Rare Malts with Andrew Ferguson

Rare Malts is one of my favourite tastings, it is an opportunity to focus old and rare whiskies, some of them from distilleries that are no longer with us. This edition was no exception, with only one of he whiskies less than 20 years, and 4 of them 25 to 27 years. All of the whiskies in this tasting were bottled at cask strength, and from either a single cask or very small batch. The tasting notes are my own!

Creative Whisky Company Tobermory 1994 – 53.8% – 20 Year – Exclusive to KWM - Nose: powdered sugar and lemon juice on French crepes and Belgian waffles and whipped topping; honeydew melons, polished church pews and cramel apples. Palate: soft creamy and very decadent with bags of honey, toasted oak and loads of licorice; as it settles down the waffle and crepe notes reemerge with more whipped topping, powdered sugar and crisp citrus: lemon peel, lemon juice and lemon drops; the melons and other fruits are there but hiding under the polished church pews. Finish: long, creamy and coating with fading toasty oak, fruits and spices. – $145

Berry’s Miltonduff 1995 KWM Cask55% – 19 Year – Refill Bourbon Barrel - Nose: beeswax and pineapple wedges, hintes of cedar and pine; Madagascar vanilla, canteloupes and not quite fully ripened mangos; decadent, fruity and floral with a hint of white pepper. Palate: frim but delicate and layered, very fruity and creamy; floral and sweet with loads of Madagascar vanilla and floral malt; more hot white pepper, oily oaky tones and fruits, loads of fruits: more mangos, canteloupes, mushy banana with juicy malt. Finish: decadent, layered and complex, lots of sugars, fading fruits and spices. - $170

Wilson & Morgan Glenrothes 199053.3% – 25 Year – Oloroso Sherry Finish - Nose: minty, assorted jujubes and spearmint chew candies, become nuttier; cooked bacon wrapped dates filled with blue cheese, and Manuka honey; oak shavings from in a wood shop, Italian espresso, strawberry jam and Panda brand licorice; Moroccan marmalade and candied ginger and fennel seeds. Palate: big, chewy, nutty and fruity; there is firm leather, loose leaf tobacco and dried dark fruits; more cooked bacon wrapped dates with blue chase; still jammy, more strawberry jam and marmalade with espresso and dark spices; the base of Manuka honey is still there with oak shavings and earthy dunnage warehouse notes. Finish: spicy and leathery the finish is long with tobacco, dark fruits and spices. - $500

Wilson & Morgan Bunnahabhain 198945.5% – 25 Year – Pedro Ximenez Finish - Nose: pineapples, mango and papayas, leather, tobacco and spices; very honeyed and earthy, Dutch licorice and Christmas cake; there is a sliver of silky vanilla and butterscotch with a hint of dunnage warehouses and classic good old whisky. Palate: big candied fruit, a modest amount of smoke, more Dutch licorice and classic sherry cask Christmas cake notes; the palate is syrupy with a more prominent base of cream than expected and a touch of French pressed coffee; the tropical fruits are still there with a load of orange including marmalade and hints of salt and leather. Finish: long, rich and layered; the whisky clings to the palate and continues to come in waves well after the final sip.  - $485

Adelphi Glen Garioch 1993 - 58.6% – 22 Year – Sherry Hogshead - Nose: rich old Oloroso sherry, old leather library chairs, dusty books and nutty tones with prunes and dark chocolate; rich Christmas cake and plum pudding; Big Turk and honey drizzled figs. Palate: big Christmas cake, massive licorice and treacle sauce drizzled on plum pudding with bakers chocolate and chocolate covered espresso beans; leather and nutty, classic Oloroso sherry tones, it softens with each sip, mangoes, prunes and figs emerge; a faint tinge of smoke perhaps? Finish: big, long, rich and coating with Demerara sugars, leather, tobacco and dark fruits; late clean smoke. –  $255

BenRiach 1987 Cask 382552.9% – 27 Year –  Tawny Port Finish - Nose: smores, dark chocolate sauce and hazelnut liqueur; plummy fruits, sauteed strawberries, Late Bottle Vintage Port and musty old oak. Palate: very chocolaty, honeyed and creamy with layered spice and firm balanced oak; there is a tinge of smoke and fennel seeds; still plummy with prominent grapey – Port Wine tones; citrus fruits and melon emerge with honey for the patient. Finish: long, coating and spicy, the grapey fruits and citrus come and go, but the chocolate, leather and oak linger long. – $310

Wilson & Morgan Caol Ila 199054.3% – 25 Year – Oloroso Sherry Finish - Nose: very malty, surprisingly so, oat cakes and white cheddar; treacle sauce and sticky toffee pudding, Christmas cake, dulce lece and slowly emerging candied fish notes and sea salt caramel. Palate: big Christmas cake, some tarry smoke and dark spices; more sea salt caramel and building oily peats; the sticky toffee pudding and treacle sauce are still there with Dutch licorice and dark fruits; more oat cakes and aged white cheddar and again some chewy malt; layers of lovely fruit and honey develop in waves. Finish: long, coating, oily and spicy with more buttery peats and mouthwatering deft salty-smoky-caramel.  - $525

The Top 3 Whiskies – Selected Blind

  1. Wilson & Morgan Bunnahabhain 25 Year Tie with Wilson & Morgan Caol Ila 25 Year
  2. Wilson & Morgan Glenrothes 25 Year
  3. Creative Whisky Company Tobermory 20 Year

My Top 3 Whiskies

  1. Wilson & Morgan Caol Ila 25 Year
  2. Adelphi Glen Garioch 1993
  3. Berry’s 1995 Miltonduff KWM Cask

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