It’s the end of another great year of whisky tasting and believe me when I say we’ve tasted some truly great stuff this year. With that in mind, we thought we’d recap on some of our favourite drams tasted in 2018. A great thank you to all of our followers for reading our tasting notes and thoughts on the whiskies/whiskeys we’ve tasted in 2018. We now look forward to another fantastic year of whisky tasting in 2019 – see you there!
The Macallan Quest Collection consists of four No Aged Stated whiskies; Quest, Lumina, Terra and Enigma, all of which have been developed to showcase the Macallan story. The first whisky of the series (Lumina) is a dram we’ve had the pleasure of tasting. The Macallan Enigma is the pinnacle of the collection and has been aged exclusively in European oak sherry-seasoned casks from one cooperage in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain.
NIKKA TAKETSURU 17
We’ve had our fair share of Nikka here on BEXSONN.com and yet, an expression we’ve haven’t posted many tasting notes on is the Taketsuru Pure Malt range. A tribute to Masataka Taketsuru, the father of Japanese whisky and founder of Nikka. This pure malt whisky is a blend of casks hailing from Nikka’s two distilleries in the north of Japan: Yoichi and Miyagikyo. Luckily enough for the Nikka master blenders, they have a large variety of different whisky styles to rely on, allowing them to achieve a high level of balance and complexity, combining fresh and fruity notes of youthful whiskies with the rich evolved character of older ones; aged for a large part in ex-sherry casks.
As mentioned, we’ve had the pleasure of tasting some sublime drams this year and this is definitely one of them! This rare 35 Year Old expression from the Highland distillery is derived from a special three wood assemblage using a Bourbon barrel, a Matusalem 30-year-old Oloroso Sherry butt and a rare vintage 1970 Port Colheita Pipe. Presented in a bespoke crystal decanter crafted by Baccarat, the prestigious French crystal house, and featuring The Dalmore’s iconic ’12-point Royal Stag’ created by leading Scottish silversmiths, Hamilton & Inches.
The 18-year-old expression has, somewhat, become the cornerstone of Yamazaki, tickling the taste buds of those who chose to venture further than the brilliantly balanced 12. That said, those who choose to go just that littler bit further shall reap the rewards of the delectable 25-year-old expression. Matured in Oloroso sherry casks, this single malt from Japan’s Yamazaki distillery has been aged for a quarter of a century to produce a decadently rich whisky. Limited to just 12,000 bottles each year, this 25-year-old is highly sought after.
THE GLENLIVET XXV
We’ve looked at our fair share of The Glenlivet Scotch over the years. However, this dram was just something the little extra special. Glenlivet have used some of their rarest whiskies, all of which have been aged for at least 25 years, to make this batch-produced whisky that is finished in ex-sherry butts. Their team of experts individually select each cask and monitor the whisky in its finishing process to make sure the Oloroso-soaked wood adds the subtlest sherry tones to an intense, silky and elegant whisky. This molten amber liquid is nearly as splendid to hold in your hand as it is to drink. The nose and palate of this 25-year-old expression really tickles your senses. This opulent whisky, which is the oldest expression in The Glenlivet’s core range, is just something that extra special.
BUNNAHABHAIN PX 2003
Bunnahabhain are fondly well-known for their wonderfully gentle and warming taste, which differentiates them from other Islay whiskies. This limited edition single malt from Bunnahabhain distillery spent eleven years in 2nd fill sherry casks following distillation in 2003. In 2014, the liquid was transferred to 1st fill Pedro Ximenez butts for an extra three years maturation. The result is a rich and syrupy Islay single malt, bottled at a cask strength of 54.3% abv, free from chill-filtration and artificial colouring, with each bottle individually numbered.
JOHNNIE WALKER MIDNIGHT BLEND
The Midnight Blend: The fifth and final instalment in the John Walker & Sons Private Collection, the Midnight Blend is a rich and indulgent whisky created to be the ultimate after-dinner drink. Master blender Jim Beveridge dug through some of the oldest casks that the Johnnie Walker team has access to, coming up with a recipe using whiskies at least 28 years old. A triumphant swansong for the range.
MACALLAN EDITION NO.4
Macallan released their fourth instalment of the annual Edition series this year: The Macallan Edition No.4. Like the Edition No.2 & No.3 that we’ve posted tasting notes on in previous years, this No.4 is a result of meticulously selected casks by Master Whisky Maker, Bob Dalgarno. This limited edition whisky has not just been shaped by the use of exceptional casks but also takes its inspiration from the newly built, state of the art Macallan Distillery.
GLENDRONACH 1994 SINGLE CASK
We’ve posted tasting notes on pretty much every GlenDronach expression from their core range, of which included the 8, 12, 15, 18 and 21. They are all truly delectable drops in their own right but their single cask selection is something rather special. Each year, Master Distiller, Billy Walker, specially selects a handful of individual casks from the warehouse at GlenDronach distillery, to be bottled as a ‘Limited Release’. With maturing whiskies that date back as far as 1968, there is an array of cask selections available: from hogsheads to puncheons and butts. With such a vast selection at Mr. Walker’s disposal, each and every cask lends some remarkable varying characteristics that have developed during maturation.
OLD PULTENEY 18
2018 saw Old Pulteney have had something of a reboot. This new collection signalled an evolution for the brand, with a renewed vigour around the maritime malt yet staying true to Old Pulteney’s rich heritage and traditions. This introduction was made to ensure strong consumer relevance and appeal, with the new whiskies consistent with the renowned house style and provenance; yet bringing some new flavours to the fore. Completing the new portfolio was this 18-year-old expression that takes its character and colour entirely from the American oak casks and Spanish sherry butts in which it has been nurtured, delivering a deep amber colour.