19 March 2019

18/03/2019 Clearing the shelf #22

I missed St Patrick's Day! Ah! well.

Bruichladdich 30yo 1988/2019 (48.9%, Cadenhead Single Cask, Bourbon Hogshead, 174b): nose: strangely enough, it starts off like a Connoisseurs Choice from the early 1990s, with dust and brine. It opens up, but carries on with the brine -- in fact, it turns almost kippery, now! Baked potatoes and fishing nets, ink-gorged blotting paper, iodine and fresh rosemary. A little later, timid fruit comes up (baked apples), alongside a gentle, medicinal touch. This is unexpected! Later yet, soaked old staves and soaked corks overwhelm the whole, before burning incense and gunpowder storm the scene, never to disappear. Mouth: the enigma persists, with gunpowder, dried rosemary, crushed bay leaves, that same medicinal touch, seawater -- oh! it is very salty, this one. Tobacco, ash, warm sand, dried shellfish, guaicol and smoked paprika. Again, this is an unexpected profile for a Bruichladdich. Finish: ash at first, a fleeting kick of apricot compote, then salty, sea-like things aplenty. Dry fishing nets, tinned sardines, burning cinnamon sticks, antiseptic, gauze, smoked mussels, and, yes, a minute drop of caramelised yellow fruit. The finish dries the mouth and coats it in ash and gunpowder. Very good, this. Not your typical Bruichladdich, though. 8/10 (Thanks for the sample, SW)

Teeling 1st Exceptional Swiss Cask 27yo b.2017 (41.6%, OB for Switzerland, Rum Cask, C#658, 68b): nose: a big, fat slap of exotic fruits in the face. In no particular order, we have mango, jackfruit, dragon fruit, Chinese gooseberry, persimmon, and also mint, a branch of hawthorn, in the distance, razor blades (that would be a metallic edge, then), Dundee cake, apricot turnover, squashed yellow peach and rose-petal jelly. The second nosing brings out toasted wood too -- toasted rosewood, to be precise. Mouth: super silky, peach-nectar thick, it is mellow and fruity, with the fruits from the nose all perfectly integrated. On top is that metallic edge again, akin to licking a razor blade (the side of it, obviously), a minty freshness, gooseberry jelly, perhaps oregano?... No. I will call it lemon mint. That mouthfeel really is something. Finish: this is close to perfection, with another cavalcade of exotic fruits, augmented with menthol and milk chocolate. Only that metallic edge prevents the top score: it becomes a little bitter and less pleasant, in the finish. Once past that, the whole mouth remains coated in a wonderful exotic-fruit paste. Killer, despite its minor flaw. 9/10 (Thanks for the sample, PG)

1 March 2019

27/02/2019 March outturn at Cadenhead's

All served blind, of course.

Dram #1
Nose: astringent and vinegar-y. Soon, (sour) grapes and squashed plums join. Mouth: astringent again, with some fruit and less-well-integrated alcohol. Finish: Smyrna raisins, green grapes, menthol. This is Balmenach-Glenlivet 14yo 2004/2019 (54.9%, Cadenhead Authentic Collection, Bourbon Hogshead, 294b) 6/10

Dram #2
Nose: another young number, with decaying plum and blackcurrant. Mouth: syrupy, with cough lozenges, blackcurrant drops. Finish: woody plum. It feels young and immature, to be honest. Tomatin 9yo 2009/2019 (60.1%, Cadenhead Authentic Collection, Bourbon Hogshead, 294b) 5/10

Dram #3
Nose: overripe (rotting) apricot, damp earth, clay floors and even a farm-y touch. Mouth: spicy, it has cracked black pepper and galangal shavings. Finish: sweet fruitiness, here, with soaked wood shavings and Demerara sugar (says MSo). Miltonduff-Glenlivet 9yo 2009/2019 (62%, Cadenhead Rum Cask, Jamaican Rum Cask, 258b) 7/10

Dram #4
Nose: very assertive apricot compote, baked avocado and slightly drying leeks, blanching in the pan, hot plastic or bakelite. Mouth: yes, leeks in the pan, sweet and apricot-y. Finish: hot compote, acidic onions and leeks. A strange combination, but it works. Glenallachie-Glenlivet 26yo 1992/2019 (54.8%, Cadenhead Authentic Collection, Bourbon Hogshead, 240b) 7/10

