29 June 2022

Whisky: Caol Ila

 I quite like Caol Ila, they seem more open to releasing longer aged and complex whiskies from Islay. It's not all just stunt whisky to rip ya nads off.

This month we had seven Caol Ila's, which as we had one a few weeks ago, means I've had lots of CI. And am therefore in a good mood.

Caol Ila G & M 13yo 43% 'Discovery'

  • n: light, peat, vanilla, sweet, antiseptic, hint of sick
  • p: salty, dry, pepper, peat, sweet in middle
  • f: long peppery and very warming
7/10 for this one, G&M are consistently good as bottlers, so no surprise there. I think I'd originally put it down as 7.5, but dropped it later. Came 6th on the night with 7.28

Port Askaig 8yo 45.8%
n: salty, antiseptic, iodine, bandages, warming
p: light, almost nothing, salt, peanuts
f: short-med, dry
6/10 quite disappointing, the nose promised a lot more than the palate delivered. Came 7th with 6.64

Caol Ila 25yo 43%
n: sherry, peat, sweet, tasty, older, brown sugar
p: watery, codliver oil, metallic
f: short, disappointing
5/10 This one divided our drinkers, our table really did not like it with most scores being 5 or 6, but it came 3rd overall with 8.0. I didn't get anything from the palate, nose was very nice tho. But not $400 worth of nice.

Caol Ila 17yo 55.9% Unpeated style 2015
n: older, ozone, cirtrus, port, sweet, bandacopy ink, unpeated? dark chocolate
p: hot, peaty, effervescent, liquorice, woody
f: hot, salty, med-long
8/10 ahhh this was more like it, interesting being a unpeated, although there are still hints of peat/smoke in there. Came 2nd with 8.08

Port Askaig 100 proof 57.1% 
n: iodine, medicinal, vinegar, salt, coastal
p: medicinal, salty, actually very very salty
f: smokey, grows very very hot, long 
8.5/10 yeah I liked this, classic Islay whisky. And very reasonably priced (under NZ $100) so a bottle may sneak into my collection. Came 5th overall with 7.5.

Mystery: Cotswolds peaty cask English whisky. 
n: fruit salad, cold tinned spaghetti, pineapples/papaya, bergamot
p: fruity, crystallised papaya
f: long, salt at the end.
8/10 interesting, and yeah it genuinely smelt of cold tinned spaghetti, weird. I'm liking what the Cotswolds distillery is putting out... Came 4th, 7.66

Caol Ila 18yo 2017 59.8% unpeated style
n: sweet, dark chocolate, light peat, fresh cut sawdust, balsa wood
p: salt, peat, tangy, marshmallows
f: long, hot, boom!
8/10 again another good whisky, and the finish is very quiet then explodes, really good stuff. Came first with 8.47.

Slainte, b

9 June 2022

Whisky: Michael Fraser Milne - Good Interesting Whiskies

 Another month, another tasting... This time led by Michael from WhiskyGalore.

Wolfburn 'Batch 318' 46% 7yo lightly peated, oloroso

N: fresh cut grass, salt, marshmallow, peat, sour
P: warm, salt, dry, prickly, honey, ash, cinnamon
F: long, dry
7.5/10 I liked this one, nothing outstanding but a nice drinking whisky.

Bunnahabhain 'Signatory Vintage' 2010 / 10yo 64.7%

N: sherry, raisins, plums, salt
P: sherry, complex, aged, leather, brine, caramel
F: med-long
9/10 loved this one, may have picked up a bottle.

Bladnoch 19yo 46.7% PX

N: pear, apples, sherry, parmesan, citrus
P: light, pears, sherry, dry, citrus
F: short 
6/10 nothing very interesting in this one. 

Ardnamurchan AD10.21:06 46.8%

N: grass, citrus, oaky, sherry, wine, salt
P: hot, spicy, chilli
F: long
7/10 potential in this one, but possibly a bit young? I dunno.

Glengoyne 'Cask Strength' Bath #008 59.2% 

N: sherry, liquorice, vanilla, oak, aniseed, pears
P: spicy, dry, vanilla, oaky
F: med-long
8.5/10 Been a fan of their cask strength for awhile now, and this one is good 

Croftengea 'Old Malt Cask' 2006 / 14yo 50%

N: grass, peat, oak, parmesan, smoke
P: weak, salty, watery
F: short-med
6/10 the nose promised a lot which didn't come through in the palate. Others in the room really rated this so ..

North Star Supersonic Mark 2 50%

N: fruity, pickled beetroot, oaky, citrus
P: citrus, salt, dry, plums, sherry
F: med

7.5/10 interesting without being great? I'd recommend as a quaffing dram.


20 May 2022

Whisky: Dark Drams

 Dark drams, sherry monsters. Complexity. So that all boded well for our Regional Wines tasting in May.

