Not Your Basic Birch

I like trees. Don’t get me wrong I’ve never chained myself to one to prevent the building of a new motorway bypass or anything like that but I do like them. There’s something reassuring seeing something old but still full of life as well as their colours and differing appearances.

You see this the world over with different varieties in different countries but ultimately there will always be a sense of familiarity to them. Sadly woodland and forests in the UK are dwindling although efforts are being made to replant trees in some areas to rekindle long lost woodlands, most of which were felled historically to make room for farming and more recent developments.

Sweden is a particularly lush country, more than half (57%) of it is covered in forest so the Swedes know their way around a tree or two. Whilst timber is big business in the country meaning a lot of trees are felled, Sweden plants more trees than it fells so their forests have doubled in size over the last 50 years.

Image courtesy of Mackmyra.com

In one of those forested areas sits a whisky distillery. Mackmyra – which is probably the world’s best know Swedish whisky distillery, is nestled just outside of Gävle in eastern Sweden. Founded in 1999 Mackmyra have always done things differently. Before we even get onto the topic of casks you only need to look at the ‘Gravity’ stills which operate in a more environmentally friendly way, the use of an old mine for cask storage and maturation, and the use solely of Swedish ingredients.

Mackmyra’s master blender and CNO (Chief nosing officer) – Angela D’Orazio has led many interesting projects at the distillery since joining in 2004. We only need to look back over the last 12 months to see some of the more weird and wonderful casks used in some releases. A couple of which I’ve reviewed on the channel. We saw the delicious Grönt Te which saw whisky spend a period finishing in casks that previously held tea liqueur. More recently we had the admittedly difficult to pronounce Jaktlycka which, among others, was made up from casks that included ex lingonberry and blueberry wine.

Image courtesy of Mackmyra.com

Part of the appeal of these experiments (aside from them being very good on the whole) is that they tend to form part of their seasonal releases that coincide with the changing of the seasons and are tailored to reflect them. The Jaktlycka for example for the autumn seasonal release really did carry across a lot of autumnal flavours and connotations which in my view really added to the experience.

I find Mackmyra’s spirit to be very satisfying in ex-bourbon as it’s light, fruity but is also incredibly adaptable and does seem to work very well with cask experimentation. A lot of which you wouldn’t be able to undertake if the distillery was magically transported across the sea and into Scotland.

Their latest single malt offering – BJÖRKSAV which is the latest Spring seasonal release was in part made up of Swedish oak casks that previously held locally sourced Swedish birch sap wine from the Grythyttan winery. Already in the space of two paragraphs we’ve seen lingonberry, blueberry and now birch sap wine. Is there anything the Swedes don’t turn into wine? The wine itself is created by tapping the birch tree for it’s sap just before it ‘cracks’ in the spring as the temperature rises.

Full cask Breakdown:
• ex-Bourbon, 200 Litres
• Oloroso-seasoned American Oak, 128–200 Litres
• Birch sap wine seasoned Swedish Oak / American Oak, 100–200 Litres

I find this cask choice particularly fitting given the birch tree is Sweden’s national tree and really does seem to fit with their overall philosophy and approach to using local ingredients alongside their very unique production methods.

Note: This sample was provided to me by Mackmyra for review. As I say on the channel however – Just because this sample has been provided does not mean it will automatically get a favourable review.

Mackmyra Björksav – Natural Colour – Non Chill Filtered 46.1%- RRP £62

The dram has quite a rich appearance in the glass somewhere in between an ex bourbon and sherried dram which I’d probably best describe as deep gold.

On the nose there is initially sweet vanilla, Amaretto, crisp green apple adding freshness and ginger. Quite floral. After this there are pine needles, honey and a touch of Olbas oil. This is a moving feast as after this out comes warm baking and spice towards the back.

The palate carries a good texture. Delicious. Surprisingly tropical initially. Think mango, vanilla, banoffee pie and a second helping of more of it’s biscuit base. Honey, Turkish apple tea, green tea, and nuts. Slightly waxy and spicy too.

The finish is long and warming with a good balance of that sweetness and spices with a touch of the lighter floral notes coming back in that reminded me of apple crisps.

Overall this is really, really lovely and very charming. I like what Mackmyra do and how they do it and this whisky is no exception. With this team and approach to whisky making, I can see Mackmyra continuing to do great things for many years to come and is yet another firm reminder that whisky doesn’t start and end with Scotch.

Skål.

