Tasting note: Old Pulteney 2001 SMWS 52.21 (15-year-old, "Tropical breezes fill the sails")

Old Pulteney 2001 SMWS 52.21Color: Deep copper

Nose: Makes a sherry-like entrance with a deep sweetness from raisins and caramel. Moments later I get more of the influence from the red wine finish, dark grapes with a very slight sourness. (Water uncovers some earthy notes.)

Taste: Wow, deep sweetness indeed! Lots of toffee with dried fruits again, raisins and dates. There is some creamy dark chocolate, too. Salt caramel on top of that. Wonderful. (The addition of water adds oranges and berries into the mix.)

Finish: Medium. Dark chocolate with walnuts, dried oranges and dry oak.

Comments: Very enjoyable dram from the "Deep, rich & dried fruits" category at SWMS. After 14 years in a bourbon barrel it was transferred to a first-fill ex-red wine hogshead for a one-year finish. The red wine influence is rather shy though. Could easily be mistaken for a sherry whisky to be honest -- not that there's anything wrong with that! Like this one a lot.

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

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Tasting note: Bruichladdich Br7 (2001/2017, 16-year-old, Elements of Islay)

Bruichladdich Br7 Elements of IslayColor: Burnt umber

Nose: Okay, this one is different. There is lots of smoked bacon but also some kind of funkiness... mould cheese. Thankfully I get more sweetness after a short while, honey and ripe berries. The sherry hogsheads, shy at first, are finally revealing themselves.

Taste: Rich but not overwhelmingly strong despite the 60.4% alcohol content. Nice mouth feel. It has a creamy sweetness to it that I associate with honey again, as well as vanilla and notes of dried fruits. Add to that a pinch of salt. Interesting.

Finish: Sweet first, the vanilla is stronger now. Dry later with cigar smoke.

Comments: This is a very fine whisky. It's complex and interesting especially in the nose and mouth. I'd say it's well-balanced between peat and sweetness, too. It offers quite a few aromas and tastes to explore, but neither of them is too present by itself. The initial cheese smell isn't for me really, but it ended up working rather well once the bourbon barrel and sherry casks kicked in.

Rating: I rated this whisky 89 out of 100.
(Nose 22, Taste 23, Finish 21, Balance 23)

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