Talisker 10 (45,8%, +/- 2014)

talisker10Talisker is located on the Isle of Skye, it’s mildly peated at about 20 ppm and the 10 years old is often regarded as one of the best entry-level whiskies made in Scotland today, owned by Diageo.

Colour: amber +2.

Nose: intense, wonderful sweetness, toffee, apple, pepper, antiseptic, seaweed, very coastal, mineral, some mild peat smoke, very nice complexity, beautiful nose.

Taste: big, powerful, full bodied, starts sweet, malt, apricots, bananas, ginger, black pepper, engine oil, peat, earth, again good complexity, very enjoyable.

Finish: long, ginger, salt, malt sweetness, engine oil, very very good.

Comments: one of my favorite entry level expressions, great value as well, about 88 points.

 

 

Octomore 6.02_167 (58,2%, 2013)

octomoreMy first time tasting Octomore which is said to be the most heavily peated whisky in the world, it’s made by Bruichladdich and is named after a farm near the distillery, this expression is 167 ppm, natural colour, non chill-filtered, cask strength, travel retail, matured in Limousin oak (cognac casks) and said to be 5 years old, Bruichladdich is owned by Remy Cointreau.

Colour: amber +2.

Nose: intense, concentrated, iodine, phenols, peat smoke, coastal notes, something vegetal, jalapeno peppers, the cask influence is obvious with fruit sweetness, honey, sultanas, raisins, the peat is actually not that apparent, it is obviously peated but I’d say that Laphroaig actually seems peatier, adding water makes it sweeter and brings out strawberries and almonds, really enjoying this nose.

Taste: it’s a dense, big whisky, oily mouthfeel, again the peat smoke is obvious but it’s on the background, fruit sweetness, marmalade, vanilla, sultanas, raisins, honey, pepper, much more smoke now, phenols, pure coal,  antiseptic.

Finish: long, dry smoke, some cereals, almonds, wood bitterness.

Comments: when I read it’s the peatiest whisky in the world and thought about the ppm count then I guess I was expecting something extreme, it’s not, it’s just a beautiful whisky, the peat is more obvious in Laphroaig for example for me personally, the cask influence is strong but it works well, and it needs water, talking about this not being very peated I got a reality check by tasting Caol Ila 12 after this (I might have confused it with a pear lemonade 🙂 about 86 points.

Caol Ila Distillers Edition 2002/2014 (43%, 2014)

caoliladeThe DE is the exact same age and same strength as the regular Caol Ila 12, it’s just finished in Moscatel casks, Moscatel is a fortified wine from Portugal, I’ve not tasted it myself but I imagine it could be similar to port?

Colour: amber +1.

Nose: intense, antiseptic, bandages, iodine, the wine is rather subtle, some sweetness, sultanas, raisins, maybe some tropical fruit, it seems sweeter and not as peaty as the 12 (although I’m pretty sure they have the same ppm), and the marine notes are missing, very well done, really enjoying it.

Taste: rather light, sultanas, dried fruit, toffee like sweetness, vegetal notes, agave, antiseptic, iodine, starts sweet and getting drier and smokier, dry peat smoke.

Finish: medium long, intense smoke, rubber, tar, some sharpness.

Comments: very good whisky, I think I prefer the non-finished version, about 84 points.

Caol Ila 12 (43%, +/- 2015)

caolila12Caol Ila is the largest distillery on Islay, it belongs to Diageo and is heavily used on blends such as Johnny Walker, single malt range was launched only in 2002, it’s said to be one the lighter whiskies made on Islay, said to be around 35 ppm, most of it is aged on mainland Scotland.

Colour: amber +1.

Nose: peat smoke (not very intense), it’s clearly coastal, seaweed, iodine, damp earth, beach bonfires, olives, black pepper, some mild fruit (pears, bananas), very good balance, really enjoying it.

Taste: starts sweet, malt sweetness, toffee, apple skin, lemon, ash, medicinal peat, antiseptic, seaweed, the peat is not dominating, again the balance is very good, getting drier and very medicinal, hospital, iodine, good body, very enjoyable.

Finish: long, medicinal ashy peat, charcoal, vanilla, pepper.

Comments: I have read that it might be the easiest peated whisky for beginners, I’m not sure I agree, this kind of ashy medicinal peat is very specific, about 85 points, I was having it side by side with Big Peat which is said to include large parts of Caol Ila, the BP is clearly younger, sharper, also peatier and more vegetal, I rated them both 85.

Glenmorangie 12 Nectar d’Or (2nd Edition) (46%, +/- 2015)

nectardorNectar d’Or is a 12 year old Sauternes cask finished expression from the LVMH owned distillery, it’s non chill-filtered, aged 10 years in Bourbon, then 2 years in Sauternes, not really a fan of finished whisky but I have heard good things about this.

Colour: amber +3.

Nose: sweet, the Sauternes influence is obvious, dessert wine, strawberries, orange liqueur, apricot, raisins, honey, candied fruit, vanilla, all draped into mild smoke, some of the original malt left but not too much, it’s very pleasant though.

Taste: sweet, oily mouthfeel, good body, again clear dessert wine influence, honey, orange peel, raisins, almonds, Grand Marnier, some oak spice, very very good.

Finish: long, drying, ginger, oak.

Comments: this combination works really well, I think it’s probably the best made finished whisky I’ve had, much better than the original 10 year old (and quite unrecognizable), about 85 points.

Jose Cuervo Reserva de Familie (38%, 2013)

cuervoreservaI haven’t had tequila in a while, this ones comes in a beautiful packaging, a nice story and a good reputation, called extra anejo, a blend of 2-30 year old tequilas, charred American and French oak.

Colour: amber +3.

Nose: mellow, pleasant, vanilla, agave syrup, some mild smoke, a new humidor, sweet leather, green niche perfume, very enjoyable.

Taste: nice mouthfeel, little light, starts sweet, again agave syrup, caramel, vanilla extract, then vegetal notes, cooked agave, earth, rosemary, very nice profile but it’s lacking power.

Finish: long, cough syrup, fresh herb, salt.

Comments: a pretty amazing tequila, I’m no expert but this might very well be one of the top tequilas in the world, about 84 points, nothing in common with the Cuervo Especial.

Douglas Laing Big Peat (46%, +/- 2015)

bigpeatBig Peat is an Islay blended malt whisky (no grain whisky in it) from Douglas Laing, natural colour, non chill-filtered, says on the label that it’s a mix of Caol Ila, Ardbeg, Bowmore and Port Ellen, probably not too much Port Ellen in it (latest special release is priced at 2500+ euros a bottle while I picked up this one for around 50 :), said to be around 40 ppm.

Colour: amber -4.

Nose: salty peat, rubber, tar, antiseptic, earth, brine, seaweed, maybe some coffee, rather simple, not detecting any fruit, seems less peaty and probably a bit more polished than Kilchoman, very coastal, really enjoying it.

Taste: again peat, smoked ham, brine, cut grass, liquorice, but also prominent sweetness and fruit underneath the smoke, rather young, one-dimensional, but the fruit sweetness is coming through well, pears, some tropical fruit, well balanced, very drinkable.

Finish: long, pepper, wood spice, some more smoked ham.

Comments: it’s a very well made whisky, comparable to entry level Islay single malts, about 85 points, I like it a touch better as the Kilchoman Machir Bay we had yesterday, I’m going to try this side by side with Caol Ila 12 soon.