We're looking at two new releases from Little Brown Dog, an independent bottler that's really impressed us with the quality of their whiskies so far.. let's hope that these continue that trend.
Arran 2009 Little Brown Dog
This release was distilled in 2009 and bottled in 2023 after being matured in a refill St. Emilion Barrique. According to LBD, the cask was filled from an unpeated distillation that occurred after a peated run. This means that the distillation used the peated low wines and feints from the previous distillation, but with an unpeated mash.
The nose opens with notes of figs, orange marmalade, and red berries. It’s incredibly fruity and you can get your nose right into the glass without the alcohol bothering you. Going back to it and we’re getting a little yeast, lime cordial, mangoes, apricots and just a hint of nuttiness. We’re not really getting much peat, just very slight hint of smoke.
We’re getting orange peel, salted caramel, and lemon Fanta. There’s a spice, that reminds us of crystallised ginger. Going back to it there’s also a little charred oak, that we suspect comes from the peat, and brown sugar. Good mouthfeel, and good length finish, that’s maybe just a touch spicy. This is one that might benefit from dilution.
Nose (with water)
We’re finding it more citrusy now, but it’s more of a synthetic fruit like lime citron vert liqueur. There’s also hints of warehouse must, and as it sits in the glass some of the fruit notes we’ve enjoyed dissipate, replaced by more synthetic sweetness like candy necklaces.
Palate (with water)
The mouthfeel remains good. Like the nose the citrus is the dominant note along with more burnt sugar. The length of the finish remains good. Whatever smoke that was here is now is gone.
It's not overly “winey”, but the refill cask has imparted some interesting flavours here that we really enjoyed. We’ve only recently started trying releases from LBD, but we’ve been really impressed by the quality of what we’ve tasted so far. This one is an easy 8/10 for us. Still available online at time of writing for anyone who is interested.
Nc’nean 2017 Little Brown Dog
This release was distilled in 2017 and bottled in 2023 after being matured in a shaved, toasted, and recharged (STR) cask. 317 bottles were released. We believe this is the second independent bottling of Nc’nean after boutique-y whisky companies release.
The nose is quite restrained initially, but a little patience reveals notes of vanilla pods, cold salted butter, strawberries, pistachios, popcorn, and fresh mint. We were expecting more young spirit notes, but there’s not much in the way of notes here that give away the age. Although unlike the Arran it’s ABV is noticeable and our nose hairs are a little singed.
The palate is less restrained and we’re getting strawberry candies, toffee, treacle, and a hint of coffee. There’s a little ash on a good length finish, with a fair amount of sweetness also lingering. Going back after air reveals white sugar cubes, and pears. Like the nose there’s not much here to give away the age. One critique we do have is that the palate is a touch thin.
Nose (with water)
The buttery note is now gone, and the dilution has brought more of that toffee and treacle to the fore. Along with it there’s now hints of blueberries and blackberries. Its sweeter now and less restrained.
Palate (with water)
We’re now getting cloves, dark chocolate, brown sugar and lemon zest on the palate. There’s now ginger spice on a good length finish. The mouthfeel remains similar to the undiluted dram. Even though the nose benefits from water, there’s a touch of bitterness on the palate that makes us say skip water.
Another solid dram that makes us want to check out other LBD releases. We personally prefer the Arran, but this is a pleasant dram at a good price for anyone who wants to try a cask strength whisky from this distillery. It’s another 8/10. This one is also still available.
- 10 - Perfection. A whisky that we’ll remember forever.
- 9 - Amazing. We’d pay through the nose for a bottle.
- 8 - Great. Pick this up at RRP.
- 7 - Good. Happy to have a dram or two but wouldn’t buy a bottle.
- 6 - Passable. Would accept a dram, but wouldn’t seek it out.
- 5 - Poor. Would drink if it was the only option.
- 4 - Bad. Maybe it can be saved by ginger beer?
- 3 - Awful. It can't be saved by ginger beer.
- 2 - Pour it out
- 1 - We’ve never tried a whisky rated this low and hopefully never will.