I recently got back from a few weeks in Europe including a week in Scotland, and managed to visit Edinburgh, Glasgow, Arran and Islay. The trip was amazing and included visits to the Royal Mile, Cadenhead’s, a bunch of bottle shops, climbing Arthur’s Seat, an amazing G&T at the Sheep’s Heid Inn and a ton of other stuff.
First up, Bunna 12. At the mash tun in Edinburgh. Football game on, crowd a rocking. Decided to grab this since I’d never had it before and wouldn’t be able to make it to Bunna while on Islay.
Bunnahabhain 12 – 46.3% ABV
- Appearance: Standard colour, e150. Sadly served in a tumbler.
- Nose: Honey sweetness, malty and nutty, caramel, pistachio. Salty.
- Palate: Very malty and sweet. Tastes a bit like a Speyside but with a salty sea air element to it. Pears, apricots, nuts.
- Finish: Long warm and salty
- Score: 82/100
- Overall: not bad, not great. I expected a bit more out of it.
At The Whisky Shop beside the royal mile. They have a ton of minis and some quarter casks of whisky ageing in house. They buy full casks from distilleries and then split them between their various locations for re-ageing. We got a sample of their newest cask, a 14 year Glenfarclas that was so new, they didn’t even have it priced yet. notes are sparse as they were recorded on the fly.
Glenfarclas 14 Single Cask Sherry – ~50% ABV
- Appearance: orangey-pinkish
- Nose: lots of sherry and oak
- Palate: red fruit and berries as expected. Lots of sherry influence and less oak influence, but I guess it was just added to the quarter cask.
- Finish: long and sweet
- Score: 85/100
- Overall: quite nice. Wish they were selling it already as I’d probably buy a mini.
At another bottle shop on the royal mile, and this one doesn’t have as much interesting stuff, aside from rare expensive bottles. Asked if they do samples and he pulls out this guy. I’ve had the non-named single malt Islays before and never enjoyed them very much. we’ll see if this is different.
Islay Storm – 40% ABV
- Appearance: quite light, likely uncoloured
- Nose: ashy peat and smoke
- Palate: ashy peat and smoke. Definitely tastes like the bottom of the still contents
- Finish: smoky and medium length
- Score: 70/100
- Overall: not very good. Likely cast-offs or an off batch bottled under a generic name.
At the Pot Still in Glasgow. I tried to get an indy 13yr Benrinnes but they couldn’t find the bottle. I went with this instead, expecting a let-down
Famous Grouse 12 Blended Malt 1987 – 40% ABV
- Appearance: Coloured for sure.
- Nose: Apple, malty, citrus, sugary, pears, apricots
- Palate: Sweet, honey, caramel, some sea saltiness…could have some island or coastal malt in it. Apples, light fruit. Fairly harsh for 40%. Surprised given 12 years min age. Not terrible, but pretty speyside-y.
- Finish: Short and sweet
- Score: 79/100
- Overall: not bad and a decent amount of notes from it. just tastes harsh for its age.
those were the drams purchased in those cities… I also picked up minis at a few shops which are in the featured image. Post #2 will be my adventures on the Isle of Arran, coming soon!