Fri Jan 13 2023

24 days of Whiskey

I’m a member of the Whisky Club . It’s a monthly subscription service with featured whiskey’s each month. These whiskies are often interesting whiskies that you’d have a hard time finding at uncle dan’s. It’s also nice and flexible and allows you to skip as many months as you like if you don’t like the sound of the whiskey or you don’t want to fork out the cash (they can be expensive).

I entered a ballot for a whiskey advent calendar and managed to get in! Here’s my very subjective thoughts on each of the 24 whiskies.

Day 1 - Cameronbridge 27yr Old

Smells quite sweet, little hint of acetone. If anything it smells.. young? But that’s strange because it’s 27yrs old. At a stretch maybe I get cakey notes, croissant, danish, miscellaneous bakery aromas.

On first taste it’s powerful and assertive. It’s got a rum-ness to it - maybe mollasses, brown sugar? It’s got a rich dark fruits flavour that borders on medicinal, not soft like a port, but a similar flavour profile. Plums? More than a hint of aniseed. It’s really growing on me as I drink it.

A bit of a departure from the Islay and Ryes that I tend to like, but tasty.

Assertive, sweet, and slightly medicinal. Plenty to expore past the first sip. Could be a little more gentle for the age. 68/100.

Day 2 - Teerenpeli 3yr Old

I was at a board games night so I couldn’t take the time to do a full tasting. This one didn’t blow me away. Had a farmyardy type smell. Flavour was fairly non-descript and I struggled to nail down specific flavours. It wasn’t peaty or oaky or anything - most noticable was the ethanol burn. Aftertaste of burnt rubber. Started off rough, smoothed out a bit, and then finished rough again. Can’t expect too much at 3yrs old and despite my negative critique there was enough there that I’d be interested to try an older age statement to see the difference it makes.

Young, rough, and no real character. 36/100

Day 3 - Linkwood 11yr Old

Pours very pale, similar colour to Ardbeg 10 - One of the palest whiskeys I’ve seen. Smells very floral: like honey and nectar. Smells a little sweet too, very appealing, with notes of peach and apricot. On sipping it really coats the mouth, it tastes like it smells - quite light, slightly sweet, and reminds me of poached pear. Has a long and gentle finish with a pleasant warmth. Not exactly my style but I can appreciate this whiskey for what it is.

Light, floral, and fruity. 73/100.

Day 4 - Highland #2 22yr Old

This one is a mystery whiskey, presumably somewhere from the highland region. It smells old, like opening an old book or entering a dusty basement. It smells dry and woody. On tasting it is surprisingly soft and opens up into a very rich and quite luxurious mouthfeel. There’s a hint of caramel but I wouldn’t necessarily call this one sweet. Finishes smoothly and overall is a well-rounded whiskey.

Beautifully rich mouthfeel and very well rounded. 68/100

Day 5 - Tobermory 12yr Old

The 54.7% alcohol content on this one is evident when getting a whif. Despite that I can detect something phenolic - a slight banana-like aroma. The taste is largely overpowered by the ABV. I found it difficult to drink and honestly struggled to find any redeeming qualities. The lingering flavour isn’t terrible.

Dominated by the ABV, rough throughout. 18/100

Day 6 - Amorik 7yr Old

Pours a very deep amber colour. Smells like brown sugar with a hint of acetone. Now this one I like! It’s very full-bodied, coating the mouth but without any sort of alcohol burn. It feels thick - chewy even. To me it tastes a bit bready with some tannins on the finish, somewhat similar to a strong tea. There’s surprising depth here for 7yrs old and a more trained palatte could probably pick up more notes. For me, however, it hits the sweet spot of drinkable and interesting.

A full bodied and surprisingly complex whiskey with a slightly bitter finish. Very enjoyable. 75/100.

Day 7 - Corn Whiskey #1

No distillery listed - mysterious! Corn Whiskey? Double mysterious!

This one smells like it’s going to be an Oak bomb. There’s really not much else you can get from the nose.

On tasting you could easily convince me that this has had some other barrel influence too, it’s really quite rich. There’s definitely a lot of oak, but also potentially something else - sherry perhaps? Either way there is quite a nice depth to this whiskey underneath the strong oak.

It finishes off with the classic bourbon finish - more oak and vanilla with a pronounced sweetness. I admit, I somewhat underestimated this one, but I ended up enjoying it more than many of the whiskies from this calendar so far. Such a shame that the distillery is kept secret.

