Tasting note: Bruichladdich 2002 (14-year-old, Jay Doherty Valinch)

Bruichladdich 2002 Jay Doherty ValinchColor: Tawny

Nose: Soft and round right from the beginning, no biting scents despite the Laddie's 60.6% alcohol content. Ripe dark fruits come out at first, but they're quickly accompanied by earthy, even mossy, notes that make for an interesting mix. The nose promises a lot of (dry) sherry. Finally, oranges and spices, cinnamon.

Taste: Dry sherry and the fruity sweetness of dark cherries and raisins. Still, there is that earthy taste, hazel nuts too. Creamy caramel tops the taste off.

Finish: Quite sweet at first (toffee), drier and more earthy later. While the taste dissipates relatively quickly, a long-lasting dry feeling on the palate remains.

Comments: This is a wonderful complex 14-year-old whisky. No water required at all. Give it a couple of minutes in the glass though as it becomes more creamy after a little while.

Rating: I rated this whisky 90 out of 100.
(Nose 23, Taste 24, Finish 21, Balance 22)

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Tasting note: Talisker 10-year-old

Talisker 10-year-oldColor: Deep copper

Nose: Fresh citrus fruits and a lot of honey paired with a light smoke aroma. Seaweed.

Taste: Salty liquorice embedded in a malty sweetness. Dry smoked oak, but this is no smoke bomb. Well-balanced.

Finish: Oak and dark chocolate, dry and bitter-sweet.

Comments: Very enjoyable 10-year-old whisky that is relatively light on peat and thus a good introduction to smoky whiskies. The sweetness keeps it well-balanced and, given some time to breath, the whisky might surprise you with a grassy note. The finish is relatively short, but the nose and taste make up for it. Pleasant throughout.

Rating: I rated this whisky 86 out of 100.
(Nose 22, Taste 21, Finish 21, Balance 22)

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Tasting note: Aberlour A'bunadh (Batch 55)

Aberlour A'bunadh Batch 55Color: Burnt umber

Nose: Strong sherry with dried fruits (raisins) and a peppery spiciness on top of the sweetness. Cinnamon and oranges.

Taste: The sweetness dominates at first, dark fruits (ripe cherries) with dark chocolate. Creamy in the mouth. Then hints of wood and a burning spiciness coming, perhaps, from the 60.9% alcohol content. Still pleasant and well-rounded though, even without water.

Finish: Medium length finish, still mostly sweet. The spicy notes dissipate quickly, leaving a pleasant dry sherry taste mixed with oak.

Comments: Dark and strong whisky. Sherry bomb with a punch and very fairly priced at EUR 50-60 as of this writing.

P.S.: After adding a drop or two of water, the A'bunadh became even more creamy for me, mostly on stronger caramel and fruity cherry aromas.

Rating: I rated this whisky 88 out of 100.
(Nose 23, Taste 23, Finish 21, Balance 21)

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Tasting note: Edradour 2002 (14yo, Ibisco Decanter)

Color: Chestnutoloroso sherry

Nose: Pungent spiciness in the foreground, the sherry not that present at first. Gets rounder after a couple of minutes in the glass. More sherry now as I begin to smell sweet notes, most notably dried dark fruits. I'm inclined to describe the nose as "peppery sweetness".

Taste: Intense, there is that pepper again, accompanied by tobacco. Definitely a lot of sherry, too. Plums, ripe fruits.

Finish: Long, spicy and slightly bitter (tobacco) with a tad of dark chocolate.

Comments: Rich taste, quite spicy compared to other sherried whiskies. The addition of water takes some of the spicy edge off by pushing the tobacco and pepper notes off their first-row seats, leaving room for espresso and toffee to shine through. This is a fine cask strength whisky indeed.

(If you're looking for a cask strength sherry bomb that is less spicy and more affordable, give the Aberlour a'bunadh a try.)

Rating: I rated this whisky 83 out of 100.
(Nose 22, Taste 21, Finish 20, Balance 20)

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Tasting note: Glenmorangie Signet

Glenmorangie SignetColor: Russetmuscat

Nose: Very round indeed, the alcohol not too present, with sherry, cocoa and vanilla. After a couple of minutes in the glass, a first sip and taking a deep breath, a fruity note emerges. Yellow fruits come to mind, more reminiscent of apricot jam than oranges.

Taste: The cocoa smell turns into a milky chocolate taste, with a slight bitterness hinting at cappuccino. More spicy than you would have expected after the sweet smell.

Finish: Long finish with more bitterness, milk chocolate turns into dark chocolate. Oak at the end.

Comments: Elegant presentation with a beautiful bottle design. Taking the price out of the equation this is a wonderful whisky. Well-balanced between creamy sweetness and spiciness. Take a big sip to fully experience its taste.

Rating: I rated this whisky 88 out of 100.
(Nose 23, Taste 22, Finish 21, Balance 22)

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