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Malt Maniacs Awards 2005
Tasting Notes (2005)Medal Winners (2005)Award Winners (2005)Editorial Comments (2005)

So, this year produced 18 Award Winners, 7 Gold Medals, 50 Silver Medals & 51 Bronze Medals.
Not too shabby, eh? The alphabetical overview of all 108 medal winners You can can find tasting
notes and comments inbut if you want to know what the general results of this year's competition,
it might be best to scroll down and take a look at the editorial comments and awards winners first.
The 'best' to 'worst' overview of medal winners shows how they performed compared to each other.

And how should I interpret those medals, you ask? Well, a bronze medal in the MM Awards can
be translated as 'recommendable' - the equivalent of us tapping you gently on your shoulder and
whispering 'You should try this one'. Silver equals 'highly recommendable' - or the equivalent of us
grabbing you firmly by the neck and insisting that you REALLY should try it. Gold is reserved for
the very best the whisky world has to offer. The equivalent, if you will, of us pouring you a dram,
emptying the rest of the bottle down our throat and threatening to hit you over the head with
the empty bottle if you don't try this whisky. Hey, they don't call us 'maniacs' for nothing... ;-)

Given the fact that more than hundred of the whiskies that were submitted won a medal, I think it's safe to say that all of
the participants really wanted to win this year. Fortunately, there's no limit to the number of medals we can assign to the
candidates; all they have to do is earn a score of 80 points or more. However, awards are a different matter...

Editorial comments
The Whisky Exchange
Wilson & Morgan
La Maison du Whisky
Signatory Vintage
Berry Brothers
Compass Box
The Whisky Fair
Jean Boyer
Gordon & MacPhail
Celtic Whsiky Compagnie
Sun Favorite
Taiwan Tasting Association
Highland Park

Awards provide a different perspective on the competition in a certain year. Last year we presented a
total of 15 awards, but somehow that didn't seem nearly enough to properly show our appreciation for
this year's magnificent selection of whiskies. So, we decided to add three new awards this year.
Let's starts with those...

The 'Dark Horse Award' for the whisky that most surprised us with its performance went to Signatory's Craigduff, the 'Multiple Personality Award' for the best blended or vatted whisky this year was awarded to the Ben Nevis 'Single Blend 34yo 1970/2005 and the 'Aeneas Coffey Award' for the best grain whisky (we really needed an award for that this year) went to Adelphi's Invergordon 1964. Looking at the remaining fifteen awards, it's no surprise that the Laphroaig 31yo 1974 from La Maison du Whisky won the 2005 Non Plus Ultra Award - its average score put it decidedly ahead of the pack. And that was only the first Laphroaig to win an award; the wonderful Laphroaig 10yo Cask Strength could have won any number of awards as the 2nd highest scoring entry but eventually won the Bang-For-Your-Buck Award for the malt with the best price / performance ration (it was a 'pressure cooker' candidate too).

Two more Laphroaigs won an award this year; the Daily Dram Award went to the Laphroaig NAS Quarter Cask (2005 Edition) while the Islay Award of Excellence went to the 13yo Laphroaig 1991 by the SMWS. Four Awards for Laphroaig this year, not to mention five medals (2 gold & 3 silver). The other 'big winner' of the MM Awards this year was Glengoyne with two awards and seven (!) medals. The Glengoyne 19 'Ewan's Choice' actually could have won several different awards but eventually got the Highlands Award of Excellence while the 22yo 'Ronnie's Choice' bottling earned the Top Bourbon Cask Award. If the competition hadn't been as stiff or if one whisky was allowed more than one award they might have earned one or two other awards as well this year. A very impressive performance indeed....

Let's see, what else?
Well, looking at the distilleries from an 'awards' point of view, we have a varied bunch of golden boys, starting with the Isle of Jura from The Whisky Exchange that won the Pressure Cooker Award for the stunning performance / age ratio, the Bruichladdich Infinity OB that picked up the Single Starlet Award for the most exciting new release, the Blairfindy 1980 from Blackadder for Sun Favorite in Taiwan that won the Top Sherry Cask Award convincingly and the new Edradour 11yo Gaja Barolo Finish that earned the Warped Whisky Award. The Gentle Giant Award ended up with one of my personal favourits of this year; the Macallan Coilltean 1992 from Samaroli. What an amazing malt! The Benriach from Signatory reached #4 on the hit list and won a Speyside Award of Excellence. Last but not least, we have the stunning Highland Park 1967 from Sukhinder Singh winning the Islands Award of Excellence and Duncan Tailor's Carsebridge single grain with its Lowland Award of Excellence.

That's last one may seem just a tad odd. After all, Carsebridge is a grain distillery.
Be that as it may, that one earned itself a higher score than any of the Lowland malt whiskies in the competition. We felt it would be 'racist' not to acknowledge the greatness of this grain whisky, so we decided to present a second award to a Scotch single grain whisky this year. The results of the 2005 MM Awards also proved that blends and vatted malts are nothing to be scoffed at either. Both John Glaser (of Compass Box Whiskies fame) and John, Mark & Robbo (a.k.a. Easy Whisky Drinking Company) won 3 bronze medals for their 'free style' whiskies. On average the Compass Box whiskies did just a tad better (83/84/83 versus 82/81/80) but I think the fact that these vatted malts all managed to hold their own in a challenge dominated by single malts was a definite eye-opener for quite a few malt maniacs.

Looking at the 'regular' bottlers there's plenty to get enthusiastic about as well.
Of course, there's La Maison du Whisky that submitted the Laphroaig 31yo 1974. Well, 'technically' it's not an independent bottling, it's an official bottling FOR LMdW. Whatever the case, it was spectacular! The big winners among the 'proper' IB's were the bottlings done by Blackadder for Sun Favorite Taiwan (1 x gold, 4 x silver), The Whisky Exchange (1 x gold, 3 x silver), Signatory Vintage (1 x gold and 2 x silver), Adelphi (5 x silver), the SMWS (4 x silver), Duncan Taylor (3 x silver) and finally two bottlers from Italy; Samaroli (2 x silver) and Wilson & Morgan (2 x silver). Chapeau!

We even did some 'press' in 2005...
The picture at the left shows Ho-cheng
(our Taiwanese malt maniac) presenting
the Top Sherry Cask Award 2005 to Robin
'Blackadder' Tucek for the Blairfindy they
bottled for Sun Favorite in Taiwan.

Going through the list is one way of digesting the results of the awards
However, the A-Z overview of all medal winners below provides you with a more detailed overview, including more extensive tasting notes and comments on all 2005 candidates. So, are the rumours true?
Is the average quality of whisky dropping? Not according to the results of this year's awards it isn't! Quite the contrary, actually. But then again I suppose we didn't really receive a 'random' selection of what is currently available on the market.  As much as we try to collect all the widely available single malt whiskies on the matrix, we still only cover a very small part of what's available. One thing is certain, though; we can recommend all medal winners! Looking only at the number of medals won, Glengoyne (7 medals), Bruichladdich (6 medals), Caol Ila (6 medals), Laphroaig (5 medals), Glenfarclas (5), Highland Park (4), Talisker (4) and Glenfiddich (4). Following with three medals each are Bunnahabhain and Macallan. If we focus our attention on the 'hightly recommendable' (silver) and 'exceptional' (gold) medals for a moment, the Top 10 distilleries that performed particularly well during the 2005 MM Awards were:

- Laphroaig (4 awards & five medals; 2 x gold and 3 x silver)
- Glengoyne (2 awards & 7 medals; 2 gold, 3 silver & 2 bronze)
- Caol Ila (6 silver medals - constant top performance)
- Bruichladdich (2 x silver, 4 x bronze)
- Glenfarclas (1 x gold, 1 x silver, 3 x bronze)
- Highland Park (1 gold, 1 silver & 2 bronze)
- Talisker (3 x silver, 1 x bronze)
- Macallan (2 x silver, 1 x bronze)

Quite a few of this year's candidates were independent bottlings or 'deviant drams'. On a 'bottler' level, Sun Favorite from Taiwan was probably the biggest surprise with their gold winning Blairfindy and three silver medals for the Peat Reek / Smoking Islay bottles. Looking at the numbers, The Whisky Exchange is the clear #1. With one gold medal winner (the Highland Park 36yo), the highest scoring silver medal (the Green Brackla) and 3 other silver medals (Clynelish, Glenfarclas & Isle of Jura) they earned the best marks. In close pursuit are Signatory Vintage (who supplied the Benriach that won gold) Adelphi, Duncan Taylor, the SMWS, Samaroli, The Whisky Fair, Wilson & Morgan and Royal Mile Whiskies.

With the 'non-plus-ultra award' La Maison du Whisky are in a class of their own.
Their 31yo Laphroaig received 10 votes for gold, including five scores of 95 points or more. A true masterpiece! Hmmm.... Maybe we'll need platinum medals next year for brilliant single malts like this! But then again, the price of 379 Euro's might be prohibitive for some peatheads. If you can afford it, it's a sound investment, but if you can't there's always the Laphroaig 10yo Cask Strength is an excellent alternative. But then again, every whisky that won a medal received the 'MM Seal of Approval' and with over 100 medal winners this year there's plenty to choose from. Slainte, I'd say!

And now all that's left to do is heartily thank the participants for submitting so many excellent whiskies. Also, special thanks to Serge for doing a perfect job once more, and Davin, Olivier and Luc for helping out. And that's really it as far as the 2005 Awards are concerned. Check out the results of 2003 or 2004, or visit the matrix or the monitor to compare the individual scores of 12 different malt maniacs.
Join the mailinglist to learn about the 2006 Awards when we start the preparations.

Sweet drams,

Johannes van den Heuvel
Editor Malt Madness / Malt Maniacs

Non-Plus-Ultra Award
(Overall top scoring whisky out of all 2005 MM Awards entries)

Laphroaig 31yo 1974/2005 'LMdW'
(49.7%, OB for La Maison du Whisky, sherry, 910 bottles)

Supreme Sherry Cask Award
(Best whisky matured exclusively in sherry cask(s)

Blairfindy 24yo 1980/2004
(55.9%, Blackadder / Sun Favorite Taiwan, C#5984, 182 Btl.)

