Aberlour 13yo 1989/2003 “Warehouse No 1” (58.7%, OB, Single Cask Selection, First Fill Sherry Cask #13330)

Yes, it’s still not over. Just like the 2003 Bourbon Cask Aberlour, I have also a Sherried one. The 1995 16yo Sherry was impressive, let’s see how this 1989 13yo compares…

Aberlour 13yo 1989/2003 Warehouse No 1 (58.7%, OB, Single Cask Selection, Sherry Cask #13330)Color: Mahogany.

Nose: Wow! This is more like it. This smells of proper Sherry cask. From proper European oak. Whisky from the old days. Wonderful wood and dry leafy quality. warm milk chocolate, no raisins. The Sherry is extremely well-integrated and immediately make the right connections in my mind. Wonderful (there is that word again!). Hints of tar and black coal. Remember this from the dark 1971 Scott’s Longmorns? Hints of warm machine oil. Warm steam locomotive, but not as strong as the aforementioned Longmorns. Dry and dusty wood. Old wood, just stripped of 50 years of paint. Wonderful dry fruit. Black berries and such. I love a Sherry profile like this. I just hope it tastes just as good…

Taste: Wow, it starts with wood and the high ABV. Careful. Extremely smooth. Here, there are some raisins put in the chocolate mix. Earwax and nice powdery wood. Cough syrup and wonderfully deep. Thick and cloying. A tad sweeter than the nose lead me to believe. Lacks the tar and black coal from the nose. In itself that’s a shame, but the overall taste and the sheer balance make up for it. This cask had much to give, that they were right to bottle it after 13 years. It would have been over the top with wood if would have aged a few years longer. Stellar aftertaste as well. Near perfect stuff.

I just finished my bottle of a heavily Sherried 1989 Mortlach, but Aberlour also had something going for them in 1989. Tasted blind I might have gone with a Japanese Whisky. I wish I visited Aberlour Distillery in 2003…

Although the Bourbon Aberlour’s are nothing to scoff at, the Sherries are the way to go. Aberlour and Sherry are a made for each other. This 13yo Aberlour is better than all the A’bunadh’s I’ve ever tasted.

Points: 93

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Glenfarclas 29yo 1979/2008 (50.6%, OB, The Family Casks III, Plain Hogshead #2216, 171 bottles)

In 2006 Glenfarclas started with an ongoing series containing lots and lots of single cask bottlings called the Family Casks. From the beginning, almost every vintage thinkable was released in very nice looking wooden boxes including a nice booklet. After a while, some vintages were not available anymore in the warehouses, and the wooden boxes were replaced by something a lot simpler. For the time being 2014 was the last year any Family cask was released, since 2015 saw no release of a Family Cask bottling (yet). Although Glenfarclas has a name to uphold with heavily sherried malts, just like The Macallan once did, and Glendronach does today, what was nice about the Family Casks was that any type of cask was released. This 1979 expression from the third run of Family Casks is from a Plain Hogshead and was bottled on the 17th of July 2008. Plain Hogshead could mean a rebuilt cask from staves that once formed a Bourbon barrel.

Glenfarclas 29yo 1979/2008 Family Casks IIIColor: Copper

Nose: Lots of creamy vanilla and coconut, what immediately makes me think about American oak. Very creamy and firm. Extremely fruity. Apricots, pears and ripe green plums. Hints of not yet ripe banana-skin and sweet ripe apples. It does have notes of a high quality Calvados. Almonds with dry powdered coffee creamer. Amazing how strong the aroma’s are, this is in no way a closed Whisky, no, no, no! Spicy, the wood kicks in a bit. Hint of latex paint. Lurking in the depth is a strange note, which is hard to describe. Old dried out cucumber with a tiny speck of acetone. You know how a cucumber smells, tone that down a few notches, and that’s whats in here too, underneath all those heavy hitting aroma’s from the highly active cask. I wonder what Bourbon it came in contact with. Wonderful old Whisky, with a perfect and endless nose. A true gem to smell!

Taste: Again extremely creamy and full of aroma. The power. Wonderful. Perfect stuff. Quite sweet upon entry. Creamy sweet and following quickly is a much drier woody sensation with just the right amount of bitterness. More wood than the nose had, but when the wood takes a step aside, wonderful aroma’s of ginger with jam made with red and black forest fruits present themselves, but not a lot of the fruit I mentioned in the nose. Amazing! Small hints of cask toast, slightly burned bread and candied cinnamon. Cloves and Christmas cake. Of course not a perfect Whisky, that does not exist, but this does come close. Wow! Warming and luckily a super long finish.

Here we have another super fruity old Bourbon Hogshead Whisky from the seventies. Reminding us of the stellar Caperdonichs from 1972, to name but one. I can only hope I’ll find me one of these sometimes.

Points: 93

Glenglassaugh 26yo 1983/2009 (50.4%, Mo Òr, Oloroso Sherry Butt #171, 885 bottles, 500ml)

Glenglassaugh LogoIt’s been a while since a bottling of Dutch indie bottlers Mo Òr graced these pages, but it certainly is the first Glenglassaugh. Last MoÒr was an old Aultmore that turned out to be very good. This time we’ll have a look at an example of Glenglassaugh, an ex-closed distillery. The demand for Whisky is so great these days, that the industry resurrected every distillery that still could be reopened. Even when cold economics suggested more money could be made, distilleries only got demolished to make way for an even bigger more modern (read: efficient) distillery (Imperial). Only recently Diageo announced they are going to hugely expand Mortlach, and it ptobably won’t be the last one.

