13 February 2017

11/02/2017 The Trump tasting

Two new additions to the group, one of whom suggested the theme. With the plethora of great puns supplied to support it, it was impossible not to succumb and go with it!
Most attendees have colds at various levels, but htey made it.

MR, JS, BA, JH, GL, OB, Cavalier and myself. We make a slow start, since the guests arrive at various times. They had warned it would be the case.
BA and MR brought a couple of apéritifs: New England IPA from Brewdog vs. Cloudwater, a fruity, murky beer, and a second one that was finished in a Port cask, very sweet.


We start the real deal shortly thereafter -- almost.

Baijiu 10yo (50%, ) (BA): BA brought this, because it is Chinese. Trump would not like it because it is not made in the USA. To be honest, he is not the only one to hate it. It is vinegar-y and harsh. I seem to be the only person not to find it repulsive.

On to the real real deal.



Penderyn Madeira Finish (46%, OB, 60534) (GL): GL looked through his collection to find something suitably offensive to the POTUS. Anything Scottish would not do it: he says enough that he is from Scottish ancestry. English whisky? The way the English government is crawling at Trump's feet to get a trade deal, it is not very offensive either. Welsh then! Nose: ashes and pears, dried plums, apricot stone. The fruit grows louder and louder. Mouth: fresh, delicate and fruity (plum juice, prunes), pear skins (JH). Finish: fruity, then sweet caramel comes out, PX style, decaying fruit. This would work as an apéritif or dessert. 8/10

BA talks about the Springbank Society. MR asks:
-What do you get for your Springbank Society membership?
-A warming sense of well-being and little else.

OB comes next and states that the Trump presidency almost makes us mi(ll)ss Bush.
...
It is going to be a long afternoon.

Bushmills 21yo (40%, OB, Madeira Wood Finish, b.2004) (OB): nose: delicate (JH), or rather "borderline delicate," says JH, which amuses the doctors in the audience immensely. It is gently fruity, ethereal, with candy floss and earl grey tea (JH in full form). It has an earthy note, and even cured ham (unstoppable JH). White chocolate, melted milk chocolate and a hint of wood. The fruit grows, yet it never reaches the level of the later batches. Mouth: caramel water -- the Madeira is shining. Finish: cold chococcino, gentle chocolate, frappé coffee. The finish is the strong point of this dram, which is very good all around, yet not as seductive as later batches. 8/10

Cavalier: -Imagine how good this would be at cask strength!
me: -Don't be so French!
Cavalier: -Sorry, sorry, sorry!
me: -Don't be so English!

BA introduces the next one: the distillery is down the road from a failing golf club, something Trump knows about. He adds that the good stuff at that distillery is upstairs, which means Trump will never see it, as he apparently has a phobia of stairs.

Tomatin 25yo d.1978 (43%, OB, 04/8121) (BA): oddly, the distillation date (to the day) is written on the tube, not on the bottle. Nose: bubblegum, tinned pineapple (Cavalier), strawberry, raspberry, squashed bananas and a hint of ginger. This is a nose akin to that of the wonderful 35yo 1978/2013 bottled by Cadenhead. Mouth: pepper, more oomph than the low ABV would suggest, then fruit (pomegranate) and Parma violet (OB). The texture is silky. Finish: fruit! Overripe fruit (banana, grapefruit, apricot) and milk chocolate. Woah! 9/10

BA unfortunately has to leave at this point. To make up for the loss, MR serves her delicious tiramisù. JH and I serve dried sausages (Armagnac and duck), cheeses (blue Shropshire, Chaource) with crackers. Cavalier brought houmous crisps and popcorn, whilst GL pulls out Lindt chocolates.

Roar!

Brace yourselves...

Next is a duet presented by yours, truly. I am pretty sure the whiskies will not work together, but I will stop at nothing for the sake of a good pun: since Trump has become the POTUS, a lot of inhabitants of the USA have stated their intention to e-Scapa to Canada.

