Review: Lagavulin Distiller’s Edition

There’s a slightly musty nose to this one with smoke and sweetness. There’s also a hint of cured game like smoked reindeer and peppery spice. An interesting nose but just seems too messy and erratic.

With water it’s rich with lemonade sweetness and fresh citrus. It’s one of those whiskies in which the nose gives away no clues as to what the palate may be like.

The palate has spirity peat and salty dryness. There’s a touch of sour milk and pick n’ mix taking the edge off the salt. When the water is added it becomes  dry and smoky, with moss on thick tree bark and a touch of orchard fruit.

The finish has reasonable length, it’s very dry and full of smoke that grabs the inside of your mouth. Not sure why, but it left me with an unpleasant sickly feeling. There are a lot of interesting flavours in this one but they just don’t come together too well – if they did I’d be a pretty happy chap.

Review: Glenkinchie Distiller’s Edition

The nose started off with wood stain and  tangerine sweetness. It seemed quite closed off until I added water. It developed a sweet thickness like that of sponge cake mix, still with a fresh sweetness on the nose but the tangerine is less pronounced.

There’s a hint of pencil shavings and waxy worn wood like a school desk (remember being at school and sharpening your pencil into your desk? – We’ve all done it!); bitter chocolate creeps in there just at the end. After a while the nose has tinned peaches (the peaches, the syrup, and the tin), then a final yeasty hint of bread dough.

The palate is initially quite sweet but then changes quickly to a rich salty dryness. The sweetness of the tangerine is less noticeable than on the nose, so is more like dried orange slices. The addition of water adds a hint of wet charred wood to a nicely simple palate.

The finish is salty, dry and of medium length. A touch of orange and dark chocolate comes through on the breath after a short while.

Review: Oban Distiller’s Edition

First of all, the nose has golden syrup and something like plaster on a concrete garage floor. It’s slightly spicy with hints of powdered cinnamon and fresh burning sappy wood.

With water there’s toffee sweetness, butterscotch, and sweet oranges on a dry chalky country road. After a little time it changes to an open pot of gloss paint with dry coffee around the edges.

The palate has a good early richness giving way to spirity saltiness with hints of almonds around the edges and dull sour pears. With water it became much dryer like passion fruit skin with liquorice sweetness.

The finish is dry leaving you wanting more with tobacco smoke lingering on the tongue and a hint of liquorice at the back of the throat as you breathe out.

This is a seriously good whisky. Amazing complexity, length and great balance. Definitely worth getting your hands on.

Review: Douglas Laing Port Ellen 25 Yrs

In the beginning the nose is of sulphurous burnt wood with sweetness coming through the middle. After a short rest in the glass it’s still sweet with peat, pear drops and metallic minerals skirting around the edges.

Once the water is added the sweetness is still there with orchard fruit floating in icy water (the fruitiness is cold and diluted), a melted brown sugar edge, charcoal and toasted fruit loaf.

I found the palate to be a little unexciting with spicy sweetness and peat. Water made it seem dryer and mellowed the peat.

The finish is relatively long with a touch of fruit at the end, lingering peat and good smoky warmth hanging onto the tongue. Note that it needs to be drunk pretty quickly; it was left for a while and when I returned it had become unpleasantly flat and slightly bitter.