Puni Alba (2016 Batch 1)

Alba Puni

Nose:  Spicy, dried fruits, mixed herbs, dates, and smoked almonds.

Palate:  Earthy, herby, a little spicy – also a little sweet.  There are some berry and plum notes.  Some faint cereal notes – a mixture of Weet-Bix and All-Bran.  Traces of the peat casks that some of the whisky was slumbering in hang around.

Mouthfeel:  A decently medium weight in the mouth with a soft and silky feel.  A slight alcohol burn.

Finish:  This whisky has a fairly long finish.  Spicy, full of peat, and the earthy notes from the palate continue right through.

[divider]

This whisky is a non-age statement un-peated Italian blended whisky that was aged in a combination of ex-Islay peated Scotch whisky casks, and Marsala wine casks.  It was bottled at 43% ABV with no added colouring, and no chill-filtration.

This is an interesting whisky; a blend of malted barley, malted rye, and malted wheat that was aged for three years in Sicilian ex-marsala casks before being finished in ex-Islay peated Scotch casks.  The spice from the rye is quite prominent throughout, as is the peat notes from the peated ex-Islay Scotch casks that it was finished in.  There is also a sweet fruitiness that lasts most of the journey as well, undoubtedly from the three years it spent in the Sicilian wine casks.

Although I first tasted this whisky at Whisky Live, it is hard to truly appreciate a whisky when you’re drinking that many of them so close together.  Never the less, it captured my attention, and after acquiring a bottle of it, I presented it in a couple of European whisky tastings that I held – where it was generally warmly received.  Although it was against some other intriguing competition from Goldly’s (Belgium), Slyrs (Germany), Millstone (Netherlands), Floki (Iceland), Mackmyra (Sweeden), and Santis (Switzerland); there were a few people that rated it as their favourite, and most people thought it was reasonable or better.  After the tastings, I sat down with what was left and gave it some due consideration on its own.

If you haven’t seen a picture of the Puni distillery, prepare to be amazed – the distillery building is more what you’d expect from a modern-art gallery than a whisky distillery.  Absent are the pagodas and chimneys, present is an almost mesh-like cube situated in the idyllic countryside of the northern Italian Alps.  The distillery gets its name from the nearby Puni river.  The surrounding region has been growing rye since the times of the Roman Empire, and it is this rye that Puni has malted and used in this whisky.  The amazing cube distillery building houses not just the distillery, but also warehousing where some of the Puni whisky slumbers, whilst the distillery also uses abandoned WWII-era underground bunkers to age the rest.

Whilst I could not say that this whisky has been one of my favourites, I am by no means going to struggle to finish my bottle of it – it’s both a pleasant whisky, whilst also being full of character.  The world would definitely be a better place if more whiskies had both of these attributes.

Nose:  Spicy, dried fruits, mixed herbs, dates, and smoked almonds. Palate:  Earthy, herby, a little spicy - also a little sweet.  There are some berry and plum notes.  Some faint cereal notes - a mixture of Weet-Bix and All-Bran.  Traces of the peat casks that some of the whisky was slumbering in hang around. Mouthfeel:  A decently medium weight in the mouth with a soft and silky feel.  A slight alcohol burn. Finish:  This whisky has a fairly long finish.  Spicy, full of peat, and the earthy notes from the palate continue right through. [divider] This whisky is a non-age…

Would I Drink It Again?

Total Score

Probably; I may even buy another bottle - although it's worth noting considerable differences between batches.

Glenmorangie: A Midwinter Night’s Dram

Glenmorangie A Midwinter Nights Dram

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Nose: Sultanas, red apples, brown sugar, marmalade, and sponge cake. Palate: Much the same as the nose, but with some added almonds and citrus peel - and perhaps just a slight touch of cinnamon and vanilla. Mouthfeel: On the heavier side of mid-weight.  Silky smooth, and slightly oily, with not a hint of alcohol Finish: Mid-length, a reasonable amount of heat, with traces of red apples and a touch of marmalade. [divider] Bottled at 43%, the Midwinter Night's Dram was a limited release by Glenmorangie in 2015.  It is a no-age statement whisky that was aged in ex-Bourbon casks before…

Would I Drink It Again?

Total Score

Definitely. I imported several bottles after first trying it, and will import more again if I can.

