Highland Park 18 43%
Nose: Warm, notably flowery. Heather-honey, fresh oak, sap, peat, smoky fragrance. Very aromatic.
Palate: Remarkably smooth, firm, rounded. Lightly salty. Leafy (vine leaves?), pine nuts. Lots of flavour development: nuts, honey, cinnamon, dryish ginger. The palate is creamy and full with fruit conserves and espresso. A creaminess with cinnamon and allspice. Notes of toffee with thick black forest honey with a touch more citrus.
Finish: Spicy, very dry, oaky, smoky, hot.
Glendronach 18 Allardice 46%
The 18-year-old expression of GlenDronach is named after the distillery’s founder, James Allardice. Matured in ex-Oloroso Sherry casks. Soft and rounded on the nose, with milk chocolate and instant coffee. More intensely focused than its stable mates, with cherries and hazelnuts. The finish is longer, too, with some smoke and cherry liqueur chocolates.
Glen Scotia 18 46%
Aged in bourbon casks for 18 years, this is a single malt from Campbeltown.
Nose: Honeyed, creamy aromas of vanilla and mixed dried fruits. Peppery.
Palate: Lemon curd and marmalade. Gingerbread and baking spices. Manuka honey, peach nectar and caramel.
Finish: Woody, spiced finish.
Longrow 18 46%
A double distilled, heavily peated single malt from Springbank, Longrow was first created as an experiment to make a peated whisky in Campbeltown, but today it has become very popular, thanks to its brazen, muscular character.
Nose: Apple peels, and smoke. Earthy peat, damp leaves, notes of truffle, woodshed, porridge oats and soot.
Palate: Peaty with notes of spicy. Very oily, with hints of orange zest, pepper and chili. Very “big”. Kippers, smoked meats and honey.
Finish: Spicy and oily, with notes of dark, earthy peaty.
Laphroig 18 48%
This expression replaced the fifteen year-old and comes at a higher strength.
Nose: Very big. This is a beast of a whisky, with a breakfast character (granary toast, salty butter, a touch of orange juice and coffee). After a while of nosing it you’ll start to get banana loaf, developing alongside the applewood smoke, perhaps even cocoa too.
Palate: Very rounded and thick. Golden Syrup? Salt spray, fiery wood spices, dark and brooding peat, star anise, dark chocolate and stewed prunes.
Finish: Very long, with liquorice, Seville orange marmalade, salty butter and kippers.
Chichibu The First 61.8%
The first ever bottling of single malt whisky from Ichiro Akuto’s new Chichibu distillery. This is a one- time release limited bottling at 61.8%. 7400 bottles produced from 31 First Fill Bourbon Barrels.
Nose: Vibrant sandalwood, with butter and vanilla sweetness.
Palate: A chewy, viscous mouth feel with the sweetness taking on a nutty tone.
Finish: The long finish revels more oaky vanilla notes.
Chichibu The Peated 50.5%
Ichiro’s Malt Chichibu The Peated, the latest bottling from Ichiro Akuto. It is made up of heavily peated spirit distilled in 2009 that has just reached its third year. Limited to 5,000 bottles.
This is a cask strength bottling at 50.5 per cent alcohol (slightly stronger than Chichibu’s usual releases because Akuto believed that is necessary to show this whisky to the full). It has a phenol content of 51 ppm. The whisky was matured in a bourbon barrel, a refill hogshead and a new hogshead.
Chichibu Mizunara 46%
Bottled in 2010, crafted by Ichiro Akuto, this is a vatting of various single malts which have been aged in Japanese Mizunara oak. It’s an incredible whisky, with loads of character from the Japanese oak.
Nose: Honeyed and toasty, sweet and light citrus, hints of grapefruit and a sugar in a bowl, tangy.
Palate: Rich, spice, fruity, tangy, fruity, malt. Hints of honey and toffee apples.
Finish: Abrupt, but very spicy, sweet.
Nikka Yoichi 15yo 45%
A delicious single malt from the Yoichi distillery, founded by Masataka Taketsuru in 1934. Taketsuru deemed the terroir to be perfect for whisky production. This single malt is the result of vatting together a few casks and illustrates very well the diversity and richness of whiskies coming from the Yoichi distillery. It is massively fruity, floral and deep!
Distiller’s Tasting Notes:
Nose: fresh and sweet. Subtle fruit notes (white peach skin) are very much in evidence, against a background of oily peat. An air of lovely sweetness emerges in which dried fruit (pecan nut), varnish and dried grass (hay and tobacco leaf) notes mingle.
Palate: rich and oily. Bitter-sweet notes (barley sugar and iodine). Soft, with flowers, minty aniseed, spices (clove and pepper) and chocolate all developing.
Finish: elegant, with chocolate (bitter chocolate and moccha), coffee and citrus fruit notes all arising. The retro-olfaction carries on, with notes of fresh fruit (white peach).”
Miyagikyo 15yo 45%
Nose: Very sweet with vanilla fudge, toffee apple and spice. A straightforward nose, without heaps of complexity, but charming nonetheless.
Palate: Malty, toffeyed, and generically fruity.
Finish: Spices, hints of granary toast. Malty.
Hanyu 11yo, single cask for 2011 Tokyo Whisky Live
Yoichi 20 yo