notes of fresh fruits and honey”

87
Glencadam 15 Year Old
Fancy new presentation for the Glencadam 15, which has also sensibly been restored to 46% by owners Angus Dundee, who snapped up the distillery from Allied in 2003.

This Highlands single malt whisky is very representative of the region as it portrait the expected floral and honey notes of Highland scotches.

This dram has a fino-like color.

Nose (84): more than average. floral, honey, fruits, spices, vanilla.

Palate (89): smooth, powerful, oily. floral, honey, wood, fruits, pears, citrus, wood.

Finish (88): average. honey, floral, citrus, vanilla.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Glencadam 15 Year Old with 87 points over 100.

Buy this bottle at

Save money when you buy Single Malt Whisky online. Check for the best prices from best online shops below:



Review of Grant's Blended Scotch whisky

By Miguel in Tasting , Grants

“Powerful sherried scotch. Not bad for its price range.”

83
Grant's Blended Whisky
This Grant's blended scotch whisky isn't easy to spot on Europe.

Rich golden in colour and a beautiful mellow aroma, full and rich with a pleasant, smooth and long, lingering after taste. This blended whisky has a big amount of sherry casks aged whisky in its core.

Rather nice for its price range.

This dram has a amber-like color.

Nose (86): more than average. honey, malt, vanilla, smoke, citrus. Smells deliciously but then suddenly it just disappears.

Palate (83): smooth, oily. honey, tobacco, citrus, floral, apples, smoke. A bit sharp but lot of sherry character inside.

Finish (80): average. honey, wood, citrus.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Grant's Blended Whisky with 83 points over 100.

Buy this bottle at

Save money when you buy Blended Whisky online. Check for the best prices from best online shops below:



Tasting Caol Ila 18 years old

By Miguel in Tasting , Caol Ila

“Good Caol Ila whisky but if you ask me I prefer the 12 years old.”

88
Caol Ila 18 Year Old Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Extra ageing has calmed the impact of the phenols, with the peat arriving on the palate late, and tempered by smooth oak. A very mellow, mature Islay malt.

This dram has a fino-like color.

Nose (89): more than average. peat, salt, vanilla, citrus, spices.

Palate (89): smooth, powerful. peat, honey, salt, citrus, floral, spices, pepper, wood.

Finish (87): average. peat, honey, citrus.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Caol Ila 18 Year Old Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky with 88 points over 100.

Buy this bottle at

Save money when you buy Single Malt Whisky online. Check for the best prices from best online shops below:



Tasting Brockmans Gin

By Miguel in Tasting , Brockmans

“A most surprising gin. Smells of fruits and taste of blueberries. Stunning one!”

78
Brockmans Gin
Delicious gin from Brockmans. This is made with Bulgarian coriander, blueberries and blackberries as well as bittersweet Valencia orange peels. The result is well balanced and full of flavour.

This dram has a white-like color.

Nose (77): average. fruits, strawberries, blueberries, smashed fruits, floral. Surprising! Like a macedonia.

Palate (79): powerful. blueberries, fruits, liquorice, juniper.

Finish (77): short. herbs, sweet, liquorice.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Brockmans Gin with 78 points over 100.

Buy this bottle at

Save money when you buy Gin online. Check for the best prices from best online shops below:



Review of Millburn 1972 Gordon and Macphail Highland whisky

By Miguel in Tasting , Millburn

“Exquisite decadent peat aromas with a delicate fruit notes”

90
Millburn 1972 / Gordon& Macphail Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky
A bottling of 1972 vintage single malt from Millburn, bottled in 2006 for Gordon & Macphail.

Millburn closed its doors in 1985 and has since been turned into a restaurant.

This dram has a fino-like color.

Nose (91): more than average. peat, wood, spices, candies, floral, fruits, a little peaches, meat stock.

Palate (90): smooth, powerful. peat, spices, pepper, wood, floral, citrus.

Finish (90): longer than average. peat, wood, floral, a little peaches.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Millburn 1972 / Gordon& Macphail Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky with 90 points over 100.

Buy this bottle at

Save money when you buy Single Malt Whisky online. Check for the best prices from best online shops below:



Review of Aberlour 12 years old Double Cask Matured

By Miguel in Tasting , Aberlour

“Lovely nose on this Aberlour but I really miss a bit of muscle on the palate... maybe 43% or 46% would have made it awesome”

88
Aberlour 12 Year Old / Double Cask Matured Speyside Whisky
Aberlour is always a good choice - one of the best value Speyside malts around.

