Monday, 10 September 2018

A D Rattray Samples


Balblair 2011, 59.7%
A bourbon barrel that's been PX finished. I didn't enjoy this at all (but then, as The Dandy says, Balblair doesn't really come into its own until its mid teens). The nose is painfully nippy, with an odd mixture of raw wood and brown sugar. The palate is sweet, peppery, and raw. Sandpaper and sawdust. Ouch. Poor

Strathmill 2006, 58.1%
Another bourbon barrel. It seems rather quiet in comparison to the whiskies around it. It's not unpleasant, but having recently had a couple of lovely crisp, malty Strathmills, this is merely humdrum. There's little to fault here, but no fireworks either. Sort of Good

Balmenach 2010, 57%
Another sherry finish, although I didn't note what kind of sherry. There's a pleasant cooked note, as if one were in a kitchen where boiled sweets are being boiled. It's not at all spirity. To taste it is in fact rather on the hot side, but the flavours are really interesting. Savoury, with some beery malt, a hint of sulphur, and a very pleasant finish. Very Good

Macduff 2009, 57%
From a bourbon barrel. The classic Macduff nose of creamline toffee, fudge, or toffee pennies (depending on which of those your family favoured when you were growing up). The palate follows
through with exactly the same notes. The thick oily texture and its simple sweet nature make this a lovely comforting dram. Good

Tamnavulin 2009, 59.4%
From a bourbon barrel. At the start of the year I had a young Tamnavulin-Glenlivet from the Seventies, and this rather reminds me of that. The modern one isn't nearly as fruity of course, but there's a floral elegance to it which is delightful. Pea blossom and greenery - it's fascinating. The palate is soft and sweet, a kind of flowery toffee. The only thing which keeps this from being an outstanding whisky is a slight bitterness in the finish. Excellent

Glenrothes 1996, 51.9%
Unusually for Glenrothes, this is a bourbon barrel. It still somehow has that cello seriousness which a lot of Glenrothes exhibits.

I realise that's not very helpful, so let me explain. Glenrothes, like Mortlach, takes very well to sherry barrels, but unlike Mortlach, which seems to come from bourbon barrels fairly often, pretty much all the Glenrotheses (Glenrothi?) that are ever released are sherry barrel matured. Mortlach, from a bourbon cask, tends to go to a bright, lively pizzicato violin fruitiness. This Glenrothes hasn't done that, hence the comparison to the cello.

The palate is all soft rounded sweet toffee. Very Good