22 November 2012

21/11/2012 Christmas outturn at the SMWS

We have not visited in a while after trying the whole October outturn in one sitting, splashing out at the whisky show and a disappointing November outturn. We were also bracing ourselves for the Christmas outturn and its debauchery of bottles (around 40 again, this year).
A mid-week session might seem daring, but we have no fear -- and no ambition to try everything.

As expected, PS is at the bar. It is packed, surprisingly. Ah, well. Fixou joins us a couple of drams in, which is a welcome surprise.

Cameron Bridge's new packaging.
(I do not own the copyright to this. Please get in touch if it needs removing)
G4.2 28yo 1984/2012 Attractive spirit in a cloak of oak (55.4%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill ex-Bourbon Hogshead, 218b) (me): another month, another grain (but always you). Who am I to complain? Nose: an all-out bakery assault, full of dough. Lovely. Cereal dust, toffee. With water, it settles on hard, Greek vanillia (βανίλια). Memories aplenty. To think I have not been to Greece in twenty years exactly! Mouth: fleeting mirabelle plum, bakery again, βανίλια (look at me! I can write Greek characters!) Finish: here comes a strange, slightly bitter note that, with PS's help, we identify as poppy seeds. It then lingers on toffee, custard and distant citrus. It is not without a resemblance to the yellow, round, caramel Quality Street. It is great and I buy one. 8/10

77.29 25yo 1987/2012 Marmalade, Cornflakes and Bagels (58.6%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill ex-Bourbon Hogshead, 266b) (me): not a usual distillery, therefore it has to be tasted. Nose: fiercely herbal to these nostrils. Fruits of the forest then emerge (PS), hazelnut, mostly, then elderberry. It finishes with bakery aromas and flowers, with a hint of vanilla. Mouth: pepper and plant stems. Finish: lots of herbs again, unripe fruit (greengage). 7/10

13.45 7yo 2005/2012 Sassy reverberations (58.6%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill ex-Bourbon Barrel, 174b) (JS): another lesser-spotted distillery in the indie world, and particularly at the Society for the last couple of years. Nose: chock full of wet leather, surprisingly animal. There is also a little bit of candle wax and pastel crayons. Mouth: a good balance of velvet and pepper. Finish: leather, marmalade, some candle wax again. Not a big fan of the nose, but the rest is decent. 6/10

31.24 24yo 1988/2012 Lively as an acrobat (54%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill ex-Bourbon Hogshead, 255b) (me): PS got this one for me. Nose: Ooooh! That is animal! Milk chocolate, green tea, tons of bacon -- smoked rashers, to be precise. Mouth: smooth and easy with a slight sting. Finish: long, with lots of smoke and actually quite fruity.

26.89 27yo 1984 An exotic tearoom experience (56.6%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill ex-Sherry Butt, 485b) (Fixou): nose: some elegant wax, pears, custard. It is not the animal invasion I have come to expect from Clynelish. Much better, in fact. Mouth: waxy, soft and mellow. Finish: more wax, candied apples. Another one of those all-too-rare, great Clynelishes.

41.55 8yo 2004/2012 Bath time Treat (59.7%, SMWS Society Single Cask, ex-Bourbon Barrel, 252b) (JS & PS): nose: fruit, balsa wood, lavender, bakery, pâte à choux. Mouth: another good balance of velvety pepper. Finish: sweet and lovely, this. Bakery ahoy.

26.85 19yo 1992 Complex, captivating and Chrismassy (58.7%, SMWS Society Single Cask, 220b) (Fixou): Fixou and PS embark on a Clynelish tasting. Not being a fan, I do not take part, but try to sample each of them so as to not go home an ignorant fool. Nose: bakery, berries. Mouth: velvety to Death, pepper (they do seem to all taste the same, do they not?) Finish: long and elegant, shoe polish and leather conditioner. 7/10

26.71 25yo The Great Outdoors (57.3%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill ex-Sherry Butt, 464b) (Fixou): nose: apples, pears. Mouth: velvet again, peach. Finish: very distant coffee, very little fruit.