Dram #5
Nose: rhubarb compote, liquorice root, cooked peach in sangria, then spearmint and chewing gum. Mouth: mellow and peppery at the same time, with a mix of strawberry bubblegum and Fisherman's Friend. Finish: long, tingling, it dances on the tongue with mint and fruity bubblegum (strawberry again). Benrinnes 21yo 1997/2019 (53.7%, Cadenhead Authentic Collection, Bourbon Barrel, 162b) 8/10

Dram #6
Nose: this one has the bitterness of pickled onions and dirty leather, as well as mudflats. Mouth: mudflats at low tide indeed; the palate is a little fruitier (prune) and it also has aniseed (says DW; I agree). Finish: sticky and syrupy, it has elderberry ad blackcurrant. I like the finish, while the nose is not my thing. Glenrothes-Glenlivet 16yo 2002/2019 (55.2%, Cadenhead Authentic Collection, Bourbon Hogshead, 228b) 6/10

Dram #7
Nose: another youthful one, flirting with immaturity. Mouth: it is better, here, with warm tones, a pleasant chocolate-y note and spices. Finish: chocolate, chocolate muffin, banane flambée, baba au rhum. Benriach-Glenlivet 10yo 2008/2019 (56.7%, Cadenhead Wine Cask, Madeira Cask, 276b) 6/10

Dram #8
Nose: this feels much more mature, with very tame smoke on top of fresh fruit (yellow plum, fig and cantaloupe melon). This is in another league altogether! Mouth: soft, mellow, it keeps much of the fruit entertained, with mirabelle plum and canary melon. Finish: not too long, but peachy, with more fruit and... gentle marijuana smoke. This is amazing! Cooley 11yo 1992/2019 (49.5%, Cadenhead World Whiskies, Bourbon Barrel, 162b) 9/10

The age of the Cooley, of course, makes no sense, when one looks at the distillation and bottling dates. That is because the law on what can be called Irish whiskey recently changed (or Cadenhead recently decided to abide by it): as soon as a cask has left Ireland, it stops maturing (or more accurately, the years stop counting).

Dram #9
Nose: dry ash, ashtray, refined smoke, balsa-wood smoke. Mouth: a huge kick of smoke and dark-fruit drops. Finish: it is ashy as fook in the finish. The others talk about bacon-flavoured crisps, or fakon (fake bacon, geddit?) The English Whisky Company 8yo b.2019 (64.9%, Cadenhead World Whiskies, Bourbon Hogshead, 204b) 8/10

Strangely, the distillation date for the above is not given. The label is busy as it is; perhaps that is the reason.

Dram #10
Nose: very fine smoke and lots of fruit (strawberry bubblegum, quince, sweet satsuma. Mouth: soft, citrus-y, it has passion fruit (RO) and ripe peach. Finish: very fruity, with no smoke to speak of, here (was it the residue in my glass?), but grapefruit and squashed banana instead. I did not expect it to be so good, but it is. I might even push it higher, in other circumstances. Arran 22yo 1996/2019 (49.6%, Cadenhead Authentic Collection, Bourbon Hogshead, 276b) 8/10

Dram #11
Nose: spearmint, then farmyard, growing bolder and bolder, dried farm paths. Mouth: acidic and astringent at first, it becomes all about farm paths, though it is subdued. Finish: chocolate and light smoke (tobacco smoke). Nice. Ardmore 8yo 2010/2019 (54.2%, Cadenhead Sherry Cask, Sherry Finish, 222b) 7/10

Dram #12
Nose: smokey cheese (ricotta, scamorza, Parmesan) and lime, as well as tobacco smoke. Mouth: mint drops, menthol cigarettes, ash and roasted pineapple. Finish: oh! yeah, roasted or barbecued pineapple, menthol, cigarette ash -- wow! Given more time and a chance to tame the beast, I would probably score it higher too. Ardbeg 25yo 1993/2019 (51.6%, Cadenhead Authentic Collection, Bourbon Hogshead, 216b) 8/10

SOB is collecting a few things he bought recently and immediately opens one of his bottles to share .

Longrow Red 11yo b.2019 (53.1%, OB Limited Edition, Pinot Noir Cask, 19/003): nose: woody farm paths (if it makes sense), farmyards and a distinct red-wine influence. Mouth: strong, it has smoke, ember heat and a dollop of wine. Finish Mon Chéri praline, dark cherries and chocolate. Very nice! 8/10 (Thanks for the dram, SOB)

Good stuff!