Bushmills: 16 Year Old

Bushmills 16 Year

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Nose:  Honey, buttered fruit toast, sultanas, and canned pears. Typically crisp and light on the nose for an Irish whiskey. Palate:  Rich, fruity, sweet, and spicy.  Plenty of boysenberry on the palate, along with sweet malt and honey notes; there's also some canned fruit salad, some mixed-berry jam, and some Christmas-spiced gingerbread.  There's also a hint of something dry and slightly bitter - cacao maybe.  Strangely acidic on the first pop of the cork, but that completely disappears with a bit of a breather. Mouthfeel:  There's a decent weight to this whiskey - especially for one that is triple distilled. …

Would I Drink It Again?

Total

Definitely - this whiskey is delicious.

Ardbeg 10

Ardbeg 10

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Nose:  Tar.  The predominant note on the nose is definitely tar.  Citrus and salt are also present, as are some notes of dried grass around the edges. Palate:  Crap-tonnes of coastal, medicinal, peat.  Some citrus and vanilla, as well as hints of tar and some charcoal.  Traces of over-brewed black tea floating around at the edges. Mouthfeel:  Not the thinnest whisky, but not exactly a heavyweight - especially for an Ardbeg.  Smooth, and with no alcohol bite. Finish:  Long and punchy.  Plenty of lemon and salt, with an absolute mountain of peat still hanging around. [divider] Ardbeg's youngest age-stated whisky,…

Would I Drink It Again?

Total Score

Probably - I certainly wouldn't turn down a dram, but not sure it beats out nearby rivals, or even other Ardbeg bottlings to ensure I'd buy a bottle.

Tomintoul 16

Tomintoul 16

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Nose:  Granny Smith apples, well-ripe pears, pie crust, brown sugar, and just the faintest trace of nail polish. Palate:  Stewed apples and pairs with cloves, roasted almonds, and just a touch of cinnamon.  The lightest hint of something creamy - like the foam from a cappuccino hanging around the edges. Mouthfeel:  Lusciously thick and velvety.  Viscous, but slightly dry.  Just a feather-light touch of heat. Finish:  The stewed apples from the palate leave quickly, but the stewed pears with cloves hang around for an eternity.  The touch of cinnamon is still there - and brings with it a lasting warmth…

Would I Drink It Again?

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Palate
Mouthfeel
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Glenfiddich: XX

Glenfiddich XX

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Nose:  Christmas cake with maraschino cherries and plenty of brandy soaked sultanas.  Quite sweet - heading towards the golden syrup end of the sugary spectrum.  Also some vanilla, and hints of some sweet spices. Palate:  Sweeter and less fruity than the nose - also a lot less heavy than the nose would suggest.  A few sultanas are still to be found, although they seem to have dumped the brandy.  A little nutty as well, and just a trace of vanilla. Mouthfeel:  Surprisingly light in the weight department.  Despite the higher alcohol, there is only a very very slight tingle on…

The Ninja's numbers - A completely subjective score.

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Glenfiddich: IPA

Glenfiddich IPA

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Nose:  A fresh winter fruit salad of mixed apples, pears, and grapes, with a side serving of milk arrowroot biscuits and some subtle sweet spices. Palate: The winter fruit and malty biscuits come through from the nose, now joined by citrus zests - more lemon and lime than orange.  Also joining the nose is a decent serve of hops - soft and sweet, but with a slight tang; even a touch floral perhaps.  A hint of vanilla also creeps into the palate. Mouthfeel: Not the thickest whisky I've ever had, but a decent heft is present nonetheless.  A touch creamy…

The Ninja's numbers - A completely subjective score.

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Mouthfeel
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Bruichladdich: Port Charlotte Scottish Barley

Bruichladdich Port Charllote Scottish Barley

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Nose: Smoky, sweet, salty - quite coastal.  Hints of citrus - mainly lemon; and traces of nature reserves (from where I grew up).  Quite soft and subtle for the peat level. Palate: Smoky and salty, vanilla and lemon - a slightly floral hint lurking too.  The smoke is clean and bushfire-like rather than the usual Islay medicinal peat.  the smoke levels are consistent with what you'd expect from the peat levels of this whisky, but the rest of the palate is remarkably mild and smooth.  Somehow the palate is both delicate and solidly heavy at the same time. Mouthfeel: Thick,…

The Ninja's numbers - A completely subjective score.

Nose
Palate
Mouthfeel
Finish
Balance