Supreme Bourbon Cask Award
(Best whisky matured exclusively in bourbon cask(s)

Glengoyne 22yo 1982/2005 'Ronnie'
(53.6%, OB, Bourbon barrel #449, 200 bottles)

Supreme Warped Cask Award
(Best whisky matured or finished in 'special' cask(s)

Edradour 11yo 1994/2005
(57.1%, OB, Straight from The Cask, Gaja Barolo finish)

Gentle Giant Award
(Best unpeated, unsherried and unfinished whisky)

Macallan 'Coilltean' 1992/2004
(55%, Samaroli, new American oak, cask #8518, 420 bottles)

Aeneas Coffey Award
(Best single grain whisky)

Invergordon 1964/2005
(47.1%, Adelphi, Cask #57637)

Speyside Award of Excellence
(Best Speyside single malt whisky)
Benriach 28yo 1976/2005
(56.9%, Signatory, Cask #9442, sherry butt, 426 bottles)

Highlands Award of Excellence
(Best Highlands single malt whisky)
Glengoyne 19yo 1986/2005 'Ewan'
(51.5%, OB, Sherry puncheon #441, 600 bottles)

Islands Award of Excellence
(Best Islands single malt whisky)
Highland Park 36yo 1967
(49.7%, OB for The Whisky Exchange, C#10252, 138 Bottles)

Islay Award of Excellence
(Best Islay single malt whisky)
Laphroaig 13yo 1991/2005
(59.1%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, 29.40)

Lowlands Award of Excellence
(Best Lowlands single malt whisky)
Carsebridge 25yo 1979/2005
(56.4%, Duncan Taylor, C#32901, Grain, 154 bottles)

Campbeltown Award of Excellence
(Best Campbeltown single malt whisky)

Bang-For-Your-Buck Award
(Best performance/price ratio in the 'affordable' area)
Laphroaig 10yo Cask Strength
(55,7%, OB, Bottled +/- 2005)

Pressure Cooker Award
(Best performance/age ratio in the 'affordable' area)
Isle of Jura 5yo 1999/2004
(60.6%, OB for The Whisky Exchange, Cask #19)

Internal Combustion Award
(Best performance/ABV ratio in the 'affordable' area)
Talisker '175th Anniversary'
(45.8%, OB, Bottled 2005)

Daily Dram Award
(Best affordable, widely available single malt whisky)
Laphroaig NAS 'Quarter Cask'
(48.0%, OB, Bottled 2005)

Single Starlet Award
(Most exciting new or 'upgraded' release in 2005)
Bruichladdich NAS 'Infinity'
(55.5%, OB, Bottled 2005)

Multiple Personality Award
(Best blended, vatted or 'undisclosed' whisky in 2006)
Ben Nevis 34yo 1970/2005 'Single Blend'
(50.3%, Adelphi, Cask #4640, Ben Nevis malt & grain)

Dark Horse Award
(Ahead of the pack, off the beaten track in 2006)
Craigduff 32yo 1973/2005
(49.4%, Signatory, Sherry cask #2513, 566 bottles)


(Scroll down for tasting notes and editorial comments on all medal winners)

For the 'micro-review' above I've taken only
the gold & silver medals into account. If we
include the bronze medals in the list as well
we get to see a different picture where Royal
Mile Whiskies, Berry Brothers and The Whisky
Fair make much more of an impression...
I'll leave it to you to find out all the finer
details in the 'best-to-worst' section below.
Needless to say, the 'worst' in our awards
is still a recommendable whisky...

Gold Medal Winners

Laphroaig 31yo 1974/2005 (49.7%, OB for La Maison du Whisky, Sherry casks, 910 Btl.) - Non-Plus-Ultra Award 2005
Laphroaig 10yo 'Cask Strength' (55.7%, OB, Bottled +/- 2005) - Bang-For-Your-Buck Award 2005
Glengoyne 19yo 1986/2005 'Ewan's Choice' (51.5%, OB, Sherry puncheon #441, 600 Btl.) - Highlands Award of Excellence 2005
Benriach 28yo 1976/2005 (56.9%, Signatory, Sherry butt #9442, 426 bottles) - Speyside Award of Excellence 2005
Highland Park 36yo 1967/200X (49.7%, OB for The Whisky Exchange, cask #10252, 138 Btl.) - Islands Award of Excellence 2005
Blairfindy 24yo 1980/2004 for SFT (55.9%, Blackadder for Sun Favorite, C#5984, 182 Btl.) - Supreme Sherry Cask Award 2005
Glengoyne 15yo 1989/2005 'Duncan's Choice' (55.7%, OB, Sherry hogshead #1204, 350 bottles)

Silver Medal Winners

Royal Brackla 27yo 1975/2002 'Green Brackla' (59.7%, The Whisky Exchange, cask #5471, 204 bottles)
Glengoyne 32yo 1972/2005 (48.7%, OB, White Rioja cask #985, 328 bottles)
Laphroaig 13yo 1991/2005 (59.1%, SMWS 29.40)  - Islay Award of Excellence 2005
Glengoyne 37yo 1967/2005 (47.6%, OB, sherry butt #975, 246 bottles)
Invergordon 1964/2005 (47.1%, Adelphi, cask #57637)  - Aeneas Coffey Award 2005
Inchgower 24yo 1980/2005 (60.4%, Adelphi, cask #14152)
Port Ellen 22yo 1982/2004 'PLOWED' (61.1%, DL for PLOWED Society, C#740, 264 bottles)
Ledaig 30yo 1974/2005 (48.7%, Signatory, cask #3223, shery hogshead, 208 bottles)
Blackadder 'Peet Reek' for Sun Favourite Taiwan (61.7%, Blackadder, hogshead BA 10571, 294 bottles, May 2005)
Blackadder 'Smoking Islay' for Taiwan SMWT Association (59.7%, Blackadder, cask #BA 2005/202, 233 bottles)
Caol Ila 25yo 1979/2004 for Sun Favourite Taiwan (61.2%, Blackadder, hogshead #5334, 44 bottles)
Laphroaig 'Quarter Cask' (48%, OB, 2005 Release) - Prime Peaty Dram Award 2005
Clynelish 1972/2005 (49.4%, The Whisky Exchange, 206 bottles)
Bruichladdich NAS 'Infinity' (55.5%, OB, Bottled 2005) - Single Starlet Award 2005
Blackadder 'Peet Reek' for Sun Favourite Taiwan (62.1%, Blackadder, hogshead BA 10570, 299 bottles, May 2005)
Isle of Jura 5yo 1999/2004 (60.6%, OB for The Whisky Exchange, cask #19) - Pressure Cooker Award 2005
Glenlivet 36yo 1968/2005 (48.6%, Duncan Taylor, sherry cask #6195, 136 bottles)
Caol Ila 1993/2005 (59.9%, Adelphi, Cask #6779)
Glengoyne 22yo 1982/2005 'Ronnie's Choice' (53.6%, OB, bourbon C#449, 200 Btl.) - Supreme Bourbon Cask Award 2005
Ardbeg 6yo 1998/2005 Sherry Gorda (56.2%, SMWS 33.57, Sherry Gorda)
Macallan 'Coilltean' 1992/2004 (55%, Samaroli, new American oak, Cask #8518, 420 Bts.) - Gentle Giant Award 2005
Talisker '175th Anniversary' (45.8%, OB, bottled 2005) - Internal Combustion Award 2005
Ben Nevis 34yo 1970/2005 'Single Blend' (50.3%, Adelphi, Cask #4640) - Multiple Personality Award 2005
Carsebridge 25yo 1979/2005 (56.4%, Ducan Taylor, Cask #32901, 154 bottles) - Lowlands Award of Excellence 2005
Caol Ila 13yo 1991/2005 (54.2%, The Whisky Fair, bourbon hogshead #4734, 359 bottles)
Glen Grant 31yo 1970/2001 (45%, Samaroli, sherry cask #1025)
Clynelish 1971/2005 (45.7%, M&H Cask Selection, refill hogshead, 228 bottles)
Caol Ila 12yo 1992/2005 (46%, Whisky Galore)
Dailuaine 31yo 1973/2005 (47.8%, The Whisky Fair, sherry butt #14739, 204 bottles)
Glenrothes 36yo 1968/2005 (53.2%, Ducan Taylor, cask #13486, 144 bottles)
Talisker 15yo 1989/2004 (59.9%, SMWS 14.14)
Caol Ila 1995/2005 'Extra Strength' (50%, Wilson & Morgan)
Glenrothes 1972/2004 (43%, OB)
Glenfarclas 1974/2004 (50.5%, OB for The Whisky Exchange, cask #6041, 246 bottles)
Highland Park 13yo 1992/2005 (65.2%, Adelphi, cask #20361)
Talisker 25yo 'bottled in 2004' (57.8%, OB, refill casks, 21000 Bottles)
Bruichladdich 3D 'Moine Mhor' (50%, OB, Bottled 2005)
Macallan 15yo 1989/2005 (57.2%, SMWS 24.82)
Caol Ila 1993/2005 (46%, Wilson & Morgan)
Craigduff 32yo 1973/2005 (49.4%, Signatory, cask #2513, sherry butt, 566 bottles) - Dark Horse Award 2005
Glenglassaugh 28yo 1976 (51.9%, Dormant Distillery Company, cask #2376, 279 bottles)
Laphroaig 10yo (40%, OB, Bottled +/- 2005)
Edradour 11yo 1994/2005 Gaja Barolo Finish (57.1%, OB, Straight from The Cask) - Supreme Warped Cask Award 2005
Cardhu 22yo 1982/2005 (57.8%, OB, 3000 Bottles)
Finlaggan NAS 'Old Reserve' (40%, Vintage Malt Whisky Co)
Bunnahabhain 1974/2005 (46%, Berry Bros & Rudd, casks #11534-11536)
Benromach 22yo Port Pipes Finish (45%, OB, 22 months finish, Bottled 2005, 3500 Bottles)
Edradour 11yo 1994/2005 Madeira Finish (59.6%, OB, Straight from The Cask, Cask #04/316/4, 488 bottles)
Glen Ord 40yo 1965 (40.1%, Royal Mile Whiskies, 300 bottles)

