Black Book
Blind Test

Tasting Notes from
My Little Black Book

Since that fateful night in 1991, I have sampled hundreds of different single malt whiskies. Unfortunately, a lot of my experiences took place before I started making notes.
By the end of 1996, my tasting sessions had developed into my
Personal Tasting Ritual, which includes making notes in my infamous 'little black book'. It contains nosing & tasting notes on each and every single malt that has passed through my collection since the beginning of 1996.
A serious case of
rationalized alcoholism , I think you'll agree.

My little black book contains notes on the all the single malts I 'seriously' sampled. Until 2002 that meant finishing an entire 'big' bottle (70cl or more) of whisky. After examining 200 single malts this way, I feel confident enough for dram-sampling.

Latest Additions:  Aberlour A'bunadh, Bowmore Cask Strength, Bruichladdich 15, Caperdonich 1980, Glendronach 15, Glenfarclas 21, Highland Park 18, Laphroaig 10 C/S, Macallan 18 yrs. 1982, Old Pulteney 12, Port Ellen 1981, Springbank 21.

Current Status
of my search for the
perfect single malt:
(from 117 distilleries)

'Seriously' Tasted Malts
Last Updated January 1, 2002

A-------------------------------------------------- (jump to top)

Aberfeldy 9 yrs. 1991 (70)  Highlands - Midlands
(43% - Ultimate bottling - Distilled 11/4/1991, bottled 8/5/2000 - Aberfeldy Distillery)
(Matured in oak cask no. 2713, bottle no. 111)
Nose: Very soft start. Becomes bigger and more spicy after a minute.
Incense? Coffee? A little oily. Some citrus. Remains relatively restrained.
Taste: Soft, smooth and warm at first. Rather sweet.
Pink bubblegum in the extremely dry finish?

Aberlour 10 yrs. (77)  Highlands - Speyside
(40% - Distillery bottling - Aberlour Glenlivet Distillery Co.)
Nose: Quite a nose-full. A 'scream' of sherry, followed by a wonderful spicy sweetness.
A little water allows some interesting aroma's to break free of the sherry.
Taste: A bit too much sherry for me. Smooth, but grows dry quickly; a real afterburner.
Warning: Too much water ruins the balance!

Aberlour A'bunadh (88)  Highlands - Speyside
(59.6% - Distillery bottling - No batch number - Aberlour Glenlivet Distillery Co. Ltd.)
Nose: A wide spectrum of saturated shades of sherry. Very fruity.
After dilution oriental notes emerged.
Taste:  Mighty sweet and woody at cask strength. Lots of oak in the finish. Smoke.
Licorice. Softer and sweeter in the start when diluted. Sherry comes to the foreground.
A few tiny flaws in the taste keep it from passing the 90 points benchmark.

Allt-A-Bhainne 12 yrs. (70)  Highlands - Speyside
(43% - James McArthur bottling / 'Fine Malt Selection' - Allt-A-Bhainne Distillery)
Nose: Strange! A bit chemical with a first impression of eucalyptus. Flowery?
Lightly sweet. A memory of peat.
Taste: Soft start. Sweet and malty. Not a lot of character.
The finish is soft and short, almost watery.

An Cnoc 12 yrs. (73)  Highlands - Speyside
(40% - Distillery bottling - Knockdhu Distillery Co.)
Nose: Gentle, oily aroma. Simple but pleasant.
Mild, but with and "aftertingle" in the ceiling of my nose.
Taste: More complex and "bolder" than I expected. Some creamy bitterness in it's afterglow. Not a "big" malt, but very nice and easy on the tongue. Good value.

Ardbeg 8 yrs. 1991  (80)  Islay
(43% - Signatory Vintage bottling - Distilled 28/2/91 - Bottled 13/4/99)
Nose: Islay, but not as strong as the older ones. Salty overtones, sour undertones.
Iodine. Briny. A little smoke. Chloride. Very faint hints of hazelnuts? Great!
Taste: The heavy Islay hits hard after a few seconds, but soon develops into a surprising sweetness, and then into a bitterish finish. Bottle no. 540 of 1780 from cask no.'s 617-620 looks very light in color for an Islay, but shows a lot of development for a 8 yrs. old.

Ardbeg 10 yrs. (88)  Islay
(46% - Distillery bottling - Ardbeg Distillery Ltd.)
Nose: Starts off rather light- especially at 46%. Sweet at first, then followed by smoky and briny elements. More iodine than peat, which means it has more of an 'extreme' Islay character than the 17. Still, there's a constant sweetness in the background.
Taste: A sweet burn picks up some salt along the way before it develops into a mild version of the Ardbeg explosion. Very well balanced - it becomes more 'Islay' after a few minutes. Nice and sweet at first, with a long Ardbeg explosion in the middle and a satisfying finish.

Ardbeg 17 yrs. (92)  Islay
(40% - Distillery bottling - Ardbeg Distillery Ltd.)
Nose: One of the best bouquets I ever experienced. Some peat, balanced with some sourness and an almost speyside-like sweetness. Hints of oak and salt. Brine. Complex; even more so after some breathing and adding some water.
Taste: Starts off quite soft, but after the trademark "delay" it fully reveals its Islay character. Peppery finish. In the end, there was some of the bitterness also found in the 1974 and 1972, but more balanced. This malt is one of the few that improves after opening the bottle, so make sure to take your time. Highly recommended!

Ardbeg 1974   (87)  Islay
(40% - Connoisseurs Choice bottling - Bottled 1995 - Ardbeg Distillery Ltd.)
Nose: Peaty, but this one needs some warmth to reveal it's complexity. Definitely Islay, but not as overwhelming as Lagavulin. After a few minutes some chloride emerges, but all in all this one hasn't got as much development as I'd come to expect from older Ardbegs.
Taste: Characteristic "delay" in taste-development. Very, very peaty; smoky, some "Phroaig" saltiness, but more balanced. Long "oaky" aftertaste.

Ardmore 1981 (78)  Highlands - Speyside
(40% - Gordon & MacPhail bottling - Bottled 1995 - Ardmore Distillery)
Nose: Deep sherry with faint echoes of other fragrances. Well balanced.
Hints of salt, oranges and soap perfume later on. Something 'sparkly' as well.
Taste: Smooth and sweet like whipped cream. Suggestion of peat.
A decent malty burn, followed by a relatively short, dry finish.

Arran (61)  Highlands - Islands - Arran
(43% - No age statement - Sherry Casks - Distillery bottling - Arran Distillers Ltd.)
Nose: Oily and creamy. Grain? A little sweet. A pinch of salt.
A little smoke and some nuttyness later on. Quite interesting.
Taste: Watery start. Smooth with a malty burn, followed by a toffee sweetness.
Spoilt by a dry and bitter finish. Tea? Disappointing after the surprising nose.

Auchentoshan 10 yrs. (68)  Lowlands
(40% - Distillery bottling - Auchentoshan Distillery)
Nose: Very light, oily bouquet. Almost grainy.
A bit sharp and - dare I say - unimaginative.
Taste: Surprisingly supple; very smooth. Unfortunately, It lacked development.
Very much so, in fact; perhaps as a result of the triple-distillation.

Aultmore 11 yrs. 1985 (71)  Highlands - Speyside
(43% - Signatory Vintage bottling - Matured in Oak casks - Aultmore Distillery)
(Distilled 9/10/85, Bottled 8/97, Butt no. 2904, bottle no. 468 of 484)
Nose: Grainy start with a good deal of citrus. Spicy. Herbal.
Pinch of salt. Medium 'volume' - the lack of sherry wood is obvious.
Taste: Bittersweet. Quite woody, but smooth at the same time.
Gingerbread. Decent burn, but it lacks complexity and depth. Dry finish.

B ------------------------------------------------- (jump to top)

Balblair 16 yrs. (76)  Highlands - North
(40% - Distillery bottling - Inver House Distillers)
Nose: Strange. Amazing development - very distinctive. A little pepper. Clove. Nutmeg?
Furniture wax. Hint of soap. Spicy. Fresh and old fruit; sweeter with time.
Taste: Pretty flat at first. Malty. Grows astringent quickly.
Hardly any sweetness at first; sweeter and nuttier later on, with a decent afterglow.
Someting fishy. Smoke. Pinch of salt. Tannine without the grapes. Ultra-dry wood.

Balvenie 10 yrs. (81)  Highlands - Speyside
(40% - Distillery bottling - The Balvenie Distillery Company)
Nose: Wonderful bouquet. Honey! Minty? Somewhat dry with a hint of old raisins.
I wonder how that got in there.
Taste: Sweet and smooth; gently flows through your mouth. A very nice malt, but not quite as noble as it's older brothers. One of the softest whiskies I know, but when you're prepared to pay just a little bit more you can have the excellent....

Balvenie 12 yrs. 'Doublewood'   (85)  Highlands - Speyside
(40% - Distillery bottling - The Balvenie Distillery Company)
Double matured; first in plain oak, then in used sherry oak.
Nose: More sherry in than the 10 yrs. Honey and old fruit?
Wonderful complexity, especially after adding some water.
Taste: Sherry. Nutty sweetness. Dark chocolate, Peppermint?
Complex with great development. Amazing balance.

Balvenie 15 yrs. 'Single Barrel'   (84)  Highlands - Speyside
(50,4% - Distillery bottling - The Balvenie Distillery Company)
(Cask No. 15986, Bottle No. 152, On cask 17/11/80, Bottled 28/11/96.)
Nose: Very soft, considering its strength (50.4%). Needs some water to fully reveal it's bouquet. Honeyish and woody; oilier than the Doublewood.
Taste: Almost fruity at first, developing into a wonderful honeyish sweetness. Very, very long. A peppery "Allegro" followed bij the gentlest "Adagio". The taste is best experienced neat. Although not quite as wonderful as the Doublewood, it comes very close.

Balvenie 21 yrs. Port Wood  (87)  Highlands - Speyside
(40% - Distillery bottling - The Balvenie Distillery Company)
Nose: Oemph! Very rich; smells almost like a C/S at 40%. Pipe tobacco and incense? Sweet, but less honey than the younger ones and less port than the Glenmorangie Port Wood.
Even sweeter after 15 minutes of breathing.
Taste: Pretty round and full palate. Couldn't really detect the port here, though.
Very woody. Make sure to empty the bottle quickly after opening, this one loses a lot of nose quickly. After a year of breathing the port finish seemed to have worn off from the remaining contents of the bottle.

Ben Nevis 8 yrs. 1990 (67)  Highlands - West
(43% - Signatory Vintage bottling - Dist. 14/12/90, Bott. 2/3/99 - Sherry butt 1376)
Nose: Slightly oily. Hint of sherry. Furniture polish? Vaguely intruiging.
A little more smoke later on, opens up with some water.
Taste: Unbalanced. Not sweet enough at first. Slightly oily. Bitter chocolate.
Dull, dry & smoky finish. No soul. Breaks up when water is added. Disappointing.

Ben Nevis 10 yrs. (78)  Highlands - West
(46% - Distillery bottling - Ben Nevis Distillery)
Nose: Soft at first, but it becomes much more fragrant after a few months in an open bottle.
Furniture polish. A little fruity. Gooseberries? Some pepper and spices.
Very rich. Hint of oil. It has a brief nutty episode, not unlike 'Frangelico' - an Italian liqueur.
Taste: Toffeeish. A bit malty. Sweetish with a little smoke. Slightly dusty.
Strong dark chocolate. Orange peel in the dry finish. Touch of eucalyptus?

Benriach 10 yrs. (71)  Highlands - Speyside
(43% - Distillery bottling - Benriach Distillery Co.)
Nose: The aroma came across as somewhat grainy and slightly oily. Very soft, but it grows more interesting as you go along. Nutty (?) and flowery sweetness.
Taste: Rather soft with a powerful afterglow.
A real summer-malt in one of the plainest bottles I've seen.

