This week we will be looking at 3 independent offerings from Bartels Whisky, bottled as part of their Highland Laird range.
First up, a Glentauchers.
Glentauchers, IB, Bartels, 20yo, 53.25abv, (press sample)
On the nose you can tell how this dram will be straight away. It has got some great citrus notes alongside custard cream biscuits and some powdered sugar. It’s an elegant and perfumed nose, not much depth here however.
The palate is nicely floral with good flavours of melon, apricot and a touch of Scicillian lemon zest. Given a bit of time to mellow, which I feel it needs, then some soft vanilla and white chocolate notes emerge. These notes lead us to the finish, which continues the soft floral and chocolatey feeling alongside some light woody tones, some light fruit syrup and some faint pepper.
A little non-descript but rather pleasant. It has a nice feeling about it and a generally elegant and perfumed character.
Port Charlotte, IB, Bartels, 12yo, 57.3%abv, (press sample)
There is the unmistakable aroma of Islay on the nose, strong on the peat with a touch of sea spray underneath. Cutting through the peat gives some smoked glazed ham, some chocolate and unripened pears.
The palate is a little woody. Strong cedar notes book end a tangy palate. Some nice honey notes mingle with some salted caramel.
This is a bit much for me at near 60% so the addition of water tames it immensely, bringing the cedar into sharper focus and adding some apricot and pineapple elements as well as some nice earthy tones.
The finish is all about the fading smoke, it is oaky, peaty, chocolatey and warming.
After the initial phenolic wave, water and time let its complexities open up quite nicely.
Arran, IB, Bartels, 20yo, 51.3%abv, (press sample)
This is most definitely a sherry bomb. Straight from the off you know its deep and dark…
Muscovado sugar, burnt caramel, cedar wood and mahogany mix with some dark fruits and mixed spice. There is the faintest whisp of sulphur underneath it all.
The palate is incredibly rich. Malt loaf, raisins, cherries, chocolate and soft spices mix with a rich vanilla butter and some fresh baked pastries. Not much need for water to be added as the abv seems quite tempered by the powerful flavours so lets just proceed without any.
The finish is long, tannic and very moreish, with the flavours of the palate fading out of focus slowly, leaving behind marmalade and some light and oaky vanillins.
So, a reasonably simple and uncomplicated Glentauchers, a Port Charlotte with a hidden complexity and a very rich sherry bomb from Arran.
A nice range from Bartels here, should be something for everyone.