May 2018 Tastings
Lagavulin 12 Year Old Special Release 2014
“Like Christmas, it happens annually”
12 years old
Lagavulin’s 12 Year old represents a departure from its more heavy handed, sherry-influenced 16 year old sibling. Released in 2014, this features cask strength malts distilled in 2001 and 2002. This is the 14th annual release of the 12 year old which Diageo has been releasing every year since 1999. Each edition is a different strength and with minor variances in taste.
- Colour: Pale Gold / straw
- Nose: Simple. Rich and sweet. Leather, peat / campfire smoke, smoked ham hock, floral notes, toffee/salted caramel, vanilla, oysters and seaweed, green fruits pears and green apples, jute bag/sack, characterful.
- Taste: Very intense creamy, mouth-coating texture. Oily, chocolate, ashy coal, campfire smoke, vanilla, candied lemon, lime marmalade, pineapple, white pepper, nougat, iodine/medicinal, struck match. Fresh, phenolic and fruity.
- Finish: Long oily vanilla and citrus, along with delicate smoke. Smooth and long peppery finish. Velvety oil with smouldering pine needle, lanolin, salt and cocoa in the aftertaste.
The Oamaruvian Cask Strength Doublewood
“The velvet sledgehammer”
16 years old
Bourbon then red wine casks
Retail: $160 (500ml)
A rare dram from the last remaining stock of the Willowbank distillery in Dunedin. The Oamaruvian has been slowly maturing in casks by the shore in Oamaru since the distilleries closure in the late 1990’s. The NZ Whisky Co reworks and re-casks 600 barrels of whisky acquired from the old Willowbank Distillery. The cask strength ‘The Oamaruvian’ is made with grain and malt.
- Colour: Dark cherry wood.
- Nose: Starts on red fruits with cherry and raspberry. It’s then peach, apple sauce and fresh melons. The spices on the keg are still there with ginger and a hint of clove. Some nuts and hazelnuts.
- Taste: Super intense. Balsamic, prunes and sour cherries. The palate is as big, if not bigger than the nose. Raspberry jam, strawberries, dark chocolate. Lots of spices, a little like the spices of the barrel with ginger, cinnamon and light cumin. The red fruits on the nose resurface as well as raisins. Hazelnut becomes evident.
- Finish: The finish is long on cooked fruits, spices, nuts and the tannic side of the wine is finally felt with some slightly acidic raisins.
Spirits Shop’ Selection Sansibar Islay 2007
“Interesting and rare collaboration”
8 years old
Bourbon single cask
Distilled in 2007, this Islay whisky was matured for 8 years in a bourbon cask and bottled in 2015 as a collaboration between the Sansibar Restaurant on Sylt Island in Germany and the whisky king of Taiwan, Eric Huang, one of the foremost whisky experts in Asia.
This is a very rare example of independently bottled Lagavulin. Special artworks by renowned artists are used to adorn each release.
- Colour: Straw yellow
- Nose: Phenolic peat smoke, bacon, herbs and tar, with grapefruit, apple skins and lemon
- Taste: Sweet, with caramel, vanilla and peppermint, as well as barbecue and spicy smokiness
- Finish: Fruity, salty, with ashes, fudge and grassy
William Cadenhead Islay Malt 7 years
“Minimalist – Young and Bold”
7 years old
Bourbon single cask
A rare independent bottling from an undisclosed Islay distillery on the island’s famous Kildalton coast. This release by Cadenhead is truly unbelievable and if you are savvy to an Islay whisky you will be able to pick the distillery very easily.
The younger the spirit, the peatier it remains and sitting at cask strength from a single barrel, this one should not be missed.
- Colour: Straw
- Nose: A blast of seaweed and salty sea air. Vanilla sponge cake and Weathers Originals with smoked embers and kippers
- Taste: Smoke comes to the fore – subtly mineral-y at points. Fizzy orange and peppercorn in support
- Finish: Mouth-coating and smoky little burst of sweetness and citrus but plenty of saltiness and spice
Hyde No. 1 President’s Cask 10 year old
“Irish Revolutionary Artists”
10 years old
Bourbon then Oloroso casks
Established in 2014, Hibernia Distillers was founded by the Hyde brothers, who love experimenting with different oak. This 10 year old malt whiskey is believed to have come from Cooley Distillery and has had a 6 month finishing period in first fill Oloroso Sherry casks. Awarded Double Gold / Best Single Malt Irish Whiskey at the 2016 San Francisco World Spirit Competition.
- Colour: Brassy gold.
- Nose: Moist fruit slice followed by more exotic notes of dried banana and vanilla. Later passes reveal classic Irish pot still aromas of light creamy-soda and spiced pear. Opens with delightful notes of peaches & cream, vanilla and honey followed by heavier notes of caramel and chocolate infused with spices. Hints of fruits including orange, lemon and banana.
- Taste: Medium bodied with a honeyed, creamy-soda entry rounded off with a spicy fruit cake flourish. Wonderfully smooth and complex. Creamy and fruity with notes of caramel and Manuka honey, apricot and plums with a silky malt texture.
- Finish: Hints of raisin chocolate in the aftertaste. Rich, spicy and oaky with a long, rich, lingering finish. Shows excellent length.
Lagavulin 1995 Distiller’s Edition
“Smoke and Sherry”
18 years old
Bourbon then Pedro Ximenez
Bottled in 2013, this 18 year old is one of the best-known drams produced by Lagavulin. In this case, “Double Matured” on the label means something special; after the usual 16 years in primarily American oak casks, the Lagavulin malt destined for DE spends time in Pedro Ximenez (PX) sherry butts. This 18 year old DE is roughly double the price of the Lagavulin 16.
- Colour: Rich amber brown and thick, syrupy quality
- Nose: Rich smoky tones. Raisins, prunes and smoky molasses, roasted almonds with chocolate icing, pipe tobacco, burnt caramel. Blackcurrants. Green sap with a hint of banana.
- Taste: Creamy texture much sweeter than the 16, a woody sweetness, which yields slightly to a very salted caramel and smokiness. Light tar, walnuts, cured ham, strawberry cake, lemon, coffee, hints of soil and cherries, pine tree. Nut-studded Christmas cake with hints of smoky bacon Smooth!
- Finish: Reminiscent of the 16, but there’s more ham, and the fruit is more noticeably red. Long, with hints of long-aged rum, barrel-char and dark chocolate, wood sorrels, campfire smoke, dry