Category Archives: Advent Calendar 2014

Advent Day 15: 2009 MacDuff 5 y.o. (Samaroli)

Secret Spirits Advent Calendar Day 15 – December 15th065

2009 MacDuff 5 y.o. (Samaroli)

Cask #900258 American Oak

45% abv

Score:  70/100


A whisky from the Secret Spirits Advent Calendar First Edition.

Chances are good this will be the lowest scoring malt of the whole calendar.  But that’s ok.  There’s a reason for it and I’m still behind it.  The thing is…you need to understand why it’s scoring low, and why it’s not actually bad whisky.  More importantly…you need to understand why it’s important that it’s in the calendar in the first place.

Jonathan and Cindy – the team behind Secret Spirits – set out to take us on a journey with this advent calendar.  They carefully selected whiskies representative of both single malts and blends…of grain whiskies and blended malts…of sherry influence and redolent of peat and smoke…of good old age and youthful feist.  The latter quality is what this 2009 Speysider is all about.  And it’s imperative for any aspiring maltster to understand what young whisky is all about, and what maturation actually contributes to the endgame.

I continue (much to the irritation of the industry, I might add) to campaign and advocate that all producers are held accountable to the consumer by putting all pertinent information on the label.  In particular, age statements.  I’ve gone on record as saying I will happily support whisky of any age, so long as it’s good and so long as I feel as though I’ve made my own informed decision to purchase and not been mislead by the industry’s marketing angle or sleight of hand misdirection.  It’s for this very reason I absolutely laud Samaroli for proudly releasing a 5 year old malt from an obscure distillery.  That takes balls.

This is a 5 year old MacDuff from Samaroli, and is another case where we have a distillery that can be found under two different names, depending on points of time and history.  Whisky from this distillery has been bottled as both MacDuff and Glen Deveron.  MacDuff being the more contemporary of the two.

Let me say clearly here – before we go any further – that this is under ripe whisky.  I probably would have left it in situ for at least another decade or so.  But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a great spirit cut and a malt with a ton of potential.  It is.  It’s actually very good whisky.  It’s just not ready yet.  Think of it like a kid who picks up the guitar and obviously has a flair for the instrument.  Stage ready, by no means, but you know he’ll be rockin’ a crowd one day.

In this guy’s humble opinion this whisky is one of the most important inclusions of the calendar.

Nose:  Just a hop, skip and a jump from New Make spirit.  Razor sharp and immaculately clean.  Wax and furniture polish.  A lot of fruits here, but they’re very congested.  With time they’ll expand outwards and show their colors.  Barley sugars and white flour.

Palate:  Just outta diapers, this one.  Very synthetic.  Very much like lip balm meets ethanol, but still enjoyable for all that.  Odd, huh?  Salty uncooked pie crust dough.  A little bit of tangy dried cherry and fig.  The grains are huge.

Thoughts:  Definitely too young, but a neat showing of what the raw spirit is like in what I assume is a very tame barrel.  Extra points for bottling a 5 y.o. and declaring it as such.  Not quite drinkable yet though.  Marks are technical, and an acknowledgment of great spirit cut and the balls to bottle at this age.

Bonus:  My mate, Jonathan, and I are gonna blog on these drams side by side through the season.  Here’s a link to his notes on the same whisky at


– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Curt

Advent Day 14: 1988 Girvan 25 y.o. (A.D. Rattray)

127Secret Spirits Advent Calendar Day 14 – December 14th

1988 Girvan 25 y.o. (A.D. Rattray)

Cask #79184 Lowland Grain Whisky

55.4% abv

Score:  89/100


A whisky from the Secret Spirits Advent Calendar First Edition.

The first Girvan I ever tried was a knee-buckling 45 year old from Clan Denny.  Part of the magic of that dram was the circumstances under which it was drunk, but there’s no discounting the fact that what was in the bottle was just really, really good.  I’ve never found another grain that quite measured up, in fact.

Just to be forthright…I don’t generally get excited about grain whiskies.  It’s a style that takes a back seat for me, much like Canadian whiskies or bourbons.  To me these aren’t much more than blend components that are being used for novelty one-off bottlings.  I know that’s not necessarily the case, but I also know that the care and due diligence that goes into malt production is not the same approach that is embraced in the volume, volume, volume production of grain whisky.  Malts cater to the connoisseur.  Grains cater to the blend industry.  C’est la vie.

