Saturday, 7 February 2009


.....magnificent bruiser of a speysider, and the Malt that beefs-up Diageo's Blends including the over-rated Johnnie Walker Blue Label, where it's wasted.
This whisky in good casks can't go wrong..........
...... but in poor casks it does though, beware!
Bold, heavy-malt, blistering-barley, rich vanilla, scented/fruity/nuts.
Mortlach (17 y.o. cask signatory) 94/100


..... elegant speysider providing for Chivas Regal and generally well regarded although not readily available from the Indi's.
Fragrant, complex, flowery, vanilla and an aromatic finish.
Interesting, this distillery had two Lomond Stills back in the mists of time, producing a sweet, smooth Malt called MOSSTOWIE.
Very rare now.
Mosstowie 28 y.o. (cadenhead) 90/100


.... CLOSED 1985
..... a colourful and charismatic north highlander, this Malt was a main-stay of the old Haig Blended whisky.
Well rounded flavour with a spicey sharpness.ncreasingly hard to get, and standards vary amongst the Indi's.
Millurn 29 y.o. (cadenhead) 84/100


... honest jobbing speysider providing Malt-fill for the Diageo range.
Typically, Diageo don't make much of this as a 'craft' presentation single Malt with it's brief appearance confined to the Flora & fauna and the R.M.S. offerings, however, the Indi's have it, and they are generally good.
Grapey, barley-rich, muscovado-spiced fennel, fading soft.
One fly-in-the-ointment.........
This Malt spawned the runt that is Loch Dhu Black Whisky.

MACDUFF 91/100

...... respectable medium speysider providing for Dewar's Blends.
This is not generally well known, and is rather shy of the Malt market.
It has an alter-ego called GLEN DEVERON which pops up with regularity at auctions, but the unrestrained magnificence that can be Macduff can only be found in the dusty corners of the Indi bottlers.
Full bodied, peated, crisp/lush singed fruit cake, liquorice and roasted nuts.
Macduff 36 y.o. (D Taylor Ltd) 93/100


........ the 'Emperor 'of Malts and from speyside.
No other living Malt enjoys, or plunders, the reputation that Macallan has.
Wacky prices at auction and an absolute 'must' if you want to impress the client, however, a recent 18 y.o. I bought was disappointingly thin and insubstantial, due, probably to the batch being over-stretched to keep up with supply. So buyer's beware, .... the emperor's clothes e.t.c.
Macallans can be good with a signature of sherry/butterscotch spice/herbal/wood complex rounded off with a bold dab of peat.
Older Macallan's are quite Armagnac in nature.
Macallan 18 y.o. 78/100
P.S. the bottle pictured is for dabbing behind your ears.

LONGROW 87/100

... peated springbank from Campbeltown.
When it's good,
it's very, very good
........ but when it's tarted up with sweet Hungarian wines like Tokaji,
it's seriously disappointing.
............. Flat-cask ahoy!
Earthy, peaty, mossy, creamy, herbal and seashore,
...... when it is allowed to sparkle.

Longrow 10 y.o. 91/100 (Tokaji fin: 79/100)


........ big-reputation speysider offering valuable fill to the Chivas Regal Blends.
This Malt is very highly regarded amongst whisky drinkers, and this shows through opulent packaging and prices.
It is a good whisky, but, especially as an Indi bottling, can be over-rated.
Dense rich fruit, comlex malty, peat-nip and oak 'n' floral flurry's.
Longmorn 15 y.o. 88/100


....... CLOSED 1985-92
..... a charismatic east highland Malt which tickles the taste buds of those bold enough to claim to be connoisseurs.
An excellent Malt, this is old, expensive, and found at the Indi's.
An intense, toffee'd, deep-fruited, complex and layered Malt which demonstrates how some whiskies can carry on expanding year after year, given good provenance !!!


...... an 'ugly sister' highland Malt with the dubious role of Malt Whisky under-dog.
The Loch Lomond Malts are not bad at all! with the 21 y.o. quite decent, however, it is when we get to the range of single casks called "Distillery Select Range", that things become interesting.
These Malts are named after land-marks around Loch Lomond and include;-
and INCHMURRIN ....this range has various levels of peating and some are VERY, good.
Loch Lomond 9 y.o. Croftengea 89/100

LOCH DHU 20/100

....... this little monster is Mannochmore loaded with E150 Perma-glow
It is considered collectible by those who know nothing about Malt and everything about cliches.
Rotten whisky to start with, it was made worse by an E150 over-load.
......... you can make your own,
it's easy,
take any whisky, add black ink and/or gravy browning and ...... shake.
Then call it Glen Pog-mo-hoin.
... sorted!!!


..... CLOSED 1975-77
..... a colourful wee lowland Malt of 'mixed' reputation, certainly one of the lightest whiskies you will find, this will end up a collectors whisky, as most remaining stocks went to the blenders.
Soft, citrus, lemony, sweet, acidic.
Available at the Indi's.
The true magpie collectors will by a version of this called DUNGLAS rated as probably the worst Malt ever made.
Hooray for liquid soap 'n' vinegar.
Littlemill 17 y.o. (S.M.W.S.) 86/100


... CLOSED 1983
..... a truly great lowlander, now disguised as a block of flats.
Also known as St Magdalene, this fabulous Malt has only really been re-appraised since old maturations have surfaced showing how deep a whisky this is with good provenance.
Simply light, intense and complex.
Now only available at variable standards via the Indi's.
St Magdalene 19 y.o. (Rare Malt Selection) 97/100


.... an under-rated speysider with a mellow, but substantial signature.
A valued contributor to Diageo's Johnnie Walker Range, this Malt needs to be experienced on it's own to understand the full range of Malt characters.
Describing the flavour is not that easy, except to say a storm of cereals, barley-sugar herbs and brulee.
Linkwood 12 y.o. (Flora & Fauna) 87/100 (92/100 if 'crafted')

