Malt Maniacs E-zine

Malt Maniacs #004

Longmorn Vertical with Craig
prE-pistle #1998/30 by Johannes v/d Heuvel, Holland

You can read more extensive impressions of the Longmorn tasting with Craig in my Liquid Log on Malt Madness, but here's a quick update.

First Autumn Report
prE-pistle #1998/31 by Louis Perlman, USA

Louis' previously infrequent E-pistles are developing into a steady stream of reports on his tasting sessions and latest acquisitions.

Autumn in Holland
prE-pistle #1998/32 by Johannes v/d Heuvel, Holland

Louis and I seem to share a fascination for the weather - and for the way seasonal influences seem to affect our preferences. And since the climates in New York and Amsterdam are similar, we can enjoy the same types of drams at the same time of year.

Adventures & EoZ October Meeting
prE-pistle #1998/33 by Craig Daniels, Australia

Craig shares a few thoughts about the Glenlivet distillery and the Glenlivet 'appelation' which is almost a geographic style by itself.

Second Autumn Report
prE-pistle #1998/34 by Louis Perlman, USA

Featured in this report from our reporter in New York: Auchentoshan, Glenfarclas, Laphroaig, Royal Brackla and Springbank.

Winter 1998 - Micro Report
prE-pistle #1998/35 by Johannes v/d Heuvel, Holland

OK, I admit this is one of the smallest and shittiest reports ever in our E-zine, but as I mentioned earlier, I hate throwing stuff out.

The 20th Century Dolphin
prE-pistle #1998/36 by Craig Daniels, Australia

With the end of the year coming closer, we were all getting in slightly more festive and slightly less serious moods. Craig found something funny by a fellow Australian he wanted to share.

Black Bottle & Stuff
prE-pistle #1998/37 by Louis Perlman, USA

Unlike the title of Louis' E-pistle suggests, the new 'Black Bottle' bottling still hasn't reached the American shores yet. Fortunately, some other stuff worth writing about DID reach the USA.

Wrapping Up 1998
prE-pistle #1998/38 by Johannes v/d Heuvel, Holland

We managed to make it to 38 E-pistles this year. Three times as many as in 1997 - let's hope we'll break the 50 mark in 1999...

Next IssuePrevious Issue

Malt Maniacs #004 - December 31, 1998

We needed just one single web page for all our 1997 E-pistles, but one year onwards we're already at three pages. The submissions are growing bigger and bolder as well - and hopefully better...
After page one and page two here's... PAGE THREE;

However, we still weren't a 'proper' E-zine in 1998 yet.
(Keep in mind that I added these editorial comments later.)
For one thing, we still had 'only' three writers on board; Louis Perlman from New York, Craig Daniels from Adelaide and yours truly from Amsterdam. At the time we didn't realise that our international collective of maltheads would eventually grow to a whopping 24 members in 2006, spread all across the world. (In 2006 the only remaining 'blank spots' on our world map were Africa and South America - but we hope to cover them too eventually.)

If you're not interested in the 'prehistorical' discussions amongst the first proto-maniacs, I suggest you make a virtual jump in time to the year 2002 when we first launched our writings as an E-zine. That was also the year that Serge Valentin from France joined our team.
Over the years he evolved into our most prolific maniac who eventually added his magnificent WhiskyFun website to our mad little collective. Oh, how we've grown...

Enjoy this issue - or jump to next year...

Sweet drams,

Johannes van den Heuvel
Editor Malt Madness / Malt Maniacs

prE-pistle #1998/30 - Longmorn 'Vertical' with Craig
Submitted on 10/09/1998 by Johannes van den Heuvel, Holland

Ah yes! Let's test our new forum by adding a quick report about Craig's visit to Amsterdam...
Craig and his charming wife Rosemary came over all the way from Australia to participate in one of my sessions and chew some fat. Craig proved to be a real expert and taught  my brother Franc and me a thing or two about single malts.
Well - a lot more than one or two things, actually...