44.55 22yo 1989 Afternoon Tea at Fortnum & Mason (52.9%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill ex-Bourbon Hogshead, 288b) (JS): the latest Craigellachie was so good that JS bought a bottle. Will this live up to the expectation? Nose: herbal and flinty. With water, it evolves towards moss on stone. Mouth: still herbal (verbana? tarragon) with a whole lot of jam. With water, it becomes... Wait for it... Watery. Finish: easy and mellow. With water, rocks, flint with an aniseed touch. 7/10

64.40 22yo 1990/2012 Gingery heat and oaky tannins (53.7%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill ex-Bourbon Barrel, 172b) (me): nose: in the eternal words of Michael Jackson: Jam! Honey, soaked Boudoir biscuit, dessert, whipped cream. 'Five floors of different things' (Fixou). Mouth: fruit juice, syrupy, but not too much so. Finish: everlasting marmalade and jam. Excellent. 8/10

Puns and jokes start to fuse, showing that it is way past our bed time -- "Evil Eye Cherry"
PS -Push it! Push it!
me -Pu-push it real good!

29.128 21yo 1990/2012 Deep, dark and hugely entertaining (58.8%, SMWS Society Single Cask, C#10840, 601b) (Fixou): nose: little ash and lots of fox skin. An old granny's arse (Fixou, in poetic mode). Mouth: velvet, even corduroy. Finish: long, ashy, yet the animal skin is what comes out most. Terrible nose, average rest. 5/10

G5.7 19yo 1993/2012 All Day American Breakfast (64.6%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill ex-Bourbon Hogshead, 237b) (me): nose: ginger bread. Mouth: vanilla, more ginger bread -- this is excellent. Black currant. Finish: more ginger bread and lovely goodness. A cracking middle-aged grain.

Someone had 7.79 and 66.37, but I did not try them.

Excellent times. We did not go through the whole outturn (obviously!), probably overdid it already, yet what a quality moment!

12 November 2012

10/11/2012 Novembrrr

November is here, it is cold, we need an excuse to drink some peat, yet leave it open enough to also have other things. 'B' is a theme that has been explored many times, but never have we had a tasting in which the bottling names had to have a 'B' and a 'R'.The suspects: Fixou, idealrichard, JS and myself.

The menu
The menu:

Bruichladdich The Organic (46%, OB) (brought by idealrichard): nose: pill cabinet, which is unexpected for an organic dram. Peach pits, dried apricots, unripe apricots, even. Mouth: creamy alright. Crème brûlée, Greek yoghurt (Fixou). Finish: the sweet creaminess of chocolate milk and a little acidity, reminiscent of grape seeds. Good aperitive dram. Not too complex or impressive, but does the trick.

Two different 33s
Tullibardine 33yo 1972/2006 (43.1%, Dewar Rattray Cask Collection, C#2597, 141b) (brought by JS): nose: flowers, bakery, banane flambée, kiwi, oil lamp. Mouth: flower stems, flower juice. Finish: cola, a fleeting impression of clogged sink and a lot of fruit. This remains an extraordinary dram and consistently convinces non-believers of this distillery's quality. 9/10

25.61 20yo b.2012 (51.3%, SMWS Society Cask) (Rosebank brought by idealrichard): nose: waves of bakery aromas. Mouth: peppery -- one can feel the Watts, here. Finish: hiking boots (it is delicate), vanilla, grape-seed oil, ice cream, fudge, woollen socks worn once. Beautiful, this. 8/10

Bruichladdich 18yo (46%, OB) (brought by idealrichard): idealrichard tells us he cannot decide whether he likes this one or not. It is a wine finish and that is probably why: the oddness does not suit everyone. Nose: a bit winey, loads of rhubarb as well, which is good to me. Mouth: winey again, with balls. It is strange and spiky. Finish: more wine, sweet and unusual. This is not something I would drink too much of, yet one dram is interesting.

Springbank 18yo (46%, OB, b.2009) (brought by me): this one has been sitting untouched for over six months, when we tried it with Fixou at our first tasting together (not recorded on this blog). Nose: moved towards leather, but it still has some cardboard, and a little shaving foam has now also emerged. Dark cherries too, which is obviously enjoyable. Mouth: thin milk and animal notes kept under control. Finish: long and rich. Mocha? Milk chocolate. 7/10

idealrichard: -I can't remember what it reminds me of...
me:              -Opulence?

The shit.
Ardbeg 1978/1999 (43%, OB) (brought by me): nose: distant peat, some barley (really?), brine, oysters and a bit of leather. This is all extremely well integrated and put together, with a hint of pleasant acidity -- Fixou talks about basalmic vinegar (© Fixou 2012) again, as with the Laphroaig 30 a few tastings ago. Mouth: delicate peat again, as well as that high-end vinegar. Finish: beautiful and elegant, with pastry, then peated barley comes up again. Lovely dram indeed! Long and mellow, noble and elegant. 9/10

Fixou, 'It feels the same as when you solve a Rubik's Cube.'