Benrinnes 15 yrs. (83)  Highlands - Speyside
(43% - Flora & Fauna bottling - Benrinnes Distillery)
Nose: Sweet. Sherry and smoke. Becomes very rich after a few minutes. Exquisite!
Powerful. Grows to a wonderful complexity. Old fruits. Amazing! Stock cubes?
Taste: Bittersweet. Sherry dryness with smooth episodes. Oaky and smoky. Orange.
Long, dry finish with sherry moving back and forth. Quite similar to the Macallan style.
Adding water doesn't do much for the nose and breaks up the palate.

Benromach 12 yrs. (75)   Highlands - Speyside
(40% - Gordon & MacPhail bottling - Benromach Distillery)
This looks like a distillery bottling, but it's not; the distillery closed down in 1983.
Nose: Big with a lot of development. Fresh and flowery at first, then sweeter and more malt. Tongue: Overwhelming soft sweetness with a long afterburn that dissolves slowly into a woody and slightly sherried finish. In fact, just a bit too woody and bitter for my taste.

Bladnoch 16 yrs. 1980  (82)  Lowlands
(43% - Ultimate bottling - Distilled 30/6/80 - Bottled 1/97)
The 'I cannot believe it's a Lowland' Lowland. Cask no. 98/591/40, bottle no. 219.
Nose: Wowie, what a nose! Lemons! Then smoky with some sweetness, then sour again, becoming oily after a while. The bouquet is very rich and has a lot of development. Remarkable; very complex!
Taste: Soft and sweet (sweet lemons?), a bit malty with a long afterburn.
Drier finish; Very warming.

Blair Athol 12 yrs. (79)  Highlands - Midlands
(43% - Flora & Fauna bottling - Blair Athol Distillery)
Nose: Very flavory, with a sweetness that gets more pronounced after some breathing. Needs a minute. Smoky. Ginger? Red wine? Sweet and sour? Excellent and elusive.
Taste: very nice, and it has quite a bite for its 43%. Sweet and fruity. A soft start develops into a prolonged explosion. Hold the water, though... This malt is best drank straight.
My favorite Midlands malt! (so far....)

Bowmore 6 yrs. 1989 (72)  Islay
(43% - Ultimate bottling - Distilled 3/4/89, Bottled 1/96 - Morrisson Bowmore Distillers Limited)
Cask no. 2870, Bottle 185 of 442.
Nose: A lot sweeter than the "Surf: and fresher and oilier than the 12 yrs. at first sight - or at first smell, if you will. Even more sweetness in the nose after some breathing.
Butter? A very complex aroma for it's age.
Taste: Disappointing, and certainly not up to the "Bowmore" standards.
Rough and bitter; Unbalanced.

Bowmore 'Legend' (76)  Islay
(43% - Distillery bottling - Morrisson Bowmore Distillers Limited)
Nose: Much more like the 'Surf' or a young Bruichladdich than like the sherried 12.
Islay peat and smoke, but not as powerful as lagavulin or laphroaig.
Taste: Islay, but also some sweetness. Rather 'simple'.
Salty, not as much sherry as the 12.

Bowmore 'Surf'  (76)  Islay
(43% - Distillery bottling - Morrisson Bowmore Distillers Limited)
Nose: More oily than the 12 - but just as elusive. A bit spicy, after a few minutes of breathing and warming up the Islay became more obvious.
Taste: unmistakably Islay. Rather salty, though not as sherried as the 12.
Less complexity and some more bitterness.

Bowmore 12 yrs. (80)  Islay
(43% - Distillery bottling - Morrisson Bowmore Distillers Limited)
Nose: Seems almost "shy" about it's Islay heritage at first.
Sherry, spicy saltiness. Light smokiness. Very characteristic boquet.
Taste: Very sherried, perhaps even a bit too much for an Islay. Very nice complexity, though. This malt is very elusive - it took me three bottles to give it a final rating. Nevertheless, it was the first malt I ever picked right in an
"honest blind test".

Bowmore Darkest (65)  Islay
(43% - Distillery bottling - Morrisson Bowmore Distillers Limited)
Nose: Very smoky - overpowering. Iodine. Burnt caramel. Lacks sweetness at first.
Sherry. Grows very sweet after a while. Caramel candy. Cough syrup.
The nose obviously grows in complexity over time.
Taste: A lot of heavy smoke and tar, not balanced by any other tastes.
Buysman. One dimensional. Disappointing finish. Very woody and sherried. Please note that this is a single cask malt, so bottlings from other casks may be better. In this particular case, the nose is a lot better than the taste, especially after a few months.

Bowmore Cask Strength (81)  Islay
(56% - Distillery bottling - Morrisson Bowmore Distillers Limited)
Nose: Smoke, peat and sherry - it's a Bowmore allright...
Sweeter notes as well. Hint of chloride and some salt. Water doesn't help much.
Taste: Undiluted, it starts surprisingly sweet. Then the big burn begins.
Smoke. Salty and dry with some powerful (toffee?) sweet episodes.
Nice, but slightly unbalanced. Sour notes in the finish.

Braes of Glenlivet 15 yrs. (79)   Highlands - Speyside
(43% - Kirsch Import bottling - Bottle no. 328 of 690 - Braeval Distillery)
Nose:  Faintly sherried, becoming stronger. Cookies? Nice.
Rounder and sweeter with time, but it keeps a relatively low profile.
Taste: Harsh start. A little dusty, but then it brightens up. Licorice root?
Sherry. Decent burn; quite dry. Sandy. Remains a little bitter in the finish.

Bruichladdich 10 yrs. (75)  Islay
(40% - Distillery bottling - Bruichladdich Distillery Company Ltd.)
Nose: Smoky, yet subtle aroma. Tingly with some oiliness.
Did I imagine that touch of seaweed?
Taste: Rather soft and a little salty. Not really my cup of tea.
Very light - the lightest Islay I ever tasted actually.

Bruichladdich 15 yrs. (78)  Islay
(43% - Distillery bottling - Bruichladdich Distillery Company Ltd.)
Nose: Restrained. Slightly sweet and oily. Opens up slightly after a minute.
After some more time, it bashfully shows some faint Islay characteristics.
Some water unlocks the salt and a lot of other surprising elements.
Taste: Smooth. Very sweet start. Sour and malty in the middle.
No peat whatsoever!?! Pinch of salt in the dryish finish.

Bunnahabhain 12 yrs. (81)  Islay
(40% - Distillery bottling - Bunnahabhain Distillery Company)
Nose: A light, first whiff of sherry soon vanished, then a salty freshness.
And peat, of course - just not as much as in Ardbeg or Laphroaig.
Taste: One of the softest Islay malts I've ever tasted, with just a little oiliness.
First a gentle sweetness, then soft saltiness. Extra free lyrics for drunken singing; there's a very nice "trinklied" on the back of the bulky bottle.

C ------------------------------------------------- (jump to top)

Caol Ila 1989  (85)  Islay
(43% - Mackillop's Choice bottling - Dist. October 1989 - Bott. May 1999 - Cask #1804 - Bottle #071)
Nose: Starts fruity and a little dusty. Quickly opens up, becoming peatier.
Wet dog??? Very complex for such a young malt.
Taste: Bitter start, followed by a very peaty dryness. Smoke joins the peat.
Sweeter with time, although the peaty center remains the anchor. Peatiest Caol Ila.

Caol Ila 11 yrs. 1984 (78)  Islay
(43% - Ultimate bottling - Distilled 15/2/84, Bottled 4/95)
Cask nr. 916; Bottle nr. 76 of 415.
Nose: Lively aroma with some smokiness. An oily whiff of the sea.
Particularly light smell; Pepper, Peat, gentle sea-character.
Taste: Complex taste-development ends in a warm punch.

Caol Ila 1981  (82)  Islay
(40% - Connoisseur's Choice bottling -  Bottled 1995 - Caol Ila Distillery)
Nose: Relatively 'thin' for an Islay, but very interesting.
Peaty with a hint of sherry. Raw beans? Leather? Tobacco?
Sweeter and oilier after a while, gaining 'volume' and complexity.
Taste: Surprisingly smooth and sweet over a peaty base. Not as good as the nose.
A long, dry finish without a lot of development. Turns to gin (juniper) with water.

Caol Ila 20 yrs. 1974 C/S  (83)  Islay
(55.7% - Signatory Vintage bottling - Dist. 27/12/74 - Bott. 5/95 - Caol Ila Distillery)
Nose: Sweet and sour at first, but after a minute of breathing the Islay hits you, with the added bonus of some oily and nutty tones. Still some fresh and sour notes too, making it the 'cleanest' Islay I know.
Taste: Islay power and a lot of development. Drinkable at 55,7%, but slightly better dilluted. Dilution improves the palate (sweeter), but does little for the nose.

Caol Ila 21 yrs. 1975 C/S  (89)  Islay
(61,3% - UD Rare Malts bottling - April 1997 - Bottle no. 0519 - Caol Ila Distillery)
Nose: Wow! - Smoke first, then peat, quickly followed by sweeter fragrances.
Very rich and complex. A malt with a lot of different faces. Very versatile.
Taste: Very sweet. A lot of power, just about drinkable at cask strength.
With water: Drier and saltier, but it keeps on burning - burning....

Caol Ila 26 yrs. 1974  (84)  Islay
(50% - Douglas Laing OMC bottling - Dist. 12/1974 - Bott. 4/2001 - 294 bottles - Caol Ila Distillery)
Nose: Sweet with peat in the background. Fruity notes. Slightly oily.
Smoke and peat grow stronger with time. Some chloride after a while.
Seems softer than the actual 50%. Very sophisticated.
Taste: No sweetness in the start. Peppery burn. Good development!
Malty and quite bitter in the finish. Barley? Not as good as the nose.

Caperdonich 1980 (75)   Highlands - Speyside
(40% - Connoisseur's Choice bottling - Bottled 1998 - Caperdonich Distillery)
Nose: Light, fruity and smooth. Early fruits (Apple?). Needs some time.
Evolving into older fruits. A faint hint of peat and smoke.
Taste: Quite rough on the tongue at first, but then the wood softens up.
The finish develops into a sweety/salty burn that seems to go on forever.

Cardhu 12 yrs. (72)  Highlands - Speyside
(40% - Distillery bottling - Cardhu Distillery)
Nose: Some sweetness, but nothing like Balvenie. Some nice but hard to define accents in it's bouquet. Maybe I'm losing it, but I was almost certain I smelled banana's. Not the real-life banana's, mind you!  I'm talking about the chemical yellow candy things.
Taste: Disappointed after the subtle nose; Some sweet tones, but also burning and bitter. The stuff clings to your mouth.

Clontarf  (56)  Ireland
(40% - No age statement - Distillery bottling - Clontarf Irish Whiskey Company)
Nose: Lots and lots of vanilla. Overwhelming. A little grainy. Hint of smoke?
It feels a little 'chemical', not unlike the yellow banana scum sweets.
Taste: Vanilla. Clean. Thin. A little bit grainy. Stale beer.
A bit sharper than I'm used to. superficial, sweetish finish.

Clynelish 8 yrs. 1990 (78)  Highlands - North
(43% - Ultimate bottling - Distilled 1/5/1990, bottled 24/11/1998 - Clynelish Distillery)
(Matured in bourbon cask no. 3208, bottle no. 144)
Nose: Big; quite strong for such a young malt. Very spicy. Some salt.
Mighty pleasant. Apples. More oily later on. Bread after a while.
Taste: Smooth. Sweet and spicy. Some salt & pepper. Licorice. Fruit sweets.
It ends in a dry, bourbon finish. In many ways, it's not unlike Glenmorangie Cellar 13.

Coleburn 14 yrs. 1983  (64)  Highlands - Speyside
(43% - Signatory Vintage bottling - Dist. 30/4/83 - Bott. 7/97. Coleburn Distillery)
Nose: Not a lot of depth. Faint hints of sweets, but not much else.
Breaks up very fast; it's there one minute and the next it's gone..
Taste: Warm, sweet and oily. Medium finish with some licorice.
Not very interesting for it's nose and taste - but from a distillery that's now closed.