The aeroplane of our guests arrived a little late, so my brother and I kick-started the evening in advance with a Balvenie 21yo Port Wood Finish (40%, OB, 70cl). A lot of nose. Not as sweet as I had expected; certainly not as sweet as the Glenmorangie Port. A hint of the blue pearly stuff you find in "liquorice all sorts". A tad too much bitterness in the taste. A magnificent malt, nonetheless. First impressions indicated a score somewhere in the 87-90 region. After Craig's arrival we continued with a 'vertical tasting' of three different Longmorns. The Longmorn 8yo 1989/1997 (43%, Ultimate, 70cl) received an unanimous verdict of 69 points - which was really disappointing, even considering it's relative youthfulness. Craig showed off his malt knowledge by determining the wood (bourbon) simply by looking at the colour of the malt. My brother Franc shared our lack of enthusiasm. The Longmorn 15yo (45%, OB, 100cl) showed a whiff of butter beans. I never picked up that one before, so that may have been a nasal glitch. But it may also have been the result of bottle-to-bottle differences, because Craig claimed this one was better than he remembered. The fifteen had clearly been matured in sherry wood - and my original rating of 81 stands.

The big winner (of course): Longmorn-Glenlivet 1963 (40%, Gordon & MacPhail, 70cl) that Craig brought over from Australia.
It isn't available in Holland - which is a shame. Very rich and complex in nose - one of the nicest and most exuberant aroma's I've ever experienced, in fact. Raisins? Absolutely incredible. After the overwhelming nose-experience the taste fell somewhat short. Based on the wonderful aroma, it would rate somewhere in the lower 90's, but sadly enough it loses points in the taste department. This is a whisky that can't be pinned down in a single session, so I'm not even going to give a preliminary rating here. I'm looking forward to the next chance I get to taste it. Many more malts were drunk that evening, and so were we - eventually. The conversation was so lively that I forgot to make notes most of the time. I don't recall the rest of our consumptions, but I do know I had a lot more fun than these clinical notes express. I'll make sure to keep better notes the next time I have a visitor of Craig's stature.

Anyway, here are my tasting notes on the three Longmorns I sampled with Craig and a 12yo I tried recently;

Longmorn 8yo 1989/1997 (43%, Ultimate, Distilled 14/4/89, Bottled 30/6/97, Cask #6052, Bottle #208) - 69 points
Nose: Not a lot of nose, really. Grassy and 'bourbon' clean. Very little complexity - too young and light.
Taste: Surprisingly strong; but it lacks complexity & development. Malty, with some sweetness. Pleasant & sweet finish, but flat.

Longmorn-Glenlivet 12yo (40%, Gordon & MacPhail, Longmorn-Glenlivet Distilleries Ltd.) - 80 points
Nose: First impressions are very dependent on the occasion. Sometimes rich and fruity, sometimes oily and spicy.
After some time and some water the fruit grows stronger. Hint of smoke. A puzzling nose that notably grows stronger over time.
Taste: Malty. Toffee sweetness, clinging to tongue and palate. Balanced and slightly fruity. Dry, 'puffy'  finish with a pinch of salt.

Longmorn 15yo (45%, OB, Longmorn Distillery, 100cl) - 82 points
Nose: Wonderful complexity. Very round and pleasant. Oily and Nutty; oiliness more pronounced after adding water.
Taste: Woody, hint of bitterness; smoother after some breathing. The afterglow (long, nutty and dry) got a bit "stingy" in the end.

Longmorn-Glenlivet 1963/1996 (40%, Gordon & MacPhail, Bottled 1996, Longmorn-Glenlivet Distilleries Ltd.) - 84 points
Nose: Wonderful bouquet. Very diverse, complex and full of contrasts. Some grass, some raisins, some 'Mac' sweetness and slightly oily.
Taste: Light and surprisingly clean; Very nice on the tongue, but little more.

And Craig, in case you're reading the forum before you fly back home: It sure seems you are having fun out there in Albion.
You could have tasted the Tomatin 10 here, but none of the other Scotch malts you've tasted have passed my tonsils. Some of them I haven't even heard of yet. I did taste the Connamara, however. In fact, it has been around in Holland for some time now. Although I'm not a big fan of Irish whiskies this was one of the best I've ever tasted. Further news: Quite a few new acquisitions since you left Amsterdam. Among them the LAST bottle of Macallan 10yo 100 Proof that liquorist Menno Boorsma had on stock. Judging from the amount of dust on the box it had been there for quite a few years - and my liquorist didn't think he would not be able to deliver it in the future, because it was intended for the American market. If this one ages as good as the former bottle (which you've tasted), I think I will have to adjust my rating upward. Also a bottle of Glenrothes 1985 and the Black Bottle, that has finally reached our shores.

