9 April 2018

08/04/2018 Two Littlemills

Littlemill 33yo 1967/2000 (49.1%, Iain Mackillop Mackillop's Choice, C#668): nose: it is immediately a mix of old jams in a cellar and a walk in a pine forest. Shortly thereafter, wood varnish emerges, cork, bung cloth, diesel fumes, stale tobacco, polished dashboards and even cellophane. This one is feinty and woody -- it did spend a long time in wood, after all! Mouth: peppery wood varnish on the first impression, with walnut vinegar soon to follow, a touch of ink, maybe, peanut oil -- the texture is quite oily, in fact. Plum compote, Madeira, dried figs, dried kiwi cubes. The mouth is woody too, but more fruit comes out that in the nose. Finish: nuttiness abounds, with pistachio shells, pecan nuts, rapeseed oil, plum stones and then warm rhubarb compote, dried Selkirk bannock, rum-infused raisins and spiked sticky toffee pudding. Excellent drop! 9/10

Littlemill 26yo 1988/2015 (52.5%, Hart Brothers Finest Collection Cask Strength, Sherry Butt): nose: very similar to the Mackillop offering, yet perhaps slightly deeper. It has rancio, dunnage warehouse, old books on a shelf, slightly mouldy, a butt, after it has been emptied of its sherry, and after dust has had time to settle in. Bung cloth and blotting paper full of ink soon enter the scene, accompanied by a sweet ouch: Demerara sugar. Mouth: soft and warm, the palate has wood and varnish, caramelised muscovado sugar, butterscotch, fudge, a dash of resin and black tea leaves in a box. Finish: the sherry notes turn drier, here, with cocoa powder, dark-chocolate dust, cake crust. The chocolate clearly dominates, which is good news for tOMoH, but is a little one-dimensional. Scratching the surface, one can also detect ground Brazil nuts, mince pie, Madeira wine (to hear the rollers thunder on a shore that isn't mine -- for those who know), snus and peppermint, or After Eight chocolate thins. Another winner, but I prefer the first one. 8/10 (Thanks for the sample, Arribba)

4 April 2018

03/04/2018 One Irish beauty

Gelston's Old Irish Whiskey 26yo b.2018 (54.2%, Halewood, 144b): bottled by the same company that brought Crabbie's back to life, earlier in the year, this is allegedly a Bushmills in disguise, one of the (if not the) last distillation by Frank McHardy, and a cask previously owned by Teeling. Rumour has it that Frank might have used peated barley at the time. There has been a plethora of those old, undisclosed Irish whiskeys, over the last half decade or so, allegedly from the Teeling stocks, which has helped put Ireland back on the whisk(e)y map. This one comes with a hefty price tag, raising expectations. Nose: this has 'old school' written all over it: dunnage warehouse, damp staves and squashed apricots. Further, a whisper of smoke emerges, and tropical fruits grow in intensity. What a tantalising nose! Candied greengages, freshly-cut celery stalks, green hazel, persimmon, tomato stalks and smokey embers, persimmon jam and warm ink. Mouth: soft, yet gently spicy, it has more tomato stalks, squashed persimmon, paprika on creamy custard and roasted mango slices via retronasal olfaction. Oh! my, the mango grows bolder and bolder! Overripe-pineapple juice joins in on the fun, and yet more persimmon, this time under the oven grill. Finish: much bolder than expected, this is a grand mix of refined smoke and lovely tropical fruits -- guava and mango, perhaps pineapple too, all laid out on the barbecue. Remnants of chutneyed, sliced tomatoes, juicy and sun-drenched, and coconut-y, fruity yoghurt. The whole is mildly acidic (fruit) a touch drying (ash) and sweet at the same time (tropical fruits). The incessant ballet of smoke and fruit is quite simply marvellous. Excellence in a glass. 10/10 (Thanks for the sample, SW)

30 March 2018

28/03/2018 April outturn at Cadenhead's

Modest attendance, which makes for a relaxed atmosphere and pace. We try everything blind.