Score: Outstanding

Fancy some tunes? The Malt Music for this dram comes from Malian four piece Songhoy Blues who combine uplifiting beats and guitar with some more traditional Malian influences. This track – Bon Bon – is a remix from Mike Lindsay and for me is a really uplifting piece of music, a bit like the whisky itself.

Holy Grail – Indiana Jones himself can only hope to find such a treasure.
Unbelievable – Among the best I’ve ever had. Must be tried at all costs.
Outstanding – One you should try to get hold of. Qualities in abundance.
Very Good – One to have on the shelf regularly. Provides consistent enjoyment.
Good 
– I’d happily drink this. One to buy at the right price.
Solid 
– No particular flaws but no wow factor either.
Fine 
– There to take the edge off. Good for highballs and won’t need much thought.
Meh
 – Somewhat flawed. More of a chore than a pleasure.
Oh Dear 
– Consistent flaws. Gets you where you’re going at the speed you want to get there.
Please Make it Stop
 – Not one to seek out. Hope for a gift receipt.

That’s Amarone

What a week the last 7 days have been for whisky. We saw Glen Garioch announce them returning to direct fire distillation via some pretty cool tech, the second Summerton whisky festival running into technical difficulties but still offering some great content, and another Bimber release that sold out within a timescale that can only be measured by the Hadron collider.

Scientists at CERN are working round the clock to establish the exact timing that Bimber’s latest releases sold out in

As I said in a previous post; people can be fantastic, they can also be not.. The technical issues at Summerton (which were all down to the software provider and distinct lack of tech support) and the sales of Bimber’s latest releases brought out both the best and the worst of some people. In both cases messages and posts were made on the various social media platforms (that have both enhanced human interaction as well as set it back 10,000 years) making their displeasure known via the medium of some pretty derogatory language. Sure, people were disappointed that the festival didn’t go ahead fully, it has now been rearranged for the following weekend, but Dan and Tom – who ran the day got as many presenters and brands on screen as they could to talk all things whisky for a few hours to still provide some content. In the case of Bimber there were cries of injustice such as Klub members sharing discount codes, Founding members feeling aggrieved that bottles were put on general sale, and add in the website struggling due to demand and you have the perfect outlet for what I’ll call FOMOR – FOMO Rage.

We all need to remember that there are real people on the other end of those screens. Whilst the pandemic may have desensitised us to this to some extent given the increased usage of electronic communication, we need to be interacting and treating people in the same way as if we were standing in front of them. We need to be better, together.

Photo courtesy of @wolfdram1 on Twitter. The Summerton Festival chat with heavyweights such as Amy Seton, Colin Hampden-White, Matt McKay and more.

I find it’s incredibly important in today’s whisky scene that whilst yes, there are a myriad of new and exciting limited releases – there also remains a wealth, a myriad, an embarrassment of riches if you will when it comes to general sale core range and independent bottlings. My personal advice? Move on, take a breath, and take joy in what you have and what we can all share.

This brings me on to the Arran distillery. Arran has long been a distillery that I have respected and enjoyed for many years. I loved their older releases with the fresh and fruity 10 and tropical beach 14. Hell, despite the limited content of this blog so far; I actually opened up the site with a review of the new 10yr old so you could argue it’s too soon for another. But I don’t feel that way.

For me Arran is up there when it comes to maintaining a market presence of accessible, affordable and quality single malts that aren’t going to go out of stock at the press of the F5 button, or that will change hands on auction sites for 10x the original value within a week of release. I find this comforting, I find this reassuring, I find this is right for me. 9 times out of 10 I would much rather share in the mutual experience of a general release to a wider community than a more limited and FOMO driven release. Don’t get me wrong there’s still a place for them in the market and on my shelves but I’m making a lesser habit of chasing them down.

Finishing is also a bit of a divided topic in the deeper mines of the whisky community. Finishing is the practice of transferring maturing whisky from a more ‘casual’ cask such as a refill hogshead or ex-bourbon cask, and transferring it into another of a more unique variety for a shorter period of time that will impart an alternative flavour and influence. Think sherry casks, wine casks, beer casks and more. I will be writing another article on this but ultimately what constitutes a finish? Finish is a bit of a fluffy word, 3 months in a cask? 6, 12, 36? There are no written rules about the time that a whisky can sit in the second or third cask for a finishing period.

