Glenallachie 13yo 1995/2009 (46%, Kintra, Refill Sherry Butt #17, 36 bottles)

Rummaging through the unsorted part of my sample collection I found this Kintra from 2009. And that’s great! Kintra’s big cheese, Erik started releasing Kintra Whiskies in 2009 so this is one of the first bottlings, and who knows, maybe even the very first. 2009 saw the release of a 1996 Ben Nevis, a 1997 Clynelish, a 1984 Macduff and in June, this 1995 Glenallachie.

A mind boggling amount of 36 bottles were released of this Glenallachie, so this is a collector’s item for sure! I don’t think this was from a small cask, probably only part of a cask, just like the Ledaig he bottled in 2010.

Color: Gold.

Nose: Fatty and fruity. Some butter and wood smelling like jasmine. Thus quite floral and spicy. Hints of white pepper and again and again this florality whiffs by. A lovely nose. Nice added depth from the Sherry cask, not only giving it some mustiness, but also some fruit. When smelled more vigorously, whiffs of toned down peppermint pass by, but also some hay, dry raisins and cardboard. If I would hazard a guess, I would say Fino Sherry?

Taste: Spicy first but quickly turning into sugar water sweetness. The spice and the sweet balance each other out, so it’s not overly sweet. Warming going down. Hints of milk chocolate. Still, lovely stuff. Highly drinkable and enjoyable. The sweetness makes way for a more woody dryness towards the finish. Finish itself is not too long but pleasant, but doesn’t leave a great aftertaste, since especially a weak wood and cardboard note stays behind for a short while.

This is one of those highly drinkable Whiskies, where the weakest link is the finish, and especially the aftertaste. To get past that you tend to take another sip, and yet another sip, and yet another, so you’ll finish your glass rather quickly and after that you ask yourself where has the bottle gone? Definitely not my favourite Kintra bottling, but good enough.

Points: 82

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Laphroaig Week – Day 4: Laphroaig 13yo 1998/2011 (53.4%, Kintra, Refill Sherry Butt #700047, 96 bottles)

Laphroaig SignDay four, a.k.a. the middle, or the pivotal point in a week. We’re halfway through. We started out with three distillery bottlings of Laphroaig. An older 15yo, it’s replacement the 18yo, although not in its latest guise, and yesterday we had a look at a travel retail only bottling from last year: An Cuan Mòr. Up untill now Laphroaig hasn’t failed me yet. Today we’ll venture into more unknown territory. The territory of the independent bottler. Today we’ll have a look at a Laphroaig, Erik Molenaar got into his hands a while back. The market is rapidly changing. In 2011 Erik could get (part of a Sherry Butt) for a reasonable price. Today he probably would still be able to source such a Whisky, but unfortunately only at an unreasonable price. So even when this is from 2011, it can still be considered…well you catch my drift. So without further ado…

Laphroaig 13yo 1998/2011 (53.4%, Kintra, Refill Sherry Butt #700047, 96 bottles)Color: Gold.

Nose: Funky Sherry. Has someone just farted over here? My word, lots of the S-element is filling the room. Sulphur that is, and it comes from my glass into which I have not farted, nor has anyone else. Fruity and half sweet underneath “the fart”. Enough with the fart already, will ya? Ok, lets move the Sulphur into the realm of fireworks then. Toasted wood, but also toasted bread. Meaty big aroma.

Taste: Sweet and Sherried. Fruity with loads of ashes. Short shock of fruity acidity. Creamy but with a wave of a bitter sulphury edge. The bitterness also could come from the oak. Nevertheless, the bitterness is also kept in check, so it doesn’t hurt the overall taste. The ashes transform into a sweeter form with and acidic edge, and both do not overpower the palate. The sweetness and acidity show themselves and go under again, like the Loch Ness monster. Warming and full body. Cozy. Nice mix of peat and funky Sherry. Sure, it may be flawed but the whole still (fire)works for me. Hints of black fruits and some smoke late in the finish.

