Boisdale and its impressive whisky selection (around 500) seem like a good place to go to end May in beauty. adc, JS and myself go for supper... and a few drams.
Littlemill 20yo 1990/2010 (54.3%, The Nectar of the Daily Drams) (myself): nose hay, vanilla, dried, aromatic herbs. Mouth: quite some sting in there! A fleeting taste of passion fruit (w00t!), pepper. Finish: long, with vanilla and passion fruit. It gives way to fiery pepper, then returns to passion fruit. Cannot go wrong with that! Interesting and unexpected dram from Littlemill.
Linlithgow 29yo 1975/2004 (46%, MMcD Mission IV, 600b) (JS): nose: candied apple (JS), leather and herbs, handbags, driving gloves, soft loafers (worn once, for good measure, ha!) Mouth: light and easy, with vanilla and a little wood. Finish: dominant white pepper along with some wood shenanigans. Nice dram, but not radical enough to change my prejudice against Murray McDavid.
Ayrshire 35yo 1975/2010 (45.5%, SV Cask Strength Collection, Bourbon Barrel, C#553, 150b) (adc): the nose is discrete, yet becomes a lot more assertive after a little opening time. Herbs again, flowers (violets), with some lovely marzipan in the back. Plastic toys too -- doll head, to be accurate (JS). A lot later on, some aniseed and liquorice show up in the distance. Mouth: vanilla, almond paste, butterscotch. Finish: more vanilla, almond powder, then some bitterness (let us say it is the violets' stems), clover. Nice and interesting, but cask 558 remains my favourite, so far. 8/10
Johnnie Walker 12yo Black Label (40%, John Walker, b. ca 2012): that's right. I go to the bar for some geeky conversation and go home with a shot of JWB, courtesy of the bartender. Nose: bit of leather, wet dog or musk and distant smoke. Not very appealing. Mouth: bland, thin, even watery. Cheap leather sofa. Finish: rather short and uninteresting. Not disgusting; simply not worth drinking, in my not-humble-at-all opinion. Seems like a recipe for a headache as well, to be honest.
Time for food: superfood chopped salad and fish pie for JS, Orkney herring and haggis for adc, mackerell and salmon for me.
BenRiach 42yo 1966/2008 (43.9%, SV Cask Strength Collection, Hogshead, C#1019, 175b) (myself): been willing to try this one for a while, so it is nice to have a chance. Nose: citrus (the anticipated grapefruit?), flowers, meadows, some vanilla, shower gel, hint of shoe polish in the back, beeswax, salicornia (adc). Mouth: fruity and stringent. Grapefruit again, though not overpowering as in C#2712 we drank last year, apple compote. Finish: long, long, long and refreshing. Actually quite delightful. Not as much a fruit bomb as expected; in fact, it is a whole lot woodier. Great drink all the same and dram of the day for me. 9/10
Glenury Royal 37yo 1973/2010 (42.1%, TWA, ex-Bourbon Hogshead, 187b) (adc): nose: orange rinds, kumquat (adc), a little bit of wax, then some burnt rubber before turning to orange blossom water. adc finds Praderadego hay in it (how precise can one be!), burnt wood and kalamansi in the background. Mouth: orange, faint hay, Mandarine Napoléon. Finish: orange, orange rind, boiled oranges, Seville marmalade, perhaps mixed with other citrus -- but you get the picture. Not as complex (or refined, according to adc) as the 29yo RMS, but a lot fruitier and an all-round cracking dram, this. 9/10
Rosebank 15yo (50%, OB for Zenith Import, Ceramic decanter, b.1980s) (JS): yup, another one that begged to be tasted. Nose: lots of herbs and flint with a good dose of spent matches. Mouth: quite refreshing, maybe some fruit (apricot jam) and flint again. Strange, in a good way. Finish: long, neverending, oscillating between flint/spent matches and jam to finally linger on the former. Animal, according to jenny, who calls it a Rosebanklish. Perhaps the excitement and anticipation were not justified (this is as unsexy and out of fashion as the 1970s could come up with), yet this is a wonderful dram. 8/10
Glenfiddich 15yo (40%, OB, b. ca 2012): being asked if we wanted vouchers for a 'fiddich 15 (apparently, we were entitled to it for some reason), we said, 'why not?' and made sure they were vouchers for later, not another drink for today. All the same, we got three double drams of it, which were as welcome as a pubic hair in the soup, after the above line-up. No way we were leaving them untouched, though: wasting is against my principles. Nose: nutty and orangy. Not blinding, especially at this point. Mouth: nice and smooth, with some orange again and wax. Wonder if this one came out of a Solera. Finish: nuts and wax, now. A lot better than what I remember the 12 being like and, objectively, a decent dram.
An unfortunately spoilt night: the food was good and the drams were noteworthy; however, I cannot honestly recommend the place. Without going into too much detail, the prices are on the higher end of the spectrum (as one would expect), but the service is worse than a greasy chip shop's. A recurrent flaw in that chain of establishments. The barman is nice, though -- and knowledgeable enough.