Scapa 14yo 2000/2014 (53.9%, OB Cask Strength Edition, B#SC 14 008) (me): this group has not had this; I am proud to right this wrong. Nose: custard, lemon, sawdust -- woah! Hazelnut, croissant and a creamy impression. Mouth: spicy custard, toasted coconut, dry beans, galangal. This is almost spicy cocoa. Finish: hot custard and wood spices. Still a winner, this! 9/10

Five Lakes (40%, OB) (me): nose: nail varnish, furniture polish, turpentine. Mouth: it seems watery, after the cask-strength Scapa, with more wood varnish goodness. Finish: woody, varnish-y. Decent, but obviously not as good as the previous and not as good as previously (due to the sequence, no doubt). Still very close to a rum. 6/10

JS observes that Trump made it very clear it is going to be America First Cask.

Bruichladdich 19yo d.1989 (46%, SV for Direct Wines Limited First Cask, C#90, b#87) (JS): arguably, this could have been another Bruich in the wall. You know, for the wall on the Mexican border. Nose: gentle and fruity (recurrent note, eh?), with green grapes, tinned pineapples, then soy milk and crisp pears. Mouth: it has a subtle bitterness of flower-stem sap. Later on, milky fruit, perhaps yogurt. Finish: the fruit explodes, here, with plums, apricot and peach. I was curious about this and worried about its place in the line-up. It is great! 8/10

"Jack Daniel's and ginger ale; best combination!" (JH, who will never be invited again)

The next one has an airplane on the label (Air Force One) and is from an undisclosed distillery -- similar to Trump's tax return.

Speyside Region 40yo 1975/2016 (55%, The Whisky Agency Good Vibes, Fino Sherry Butt, 389b) (Cavalier): first appearance for Cavalier, and he is already trying to show off. Happy days! Nose: rich, chock full of peach flesh and almond milk, it also has a whiff of cork and perhaps nuts. Mouth: milky, with green pepper, ginger and walnut shells; this is gently drying. Finish: fruit and green wood, herbs, milky chocolate. The herbs grow in power. Another very good one. 8/10

Next time Angela Merkel speaks to Donald Trump, she will tell him that he has sehr kleine Hände-lish or kleine-lish Hände.

Clynelish 27yo 1982/2010 (52.6%, Milroy The John Milroy Selection for Acorn Ltd imported by Monnier, Refill Hogshead, C#5886) (OB): nose: oooh! Very waxy, with a whiff of smoke and some sweetness. This is nice! Mouth: candle wax, struck matches and a hefty dose of alcohol. Finish: more of that enjoyable candle wax and struck matches, complemented by toasted bread and hot flour. 8/10

Also, the cork broke

JH leaves, at this point, though he leaves his bottle behind and explains how it fits the theme. More on that in a bit.

"Sorry, I don't want to make you feel old, or anything..." (MR)

MR has no pun for the next one. She had one to fit it into the Lord of the Rings theme, though could not attend that, after all. Nae bother, though, we will have it today. We probably manage to find a distant link to Trump, but I cannot remember.

Bowmore d.1995/1996 (51.6%, unknown bottler, C#31+26+1361+1364) (MR): nose: leather! This smells like walking into a tannery, with tame fruit and light smoke. The fruit grows, without ever really becoming identifiable. Citrus? Mouth: velvety and bitter, if that makes sense -- rubber? Leather belts, shoe polish and apricot stone. Finish: ink, shoe polish. This is a little bitter, big, bold, wild, and timidly fruity. Wow! Leathery, smokey and fruity ride. GL is not a fan, I finish his. 7/10

Cavalier and OB take a leave. They had the next one ahead of everyone else, and Cavalier pours his second dram before leaving.

Something that was much talked about over the last two weeks, of course, was Trump's Muslim travel Banff.

