8 December 2014

06/12/2014 December outturn at the SMWS (bis) + after-party

We have no fear and a few more bottlings to try. And cheeses to eat.

116.20 26yo d.1987 Fascinating complexity and finesse (61.6%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Virgin Oak Puncheon, 452b): nose: dried ham, Serrano ham, dried sausage, pine cones, paint, cigar boxes and tapenade. Mouth: silk and cotton, with a dash of allspice. Finish: warming, with a controlled sherry influence (hazelnuts, walnuts, raisins, chocolate) and a zest of peat smoke. I reckon this is the best Yoichi I have had. JS agrees. 8/10

25.66 23yo d.1990 Bette Davis doing DIY (57.8%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill Ex-Bourbon Hogshead, 157b): nose: spring flowers and bushes (kyria Japonica, brambles), but also unripe apricot. Mouth: more spring flowers and bushes of all sorts, black pepper, plant juice and the associated bitterness. Finish: the flowers soon vanish in favour of fruit, still not too ripe (apricots and peaches, carambola). Lovely! 8/10

G12.1 11yo 2003/2014 Oh, so sweet (58.9%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Re-Charred Hogshead, 246b): according to the SWA, this is a grain (hence the number). It is in fact whisky produced in a continuous still (or Coffey still) from 100% malted barley. Nose: varnish and lots of alcohol. Mouth: much more balanced, throughout, full of honey and onion relish. Finish: vanilla, then banana and tropical fruit. Love it. 8/10

G13.1 4yo d.2009 A complete revelation (58.3%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Virgin Oak Puncheon, 622b): same distillery, but this one is grain whisky produced from a mixture of grain and malted barley. Nose: coffee and spirit. Quite feinty. After 20 minutes, blackcurrant and blueberry show up. Mouth: coffee bitterness then pastry dough. Finish: coating, jammy pastry, full of blackcurrant. Very good for a four-year-old, but on the expensive side. I gave it a 7 to begin with. With more time, it deserves more. 8/10

We decide to not go for 1.183, after everyone tells us it is not worth it. Interestingly, I notice both 1.183 and 118.3 are available at the bar. 11.83 is nowhere in sight, but it gives me a theme for a future tasting.
With the addition of sausage, today

After that session, We elope to a secret venue, where a friend kindly lets us taste his dram.

90.5 10yo 1992/2002 Kola Kubes and Lilt (59.4%, SMWS Society Cask): nose: coffee, in a not-too-pleasant way. I reckon I am not going to like this much. Immediately, though, citrus kicks in (lime, lemon, grapefruit) and cut apples. Mouth: acidic at first, before it becomes amazingly sweet -- almost sugary. This is like candy floss. Finish: barley, sugar and a bit of cork -- wow! Unlike what the nose suggested. With water, the finish turns into blueberry juice, plain and simple. Great, this! 8/10 (thanks RT + PS)

05/12/2014 December outturn at the SMWS

Time flies. It seems like there is a new outturn every couple of weeks.
I am meeting up with MJ who experiences withdrawal symptoms. Quite understandable, seeing as we have not had a formal tasting since September!

120.7 14yo d.1999 Sweet, fragrant and satisfying (55.5%, SMWS Society Single Cask, 1st Fill Bota Corta, 517b): upon greeting the staff at the bar, CD makes me order this one. He insists so much I think I will not like it (CD and I have wildly different tastes). Then I nose it and MJ decides to take the same. Nose: liquorice, syrup, apples and a touch of leather. Mouth: slightly drying, earthy, with prunes and dried orange peels. Finish: prunes in syrup, with earth in the far back. Moscovado sugar, caramel, ginger bread, and even, in the end, the dry bitterness of green tea. Not my favourite profile, yet I have to agree CD was right, this time. This is very well made. 8/10

5.42 13yo d.2000 Bathed in a baker's shop (59.5%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill Ex-Bourbon Hogshead, 274b): nose: alcohol! Turpentine, nail varnish. This is spirity, with a bit of vanilla. Mouth: warming, displaying acidic sweets and verbena. A few metallic notes too. Finish: interestingly, the verbena and sage notes soon make room for crushed biscuit (speculoos), then milk chocolate. Not too impressed. 6/10

B3.1 3yo 2011/2014 A little box of treasures (53.9%, SMWS Society Single Cask, New Charred Oak, 238b): nose: : a new distillery and my first SMWS bourbon. Nose: ginger bread, cinnamon, herbs (ginseng, I believe). Mouth: easy and balanced, with more herbs and cinnamon. Finish: again, lots of herbs and lovely cinnamon. Simple and efficient. 7/10

24.127 23yo 1991/2014 Northern Lights (47.7%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill Ex-Bourbon Hogshead, 262b): this one comes as a pair with the new 25. Need to find out whether it is good enough to justify buying the pair. Nose: resin, tree sap and an extremely high amount of daffodils. Musk soon appears, as well as a few plums. Mouth: honey, honeysuckle. Not too much happening, I have to say. Finish: long, warming, oak-driven. Unremarkable. 6/10

MJ has had enough of the light and fruity and wants something peaty and fruity. Not one to shy away from a good challenge, I order this one for him.

