Tag Archive: 7 Year


Elements Of Islay: Pi 6 (Scottish Islay Single Malt Whisky:7 Year: 55.3% ABV)

Visual: Very light, clear gold. Slow thick streaks come from the spirit.

Nose: Sooty peat. Charred oak. Clean. Beef slices. Water makes smoother.

Body: Honey. Thick. Oily. Soot. Malt chocolate. Chilli seeds. Water adds beef slices. Ginger and more chilli seed. Buttery. Nut oils. Cleanly medicinal.

Finish: Soot. Vanilla. Nut oils. Oily. Water adds chilli seeds. More alcohol burn. Buttery. Medicinal.

Conclusion: This is a sooty, oily whisky. Initially though it comes across as sweet and honeyed on those early sips, but it quickly moves beyond that to become thing with oily, sooty thickness. Despite that it somehow manages to keep a slightly clean medicinal character as a base.

It feels very much every inch the Islay, rocking as it is the soot and the medicinal character. Admittedly it has less salty and meaty than usual, but still it weighs just enough of that to be identifiable. It is a very clean dram up front, ending up instead as a thick sooty and gritty dram on the way out.

Water brings out a bit of heat to it. With more of the high alcohol being evident, and a mix of chilli seeds and ginger warmth. It feels big and thick, mouth coating and warm.

It is good, but for the price tag it does not stand out as a special one. It is a clean and polished example of the Islay, with a bit of sooty grittiness at the end to pep it up. That works well, but doesn’t push the limits of what can be done with a good whisky.

Very nice still, slightly buttery as well, something that seems to be a trend at the uber whisky tasting tonight. If I had to pick an element that stands out it is more oily than the norm considering how clean the rest of the dram is – so if you want that oilier take on clean medicine this may catch your eye. Otherwise I would say the far cheaper Laphraog Quarter Cask is still the way to go for a good Islay drop. This is nice but not stand out

Background: 400th Whisky Tasting Note! I actually had something special set aside for no 400, but since it fell on the final entry of an Uber whisky tasting it seemed rude to not go with this one instead. Soooo … Uber whisky time again at Independent Spirit. I love these events, where you get to try some pretty rare whisky that would normally be prohibitively expensive by the dram. As always with events like these, it was a busy event, with talking and other people describing notes so I may have been influenced by that and my notes may be shorter and more incoherent than even normal. Elements of Islay do slightly smaller than normal, 50cl independent bottles of Islay whisky with the faux chemical letter identifying the distillery. In this case Pi is Port Charlotte. Hey don’t ask me, I didn’t pick it. Port Charlotte is itself a heavily peated take on Bruichladdich. A quick google tells me this was aged in a mix of three bourbon barrels. Should be interesting.

Independent Spirit Fettercairn

Independent Spirit: Fettercairn (Scottish Highland Single Malt Whisky: 7 Year: 56.2% ABV)

Visual: Deep gold.

Viscosity: Very slow, medium thickness streaks.

Nose: Very viscous, jelly like, alcohol. Lemon curd. Apple pie. Heather. Custard slices. Pepper. Water brings light oak, vanilla, and a smoother character. More water brings a fresh lemon and citrus mash-up and apricot.

Body: Initially smooth then ramps to burning warmth. Oaken. Apples. Water brings lots more apples, pepper. More water brings custard, light strawberry, tinned tropical fruit, apricot and lemon sorbet. Later apple pie with sugar and pineapple jelly.

Finish: Oak. Warming and numbing. Pepper. Water brings light treacle, soft fudge and malt drinks. More water adds heather, strawberry softness, tropical fruit and apricot.

Conclusion: Ok, neat this is freaking rocket fuel. It is vodka jelly like, oh my god shouting level strong. Yet, for those of you who have already read the background, you know that I helped pick it being released at this abv. What is up with that? I mean, it is young at seven years, and 56.2% abv, surely that is a terrible plan? Why would I recommend that?

Well, I did so because of the depth you can get from this with some water play to find your sweet spot. Even neat there are apple hints, pepper notes and sweet backing against lemon curd. Ok admittedly that is rapidly lost behind the alcohol burn, but is a hint to the fact that there are some big flavours here. Tellingly, when I first tried it blind, I thought that it could be calvados or some other apple brandy cask finished. It really shines with soft, sweet apple notes in a fashion that usually comes from that kind of cask ageing. I really wanted that unusual character to be preserved and not lost to a lower abv expression.

Now, neat this is is interesting for a couple of sips, but seriously don’t keep drinking it like that or you will kill your taste-buds. This thing can take a metric shitload of water – in fact it is probably the only whisky I have tried that can take so much water that I actual regret the poor quality of water around here as the flavour of the whisky is still good, but I can feel the elements of the hard water coming through. I should invest in a water filter again really.

