Tag Archive: 9 Year


Game Of Throne: House Lannister: Lagavulin: 9 Year (Scottish Islay Single Malt Whisky: 9 Year: 46% ABV)

Visual: Medium darkened gold. Fast thick streaks come from the spirit.

Nose: Smoked fish skins. Peaty. Smoked beef. Lightly medicinal and salty. Dried beef slices. Slight brown sugar. Brown bread. Slight golden syrup. Similar with water.

Body: Smooth and warming. Slight charring. Brown bread. Salt. Dried beef slices. Alcohol is more present if held. Chocolate. Cherries. Water makes more bready. Some white and red grapes.

Finish: Chocolate. Slightly dry. Soot. Dust-balls. Dried beef. Slight cherries. Lightly medicinal. Light sherry touch. Water adds slight sulphur and malt drinks. Slight peanut butter.

Conclusion: Man this is good. Though, as is nigh always true these days, I am glad I gave it a few weeks to air after opening before doing notes. The first few drams I had of it were good but very much sub the quality expected from a Lagavulin compared to the standard 16 year expression. Now, this still doesn’t reach the heights of that night perfect dram, but now definitely earning its place in the line up.

It has the dried meat, slight smoky, lightly medicinal Lagavulin character and is fairly smoothly delivered despite the traditional 46% abv alcohol bump.

What makes it stand out on its own, rather than as a lesser imitation of the 16 is the slight bit more presence from the sweeter notes. There’s sweet cherry, brown sugar and even some chocolate notes which was very unexpected for an Islay. It is only slightly sweeter but that gives more contrast and a slightly easier going style despite all the Islay notes. In some ways it feels close to the Distillers edition in that use of sweetness, if not quite as awesome.

Water smooths it even more, but also generally mutes things a bit, so I would recommend taking this one neat. Still, generally very nice – the only thing that keeps it from being up there with the best is a slightly more neutral, malt drink like middle that doesn’t express itself as well as either the peatier or the smokier notes. Later on, with water, there was even a mild peanut butter like note which wasn’t horrible, but similarly did not quite work.

Still a bloody good whisky, and the sweeter side of Lagavulin.

Background: So, Game of Thrones is still stupidly popular right? Nothing happened in the final season to put people off. This tasting notes is still relevant and hip right? Anyway, totally had to grab this one – Lagavulin is probably my favourite distillery, so a nine year expression of it, brand new for the GOT line, definitely caught my eye. Not terribly priced either all things considered. I put off opening it for a while as I had a few Islay bottles already open, but finally its time has come! Went back to New Model Army – The Ghost Of Cain for music for this, my music taste continues towards the more political again in these strange times. Yet another one grabbed from Independent Spirit.

CC Balmenach 2004

Gordon and Macphail : Connoisseurs Choice: Balmenach: 2004 (Scottish Speyside Single Malt Whisky: 9 years: 46% ABV)

Visual: Slightly brackish grain.

Visual: Fast thick streaks.

Nose: Thick and pungent. Heather. Lime. Pencil shavings. Light smoke and sulphur. Peppered beef. Water makes more grassy and toffee.

Body: Soft vanilla. Moss and greenery. Toffee. heather. Malt chocolate. Beefy back. With water becomes treacle and honey. Grassy and slightly soured.

Finish: Light medicinal. Salt. Vanilla and toffee. Malt chocolate. Peppered beef. Water adds sour dough touch.

Conclusion: It’s always an exciting and mildly nerve inducing experience going for one of the lesser known distilleries. Excitement comes in blazing a trail little travelled, nerve inducing comes as you are worried that you may just have brought back 70cl of alcoholic piss. Or Tamdhu.

This is an interesting find, pungent on opening, and it doesn’t seem to neatly fit into any one whisky area’s expectations. It is grassy, almost mossy in fact, thick textured but with a sweet toffee back , and yet also with light medicinal touches and salt in the finish. Very light but there. If I may be excused one of my horrifyingly bad analogies – it kind of tastes like a sweet toffee swamp. Ok, that sounded really bad, let’s try that again, bear with me .. Hmm, it is like a big ball of salted toffee that has fallen through a moss pit.

I may give up on analogies. New years thingy. Given up. Completely. Honest.

While this is not one of the all time greats it is a robust whisky, and without a lot of the harsh extreme flavours that come with a lot of the big whiskys. It has mellow grassiness, heather flavour, sweet easy going base, but thick and with medicinal hints. Kind of the easy going whisky for someone who only has the barest grasp on what easy going means.

Any which way, while it is not a world shaker, I have no regrets to having a bottle. A very solid general drinking whisky.

Background: Bottled 2013, so I am guessing 9 years, may be 8. This is part of my effort to try more distilleries I have yet to try, so I grabbed a bunch – mainly miniatures with this one being the exception. This one is a distillery used mainly as producing elements for blended whisky, but good old Gordon and Macphail have some independently bottled expressions.

Cairdeas Port Wood

Laphroaig: Cairdeas: Port Wood (Scottish Islay Single Malt Whisky: 9 years: 51.3% ABV)

Visual: The colour of rose wine.

Viscosity: Medium sized thick streaks.

Nose: Rose wine. Peat. Light medicinal touch. Salt. Leather and beef slices.

Body: Rose wine and plums. Salt. Medicinal. Alcohol burn neat. Beef slices. Red grapes and spices. Raisins. Custard sweetness and toffee.

Finish: Light alcohol. Beef. Salt. Spiced rum. Raisins. Light charring. Fruitcake.

Conclusion: In words I never expected to associate with a Laphroaig whisky Fruity must have been pretty high on the list. They are a lot of things, big. Medicinal, peaty and booming. Now…fruity? Here, both in colour and taste you seem to get a rose wine style characteristic resulting in a flavour half way between rose wine and medicinal. It’s a hell of a contrast, huge and full.

You don’t get much of a hint in the aroma, there is some wine touches, but mainly plays with the standard Laphroaig fair. The base of the whisky still is that full medicinal and salty Laphroaig, but the extra finish has brought lovely raisins, rose wine, and plums. They are extra notes rather than the main base, but this fruitiness gives a whole new range to explore. I love the dark fruit weight and fruitcake richness but they in no way hurt the Islay character.

The mix results in a wine whisky of extreme range, you actually get lighter notes that somehow still manage to survive despite the weighty base and these notes give the rose wine characteristics. The full port wood influence is seen the more weighty fruitcake notes and it works well with the sheer heavy nature of Islay whiskies.

This, as you can probably guess form the above, is very unusual, and very nice. Many may find it contrary to their expectations as I have not run into another Laphroaig with this styling, but that is what makes it so interesting. If it had sacrificed some of the main Laphroaig elements to achieve it I would have been less kind, but there is no danger of that here.

Very well balanced, if by balanced you mean sheer assault with complexity. If you get the chance try this, it is a thing to behold.

Background: This may be a bit of a shorter tasting note that usual as I got to sample this at the Bristol Whisky show 2013. I was not planning to do any tastings at the show, rather enjoy some time with friends and good whisky, but the chance to tasting note this was too good to pass up. While most whisky at the show was included in the ticket price, this required picking up an extra token to purchase. As a Laphroaig fan I considered it worth it. Cairdas apparently means friendship and this bottling is made for a festival each year, and sold via their website to “Friends of Laphroaig” or so some googling says, I could not say for sure. Also the age I grabbed from the web, saying 8 years in bourbon and 14 months in port finish, again take with the grain of salt that using google as a research tool should require.

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