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The 9 +2 Drams of November



I recently received a parcel of 9 samples from a good whisky-friend who just happens to own a whisky shop in Vienna called "Cadenhead's" so it makes sense that the samples were all current Cadenhead releases. I've spent the last couple of weeks going through them so here are my tasting notes and thoughts on the nine releases in the order I tried them:

  Cognac 40 years old, 61.6%ABV

Glass Cognac lead crystal goblet

Colour Light Oak

Nose Very aromatic, almost gently perfumed (in a good way) then a nuttiness develops, perhaps almond-marzipan-y. After a short time it further develops some herbal notes.

Palate An initial tingly nuttiness tantalises the palate with a distinct almond-y marzipan-y character. The tingle is right on the front of the palate as a rich body caresses the whole palate.

Finish Medium to long

Overall Impression Delightful, I love it, especially that full bodied tingly nuttiness. 91pts from me and almost 92.


  Ledaig 11 years old, 55.2% ABV

Glass Classic Malt

Colour Very pale yellow gold

Nose Fruity in a green apple or pear manner. Followed by a mustiness which is mildly peaty, perhaps almost fishy too.

Palate Initially offering a very smooth mouth-feel before developing a spicy pepperiness with that peaty fishiness being quite prominent. It also has an almost milky character, but not quite.

Finish Medium to long

Overall Impression I did find a strange but pleasant hint of milkiness on the palate but where I often experience a "baby vomit" character from Ledaig whisky, it just wasn't present here, so a lovely surprise. Even that peaty fishiness was very enjoyable. 87pts from me.


  Tennessee 15 years old, 51.1% ABV

Glass Classic Malt

Colour Slightly cloudy (dark) oak

Nose Extremely aromatic in a floral way with a mild nuttiness (almond, marzipan). Some faint hints of coconut too before turning almost vegetable-y.

Palate Everything from the nose plus a spicy pepperiness repeated on the palate.

Finish Long

Overall Impression Interesting. I love the floral notes on the nose but not sure about them being served with vegetables. 84pts from me.


  Deanston 10 years old, 53.6% ABV

Glass Classic Malt

Colour Extremely pale yellow gold

Nose Creamy custard-iness is at the forefront. Creme Brulee perhaps? Then come hints of freshly baked wholemeal bread.

Palate That wholemeal bread-iness from the nose is accompanied by a pepperiness on the palate. Perhaps all soaked in vanilla sauce, or even custard.

Finish Long and slightly peppery.

Overall Impression I generally like hints of bread-iness in a whisky, but otherwise this Deanston is just mild and innocuous with a nice pepperiness. Just not quite distinct enough for me 79pts from me.


  Mackmyra 11 years old, 49.5% ABV

Glass Classic Malt

Colour Very pale yellow gold

Nose After the Deanston here's another whisky with initial hints of creamy custard-iness and vanilla. It develops a leafiness after some time in the glass which spreads gently across the palate. It's dry, musty and gently floral in a leafy way.

Palate Lots of grass-iness and leaf-iness accompany faintly floral notes as it turns almost herbal.

Finish Surprisingly long and floral.

Overall Impression Fresh, aromatic, leafy, grassy, herbal? Really very nice. 85pts from me.


  Hazelburn 11 years old, 51.7% ABV

Glass Classic Malt

Colour Pale yellow, almond-ish

Nose Once again a creme brulee type of creaminess then suddenly a dry leafiness develops which turns into a distinct metallic-ness.

Palate Initially a typically smooth Hazelburn mouth-feel but it's spoiled by the metallic-ness continuing from the nose through the palate. It's also given a bitter character from hints of green apple, pear or even star fruit.

Finish Long and slightly bitter.

Overall Impression Bitter, fruity, metallic? Let's say strangely Autumnal. 80pts from me.


  Benrinnes 18 years old, 55.7% ABV

Glass Classic Malt

Colour Pale yellow gold

Nose Creamily Autumnal with a gentle leafiness which develops a lovely warm fruitiness. Apple crumble anyone?

Palate Everything from the nose repeated on the palate plus a mild pepperiness eventually turning dry and leafy, aye, Autumnal for sure.

Finish Medium to Long.

Overall Impression Apple crumble? Got to love it. 87pts from me.