28 February 2019

24/02/2019 The Whisky Show Old & Rare (Day 2 -- Part 3): the afterparty

The restaurant is another funny affair. Next to the five of us is another Whisky-Show-Old-And-Rare-refugee table, with CB, EG, PT and their acolytes from Dornoch and Catawiki. They take turns coming to our table for shits and giggles. We attract lots of attention in the packed restaurant, none to be ashamed of, fortunately. At some point, one of the sporty waitresses inadvertently kicks the bench we are sitting on. By the looks of it later on, she will never walk correctly again.

Grilled aubergine with tomato sugo, garlic and fresh Parmesan

Roasted red pepper with spinach, tomato sugo, mozzarella, ricotta and evoo

We go back to the hotel through the (now wild) streets of Glasgow. The massive difference of incomes of the United Kingdom is here at its most visible, where tarted-up boys and girls in expensive (and often revealing) clothes share the pavement with visibly heroin-addicted, homeless people in dire condition. A duality that a sensitive being could have a hard time witnessing.

Somehow, we navigate through all that and even find a lift. Oblivious to the reason why CD will not enter it, MR and I storm in. As I press 3, I notice the loved-up couple inside. He cleverly remarks that 3 and 5 are lit, but no-one is going to 4. "You're on the top deck? Well done. We only made it to the third," I say to the increasingly incredulous-looking girl and her (very-)tipsy jock. "Not good enough for the fifth... Unless you invite us, of course." She turns to him: "Happy birthday!"
Sadly, I do not think their whisky cabinet is up to scratch, so we (CD, PG, MR, JS and I) alight on the third.

Auchindoun 18yo (61.3%, The Whisky Connoisseur) (CD): a Mortlach from the same stable as the mythical Largiemeanoch, though after the brand was taken over by The Whisky Connoisseur. Nose: lots of soot and cured meat, coal stoves. Despite what I just wrote, this does not seem like an overly-sherried dram. Mouth: hot, but rather fruity, with dirty grapefruit and an animal quality, brightened up by rose water. Finish: big, with musk and grapefruit. Very ambivalent, this. On one hand, it is light and fruity and sweet; on the other, it is a high-voltage brute with some animal flavours. 8/10

EG and CB join us.

Dailuaine 27yo d.1975 (46%, Direct Wines Ltd. First Cask, C#5526, b#250) (CB): nose: walnut oil, red onion and, later, verbena and sage. Mouth: slightly pickle-y, leathery, with a dollop of fluid shoe polish. Finish: silky and quaffable, it has prune juice, roasted red onion and walnut-oil-based vinaigrette. Very good. 8/10

Rosebank 25yo 1967/1993 (54.4%, Signatory Vintage, C#4393-94, 220b, b#190, 02029303) (CD): CD purchased the dregs of this bottle a few hours ago. Nose: fresh, crisp and clean, fruity, whilst also mineral. Mouth: powerful, fruity and mineral again, with a lot of gravel. Finish: hugely powerful and fruity (yellow fruit and squashed raspberry). 9/10

Things become fuzzy, at this point
The Arran Malt The Amarone Cask Finish (50%, OB, b. ca 2018) (MR): nose: light chocolate, strawberry slices, warm bread, chocolate-soaked raspberries. Mouth: strawberry wine, some chocolate, also, and a good dash of drying spices, including cassiah bark. Finish: warm, syrupy and very warm. Hot strawberry all round. 7/10

Case in point
EG [holding a blender's glass]: "These glasses are good only for one thing..."
me: "...Looking like a dick!"

The Arran Malt 14yo (46%, OB, b. ca 2019) (MR): nose: hay, dry, white wood and white grapes. Mouth: sweet, with cut apple, white peach, wet hay and young wood. Finish: lemon-y, custard-y, long and curd-y. I like it. 7/10

Jane Doe 1989/2016 (48.%, Malts of Scotland, C#MoS 16044, 159b, b#16) (EG): an undisclosed Irish of a certain age. Wonder what that could be. Nose: soft sawdust and delicate exotic fruit (mango), as well as yellow fruit (peach, apricot) with a splash of acidic lime. Mouth: fruity avalanche, with mango, peach and grapefruit, lime and mint. Finish: milk chocolate and luscious mango, soaked grapefruit and peach. This is marvellous and a great way to end this legendary weekend. 9/10

The endangered turtledove agrees

The next morning, JS and I see pat gva at breakfast: he was stuck in another restaurant, last night, and came back at 2:00, too late for the afterparty. We make plans for the future before parting ways. Tomorrow, back to school.

Breakfast of champios