Lots of my Whisky-loving friends don’t like sulphury notes too much. Some seem to be even overly sensitive to the stuff, if not allergic. They can go on and on about it and I sure do understand why. We know from the olden days how Sherried malts should taste like. Some of you know the golden days of The Macallan, old heavily Sherried Longmorns from the sixties and seventies, Glen Grants and Strathisla from the sixties. Fruity, full of aroma’s, with steam and coal, the lot! Today that quality can’t be reached anymore, and I don’t have the room here to discuss why. More modern Sherried malts are prone to have sulphury notes, and it’s up to you, if you can stand that or not. If you can (like I do), this is a big and nice, yet sulphury, Laphroaig.

Points:87

Glenfarclas 16yo 1995/2011 (53.9%, Kintra, Confidential Cask, Sherry Butt #5, 120 bottles)

In the depths of my ever-growing amount of samples, I found this sample of an undisclosed distillery named Glenfarclas. Actually, Glenfarclas isn’t stated on the label, but it has somehow become common knowledge that this Whisky was made by Glenfarclas and hand-picked by Erik Molenaar of Kintra from the Netherlands. Erik as well as Glenfarclas have been featured before on these pages, so why not continue immediately with this undisclosed Glenfarclas…

Glenfarclas 16yo 1995/2011 (53.9%, Kintra, Confidential Cask, Sherry Butt #5, 120 bottles)

Color: Copper brown.

Nose: Heavy on the Sherry there! Velvety but also a lot of sulphur. Licorice, dry air and wood. Black and white powder and cookie dough. Lots of aromas and all are on full volume. Meaty (cold raw meat), creamy, vanilla but also some mint and flint. Lot of aroma from wood, without being overpowering. Like the wood of an old door which has just been stripped of its thick layer of cracked paint (and cooled off) (no, I’m not on LSD, it’s an association).

Taste: Full on funky sherry, thick. Coal. Watered down red berry juice with (bitter and sweet) licorice (The Whisky is not watered down, mind you, nor tastes like it’s watered down). Quite sweet at first but quickly taking a turn towards the drier side. Sulphur here again, but all very tasty if you like your heavy hitters. Sometimes a whiff comes across like a rum (heavy on wood). Towards the finish some nice red fruits come to the front. Strawberries (not fresh ones, but ones that have been frozen). Spicy and prickly wood.

Definitely not your daily drinker type of malt, but a nice, albeit flawed expression of a nice Sherry bomb (hello NSA, it’s me again). I like this pick by Erik. It is a Whisky which is far from boring. A lot is happening in this, and not even all at the same time. However, a word of caution. This malt loses a bit of its balance when it gets enough time to breathe. The aromas start to unravel a bit, the wood gets weaker and even worse, a soapy component rears its ugly head, so no slacking with this one!

Points: 88

Dalmore 11yo 1999/2011 (57.2%, Kintra, Refill Sherry Butt #3079, 120 bottles)

Dalmore then. Not so long ago I reviewed the official Dalmore 12yo and rummaging through the ever-growing stock of samples, I found this almost 12yo Kintra bottling. If it was only given two extra months and two extra days, this too would have been 12 years old!

Dalmore was founded in 1839 by Alexander Matheson but the Sunderland’s start distilling there. Soon after the MacKenzie brothers, Charles, Andrew and Alexander start to run the distillery. When Alexander Matheson dies in 1886, his successor sells the distillery to the MacKenzie brothers (1891). In 1917 the Royal Navy takes over and use the facility to make mines! After three years the Navy moves out and in 1922 the distillery is again up and running. In 1960 The MacKenzie brothers merge with White & Mackay and in 1990 White & Mackay were bought by American brands. In 2001 White and Mackay were sold again and called Kyndal spirits but the White & Mackay name returns a year later. In 2007 it is sold yet again to the United Breweries Group, an Indian conglomerate.

