Benriach The Twelve

This dram was a gift from a great friend for my birthday and has a fantastic Autumn golden colour that makes promises as to what you can expect, and then delivers. This 12 year old dram has seen some secondary maturation action in casks that formerly housed Sherry, bourbon and Port

The nose initially reminds me of pouring Maple Syrup over hot waffles but then there’s a coffee kick with loads of Bournville chocolate and a wee tang of nutmeg

The palate is massive with lots of influences; with honey being at the fore rapidly followed by chocolate and nuts with a suggestion of apples stewed for a pie filling. There’s sweetness from Maraschino cherries too and that nice kick of nutmeg

The finish is reassuringly long and reminds me of an espresso with sugar coating the throat which eventually gives way to a sweet fruity taste

I loved this dram and the fabulous mouthfeel it gives. It’s not going to be to everyone’s taste but it does it for me Slàinte mhath 🥃

GlenAllachie 2006 Single Cask

I was lucky enough to receive this as a birthday present which was fortuitous as I’d recently seen it advertised and had taken a mental note to acquire a bottle. The deep golden sunset colour made me want to dive in immediately, but one should temper one’s enthusiasm and enjoy the journey! it’s been matured in a Tawny Port cask so I was expecting a Sherry bomb and it delivered in spades

The nose is loaded with dark chocolate and coffee with notes of ripe plums and a nip of spice with the sweetness of runny honey. The nosing experience was fantastic as every visit to the glass produced something new

This is a cask strength dram and a powerful one too at 60.7% ABV but despite that, it doesn’t blow your head off but gives that great tingle in your nose. The first taste delivers lots of blackberries and honey giving way to moist fruit cake and dark chocolate. Adding water opens the dram out so you can taste ginger and cinnamon with suggestions of citrus fruits

The finish is long and very satisfying with waves and waves of Sherry that coat your throat and are accompanied by a peppery bite. Later on there’s coffee and the aftertaste of a really good cigar

I was tempted to keep this unopened but a good friend once told me that good whisky is for drinking and not just looking at and this is a VERY good whisky. Slàinte mhath 🥃

Tullamore Dew Rouge

A beautiful looking dram that’s been matured for 13 years in bourbon and Sherry casks before being finished in Bordeaux Pomerol wine casks

The nose on this dram delivers lots of cherry, raspberries and redcurrant with vanilla and light woody notes

The palate is very fruity but light with cherries, spice and fragrant red wine

The finish is medium with a nice spicy kick and lots of fruit. It’s nippier neat, as you’d expect, but still very pleasant with notes of tannin

This dram is only available for the travel market from Dublin Duty Free so it’s not widely available as yet, but it’s worth seeking via your usual whisky supplier.

Thanks to Adrian and Steven at Tullamore for the recommendation. Slainje 🥃

Lagavulin 16 year old

I fancied something robust and muscular tonight and also paired it with caramel chocolate. It worked!

Since I started this blog my palette has matured. I previously wouldn’t have entertained many Islay malts and especially a big peat monster and to this day am still not a fan of a young Laphroaig and the like, but last year I experimented with some Arbegs and Bunnahabhains and I’ve grown to love them. I offered this as one of my “Tour of Scotland malts at a recent whisky tasting and found a great affection for it personally and thought it would pair well with a caramel chocolate. Surprisingly they worked well together

The nose has lots of smoke but once you get over that there’s leaf tea, particularly Lapsang Souchong and seaweed. There’s also more than a suggestion of Pledge furniture polish and seaweed. Naturally there’s vanilla but a soft creamy vanilla like school custard

The palate is rich and sweet then you get a big peat smoke rush. The mouth feel is tremendous with a malty Ovaltinesque quality

As you’d expect the finish is long, very long, with sweet dates and Sherry and of course smoke

A few years ago I wouldn’t have considered this but it’s massive and a dram that makes me want to experiment more with Islay malts. Slàinte mhath 🥃

Lindores MCDXCIV (1494)

A light golden dram with a fantastic back story. Matured in ex bourbon casks and finished in Sherry wine casks to 46% abv

The nose is light and fruity with pears, green apples and overtones of vanilla. There’s also a hint of spice and freshly cut grass and then the sweetness of foam bananas

The palate is massive with caramel and vanilla but this rapidly gives way to spice like nutmeg with the glow of cloves. It’s powerful too thanks to the 43% abv but not overwhelming

