Tomintoul 16

Tomintoul 16

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 on the tongue.  The cappuccino foam has turned properly creamy now – becoming a coffee cream that is very light on the coffee.



A Speyside single malt matured in ex-Bourbon barrels, and bottled at 40% with colouring. Not normally a description of a whisky that I would pay a lot of attention, nor expect great things from; and to be honest, I wasn’t expecting great things from this whisky before I tried it – the words “the gentle dram” on the label didn’t raise my expectations either.  Talk about having some misconceptions about the quality of the whisky!  I really think I’d have been better coming to this whisky blind, and not having any expectations before the first sniff.

This whisky has a strength that is unexpected from it’s whisky-minimum ABV of 40%; without having read the bottle, I would have guessed and ABV of somewhere around 43-46% – it’s a beautifully thick whisky with just the gentlest prickling of heat on the tongue.  They may call this the gentle dram, which it certainly is – there’s no sharp edges anywhere; just wave upon wave of rich thick gooey softness.  It kind of reminds me of Baymax in the movie Big Hero 6 – soft round cuddliness that hides an incredibly strong core.

Tomintoul is a fairly young distillery, having been established in 1964; and is a pretty small distillery by Scottish standards, with only 4 steam-heated stills in total – 2 wash stills, and 2 spirit stills.  They produce both peated, and unpeated single malt whiskies – with the unpeated whiskies like this one released under the Tomintoul brand, and peated whiskies released under the Old Ballantruan brand.  For a small bit of trivia, Tomintoul is listed in the Guinness book of records for producing the largest ever bottle of whisky in the world – at 105.3 litres.

This 16 year old expression has won itself a whole swag of awards from around the place, and received a well deserved score of 94.5 from the man in the panama hat in 2012.  I have a feeling this whisky is going to regularly find its way into my whisky cabinet.  It really would be a thing of beauty if Tomintoul released this at somewhere around 50% ABV.

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…
Nose
Palate
Mouthfeel
Finish

Glenfiddich: XX

Glenfiddich XX

Continue reading “Glenfiddich: XX”

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.

Nose
Palate
Mouthfeel
Finish
Balance

Glenfiddich: IPA

Glenfiddich IPA

Continue reading “Glenfiddich: IPA”

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.

Nose
Palate
Mouthfeel
Finish

Auchroisk 1996 Berry’s Own

Auchroisk 1996 Berrys Own

Continue reading “Auchroisk 1996 Berry’s Own”

Nose:  Very sweet.  Jersey caramels, fairy floss, golden syrup on pancakes, and sugared fruit jelly lollies.  Quite the fairground. Palate:  Vanilla, caramel toffee & caramel fudge, oak spices, nutmeg, and fresh timber.  Surprisingly light on flavour given its ABV. Mouthfeel:  Thick, dry, and warm.  A slight burn on the tip of the tongue that dies off quickly. Finish:  Medium length.  Burnt toffee; dry and slightly bitter.  Hints of salted walnuts, and traces of floral notes after a while. Balance: This whisky a bit all over the shop.  The mouthfeel could be said to match nicely with the nose, but the…

The Ninja's numbers - A completely subjective score.

Nose
Palate
Mouthfeel
Finish
Balance

Glen Grant 1960 Gordon & MacPhail

Glen Grant 1960 Gordon MacPhail

Continue reading “Glen Grant 1960 Gordon & MacPhail”

Nose:  Charred oak, old grapes, celery, and sweet spices.  Quite an unusually sweet nose considering the notes. Palate:  White wine, stewed berries, oak spices, and burnt hot mocha.  Slight traces of fruit lollies and aniseed as it heads to the back of the tongue. Mouthfeel:  Thick and chewy.  Very smooth, and also quite dry.  No burn. Finish:  Dry, very dry.  Grape, and a touch of soot are present; also a slight trace of ethanol - which is a bit odd considering the age. An earlier release of this bottling got 96 points in Jim Murray's 2014 Bible.  This one was…

The Ninja's numbers - A completely subjective score.

I wrote tasting notes for this one a while ago, and never wrote down any marks for it - and at the cost of a bottle of this whisky, I doubt I'll ever drink it again to do so.

