Mystery, Unidentified, Undisclosed & blind tasted


Why the mystery?

On this page I will address a few drams which I cannot identify by distillery, whether because of labelling which doesn't clearly identify them, or perhaps they are bottlings from undisclosed distilleries, or even in some cases because they were given to me blind and I am awaiting to hear how good my analysis and guesswork were.

Also included here are a few which may be named, but just don't fit on other pages.






Adelphi, "Breath of Islay", 12y, 1999-2001 56.1%

Cask No.5877, one of 329 bottles

Original cost of this bottle: €€€€€

Reviewed as part of MMA 2011


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Gentle amber

Nose: Aged oak infused with Atlantic freshness as woody sea-air is combined with a peaty beach bonfire. Some slight rubberiness hints at a sherry influence.

Palate:  More peat presence here than on the nose, plus more Atlantic sea-air. Then come dark fruits including plums, raisins, currants and cherries followed by a damp woodiness, reminiscent of submerged pier supports.

Finish. Long and rich with some peat too.

Overall impression: Excellent. A wonderful example of Islay at its near best.





A.D. Rattray


AD Rattray, "Cask Islay", 46%

Small Batch Vatting #1

Original cost of this bottle: €€€€€

Reviewed as part of MMA 2011


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Water? Almost

Nose: Peaty, fruity, rubbery. Yes definite peat with light rubberiness and background fruit. With time it just expands as more of the same.

Palate:  Slightly thin, but lots of what the nose promised.

Finish. Medium to long

Overall impression: A good and innocuous light Islay whisky.







Blackadder, "Smoking Islay", 11y, 12.4.2000 - Aug. 2011, 59.4%

Cask Ref. BA2011/429, bottle No.264 of 278

Original cost of this bottle: €€€€€ to €€€€€

Reviewed as part of MMA 2011


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Light bronze - rich gold

Nose: Oaky malt with a gentle and slow developing light smokiness. Raisins and lightly smoked cheese develop with further time.

Palate:  Creamy furniture polish, sweet redcurrant and gradually developing smokiness, but more wood than peat smoke.

Finish. Long

Overall impression: A very good whisky. Most enjoyable.




Blackadder, "Smoking Islay", bottled 06.2012, 62%

Cask Ref. BA2012/436, bottle No.281 of 287

Original cost of this bottle: €€€€€ to €€€€€

Reviewed blind as part of MMA 2012


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Chablis white wine

Nose: Initially intensely tingly on the nose thanks to the high abv. Then comes a sweet light earthiness which is almost rubbery - but not quite. Am I reminded of an Atlantic fishing harbour? In a way yes as this is quite maritime, but not fishy.

Palate:  A very pleasant mix of peatiness and maritime-ness, fishing harbour indeed. V
ery nicely warming too.

Finish. Long and warming.

Overall impression: Mmmm liquid comfort food with peaty overtones. Does it need a little water? Maybe next time.




Blackadder, "Smoking Islay", bottled 07.2012, 55%

Cask Ref. BA2012/438, bottle No.132 of 240

Original cost of this bottle: €€€€€

Reviewed blind as part of MMA 2012


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Extremely pale, almost water-like

Nose: Light fishy smokiness alongside distinct peatiness. Over some minutes in the glass a light rubberiness takes over from the fishiness.

Palate:  Yes, a light rubberiness here alongside a fruitiness reminiscent of peach and galia melon. Nice.

Finish. Long with that peachy peatiness.

Overall impression: Very nice fruity peatiness. Light but yet solid.






Blackadder, "Peat Reek", 13y, bottled 06.2012, 61.5%

Cask Ref. 2012/1, bottle No.244 of 268

Original cost of this bottle: €€€€€

Reviewed blind as part of MMA 2012


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Very pale yellow

Nose: Fresh antiseptic peatiness. The peatiness is really quite light and after a few minutes in the glass it develops a fresh woodiness. I love that antiseptic quality which reminds me of a (UK) skin product called Germolene. After more time is that a light fruitiness coming to the fore? Aye, very nice.