Glengoyne 15yo 'Scottish Oak Wood finish' (43%, OB, Bottled 2005)
W&M House Malt 'Born on Islay' 1997/2005 (43%, Wilson & Morgan, Cask #818-824)
Glenfiddich 30yo (40%, OB, Bottled +/- 2005)
Bowmore 1999/2005 'Young Peaty Islay 3rd Batch' (61.5%, Royal Mile Whiskies, 308 bottles)
Arran 'Grand Cru Champagne Cask Finish' (58.8%, OB, 308 bottles, b. 2005)
Highland Park 19yo 1985/2005 (54%, Signatory, Cask #2911, hogshead, 296 bottles)
Highland Park 18yo (43%, OB, Bottled +/- 2005)
Compass Box 'The Peat Monster' (46%, Compass Box, K5064, Bottled +/- 2005)
Glenfarclas 1974/2000 (43%, OB, 2732 bottles)
Speyside 1990/2005 'Armagnac Finish' (54.4%, Celtique Connexion, 297 bottles)
Brora 26yo 1978/2004 (57.2%, SMWS 61.22)
Tomintoul 27yo (40%, OB, Bottled +/- 2005)
Bruichladdich 1986/2005 (46%, OB, La Maison du Whisky 50th Anniversary, Cask #2)
Glengoyne 19yo 1985/2005 (55.8%, OB, refill sherry, cask #1227, 697 bottles)
Glen Elgin 1978/2005 (47.5%, Adelphi, cask #4512)
Talimbourg 19yo 1986/2005 (45.9%, The Whisky Fair, Bourbon Hogshead #1485, 252 bottles)
Cragganmore 10yo 1993/2004 (60.1%, OB, Bodega European oak casks, 15000 bottles)
Bunnahabhain 33yo (45.5%, Royal Mile Whiskies, cask #6249, 201 bottles)
Compass Box 'The Spice Tree' (46%, Compass Box, Inaugural Batch, 4150 bottles, 2005)
Bruichladdich 'Twenty Third Edition' (46%, OB, 2005)
Compass Box 'Eleuthera' (46%, Compass Box, K5073)
Glenfarclas 25yo (43%, OB, Bottled +/- 2005)
Teaninich 19yo 1983/2002 (58.7%, Cadenhead's Authentic, Bourbon hogshead, 174 bottles)
Balvenie 1991 'PortWood' (40%, OB, Bottled 2004)
Rosebank 1990/2005 (46%, Berry Bros & Rudd, casks #1518-1519-1520)
Linkwood 1991/2005 (46%, Wilson & Morgan, sherry wood)
Samaroli No'Age Edition 2001 (45%, Samaroli, vatted, 1596 bottles)
Glencadam 15yo (40%, OB, Bottled +/- 2005)
Tomatin 25yo (43%, OB, Bottled +/- 2005)
John Mark & Robbo 'The Rich Spicy One' (40%, John, Mark and Robbo, Bottled +/- 2005)
Caperdonich 1997/2005 (43%, Jean Boyer)
Glenfarclas 12yo (43%, OB, Bottled +/- 2005)
An Cnoc 12yo (40%, OB, Bottled +/- 2005
Old Pulteney 17yo (46%, OB, Bottled +/- 2005)
The Famous Grouse 'Vintage Malt Whisky' 1992/2004 (40%, OB)
Balblair 16yo (40%, OB, Bottled +/- 2005)
Scapa 1993/2005 (45%, Gordon & MacPhail for La Maison du Whisky)
Aberlour 1994/2005 (46%, Berry Bros & Rudd, casks #8847-8850)
John Mark & Robbo 'The Smoky Peaty One' (40%, John, Mark and Robbo, Bottled +/- 2005)
Bunnahabhain 12yo (40%, OB, Bottled +/- 2005)
Bruichladdich 1992/2005 'Extra Strength' (50%, Wilson & Morgan)
Aultmore 1991/2005 (46%, Wilson & Morgan, sherry wood)
Bruichladdich 'Fifteen Second Edition' (46%, OB, Bottled 2005)
An Cnoc 1990/2004 (46%, OB)
Glenfiddich 12yo 'Special Reserve' (40%, OB, Bottled +/- 2005)
Old Pulteney 12yo (40%, OB, Bottled +/- 2005)
Glenfiddich 15yo 'Solera Reserve' (40%, OB, Bottled +/- 2005)
Macallan 15yo 'Fine Oak' (43%, OB, Bottled +/- 2005)
Scapa 14yo (40%, OB, Bottled +/- 2005)
Tomintoul 16yo (40%, OB, Bottled +/- 2005)
John Mark & Robbo 'The Smooth Sweeter One' (40%, John, Mark and Robbo, Bottled +/- 2005)
Glenfiddich 21yo 'Gran Reserva' (40%, OB, Bottled +/- 2005)

And these were 2005's winners.
Scroll down for an A-Z overview of all winners.
As usual, we don't mention any of the 'non-winners'.

Bronze Medal Winners

Aberlour 1994/2005 (46%, Berry Bros & Rudd, C#8847-8850)
Aberlour managed to pick up four medals in the 2003 MM Awards but none in the next MM Awards in 2004.
Now this Berry Brothers bottling saves the honour of this Speyside distillery many maniacs hold in high regard.
Nine maniacs agreed this was worthy of a bronze medal. Only Klaus couldn't find anything to love in this malt.
Olivier wrote: 'Sweet, neutral. Not very complex but there's something there. Grassy, balanced palate'.

An Cnoc 12yo (40%, OB, Bottled +/- 2005)
It seems An Cnoc is working its way up from the underachiever it was in the 1990's to a respectable malt.
Eight maniacs agreed this latest 12yo bottling fully deserved a medal. Krishna LOVED it with his 89 points.
Luca wrote: 'Clean and malty, moderately peaty and licoricey. Also a bit green and astringent'.
Olivier wrote: 'Simple nice sweet grain, good balance, easy sherry, nice drink, simple'.

An Cnoc 1990/2004 (46%, OB)
Strangely enough, this older bottling earned a slightly lower average score than the 12yo OB.
However, just like with the 12yo, eight members of the jury felt it deserved a medal - so it got one.
Luca's remarks from Italy were refreshingly short and simple: 'Lemony, clean, very pleasant on the palate.'
Olivier wrote: 'Rich Toffee, light caramel, shery, med intensity. Malty palate. Dry bitterness. Some peat.'

Ardbeg 6yo 1998/2005 (56.2%, SMWS 33.57, Sherry gorda)
Here's a malt that probably would have picked up an award in one of the previous awards competitions.
In fact, if it hadn't been for the Isle of Jura 5yo from TWE this would have won the 'Pressure Cooker' award.
This time it 'only' got a silver medal amongst the heavy competition, although Davin, Krishna, Thomas and
myself would have gladly given it a gold medal. On average this young malt earns a very solid silver medal.

Arran Grand Cru Champagne Cask Finish (58.8%, OB, 308 bottles)
Given the fact that some of the maniacs have rather 'fundamentalist' views on the topic of 'finishes',
it's surprising that this one earned a medal at all. As it is, it actually came very close to winning silver.
As usual, Klaus was responsible for the lowest score (68 points) which once again suggested that his
tastes must be very different from those of the other maniacs who mostly agreed on bronze (8 votes).

Aultmore 1991/2005 (46%, Wilson & Morgan, Sherry wood)
I personally LOVED this sherry beast with a score of 88 points, but only Serge agreed it deserved silver.
With five votes for bronze it makes it into the 80's, but not terribly convincingly. Maybe it's too extreme?
Here are some of my notes: 'Rich and very fruity. Spices. It pushes all the right buttons for me. Lovely.
Rubber, fruit and sherry. Smoke? Sweet, rich and sherried on the palate. Extreme, but that's how I like it.'

Balblair 16yo (40%, OB, Bottled +/- 2005)
This is quite a step up from the bottlings of Balblair 16yo that were available around the year 2000.
With an average score of 77 points those batches wouldn't even qualify for a medal, but this latest batch
comfortably makes it to 81 points. Thomas wrote: 'A tough one to judge: new make and grist in the nose.
Soft peat and smoke. Then ham, very appetizing; palate and finish: massive smoke, tobacco, cold ash later.'

Balvenie 1991 'PortWood' (40%, OB, Bottled 2004)
This latest '1991 PortWood' expression from Balvenie performed notably better than earlier '1989' releases.
Batches from 2003 and 2004 earned 80 and 81 points respectively, but this makes it to 83. Almost every
single maniac that tried both expressions put this a few points higher, except - you guessed it - Klaus.
Luca wrote: 'Great nose (banana and pear), and very smooth sweet malty palate, though slighly watery.'

Ben Nevis 34yo 1970/2005 'Single Blend' (50.3%, Adelphi, C#4640)
The winner of the Multiple Personality Award impressed us so much that we decided we needed a new
award for the best blend or vatted malt. Davin and Peter went completely nuts about it with 94 points each.
Krishna described it as 'a bomb on the palate.' I wrote: 'Polished. Developing organics with a hint of raspberry
in the background. Hint of wassabi? Major improvement, opening up. More organics. Leather? Needs time!!!'

Benriach 28yo 1976/2005 (56.9%, Signatory, Cask #9442)
(Sherry butt, 426 bottles)
- The only competition for the Speyside Award of Excellence came from the
brilliant Blairfindy from Sun Favourite Taiwan, which ended up with the Top Sherry Cask Award eventually.
Thomas wrote: 'Very nice mixture of honey, leather and berries, with peat and sulphur in the background;
long and sweet finish on berries and chocolate, reminiscent of Highland Park; very,very good.'

Benromach 22yo Port Pipes Finish (45%, OB, 3500 Bottles)
(22 months Port pipes finish, Bottled 2005)
- Some of the more 'fundamentalist' maniacs don't approve of
the 'finishing' technique and have the uncanny ability to sniff them out in blind tests. Still, this won silver!
Davin wrote: 'In the nose: Rich, brown sugar, molasses, fruit esters, hints of chocolate and wood. (86)'
Olivier wrote: 'Nuts, sweet vanilla, fruit cake, shery. Fine, no sulfurs, light peat or smoke. (85).'

Blackadder 'Peat Reek' (61.7%, Blackadder for SFT, 294 Bottles)
(for Sun Favourite Taiwan, hogshead BA 10571, Bottled May 2005)
- This is the first of a string of three
excellent peat monsters (or 'peat bastards') that were submitted by the Taiwanese importer for Blackadder.
This was the overall top scorer with strong nominations for gold from Olivier, Craig, ho-cheng and, yes, Klaus.
Luc wrote: 'Must be some kind of peat bomb. Blackadder in style.' Yep, he hit the nail exactly on the head!

