Saturday, 20 October 2012

TWE Whisky Show 2012

The Whisky Exchange Whisky Show 2012
Monday, 08 October 2012 in Vinopolis, London.

Some notable whiskies I tasted during the Press/Trade session of The Whisky Exchange Whisky Show 2012. I deliberately only tasted whiskies which were new or those not previously tasted.

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society

Having tasted through their entire offering at The Whisky Lounge London Fair earlier this April (no notes unfortunately, too busy tasting whiskies), I have made a more conscious effort to take down some tasting notes for their whiskies this time. I must say that there wasnt a bad (or even ordinary) whisky out of the seven I tasted, but these two beauties particularly stood out.

SMWS 35.60
Glenmoray. Distilled 1971, bottled 2010. 42.3% abv, 91 bottles made.

Very delicate nose - sweet vanilla with hints of sweet wood / incense / sandalwood nose, then some dried fruits, peach liquer and candied oranges; complex and alluring. Palate is gentle; very smooth; its not feisty, but very settled and lingering; still quite fruity on the palate. Very pretty stuff, lasting flavours, so drinkable.

SMWS 127.1
Port Charlotte. Distilled 2001, bottled 2010. 66.5% abv, 235 bottles made.

The name 'harbourside barbecue' is apt (normally these SMWS descriptions require some imagination, more fiction than fact) - iodine, kelp, salty sea breeze with a slightly burnt edge to it all. Understandably quite fiery on the palate, but also notable citrus streak running through it; the slightly burnt / barbecued flavours also persist on the palate. Very intriguing.

Other SMWS whiskies tasted: 128.2, 116.17, 66.36, 33.117, 29.124.

Compass Box

An inovative bunch really making waves and ruffling feathers in the Scotch industry. You never know what might come next from them, except that you can be fairly certain that it'll be high quality and enjoyable. I've reviewed their other wares elsewhere in this blog, the three I havent previously tasted are detailed below.

Great King Street Artist's Blend
Blended Scotch, 43% abv.

Rather unusual in that they've used a large proportion of first fill (or in wine speak, new oak) barrels which is virtually unheard of in the whisky industry. The oak characters really come through on the nose with sweet vanilla, spicy and toasty characters also showing. On the palate, its very smooth; sweetness and lightness of the grain whisky comes through. So drinkable.

All Grain, 43% abv.
£52.75 (The Whisky Exchange)

Vanilla and coconut / even rum like nose; with treacle, fudge and caramel coming through; actually smells sweet. Very smooth, its creamy and rich in flavour yet still feels light and nimble; sweet flavours still coming through. Finessed and delicate, incredibly charming. Whoever said grain whiskies cant be high quality?

Flaming Heart
Blended Malt, 4th release. Bottled August 2012, 9147 bottles, 48.9% abv.
£77.95 (The Whisky Exchange)

Rich nose, the sherry comes though alongside some of the smoky peat / iodine / sea breeze, some toasty sweet vanilla there too; full on aromas. Mouthfeel is quite spicy initially, some kick despite being only 48.9%, the fruity citrus and sweet sherry notes then comes through with the smoky characters; really rather strange and at the same time rather delightful. Nicely poised, drinks far too easily.

Berry Bros & Rudd

Another stand that I always look out for in whisky fairs is that of Berry Brothers - their selection of own bottlings are constantly changing (so you really never get bored) and always impresses. You can be assured that if it has a Berry's label it has been chosen with great expertise and care - though I must say I prefer the old label design, as opposed to the ones you see pictured below (the new ones just lack charm and gravitas). And the Spirits Room in their St James' Street premises is also worth a visit if you're in the area. I tried through five of their wares during the day and the three that stood out are below; prices are for 70cl bottles retail at unless otherwise stated.

1997 Clynelish (cask 6864)
Bottled 2012, aged 14 years. 54.8% abv. £49.95

Touch of smoke with sweet sherry notes, with touches of sweet spices. On the palate it feels quite light, citrus notes showing with a sweet spicy overtones; mostly fruit flavours but then a slightly fiery / peppery touch towards the end. For a lightish whisky, this packs some power.

1992 Aberlour (cask 3919)
Bottled 2012, aged 19 years. 55.5% abv. £67.95

Vanilla and woody overtone son the nose, the time spent in the barrels really comes through; touch of sweet malt too. Lively fruity flavours on the palate; sweetish tones, dried fruits (maybe apricots and sultanas); the woody feel caries on the palate. Lengthy finish, flavours linger.

1973 Glenlivet (cask 10822)
Bottled 2012, aged 38 years. 47.6% abv. £130 (The Whisky Exchange)

Wonderful nose of citrus peel, candied oranges, sweet clementines being peeled; lively yet delicate. Palate is soft, theres a sweet core of citrus fruit again but it isnt explosive; it gently rolls around, coating the palate with its slightly oily texture; plenty of flavour that never overwhelms but keeps on giving. Some nutty wood spice and drying grip on the finish. Very appealing.

Also tasted: Blue Hanger 6th Edition (45.6% abv, £71.50), 1984 Benrinnes (56.5% abv, £83)


I've seen these guys at whisky fairs before but have never thought to drop by and try their whiskies. Their stand was rather quiet when I got around to them, so I decided to call in and try their stuff, and I'm very glad I did too. These guys release two kinds of whiskies - the regular aged expressions (12, 15, 18 and 21 year olds) as well as a small selection of single cask expressions, which are released twice a year. Some cracking whiskies in their range, the two that stood out are detailed below, but their entire range is well worth drinking.

1971 Glendronach
Cask 1247. Bottled 2012, aged 41 years; 529 bottles made. 47.9% abv. Pedro Ximenez Sherry Puncheon. 
£575 (The Whisky Exchange)  

Rather special stuff, deep colour. Dark sweet molasses, treacle, chocolate and caramel on the nose, with some toasted oats and woody notes; really quite sweet and more like rum than whisky. Theres sultanas and raisins on the palate, with some woody touches; nice concentration of flavours, isnt particularly powerful but it does linger for quite a while. A privilege to try.  

Glendronach 21 years old 'Parliament'
48% abv. £77.95 (The Whisky Exchange)

Again quite dark colour, rich fruit cake on the nose, with sweet sultanas and quite sweet sherry notes. On the palate, its large and quite overtly fruity; chocolate and christmas cake flavours are there (sweet dried fruits with some spice); lingering finish. Bold, sweet, fruity style; my pick for a Christmas-themed whisky.

1 comment:

Ultimate Whisky said...

Thanks for the post Davey - I remember taking you thro 20+ whiskies at the Whisky liked them all but Distillery 25 was a clear winner for you

Hope to see you again soon
Helen - SMWS