...where distraction is the main attraction.

Monday, March 28, 2022

Three different batches of Lagavulin 16 year old

As much as major producers, like The Edrington Group, Pernod Ricard and Diageo, strive to keep batch variation to a minimum for their most popular whiskies, fluctuation is inevitable. Casks and demands vary, resulting in changes, sometimes subtle, occasionally sizable. Springbank prizes these shifts, Macallan probably doesn't.

Lagavulin 16 year old's production process has remained reliable through the years, but it too varies. And I'm not just talking about the White Horse Distillers era compared to 21st century bottlings. Differences can be spotted from batch to batch across the past decade.

Though my original intent was to compare a 1991 batch with a 2021 batch, owners of the earlier bottles have become unwilling to part with their whisky for anything less than a mint, so this tasting became more micro.

I will be comparing samples from a 2014 750mL bottling (my bottle), 2017 750mL bottling (sourced sample), and a 200mL bottling from 2018 that I just opened.

Lagavulins Sixteen:

bottled 2014 - 43%abv
bottled 2017 - 43%abv
bottled 2018 - 43%abv
The nose starts off mossy, metallic and tangy with touches of balsamic vinegar and molasses in the background. With time, it picks up notes of cannabis ash, honey and mango.It noses of peated dark chocolate, mud, rotting fish, iron and burnt newspaper. The whisky gains more classic smoky notes with time without losing its Croftengea-esque style.Toasty peat, lemons, oats and molasses make up most of the nose. Ocean and seaweed arrive next, with a subtle manure note appearing at the 60-minute mark.
A good mix of sweet, salt and kiln in the early palate. Some tart oranges and limes in the background. Later sips gain herbal bitterness, menthol and ginger beer. The kiln note never subsides.Almonds, good bitterness and heavy smoke start off the palate, followed by fig, cannabis and extra tart grapefruit. Slightly tarry in the background.The sweetest of the three, and the least smoky. The palate has the herbal bitterness, some lemons, and a hint of cannabis. The peat reads like cold kiln.
The citrus strengthens in the finish, meeting well with sturdy leafy smoke, and hints of charred beef in the far back.It finishes sweeter than the palate, while keeping the big dark smoke. Tiny bits of bitter citrus peel linger in the background.It finishes leafy and tangy, with a mix of secondary lime, moss and dried sage notes.


These were three different whiskies. The 2014 had the most complex nose and finish, as well as the most balanced palate, proving to be the most (positively) stereotypical Lagavulin 16. I would not have guessed the 2017 was Lagavulin had I tried it blindly. Its quirky nose could startle some Lagavulin purists, though the palate falls more in line. The finish was shorter than the 2014's and quite sugary. Gripes about the 2018 are probably minor, it's the simplest of the trio but right on-target throughout.

The 2014 possesses more heft and charm than than the other two. Some weird casks slipped into the 2017, which could have made it the best of the three at a higher ABV. Meanwhile, a narrowness has crept into the 2018 preventing it from truly soaring. It's a lighter whisky than the other two, almost like a 40%abv bottling.

Despite these differences, not one of these three Lagavulins was bad. Each was a coastal heavily peated malt, each would warm a winter belly well. But they're not the same, nor similar, really. Their few common notes could be found in other heavily peated malts. It's just something to keep in mind. But I do hope the 2018's limitations aren't the start of a trend. I'll keep a sample so I can compare it with a later bottling some years down the line.

L4219CM000, bottled 2014 -- 89
L7060OM000, bottled 2017 -- 85
L8213IU002, bottled 2018 -- 87

Friday, March 25, 2022

Cragganmore 27 year old 1989 Archives, cask 1465

Monday's Cragganmore was not good. Wednesday's Cragganmore was a drinker. How will today's Cragganmore fare? It's from the 1989 vintage just like Wednesday's official bottling, though this one is older and from a sherry hogshead. Its hue is very dark, so one can anticipate the whisky will taste different than this week's other two Craggs.