Connemara  (78)  Ireland
(40% - No age statement - Distillery bottling - Cooley Distillers)
Nose: Sweet and smoky start - Smoked ham and melon.
Banana's later on, with other fruity notes also; more oily too.
Becomes very peaty for an Irish whiskey. Very good!
Intersting development. The nose scores a lot better than the taste.
Taste: Peat. Sweet and long, quite a burn...  Sweetness disappears quickly.
Soapy intermezzo, bitter finish. Not a lot of 'depth', but very nice.

Convalmore 15 yrs. 1983 (80)  Highlands - Speyside
(43% - Chieftain's Choice bottling - Convalmore Distillery)
Nose: Full and balanced. Sweet. Quite fruity in the start. Chemical coconut.
Develops into slightly sherried complexity with malty undertones.
Taste: Soft start quickly grows into a fruity sweetness.
Sherry. Toffee. Very smooth, but drier in the finish.

Cragganmore 12 yrs. (81)  Highlands - Speyside
(40% - Distillery bottling - Cragganmore Distillery)
Nose: Amazing complex bouquet. Hard to describe. Hint of fruit sweets.
Strange combination of light and heavy.
Taste: Nice development. Fresh at first with a clean but very long finish.
Not as complex as it's promising aroma, though...

Craigellachie 1983  (65)  Highlands - Speyside
(43% - Vintage Choice bottling - Bottled 1994 - Craigellachie Distillery)
Nose: Peculiar aroma. Very light at first. Sweetish, with a little smoke and oil.
Fruitier after a few minutes; the oil becomes more pronounced. The 'volume' changes.
Taste: Quite flat. Sweetish start with a hint of peat and smoke. Lacks complexity.
Unpleasant bitterness evolves into a dry finish. A sharp bite, but quickly gone.

D ------------------------------------------------- (jump to top)

Dailuaine 16 yrs. (80)  Highlands - Speyside
(43% - Flora & Fauna bottling - Dailuaine Distillery)
Nose: Sherry. A hint of smoke. Grassy after a while. Flattens out after a few minutes.
A lot of complexity and development. Not unlike the Benrinnes 15, but toned down a notch.
Taste: Sherry sweetness. Woody. A bit malty. Fruitier over time. Smoke. A big burn.
Great development! Oak and sherry in the finish, but caramel sweetness as well.

Dailuaine 1971 (72)  Highlands - Speyside
(40% - Connoisseur's Choice bottling - bottled 1992 - Dailuaine Distillery)
Nose: Starts off with a very strong leather smell. Quite nice actually, but after a minute it drops off, becoming very restrained. It seems to vanish completely within a few minutes.
Taste: A strong leathery start. The finish is dry and slightly woody. Water doesn't help. The wood of this cask must have been very tired.

Dallas Dhu 10 yrs. (79)  Highlands - Speyside
(40% - Gordon & MacPhail bottling - Dallas Dhu Distillery)
Nose: Smoke & citrus. Sweet and (especially) sour apples! Some sherry.
Rich. Lovely chocolate & rum sweetness. Rhubarb? Interesting. Very distinctive.
Taste: Apples. Soft & smooth at first, sweeter with more sherry & malt later on.
Toffee and choccolate? Menthol? Long afterburn. Good development; dry finish.

Dalmore 12 yrs. (80)  Highlands - North
(43% - Distillery bottling - Dalmore Distillery)
Nose: Overwhelming bouquet, very round & sweet. Smooth.
Taste: Disappoints just a bit after the "nostril symphony".
A very quick taste-development, Peppery bitterness followed by a long, burning warmth.

Dalwhinnie 15 yrs. (72)  Highlands - Speyside
(43% - Distillery bottling - Centenary Edition 1898-1998 - Dalwhinnie Distillery)
Nose: This malt has a lot of nose. Fresh, and a little chemical. Grassy and slightly oily. Dried apples and peanuts? A pinch of peat, but that component just doesn't seem to "fit" right.
Taste: Very soft and smooth, a bit malty with a very nice afterburn.

Dalwhinnie 1981 DE 'Double Matured' (74)  Highlands - Speyside
(43% - Distillery bottling - D.SD.312 - Oloroso casks - Dalwhinnie Distillery)
Nose: A lot stronger than the standard 15, with much more (Oloroso) sherry.
Hay and a hint of liquorice root. A pinch of peat as well.
Taste: A watery start. Slightly sherried. Becomes very toffee-like, then bitter.
Long, oaky finish. Definitely more powerful than the standard 15.

Deanston 12 yrs. (57)  Highlands - Midlands
(40% - Distillery bottling - Burn Stewart Distillers)
Nose: A little sweet and oily, with a hint of chloride.
Quite pleasant at first, but the bouquet vanishes quickly.
Taste: A bit disappointing. A little nutty (hazelnuts/almonds) after a while.
Clean, with a malty finish, becoming very bitter with water.

Drumguish 3 yrs. (40)  Highlands - Speyside
(40% - Distillery bottling - Drumguish Distillery Ltd. Co.)
Nose: A bit of a stinker. Quite dry, light and malty smell with sweet undertones.
Taste: Undistinguished; rather bland (light and dry, touch of peat), evaporates quickly. This one isn't much better than your average lower-class blend, so I think they should keep this one stocked until the next millennium. One of the worst single malts I ever tasted!

Dufftown 10 yrs. (76)  Highlands - Speyside
(43% - Distillery bottling - Dufftown Glenlivet Distillery)
Nose: Sweet, oily aroma. Some pepper and a whiff of syrup.
Taste: Soft and round, leaving a long glow on the tongue. But it lacks development. Unfortunately I found its taste less complex than its promising smell. A perfect whisky for when you're planning on consuming vast quantities of liquor.

Dufftown 12 yrs. 1997 (73)  Highlands - Speyside
(43% - Chieftain's Choice bottling - Dufftown Distillery)
NoseNose: Slightly oily notes. Whiffs of grain. Easy on the nose.
After a few minutes: Sweet and nutty. German sweet bread?
Taste: Undescriptive. Nice, but less complex and sweet than the nose.
A little gritty. Slight bitterness in the finish. Some pepper? A little dry.

Dufftown 15 yrs. (77)  Highlands - Speyside
(43% - Flora & Fauna bottling - Dufftown Distillery)
Nose: A rich, smoky bouquet. Just a tad of oilyness; less than the 10 yrs. old distillery bottling, though. After a while a pleasant, malty sweetness develops.
Taste: This malt is smooth of body, but with an afterburn. Sweet at first, then dry.
It's better than the 'standard' 10 yrs. - but not much. Nice, but not too many surprises there.

E------------------------------------------------- (jump to top)

Edradour 10 yrs. (70)  Highlands - Midlands
(40% - Distillery bottling - Glenforres Glenlivet Distillery Co Ltd.)
Nose: Peculiar; a 'farmy' sourness. Very interesting. A lot of nose for a Midland malt;
Just a teensy weensy bit of sherry; more citrus, cream and butterscotch later.
After five minutes a whole lot of new nuances emerge.
Taste: Minty, but not fresh. Warm at first; cools your mouth after a few seconds.
Quite a let down after the intruiging nose - the finish is rather unpleasant.

G ------------------------------------------------- (jump to top)

Glenallachie 11 yrs. 1985  (74)  Highlands - Speyside
(43% - Signatory Vintage bottling - Dist. 10/85 - Bott. 6/97. Glenallachie Distillery)
Nose: Nice! Complex but vague. Citrussy overones at first; pepper later.
Menthol after that - very intruiging.
Taste: Very smooth and slightly oily. Menthol or eucalyptus in the finish.
Interesting, but not the most enjoyable malt I've ever tasted.

Glenburgie 8 yrs. (62)  Highlands - Speyside
(40% - Gordon & MacPhail bottling)
Nose: Oily start, with some fragrant fruit; more oily after a while.
After more breathing a faint malty nuttiness. Pretty flat, no complexity.
Taste: A bit malty and very dry. Not very much else there.
There seems to be a greasy layer around the taste.

Glencadam 1987 (71)  Highlands - East
(40% - Connoisseur's Choice bottling - bottled 1997 - Glencadam Distillery)
Nose: Quite powerful, but little depth at first. Hint of fruits. Raisins?
Whiff of paint thinner. Chloride? Eucalyptus? Dash of pepper? Soap? A little dusty.
Taste: Sweet and smooth. Shifts between menthol freshness and malty warmth.
More 'peppery' after a while. A little gritty and bitter in the finish.

Glen Deveron 12 yrs. (63)  Highlands - Speyside
(40% - Distillery bottling - MacDuff Distilleries)
Nose: Lemons? A bit malty, but not too much. Some sweetness.
Taste: Falls somewhat behind. Pleasant, but it's a short pleasure. Dry. Not a malt I would recommend to anyone; only slightly better than 'Fiddich Special Reserve.

Glendronach 9 yrs. 1987 (Sherry)   (71)  Highlands - Speyside
(43% - Signatory Vintage bottling - Dist. 5/97, Bottled 4/97 - Glendronach Distillery)
Nose: Soft start, a bit oily, grows into a very sherried attack.
Deep sherry, not much else. Maybe a hint of mocca.
Taste: Very sherried, sharp at first but smoothing out after a few seconds. The finish is long, with warm/sweet and dry/bitter episodes. A bit one dimensional, though.

Glendronach 12 yrs. 'Traditional' (80)  Highlands - Speyside
(43% - Distillery bottling - Glendronach Distillery)
Nose: Wow! Lots of sherry, but not as powerful and sweet as the 15 yrs. Tobacco?
Intruiging. Balanced. Rotting hay and incense over a sherry/malty surface.
Taste: Strange 'unsweet' start, but then it sweetens up. A little fruity.
Sweet licorice. After a few minutes more wood (oak?) and some pepper.

Glendronach 15 yrs. (86)  Highlands - Speyside
(40% - Distillery bottling - 100% Sherry Casks - Glendronach Distillery)
Nose: Stunningly rich! Very sherried. Big. Sweet & woody. A hint of smoke.
Oriental notes. A little spicy. Grows even wider and more complex over time.
Reminded me of Macallan - and the forest after an autumn shower.
Taste: Toffee and caramel. Very woody. Liquorice.
Liquorice in the finish as well, developing into very dry oak.
Interesting development but a little too dry and woody towards the end.

Glendullan 8 yrs. (74)  Highlands - Speyside
(40% - Distillery bottling - Glendullan Distillery)
Nose: Spunky. Slightly oily, with almost sharp undertones. A bit fruity?
A light honeyish sweetness. Much sweeter start after a few months of breathing.
This malt is very elusive and kept surprising me.
Taste: A lot of development; long enough.
Quite good and lots of character for a 8 yrs. old.

Glen Elgin  (70)  Highlands - Speyside
(43% - No age statement - Distillery bottling - White Horse Distillers)
Nose: Some lemon and lime. A hint of honey and some heather; at times even something that reminds me of green pepper / cream sauce. This malt had a ticklish effect on my nose, and will be referred to as 'the sneezy malt' in the future.
Palate: A first exciting wave of warmth dissipates rather quickly.
A gentle finish, more dry after some breathing.

Glenesk 1984 (58)  Highlands - East
(40% - Connoisseur's Choice bottling - bottled 1997 - Glenesk / Hillside Distillery)
Nose: A little spirity. Paint thinner. String beans? Rotting hay?
Vinegar? Some lighter fracrances over a muddy layer of sediment.
Taste: Warm and malty. Sweet in the middle, gritty in the tail.
Hint of pine and resin. Better than the nose, but alltogether unremarkable.

Glenfarclas Heritage (77)  Highlands - Speyside
(40% - Distillery bottling - Glenfarclas Distillery)
Nose: Malty and sherried. Really opens up quickly, becoming very big and round. A little smoke, some oil and a hint of garlic. Marzipan? Amazing complexity! Something like sand / stone. Drops off after 10 minutes.
Taste: Starts soft and sweetish, with something that reminded me of cherry liqueur bonbons.
Some lingering licorice on the tongue. Fruit and marzipan after a while. Hint of apple.
Not unlike cognac. A tad woody in the finish.