Blackadder 'Peat Reek' (62.1%, Blackadder for SFT, 299 Bottles)
(for Sun Favourite Taiwan, hogshead BA 10570, Bottled May 2005)
- This batch of the 'Peat Reek' earned
an average score that was marginally lower than that of the '294 Bottles' version but got three nominations
for gold as well; from Ho-cheng, Klaus and Krishna, who wrote: 'Peat and smoke, mild on nose, mild florals,
sweet syrup, hot peppers, lemony?, coats inside the mouth, very warm long long finish. Caol Ila or Laphroaig.'

Blackadder 'Smoking Islay' (59.7%, Blackadder for TSMWTA)
(for Taiwan Single Malt Whisky Tasting Association, cask #BA 2005/202, 233 bottles)
- Another winner!
The third of the terrific trio from Taiwan would have won gold if it had been up to Serge, Olivier, Ho-cheng
and Thomas. As Ho-cheng proudly pointed out, this one received the highest lowest score with Peter's 82.
Olivier wrote: 'Rich oily malt. Ripe pears, hints of peat, develops nicely and ius complex. BIG peaty character!'

Blairfindy 24yo 1980/2004 (55.9%, Blackadder for SFT, C#5984)
(Blackadder for Sun Favourite Taiwan, sherry butt #5984, 182 bottles)
- Sun Favourite from Taiwan did very
well indeed during the 2005 Awards with the Top Sherry Cask Award and for this 'bastard' Glenfarclas and
the string of silver for their three peat monsters. Luc wrote 'Glenfarclas, and I think from 1980.' Correct!
Olivier wrote: 'Dark amber! Smoke, chocolate, rainsins, beautiful sherry. Soft, nice palate. Top!' Agreed.

Bowmore 1999/2005 'Young Peaty Islay 3rd Batch' (61.5%, RMW)
(Royal Mile Whiskies, 308 Bottles)
- Opinions about this bottling were strongly divided. Krishna LOVED this
with a score of 93 points. He wrote: 'Winner of the evening. A medal prospect. Peat, smoke, coal tar, cigar,
very sweet and wonderful palate.'
Peter and Klaus shared Krishna's warm feelings and voted for gold as well.
Unfortunately, Davin (74), Luc (72), Thomas (74) and Luca (60) disagreed, pulling it down to a bronze medal.

Brora 26yo 1978/2004 (57.2%, SMWS 61.22)
Our resident Brora fan Serge would have liked this one to have won silver (87) and so would Olivier (86),
Luc (89), Ho-cheng (89), Krishna (87) and Alexander (87). Unfortunately, there were a few maniacs who
didn't feel like this was 'medal material', so it ended up just short of silver with an average score of 84.
Craig wrote: 'Dry, scented, hint of charcoal - bit dull & lifeless - flowers & cream, sweet & sour palate.'

Bruichladdich 1986/2005 (46%, OB, LMdW, Cask #2)
(La Maison du Whisky 50th Anniversary)
- This eventually beat the latest official 20yo by a whisker.
With six votes for silver and four for bronze it didn't get quite enough 'unanimous' support for the silver.
Craig wrote: 'Nice & balanced rich sherry palate. Coffee. No peat but lots of leafiness and tobacco. (85)'
Luca also voted silver and wrote: 'Dark deep taste, mellow but still intense with a woody/spicy finish. (86)'

Bruichladdich 1992/2005 'Extra Strength' (50%, Wilson & Morgan)
Krishna voted for gold here, while Peter and Klaus thought about silver. In the end, it ended up with bronze.
Craig wrote: 'Sour & grassy, sour sobs, lemon, hint of tonic water & metal, grapefruit & cream - hint of linen
and paper- sour fruit, cream, lanolin and talc in palate - short, slightly boring and slightly bitter citrus finish.'

Thomas wrote: 'the weird one: every sniff brings something new, all very subtle, but still - do I like it?'

Bruichladdich NAS 3D 'Moine Mhor' (50%, OB, Bottled 2005)
Strangely enough, the two silver winning Laddies were both new expressions without an age statement.
The 'Infinity' earned a higher average with 87 (hence its award), but this one got three votes for gold as well.
Davin wrote: 'Muddy and dirty in the glass, green grass, real smoke, something sharp, nice licorice feel, hot.'
Luca wrote: 'Interesting peaty and buttery nose, palate is very peaty but more similar to dry white wine.'

Bruichladdich 'Fifteen Second Edition' (46%, OB, 2005)
Olivier wrote: 'Caramel, vanilla, fudge, wood/sherry. Oak on the mid palate. Not very complex. OK.'
Craig wrote: 'Dry papery, floral, creamy, slightly doughy with tonic water, oily palate with sour fruits,
bitter citrus pith, paper & cream- slightly sour and bitter - probably a Lowland - Rosebank or Linlithgow?'
No, Craig - would you believe this was an islay malt? In the end, seven maniacs felt it should earn a medal.

Bruichladdich NAS 'Infinity' (55.5%, OB, Bottled 2005)
The winner of the Single Starlet Award for the most exciting new release was also my personal favourite
Bruichladdich this year - and most other maniacs agreed. It even received three nominations for gold and beat
some heavy peat monsters in this year's line-up. Only Luc and Klaus were less impressed with scores in the 70's.
Krishna wrote: 'Sherry, sharp nose, get some smoke here. Lots of tannins, hot peppers, explosion on palate.'

Bruichladdich Twenty 'Third Edition' (46%, OB, 2005)
This one confidently strode into 'recommendable' territory with three votes for silver and eight for bronze.
Craig wrote: 'Sour sherry, hint of wood, some prickly metal dry sherry, creamy vanillan oak, rounded oaky,
sour sherry, long leafy tobacco tail - sherry charred nuts and leafy tail. (84)'
while Luca had this to say;
'Good balance, with sourish fruitness. Winey character. Balanced soft palate, some wood astringency. (82)'

Bunnahabhain 12yo (40%, OB, bottled 2005)
Just like in 2004, the Bunnahabhain 12yo brought back the bronze - like nine malt maniacs felt it should.
Craig wrote: 'Sour cherry sweet wood, charred oak smoked meat, wood phenols some astringency. (84)'
Thomas wrote: 'A fruit bomb! Black currant. Hint of subtle tar (a tad sulphury?), water drowns the tar. (84)'
Davin wrote: 'Rubber bicycle tires, Rich fruity sherry, hint of sulphur, dark fruits, heavy dark fruit. (82)'

Bunnahabhain 1974/2005 (46%, Berry Bros., C#11534-11536)
This was the best of the three Bunnies in this year's trial, at least according to the majority of the maniacs.
Especially Luc was extatic about it; he gave it 93 points. Except me, all other maniacs put it right in the 80's.
Thomas wrote: 'Nose starts on herbal, spicy anise candy, wet cardboard, then some nuttiness, toffee.'
Olivier wrote: 'Ripe apples, fresh mushrooms, wood an planks also, pity! Almost weird but feels special!'

Bunnahabhain 33yo (45.5%, Royal Mile Whiskies, Cask #6249)
(201 Bottles)
- The third Bunnie to come out of the 2005 MM Awards with a medal didn't convince enough
members of the jury to make it to silver, despite Luc's score of 92 points. He felt it was 'Springbank in style'.
Luca wrote: 'Typical flavors you'd expect from a malt from bourbon & sherry casks. A bit woody, but good.
With time and airing, increasingly musty, with mushrooms and meat together with the fruits. (83 points)'

Caol Ila 1995/2005 'Extra Strength' (50%, Wilson & Morgan)
With a total of six silver medals, Caol Ila is one of the big winners of the 2005 Awards - I'd put it at #3.
This is the youngest of the bunch, but it still managed to get votes for gold from Peter (94) and Klaus (91).
Luca wrote: 'Good peaty stuff, but luckily not as brutal & monochromatic as the nose might have suggested.'
Olivier wrote: 'Nice malty nose, green peat, very strong, raw and intense. Feels sweet, round. Young! (86)'

Caol Ila 1993/2005 (46%, Wilson & Morgan)
This 'peat monster' enthralled Krishna who gave this one 90 points and thought it could be an Ardbeg.
Not quite - it's its considerable less fashionable Ileach cousin from the north that doesn't reach gold here.
Still, with six votes for silver and five for bronze it reaches silver status relatively comfortably. Nice one...
Thomas wrote: 'Young & oily, new make, smoky; relatively young Islay, mellowed by sweetness in mouth.'

Caol Ila 1993/2005 (59.9%, Adelphi, Cask #6779)
With two votes for gold (Olivier's 91 and Peter's 93) and seven more for silver this ends up as the second
highest scoring Caol Ila this year, right after the 25yo. Only Luc and Klaus classified this as 'upper seventies'.
Olivier wrote: 'Grassy, almost medicinal. Herbs, elegant, pure, smoky. Vibrant, farmyard finish! Youngster!'
Thomas wrote: 'Oily, peaty, salty; barley and new make shimmering through; youngish but very good.'

Caol Ila 12yo 1992/2005 (46%, Whisky Galore)
This is another fine young Caol Ila that might have earned the BFYB Award if it was a 'regular' bottling.
Krishna wrote: 'Bad smoke from half burnt cardboard, sherry notes from the rear, salt licorice, coconut.'
Luca wrote: 'Good balance of peaty maltiness and sweetness. Nothing stunning, but consistently good.'
Thomas wrote: 'Nose has smoke, diesel, licorice, plastic. Very unique in ist petrol-like character.'

Caol Ila 13yo 1991/2005 (54.2%, The Whisky Fair, C#4734)
(Bourbon Hogshead #4734, 359 bottles)
- Peter, Ho-cheng and Luca were ready to go for gold here, but
they didn't get the support of enough maniacs to lift this 13yo 'Whisky Fair' Caol Ila to that elevated status.
Luca wrote: 'Austere, peaty and full of iodine and disinfectant notes. More mature than other peat monsters
in the 2005 awards, more restrained and complex. Still intense, but also subtle... And not over-aged either!'

Caol Ila 25yo 1979/2004 (61.2%, Blackadder / SFT, C#5334)
(Bottled for Sun Favourite Taiwan, 44 Bottles)
- out of the six Caol Ila bottlings that won silver this year,
this bottling for Sun Favourite Taiwan earned the highest average score. If it had been up to Ho-cheng and
me it would actually have won a gold medal. Luca wrote: 'Very good: salty, seaweedy, slightly peaty, with
sea fruits, licorice, propolis and even burnt wood and burnt meat! It needs water to fully release its flavors.'