LEDAIG 80/100

.... peated Tobermory Malt from the Island of Mull.
Generally, rough when young, a bit of a star when older,
and better then Tobermory's standard offering.
Fresh, grassy, biscuity peat.
This Malt benifits from being a medium-peated whisky
Ledaig 20 y.o. 91/100


... another big Islay bruiser!!!
... this is arguably the strongest tasting Malt made in Scotland with the exception of Bruichladdich's Octomore, and whatever is the next million-parts-per-million peat horror!
This Malt has the interesting reputation of being the Scotch Whisky for sale in the U.S.A. during prohibition being available at chemists as a tonic.
Why? .... 'cos it was considered too foul-tasting to be drunk as liquor.
Peaty, phenolic, 'medicinal', iodine and seaweed, this flavour lingers in the mouth for hours.
Laphroaig 1/4 Cask 90/100


..... big bruiser Islay Malt with an huge reputation, courtesy of the late Mr Jackson (whisky guru).
I'm sure it was good when he assessed it, however, excessive over-demand and 'branded' production is diminishing this beast.
Big malty, sweet, smoky, burnt-peat, oily,seaweed, anise, fennel, bittery! monolith.
Lagavulin 16 y.o. 85/100


.... CLOSED 1975
.... an anemic lowlander from Girvan which was not very popular with the Blenders.
No wonder,
it was crap.
Now a wet dream for 'Magpie' collectors.


...... The newest Islay Malt Distillery, and judging by the prices of the new-make spirit, there are great expectations.
Not available as a Malt yet (soon ! soon !)
This wee venture is now the most westerly Distillery in Scotland, and follows a 'craft' model.
The new-make at 6 months old is complex, with Lagavulin power, Bruichladdich fruit and Ardmore savoury !!!
Kilchoman new-make 6 months 85/100


....... was Knockdhu ... is now Ancnoc
The name was changed to prevent confusing Knockdhu with the inferior Knockando.


.......... a big anonymous speysider belonging to William Grant & sons, and which is quite invisible on the Malt radar.
Unless you got the ubiquitous, commemorative bottling of Hazelbank, your only opportunity to try this Malt is through the Blended Malt 'Monkey Shoulder' named as such to commemorate repetitive strain injuries brought on by malting barley, ......yeh! ...........whatever!
Monkey Shoulder 81/100


....... CLOSED 1975-80
.... the last true Malt to be made in Glasgow, in the Gorbals area, and which is now Strathclyde Grain Distillery.
This is another of those desirable 'collectors' whiskies, and which if opened would taste of "melon dusted with ginger" according to an expert!


......CLOSED 1985
.. an obscure lowlander from Ardrie and a super-collectible rarity, it was a wee Malt with a big qudos amongst squirrily collectors who would murder their granny for this.
Apparently, the Malt was supposed to be called Lillyloch, after the stream supplying the water, however, the stencil on the barrels mistakenly stated 'Killyloch', and it stuck.
Don't try to buy this, 'cos you cant!


....... volume producing speysider Malt for Diageo.
This whisky is more popular in warmer climates to Scotland where it's bland style is less off-putting compared to the flavour-intense demands of the northern hemisphere.
Judgemental I know, but this prejudice was confirmed whilst traveling in Egypt.
The taste is light, bland, cereally.
Knockando 10 y.o. 79/100


.... just to the north of Islay lays Jura, where the author George Orwell wrote '1984'.
It is a remote and odd Island with a strange Malt which, like some other notable Malts including Tobermory and Auchentoshan, is not up to much as a young whisky, but at 16 years plus, starts to sparkle.
This whisky has a character of rich malt, walnuts, marzipan and vanilla
ending drier and with peat-hints.
Isle of Jura 'Superstition' 88/100


..... shiny-new, this is the most southern Island Malt in Scotland which was set-up in 1995 and integrates a visitor centre/shop/heritige thing! with a small working distillery.
The style is light, being a cross between a lowland and highland character !
Light-fruity, complex, vanilla-malt and fresh barley, all available in a dizzying array of 'finishes' from Calvados to Shiraz. ( what ! no absinthe?)
Isle of Arran 10 y.o. 75/100


..... CLOSED 1990
... a charismatic lowlander, this whisky was produced on lomond Stills for a lighter 'style' within the grounds of the far larger Dumbarton Grain Distillery.
It is a very light Malt, with soft fudge, fresh fruit-barley, and perfumy. Quite bourbon in character.
Inverleven 16 y.o. (cadenhead) 74/100

The wee picture shows the stills at their new home, Bruichladdich, where they wait for fair weather !


.......... hard to find, speysider.
This Malt, like a few other non-profile Diageo Malts only crops up officially in the 'Flora & Fauna' range and 'Rare Malt Selection', now discontinued, with rare appearances amongst the Indis, where quality varies.
It is intense, toffee, floral, salty and dry.


........ CLOSED 1998 (but may re-open)
...... this light natured Malt is another speysider which was assisting Chivas Regal with their Blends needs.
It is a light-cereal, smokey-sweet whisky and available through the Indi's where offerings are either good or poor.
(Will you take the chance?)

Friday, 6 February 2009


.... the most northerly distillery operating in Scotland and situated on the Isle of Orkney. It came into prominence when the late Whisky Guru Michael Jackson described it as the greatest all-round Malt available, ... and I agree.
You don't seem to get a bad one, and with the extensive range of official and Indi bottlings, your spoiled for choice.
Balanced, clean-flavoured, heathery, smoky, mossy, cocoa-malt, faintly vegetal and with a crisp, dry finish.
Highland Park 12 y.o. 87/100