We even had a welcoming dram, so...

Edradour 10

  • Nose: light, hint of salt, sherry
  • Palate: light, watery, peppery, coriander
  • Finish: med-short
6/10 yeah it's not a great edradour. Came 7th overall 

Amrut Spectrum 004 50%
  • Nose: sugar, rum, caramel, strong, old, sherry, sweet, PX, blood orange
  • Palate: sweet, not subtle, rum, spicy, bitter
  • Finish: long, hot
7.5/10 i liked it, but wasn't blown away by it. It came 3rd with an average of 8.26. But not something I felt I needed in my life.

Pulteney Signatory 2008 13yo 56.2%
  • Nose: dry, sherry, citrus, musty, sea spray, mustard, coriander seed, leather
  • Palate: sweet, demerara sugar, dry, floaty, chocolate, ginger cake
  • Finish: long
8.5/10 I liked this a lot, lots of interesting stuff happening, both on the nose and palate. And not really linked either. Came 6th (wtf?!) 7.9.

Caol Ila Signatory 2010 10yo 58.1%
  • Nose: bacon, salt, smoke, peat, medicinal, sweet, meat
  • Palate: sherry, peat, chocolate, balanced, medicinal, salt, dry, rashuns, ash
  • Finish: long ash dry
9.5/10 hey I liked this. a lot. Possibly that's predictable tho. Came 4th, 8.12

Bruichladdich - mystery dram, not sure which it was.
  • Nose: sweet, delicate, fruit, citrus, THC, herbaceous, parma violets, tangerine
  • Palate: warm, honey, bourbon, creamy, dry
  • Finish: med-long, dry, perfumery, warm
8/10 I think I ordered a bottle of this, so I can probably edit the name later. Either way, very tasty. came 1st 8.5

Tamdhu Old Particular 2004 16yo 48.4%
  • Nose: dry, grass, pineapple, sandalwood, papaya, chocolate, liquourice
  • Palate: watery, light, citrus, smooth, banana
  • Finish: short
6/10 much promise on the nose, but delivered very little. Came last (8th) with 7.16

Aultmore Old Particular 2006 14yo 48.4%
  • Nose: apple, lime, starbursts, caramel
  • Palate: floral, menthol, mineral
  • Finish: short-med
7/10 Nothing really stood out on this one, nice enough, but not very interesting. Came 5th, 7.99

Blair Athol OMC 1995 25yo 50%
  • Nose: caramel, demerara sugar, hokey pokey, toffee, butterscotch, sweet
  • Palate: caramel, butterscotch, werthers originals, honey
  • Finish: med-long
9/10 again, another win for the OMC. This was lovely. Came 2nd, 8.28


29 April 2022

Whisky: Campbeltown - we're back in scotch world!

 With our levels getting a more amber hue, Regional's tasting were back on. First up, Campbeltown - the location for Springbank and a number of it's side project labels. Huzzah ! Six known whiskies and 2 mysteries to follow ...

Ledaig Old Particular 1998 21yo 51.5%

Nose: oak, complex, sherry, hint of salt, woody, med old, varnish

Palate: honey, oaky, caramel, salt, dry but sherry, 'bold', complex

Finish: medium, peppery, salty

8 - 8.5 /10. Really liked this one interesting, complex and definitely shows the added age.

Hazelburn 13yo 2021 48.6% 

Nose: sweet, violets, lighter, hint of citrus

Palate: huge, bourbon, boiled sweets, blackballs, lemon, 

Finish: medium

7/10 interesting and good, I generally like Hazelburn, but wonder if would have benefited from more ageing?

Kilkerran 12yo 46%

Nose: vanilla icecream, light, pavlova mixture

Palate: salty, dry, soft, bourbon, light, breakfast whisky

Finish: salty, short

6.5 - 7/10 nice enough, but not hugely interesting

Springbank 10yo 46%

Nose: sweet, vanilla, oaky, citrus

Palate: sweet, perfumed, violet/lavendar, very light, citrus (lemonade)

Finish: short-med, builds with a pepper/salt spritzic taste

7.5/10 again nice enough, but I think I prefer cask strength Springbanks. 

Springbank 12yo 55.4%

Nose: oranges, vanilla

Palate: concentrated orange, complex, manuka honey, sweet, dry

Finish: med-long, dry

7/10 having said I like cask strength Springbanks, I might have to admit I preferred the 46% :)

Kilkerran 8yo Cask Strength

Nose: light, hint of sherry, old leather

Palate: warm, sherry, xmas, PX?, dry, raisins, salty

Finish: sharp, salty, long

9/10 yup loved this one. Interesting, complex and tasted much older than it actually was !

