30 September 2014

30/09/2014 Blitz at Berrys' #9

My latest visit is so fresh in my memory, it seems like yesterday. Ahem. *cough*

-Glen Garioch 23yo 1990/2014 (56.1%, BBr Selected By Berrys', C#7939): this one was nowhere to be found yesterday, but it is here today. Herbs, a subtle note of tropical fruit (it unfortunately fades away promptly), burnt thyme in the aftertaste, as well as oak. A tad drying, yet better than yesterday's 1990. 8/10

-Allt A Bhainne (55.1%, BBr Selected By Berrys', C#177624): barley, low-quality chocolate pudding (low cocoa percentage), crayons and herbs. I do not find it as impressive as yesterday. Downgraded. 7/10

-Glengoyne 13yo 2000/2014 (46%, BBr Selected By Berrys', C#1073): meat, paint thinner, prunes, OXO broth, and a weird bitterness, close to grape seeds. Interesting, not my profile. 5/10

-Blue Hanger 11th (45.6%, BBr Selected By Berrys'): smoke, greengages, cured meat and a finish bringing roasted hazelnut. Pleasant. 6/10

-Nicaraguayan Rum 11yo (46%, BBr Selected By Berrys'): sweet and syrupy, maple syrup. Very nice. A whisky drinker's rum.

-Bunnahabhain 26yo 1987/2014 (49.8%, BBr Selected By Berrys', C#2451): again, just to confirm yesterday's impression. Sweaty feet, confined air -- that smell one gets at 6am, upon entering a closed compartment on an overnight train, in which people have been sleeping. That quickly makes room for marzipan, toffee, oak and stewed prunes. Lovely Bunna, still. 8/10

29 September 2014

29/09/2014 Blitz at Berrys' #8

Scouting excursion before the Whisky Show, you understand. Why waste my (and the staff's) time at the show trying things I have easy access to all year round? I agree.

-Glen Garioch 24yo 1989/2014 (53.8%, BBr Selected By Berrys', C#7854): a distillery I shamefully gloss over, usually. I am told there are some stellar ones, yet I do not yet know them. Herbs, lemon and light smoke, this has. Very pleasant indeed. 7/10

-Glencadam 22yo 1991/2014 (53.3%, BBr Selected By Berrys', C#4765): this one jumps at you with sharp lemon. Follow a medicinal note and verbena. It is pretty drying. Similar profile to the Garioch, but not as enjoyable. 6/10

-Allt A Bhainne 18yo 1995/2014 (55.1%, BBr Selected By Berrys', C#177624): a rare sight, though less rare, these days, I suppose. Chocolate pudding, almond liqueur, crayons, and a finish that is not too dissimilar to a liqueur praline. Convincing. 8/10

-Bunnahabhain 26yo 1987/2014 (49.8%, BBr Selected By Berrys', C#2451): unpeated, of course. Marzipan, toffee, and a touch of oak. The finish is rich with stewed prunes -- I like it a lot. 8/10

23 September 2014

20/09/2014 Independence

Only two days afer the Scottish referendum, there was only one theme we could follow.
The suspects: idealrichard, MJ, PS, JS and myself.


The menu:

Mick Harris & Ambre - Dys

-Moidart 10yo (40%, J&A Mitchell, b. ca 2010) (brought by me): this one even reads, 'My king landed here.' The king in question is Charles Edward Stuart, pretender to the thrones of both Scotland and England. A unionist of his time, then. It is also a blended malt, a union of several singles. Nose: peach (PS), sherbet (MJ), pears, perfume, Bramley apple peels, cooking on the hob (specific, eh?) Mouth: a faintly bitter taste, balanced out with honey and squashed peach, white grapes. Soft and silky at first, it moves towards white pepper and green chilli, in the end. Finish: burnt cereals, warm peach. Pretty nice, this. 7/10

-125.61 10yo (61.9%, SMWS Society Cask, b. ca 2012) (idealrichard): an independent bottling. idealrichard's selection got lost in the post, so he had to make do with whatever he had. Nose: ginger bread, Black Forest Gateau (if I knew what the fuck that is). This is rich and intense. With water, cake is even louder. Selkirk bannock. Nice. Mouth: black olives, anchovy pizza (yes, really). The first sip is very salty. Salted caramel (JS). With water: less salt and more bakery flavours. Finish: cinnamon cake, ginger bread, blackcurrant, toffee. With water, dark-fruit jam. Surprisingly enough, idealrichard received 125.61 and 25.61 as part of the same welcome pack. 7/10

The Optic Crux - DJAX-UP-CD6

-The BenRiach 19yo 1994/2013 (55.3%, OB for the UK, Virgin American Oak Hogshead, C#4386, 344b) (MJ): MJ received this bottling to celebrate the tenth anniversary of his union with Mrs. J. Nose: raisins (sultanas, says PS), cake (by now, everyone calls it Gattox), lots of ginger. Mouth: dry and -- dare I say? -- rough. Tannins, grain (idealrichard), leather (PS), white pepper. Finish: more raisins, ginger and spicy gateau. Good this. MJ reckons he will keep his wife for another while. 7/10

Snacks enter the game: dried sausage, oat cakes, Maltesers.