Glenfarclas 8 yrs. (74)  Highlands - Speyside
(40% - Distillery bottling - Glenfarclas Distillery)
Nose:  Sherried and malty. Spirity with some 'farmy' notes. Flat compared to older versions.
A little oily? After a few minutes, it opens up, becoming bigger and rounder. Rhum?
Taste: Soft and a little sweet; it takes a while to develop. A little wood in the finish.

Glenfarclas 10 yrs. (79)  Highlands - Speyside
(40% - Distillery bottling - Glenfarclas Distillery)
Nose: Very hard to define. There is sherry, but there is more.
Overwhelming bouquet. Some malty smokiness.
Taste: Starts off quite dry, but develops very nicely into a deep, long lasting sweetness.
The last few glasses had little nose left - but the taste was still bloody great.

Glenfarclas 12 yrs. (80)  Highlands - Speyside
(43% - Distillery bottling - Glenfarclas Distillery)
Nose: Sweet, sherried and malty. Big and round with hints of coffee and mocca.
Rich. Light (citrus?) fruity notes. Candy kane? A fine example of a 'classic' Speyside nose.
Taste: Malty and sherried. Woody. Powerful and smooth at the same time.
It's not as sweet as younger versions, but showed a hint of marshmellows?
Smoke. Beautifully balanced with a lot of volume and a long finish.

Glenfarclas 21 yrs. (83)  Highlands - Speyside
(43% - Distillery bottling - Glenfarclas Distillery)
Nose: Ooh! Opens with a flash of rhum-like power.
Lots of 'special effects' around a heart of sherry.
Settles down after a minute, becoming slightly oily and smoky.
Taste: A little disappointing, to tell you the truth.
Slightly spirity at first. Very long, very dry finish. Lots of wood.

Glenfarclas 105   (81)  Highlands - Speyside
(60% - Distillery bottling - Glenfarclas Distillery).
Nose: A very 'loud' and powerful bouquet, but a bit crude.
Very strong; at times even glue-like. Red cabbage and toffee? A hint of peppermint after dilution.
Very good when fresh, but loses a lot of nuances after a few months in an open bottle.
Taste: Just too overpowering at 60% neat. Not a lot of complexity there. This malt doesn't respond as well to water as I'd hoped. Even after heavy dilution it's too strong and overwhelming. Still very good value for your money, mind you.

Glenfiddich ? 'Special Old Reserve'  (60)  Highlands - Speyside
(43% - No age statement (old bottling) - Distillery bottling - Glenfiddich Distillery)
Nose: Balanced, sweet aroma with "grainy" undertones. Quite fresh and fruity.
Taste: Sweet (dry and malty), but vanished way too soon. I wonder what's so "special" about this. Perhaps they should have kept it "reserved"?

Glenfiddich 12 yrs. 'Special Reserve'  (62)  Highlands - Speyside
(40% - (new bottling) - Distillery bottling - Glenfiddich Distillery)
Nose: Cider. Some chemical sweetness. Quite restrained.
A bit dusty. It reminded me a little of some grain whiskies I've tried.
Taste: Thin and watery at first, becoming maltier after a few seconds.
Apple/cider as well. Some sweetness. Hint of smoke in the short, dry finish.

Glenfiddich 15 yrs. 'Solera Reserve'  (71)  Highlands - Speyside
(40% - Distillery bottling - Glenfiddich Distillery)
Nose: Restrained at first. Opens up after a while, becoming sweeter.
After fifteen minutes a strong sweet/sour impression - like Babi Pangang.
Taste: Smooth and sweet, then peppery and spicy. Salt.
Warming. Becomes sticky towards the end. Some wood in the finish.

Glen Garioch ? (72)  Highlands - East
(43% - No age statement - Distillery bottling - Morrisson's Glengarioch Distillery)
Nose: Very oily at first. Malty, with the alcohol clearly on the foreground.
Opens up a little after a few minutes, but never becomes fruity like the 15.
Taste: Malty. The alcohol is very obvious in the taste as well. Slightly gritty.
Not sweet enough for my tastes, and bitter in the finish to boot.

Glen Garioch 15 yrs. (77)  Highlands - East
(43% - Distillery bottling - Morrisson's Glengarioch Distillery)
Nose: Very complex and aromatic. Sweet and sour. Smoky, chemical at times.
A lot of development; turkish delight, fruit sweets and rhum after a while.
Taste: Interesting. Perfumy. Licorice. Prunes after a while. Dusty? Dry finish.
The taste of this bottle suffers after 6 months or so - best finsihed quickly.

Glengoyne 10 yrs. (72)  Highlands - West
(40% - Distillery bottling - Glengoyne Distillery)
Nose: Slightly oily. Cider. Quite nice, actually, but restrained.
A little malty. Not as fruity as the 12 yrs. old version.
Taste: Apple freshness. Grassy. Very soft - almost watery. Then: cake (?)
Very little sweetness at first. More later, but it remains slightly bitter in the finish.

Glengoyne 12 yrs. (73)  Highlands - West
(43% - Distillery bottling - Glengoyne Distillery)
Nose: What a fruity nose! Some chloride, some dust. Malt & sherry
Dried apples, then some ripe bananas, and then green apples. Very rich aroma.
Taste: Somewhat "dusty" at first; malty with a dry finish. Mocca?
Lacks balance, but quite nice nonetheless.

Glen Grant (65)  Highlands - Speyside
(40% - No age statement - Distillery bottling - Glen Grant Distillery)
Nose: Fresh, spirity and slightly oily. Unoffensive. Very light sweetness.
After a while some pepper emerged.
Taste: Clean, oily and rather simple. soft and sweet. Some pepper. Dry finish.

Glen Grant 10 yrs. (70)  Highlands - Speyside
(40% - Distillery bottling - Glen Grant Distillery)
Nose: Malty and sweet, a little peat and some sourness.
Notably improves after a little breathing. More nutty sweetness.
Taste: Sherry sweetness. Nice, but unremarkable.
Soft start, long burning finish with little development.

Glen Keith 1983   (74)  Highlands - Speyside
(43% - Distillery bottling - Glen Keith Distillery Company)
Nose: Restrained; slightly sweet and oily at first.
After a few minutes of breathing: wood, ginger and whiffs of citrus.
Taste: Very nice, and more exuberant with time. A simple, sweet start grows more malty after a while and ends in a in a somewhat dry and bitter finish.

Glenkinchie 10 yrs. (66)  Lowlands
(43% - Distillery bottling - Glenkinchie Distillery)
Nose: Soft and friendly, some sweetness.
Rather complex, but too much water ruins this whisky.
Taste: Interesting development, but all-in-all a bit bland. It's essence drifts away somewhat dry. Some people seem to like it a lot, but it's definitely not my type of whisky.

Glenkinchie 1986 DE  'Double Matured' (73)  Lowlands
(43% - Distillery bottling - G/273-7-D - Amontillado casks - Glenkinchie Distillery)
Nose: A lot of sherry added to the 'standard' character.
After a while, the sherry moves to the background and hints of honey and melon emerge.
Taste: 'Dusty'. Sherry, but very soft. More astringent and woody in the finish than the standard bottling. The wood becomes more obvious over time.

Glenkinchie 1978 C/S (79)  Lowlands
(60.8% - Signatory Vintage bottling - Glenkinchie Distillery)
Nose: Needs a minute. This is a strange one. Smoky and spicy. Oranges? Tangerines?
Greasier and more aromatic later on. Seems a bit oily at times. Dazzling.
Taste neat: A bit sweet and grassy; good start but dropping off rather quickly.
After 1/4 of water: Smoke and citrus tones more obvious in the nose. The taste got sweeter at first, with more chloride later on; still very nice, but gone too soon.

Glenlivet 12 yrs. (76)  Highlands - Speyside
(40% - Distillery bottling - The Glenlivet Distillery)
Nose: Tingly, malty aroma.  Very full, almost bitter. Sweet undertones.
Taste: Rather dry, rough pallet. A bit fruity. The dry, warm aftertaste slowly floated away over my tongue. A very nice whisky, but perhaps a little too "friendly" for my taste.

Glenlivet 18 yrs. (79)  Highlands - Speyside
(43% - Distillery bottling - The Glenlivet Distillery)
Nose: Starts off soft, but quickly becomes very fruity and a little flowery.
Quite a spectrum, but more 'broad' than 'deep'. A hint of dust later on.
Taste: Spirity and malty at the same time. Bitter in the finish.

Glenlivet 21 yrs. (83)  Highlands - Speyside
(43% - Distillery bottling - The Glenlivet Distillery)
Nose: Lots of sherry; sweet and fruity. Mellow, deep and round.
Complex; a lot of fragrances. Cookies? Smoke and some peppermint.
Taste: Very sweet, with a lot of sherry, nuttier and more pepper later.
Long, warming and well balanced - considering the amount of sherry. Good!

Glenlochy 1977 (67)  Highlands - West
(40% - Connoisseur's Choice bottling - bottled 1994 - Glenlochy Distillery)
Nose: Not a lot, actually. Coffee? A hint of smoke.
Taste: Very soft. Sweetish, wit just a little smoke.
This malt just lacks the character it should have after 16 years.

Glenlossie 10 yrs. 1989 (68)  Highlands - Speyside
(43% - McGibbon's Provenance bottling - Dist. Autumn 1989 / Bott. Spring 2000 - Glenlossie Distillery)
Nose: Soft, grainy start. Heather and lemon grass (?) after a minute.
Slightly oily. More spicy after some breathing. Water doesn't help.
Taste: Soft and faintly sweet at first, eveolving into a warm maltiness.
Smooth and clean. Bourbon drought in the short finish. A little bland.

Glen Mhor 1977 (71)  Highlands - Speyside
(43% - Signatory Vintage bottling - Glen Mhor Distillery)
Nose: Modest, but quite intruiging. Sweet, soft start. licorice. Smoky.
Strange, heavy oiliness after a while. Amazing development.
Taste: Soft; sweets and licorice. Menthol? Fish? Very dry finish. Weird!
Not very 'nice', but a real challenge for nose and palate.

Glenmorangie 10 yrs. (81)  Highlands - North
(43% - Distillery bottling - Glenmorangie Distillery)
Nose: Spicy and peppery, yet delicate boquet. Sweet and sour? Surprisingly subtle.
Seaweed and Bourbon? Oh - boy, talk about your multi-layered malt!
Taste: The soft pepper slowly develops into a creamy, tingling warmth.
A truly remarkable whisky.

Glenmorangie Cellar 13  (81)  Highlands - North
(43% - Distillery bottling - Glenmorangie Distillery)
Nose: Fragrant. Smooth clover honey/vanilla sweetness; sweeter than the 10 yrs.
Some citrus notes. Pepper and apples. Some woody rum characteristics?
Taste: Smooth and sweet - sweeter than the 10 yrs. as well. Fresh, with a menthol coolness and a generous dash of pepper. Salt and melons in the long finish, followed by some woody bitterness.

Glenmorangie Madeira Wood Finish   (83)  Highlands - North
(43% - 12 yrs. old - Distillery bottling - Glenmorangie Distillery)
Nose: Unique and pretty amazing.
It's round and full; a little nutty and oily with some smoke and citrus.
A lot of malts can be described in terms of 'A bit like...', but not this one.
Taste: Fruity start, developing into a "summer fruit" sweetness.
Ends peppery & tannine dry (in a pleasant way...).

Glenmorangie Port Wood Finish  (85)  Highlands - North
(43% - 12 yrs. old - Distillery bottling - Glenmorangie Distillery)
Nose: A truly remarkable sweetness; reminiscent of Cognac and Tawny Port. Grapes. Very easy on the tongue, with a definite "woody" port character.
Taste: Much bolder and "rounder" than the 10 yrs. old. This malt has an almost Cognac-like quality; after adding water the "spicy" character of the 10 yrs. old becomes more pronounced. It also revealed something toffee-ish.