Sweet drams,


prE-pistle #1998/31 - First Autumn Report
Submitted on 03/10/1998 by Louis Perlman, USA

Hello Johannes, I have a lot of things to report, whisky-wise. First unfinished business.

Since I had half of a miniature of the Longmorn 15 left, I decided to finish it as well.
I wasn't too impressed the first time, and nothing had changed this time. Interestingly though, I had some Macallan 12 as well. It seemed that the Longmorn tasted sort of like an un-sherried Macallan! Obviously, it was a matter of degree, but that kind of thing can happen depending on what combination of malts are being tried at the same time.

Meanwhile, I saw your comment about the Macallan 10yo 100 proof on the PLOWED page.
I have never seen it over here, is it a distillery bottling? I imagine that it would be more than the 18 if it did ever make it over to this side of the Atlantic the way these things tend to go. Signatory has a 20yo that goes for $80 or so.
It is on my list for next year, although the list changes almost daily.

I also have re-visited some of my summer acqusitions.
The Ardbeg 17yo continues to be magnificent. I haven't had the chance to compare it to the 1974, but this is really good stuff.

Also, my Bowmore 20yo Signatory is something special. It is more like the 17yo than the 12yo official bottlings, and more along the lines of the Ardbeg. I was putting away rather a lot of it, even at 106 proof, and I was in a good mood as well. Some Bowmore afficianodos think that the 17 is the best one, perhaps for the same reason that you mentioned earlier. I still haven't gotten around to picking up a bottle though, so I can't say for sure. At $85, I am going to have to excercise a lot of restraint.

That would be true for ordering as well.
Without going into the stories behind each one, I have also acquired some Auchentoshan 31 (to celebrate my wife's birthday), the new Springbank 12/92, and Murray McDavid Royal Brackla 17 and Laphroaig. As for Auchentoshan 31yo, I have not tried the younger versions, having seen only bad things written about them. It clearly needed break-in though, the body had a slightly gritty feel. But my wife detected apricots on the nose, and I could taste them a well. So I am giving it a while, and will try it again. At that price, I will not be checking frequently though! I am enclosing the article I mentioned, you can see why it caught my interest.

When we went out for her birthday, I tried the Laphroaig 15yo, and enjoyed it quite a bit.
It is very mellow compared to the 10yo, the sherry cask has had it's effect, although the whisky is not obviously sherried per se, although much less iodine than the 10yo. A strong competitor in the $50 range.

Speaking of which, my new Springbank 12yo 92 Proof has come into it's own.
The perfect marriage of creamy coconut and brine, with neither overwhelming the other. I meant to compare it to the 12/100 extra dark, but got too carried away. You have to get some. Along with the Ardbeg 17, HP 18 and other recent acquisitions, my Top 10 list is starting  to shape up. Now that the weather is cooling off, I can go back to Lagavulin again, and see if it is still #1. And I still have my Murray McDavid Royal Brackla and Laphroaig to open in the next two weeks.

Enclosed: From the New York Times, 2/12 or 19/98


It's Light, Feminine, and Silky,  and It's Still Whisky
Like the Scot's themselves, single-malt scotch whisky has often been presented in caricature: smoky, meaty, dense, chewy. These are adjectives of praise, as though hoisting a glass of whisky should be the equivalent of a caber toss. There is another way. Travelers exhausted from hacking their way through the Highlands, or dizzy from inhaling Islay's seaweed-iodine fragrance, can head for the Lowlands, home of Scotland's most delicate, restrained malts.