This double matured version is a mix of traditional oak and sherry casks and is rich and fruity with delicious Christmas cake notes.

If you like this whisky you should try one of the awesome cask strength Aberlour A'bunadh

This dram has a cooper-like color.

Nose (89): more than average. honey, malt, citrus, fruity, vanilla, cinnamon, pepper.

Palate (88): light, smooth. honey, fruits, figs, banana, vanilla, peaches, citrus, wood, liquorice, spices.

Finish (88): longer than average. honey, spices, liquorice.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Aberlour 12 Year Old / Double Cask Matured Speyside Whisky with 88 points over 100.

Buy this bottle at

Save money when you buy Single Malt Whisky online. Check for the best prices from best online shops below:



Review of Glen Grant The Major's Reserve

By Miguel in Tasting , Glen Grant

“Quite malty nose that is overwhelmed by a very floral whisky. Not bad anyway”

84
Glen Grant The Major's Reserve
From Glen Grant, a very reliable quality Speyside from a distillery founded in 1840.

Glen Grant is one of the world's best-selling single malts and is particularly popular in Italy.

This single malt scotch whisky is the most basic bottle in the Glen Grant range. It is a non age statement whisky that it is really nice if you like dry floral whiskies.

This dram has a gold-like color.

Nose (86): more than average. honey, floral, vanilla, toffee, malt.

Palate (83): light, smooth. honey, floral, spices, vanilla, wood.

Finish (82): average. spices, citrus, vanilla.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Glen Grant The Major's Reserve with 84 points over 100.

Buy this bottle at

Save money when you buy Single Malt Whisky online. Check for the best prices from best online shops below:



Appleton Estate 21 years old Tasting note

By Miguel in Tasting , Appleton Estate

“A very promising nose but a weaker taste and finish don't keep it to the level. A good rum nonetheless.”

86
Appleton Estate 21 year
A very rare blend of some of Appleton Estate's finest aged rums, Appleton Estate 21 Year Old Jamaica Rum is a smooth sipping rum that will leave a lasting impression on even the most discerning of palates.

The rums in Appleton Estate 21 Year Old, each aged a minimum of 21 years, bring their own special characteristics together into a truly glorious harmony

This dram has a mahogany-like color.

Nose (88): more than average. sugar cane, brown sugar, cinnamon, floral.

Palate (84): light, smooth. molasses, sugar cane, citrus, wood, fruits, vanilla.

Finish (85): average. molasses, brown sugar, honey.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Appleton Estate 21 year with 86 points over 100.

Buy this bottle at

Save money when you buy Rum online. Check for the best prices from best online shops below:



Whisky Tasting Session 2012-05: Blind fun!

By Miguel in Tasting , News , Featured , The Macallan , Bunnahabhain , Aberlour , Macduff

I have joined Jean-Marie Putz of whisky-distilleries.info and twenty other whisky zealots in the fifth blind tasting session of this year.

wts-tasting-sessions-2012-05

The principle is that whisky producers supply whisky they select themselves, according to their marketing goals. The sent whisky bottles are sampled and sent to about 20 tasters who write their impressions about every whisky. Their impressions and their quotation are published in Whisky distilleries blog.

The Whisky Tasting sessions are a flight of six whiskies tasted blind. Usually bottles are from independent bottlers that are really strong sellers in central Europe.

The samples arrived a few weeks ago in a supercool box. Each samples was 2.5cl and bottled in a small flask. Work has been been delaying me on tasting the six samples but finally this Thursday I had a few spare hours to taste them.

wts-tasting-sessions-2012-05-1

Usually I try to short the samples as explained in the how to taste whisky article, but this time I just decided to enjoy and go ahead. Mainly because if I sort the samples I will lack of time to taste them properly.

Sample Nŗ 1

“Unpromising nose but then a really delicious taste. Maybe Redbreast?”

89
Macduff 1980 Malts of Scotland
Impressive whisky from Macduff distillery bottled by Malts of Scotland from the 1980 vintage.

This single cask malt has been matured in a bourbon hogshead and bottled at cask strength at a whopping 54,1% abv.

This dram has a gold-like color.

