The 21st of July is traditionally a tasting day. With Belgian friends in town, the opportunity to catch up with that tradition is too good to pass.
Once there, usual suspect PS is at the bar, chatting to the bar tender working his last shift before moving to pastures new. I spot a couple of old-school looking bottles -- PS's, of course. Upon inspection, I am offered a dram of one on the sole condition that I try it alongside G2.2. Although I could have been reluctant due to my having a bottle, I think it is worth it.
G2.2 35yo 1976 A Vaudeville Act (53.6%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill ex-Bourbon Barrel, 139b) (myself): nose: marzipan, wood syrup. Mouth: spicy, sparkly, velvety and very nice. Finish: pastry, white pepper, herbs (sage, bay leaf) and a slight impression of hiking boots / clogged sink. Still happy to have this. Only one bottle behind the bar, now, as this one was emptied by me. 8/10
G2.1 16yo 1989/2006 Approach with Caution (65%, SMWS Society Cask, 164b) (myself): nose: narrower, but it is obviously from the same family. Dryer. Mouth: the alcohol is less well integrated. It is watered-down wood juice, definitely weaker than .2. After a while, wood essences come out as in a herbal infusion. Finish: very, very woody. Evolves towards brioche, after a bit. I prefer G2.2 by a rather long shot, but this one is certainly not bad either.
R1.3 (Rolf): tried this one without taking notes -- it is a rum after all. Rolf thought he was ordering a rum-finished whisky, which is quite amusing. I tell him he should have started with the other two rums and finished with that one, seeing as it is 67.4%. He then points out the other two are seventy-something and a whopping 81.3% (R5.1). I snigger at the ridiculous ABV and go back to my mild, straight-from-the-cask grains. Rolf eventually does not try the other rums: this one is good, but too strong for his little-girl palate.
121.51 9yo 2002 Amazing waves of sweetness (61.3%. SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill ex-Sherry Butt, 642b) (JS): this one turns out to be a bottling for Australia, which is why we have not seen or noticed it before. Nose: leather and grape juice -- what a bizarre combination! Mouth: lots of rubber and alcohol, then some grape-based alcohol (Cognac or Armagnac, I cannot tell). Finish: quite rubbery and leathery. It gets better with water, but it is not my thing. 4/10
31.23 23yo 1988 Sugared almonds in a mattress factory (51.7%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill ex-Bourbon Hogshead, 235b) (Rolf): nose: some smoke, a bit of oil (petrol), burnt rubber, then mature, hard cheese. Yep, really. Mouth: warm and relaxing, quite mellow and quaffable. Finish: shortish, but soothing, with black pepper notes. 8/10
Not a debauchery of drams like the other years, though still nice to follow that tradition, if for a few drams. Besides, after a day of walking in the sun and so long after we last had food, two high-ABV drams were enough to make us feel the need for food.