Archive for August, 2022


Glenfiddich: Orchard Experiment (Experimental Series 5) (Scottish Speyside Single Malt Whisky: 43% ABV)

Visual: Pale yellow gold. Slow thick puckering comes from the spirit.

Nose: Apples. Viscous. Cider. Peppery. Vanilla. Honey. Tinned tropical fruit syrup. Water adds menthol and peppermint and some oak.

Body: Apricot syrup. Apple brandy. Oily – a nutty oils style. Alcohol tingle. Oak. Slight drying tannins. Water makes smoother mouthfeel, but still an alcohol tingle. Vanilla custard and toffee comes out along with apples.

Finish: Nutty. Peppery. Tannins. Water adds nettles, oily apple and oily nuts.

Conclusion: Back when I first started drinking whiskey, I was not a fan of Glenfiddich – however I will admit it has massively grown on me over the years. It is a subtle thing with green fruit notes over a restrained spirit and gains well from time in the oak. Something that my more brash whisky enjoying youth did not experience. However, now with a few years in my life I find this, an apple spirit led and finished whisky – that sounds like something that would enhance a green fruit led subtle whisky, right?

So… does it?

Kind of. I feel that either they used comparatively young spirit for this, or the cask finish really layered a rougher spirit touch to the character as this is nowhere near as smooth or polished as the similarly priced and sometime cheaper Glenfiddich 12.

So, if you haven’t guessed yet, this has a fairly rough spirity note- the texture get smoother with water but it still keeps a quite tingly, slightly rough character despite that,

So what does it do right? Lots of apple and apple brandy notes, done in a far less subtle manner than the traditional green fruit of the more standard Glenfiddich but I really can’t claim it doesn’t deliver exactly what is promised on the tin.

However due to that strong influence from the finish a lot of the more subtle green fruit notes are lost, you don’t really get the base Glenfiddich spirit realised much here – instead it feels like the apple brandy influence is layered over a more standard, peppery,tannins touched and nut oils led whisky base. Not bad, but it means that the barrel finish feels less a compliment to Glenfiddich spirit that as a completely separate thing.

Background: So, a whisky finished in Somerset Pomona (A mix of apple juice and cider brandy) Casks. That caught my eye. So far I have had good experiences with the rare apple spirit aged whisky – including an excellent Calvados Highland Park bottling which was one of my earlier set of notes on this site. Anyway, yes, I saw this an Sainsbury‘s and decided to give it a go. With the heat wave recently, I drank this quite late at night when it was faintly cooler – darn the evil day star, Music wise I went with Beast In Black: Dark Connection – My mate Andy recommended them to me (thanks mate) and they are a very over the top, oft sci-fi referencing metal band and a lot of fun so far).

Sureshot: Dunblobbin (England: IPA: 6.5% ABV)

Visual: Cloudy apricot to yellow. Moderate mounded white head.

Nose: Peach. Green grapes. Fresh fluffy hop notes. Cream. Peach melba.

Body: Lightly oily. Milky. Good bitterness. Greenery. Palma violets. Hop oils. Vanilla. Peppery. Peach. Grapefruit and pineapple.

Finish: Good bitterness. Peach. Light fatty butter. Palma violets. Aubergine.

Conclusion: This is a weird beer. I know, a Mr Blobby themed beer being weird, who would have thought it? But yes, it is weird – if I sit and just sip this beer I am really enjoying it – but if I examine it and try to analyse why I am enjoying it so much it seems quite simple, and I’m finding it hard to pin down what elements actually make it work so well.

Maybe it is my brain trying to reject the fact I seem to be really enjoying a NEIPA style IPA.

Ok, let’s dig into it – the aroma is an obvious plus for it – a huge amount of peach in a mid 2K USA IPA kind of way. There is crisp bitterness there, but not an overpowering amount of hops, which actually calls a lot to east coast style in my mind despite the obvious NEIPA influences.

