TWA review – The Whisky Agency’s new releases (Spring 2020)

As so many events and festivals had to give way to Covid-19-shutdowns and mitigation efforts, the Limburg Whisky Fair was no exception. However, we don’t have to miss out on TWA bottlings which were just released. Thank you for providing me with a preview. I am impressed with the general quality again – and glad this is no color-obsessed release. Let’s taste the details in brief fashion as these probably fly off the shelves (quick tasting – done twice – no pictures of bottles out yet):


Cognac 49 y.o. ‚Petite Champagne‘ 1970 – 2019, barrel, 49,2%

Comment: We don’t know the producing house but I have a hunch. It is very well-balanced, and no overboarding wood disturbs the pleasure full of nuts, plums, pineapple skin, tobacco smoke, Oyster Sauce, flowers, Asian spices, fruit cake with dried and caramellized fruits. Medium rancio though, this is more on subtleties on the lighter side – it unfolds lik an onion, give it gradually becomes darker in character. medium-long finish. A high class Cognac, very typical. Not a 1960s-Bowmore-esque Berry Bomber, though (if you search for that unsusual profile).

Score: 89 – 90


Irish Single Malt 29 y.o., 1990 – 2019, barrel, 48,5%

Comment: When Irish Malts become this old, they become rare and expensive. Also did the load of older Emeralds dry recently, so this is really cool. This dram is still malty and has some wood spice to counter enormous tropical fruitiness, berries and lemongrass. Creamy, milky too, somehow: pineapple-vanilla milkshake, anyone? On the palate it plays out its strength the most: Mangos meet berries and blackcurrant. Yeah. I am a sucker for uber-fruitiness. Medium-length finish. Maybe not the best Irish from these years but certainly a great one. Got me a bottle…

Score: 91


Irish Single Malt 21 y.o., 1998 – 2019, barrel, 51,3%

Comment: A good age when usually fruitiness explodes in Irish drams. Is this in its prime yet? Yes. Wow, I like it. Bushmills 21, but more naked. Fresh and fruity, berries, vanilla, blackcurrant. All the way well-balanced, icecream topping quality. Absolutely typical, recommendation.

Score: 90 – 91


Irish Single Malt 16 y.o., 2003 – 2019, barrel, 51,9%

Comment: How does the youngest Irish contender hold its own? It is a nice example of a grassy and lemony version, discrete oak influence (spice), coconut too. Creamy, fruity, smooth, honest. Pistacchio. A good dram.

Score: 88


Littlemill 27 y.o., 1992 – 2020, hogshead, 52,3%

Comment: Thyme on roasted lamb, other Mediterranean herbs, pineapples, apple juice, Pak Choi, vanilla pod, pine cone, traces of Bourbon. Fragile and elegant all the way.

Score: 91


Secret Highland 34 y.o.,  1985 – 2019, hogshead, 47,0%

Comment: I like the pink grapefruit in this (hint – hint), nice old profile with big fruitiness and no offnote, fresh too, so spirit driven. Mangos, berries, blackcurrant, pineapple, maracuja and what not. Is there a smoked pink grapefruit? It would taste like this. Who needs distillery names 😉

Score: 91+


Arran 17 y.o.,  2002 – 2020, Barrel, 49,2%

Comment: Spices on apples and pineapples, coconut, cappuccino froth, vanilla, peaches, Tarte Tatin, honey, pear cider, rosemary, Marshmallows, ozone, mossy brine. A fine Arran.

Score: 88+


Ben Nevis 23 y.o., 1996 – 2020, hogshead, 47,6%

Comment: Lychee sweetness, peaches, mango, herbs, roses, Alpine cheese, vanilla, apple crumble, sugar-coated nuts, honeyed malt, sandalwood candle, almost no wood. Amazing Ben Nevis from a great vintage for this distillery, fruitier than usual. Wow. This is en par with the Maltbarn release from last year which I adore as well.

Score: 92


Ledaig 25 y.o., 1995 – 2020, hogshead, 48,5%

Comment: Quite an aged Mull malt, rare indeed. The peat is secondary here, broken down into coastal aromas now. Malty, chalky, mineral, salty, briny. Air-dried ham, kiwi, peaches, melon, Atlantic seabreeze, wool, windswept sheep shack wood (sorry :)), leather, pepper. A pan of scallops deglazed with Vermouth and whisky. Aaah, this grows on you with every sip.

Score: 89+

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