Now the disclaimers are out of the way, the evening starts out with SA presenting the company, its ethos and its mission, then switches to a tasting of six cask samples -- casks owned by the company and, presumably, up for grabs. Charles Maclean is the celebrity who has been invited to present this, joined by Colin Hampden-White.
I make a mental note that this is the first tasting I attend that is (co-)hosted by Maclean, despite having seen him countless times at festivals.
SW is here with me. JS was invited, but she has a clashing meeting. With Gwyneth Paltrow. You could not make it up.
The whiskies, then.
|The label has a mistake, yes.|
It is from 1978.
Aberlour 26yo d.1989 (51.1%, Cask Trade cask sample, Bourbon Hogshead, C#11040, gauged at 274b): not sure when the sample was drawn; clearly several years ago. Nose: putty, toothpaste, crushed-mint paste, meadow-flower stems (just the stems), then quite a kick of alcohol. Wax (neither candle nor furniture, though), pencil lead and crayons. Mouth: oooh! This is lively. It has some ginger shavings and hot apple pie. Later on, it turns waxy as hell. Finish: a bit green, here, strangely enough The alcohol is less well-integrated, with cut plants and dandelion stems. The second sip brings out sticky toffee pudding. Much later on, it turns out better, though it remains a bit bitter, behind the wax. 6/10
Charles Maclean puts on a monocle to read a label. I had never seen a monocle in the wild!
Glen Moray 9yo 2008/2017 (57.1%, Cask Trade cask sample, Bourbon Barrel, C#5796, gauged at 149b): nose: a pastry shoppe, with overripe pear, flan, vanilla pudding, then hard plastic. Mouth: similar notes of pastry; it has hot, sugar-sprinkled apple turnover fused with warm croissant crust, lemon zest, and heat. Water helps integrate it more; the alcohol bite cools off. Finish: a touch more pepper, now, but the pastry is still glowing, augmented with a pinch of herbs (hawthorn and oregano). Water seems to mess up with the balance and turn the finish into alcohol-soaked chocolate. 7/10
Fettercairn 10yo 2008/2019 (56.6%, Cask Trade cask sample, Bourbon Barrel, C#5755, gauged at 227b): nose: lemon peel and white chocolate (SW, who loves white chocolate), lemon sage. It becomes very fruity, after a short while. Mouth: full-on white chocolate, now, with lashes of melted Mon Chéri praline thrown into it. It has a rather noticeable spiciness (galangal and crushed bay leaves) that is not overpowering in any way. Finish: huge, fruity at first, then becomes a little less impressive, with unripe-peach flesh. Much later on, it turns mellow and waxy, with plasticine and Blue Tack. 7/10
North British 12yo 2006/2019 (52.1%, Cask Trade cask sample, Sherry Hogshead, C#818392, gauged at 271b): nose: pastry ahoy, of course, with custard and unbaked croissant dough, as well as nougat. Mouth: big, it is reminiscent of the nose, with more croissant dough and crushed strawberry with some white pepper. Typical grain, not much altered by the sherry maturation -- a n-th refill, perhaps? Finish: paper paste, thick custard, flan. Very good. I like it. 7/10
Bunnahabhain 10yo 2009/2019 (56.2%, Cask Trade cask sample, Oloroso Sherry Butt, C#900034, gauged at 705b): nose: well, it is a huge sherry cask, with lots of wood varnish and a frankly meaty side as well. It does not dodge the sulphury note, yet it is tame. None of those notes are shouting too loudly, but they are all there. Mouth: big and chocolate-y, it has Mon Chéri and shovelfuls of earth. In fact, it is earthy, this! Finish: super-long, earthy and lightly meaty. Again, it does not try to hide its Oloroso maturation. This is not my personal favourite, but I can see people going mad for it. 6/10
An interesting selection and a very pleasant evening. Best wishes to Cask Trade!