Arran aren’t new to the concept of finishing. They had released three wine finished whiskies in their old livery that have now thankfully transferred over in to the new. These are the Amarone finish, Sauternes, and Port finished whiskies. All No-Age-Statement but all presented at a higher strength of 50%, are non-chill filtered, and natural colour.. and blimey what a colour the Amarone cask finish is. I find the aesthetics of the new(ish) Arran range really pleasing to the eye and I really like that they went all out with full colour labels on the finished range.

Image courtesy of thewhiskybarrel

I find Arran’s fruity spirit can lend itself really well to wine finishing. Some people aren’t a fan of wine finishes generally but me? They take two of my favourite things and combine them into one neat and tidy serving.

Amarone is a well regarded and quite intense Italian wine produced in North East Italy. Usually of high strengths of 14.5% and upwards into the 15’s and 16’s in some cases. The grapes used (Corvina, Rondinella and others) are harvested in early October and left to dry. By drying the grapes, the desiccation both concentrates the flavours of the grapes but also helps add tannin’s to the final finish, giving the wine further structure. The wine also spends a minmum of 2 years in casks, hence in part the availability here to put whisky in them. The core flavours tend to be quite robust with a good strong body, earthy with berries and oak/vanilla.

Arran Amarone Cask Finish – Natural Colour – Non Chill Filtered – RRP £44.99

The pink/red hue in the glass really is striking, it couldn’t stand prouder and gives you an early indication of what’s in store. No colouring needed here.

On the nose there are sliced strawberries coated in black pepper and a bit of sea salt (try it honestly). Red liquorice, more strawberry but in lace form now, warm pain au chocolat and honey. A little longer in the glass I get a load of warm, fresh Danish pastries. There’s a slight nip to the nose also but you still wouldn’t think that this was a 50% whisky.

The palate is both typically Arran and typically not.. Initially I get some of the traditional Arran fruit and maltiness with more black pepper, honey and spice but then the wine influence hits home and changes things up. Dried cranberries and macadamia nut mix precedes bitter dark chocolate and pomegranate before heading into a long and sweet finish, led by that chocolate and tart pomegranate.

For me this whisky does a lot of things and it does them well. I like how rather than become overbearing, which and Amarone cask could easily have done, it works in harmony with Arran’s fruity distillate.

This is a great example of a well matched and well timed finish and at a great price too. I think you’d be hard pressed to find a whisky at this level of presentation, strength and enjoyment for the money.

Score: Very Good

Fancy some tunes? The Malt Music for this dram comes from British all female trio Girl Ray. For me this works perfectly with this dram, where the Amarone is in perfect harmony with the spirit, here the melody, backing beat and vocals work perfectly in harmony with each other. Show me more has to be my favourite track from this outfit to date. A real foot tapper with a melody that will let you ride the wave from start to finish.

Holy Grail – Indiana Jones himself can only hope to find such a treasure.
Unbelievable – Among the best I’ve ever had. Must be tried at all costs.
Outstanding – One you should try to get hold of. Qualities in abundance.
Very Good – One to have on the shelf regularly. Provides consistent enjoyment.
Good 
– I’d happily drink this. One to buy at the right price.
Solid 
– No particular flaws but no wow factor either.
Fine 
– There to take the edge off. Good for highballs and won’t need much thought.
Meh
 – Somewhat flawed. More of a chore than a pleasure.
Oh Dear 
– Consistent flaws. Gets you where you’re going at the speed you want to get there.
Please Make it Stop
 – Not one to seek out. Hope for a gift receipt.

The Lidl Things in Life

Lidl is my favourite supermarket for a number of reasons. Sure, one of those being that you can buy a set of well priced drill bits at the same time as a Spanish cheese selection and hell, why not throw in some scuba gear while you’re at it, but I’ve also become quite attached to their wine range. This changes regularly and has in the past provided good value and in some cases particularly good quality – this including 30 bottles of their Comte de Senneval champagne that we bought for our wedding.

Wine and drill bits are one thing but what about their spirits? Well, for a start I’ve already reviewed their Queen Margot 3yr old and Abrachan blended malt and was very much a fan of both of them. I’m a fan of blends in general and I’m all for well priced and accessible blends that don’t come at the cost of quality. Single malts, and whisky in the wider sense, can sadly suffer from some of the most intense and misguided levels of snobbery you’ll find. I’d say it had improved in recent years but I still see it on a regular basis, yes some of this is down to a lack of awareness or education, but in some cases this is due to a disregard of them with many immovable in their unfounded opinions.