Auchentoshan, a 200 year old distillery just outside of Glasgow, makes single malts that even the malt-shy can love.
They are light but not lightweight, untouched by peat smoke, and distilled three times rather than twice to impart a high-gloss, silky finish. The 31 year old Auchentoshan, a limited release from eight barrels in the distillery's cellar, speaks in a whisper, but makes a powerful argument. Light bodied as a sylph, russet-orange in color, it exhales an aroma of violets, lilies, vanilla, butterscotch an honey. It's a feminine whisky, and it makes an unforgettable entrance at a stag party.

The whisky has been bottled as cask strength, or better than 50 per cent alcohol, so it needs to be diluted with an extra splash or two of water before drinking. With a price tag a $160, its a splurge (and at the moment, it can only be found at park Ave., Liquors).
Don't even think about lighting up a cigar.

That's it for now.


prE-pistle #1998/32 - Autumn in Holland
Submitted on 05/10/1998 by Johannes van den Heuvel, Holland

Hi there, Louis,

Thanks for your 'autumn report'. That reminded me that New York and Amsterdam have very similar climates.
When Craig was here we also discussed the weather, and while it was the heart of summer here (mid day temperatures around 25 degrees Celsius and long warm nights) it was exactly the opposite in Adelaide, Australia. We already discussed how different malts perform differently in summer and in winter, and in a way Craig's whisky calendar should be half a year behind ours - or ahead of us, of course ;-)

The 'gritty feeling' of the Auchentoshan 31yo you described reminds me of the 10yo.
Combined with the light and grainy character in the nose it makes the 10 one of my least favorite malts so far.
I'm not too keen in the Glenkinchie either (another Lowlander). I guess I'm just not somebody for the more subtle malts. The version you described is over three times as old though, so there's no comparing, really. Just the same, here are my notes for the 10yo;

Auchentoshan 10yo (40%, OB, Auchentoshan Distillery, Lowlands) - 68 points
Nose: Very light, oily bouquet. Almost grainy. A bit sharp and - dare I say - unimaginative.
Taste: Surprisingly supple; very smooth. Lacks development. Very much so, in fact; perhaps as a result of the triple-distillation.

The Laphroaig 15yo you mentioned is close to $100 here in Holland, so I haven't tried it yet.
As soon as I see it for a reasonable price I'll pick it up, though - Craig LOVES it and he has excellent tastes...
However, with my beloved Lagavulin 16yo being both older cheaper, the Laphroaig has some large shoes to fill...

Your description of Longmorn 15yo as an un-sherried Macallan is very accurate, I think.
I personally like the 'style' of the 15 very much - 81/82 points, and that's not at all bad. Compared to the Macallan, it lacks some complexity and depth, though (not to mention sherry and fruits), which is the major reason for the difference in points on my personal hit list.

The Macallan 10yo 100 Proof is indeed a distillery bottling and I think it should be available stateside.
But then again... I tend to look at the USA as one massive country, but of course there are huge differences between individual states, especially when it comes to alcohol and other vices. I think my liquorist imported the bottle 'grey' (= imported through a third country to avoid some serious profiteering by taxes or certain importers) and the bottle had a big red "100 Proof" sticker on it. As far as I know the 'proof' system isn't used in Europe anymore (and as I understand it our proof values were different from those in the UK and USA anyway). I think this indicates that these bottles were intended for the North American market - but I suppose that could be Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore or another exotic location as well. At the moment, it's difficult to find here also, but I'm absolutely sure I'll pick it up on first sight - The last few glasses from my first bottle seemed to be superior to the 'ordinary' 12yo. The price was also very reasonable - a little over U$ 40,-

Anyway, I just published a few fresh Liquid Log entries on Malt Madness - check it out...

Sweet drams,


prE-pistle #1998/33 - Adventures & EoZ October Meeting
Submitted on 28/10/1998 by Craig Daniels, Australia

For all the Earls, I'm back from Scotland with the odd picture or sixty and a few war stories.
Check out the malts (Glenmorangie 12yo Sherry, Port and Madeira Expressions) and my scrapbooks.

The scotch malt industry has its fair share of scandals and rumours, mostly as fringe players, not altogether dissimilar to some of our corporate heroes of yesteryear (I'll leave you to fill in the names) get their hands on idle funds from banks with idle funds to turf about. One of the more persistent (and certainly true) involved some transatlantic entrepreneurs who figured there was a way to speed up the ageing process of American Oak (by kilning green wood) to hold bourbon and subsequently, the humble malt.  Needless to say, they were proved wrong, but the odd distiller in Scotland (and none of them are "fessing up") got burnt.