Glenmorangie Sherry Wood Finish  (73)  Highlands - North
(43% - 12 yrs. old - Distillery bottling - Glenmorangie Distillery)
Nose: Relatively flat, with the sherry masking the trademark 'Morangie complexity.
Unbalanced - the aroma elements didn't mix too well.
Taste: Acceptable, but too sherried; the palate lacks cohesion. The other two 'Special Wood Finishes' and Balvenie 12 DW show that a multi-wood treatment can work beautifully - but this is an example of where the distiller's experiments have failed.

Glenmorangie 18 yrs. (82)  Highlands - North
(43% - Maltman's Special Reserve No. 4465 - Distillery bottling - Glenmorangie Distillery)
Nose: Some sherry, some mint. Sweet tangerines. Honeyish. A little smoke.
More creamy and nutty after a while. A soft layer around the different fragrances. Not as powerful as I've come to expect from 'Morangie, but very subtle and complex.
Taste: Smooth, minty start, then sweeter. After a few minutes the famous pepper emerges, softened by a big honey sweetness. Nutty. Touch of mint? Mocca?
A bit malty. Sherry dry finish - breaks up a bit too soon.

Glen Moray 12 yrs. 'Classic'  (75)  Highlands - Speyside
(43% - Distillery bottling - Matured in oak casks - Glen Moray Glenlivet Distillery)
Nose: Fresh and round aroma. Sweets?
The bouquet triggered an overpowering flashback of heather in August.
Taste: fresh and spicy, but unfortunately it disappeared too soon.
Quite dry. A very nice autumn-malt, and at a very nice price, too.

Glen Moray 12 yrs. 'Wine'  (72)  Highlands - Speyside
(40% - Distillery bottling - Mellowed in Chenin Blanc - Glen Moray Glenlivet Distillery)
Nose: Faintly oily with a few woody notes. Soft sweetness. Peppery.
Some salt after a while. More 'winey' after a few minutes.
Taste: Round and smooth at first. Some sweetness. Then bitter and sour. Very dry finish; oaky and a little gritty. It makes you thirsty and go for a quick refill.

Glen Ord 12 yrs. (77)  Highlands - North
(40% - Distillery bottling - Glen Ord Distillery)
Nose: The extremely soft smell doesn't quite prepare you for what lies ahead.
Very pleasurable, though. Easy and accessible.
Taste: Mild; very nice, despite the rather bitter undercurrent. It gets stronger and stronger and gently fills your entire mouth. Gratifying complexity in taste. A hidden gem with a lot of bang for your buck; worth a try.

Glenrothes 8 yrs. (79)  Highlands - Speyside
(40% - MacPhail's Collection bottling - Glenrothes Distillery)
Nose: Big, fruity and sherried. Wonderful sweetness. Very pleasant.
Slightly alcoholic, not unlike rhum. Whiffs of spices and licorice.
Surprisingly powerful. It reminded me a bit of the Macallan 10 yrs.
Taste: Complete absence of sweetness at first. Very woody.
Seems younger in the taste than in the nose. Short, gritty finish.

Glenrothes 1985 (79)  Highlands - Speyside
(43% - Distillery bottling - Distilled 1985, Bottled 1997 - Glenrothes Distillery)
Nose: A very deep and sweet aroma. Faint hints of currants and pipe tobacco. Old fruit. After some breathing a little oilyness and something reminiscent of vegetables.
Taste: A bit harder to pin down. A very delicate sweetness; the body is very smooth.  This malt just "feels" very good; unless you add water. Adding too much water ruins the palate! The aroma becomes a little smokier and produces some new sweet overtones, but the palate loses the wonderful creamy smoothness.

Glen Scotia 14 yrs. (84)  Campbeltown
(40% - Distillery bottling - Glen Scotia Distillery)
Nose: Heavy, unique oilyness with lots of other nuances. A lot of salt and some wood.
Sweeter with time. Very, very complex. Good stuff!
Taste: A soft start, but a long afterburn with more and more malt and salt.
A lot of inidentifiable elements in there; The best Campbeltown I tasted so far.

Glen Spey 21 yrs. (61)  Highlands - Speyside
(55.4% - James Mc Arthur 'Fine Malt Selection' bottling - Glen Spey Distillery)
Nose: Absolutely nothing at first! After a minute, it became slightly grainy.
Something like peanuts appeared, but the nose remained very watery.
Taste: Easily drinkable at cask strength. The proof is hardly detectable.
Sweetish, but no character to speak of. Dilution brought no improvement.

Glentauchers 1979 (76)  Highlands - Speyside
(40% - Gordon & MacPhail bottling - Bottled 1998 - Glentauchers Distillery)
Nose: Quite soft. Citrussy. Chemical fruity sweetness. A little oilier after a minute.
A little nutty. Hint of peat in the background. Desinfectant?
Taste: Bitter at the start, malty in the middle and quite dry in the finish.
Nice development, long finish. Something 'fishy' (?) after 10 minutes.

Glentromie 12 yrs. (59)  Highlands - Speyside
(40% - Distillery bottling - Glentromie Distillery Company / Speyside / Drumguish?)
Nose: Flat; no depth. Citrus. Sweetish. A bit spirity. Maybe a bit malty. Peanuts.
Taste: Ambivalent. Very bitter one time, very sweet (like cake) the next.
Sweeter and stickier after a few minutes of breathing. Pretty long finish. Dry.
This malt needs some time to break in. The taste notably improves after a few months.

Glenturret 12 yrs. (69)  Highlands - Midlands
(40% - Distillery bottling - Glenturret Distillery)
Nose: Crisp, slightly oily. Light sweetness.
Somewhat like the Tormore 12 at first. Not very impressive - nosewise.
Taste: Seems almost watery at first, but it lights up your mouth long after it's swallowed. Despite the long afterglow not really my type of malt.

Glenturret 19 yrs. 1978  (75)  Highlands - Midlands
(43% - Ultimate bottling - Distilled 30/3/78 - Bottled 3/98 - Glenturret Distillery)
Bottle no. 216, (Oak) cask no. 359; Very light in color for a malt 20 years old.
Nose: Lemons & grape juice. A hint of licorice. A little oily and grainy.
The bouquet develops into a faint sweetness over time.
Taste: A short, dry start is followed by one change after another. Juniper?
Very complex; way better than the official 12 yrs. Very dry finish.

Glenugie 16 yrs. 1980 (63)  Highlands - East
(43% - Signatory Vintage bottling - Distilled 23/5/80 - Bottled 6/2/97 - Glenugie Distillery)
Nose: Very restrained; I could hardly smell anything at all.
'Farmy' is the first thing that comes to mind. A little woody as well - more pine than oak.
The bottle says it has been matured in sherry casks but it doesn't show in the malt.
Taste: Not good. Smoky and medicinal with a complete lack of sweetness.

H------------------------------------------------- (jump to top)

Highland Park 6 yrs. 1988 (75)  Highlands - Islands - Orkney
(43% - Ultimate bottling - Distilled 12/1988 - Bottled 6/1995)
(Oak cask nr. 1210; Bottle nr. 120 of 480)
Nose: Surprisingly light; just a little smoke.
Sangria? The fresh bouquet clearly distinguishes it from the 12-year ODB.
Taste: Wild; slowly drifts away. Less sweet than the ODB 12 yrs. This whisky doesn't really give away its Island character, especially compared to the older, official bottlings.

Highland Park 12 yrs. 1988 (81)  Highlands - Islands - Orkney
(43% - Ultimate bottling - Distilled 19/5/1988 - Bottled 29/1/2001)
(Sherry butt no. 10452; Bottle no. 492)
Nose: Surprisingly light. Fruity start with some smoke and some oil.
Salt and pepper? Faint hint of peat. Smoked sausage.
Taste: Starts quite soft (melons?), but grows much stronger quickly.
A deep toffee/chocolate sweetness develops into a long salty finish.

Highland Park 12 yrs. (85)  Highlands - Islands - Orkney
(43% - Distillery bottling - Highland Park Distillery)
Nose: Overwhelming, fruity sweetness. Sherry. Sweets and coffee beans?
A hint of peat. More smoky sea-character than younger, private bottlings.
Taste: Perfectly balanced sweetness, somewhat dry. A pinch of salt and a little peat. Some smoke. It just kept on playing around my tongue and palate. This malt quickly grows on you.

Highland Park 18 yrs. (87)  Highlands - Islands - Orkney
(43% - Distillery bottling - Highland Park Distillery)
Nose: Very nice! Cinnamon? Honey sweetness. Sherry. Heather.
Faint smoke & peat. Hard to define, but stays true to the distillery style.
Taste: Big burn. Salt & Sweet. Cinnamon again. Then fruitier notes.
Woody - oak and pine. Wonderful balance. Good, dryish finish.

Hillside 25 yrs. 1971 (66)  Highlands - East
(62,0% - UD Rare Malts bottling - Sept. 1997 - Bottle no. 1512 - Glenesk Distillery)
Nose: Very strange. Pine? Resin? Triplex? All in all not very impressive.
It improves a little later on, with the smell of cookies and a hint of fruit.
Taste: Very light, almost drinkable at 62%. The primary impression I get at cask strength is menthol. Diluted, the pine and resin I got in the nose become more obvious.

I------------------------------------------------- (jump to top)

Imperial 1979  (75)  Highlands - Speyside
(40% - Gordon & MacPhail bottling - Imperial Distillery)
Nose: Rich and oily. A heavy sweetness with more peat after some breathing.
Taste: Malty and sherried at first, sweeter after a while.
A lot of development, but it loses some points in the finish.

Inchgower 12 yrs. (76)  Highlands - Speyside
(43% - Distillery bottling - Inchgower Distillery)
Nose: Needs a minute. Quite sherried. Complex.
Sherry accompanied by sweetness, chocolate and lots of other interesting fragrances.
Taste: Quite soft and very sweet. Malty, with some cherry flavour.
Complex. Dry; well balanced.

Inchgower 19 yrs. 1977  (73)  Highlands - Speyside
(43% - Signatory Vintage bottling - Inchgower Distillery)
Nose: Salty. Almost grainy at first. Timid start, but blossoms after a few minutes.
Grows more complex with some water. Nuts, pepper, soy sauce.
Taste: Dry, a little sweet and almost malty. Chocolate. Quite a burn.

Inchmurrin 10 yrs. (66)  Highlands - West
(40% - Distillery bottling - Loch Lomond Distillery)
Nose: Malty, oily... more smoke than Loch Lomond or Old Rhosdhu. Not very interesting at first, but becomes more powerful after a few minutes. Vegetables? Barbeque spices?
Taste: Disappointing start. Soft first, bitter later on. More complex after a while.
Eucalyptus! Peaches? Notable improvement over time.

Inverleven 1984  (74)  Lowlands
(40% - Gordon & MacPhail bottling - Inverleven Distillery)
Nose: Very soft, some grassy sweetness. Light, with some sherry.
Becomes oilier after a while, and lasts for quite a while.
Taste: Very warm; becomes extremely oily after a few seconds, especially in 'mouth feel'.
A long, sweet finish ends on a dry note. One of the better Lowland malts I've had.

Inverleven 21 yrs. 1966  (64)  Lowlands
(46% - Cadenhead bottling - Dist. May 1966 - Bott. Feb. 1988 - Inverleven Distillery)
Nose: Watery and a little 'farmy' at first. It opens up and improves a bit with some water, gaining more obvious pine and cedar notes. Some salt; a hint of malt, smoke and toffee. Taste: A bitter disappointment. Short but numbing, with a bitter burn on the tongue.

Isle of Jura 10 yrs. (59)  Highlands - Islands - Jura
(43% - Distillery bottling - Isle of Jura Distillery Co. Ltd.)
Nose: Round and oily with just a hint of the sea. One dimensional.
A bit depressing. Not like any of the other "Island" whiskies I ever tasted.
Taste: Unremarkable; hardly woke up my taste-buds. Aftertaste somewhat astringent. Although some of my favorite malts are from the islands this one rates even below Glenfiddich Special Reserve, and that should say something!

K ------------------------------------------------- (jump to top)

Kinclaith 20 yrs. (57)  Lowlands
(46% - Cadenhead bottling - Kinclaith Distillery)
Nose: Buh. Flat and grainy. Maybe a faint whiff of smoke.
Not at all what I expected from a malt at this age and strength.
Taste: Flat as well; spirity and very dry. No obvious character.
It might have been a blend or grain whisky just as well. What a waste...

