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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Tasting note: Aberfeldy 2008 SMWS 60.26 (8-year-old, "Mojitos and muscle rub")

Aberfeldy 2008 SMWS 60.26Color: Jonquiripe corn

Nose: Tropical fruits, most prominently pineapple and banana, with a bit of citrus and mint which I guess the "mojito" refers to.

Taste: Sweet and again fruity, ripe oranges and bananas. Although this is a young whisky bottled at 61%, the alcohol isn't biting. When you swallow, there is a peppery spiciness in the back of the throat, but it doesn't last long. Water brings out more of the sweet citric flavours (lime).

Finish: Relatively brief. Sweet with vanilla and lime. The oak doesn't show itself really.

Comments: Solid young whisky from the "Young & Spiritely" category at SMWS. I like its sweetness but obviously the whisky lacks complexity, though that's fine considering it's a single cask that had a mere eight years to age.

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

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Tasting note: Octomore Masterclass_08.2 (2008/2017, 8yo)

Octomore Masterclass_08.2 2008/2017Color: Auburn

Nose: Earthy peat with apricot jam. There are hints of smoked meat, grass and flowers... barbecue in a hayfield? But what jumps out at you the most beside the very pleasant peat is the fruitiness and sweetness from ripe oranges and berries.

Taste: Wonderful right from the first sip! Gentle smoke with plenty of oak and dark chocolate. Sweet red fruits, cherries and strawberries, mixed with slightly bitter yellow fruits, oranges and apricots.

Finish: The peat stays with you but does so in the background, leaving room for cherries and bitter chocolate to shine through. Red wine grapes and dry oak later.

Comments: This is a lovely dram with peat that is gentle and perfectly balanced alongside sweet aromas. No water required at all.

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

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Sedo sells $77 million worth of domains in 2008

SedoDomain aftermarket Sedo has finally published its secondary domain market study for the year 2008. I'm always looking forward to these reports because Sedo is a large marketplace and hence it has access to lots of data about recent domain sales and transactions. Although Sedo's statistics don't represent the entire domain industry, I think they're a good indicator of the overall situation and when compared to historical stats the numbers should give you an idea of the recent developments and trends in the market.

According to the report, .com remains the most popular generic TLD (gTLD) with a massive 76% share of gTLD sales. DotCom is followed by .net (9%), .info (7%), .org (5%) and .biz (3%). The German TLD .de has been the most frequently sold country-code TLD (ccTLD), it has a 61% ccTLD market share. I think this number doesn't apply to the domain industry as a whole, considering that Sedo is a German company and that it's likely Sedo has a lot more German domain buyers and sellers than the other domain marketplaces or auction houses. Still, .de remains the most popular ccTLD in front of .co.uk (United Kingdom), .es (Spain), .fr (France) and .cn (China), for example. It is interesting, in my opinion, that Europe's domain extension .eu has made up as much as 13% of Sedo's ccTLD sales in 2008. Being based in Germany myself I can tell that DotEU is an increasingly popular and recognized top-level domain, but the sales volume of Europe's extension is still perceived to be low. At least I don't know of many DotEU sales.

But let's now look at Sedo's total sales revenues: In 2008 Sedo sold a total of more than $77.4 million worth of domain names, up from $72.1 million in 2007 and from roughly $11 million in 2004. This marks a 7% increase over 2007. When looking at the quarterly stats you can see that Sedo sold most domains in the second and third quarters. In the last quarter sales revenues dropped. Sedo says in the report that the financial crisis might be one reason for that development.

No doubt, these stats are interesting, but to me it's most important to know details about specific domain sales. As an investor and broker I'd like to know what types of domain names have been in highest demand recently and what the sales prices have been like.

Sedo reports that a total of 17,643 .com domains changed hands through its marketplace or brokerage service last year. That is 5,000 more than in 2007. But the average sale price of .com domains went down drastically: It sank to $2,512 (down from $5,016 in 2007). That is also why the total value of .com domain sales shrank to $44 million (down from $62.2 million in 2007). All of the other gTLDs' average prices went down, too. Personally, I would have liked Sedo to include the median sales prices in the report, because these are usually more meaningful, but the sales numbers nevertheless paint a gloomy picture for domain sellers - at least temporarily.

Fortunately, the sales revenues from country-code TLDs look a bit better. Again it is Germany's .de TLD that is on top of the list: The number of .de domain sales rose to almost 10.6 million (7.4 million in 2007) and the average sale price of .de domain names increased, too. It went up to $1,719 per domain (up from $1,493). Thus, the 2008 sales revenues from .de domain sales amount to a total of just under $10.6 million, which again marks a nice increase over the previous year.

Worthwhile to note that Sedo's highest-priced domain sale of 2008 has been Kredit.de, which found a new owner at $1,176,672. (I'm sure this has had a great influence on the .de domain stats, so again the median prices would be good to know.) At $1,015,000, Invest.com has the number two spot on the list, and Printer.com has been the third-highest sale of the year with a price of $650,000.

More information can be found on Sedo's website, the report can be downloaded as a PDF here.