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 89 out of 100.
(Nose 22, Taste 23, Finish 22, Balance 22)

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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: 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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