Miss Whisky has a confession. She received some rather grand samples a little while back from the Diageo group, proceeded to diligently do notes on them and, then, misplaced all those notes. Having drunk the samples, there was little she could do to rectify the situation.
…she unearthed the missing notebook!
As such, here are four reviews of some interesting drams to get you salivating this weekend…
Dalwhinnie Distillers Edition, 18-year old, 1992: 43%
This special release is double matured, finishing itself off in rich Oloroso sherry casks. Its colour is like amber sunshine, akin to that found in the tint of sunshine on a beach, reflected through sunglasses.
On the nose, I got hints of wheat, hay, a touch of mould, leather and aspartame, while the palate provided me with flavours of citrus, grass, silage and sweet lychees. While it was quite gentle to begin with and wasn’t overly rich (despite that extra sherry maturation) I found it had this pervasive bitterness right at the back of my tongue, which I didn’t love. I enjoyed it at first but the bitterness I picked up put me off.
This bottle retails around the £48 mark.
Clynelish Distillers Edition, 1993, 17-year old: 46%
With a colour of honeyed hay in the summer sun, this dram was instantly appealing to me. Another Oloroso finished whisky, I got hints of sour cherries, sea salt Green & Blacks chocolate and fudge on the nose. The palate was richer than the Dalwhinnie, with more of a classic sweet burst mid-palate after it was held in the mouth for a few seconds. It had a sour/smoky aftertaste that dissipated very quickly. Adding water brought out a slightly bitter orange flavour for me. I found it more complex and alluring than the first dram.
You can find this retailing at around £52 a bottle.
Caol Ila Distillers Edition, 1997, 13-year old: 43%
This butterscotch coloured dram has the rather odd distinction of being finished in a Moscatel sherry cask – not something one comes across very often (at least in my experience).
Touches of creamy smoke, along with walnut rinds, almonds and lemongrass make this a sensually appealing whisky on the nose.
The palate is perfectly rounded: sugared, pine smoke; sour spring grass; grapefruit; and, nutmeg linger in the mouth. Then comes a finish that keeps working until, a minute after it’s gone, you get a bitter bite that caps the experience off right at the back of the throat. It’s lovely.
It retails for around £47.
Lagavulin Distillers Edition, 1994, 16-year old: 43%
Rusty orange and Cognac coloured, this whisky is finished in Pedro Ximenez casks.
On the nose, there are more traditional notes of chocolate, gooey raisins, sherry wood, toffee and oranges.
The mouth meanwhile is bursting with sweet floral and honey notes that avoid being sickly because of that lovely pervading smoke. Hold the dram in your mouth for 30 seconds, and suddenly lemon-lime meringue and orange peel enter the theatrical performance bouncing about the palate. With a light, lemony finish, this is a beautiful whisky and my favourite of the four.