8 July 2014

05/07/2014 July outturn @ SMWS

We went to the outturn preview tasting last week, but only had time for a couple of drams. Besides, it is always nice to bring friends to the Society and if there is cheese as a bonus, how could one resist? Granted, there is not enough cheese for everyone, due to a late order and a cock-up on their end. Ah, well.
The difficult part is to choose

-95.17: Auchroisk is not a common sight by any stretch, let alone a Society bottling of it. Exciting! Nose: bakery flavours aplenty. Yellow stone fruit (peach), then clean socks, line drying. Mouth: soft and mellow, peachy. Velvety on the sides of the tongue. Finish: more peach, flowers. Water mutes it, at first, then it becomes even fruitier, with lots of peach and apricot goodness. Lovely dram! 8/10

-39.100: nose: this one seems quite meaty, initially, then it evolves towards turmeric and cumin, marinated meat, herbes de Provence, BBQ-herbs mix. Mouth: silky at first, but actually rather spicy and peppery. Finish: an unexpected cascade of pepper-coated fruit. A superb Linkwood, close in quality to the fabulous 26 RMS. 8/10

-73.65: this comes recommended by the staff. Nose: very meaty, leathery, with a good dose of black shoe polish. Water makes it extremely sherried. The mouth is nicely balanced. Finish: quite anaesthetising, even diluted. With water: rotting meat, mouthwash, industrial cleaner. 6/10

-76.116: nose: cut apples -- the crisp kind. Mouth: tickling on the tip of the tongue. Finish: bang! Explosive first, before it becomes fruity and honeyed. This is good! 8/10

And what a name!
-2.87: my nose is clogging up, now, but I still detect apples and some kind of leaves. Mouth: warming and comforting; relaxing, even. Finish: chocolaty, with a sprinkle of flat cola. In fact, this reminds me of hot pig blood.

-4.187 (idealrichard): nose: very light peat and that absolutely lovely heather. Mouth: a good balance of warming whisky with that superb, heathery touch. Violets? Yes! Violet sweets. Finish: long, lingering and full of violet sweets. Nice! 8/10

-G7.3 (MS): MS is a Bourbon drinker. The grains seem like the best way to go, in his case. Nose: bakery, pine dust. Old books become more prominent (them leather bindings, innit). We are talking about books that were hand-copied by monks -- probably cistercian, though they might have been benedictine. MS becomes all poetic about it and explains how the books are from a shelf left untouched for years, while the room is dimly lit. Mouth: balance of dust and bakery flavours. Finish: long, warming and a bit drying. 8/10
Cheese is good

-35.114 (idealrichard): nose: glossy magazine covers, then hospital cleaning agents. Kind of fruity too (white grape juice with a dash of blackberry in it). Mouth: very slightly bitter, white grape juice again. It is pretty soft, with an underlying heat. Blackberries emerge after a moment. Finish: blackcurrant, now (was it all along?), with a twist of black pepper. Another beautiful Society Glen Moray. 8/10

-G4.5 (MS): nose: coconut, vanilla, comic books (!) and a bowl of cereals (not sure which, but not Quaker Cruseli). Mouth: smooth and silky, it develops spices very late and even blackcurrant, after a full minute in. Finish: it is a proper blackcurrant explosion, now! It tastes like an Invergordon! MS being from across the Pond, he finds it akin to a blueberry muffin. 8/10

-1.181 (MS): nose: a vintage car that has not been used much. I do not try it. MS tells me he is not fond of it.

-9.86 (MS): nose: candy and bay leaves. Bubblegum and apple (MS). A strange combination. Mouth: steeping leaves, minty infusion. Finish: long and becoming very minty, still giving away a few bay leaves, perhaps. 7/10
More cheeez

-G4.6 (MS): I recommend one of the G3, what with it being a closed distillery, a 34 year-old and an older bottling. Phil (who is obviously there too) jumps in and convinces MS to go for G4.6 instead, a younger expression of G4, which was such a hit with MS. Nose: sawdust and band aids. MS finds pineapple and latex, while I detect some metallic notes. Mouth: thin, quite fruity (apples, pears), with a hint of medical instruments. Finish: herbs and vanilla. 7/10

MS jokes about G6 a lot. I am disappointed there is no Port Dundas available today, but he is talking about a song that I don't know (nor want to, probably).