Knockando 1982  (78)  Highlands - Speyside
(43% - Distillery bottling - Bottled in 1996 - Justerini & Brooks Ltd.)
Nose: Big and deep; seems to change from minute to minute. Complex, the hint of pepper was a nice surprise. You have to make sure you finish the bottle quickly, though - after opening the bottle the aroma deteriorates fast.
Taste: There's nothing wrong with this. Soft and creamy at first, followed by a slow explosion in your mouth. A balanced warmth and a wonderful sweetness, that turns somewhat molasses-like after a while. The last few glasses were distinctly nutty.

Knockdhu 12 yrs. (72)  Highlands - Speyside
(43% - Distillery bottling - Knockdhu Distillery Co.)
Nose: Nose: Pleasant. Soft and sweetish, smooth and fruity.
Hint of smoke and spiritus later. Nuttier after 30 minutes of breathing.
Taste: Creamy. Soft and sweet. A little malty with a memory of vanilla icecream.
Marzipan? Dull and relatively short finish; gritty and slightly bitter.

L------------------------------------------------- (jump to top)

Lagavulin 14 yrs. 1984  (88)  Islay
(46% - Murray McDavid bottling - bottled 2/99 - bourbon casks - Lagavulin Distillery)
Nose: Light and mellow start. Dry. Transparant. A hint of citrus?
A gentle sweetness hovering over a smoky, peaty base. Becomes much more feinty after some breathing. Some more salt and seaweed as well.
Taste: Solid. A relatively sweet start, but the sweetness disappears.
Followed by heaps of salt, peat and smoke. A big, long afterburn. Dry.

Lagavulin 16 yrs. (95)  Islay
(43% - Distillery bottling - Lagavulin Distillery)
The greatest whisky this side of the galaxy.
Nose: Overwhelming. Smoke. Heavy, peaty aroma, typically Islay. Very characteristic.
Taste: Peaty; extremely round and full. Iodine, pleasantly dry, salty. Most impressive. A real tonsil-teaser...  One of the first single malts I ever tasted and still my number one.

Lagavulin 1979 DE 'Double Matured'  (90)  Islay
(43% - lgv.4/463 - Distillery bottling - Lagavulin Distillery)
Nose: Very round and complex. A lot of smoke and a little peat; a lot sweeter than the 16 from the start. After a while even sweeter; more apparent sherry in the nose; almost a bit like Macallan in the end.
Taste: Smooth. Warm, salt and sweet with a dry finish. Smoked eel? Very balanced but just a tad too sherried for my taste. It hasn't lost the Lagavulin 'punch', though.

Lammerlaw 10 yrs. (70)  New Zealand
(43% - Distillery bottling - Wilson Distillers)
The first 'antipodean' malt I've tasted, and not at all bad for a non-scotch.
Nose: Interesting and surprising bouquet. Oily, yet perfumy. Some peat, too.
Grapes? Bananas! Very light and a bit sour.
Taste: Rather harsh and rough, with a bitter aftertaste. Peaty later on.
This one seems to improve after a few months of breathing in the bottle.

Laphroaig 10 yrs. (86)  Islay
(43% - Distillery bottling - Laphroaig Distillery - Litre bottling)
Nose: Overwhelming! Very medicinal smell. Lots of Iodine with some sourness.
Salt and brine. This whisky responds very well to water. Every drop seems to change the aroma. Very subtle! (When you look beyond the initial blast in your face...)
Taste: Mighty dry and salty; more "Islay" than Islay itself. A bit harsh even for my taste. This malt is certainly not for everybody, but I fell in love with at the first sip. One of the most extreme malts I know.

Laphroaig 10 yrs. 'Original Cask Strength'  (91)  Islay
(57.3% - Distillery bottling - Laphroaig Distillery - Litre bottling)
Nose: Surprisingly fruity! Iodine in the background, growing stronger.
Smoke and tar. Licorice. Wonderful complexity. Laphroaig power with a fruity bonus.
It becomes friendlier with some water; nuttier with more organic notes.
Taste: Ooomp! Iodine! Peppery. Smoky smoothness. Lots of peat in the finish
Really wonderful stuff; the absolute winner of the evening so far.
Sweeter and more complex after adding some water, but still very powerful.

Laphroaig 15 yrs. (88)  Islay
(43% - Distillery bottling - Laphroaig Distillery)
Nose: More peat and less iodine than the 10 yrs. Ammonia? Salt and sweet.
More balanced. One of the longest lasting noses I know - still great well after an hour.
Taste: Great stuff! Salt AND sweet. licorice.
A lot rounder and sweeter than the 10 with a sherry finish.

Laphroaig 15 yrs. 1985  'Laudable' (89)  Islay
(50% - Douglas Laing OMC bottling - Dist. 2/1985 - Bott. 10/2000 - 318 bottles - Laphroaig Distillery)
Nose:  Is this a Laphroaig? Hardly any iodine in the nose at first. Yeast? Sour cream?
Musty? Quity spirity, numbing the nose. Grappa? Oily like Tobermory or Isle of Jura.
After a few minutes, the iodine becomes more obvious. Briny.
Taste: Rather sweet in the start, growing into a peaty burn. Smooth & gritty.
Iodine. Salt and smoke. Brine. Very powerful after a few minutes. Good stuff!

Ledaig (70)  Highlands - Islands - Mull
(42% - No age statement - Sherry finish - Distillery 2000 bottling - Tobermory Distillers Ltd.)
Nose: Quite restrained at first. Slightly grainy. Sherry notes?
A little oil, but not as much as the Tobermory. Increasing sweetness.
A hint of peat after a while, growing stronger with time.
Taste: Soft start, becoming sweeter. Licorice? Not as good as the nose.

Ledaig 20 yrs. (79)  Highlands - Islands - Mull
(43% - Distillery bottling - Tobermory Distillers Ltd.)
Nose: Fruit and sherry. Peat. Chloroform? Some grainy notes as well.
Alcoholic. Farmy notes. Mighty interesting with lots of development.
Taste: Soft peat. This may sound like a 'Contradictio In terminis' but that's how it feels. With time, the volume increases. No sweetness at first. The peat grows stronger while smoke and sweeter tones emerge as well. Intruiging development, but not unbalanced. Finally, the sweetness disappears in a dry, peaty finish.

Linkwood 11 yrs. 1989  (78)  Highlands - Speyside
(43% - Ultimate bottling - Distilled 30/05/1989 - Bottled 07/06/2000)
(Matured in sherry cask no. 3201, bottle no. 424)
Nose: A lot. Expressive. Flowery and fruity. Sweet. Toffee. Hint of oil. Sherried.
Nuttier with time. Well-balanced. Wonderful development. Some strange oriental tones.
Taste: Smooth, sweetish start. Mellow. Not impressive at first but the sweetness grows more complex over time. Woody center. Hint of smoke. Some interesting sour notes. A little gritty; relatively short finish.

Linkwood 12 yrs. 1984  (81)  Highlands - Speyside
(43% - Signatory Vintage bottling - Distilled 9/10/84 - Bottled 14/11/96)
(Matured in sherry butt no. 4031, bottle no. 461)
Nose: A lot. A very rich & balanced bouquet with a fair amount of sherry and wood. Flowery, with some smoke and oak. Menthol? Some smoke and pipe tobacco.
Taste: Sweet! Surprisingly supple and appealing. Some licorice. Some chloride. And again I imagined a touch of menthol. Wonderful development in time, but it becomes just a tad too dry after a while. A hint of peat in the sherried, woody finish.

Linkwood 15 yrs. (82)  Highlands - Speyside
(40% - Gordon & MacPhail bottling - Linkwood distillery)
Nose: Starts soft and flowery. Melons. Young cherries. Some sherry.
Hint of smoke and maybe even some peat. Earthy and organic impressions.
Grows more complex with time. A broad spectrum.
Taste: Starts deceptively soft. Quickly opens up into a warm, smooth burn.
Very woody. Sweet and malty. A little peat. Peppermint? A soapy episode?
Complex with a lot of development. Licorice in the long, astringent finish.

Littlemill 8 yrs. (65)  Lowlands
(40% - Distillery bottling - Littlemill Distillery Co. Ltd.)
Nose: Seems very oily at fit first, blossoms after some breathing. Becomes sweeter and slightly smoky, with faint hints of peaches and melons under a blanket of oil.
Taste: Surprisingly sweet and malty for a Lowlander. But that's about all there is, ending quickly in a grainy finish. It has its moments, but they are few and far apart.

Loch Dhu 10 yrs. (11)  Highlands - Speyside
(40% - Distillery bottling - Mannochmore Distillery)
Nose: Awful. Ashy. Way too much smoke. licorice and burnt caramel.
Medicinal, a sickening sweetness behind the smoke. It really has the smell of ashes!
Taste: Double burnt ashes and cough syrup gone bad. The worst thing is that it just won't go away, the aftertaste stays around for hours. Physically sickening.
The worst single malt whisky I've tasted in my life - almost off the scale.

Loch Lomond 'Pure Malt'  (51)  Highlands - West
(40% - No age statement - Distillery bottling - Loch Lomond Distillery)
Nose: Oily and malty. No power, but more flavours than the Inchmurrin bottling at first.
Not much complexity and 'depth', becomes extremely oily later on. Too much!
Taste: Herbal. Soft and a bit sweet. Menthol? Bitterness. No 'challenge'.

Lochside 10 yrs.  (68)  Highlands - East
(40% - Distillery bottling - MacNab Distilleries - Lochside Distillery)
Nose: Oily. A little sweet. Raisins. Slightly grassy.
A little smoky. A hint of smoked nuts after a while.
Taste: Very malty start. Warm, but not sweet at first. One-dimensional.
Sweeter after a while. Bitter; dry finish with a rough mouth feel.

Locke's Single Malt  (73)   Ireland
(40% - No age statement - Distillery bottling - John Locke & Co. Ltd.)
Nose: Slightly oily, becoming very fruity! Raspberries. Red Oranges. Peaches.
Salt & a hint of peat. A lot of other fragrances in the background as well.
Taste: Smooth. Very sweet and fruity. Melons. Some citrus tones as well.
Develops into a slightly peaty burn with lots of salt. Very versatile.

Longmorn 8 yrs. 1989  (69)  Highlands - Speyside
(43% - Ultimate bottling - Distilled 14/4/89 - Bottled 30/6/97)
Cask no. 6052, bottle no. 208 is very light and pale;
Nose: Not a lot of nose, really. Grassy and 'bourbon' clean.
Taste: Surprisingly strong; but it lacks complexity and development.
Malty, with some sweetness. The finish is pleasant and sweet, but a bit flat.

Longmorn Glenlivet 12 yrs. (80)  Highlands - Speyside
(40% - Gordon & MacPhail bottling - Longmorn-Glenlivet Distilleries Ltd.)
Nose: First impressions are very dependant on the occasion. Sometimes rich and fruity, sometimes oily and spicy. After some time and some water the fruit grows stronger. Hint of smoke. A puzzling nose that notably grows stronger over time.
Taste: Malty. Toffee sweetness, clinging to tongue and palate.
Balanced and slightly fruity. Dry, 'puffy'  finish with a pinch of salt.

Longmorn 15 yrs. (82)  Highlands - Speyside
(45% - Distillery bottling - Longmorn Distillery)
Nose: Wonderful complexity. Very round and pleasant.
Oily and Nutty; oiliness more pronounced after adding water.
Taste: Woody with a hint of bitterness; grows smoother after some breathing.
The afterglow (long, nutty and dry) got a bit "stingy" in the end.

Longmorn Glenlivet 1963  (84)  Highlands - Speyside
(40% - Gordon & MacPhail bottling - Bottled 1996 - Longmorn-Glenlivet Distilleries Ltd.)
Nose: A wonderful bouquet. Very diverse, complex and full of contrasts.
Some grass, some raisins, some 'Mac' sweetness and slightly oily.
Based on the wonderful aroma, it would rate somewhere in the lower 90's, but sadly enough it loses a lot of points in the taste department.
Taste: Light and surprisingly clean; Very nice on the tongue, but little more.