Glenfiddich: Rich Oak 14

Glenfiddich Rich Oak 14

Continue reading “Glenfiddich: Rich Oak 14”

Nose:  Vanilla, canned fruit salad, sweet spices - cloves and a bit of cinnamon, sultanas,  and fresh wood.  Quite spicy and vapoury on the nose. Palate:  Dried fruits, oak spices, fresh vanilla pods, malt, and notes of old wood.  Quite mellow - too mellow really.  Tiny traces of something really sweet and dark such as golden syrup. Mouthfeel:  Really light, almost watery thin.  Extremely smooth, and absolutely no burn. Finish:  Not a particularly long finish.  Lots of wood notes, with traces of vanilla.  A little bit spicy, but just a little bit. I can't say I'm a big fan of…

The Ninja's numbers - A completely subjective score.

Nose
Palate
Mouthfeel
Finish

The Glenrothes: 1992 Second Edition

The Glenrothes 1992 Second Edition

Continue reading “The Glenrothes: 1992 Second Edition”

Nose:  Fruit lolllies, packham pears, desert spices, vanilla bean, slight hints of fresh coconut. A little bit all over the place, and a small amount of fresh spirit at the back of the nose - surprising given the age of the whisky. Palate:  Candied lemon, poached pears, coconut cream with vanilla essence, traces of milk arrowroot biscuits and mandarin peel, and hints of cinnamon and cloves.  Quite solid, and well balanced - much more so than the nose. Mouthfeel:  A little warm, but no burn.  Reasonably thick, and quite dry - heading towards creamy. Finish:  A long finish on this…

The Ninja's numbers - A completely subjective score.

Nose
Palate
Mouthfeel
Finish

The Glenrothes: 1998

The Glenrothes 1998

Continue reading “The Glenrothes: 1998”

Nose:  To start with this whisky practically has no nose at all - almost like leaving some lemon peel and a tiny drop of vanilla essence in a glass of hot water.  Give it a bit of time to breathe though, and it really gets going: finger buns with lemon icing, candied lemon peel, some icing sugar, and hints of honey and vanilla - also the faintest trace of pineapple chunks. Palate:  Honey, malt, light cereal notes - almost like a crumble topping, vanilla custard, notes of coconut cream, and small amounts of pepper and sweet spices.  None of the…

The Ninja's numbers - A completely subjective score.

Nose
Palate
Mouthfeel
Finish

Compass Box: The Peat Monster

Compass Box The Peat Monster

Continue reading “Compass Box: The Peat Monster”

Nose:  Fresh cut grass, honey, peat smoke, and mixed citrus peel. Hints of dried apricots and dry apple chips. Palate: A big peat smoke impact here, some cured meats, beach water and the mouthful of seaweed you get when dumped in the surf. Hints of fresh and sweet botanicals. Fairly medicinal, but not overpoweringly so. Mouthfeel: Reasonably thick, but not chewy or creamy. A small alcoholic tingle that sits on the tip of the tongue, but goes no further. Somehow it seems to fill the whole mouth - up to the roof of your mouth - whilst it goes down…

The Ninja's numbers - A completely subjective score.

Nose
Palate
Mouthfeel
Finish

Glenfarclas £511.19s.0d Family Reserve

Glenfarclas £511.19s.0d Family Reserve

Continue reading “Glenfarclas £511.19s.0d Family Reserve”

Nose:  Stewed berries, black plums, golden syrup, and traces of vanilla pods and burnt caramel.  Strong and rich - abundantly sherry casked. Palate: Raisins, golden syrup, marmalade on burnt toast, Christmas cake, oak spices, slivered almonds, and traces of cinnamon and nutmeg.  Quite earthy, and surprisingly little sweetness compared to the nose.  More alcohol is present than I expected from 43% ABV. Mouthfeel: Fairly thin rolling over the tongue, slight burn on the tip of the tongue - disappearing as it heads down the throat.  Very dry, and no oils at all. Finish:  Spices, roasted nuts, damp earth, dried green…

The Ninja's numbers - A completely subjective score.

Nose
Palate
Mouthfeel
Finish