-7.101 (me): nose: flowers alongside an undistinguishable fruit. Mouth: a bit shambolic, yet it still holds water, somehow. Perhaps a bit young is all. Finish: lively as hell, with herbs (verbena). Jenny finds it buttery. It is too young for me and certainly not the best Longmorn the Society has ever bottled. 6/10

-36.77 (Jenny): nose: pear compote with just one acidic apple in the mix. Vanilla also emerges after a while. Mouth: punchy and spicy, fiery, even, as well as fruity. Finish. a strange combination of cut apple and tobacco. It works. 7/10

Great session, pleasant times.
Even some undistilled beer

28 June 2014

21/06/2014 Solstice tasting @ SMWS

Hoping to catch one dram at the Society on this sunny Saturday afternoon, though of course, it was not meant to be: the regulars are there and claim they are so happy to see us after a long hiatus that they feel the urge to shower us with whisky.

-Cambus C#55888: nose: flint, at first, which is atypical. Liqueur-soaked plums come out soon thereafter, then earth and the more traditional bakery. Perhaps some shoe polish, or distant coffee? Oh! Refill butt! There you go. It turns out to be an unexpected combination of coffee and pineapple. Mouth: soft and smooth, honey-like, even, akin to pineapple juice. Finish: a good dose of earth and coffee, now. It is unexpected, but well balanced, with roasted pineapple, lovely. A great Cambus. I just need to find out if I can still taste it tomorrow (remember Cambus usually strips my tongue to the point it is still in my mouth 36 hours later?) Answer: yep, still there the next day, with a headache to boot. :( Thanks Phil for the dram nonetheless.

-5.37: nose: starts with lots of marzipan, white wine, and a high volume of alcohol -- pear eau-de-vie, then perhaps honeysuckle. Mouth: the bitterness of white-grape seeds. Watered-down white wine with a dash of custard. Not very expressive, but not disagreeable either. Finish: it is now very obvious chocolate milk with a trait of white wine. A pinch of white pepper erupts, it tickles a bit. A young, strongly alcoholic Auchentoshan (thanks B for the dram)

-121.71: nose: crisp, lemony, with Irish cream and perhaps a whiff of foot sweat. Mouth: a lot mellower than expected, hovering around caramel and custard. Finish: flowery and sweet (bakery), long and super pleasant. Another excellent Arran (thanks J for the dram).

-26.101: nose: candle wax, spent wick, cut apples, furniture or floor polish -- this is a really waxy Clynelish! Some smoke emerges after a while. Mouth: spent wick and coating candle wax. Quite predictable. Finish: candle wax (d'oh!), cooked pears. Not the most complex or challenging dram, but does the trick (thanks Dr. C for the dram).

The thirty-minute quick fix transformed into a three-hour session. Great to catch up with mates we have not seen in a while, though.

16 June 2014

14/06/2014 Terrace tasting

Lost for themes everyone can follow, since I have little or no visibility over everyone else's collection. The sun has been out all week, so it seems like a great opportunity to make use of the terrace. Naturally, as soon as Saturday begins, the weather turns dreary, overcast, then even slightly rainy. We still stay outside most of the time.

The suspects: idealrichard, MJ, jenny and myself.



-Cragganmore 1969 (me): nose: dust, balsamic vinegar -- lots of OBE in action. Sawdust, old books, attic and unripe plantain (MJ). Some dark coffee or cured meat in the back. Sherry maturation, perhaps? Hard to say, as it is rather light in colour. Finish: embers, barbecue and burning flowers. Mon Chéri pralines. Lovely. Another terrific, brown-labelled Connoisseurs Choice.

-Bruichladdich 12 (idealrichard): nose: Armagnac, melon (MJ) -- yellow melon, that is. There is something else too; a stone fruit; apricot, almost certainly. Mouth: this is super silky, with some vanilla cream, orange water and grape seeds for an added bitter touch. Finish: very short, though it throws fruit at you before fading away. A great aperitive Bruichladdich, very refreshing. It is supposedly slightly peated, but if that is the case, it is so infinitesimal it is not worth mentioning.