-Springbank 28yo 1974/2002 (46%, IML Chieftain's, Barrel, C#1388, 180b) (PS): another independent bottling. This theme thing is not taken very seriously, it seems. Nose: walking through an orchard (apples, satsumas). This one is resolutely straightforward, but oh! so nice. An atypical release from Springbank, though. In the back, dunnage warehouse and baked apple pie. Mouth: surprisingly peppery, still full of apples. Finish: the first impression is drying, yet that quickly evolves towards orchard fruit with a hint of polished wood. An unexpected Springbank and a pleasant surprise. 8/10

-Longmorn 22yo 1990/2013 (48.1%, SD Single Malts of Scotland, Hogshead, C#12289, 199b) (idealrichard): independent bottling. Nose: starts with farm and leather-workshop scents, then opens up to reveal dark fruit (decaying cherries, perhaps some quince too). A touch of lemon too, yet the leather remains quite prominent. Mouth: very lemony, now. Acidic and sharp, perhaps with a few herbs (oregano?) Finish: a fleeting impression that vanishes quickly, only to come back, slowly but surely. Lemon pie it is, with some cinnamon. This is rather agreeable, saved by a good finish. 7/10

The Pussycat Dolls - PCD

-Port Dundas 17yo 1991/2008 (61.5%, DR Cask Collection, Barrel, C#120306, 180b) (me): indie bottling of a big-group distillery. Nose: corn-flakes dust (PS), ginger bread, corn syrup. Mouth: lots of pepper, today, red chilli and crushed bay leaves, all blended into a paste and spread on top of ginger bread. Finish: peppery ginger bread, steady and strong. Complex? Noble? Perhaps not, but efficient it is! 8/10

-Bruichladdich 28yo 1964/1993 (50.6%, GMP Cask, C#3670--3672) (me): independent distillery, up until recently, at least. Nose: citrus fruit. This starts with 's' and ends with 'tunning.' We will save it for later to protect the innocent. And the next bottlings.

-Highland Park 21yo 1984/2005 (54.1%, TWS Glenkeir Treasures Cask Strength Selection, Sherry Butt, 450b) (PS): yet another independant bottling. Nose: burning cow dung, old rope (PS), a tarry note (PS). I am more of an Amiga person myself, I have to say. Quite flowery (the traditional heather), honey, steak and lychee. Mouth: the balance is superb. It moves between peach , lychee and heather honey. Lovely. Finish: slightly bitter and tarry, liquorice (PS), tar on rope. The weak point of this dram, this finish. Still good, though. 8/10

-Linkwood 26yo 1975/2002 (56.1%, OB Rare Malts Selection) (me): the distillery is part of a big group (Diageo) and this was bottled by United Distillers. Nose: the grass note one finds in laundry detergent (PS), dunnage warehouse and melon. Mouth: perfect balance again, MJ finds it ethereal. A touch of honey, black pepper, elderberry syrup -- not too thick, but wonderful. Finish: candle wick, heather, citrus (PS). This is a colossal Linkwood and the best I have had. 9/10

MJ and idealrichard unfortunately have to leave at this point. We change the music and go back to this dram.
Michael Nyman - The Draughtman's Contract

-Bruichladdich 28yo 1964/1993 (50.6%, GMP Cask, C#3670--3672) (me): nose: kumquats, sweet oranges, some fleeting smoke (PS), cucumber, kiwi -- stupendous nose, to tell the truth. Mouth: balanced, silky, with a twist or two of the black-pepper mill, cucumber peels, mint, shortcake (PS). Marvelous, this is. Finish: flippin' 'eck! Melon, kiwi, peach, black pepper, some bitterness -- is it lichen or wood? Peppermint, far in the back, grapefruit -- pink, green or otherwise. This is majestic whisky alright. And neverending to boot, straight from the golden 1960s. 9/10

Nectarines appear and promptly disappear. We hear Tropic of Cancer - Restless Idylls


-Flaming Heart FH16MMVI (48.9%, CB, b.2006) (PS): union of malt and grain whiskies, as are all blends. Nose: smoked ham, grape and peach nectar, then stones (granite, limestone). Sage too? Yes. Mouth: sharp and clean. After a minute, it becomes rather mineral, with flint and gravel. Finish: grape and peach juice, still (pips and stones included), with smoked ham floating in it. It ends with lichen on stone. Another worthy Compass Box effort. 7/10

Pete Namlook - Silence IV

-Laphroaig Cask Strength Batch 003 (55.3%, OB, b.2011) (idealrichard): this one is off-theme. idealrichard brought it anyway, since we never had it at a tasting. Nose: peat smoke, manure, varnish, carbonyl (dark wood tint), creosote. This one is soothing my soul (the music helps too). With water, dust comes out. Mouth: sharp at first, chiselled, peppery. The balance is better with water. More fruit and white pepper. Finish: cereals, peat, tons of peat, fire. This is a dram for the evening in a dark cottage on a windswept island. I do not find it too complex, but I understand why people like this sort of things. It is immediate, seductive whisky. A whisky for beginners in search for a thrill. 7/10

It is late and PS has missed his train. Before he catches the next one, we finish off with a drop of Lochside 1964/2011 TWE. Happy days. :-)

Superb afternoon, full of good whisky and giggles, mostly around MJ's fabled bottle of Grant's. Better planning is required in the future, however: MJ and idealrichard often need to be in bed by 18:30, which means they have to rush through the last few drams.