A new bottling by the reopened Glenglassaugh: The Glenglassaugh RevivalSo any distillery that reasonably could be reopened is reopened, the rest is demolished, stripped bare, or otherwise made unusuable. I wouldn’t be surprised anymore if Diageo decides to cash in on the name, and reopen Brora! Besides this, more and more new distilleries are popping out of the ground like mushrooms on a forest floor…

Back to Glenglassaugh. Glenglassaugh itself was founded in 1875 but was closed already in 1908, and fell silent for a whopping 23 years! It reopened in 1931 just to be closed again 5 years later, in 1936. This time the distillery wasn’t working for 24 years. Reopened in 1960, the distillery was fitted with new stills, but still it didn’t manage to stay open permanently, because it was closed again in 1986. It was reopened (again) in 2008, after an extensive 22 years of silence. Since then the distillery has already changed hands. What a rocky past!

Glenglassaugh 26yo 1983/2009 (50.4%, Mo Òr, Oloroso Sherry Butt #171, 885 bottles, 500ml)Color: Copper Brown.

Nose: Hmmmm, very nice and classic Oloroso! The smell seems chewy! Nice woody spices emerge, but in this case, the whole smell is fantastic. With some air, the Sherry becomes even more funky which only adds to its likeability and complexity. The smell is dry and dusty, but not meaty. The wood plays an important role, it’s an integral part of it, without overpowering it. After some time, more heavy elements are coming out, hints of dates, coal and tar and toasted cask (and some violet soap, but it suits the Whisky).

Taste: Toffee and caramel, initially sweeter than expected, but quickly turning dry. What a bomb of aroma! Just put a few drops in your mouth and you know exactly how this tastes. It seems condensed! Laurel and hints of licorice on the back of my tongue. Dark fruits are in the mix too, blackberries mostly and blueberries are present in the finish. The finish itself is fantastic. It’s great that this Whisky retained a little bit of sweetness, which matches the dryness and the spiciness of the wood. I guess this was bottled at its peak. Well done!

Guys, thank you for not reducing it. I already thought your reduced Tomatin and the Caperdonich were fantastic, both at 91 points, but this cask strength Glenglassaugh blows them hands down! Excellent!

Points: 93

Bowmore 37yo 1968/2006 (43.4%, OB, Bourbon, 708 bottles)

It’s Islay time! oops, maybe that was from Ardbeg. Well Bowmore is also from Islay and both are in the same time-zone. I see it’s the first Bowmore here, so I choose a potentially good one. Obviously not from a single cask, since no Bourbon Cask (Barrel or Hogshead) can yield 708 bottles.

 

Color: Full Gold.

Nose: Wow, wow, wait for it, gathering words for this…wow. Clay, noble peat. Thick, unbelievable great nose, but you’ve guessed that already. it’s from Bourbon casks, but this has so much great red fruit in it. Strawberries, blackberries, red currant hard candies. Butterscotch. Distant waves breaking on the beach in the night. Bonfire that has almost gone out. I can’t even remember a Whisky that smelled as good as this. (Well, that’s not completely true). I sincerely hope this will taste as good as this and I will even consider its price to be fair. This is a 100 points nose, this smells perfect!

Taste: Fruity, peat merged with sea clay and the body’s actually a bit thin. All those fruits from the nose are there again. Kippers and tar, remember this is not a big body, so this is all very elegantly proportioned. There is some wood in there, and that gives the body a slightly spicy toasty, Bourbony edge, but in no way does it play even a big role. It’s there to underline the rest, it stands in service. The finish is great though.

Still available for around £999.00

Points: 93

Thanks Serge for handing me this sample.

Caperdonich 35yo 1972/2008 (50.3%, Duncan Taylor for The Nectar Belgium, Cask #7424, 136 bottles)

Duncan Taylor, once Glaswegian brokers in whisky casks. Now of Huntly in the North East of Scotland. These guys have some massive amounts of great casks lying around. I know a lot of bottlings they did that are legendary. For instance: Tomatin 1976, Bowmore 1966 and Bowmore 1968, to name but a few, but there are a lot more. But it’s not only the vast amount of casks, it’s also the quality, and consistency of their whiskies, and grains. Duncan Taylor are definitively among my favourite independent bottlers.

Color: Orange Gold

Nose: Wow, double wow. This is fabulous! Old Bottle and überfruity. Apricots, peaches and sugar-coated oranges. Very organic and even a bit nasty, but all in a very good way. I guess we already have one of those legends on our hand. It has some earwax and wood, but not as much as you would have thought for something that’s 35 years old.

Taste: Sorry, but its wow again! It has a spicy punch after all those years. It’s palate matches the nose. The same fruits for me, and almost no wood and it hasn’t been an inactive cask either, just look at the color. It also reminds me of a very well aged perfect Zind Humbrecht Gewurztraminer. This would have been almost perfect, (because does perfection exist on our planet?), when the finish would remain somewhat sweeter and retain the fruityness and if it could have kept its balance some more. In the finish, the wood plays a greater, drier and a bit sour and thus unbalancing role. But it maybe nitpicking, because this Caperdonich receives a well earned…

Points: 93