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Secret Speyside, 1994, 26y, cask 30, 48,1%

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Sniff:
A warm and bitter old scent, with stewed fruits, baking spices and smoldering embers in a hearth. Some shoe polish, moldy apples, wet corks, dunnage warehouses. Beeswax, honey and a whiff of pine needles.

Sip:
The palate is very gentle, but quite dry. After a few seconds there’s a bit of oaky warmth. There’s stewed orchard fruits with hints of cinnamon. Corks, dunnage warehouses again. Nice and warming, very old fashioned with old oak. Warm apple compote, hints of vanilla.

Swallow:
The finish is a lot more waxy than it was before. Beeswax, candle wax, honey. Very gentle, with some oak, stewed apples again. A little less funky, and a little less ‘old fashioned’.

Well, honestly, this is just great. It’s got great complexity and the combination of the waxiness, with the honey and stewed apples is great. I love the old fashioned scents of a dunnage warehouse with these old, moldy casks and wet soil.

That Glenfarclas question then: It could very well be. I think I’ve had whiskies from there that tastes somewhat like this, but not a lot. There might have been other distilleries that produce stuff that can rise to this level too. So, as always, not a clue.

91/100

Distilled at Tobermory (Ledaig), 1995, 24y, cask 128, 46.4%

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Nose: More Tobermory than Ledaig, this is fresh yet rather dirty, musty and with a tinge of copper coins. And a nice minerality to boot. Also damp leaves and reminiscent of a somewhat yeasty dunnage warehouse. It has an uncharacteristic waxy quality, as well as a tinge of fermented apples, pears, melted butter and a whiff of eucalyptus.
Taste: Creamy mouthfeel. A rather chalky and earthy arrival with a nice herbal influence and some mint. As subdued as the peat was on the nose, it certainly is noticeable here—but very subtle still. A hint of cherry pit and some pine needles. There’s a fruity veneer of bitter lemon zest, orange rind and even some pink grapefruit.
Finish: Soft spices and more vibrant fruits.

Score: 90

Ben Nevis, 1996, 23y, cask 954 46.1%

www.whiskynotes.be

Nose: boring, just excellent. There’s lemongrass, unripe bananas, hints of ginger and pineapple cake. Sunflower oil and paraffin. Fresh lime. One of the more vertical, chalky examples, with a great fruity side as well.

Mouth: this unique mix of bright, lightly tropical fruits and mineral notes. Albariño. Heather and chalk, pears, hints of grapefruit and one (shy) passion fruit. Candle wax. Wet pebblestones, a whiff of menthol and some earthy touches. This has a slight austerity (Springbank-style at times), less creamy and perhaps even less fruity than some of the sister casks.

Finish: long, mineral, with big waxy notes and some wet leaves.

Quite excellent again, even though it’s slightly more narrow than the best casks in my book. Not that it matters much: with just 75 bottles, you should have made a reservation long ago (or won one of the ballots). But where’s the rest of this cask?

score: 90

Secret Highland, 1983, 35y, cask 82, 48,2%

www.maltfascination.com:

Sniff:
Zeer ouderwets, met veel zacht eiken, gedroogde appels en een zekere washeid. Sommigen sloegen lucifers, met hints van menthol en volkorenbrood. Zeer soepel en behoorlijk rijk.

Slok:
Het gehemelte heeft iets meer impact dan ik had verwacht op basis van de neus, en het is ook behoorlijk intens. Vrij droog, met eiken en gerst, was, appels, wat hints van rozijnen en kurk. Nogmaals, het volkorenbrood, met een klein vleugje turfrook.

Slikken:
De afdronk is wederom erg fruitig met veel appel, gedroogde appel, perenhuiden en een vleugje rokerigheid. De eik is erg uitgesproken en de leeftijd laat zich hier zien. Heel ouderwets en erg rijk.

Deze aantekeningen zijn misschien niet veel om over na te denken. Om de een of andere reden vind ik het altijd moeilijk om smaken te identificeren in deze oude (bijvullen, denk ik) sherry-peuken, maar ik ben er zeker dol op. Het doet me denken aan bepaalde oudere Clynelishes (minus een beetje wax) en Inchgowers uit dezelfde geest.

Deze is, vergeleken met die, wat timide, maar nog steeds erg rijk en absoluut heerlijk. Ik waardeer de kleine hint van bitterheid echt om het een beetje extra diepte te geven. Alles is zeer goed uitgebalanceerd zonder dat de smaak de overhand krijgt boven de andere. Geweldig spul dit, en zeer de prijs waard, in deze tijd.

