11 April 2017

09/04/2017 Two recent drams MkII

So much to drink, so little time. It is all about baby steps.

Bruichladdich 25yo 1991/2017 (48.2%, Cadenhead, Burgundy Cask, 192b): nose: white wine and sweet mustard. It becomes dryer, with hay and toasted barley. Over time, dried herbs start to appear too -- sage and rosemary. This is much less welcoming than Bruichladdich is usually known for, yet it has its charms. Bandages? That was a very obvious note when I first tried it, now not so much. Mouth: acidic, almost vinegary. This is a nice vinaigrette on a fresh salad -- rocket, I would say: peppery and a bit scratchy. In fact, it becomes very peppery indeed; too much for its own good. Finish: just like the nose, the finish has mustard and vinegar, though this time, it is complemented by honey and something that reminds me of mayonnaise, as well as lots of pepper. Let us call it honey mustard and be done with it. If it were not for the white-wine acidity and the loud pepper, the finish would be lovely. As it stands, it barely fares better than the nose and the palate. It seems as peppery to me as Talisker 10yo. And I do not care for that one. Water tames the finish a bit, without changing the nose or mouth. Meh. I liked it better when it came out. 5/10

Inchgower 27yo 1989/2017 (53.2%, Cadenhead Authentic Collection 175th Anniversary, Bourbon Hogshead, 234b): nose: in typical Inchgower style, this is as herbaceous as South Italian cuisine: oregano, sage, rosemary, verbena, marjoram and caraway seeds. Behind it all, hay, bandages, gauze, muscle-warming spray. Herbs come back in force, with crushed bay leaves. Water does not really alter the nose. Mouth: very balanced, it has hawthorn, rosemary again (though it is more discreet here than in the nose), definitely caraway seeds and acacia honey, spread over the whole. It feels soft and sweet, despite the 53%, and rather coating. Water makes it thinner and less herbaceous: thin apple compote, with crushed bay leaves. Finish: all the herbs are still there, augmented with gentle honey and jammy fruit (or fruity jams?) Quince jelly dominates. It has a hint of bandages, plaster glue or muscle-warming spray, yet the fruit really takes over: apricot compote, peach nectar and candied oranges. The finish has a generous dose of black pepper, which never becomes invading. What a difference with the previous dram! The fruit becomes timidly tropical, with a slice of banana and a dice of mango, thrown in for good measure. Water seems to help tropical fruits speak slightly louder without changing it too dramatically; all the same, it then turns more bitter, with ground apricot and avocado stones. Good drop, this! 8/10

Hilariously, it is only now I realise I already reviewed the Inchgower not a month ago! Different notes too, which goes to show circumstances are everything. (thanks SW for the samples)

30 March 2017

29/03/2017 April outturn at Cadenehad's

Straight to the jugular, and text only, as I am camera-less. It is a bit of a rush, and we are drinking off plastic cups, which do not do the noses any justice. We? OB, DW, MP, TE, Cavalier and the rest of these events' usual suspects.

Knockdhu 10yo 2006/2017 (56.5%, Cadenhead Small Batch, 3 x Bourbon Hogsheads, 718b): when is the latest time an independent bottler released a Knockdhu? Hmmm? Exactly. I am almost more excited by this one than by the old expressions to come. Nose: green and acidic. Mouth: gentle, with honeysuckle and green grapes. Finish: subtle vanilla and lovely fruit. Great starter. 7/10

Macduff 10yo 2006/2017 (46%, Cadenhead Small Batch, 2 x Bourbon Hogsheads, 720b): nose: fruity indeed, it has mostly peach. Mouth: coating, peachy, apricot-y. Finish: more fruit, then an earthy kick, then chocolate. 7/10

Strathmill 24yo 1992/2016 (46.9%, Cadenhead Small Batch, 1 x Bourbon Barrel, 204b): nose: warm apricot compote. Mouth: soft, silky, satin-like, with just a drop of lemon juice. Finish: vanilla and lots of hazelnut. Decent, if not the most interesting. The question is: why release a single cask under the Small Batch range when you have a Single Cask range? 6/10

Dailuaine 21yo 1996/2017 (46%, Cadenhead Small Batch, 2 x Bourbon Hogsheads, 618b): nose: walnut shells, perhaps? Those bloody cups! Mouth: coating, rather nutty, with an oily rag in the back. Mouth: salted, roasted peanuts, herbs. 6/10

