William Grant & Sons: Rare Cask Reserves – Cruinnich

William Grant Cruinich 21

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Nose:  Grape juice, pears, oak, vanilla fudge, brown sugar, and faint notes of paint thinner. Palate:  Heavy on the oak flavours - quite woody up front, and full of oak spices at the back end.  Pretty sweet, with some slight fruity salad notes.  Hints of vanilla fudge or cake icing. Mouthfeel:  Fairly light and mellow.  Very dry.  There is no burn at all.  Lacking any significan body for a whisky of its age. Finish:  Oak spices, and (very) faint traces of vanilla.  The finish is so short it is practically non-existent. Balance:  This whisky is pretty consistent all the way…

The Ninja's numbers - A completely subjective score.

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Balance

Bushmills: Black Bush

Bushmills Black Bush

Nose:  Stewed apples and berries, sultanas, fruitcake, and golden syrup.

Palate:  Smooth, sweet, nut-laden Christmas cake, red fruits, and sweet spices such as nutmeg and cinnamon. Some of the malt comes through nice and rich, along with some punchy sweetness from the grain.

Mouthfeel:  Mid-weight, slightly oily, slightly creamy, almost juicy, very smooth – no burn at all.

Finish:  Lingering for a short time, sweet red fruits, even more sweet spices.

 



Punchier than most blended-malt scotches, but smoother and richer than most mixed blends; Black Bush is an extremely easy drinking whiskey – one that you could just as easy drink in summer out on the balcony, or watching the footy, or at the pub whilst hanging out with a group of mates.

I’m generally a big fan of whiskies from the Old Bushmills distillery, and although it doesn’t have the weight or complexity of the 16, or 21 year olds; the Black Bush is still an excellent dram.  Black Bush was one of my first whiskies, and definitely the first ‘regular’ in my collection; and still resides there all these years later despite many many bottles of more expensive whiskies – I don’t know whether it’s my half-Irish ancestry, or Black Bush’s rich flavours yet easy accessibility that keeps it there.

The distillery is located in the beautiful township that shares the same name, up north near Giant’s Causeway, and for a very long time has been the only commercial distillery in Northern Ireland.  The Old Bushmills distillery reputedly got its license to distil in 1608 – making it the oldest whisky distillery still in existence.  The company that originally built the current distillery was founded in 1784, and after several closures and a devastating fire has been in continuous operation since 1885.  According to some historians, evidence of distillation at or near Bushmills dates back to 1276 – clearly whisky is in the blood around those parts!  It is the only currently operating distillery in Ireland that was in existence prior to 1975, and one of only two distilleries currently operating in Northern Ireland – with the Echlinville Distillery opening in 2013 (the first new distillery to be licensed in Northern Ireland in 125 years).

Although Black Bush won’t knock anybody’s socks off for any one reason, it is a superb easy-going all-rounder whiskey, and one that will likely always remain as a regular in my cupboard.

Nose:  Stewed apples and berries, sultanas, fruitcake, and golden syrup. Palate:  Smooth, sweet, nut-laden Christmas cake, red fruits, and sweet spices such as nutmeg and cinnamon. Some of the malt comes through nice and rich, along with some punchy sweetness from the grain. Mouthfeel:  Mid-weight, slightly oily, slightly creamy, almost juicy, very smooth - no burn at all. Finish:  Lingering for a short time, sweet red fruits, even more sweet spices.   Punchier than most blended-malt scotches, but smoother and richer than most mixed blends; Black Bush is an extremely easy drinking whiskey - one that you could just as…

The Ninja's numbers - A completely subjective score.

Nose
Palate
Mouthfeel
Finish

The New Zealand Whisky Company: Dunedin DoubleWood 15 Year Old

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Nose:  Rich caramel, rum & raisin sponge cake, sultanas, dried red berries. Very sweet. Palate:  More caramel up front, joined by sticky toffee and golden syrup - which replace the rum & raisin.  The sultanas and dried berries are joined by a whole pack of dried mixed fruits.  There's also a slight hint of some spice; cinnamon and nutmeg.  Like a good Irish potstill, some of these flavours just won't sit still. Mouth Feel:  Thick and chewy.  Very creamy. Not even a hint of oil, and no burn at all either.  Quite firm and dry. Finish:  The finish is extremely…

The Ninja's numbers - A completely subjective score.

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Teeling: Small Batch

Teeling Small Batch

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Nose: Spiced rum is big on the nose along with some earthy spices, nutmeg, toffee, and brown sugar. Palate:  Quite sweet with dark golden syrup, burnt toffee, lots of oak spices, toasted oats with brown sugar.  A bit grassy and peppery. Mouthfeel:  A fair bit of alcohol heat in this whisky, particularly at the tip, and the back of the tongue - but not a particularly harsh heat; more sparkle than burn.  Reasonably creamy without being thick or chewey.  The burn doesn't last particularly long, although the mouth remains warm right through drinking and into the finish. Dry, and not…

The Ninja's numbers - A completely subjective score.

Nose
Palate
Mouthfeel
Finish