What a good job it is then that a retailer such as Lidl can bring everyone back down to earth by providing a small range of single malts for a good price, and when I say good price, I mean it.

What can you buy for £17 these days? Well let’s take to the internet – From a quick google search for a start there’s this bargainous sack from ‘Little Peckers’ , no? What about this absolute gem? Still no? Well, for the princely sum of £16.49 you can instead purchase one of a range of three Single Malt Scotch whiskies in Lidl. Full sized bottles, not 20cl or 50cl. £16.49 for 70cl of single malt is a good price no matter what you’re used to. By comparison the cheapest full bottle single malt on well regarded retailer Master of Malt is £21 plus shipping in the form of the Speyburn Bradan Orach. This in itself is still a good price for a single malt but let’s get back to Lidl.

The Lidl range goes under the name Ben Bracken. This isn’t a distillery but a suitably Scottish sounding header for the Clydesdale Scotch Whisky co who provide this lineup to the retailer. The postcode under the name is G2 5RG which is an address on St Vincent st and what do you know, is also the same postcode as the head offices of Whyte and Mackay. Anyway, the range consists of an all NAS (no age statement) line up, all are bottled at 40% and all will no doubt be chill filtered and have added E150a colouring. At this price point I’m not going to make a fuss out of that. The three whiskies take the form of Highland, Speyside, and Islay single malts.

Ben Bracken Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky – 40% Chill Filtered – Added E150 colouringRRP £16.49

If we buy into the post code detective work and do guess at Whyte and Mackay stock, this would either come from Dalmore or Fettercairn with them being the group’s two Highland region distilleries.

I had to let the whisky sit in the glass for about 30 minutes as it was very closed initially. That being said, the nose opens with Orange zest, hot chocolate and plastic model glue. Then we move into sweeter territory with warm toffee, almond essence and spices alongside a slight astringent nose burn towards the back.

The mouthfeel is pretty good but fades quickly. Initially I thought the flavours were pretty intense upfront with coconut and dark chocolate (for the sake of ease let’s say dark Bounty bars) cardamom, cinema popcorn and warm spice. This is all contained to a couple of seconds as it drops off a cliff a little bit and goes very quiet. Then from nowhere there’s suddenly a really enjoyable long and chocolate led finish alongside more of that toffee.

Overall I felt this was a little bit closed and straight forward but then again approachable and enjoyable.

Score: Fine

Ben Bracken Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky – 40% Chill Filtered – Added E150 colouring – RRP £16.49

Now if this is indeed Whyte and Mackay that supply these malts and using their own stock, their only Speyside distillery is Tamnavulin.

The nose is rather lovely indeed. Compared to the highland this already shows more cohesion and harmony. Creme brulee just after the top has been crystallised by the blowtorch. Vanilla, toffee and banana bread. Staying on the bread front there is Soreen there too with all it’s malty and raisin based goodness.

The palate again has a decent mouthfeel that sticks around a bit longer than the Highland. We’ve hit a vein at the sweet mine and we’re going to see how deep it goes. Butterscotch, spices and honey intermingle well together. There’s also something reminiscent of cognac that appears alongside raisin and walnuts. There’s then more of that maltiness here alongside an almost wine-like astringency (sherry perhaps?) that balances out the sweetness as we head into the finish. The finish itself is rewarding and almost chewy in texture with gums suitably dried alongside a dense but enjoyable sweetness that isn’t overly cloying that reminded me a bit of Madeira cake.

Overall a really enjoyable sipper that would make a great no-nonsense tumbler dram to sit back with and enjoy.

Score: Good

Ben Bracken Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky – 40% Chill Filtered – Added E150 colouring – RRP £16.49

Now onto Islay, the small but distillery laden island off the west coast of Scotland, famous for it’s peated whiskies creating a smoky profile.

On the nose we instantly have some of those classic Islay notes in the form of sticking plasters, TCP and interestingly a bit of flitting tropical fruit in among a gentle but welcomed smoke. Leather and fresh tarmac pop their heads up at the same time as a slight saltiness.

The palate again starts with a good texture. The smoke is apparent but is joined by dried cranberries, vanilla and bonfire toffee. I love getting bonfire toffee notes in whisky as it immediately takes me back to being in the kitchen on bonfire night eagerly asking my mum how long it will take for her latest batch to cool before it could be demolished. My dentist and I are now on first name terms. You could argue there’s some of that salinity in there again but more prominent than that for me was a good level of spice and nuttiness.