Caperdonich 1997/2005 (43%, Jean Boyer)
A very nice surprise from France. Athough this is a (silent) Speyside distillery, many of us found peat.
I wrote: 'Peat? Feisty prickle. Something farmy, growing stronger. Sweaty. Light fruity overtones. Lemon.
Sweet & peaty on the palate. Whiff of smoke in the end. Tad herbal? (83)'
. Luca thought it was 'Like a Glen
Grant 5yo with lots of peat & iodine (83).'
Olivier wrote: 'Raw peat, dry smoke, bonefire. Feels young. (82)'

Cardhu 22yo 1982/2005 (57.8%, OB, 3000 bottles)
Opinions about this particular bottling were strongly divided, but in the end it (just) made it to silver.
Krishna wrote: Powerful nose, camphors, nutty, oily, sweet licorice, lots of tannins, fruity. Springbank? (89).'
Thomas wrote: 'Nose is a little bit musty yet nice because in the horse stable and old books variety. (85).'
Olivier wrote: 'Green vegetable, grain, maggi. Special balance makes it interesting. Perfumy & musty! (83).'

Carsebridge 25yo 1979/2005 (56.4%, Ducan Taylor, C#32901)
(Cask #32901, 154 Bottles) -
We decided that the Lowlands Award of Excellence should go to a grain
whisky this year, because none of the single malts from the area that were submitted in 2005 earned silver.
The Carsebridge grain distillery IS located in the Lowlands area, so it fully deserves this award. Luca wrote:
'The best high-class bourbon... oops, Scotch, I have ever tasted. Yes, it's so woody it reminds of bourbon.'

Clynelish 1972/2005 (49.4%, The Whisky Exchange, 206 bottles)
Except for Thomas, all members of the jury agreed this was medal material. With three votes for gold
(including a whopping 94 points from Peter), six for silver and three for bronze it ends up with shiny silver.
Krishna wrote: Varnish, lots of tannins. Thick coating inside mouth, sweets and spices, mini explosion. (89)'
Olivier's notes were unusually concise: 'Soft nice flowers, med finish, roses, flowery. Enjoyable! (87)'

Clynelish 1971/2005 (45.7%, M&H Cask Selection, 228 Bottles)
This sample was correctly identified by Luc as a Clynelish, It was one of the few samples where all judges
unanimously agreed it was worthy of a medal - The lowest score was 80 points and Peter & Luc both voted
for gold. Thomas wrote: 'Very nice mix of fruits and light smoke, oak and spices, develops nicely in glass.
A little bit rubbery on the palate, develops on almonds and the lightest marzipan; nose is very good.'

Compass Box Eleuthera (46%, Compass Box, K5073, +/- 2005)
Like the other two medal winners from Compass Box this one evoked different emotions in different maniacs.
Serge (87), Olivier (86), Peter (85), Craig (85) and Ho-cheng (87) voted for silver, but that wasn't enough.
Olivier wrote: 'Smoke, some mould (but interesting), mushrooms, light peat, & smoke. Nice complexity. (86)'
Craig wrote: 'Peat tar, creosote, dry spirit prickle, ointment bacon quiche peaty lemon palate & tar. (85)'

Compass Box Peat Monster (46%, Compass Box, K5064)
Krishna thought this could be a Brora, Laphroaig or Port Ellen but it's another 'Compass Box' vatting.
He wrote: 'Smoke & florals, oakwood, very refreshing nose, sharp clean taste, peaty sweetness. (91)'
Olivier wrote: 'Nice green peat, delicate, menthol, Dry & complex, not showy, restraint style. Young. (85)'
Luca wrote: 'Quite immature, very little flavor development. Like a dry mass produced white wine. (58)'

Compass Box Spice Tree (46%, Compass Box, Batch 1)
(Inaugural Batch, 4150 Bottles, Bottled 2005)
- This was probably the Compass Box bottling to cause the
strongest division amongst the maniacs. Krishna gave it 88 points and wrote: 'Fruity, strong nose, sweet
and spicy, excellent palate compared to nose, syrupy, warm excellent long finish
.' but Olivier loathed it.
Davin wrote: 'Very nice spices, I wonder if this is Spice Tree from Compass Box, If so, it's a winner. (90)'

Cragganmore 10yo 1993/2004 (60.1%, OB, 15000 Bottles)
(Bodega European oak casks, 15000 Bottles)
- If it had been up to Peter (97), Craig (87), Krishna (89).
Thomas (85) or Alexander this would have won silver, but without broad enough support it earns bronze.
Craig wrote: 'Sherry, oak wood, mint, meat, rich oak. Sherried palate. rich rounded nutty notes. (87)'
Davin was among the bronze voters and wrote: 'The sherry is nicely subdued but ever-present. (84)'

Craigduff 32yo 1973/2005 (49.4%, Signatory, C#2513)
(Sherry butt #2513, 566 Bottles)
- The maniacs agreed this bottling was so special that it deserved
its own award; the Dark Horse Award for the highest scoring 'off the beaten track/ underdog' whisky.
Given the controversy about the use of peated water to make this peated Glen Keith this was a shoe-in.
Besides; it's an excellent whisky - it got 93 points from Olivier who wrote: 'Attractive & highly drinkable.'.

Dailuaine 31yo 1973/2005 (47.8%, Whisky Fair, C#14739)
(The Whisky Fair, Sherry butt #14739, 204 Bottles)
- I don't think we ever had a Dailuaine in our awards.
Well, now we have and it's a corker. I personally could have gone for gold (90) here and so could Craig (90).
With six votes for silver, that's what it ends up with. Luca was the only one who didn't nominate this malt.
Olivier wrote: 'Sweet grain, light sherry, flowers, interesting. Simple but straight. Some tannins… powerful.'

Edradour 11yo 1994/2005 (57.1%, OB, Gaja Barolo Finish)
Even 'blinded', Luc correctly identified the winner of the Warped Whisky Award as a finished Edradour.
And no sir, he didn't like it - hence his score of 58 points. Fortunately for Edradour, most other maniacs liked
it a lot, including Krishna who wrote: 'Matured, a wholesome nose, beefstock, lots of tannins, spicy. (88)'
Even 'anti-finishing activist' Olivier loved it: 'Peat & heather, raisins, light sulfurs, eggs, wood, tannins. (88)'

Finlaggan 'Old Reserve' (40%, Vintage Malt Whisky Co)
This was surely one of the big surprises for most maniacs. Luc thought it was a Ledaig while Thomas found
similarities with the new Talisker 10yo. Luca also guessed Talisker. Davin wrote: 'Nose: Earthy and muddy,
develops a nice peaty smokiness, rich muddy fruit, glue, paper, medicine, antiseptic, a certain sharpness,
Palate: Sweet, then muddy, warming, a bit astringent, nice sweet spices, licorice, long spicy smoky finish.'

Glen Grant 31yo 1970/2001 (45%, Samaroli, Sherry cask #1025)
Except for Klaus, every maniac that tried this whisky felt it deserved a medal. We had one vote for gold,
nine for silver and two for bronze. So, this confidently earns a silver medal. Davin wrote: 'Nose: Fruity, sherry,
dentist's office, rubber, water, hints of pickles, develops some ether, gunpowder, old urine, broken rocks.
Palate: Sweet, creamy, oily, hint of eucalyptus, some dry grain, coffee, warm in mouth, a bit of tannin, ...'

Glen Ord 40yo (40.1%, Royal Mile Whiskies, 300 bottles)
Klaus and Alexander were the only judges who didn't think this candidate should deserve a medal.
We received votes for gold from Luc and Thomas, as well as five votes for silver and four for bronze.
Thomas wrote 'Hmmm! Grassy, briny, algas, maritime like a Brora, then gets floral. Woods and spices
Combined with sweetness in the mouth, counteracted by hint of bitterness in the loooong finish. Great!'

Glen Elgin 1978/2005 (47.5%, Adelphi, Cask #4512)
Olivier & Davin both loved this 91 points worth, but even four more votes for silver put it at a bronze average.
Olivier wrote: 'Peat & smoke, powerful. Nice delicate pineapple palate. Oranges, beautiful complexity develops
with air. Soft balance. Delicious!'
  Meanwhile, Craig wrote: 'Dry herbs, vanilla, cocnut & mint- cream no peat,
sour fruit and lemon pith in palate, - big spirit (oily & coating) lemon pith and lemon cream in tail.' 

Edradour 11yo 1994/2005 (59.6%, OB, Madeira Finish)
(Straight from The Cask, Madeira Finish, cask #04/316/4, 488 bottles)
- This one just made it to silver;
the Gaja Barolo Finish earned a slightly higher average score, hence the award.
Davin wrote: 'Sweetness is nice but becomes a bit too much. Ends up quite nice in the finish though. (86)'
Olivier wrote: 'Classy, soft, quite sweet palate. Grilled nose. Nice, powerful! Almost monolithic! (88)'

Glencadam 15yo (40%, OB, Bottled +/- 2005)
This Glencadam earned eight votes for bronze, so that's the end result as well. Makes sense, no?
Davin wrote: 'Rotten fruit, sherry, nice heavy fruit and some citric notes, nice sweet spices, heat (82)'
Craig wrote: 'Sherry, cherries, toffee, nuts some vinegar toffee, sherry palate with nutskins, raisins.
Fruit cake - sherry nuts and drying nutty & leather finish - bit metallic - drying wood. (86)'

Glenfarclas 25yo (43%, OB, Bottled +/- 2005)
Davin and Alexander voted for gold here, but with three votes for silver and four for bronze it earns bronze.
Davin wrote: 'Nose: Sweet, kind of earthy, cough drop smells, lemons, kiwi, lemon rinds, some sharp notes,
some sherry, hints of cloves, rye crisps. Palate: Sweet, caramel, oak tannins, feels good. Nice fruit esters,
Dark bitter chocolate, some sweet spices in the middle. Hint of pepper. Nice long sweet & spicy finish. (90)'

Glenfarclas 12yo (43%, OB, Bottled +/- 2005)
The opinions of the jury about this 'cornerstone' of Glenfarclas' core range varied from Peter's 74 points to
Davin's 88 points. Although 'Mister Glenfarclas' Luc wasn't too impressed judging from his 76 points, this one
earned seven 'bronze' votes. With an average score of 82 it sits comfortably in the middle of this segment.
Olivier wrote: 'Malty nose, discreet, refined, biscuits, good balance, medium complexity. (84)'

Glenfarclas 1974/2000 (43%, OB, 2732 bottles)
Here's a Glenfarclas that Luc loved most of all maniacs; he voted for gold. Other votes: 3 x silver, 7 x bronze.
Thomas wrote: 'Nose: wet cardboard, sherry, Eau de Cologne, violets; Taste: wet foliage, salty; bitter (82)',
Craig wrote: 'Sherry & tinned pineapple, very good oak. Long syruppy and drying finish. Glenfarclas 30yo? (86)'
Luca wrote: 'Nixe mix of sweetness, fruit (red apples) and wood, with a slightly salty and appetizing finish. (82)'

Glenfarclas 1974/2004 (50.5%, OB for TWE, C#6041)
(OB for The Whisky Exchange, Refill sherry hogshead #6041, 246 bottles)
- Another beautiful Speysider.
Our resident Glenfarclas specialist Luc wrote: 'Oh yes, definitely a Glenfarclas, style from mid 1970's. (89)'.
Krishna only wrote: 'A Speyside Monster (90).' while Olivier was more eloquent with his 'Ginger bread, honey
wax, paint, med intensity, Nice! Sweet vanailla. Dry, flowers (88).'
That's six votes for silver and one for gold.