Kilkerran Heavily Peated

Nose: light, citrus, kaffir lime, oak

Palate: lime (lots of lime!!), salt, spicy, sweet on end

Finish: med dry on finish

8/10 interesting, the lime is really strong on the palate, but you wouldn't guess it's hte Heavily Peated version

Adelphi NZ Exclusive 14yo 58.1% 'Breath of the Isles'

Nose: old furniture, citrus, sherry,light coastal influence, complex

Palate: salt, bacon, sherry, citrus

Finish: sherry, long, dry

8.5-9 /10 really nice, interesting, coastal and complex. all win for me.

Overall, interesting tasting and lots of good whisky. the Kilkerran's are coming along very nicely! and I maybe moving away from Springbank (bring back the rundlets and kilderkins bottling). There's a common theme of slight coastal (salt), and more unexpected a citrus flavour on many of the whiskies. Is that from the casks? Maybe. 

22 April 2022

Whisky: we move outside the highlands.....

 Our tastings have been few and far between, for some reason. So when Whisky Galore announced a virtual tasting of Dingle Distillery (Ireland) it seemed rude to say no. Samples arrived in a nice box, including a tasting glass. 

I haven't been won over by irish whisk(e)y in the past, but hey, ya gotta keep trying...
Sample A : Bourbon 
Nose: oaky, chardonnay, marshmallows, parma violets, pears, sweet
Palate: chilli / peppers, oaky, no complex
Finish: medium, chilli / pepper.
very drinkable, 6.5 or 7/10

Sample B : Madeira
Nose: red wine, bourbon, marshmallows, candy floss, toffee, citrus, liquorice
Palate: not whisky, pepper, chilly, light watery.
Finish: pepper / chilli, medium
5/10 pretty bland

Sample C : PX
Nose: old leather, parmesan, fortified wine, xmas mince pie, sherry
Palate: sharper sherry pepper, bottled too young?
Finish: medium, sharp 
6.5/10 not great but some flavour.

Sample D : 
Nose: sweet, candyfloss, bourbon, white wine, marshmallow, vanilla, raspberry
Palate: fruity, tingly, spicy, dry, salty
Finish: long, complex
7.5/10 quite good.

Not enough to convince me that Irish Whiskey is worth exploring, but also, enough to keep me trying it. 

3 January 2022

What I has been listening to ... 2021

 Thanks to last.fm and scrobbling from my phone, laptop, and my OCD (why, yes, I do play the digital version when I'm playing vinyl too...) here's the list of stuff I've been playing.

How much listening did I do this year compared with last year?

And not a huge surprise Thursday has the most tracks...


I quite liked the new Lord of the Lost album....

24 November 2021

Whisky Tasting : Best of the Best

 Best of the best whisky tasting, it's been an unusual year with a limited number of tastings, compounded by a limited selection of whisky coming into the country. 

So for the tasting we had 7 whiskies, and a welcome dram (Adelphi blend)

Macallan 15yo 43% [March winner]

  • N: aniseed, fruit, earthy, oak, marmalade, sweet caramelised sugar
  • P: egg and cream lollies, sweet, dry, lemon, short, watery
  • F: short-med, not spicy
7/10. I didn't think much of the Macallan's at the tasting, and this was adequate at best. Came 8th (even the intro dram beat it) on 7.58

GlenAllachie 10yo Batch #4 02/09/20 56.1%

  • N: parma violets, sweet, banana, candied cherries
  • P: warm, honey, lovely mouthfeel, cough medicine, incr. alc., sweet
  • F: med-long
9/10 I loved it at the tasting, and loved it at BotB. Came 2= with 8.82

Mystery: Benromach Port Pipe 26yo d.1992 49.3%
  • N: musty, ozone, damp, peat, iodine, sweet, aged?
  • P: warm honey, stops quickly, brine
  • F: short
6/10 very disappointing whisky, boring and flavour fell away very quickly. 6th, 7.72

Bunnahabhain 18yo 46.3%
  • N: caramel, burnt sugar, sweet, rubber, salty, sulphur
  • P: nothing, watery, salty, bland
  • F: nothing but hint of sulphur
5/10 very disappointing. 5th, 8.22

Lagavulin 12yo Special Release 2019 refill USA cask strength 
  • N: peaty, iodine, bacon, salt, rubber, campfire, oak, dry
  • P: sweet, supporating wound, medicinal, complex, lemon
  • F: long, bacon, warm
9/10 Fantastic whisky. Came 4th with 8.34

Caol Ila Signatory 10yo 2010 60.3%
  • N: bacon, iodine, peat, burnt red wine, sweet, rubber, sulphur
  • P: strong salt, bacon, sweet smoke, honey, sherry
  • F: long, bg
8/10 nice whisky. came 1st with 9.24

Longrow Red 10yo 52.5%i
  • N: salt, sweet, caramel, toffee, banana, hokey pokey
  • P: delicate, honey, lemon, sweet, oily, salt
  • F: med-long, tasty
8/10 nice whisky, came 2= 8.82

Overall, not great. And I think that reflects the lack of whiskies that are making it to NZ at the moment. You'd expect for a BotB that the lowest rating would be an 8. Not the case here, although if you are going to have a Macallan tasting we learnt that will increase cost of a tasting without increasing quality of the whisky...