Palate:  Much bigger and more intense than the nose with a massive fruity tingle on the front of the palate and a solid earthiness at the back. This is possibly more earthy than peaty, but I really like it.

Finish. Long and intense.

Overall impression: A gentle and quite sophisticated nose just explodes onto the palate. Surprisingly big and intense. Very nice indeed.





Blackadder, "A drop of the Irish", NAS, bottled Feb. 2011, 46%

Cask Ref. 343, bottle No.21 of 314

Original cost of this bottle: €€€€€

Reviewed as part of MMA 2011


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Extremely pale

Nose: Fruit, big fruit with lime and clementine, including the zest. Eventually a creamy leafiness attempts to come through, but the clementine holds it back.

Palate:  An initially creamy mouth-feel holds lots of that clementine, but the leafiness now does manage to appear alongside some lime and faint coconut.

Finish. Long. citrus, repeating

Overall impression: Nice, a pleasant surprise.





Blackadder, "A drop of the Irish", 14y, 31.10.1996 - Feb. 2011, 58.2%

Cask Ref. 253, bottle No.88 of 261

Original cost of this bottle: €€€€€ to €€€€€

Reviewed as part of MMA 2011


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Hay left in the sun

Nose: Lightly floral with hints of coconut at the beginning. This expands wit htime into very floral coconut with hints of butterscotch.

Palate:  Initially quite imposing, very floral, almost perfumed, coconut macaroon. Then come hints of cranberry and a lightly toasted character towards the end.

Finish. Long and slightly toasted

Overall impression: Excellent, I really like this one.





Duncan Taylor



Duncan Taylor, "Auld Reekie", 10y, 46%

Original cost of this bottle: €€€€€


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Pale yellow gold

Nose: There's an immediate lightly fruity rubberiness with accompanying vanilla. Then come some citrus (lemon zest) hints followed again by a suggestion of a beach bonfire with smoky Atlantic driftwood.

Palate:  Nice and gentle but still suggesting coastal Islay. It also has a creamy mouth-feel whilst remaining quite gentle or subdued. There's a fruitiness which reminds me of pear, green apple and water melon, perhaps as a fruit cocktail enjoyed on an Islay beach next to a peat bog.

Finish. Long and gentle.

Overall impression: I do like this fruity, peaty gentleness. Awfully civilised.






Duncan Taylor, "Big Smoke 60", 60%

Original cost of this bottle: €€€€€


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Very pale yellow gold

Nose: Fruity outdoor swimming pool. Ahh yes, lots of fruitiness reminiscent of redcurrants, raspberry and maybe even a hint of strawberry, certainly red fruit. Red apple skin too maybe? It's also very fresh and light, hence my outdoor swimming pool comment. There's also a musty or dusty oakiness which, with time in the glass begins to develop a peaty smokiness which expands further as the fruitiness fades.

Palate:  Quite 'big' indeed on the palate with a really quite intensely fruity peatiness. The fruitiness is now more like peach, kiwi, kumquat and galia melon, a very nice cocktail with gentile sophistication. Although this is 60% abv I just didn't wish to add water, it's just fine as it comes.

Finish. Long and mildly fruity with that smokiness.

Overall impression: A true gentle giant. Very nice.








Finlaggan, Cask Strength, 58%

Original cost of this bottle: €€€€€


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Bright golden with a faint orange tinge

Nose: Smoky and musty but with a distinct citrus fruitiness.

Palate:  Smoky, sweet and fruity in a very mouth-coating way.

5 Drops of water: The nose is still smoky and fruity but much less citrus now. The palate is also still smoky but now has a grassiness and is considerably less fruity.

5 More drops of water: The nose is now musty and gently smoky but all very subdued. The palate is again much less fruity and exhibits a lovely gentle smokiness.

Finish. Very long.

Overall impression: This one really needs water and plenty of it to bring the best out. I loved the smoky but gentle character after the 10 drops. Very nice whisky at a fantastic price.