M/N ----------------------------------------------- (jump to top)

Macallan 1990 'Speymalt' (71)  Highlands - Speyside
(40% - Gordon & MacPhail bottling - The Macallan Distillery Ltd.)
Nose: Not nearly as much nose as the official bottlings. Oily and sharp; just a little bit sweet and nutty with some smoke. I would never have identified this as a Macallan in a blind test. It has none of the trademark heavy sherried sweetness I love in Macallan.
Taste: A little sweetness, but not nearly as deep as the official ones.
Oily; a bit nutty after a while. Quite a burn, but with a bitter finish.
Very disappointing when you're expecting the full Macallan character.

Macallan 10 yrs. (82)  Highlands - Speyside
(40% - Distillery bottling - The Macallan Distillery Ltd.)
Nose: Much softer than the older versions. It doesn't scream 'Macallan!' so loud.
The sherry, fruits and wood are there, just not as pronounced. Some citrus?
Taste: Woody. Some sweetness. Chocolate and burnt caramel. Salt? Nutmeg?
Licorice from start to finish. Very nice, but not as big and complex as its older brethren.

Macallan 10 yrs. 100 Proof  (89)  Highlands - Speyside
(57% - Distillery bottling - The Macallan Distillery Ltd.)
Nose: A lot of it. The bouquet really "opens up" when you add some water.
Deep sherry. Nuts? A bit dry, toffee-ish and very sweet. And you can KEEP adding water!
Every drop reveals more layers. After a while the sherry becomes more pronounced.
Taste: Very easy on the tongue, athough the finish isn't as balanced as the 12 yrs.
It's a bit strong to drink neat, but with a few drops of water it's great.

Macallan 12 yrs. (86)  Highlands - Speyside
(43% - Distillery bottling - The Macallan Distillery Ltd.)
Nose: Sherry! Flowers tingling in the front of my nose. 
Somewhat toffee-like and slightly dry. Unique sweetness.
Taste: Very full and rounded taste with an afterburn on the sides of my tongue.
Aftertaste with dry sherry. I actually HATE sherry, but this is wonderful; a true "liquid poem".

Macallan 18 yrs. 1982  (89)  Highlands - Speyside
(43% - Distillery bottling - MHR 109 - The Macallan Distillery Ltd.)
Nose: Sherry! This has all the trademark Macallan traits & treats.
Late fruits (cherries). Wood and smoke move to the foreground.
Taste: Dry oak and sherry. Less sweetness than earlier bottlings.
Wonderful development with lots of fruity sensations. Extremely dry and woody in the finish.

Macallan 18 yrs. 1976  (90)  Highlands - Speyside
(43% - Distillery bottling - Bottled 1995 - The Macallan Distillery Ltd.)
Nose: Overwhelming sweetness. Oaky with hints of currants. Just enough sherry.
The aroma grows even sweeter after a while. Wonderful!
Strangeley enough, its character is more like the 10 yrs. C/S than the 12 yrs. 43%.
Taste: A perfect palate, round and well balanced. Powerful smoothness and real "body". The very long aftertaste starts with a somewhat bitter arpeggio and slowly grows into the sweetest adagio.

Mannochmore 22 yrs. 1974 (77)  Highlands - Speyside
(60.1%% - UD Rare Malts bottling - Bottled September 1997 - Bottle no. 0879 - Mannochmore Distillery)
Nose: Clean. Spirity with some smoke and peat. Numbs the nose.
Sweeter with time, showing soft fruity / flowery notes and more smoke.
With some water it became sweeter, then smokier.
Taste: Round and sweet with a growing smokiness. Tar? Salt licorice?
After adding water the pepper in the finish becomes more pronounced.
Very smooth at +/- 50%, but it lacks identity and character.

Millburn 1971 (74)  Highlands - Speyside
(40% - Connoisseur's Choice bottling - Bottled 1993 - Millburn Distillery)
Nose: A big aroma that somehow seems to lack 'cohesion'.
It changes from oily/menthol/eucalyptus to sherry/sweets/fruits over time.
Taste: Smooth and sweet. A little sherry, a little malt, a little smoke.
Maybe a pinch of peat. Like the nose, the palate was a little unbalanced.

Miltonduff 12 yrs. (74)  Highlands - Speyside
(43% - Distillery bottling - Miltonduff Distillery)
Nose: A lot of flowery freshness. Light and clean.
Taste: A very nice palate with a lot more flavour on the tongue. Toffee? A real mouth-warmer, although it doesn't seem powerful at first. Not very complex though.

Mortlach 1984  (77)  Highlands - Speyside
(40% - Gordon & MacPhail bottling - Centenary Reserve - Bottled 1995)
Nose: Big and round, somewhat 'dusty' bouquet.
Light smoke, some sherry, a bit oily now and then. Nice, but not very much there.
Taste: Just a tad too sherryish for me.
A very long and dry finish becomes even more powerful after some breathing.

Mortlach 1969  (82)  Highlands - Speyside
(40% - Gordon & MacPhail bottling - Bottled 1996)
Nose: Flowers! Big, sweet and sherried. Wood and sour notes.
Someting 'oriental' as well. Not unlike the Macallan style.
Taste: Dusty, smooth and sweet. Lots of oak and some dark chocolate.
Dry, woody finish with a hint of smoke. Nice!

North Port - Brechin 1981   (60)  Highlands - East
(40% - Connoisseurs Choice bottling - Bottled 1998 - North Port Distillery)
Nose: Is this what they call 'perfumy'? Chemical fruits. Vanilla & Banana.
Peanuts? Not much individuality - or power for that matter.
Taste: Smooth and sweetish. Whipped cream. Dryish.
Hint of burnt caramel ('Buysman'). Short on character.
A bit of a 'desert' malt, but not a very good one.

O/P/R ---------------------------------------- (jump to top)

Oban 14 yrs. (77)  Highlands - West
(43% - Distillery bottling - Oban Distillery)
Nose: Shellfish? Salty, but restrained.
A pinch of peat and some short, sweet bursts. More peat later on.
The aroma reminded me of a farm on the shore - couldn't remember what it was.
Taste: Smooth, soft start develops into a smoky burn. Good mouth feel.
Well balanced with sweet and salty episodes. Sweeter with time. Dry finish.

Oban 1984 DE 'Double Matured' (79)  Highlands - West
(43% - Distillery bottling - Montilla Fino finish - Oban Distillery)
Nose: Sherry & peat. Some smoke. Opens up after a few minutes, becoming very rich. Big and complex; the double maturation has enriched the character of the Oban.
Taste: Smooth start, quickly followed by a nutty/malty burn. Some of the salt found in the 14 yrs. version as well. Here, the double maturation didn't have an obvious effect.

Old Fettercairn 10 yrs. (77)  Highlands - East
(40% - Distillery bottling - Morrisson's Glen Garioch Distillery)
Nose: Soft start, quite restrained at first. A little oily. After a while, it opens up into a multitude of interesting fragrances. Almonds. Hint of peat. Salted nuts? Soy sauce? Leather? Sweeter after 10 minutes.
Taste: Soft and nutty. Lightly salted start evolves into a big sweet burn. Some apple sourness as well. Sweetish, perfumy finish. Disappoints slightly after the intruiging nose.

Old Pulteney 12 yrs. (79)  Highlands - North
(43% - Distillery bottling - Pulteney Distillery Co.)
Nose: Quite restrained at first. Malty, with some sherry, some nuts and some oil.
A low profile sweetness as well. A little peat and turpentine after a while.
Taste: Nice! Smooth. Spicy burn combined with menthol freshness. Good and long development; from a sweet honey start, through coffee and pepper in the center to a long salty finish.

Old Rhosdhu 5 yrs. (44)  Highlands - West
(40% - Distillery bottling - Loch Lomond Distillery)
Nose: Sickeningly slick. Castor-oil. Sweat and cheap aftershave. Hints of coffee.
Taste: Very oily as well. Perfumy. Just too smooth - it's gone before you know it.
The less said the better.

Pittyvaich 18 yrs. 1976  (73)  Highlands - Speyside
(43% - Sigantory Vintage bottling - Dist. 22/6/1976 - Bott. 2/1995 - Pittyvaich Distillery)
(Cask no. 8633-34 - Bottle no. 222 of 630))
Nose: Spirity. Sparkly. Some citrus. Subtle fragrances every now and then.
Maybe a distant echo of smoke. Bourbon aging is very clear in this malt.
Taste: Light. Cool burn. Surprisingly juvenile for a whisky this old.
Unique combination of softness and strength. Very long, soft finish.
In a blind test, I would have guessed this was a Lowlander.

Port Ellen 18 yrs. 1981   (84)  Islay
(43% - Mc Gibbons Provenance - Distilled Winter 1981 - Bottled Spring 2000 - Port Ellen Distillery)
Nose: Peaty and sherried. A bit like a 'butch' Bowmore. Growing peat.
Clean - one of the freshest islays. Hint of chloride. Nutty episodes.
Taste: Peat. Seemed not as sweet as when I opened it. Sherry.
Almost cool in the mouth, with peat, smoke and wood in the background.

Port Ellen 23 yrs. 1975  (83)  Islay
(43% - Signatory Vintage bottling - Distilled 8/4/75 - Bottled 25/3/99 - Port Ellen Distillery)
Nose: A Lot of it; Islay, but with a hint of sweetness from the start. Salt. Grows peatier after a minute, and after that a whole lot of unidentifiable nuances emerge.
Taste: Fits the nose; Islay on top, but with a little sweet undercurrent. Dry and salty.
Peppery afterburn that lasts for quite a while, ending in a dry finish. Great!

Rosebank 8 yrs. 1983  (73)  Lowlands
(43% - Bristol Brandy Company Ltd. - Matured in American Oak Casks for 8 years)
Nose: Soft and fresh; something lemony. Sweeter and heavier after a few minutes.
Becomes very fragrant for a Lowlander, especially considering it's triple distilled.
Taste: Not as spectacular. Particulary dry. Clean and a little bit sweet.

Rosebank 11 yrs. 1989  (74)  Lowlands
(43% - Ultimate bottling - Distilled 12/4/1998, bottled 30/01/2001 - Rosebank Distillery)
(Matured in oak cask no. 789, bottle no. 153)
Nose: Not a lot at first. Becomes very harsh and feinty after a minute.
But then it softens up, becoming sweeter, flowery and fresh.
A bit like camomile after rainfall. More spicy later on. Good development.
Taste: Starts soft and sweet, becoming very dry quickly. Flowery. Bitter Finish.
Not nearly as interesting as the nose; it's just not complex enough.

Royal Brackla 20 yrs. 1978  (78)  Highlands - Speyside
(59.8% - UD Rare Malts bottling - Bottled May 1998 - Bottle no. 3887 - Royal Brackla Distillery)
Nose: A lot. Fruity & flowery. Hint of lemon zest. Beer? Some oil. The dentist? The (undiluted) aroma has amazing width and complexity. A few drops of water destabilized the nose for a moment, releasing smokier and more spirity aroma's.
Taste: Very sweet at cask strength. Very nice, but nondescript. Big burn. A little water brought some saturation in the sweetness - nutty, honeyed and slightly toffeeish. Gritty and a little unstable. Very long, dry finish.

Royal Lochnagar 12 yrs. (74)  Highlands - East
(40% - Distillery bottling - Royal Lochnagar Distillery)
Nose: Oily, but not unpleasantly so. Licorice. Some paint feints. Faint sherry and fruit.
Decent spectrum. More fruit and some smoke & peat later. Drops off after 10 minutes.
Taste: Dry and smoky start. A very distant echo of fresh fruit. Soft licorice.
Long, sweet, malty finish. Dry; hint of smoke. Not much depth, but quite pleasant.