Distillery: Cragganmore
Owner: Diageo
Region: Speyside (Moray)
Bottler: Archives
Age: 27 years (May 1989 - November 2016)
Maturation: sherry hogshead
Outturn: 70 bottles (a split cask?)
Alcohol by Volume: 48.7%
Chillfiltered? No
e150a? No
(from a bottle split)


The layered nose shows toffee chips, baked apple and marzipan on top of soil and stones. Smaller notes of mango and golden raisins settle in the background. Diluting it to 43%abv cranks up the sherry cask. Cherry syrup, golden raisins and beef up front, with stones and toffee in the middle. Baked apple and florals in the back.

This one has more of an industrial note than the other Craggs' palates, though it also offers Manuka honey, guava and a little bit of orange. But with time it turns into sugary oak reduction, much like an old bourbon. The tannins remain at 43%abv, but the sweetness gets gentler, lychee and grapefruit show up, as does a spicy zing. So the palate does the reverse of the nose.

It finishes like a 15+ year old bourbon. Mouth drying, lots of old wood. Some ash and a hint of orange. Once the whisky is reduced to 43%abv, the finish nearly matches the palate, with a little more fruit.


It's a bourbon drinker's scotch. That's what my brain kept saying as I sipped this neatly. As with the official '89, dilution mellows the palate's oak and adds fruit, both plusses in my book. In fact, there's a 6 to 8 point swing once water is added because I really couldn't get into its Orphan-Barrel-meets-pseudo-Stagg style. Like long-aged bourbons, this Cragganmore's nose was very nice at all strengths but, again, whisk(e)y is for drinking.

Availability - Long gone
Pricing - around €200 five years ago
Rating - 85 (with water only, high 70s when neat)

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Cragganmore 21 year old 1989, Special Release 2010

Wow, Cragganmore 12 was disappointing. I hope I can reuse the bottle or something. Anyhoo, this blog needs more reviews of older Cragganmore, so I will be reviewing one 1989 today, and another 1989 on Friday. Today's '89 was from Diageo's 2010 Special Releases, a set that included my favorite Glen Spey and a very good Auchroisk. I hope the Cragg's quality can match theirs!

Distillery: Cragganmore
Region: Speyside (Moray)
Owner: Diageo
Range: Special Releases
Age: 21 years (1989-2010)
Maturation: Refill American Oak!!!
Outturn: 5856 bottles (identical to that of the Auchroisk)
Alcohol by Volume: 56.0%
Chillfiltered? No
e150a? Possibly not
(from a bottle split)


The nose offers a mix of spirit and cask. Hay, ocean water and old bowling shoes. Vanilla pods, caramel chews and toasted coconut-coated marshmallows. It shifts significantly once the whisky gets reduced to 43%abv, turning into lemon bars (but with yuzu), pound cake, blueberry jam and a subtle grassiness.

The palate leads with tart oranges, coal smoke, malt and a hint of soil. It takes on more tannins with time. The oak hushes up once the whisky is dropped to 43%abv. It's super tart, lots of limes, lemons and blackberries, with hints of florals and bitterness in the background.

The citrus turns sweeter in the finish, with bits of earth and tannin throughout. At 43%abv, the citrus becomes more complex, balancing sweet, tart and bitter.


Hear ye, hear ye, I like this better with water! It's a bit woody when neat, reading more like first-fill than refill casks. The nose transforms at 43%abv, and the palate's citrus improves. It ain't dreamy, mostly a casual drinker, yet such an improvement over the standard 12 year old. A standard 18yo or 21yo Cragganmore at 43%/46% would be very interesting were it offered at the right price. 

Availability - May still be available after all this time
Pricing - anywhere from $200 to $350
Rating - 86 (hydrate it!)

Monday, March 21, 2022

Cragganmore 12 year old (bottled 2018)

Part of the original crop of United Distillers' Classic Malts back in 1988, Cragganmore 12 year old has always been bottled at 40%abv, filtered and dyed. Around 15 years ago, I enjoyed Cragganmore 12yo, but it's been more than a decade since I've sipped it. So I bought a wee bottle of to find out how the whisky tastes all these years later.