Having said that, that special 1965 Girvan resonated so strongly with me that I do actively seek out whiskies with this name on the bottle.  I’ve not yet found a comparable version, but I’ve also not been disappointed by any I’ve tried.

Let’s consider that enough preamble and investigate the wee bottle behind door number 14 of the Secret Spirits advent calendar.

This 1988 is a single cask from A.D. Rattray.  And it’s pretty much exactly what I’d expect.  Spicy and bracing.  The wood influence is enormous.  This isn’t a bad thing, but it should be noted, especially if this is a new style for you.  Tasted blind, I’d be liable to say this was either mature grain or mature rye.

Nose:  Like a nice old rye.  Very creamy vanilla and a touch of coconut.  Cinnamon and freshly ground nutmeg.  Cedar, eucalyptus and lumberyard.  Good bread dough.  Oatmeal raisin cookies.

Palate:  Big arrival.  Fresh woods.  Eucalyptus and lumberyard again.  Like orange and maraschino cherry sprinkled with cinnamon and sawdust.  Lemon polish.  A very sinus-clearing dram.  Juicier than expected from this style.

Thoughts:  If only more grains tasted like this, I’d maybe occasionally reach for one.  Not my favorite style of whisky, but there’s no arguing with quality.  This is a fine dram.  Big appeal for fans of bourbons and ryes too.

Bonus:  My mate, Jonathan, and I are gonna blog on these drams side by side through the season.  Here’s a link to his notes on the same whisky at


– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Curt

Advent Day 13: 1992 “Licorice Spiral” Glentauchers 20 y.o. (Wemyss Malts)

Secret Spirits Advent Calendar Day 13 – December 13th080

1992 “Licorice Spiral” Glentauchers 20 y.o. (Wemyss Malts)

Cask #6036 Bourbon Hogshead

46% abv

Score:  91.5/100


A whisky from the Secret Spirits Advent Calendar First Edition.

Earlier this year I got to try my first Glentauchers.  I scribbled up a few notes on how impressed I was with this rarely seen Speyside malt, while simultaneously lamenting the fact that nearly the entire output of the distillery was destined for the relative obscurity of Ballantines and Teachers blends.  It seems my fortunes related to this malt have changed a little, and…not to give too much away…will continue to do so in the very near future.  😉  I’ll share the word on a couple more ‘Tauchers soon.  Stay tuned.

In the meantime…

This 20 year old independently bottled version from Wemyss Malts is just as much of a treat as the ’94 Gordon & MacPhail I refer to above.  Its profile stands in stark contrast to that one, but the inherent quality is unequivocally on par.  There’s a brilliant note herein that I so rarely find, but search for endlessly in my whiskies.  Something along the lines of kerosene or some similar nuance.  Even that is not quite right, but its where I find my thoughts pulling toward.  And the licorice hinted at in the name of this one?  Meh.  Maybe.  Certainly not overpowering.  Ghostly, if there at all.

I may have to start hunting down some Glentauchers for the collection if I keep finding them to be of this calibre.

Nose:  A slight kerosene and wax edge to it (a profile I ADORE and rarely find…must have something to do with the cask treatment).  A whiff of smoke, it would seem.  Candied ginger.  Mint.  Not sure about the licorice thing.  If anything, maybe red licorice.

Palate:  Awww, yeah.  That same kerosene note carries.  Love it!  Grassy and grainy notes follow.  Some creamy orange notes with ginger.  Burnt marshmallow.  Orange peel as well.  Maybe licorice now…a little.

Thoughts:  This is a very, very singular whisky.  I love this style.  Just wish it was something a little easier to find.

Bonus:  My mate, Jonathan, and I are gonna blog on these drams side by side through the season.  Here’s a link to his notes on the same whisky at


– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Curt

Advent Day 12: 1997 Isle Of Jura 17 y.o. (Samaroli)

Secret Spirits Advent Calendar Day 12 – December 12th026

1997 Isle Of Jura 17 y.o. (Samaroli)

Cask #9118

43% abv

Score:  86.5/100
A whisky from the Secret Spirits Advent Calendar First Edition. 


Now here’s a bit of a fun one.

It’s a rare occasion I come across independently bottled single cask releases of Jura.  There was a rather spectacular Douglas Laing 25 y.o. I tried on Islay a couple years back.  And I think maybe an SMWS release or two, but not many other Indie Juras make it our way.  Surprising, really, when one considers the volume the distillery produces (a couple million litres per annum), and how much ends up blended away.  You’d think more casks would wind up in the hands of private enterprise.

