Softened by time

It’s sunday, it’s freezing outside and the sun is on it’s way down to the horizon; how many reasons does one need to raise a dram? So with that in mind I decided to put two magnificent Islay Single Malts next to eachother and have a little N&T for myself 🙂

Caol Ila 12 and 18 y.o.

Now I must admit that I don’t have the keen sense of smell and taste as the people who write down the tasting notes, by far! However I do notice a difference in both smell and taste between these 2 fine whiskies.
The Caol Ila 12 y.o. is sharper on the nose, and has that typical heavy Islay peatiness (in other words “I love it!”), where the 18yo has a little less peat and smoke, more sweetness and a much longer lingering finish.

Because of my poor senses, here are Michael Jackson’s (not the singer!) tasting notes for your convenience.

Caol Ila 12yo

: Juniper. Garden mint. Burnt grass, but soft.
Palate: Lightly oily. Soothing at first. Lots of flavour development.
Finish: Spicy (nutmeg, pepper). Warming. Very long.

Caol Ila 18yo

Nose: fragrant. Menthol. Markedly vegetal. Vanilla pod. Creamy.
Palate: Firmer. Much bigger. Much more expressive. Sweeter. Leafy sweetness. Spring greens. Crushed almonds. Rooty, cedary.
Finish: Some peaty bitterness. Big. Long, warming.

Time to find another reason to raise a dram! 🙂


New additions

Two fine new additions to my modest collection of Single Malt whisky’s:

  • The Bunnahabhain Toiteach (Gaelic for ‘smoky’) is an Islay Single Malt, but unlike most Bunnahabhain malts, and more like other Islay malts, this one has a gentle hint of smokeyness. (hence the name Toiteach)
    Bunnahabhain Toiteach is a non-chillfiltered malt with 46% alcohol.
    Official tasting notes:
     – Appearance: A light golden hue glows from within
    Nose: Charming peatiness with a subtle nose prickling strength emanates from the dram
    Palate: Immediate waming peaty flavours drift towards a slightly sweet sherry influence with delicate peppery notes
    Finish: Good robust length with extremely pleasant aftertaste
  • The Glenlivet 18 years is a Speyside Single Malt, so quite different in taste from the Islay mentioned above. It’s a superb gentle malt, perfect after-dinner dram.
    Official tasting notes:
    Colour: Old gold, with ripe apricot hues.
    Nose: Fragrant, elegant, complex with a sweet oakiness reminiscent of an antique shop. Oak leads the way to heady floral fragrances of Freesia and Peony. Toffee notes emerge in time along with butterscotch, mint chocolate and summer fruit pie.
    Palate: Smooth and velvety, with a firm foundation. Sweetness is immediately followed by a tantalising burst of spices and bitter oranges drying out on oaky notes.
    Finish: Lasting, oaky and gingery. Distant smoke. A dry austere touch.


ISLAY – Whisky eiland vol geschiedenis (in Dutch)

Robin Brilleman schrijft in “Islay, Whisky-eiland vol geschiedenis” niet alleen over de in productie zijnde distilleerderijen waar Islay onder whiskyliefhebbers zo beroemd om is. Hij beschrijft ook de distilleerderijen die verdwenen zijn, de geschiedenis van het illegaal distilleren, de waterbronnen voor de whisky, de bodemgesteldheid en de zo belangrijke turf, die de Islay whisky´s hun geprononceerde smaak geeft.

Maar er is meer dan whisky dat Islay bijzonder maakt. Robin Brilleman vertelt ook over de boeiende geschiedenis van dit vruchtbare eiland, dat met haar gevarieerde flora en fauna in Schotland de Koningin van de Hebriden wordt genoemd. Al deze wetenswaardigheden over hèt whisky-eiland, geïllustreerd met prachtige kleurenfoto´s, maken dit boek anders dan de meeste whiskyboeken.

Het boek heeft een harde kaft, is genaaid gebonden en heeft 221 pagina´s en 185 kleurenfoto´s. Het ISBN/EAN nummer is : 978-90-813054-2-6


Glen Rothes – John Ramsay

After over forty years in the industry, John Ramsay retired last month. He has been ‘Malt Master’ for The Glenrothes since the early 1990s and the genius behind the whisky’s exceptional quality. His signature has been on all fourteen labels since 2004 and so to commemorate his peerless contribution to The Glenrothes we asked him to create one more exclusive expression that he would be proud to sign his name to for the very last time.

As John himself puts it, “The time has come, after 43 years of making Scotch whisky, to hang up my lab coat. To mark this, I’ve been asked to produce my last bottling of The Glenrothes; one I would be happy to sign off as my farewell to this exceptional single malt. My legacy, if you like”.

At the beginning John’s main concern for this venture was that over the past 15 years we had perhaps plundered the best available casks. However, upon revisiting the warehouses at Rothes he found a number of casks that had reached their peak thanks to a few extra years of maturation. John identified a pocket of second fill American Oak sherry casks from Vintages ranging from 1973 to 1987 which make up The Glenrothes John Ramsay.

John’s tasting notes for this expression emphasize the redolent of dark chocolates, blood oranges and vanilla on the nose with a great balance between oak and fruit leaving the whisky very mature and extremely rich.

When asked to describe the making of his final expression he said, “The attention to detail that goes into every bottle of The Glenrothes is enormous – from the choice of barley, through careful distillation and gentle maturation to rigorous cask selection. This one, my legacy, has been a genuine pleasure to work on too and it is never a lonely task, with many kindred spirits involved from start to finish”.

This expression is limited to 1,400 bottles and will be available from September.

Available at

Therion Symphonic Metal

We went to a Therion concert saturday at the Oosterpoort in Groningen. (I still haven’t fully regained my hearing! :D)

The support act was filled in by Loch Vostock (Sweden), which I also enjoyed quite a lot, and by Leprous from Norway (not really my taste).

Therion (Sweden) started somewhere in the late 80’s/early 90’s as a Death Metal band. Over the years they moved more towards Symphonic Metal combined with opera-like vocals as well as grunting.

The lineup consisted of 2 awesome guitar players, a bass player, drummer and 4 singers (2 male/2 female). In a few songs one of the male singers played the flute, and one of the female singers played a piano.

Here’s a song from there first album.

And here another one, more current song.

We had a great time with Therion and will definately go to more of their concerts in the future! Thank you Therion, awesome performance! 😛