Secret Speyside 1990 (Asta Morris)

A new batch of Asta Morris bottlings has just arrived in stores. One of the highlights is this Secret Speyside 1990, aged for 28 years in a bourbon cask.

Although the distillery should remain a secret, I can tell you it is in the town of Rothes and that is doesn’t have a tradition of releasing bourbon casks.



Secret Speyside 1990 - Asta MorrisSecret Speyside 1990 - Asta MorrisSecret Speyside 28 yo 1990 (40,1%, Asta Morris 2019, ex-bourbon cask, 125 btl.)

Nose: entirely on juicy orchard fruits (plums, peaches), orange blossom and old-style waxy notes and lemon balm that you expect from even older neighbours like Glen Grant or Caperdonich. Reminds of the 1970s actually. Whiffs of tangerine, leather and minty herbs. Delicate floral honey, even a mineral touch. Excellent Mouth: a similar delicate style, a great combination of fresh fruits (peach, lime, oranges), natural vanilla and subtle resinous / mineral notes. The waxiness is there again. A hint of silver polish and ginger. Soft herbal tea. Finish: long, lots of fresh citrus notes and traces of waxy oak.

Just lovely. The freshness, juicy fruits and subtle mineral notes are rarely seen these days. Also don’t be afraid of the low strength, it’s delicate but it’s not diluted: flavoursome and easily drinkable. Around € 190, arriving in stores as we speak.

Score: 91/100

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Wemyss Malts kick of their 15th anniversary year with ‘Black Gold’; a 30 year old single sherry cask Bowmore – Scotch Whisky News

Wemyss Malts kick of their 15th anniversary year with ‘Black Gold’; a 30 year old single sherry cask Bowmore.

The third exclusive release for the Wemyss Malts Cask Club; Black Gold is an exceptional single cask single malt from Bowmore distillery. Black Gold is single sherry hogshead cask of 1989 Bowmore that has matured for 30 years and bottled at a cask strength of exactly 50.0%ABV. Bowmore is the oldest distillery on Islay and one of the oldest distilleries in Scotland, tracing its distillation roots back to 1779. In keeping with its over 200 year heritage and tradition it is one of the few remaining Scottish distilleries that still malts and kilns its own barley with local Islay peat.

The whisky has been noted for its deep, polished rosewood colour and a complex combination of flavours such as dried dark fruits, treacle toffee and earthy kiln smoke.

Director of Wemyss Malts; William Wemyss commented:

“Black Gold is a strikingly distinctive single cask, single malt whisky and a great release to start the 2020 celebration of the 15th Anniversary of the founding of Wemyss Malts. I hope Cask Club members will enjoy, savour and share among friends the remaining 174 bottles as I purchased the first one for myself and have already enjoyed a few drams of it.”

Black Gold follows on from the first and second releases (Smoky Nectar and Antique Armchair) of single cask Islay malts offered exclusively to the Wemyss Malts Cask Club members. The Cask club offers exclusive bottlings of the most exciting and interesting bottling’s and early access to new releases from Wemyss Malts.

Black Gold will be released exclusively to Wemyss Malts Cask Club members via at 12pm on Thursday the 23rd of January and is priced at £599 for the 700ml bottle and gift box. Membership to the Cask Club is free to join and can be signed up to from the same website.


 Edinburgh based Wemyss Malts is family run company operated by brother and sister William and Isabella Wemyss. The Wemyss family Castle has been home to the family since the 1300s and is featured in the company logo.
 Wemyss Malts craft blended malt whiskies such as The Hive, Spice King and Peat Chimney as well as Batch Strength versions and single cask whiskies.
 Wemyss blended malts have recently won double gold medals for The Hive and Spice King as well as ‘Best in Class’ for The Hive at The San Francisco World Spirits Competition. The latest release of The Hive, Spice King and Peat Chimney Batch Strength, Batch No.002 all received gold medal wins from the Spirits Business Scotch Whisky Masters.
 The Wemyss family premium wines and spirits brands also include Lord Elcho blended Scotch whisky and Darnley’s Gin, together with the premium wine estate of Rimauresq Cru Classé in Cotes de Provence.
 The family opened a single malt distillery at Kingsbarns, near St. Andrews in Fife and in July 2017 also added Darnley’s Gin distillery to the site.
For further information please contact Steven Shand at or Karen Stewart at or on +44 (0)131-226-3445

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Hong Kong – From 15 to 22 February 2020, Bonhams will present an online whisky sale dedicated to budding whisky enthusiasts. The 180 lots of Japanese and Scotch whiskies on offer, including those from the most sought-after distilleries including Yamazaki, Karuizawa and Bowmore, are attractively estimated from HK$3,000 (US$390) to just over HK$300,000 (US$38,600). Many of the estimates are lower than the current market price.

