No Pride, this year. It was yesterday, but I do not feel like reiterating last year's theme, this time. Perhaps another day. Today, it is three -Glenlivet drams from Cadenhead, in alphabetical and decreasing-age order.
Aberlour-Glenlivet 23yo 1989/2013 (54.9%, Cadenhead Small Batch, Bourbon Hogsheads, 522b, 13/345): this is from the early days of Mark Watts's cask selection, and at the time, independently-bottled Aberlour were a bit of a curiosity -- more so than five years later, at any rate. That is why I bought this, and it has never disappointed. It took a massive hit in Campbeltown, where it also was a massive hit. Time for a final run: it is now on its last leg. Nose: it seems much less wild than when the bottle was fuller. It has dead leaves, squashed brambles, a wood type that I cannot place (sandalwood is the closest I can guess, though it is not that), and Madeira wine. In the back of the nose, milk chocolate whispers, Brazil-nut body cream, a very faint whiff of smoke and a dollop of furniture polish. The Madeira morphs into Chardonnay and raspberry coulis. Mouth: relatively oily, with a nutty flavour -- hazelnut oil, walnut oil. It is a bit strong and definitely has a kick to it, but the whole is softly nutty. Touches of marzipan, ground pistachios, green-hazelnut shells and unripe-raspberry coulis. Finish: more pistachio goodness, marzipan, pralines, rapeseed oil, gun oil, Brazil-nut oil. The finish dies with a nice note of milk chocolate. Amazing how it has evolved, over the last five years. It is now much more accessible, and closer to the more recent 17yo than it used to be. I will miss this. 8/10
Glen Grant-Glenlivet 22yo 1995/2017 (57.2%, Cadenhead Authentic Collection 175th Anniversary, Refill Sherry Butt, 486b): nose: freshly-polished furniture and lots and lots of orange rinds. It also has dusty books, avocado skins, ink and blotting paper, green olives in brine, gerania (the correct plural form of 'geranium') and apples. A surprising combination, is it not? Further, dark chocolate, then gun oil comes through, maraschino cherries. The second dram sees wood dust join that nose. Mouth: oily and sharp, as in: chilli-infused oil. Sangria, booze-soaked orange rinds, blood oranges, overripe Chinese gooseberries, stewed apples, candied apples, actually, and a few herbs (freshly-cut grass? basil?) It is now soft and velvety, with the texture of peach skin. Remarkable, if not too complex a mouth. Finish: meow! All the fruits are still there, blood orange first, and they are covered in finely-ground white pepper. Mostly, though, it is high-octane orange juice. The finish is long, lingering, haunting, even, velvety, warm and comforting. It has the scented dryness and the peace of a dunnage warehouse. Excellent dram. 8/10 (Thanks for the sample, SW)
Glen Moray-Glenlivet 19yo 1998/2017 (55.5%, Cadenhead Authentic Collection 175th Anniversary, Bourbon Hogshead, 240b): nose: wine-y and herbaceous, it has stone-dry Riesling, but also freshly-cut grass and aromatics (tarragon?) Soon, though, it is sponge cake, and then distinct Chinese jasmine tea -- very fragrant too! It has a discreet nutty side to it as well, very shy. Even later, it unexpectedly displays a few ashes. Mouth: dry white wine, here too. Ethyl alcohol, a note of smoke, (surprisingly), iodine (yes, it is a little medicinal), and quite a lot of fruits (apple slices and pineapple chunks soaked in heavy wine). Finish: dark fruit, squashed blueberries and elderberries, blueberry turnovers, then milk chocolate and croissant dough, chocolate parfait, brandy-soaked biscuits and dried apple peels. This one is more complex than the Glen Grant, but it gives me less immediate pleasure. Good dram, though! 7/10 (Thanks for the sample, SW)