S ------------------------------------------------- (jump to top)

Saint Magdalene 19 yrs. 1979  (93)  Lowlands
(63.8% - UD Rare Malts bottling - Oct. 1998 - Bottle no. 1031 - St. Magdalene Dist.)
Nose: Amazing complexity and harmony. A rainbow of fragrances.
Apricots. Oak. Oriental tones - ketjap & soy sauce. A lot of development as well. With a little water it showed more licorice and fruits, with a hint of smoke. Nuttier as well. Diluted to about 50% it got more citrus in the nose, with whiffs of chloride and spiritus.
Taste: Sweet and sherried when drank straight, with a long malty burn developing into a surprisingly peaty finish. Sweet licorice. Dilution showed more obvious (toffee?) sweetness and wood, developing into peaty dryness.

Scapa 8 yrs. 1989  (73)  Highlands - Islands - Orkney
(43% - Ultimate bottling - Distilled 5/89 - Bottled 11/97)
Cask no. 1885 - Bottle no. 440. Very light, both in bouquet and color.
Nose: Restrained, lightly salted. Becomes oilier with some water.
Taste: A salty burn on the tongue; quite feisty and long for a malt this young. Not much taste development, though. Very different from Highland Park, also from Orkney.

Scapa 1985  (78)  Highlands - Islands - Orkney
(40% - Gordon & MacPhail bottling - Bottled 1995 - Scapa Distillery)
Nose: Rather thin. Salt and a little smoke. Hint of peat. Dried hay? Chloride?
With water it showed some improvement, but it remains restrained.
Taste: Sweet. Chocolate! Vanilla. Very, very nice. Some salt. Peppery later on.
Water killed most of the palate, but the finish remained very long.
The taste is rather impressive for such a young malt.

Scapa 12 yrs. (75)  Highlands - Islands - Orkney
(40% - Distillery bottling - Scapa Distillery)
Nose: A little fruity (like fruit sweets) with a pinch of salt. Citrus and some peat.
Soap? Sweeter and slightly more transparent after a few minutes.
Taste: Start rather soft and sweetish, with malt, honey and vanilla. Some toffee notes.
Much saltier after a while, showing a hint of peat and some pepper.
A hot, sweet and salty burn that ends in a dry finish. (May be affected by cork)

Singleton 1981  (80)  Highlands - Speyside
(43% - Distillery bottling - Auchroisk Distillery)
Nose: This malt has a very characteristic aroma with licorice and aniseed. Remarkable, it even invoked vague impressions of "Pernod" in my mind. Just enough sherry.
Taste: A slow start, but when you give it time it unfolds beatifully and reaches deep into your throat. A very nice autumn-malt; make sure to buy a bottle if you can find it.

Speyburn 10 yrs. (69)  Highlands - Speyside
(40% - Distillery bottling - Speyburn Distillery)
Nose: Just a hint of sherry. Some smokiness, combined with sweets.
A promising bouquet; perhaps a tad too friendly.
Taste: The palate isn't very complex, but quite nice. Malty with a fresher, bitter finish.
A soft sweetness; easy on the tongue. A bit lacking in character, though.

Springbank CV (75)  Campbeltown
(46% - Distillery bottling - Springbank Distillery)
Nose: Grainy at first. Rich and salty; very tingly in the front of the nose.
'Veggy' after a while - then nutty. All in all not very impressive, but nice.
Taste: Sweet, with a powerful afterburn, growing saltier with time.
Dry. Nutty finish with lots of salt. Interesting.

Springbank 14 yrs. 1979 (78)  Campbeltown
(46% - Distillery bottling - Distilled 12/79 - Bottled 1/94 - Springbank Distillery)
Nose: Rich, yet light, sweet aroma.  Somewhat oily.
Taste: Rather salty and dry; took it's time developing around my tongue and kept floating in the back of my mouth. A bit of a disappointment; given the steep price. There are a lot of different versions of this malt around, but they're not quite at the top of my shopping list. Most of them are heavily overpriced, i.m.h.o.

Springbank 21 yrs. (87)  Campbeltown
(46% - Distillery bottling - 00/199 - Bottled 25/08/2000 - Springbank Distillery)
Nose: Sherry & oak. Amazing complexity after some breathing.
Much more sherried than other versions I tried. Entertaining.
Sweetens up after a while, becoming fruitier. Lots of development.
Taste: Oak again, mixed with salt licorice. Not as complex as the nose.
Very little sweetness. Salt becomes more pronounced with time.
A single malt that keeps you on your toes.

Strathisla 12 yrs. (74)  Highlands - Speyside
(43% - Distillery bottling - Strathisla Distillery)
Nose: Soft and dry - a bit nutty and oily. Later some faint hints of sherry, and a lot of development. Some chloride notes and more unidentifiable elements.
Taste: Not my style, but interesting with a lot of development. A soft explosion at first, and a very long finish with a multitude of changes along the way.
Gooseberry, chocolate, coffee, toffee and vanilla were amongst the impressions.
Sweeter, fruitier and drier later on.

Strathmill 10 yrs. (67)  Highlands - Speyside
(43% - Signatory Vintage bottling - Scottish Wildlife Series - Strathmill Distillery)
Nose: Strange! Some sweetness, some smoke? Nutty? A lot going on in the background.
'Farmy'. Really opens up after 15 minutes; sweeter with more citrus tones. Intruiging.
Taste: Dull start, a bit malty. A little sweeter over time. Remains rather flat and superficial.
Oily. Orange skin flints. Apples and menthol in the strange, long and dry finish.

T ------------------------------------------------- (jump to top)

Talisker 10 yrs. (91)  Highlands - Islands - Skye
(45,8% - Distillery bottling - Talisker Distillery)
Nose: Very full, robust smokiness. Peat and an overwhelming salty sea-bouquet.
Taste: Virtually explodes on your tongue and the smoky pepper keeps hanging around in the back of your throat long after your last guzzle. Extremely complex for a malt so relatively young.

Tamdhu  (72)  Highlands - Speyside
(40% - No age statement - Distillery bottling - Tamdhu Distillery)
Nose: Mild, with an unique kind of sweetness.
Some peat when the lighter aroma's drifted away. Very pleasant, sweet and malty.
Taste: Supple, and with enough dryness in the aftertaste to make you go for an instant refill.
A soft malt without pretentions.

Tamdhu 12 yrs. 1984  (74)  Highlands - Speyside
(43% - Ultimate bottling - Dist. 27/1/84 - Bott. 3/96 - Tamdhu Distillery)
Nose: Flowery, slightly oily and a little bit grainy - but not unpleasantly so.
Mild. Plenty of character, though...
Taste: Smooth and malty. Sweetish, but with a bitter undercurrent.

Tamnavulin 10 yrs. (71)  Highlands - Speyside
(40% - Distillery bottling - Tamnavulin Glenlivet Distillery Co Ltd.)
Nose: Something very different.  Oily & grassy.  Wonderful lightness.
Taste: A fresh sweetness with a nice long finish. Some bitterness.
Not really my "type" of whisky, but a nice spring-malt nonetheless.

Tamnavulin 12 yrs. (66)  Highlands - Speyside
(40% - Distillery bottling - Tamnavulin Glenlivet Distillery Co Ltd.)
Nose: Oily. Chemical. Vegetables - raw cabbage? Quite restrained.
Seems a little 'grainy'. Not nearly as good as the 10 yrs.
Taste: Slightly off, like rotten fruit. Hint of pepper? Grappa?
Lack of sweetness. A little 'chemical'. Slight bitterness in the finish.

Teaninich 1982 (70)  Highlands - North
(40% - Connoisseurs Choice bottling - Bottled 1998 - Teaninich Distillery Co.)
Nose: Hmmm... Spicy. Wet Prunus leafs? Some fruity notes as well.
Toffee sweetness after a while. More 'detail' than when I opened it.
It has some strange episodes; whiffs of ammonia and paint thinner.
Taste: Flat and a little grainy. The sweetness I detected when I opened it was gone.
Pine and sawdust. Unpleasant bitterness in the finish, but quite smooth.

Tobermory (55)  Highlands - Islands - Mull
(40% - No age statement - Distillery bottling - Tobermory Distillers Ltd.)
Nose: Very restrained. Flat. A bit oily with a very faint hint of peat.
Notably sweeter with time, with distant impressions of mint and candy.
Taste: Greasy. A bit sweet and malty, with some distant peat. Toffee?
Lacks balance and complexity. Sweet and bitter take turns in the dull finish.

Tomatin 10 yrs. (75)  Highlands - Speyside
(40% - Distillery bottling - Tomatin Distillery Co. Ltd.)
Nose: Great. Complex, sometimes even perfume-like.
Fresh and spicy, with just a whiff of smoke. Peanuts? Fruit sweets?
Taste: Sweet, dry and warm. It lacks some character, compared to the aroma. This is a very surprising malt with a joyfull personality. Doesn't taste like tomatoes at all.

Tomintoul 10 yrs. (73)  Highlands - Speyside
(43% - Distillery bottling - Tomintoul Distillery)
Nose: Subtle. Sweet and malty. A little oily with a hint of citrus.
Becomes bigger and fruitier quickly. Slightly spirity. Soy sauce?
Taste: Sweet. Malty. Barley?
A little bitter in the finish. Seems less complex than than the 12.

Tomintoul 12 yrs. (76)  Highlands - Speyside
(43% - Distillery bottling - Tomintoul Distillery)
Nose: Nutty! Versatile and rather interesting. Multi-layered.
Sour one moment, spirity with chloride a moment later.
More perfume and citrus notes later. Very sweet after 15 minutes.
Taste: Nutty as well; sweet and simple. Gooseberries? Turns malty.
Nice, but no real finish. Very hard to pin down.

Tormore 12 yrs. (67)  Highlands - Speyside
(43% - Distillery bottling - Tormore Distillery)
Nose: Nutty oiliness. Quite "grassy", light and clean. Some smokiness.
Taste: Bittersweet; turns saltier and heavier when dilluted.
Note: This malt seemed to change considerably over the six months it took me to empty the bottle - and time hadn't been kind to it. The initial score was 71 points, but the last few glasses seemed unbalanced and bitter and wouldn't score over 63 - 64 points.

Tullibardine 10 yrs. (61)  Highlands - Midlands
(40% - Distillery bottling - Tullibardine Distillery)
Nose: Quite soft; a bit like cod-oil. Overcooked vegetables and some smoke. Not very impressive, it reminded me of Isle of Jura. Almost 'Irish' in character.
Taste: Starts off with a mild and distinctive sweetness, but ends very astringent with a tannine-like dryness.

Tyrconnell  (75)   Ireland
(40% - No age statement - Distillery bottling - Andrew A. Watt & Co.)
Nose: Seems not 'Irish' at all - much fresher. Soft, sweet and rather clean.
Green Apples? Lemons and more citrus later. Cinnamon.
Nutty after a while, with oily and soapy episodes. A lot of development.
Taste: Light and clean, a very soft sweetness. Very nice.

(jump to top)

(scroll down for related items...)

The following rantings and ratings just reflect my own personal,
subjective opinions and should not be taken too seriously.
I even like Malibu, so what do I know, eh?

Below you'll find an alpahbetical list
with some short tasting notes on the
Scotch single malts I have seriously
tasted and rated since my amazing
discovery of 'The Water of Life'.

After applying some very complex mathematical formulas to the list above, I have managed to determine my own Personal Malt Top 10 with my 10 favorite (commercial) malts and distilleries. Of course, I'm putting aside the fact that every malt has it's own perfect setting, time and season; On a hot summer day, I might prefer a Glenmorangie over a Lagavulin, for example.

Like all things whisky-related: It's a matter of personal taste, and you shouldn't take it TOO seriously.


Wanna know
which malts
are next?

Click HERE

Are this all the single malt whiskies I ever tasted? Well... No.
In fact, I've tasted more than 300 different single malts by now, but almost half of these experiences were not properly recorded, 'unofficial' or miniature bottles. In my Black Book, I've only included the malts that I have sampled at least one 0.7 litre bottle of - in controlled conditions.

Questions?E-mailSitemap / Table of ContentsGo BackGo Home
Black Book
BackNext PageSend an E-mail