North Star Spirits Glentauchers 14yo & North Star Spirits Dalwhinnie 14yo


We're starting the week off with two releases from North Star Spirits.

North Star Spirits Glentauchers 14yo

Region: Speyside

ABV: 58.1%

Price: £104.99

Distilled in March 2008 this bottling was matured for 14 years in a oloroso hogshead. It was bottled in November 2022. 708 bottles were released.

Nose

There's no mistaking that this spent a good while in a sherry cask.. powerful aromas of raisins, molasses, dark chocolate, roasted hazelnuts and red currant jam dominate the nose. There are lighter vanilla and sugar dusted shortbread aromas in the background, but there’s no doubt that the dram is very sherry dominant.

Palate

Chocolate and hazelnut spread hits us initially, moving into sultanas baked into a sweet brioche loaf. There's a little spice here, a touch of peppery alcohol, but overall it feels quite balanced. The mouthfeel is good, maybe a touch thinner than we'd expect given the rich, syrupy flavours of dates and dark chocolate ganache we're getting, but it's not bad. The finish lingers on for quite a while leaving those lingering notes of dark chocolate and cherry compote.

Nose (with water)

We're finding hints of coffee mixed in with the chocolate now, slightly milky, with a few teaspoons of sugar dropped into the cup. We're also getting some prune and candied almonds. There's not too much difference from pre-dilution.

Palate (with water)

The reduced palate is quite a lot drier, those sweeter sherry notes have become slightly spicier and slightly more nutty and toasted. There's more of a clove spice coming through, perhaps a little ground ginger too. The alcohol spice hasn't really changed that much, and we don't really think the dram benefits from water overall.

Conclusion

It's a sherry bomb, that's for sure. There's not too much complexity in our eyes, it's a touch one-dimensional, however that's not always a bad thing. The sherry maturation has imparted an incredible amount of flavour and aroma which a lot of people will love, us included. One to enjoy with friends without spending too much time analysing. If it was cheaper we could go higher, but at this price we’ll go for 7/10.

Score: 7/10


North Star Spirits Dalwhinnie 14yo

Region: Highlands

ABV: 48.9%

Price: £75.00

Distilled in March 2008 this bottling was matured for 14 years, initially in a refill bourbon hogshead, before a finishing period in a oloroso hogshead. It was bottled in November 2022. 252 bottles were released.

Nose

We're getting a mixture of sweet and sour initially, lime jelly sweets, pear drops, pink lady apples and a little mustiness that starts to appear as we continue to nose the dram. There's also the classic vanilla, oak and icing sugar in the background. The alcohol is mellow, but the nose still has good aromas coming through, with a bit of leather, honey and a light nuttiness at the end.

Palate

The palate opens with a mixture of stewed pineapple, orange juice, cloves, caramelised honey and a slight earthiness, cinnamon bark perhaps. There's also some lime cordial and brown sugar appearing. Saying that, it's not overly sweet, it's got a drier, rich oak flavour counterbalancing the sugar. The mouthfeel is pretty good, it's got a syrupy, honey like texture, and it's got a good length finish too.

Nose (with water)

The reduced nose gets much maltier, digestive biscuits, oatcakes, with a lot of the fruitier and zestier aromas being lost in the background. If you keep nosing, you can get some of those aforementioned aromas appearing again, but it's a drier, nuttier style of nose now.

Palate (with water)

Similar to the reduced nose, we're getting sweet barley sugars combined with oatmeal cookies, along with some richer maple syrup and raisin ice cream flavours. The water has definitely brought forward some of the sleeping sherry cask flavours, and we're quite enjoying the change.

Conclusion

Quite a pleasant dram. We've not tried many expressions of Dalwhinnie, but we can tell the sherry cask finish has given it that little bit of lift and additional complexity. It's a touch dry in places, but it's got a great mouthfeel and good length finish. We'll go with 7.5/10.

Score: 7.5/10

  • 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.

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