Massen 2020 festival

As you may know the Massen 2020 festival still takes place but the usual tasting is of course cancelled. I managed to get my hands on some samples from different bottlings that should have been present at this event.

Whitlaw 5 yo 2014-2020 (60.1%, Signatory Vintage for Belgium & Luxembourg, dechar/rechar butt)

Colour: Gold.
Nose: Young. Barley, yellow fruits and honey. It’s a bit flat
Mouth: The alcohol integration is not very good. Green barley, gentle smoke and hints of candied yellow fruits.
Finish: Medium. Mainly on the barley.

This is a typical young malt, it’s not bad but the alcohol is too present for me. The rest is quite pleasant.

Score: 85

Glencadam 9 yo 2011-2020 (46%, Signatory Vintage for Vinothek Massen &co., 1st Fill bourbon barrel)

Colour: White wine.
Nose: Yellow fruits, peaches, oranges, bananas and honey. There is no alcohol presence at all.
Mouth: The alcohol integration is good. The mouthfeel is a bit liquid. Typical fruit bomb! Yellow and white fruits, peaches, oranges and even candle wax.
Finish: Medium. A nice basket of fruits.

Monolithic but effective and highly quaffable, that’s a good one!

Score: 87

Caol Ila 8 yo 2011-2020 (46%, Signatory Vintage for Vinothek Massen &co., Hogshead)


Colour: White wine.
Nose: It’s a typical bourbon-y Caol Ila profile. Lemons, cold ashes, gentle smoke and aerial peat. Really nice!
Mouth: The alcohol integration is good. The mouthfeel is a bit liquid.
Finish: Mid-long. Smoke, ashes, hints of candied lemons and delicate peat.

I would have loved to try it without the reduction, still a really good daily dram though.

Score: 88

Deanston 13 yo 2007-2020 (46%, Signatory Vintage for Belgium & Luxembourg, 1st Fill sherry butt)


Colour: Gold.
Nose: Candied oranges, leather, old books, mushrooms, floral honye, noble wood and hints of delicate wood smoke.
Mouth: The alcohol integration is good. The mouthfeel is a bit liquid. Raisins, dusty books, honey, candied oranges and leather.
Finish: Medium. Same flavours as the mouth but the candied oranges and honey notes linger a bit more.

It’s a good sherry, highly quaffable but it has a profile facing a bit too much towards sweet notes for me.

Score: 87

Ledaig 9 yo 2011-2020 (60.2%, Signatory Vintage for Whisky Club Luxembourg & Whisky Elfen, Hogshead port, cask)


Colour: White wine.
Nose: Farmy peat everywhere guys, peat, hints of candied lemons and sea salt notes in the background.
Mouth: The alcohol integration is good and the mouthfeel is oily. There is a lot of farmy peat. Rapadura, wood smoke and dirty farmy peat! (Did I already say that?)
Finish: Long. Gentle smoke, candied lemons and peat!

Monolithic but highly effective and quaffable. If you love the dirty young Ledaig profile this one will be your guy.

Score: 88

Glen Elgin 13 yo 2007-2020 (55.4%, Signatory Vintage for Cutty Sark Scots whisky forum, Hogshead)


Colour: White wine.
Nose: It’s delicate. Floral notes, honey, yellow fruits, white peaches. It’s well integrated and nicely balanced.
Mouth: It’s oily and powerful. The alcohol integration is quite good. It’s a nice fruit bomb : white & yellow fruits, beeswax, hints of floral notes and honey in the background. It’s nicely balanced to be honest.
Finish: Long. Mainly on ripe yellow fruits.

Really good daily dram. The alcohol is present but not intrusive. It’s warming your mouth and delivers flavours slowly. It’s pretty nice, with a better alcohol integration I would have scored one point higher for sure!