Gordon & MacPhail



MacPhail's Royal Wedding, Released July 1986, 40%

A special vatting of whisky distilled in 1959 & 1960

Original cost of this bottle: Unknown, now a collectible

Live Dram-atics review


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Rich and luscious dark teak

Nose: Initially filled with raisins, plums, currants and prunes (heavy on the prunes), all marinated in a rich cherry sauce. Amongst all these, something really quite aromatic but much lighter along the lines of very floral almond tries to come through too.

Very rich and lightly toasted in flavour with those suggestions of prunes, raisins and cherries, but it has a surprisingly sligthly watery mouth-feel.

Finish. Long, creamy and rich

Overall impression:
A very rich sherry cask whisky, but it's just slightly let down by that wateriness on the palate, although it's still very good.






I was given this sample by a good whisky friend a few years ago and sadly I've misplaced any further information about the bottle. This means I have no idea what type of whisky it is (blend, single malt ..?) so hence it is listed in this 'Mystery' section of my website.

Original cost of this bottle: Unknown


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Bright golden yellow

Nose: Very intense with a distinct freshness which is almost minty, prehaps spearmint as opposed to peppermint. This freshness is expanded after a few minutes to include a herbal element quite similar to Eucalyptus oil poured over coals in a sauna.

Palate:  Like the nose the palate is also fresh with herbal elements but has lots of peppery tingle thanks to high abv? In addition it has a quite meaty quality which makes me think of a Sunday roast of pork, beef or lamb. I think I'll settle for herb crusted roast lamb.

Finish. Very long, peppery and meaty.

Overall impression: Big, fresh, meaty and very nice.





Islay Mist, 40%

"The unique blend of Scotch Whisky"

Original cost of this bottle: €€€€€


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Golden yellow

Nose: Very fruity suggestions of peach and vanilla (ice cream) over a mildly smoky background.

Palate:  Creamy mouth-feel and very fruity with peach, apricot?, papaya .. just like a fruit cocktail with lashings of fresh cream. Yes, it's mildly smoky too.

Finish. Long, soothing and fruity.

Overall impression: Wonderfully fruity with gentle smokiness.



Islay Mist, 40%

"The original peated blend' (2021 edition)

Original cost of this bottle: €€€€€


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Shiny golden oak

Nose: Gently smoky but a little musty with some dry woodiness. Maybe even a hint of banana skin and smoky Black Forest ham but it's all very mild.

Palate:  There's a watery mouth-feel (40%) but it has a good character with fruity smoky peatiness where the fruitiness is reminiscent of summer berries.

Finish. Long, smoky, peaty & fruity.

Overall impression: Maybe not stunning but at a price of €19 it's fantastic value for money and really quite enjoyable.





Sheep Dip


"Sheep Dip 1990", 40%

A vatting or blend of Ardbeg, Dalmore & Fettercairn

Original cost of this bottle: €€€€€


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Oak with a coppery bronze hue

Nose: Initially an interesting cocktail of fruit, malt and light smoke. As this settles with some minutes in the glass the fruity smoke increases and includes more earthiness (peat) and some light rubber notes. Imagine red berries and bramble served on a rubber plate with a light peat sauce.

Palate:  Slightly peppery fruit on the front of the palate with a dry, faint smokiness on the back. Unliek the red berries of the nose, the palate offers mostly peach and apricot with a suggestion of mango.

Finish. Very long, fruity, dry and slightly smoky.

Overall impression: A very interesting nose with an equally interesting, if not quite so good, palate.





The Whisky Exchange


TWE, "Port Askaig Harbour", 19y, 45.8%

Original cost of this bottle: €€€€€

Dram-atics live review


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Pale yellow

Nose: The nose initially oozes with Atlantic freshness, sea-salt and a hint of gentle smoke which soon expands to a full-blown peat bog, but given more time (4-5 minutes) I'm astonished as a vivid fruitiness including red berries, redcurrants and pears rise from those peaty embers.

The fruit leads, followed by the peat which expands further over the palate with time.

With 4 drops of water the nose is a little subdued, more aromatic as opposed to full-on peat bog. The palate is smoother with lingering peat alongside raspberry.

