Glenfarclas 16yo 1995/2011 (53.9%, Kintra, Confidential Cask, Sherry Butt #5, 120 bottles)

In the depths of my ever-growing amount of samples, I found this sample of an undisclosed distillery named Glenfarclas. Actually, Glenfarclas isn’t stated on the label, but it has somehow become common knowledge that this Whisky was made by Glenfarclas and hand-picked by Erik Molenaar of Kintra from the Netherlands. Erik as well as Glenfarclas have been featured before on these pages, so why not continue immediately with this undisclosed Glenfarclas…

Glenfarclas 16yo 1995/2011 (53.9%, Kintra, Confidential Cask, Sherry Butt #5, 120 bottles)

Color: Copper brown.

Nose: Heavy on the Sherry there! Velvety but also a lot of sulphur. Licorice, dry air and wood. Black and white powder and cookie dough. Lots of aromas and all are on full volume. Meaty (cold raw meat), creamy, vanilla but also some mint and flint. Lot of aroma from wood, without being overpowering. Like the wood of an old door which has just been stripped of its thick layer of cracked paint (and cooled off) (no, I’m not on LSD, it’s an association).

Taste: Full on funky sherry, thick. Coal. Watered down red berry juice with (bitter and sweet) licorice (The Whisky is not watered down, mind you, nor tastes like it’s watered down). Quite sweet at first but quickly taking a turn towards the drier side. Sulphur here again, but all very tasty if you like your heavy hitters. Sometimes a whiff comes across like a rum (heavy on wood). Towards the finish some nice red fruits come to the front. Strawberries (not fresh ones, but ones that have been frozen). Spicy and prickly wood.

Definitely not your daily drinker type of malt, but a nice, albeit flawed expression of a nice Sherry bomb (hello NSA, it’s me again). I like this pick by Erik. It is a Whisky which is far from boring. A lot is happening in this, and not even all at the same time. However, a word of caution. This malt loses a bit of its balance when it gets enough time to breathe. The aromas start to unravel a bit, the wood gets weaker and even worse, a soapy component rears its ugly head, so no slacking with this one!

Points: 88

Glen Moray 15yo 1998/2013 (46%, Cadenhead, Bourbon Hogsheads, 684 bottles)

This is the third Glen Moray on these pages. Although I use a 100 points scare for scoring drinks, and in my opinion Whisky is one of the best drinks around. Whisky usually scores in the upper ranges of that scale. So any good Whisky scores at least 80 points. Both Glen Moray’s I reviewed before, one 13yo Dun Bheagan, and one official 8yo, didn’t make it across the 80 points-line and are therefore considered bu connoisseurs to be “mediocre” at best. However, if you read my reviews carefully, they still have enough going for them, and are still pretty good drinks, or pretty good Whiskies for that matter. It’s just that a lot of Whiskies score higher than these Glen Moray’s. But here is another Glen Moray, one by Cadenhead, so lets see if this will score in the 80’s or even higher?

Glen Moray 15yo 1998/2013 (46%, Cadenhead, Bourbon Hogsheads, 684 bottles)Color: White wine.

Nose: Quite closed, or isn’t there much happening. Alcohol, hints of sweet yellow fruits. Even though it isn’t a white wine finish were Glen Moray are almost famous for, it does remind me of a white wine finished Glen Moray. Hints of margarine and vanilla. Soft touch of oak. Very restrained, it just smells like fresh air.

Taste: Yes typical thin Glen Moray again. A crumb of old dark chocolate. A little bit of oak, and an acidity resembling a wine finish. Usually Glen Moray tends to get overly sweet after a wine finish, and I can’t say that’s the case here. Lots of maltiness and a little bit of paper and bitter oak in the finish. Good, it gives it character. Anything better than that strange acidity.

Extremely light color, again casks (probably two) that weren’t very active any more. I am not completely sure this isn’t a white wine finish. A very clean expression, and that’s me being positive, because not a lot seems to be happening here… (Mind you, this is still a damn good drink!)

Points: 76

Dalmore 11yo 1999/2011 (57.2%, Kintra, Refill Sherry Butt #3079, 120 bottles)

Dalmore then. Not so long ago I reviewed the official Dalmore 12yo and rummaging through the ever-growing stock of samples, I found this almost 12yo Kintra bottling. If it was only given two extra months and two extra days, this too would have been 12 years old!

