Tasting note: Glenmorangie Spìos

Glenmorangie SpìosColor: Amber

Nose: Interesting start with fir needles, herbs and floral notes, liquorice and mint. Sweeter after the first sip, with vanilla and roasted almonds.

Taste: Warming caramel sweetness at first, but it quickly gets more spicy with cinnamon and even pepper.

Finish: Long-lasting fresh mint and toffee.

Comments: I quite like this whisky. It's more spicy than expected but well-balanced with sweeter notes. The Spìos benefits from letting it breath a little while before drinking.

Rating: I rated this whisky 85 out of 100.
(Nose 22, Taste 21, Finish 21, Balance 21)

View on Whiskybase

Tasting note: Glenfarclas 2008 (8-year-old, Christmas Edition)

Glenfarclas 2008 Christmas EditionColor: Deep gold

Nose: Raisins, apple juice and cinnamon. The alcohol is still noticeable in this relatively young whisky.

Taste: Creamy mouth feel, if you take a big sip. Vanilla, followed by dark chocolate and spices.

Finish: Medium in length. Dark chocolate and a bitter fruitiness persist the longest.

Comments: Nice sherried whisky. Neither complex nor strong, but very enjoyable nevertheless -- especially for the price! Drinking it to music by Doyle Bramhall II.

Rating: I rated this whisky 83 out of 100.
(Nose 20, Taste 21, Finish 21, Balance 21)

View on Whiskybase

"The Veil" by Doyle Bramhall II, off his album "Rich Man" (2016):

Tasting note: Ardbeg Grooves (Committee Release 2018)

Ardbeg Grooves Committee Release 2018Color: Russetmuscat

Nose: In addition to the expected smoke, there is a lot of sweet fruitiness, more so than in the regular Ardbeg expressions. Taking note of a slight hint of sourness, I associate it with freshly cut grapefruits. There is paprika powder and peppery wood on top of the initial sweetness, too. Overall, the nose disappoints a little though, as it comes across relatively weak for a >50% Islay whisky.

Taste: Caramelised sugar, peaty wood, and oranges now. It is certainly less peaty than, for example, the Corryvreckan, but that doesn't need to be a bad thing. Let's dig deeper: Maritime saltiness, a noticeable barrel influence (but no dominant red wine influence), peanuts and paprika crisps. With its round taste it's easy to drink and not overly complex on the palate. Depending on what you expect from your bottle of single malt whisky, that can be a good thing or a bad thing, I guess. I like the palate better than the nose.

Finish: Not long. The good: Lemons, dry oak, salt and spices. The bad: More ashy than smoky.

Comments: Interesting yet smooth Ardbeg bottling. Weaker than I had expected given the 51.6% abv. On that level it doesn't compare well to cask strength Islay whiskies. The wine cask only timidly reveals itself, making it appear less bold in comparison to other recent whiskies that had wine finishes. Very enjoyable to drink for sure, but nothing I'd want to buy a second bottle of.

Rating: I rated this whisky 85 out of 100.
(Nose 21, Taste 22, Finish 20, Balance 22)

View on Whiskybase

Tasting note: Arran 2000 SMWS 121.101 (17-year-old, "Honey & vanilla roasted rhubarb")

Arran 2000 SMWS 121.101 Honey & vanilla roasted rhubarbColor: Amber

Nose: Makes a pretty sweet entrance with vanilla, honey and bananas leading the way. This is accompanied by a slight spiciness and sourness that's well-described by the "rhubarb" reference in the whisky's name. Water adds ginger into the mix. The banana is more prominent now.

Taste: Bitter-sweet grapefruits and sour rhubarb, not much else so far to be honest. Let's add water... There's a bit of vanilla, caramel and dry oak now. Still mostly bitter and sour though.

Finish: Medium in length, dominated by bitter citrus fruits... bitter lemon?

Comments: Slightly off-balance whisky from the "Spicy & dry" category at SMWS. Certainly not a bad whisky, although it could have benefited from sweeter notes as a counterweight to its sharpness on the palate.

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

View on Whiskybase

Tasting note: Cragganmore 2004 SMWS 37.90 (12-year-old, "The path less trodden")

Cragganmore 2004 SMWS 37.90 "The path less trodden"Color: Chestnutoloroso sherry

Nose: Spices, cinnamon and glue. Behind that, vanilla. I didn't notice any change after adding water.

Taste: Spicy chilli and curry come first for me, followed by sweet oak notes and orange peel. No considerable change in taste with water, but the mouth feel gets thicker, stickier.

Finish: Long with orange peel, spices and caramelised sugar.

Comments: Okay-ish dram that doesn't quite fit into SMWS's category of "Deep, rich & dried fruits", in my humble opinion. More like "Spicy & sweet".

Rating: I rated this whisky 80 out of 100.
(Nose 20, Taste 21, Finish 20, Balance 19)

View on Whiskybase