Distillery: Cragganmore
Region: Speyside (Moray)
Owner: Diageo
Range: Classic Malts
Age: at least 12 years old
Maturation: ???
Alcohol by Volume: 40%
Chillfiltered: Yup
e150a: Indeed
(from my 200ml bottle)


I find a mix of gummy bears, barley and cardamom in the nose's foreground. Coal dust in the middle. Green apples and watermelon candy in the background.

The palate begins with moderate sweetness, barley, vanilla and a peppery heat. It takes on a considerable buttery note with time. The texture is watery throughout.

It finishes with barley, tannins and hint of sweet citrus, picking up butter and caramel with time.


"Not a step up from Diageo's middle shelf blends," reads my handwritten notes. Really. One is better off choosing Johnnie Black, Old Parr 12, or Buchanan's Deluxe than this single malt. It's even possible that the Glendullan Singleton can compete. Cragg 12 is thin and forgettable. There's nothing unique to its palate. Though the barley notes have potential, generic oak clambers roughshod on top. It has taken too much energy to consume 1/3 of this wee bottle. What a bummer. Looks like this is another one going the way of highballs.

Availability - Many specialty retailers around the globe
Pricing - $55 to $85 (WHAT?)
Rating - 73

Friday, March 18, 2022

Things I Really Drink: Compass Box Orchard House blended malt

Time for the monthly TIRD! The first two TIRDs were of the blended whisky sort, while this one is a blended malt produced by a brand I used to hold in high regard.

If you ever get a chance to meet or watch John Glaser you'll immediately notice the man's patrician style. At first his elegance shone through in his brand's crisp, clean graphic design, and high quality whiskies in the $40-$60 range. But, Compass Box was never going to stop there. Familiarity was a starting point. Luxury malt was the destination.

This sort of observation has been aired previously by Bozzy and Whisky Monster, so I'm not breaking any new ground here. 2017's Three Year Old Deluxe and This is Not a Luxury Whisky names were a good chuckle, but their price tags were much higher than previous limited editions, and they began to make Glaser's quarrel with the SWA start to feel like a marketing scheme. Then, around 2019-2020, CB's limited releases came flying out at an almost monthly rate, which finally caused the bespoke hand-carved Compass Box sign to fall off its gently rusted hook inside my whisky brain. Did you follow that metaphor? I didn't.

It took last year's arrival of Orchard House, the standard range's newest member, for my interest to reawaken. Orchard House's marketing materials describe it as a "Fruit-Forward & Spirit-Driven" whisky. Its ingredients are approximately:

39% ~8 year old Linkwood from first-fill bourbon barrels
29% ~8 year old Clynelish from first-fill bourbon barrels
20% ~8 year old Benrinnes from first-fill bourbon barrels
8% ~6 year old Aberlour from "Revatted Oloroso Sherry-Seasoned Butt"
2% ~8 year old Caol Ila from first-fill bourbon barrels
2% ~10 year old blend of Glen Moray, Balmenach and Tomatin aged in heavily charred French Oak

I like Fruit-Forward & Spirit-Driven whiskies, and this mix sounded nice, so I split a bottle of Orchard House with my buddy, Dr. Springbank.

Brand: Compass Box
Type: Blended Malt
Age: see above
Maturation: see above
Alcohol by Volume: 46%
Chill-filtered? No
Added colorant? No
(from a 50/50 bottle split)


The nose begins with unripened stone fruits, saline, cardamom and vanilla. Barley and candle wax fill the middle. Hints of band-aids, pickle brine and circus peanut candy keep the background lively.

A surprising raw heat roars loudest in the early palate. Once that peels away, the whisky turns floral and sweet. Some malt and tart limes appear occasionally. A woody bitterness appears later, alongside brown butter and salt.

It finishes very tangy and floral, with hints of cayenne pepper and salt around the edges.