91/100

Secret Higland, 1987, 31y, vat 27, 49,6%

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Neus  : Aardbeien en abrikozen met een vleugje cacaopoeder en cappuccino. Subtiele noten van bijenwas ook. Aanvankelijk meer op het spectrum van vers rood fruit dan de donkere en intens sherried kant, maar er is nog steeds steeds ruimte voor tonen van pruimen, menthol en leer, ook tabak.
Smaak  : olieachtig mondgevoel en een vrij droge aankomst. Een vleugje vochtig eiken, nootmuskaat en kruidnagel, gevolgd door anijs en champignons. Een vleugje leer en chocolade.
Afdronk  : aanhoudende kruiden en tonen van bittere espresso en eiken, gevolgd door pure chocolade. De afwerking duwt dit zelfs een tandje hoger.

Score: 90

Caol Ila, 1990, 28y, cask 13129, 48%

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Neus:  zeer aankomend, warm en zoet, vrij dik en custardy. Veel paraffine, hints van tijgerbalsem, amandelen en nat hooi. Gevallen. Olijfpekel. Hints van sigarettenrook. Gezoete muntthee. Lichte peper en anijs ook.

Mond:  vrij groot en krachtig, voelt meer dan 48%. Wederom zoet en vettig maar ook rustig. Een fruitige basis (perzik, gouden appel) op weg naar citroenschil, limoncello en chlorofyl. Weer groene olijven.

Afdronk:  lang, op citroen en zout.

Score:  91/100

Springbank, 1995, 23j, vat 63, 48%

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Het is nog geen twee weken geleden dat ik de vorige review van een WhiskyNerds-botteling heb gedaan. Die Lagavulin 21 was geweldig, en op de hielen daarvan komt een verse sherry gerijpte, 23-jarige Springbank.

Hun Lagavulin scoorde hier 93 punten en de Springbank die ze eind vorig jaar deden, behaalde 92 punten. Deze jongens hebben inmiddels zo’n reputatie dat hun laatste twee bottelingen uitverkocht waren voordat ze in de winkels lagen.

Met een Lagavulin van € 1300+ is dat geen slechte zaak, maar deze Springbank had ik graag op mijn plank willen zetten, ook al was het maar een zevende van een fles door een flesdeling.

Sniff:
Zeer ouderwetse sherry. Als ik niet beter wist, zou ik zeggen dat dit de enigszins roetige stijl van Strathisla uit de jaren 60 zou kunnen zijn, die zo geweldig is. Funky met een vleugje overrijpe mango, dennennaalden en hars, en een vleugje Maggi vloeibare kruiden. Een beetje olieachtig beton, zoals de vloer in een autowerkplaats, met bessen. Vreemd zoals het is.

Sip:
A lot more gentle than you’d expect from the intensity of the nose. Old polished furniture, wet soil, dunnage warehouses. Dry sherry, mint and pine, and menthol cigarettes. Some peppery heat, with Maggi again. Sesam seed oil, strawberries, maybe a touch of balsamic vinegar. Sour cherries, sandalwood, dark chocolate.

Swallow:
A silky smooth finish with dark chocolate, Maggi and resin. A slight crisp note of menthol with the ashy addition of cigarrette ash. Drying with oak, dunnage-warehouse-soil, and engine oil. Sandalwood and sour cherries.

This is yet another A. MA. ZING whisky. I am absolutely in love with this. It does everything right and it goes full on the complex sherry and the dirty notes that Springbank is so loved for.

I wouldn’t say this is a typical Springbank, although the style of ‘dirtiness’ is typical, but overall this reminds me more of 1960 Strathisla and some older Karuizawas. Stunning whisky, and a shame it’s gone.

Even though € 350 for a bottle of whisky is an insane amount, I can imagine this being worth it.

94/100

www.wordsofwhisky.com:

Nose: Very mature and rich, a somewhat dry sherry style. Cherry syrup, raisins, juicy plums and dark notes of tobacco leaves. A hint of mocha and chocolate pralines, with a whisper of menthol, soy and wood smoke. Brilliant, in the vein of those old sherried Speysiders that G&M bottles every so often.
Taste: Furniture polish, leather and hints of menthol. This is just… incredibly awesome. Hints of espresso and cappuccino, with the tiniest whisper of peat, and lovely earthy dunnage flavours. A hint of cocoa powder also.
Finish: Lingering menthol, peat, sherry. A touch of soy. Very long.