Nose (87): more than average. floral, honey, spices, vanilla, citrus. Very irish style.

Palate (90): powerful. floral, honey, spices, citrus, vanilla, peaches, wood.

Finish (90): longer than average. floral, spices, citrus, honey.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Macduff 1980 Malts of Scotland with 89 points over 100.

Sample Nŗ 2

“Nicely floral... maybe a highlander? finished in sherry cask?”

88
Aberlour 17 years Anam Na H-Alba
A 17 years old cask strength single malt whisky from Aberlour distillery.
Bottled by Anam Na H-Alba at an incredible 60,6% abv.

This dram has a fino-like color.

Nose (88): more than average. honey, vanilla, citrus, toffee. Powerful toffee aroma. Like a Cadbury box

Palate (89): . honey, floral, spices, citrus, wood, chocolate.

Finish (88): average. toffee, spices, vanilla.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Aberlour 17 years Anam Na H-Alba with 88 points over 100.

Sample Nŗ 3

“Very nice sherried whisky. I think I have already tasted this one...”

89
Macallan 1989 Whiskies of Scotland
A single malt whisky distilled in the Macallan distillery.

This whisky has been bottled at 47.1% abv from the 1989 vintage by Whiskies of Scotland

This dram has a fino-like color.

Nose (89): more than average. toffee, floral, vanilla, peaches. Very closed nose but really nice.

Palate (90): smooth, powerful, oily. honey, wood, vanilla, citrus, spices, cinnamon, tobacco. I am sure I have tasted this one before... umm... no clue right now.

Finish (89): average. honey, tobacco, vanilla, wood.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Macallan 1989 Whiskies of Scotland with 89 points over 100.

Sample Nŗ 4

“Superb nose! I am almost sure this one is An Cnoc single malt”

90
Blended Malt batch 116 Dailuaine 1999 & Linkwood 1998
This vatted whisky, or blended malt whisky as the Scotch Whisky Association prefers, is the result of blending together a Dailuaine 1999 with a Linkwood 1998.

Bottled by Jean Boyer - Le Puits ą Whisky at 43%. This bottled belongs to batch 116.

This dram has a fino-like color.

Nose (91): more than average. toffee, vanilla, citrus. An Cnoc! It must be an Cnoc! Delicious!

Palate (90): smooth, oily. honey, vanilla, floral, citrus, wood, spices, anise, cinnamon.

Finish (89): longer than average. toffee, vanilla, citrus.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Blended Malt batch 116 Dailuaine 1999 & Linkwood 1998 with 90 points over 100.

Sample Nŗ 5

“Superb stuff! Peat and sherry marvel!”

91
Bunnahabhain 20 years old Wilson & Morgan
An awesome Bunnahabhain 20 years old bottled by Wilson & Morgan.

This incredible Islay single malt whisky has been bottled at cask strength at a very interesting 48.5 abv. A real crack whisky.

This dram has a tawny-like color.

Nose (90): more than average. honey, sulphur, peat, citrus, nuts. Old sherried japanese single malt style whisky.

Palate (92): powerful, oily. honey, peat, wood, citrus, spices, cinnmon. Very nice.

Finish (91): longer than average. peat, honey, spices, maritime.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Bunnahabhain 20 years old Wilson & Morgan with 91 points over 100.

Sample Nŗ 6

“Another sherry crack with a lovely nose”

90
Macallan 1990 Fino Sherry Hogshead Malts of Scotland
An interesting Macallan single malt whisky from 1990 vintage matured fully in a Fino sherry hogshead.

This whisky has been bottled by Malts of Scotland at 51.5% abv.

This dram has a amber-like color.

Nose (90): more than average. honey, citrus, spices, cinnamon, candies, smoke. Old whisky here...

Palate (90): powerful, oily. honey, spices, pepper, floral, citrus, nuts.

Finish (89): longer than average. honey, spices, nuts.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Macallan 1990 Fino Sherry Hogshead Malts of Scotland with 90 points over 100.

In conclusion

It has been a very nice tasting, really fun. And I have tasted two Macallans! Tasting the first one I was really really sure that I have already tasted it. Also really impressed by a very nice Bunnahabhain with its incredible peat and sherry style.

My favorite has been the Bunnahabhain whisky, very similar in style to the impressive bottling of The Whisky Barrel for Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.