The finish isn’t particularly long but it is memorable. There’s woody tones with a fruity edge and a lingering creamy feel

This dram is young but doesn’t feel that way. It’s reminiscent of a much more mature whisky with a lot of complexity whilst being light and creamy. A contradiction? Yes, but check it out for yourself and I think you’ll be impressed too

Allt-á-Bhainne

I fancied something different tonight so was delighted to find this in my whisky room. It has a light golden colour and fine legs so I guessed I was in for something special

The nose is smoky as you’d expect from a whisky that suggests “just enough peat to start a fire”, and there’s also a lovely aroma of fresh croissants. After that I got toffee apples with a bit of spice. It’s a really surprising nose as I expected it to be heavily smokey

The palate has honey and toffee with elements of gingerbread but with an earthy overtone

The finish has a nice warming nip with faint smoke and a hint of cinnamon

This dram is smoky but absolutely not peaty and really memorable

Slàinte mhath 🥃

Bunnahabhain Cask Strength 12 year old

A lovely deep golden colour which invites you to get up close and experience it

This dram has been bottled at cask strength which is a massive part of its attraction. The nose is nippy with massive presence and citrus overtones and an undercurrent of dark coffee

The palate has huge chocolate flavours synonymous with the taste of Border Biscuits Dark Chocolate Gingers. There’s also the sweetness of raisins and the suggestion of cloves and hazelnuts

The neat finish is huge and really warming and gives an incredibly strong, but not unpleasant, burn on the way down. With water this finish is much more tolerable but really, really awesome. There are suggestions of dark cherries and a wee bit of wood too. I did hope for a suggestion of sea salt on my lips as I get with the Stiúireadair but that wasn’t present

There are many drams that are bottled at cask strength to mask inadequacies; this isn’t one of them. This is a tremendously infectious dram that will have me revisiting time and time again

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Powers John’s Lane 12 year old

This came recommended at Dublin Airport Duty Free (thanks Ken!) and is from a distiller I had never experienced. The original spirit was aged in ex bourbon casks and finished in Oloroso Sherry casks. The golden colour and great legs suggested a nice dram.

And so it transpired. The nose has a woody aroma with overtones of leather from an old car. There’s also rolling tobacco and Bournville chocolate

The palate is overwhelmingly vanilla with chocolate and coffee cream sweetness. There’s a nippiness to it as you’d expect from a 46% dram, but it’s incredibly smooth with a fantastic mouth feel and lots of honey

The finish lasts ages and coats your throat with honey and a charred wood flavour

This was a great recommendation and one that inspires me to try different expressions from this distillery

@PowersWhiskeyNI @NorlanGlass @DramduJour

Redbreast PX Edition

A good looking dram that promises much and delivers enormously. It’s from their limited edition range and apparently is highly sought after.

I saw this in Dublin Duty Free and thought I’d give it a go as the 12 and 15 year old expressions are SO good. It was also limited to one bottle per customer and that made it even more attractive. It’s been matured in ex bourbon and Oloroso Sherry casks before being finished in Pedro Ximénez hogsheads

The nose is fantastic and is all toffee but when you get through that there’s loads of vanilla and hazelnuts with old leather and a wee citrus twist

The palate is enormous with loads of chewy toffee and honeycomb overlaid with vanilla. The mouthfeel is magnificent and this powerful dram keeps on giving with dark plums and glacé cherries

Stand by for a long, long finish that’s sweet and tangy with light citrus and the satisfying notes of digestive biscuits

Redbreast 12 year old was the dram that changed my opinion of Irish Whiskey and this expression takes it to a whole new level. This is one of the best whiskies I’ve tasted and I highly recommend it to you.

Slàinte mhath 🥃 @redbreastwhiskey

GlenAllachie 18 year old

Dark golden and full bodied with excellent legs

I had tried the 12 year old from GlenAllachie and it was tasty but lacked depth and a long finish so I was keen to experience the 18 year old and it didn’t disappoint.

The nose is dark toffee with a wee spicy nip. There’s also lots of vanilla and a bit of honeycomb

The palate is awash with marzipan, butter and boiled sultanas I also sensed candied fruits, McCowans toffee and butterscotch Angels Delight. It’s a sensational dram

Unlike it’s 12 year old cousin the finish lasts ages. It’s rich, sweet and honeyed with a pleasant “burn”. Tremendous

I could happily drink this whisky over and over again and probably shall!

@theglenallachie @norlanglass