Score: 94/100

Even though this is 23 years old already, I’d describe it as a very mature whisky. Very classy and classic, yet to me not immediately recognizable as Springbank. Incredible stuff that harkens back to the 1960s. A flavour profile you don’t often encounter anymore. Yes, I like it even better than last year’s release. My whisky of the year so far.

Lagavulin, 1997, 21y, cask 0001, 56.6%, Select Cask for European Lagavulin fans: Boris Borrisov, Floris Kooistra, Bram van Glabbeek, Sebastian Jaeger, Ronny Wettervik & Rolf-Harald Haugen

www.whiskynotes.be:

Nose: a very refined, balanced nose. Gentle peat smoke, seashells, walnuts, a little tobacco. Not much sherry influence, but the European oak brings spices although I also get some natural vanilla. Subtle iodine, dried kelp and tar. Carbolineum. A hint of pine resin, maybe dried apple. Just a nice touch of fresh orange juice as well. Yeah well, rather perfect. Mouth: now there’s a sweet tobacco side, some toffee and Demerara sugar (sherry after all) before it gets back to camphor, walnuts, hints of coffee and coastal notes. Didn’t expect such sweetness from the nose. Liquorice. Some leafy notes. Sweet menthol (cough syrup). A bit of orange liqueur now. All great descriptors: this is classic stuff. Finish: long, on smoked fish, black peppercorns, marmalade and hints of sweet oak.

Excellent Lagavulin, with a very wide array of flavours, great depth and a flawless balance. Pretty immense.

Score: 93/100

www.whiskyfun.com:

I feel there are probably more than 158 Lagavulin fans in Europe. And so long as Britain remains a member of the EU I count myself as one of them. One of an increasing number of private casks that Diageo are doing these days – unsurprisingly they chose European oak for this release. Colour: deep gold. Nose: soft embrocations, drifting bonfire smoke, coal dust, dried kelp, mechanical oils and toasted black peppercorns. The peat feels slightly restrained, as if it’s caught on the verge of morphing into all these other tertiary aspects such as tar, mead, old rope and antiseptic. Evolves rather beautifully towards a kind of earthy/medical/smoky profile over time. Slightly reminiscent of some older White Horse 12 year olds at points. With water: drifts more towards boot polish, hickory smoke, struck flints and some smoke-cured meats. Mouth: very peppery, sooty and displaying a kind of fruity chilli heat. Smoked paprika, iodine, germoline and wood ash. There’s a BBQ sauce aspect as well. I like it but there’s also a rawness to it as well which I wasn’t expecting. Hints of burnt caramel, artichoke, olive oil and grilling sardines. With water: ahh, much sweeter and oilier now with water. Lemon cough medicine, more natural tar notes, oily peats and some herbal extracts that lean towards liqueurish. Hessian and various medical tinctures. Finish: long, leafy, smoky, earthy and full of salty notes such as miso, soy sauce and anchovy paste. Some oily lemony notes as well. Comments: At times it’s a little tough, but if you work with it and give it the benefit of time and a little water it really does reward. What can I say? Another very excellent Lagavulin. Damn those lucky Europeans! Just you wait till we are eating re-hydrated mashed potatoes and Boris Johnson is in charge, then we’ll show you…!
SGP: 466 – 91 points

Springbank, 1996, 21y, cask 471, 58.1% 

Putting your nose in this glass of Springbank single cask selected for bottling by the WhiskyNerds, places you in a Campbeltown fairy tale. It is a nice day in Spring as you wander along the Low Askomill Walk overlooking the Loch. From the left the aroma of flowers engulf you like a blanket, while on the right the seaspray wets the peddles, creating the familiar chalky smell that is a signature of every well-aged Springbank. This one goes the extra mile. Like a bridge between days long past and a future still ahead. The taste is reminiscent of wood, smoke, a Cuban cigar, and a liquorice bitter sweetness. Close your eyes and you time travel back to the days Campbeltown was the whisky capital of the world. The sharpness on the finish makes this a whisky for men, for women, not boys, not girls. Savour it carefully, it might finish you, instead of the other way around!

