Lately, long-serving British indie bottler Berry Bros. & Rudd created quite a buzz in the whisky scene with the release of “The Nordic Casks”. Ever since its launch, this four-piece selection of premium bottlings from Fary Lochan (Denmark), High Coast (Sweden), Myken (Norway), and Kyrö (Finland) was subject to a lot of discussion – first because of the high quality of the offered sips; second because of the whereabouts of the featured distilleries; and third because of the ambitious price tags attached to the bottles. Personally, I did not mind the latter all too much. In the end, I bought two “The Nordic Casks” releases straight away and I might still get the remaining ones at a later point. But that is just a side note here. After all, this post focusses on another bunch of malts, namely the Scotch whiskies in Berry Bros & Rudd’s “Autumn 2021” outturn. The quintet encompasses a tasteful Teaninich Vintage 2009, a well-rounded Tullibardine Vintage 1993, an impressive The GlenAllachie Vintage 2008, a sherried Glentauchers Vintage 2009, and last but certainly not least a big n’ bold Caol Ila Vintage 2009. Quite a colorful lot … and a good one, too!
Teaninich Vintage 2009 Small Batch
(Single Malt Scotch Whisky • Highlands • 46%)
Teaninich is one of those underdog Highlands distilleries, whose whiskies don’t find their way into my glass all too often. But when they do, they usually give me lots of joy – like this 12 years old Small Batch release from Berry Bros & Rudd. The white wine-colored spirit has a dry-ish nose full of fruity and zesty aromas: citrus jelly, apple slices, and lime peel. Plus fluffy muffin and creamy vanilla. On the tongue, the drop feels light and fresh; the dryness from the nosing has mostly vanished at this stage. The key flavors include lotsa peer and green apple as well as gooseberry, lime, rice puff, and wood shavings. During the medium long finish, a certain grassiness and a bright woodiness make themselves known, too. They add a nice twist to the bright “fruits n’ white choc”-styled finale.
Tullibardine Vintage 1993 Single Cask
(Single Malt Scotch Whisky • Highlands • 48.8%)
It’s clear from the very first sniff: The years have left their mark on this gracefully aged Highlands malt from Tullibardine Distillery. The bouquet is settled and laid-back; instead of bursting out of the nosing glass with full force, the aromas slowly unfold without any hurry. First and foremost, I smell all kinds of bright notes: lemon zest, pear crunch, almond cake, pineapple chunk, white chocolate, and champagne mousse. Additionally, there is the fine spiciness of powdered white pepper. And also a mild woodiness. The palate continues right where the nose left off. It provides a well-equilibrated selection of flavors, all of which are light, fruity, zesty, and sweetish. I taste fluffy pancake, whipped cream, flambéed pear, spritzy citrus, and white vermouth. Plus something pine-y or resin-y. Furthermore, there’s crisp green grapes and delicate apple peel. The finish is medium long and – as was to be expected – wonderfully balanced out. The key notes in it are lemon zest, pineapple juice, prosecco sparkle, and crunchy pear. Last but not least, this well composed flavor symphony is rounded off by few thinly cut ginger flakes and a spoonful of sweet honey.
The GlenAllachie Vintage 2008 Single Cask
(Single Malt Scotch Whisky • Speyside • 60.2%)
Here comes another top-class indie bottling from this prospering Speyside distillery! It makes me wonder: Is there even a limit to the number of high-quality casks that are currently dozing away in The GlenAllachie’s warehouses? It seems like their repertoire is almost limitless … anyway: This particular expression was matured for 13 years in a sherry butt. It has a dense and heavy character that feels almost gooey at times. To the nose, the whisky offers an abundance of sweet and chewy notes, including almond paste, vanilla pudding, toffee bites, and honey cake. Also pistachios, lemons, and delicate apples. On the tongue, more yellow and orange fruits come into play. Now I get lots of jellied oranges, caramelized pears, canned pineapples, and soft peaches – all topped with a generous amount of whipped cream and honey. These sensations usher in a bright, golden finish of considerable length. Besides the afore-mentioned lemons, apples, and pineapples, I also taste squeezy red berries and sugared brambles. Underneath, there is a solid base made from cappuccino-soaked sponge finger biscuits. It sets a great stage for the other notes to appear on – and shine!
Glentauchers Vintage 2009 Single Cask
(Single Malt Scotch Whisky • Speyside • 59.7%)
A sherried Speysider with a PX finish on top – now that sound promising! And indeed, this Glentauchers 12 Years Old from Berry Bros. & Rudd is quite a treat. It starts off with a yummy bouquet full of roasted hazelnuts, crushed cocoa beans, dried fruits, and toasted raisin bread. After a bit of breathing, a distinct sherry spiciness unfolds, too. When the glass is drawn from the nostrils to the lips, a lovely degustation follows. The middle-weight spirit coats the tongue in a wonderful sweetness: dates, sultanas, cherries, strawberries, truffles, fudge, apple puree, and burnt brittle. As these notes stimulate the taste buds, the strong ABV produces a pleasant tickle now and again. The finish is both strong and memorable. It goes on for a good while and leaves behind some really nice sensations: from walnut, caramel, and wild honey to cardamom, vanilla, and noisette chocolate.
Caol Ila Vintage 2009 Single Cask
(Single Malt Scotch Whisky • Islay• 51.9%)
Islay galore! Twelve year rest in a classic hoggie have made this over-proof Caol Ila a total crowd pleaser for smokeheads. The nose is filled to the brim with steaming tar, coal-charred wood, crushed black pepper, sea-sprayed planks, and – as a contrast to these whiffs – bright vanilla milk and mushy red apples. In the mouth, the whisky unleashes a flood of sweet and smoky notes. There’s salty lye rolls on the one side and sugared puff pastry on the other. In between, there’s apples, lemons, and papayas. Plus herbs-infused cough candy. The peat level is a little lower here than it was in the nostrils; but don’t worry: You will still be in for a good, strong Islay slap in the face, of course! The medium to long-lasting aftertaste is licorice-y, minty, and ashy. It puts a big and bold end to this highly enjoyable smoker!
Teaninich 2009 (Single M. / Highl. / 12yo / Hogshead / 46% / ~70 Euro)
Tullibardine 1993 (Single M. / Highl. / 28yo / Hogshead / 48.8% / ~220 Euro)
The GlenAllachie 2008 (Single M. / Speys. / 13yo / Butt / 60.2% / ~90 Euro)
Glentauchers 2009 (Single M. / Speys. / 13yo / Hogshead / 59.7% / ~90 Euro)
Caol Ila 2009 (Single M. / Islay / 12yo / Hogshead / 51.9% / ~90 Euro)
Berry Bros. & Rudd @ Web: https://www.bbr.com/
Berry Bros. & Rudd @ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/berrybrosruddspirits/
Kirsch Import @ Web: https://kirschwhisky.de/
Kirsch Import @ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kirschwhisky/
*** Whisky samples kindly provided by Kirsch Import. ***