This is the first time I've been disappointed by a Compass Box blended malt. Yes, it was at times spirit-driven, but those first-fill casks still appear in awkward places. Unlike Spice Tree and Peat Monster, Orchard House doesn't feel like a complete piece. Even the company's blended whiskies, which fall far short of their malt cousins, arrive as a single unit on the palate. Thus, for the senses, Orchard House doesn't fit the Compass Box house style.

It's also not that fruity. Though I do list limes in the palate notes, I frequently find lime notes in young malts. What it's missing is the orchard. Where are the apples, pears, or ripe stone fruits?

I ended up drinking most of my half bottle on the rocks, which I've never done with a Compass Box blended malt. Not only will I not purchase a full bottle, I'm concerned about the current quality of the rest of their standard range.

Availability - Europe and the US
Pricing - $50-$60
Rating - 78

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Dufftown 9 year old 1999 Gordon & MacPhail, cask 8787 for Binny's

Dufftown Distillery keeps growing and was, for at least a decade, one of Diageo's two most productive malt facilities (the other being Caol Ila). As its floor maltings were retired in 1968, its still count increased from two to four. 1974 brought its fifth and sixth stills, while the seventh and eighth were added in 1979. Today it runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Apparently people are still drinking Bell's.

I'm not sure if I've ever tried a Dufftown single cask before, so I am grateful that My Annoying Opinions sent me a good-sized pour from his bottle of this old Binny's exclusive. Like Mr. Opinions, I miss the days when access to the Illinois retailer's stock was easier. Sadly I only learned about their bounty a couple of years before their shipping gates closed. No matter how this whisky turns out, I applaud the Binny's crew for selecting a Dufftown when better beloved distilleries' single casks were more available back in 2009.

Distillery: Dufftown
Region: Speyside (Moray)
Owner: Diageo
Independent Bottler: Gordon & MacPhail
Range: Reserve
Age: approx. 9 years (1999-2009)
Maturation: bourbon cask?
Cask #: 8787
Outturn: 217 bottles
Exclusive to: Binny's
Alcohol by Volume: 56.4%
(Thank you, Mr. Opinions)


Lots of barley and limes in this nose, with ocean air and tapioca pudding around the edges. Hints of guava and anise appear after some time. There's also something funky going on here, almost manure (a term also used by readers to describe my speculative screenwriting).

The palate starts with limes and barley, and a bit of tannins. It has just a hint of the nose's almost-peated note, which gradually fades as the citrus blooms. It's nice and crisp, I just wish it could shake that oak.

The gently sweet finish holds limes and flowers, with hints of salt and metal. 


The nose feels more pulled together. Limes and lemons meet fresh herbs. The barley has receded, meeting some vanilla pudding in the middle.

The palate has become leaner and creamier. A curious bitterness works pretty well with the fruit, which tilts more towards mango than limes. Hints of grasses and grains in the background.

It finishes with a menthol glow, some mild bitterness, vanilla and a pinch of barley grist.


This young, lively Dufftown exceeded my expectations. Even though the whisky is all of nine years old, it was bottled at the right time. That oak was ready to jump in and wreck the fun. Mr. Opinions was an even bigger fan of this cask than I, though we agree that dilution lifts up the whisky. Seeing another baby Dufftown exclusive cask arrive in The States would be almost delightful. Would people buy it? Does any "limited" release whisk(e)y not sell out now? Dufftown could put FOMO to the test.

Availability - All gone
Pricing - $50 in 2009
Rating - 84 (diluted)

Monday, March 14, 2022

The Singleton of Dufftown 12 year old

Staying true to form as the blogger who writes about only the sexiest of single malts, I am reviewing two Dufftowns this week.

Built in 1895, Dufftown distillery was in the hands of the Mackenzie family until 1933 when it was brought into Arthur Bell's stable, and it has remained a major ingredient in the Bell's blends ever since, even after both brands were consumed by Diageo.

The Big D rolled out The Singleton malts in 2006: Glen Ord for Asia, Glendullan for North America, and Dufftown for Europe. I reviewed the Glendullan more than ten years ago (sweet Jeebus), finding it lackluster even during that starry-eyed era. Two years later, I found the Glen Ord much more to my liking. It's time to close the loop with a sample of the Dufftown 12yo Singleton obtained from Florin (a prince) at least seven years ago.