118.3 22yo d1991 Self-assured, buxom and rewarding (57.9%, SMWS Society Single Cask, 2nd Fill Ex-Bourbon Barrel, 206b): nose: yep, peat, mud, farmyard and fields, as well as tons of fruit (mango, lychee, yellow plums). Mouth: velvety. The peat is kept under control and augmented with balsamic vinegar and papaya -- wow! Finish: spectacular. Muddy fields, with lashes of mango, melon and goodness. Adore it. 9/10

JS joins us here.

7.107 10yo d.2003 The good old days (60.6%, SMWS Society Single Cask, 1st Fill Ex-Bourbon Barrel, 211b): nose: vanilla, bananas and wood goodness. Mouth: stings a bit  (60.6%, see), but mostly coconut, banana and wood influence. Finish: wood, sawdust, toasted coconut. Not particularly impressive, this, espcially compared to 7.108. It is good, but a bit bland. 6/10

35.105 17yo d.1996 Santa's Christmas Stocking (55.9%, SMWS Society Single Cask, 1st Fill Designer Barrel, 205b): nose: pine wood, peach stone, buttercups. Mouth: fruity, peachy and flowery. Finish: pleasant, balanced, with a dose of milk chocolate. Very pleasant, this. 8/10

MJ asks me to order him something akin to Christmas cake. He gets 9.88, which I do not try.

Good times. The venue was a bit too busy. Good thing the regulars were there: we managed to squeeze into the sofas next to them.

30 November 2014

28/11/2014 Impromptu peaty tasting

Phone call from Fixou this morning: can I make it to his this afternoon for a small tasting focused on peat? With a stop at my current favourite shop on the way? Oh well, I will bring sherried whiskies, then.

The suspects: Fixou, P, A1, A2, G who has a cold and myself.

Mortlach 1984/1995 (40%, GMP Centenary Reserve) (me): nose: bonbon! (Fixou) Fraise Tagada, figs (A1). This gets better with time and oxidation. Mouth: easy and pleasant, with more strawberry sweets. Finish: indeed, lots of strawberry sweet, even milk chocolate. Pleasant, sweet and inoffensive. 7/10

Talisker Storm (45.8%, OB, 31OCW000 08919448) (Fixou): of course, I have to tease Fixou and tell him I do not drink supermarket whiskies. Nose: roasted barley, Kellogg's Smacks, subtle raisins. Mouth: seems mellower than the nose suggested, with dark fruit and barley beer. Finish: Smacks again, very obvious, then the puffed barley turns into a bag of smoke. Decent. The last sip gives out a rubber cup of diesel. Meh. 6/10

Clynelish 21yo 1992/2014 (51.6%, Cadenhead Small Batch, Bourbon Hogsheads, 792b): yep, this one was bought a couple of hours ago. Nose: peach, apricot, some wax and honeysuckle. Water strangely makes it more complex -- nail varnish and strawberry sweets (again!?) Mouth: pleasant and balanced, with wax and flower sap. With water, more sweets of the berlingot kind, this time. Finish: a bit of wax, of course, but this is mostly flowery, with a touch of clover. Not terribly complex, but good. This proves a popular dram, today. 8/10

3.225 16yo d.1997 Galleon attacked by pirates (57.2%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill Ex-Sherry Butt, 617b) (Fixou): I tried this one previously and liked it enough. Nose: farmyard, stable, cow's backside, horse's sweat, cannon powder (Fixou and P), blackcurrant or blackberry, then a little bit of lavender. Eventually, full-fat butter shows up. Mouth: seems velvety, but make no mistake! The tingling reminds one that there is indeed some peat, as well as quite a lot of horsepower. Finish: this is good, long and insisting, with dark fruit and more subtle stable reminders. 7/10

Tamdhu 13yo (43%, IML Dun Bheagan, C#9041--9043, 2868b) (me): nose: heavy sherry, with slightly marinated meat, barbecue herbs and spices, dried fruit (Smyrna raisins). Mouth: ginger bread, dried figs, subtle mocha. Sherried, you said? Finish: more of the same, really, with added milk chocolate. This is getting better, I reckon. 7/10

29.157 17yo d.1996 Heidi's holiday to Islay (59.2%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill Ex-Sherry Butt, 675b) (Fixou): Fixou bought this on the back of my tasting it. Nose: medicinal. A mix of hospital stuff and stable. G, who is a nurse, talks about hospital accessories, including rubber gloves. Fight Club style. Mouth: drying, burning, lively. Finish: lots of toasted barley, complemented by lots of smoke, of course. 7/10

All have a sample end of Laphroaig PX. Not enough for me to join in, but I know it already.

Octomore 03.1 5yo  Ochdanh-mòr (59%, OB, 18000b) (Fixou): nose: ash, dried herbs (thyme, rosemary), embers. Mouth: smoke and embers, but also an unexpected quantity of dark fruit. Finish: an onslaught of ash and charred wood. Still much more interesting than the Ardbeg Supernova I tried in 2008. P tried this year's version of the Supernova and agrees with me. Octomore is still a bit too much for me. I, who joined us late, finds it the best of the lot and even jokes it is the only one worth drinking. Scandos! 7/10

Pleasant times, full of nonsensical banter.