Dram #1: nose: crisp apples, then perfume. Mouth: sweet, soft but lively, perhaps a bit too green. Finish: fruit again, and a hint of chocolate. Strathisla-Glenlivet 20yo 1997/2018 (53.6%, Cadenhead Authentic Collection, Bourbon Hogshead, 228b) 7/10

Dram #2: nose: very grassy, almost metallic. Mouth: acidic, fruity and gently sweet. Finish: sweet and metallic, it has verbena. Nice. I guess correctly that it is Caledonian 30yo 1987/2018 (48.5%, Cadenhead, 216b) and note that I expected more from it. 7/10

Dram #3: nose: hand lotion, flower petals and graphite. Mouth: sweet, fruity, with gummy bears and Valda cough drops. Finish: Valda cough drops indeed, violet boiled sweets and dried blackberry. This makes me think of Invergordon. It is in fact Cameronbrige 28yo 1989/2018 (58%, Cadenhead World Whiskies, Bourbon Hogshead, 228b) 8/10

Dram #4: nose: a mix of Chinese spices and herbs, dried durian and salty fudge. Mouth: salted fudge alright, with a pinch of dried fruits. Finish: dried figs, stollen dough and salted fudge. Glen Grant-Glenlivet 20yo 1997/2018 (51.9%, Cadenhead Authentic Collection, Bourbon Hogshead, 264b) 6/10

Dram #5: nose: rotting fruit and meat, marinating in wine. I am puzzled when I am told there is no Mortlach, this month. Mouth: acidic, with plum skins and decaying fruit all round. Finish: big, round and plummy. The finish is sort of ok, while the rest is not my thing. Benrinnes 13yo 2004/2018 (52.2%, Cadenhead Authentic Collection, Bourbon Hogshead, 282b) 5/10

Dram #6: nose: sawdust, wormwood, lichen on staves, then citrus. Mouth: soft, sweet and plummy. Finish: slightly dry, rough, but still pretty fruity. This is probably the highlight of the tasting. Dalmore 16yo 2001/2018 (48.9%, Cadenhead, Sherry Cask, 180b) 8/10

Pulteney 12yo 2006/2018 (56%, Cadenhead Authentic Collection, Bourbon Hogshead, 282b): this is from a bottle, rather than a sample, and not poured blind. Nose: overripe apples, at the point where they turn soft and sour. Mouth: astringent, unripe plums, salty brine. This is strong. Finish: a hint of leather, salt, cracked black pepper and plant stems. 6/10

Dram #8: nose: gently fruity, with strawberry stems and hot, spiked custard. Mouth: herbaceous and gently metallic, as well as milky. Finish: custard and herbs. Speyside-Glenlivet 26yo 1991/2018 (48.9%, Cadenhead Authentic Collection, Bourbon Hogshead, 324b) 6/10

Dram #9: nose: warm wool, a faded wooden box. Mouth: the bitterness of nut shells. Finish: bitter and invading liquorice and unripe nuts. I do not like this. Glen Spey-Glenlivet 16yo 2001/2018 (54.7%, Cadenhead Authentic Collection, Bourbon Hogshead, 288b) 4/10

Dram #10: nose: cedar-wood shavings and dried cattle droppings. Mouth: very sweet, with ground apricot stone. Finish: super sweet, lime-y, with an added touch of acidic bitterness. Longmorn-Glenlivet 23yo 1994/2018 (52.6%, Cadenhead, Rum Cask, 222b) 7/10

Dram #11: nose: honey and the mildest smoke. Mouth: caster sugar, melted honey and more mild smoke. Finish: huge, smokey, it has roasted nuts, coated in honey, and even a touch of tropical fruit. Excellent, this! Highland Park 28yo 1989/2018 (48.8%, Cadenhead Authentic Collection, Bourbon Hogshead, 270b) 8/10

Dram #12: nose: wine, pencil eraser, crayon shavings and warm laundry. Mouth: soda-y apricot or plum juice, thinned down a notch. Finish: is this fruity? It is a very distinctive taste, yet I cannot place it. Bruichladdich 24yo 1993/2018 (46.9%, Cadenhead Authentic Collection, Bourbon Hogshead, 204b) 6/10

Dram #13: nose: ├╝berfruity, with lychee, mangosteen, jasmine and that spice mix they bring with the bill in a curry house. Mouth: soft, teeming with more tropical fruit (mangosteen and lychee). Finish: similar fruity notes, with more of that curry-house, bill-time spice mix. Interesting, but the extravagant fruitiness is overpowering and, therefore, a little vulgar. Rampur Select (43%, OB, b.2018) 7/10

Good little session!

Unfortunately, this was not available to try

(Thanks SW for the pictures)