  Glenallachie 25 years old, 56% ABV

Glass Classic Malt

Colour Glowing yellow gold

Nose Musty but yet fruity. Green fruitiness, Apple? Pear?

Palate A grenn fruitiness but with hints of raspberry. Delightful but quite difficult to describe.

Finish Long.

Overall Impression Difficult to describe but delightful. I love it. 88pts from me.


  Linkwood 30 years old, 57.2% ABV

Glass Classic Malt

Colour Vibrant yellow gold

Nose A very mild leafiness turns fruity after a short time in the glass.

Palate Leafy coconut? Yes, definite suggestions of coconut.

Finish Long with those suggestions of coconut.

Overall Impression Delightful. I love the coconut. 89pts from me, almost 90.



A bonus brace of beauties


Earlier this year I visited the Cadenhead shop in Vienna and spent a fantastic couple of days with Manfred & Florian (the proprietors) trying some excellent drams and of course leaving some of my hard-earned with them as I selected a couple of what I thought to be stunning drams. This seems to be the right time (and place) to pontificate over that brace and share my thoughts.


  Glentauchers 27 years old, distilled 1990, bourbon barrel, 54.4% ABV

Glass Classic Malt

Colour Marzipan

Nose Very aromatic with suggestions of floral green fruit mixed with hints of raspberry all in a slightly musty way.

Palate Initially a big raspberry 'hit' with a creamy mouth-feel. Later developing a mild spiciness alongside the fruitiness. A tiny hint of coconut to finish things off? Maybe.

Finish Long and fruity.

Overall Impression Love it, a Great! 91pts from me.


  Laphroaig 20 years old, 1998-2018, 2x bourbon hogsheads, 474 bottles, 54.3% ABV

Glass Classic Malt

Colour Golden oak

Nose An initial massive suggestion of smokiness turns fruity (green apple)) and almost gently sour or bitter.

Palate Smoky fruitiness gives way to a delightful slightly salty maritime-ness.

4 Drops of water Sadly didn't do very much other than to dliute what is otherwise a fantastic whisky.

Finish Long.

Overall Impression This so much reminds me of a fantastic 'old school' Laphroaig, especially with the maritime elements. A true Great! 92pts from me.


  Summary and food for thought:

Firstly let me address what I've called the bonus brace; that Glentauchers is stunningly good and with more than 90 points it's also what I refer to as a "Great". Not an honour I award lightly. I was lucky enough to get the last 20cl sample when I visited earlier this year, my malt-mate Klaus was even luckier to get the last full (70cl) bottle.

The Laphroaig is also long sold out, this time I got the last full (70cl) bottle and do I consider myself lucky? You bet! It's what I call a great old school Laphroaig which is quite unusual in a 20 year old version. I just had to have that bottle, in fact both of these.

Now for the 'November 9' in order of "Great-ness":

91pts for the 40y Cognac Another stunningly good sample, even better than the 30y cognac I bought during my visit earlier in the year. It's so good this is anpother that I just have to own. My order is placed!

89pts for the Linkwood 30y I just love this whisky and it's not so often one has the chance to try a 30y Linkwood. You guessed, another I need to have so order already placed.

88pts for the Glenallachie 25y Fantastic whisky and only my lack of funds has stopped me getting one of these too.

87pts for the Benrinnes 18y A most enjoyable whisky. Sadly one can't own everything.

87pts for the Ledaig 11y Is this really only my 3rd ever Ledaig without that 'baby vomit' experience. Lovely.

85pts for the Mackmyra 11y Leafy, Autumnal but still freshly Scandinavian.

84pts for the Tennessee 15y Those floral undertones make this a most enjoyable whiskey.

80pts for the Hazelburn 11y I've had some truly fantastic Hazelburns in the past, but the metallic character of this whisky just didn't do it for me.

79pts for the Deanston 10y This isn't a bad whisky, it's just not my style, but then we all have different tastes.

Many thanks to Manfred & Florian for the chance to try these whiskies (and whiskey) but they are pretty canny chaps as my order has now been placed for my two preferred bottles which also just happen to be the two most expensive on the list.

Ahh, just in case you're sitting reading this in Germany and thinking of placing an order with them they sadly don't deliver to Germany, so you'll just have to head over to Vienna for a short (or even long) visit and collect them yourself. Nothing sad about that then.