Glenfiddich 12yo 'Special Reserve' (40%, OB, +/- 2005)
I'm thoroughly pleased with Glenfiddichs good results this year; four bronze medals. This seems to confirm
my theory that Glenfiddich is 'bucking the trend' by showing continuous improvement over the last few years.
Thomas wrote: 'Very pleasant; first whiff: sherry sweetness but that is 'gone with the wind' soon, lots of grist,
followed by maritime notes and wet cardboard. Fresh strawberry. Interesting & weird but still very good! (87)'

Glenfiddich 15yo 'Solera Reserve' (40%, OB, +/- 2005)
Interestingly enough, the younger 12yo Special Reserve earned a slightly higher average than this 15yo.
This one received one vote for silver (from Luc) and six for bronze. That means it indeed receives bronze.
Davin wrote: 'Some leather, some peat, some capsicum not very expressive. Sweet, silky, fruity & peaty,
but not Islay - melons and cream, some fruit- spiritty, warming, metallic and slightly bitter. (83)'

Glenfiddich 21yo 'Gran Reserva' (40%, OB, +/- 2005)
Just like the 15yo, this received one vote for silver - from Thomas this time. Most voted for bronze, though.
Craig wrote: 'Cumquats & locquats, cream, some melon fruit, great sweet wood & peaches, pears & cream
in the palate - candied citrus, with a little bit of bitter metal. Warming and bitter, leathery finish. (82)'

Olivier wrote: 'Orange peels, discreet, not intense, med finish. Vegetables, grain. (79)'

Glenfiddich 30yo (40%, OB, Bottled +/- 2005)
This one actually came very close to winning a silver medal, the first 'Fiddich to come this far.
It seems the relatively light style of Glenfiddich is a 'handicap' in a competition with lots of big whiskies.
Still, this deserved two votes for gold (from Luc and Alexander), as well as two for silver and six for bronze.
Luca wrote: 'Fruits galore (strawberry, apple, grape, grapefruit, mango, passion fruit) on nose AND palate.'

Glenglassaugh 28yo 1976 (51.9%, DDC, Cask #2376, 279 bottles)
(Dormant Distillery Company)
- Most members of the jury voted for bronze here, but nominations for gold
from Peter, Luc and Thomas pull it up to silver. Krishna wrote: 'Furniture polish, lots of tannins, tongue & cheek
get stuck together. Sweet syrup, hot peppers. Interesting malt.'
Olivier wrote: 'Strong vanilla, rum, powerful
nose, alcohol is high, burnt caramel, tough, powerful palate, not really pleasurable enough to be very good!'

Glengoyne 15yo 'Scottish oak wood finish' (43%, OB)
This Glengoyne actually came VERY close to winning silver as well -  Luc and Ho-cheng even voted for gold!
They both gave it 90 points. Serge & Davin voted for silver, but with six votes for bronze that's the medal.
Davin wrote: 'Nose: Light & fruity, esters, grain, daisies, green leaves, chinese spices, tea, the spice aisle at
the supermarket. Palate: Xmas spices, molasses, lots of flavour, long spicy musty/fruity middle, sherry. (88)'

Glengoyne 15yo 1989/2005 'Duncan's Choice' (55.7%, OB)
(Sherry hogshead #1204, 350 Bottles)
- This is the only gold medal winner not to win an award as well.
But with a total of two awards, two gold medals, three silver medals and two bronze medals I think that
Glengoyne won't be complaining... All in all, this one received seven votes for gold and four votes for silver.
Olivier voted gold and wrote: 'Peat & sherry! Light smoke, delicate palate! Very complex. Balanced. (91)'

Glengoyne 19yo 1986/2005 'Ewan's Choice' (51.5%, OB)
(Sherry puncheon #441, 600 Bottles)
- The winner of the Highlands Award of Excellence could have
won the 'top sherry cask award' as well if the rules didn't prevent a malt from winning more than one award.
Luc felt that this one was 'Very Glenfarclas-ish in style' and I'd have to agree. Fortunately, that's not a bad
thing and this went on to become the third highest scoring submission to the MM Awards 2005. Brilliant stuff!

Glengoyne 19yo 1985/2005 (55.8%, OB, C# 1227)
(Refill sherry C#1227, 697 Bottles)
- Olivier voted for gold and Serge (86), Davin (86), Luc (86), Krishna (88),
Alexander (85) and me (87) all felt it deserved silver. Strangely enough, it received only one vote for bronze
while the remaining five judges put it in the upper 70's. An 'average' of bronze, but hardly a unanumous verdict.
Olivier wrote: 'Sweet fruity toffee nose. Delicate sherry. Peat? Beautiful balance. great complexity. Pleasurable!'

Glengoyne 22yo 1982/2005 'Ronnie's Choice' (53.6%, OB)
(Bourbon barrel #449, 200 Bottles)
- Deciding which whisky should win the Top Bourbon Cask Award was
very difficult this year, because we didn't know for sure in what type of cask some candidates were matured.
In the end we decided on Glengoyne; with another award and two gold medals one of the big winners in 2005.
Interestingly enough, Krishna described it as 'a sherry monster'. I have to admit I found some sherry traits too.

Glengoyne 32yo 1972/2005 (48.7%, OB, White Rioja C#985)
(328 Bottles)
- This old Glengoyne very nearly made it to gold status thanks to nominations from Serge (92),
Peter (90), Luc (92), Krishna (90), Thomas (90), Luca (91) and myself (90). Sadly enough, it didn't get quite
enough support from the rest to reach gold. It came VERY close, though... Krishna wrote: 'It started with a
whimper, but slowly graduated. Very fruity, mild smoke, florals, sweets & spices, honey drops, interesting!'

Glengoyne 37yo 1967/2005 (47.6%, OB, Sherry butt #975)
(Cask #975, 246 bottles)
- The oldest candidate Glengoyne sent us was the second to almost win gold.
In fact, Serge, Luc, Craig, Ho-cheng, Thomas and me all felt it should have won gold. With four votes for
silver and three for bronze is just falls short of the 90 points mark. Thomas wrote: 'fresh and fruity start,
very well rounded yet assertive nose; powerful, full of delicious sherry sweetnesson palate and finish.'

Glenlivet 36yo 1968/2005 (48.6%, Duncan Taylor, C#6195)
(Sherry cask #6195, 136 bottles)
- With four votes for gold this Glenlivet charmed quite a few maniacs.
Serge, Olivier, Craig & Alexander all gave it 90 points or more. The 18yo OB won 'only' bronze in 2003...
Thomas wrote: 'Paint, turpentine, chocolate, berry and - bubble gum (BAZOOKA)!' while Olivier wrote:
'Vanilla, liquorice, intense & nice. Sherry. Good! Some wood, sweet, round, unctuous. Great balance.'

Glenrothes 1972/2004 (43%, OB)
In previous editions of the MM Awards none of the official bottlings of Glenrothes earned more than bronze,
But this year they've earned the right to make an extra victory lap; this bottling won a big fat silver medal.
Luc was foolish enough to play the guessing game and thought this was the Talisker 175th anniversary!
Davin wrote: 'Great tobacco & woody notes. Feels very very complex; the result of long active aging.'

Glenrothes 36yo 1968/2005 (53.2%, Ducan Taylor, C#13486)
(Cask #13486, 144 bottles)
- The second Glenrothes to win silver this year was an independent bottling.
Duncan Taylor missed the gold this year, but after the Carsebridge and Glenlivet this gets a third silver medal.
(Three maniacs voted for gold.) Davin wrote: 'Sweet sherry, nice hot spice, tannic wood, hot peppery finish.'
Olivier wrote: 'Ginger, sticky toffee pudding! Caramel cream. Intense, good balance & length, dry, peppery.'

Highland Park 13yo 1992/2005 (65.2%, Adelphi, Cask #20361)
Krishna loved this bottling 92 points worth and wrote: 'A champion right from the start of the nosing.
Smoke, peat, sherry, Caramel, toffees, lots of tannins. Long, long finish. Must be an Ardbeg / Brora
or a Port Ellen.'
Well, not quite, but I have to admit I found some liquorice and HP's can be 'Islayish'.
Other fans included Serge (86), Davin (89), Peter (89), Ho-cheng (88), Alexander (86) and Luca (89).

Highland Park 18yo (43%, OB, Bottled +/- 2005)
Just like last year this 'classic' Island malt came tantalisingly close to winning silver (Serge, Klaus and me did
actually vote for silver) but seven other maniacs felt it should be bronze. Even resident Highland Park fanatic
Olivier voted for bronze and expressed some disappointment when confronted with the identity. Luca wrote:
'With some more punch it would have been lots better. Slightly sulphury, with nice mint and chestnuts.'