Dalmore 11yo 1999/2011 (57.2%, Kintra, Refill Sherry Butt #3079, 120 bottles)Dalmore was founded in 1839 by Alexander Matheson but the Sunderland’s start distilling there. Soon after the MacKenzie brothers, Charles, Andrew and Alexander start to run the distillery. When Alexander Matheson dies in 1886, his successor sells the distillery to the MacKenzie brothers (1891). In 1917 the Royal Navy takes over and use the facility to make mines! After three years the Navy moves out and in 1922 the distillery is again up and running. In 1960 The MacKenzie brothers merge with White & Mackay and in 1990 White & Mackay were bought by American brands. In 2001 White and Mackay were sold again and called Kyndal spirits but the White & Mackay name returns a year later. In 2007 it is sold yet again to the United Breweries Group, an Indian conglomerate.

Color: Light ocher gold

Nose: Vanilla ice-cream, light menthol cigarette. Powdery and dusty. Licorice. The wood is very perfumy. Definitely floral and perfumed soap. Strong aroma from a high strength Whisky. Half sweet salty toffee with funky Fino or Manzanilla Sherry. Red fruit hard candy drops and it does have a salty edge. Animalesk (cow dung) and wood.

Taste: Nice burn and quite sweet actually. Spicy sugared oak with white pepper, but also a sour oak note which turns into ripe black fruits. Coconut and maybe some peach. Ahh how nice it is to have a cask strength Whisky again. A breath of fresh air. Vanilla ice-cream returns for the finish. Otherwise the black fruits stay on so the funky sourness is there to stay too. Nice example to analyze like this.

Quite a nice development. It starts out pretty sweet, than the wood shows itself and next the body collapses a bit to reform behind the lines to come back with a nice finish. Although not without its faults, the whole is quite nice and absolutely an experience. Nice how easy the development can be followed. The more it breathes the better it gets. Very nice pick Erik!

Points: 86

Reisetbauer 7yo 1998 (56%, OB, Chardonnay & Trockenbeerenauslese Casks, 350 ml, LWH 098)

Hans ReisetbauerAnd now for something completely different! An Austrian vintage Whisky made by Hans Reisetbauer. This Whisky was distilled in 1998 and matured for 7 years in Chardonnay casks but also in casks that once held Trockenbeerenauselese, a (very) sweet and syrupy white wine. Casks come only from Austrian wine makers Alois Kracher and Heinz Velich. When looking for information, Hans seems to win a lot of prestigious prizes for his Eaux-de-vie or brandy’s made with fruits, and is regularly awarded as the best distiller in Austria. Hans decided to have a go at making Whisky. Hans planted four hectares of his own summer barley which was harvested for the first time in July 1995. Hans uses a double distillation regime.

Reisetbauer 1998Color: Gold

Nose: Creamy and lightly fruity. Apples and not winey at first. Fruity sweet with caramel. Very mild and definitely decent smelling (I may have expected something less good?). Powdery and dry, nice wood. Hint of vanilla. I’m not sure about the Chardonnay yet, but after some breathing I do smell the Trockenbeerenauselese. Having said that, it does remind me a bit of a Glen Moray in…yes, Chardonnay.

Taste: Sweetish and very vegetal. Fresh wood and a spicy (and winey) oak attack. Paint and plastic. Here most definitely the wine casks make their mark and mask that this is actually Single Malt Whisky. Maybe using the more traditional kind of cask would have been a better idea and use the Chardonnay and TBA casks for a finish. Quite hot and the heat has staying power. The aroma’s fade out leaving a hint of tannins, plastic and acidity. Still not a bad finish though.

I have heard people claiming this was terrible, but I don’t agree. Yes it is maybe too heavy on the wine casks used, but I can look past that and there definitely is some quality and potential here. Would love to see how Hans improves himself making Whisky.

The picture on the left is of the 700 ml bottle, simply because I couldn’t find a picture of a 350 ml bottle like mine, and I don’t think an empty bottle would make a good picture here. As can be seen on the bottle label, there were 1500 bottles made. On some bottles however instead of the 1500 bottles statement there is a code LWH 098 or LWH 007. Some bottles, bottled at 43% ABV, have a different label where the vintage (1998) is replaced by 7 years, but carry the same code LWH 098 as some 1998 vintages. Do you still follow?