A selection of previous Dram-atics highlights


  The Liquid

Blair Athol with Klaus

Talisker with Klaus

Fab Fo(u)rties

Elementary my dear Sukhinder






Prohibition Three Ways



Motor Maniac meets Malt Maniac

Malts & Music

Class of 64-65

Drams at Dawn




  Festivals & Events

Coming eventually

(postponed due to Covid-19)

"Bring a Blend 2020"

Or will it be 2021?





Limburg 2018

Limburg 2017

Limburg 2015

An annual Pilgrimmage




Limburg Crooks & Nannies

Limburg 2012


Autumn 2013 Speyside





  Getting About

St. Magdalene / Linlithgow

Islay Revisited

Saxa Vord - Shetlands




  The Maniacs

Anoraks Bottles & Castle

Nosing New Make

Blend of Maniacs




  The Malt Maniacs Awards - MMA  

MMA 2016 It just gets better & better

MMA 2015 The Gathering of the Drams

MMA 2014 Unplugged

MMA 2013 Unplugged



MMA 2011 Winners








Earlier Malternatives >>>

A brace of luxury

Debussy plays Pitaud






Other major features  

May 2013

Duelling Drams - Man vs Clipper  

April 2013

100 points - Perfect Percy, Eggs-otic Isles Egg & Mug, Sixy bunny  

March 2013

International Whisky Day - Raise a Glass & Raise Awareness  

February 2013

A Horse, A Bow & a Dear  

Autumn 2012

The Olympkins, Getting old and Grainy  

May-Jun 2012

Dalmore Constellation, Independence?  

Mar-Apr 2012

Investment grade madness, Glenglassaugh, 5th IWD, 1000th Review, April Fool, Going dotty, age verification  

Feb. 2012

It's a rum old do, Growing old gracefully, Four Imperial sisters  

Jan. 2012

Onwards & Upwards, Canadian Whisky Awards  

Dec. 2011

HP 70's Orcadians  

Sept-Nov 2011

Malt Maniacs Awards 2011 - A weekend in the life of a Postmaster General  

June-Aug 2011

Bits Bytes & Drams, Glen Garioch 1994, Angela D'Orazio - Mackmyra, Trinity of Two Earls

May 2011

Don't bug me with ads, A dram fine evening

April 2011

Cry me a River, Golden Oldies, The Shackleton Legacy, Two Weddings and a Whisky

March 2011

Masters of Photography, Memory and the Middle Cut, Sampling again, Dave Stirk 5, Choosing choice Choices

Feb. 2011

Festival time again, Spam Galore!, Drams & Trams

Jan. 2011

Lookback at 2010, New Job? Three Thirties, ToC, Overdosing on sherry casks

Dec. 2010

December's Advent-urous drams, Nant Distillery, The road to Certification


Nov. 2010

Journey to end of Scotverse, Wick, Pulteney, Balblair, Knockdhu, Homecoming, Tweetup, Chilling with Cooley  

Oct. 2010

The John Walker, Sampling with Master of Malts, Changing jobs, Whisky Round Table  

Sept. 2010

Playing Chinese whispers, Oktoberfest, SMWS Spirit Cellar, 500,000  

August 2010

Elementary my dear Islay, Handbags at dawn, Dram-arkable 500, Cheapo Challenge, Ah Dooagh, 1 from 3 left  

July 2010

Age matters. A series of whisky reviews concentrating upon 'Age'  

June 2010

Jules Rimet, pickles & crisps. Mon coeur, mon amour oh mon sherry. A taste of the great outdoors.  

May 2010

The highly-acclaimed and record-breaking "Desert Island Drams"  

April 2010

My peat's bigger than your peat, A foursome with a famous Scottish bird  

March 2010

Sample Mania tasting notes, The Good, the Bad & The Loch Dh-Ugly, A return to sanity, The Choice of Managers  

Jan-Feb 2010

Keep taking the medicine, It's Festival time, Maker's Mark, Sleeveless in Munich  

Dec. 2009

All power to bean-counters, protecting Scotch, seasonal drams, Definitive Xmas Drams, 2009 Whisky Awards  

Nov. 2009

How it all started, Bonfire night, Autumnal musings, EU Tax & Duty, What's in a (whisky) name?  



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