Review: Three Bottlings by the Single Cask Collection and a Grain for the Road

The Single Cask Collection by Roland Hinterreiter, who also organizes Austria’s Whisky and Spirits Festival on April 13th in Linz, where we will have a stand with some old malts and monsters (visit us there!), has a good hand in chosing his casks. These often come from private people like John McDougall. I had no disappointing dram yet by Austria’s first independent bottler. After reviewing some single bottlings of him before, I am going to check out some of the other releases today and finish the session with a good ole grain from Port Dundas.


Bladnoch 21 y.o. Single Cask Collection 30.1.1990, Bourbon Hogshead, 51,9%

Comment: I like Bladnoch, but recently I had some disappointingly thin and unexpressive bottlings. This one is much better and talkative right from the start with quite a potent nose. Notes of vanilla, grass, flowers, buttered toast, lemon, orange zest, peaches, malt, apples, pears, licorice and raise from the glass in oily fashion. The taste doesn’t let you down either: malt and licorice, then almonds, grass and lime plus a discrete peppery spiciness paired with a whiff of smoke. Unusual but nice. Medium length in the finish.

Score: 88


Linkwood 27 y.o. Single Cask Collection 1984, Bourbon Hogshead, 57,0%

Comment: Linkwood is an underrated distillery, one for the second look, not so much on primary notes. There were few bottlings I didn’t like. It is essential to give these drams some time to develop. I hope this one is in line with my positive experience.  Let’s see: well-balanced, I must say. I am getting unfiltered apple juice, apricots, lemon zests, flower bouquet, spicy white oak with good Bourbon influence (e.g. vanilla, fudge, cloves, some rum notes), cinnamon, marzipan, marshmallows, smoking sticks in an Indian restaurant and sandal wood. It is becoming even more high class in the mouth, wow, this is wonderfully balanced and needs no water in general – but water helps it in terms of accessibility and more flavours come out, whatever you prefer here. Close to perfection in maturity and very complex, it is hard to nail down aromas on the mile-high-layered mid-palate, very fruity (also grapefruit, citrus fruit and white peaches), exotic spices, flavoured marzipan, white chocolate and wonderful oak. The long finish leaves you positively puzzled and demands for another sip to grasp this complexity. At a price point below 100.- Euro, this is a real steal! Please put a bottle of this on reserve for me, Roland.

Score: 91


Blair Athol 12 y.o. Single Cask Collection 4.8.1998, Bourbon Hogshead, 60,3%

Comment: A classic Highland nose with honey, malt, licorice, ginger, white pepper, heather and grass, peach, vanilla, roasted nuts and cereals. On the palate, it is hot but also fruity (peaches and pineapple) –  a real honest malt with good intensity, somehow reminding me of Lochnagar. Water helps to polish the edges. The long finish focuses on the fruity aspects and adds big vanilla. Old style, good whisky, really fair in price (below 40.-).

Score: 87


Port Dundas 37 y.o., Duncan Taylor Rare Auld, 01.1973 – 04.2010, Sherry Cask 128324, 259 btl., 56,1%

Comment: Is this an ultra-premium rum? Worlds collide here in a nice way. Fresh despite its age, like a Caribbean breeze in Key West. Sugar cane, big vanilla- and coffee-notes, tobacco, chocolate, Cointreau, limejuice, tinned pineapples, coconut, agave and mint, fudge and great oak (that doesn’t go overboard). The sherry is really discrete. Awesome all the way, if you are into mature rum or grain. The more old grain I try, the more I love them. Another quite undiscovered category…

Score: 90

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