Points: 75

Craigellachie 18yo 1994/2013 (54.4%, Cadenhead, Small Batch, Bourbon & Sherry Hogshead, 432 bottles)

Hey, let’s try another Craigellachie. I’ve just reviewed the new official 13yo, and got a taste of what the official Craigellachie tastes like. That one seems to me to be only from Bourbon casks, and this Cadenhead expression is not only from a Bourbon, but also from Sherry Hogsheads. Craigellachie is often a very nice distillate, meaty and funky, so I have high hopes for this, so without further ado…

Craigellachie 18yo 1994/2013 (54.4%, Cadenhead, Small Batch, Bourbon & Sherry Hogshead, 432 bottles)Color: Copper gold

Nose: Velvety, vegetal and occasionally soapy. Strong. Gin botanicals. Sweet smelling (funky and sweet lavas) and extremely fresh at first. Menthol. Lots of oak. Next a lot of development. The menthol and other “fresh” components dissipate and a funky and oaky sweatiness takes over. Sweet dusty licorice and slightly rotting oak and the sharper wood odor of pencil shavings. Yes you’ve guessed it, a very interesting Craigellachie! Buttery vanilla. and sweetish wet fern leaves. Lots happening here. Not a nose for the faint hearted. Complex stuff.

Taste: Sweet at first but very quickly turning into something dry. Nice oak again with pencil shavings and tiny hints of cannabis in vanilla ice-cream. Very aromatic. Warm coffee (with milk), wood and dark, but not too dark, chocolate. Well balanced and very interesting aroma’s thrown together. Funky beerlike finish. Animalesk. Mocha, toffee and salty caramel are there too. I feel this Whisky changes a lot along the way.

Probably a Whisky for connoisseurs. I like it a lot, but I don’t think newbies will be positive since accessibility is not the priority for this Whisky. The complexity and amount of aroma’s are just shy of being overwhelming.

Points: 87

Aberfeldy 12yo Limited Release (40%, OB, Batch #2905, 2014)

As mentioned before, through John Dewar and Sons, Bacardi owns five Scottish Malt Distilleries. This year Bacardi is releasing official bottlings from all of the five distilleries, and that’s not all. All Whiskies released will have age statements. As we have already seen, that’s a dying breed! Not for nothing these five malts are being marketed as “The Last Great Malts Collection” Aberfeldy is the third in a row and for the time being the last. The first was Craigellachie and the second Aultmore. The remaining two will be Royal Brackla and Deveron from the Macduff distillery, both are not released yet.

Abefeldy 12yo Limited Realease Batch #2905Color: Gold

Nose: Funky in a nice way. Creamy and fruity. Tropical fruits, papaya and pineapple. Smells a bit like a Tomatin. The fruit take the back seat and then some dry wood spiciness kicks in. Almonds. Dusty. Nice fruity and friendly nose. Caramel and cow-dung (a good thing in Whisky)

Taste: Toffee and some fruit. Waaaaayyyy to thin. Why bottle this at 40%! Bad move! Taste is there but it is watered down. Toffee again and Amaretto, but where is the rest? Hints of strange acidity in the (beerlike)finish. It’s all about vanilla ice-cream, cream, toffee and caramel with some fruit.

Better tasting than the previous 12yo. The taste was enhanced by extending the fermentation time for this bottling, and it worked. Why didn’t they enhance the ABV too?

Points: 81

Aultmore 12yo (46%, OB, 2014)

For as far as I know only three new Aultmores are being released. This 12yo, but also a 21yo and a 25yo. The 21yo is released to travel retail for one year only, after that the 21yo will be more widely available. With a 12yo and a 21yo it is a portfolio similar to that of Aberfeldy. Aultmore is the next distillery Bacardi is releasing under the “Last Great Malts” moniker. Foggie Moss, as stated on the label, is the name of the water supply for Aultmore. Water from Foggie Moss is lightly peaty! Aultmore 12yoColor: Light gold, straw. Nose: Meaty and very perfumy. Sweet, cherry chocolate bon-bon. Way different from the Craigellachie 13yo. Organic. It smells upfront and restrained at the same time. Feminine, floral, touch of lavender. It smells like the bottle looks! Very interesting Whisky. Inhale vigorously for a breath of fresh air and the nicest result. Lovely! Definitely meaty, gravy. Mocha and very milky chocolate. A touch of glue and orange juice. Great balance. Taste: Spicy and sweet. Cookie dough. The sweetness is countered by woody spiciness. The nose may be very different from Craigellachie 13yo, but in taste it’s a closer relative (by ownership). The organic note from the nose returns here. Otherwise well-balanced but simpler than the Craigellachie. Overall pretty nice and again very drinkable. The sweetness, for me, hinders the finish a bit, especially because when the sweet film is shed from your mouth not a lot is staying behind (except from some organics, soapy texture and wood). It seems a bit thin. Still it has something special. Maybe needs to breathe a bit. This bottling shows a very clean Aultmore (hence the packaging) and it shows the distillery character. Very drinkable, clearly an entry-level malt. Cleaner and less funky than the Craigellachie 13yo. By the way I found no peat in the Whisky. Points: 83