Distillery: Dufftown
Region: Speyside (Moray)
Owner: Diageo
Range: The Singleton
Age: at least 12 years old
Maturation: ???
Alcohol by Volume: 40%
(thank you, Florin!)


Its nose offers idiosyncrasies missing from the other two Singleton 12s. Aside from familiar but welcoming notes of toasted barley, grapefruit and nectarines, there's something industrial going on, like metal, grease and/or spent synthetic oil. After 30+ minutes, notes of fresh thyme and fermenting garlic float up in the background.

The palate is not Smooth™ like most 40%/filtered/dyed official 12 year olds. It's sharp, metallic and bitter, with something musty going on in the background. With its gentle sweetness, the whole palate is a bit messy, but in an interesting way.

The whisky normalizes in the finish, shedding its oddities while holding onto a barley note. It's tangy, sweet and brief.


This is the first time I've used the word "idiosyncrasies" on this blog until today. Who would have known it would be about one of The Singletons? I'm pretty certain my palate is not on the bad drugs, because I distinctly remember trying this bottle with Florin, and both of us finding the whisky to be very quirky. Or maybe this was just a magic bottle.

Sadly, all of that character could not withstand the 40%/filtered/dyed presentation. May I be the first human on record to request a 46%abv/ncf/nc version of Dufftown 12 year old? In the meantime, I should just try the one cask strength Dufftown I have on hand...

Availability - Worldwide, no longer just for Europeans
Pricing - $30-$45
Rating - 81

Friday, March 11, 2022

Glen Ord 10 year old 2007 Robertsons of Pitlochry

Robertsons of Pitlochry is a cute little shop on the cute little main street in cute little Pitlochry. I visited back in 2016, then my friend Nate did the same a few years later. Robertsons (no apostrophe) has/had some semi-dusties, rare bottlings, and their own single casks. Their picks have been reasonably priced, historically, and while Nate was there he bought a bottle of their exclusive single bourbon barrel Glen Ord. Our Scotch Night crew polished the whisky off at an event 2019, but I saved a sample por moi!

Distillery: Glen Ord
Owner: Diageo
Region: Northern Highlands
Independent Bottler: Robertsons of Pitlochry
Age: 10 years (2007 - 2017)
Maturation: "bourbon"
Outturn: 195 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 56.6%
(from an event)


This has one of the lightest colors I've ever seen on a legal single malt. It is nearly colorless.

Ah yes, new make on the nose. Grill marks eau de vie + cotton candy peat ash. Citronella candles, lemon custard and wort. It gets yeastier with time.

The palate is moderately-peated barley eau de vie. Peppery, bitter, slightly vegetal, in the mezcal family.

Pepper, bitterness and sweetness fight it out in the finish.


The nose becomes more floral and candied. Maybe some apricot? It's plenty yeasty though, still reading like immature peated spirit.

The palate remains mostly mezcal. Slightly sweeter. Some acidic citrus in the background.

The acid moves to the fore in the finish, with mezcal and grapefruit peel in the back.


Sometimes one gets what one asks for, and one shouldn't complain. Much. This is 10 year old whisky that reads like 1 year old malted barley spirit. 'Twas bold of the Robertsons to select this deeply unromantic whisky, and I think I'm the target demographic, but I'd struggle to get more than a quarter of the way through such a bottle. On the upside, it does allow us a sneak peek into what Ord's spirit smells and tastes like.

Next week, not Glen Ord...

Availability - Sold out
Pricing - ~€60
Rating - 77

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Glen Ord 21 year old 1990 Liquid Sun

I've tried a grand total of one Liquid Sun bottling in this life, but that was a 1989 Bowmore so that may not be the best example of a bottler's single cask skills. And, yes, two single casks are also too small of a sample size. The bad news is that Whiskybase shows no Liquid Sun bottlings since 2015. The good news is that Liquid Sun was actually just part of the larger The Whisky Agency company, which was still releasing single casks as of last year.