Again this dram is well composed and really does provide a great introduction to a classic Islay style. The smoke isn’t as pronnounced as your average official Ardbeg, Caol Ila or Lagavulin release sure, but for me it still provides enough for me to sit up and take notice.

Score: Good

Overall I’m genuinely impressed with these drams. Even the Highland that was probably the lesser of the three provided a positive experience but overall you really can’t argue with the value on display. For what it’s worth I’ve actually had bottles of the Ben Bracken Speyside previously so am already familiar with it. I’ve also tried Aldi’s standard Glen Marnoch range which is effectively the same set up of 3 NAS 40% drams from the same regions, but for me Lidl’s Ben Bracken range just pips their fellow German rivals.

If you’re starting out on your whisky adventure, you could do a lot worse than spending the £49.47 on one of each of these. I’ll be honest, even those of us who have been drinking and picking whisky apart for decades could do a lot worse. Sometimes we all need something affordable an approachable and these fit the bill perfectly.

One thing’s for sure, the next time I head to the middle of Lidl, I’ll make room in the trolley between the Italian sundried tomatoes and chainsaw for a couple of bottles from the spirits aisle.

Malt Music

Fancy some tunes? The Malt Music for these drams is a bit of a reflection of them. Are they Whyte and Mackay stock? Do Dalmore and Tamnavulin feature? I’ll let Queens of the Stone Age answer that for me. No One knows.

Scoring Scale:

Holy Grail – Indiana Jones himself can only hope to find such a treasure.
Unbelievable – Among the best I’ve ever had. Must be tried at all costs.
Outstanding – One you should try to get hold of. Qualities in abundance.
Very Good – One to have on the shelf regularly. Provides consistent enjoyment.
Good 
– I’d happily drink this. One to buy at the right price.
Solid 
– No particular flaws but no wow factor either.
Fine 
– There to take the edge off. Good for highballs and won’t need much thought.
Meh
 – Somewhat flawed. More of a chore than a pleasure.
Oh Dear 
– Consistent flaws. Gets you where you’re going at the speed you want to get there.
Please Make it Stop
 – Not one to seek out. Hope for a gift receipt.

Dicing with Daft

Daftmill is a distillery that I’ve watched from afar for the last few years. There are quite a few reasons for this but ultimately the main reason being availability, or the distinct lack of it. I have watched this small and quiet farm distillery become a sensation, a must-have, and an auction house stalwart.

The distillery itself is one of the more interesting ‘new’ distilleries that have appeared on the whisky map of late. I say ‘of late’ somewhat loosely, given the license to produce alcohol was granted back in 2005. Daftmill is set within a converted barn on a working farm in Cupar, Fife and despite being located further north than Highlanders Deanston and Glengoyne – Daftmill is classed as a Lowland whisky in name. Personally I don’t think regions are really relevant so we’ll leave it at that. All barley used in the distillation process is grown on site and with a capacity of 20,000 litres of spirit a year it is easily one of the smallest malt distilleries in Scotch Whisky.

Daftmill are also different in the way that they approached the making of their whisky and their business model. A lot of new distilleries churn out Gin or other spirits that don’t require rigorous levels of maturation to get some much needed cash in the bank after laying down their whisky casks. Ultimately they have 3 years before they’ll see a return on their whisky at a minimum. Daftmill, however, waited a full 12 years before releasing their first whisky. This came in the form of a 2005 vintage, bottled in 2018, which sold out in the blink of an eye. Each release that has followed has maintained this quickly forming tradition.

With it’s green doors and window frames, set within farm buildings made with mismatching blocks of local stone, Daftmill looks every bit the traditional distillery image that we have come to associate with Scotch Whisky. A very pretty sight indeed, however given it’s status as a working farm it isn’t geared up for visitors. There is no visitors centre, no shop, and no tour guides having you watch a 10 minute video with a montage of waterfalls and grains of barley falling gracefully whilst someone in a warehouse is transfixed by a swirling glass as though it’s the Holy Grail. The latter of these I wouldn’t miss at any distillery visit I may add.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

There is also a real sense of harmony and self sufficiency with the family run operation. The farm produces grains and cereals, beef, potatoes and more. The spent grain and draff is used to feed the cattle and the pot ale is used as fertiliser in the fields.

