Back in May, we received six whisky samples from Impex Beverages. The collective name for these whiskies is The Exclusive Malts Batch #8 which includes a Balmenach 2007, Laphroaig 2005, Invergordon 1984, Irish Whiskey 2002, North Highland 2005, and Speyside 1991. While it’s always fun to split the samples with Limpd and compare notes, this time around we decided to take three whiskies each and write them up on our own. As you can see in the above photo, I went with the Irish Whiskey, North Highland, and Laphroaig.
Here are my thoughts…
The Exclusive Malts Irish Whiskey 2002 13 Year Old
- Appearance: Pale copper color.
- Aroma: Lots of alcohol vapor at first. Once that settles down a bit, things get light and fruity. Vanilla buttercream. Poached pears with clove, cinnamon, and light brown sugar. Some musty grapes.
- Taste: Well that was a surprise! I had no indication that this would be as hot and spicy at the start. Big blast of cinnamon heat with a vanilla and brown sugar backbone. It actually intensifies and expands at mid-palate. There’s a long and astringent finish with a lingering, spicy aftertaste that’s heavy on the cinnamon, dried fruit, and brown sugar.
- ABV: 54.2%
I like a ballsy whiskey and THIS is definitely THAT. It’s not like any Irish Whiskey that I’ve had recently and reminds me of a toned down Aberlour A’bunadh, i.e. not as intensely sherried, but pretty darn close. Tasty stuff!
The Exclusive Malts North Highlands 1995 20 Year Old
- Appearance: Dark amber color.
- Aroma: Not nearly as vapory as the Irish Whiskey. Very rich and fruity with what smells like a heavy Sherry influence. Dark dried fruit. Dark brown sugar. Dark rum. Very fruit cake like with oodles of candied fruit and baking spices. A bit of dark chocolate. And ripe bananas! Can’t forget that.
- Taste: The mouthfeel is a bit on the oily side. Here’s another one that starts off hot and spicy. Rich, dark fruit and deep sugar at the onset. And let’s not forget the cinnamon and chile pepper heat that tingles the tip of your tongue straight through to the middle. Calms down a bit by the time you get to the finish with all of the spice, fruit, and sweetness coming together. The finish is very astringent with a mild bitter note at the very end.
- ABV: 54.6%
Deep, dark, and delicious is how I would describe this. The flavors are intense without ever being overbearing. This too reminds me of an Aberlour, or maybe a Glenfarclas. My only reservation is with that slight bitter note at the end. What’s that all about? I like this whisky, but not as much as the Irish Whiskey.
The Exclusive Malts Laphroaig 2005 10 Year Old
- Appearance: Pale gold color.
- Aroma:Yup! This is a classic Islay fo’sho. Sweet peat, i.e. it has that coal and ash smell but with a bit of burnt sugar too. A marshmallow that was roasted over white hot charcoal briquets for a bit too long perhaps? After that, there’s sea spray, iodine, green apple, and a touch of eucalyptus.
- Taste: Interesting! Unlike the other two, the nose and palate are quite consistent. Not overly hot at full strength. Peaty and lightly sweet at the start. Some white pepper spice comes through at mid-palate along with some tart green apple. The finish pulls it all together with some smoke, burnt sugar, pepper, and vanilla. The aftertaste has a healthy dose of herbality coming through along with some smoky vanilla.
- ABV: 54.2%
While the label says that this is a 10 year old Laphroaig, this is way different from the standard issue 10 year old. The sweetness is a pleasant surprise, as is the fruitiness. The flavors in this one are bright and distinct. This Laphroiag is easily my favorite of the three.