Dalmore 11yo 1999/2011 (57.2%, Kintra, Refill Sherry Butt #3079, 120 bottles)

Color: Light ocher gold

Nose: Big. Vanilla ice-cream and light wood, with some light menthol cigarette as well. Powdery and dusty. Cherries and Licorice. Horseradish. The wood is very perfumy. Definitely floral and perfumed soap. Strong aroma from a high strength Whisky. Half sweet, salty toffee with funky Fino or Manzanilla Sherry notes, but not as much as in other Fino matured Whiskies, so this might not be one. Red fruit hard candy drops and it does have a salty edge. Animalesk (cow dung) and soft wood. So enough happening on the nose.

Taste: Nice burn and quite sweet actually. Spicy sugared oak with white pepper, but also a sour oak note which turns into ripe black fruits. Quite a lot of wood. Coconut and maybe some peach. The horseradish returns and here it is less sharp but more sweet. Ahhh how nice it is to have a cask strength Whisky again. A breath of fresh air. Vanilla ice-cream returns for the finish. Otherwise the black fruits stay on so the funky sourness is there to stay too. Nice example to analyze like this. But the a word say it all. It is a Whisky you have to work with. If taken casually you won’t fully appreciate it, and maybe even won’t like. This needs your full attention and time.

Quite a nice development. It starts out pretty sweet, after which the wood shows itself. After that, the body collapses a bit to reform behind the lines to come back with a nice finish. Although not without its faults, the whole is quite nice and absolutely an experience. Nice how easy the development can be followed. The more it breathes the better it gets. Very nice pick Erik!

Points: 85

Glen Scotia 18yo 1992/2010 (52.6%, Kintra, Sherry Hogshead #141, 62 bottles)

These days some people pick their Whiskies by the color and, this one has color abundant. A nice dark Sherried Campbeltown Malt. Some Sherried Malts work wonders and some are too heavy. Judging by the color, you never know what you’re  gonna get. I almost sound like Forrest Gump here don’t I. Glen Scotia is hardly a working distillery and it hardly is a popular distillery. Well, what kind of Whisky is this then, was it a gamble picking this up, and is it worth the money? Let’s see…

Glen Scotia 18yo 1992/2010 (52.6%, Kintra, Sherry Hogshead #141, 62 bottles)Color: Copper gold

Nose: Smoky sherry with a nice touch of oak. Red fruits in alcohol. Nice cask toast (uniquely acidic) and also slightly tarry. Sweet. The red fruits make way for deeper black fruits. Excellent development! The combination of these three and the fashion they fit together does remind me a bit of Demerara rums, although without the sweetness. The way the burnt, woody and toasty parts of the nose fit together is excellent. All this from a Sherry Hogshead with Glen Scotia in it. Great. Who would have thought. With some air, also some powdery and floral notes pop up, with tiny hints of lavender soap.

Taste: Sweet and creamy, but (luckily) again helped by the character building qualities of the toasted wood of the Sherry cask and the right kind of Sherry that was in it. Mocha, milk chocolate and Demerara Sugar (on the lips). Not weak and also not cloying or heavy. Great balance and very, very tasty. The acidity from the nose, the wood and the burnt sugar stay on to form the finish. The finish is a wee bit to dry (wood and paper) and could have benefitted from a little bit of honey and slightly better balance. Still, that’s me nit-picking, this is excellent stuff.

A stunning pick by Erik Molenaar. He only bottled 62 bottles of this so I’m wondering where the rest of the cask has gone. Could he only get 62 bottles, was the rest of the cask already sold? Who knows. Just like his other 19yo Glen Scotia, this is an excellent Whisky and if anywhere encountered, don’t hesitate to pick one or both up.

Points: 88

Clynelish 16yo 1995/2012 (53.7%, Kintra, Refill Sherry Butt #2156, 90 bottles)

It’s funny how a big company like Diageo works. For instance, There are almost no independent bottlings available by Diageo owned Lagavulin whereas the is a vast amount available from fellow Diageo and Islay distillery Caol Ila. There are almost no independent bottlings available from Oban, but a huge amount from fellow Diageo Distillery Clynelish. Here is another independently released Clynelish from the massively popular 1995 vintage. Although vintages belong more to Wine, vintages also became popular in Whisky.

