Onward and upwards! That is at least my hope as I open the 5th sample for Yapi’s high end blind tasting. #5 is fairly pale in colour while #5bis is darker. Bourbon and sherry matured whiskies from the same distillery perhaps? Edit: the whiskies have been revealed to be Littlemill from 1990 (Eiling Lim) and 1989 (Thosop) respectively.
The nose on #5 starts off fairly sedate. Some flowery notes, some asian spices over a bed of mandarin, vanilla and coconut. Ex-bourbon cask it is then. A fairly strong smell of warm browning butter (the stage just before you throw in the meat) appears. Then citrus and a hint of wet cardboard. With some water I get crème brûlée and soft fruit. This nose is quite subtle, restrained but thoroughly pleasant.
On to the taste, and the first thing which appears is bucketloads, nay crateloads of citrus fruit. I mean, jeez. It’s as if there was a mixup in the Tropicana-factory. The strange thing is, there is a drying note as well. But at the same time a large amount of candied fruit. This stuff:
Mandarin orange, lemon, strawberry… all sugared to within an inch of their proverbial lives. Oh, and there’s also a little spice somewhere. With some added water and time the sweetness abates somewhat and notes of wet cardboard, bitter flowers and liquorice root are able to sneak through.
Overall, the nose is very pretty. Restrained and sophisticated in counterpoint to the fruit pickers bonanza which is the taste. All in all, a good dram, but not spectacular. Shows what a non-typical bourbon-cask can do though. 87 points
The guesses: The cardboard leads me to believe this could be a Littlemill, but one which has hidden its trademark ‘almost-offnotes’ under a blanket of cask-influence. 54%, 20yo, ex-bourbon cask.
Littlemill 23yo Eiling Lim 49.8% Distilled in 1990 Bottled in 2013 Refill Bourbon Hogshead
There is less to say about this one. The nose is obviously sherry influenced, the sour modern kind. There’s speculoos here (a dutch/flemish shortcrust cookie made with cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cardamom). Also some fruit in the form of cherry and grapefruit. Into the taste it is sweet with rum-raisins, cherries and caramel but also wet cardboard (hey, there it is again!). Overall I am not convinced by this whisky. It isn’t bad, but it’s quite simple and the not well-integrated sherry acts as a blanket, covering the more interesting, complex stuff beneath. 83 points
The guesses: Littlemill. I am more convinced here than with #5. 57%, 18yo, ex-sherry cask (px?).
Littlemill 22yo Thosop 55.4% Distilled in 1989 Bottled in 2011 Refill sherry cask