A further 4 drops of water increase the fruit again, although it is now somewhat weaker in overall intensity. The palate is now reminiscent of gentle bonfire embers on an Atlantic beach. I love the fruitiness of this whisky, especially alongside the obvious peat and Atlantic freshness.

Finish. Long, very long, with fruit and peat, albeit slightly dry.

Overall impression:
This Port Askaig Harbour is truly magnificent. Today has been very much about fruit and complex but subtle flavours. This Port Askaig has all the peat of a traditional Islay heavyweight, whilst at the same time offering surprising amounts of fruit. Those rebcurrants and red berries are fantastic alongside a healthy dose of peat and Atlantic freshness. But can I classify this whisky as one of my 'Greats' by awarding a 90 point score? Yes!





Unidentified Speyside Bottlings


Whisky Agency, Speyside Region, 40y, 55%

Distilled 1975, bottled 2016

Sherry Butt, one of 389 bottles

Original cost of this bottle: €€€€€


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Pale amber with a coppery tinge

Nose: Very aromatic with a distinct aroma of aniseed and a suggestion of dentist's surgery. After 4-5 minutes in the glass these aromas fade to be replaced by marzipan and a hint of fruity red wine.

Palate:  Very smooth and creamy mouth-feel whilst being rich and mouth-coating with suggestions of marzipan, cardamom seed and metaxa.

Finish. Long

Overall impression: A whisky of two distinct halves with a very fresh nose and a rich intense palate. Very nice despite the dentist's surgery.

I'm revisiting this whisky in the Spring of 2021 as I come across my very last sample:

My Glass is once again my trusted Classic Malt and The Colour seems to have lost its coppery tinge as it's now a light yellow golden colour.

The Nose remains similar to my previous review with lots of freshness and a hint of aniseed although I no longer detect the suggestions of marzipan and fruity red wine.

The Palate is fresh and intense with a mouth-coating pepperiness and a suggestion of marzipan nuttiness.

The Finish is very long.

My Overall Impression is quite similar to my original one but with some differences in the whisky's characteristics. Very, very good!





Chieftain's, Speyside, Vintage 1973, 41y, 57.4%

Distilled Dec.1973, bottled Nov.2015

Sherry Butt, Cask 7992, one of 369 bottles

Original cost of this bottle: €€€€€


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Dark amber, perhaps treacle toffee with a hint of copper.

Nose: Rich and intense but also aromatically floral with suggestions of marzipan, dark fruits and nuts.

Palate:  Amazing, here's a flashback to one of my guilty pleasures back in the UK (McVities) Jamaica ginger cake! Massive flavour of ginger (cake) but without the burn of ginger. There's also lots of fruitiness and nuttiness making this a rich, deep, luxurious delight.

Finish. Long with lots of ginger-iness.

Overall impression: Delightfully rich with a great depth of flavour.





Chieftain's, Speyside, Vintage 1995, 20y, 53.6%

Distilled April 1995, bottled Nov.2015

Sherry Butt, Cask 1378, one of 645 bottles

Original cost of this bottle: €€€€€


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Dark with a coppery tinge

Nose: Old matured woodiness with suggestions of marzipan and a vanilla creaminess, perhaps custard.

Palate:  The creaminess from the nose carries directly onto the palate alongside a spicy tingle. I'm now thinking cheesecake but with some dark fruitiness, perhaps bramble or plum?

Finish. Very long concentrated mainly on the back of the palate.

Overall impression: I really enjoyed this whisky and contrary to how it looks it isn't overly sherried.





Speyside, Blended Malt, bottled 2016, 45.6%

BBR exclusive for Taiwan, Hot Malt Co.

Blue Hangar 13th Limited Release

Original cost of this bottle: €€€€€


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Oak, dark pine

Nose: Initial suggestions of mustiness with a toasted woodiness alongside a mild smoky fishiness.

Palate:  It's mouth-coating and sweet with flavours of summer berries, perhaps blackberry or bramble jam or jelly. Maybe even a hint of blackcurrant or red currant.