Leaving that aside, what we find in this particular Hebridean malt is a character quite apart from what I normally find in Jura.  I suppose if you really concentrate, you’ll pick up on some of the familial lineage, but the hallmarks that normally announce this whisky loud and clear are instead here a mere whisper.  And that is saying something, as I find Jura, as a rule, to have a very pronounced and singular profile.  The salinity throughout and a touch of nuttiness on the palate are the only hints at which distillery this really is.  If tasted blind, I may have guessed.  But then again…I may not have.

Further…it’s nice to see Jura mature and pure.  Older than most of their releases and dressed in none of the wine cask adornment they seem so fond of.  Lest you think I’m slagging Jura here, think again.  I have a real soft spot for this distillery, and am probably somewhat over-forgiving, if anything.  I like their malts and…if I’m being honest…their entire raison d’être.

I’ve said it before, and likely will again…these unpredictable l’il beauts are what make whisky fun.  They keep us (or me, at least) on our toes and allow every bottle purchased to hold a little bit of anticipation.

Nose:  NEVER would I peg this as a Jura.  Roman nougat.  Cookie dough.  Soft white cake.  Marzipan.  A slight saline edge too, almost like Play Dough.  Some ginger and pepper.  A wee splash of OJ.  Just the vaguest hint of smoke.  Kinda putty-ish.  A very ‘dull’ nose…and I don’t mean that in a bad way, believe it or not.  Just no sharp edges.  Simple, soft and pleasant home-y notes.  Very pleasant.

Palate:  More of that almond note and still getting the white gooey Roman Nougat flavours.  Salt water taffee.  Dried orange fruit.  Hint of peach.  Finally some of those Jura walnutty/chestnut notes I expected.

Thoughts:  Very atypical of Jura.  Very cool.  If the nose had been a little more aligned with the palate we’d have scored higher.

Bonus:  My mate, Jonathan, and I are gonna blog on these drams side by side through the season.  Here’s a link to his notes on the same whisky at


– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Curt

Advent Day 11: Stronachie 18 y.o. (A.D. Rattray)

Secret Spirits Advent Calendar Day 11 – December 11th003

Stronachie 18 y.o. (A.D. Rattray)

46% abv

Score:  87.5/100


A whisky from the Secret Spirits Advent Calendar First Edition. 

You may recall, if you’ve been following along with this somewhat furious post-a-day pace throughout December, that just about a week ago we tried the new Stronachie 10 year old.  I shared a few words on how Stronachie was actually Benrinnes malt bottled and sold under the A.D. Rattray brand.  If you cannae recall that post, and want a little more info, it’s right here for your reading pleasure.

Having already covered the ins and outs behind the Stronachie name, perhaps we’ll keep this one short and sweet and simply dive right in.

The malt behind door number 11 of the advent calendar is the 18 year variant.  And while I did like the 10, this is in a different league altogether.  Much more emphasis on the jammy fruits and softly spiced subtleties.  Any of the youthful spirit notes from the younger version have fallen by the wayside and left a malt that is a showcase for vibrancy at a much more mature station along the road.

Is it great whisky?  No.  Not quite.  Is it good?  Absolutely.  And if I recall correctly, this one seems to fall into a nice price bracket as well.  Good stuff.  Solid malt and a great opportunity to test drive a distillery that we don’t often see bottled as single malt ’round here.

Nose:  Florals and pepper right off the bat.  Like opening a wax-sealed jar of homemade jam.  A touch of white and milk chocolate.  Cranberry.  A touch of pepper.  Very typically Speyside, if I were to be a believer in the concept of regionality.

Palate:  A lot of wood.  A touch of tobacco.  Crunchy apple and pear.  Sweet and syrupy berry coulis or jam.  Even some banana and almond slivers.

Thoughts:  This is a whisky that is miles better than I remember from a few years back.  Technically flawless, just not a lot to get excited about, other than good simple malt whisky.

Bonus:  My mate, Jonathan, and I are gonna blog on these drams side by side through the season.  Here’s a link to his notes on the same whisky at


– Reviewed by:  Curt

Advent Day 10: Lord Elcho 15 y.o. (Wemyss Malts)

Secret Spirits Advent Calendar Day 10 – December 10th

089Lord Elcho 15 y.o. (Wemyss Malts)

Blended Whisky

40% abv

Score:  87.5/100


A whisky from the Secret Spirits Advent Calendar First Edition. 

