gavin smith

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Diageo round-up

by Gavin D Smith, 09/10

A number of Diageo single malt Scotch whisky expressions have somehow slipped through our Tasting Notes net over the years. Here is the first of a two-part update designed to remedy that situation.

Blair Athol, 12-year-old (Flora & Fauna series) (Scotland)
The nose is moist, mellow and Sherried, with brittle toffee. Sweet and fragrant. Relatively rich on the smooth palate, with malt, raisins, sultanas and sherry. The finish is lengthy, elegant, balanced and slowly drying. 43.0% ABV, 70cl, 34.95, specialist whisky merchants.
Caol Ila, 12-year-old (Scotland)
Iodine, fresh fish and smoked bacon on the nose, along with a hint of mint and more delicate, floral notes. Smoke, malt, lemon and peat on the slightly oily palate, plus vanilla and even a dash of French mustard. Peppery peat in the drying finish. 43.0% ABV, 70cl, 27.95, specialist whisky merchants.
Cardhu, 12-year-old (Scotland)
The nose is relatively light and floral, quite sweet, with pears, nuts and a whiff of distant smoke. Medium-bodied, malty and sweet in the mouth. Medium-length in the finish, with sweet smoke, malt and a hint of peat. 40.0% ABV, 70cl, 29.95, specialist whisky merchants.
Clynelish, 14-year-old (Scotland)
A nose that is fragrant, spicy and complex, with candle wax, malt and discreet smoke. Notably smooth in the slightly waxy mouth, with honey and contrasting citric orange notes, plus spice and peat. Brine and spicy tropical fruit in the finish. 46.0% ABV, 70cl, 30.95, specialist whisky merchants.
Cragganmore, 12-year-old (Scotland)
A complex nose of Sherry, brittle toffee, nuts, heather, mild wood smoke, angelica and mixed peel. Elegant on the malty palate, with almonds, herbal and fruit notes. Medium in length, with a slightly peppery, smoky finish. 40.0% ABV, 70cl, 28.95, widely available.
Dailuaine, 16-year-old (Flora & Fauna series) (Scotland)
Barley, Sherry and nuts on the substantial, perfumed nose, developing into maple syrup. Medium-bodied, rich and malty in the mouth, with more Sherry and nuts, plus ripe oranges, fruitcake, spice and a little smoke. The finish is lengthy and slightly oily, with almonds, cedar and slightly smoky oak. 43.0% ABV, 70cl, 34.95, specialist whisky merchants.
Dalwhinnie, 15-year-old (Scotland)
The nose is fresh and aromatic, with pine needles, heather and vanilla, plus delicate peat notes. Sweet and balanced on the smooth, fruity palate, with honey, malt and a very subtle note of peat. The medium length finish dries elegantly. 43.0% ABV, 70cl, 30.95, widely available.
Dufftown, Singleton of Dufftown 12-year-old (Scotland)
The nose is sweet and almost violet-like, with underlying malt. Big and bold on the palate, very drinkable. The finish is medium to long, warming and spicy, with slowly fading notes of Sherry, soft fruit and fudge. 40.0% ABV, 70cl, 29.95, widely available.
Glen Elgin, 12-year-old (Scotland)
A nose of rich, fruity Sherry, figs and fragrant spice, plus honey and cut flowers. Full-bodied, soft, malty and honeyed in the mouth, with ginger and orange notes. The finish is lengthy, slightly perfumed, with spicy oak. 43.0% ABV, 70cl, 31.95, specialist whisky merchants.
Glenkinchie, 12-year-old (Scotland)
The nose is fresh, grassy and floral, with spices and citrus fruits, oak, plus a final hint of marshmallow. Water releases cut grass and lemon notes. Medium-bodied, smooth, sweet and fruity, with malt, butter and cheesecake, together with more oak. The finish is comparatively long and drying, initially rather herbal. 43.0% ABV, 70cl, 34.95, specialist whisky merchants.
Inchgower, 14-year-old (Flora & Fauna series) (Scotland)
Ripe pears and a hint of brine on the light, spicy nose. Quite complex. Grassy and gingery in the mouth, with some malty sweetness, drying with a carry-over of brine from the nose. The finish is spicy, dry, salty and relatively short. 43.0% ABV, 70cl, 38.95, specialist whisky merchants.
Knockando, 12-year-old (Scotland)
Delicate and fragrant on the comparatively complex nose, with hints of malt, worn leather, and hay. Quite full in the mouth, smooth and honeyed, with gingery malt. Medium length in the finish, with cereal and more ginger. 43.0% ABV, 70cl, 27.95, specialist whisky merchants.
Lagavulin, 12-year-old (2009 release) (Scotland)
Soft and buttery on the nose, with lots of fruity, peat smoke, grilled fish and a hint of vanilla sweetness. More fresh fruit notes develop with the addition of water. Medium-bodied, quite oily in texture, heavily smoked, sweet malt and nuts. The finish is very long and ashy, with lingering sweet peat. 57.9% ABV, 70cl, 57.95, specialist whisky merchants.
Linkwood, 12-year-old (Flora & Fauna series) (Scotland)
Floral, grassy and fragrant on the nutty, herbal nose, while the slightly oily palate becomes increasingly sweet, ending up at marzipan and almonds. The relatively lengthy finish is quite dry and citric, with a suggestion of aniseed. 43.0% ABV, 70cl, 37.95, specialist whisky merchants.
Mortlach, 16-year-old (Flora & Fauna series) (Scotland)
A rich, spicy, Sherried nose, with sweet treacle, pepper and peat smoke. Complex, elegant, yet masterful. Sherry, Christmas cake, gunpowder, black pepper on the palate. A long, relatively dry, and slightly smoky, gingery finish. 43.0% ABV, 70cl, 39.95, specialist whisky merchants.
Oban, 14-year-old (Scotland)
Lightly smoky on the honeyed, floral nose. Toffee, cereal and a hint of peat, along with a whiff of the seashore. The palate offers initial cooked fruits, becoming spicier. Complex, bittersweet, malt, oak and more gentle smoke. The finish is quite lengthy and aromatic, with spicy oak, toffee and a touch of new leather. 43.0% ABV, 70cl, 32.95, widely available.
Royal Lochnagar, 12-year-old (Scotland)
The nose offers toffee, along with some green notes of freshly-sawn timber and a discreet whiff of smoke. The palate boasts quite a complex blend of caramel, dry Sherry, fresh fruits and spice, followed by a hint of liquorice before the slightly scented finish develops. 40.0% ABV, 70cl, 27.95, specialist whisky merchants.
Talisker, 10-year-old (Scotland)
Quite dense and smoky on the nose, with smoked fish, bladderwrack, sweet fruit and peat. Full-bodied and peaty in the mouth, with ginger, ozone, dark chocolate, black pepper and a kick of chilli in the very long, smoky finish. 45.8% ABV, 70cl, 35.99, widely available.

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