Surprisingly good. Dominated on the start and finish by oak and vanilla but has a deep and interesting middle. 75/100

Day 8 - Teannich 10yr Old

Very pale colour. Has an aroma that somewhat reminds me of tequila, hard to get too much more. This one was quite easy-drinking, similar to some speysides I’ve had before.

I get two predominant notes - Tobacco and honey. It’s quite a pleasant combination and quite unique.

Easy drinking with a unique flavour profile. 72/100

Day 9 - English Whiskey Co. 9yr Old

This one sits at an intimidating 67%. Given that I don’t usually like cask strengh whiskies I was nervous about this one. Despite it’s potency it’s easy easy on the nose, and is smells good. Some peat, finally! It smells like freshly laid bitumen and tar. It’s not a hot smoke, persay, but a kind of earthy, minerally smoke.

The alcohol content is well hidden and it’s pleasant to sip on, without any of that nasal vapoury burn that is common in cask strength whiskies. It’s got a commanding mouthfeel and a very long lingering finish. The taste is more peat, but a kind of leathery peat. It’s got a very rounded peat flavour - more Lagavulin (or Kilchoman) than Ardbeg or Laphroig.

I found myself wanting more of it once I’d finished the dram.

Assertive, but gentlemanly. A rich, earthy, and leathery smoke flavour that is deceptively drinkable for 67%. 80/100.

Day 10 - Speyside #1. 21yr Old

Smells like dried fruits. Hint of maple syrup. Lightly spicy, maybe cinnamon and vanilla. I enjoyed this, it had all the smoothness you’d expect from a whiskey with a bit of age on it. That being said it didn’t stand out to me either. I think this might be a matter of preference, although objectively a good whiskey I tend to get more excited when a whiskey has a very prominent flavour profile - hence why I like peaty or heavily oaked whiskies.

Rounded, rich, and tasty, but perhaps a little unambitious. 68/100.

Day 11 - Glen Moray 10yr Old

Smells very appealing. Somewhat sweet on the nose, has a freshness to it, maybe orange peel. The taste largely reflects the smell and has a nice marmalade-y jamminess to it that I very much enjoy - somewhat citrussy but also a little bitter. I’d describe this as a bright whiskey - it’s quite lively.

I think whiskies like this are the benefit of doing tastings like this. I’d seen Glen Moray plenty of times at the liqour store and had dismissed it because of it’s low price - however this one at least is very enjoyable and certainly doesn’t taste cheap.

Lively, bright, and enjoyable. 76/100

Day 12 - Slyrs 3yr Old

Smells rather syrupy and sweet. Brown sugar, caramel, and golden syrup aromas. Doesn’t taste as sweet as it smells but has plenty of character. I get a slightly peppery sensation, either from the ABV or the whiskey itself I’m not sure. I pick up flavours of dates and ginger too. Aftertaste is a little bitter.

At 3yrs old this is quite good and I would happily explore more of the range by Slyrs.

Boisterious and full of personality. Dates, Caramel, and ginger are prominent. 69/100

Day 13 - Blair Athol 9yr Old.

Another distillery I know nothing about. This one smells very odd. There’s a slightly funky note, like a kombucha, combined with the smell of a disinfectant. Not a promising start.

Tastes faintly of banana. Possibly a slight wheaty vibe too. Very viscous - feels thick in the mouth.

And odd whiskey. I don’t love it, but I don’t mind it either. 60/100

Day 14 - Coppersea Rye 3yr Old.

I’ve recently been exploring Rye’s so I was quite excited by this one. It poured a bright amber, almost orange. The coppersea has a very prominent cinnamon note that is easily picked up on the nose but even more obvious to the taste. It’s a hot, spicy, and satisfying flavour profile. I think it’s fair to say that the cinnamon dominates the flavour profile - it reminds me of Big Red gum or even fireball (albeit less sweet and a little less one note).

Accompanying the cinnamon flavour is quite a sharp bitter orange - orange bitters maybe? The combination of these 2 strong flavours leads to a very loud and memorable whiskey. Did I enjoy it? Sort of. It’s not fantastic to sip on, with the flavours being a little too full on to truly enjoy straight. Where I think this whiskey would excel is for use in whiskey cocktails, particulary christmas themed cocktails. The cinnamon feels quite festive and the flavours would cut through nicely in a cocktail.

A really unique and interesting whiskey with a bold flavour profile. Not the best to sip on but has the potential to be a fantastic mixer. 65/100.

Day 15 Penderyn 6yr Old

Pours a pale straw colour. Smells slightly sweet, but apart from that quite neutral.

