Glenfiddich 14 Bourbon Barrel Reserve

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Thanks to /u/unbreakablesausage from reddit for the sample.

This is one I’ve wanted to try for some time. A few years back I got a a bottle of Glenfiddich 14 Rich Oak, aged in virgin oak casks. I thought it was a gimmicky bottle but ended up being my favourite standard release from the distillery. This one was released for the American market and was aged in first fill bourbon instead of virgin oak and I’ve been curious as to how it stacks up against the other 14 year old.

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A TheMacallan Tasting

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A little while ago I attended a TheMacallan tasting organised by a local alcohol group with TheMacallan’s Middle Eastern brand ambassador. Disclaimer before I even get started: I am not a fan of TheMacallan, I think their whisky is obscenely overpriced and that it has taken a hit in quality over the past few years with more emphasis being placed on the brand than on the whisky, just so you know I’ve got a little bit of a bias so please take what I say with a pinch of salt. That said I’ll always open to having my mind changed when it comes to whisky.

We tried the following whiskies:

  • Fine Oak 12
  • Sherry Oak 12
  • Fine Oak 18
  • Sherry Oak 18
  • Rare Cask

TheMacallan 12 Fine Oak

Aged 12 years. 40% ABV. No colourant added.

Nose: New make. Boiled sweets. Citrus oil. Toffee. New wood.

Palate: Sticky sweet. Cinnamon candies. Slight sulphur. Waxy citrus peel.

Finish: Short-medium. Rich sweet fruits. Toffee. Marzipan. Dried citrus.

Would I buy this: No

Would I order this in a bar: No

Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: No

VFM: 2/5

Really not a fan of this one. Tastes younger than 12 years, and very generic.


TheMacallan 12 Sherry Oak

Aged 12 years. 40% ABV. No-colourant added.

Nose: Very funky sherry. Red fruits. Sticky red sauce. Woodspice. Nutmeg.

Palate: Maple. Sticky sherry. Cinnamon. Citrus. Red grapefruit.

Finish: Medium. Cloves. Dried orange peel. Nutty wood.

Would I buy this: No

Would I order this in a bar: No

Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Yes

VFM: 1/5

This one was a bit more complex than the fine oak, like there was actually something to be enjoyed here, but I found the sherry way too dominant and unbalanced for my tastes.


The Macallan 18 Fine Oak

Aged 18 years. 43% ABV. No-colourant added.

Nose: Light malt. Green herbs. Hay. Light wood. Toffee. Slight musty sherry. Icing sugar. Marshmallow.

Palate: Chewy red fruits. Toffee. Cinnamon flavouring. Malt. Oranges.

Finish: Medium. Woodspice. Maple syrup. Dry oak.

Would I buy this: No

Would I order this in a bar: No

Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: No

VFM: 1/5

Well this was a nasty surprise. I had a bottle of this about 4 or 5 years ago and I remember there being a distinctive sherry character to it which I quite liked but that was gone, like the 12 year old, this was very generic and really had nothing going for it over several other whiskies which go for a third of the price.


TheMacallan 18 Sherry Oak

Aged 18 years. 43% ABV. No-colourant added.

Nose: Spicy sherry. Slightly sulphury. Wintergreen. Menthol. Wood oils. Cedar. Stewed fruits. Prunes. Silan.

Palate: Silan. Prunes. Dry sherry. Cough syrup. Cedar wood. Nutty wood. Cinnamon bark. Nutmeg.

Finish: Medium. Cinnamon rolls. Nutmeg. Red liquorice.

Would I buy this: No

Would I order this in a bar: Yes

Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Yes

VFM: 1/5

This is more like it. This had all the hallmarks of a really fantastic sherried dram and shows more of what this distillery has built its reputation on. It was complex, rich and balanced, really lovely stuff.


TheMacallan Rare Cask

Aged 3 years*. 43% ABV. No-colourant added.

*for lack of age statement

Nose: Red liquorice. Sweet, sticky raisins. Honey. Toffee. A little too much woodspice.

Palate: Sweet sherry, leads into dry. Marzipan. Cinnamon candy. Cloves. Cherry flavoring.

Finish: Medium. Drying. Stewed fruit. Red liquorice. Woodspice. Nutmeg.

Would I buy this: No

Would I order this in a bar: No

Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: No

VFM: 1/5

Not a fan of this one. It comes in a very fancy bottle with a very fancy price but what’s inside it very odd, and not in a good way. I found it sickeningly sweet to my tastes and lacking anything else to it really.

Glen Keith 1998 Gordon & Macphail Hopewell Buy-Rite Exclusive

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Thanks to /u/unbreakablesausage from /r/Scotch on reddit for the sample

Glen Keith is a somewhat obscure distillery with quite a rocky history. It’s currently owned by Chivas Brother and is mainly used to beef up their blends, with independent bottlings floating around usually from a few specific distillation year, and some very hard to find original bottlings. This sample is an exclusive bottling from Gordon & Macphail for a specific shop that I got from /u/unbreakablesausage when we did a small in-person swap recently.

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More Douglas Laing with Malt Mongers Israel

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Once again our whisky club, Malt Mongers Israel (MMI), met up to try some more whisky, because there sure it a lot of it to try. And once again we tried some Douglas Laing bottlings. DL’s importer here in Israel, SIPIL, has brought in some more bottlings and let us have a preview of them.

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Strathisla 13 Distillery Reserve Collection – BTC 2017 #18

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This is the final dram of the 2017 BTC. It’s been a really wild ride and I feel very lucky to have been able to participate in something of this caliber, especially after watching from the side for 2 years. I’ll try to post a write up-about  what I learned from it, but for now onto the whisky.

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Speyside 25 Cadenhead – BTC 2017 #16

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This distillery always confuses me. Aside from being one of the less common distilleries from the Speyside region it also carries the same name, so you can’t always be sure if we’re talking about the former or the latter. Anyways I was also confused because this tasted super-duper young, so I went with a young Craigellachie, but it least I bagged some region points.

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Glen Moray 1992 Cadenhead – BTC 2017 #13

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Lucky number 13 of the BTC. This one is a vatting of 3 casks from Glen Moray distillery. Yet another one I’m not very clued up on (my preferences tend more towards the Islay/Island side of things), apparently the driving malt behind the Label 5 blend, it sits near Elgin in Speyside (ironically my initial guess it was a Glen Elgin, a nearby distillery named for the town).

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Braeval 2000 Distillery Reserve Collection – BTC 2017 #10

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Past halfway now, an awesome competition so far and here’s another total blindsider (for me at least). I think I’ve only tried one Braeval before, and I’m not even sure about it. Braeval is a Speyside distillery owned by Chivas brothers and mainly used in theit blends. This bottling is part of a series of single cask bottlings that Chivas releases to showcase their lesser known distilleries (a la Flora & Fauna). It was quite a thick and oily dram and I went with a bourbon matured Bunnahabhain because there had not yet been an Islay whisky in the competition (little did I know what was coming up next)

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Glenburgie 1995 Archives (BTC 2017 #07)

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Glenburgie has been gaining a bit of a following lately and I’ve been on the lookout for some bottlings to try. This particular one was bottled by whiskybase.com as part of their ‘Archives’ label (the one with the fish). I missed the boat when it was released and it was on my bucket list for some time. I unfortunately got no points for this one, underguessing the age and ABV by quite a bit.

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