Contrary to the way I’ve approached most of the whiskies in the advent calendar, when it came to this one I simply had to do a bit of checking into who the heck Lord Elcho was and why he merited a whisky named after him.  The Lord Elcho site was easy enough to find, and contained this little blurb:

“David, Lord Elcho, eldest son of the 5th Earl of Wemyss, was one of the most celebrated supporters of Bonnie Prince Charlie during the ill-fated Jacobite Rebellion of 1745. Born in Scotland and heir to the vast Wemyss Estate on the rocky shore of the Firth of Forth, Lord Elcho was educated at Winchester College, England and then military school at Angers, France before travelling to Italy where he met the young Charles Edward Stewart in 1740.

For the significant role that he played in the uprising, and in recognition of his loyalty and uncompromising bravery at the Battle of Prestonpans in 1745, Elcho was appointed colonel of the Prince’s lifeguards. He remained with the Young Pretender until his defeat at the Battle of Culloden in 1746 when, as punishment for his part in the uprising, Elcho was stripped of his lands and title and forced into exile in France. He pursued a military career on the continent, but sadly was never able to return to his native Scotland.”

It never ceases to astound, the depths of Scottish history, lore and fancy that are plumbed in christening new whiskies.  The romance behind it all is a good part of the reason that Scotch whisky holds as much appeal for me as it does.  But at the end of the day what really matters is whether or not the whisky is good enough to live up to – or surpass – the hyperbole and hyper-marketing.

Happy to report that Lord Elcho 15 y.o. blended whisky is a rock solid offering.  Owing largely, I’d suspect, to a ratio of malt to grain that is well in excess of industry standards.  Lord Elcho boasts a respectable 40% malt content.  As we all know by now, grains are relatively neutral, while the malts bring the character.  What this immediately suggests is a blended whisky with a bit more personality than the mixing-fare you find on the bottom shelves at most spirit sellers.

I like this one.  Much better than 90% of the blend canon out there.

Nose:  Beautifully soft, underspiced cinnamon buns.  Celery salt.  Creamy caramel.  Glossette raisins.  Jam-filled thumbprint cookies.  A great balance struck here between sherry sweet and bourbon spice.  I can only assume that is the casking, but if I’m wrong…well…that’s what it SEEMS like.

Palate:  Great spices; mild and restrained.  Molasses cookies.  Chocolate and creamy vanilla.  Caramel Apple.  Again…a very well-built dram.  Leaves some grassy dry notes at the end.

Thoughts:  Another rather surprising constructed whisky from Wemyss.  These guys obviously know what they’re doing.  Not sure whether I prefer the slightly advanced maturity here or the younger and smokier ‘The Hive’.  Good thing I don’t have to choose.

Bonus:  My mate, Jonathan, and I are gonna blog on these drams side by side through the season.  Here’s a link to his notes on the same whisky at


– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Curt

Advent Day 9: 1997 Glenfarclas 17 y.o. (Samaroli)

Secret Spirits Advent Calendar Day 9 – December 9th024

1997 Glenfarclas 17 y.o. (Samaroli)

Cask #1376 American Oak

45% abv

Score:  90.5/100


A whisky from the Secret Spirits Advent Calendar First Edition. 

Pepping toms rejoice!  Another nearly naked Glenfarclas.  Regular readers will recall we covered an SMWS release with a similar profile a couple of months back.  That one was equally well-received.  And much like that sexy beast, this one is also a single cask bottling.  This time, however, we have the team at Samaroli to thank for exposing us to it.

Ok…enough in the way of innuendo.  Moving on…

Glenfarclas is a Highland /Speyside distillery (depending on who you talk to, or what sort of exceptions you are inclined to take to what is on the label) that is almost universally renowned for its brilliant sherried malts.  This family owned and operated distillery has been in the loving and capable hands of the Grant family for half a dozen generations now, and they seem to know exactly what to do in order to keep the whisky up to standards that even the most discerning whisky snob will appreciate (irrespective of recent discussions revolving around reducing the much-lauded 10 y.o. ‘105’ to an NAS offering).  Even so, they are sort of a one trick pony.  I suppose it comes back to a line of thought similar to: ‘find something you do well and stick with it’.

I appreciate that, but it’s for this very reason that I’m stoked to dive into another Glenfarclas that falls outside that norm.  And I’m even further delighted to report that it is unquestionably a winner.