Daniel Lam, Bonhams’ Director of Wine Spirits, Asia, comments: ‘Whisky collecting has become a lifestyle trend for not only the connoisseurs but also for the younger generation across the world. We have seen more new collectors coming in than ever: one in every five bidders in our worldwide whisky sales over the last two years was a new bidder. With this in mind, we have curated this online sale to offer not the high-ticket star bottles, but instead a wide range of editions from popular distilleries at friendly price points. We hope that first-time buyers can find in this sale an entrance to start their whisky collection.’


Highlights estimated under HK$20,000 (US$2,600) include:

  • 余市 Yoichi-1984-#252986, estimate: HK$18,000–22,000
  • Hanyu Ichiro’s Malt-Joker “Colour”, estimate: HK$15,000–20,000
  • Lagavulin-1991-Feis Ile 2015, estimate: HK$6,000–8,000


Highlights estimated under HK$100,000 (US$13,000) include:

  • Karuizawa-Yashiro-1971-37 year old-八代窯, estimate: HK$80,000–100,000
  • 山崎 Yamazaki-Mizunara-1986-#6G5029, estimate: HK$65,000–85,000
  • Hanyu Ichiro’s Malt-The Game-1st Edition, estimate: HK$48,000–60,000


Highlights estimated under HK$400,000 (US$52,000) include:

  • Karuizawa-1965-#8852, estimate: HK$380,000–480,000
  • Karuizawa-1964-#3603, estimate: HK$250,000–300,000
  • Black Bowmore-1964 (2nd Edition), estimate: HK$120,000–160,000

Bonhams marked its 10 years of market leadership in Asia’s whisky auction in 2019. In August, Hanyu Ichiro’s Full Card Series in 54 bottles established a new record for a Japanese whisky collection for HK$7,192,000 (US$917,000), selling to an Asian female collector. Three months later, an exceedingly rare 30 year whisky sherry hogshead cask from the famed Macallan Distillery also achieved HK$4,464,000 (US$572,000), setting a new world auction record for a whisky cask.

Bonhams wine and whisky departments worldwide reported sales of GBP16 million (US$21.3 million/ HK$166,200,000) for 2019.

The forthcoming Fine Rare Wine and Whisky sale will be held on 15 May in Hong Kong.

Whisky Online Auction15 February until 6pm (HKT) 22 February 2020Bidding page will go live on 15 February on Specialist: Daniel Lam, Bonhams’ Director of Wine Spirits, Asia.


Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world’s largest and most renowned auctioneers, offering fine art and antiques, motor cars and jewellery. The main salerooms are in London, New York, Los Angeles and Hong Kong, with auctions also held in Knightsbridge, Edinburgh, Paris, San Francisco and Sydney. With a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 22 countries, Bonhams offers advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full list of forthcoming auctions, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments, please visit

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Laphroaig 10 yo Cask Strength (batch 011)

It’s been a while since I’ve had Laphroaig, especially the recent Cask Strength batches. Although this was bottled March 2019, Batch 11 took a while before being distributed.



Laphroaig 10 Years Cask Strength - Batch 11Laphroaig 10 Years Cask Strength - Batch 11Laphroaig 10 yo Cask Strength
(58,6%, OB 2019, Batch #011)

Nose: great ashy notes and crystal clear malt. Perhaps a little lighter and more focused on bourbonny oak than how I remember the early batches, but still great. A little vanilla ice cream and apple sweetness, lemon curd, then dried herbs, balanced medicinal notes and subtle coastal breeze. Asphalt in the background. Mouth: more medicinal now. Liquorice and oily peat smoke. Tangy brine, making this a little sharper and leaner than the nose suggested. A light grassy bitterness. Returns on sweet citrus and a hint of vanilla towards the end, as well as a hint of mocha and tobacco leaf. Finish: quite pepper, with white pepper and acrid smoke, light minerals and lemon.

A really good one, one of the best batches I’ve had, offering intensity and many different nuances while staying really drinkable. Available from The Whisky Exchange for instance.

Score: 88/100

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Auchroisk 16 Year Old 2002 First Editions for Whisky Festival Gent

Distilleerderij: Auchroisk
Regio: Schotland (Speyside)
Fles: Auchroisk 16 Year Old 2002/2019 First Editions for International Malt Whisky Festival Gent 2019, Refill Hogshead #HL15797, 246 bts
Kleur: zonlicht
ABV: 56.0%


Het International Malt Whisky Festival Gent brengt elk jaar een unieke festivalbotteling op de markt. Voor dit jaar ging het om een single cask Auchroisk 2002, waarvan 246 flessen werden uitgebracht. Hij werd gebotteld door Edition Spirits, een bedrijf dat ondertussen is opgegaan in Hunter Laing (het waren immers de zonen die hun eigen weg wilden gaan, maar papa lijfde ze weer in).

