Burns Night 2017

on Friday night, I got an invite to a belated Burns event and had the privilege of sharing some drinks with a great group of guys. Everyone brought a bottle and there were a few I hadn’t tried or reviewed before, so I took a few notes and some quick scores. Obviously not as in-depth as a typical review, and more my overall impression of each dram.


Once we got the whole selection on the table, I realized that I’ve never reviewed the Famous Grouse before, despite doing a couple of the other members of the Grouse line-up.

Famous Grouse – 40%1vwgp3n

  • Nose: sweet, grain alcohol
  • Palate: grainy, sharp, sweet, sugar
  • Finish: mercifully short
  • Score: 55

grainy, sharp and tastes artificially sweet. Not good especially when there are much better blend options out there.


I’ve never had anything from Aultmore, and don’t see reviews of it often either, so I had no pre-conceived notions and was excited to try something unknown

Aultmore 12 – 46%drpge6k

  • Nose: tons of fruit. Peaches, apples, pears. Light and typical speyside nose
  • Palate: wow salty! Same fruit, woody bitterness. That salt is really surprising
  • Finish: long, briney, some fruit.
  • Score: 81

better than I expected, as the nose didn’t promise a ton of complexity. That salt really surprised me and the finish was way longer than I expected. Quite nice.


I’ve had this before a couple of times, but never in a context where taking review notes was possible. Glad to get a review of it done finally.

Glenmorangie 18 – 43%ghbcjxl

  • Nose: fruit, apple, honey, oak, quite mellow
  • Palate: tons of oak, lots of fruit, some honey, way more balanced than the 10. chocolate
  • Finish: medium length, sweet, oaky
  • Score: 86

very nice. I’m a fan. Not many glenmo’s have impressed me, but that was really nice. ALSO, when posting this, I realized I actually HAVE reviewed it before as a mystery dram and scored it an 86 back then too! I didn’t guess right on that mystery, but had many of the same tasting notes, so that’s a win for the palate.


hadn’t had this solera malt before, or any of ‘fiddich’s travel retail line-up, but I enjoy the 15 Solera Vat bottling, so this could be good too.

Glenfiddich Reserve Cask – 40%gcl7pox

  • Nose: dark fruit, sherry, nutty oak. Tons going on, really nice nose.
  • Palate: doesn’t deliver on the nose. Some sherry, apples and dark fruit but very thin. Something missing.
  • Finish: medium length, sweet.
  • Score: 79

not terrible but the palate and finish don’t deliver on what the nose is promising. Not nearly as good as the 15 Solera.


Another one I haven’t had before but was curious how it stacked up vs the Amber.

Macallan Gold – 40%occgp9e

  • Nose: smells like typical Macallan, sherry, speyside-esque fruitiness.
  • Palate: interesting, less fruit than the nose and more oak. Somewhat surprising based on the fruity nose. Some honey
  • Finish: short and oaky
  • Score: 80

disappointing finish, typical nose, but it was nicer on the palate than I expected. Rated the amber in the high 70s so my rating lines up with the experience.


Last time I reviewed this was also in a group setting and we aggregated scores, landing at 85. I wanted to see how it stacked up on an individual scoring basis.

Highland Park 12 – 43%iade3ci

  • Nose: salty, oak, brine, sweet
  • Palate: light peat and smoke, more oak, quite salty
  • Finish: medium length, smoke and salt
  • Score: 82

nice entry level peated dram. I scored it slightly lower than the group did a couple years ago, but am happy with its score sitting around my average here.


I haven’t had this before, but am pretty sure there’s a sample of it somewhere in my place. We had it before the Laphroaig and Port Charlotte thinking it’d be less heavily peated, but I think we may have been wrong….

Bunnahabhain Ceobanach – 46.3%iczjrrb

  • Nose: heavy peat, red fruit, sweet, smoky
  • Palate: ashy peat, walnuts, tons of earth, very nutty, dark fruit, some sweetness
  • Finish: long, peaty, lots of smoke
  • Score: 88

very nice. Love the balance of fruit, peat and earthiness. I think there’s a sample of this somewhere in my backlog and I look forward to re-visiting it.


Haven’t tried the Triple Wood before, but have had the PX cask travel retail bottling which I believe is similar.

Laphroaig Triple Wood – 48%ss2xioc

  • Nose: peat, sherry, sweet ash, smoke, cherries
  • Palate: more ash, peat, cherry, sherry, smoke sweetness
  • Finish: long, ashy, peaty.
  • Score: 86

very nice. Well balanced, but I did prefer the bunna.


Besides these, I had some writer’s tears to start the night, Glen Garioch Founder’s Reserve, Auchentoshan 12 and Port Charlotte 2007 CC:01, all of which I’ve had before and didn’t review. Overall a very fun night, though my head hurt a bit the next morning. thanks to the Grace West crew for the invite!

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