Craig vs. Craig
-Craigellachie 1971 (me): nose: sawdust and old books again. Let us wait a bit... Ha! Cola and strawberry. Much later on, tons of dough, sugar and barley, as well as marmalade (MJ). Mouth: sparkly, now! Lots of soda again. A fruit-soaked soda drink. Finish: weird and funny, fizzy, full of bubblegum; strawberry bubblegum, to be accurate.

vs.

-Craigellachie 15 (me): nose: grain, grain, grain. Brandy, pears and all sorts of fruity eau-de-vie. MJ finds Camembert in it, as well as AirFix glue. He is drunk, quite clearly. Mouth: beefed-up pear juice and peach nectar. Finish: so sparkly and fizzy, with a touch of milk chocolate and verbena.

MJ -This tastes of Jerusalem artichoke.

My fellow tasters start with the Cadenheads offering and love it. I start with the Gordon & McPhail, which makes the Cadenheads a bit disappointing, actually. The GMP ends up getting everyone's preference anyway. Both great drams, though.

-GlenDronach 18 Allardice (MJ): nose: Christmas pudding, cured meat, black bun, warm, flat cola, raisins and dried figs. Mouth: more cola and dried fruit, fizzy and balanced. Finish: dark chocolate and black bun; very, very nice.

-Jack Daniels Single Barrel (Jenny): nose: Haze air freshener (idealrichard), varnish (MJ), sweets. Extremely sweet, in fact. Mouth: no surprise -- this is very consistent with the nose. Marshmallows (MJ). Finish: more of the same. Pleasant dram, though pretty predictable.

-Glen Mhor 28 RMS (me): nose: white wine and hay. This seems quite shy and closed, at first. It becomes fruitier with time. Pears and apples, almonds (MJ) and dunnage warehouse (which I love). Mouth: apple eau-de-vie, white wine. I reckon the predecessor might have altered our taste buds, unfortunately. This is good, not outstanding, today. Finish: lively and fruity, pears again (thanks pat gva for the sample).

MJ -I think almonds are an incredibly interesting thing.

-Glenturret Cask Ref 1 (idealrichard): if you read this blog frequently, you might have picked up that we all share a distinct affection for Glenturret cask ref 2. idealrichard wanted to replenish his stock of it and got sent this one by mistake, that was bottled a year earlier. A mixed case of curiosity and can't-be-arsedness made him keep it and bring it. Yay! Nose: dunnage warehouse! There is some fruit in that warehouse, stacked in cardboard crates. After a while, loads of pear show up. Lovely, this! Mouth: the fruit is now more prominent. It is creamy, fruity (stone fruit) and awfully good! Finish: perfectly smooth  (read: creamy) and fruity -- pink grapefruit, melon, guava. This one is just about as good as ref #2, which still remains my favourite. Superb.

Good.

Farewell, dear friend

-Ardbeg 1978/1999 (me): this one is dying and MJ has not had it, while idealrichard has not had it in a long time. Nose: barley (hey! it's Ardbeg), balsamic vinegar, kelp, oysters. MJ finds something almost metallic in it -- verbena it will be. Mouth: balanced, with a maritime feel (fishing nets) and more balsamic vinegar. Finish: again, barley, kelp, oysters, mussels and pleasure. This remains a superlative dram. I have had this one many times in the past (that is why the bottle is empty, dummy!) and it absolutely NEVER disappointed. A bottle that will be sorely missed.

-Lochside 1964 (me): celebration! Nose: sugary and sweet (MJ), sherbety (MJ). Overripe tropical fruit (citrus, according to MJ, maracuja if you believe me), greengages, crisp apples (MJ). There is also a bakery scent, with vanilla and redcurrant marmalade. Mouth: an extraordinary balance of tropical fruit and bakery stuff. Finish: as usual, it is great for three-to-five seconds, but not as good as in my memor... BANG! The passion-fruit roundhouse kick in the face! :-) Infallible remedy against bad mood, this. One of the best drams of all time.

Great tasting, a step up from the ones in March and April. Unfortunately, we have to rush a little: idealrichard has to leave at 17:00, while MJ bids good bye around 18:00. Ten drams are a couple too many to drink over less than three hours. I end up tipsy (hips).