Finish. Long and fruity.

Overall impression: Lovely fruity whisky. Ideal for a summer evening on the patio.





Speyside, Distilled 12.1973, bottled 01.2014, 54.4%

Scottish Independent Dist. Co. Ltd

GI Jane House Co. Ltd (Taiwan)

Sherry Butt, Cask 7989, bottle 149 of 249

Original cost of this bottle: €€€€€


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Dark amber

Nose: Sweet notes of furniture polish, chocolate, coconut (perhaps chocolate macaroon?) and mild coffee.

Palate:  Big with flavours of chocolate & coconut, coffee beans and even a mild suggestion of orange.

Finish. Very long with that chocolate and orange reminding me of Terry's chocolate orange back in the UK.

Overall impression: Classic rich sherry cask whisky, I just love it.





Maltbarn, Speyside, 45y, 53.2%ABV

Distilled 1973, bottled 2018

Sherry Cask, bottle No.93 of 299

Original cost of this bottle: Unknown


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Pale yellow gold

Nose: Very aromatic, sweet and flowery, furniture polish, candy floss and a very faint rubberiness.

Palate:  Even more flowery than the nose, it's almost (beautifully) perfumed, it's sweet and delicate but with a mouth-tingle ... abv?

Finish. Very long and flowery but gentle.

Overall impression: Delightful, I love it. If I had a larger sample I could have added water which I think would have made it even better, perhaps lifting it to "Great"ness.







Wemyss, "Peat Chimney", 12y, 40%

Original cost of this bottle: €€€€€

Reviewed as part of MMA 2011


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Rich gold

Nose: Aged wood, perhaps Atlantic jetty thanks to a maritime character. Then blackcurrants and cherries served in an aged oak cask with light vanilla sauce. An underlying (wood) smokiness.

Palate:  Vanilla ice cream, apricot, blackberry and a degree of smokiness.

Finish. Medium, expanding to long.

Overall impression: A very good fruity and (lightly) smoky whisky.





Wemyss, "Whispering Smoke", 1981 - 2011, 46%

One of 228 bottles

Original cost of this bottle: €€€€€

Reviewed as part of MMA 2011


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Pale yellow gold, straw

Nose: Very aromatic and fresh with new Italian soft leather expanding more with time. After 4-5 minutes some slightly antiseptic hints develop, almost minty.

Palate:  Everything the nose promised. Very fresh, slightly leafy, fruity and lightly smoked.

Finish. Very long and fresh

Overall impression: Excellent, very enjoyable.





Wemyss, "Vanilla Summer", 1997 - 2011, 46%

One of 363 bottles

Original cost of this bottle: €€€€€ to €€€€€

Reviewed as part of MMA 2011


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Yellow (21ct) gold

Nose: Quite floral with an initial burst of rose water fading to leave malty vanilla. Slight fruitiness too (apple, pear? - but quite ripe).

Palate:  Vanilla explosion accompanied by slight pepperiness, but the pepperiness sonn fades to be replaced by traces of red berries.

Finish. Medium, fading quite quickly

Overall impression: Another very good and thoroughly enjoyable whisky from Wemyss





Whiskies of Scotland


Whiskies of Scotland, "Vatted Malt Scotch Whisky", 20y, 47.4%

A rare blend of single malts from closed distilleries (Mosstowie, Glen Mhor, Banff, Glencraig)

Original cost of this bottle: Unknown


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Pale yellow gold

Nose: Malt and oats alongside perfumed wood, then light butterscotch with hints of popcorn and a suggestion of slightly bitter fruit.

Palate:  Silky smooth mouth-feel and initially uite fruity with peach and ripe pear. This is followed by malty butterscotch and some ginger notes. There's also some of that perfumed wood from the nose which now reminds me of sandalwood.

Finish. Long and aromatically fruity with hints of freshly cut wood.

Overall impression: A quite unusual but very good vatted malt. I love it!





Wilson & Morgan


Wilson & Morgan, "House Malt - Islay", 25y, 54.2%

Half of Butt #55, bottle No.283 of 284

Original cost of this bottle: €€€€€


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: It's dark, treacle toffee maybe even creosote.