Whilst it’s incredibly refreshing to see a distillery wait for over a decade to achieve what they want to achieve, rather than release what can sometimes be immature and flawed 3yr old whisky, this does create a slight problem when it comes to demand. At only 20,000 litres a year, it doesn’t translate into a lot of casks and that isn’t factoring in that due to farming commitments, they only produce whiskies in the summer and winter, so this number may not be achieved. This has created an amplification of that FOMO that seems to have gripped whisky drinkers and the wider industry of late with every release selling out within minutes, or in some extreme cases, seconds. The standard RRP tends to be around the £100 mark which isn’t a small sum even for an 18yr old whisky let alone a 12yr old.

I first tried to buy a Daftmill in late 2019 and despite having it in my basket, it was swiftly removed when I tried to process the payment. This is something that seems to be happening more and more often with more and more releases. People are going nuts for whiskies like Daftmill and other limited releases – Torabhaig being another prime example. For some, this is in part due to their resale value. The whisky that I’ll be looking at today for example (the Summer 2009 UK release bottled in 2020) was to be found on well known auction sites the day they were delivered and ultimately sold for £240. That’s £150 on the RRP and pales in comparison to the UK exclusive Oloroso single cask that has been sold on for £750 and upwards. Saying that I’ve also found a retailer selling the 2009 for a whopping £395!?

Frustration can be seen in Twitter feeds and Facebook posts when people miss out on bottles only to see them available for double or triple the original cost. In some cases this can be projected onto retailers around how they handled the release (read struggling servers, ballots or lack of them, and theories about bots or retailers sending stock straight to auction to name a few) and can leave a feeling of resentment towards the distillery. Personally, I never felt that strongly about it and would move on and stick to core range bottles or others that I enjoy and are easily accessible instead.

On the subject of retailers – I picked this bottle up via the Berry Bros & Rudd ballot and fittingly is my first ballot success of many previous attempts. You see very few pictures of Daftmill bottles with their distinctive green foil broken so as soon as I received my bottle I did what I’ve wanted to do to a Daftmill for 3 years. I opened it.

Daftmill Summer 2009 UK release- Natural Colour – Non Chill Filtered – RRP £100 Auction £240+

This release is made up of 5 casks including one first fill oloroso and 4 ex bourbon casks (021/2009, 025/2009, 032/2009, 033/2009 and 044/2009).

The colour is a rich gold similar to Lyle’s golden syrup and leaves slow legs down the glass.

Nose.. I think I may enjoy this one. This whisky smells thick and oily which sounds weird but it really does have its own texture almost. Grilled pineapple opens proceedings a with a lovely creamy maltiness underneath. Vanilla and the golden syrup that lends the colour comparison arrives with nutty toffee and a touch of lemon curd. More tropical fruit arrives with a nice soft spice towards the end.

The texture on the palate is lovely and oily.

Upfront there’s a soft sweetness alongside that core malty note from the nose and raw cookie dough. Those tropical notes come back through in the palate towards the finish with more of that pineapple and this time alongside mango, dark chocolate, lime zest and a heavy malt-laden spice.

The finish itself is incredibly long and warming with interplay between the golden syrup sweetness, malt and spices. The flavours remain many minutes down the road.

In summary this release has some of the best bits of both sherry and bourbon worlds whilst maintaining a fantastic level of integration and harmony. There’s freshness whilst still retaining a noticeable level of depth richness and integration.

Do I regret spending £100 on this? No. Do I regret opening it? What do you think.

Score: Outstanding

Fancy some tunes? The Malt Music for this dram is massively influenced by the tasting notes. All that pineapple and tropical fruit just screamed ‘Pineapple’ by Blue Lab Beats, Moses Boyd and Nerija. A real medley of texture and tunes that matches this whisky perfectly. Or any whisky come to think of it.

Scoring Scale:

Holy Grail – Indiana Jones himself can only hope to find such a treasure.
Unbelievable – Among the best I’ve ever had. Must be tried at all costs.
Outstanding – One you should try to get hold of. Qualities in abundance.
Very Good – One to have on the shelf regularly. Provides consistent enjoyment.
Good 
– I’d happily drink this. One to buy at the right price.
Solid 
– No particular flaws but no wow factor either.
Fine 
– There to take the edge off. Good for highballs and won’t need much thought.
Meh
 – Somewhat flawed. More of a chore than a pleasure.
Oh Dear 
– Consistent flaws. Gets you where you’re going at the speed you want to get there.
Please Make it Stop
 – Not one to seek out. Hope for a gift receipt.