Zoete neus op moutsuikers, perzik en jonge appeltjes met wat hazelnoten en toffee en een licht herbale toets. Maak daar gerust hooi van. Klassieke Auchroisk op de neus, zeg maar.

De sterkte is prima, de aanzet olieachtig en licht gepeperd. Meteen flink wat vanille, appeltjes met kaneel, meer grasachtige toetsen en toffee. Doet me een beetje aan Toffifee denken, u weet wel: de snoepjes met karamel, een hazelnoot, pralinécrème en een beetje chocolade. Ik lust ‘m wel.

De afdronk is dan weer aan de korte kant met wat kruidigheid van het hout.

Een schoolvoorbeeld van Auchroisk. Niets wereldschokkends, maar wel foutloos en erg drinkbaar op deze sterkte.


Geproefd door Mark Dermul op 27-07-2019
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Auchroisk 20 Year Old 1989 Blackadder Raw Cask

Distilleerderij: Auchroisk
Regio: Schotland (Speyside)
Fles: Auchroisk 20 Year Old 1989/2009, Blackadder Raw Cask, Sherry Oak Cask #30265, 448 bts
Kleur: oud goud
ABV: 61.8%


De Raw Cask serie van Blackadder staat bekend om drie dingen. Ten eerste zit er in elk vat wat cask residue dat de indruk moet wekken dat het echt wel rechtstreeks uit het vat komt, ten tweede zijn het steevast single cask bottelingen en ten derde altijd op vatsterkte. Alleen het eerste is een marketingtruc, want uiteraard wordt de whisky wel degelijk eerst gefilterd en dan pas gebotteld. De ‘zwarte visjes’ worden er nadien gewoon terug aan toegevoegd. Soit. Deze 20 jarige Auchroisk werd tien jaar geleden gebotteld op een ongelooflijke 61.8% alcoholpercentage, wat aangeeft dat hij niet op de standaard 63.5% op vat ging.

Zoete en erg aromatische neus op amandelen, gras, citrusfruit en rozijntjes. Ananassnoepjes en iets van menthol. Een toefje umami zonder dat ik de vinger er op kan leggen. Aangenaam, ondanks het hoge ABV. De neus ondervindt er geen last van.

Deze knalt wel tegen je tanden, natuurlijk. Erg herbaal en grassig. Pikant op gember, witte peper en kamfer, terwijl het fruit evolueert van wit naar geel met wat sultanas en geroosterde amandelen in de mix. Grootse ontwikkeling hoor. Wat woodsmoke zorgt voor diepgang, terwijl de tannine je mond langzaam maar zeker droogt.

De afdronk, op meer amandelen en citrusfruit, duurt lekker lang.

Een klepper van deze nobele onbekende Speysider, maar helaas nergens meer te vinden.


Geproefd door Mark Dermul op 27-07-2019
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Auchroisk 24 Year Old 1989 Cadenhead’s

Distilleerderij: Auchroisk
Regio: Schotland (Speyside)
Fles: Auchroisk 24 Year Old 1989/2014, Cadenhead’s Small Batch, Butts, 1.140 bts
Kleur: koper
ABV: 57.5%


Het overgrote deel van wat bij Auchroisk (spreek uit ‘o-thrusjk’) wordt gestookt gaat naar de blenders. Justerini Brooks is hun belangrijkste klant. Wil je hem als single malt proeven, dan kijk je best even bij de onafhankelijke bottelaars. Zoals Cadenhead’s, één van Schotland’s oudste bottelaars. Zij brachten enkele jaren geleden deze op sherry butts gerijpte Auchroisk op de mark in hun Small Batch reeks.

Aromatische neus op zwarte koffie, hazelnoten, karamel en… een tikkeltje sulfer. Gelukkig trekt dat laatste redelijk snel weg, maar het is onmiskenbaar en even schrikken. Dan volgen nog bakboter, pruimen en snuiftabak. Pindanoten, rozijntjes en vleesjus worden uw deel. Aangenaam, weliswaar nadat de sulfer is opgetrokken.