Nose: First impressions are of a rich sherried cask, then bonfire embers give a gentle smokiness, perhaps a toasted character. Fruitiness comes via suggestions of prunes and currants.

Palate:  Again rich with a suggestion of toasted dark fruits now including banana. The gentle smokiness (wood smoke) carries through from the nose.

Finish. Long and rich.

Overall impression: A quite stunning whisky. A delightful "Great"!





The Clansman


The Clansman, 'Keith' 40% ABV

Label states; "A single malt Scotch whisky"

You know the kind of thing, available with most common names and bought from numerous gift shops across Scotland. In this case, a gift from a relative after such a trip to Scotland. I expect not 'Glen Keith' distillery.


Nose: Initially very malty, but this soon made way for leather

Palate:  Smooth and very gentle with a suggestion of what in Germany is known as vanilla pudding. In England we would say 'Angel Delight'. The finish is quite long even though the flavours are light. The aftertaste is slightly bitter.

With 3 drops of water: Sorry, almost ruined with not much left at all, but the finish is longer.

Overall impression: A light and inoffensive dram, but if I'm honest, also with not much to offer.





Blind Tastings





David Stirk, "Isle of Islay", 1990, 20y, 52.8%

"Exclusive Malts" range, cask 251211, one of 298 bottles

Original cost of this bottle: Unknown

Live (and blind) Dram-atics Review


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Treacle toffee, almost teak.

Nose: Oak, dark fruits (plums, raisins, currants and figs), then a hint of toasted vanilla.

Palate:  Very rich and creamy oak, dark fruits and a hint of very dark (90% +) chocolate.

With 4 drops of water: More wood on the nose, but a slightly sweeter palate with more fruit and some nuts.

Finish. Very long with aged oak and fruit, even longer with water.

Overall impression: Thoroughly enjoyable!





Dotty Scottie

Oliver Klimek's blind competition of Scotch Whisky, 2012




Along with a few other rather optimistic volunteers I agreed to take part in Oliver Klimek's blind tasting competition and try to guess the attributes of five whiskies only identifiable by coloured dots. The only information we were given was that they were all single malts from Scotland, OB with age statements or year of distillation. Our task was to guess distillery, expression, age and abv for each.



Green Dot; Caol Ila Unpeated, 12y, 57.6% ABV

2010 Edition


First tasting

Nose; Woody vanilla and slightly bitter fruit – star fruit. Also apple and a slight grassiness. Very aromatically so.

Palate; Very fruity with some light pepperiness.

Finish; Long & tingly.

Second tasting

Nose; Very fruity, slightly bitter. I stick with apple, star fruit, pear and maybe a hint of peach.

Palate; Fruit, light grassiness, rich and smooth.

Finish; Long, very long, fruity, creamy & silky.

Thinking out loud; Initially I suggested this could be any from Balblair, An Cnoc, Cragganmore, Glen Garioch, Scapa, Strathisla, Tullibardine or even HP.

On this second tasting I’m really going out on a limb here as I concentrate on the fruitiness which really is typical of Balblair.




Yellow Dot; Loch Lomond, 1966-2011, 40% ABV

Distilled in the distillery's first year of operation.


First tasting

Nose; Creamy fruit, malt, popcorn, floral wood, very slightly leafy.

Palate; Creamy fruit & vanilla, lots of vanilla.

Finish; Long with vanilla. Did I mention vanilla?

Second tasting

Nose; Lots of light flora, vanilla and wood. Even just a smattering of light furniture polish. Drying paint and furniture polish intensifies with time.

Palate; Fruit – banana stem but light or faint. Pear? Peach? Slightly watery?

Finish; Long,  fruity watery.

Thinking out loud; Initially I suggested this could be from Scapa, Scapa or Scapa. But there must be other possibilities? Give me a little time……No, I’m coming away from Scapa, don’t know why, but I am. Slightly watery? 40%. Bloody ‘ell, I’m sure I’ve had this before, or something very similar, but what the hell is it? Strathisla? Jura, maybe, but not quite methinks…..

