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: 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: Glenrothes 1990 SMWS 30.95 (26-year-old, "Opera in sequins")

Glenrothes 1990 SMWS 30.95Color: Old gold

Nose: Biting and spicy at first, becomes more gentle after ten minutes in the glass. Cinnamon with timid hints of vanilla. Earthy nuts. (Water brings out more of the sweet vanilla. There's a fruitiness now, too. Dark cherry jam.)

Taste: Warms the mouth in a pleasant way. Slightly sweet with vanilla again, paired with walnuts beneath a prominent spicy note. (With water it is sweeter. Definitely dark cherries now. Together with the nuts it reminds me of Black Forest gateau. Hints of coffee, too.)

Finish: Long. Relatively sweet at first, dry later with smoky tobacco.

Comments: This is one of those whiskies that gain from resting in the glass. Water improved it for me as well. It became softer yet more complex, with the aromas easier to distinguish from one another. I'd say it's a challenging whisky... it certainly was for me. Luckily it is also really good.

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

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