Highland Park 19yo 1985/2005 (54%, Signatory, Cask #2911)
(Hogshead #2911, 296 Bottles)
- Opinions on this Highland Park were very varied. We have votes for silver
from Serge (87), Davin (87), Peter (85), Ho-cheng (88), Alexander (87) Luca (86) and myself (87), but with
five maniacs feeling it shouldn't receive a medal at all it ends up with bronze. The matrix paints a clear picture.
Davin wrote: 'Dusty, ether, hint of nose tickle, lots of nose tickle, hints of lemon, fruity with hints of wood.'

Highland Park 36yo 1967/200X (49.7%, OB for TWE, C#10252)
The winner of the Islands Award of Excellence managed to thoroughly impress the majority of the maniacs,
hence the gold medal. With seven votes for gold and four more for 'polished silver' it's one of the big winners
of the 2005 Awards. Only Craig Daniels felt it wasn't worthy of any medal with his 79 points. Olivier wrote:
'Fab sherry, sweet apples, smoke, peat, heather. Light elegant peat. Round creamy. Beautiful. Hummmm..'

Inchgower 24yo 1980/2005 (60.4%, Adelphi, Cask #14152)
Who would have ever expected a bottling from this fairly 'obscure' distillery to get so close to gold?
This might have won the 'Dark Horse Award' if it hadn't been for the Craigduff. This one got seven votes
for gold from Serge (90), Davin (91), Peter (90), Ho-cheng (92), Krishna (90), Alexander (90) and me (92).
Once again it's mainly Klaus that keeps this malt from 'gold' status with his measly score of just 76 points.

Invergordon 1964/2005 (47.1%, Adelphi, Cask #57637)
Luc commented that this tasted like a grain whisky and that's hardly surprising - because it is...
We're still the MALT maniacs, but it's time to acknowledge that grain whiskies can be fabulous too.
So, we're proud to introduce the Aeneas Coffey Award which goes to an Invergordon from Adelphi.
Krishna wrote: 'Varnish, smoke and sherried, fresh oakwood, sweet and syrupy, very long finish. (92)'

Isle of Jura 5yo 1999/2004 (60.6%, OB for TWE, Cask #19)
The winner of the Pressure Cooker Award for the whisky with the best performance/age ration would
have earned a gold medal if it had been up to me - and Olivier, Krishna and Luca as well. Even though
Klaus and Peter were not impressed, it's solid silver medal material with an average score of 87 points.
I wrote in my little black book: 'This is a real peat monster - it might even scare away novices.'

Laphroaig 10yo (40%, OB, Bottled +/- 2005)
Well, it was about time Allied entered this 'evergreen' for the MM Awards. No surprise, it won silver.
My little black book says: 'Sweet & peaty in the nose, then more fruity notes. A young Kildalton malt?
A peat monster that takes no prisoners. Meaty & rubbery. Hint of iodine. Tea. Definitely a young Kildalton!
Sweet & peaty on the palate too. Lovely! My kind of profile, but it seems to lack just a little  'oomph'.'

Laphroaig 10yo 'Cask Strength' (55.7%, OB, +/- 2005)
This ended up with the Bang-For-Your-Buck Award but it could have won any number of awards.
It effortlessly came second in this year's best-to-worst list, after... yes, indeed, another Laphroaig!!!
and despite Klaus' 78 points it earns an average of 91 points. Ten votes for gold makes it almost unanimous.
Krishna wrote: 'Peat, Peat and peat. Smoke, most satisfying nose, salt licorice, sweet syrup, hot peppers.'

Laphroaig 13yo 1991/2005 (59.1%, SMWS 29.40)
The winner of the Islay Award of Excellence came quite close to actually winning a gold medal.
The PLOWED Port Ellen was nipping at its heels, but the Islay award goes to yet another Laphroaig.
This one received five votes for gold; Olivier (91), Luc (91), Ho-cheng (92), Krishna (91) and myself (90).
Olivier wrote: 'Caramel, inense, powerful, ripe pears! Beautyful discreet peat. Young, vibrant. Long.'

Laphroaig 31yo 1974/2005 (49.7%, OB for LMdW, 910 Bottles)
(for La Maison du Whisky, sherry, 910 bottles)
- The winner of the Non Plus Ultra Award clearly cements
Laphroaig's position as one of the two big winners of the Malt Maniacs Awards 2005. With ten votes for gold
and two for silver this reaches an astonishing average of 93 points. Olivier wrote: 'F..... good! Superb nose.
Erase everything else. Ripe apples, sweet sherry, fab peat & smoke…Hypnotic! Blablablabla… 98 points!!!'

John Mark & Robbo 'The Rich Spicy One' (40%, JM&R)
Hats off to John, Mark & Robbo who bravely sent their vatted malts into the ring against peat monsters
like the Laphroaig 10yo Cask Strength or suave Speysiders like the Blairfindy. The ABV alone puts them
in a whole different weight class. This earned the highest average score of their three bronze medal winners.
Peter loved it and voted for gold with his 94 points, but apart from that it got one silver and six bronze votes.

John Mark & Robbo 'The Smooth Sweeter One' (40%, JM&R)
The votes for this one? 2 x 'big' silver (Luc & Krishna) and 3 x bronze; just enough to make it to bronze.
But was it smooth & sweet? It wasn't according to Craig who wrote: 'Sour sherry some nut meal, nut skins,
peanut whipped cream, sour sherry palate, bitter citrus pith, grapefruit some bitter metal & dry herbs. (79)'

I wrote: 'Sweet & grainy. Werther's Original. Dirty. Coffee. Metallic? Faint hint of sake? Brazil nuts! (80)'

John Mark & Robbo 'The Smoky Peaty One' (40%, JM&R)
Luc played the guessing game and thought this could be a finished Edradour. No sir, it ain't...
But nine maniacs felt it was 'easily drinkable' indeed and voted for bronze. But did they find it smoky?
Olivier wrote: 'Rich, fruit, intense, rich peat, sweet smoke, easy, Nice! Creamy, soft. Not very complex.'
Thomas wrote: 'Astringent, dry & piercing smoke accompanied by too much sweetness, sulphury smoke.'

Ledaig 30yo 1974/2005 (48.7%, Signatory, Cask #3223)
(Shery hogshead, 208 bottles)
- Luc played the guessing game again; he thought this was a Strathisla...
No sir, it's another cracking Ledaig! A 29yo 'Dun Bheagan' bottling didn't quite make it to silver last year
but this one does. If it had been up to me (or Serge, Luc, Ho-cheng and even Klaus) it would've been gold.
I wrote: 'Classic & brilliant. Spices. Organics. Balsamico vinegar. A sherry monster par excellenence. (93)'

Linkwood 1991/2005 (46%, Wilson & Morgan, Sherry wood)
I have to admit I loved this Linkwood more than most other maniacs. I gave it 88 points and Davin, Klaus,
Krishna and Alexander put it in the upper 80's as well. Yes, we're sherry freaks. First time juror Thomas not
so much, apparently - he gave it 73 points and wrote 'Too much rubber in the nose (with water: licorice)
and too soapy in finish to make it a pleasure'
. This malt from Italian bottler W&M reminded Luca of marsala.

Macallan 'Coilltean' 1992/2004 (55%, Samaroli, C#8518)
(New American oak cask #8518, 420 Bottles)
- I LOVED the winner of the Gentle Giant Award and gave
it no less than 94 points - and so did Peter. Absolutely brilliant stuff as far as I'm concerned, but out of the
other maniacs only Serge agreed on its gold status. Olivier knew exactly why I loved it so much and wrote:
'Vegetable, Maggi, asparagus, greens, Almost bizarre, dry grassy. Awkward, but some special character!'

Macallan 15yo 'Fine Oak' (43%, OB, Bottled +/- 2005)
Just like last year, the Macallan 15yo 'Fine Oak' won bronze. Macallan's 'Fine Oak' range is much lighter and
subtler than the classic sherry monsters Macallan became famous for. This means that, just like Glenfiddich,
they have a hard time when judged by a jury that consists largely of peat freaks and sherry afficionado's.
As such, two votes for silver (from Luc and Ho-cheng) and four for bronze is actually quite impressive.

Macallan 15yo 1989/2005 (57.2%, SMWS 24.82)
Just like Luc, Krishna liked to play the guessing game and wrote about this malt: 'Very powerful nose,
very sweet, hot peppers, beef stock. Very long finish - Glenfarclas, Benrinnes or Aberlour perhaps? (91)'

Except for Craig, Ho-cheng and Klaus, the maniacs preferred this C/S IB over the 43% OB by a few points.
Davin wrote: 'Fruit, slightly acidic, sultanas, over-ripe fruit, hints of pipe tobacco, some wax & chocolate.'

Old Pulteney 12yo (40%, OB, Bottled +/- 2005)
Nobody can accuse Old Pulteney of being a 'high profile' malt, so their two medals are a nice surprise.
With Ho-cheng's vote for silver and seven other votes for bronze, this earns a solid bronze medal. Nice!
Olivier wrote: 'Rose water, Lily, sherry, elegant, sweet, light finish but enjoyable. (80)' while Craig wrote:
'Charred nuts, bit of charcoal, hint of peat, sweet, woody creamy palate. Sherry, metal, old fireplace. (80)'

Old Pulteney 17yo (46%, OB, Bottled +/- 2005)
The overall score for this one ended up slightly higher than that of the 12yo with two votes for silver
(Davin and Ho-cheng) and seven for bronze. Thomas wrote: 'ash, cold smoke, creamy mouth & finish. (81)'
Craig wrote: 'Cream, tropical fruit, tinned pineapple, lanolin, creamy oak, rich oily, buttery fatty palate.
Some sour cream in the tail and a hint of liquorice icecream - might be Glengoyne or Glenlivet. (84)'

Port Ellen 22yo 1982/2004 (61.1%, Douglas Laing / PLOWED)
(Douglas Laing for PLOWED Society, Cask #740, 264 bottles)
- This Port Ellen ended up in the very top
of the silver echelon and would have certainly won an award if Laphroaig hadn't done so exceptionally well.
Krishna wrote: 'Fruity, sherried, strong nose, floral, very sweet, hot peppers, get some smoke here.
Weapons grade Plutonium! NOT for amateurs. Very long finish. (90)' 
Five others voted for gold as well.

