Bruichladdich: Islay Barley 2004 – Feis Ile 2010 Bottling

Bruichladdich Islay Barley 2004 for Feis Ile 2010

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Nose:  Burnt sugar, raisins, dried red berries, vanilla, and burnt fruit cake. Palate:  Both sweet and sour.  Pretty much the same as the nose - definitely heavy on the berries and vanilla.  Also quite a solid malty creaminess enveloping the other flavours. Mouthfeel:  Mid-heavy weight, dry, creamy, with an alcoholic tingle right on the tip of the tongue. Finish:  Pretty long.  Some heat from the higher than average alcohol.  Not as sweet as the palate - some dried cake at the back of the throat.  The finish doesn't last a long time, but the impression the whisky leaves behind lasts…

Would I Drink It Again?

Total Score

Absolutely. This is a stunning whisky made even more desirable by its rarity.

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.

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…

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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…

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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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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.

 

[divider]

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.   [divider] 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…

The Ninja's numbers - A completely subjective score.

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Palate
Mouthfeel
Finish

Bruichladdich: Laddie Classic Edition_01

Bruichladdich The Classic Laddie Edition_01

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Nose: Lots of fresh malt on the nose of this one, along with apples - both red and green, some pears, a light touch of both vanilla and honey, and the faintest waft of some floral notes. Palate:  The palate pretty much continues on from the nose - everything that is present is in the nose makes an appearance in the palate, with perhaps a bit more fresh malt, a light touch of sea-breeze saltiness (very light), a touch of nutmeg, and the slightest sense of something nutty such as slivered almonds.  There's also a bit of oak spice right…

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The Glenrothes: 1998

The Glenrothes 1998

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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…

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Jameson: Caskmates – Stout Edition

Jameson Caskmates Stout Ediition

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Nose:  Fresh cut grass, winter fruits, lemon peel, a few almonds, and a dusting of cocoa.  A smattering of standard pot still spices are also present Palate:  Sweet typical pot still flavours of honeyed spices, sweet sticky malt with a dash of burnt golden syrup, a small layering of winter fruits, dark chocolate Tim Tams, and the weakest pinch of hickory smoked salt. There's also some dark, but sweet, hops flavours - a rather unusual taste in a whisky. Mouthfeel:  Thick, dry, and oily in equal measures that complement each other rather than fight each other.  A slight burn down…

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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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