Erg pikante start op de tong: curry, gember, zwarte peper. Dan volgen enkele beboterde vruchten (dadels, rozijnen en noten) die hem voldoende zoetigheid geven om aangenaam te blijven, hoewel een zilte toets niet onder de radar kan blijven. Prima sterkte. Appels, peren en moutsuikers treden bij. Er is ook weer die umami toets waar ik niet meteen de vinger op kan leggen, maar die hem wel interessant maakt.

De afdronk offreert wat grasachtige en nootachtige toetsen zoals we van Auchroisk gewend zijn, maar die zilte en umami toetsen gaan nooit helemaal weg. Woodsmoke op het sterfbed. Dat deed me even de wenkbrauwen fronsen (in de goede zin).

Geen gemakkelijk Auchroisk, maar wel erg interessant. Echter niet voor iedereen, me dunkt, het is een moeilijke jongen. Reken op zo’n 120 EUR.


Geproefd door Mark Dermul op 27-07-2019
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Auchroisk 20 Year Old Diageo Special Release 2010

Distilleerderij: Auchroisk
Regio: Schotland (Speyside)
Fles: Auchroisk 20 Year Old, Diageo Special Release 2010, 5.856 bts
Kleur: oud goud
ABV: 58.1%


Deze release van Auchroisk maakte deel uit van de Special Releases van Diageo in 2010. Een kleine zesduizend flessen werd afgevuld op een sterkte van 58.1%. Het is een combinatie van Amerikaanse en Europese eik. Eind november vorig jaar proefde ik nog de 30-jarige die in 2012 gepresenteerd werd. Ik kijk hier alvast naar uit.

Complex en zeer aromatisch, dat is het minste wat je van deze neus kan zeggen. Bijzonder fruitig op banaan, perzik, ananas, appelsien en kweepeer. Heerlijke honing en flink wat amandelolie. Kokosnoot en boterbloempjes. Sultanas en iets van gekonfijte citroen. Tikkeltje zesty, tikkeltje waxy.

Op smaak is hij fruitig zoet, maar onmiddellijk erg, erg pikant. Zowel de prikkel van de alcohol als de kruidigheid van allspice, witte peper en zoethout doen me even naar adem happen. Eens de malt zich op je smaakpapillen genesteld heeft, offreert hij een mooie panoplie aan wit en geel fruit, zowel Europees als tropisch en vult dit aan met laurier en groene kruiden. Lekker romig, overigens. Groots.

De afdronk duurt lekker lang, is warm en licht drogend, maar blijft wel heerlijk zoet tot op het sterfbed.

Erg indrukwekkende Auchroisk, hoor! Het verschil met de 30-jarige is echter klein. Te klein om het prijsverschil te verantwoorden. Geef me dan maar deze!


Geproefd door Mark Dermul op 08-08-2019
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Glen Moray 23 Year Old 1996 Asta Morris

Distilleerderij: Glen Moray
Regio: Schotland (Speyside)
Fles: Glen Moray 23 Year Old 1996/2019, Asta Morris AM#138,
Kleur: zonlicht
ABV: 49.7%


Als ik me niet vergis is dit Asta Morris’ eerste uitstap naar Glen Moray. Een verrassende keuze als je weet dat deze distilleerderij eerder een underdog is. Maar we weten allemaal dat dat Zotte Bert niet tegenhoud. Eigenwijs als hij is, selecteert hij whisky enkel en alleen op smaak. Fuck de populariteit of de hype. Alleen als de liquid goed is, wil Bert er zijn label wel op plakken. Deze liquid is alvast bijzonder bleek van kleur.

Oh, my, dit is apart. Ik krijg op de neus wit brood – dubbel gebakken! – en iets van… niet lachen, ik meen het… broodje bapao! Echt waar, dit is amper zoet, maar des te meer umami en lekker oosters gekruid. Loempia in de friteuse. Ik barst uit van het lachen – Zotte Bert heeft ons weer bij ons kl*ten!


Op smaak is het distilleerderijkarakter veel herkenbaarder. Zoete ontbijtgranen, Europees boomgaardfruit, hooi, witte chocolade en iets van popcorn. Een bitterzoete toets steekt de kop op. Kinine? Druivenpitten en schil van kiwi. Tikkeltje scherp. Papier en zelfs vuursteentjes als het ware.

De finish is betrekkelijk lang met witte peper en vanille, appels en stekelbessen.

Ha! Mijn 25e Glen Moray. En hoewel ik er niet kapot van ben – hij is iets te speciaal voor mij en ik ben sowieso niet erg tuk op Glen Moray – is de neus een absoluut geweldige ervaring. De fles kan de jouwe zijn voor zo’n 170 EUR. Niet weinig, maar ook niet veel voor deze atypische Glen Moray. Zet uw vooroordeel aan de kant alvorens de fles te openen. Ik heb me alvast rot geamuseerd!