Nah, soddit, I have to stick with Scapa.




Blue Dot; Benrinnes, 23y, 58.8% ABV

Bottled for Friends of Classic Malts


First tasting

Nose; Fresh wood, currants, raisins. Touches of leather. My good old English country house study or library. Very rich, also quite fresh.

Palate; Creamy smooth dark fruits, coffee and chocolate.

Finish; Smooth and creamy, some light pepperiness. Some floral elements very late.

Second tasting

Nose; Lots of dark fruits and sherried attributes. Light leatheriness, a little musty?

Palate; Creamy, lightly peppery, slightly sweet.. Honey, peppery, spicy, chocolate, coffee.

Finish; Very long & smooth spices.

Thinking out loud; Initially I suggested this could be any of the standard sherried suspects; Glenfarclas, Macduff, Glendronach, Aberlour or Dalmore.

On this second tasting I’m really going out on a limb here as I think the abv is quite high and just doesn’t fit any of my first thoughts, unless an A’Bunadh or similar…… So, I’m saying: Springbank Rundlets & Kinderkins




Red Dot; Glenfarclas, 1993, 46% ABV

Premium edition, Oloroso sherry casks


First tasting

Nose; Very creamy and lightly perfumed, vanilla and peach ice cream. Develops hints of light woodiness over time in glass.

Palate; Very smooth, very creamy, vanilla and peach.

Finish; Medium to long. Slightly dry & fruity. Actually it really is quite long.

Second tasting

Nose; Creamy fruitiness, light leafiness? Biscuit.

Palate; Smooth and creamy, a little bite at the end.

Finish; Long, and silky.

Thinking out loud; Initially I suggested this could be any from Balblair, Glenmorangie, Arran, Tomintoul or Glen Garioch.

On this second tasting I’m really coming down in favour of Arran, not sure why but this just shouts Arran at me. If it wasn’t distilled there it should have been



Black Dot; Auchentoshan, 1999, 11y, 58% ABV

Bordeaux cask matured


First tasting

Nose; Very aromatic and lightly floral wood. Some grassiness too. Almost lightly sherried but more candy floss than dark fruits. Vanilla too maybe?

Palate; Creamy mouth-feel with plums, prunes and vanilla.

Finish; Very long, lightly peppery.

Second tasting

Nose; Aromatic herbs and a faint hint of hay, but all very floral as opposed to grassy. Fruity vanilla?

Palate; Creamy, peppery, fruity. Lots of tingle. Vanilla, cherries, damson?

Finish; Very long & tingly.

Thinking out loud; Initially I suggested this could be any of Balvenie, Cragganmore, Dalwhinnie, Glenfiddich, Arran, Springbank, Tullibardine or Longmorn. On my second tasting I am discounting Arran, Scapa and Tullibardine. On my second tasting Longmorn comes to mind, but the 16y is only 40% and I think this one is quite a bit higher.

Somehow I just don’t think my first thoughts fit and I’m totally at a loss now, but one distillery remains in my mind; Balvenie, perhaps one of the single barrels?




  April 2008

Three blind drams


Unknown 'Sample 1'

Back in April 2008 I was given three samples to taste blind. Unfortunately, the people who brought the samples haven't been back as yet although I know they are still around Munich so I hope one day to learn exactly what they were. Anyway, for the record, here are my notes on the drams and my opinions on possible origins.


Colour: Very pale yellow

Nose: This has quite a powerful nose for one so pale. Very floral with a slight background of malt and almost a touch of sea air. At this stage, my first impression reminds me slightly of Dallas Dhu or perhaps even an Old Pulteney with the sea air, but OP's are not usually so strong on the nose. The floral notes are very strong and intense, almost like a flower bed of Hyacinth perfuming the air after a day of strong sunshine.

