Scotch Review #94-97: Scotch Whisky Experience (Glenkinchie 12, Raasay While We Wait, BenRiach Heart of Speyside, Port Charlotte 10)
As part of our grand European adventure earlier this month, we stopped in Edinburgh. Both of us completely agree that Edinburgh was our favorite place on our journey (we also visited London, Paris, Prague, and Manchester) and it’s already gone on our list of places to go back to. The city was beautiful and driving through the countryside was absolutely breath taking.
While we were there, we stopped at the Scotch Whisky Experience next to Edinburgh Castle (how nice of them to put it right where this walking tour started) to do the tour. The tour consisted of three parts: the first part was a pretty cheesy barrel ride that I really could’ve done without it, the second part was a quick introduction to the regions of Scotch whisky and a tasting of something from one of the regions (I got a Tullibardine Soverign, wife got Glenfarclas 10), and the third part was a walk through their famous whisky collection. After the tour, we got a flight of drams which I’ve reviewed below.
Overall, while I enjoyed the tour, I can’t help but feel that this is a massive tourist trap you might be better off avoiding. Overall, while I enjoyed the tour, I can’t help but feel that this is a massive tourist trap you might be better off avoiding. The tour without a tasting flight at the end is £16, and I wouldn’t do it for that price. With a flight, it’s £28 so not as bad if you think of it as getting 5 drams, but still spendy. The store attached to this place has a really nice selection though and the prices aren’t that crazy (plus a tour ticket does give you a discount at the shop).
Not included in this review are the Tullibardine Soverign (which was awful, would rate it in the 60s easily) and the Glenfarclas 10 (which I’ve reviewed previously here).
Scotch Review #94: Glenkinchie 12 Year
Age: 12 Year
Nose (according to the wife): It’s spicy! Lots of hot pepper notes dominate the nose. There’s a hint of oiliness as well, it almost reminds me of hot chili oil.
Palate: There’s a bit of sweetness in the form of honey. Some more peppery notes come out along with a bit of citrus rinds as well.
Finish: Fairly long. This too is dominated by peppers.
Conclusion: There is so much pepper in this dram, which really isn’t my thing when it comes to whisky. I can’t say I really enjoyed it but it does appear to be well put together and otherwise decent. Would I buy a bottle? Unlikely.
Final Score: 73.
Scotch Whisky review #94, Lowland Whisky Review #5, Whisky Network Review #125
Scotch Review #95: Raasay While We Wait
ABV: 46%, Natural Color, Non-Chill Filtered
Cask Type: Finished in French oak Tuscan wine casks
Nose (according to the wife): There’s lot of that burnt rubber peat along with a hint of grapefruit.
Palate: It’s incredibly hot (no matter how much water I added to it) and absolutely tastes of nothing but burnt rubber tires.
Finish: Short, this one finishes a bit dry. Thankfully no more burnt rubber is in the finish. There’s a bit of oak spice.
Conclusion: Of all of the drinks we had during our trip (beer, wine, cocktails, whisky, you name it), this is the only one I could not finish. I took a few sips, tried watering it down some and tried a few more. I just couldn’t finish it. It is absolutely vile. It smells of burnt rubber, it tastes of burnt rubber. Awful. Given that this is coming from a new distillery that is showing off its blending capabilities before its whisky is ready, I can’t say I have high hopes for Isle of Raasay Distillery. Would I buy a bottle? Never. I do say I wish I had a video of my wife smelling/trying this though. It looked like she was about to throw this across the room just to get it away from her.
Final Score: 40.
Scotch Whisky review #95, Island Whisky Review #16, Whisky Network Review #126
Scotch Review #96: BenRiach Heart of Speyside
ABV: 40%, Natural Color
Nose (according to the wife): Lots of malt barley, some heather, and a nice dose of honey..
Palate: Lots of malt barley with some heather. Very straight forward and flowery.
Finish: Short, a tad dry like a floral tea. A little more heather pops up as well.
Conclusion: I haven’t had a chance to try a BenRiach so I was pretty excited to try this one. I think it’s well made dram. It’s a bit straightforward, basically malt barley and heather, but it is well balanced and very refreshing. Very delightful (especially after the disaster-class of that Raasay). Would I buy a bottle? Maybe not this one, but I’m definitely open to trying other offerings from BenRiach.
Final Score: 74.
Scotch Whisky review #96, Speyside Whisky Review #39, Whisky Network Review #127
Scotch Review #97: Port Charlotte 10 Year Heavily Peated
Age: 10 Year
Nose (according to the wife): Smokey peat accompanied with by a little bit of burnt rubber.
Palate: It’s quiet savory. There’s a hint of sweet peat alongside some more smoldering, warm peat. With a bit of water, there are iron mineral notes that come out a bit as well.
Finish: Long. There’s a distinct bit of charcoal along with some smoke and a bit of peat.
Conclusion: I’ve reviewed this one in the past so it was a bit nice to have something a little more familiar. While typing this up, I was comparing notes from my last review and noticed I didn’t pick up as many subtle fruity notes this time but instead got some earthier ones. Even still, I gave it the exact same rating both times. Bit strange how that works, but it definitely makes this
obsession hobby all the more fun. Would I buy a bottle? I already have.
Final Score: 80.
Scotch Whisky review #97, Island Whisky Review #37, Whisky Network Review #128
- 96-100: The perfect dram, nectar of the gods.
- 90-95: Near perfect, there is something truly special about this whisky.
- 85-89: Amazing, will always try to keep a bottle of this in my collection (if feasible).
- 80-84: Very Good, maybe only one minor nitpick about the whisky keeping it here.
- 75-79: Good, quite enjoyable to drink.
- 70-74: Solid, wouldn’t go out of my way to get it.
- 60-69: Meh, still drinkable.
- Below 59: If you have a bottle of this, start cooking with it instead.