Concurrently, there were some unpleasant rumours floating about that Glenmorangie was having some problems with their American Oak supplies and that this lead to the experiment with the different woods.  Now of all distillers this rumour was most likely to be wrong about, it was Glenmorangie, who have been meticulous in their securing of wood supplies, by buying bloody great stands of the stuff in the Ozark Mountains and looking after it assiduously until it hits their shores. So the explanation for mucking about with sherry (been done before), port (why not) and madiera (why bother) must, I repeat, must lie elsewhere.  My monie's on the accountants or the fevered, desperate machinations of the marketing bods after a particularly trying and exceedingly long lunch.
Nevertheless, the trio is a lot of fun, especially tried together.

Different wood treatments have become a teensy bit passe lately, with mega-monolithic player United Distillers releasing double wood versions of all their Classic malts, but Glenmorangie were amongst the pioneers.  On the plus side, the products are interesting and instructive, especially when you start with the same base (Glenmorangie 10) and whack it into three different woods for an extra two.  Whether they're worth the coin is another matter.

"Praying for Inspiration, Looking for Ideas, Hunting for Volunteers"

<sorry, that's all - this prE-pistle was partly damaged and lost during a previous crash of the MM website>


prE-pistle #1998/34 - Second Autumn Report
Submitted on 12/11/1998 by Louis Perlman, USA

Hello Johannes,

Things have finally settled down, so I can get back to my correspondence.
The good news is that I have lots of things to write about. In no particular order,

1) The Springbank 12yo 92 Proof took longer than usual to break in, but it was worth the wait.
It has really hit it's stride, and the bottle is going quite rapidly. I never could imagine what coconut in scotch would taste like, but here it is, along with the Springbank brine. At only $53, a relative bargain as well.

2) The Murray McDavid Laphroaig 9yo, 9mo. A very refined version of the distillery 10yr. A bit less iodine on the nose, but then a blast of lava on the tongue, followed by an explosive finish. As someone who likes the distillery 10yr and Talisker, you should really like this one. It was $60 at W&L, about what The Whisky House gets for it, suject to currency fluctuations.

3)  The Murray McDavid Royal Brackla 17yo. This was a surprise. Forget about what The Whisky House says on their page. It tastes exactly like a very refined Glenmorangie 10 (and also a lot in commmon with my Aberfeldy Cadenhead). It is certainly a fine dram, but i wouldn't advise spending that much unless you really want a refined GM 10. I am not upset that I bought it though.

4) Glenfarclas 10yo. My bottle has been sitting around for a bit over a year now, but there were two complimetary comments on the PLOWED page within a week. One of them even said that it was on a par with the Macallan 12, so I really had to go back and revisit the GF. Well, my bottle seems to have improved with age. I would agree that it would rate even with the Mac 12 right now (around 88, ratings coming soon!). However, it was more in the direction of the Mac 18, being well rounded and flavorful. As I have mentioned, I appreciate the Mac 12 for being different than the 18, but there is room for both expressions. And it's only two months and change until  open my 1959 GF.

5) The Auchentoshan 31yo. Your instincts were probably better than mine here, but pride of ownership was an important factor.
Besides, a 'feminine whisky' is probably the only thing I could spend this much on in honor of my wife's birthday, and get away with it.
I used funds that were not part of my usual SMS budget anyway, and the box and label look impressive. It still needs water to get the silky smooth body, and I, like you, really prefer life in the islands. Let me just leave it at that. I wasn't going to finish off the bottle very quickly anyway, and maybe it will improve with age like the GF.

I intend to pick up the Murray McDavid Macallan if it is in the same price range as the other ones.
Your 10 100 Proof doesn't seem to be available here, and I can't afford the 18yo Gran Reserva that has just showed up (40%!).
There is also a Ledaig 15 that is said to be a fine island malt. I'll keep you updated of course.



prE-pistle #1998/35 -  Winter 1998 - Micro Report
Submitted on 15/11/1998 by Johannes van den Heuvel, Holland

Ooooh.... A very quick posting this time - gotta work on my Little Black Book...
I know that it's not 'technically' winter yet, but you would certainly thinks so by the weather and temperatures...