Score: 88

Edradour 10 yo 2010-2020 (56.9%, Signatory Vintage for Vinothek Massen & Whiskyexclusive, 1st Fill sherry butt)


Colour: Deep brown.
Nose: Candied oranges, dark chocolate, bitter cocoa and tannins.
Mouth: The alcohol integration is not very good. It’s a typical sherry bomb but there is just too much alcohol presence for me.
Finish: Long. Still alcohol and typical sherry markers, it seems to be a dry sherry hidden there!

Unfortunately the alcohol over-presence kills it a bit.

Score: 86

Edradour 10 yo 2010-2020 (46%, Signatory Vintage for Vinothek Massen, 1st Fill sherry butt)

Colour: Copper.
Nose: It’s a bit shy. Mainly raisins and leather.
Mouth: The alcohol integration is good. Even with the reduction, the mouthfeel is still thick. Now we have some kind of balance. Raisins, leather, dusty books, bitter cocoa and oranges.
Finish: Mid-Long. Same as the mouth but with some light sulfur notes.

The reduction helped a lot here, it’s a nice sherry bomb after all.

Score: 87

Ballechin 10 yo 2010-2020 (58.9%, Signatory Vintage for Vinothek Massen & Huis Hardies & Top Malts.be, 1st Fill sherry butt)

Colour: Copper.
Nose: Smoke, cold ashes, aerial peat, dried oranges and leather.
Mouth: The alcohol integration is not very good. Tannins, oranges, tobacco, peat , leather and some mineral notes.
Finish: Mid-Long. Leather and old books all over the place with some lingering mineral dryness and hints of peat.

It’s good but the alcohol is a bit too dominant.

Score: 86

Bunnahabhain 5 yo 2014-2020 (59.2%, Daily Drams)


Colour: White wine.
Nose: Fatty peat and aerial smoke.
Mouth: The alcohol integration is good and the mouthfeel is quite thick. Brown sugar, honey, iodine, sea salt and fatty peat. The sweetness is a bit too dominant but otherwise it’s really good.
Finish: Long. Fatty peat, coastal notes and hints of sweetness in the background.

That’s a really nice 5 yo, good job!

Score: 88

Glen Elgin 12 yo 2008-2020 (46%, Daily Drams)


Colour: Straw
Nose: A bit shy. It should be the reduction though. Yellow fruits, butter, some kind of yellow fruit tarts.
Mouth: The alcohol integration is good. The mouthfeel is pretty thick given the reduction. White pepper, cream, butter, pastry, yellow peaches.
Finish: Medim with the same profile.

It’s a good daily dram but a bit too flat to score higher unfortunately.

Score: 87

Royal Brackla 11 yo 2009-2020 (Daily Drams)


Colour: White wine.
Nose: It’s a bit flat. Salted butter, vanilla and some fruits in the background.
Mouth: The alcohol integration is quite good. It’s fruity and buttery but quite flat. Nuts, grass and hints of fruits
Finish: Medium. It’s the same profile.

It’s my first Royal Brackla and I can’t say it’s bad but it’s clearly not a profile I appreciate much. Everything is a bit shy and underwhelming.

Score: 86

Cragganmore 20 yo 1999-2020 (55.8%, OB, Diageo Special Releases 2020, new fresh-charred American oak casks)


Colour: Light gold.
Nose: It’s shy. Tangerines, Granny Smith apples and honey.
Mouth: The alcohol integration is good and the mouthfeel is quite creamy. Cereals, barley, honey cakes and some orange flower notes.
Finish: Long. Honey cakes and orange marmelade.

I was expecting more from this one since it’s the only “old bottling” from this session but It seemed a bit underwhelming compared to a lot of those youngsters to be honest. It’s not bad but it’s too shy for sure!

Score: 87

As you can see there are no true hidden gems but there are a lot of good stuff. I think that it’s a smart move because for that price tag (<70 euros per bottles) everyone can get some good daily drams and there are nearly every profile available! (Those are still available from Vinothek Massen, Luxembourg)
Good job guys and thanks Frank!

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