Anyway, with a little water you have an intense, calvados aged feeling, custard sweet, peppery whisky. With more water it finally hits its stride. There comes out a huge amount of fruit – from subtle strawberry to apricot, to the expected tropical fruit influences of bourbon ageing. During this it never loses that sweet apple taste that first made it appeal to me. You have to add a mad amount of water before that vanishes. It is a serious wave of flavour and here it is a very enjoyable, very bright, very fruity whisky.

Now, it never stops being a young whisky, and showing that younger character – and even with a wealth of water here is a slight alcohol edge to it. So, with water it is still a slightly rough edged one, and without water very rough edged, but you get a whisky that mixes the exuberant fruitiness of a young whisky with the illusion of calvados ageing, and the subtle pepperyness of an older whisky. It is a rough edged gem, but one I enjoy examining.

Background: Welcome, to another tasting note I will confess a possible bias warning to. When Independent Spirit were trying to decide what strength this should be bottled at, I assisted with some tastings to give my opinion. We went with this cask strength in the end. So, yea possible bias. This is one of 50 bottles of this cask strength whisky available that was distilled in 2009 and bottled 2016. This was drunk while listening to the utterly terrifying soundtrack from “It Follows”, I was hoping to counter my possible bias by creating an acoustic counterpoint of potential dread. Good movie as well BTW, a very unsettling, creepy horror film.

Tartan Mortlach 7 year

La Maison Du Whisky: Tartan : Mortlach 7 (Scottish Speyside Single Malt Whisky: 7 Years: 40% ABV)

Visual: Very pale, coloured like apple juice.

Viscosity: Fast medium streaks.

Nose: Apples and pears. Fiery. Light oak. White wine. Water adds pepper and more pears, plus a note of cookie dough sweetness.

Body: Creamy. Tannins. Pepper and fire. Vanilla. Water adds more pepper and some oak. Slight cookie dough, white chocolate and banana comes out.

Finish: Oaken and pepper. Creamy. Very creamy coffee. Light apples. Cookie dough. Light nuts.

Conclusion: Young whisky is always interesting, as it seems to rely on having enough character to overcome the fire. This is quite surprising in that rather than matching the fire with a similarly intense flavour and sharp notes, it instead goes for a very restrained and mellow character.

Neat I didn’t find it very interesting, partially for that reason, it was quite peppery with a few traditional speyside pear and apple notes, but it was lost behind the fire. There was a slight white wine note, but not much so.

Water and time brings the whisky much more into balance, the water reins the fire in somewhat. There is now a soft sweetness that you can finally notice, a soft of soft cookie dough. It really is not intended as a huge whisky, the pepper spice still leads the whisky in and out, but you get more time with the relaxing mid point.

Here it is very easy going, very gentle, with just the right amount of water you get a light almost ethereal experience, where you get the delicate sweet and fruit notes. It calls to mind the light end of the cream liqueurs market with make spirit fruitiness.

I tend to be more towards the big and booming whisky, but given enough time this really grew on me – very well crafted for the gentle style, it feels like one that you could have over a long conversation and enjoy every moment. It needs just the right time, water and circumstance, but when you get it there is a fine whisky for that moment.

Background: It was 48 hours before Burn’s Night. So time for some whisky tasting at Independent Spirit. This was the first of five whiskys on offer that night. Due to it being a group tutored tasting this is much more likely to be influenced by other opinions due to the power of suggestivity. Still, a chance to try a bunch of new whisky was far too good to pass up.

J & A Mitchells: Longrow: Gaja Barolo Cask (Scottish Campbeltown Single Malt Whisky: 7 Years Old: 55.8%ABV)

Visual: Thick gold.

Viscosity: A smattering of middling streaks form after a few moments.

Nose: Vanilla and spice, light pencil shavings. Rounded oak and a hint of peat. The peat becomes more distinct with water and adds slight grassiness and honeycomb.

Body: Smooth, rich blackcherry and peat. Sweet syrup, a tender meat texture like aged beef. Raspberry. Water ands toffee and raisins.

Finish: More peat, sherried raisins. Steak. Alcohol burn becomes noticeable here. Water adds a malts element to the air and light chocolate.

Conclusion: Possibly one of the greatest whiskys I’ve tasted, and intense yet balanced mix of peat, spice and fruit. It is wonderful neat, and can open up magnificently with water.

This whisky perfectly marries many distinct elements, and despite its youth it gives amazing quality to each element. A true treat like a high class dessert, a steak dinner and fine wine all rolled into one.

So yeah, give it a try.

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