Fettercairn 28yo 1988/2017 (55.4%, Cadenhead Small Batch, 3x Bourbon Hogsheads, 750b): nose: chocolate and herbs, ample and chocolate-y. Mouth: herbaceous chocolate. Interesting. Finish: long and tickling, with white pepper and aromatics. The nose is nice. The rest, not my style, so much. 6/10

Blair Athol 28yo 1988/2017 (53.6%, Cadenhead Small Batch, 2 x Bourbon Hogsheads, 306b): nose: dead leaves, dried mushrooms, plaster bands. Mouth: thick, with a growing heat -- ginger and spices. Finish: woody, now, with old staves, soaked in wine. Some find it sweet. 6/10

Glentauchers 26yo 1990/2017 (52.6%, Cadenhead Small Batch, 3 x Bourbon Barrels, 420b): nose: coconut cream, vanilla. Mouth: syrupy, with berries compote. Finish: yogurt, custard. Decent, not very interesting. 6/10

Mortlach 30yo 1987/2017 (48.2%, Cadenhead Single Cask, Bourbon Hogshead, 138b): nose: indistinct. Cork? Mouth: custard-y wine? Not much comes out. Finish: acidic, with unripe green grapes. I really do not care for this one. 4/10

Light Creamy Vanilla 18yo 1998/2017 (44.6%, Cadenhead Creations): nose: biscuit, vanilla, then dunnage warehouse. Mouth: furniture wax. Finish: walnut stain, mahogany. Nice blend again. Well done, Cad! 7/10

Glen Keith 43yo 1973/2017 (43.2%, Cadenhead Single Cask, Bourbon Hogshead, 156b): no need to call or write, this is sold out already. Nose: the cups, again, do not help, since they do not let any scent come out. Dust? Earth? Mouth: chamomile infusion, jasmine. This is floral and gentle, if a bit tea-like. Finish: vanilla, flowers, comforting tea. Love this. 8/10

Caol Ila 33yo 1983/2017 (50.2%, Cadenhead Single Cask, Bourbon Hogshead, 196b): sold out too, though no doubt we will see most of the bottles at auction next month; that seems to be the recurrent pattern, sadly. Nose: seashore perfumes and nut shells. Mouth: mellow and delicately salty, the sea influence grows bolder. Finish: long and sea-influenced again, with hot sand and sea food. There does not seem to be a bad cask of those early-eighties Caol Ila, even if this particular one is not my personal favourite. 7/10

Others have a few more drops of a few more things.
It was brief and rushed, but it is always a pleasure to try the outturn and chat with well-known (and less-well-known) faces.

27 March 2017

25/03/2017 Eurodance

Musical themes are great, yet they can be not pure enough. This time, we will focus on one specific genre that the youth of less than twenty cannot know, a genre that was as omnipresent in the early nineties as it is absent today: Eurodance.

BA calls off in the late morning and GL is tied up at work. That leaves Cavalier and JH with myself. JS makes a late entrance too. The low turnout allows for the inclusion of miniatures and samples, which is great.


Dr. Albyn - It's My Life



Glen Albyn 15yo (43%, SV for Master of Malt, 96/533, b.1996) (me): nose fruity and dusty, it opens up to reveal lemon sherbet, then marzipan and chalk, green grapes, green hazelnut and metal (brass, according to JH). It has the tiniest whiff of smoke and blood, if JH is to be believed (probably not). Mouth: soft and gently acidic (or is it bitter?) it has creamy nut paste and peppery honey. Finish: fruity again, with grapes, more nuts and a hint of flint. This is beautiful. Austere, not unwelcoming. 8/10

Cavalier has not had lunch (the fool). We attack on the nibblez: Serrano and Parma hams, two kinds of cheese (one hard cow one, one buffalo mozzarella), olives, artisan bread and dried sausages (herbes de Provence, tomato). All delicious.

Also, Cavalier thought it fit to get rid of his expired crisps.
Cheers, mate!