125.36 20yo 1989 A tapestry of tropical tastes (51.7%, SMWS Society Single Cask, ex-Bourbon Barrel, 279b) (brought by Fixou): this one is not in theme, but there is very little left, I like it a lot and it should not come after the next one, lest it would be wasted. Fixou poured it at the beginning of the tasting to let it breathe. Nose: lots of fruit again, melted butter, pineapple, grapefruit, guava, mango and even lychee. Mouth: papaya and pineapple juice, a bit of ginger too. Finish: it is a debauchery of fruit -- passion fruit, banana, mango, guava, kiwi. Long and coating. 8/10

33.124 7yo 2005/2012 An engineer’s lunch-box (59.7%, SMWS Society Single Cask, ex-Sherry Butt, 602b) (another Ardbeg brought by Fixou): nose: 'a dirty, young Ardbeg,' says Fixou. Farmyard, earth, mud to a point I have not experienced before. Mouth: lots of pepper, ember and ash -- a young Ardbeg indeed. Finish: very long, with earth, some ashes and hot embers on the tongue that fade out to unveil strawberries. Yep.

Excellent tasting and great times, as usual. We were all less cold as a result. :-)

5 November 2012

04/11/2012 Broken corks

Anyone who has not had a broken cork probably has not drunk enough whisky. We all made fun of dom666 when it happened to him (he was the first, years ago), then it became even funnier when it happened to everyone in the group, one by one. Always looking for a theme that is as silly as can be, there was no need to look further.

The suspects: P, dom666, adc (in the beginning), kruuk2 (in the end) and myself.

The menu:

Scapa Flow claims another casualty
Scapa 14yo (40%, OB) (brought by Pat): an old acquaintance, this, yet we have not had it since August 2011, precisely when the cork broke. Nose: light bakery, scent of fruit (mirabelle plum, ripe grapes), a little bit of faint lichen, perhaps. A hint of nail lacquer in the back of the nose, too. Mouth: a big custard attack. Very creamy, this. Finish: more custard and chocolate pudding with a very vague bitterness. A cracking dram indeed.

A simple case of bad glue
Deanston 17yo (40%, OB) (mine): another old acquaintance. Nose: more wood, dunnage warehouse, nail polish and cedar wood. Mouth: some sting on the tip of the tongue, more cedar wood for a rather drying result. Finish: milk chocolate, white coffee, even more cedar wood. Lovely, if not very complex.

Enters food: boar casserole with a potato and courgette bake. Delicious.

Catastrophe avoided
Bladnoch 23yo 1977/2001 (53.6%, OB Rare Malts Selection, 6000b, b#00565) (me): nose: powerful and noble alcohol -- we switched gears in the horse power department! Mouth: skimmed milk, cedar wood (one of those days, it seems). Finish: hint of mocha, cocoa. Not spending too much time on this one: it is a stunning dram, end of 8/10

Double whammy
Lagavulin 1979/1997 Double Matured (43%, OB Distillers Edition, Pedro Ximinez Wood) (dom666's): nose: hot embers, smoked meat, cooking bread crust (moist bread crust, to be precise). Mouth: watery, cold and completely worn out. Finish: chargrilled red peppers, then wet, burnt wood.
We all bathe in a Mission Lagavulin
The legend, the first broken cork of the group, is empty. It is about time, as it turned awful. The nose is still good, the rest has completely faded away. As a sidenote, it became double legendary, as dom666 managed to also break the replacement cork. The few centilitres of whisky left were augmented with an armada of floating devices.

Chop off hish head!
Talisker 1989/2002 Double Matured (45.8%, OB Distillers Edition, Amoroso Sherry) (dom666's): nose: some velvety smoke, marmalade. Mouth: watery. Still alright, but it is time to finish it as well! Finish: coffee comes out, some jam, but it is, again, very tired.

kruuk2 tells us a story about four Czechs at this year's Maschinenfest. We quickly name them the Fantastechs.

Message in a bottle
Smoking Islay (55%, Blackadder) (kruuk2's): nose: peat smoke and barley with a little bit of fox skin. Mouth: bang! Hot and powerful. Finish: braised meat, embers, charcoal. Another empty bottle. This one did stand the time quite well.

Off-theme, we then have:

Port Dundas 17yo 1991/2008 (61.5%, Dewar Rattray Cask Collection, Barrel, C#120306, 180b): nose: cereal (oats, mostly), some paint thinner, nail polish and medicinal notes. Mouth: lots of wood and dunnage, distant plasters. Finish: drying, cedar wood (come on!), lacquer -- wonderful, innit. 8/10

A good session with an interesting, agreeable selection, even if not blinding. Good times.