Springbank 12 Port Pipe

107701-bigDistillery: Springbank
Bottled: 2015
Age: 12 years old
ABV: 58.3%
Cask: Port Pipe (full maturation)
More Info: WhiskyBase

You don’t see many single cask full maturation port pipe whiskies! This is a limited release of 696 bottles from earlier this year and I couldn’t resist grabbing a sample.

Nose: Very atypical. Joss sticks, deodorant, dry grass, cloves, peach skin, orange essential oil, and vodka with cranberry juice.

Palate: Oily, salty toffee. Quite sharp to start (water helps). As it calms down, it gets fruitier with prunes and dried cranberries. There’s a flicker of blueberry muffin, then smoke, tar and oil mixed with bitter dark chocolate and cloves.

Finish: Long and dry, with cinnamon, salt and pepper.

This is a challenging one, but worth persevering with (and hey, what do you expect from a single cask!).

Full term port pipe maturation has imparted some interesting fruit and spice notes. The Springbank coastal elements still come through with the oily sweet smoke you expect and yet it’s still quite savoury and dry.

It took me a while to “get” this dram but it’s definitely got its charms. A bargain at around £60 RRP but scarcity on the secondary market’s doubled the price 😦

Bowmore Laimrig

Distillery: Bowmore
Age: 15 years old
ABV: 54.1%
Cask: Matured in American Oak, finished in Spanish sherry butt
More Info: WhiskyBase

The Laimrig is the cask-strength version of Bowmore’s popular 15 year old core expression.

Nose: Opens with coastal air – salt and wet rocks. A little leathery with smoky milk chocolate and sherbet mingled with violets.

Palate: Cadbury’s fruit and nut chocolate! Rising smoky, salty tang with lots of spicy dried fruit. Dates, sultanas, raisins – very juicy.

Finish: Salty brazils, warm oak and a whisper of peat.

I was unsure at first with Bowmore. The entry-level expressions didn’t really get my tastebuds dancing.

This stuff, though, is dangerously quaffable. A refined salty peat, with a juicy, sweet sherry and chocolate character. Complex enough to be interesting, but at a respectable price for the age and ABV.

Bruichladdich Black Art 04.1

Distillery: Bruichladdich
Bottled: 2013, Distilled: 1990
Age: 23 years old
Bottles: 6,000
ABV: 49.2%
Cask: ?????
More Info: WhiskyBase

Here’s the 4th release of the Bruichladdich Black art, a 23-year old mystery expression whose secret recipe is known only to Jim McEwan himself.

It’s bottled at 49.2%ABV, most likely has a sherry influence, and that’s about all we know. People have pondered over the years whether it’s port, sauternes, shiraz, fino, PX, oloroso, rum… we’re told it’s likely around 6 different casks.

Nose: Icing sugar, slight smoke, dates, sweet tobacco, custard powder.

Palate: Golden malt, rich and oily with spices. Green apples, then sticky figs, soft dates, chocolate, Brazil nuts, and banana bread.

Finish: Long, chewy, oaky finish with wafts of fruit coming through.

Mmmmmm, interesting!

Jim mixes up every release of Black Art, so each one has different characteristics. I enjoyed the 3rd release very much, and this one’s just as appealing. Given time, it yields a lot of different flavours…

Talisker Special Vatting

Distillery: Talisker
Bottled: 2007
Age: NAS
ABV: 53.9%
More Info: WhiskyBase

Nose: Boot leather, sea water, crayons. Sweet malt, with a slight whiff of sulphur.

Palate: Boiled sweets, vanilla, apricot, acidic peat, lemon, and iodine.

Finish: Salt and pepper, and slightly drying mouthfeel of stewed tea leaves.

Quite a simple, but tasty dram. Sweet and peat, at a good cask strength. It’s more interesting than standard Talisker but I don’t think I’d buy a bottle at the distillery for £90.

There’s nothing outrageous going on with the flavour, but it’s a solid whisky. If someone was offering, I wouldn’t turn down a second measure.

Samples available on WhiskySample.nl for €14.50.