Glen Eskimos & Egypt - Fall From Grace vs. E-Rotic - Max Don't Have Sesk With Your Esk


Glenesk 12yo (40%, OB, b. ca late 1980s) (me): I had this ca 1993, when Eurodance was kicking booty; wonderful to get to try it again. Nose: cooked cabbage, salted cabbage stew (Cavalier, who is not keen on the nose), a chemistry experiment at school (JH). I get pickled pearl onions and not much else. Chlorine (JH), kimchee (Cavalier and JH). Mouth: oily, it has the texture of mayonnaise (yum!) and a pinch of mustard powder. Finish: a gentle alcohol kick, then earth and not much else. It leaves a texture in the mouth, rather than a taste. I want to rate it 7, yet if it were not a closed distillery, I would probably stick with 6/10



Glenesk 1984/2004 (43%, GMP Connoisseurs Choice, JD/DCG) (me): nose: earthy, with a few drops of lime juice, dried grapefruit peels, ginger powder and turmeric (Cavalier). Mouth: mellow, almost watery, with mustard powder and ginger, as well as saké (JH). Finish: faded leather, dried orange peels, a hint of rubber. This is lovely and unanimously declared better than the official bottling. 8/10


Cavalier -I was in a band in the '80s.
JH -Did you play the guitar?
tOMoH -What gave that away?
Cavalier -Are you a psychic-atrist?
Spring has descended onto the country. We proceed to the terrace.

Culture Beat - Mr. Bunnaha-Vain



Bunnahabhain 26yo (45.9%, Cadenhead Authentic Collection, Bourbon Hogshead, 246b) (me): I am on a roll. Nose: dried dates (JH) -- in fact, this is mega-fruity! Apples, pears, orchard fruit in general, even apricot. Tart, with waxy lemon skins. JH notes peanuts and pencil sharpener too. Mouth: honeysuckle and apple, though it also has an unexpected bitterness to it; unripe grapes, perhaps. Finish: lovely orchard fruits again, with juicy pear the dominant, pear compote and pineapple. 8/10

OTT - I Can't Give You Anything But My Love

Here is a link, because I cannot find a video.

Irish 24yo 1991/2016 (46.8%, MoM Single Cask Series, Bourbon Barrel, C#10691, b#004) (Cavalier): the (stretched) connection is that OTT is (was?) an Irish boyband, and Irish whiskey is always over the top (OTT). Good effort from Mr. Cavalier. Nose: tropical-fruit explosion. Buttery mango, plain and simple. Fresh figs soon join the party (in late August, says Cavalier), as well as maracuja. Later on, it is dried leaves, though the fruit comes back like a fanfare. Mouth: buttery mango again, perhaps augmented with a pinch of ground cloves. The texture is milky, or rather, it is that of melted butter. Papaya is there and pencil-sharpener blade. Finish: fruity as hell, it has chocolate milk and culminates with a roundhouse kick of passion fruit in the teeth. An amazing fruit bomb, very intense. 10/10

Inter-Mission - Piece Of My Hart



Linlithgow 25yo 1982/2007 (51.4%, Murray McDavid Mission Gold Series, Bourbon Casks, Cognac Finish, 1800b) (me): nose: big, full of dust and dunnage warehouse scents, ground fruit stones, cocoa powder (JH), cinnamon (JH). This still has a mildly hot nose, with a touch of mustard. Mouth: warm and gently drying. The Cognac influence is obvious, here, with characteristics of grape eau-de-vie. Finish: marvelously mellow, it has subtle chocolate. Cavalier reckons it is, "like drinking summer." 9/10

vs.

St Magdalene 23yo 1982/2006 (56%, Hart Brothers Finest Collection imported by Marsalle Company) (JS): nose: this is dustier and rougher, whilst in keeping with the high quality. Musty, with wooden staves and a bit of plastic, before it turns grassy, herbaceous (aromatics). It even gives out plum eau-de-vie and beeswax. This is nice. Mouth: a pronounced fruitiness, mostly peach, and horsepower. Finish: the strength numbs the taste buds, but the fruit is wonderful, accompanied by more wooden staves and musty warehouse scents. Water lets vinegar emerge on the nose. Wonderful to try those back to back! 9/10

Inter-Mission (Gold Series) - Piece Of My Hart (Brothers)
Get it?

I know the lads are busy people. They have cleared their agenda and are up for the next challenge, though. We already used that pun a while ago, but it was a different crowd and the combinations are endless anyway.

Captain Hollywood Project - Mor And More And More



76.117 25yo d.1988 A grand old lady in the piano shop (48.4%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill ex-Bourbon Hogshead, 248b) (me): for those who are not au fait with Society codes, this is a Mortlach. Leftover from a tasting. Nose: this is flowery, with waxy fruit (apples?) until milk chocolate shows up. Mouth: mellow, with chocolate milk and aromatics. Finish: soft, fruity, with lots of milk. Lovely and so far away from the meaty, official house style. 8/10

vs.