Those were all very important sentences. Now I shall drink the whisky.

Distillery: Glen Ord
Owner: Diageo
Region: Northern Highlands
Independent Bottler: The Whisky Agency
Series: Liquid Sun
Age: 21 years (1990 - 2011)
Maturation: refill sherry wood
Outturn: 189 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 49.7%
(from a purchased sample)


Its nose and pale color announce this is a very refill cask. Stones and roses (Who wants to be adored?), citron peels and fresh laundry. Lots of apple cider. Liquid sun, indeed.

WOW, this palate is raw. I haven't used the word "austere" since December 2020, but I'll just quote my written notes: "Austere AF." Just burlap and minerals for a very long time. Then some baked apples and lemon juice drift through the background after a half hour.

Lots of heat in the finish, with tangy chiles, stones and apple skins offering cameos.

Let's see if diluting this thing wakes it up at all.


Now it noses of apples, yeast, peche lambic, citrons and sugary pastry.

The palate has become bitterer, with no less heat, and just a little bit more sweetness from lemon bars and meringue.

It finishes a bit sweeter too, but still mostly heat and pepper.


That was one sleepy cask. They might as well have kept this spirit in steel. It's certainly not a modern malt, but it's also laborious to drink. As with Monday's Ord, the beauteous nose wins the day, but whisky is made for drinkin'. A little bit of water helps.

Availability - Sold out
Pricing - ???
Rating - 81 (diluted)

Monday, March 7, 2022

Glen Ord 26 year old 1992 SMWS 77.51

Last week's Diageo distillery review trio belonged to Teaninich, a single malt that turned out to be better than I'd expected. This week, Glen Ord, a malt I tend to enjoy, fills the tasting table. Like Teaninich, Glen Ord is another massive production facility, cranking out ten million liters of alcohol per year, almost entirely for blends. Unlike Teaninich, Ord has its own maltings on site, and may even supply the Tean Machine with malted barley. Unlike its fellow Highland distillery, Ord does utilize mash tuns and is known to produce a lightly peated spirit.

There are no The Singleton of Glen Ords this week. All three whiskies are from independent bottlers, all from single refill casks. I'll start with the oldest, then go backwards again. First up, a 26 year old single cask from The No Homers Club SMWS....

Distillery: Glen Ord
Owner: Diageo
Region: Northern Highlands
Independent Bottler: Scotch Malt Whisky Society
Age: 26 years (19 Feb 1992 - 2018)
Maturation: second fill bourbon barrel
Cask#: 77.51
Cask "name": "Flower power shower"
Outturn: 160 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 46.9%
(from a bottle split)


This is the first time an SMWS nose matches the SMWS cutesy name. Like, in the history of humanity. Dandelions, daisies, earth, stones and sidewalks after the rain fill the nose for the first 30+ minutes. Then  cucumber peels, jalapeños, white nectarines, lychee and toffee arrive, one by one.

The palate starts off very grassy, with a hefty herbal bitterness, almost like wormwood. Hints of lychee, mango and guava are in the waaaaaaaay back. It takes a while, but the fruit rolls forward a little bit, and gains cassis and roses while holding onto some of the bitterness.

It finishes with wormwood and guava. Then gradually it switches to guava and wormwood. It gets a little bit sweeter with time as the cassis appears.


First off, the name makes no sense. Everyone knows that we hippies don't wash. Secondly, The cask's low ABV had me anticipating issues that never came to be. Quite loud enough at this strength, the palate doesn't entirely come together yet isn't a mess. I like some herbal bitterness in my whisky but *whistles*. The nose is a complete delight though, reminding me of the chemistry/alchemy/magic/chemistry that goes on inside a whisky vessel over multiple decades. Thirdly, I have no idea how to grade this, so you should probably just ignore the score. 

Availability - Sold out
Pricing - ~€200 back in 2018/2019
Rating - 86?