This one is kind of like the first time you get to see your beautiful girlfriend without her make-up on…and realizing she’s just as lovely – if not more so – without it.  I’d love it if the Grant family would make moves to add an unsherried malt to their range.  Doubt it will ever happen, but this proves the quality of the spirit is such that it matures beautifully no matter the wood treatment.

Nose:  Never in a million years would I peg this as a Glenfarclas.  Neat bread and fruit mix a la hot cross buns.  Apple pie with cinnamon.  Shortbread.  Some fruity gum or candy.  Poached pear.  Some honey.  Some vanilla.  Quite creamy.

Palate:  Arrives with hints of mezcal and an almost coal smoke-like darkness.  None too heavy though.  Is this related to the cask-charring, I wonder?  Barley notes follow.  Dry scones.  Ginger.  Wow…what an odd left turn from where the nose had me thinking we were going with this one.  The fruits emerge afterwards: toasted orange and apple.  Spicy bourbon-oak at the tale end.

Thoughts:  Surprisingly naked Glenfarclas.  Unquestionably one of the most unique and enjoyable ‘Farclas malts I’ve ever tasted.  Wish the abv was higher.

Bonus:  My mate, Jonathan, and I are gonna blog on these drams side by side through the season.  Here’s a link to his notes on the same whisky at


– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Curt

Advent Day 8: Cask Islay

Secret Spirits Advent Calendar Day 8 – December 8th134

Cask Islay (A.D. Rattray)

46% abv

Score:  86/100


A whisky from the Secret Spirits Advent Calendar First Edition. 

Another titanic beast from the Hebridean Isle of Islay.  This one is a single malt, but an undeclared provenance single malt.  While rather a rarity in the grand scheme of whisky production, there are cases where malt whisky is bought from a distillery by another company in order to be bottled under their own banner.  The easiest Islay malt to procure in quantity is Caol Ila, but that’s not to necessarily suggest that Cask Islay is in fact from Diageo’s peating megaplex.

The fact that ADR has a sizable collection of single casks – and Grand Poobah Tim Morrison has far-reaching connections in the industry – means that this spirit could theoretically come from any of Islay’s producers.  While I could dig away online to try to suss out the origin (and may later on just for personal satisfaction), I think we’ll leave well enough alone here.

Let’s just say it’s a peaty bugger.  And it could reasonably be assumed to have the DNA either one of a couple of distilleries.  Expect a solid, smoky and ultimately endearing malt.  If, that is, you like your dram with a little bit of balls.

An additional bit of fun:  Until the beginning of this year, Cask Islay was a blended malt (i.e. composed of single malt whisky from two or more distilleries).  It’s highly likely the distillate was almost entirely from one distillery, however, excepting the addition of just drops from another in order to prevent the finished product from being marketed as single malt.  This process is called ‘teaspooning’ (i.e. adding a teaspoonful of whisky from another distillery).

I will say that it’s a shame ADR won’t declare an age for this one.  Ok…hopping off my soapbox to deliver tasting notes.

Nose:  Wet rock and brine.  Cola with lime.  Some medicinal iodine notes.  A touch of butter.  Werther’s Originals, maybe…but mild.  A touch of mint and some heat there (almost tobasco-ish).  And yes…peat and smoke.

Palate:  Slightly fishy.  Smokes fish.  Oysters.  Citrus (could be lemon or lime).  A big mouthful of ocean water.  Also somewhat peppery.  Slightly ashy.  Tastes like a couple of Laphroaigs I’ve tasted straight from the cask (and by that I mean not quite vatted to the current Laphroaig profile we all know).  Fades on apple skins.

Thoughts:  Laphroaig meets Caol Ila meets what I imagine a low strength Octomore might be like.  Neat and charming.  Especially at the price point I know this one retails for.  Worth grabbing.

Bonus:  My mate, Jonathan, and I are gonna blog on these drams side by side through the season.  Here’s a link to his notes on the same whisky at


– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Curt

Advent Day 7: “The Hive” 12 y.o. (Wemyss Malts)

Secret Spirits Advent Calendar Day 7 – December 7th107

“The Hive” 12 y.o. (Wemyss Malts)

Blended Malt

40% abv

Score:  87.5/100


A whisky from the Secret Spirits Advent Calendar First Edition. 