The body is creamy, showing more of the NEIPA influence but with an oily hop character that makes me smile. It is not quite “Dank”, as is probably no longer the cool term but fuck it, I’m old, but it is a nice call in that direction. Along with the slightly aubergine like savoury notes it really does remind me of mid 2K IPAs, but not as bitter hop heavy as those used to be.

There are hints of fresher grapefruit and pineapple notes that give it some pep, and below that is a gentle east coast style sweetness – no one element says “Banger” but combined together I am really enjoying this.

Without the scary pink blob can images, this would still be a good beer, and one I will probably revisit and enjoy once more if I can.

Background: Ok, if you are not British then those weird pink abominations on the can may confuse you. That is fine. Keep your innocence. You deserve it. It is a cursed image. Anyway, yes I grabbed a can of this because it had Mr Blobby on it. Yes I am easy to sell to. Yes I bought it because of that despite just insulting its existence. I am a complex and confusing entity. Anyway, turned out it was actually pretty good so I grabbed another can from Independent Spirit to do notes on. It is a hazy IPA, which, ok, not my favourite style so bias warning there. Music wise I went back to some Rage Against The Machine – the self titled album. Current world status is making me listen to them more at the mo. Oh, the brewery and beer? You want to know about that? Looks like Sureshot was started by an ex head brewer and founder of Cloudwtaer – so that is a heck of a good heritage for your new Brewery. The beer is double dry hopped with one of my favourite hops – simcoe – so I had high hopes at the start for it.

Lochlea: First Release (Scottish Lowland Single Malt Whisky: 46% ABV)

Visual: Pale yellow gold. Fast, thick streaks come from the spirit.

Nose: Thick, stewed fruit. Toffee apple to apple crumble. Plums. Pencil shavings. Sherry trifle. Custard slices. Water adds green grapes, chocolate dust and crushed walnuts.

Body: Thick. Booming oak. Vanilla. Fudge. Raisins. Tannins. Water makes very smooth with a slightly nutty oiliness. Fruitcake. Tinned tropical fruit.

Finish: Light charring. Light bitter chocolate. Peppery. Dry and bitter red wine. Water adds fruitcake and glacier cherries. Milk chocolate, a touch of white chocolate and a nutty character. Some tinned topical fruit.

Conclusion: Ok, I know this must be fairly young spirit – the distillery hasn’t been around that long, only being licensed in 2018, and this was the first release, as the name indicates. Despite knowing all that this has some nice polish to it for its age.

Neat it is slightly closed in the main body, but utterly booming in the aroma, with very little harshness despite its youth and a slightly higher abv that the default.

I am guessing the PX barrel ageing may be doing some of the heavy lifting here, especially in the aroma, but when you hit the body there is a surprising amount of weight from the bourbon as well. There are plenty of vanilla and tinned tropical fruit notes, especially if you use a touch of water to open it up.

However, as mentioned before,the PX brings a lot to the game here – Lots of stewed fruit notes as the thicker aroma of a young whisky meets the dark fruit from the barrel, and yet is smooth enough to make an enjoyable and viscous peak.

Water really helps the slightly closed body start to match that joy of the aroma though. It brings a savoury, oily nuttiness which I’m guessing hints more at the character of the base spirit – I could be wrong, we will see as other expressions come out. Any which way it blends nicely with the shiny, fruity high notes.

Overall it is a very good first release and introduction to the distillery. Lots of promise here and generally worth enjoying just for the whisky it is. Not a must have, especially as this release is starting to get a tad expensive with rarity, but a very nice and polished first release.

Background: Ok, Independent Spirit were bigging this up before it came out, and so I had to grab a bottle. The first release from Lochlea, who kept very quiet up until just before they were ready to release a whisky. As well as coming from the land of Robert Burns, a fact they make a big deal about, they have picked up quite a range of talented people in the whisky industry to work there. I would give names and where from but I lost my notes on that. So, erm, important people. The best. I remember John Campbell was previously at Laphroaig as Distillery manager so that is a heck of a good start. This release was aged in first fill Bourbon cask and Pedro Ximenez casks, natural colour and no chill filtration. Went with some X-Rey Spexs as background music while drinking. No reason, just wanted to listen to again.

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