Banff 23yo 1976/2000 (55.5%, SV, C#2249, 268b, b#123) (me): I have had this a few times recently, and it is time to share it with this group. Nose: the most complex mix of flowers, oranges, ginger, sawdust, mustard and white pepper. The wood is present, yet not alone. Mouth: mustard heat, white pepper, decaying apricots and pickles. Finish: the heat! Dijon mustard, white pepper and lots of spices. Shortly thereafter, fruit emerges. GL reckons it is past its prime. Considering how OB and Cavalier are giggling, I am not so sure. I still find it much to my liking. 9/10

The name of the next one, Purple relaxation, JH claims is the definitive anti-Trump, who sort of represents Orange anger.

42.18 9yo d.2006 Purple relaxation (59.3%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill ex-Bourbon Barrel, 234b) (JH): nose: cured bacon, Parma ham on cantaloupe melon, even kippers and a splash of squid ink. Mouth: pepper on cured ham, honey on bacon -- wow! Finish: honey-cured ham, cured bacon, walnuts and almonds. I like this a lot. 8/10

The next one, Cavalier explained before he left -- though it hardly needs an explanation. I will keep it implied.

Dumbarton 48yo d.1964 (50.1%, HH The Clan Denny, Refill Hogshead, C#HH 9345) (Cavalier): I was tempted to offer my 46yo, then thought someone would probably bring a Dumbarton. Hopefully, we will get to try this 48yo vs. my 46yo at some stage, though. Nose: polished dashboards, teak cabinets, wood varnish, walnut stain, prunes. Mouth: this is soft, fruity, nutty, with a hint of rubber. Finish: sweet, now, with prunes, some rubber -- actually, lots of it. It is very rubbery, then happy fruits join in. Beautiful, if not the most accessible grain. 9/10

Only MR, JS and GL are still with me. Realistically, we have had enough whisky. All the same, I feel the urge to show off and please -- yes, it is that time.
MR explained how EG once tried (unsuccessfully) to convince her to open a Glenturret she had. We had two at the latest tasting in this venue. Ha! Ha! I cannot find them, however. Ah, well. Instead, it will be...

Lochside 30yo 1981/2011 (54.9%, Cadenhead, Bourbon Hogshead, 246b) (me): I pour this and have the guests try it blind and, even after saying it is one of the nine that could or have produced single blends and listing the other eight, neither GL nor MR can name it.Ha! Ha! I think JS got it. "Is it a closed distillery?" asks MR. Of course, it is! I am the Old Man of Huy! Nose: dunnage warehouse, unripe, dark cherries, bay leaves, dusty books -- the dunnage warehouse, ffs! The fruit soon turns tropical, with mango, Chinese gooseberry, orange, grapefruit -- rhaaaaa! Perfume and crayons make a late entrance. Mouth: sparkly and tickling, fruity (cherry, mango and grapefruit again). Finish: fruity dunnage warehouse, fruit and flint. This is an unlikely combination of austerity (mineral notes) and fruitiness (mango, Chinese gooseberry and cherry). It is even better than I remembered it. JS tweets a picture, which gets prompt, angry reactions from OB and Cavalier. The latter swiftly replies with a picture of his own, unopened bottle. Yay! 10/10

It is 1:45 am. GL and MR escape.

Marvellous tasting, once again. It went on for longer than planned, yet the pace was very good, as it allowed us to enjoy the drams without the hindrance of an inebriated state.
Great puns, a team in good form, cracking drams all round, delicious food, superb music and enjoyable conversations. Cannot wait to do it again.

Over the course of the afternoon and evening, we hear:

Flowers For Bodysnatchers - Love Like Blood
Hoshin - Path Of Dissolutions
The Cure - Disintegration

3 February 2017

02/02/2017 February outturn at Cadenhead's

Welcome to William Cadenhead's, where the calendar month is only two weeks long.


To work!