I'll be on the lookout for that Laphroaig 9.9, Louis. Sounds very interesting, but I haven't spotted it on these shores yet.
Mind you, independent bottlings like Murray McDavid are hard to find here. The only 'big' independent brands here are Gordon & MacPhail and Signatory Vintage (not to be confused with the Vintage Malt Whisky Co. that offer the 'Vintage' bastard malts.)

I know the Glenfarclas 10yo. Although I don't rate it as high as the Macallan 12, it certainly is a fine dram.
I suspect it to be even better at an older age, so I'll be sure to try an older version in the near future. I've already found a store in the centre of Amsterdam that has at least a dozen different age expressions of Glenfarclas - all of them official bottlings.
I'll probably have another shopping spree for Sinterklaas or Christmas.

As far as blends go: has the Black Bottle reached the US yet?
Of course, it's no single malt, but it offers tremendous bang for your buck.
A very nice in autum or winter whisky - I think I've bought three or four bottles already since the summer.

That's it for now - I haven't updated my digital 'Little Black Book' in a while so I should work on that.
Having all my tasting notes on a single web page makes it easy to find other malts where I found a certain smell or taste. Of course, nosing and tasting is very personal - keep in mind that you might pick up other fragrances and tastes than I did...

Sweet drams,


prE-pistle #1998/36 - Off Topic: 20th Century Dolphin
Submitted on 26/11/1998 by Craig Daniels, Australia  

Found this on a web site called "the bug".
It's by a Sydneysider called Wayne Watson...


A 20th Century dolphin
Sat beside me in the park
He took a swig of whisky
And he lit a long cigar.

"You know," he said,
"What dolphin's dread
When we are out at sea?
Getting too much water
In our single malt whisky.
Yep. Getting too much water
In our single malt whisky."

I thought, at first:
"There's something strange
About this scenery -
This whisky-sodden dolphin
Should be swimming in the sea!"
But, as we sat and chatted
On that early evening watch
I could clearly see his point
About the water and the scotch.

As he elaborated
On the wetness of the sea
The need for him to come ashore
Made perfect sense to me!

So, let's ponder for a moment
As we're sipping on our rye
On what poor dolphins must go through
To keep their whisky dry.

They have the fins
To pour it, in
The finest style and class
But, once the whisky's poured
They've got
Nowhere to put the glass.
And if they like it chilled
Well, although that would be nice
It's a trip to the Antarctic
Just to get the ice!

Oh, I know we've got our problems
Empty glass and empty purse
But think about those dolphins
And you know things could be worse
We could be lying on our backs
In the vastness of the sea
Striving to keep water
From our single malt whisky.

Craig Daniels - Downunda

prE-pistle #1998/37 - Black Bottle & Stuff
Submitted on 16/12/1998 by Louis Perlman, USA

Lots of good SMS stuff to write about...

Old business first. I have not seen the Black Bottle anywhere around here.
However, I have found an equivalent substitution, the Whittfield Islay regional sampler. My bottle just arrived today from W&L (see below). Also less than $20, it contains multiple Islay malts, Ardbeg is even thought to be detected in there.
I don't indulge on work nights, so I'll give you an update as soon as possible.

Another recent acquisition was Aberlour 18yo. Not something I would normally go for, but I went to pick up some Laphroaig 15, but the store was out. You know how tough it is to leave empty handed, and the Aberlour has received many compliments on the Plowed page, so I went for it. Not bad for a Speyside. There is a family resemblence to the 10, but I'll more robust. There was a lot of sherry on the nose when I opened the bottle, but it seems to have dissipated. It's OK for a diversion.