Geproefd door Mark Dermul op 17-01-2020
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Whisky originates from Ireland by Paul Mclean of Whisky Tours ~ Mclean Scotland

Whisky expert Dave Broom, from Glasgow, says  Scotland’s national drink has its’ origins in Ireland. He said there is “strong evidence” whisky may have been first developed in Ireland and brought to Islay, to be drunk at the seat of the High Kings (is he talking about the Macdonald’s?).

Broom said: “If you look at the north of Ireland and across to Islay, that’s the cradle of distillation… but the first record I found is in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.” Film producer Adam Park (The Amber Light), said research carried out for the film suggests the Beaton family, who were Irish physicians, (related to the Maclean’s) developed a vast international knowledge of botanical remedies.  They were most likely to be instrumental in creating what would become the first Scotch whisky. “The Beatons were pretty amazing people, they travelled the world translating medical scripts and building their knowledge,” he said “They came to service of the High Kings and became experts in distilling spirit and added to it the plants and flowers that grew around them.”  Let’s be fair here; the Beatons, whose family name appears as MacMeic-bethad and MacBeth, are believed to have first arrived on Islay in the 13th century at the time of the marriage between Aine O’Cathain and Angus Og MacDonald, Lord Of The Isles and also closely associated with the Maclean Clan. The Beaton family became hereditary physicians to the Scottish crown, serving Robert The Bruce and every subsequent Scottish king, while also providing medical knowledge to clan chiefs from the Western Isles to the Lowlands.  Here we go –  a spokesman for the Scotch Whisky Association said: “The earliest known record of Scotch Whisky production dates from the Exchequer Rolls of 1494, but it is likely the ‘Aqua Vitae’ was being produced long before this date. It is likely early development of distillation in Scotland and Ireland took place in parallel, ultimately leading to two distinct global industries.”

I have said numerous times, the Irish invented whisk(e)y. The first written account of distilling in Ireland comes from Kilkenny in the 14th century with the Red Book of Ossory and the Kilkenny Whiskey Guild are celebrating and highlighting this history. The Red Book of Ossory is a fourteenth century register of the diocese which is associated with Richard Ledred who was Bishop of Ossory, 1317/60. The volume contains copies of documents which would have been important for the administration of the diocese – constitutions and taxations, memoranda relating to rights and privileges, deeds and royal letters. The register is, however, best known for the texts of songs composed by Bishop Ledred for the vicars choral of St Canice’s Cathedral ‘so that their mouths be not defiled with theatrical, foul and secular songs’. It also contains a treatise on acqua vitae (whiskey to you and me). Richard Ledred is must be noted, is the notorious Bishop who went on to tackle what he considered the important issue of witchcraft. He chased Dame Alice Kyteler out of the country and burned poor Petronella de Meat, her maidservant, for witchcraft. Check out;

Birthplace of Irish Whiskey. Ballykeefe Distillery is situated in Co. Kilkenny the heartland of Ireland, adjacent to its medieval capital, Kilkenny city. It is steeped in a historic heritage and tradition, holding the unique distinction of being the birthplace of Irish whiskey. It is from this area that the first written account of distilling in Ireland comes in 1324 in the Red Book of Ossory. The word “Whiskey” is an Anglicisation of the Gaelic phrase, uisce beatha, meaning “water of life”.

I have great respect for David Broom, in a way, we agree that the Irish started whiskey and the Scots took it under their wing a century or so later. Why do I write these articles/blogs? Because I can. My life evolves totally around whisky, I buy and sell it, I discuss it, I write about it, I visit so many distilleries with my tour company – it’s in ma hoose it’s in ma blood! Why is our whisky blog called the ANGEL’S BLOG? Named after a few things really, the angel’s share; the amount of alcohol (whisky) that is lost to evaporation when the liquid is being aged in oak barrels. The angel’s share. My Dad; he has been an angel for some 60 years or so, liked a dram when he was with us (I was told by my Uncle Harry) and I believe he is still taking his share in that distillery in the sky. I write almost all of the whisky blogs, with a few being from friends around the whisky world now and then. Club Patron (it did used to be a club) is another Maclean, this time of the Charlie variety; Charles Maclean. We know Charlie well (cousin) early on Paul (McLean) asked Charlie if he wished to become a club member, his reply; “Yes and I will be your Club Patron”.  And so it came to pass … you can find him here; If you like a good read, an argument and a debate, take a look, there are tons of blogs waitin for you here; PAUL MCLEAN Perth Scotland, also Kilkenny Ireland.

Wee note; notice the Irish Cowan’s whisky doesnee have an E

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