Tag Archive: Hepburn’s Choice

Hepburn’s Choice: Glenburgie 8 Year (Scottish Speyside Single Malt Whisky: 8 Year: 46% ABV)

Visual: Pale greened spirit.

Nose: Jelly alcohol feel. Toffee. Lime jelly. Sage. Pencil shavings. Peppery. Water brings out a menthol character.

Body: Clean vanilla. Smooth. Fudge. Menthol. Lime sweets. Lightly oily. Earthy herbs. Water adds smooth toffee and nut oils.

Finish: Caramel. Slight oak. Dried herbs. Water adds nut oils. Praline touch. Light salt.

Conclusion: This is gentle and soothing, which is odd as the first impressions I got of this was of a jelly like thick alcohol aroma that made me wonder if we were going to get something rough as fuck. Thankfully as it turns out, we were not.

What we get instead is a mix of gentle vanilla and toffee sweetness with soothing herbal notes. I can’t quite put my finger on the herbal notes to pin down how to describe them – they are savoury, feel slightly earthy, root like, very natural tasting and slightly dried. It feels like something that would be put in a drink to help you get a good nights sleep.

It is reasonably thick, slightly oily and herbal. Gentle flavours but with a robust texture. It doesn’t feel like a must drink dram, but does feel like a nice nightcap whisky. Which is appropriate as I’m having it last thing at night and it is feeling perfect for that moment.

Water drops the alcohol aroma down and really brings out the herbal character – by itself the herbal notes may have ended up a bit much, but thankfully the sweet backing helps everything just slide down.

A very different, easy drinking dram. Not a must have classic but very gentle and welcoming. I hope I find more from the distillery as I think it deserves more investigation.

Background: Another distillery I have yet to try, in nice 20cl format! Not that many Scottish single malt distilleries I haven’t tried now. Unless you include dead distilleries, in which there are loads but generally I can’t afford them. Saw this in the Whisky Shop in Bath, and after a quick check to confirm it was one of the distilleries I had yet to try I snapped it up. I like the 20cl format, small enough that it is fairly cheap to try compared to a full bottle, but with enough spirit that you have a bit of an explore with it compared to a standard miniature. Went with Epic Beard Men – This Was Supposed To Be Fun for background music.

Hepburn's Choice Braeval 12 Year

Hepburn’s Choice: Braeval: 12 Year (Scottish Speyside Single Cask Single Malt Whisky: 12 Years: 46% ABV)

Visual: Thick grain to gold.

Viscosity: Mostly fast thick streaks.

Nose: Lime. Stewed apricot and raisins. Slightly alcohol spirity. Grain cereals. Water makes more cereal orientated.

Body: Fresh apricot and lime. Make spirit character. Pear drops. Shredded wheat if held on the tongue. Water makes more fiery at tail end, adds light strawberry and smooth custard and toffee up front. More water dims fire again and adds apples.

Finish: Shredded wheat. Alcohol air. Rice. More fiery with water. Malt drinks.

Conclusion: Twelve years? I have to admit I wouldn’t have guessed. This, while definitely whisky, still has a lot of the very fresh faced elements that I would usually associate with make spirit.

So is it bad then? Well, no – for that matter make spirit up to pre three year old soon to be whisky can often be fun, but it is a very unexpected experience for what is a decade plus old whisky.

Is it good then? Well it isn’t bad, though oddly for such a spirity whisky it does seem to work better neat. The spark of the whisky is the fun. Water, well initially it actually exaggerates the rough edges but with enough water it does smooth it out a bit. However under the brighter notes the base is quite cereal and workmanlike, so losing the brighter edges doesn’t improve the whisky.

Neat however it is a nice mix of stewed fruit, bright make spirit like green fruit and lots of energy. A bit rough, but a bit fun with it.

As it is a comparatively uncommon distillery I wouldn’t say seek it out as it is a mixed bag, and there are better that are easier to find – but taken neat it is an interesting whisky.

Background: This was kindly brought back from Scotland for my by my parents. Many thanks! Braeval is another distillery I had not tried before, and my attempt to try as many different distilleries as I can is progressing well. This is one of 523 bottles taken from a Sherry butt. Drunk while listening to some “Feed The Rhino” Because I like loud angry music. No real link to the whisky.

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