Ah yes, and the rest of the W&L order.
My wife agreed to sponsor a nice bottle for my 40th (argh!) birthday at the end of January.
I figured that it was a good idea to order before the holidays, because something that I might want could be sold out, and not re-stocked in time. So I got on the phone, and selected a 23yo Ardbeg from Signatory. And of course, it made sense to get a few other things as well. So in addition to the Whittfields, a replacement for my quickly vanishing Springband 12/92, I got a Ledaig 15. This Ledaig (a.k.a. Tobermory) is supposed to be quite a sleeper, a very Islay-like island malt, and not like the 20yo old currently available. It was only $40 too. Again, update real soon. Oh yes, and one more item. My in-laws agreed to sponsor an Ardbeg 1978, which has Islay-lovers going crazy in the States.

Getting old may not be so bad.


prE-pistle #1998/38 - Wrapping Up 1998
Submitted on 23/12/1998 by Johannes van den Heuvel, Holland

Congrats on your upcoming birthday, Louis - just in case I forget (which I probably will...)

I think the Black Bottle hasn't arrived in USA shops yet. None of the people I correspond with there has seen it yet.
The Whittfield isn't available in Holland, to my knowledge. In fact, reading over your posts to the forum so far I get the feeling that many independent bottlings are not available in both 'markets' (Europe and US). I've read somewhere that because of the difference in 'legal' standard bottle sizes (70cl in Europe versus 75cl in the US) many independent bottlers make bottles for EITHER Europe or the USA and rarely for both. However, most official bottlings are produced in such large numbers that bottling different bottle sizes is no problem.

I'm just having a nip of the Glenturret 1978 by 'The Ultimate' that my new boss bought me for christmas.
Ah! It's nice to feel appreciated. At first tasting it seems that most of my appreciation will go to the gesture, and not the malt, which seems very flat. But hey, it's late so I'll try again tomorrow. By the way, this is a good example of a bottling you'll probably never taste unless you decide to hop over to Holland like Craig did this summer. It is bottled by Dutch importer/bottler 'Van Wees'.
I agree this particular bottling might not be the perfect 'incentive', though ;-)

About the Aberlour 18yo OB - I have tasted it a few times in bars and at tastings, and I found it much more balanced than the 10, which just has a little too much rough sherry for my taste without the woody notes to balance it. I'm getting the feeling that Aberlour could be a nice alternative for Macallan in the 'heavily sherried' category. Of course, that's a 'class' of single malts that are formed much more by the type of cask than by the (location of) the distillery. Come to think of it, that's also the case with heavily peated whiskies to some extent.
The peatiness of a whisky is determined by the amount of peat used to dry the malted barley, correct?

Anyway, here are my tasting notes for the Aberlour 10yo (40%, OB, Aberlour Glenlivet Distillery Co.)
Nose: Quite a nose-full. A 'scream' of sherry, followed by a wonderful spicy sweetness.
A little water allows some interesting aroma's to break free of the sherry.
Taste: A bit too much sherry for me. Smooth, but grows dry quickly; a real afterburner.
Warning: Too much water ruins the balance!

Ah - And if you're in for a culinary treat for the holidays - here's a sandwich recipe I made up last week...
I've christened it the 'Groovy Lachs Croissant' and I it like it so much that I've had it at least once a day ever since it was conceived. This must be my greatest creation since my 'Dutch Colonial Grill Sandwich' with Dutch Gouda cheese, peanut butter and Indonesian sambal badjak. The main ingredient is Gravad Lachs (a Scandinavian dish; salmon fillet marinated in dille / mustard / juniper / pepper) but slices of ordinary smoked salmon will work just fine as well.


- 50-100 grams Gravad Lachs or smoked salmon
- 1 croissant (quite crucial! - a bagel or ordinary bread won't do)
- 1 boiled egg (softly boiled and warm so the yoke is still fluid)
- cream-cheese
- a few very ripe sherry tomatoes (those tiny tomatoes)
- liberal quantities of freshly ground black pepper


- touch of fresh parsley

Well, I don't think I have to add 'cooking instructions - I assume you know how to make a sandwich? ;-)

And that's it for this year...
Craig and Louis: thanks a lot for your insights, comments and opinions.
They make the Malt Madness site much more than just a 'pamphlet' with my own purely personal opinions. Just a little thought... It would be great to use a similar 'format' to describe each malt, so it would be easier to publish an overview of all our scores.

Sweet drams - and until next year,


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Malt Maniacs Issue 004 - Whisky writings for 1998 (Pt. 3)

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