Tasting note: Bunnahabhain 2003 (14yo, Pedro Ximénez Finish - Limited Release)

Bunnahabhain 2003 Pedro Ximénez Finish - Limited ReleaseColor: Tawny

Nose: Plenty of sweet dried fruits, raisins and dark cherries. But wait, there is even more sweetness coming with milk chocolate and salted caramel. Somewhat balanced by hints of walnuts, but yes, it's overwhelmingly sweet.

Taste: Syrupy mouth feel with strong aromas of salted caramel and honey, now accompanied by dark chocolate and wooden notes from the cask. It's less sweet now with the 54.8% alcohol content finally showing its presence. A few drops of water take the edge off, revealing creamy toffee and malt.

Finish: Long. Sweet with raisins at first, more spicy and malty later.

Comments: Wonderful whisky. I especially like the combination of malt and creamy salt caramel that I got on the palate after adding just a tiny bit of water. If you like whiskies that are on the sweeter side, you will love this one.

Rating: I rated this whisky 91 out of 100.
(Nose 23, Taste 23, Finish 23, Balance 22)

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Tasting note: Glenfarclas 21-year-old

Glenfarclas 21-year-oldColor: Deep copper

Nose: Fresh fruits with green apples, oranges and, somewhat sweeter, ripe pineapples. The nose also has a minty freshness to it, but it's well-balanced alongside hints of sugary cinnamon spices.

Taste: This is where the whisky's sherried character becomes apparent. Dried fruits with orange peel, vanilla and toffee. Again, hints of mint. You can tell this is a mature whisky as it got quite a bit of cask influence (hints of oak) even though it was not bottled at cask strength.

Finish: Long with oak and a slightly bitter ginger spiciness.

Comments: Wonderfully crafted and well-balanced whisky that only improves if given enough time to breath. Not as much cask influence or as sherried as the 25-year-old, but its light sherry character works nicely alongside the fresh fruity notes this dram has to offer. The fact that it is very fairly priced makes it all the more appealing, especially for those who would not otherwise be able to afford a 21-year-old single malt whisky.

Rating: I rated this whisky 89 out of 100.
(Nose 23, Taste 22, Finish 22, Balance 22)

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Tasting note: Glenglassaugh Pedro Ximenéz Sherry Wood Finish

Glenglassaugh Pedro Ximinéz Sherry Wood FinishColor: Chestnutoloroso sherry

Nose: Strong on sweet dried fruits, raisins, with hints of cherry and an orangey freshness. Hazelnuts.

Taste: Light and sweet with vanilla and cherries.

Finish: Medium. Caramel at first, then dry with wood and lots of hazelnuts in the end.

Comments: I like the nose and the hazelnut finish, but the body is rather weak. NAS whisky without complexity, which is fine given its current retail price of roughly EUR 45.

Rating: I rated this whisky 81 out of 100.
(Nose 21, Taste 19, Finish 21, Balance 20)

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Tasting note: Highland Park 2002 SMWS 4.235 (14-year-old, "Beach bonfire embers")

Highland Park 2002 SMWS 4.235 Beach bonfire embersColor: White wine

Nose: Lemon slices with a very light touch of smoke. Above that lingers a floral note with vanilla and a salty breeze you might associate with an autumn walk on the beach.

Taste: Salty liquorice with soft smoke. Thin mouth feel. Water improves the balance by introducing green tea, but the peat remains subdued.

Finish: Getting dry quickly. You get more peat now, but it's still only "lightly peated" as suggested by the categorization over at SMWS.

Comments: Solid whisky that does nothing wrong but doesn't really stand out either. Don't overthink it, enjoy it at the beach.

Rating: I rated this whisky 82 out of 100.
(Nose 21, Taste 21, Finish 20, Balance 20)

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Tasting note: Dalmore 2008 SMWS 13.49 (9-year-old, "Apple olive oil cake")

Dalmore 2008 SMWS 13.49 Apple olive oil cakeColor: Pale gold

Nose: Apple juice and raspberries with a touch of caramel.

Taste: Apple tart with plenty of cinnamon. Relatively spicy, perhaps coming from the 60.3% alcohol content. You can really tell this is a young cask strength whisky. There are hints of caramel and honey, but they're overshadowed by the cinnamon spiciness. Water brings the spiciness down a notch without revealing any additional flavours.

Finish: Medium in length with stale apples and damp oak.

Comments: Average outing from the "Spicy & Sweet" category at SMWS. It's okay really, just not memorable at all and somewhat unfinished.

Rating: I rated this whisky 77 out of 100.
(Nose 20, Taste 19, Finish 19, Balance 19)

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