Fruit and flowers glide through the nostrils, enveloping the nose in an elegant blanket that is both sweet and rough. Magnolia and almonds intertwine with pear, pineapple, dried apricot, strudel and brown sugar, with an underlying vein of varnish. Very mineral and taut on the length. Austere.
In the mouth it’s very peppery and effervescent, as unexpected as a dignified gentleman dancing the Macarena at a vernissage. But from this charge of energy emerges an even drier and more mineral spirit, where the fruit takes a back seat to more astringent and citric notes on which green apple, tea leaves, pencil shavings and almonds jump. There’s a light patina of honey and vanilla in the background.
The finish is quite long and very dry, with spices, wood, green apple, almonds and a touch of varnish.
The cognac casks may have had more of an impact than they should have, with the distillate seeming not to have borne their influence and ending up being crushed by them. Woody and dry in the extreme, which are distinctive signs and as such appreciable, but personally do not convince me much.
Lagavulin 12Yo Special Release 2021
The nose opens with a blanket of peaty malt, where the sweet, mellow tones of caramel biscuits are imbued in marine notes with medicinal and smoky streaks. Green apple and lemon zest creep in among the aromas, lightening their weight, with mineral impressions that intensify over time, amplifying the coastal imprint of the distillate. Full-bodied Islay.
In the mouth it unleashes a sparkling peppery note of ginger that anticipates a creamy and quite oily body, where the fruity hints grow (again apple with pineapple, citrus, plum) crowded by even more maritime impressions, where salt and iodine dive on the burning embers. Pickled olives and lemon at length, with a touch of oyster.
The finish is long and very salty, dry, of ash, apple, lemon and malt biscuits.
Singleton 17YO Special Release
Like a relaxed orchard on a summer day, the nose offers wildflowers, fresh pears, crisp apples, honey and hay. There’s an earthiness too, which grounds things nicely.
Smooth and creamy, like shea butter and beeswax. There’s more honey here, plus milk chocolate, vanilla custard over apple crumble, and hints of raspberries. The body is breezily light without feeling flimsy.
Long and surprisingly warming after the gentle palate – soft chilli comes through to liven things up slightly.
A relaxed Singleton of Dufftown expression – a delightfully mellow dram best paired with excellent friends and wonderful conversation.
Talisker 8Yo Special Release 2021
This Talisker 8 Year Old has been matured in peated refill casks.
The nose begins with some lovely peated notes and a wonderful hint of orchard fruit Sea air and brine also appears.
The palate has lots more peat smoke, which combines well with the seaside flavours. Herbal notes of heather and moss come through, with sweet caramel and chocolate as well. It is very smooth and has a wonderful star of anise spice throughout.
The finish is bold and full of sea salt, brine and peat smoke.
Mortlach 13Yo Special Release 2021
Matured in sherry and virgin oak casks.
The nose brims with malted grains, caramel and sweet nuts. There is a hint of marzipan and candy floss with a lovely floral note throughout.
The palate brings in notes of vanilla, oak wood and more caramel. Dried fruits, oat biscuits and more malted grains appear. There is a hint of dark chocolate and citrus fruits. Orchard fruits give it a slightly refreshing feel.
The finish is full of oak wood, vanilla and apples.