12 October 2021

Pumptatus : The Restoration Pt III

I've been pottering with the organ periodically, just got to the point where all the reeds are fixed, they all make noises, although there's still two which are sticking. From my rough notes, I think i've worked on about 20-25 keys which were sticking or leaking air. 

I've reassembled a few bits, which included finding an old vaseline lid (metal) in the bellows (look, i've got no idea either). And cleaned the keyboard. More pics below.

the excitement of working out how many screws I needed to replace

Reeds, and soundboard cleaning
Under the board, the longer bits are for the sub-bass couplers

Cleaning the keyboard

21 September 2021

whisky Tasting: Slightly out of lockdown

 Our Regional Wines tasting was cancelled until we hit Level 1 again, so half of the cabal assembled to practice drinking.

Signatory Deanston 2007 13yo 1st fill Sherry butt, 63.9%

  • N: caramel, sherry, leather, sea salt, astringent
  • P: warm honey, sea salt, spicy - cardamon, cumin
  • F: long warm finish
addition of water, N-more caramel, sweet; P-mild, salty; F-longer 7.5/10

Aberlour A'bundh Batch 67 59.8% Spanish Oloroso Sherry Butt
  • N: sweet, baby sick, candyfloss
  • P: sherry, big, spicy, manuka honey
  • F: med-long 

Glenallachie 10yo Cask Strength Batch4
  • N: smoky, sherry, leather, caramel, hint salt
  • P: light, dry, oranges, leather, spice
  • F: medium-long; very dry
9/10 (Bruce) 8/10 (Nabila)

Rare Old Super Nikka 43%
  • N: acetoaldehyde, sweet, ash, toffee
  • P: light, caramel, salt
  • F: med
6/10 bit light after the first three monsters :D

Kilchoman Loch Gorm 2020 46%
  • N: salt, bacon, sherry, wallpaper stripper
  • Bacon, salt, sherry, spiky, salt, peaty
  • F: massive, woodfires
9/10 Bruce; 8/10 Nabila.

We may have then ambled off onto other whiskies in the cupbaord, but didn't record those :) All in all, an excellent tasting as a stop gap measure.

Slainte, B 

24 August 2021

Whisky Tasting: Crazy Casks

 Another month, another tasting. I write this the day after we should have been at a tasting. That's been postponed thanks to a pesky virus.

Auchentoshan Bartenders Malt No.2 50% 

  • N: dry, fruity, banda reel copy paper, salt, chalky, meth spirits
  • P: sherry, incr alc., peppery, manuka, lemons
  • F: hot, long, bitter

 7/10 interesting, but not great

Ardnamurchan #2

  • N: peat, oaky, sweet, wet wool, dry
  • P: smoke hint, fruity, tangy, liquourice 
  • F: medium

Arran Sauternes Cask 50%
  • N: watery, coconut, lemon meringue pie, newsprint
  • P: coconut ice, oily, sweet
  • F: warm, medium tannic

Benriach 1992 25yo Port Cask #979 53.9%
  • N: sherry, sweet, sticky, dusty, old, dates, port
  • P: sherry, very smooth, xmas cake, incr alc, butter
  • F: med, long
8/10 yeah bit lower than I'd have expected from an aged benriach. 

Glenallachie 11yo Moscatel Wood Finish 48%
  • N: makeup remover, toffee apples, very sweet, cheese 
  • P: warm, light bubblegum, disappointing
  • F: medium, peppery
6/10 didn't like this, very washed out taste

Kavalan Solist Vinho Barrique 54.8%
  • N: PVA wood glue, strong, meths, blue cheese, vinegar
  • P: hot peppery, sherry, paint stripper
  • F: peppery, long
8/10 enjoyed this quite a bit. 

Kilchoman Px Sherry Cask 47.3%
  • N: salt, peat, ash, oily, soap, smokey
  • P: peat only smoke rubber bacon
  • F: long, warming
9/10 oh my. 

Longrow Red 10yo 52.5%
  • N: apples, toffee, marmalade, salted caramel
  • P: watery, peppery
  • F: medium, peppery
7/10 bit dull overall

Interesting tasting, certainly diverse. Normally I'd have picked up a bottle of the Kilchoman, but really I have a large number of them already, do I relaly need another (don't answer that).