Dalmore 25yo 1990/2016 (56.3%, Cadenhead Single Cask, Sherry Butt, 474b) (me): nose: tobacco leaves, embers, drying wood stain, dust and rancio (quite pronounced). Mouth: rancio to the max. It has notes of old sherry and old rum. Peppery and intense. It feels like chewing on an old cigar. Finish: noble furniture, wax (Pledge), dark fruit with a drying touch. 8/10 (thanks SW for the sample)

vs.

Mannochmore 16yo 1977/1994 (61%, Cadenhead) (me): nose: pepper (JH), cedar wood. This is very strong. Hot galangal, pickled gherkins, pencil shavings. Mouth: mellow at first, it grows to frightening intensity. Hot. It does retain honey and resin nonetheless, vanilla sprinkled on chilli. Finish: surprisingly short. The heat remains, not much else else. Perhaps fleeting wood and honey. 8/10

JH -It is insanely strong.
Cavalier -It whacks you!
tOMoH -It is not a Clynelish. It does not wax you.

Springbank for Hitler

A reference to Springtime for Hitler: A Gay Romp with Adolf and Eva at Berchtesgaden in Mel Brooks' comedy: The Producers.

Not Eurodance, yet sufficiently funny (and far-fetched) to warrant inclusion.

Springbank 12yo 2000/2012 (52.7%, OB Wood Expressions, 6y Refill Bourbon Casks + 6y Fresh Calvados Casks, 9420b) (JH): nose: "it is a dirty Springbank," says Cavalier. Farmy, yet also full of engine oil. A car mechanic's. This is austere and complex, with metallic tools, old furniture, almost falling apart (that will be sawdust and wormwood). JH tells us about an "abstract smokiness," which Cavalier translates as "conceptual smoke." "Dreamy smoke" and "ethereal mist" soon follow. Silly geese. Mouth: this is actually quite balanced, though it grows in intensity. Hot pepper, Szechuan pepper, walnut stain and engine oil. Finish: peaty and farm-y, it has soot, coal dust, barley, farmyards, cold ashes (JH) and maybe fruit from the Calvados. The distillate pretty much destroys the Calvados maturation, though. 8/10

Haddaway - What Is Love? (Baby don't hurt me, don't hurt me, Bowmore)



Bowmore 12yo 2001/2013 (58.5%, Blackadder Raw Cask, Oak Hogshead, C#20063, 312b, b#21) (Cavalier): I am delighted by the puns on display, today. This one might just take the bisquit. Nose: huge peat, with also brine and much horsepower. Milk appears, almost turned sour, growing fruit (tangerine) and, eventually, tropical fruit (mango), as well as fishing nets. The fruit is quite something, in fact. Mouth: hot, smokey, with lots of apricot compote on a coal stove. Finish: very powerful, with a wonderful smokey/fruity profile (pineapple, pink grapefruit, lychee) and crushed mint. This might be worth 8, but tonight, it feels like a 9/10

Off-tasting, Cavalier offers this, which I cannot refuse.

Caol Ila 27yo 1983/2011 (46%, The Whisky Talker Mo Òr Collection, Bourbon Hogshead, R#48, C#4824, 400b, b#389) (Cavalier): nose: the refined peat that is so typical of those early-1980s Caol Ilas, complemented by melon cubes, dust, satsumas, barbecued grapefruits. Wow. Mad fruitiness, interlaced with smoke. It also displays dry mud on an old shovel, oscillating between fruity and farm-y notes. Mouth: it feels much warmer than 46%. Farmyard is in the background, with also coal dust (or is that caol dust?) Finish: this is ridiculous. Überfruity again (grapefruit, pineapple, melon, Chinese gooseberry), it has the same delicate smoke as the nose and palate. Perfect. 10/10

I pour my comrades Glen Mhor 21yo d.1976 (43%, The Whisky Shop Glenkeir Treasures The Gold Selection, 299b), which they seem to like enough.

During the course of the day, we hear:

2 unlimited - Get Ready
The Unity Mixers - Dance Computer 1993
The Unity Mixers - Dance Computer Vol. 2 (Intermission - Piece Of My Heart plays right as I present the two St Magdalene, casually)
The Unity Mixers - Dance Computer Vol. 3

And some 1980s synth-pop mixes, as the attendance is exhausted by the bombastic Eurodance mixes. Pf.

Brilliant tasting, as usual. Nice way to send JH out of the country, since he is emigrating. Fare well, JH!

I wear this only as a wink to IR, who could not make it, today.
Sash! - Edradour