Usually, I either buy the whiskies I introduce on BarleyMania myself or borrow them from friends. But every now and then, I also receive a sample from a distillery or from an independent bottler. Although I understand that some of you might question the impartiality of my tasting notes in such cases, I do not consider this a big deal. Cause at the end of the day, I am just a guy who enjoys sipping whisky and writing about it in his spare time. And though I cannot fully rule out the possibility that the allure of a free dram might subconsciously affect me in a favorable way, I can at least assure you that I always try to approach the spirits I review as objectively as possible. This being said, here’s now my tasting notes for two pretty cool whisky samples I received lately: One is Douglas Laing’s Oloroso-finished blended whisky Syndicate 58/6 and the other is Whic’s bourbon-matured Aberlour 21yo from the “Architecture of Taste” series. Hope you enjoy ’em!
(Blended Scotch Whisky • Oloroso finish • 40% • Small batch release)
Composed by Richard “The Nose” Paterson and marketed by Douglas Laing & Co., Syndicate 58/6 is an opulent but affordable premium blend. To establish a perfect harmony between the 18 malts and 4 grains in the recipe, the whisky was given a full year’s rest in Oloroso sherry casks after the vatting. The result is a smooth, elegant and savory pour that drips with fruits and spices. In the nose, I get ripe oranges and light grapes as well as powdered cinnamon and crumbled gingerbread. In the mouth, the liquid then shifts towards a delightful sweetness. The gingerbread disappears and gets replaced by honey-glazed butter biscuits. Additionally, there are more grapes and oranges as well as raisins and almonds. And also some milk chocolate. During the medium-long finish, oak and tobacco chime in as well. For a delicate and dapper 40 per center composed from malts and grains alike, I found the aftertaste of the Syndicate 58/6 to be surprisingly solid. If you are looking for a top-quality dram with upmarket packaging that does not blow a huge hole into your wallet, this one is for you. I bet a lot of people would not believe you that you bought this bottle for less than 35 quid!
Aberlour 21yo “Architecture of Taste”
(Single Malt Scotch Whisky • ex-Bourbon • 59.8% • 122 bottles)
While an Aberlour that never got in touch with sherry staves is not a physical impossibility, it is at least a rare sight. Consequently, this 21-year-old Speysider from Whic’s “Architecture of Taste” range is not a dram you’d get to try every day. And this statement is true for both the liquid’s texture and quality. When sniffed, it provides exactly the bouquet I love in a bourbon-shaped Scotch. Coconut, vanilla and citrus zest go first. Banana, mango and kiwi follow up. Sweetness and fruitiness fall together in a most amazing way, while a few squashed mustard seeds add a unique, fascinating component. The mouthfeel is sparkling and electrifying – a result of the high ABV. The alcohol is not overpowering though. Instead, it forms a strong and unshaken foundation for the sweet, fruity and tropical notes to spread out on: Marble cake with coconut graters. Pineapple slices with white chocolate topping. Banana split with whipped cream. Yummiiieee! Fittingly, the whisky’s long n’ strong finish is highly rewarding as well. Here, I get a lot of coconut, peach, ginger and patisserie. Though it is an impressive 21 years of age, this muscular Aberlour is alive and kicking like a boisterous youngster! A superb sip, for sure!
Syndicate 58/6 (Blended Scotch Whisky / 12yo / 40% / 35 Euro)
Aberlour 21yo by Whic.de (Single Malt Scotch Whisky / 21yo / 59.8% / 140 Euro)
Douglas Laing @ Web: http://www.douglaslaing.com/
Syndicate 58/6 @ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/syndicatescotchwhisky/
Whic.de @ Web: http://www.whic.de/
Whic.de @ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/whic.de/
*** Whisky samples kindly provided by Douglas Laing & Whic. ***