Friday, March 4, 2022

Teaninich 11 year old 2006 Cadenhead (US release)

SPOILER ALERT: The Teaninich Week whiskies turned out to be much better than I'd expected. In fact, they inspired me to source some more Teaninich samples for future Teaninich Weeks. Team Teaninich!

Several years ago, Cadenhead released seven Teaninich 2006s — four single casks and three double casks, all hoggies, all 10-11 years old — one after the other. Two of them made it to The States. Today's Teaninininich, a 57.2%abv single hogshead, was consumed side-by-side with Wednesday's 2007 from BB&R.

Distillery: Teaninich
Owner: Diageo
Region: Northern-ish Highlands
Independent Bottler: Cadenhead
Age: 11 years old (2006 - 2017)
Maturation: bourbon hogshead
Cask number: ???
Outturn: 276 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 57.2%
(from a bottle split)


Judging by the nose, this is certainly related to the 2007, but there's more salt and industrial grunge to it. Hints of chalk and mango. More oranges than lemons. The fruit gets funkier with time, like it's over-ripening in my glass. Once the whisky is reduced to 46%abv, the nose focuses on ocean, oranges and Demerara.

Barley and raw nuts mix with guava and lime juices in the palate with hints of both phenols and young cognac in the background. Diluting it to 46%abv awakens some sort of whisky beast, making it bitterer, earthier, sweeter and tarter. Louder.

The long, warm finish has a mix of sweet citrus, fresh herbs and young cognac. At 46%abv, it picks up more limes and herbs.


I thoroughly enjoyed this whisky, with its old school character and swimming skills putting it ahead of the BB&R 2007. And once again I'm thankful the indie bottler released it as is, with no extra oak fluffing. Once (or if) the international whisky market welcomes reasonable people back into the bottle-buying game, this is exactly what I would look for: 10-15 year old single malts, minimal cask influence, lots of character. Now onto other Diageo distilleries...

Availability - U.S.A.
Pricing - $80-$90, I think
Rating - 88

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Teaninich 11 year old 2007 Berry Bros & Rudd

Let us (the royal us), keep the Teaninich party going with something slightly more contemporary, an 11 year old single cask from the Berry Bros. As referenced in the previous post, the distillery switched over to a mash tun-free, hammer mill + mash filter approach in 2000. The result is a huskless flour that turns into a nearly-clear wort. Whisky Magazine has a post that explains the process, but I warn you, the lack of paragraph breaks may drive you insane.

To the whisky!

Distillery: Teaninich
Owner: Diageo
Region: Northern-ish Highlands
Independent Bottler: Berry Bros. & Rudd
Age: 11 years old (2007 - 2019)
Maturation: ???
Cask number: ???
Outturn: ???
Alcohol by Volume: 55.9%
(from a bottle split)


The lovely neat nose leads with barley, citronella, lemons and pineapple. Cardamom and mint candy notes develop later on. Despite these notes, the whisky doesn't come across as very sugary when neat. But when reduced to 46%abv, it's nearly all sugar. The actual fruit essences retreat, and some mineral notes appear.

The malty mouth has a good balance of tart and sweet. Lime juice + tangy oranges + cayenne pepper. It ditches the sweetness with time, picking up some stones, turning into something like a dry white from Bordeaux. Dropping the abv to 46% delivers what the diluted nose promised: lots of sweetness. Malt and limes swim around in the sugar and heat.

A nice raw almond note combines with tart limes in the finish. Malt and oranges appear later on. Though it's neither too sweet nor too hot, the finish has a good length to it. At 46%abv, the finish gets hotter and sweet, while some of the limes hang on.


This would be a very comfy summer whisky when one desires something stronger than the aforementioned Bordeaux whites. At full power, it's pretty and easy to consume but loses its charm a bit once diluted. I appreciate BB&R bottling the whisky at this point. Though it's not the most complex Highland single malt, this Teaninich could have taken on some undesirable tannins after a few more years in oak.

Availability - Germany, I think
Pricing - €65-ish
Rating - 85 (neat only)