The taste invokes an immediate reaction - get this out of my mouth. My first impression was Paint, then permenant marker, then hand sanitiser. There’s a plasticy, chemically flavour that makes this whiskey seem not fit for human consumption. The first whiskey from the calendar that I couldn’t bring myself to finish.

Not recommended. 5/100

Day 16 Inchfad 13yr Old

Another peaty whiskey, hurrah!

This one is only lightly peated to my tastes. It’s quite mellow and approachable really, not a peat monster. Fairly middle of the road in most aspects. There’s a slight fruitiness, I’ve written melon in my notes but I’m not sure I’ve quite pinpointed it there. A fine whiskey. Hard to imagine it being anyones favourite, but nothing to complain about either.

A decent whiskey with an approachable peaty-ness. 60/100

Day 17 Aultmore 9yr Old

This one smells very appealing: Honey, floral notes, pear, and peach. Happily, it tastes similar to it’s aroma. It’s a light and approachable whiskey that radiates joy through the play of fruity and sweet flavours. It reminds me of a fancy fruit tart - the type with a perfect glazed top that you might find at a french bakery. The finish is satisfyingly long and it’s tantalising flavour beckons you back for more.

This is a beautiful whiskey. Despite not having any peat or oak influence it manages to showcase some delightful flavours in an elegant fashion. 85/100

Day 18 Willowbank 18yr Old

Smells very distinct, but I couldn’t quite put my finger (nose?) on the specific scent. I wrote down eucalyptus and menthol - strange notes for a whiskey. On tasting it was similarly strange. It was full of tannins, somewhat bitter, but juicy and rich at the same time. I broke my self-imposed rules and googled ‘Willowbank’ to find out more about what I was drinking. It turns out that were a New Zealand based winery that are now closed. That explained everything!

With that new information at hand the flavours I couldn’t quite pinpoint made sense. There’s definitely a wine influence here. Perhaps it was aged in an ex-wine or port barrel. It makes for an interesting, albeit somewhat untraditional whiskey.

Very wine driven. Dry, and tannic but with a rich port-like fruitiness. Not for everyone, but I enjoyed it. 74/100.

Day 19 Irish Single Grain #1 8yr Old

Smells a little like ginger ale. There’s a brightness, an effervescence to this whiskey. Oh boy it tastes great! My experience in irish whiskey’s is somewhat limited with only ever having had some Jamesons and a few sips of a friend’s bushmills. This is straightforward, approachable, and very moreish. To me it’s somewhat buttery, shortbread maybe, with a hint of banana.

I wish I knew where this one came from!

Delicious, well-balanced, and very moreish! 82/100

Day 20 Glenburgie 10yr Old

Smells promising. Has aromas of white florals - honeysuckle, and jasmine. I’m expecting a light and smooth speyside style whiskey from the smell.

The taste is quite unrefined and loses the delicate touch hinted at at first sniff. There’s a noticable bitterness present and the alcohol makes itself known. These aspects detract from the flavour of the whiskey and make it hard to give this one a favourable score.

Smells great, but doesn’t deliver on the taste. 50/100.

Day 21 Destillerie Ralf Hauer Durkheimer Whiskey 4yr Old

There’s a hint of extinguished campfire on the nose. A little prickly on the tongue from the alcohol. It tastes a little phenolic - that banana like yeasty profile that you might find in a wheat beer. Aside from this there’s not much to really comment on here. It’s a little rough, but not unpleasant.

Hard to get too excited about. 50/100.

Day 22 Balmenach 8yr Old

Strong aroma of honey, heather, and overripe fruit. It’s quite light on body - dare I say a little thin? But the taste is just lovely. There’s flavours of honey, but it’s not syruppy at all. This veers on the lighter side of things with orange and a refreshing herbal note - perhaps mint or basil.

Light and approachable with enough character to come back to. 70/100

Day 23 Macduff 10yr Old

Very light in colour. Smells sweet and fruity - like a crisp apple, or a white wine. The apple and white wine theme continues into the taste. There’s a delightful fruitiness noticable on the finish, again it’s a grape-y, apple-y, wine-y sort of flavour. I’m not sure that this is the whiskey for me, but for the right person I think this could be a winner.

Gentle and fruity. Hints at the flavours of a white wine. 60/100.

Day 24 St Thomas 32yr Old

Smells like a wine cellar - dark fruits, booze, slightly musty, and woody. Very appealing. The taste is rich, somewhat leathery, sticky, and complex. There’s no alcohol burn whatsoever. For want of a better way to describe it, this whiskey tastes old, even slightly dank. It’s like chewing on an antique chair leg.

A great way to finish the advent calendar. Rich, complex, and unlike any whiskey I’d had before. 88/100.

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