The Trias Usquebaugh

The WhiskyNerds have (modestly) concluded that whisky delight benefits most from one of the three points of The Trias Usquebaugh. The majority of excellent whisky is matured in either seasoned sherry casks or flavourful bourbon casks. The combination of the two in a balanced vatting can make dreams come true. For your pleasure and education, The Trias Usquebaugh bottlings of Inchmurrin single malt whisky, 3 in total, will take you on a journey of checks and balances. We gladly let you discuss and decide what delights you most.

Inchmurrin 2003, 14y, cask 171, 54.6% ‘Executive’
The WhiskyNerds bottled two single cask Inchmurrin single malt whiskies: a sherry matured expression Law and a bourbon matured Order. To complete the Trias Usquebaugh triangle we need an Executive. We married the remainders of the two 1993 vintage casks together. This resulted in a beautiful vatting with presidential allure. The Executive loves the spotlights. Always the most unequivocal of the three, the Executive combines the resolve of the Law and the compromising basis of the Order, to rise above but never trump the others.

Inchmurrin 2003, 14y, cask 168, 53.3% ‘Order’

A first-fill bourbon matured Inchmurrin distilled in 2003 and bottled in 2017 at the Loch Lomond Distillery. According to the WhiskyNerds a bourbon matured whisky provides the Order in the Trias balance. The spirit is kept in check by the wood, but never falls in its shadow. Therefor it is justified to proclaim that the whisky shines as a proud cornerstone. This 14 Years Old provides the classic full body and sweetness that comes from a bourbon cask. The perfect basis for a vatting but also enjoyable on its own.

Inchmurrin 2003, 14y, cask 169, 56,3% ‘Law’

A refill sherry butt matured Inchmurrin distilled in 2003 and bottled in 2017 at the Loch Lomond Distillery. According to the WhiskyNerds a sherry matured whisky provides the Law in the Trias balance. It brings complexity, it is resolute and outspoken, quickly popular with lots of enthusiasts. It will dictate the course of the debate with a lasting impression on your taste buds. This 14 Years Old provides a mature taste beyond what is expected from a whisky in its teens. The perfect complement for a vatting but also enjoyable on its own.

Invergordon 1972

Invergordon 1972, 43y, cask 13-05, 49,8%
It is hard to imagine that the seemingly cold and industrious column still of the Invergordon Distillery produced this fine single cask whisky, put into glass by the WhiskyNerds. The nose doesn’t even try to hide its luscious aroma, which takes you right to the coast of the Cromarty Firth during Spring. Flowers bloom in abundant sunlight. Only in the distance and hidden under nature’s beautiful layers can one notice a hint of industrial whisky making. A sweet oily scent makes you want to sniff this forever. But a sip of this dram is just as rewarding: the age reveals a ton of ripe fruit infused with chocolate and delicate wood influences. Upon returning to the nose, the Invergordon grain now shows a much more fruity character. This whisky keeps on talking, keeps on stalking, long after the spicy finish has perished and seduces you to take another sip. A more-ish whisky if there ever was one.

Kavalan frontKavalan Peaty Cask R06110610, 53,2%

The Whiskynerds like to share the amazing casks of whisky they find, and the process starts far before bottling. In the company of trusted friends they pitted this fine Kavalan against some legendary single malts from the seventies, whith the Taiwanese giant surprisingly coming out on top. Now it is your turn to be amazed. Let this Kavalan selected by the Whiskynerds take you back to yesterday, while at the same time making the journey to New Horizons

GlendronachGlenDronach 19 Years Old, vintage 1995, single Oloroso Sherry cask 2380, 55,1 %

De Whisky Nerds besloten om te debuteren met een sherry gerijpte single malt whisky van de GlenDronach Distillery. Ze richtten zich op het selecteren van een “eerlijk sherryvat”, in schril contrast met de modernere sherry-bottelingen die tegenwoordig te vinden zijn. De Whisky Nerds is bewonderenswaardig geslaagd. Cask 2380 biedt een overheerlijk mengsel van zoetgebakken vijgen en wilde rode bessen die zich vermengen met muskaatdruiven en zachte kruidigheid. In de mond zorgen de sensaties van krachtige nuttigheid en gedroogde dadels en kersen voor een behoorlijke ervaring met deze ongewoon levendige single malt, gezien zijn leeftijd.

Cask 2380 werd gedeeld met Whisky-e Japan om te genieten in Nederland, Japan en inderdaad over de hele wereld!