The Thompson brothers released a pack of sample which sold very quickly with some of their last bottlings.
Having the opportunity to try those seems like winning the lottery and I’m happy to see they have time to do samples now since they told me multiple times they will never do it because they have no time do dedicate to samples of their releases.
Well at least I managed to get my hands on a half of a set by myself and I’m happy to taste this first Dornoch release : cask #001. There are also other younger Dornoch casks, the last Bimber’s and Auchroisk from Thompson’s Brothers. Let’s try those!
Dornoch 3 yo 2017-2020 (59.4%, OB, cask #001)
Colour: Deep gold with light gold and auburn hues.
Nose: Very powerful but at least there is no alcohol present in the nose! I hope you guys like figs because this nose seems to be a huge basket of over-ripe figs, a bit too ripe to be honest. Wood dryness, candle wax. there are just too much over-ripe figs.
Mouth: The alcohol integration is quite good for a 3 yo. You can easily feel it’s a very young whisky, nothing hides it. There are still the same over-ripe figs note, also some canning pears and plums notes, green barley, nothing I really enjoy. Honey glazing those figs now, more delicate waxy notes.
Finish: Medium. Alcohol, straw, some delicate fruity notes, wax, oranges and leathery notes hidden behind that huge ove-ripe figs truck!
It’s not bad for a 3 yo to be honest, but that’s it.
Dornoch 2 yo 2018-2020 (59.5%, OB, cask #123)
Colour: Light gold with deep gold hues.
Nose: Hey that one seems way better! It’s still very powerful and young, can’t hide it! No alcohol presence. There is some delicate wood smoke, leathery notes, salted butter caramel, hints of lemons, wax, sweet chocolate, noble wood. There aren’t any strange over-ripe fruits notes!
Mouth: The alcohol integration is not bad, it get’s better with time. It’s quite complex and powerful. There is a lot of salted butter caramel, candle wax, floral honey and hints of wood smoke. Very good
Finish: Medium. Straw, vegetal notes and hints of some faded smoky notes. The alcohol warmness grow and is finally too dominant.
This one is only 2 yo, it’s quite good for a young spirit and I’ll be happy to taste it in its final version. The complexity and absence of typical young malt notes is quite enjoyable.
Dornoch 1 yo 2019-2020 (65.45%, OB, cask #160)
Colour: White wine with light gold hues.
Nose: The alcohol is well integrated. There is no alcohol presence which is quite impressive for a 1 yo. It’s quite round and balanced. Grassy notes, floral notes, honey, sweet spices, wet wood, anise star, white pepper and figs. (balanced!)
Mouth: The alcohol integration is quite good for 1 yo but it’s quite agressive of course. There are some coastal notes first with brine, sea salt, iodine and then wet grass and light delicate peat. (Ardmore-y peat if you know what I mean)
Finish: Short. White pepper, anise star and some fading light peat notes.
It’s quite promising for the future but as of now it’s just worth a try to see where things are heading.
Bimber 3 yo 2017-2020 (57.9%, Thompson Brothers, cask #171)
Colour: Light brown.
Nose: It’s quite shy compared to the Dornoch’s. Leather, dusty books, old library, cigar box and some strange old industrial bubble-gum flavours.
Mouth: The alcohol integration is not very good, the alcohol is way too present. Wax, floral notes, leather, oranges, dusty books and still this strange old bubble-gum flavours.
Finish: Medium. The alcohol warmness covers everything, that’s a shame. Some typical shy sherry notes are still making their way out of this warmness at least, but it’s very shy.
The profile is quite enjoyable, what a shame the alcohol integration in not good.
Bimber 3 yo 2017-2020 (57.9%, Thompson Brothers, cask #167)
Colour: Light gold with auburn hues.
Nose: The alcohol is absent this time! Sweet spices, exotic fruits marmalade, white pepper, passion fruits. Very nice!
Mouth: The alcohol integration is quite good. Exotic fruits basket, mangoes, papaya, melons, white pepper and hints of old school bubble-gums!
Finish: Mid-long. Straw, grassy notes, barley, bitter cocoa.
It’s really good for a 3 yo bit I still have problems with the alcohol integration which could have been better. This is a nice profile with a bit of complexity, I like it!
Bimber 2020 (57.9%, OB, cask #144)
Colour: Deep brown with light brown hues.
Nose: A typical round sherry profile overwhelmed by alcohol notes.
Mouth: The alcohol integration is not good. It just covers everything.. Wood, candied oranges, leathery notes and bubble-gums.
Finish: Medium. It’s in perfect harmony with the mouth, which is not bad but not good either.
This one is way behind the 2 above. So I tasted 3 Bimber 2020 today and all of them are 57.9% ABV?! What the heck is that? Is there some dilution or something else in there because statistically this is nearly impossible.
Auchroisk 31 yo 1989-2020 (44.9%, Thompson Brothers, Refill Sherry Puncheon, 122 bottles)
Colour: Deep gold with auburn and dark hues.
Nose: No alcohol presence. It’s quite round and waxy with floral notes and floral honey, pepper, red berries and blueberries. It’s well integrated and creamy, you can feel it’s an old whisky which is particularly appreciable after this line-up.
Mouth: The alcohol integration is perfect and the texture is oily and wrapping the mouth slowly. The profile is integrated, you can feel the oldness. Floral honey, red berries, blueberries, spices and white pepper.
Finish: Medium. Blueberries and red berries adding some nice acidity to the finish.
It’s not very complex but highly effective, quite similar to an old integrated blend in a way, highly enjoyable and quaffable!
Here we are, what a young line up full of surprises! So there is some quite good 3 yo and also some promising cask but to be honest those are not bottles I would like to have at home.
It’s nice to try those to know what’s promising or where things are going but that’s it.
I understand that a distillery needs money to grow and survive till the moment they can release young whiskies (8-10 yo minimum) and it’s a way to diversity of the typical Gin production. But what I do not understand on the contrary is the hype about buying those bottles, drinking those or the resale price, etc.
So, the real question is, why do we need to drink 3 yo whiskies? The only reason I could see is for the low price tag. But when you pay 80-100 euros for a 3 yo bottle I think it’s not really the good reason, right?
It seems I have no answer to that question nor bottles of 3 yo at home.