Nestled in behind door number 7 of the calendar is another wee bottle from Wemyss.  And another blended malt, at that.  (Remember:  ‘Blended Malt’ means no grain whisky has been added in order to dilute the flavour components).  Starting to feel that there’s some serious blending chops in the labs of the good folks of Wemyss Malts.  Someone knows what they’re doing.

Malts like this give me grief.  I can’t decide if the power of suggestion gets me picking notes out of it, or if the name it has been given is just well chosen because the flavour nuances are so prevalent that nearly anyone would pick them out.  Either way…yes…”The Hive” is an appropriate name.  The first thought you’re liable to have is ‘honey’.

There’s much more to this whisky than honey though.  At first approach it seems like a slightly softer (and more watered down) version of a whisky that could be from one of a couple of my favorite distilleries: Highland Park or Springbank.  Poor man’s version?  Not quite.  More like an homage.  This is the sort of composition that makes me question why so many ‘constructed’ whiskies on the market are hang-your-head-in-shame piss poor messes.  In short, almost the entirety of the blended whisky market.  Granted there are exceptions, but most are an exercise in homogeneity and taste bud tolerance.  Every now and again though, a blend(ed malt) like this comes along and proves that the blenders’ art is not lost.

Good whisky, this.  I’ll be buying.

Nose:  As mentioned…immediately hearkens to a slightly less malty and smoky Highland Park, or maybe even Springbank.  Raw tobacco, like being in a humidor.  Horse blanket. Leather.  Cinnamon.  Vaguely fudge-like or maybe caramel.  Some floral notes in the back.  Allspice and dry pepper.  Raw honey (or is that just the power of suggestion with a name like ‘The Hive’?)

Palate:  A very chewy malt.  Dulce de lecce over soft fruits and cream.  Simple and very tightly woven.  Some chunky fruitcake notes, but GOOD fruitcake, not that regifted brick of bitterness.  Cinnamon.  Great palate here.

Thoughts:  One of the best age-stated 12 year olds I’ve tried.  I need a full bottle of this.

Bonus:  My mate, Jonathan, and I are gonna blog on these drams side by side through the season.  Here’s a link to his notes on the same whisky at


– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Curt

Advent Day 6: 1995 Tormore 18 y.o. (Samaroli)

Secret Spirits Advent Calendar Day 6 – December 6th030

1995 Tormore 18 y.o. (Samaroli)

Cask #20260/20262 American Oak

45% abv

Score:  91/100


A whisky from the Secret Spirits Advent Calendar First Edition. 

I know nothing about Tormore.  Literally.  Never tried one.  Never really read much about the distillery either.  So let’s not get bothered about the distillery history or anything here.  That’s not really the point in what I’m doing with these Secret Spirits Advent Calendar reviews.  Suffice it to say I’m tickled pink to be able to add a new distillery to my list.

This ’95 Tormore is another knockout release from Samaroli.  It’s an 18 year old malt composed of two (nearly consecutive) former bourbon barrels.  Quite active barrels, I’d suggest.  There’s a lot of spice and synthetic sweetness coming through on this whisky.   I must admit that this style is generally not particularly to my taste, but this malt is really, really working for me.

I would have loved to have seen this bottled at natural cask strength, but 45% is still a healthy abv, and strong enough to deliver flavours as they were meant to be experienced.

As only 30 bottles of this whisky are hitting the local market, I can only assume that a few hundred bottles will be released in the wider whisky world.  For those with access…this is a malt well worth investing in.

Nose:  Oh, hell, yeah!  At first nosing I’d even guess this to be OLDER than 18 years.  Great soft fruits like green grapes, peach, pink grapefruit and syrupy cocktail.  Cherry and cinnamon.  Chewy ju-jube sort of candy notes.  Body Shop satsuma glycerine soap.  Very, very sweet nose.

Palate:  Sweet and spicy arrival.  Mouthwatering fruits up front, then some wine-like woody notes.  That very same satsuma fruity note.  More on the juicy sweet pink grapefruit.  Dried into pith and oaky notes.  Lovely throughout.

Thoughts:  Tangy, tangy, tangy.  A lot of bourbon influence.  Becomes more and more bourbon-esque over time.  Exceptional cask selection.  Man, what a way to pop my ‘Tormore’ cherry.  Must…find…more.

Bonus:  My mate, Jonathan, and I are gonna blog on these drams side by side through the season.  Here’s a link to his notes on the same whisky at


– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Curt