Palate: Wow, strong stuff, but really quite sweet in the beginning. The sweetness hits the front of the tongue with an all-out assault and then fades slowly into hints of liquorice. I seem to recall being told that these are all CS, which doesn't surprise me by the way that hit my palate. From the whiskies I have tried before, I still say Dallas Dhu is the nearest to this one, although in some ways, similar also to an IB Bladnoch which has some of these attributes, albeit not so strongly as it isn't CS.

With water: The nose has lost many of the floral notes in favour of the liquorice. This is still sweet, but the finish is now much longer and is remaining on both the immediate front and back of the tongue with a lingering spiciness.

Verdict: My thoughts of Old Pulteney have faded, this is too floral and packs too big a punch for an OP. I have to stand by my idea of Dallas Dhu or Bladnoch as these are the only two whiskies I am reminded of when I drink this one. Do I like this one? It is rather different, very pleasant, but different. Yes, I like it but it isn't one which I would drink casually, day in, day out. It has a special taste and I think I would have to be in the mood for it. I also suspect it would be a great companion to a food dish in one of my "Gourmet evenings". What would I pair it with? Probably a spicy starter or a "piquant" main course including pasta.



Unknown 'Sample 2'


Colour: Also very pale, but slightly brighter yellow than the first one.

Nose: Not so floral, slightly more medicinal and certainly more acidic on the nose, or do I mean pungent? Mmmmmm, on the third and fourth nosing I am getting distinct hints of roasted almonds and it smells very much like those almond stands in the cold Christmas markets over here! Once again this nose has a lot of power, but it is more one-dimensional than the first sample. Which means much less complex in aromas.

Palate: Sweet (again), but very rich and extremely smooth. The rich smoothness sits almost forever on the front of the tongue and doesn't move as the whisky slides easily down the throat. The hints of nuts (almonds) are still in evidence on the palate, but there isn't much else other than the smooth sweetness.

With water: The aroma has turned more pungent and really attacks the nose. It has also developed a slight saltiness which wasn't there before. The palate has totally changed. No longer richly smooth, it now assaults the tongue with massive spices and salt. This now has some Old Pulteney attributes, but again I would say it is a little too powerful for an OP. Bladnoch comes to mind again. Could this be the 6yr Bourbon matured version? I have one but haven't tried it yet so I can't say for certain and I'm not opening it now just to test. Again I do not believe this to be a Speyside malt. Maybe Lowland or Island, perhaps Highland.

Verdict: Again I like this and it is a little more of an 'every day' malt than the first sample. This was delightful with water, but I think I preferred it even more without. Although the first was better with 4 drops of water.



Unknown 'Sample 3'


Colour: This is the most colourful of the three, but it is still pale compared to most whiskies!

Nose: I seem to want to describe this nose as heavy. Definitely not sweet and with lots of dough. My goodness, I am back in my Grandma's house when she is making bread. The dough hasn't yet been put into the oven, but it has risen and is about to have the tea-towel removed before placing it into the oven. What a memory. I haven't thought of this scene for some 35-40 years, but this dram just brought it straight back to me.

Palate: This one leaves the front of the tongue alone in favour of the middle to back. Yes, it has some dough, it also has something herbal which I can't quite identify, alongside a little Juniper. The juniper reminds me of Penderyn, but this one isn't quite so distinct as my previous Penderyn experience. Although I wouldn't be too surprised if this were a slightly older, sherry-cask Penderyn.

With water: This is much more lively with water. Much more spicy, but less distinct in flavour. The finish is now much longer and includes the front of the tongue. I definitely prefer this one without the water. But that's just my palate and preference.

A summary of this mysterious Head to Head;


My favourite is the second, but then I find it hard to choose between the first and third. The only thing I can think of for the third is possibly a sherry cask Penderyn, whereas the first two could be any one of a few different things. As for ages, I get the impression that the second is the oldest and the first the youngest. Whereas I feel the third is a sherry cask, I have the impression that the first two are bourbon casks. But then what do I know, I am probably way off the mark here.
When I am finally told what these are, I will report back and let you all have a giggle at how wrong I probably am.

If any of the three kind people who gave me these are reading this and laughing at my innacuracy, please do contact me and put me out of my misery and ineptitude!












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