Balmenach-Glenlivet 12yo 2004/2017 (54.4%, Cadenhead Authentic Collection, Bourbon Hogshead, 258b): nose: perfume-y, very fragrant, though sharp as a blade. Mouth: the alcohol if rather strong, much like perfume again. Finish: sharp and perfume-y, with a hint of milk chocolate. I prefer nosing this to sipping it. I bet it would make a great colone, though. 5/10

Glen Keith-Glenlivet 23yo 1993/2017 (51.2%, Cadenhead Authentic Collection, Bourbon Hogshead, 240b): nose: meadow flowers and toasted coconut, this reminds me of a candy necklace. Flowery and bubblegummy, with more candy necklaces. Finish: custard, butterscotch, sweets and chocolate. Lovely GK! 8/10

Aultmore-Glenlivet 19yo 1997/2017 (54.2%, Cadenhead Authentic Collection, Bourbon Hogshead, 252b): one in the group confirms it is the Aultmore, as it is so chalky. I joke he is one out of two Aultmore experts in the world. Nose: warm sandstone, pink grapefruit. Mouth: warming, with strawberry coulis. Finish: Herbaceous chocolate, with apricot compote and hot custard in the mix. Wow! 7/10

Glen Elgin-Glenlivet 21yo 1995/2017 (54.7%, Cadenhead Authentic Collection, Bourbon Hogshead, 240b): nose: big and fragrant, it has dry earth and Madeira biscuits (for those who know). Mouth: creamy, then spicy (pepper and ginger). Finish: wine, grape juice. 7/10

Cragganmore-Glenlivet 17yo 1999/2017 (52%, Cadenhead, Sherry Cask, 228b): nose: this is a grain! It is full of fruit turnovers, blackcurrant jam and baking dough. Mouth: velvety, with a hint of rubbery bitterness. Finish: long, prune-y and syrupy. Lovely Crag, this and a very successful sherry finish! 8/10

Benriach-Glenlivet 20yo 1996/2017 (44.5%, Cadenhead Authentic Collection, Bourbon Hogshead, 186b): nose: buttery, then vinegar-y. Both sequentially as powerful. Mouth: slightly drying, otherwise rather indistinct. Finish: lemon-y, with lime stone and a hint of burnt caramel. Really do not care for the nose, on this one. 6/10

Caperdonich 20yo 1996/2017 (46.4%, Cadenhead, Bourbon Hogshead, 264b): this is of course the one everyone is waiting for. Nose: apple, warm horsehair, apple compote, apple pie, frangipane. Mouth: crisp and fresh. Finish: a mix of custard, dried coconut, combed mane, acidic apple pie. Nice! 8/10

Fettercairn 23yo 1993/2017 (50.7%, Cadenhead Authentic Collection, Bourbon Hogshead, 210b): nose: this is super grassy, as most Fettercairns, with a fruity-bubblegum note behind the grass. Mouth: lukewarm, with hay, soaked in lemon. Finish: chocolate with herbs. It raises a few eyebrows, this, but I like it. 7/10

Bruichladdich 25yo 1991/2017 (48.2%, Cadenhead, Burgundy Cask, 192b): nose: bandages and plaster glue, then gentle perfume. Mouth: warm and perfume-y. Finish: chocolate and coffee. A good, if odd Bruichladdich! 7/10

Highland Park 28yo 1988/2017 (49.6%, Cadenhead, Port Cask, 222b): nose: slightly musky, it has pencil shavings and chocolate ice cream flakes. Mouth: milky, with a bit of heather and wood fire. It later turns spicy. Finish: heathery chocolate in a hot cocoa cup. Great HP. 8/10

After the session, we have a Kentucky whiskey for which I make no notes -- I only remember it was hot, at 63+%. Then I pour the last few drops of the 1842 Live Cask Islay.

Good times, and the best outturn since September, in my opinion.

31 January 2017

29/01/2017 Post-BNF dram

There was no real after-party, this year (after the night, how could there?) This evening seems as good a time as any to fill that gap.

Tomatin 10yo (40%, OB, L2 12:14 4 2D3 R206 90): nose: discreet vinegar and oily rags in a mechanics' workshop. It is not very expressive, really -- whispers of mocha, then brine. It ends on a honeysuckle note. Mouth: honey, wax, envelope glue and post stamps. Finish: nice chocolate, caramel cream, hazelnut liqueur, soft, easy, and very good. 7/10