Rosebank 1990/2005 (46%, Berry Bros & Rudd, C#1518-1520)
Krishna played the guessing game again and wrote: 'Fruit, smoke, peat. This has a special nose, bit of wood.
Sweets and spices, syrupy. Looks like a Highlander. Clynelish? (87)'
  A highlander, Krishna? No, a LOWlander!
In fact, the best Lowland malt whisky this year, but the 'Lowland' award went to the Carsebridge grain whisky.
Olivier wrote: 'Perfumy, orange, mandarines, Very aromatic, grass, liqueur. Light sulfurs. Interesting. (83)'

Royal 'Green' Brackla 27yo 1975/2002 (59.7%, TWE, C#5471)
This was one of my own personal favourits of the 2005 Awards and out of all the 50 silver medal winners this
one came closest to winning a gold medal. It actually would have won gold if it had been up to Serge, Olivier,
Davin, Luc, Ho-cheng, Krishna and me. Shame on Klaus for not recognising quality when it hits him in the face.
Olivier wrote: 'Sherry beauty! Creamy nose, intense, chocolate, well balanced, super sherry cask. Long, rich.'

Samaroli No'Age Edition 2001 (45%, Samaroli, vatted, 1596 Bottles)
Here's a vatted malt that quietly but confidently made it to bronze with Serge (86), Davin (89), Ho-cheng (87)
and Alexander (85) voting for silver and four other maniacs for bronze. The lowest score? No surprise; Klaus' 57.
Thomas wrote: 'Nose: nice mix of red fruits & smoke. Palate: very flowery, lavender/almost perfumey, but not
to the point of being spoilt. A close shave though; a profile that points directly to Bowmore if you ask me. (82)'

Scapa 14yo (40%, OB, Bottled +/- 2005)
There's been quite a lot of chatter among the maniacs about Luc's bold score of 92 points for this Scapa.
Luc was the only maniac to vote for gold, and with Thomas' 86 points it got just one vote for silver as well.
Still, with three more votes for bronze it just makes it into recommendable territory with an average of 80.
Thomas wrote: 'Very subtle nose: raspberry, hints of glue, sweet ripe apple & pear? a very good whisky.'

Scapa 1993/2005 (45%, Gordon & MacPhail / La Maison du Whisky)
This independent bottling of Scapa did just a little bit better than its 14yo official sibling with three votes for
silver (Serge's 85, Davin's 85 and Peter's 87) & three for bronze. In our calculation that equals a bronze medal.
Davin wrote: 'Nose: nice & malty, weetabix, hints of dust, esters, some alcohol, slight nose tickle, oily, mint.
Palate: Sweet, slightly tannic, hint of wood, sweet spices, pepper, bit metallic in middle, hint of mocha. (85)'

Speyside 1990/2005 'Armagnac Finish' (54.4%, Celtique)
(Celtique Connexion, 297 bottles)
- A very pleasant surprise from France that divided the jury members.
Peter & Luc voted for gold and Serge and Krishna for silver, but with six votes for bronze that's what it got.
Davin found 'brown sugar' and Olivier 'cream caramel'. Krishna wrote: Less fruity, floral, heather, very sweet,
honeyed elegance, warm, syrupy, orange skins, Nice satisfying finish / Macallan or a Glenfarclas? (86)'

Talimbourg 19yo 1986/2005 (45.9%, The Whisky Fair, C#1485)
(Bourbon hogshead #1485, 252 bottles)
- During one of his frantic sessions Krishna grew quite emotional.
He wrote: 'Well, now I got my peat at last! Very spicy. Could be Laphroaig, Ardbeg or Caol Ila. 90 points!'
Ha, it's no Islay malt, but I found some peat as well. In fact, it reminded me a bit of 'The Smoky Peaty One'.
Davin wrote: 'Sweet, bourbon cask, hints of grass, some ether, mild hints of peat smoke, hint of dill pickles'.

Talisker NAS '175th Anniversary' (45.8%, OB, Bottled 2005)
The winner of the Internal Combustion Award is actually 'only' the 30th whisky on our full 'best-to-worst'
list, but all the higher scoring malts had higher proofs as well. I guess that proves we like overproof whiskies!
Krishna wrote: 'Complex, fruity & smoky, young peat. Heather & florals, spicy & sweet, excellent finish. (91)'
Davin wrote: 'Very nice and quite complex. Great mouthfeel with balance of tannin, spice and sweet. (88)'

Talisker 15yo 1989/2004 (59.9%, SMWS 14.14)
Peter and Ho-cheng voted for gold but with six votes for silver that's the end result. I LOVED the palate.
I wrote: 'Sweet start, growing bigger and a little peppery in the centre. Hot and dry; slightly woody finish.
It becomes extremely 'chewy' at the end of the loooong finish. I was litterally chewing my gums here! (87)'

Olivier wrote: 'Rich apples, peat, delicate, nice sweetness. Very powerful. Good balance. (85)'

Talisker 25yo (57.8%, OB, Refill casks, Bottled 2004, 21000 Btl.)
Four votes for gold (from Olivier, Luc, Ho-cheng and Krishna) were not quite enough to lift it to gold status.
Still, this is a highly recommendable dram that convinced six other judges on the team  it was medal material.
Olivier loved it and wrote: 'Intense, round, complex, sherry, hints of peat. Very nice! Perfect balance. (92)'
Davin was notably less impressed and wrote: 'The sweetness is not well balanced with the hot spices. (84)'

Teaninich 19yo 1983/2002 (58.7%, Cadenhead's, 174 Bottles)
(Authentic Collection, Bourbon Hogshead)
- Actually, this bottle was submitted last year by Andries Visser
of the Cadenhead's store in Amsterdam, but it arrived too late for the 2004 Awards. Time to finally judge it.
Alexander's 92 points prove that he really is a Cadenhead's fan. Peter (85), Luc (87) and Luca (86) voted
for silver, but with five votes for bronze from Olivier, Davin, Krishna, Thomas and me that amounts to bronze.

The Famous Grouse 'Vintage Malt Whisky' 1992/2004 (40%, OB)
A daring entry from the Edrington folks that managed to get a whopping 91 points from Craig Daniels.
No votes for silver and seven bronze votes earn it a bronze metal, beating some single malts in the process.
Thomas wrote: 'Piercing, then fruitier: blackberry, ripe bananas; gets sweeter and increasingly mellow (81)'
Craig wrote: 'Deeply sherried, meat gravy, unctuous palate, long leathery finish. Nose is highlight. (91)'

Tomatin 25yo (43%, OB, Bottled +/- 2005)
With Serge (85), Davin (85), Luc (85) and Luca (85) all voting for a relatively thin silver medal, six other
maniacs felt that bronze would suffice here. That puts it smack in the middle of 'recommendable' territory.
Davin wrote: 'Powerful nose; sweet grapes, lots of organic fruit ester, kiwi fruit, rich & citric, rotting fruit.'
Olivier wrote: 'Sweet ripe exotic fruit, mango. Cheesy notes. Cheap perfumes, passion fruit. (Hum?)'

Tomintoul 16yo (40%, OB, Bottled +/- 2005)
Alexander voted for silver with 85 points; five more votes for bronze put it in the 'recommendable' category.
Davin wrote: 'Nose: Sweet, dusty, sherry, fruity, a lttile bit dirty, lovely earthy sweet fruits, perhaps a hint
of peat smoke, celery, aniseed, wood, sauerkraut, some sweetness. Palate: Watery, sweet, sherry, caramel,
burnt sugar, some spice & bitterness, becomes quite bitter & tannic in the middle, spicy finish, candy cane.'

Tomintoul 27yo (40%, OB, Bottled +/- 2005)
This one came quite close to winning silver; just behind the SMWS Brora on our 'overall' hitlist.
Luc (90) and Craig (90) actually voted for gold, but with three votes for silver and four for bronze its average
score is just a fraction too low for silver. I actually suspect it would have made it to silver at a higher ABV.
Thomas wrote: 'Fresh & fruity nose (mango, pears, banana). Palate is a little bit restrained. long & berry-like.'

W&M House Malt 'Born on Islay' 1997/2005 (43%, W&M)
(Wilson & Morgan, Cask #818-824)
- With six votes for silver from Serge (85), Olivier (87), Davin (86),
Craig (85), Ho-cheng (89) and Thomas (85) this one missed a silver medal by a hare's breath. It actually got
the second highest scoring bronze medal . Thomas wrote: 'Nose: Very smoky & peaty; some  some iodine;
ham & bacon (Laphroaig?); Palate: like two pillars srtanding next to each other, sherry smoke & lemony fruit.'

Laphroaig NAS 'Quarter Cask' (48%, OB, Bottled 2005)
The Daily Dram Award is just one of Laphroaig's impressive collection of medals and awards in 2005.
Granted, the Laphroaig isn't as 'easily drinkable' as winners of earlier DD Awards, but its average score
simply puts it so far ahead of any other candidate that we just had to give this award to the 'Quarter'.
Luc thought that this might be a peated Benriach while Luca wrote: 'Not just a peat-feast.'


Alphabetical overview of medal winners

And those were the results of the Malt Maniacs Awards in 2005...
By the time you read this, 'batch variation' could have changed the character of some of the official bottlings considerably, while most of the independent bottlings will probably be hard to find these days. Check out the Malt Maniacs Awards Overview or the MaltMenu to find out about more recent bottlings. Check out the Matrix and the Monitor if scores are your thing.

Malt Maniacs Awards - 2005

November 15, 2005 - Oh boy... the results of the MM Awards 'Vintage 2005' are live!
This year we organised the third instalment of the 'Malt Maniacs Awards' and as you
can see from the long list of participants a little further down the page, the support
from people in 'the whisky industry' in 2005 was more overwhelming than ever.

MM Archives - Home

On this page you can find an overview of all 2005 award winners and a list of no
less than 108 medal winning malts this year - more than ever before.
Out of the
2005 submissions, 7 won gold, 50 won silver and 51 won bronze. That sounds
very impressive (and it is), but I guess I should probably add that we have also
received more entries than ever before, so that makes sense. The results of the
2003 and 2004 editions of the MM Awards are published on two separate pages.

We'll get back to the results for 2005 in a moment, but we should also point out
that this is an 'archived' website. Many of the whiskies that are discussed will be
hard to find in stores these days. If that doesn't bother you, you are welcome to
browse the 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 & 2011 awards editions.

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The Malt Maniacs Awards 2005 - Complete Results

MM Awards Overview --- Rules --- A2003 --- A2004 --- A2005 --- A2006 --- A2007 --- A2008 --- A2009 --- A2010 --- A2011

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