Clynelish 16yo (Kintra)This Clynelish, of which only 90 bottles were released (a Butt shared with others, and Butts are large casks), is marketed by Kintra from the Netherlands. A small outfit, but from a nice guy and with good looks (both the bottle and the guy). As the label states, this is from a Refill Sherry Butt, but even if its from a Fino cask, is doesn’t have a lot of colour. A somewhat inactive Butt?

Color: White wine.

Nose: Somewhat acidic malt. Vegetal. Drying. Does fit the Fino Sherry profile, it’s smells like flor. Herbal and dusty. Milk chocolate with distant hints of vanilla. A little bit dry grass and freshly cut, sappy oak. Freshly peeled almonds. Typical Fino Sherry Butt.

Taste: Again very malty and very Fino Sherry. Wood upfront, and after that some glue and toned down vanilla. There is some sugary sweetness in this Whisky, but that is “hidden” by the Fino and the active wood. No wax! Salty lips. Malt returns in the finish. Otherwise a little bit hot, and spicy.

This is absolutely a pre dinner dram. Tasting this I want to eat! Typical Fino Sherry Butt, playing with wood and grassy, nutty tones. Not as waxy as we are used to from Clynelish. Don’t let the colour fool you, the Sherry did its job here, as did the wood, without being dominant. If you like your whiskies Fino, than this will be no disappointment.

Points: 85

Get well soon Erik.

Undisclosed Distillery 7yo 2005/2012 (51.6%, Kintra, 3rd Confidential Cask, Sherry Butt #900161, 143 bottles)

Still sad Master Quill’s Bowmore Week is over? Don’t worry there will be more weeks and there will be more Bowmores. Not worth crying over spilled Whisky, so no better way than getting right up that horse and moving on. From my lectern I picked this “Confidential Cask” bottled by Erik Molenaar a.k.a. Kintra. This is already his third Confidential Cask, a Single Malt Whisky by an undisclosed distillery a.k.a. a “Bastard Malt”. Erik is bound by agreement not to disclose the distillery nor talk about it, so I haven’t bothered asking him. There are rumour though this could be a Glenmorangie since in this series the map on the label points out where the distillery lies or where it’s water source is, and looking at this map, Glenmorangie seems to be the distillery (or Balblair for that matter), still Glenmorangie is geographically more correct. So forget about Bowmore for the time being and let’s have a look at this mystery malt.

Undisclosed Distillery 7yo 2005/2012 (51.6%, Kintra, 3rd Confidential Cask, Sherry Butt #900161, 143 bottles)Color: Gold, with a slight pinkish hue.

Nose: Malty, with toffee. Cookie dough, yoghurt and vanilla ice-cream. Slightly woody and a hint of “sourness”. Flinty, like fireworks, again, only a hint. Very much, young yet creamy. Old rainwater and dust, and the Sherry gave off some pleasant funkiness to the Whisky.

Taste: A bit hot, woody sourness, hints of red fruit and quite some wood after only seven years. Especially when it had some time to breathe the wood plays a great role, without being dominant. On the palate this Whisky seems a little bit disjointed and the finish is all about wood and a strange kind of sourness (like stale beer). Throughout the whole experience a little bit of bitterness from the wood is present. On another lever there is some sweet creaminess to it and on yet another level, there is the fruit from the Sherry.

As said before, this is rumoured to be Glenmorangie (or even Balblair). Especially if its Glenmorangie, I can understand why Erik chose to bottle it, because indie Glenmorangies are very rare. Even if you don’t have to possibility to print the distillery on the label, people who want to know will somehow find out, or think so, will take an interest. We don’t know what this is. All we know is that this is a young whisky, that doesn’t seem to be finished yet. On the palate the flavors haven’t “married” yet. Definitely not my favorite Kintra bottling.

Points: 77