24 July 2014

20/07/2014 Teutonic tasting for National Day

This theme, we have wanted to implement for a while: whiskies whose names contain 'ach', 'ich', 'och' and so on. It is perhaps a strange theme for Belgian National Day, but well, Belgium has a German-speaking community, after all. And ze Germans love to stop there en route to France.
The suspects: PDG, JD + KD, adc, jenny, dom666, Psycho and myself.

-Goldlys 12yo Amontillado Finish OB C#2634 (brought by JD): Belgian whisky for a German tasting? German is spoken in Belgium, it is National Day and we all want to try this anyway. Nose: boiled apples, chocolate. Mouth: caramel, more baked apples and chocolate. Sweet and silky, very nice, in fact. Finish: more of the same, pleasant indeed. 6/10

All sorts of marinated olives make their way to the table for those who have the munchies (everyone). In hindsight, it is a miracle no-one mentions brine, chilli or olive as a tasting note.

-Caperdonich 12yo 1992 Provenance C#5569 (brought by yours, truly): we had this one a couple of years ago. It is so in theme it hurts. Nose: dry and discreet, with wine grapes. Mouth: vanilla, with a slight bitterness. Creamy-ish, though not thick. Milky it is, then. Finish: strangely warming at 46%, with notes of bitter almonds, amaretti biscuits and a vague impression of mocha coffee. I have had better Caperdonich (this is no 1969, obviously), yet this is an honest 7/10.

-Auchentoshan 18 OB (JD): theme deviation? Well, 'auch' is as German as 'aber,' oder? Nose: caramel and apple compote. Sirop de Li├Ęge (Psycho). Time makes it thicker, with notes of coffee or chocolate. Mouth: Acidic and woody, in a balanced way. Finish: yes, this becomes rather woody, with also notes of cola and root beer. JD and adc call it peppery; I find it sparkly. Another 7/10.

Those potatoes!
JD fires up the barbecue, then food starts to pour in. Sausages, skewers, lamb cutlets, steaks, ribs, Med-veg-salad, cucumber, toms, orzo with cherry toms, potatoes and more. To say we eat too much would be a euphemism.

-BenRiach 1976/1991 CC (me): nose: mmmmmh! (Jenny) Elegant! (PDG) I detect one thing only, one distinctive feature: chestnut paste. Mouth: creamy and caramelly, bittered up with almond skins. Finish: long and wide, creamy and almondy. This is not the fruit bomb the vintage would have suggested and that is probably why it is so poorly rated online. A pleasant dram all the same, subtle and quite complex. 8/10

-Mortadellach 1999 SV C#7898+7899 (PDG): nose: peach, custard and a herb -- which one? Coriander? Parsley? Perhaps a dash of lime too. Mouth: peachy and sparkly. Finish: long, warming. This remains fruity and balanced. Great surprise from this so-called budget collection. Dram of the day for adc and others. Not the best dram for me, but the quality-to-expectations ratio is particularly good. 7/10

Family portrait
-Mortlach 1984/1995 GMP Centenary Reserve (me): yep, managed to find one of those babies. Nose: very closed and austere at first -- dust, cardboard, dusty shelves. Psycho finds it fresh and pepperminty. With time, it ends up revealing pear, though it never becomes invading. Mouth: superbly milky. Finish: peach, though not as pronounced as C#7898+7899. It seems very shy -- to the point dom666 reckons it is faded, or evaporated. Quite possibly. Will have to try it again in other circumstances before rating it. In any case, it is not the killer one could have hoped for.


-Mortlach 16 F&F L8296CM000 / 05453335 (dom666): nose: brandy, walnut liqueur. There is even a hint of tropical fruit, in the distance, before it dies out in a whiff of coffee. KD is a coffee enthusiast and likes this one best, while most others prefer C#7898+7899. Mouth: as bitter as almond milk, coffee-like, chocolatey. Surprisingly, it is not meaty, today. Finish: very dark chocolate, now, coating and invading. I had not had this one for a while (at least a couple of years) and like it a lot better than then. 7/10

Psycho also has no fear
with his camouflaged hat
-Blend of all three: no fear! Nose: distant coffee, milk chocolate. A bit of breathing helps pineapple emerge. Mouth: it has now become plain pineapple juice in texture, and pretty close in taste. Lovely drop. Finish: pineapple with cocoa shavings. The F&F 16yo might dominate a bit (no pipette to gauge), yet this is a rather successful blend. 7/10

-The GlenDronach 15 Revival LD 30712 (Psycho): I finally get to try this dram everyone seems to rave about. Supposedly, it is the heavily sherried, entry-level whisky with the best quality-to-price ratio. Amusing anecdote: JD bought one for the occasion and Psycho brought the same bottle (a different batch). Nose: sherry!! No joking! In no particular order: meat, a whiff of of rubber, nut liqueur. Mouth: bitter and meaty, in a subtle way. Finish: very sweet, now, full of corn syrup. This is nice and I understand why it is popular, though it is not exactly my style. I prefer the Allardice, personally. JD is gutted: it is not his thing and he has a full bottle.

Dessert is served: vanilla ice cream, augmented with home-made chocolate coulis. Finger-licking good!

While we are having heavily-sherried whiskies, we decide to give this next one a go, when JD realises it is a good opportunity to flog it.

-Wambrechies 12 (JD): it even fits the theme (brechen is German for break). Nose: coffee! Quite powerful, this. Again, not necessarily my favourite style (too sherried), but quite interesting. Mouth: more coffee and dark cocoa. Finish: long, full of coffee, super dark chocolate and the bitterness of orange peel. Not bad. Goes well with vanilla ice cream and chocolate coulis. :-) 5/10

The ladies all pass out in hammocks and sun chairs.

-Pittyvaich 1989 20yo OB (me): this was a hit on the other side of the Channel, time to spread the joy. Nose: vanilla and balsa wood, pears. It is getting a bit late for notes, I am afraid, but this is as good as in April. Mouth: loads of lemon or lime, now. Feels quite acidic. This is the first (and only) cask strength dram of the day, which might underline that characteristic. Finish: long and powerful, with lime and verbena. Good. 8/10

-Ardbeg Lord of the Heil L3170 1209 4ML (dom666): yes, we dared. Nose: farmyard scents ahoy. This is wildly different to adc's and smells of cow dung. Me? I am a country boy, so I love it. There is a sprinkle of lemon juice as well. Mouth: it becomes zesty and lemony and, to be honest, it bites harder than expected. Finish: sharp and precise, lemony for a bit, then peat smoke comes out for good. I prefer adc's, yet this is a great dram, of course. 8/10

dom666 shows unusual care with this bottle

Pleasant afternoon in a new location. The food was particularly to my liking. The drams were not as impressive as they have been, yet remained consistently good. The weather was less atrociously warm than the previous day and therefore a lot more agreeable. All in all, another great tasting with good friends.

Whachuwant, human?

8 July 2014

05/07/2014 July outturn a tthe 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 at the 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.