10 December 2012

08/12/2012 Eastern Highlands and stuff at TWE

It has proven challenging to get the good TWE staff to venture out of their cubicle for a tasting. To not delay matters too much, Fixou and I decided to bring the tasting to their very cubicle.

Before that, we have a tropical Balvenie face-to-face: Cuban Cask vs. Golden Cask. No notes taken during this apéritif. Here are those from a previous session (19/02/2012 Two Balvenie):

Balvenie 14yo Golden Cask (47.5%, OB, b. ca 2011): nose: rather neutral today -- bit of wood, vanilla, maybe some rum (suggested by the name on the bottle, surely). Mouth: chocolate, milky, creamy, even. Flows easily, with a discreet roughness. Finish: lingers on gently with a few come-backs.
Balvenie 14yo Cuban Selection 1995/2009 (43%, OB): nose: sweeter (adc), sugar cane (adc). Mouth: less chocolate, as much milk, gulpable indeed. Finish: softer, silkier and very good. Sultanas. Shorter than the Golden Cask's.

A short WExEx (Whisky Exchange Express) journey and a long walk later (The WExEx stopped halfway there), we are on the site. A very, very busy Saturday in the run-up to Christmas. They open the hostilities.

Remy and Laddie
Bruichladdich 16yo The Laddie Sixteen (46%, OB, b. 2012) (provided by A): nose: melon. Fruity, with a spray of black pepper. The mouth is creamy and velvety. Finish: milk chocolate, mostly, with some chilli emerging after a while.

A not-too-often-seen 'Riach
BenRiach 13yo 1994/2007 (54.7%, TWE Straight from the Cask, C#105099, 225b) (provided by E): nose: subtle. Cotton pads sprayed with make-up remover. Mouth: light again, with a huge discharge of black pepper. Finish: vanilla.

[in theme]

Glenesk 1984/2004 (43%, GMP Connoisseurs Choice) (provided by me): some freeloader asks me if he can try it, then grabs a glass and steps away: 'I didn't say yes, but go ahead...' If he reads this: I would have said yes, naturally, but your attitude was despicable. You could have at least said thank you, ill-mannered richard. Anyway. Nose: a grandmother's knicker drawer, grass, hay, a dash of basalmic vinegar (© Fixou 2012), band-aid, slate (A and D), even some leather. Mouth: marmalade, now, yay! Orange juice, lovely. Finish: shortish, but quite elegant, with bitter or rather Acidic citrus, orange peel,
If you have not tried that, you have not lived
citric powder capsules, including the dryness. Old-school dram, not seducing for one bit, especially the nose. We all like it, though and I am happy to find in it exactly what I found in the first Glen Esk I ever drank (the 12yo OB), especially considering I was not able to understand what I was tasting, in the early-1990s. 8/10

At this point, it is worth mentioning that A is surfing for baby clothing, which amuses me very much.

It smells of moustache!
Glenury Royal 29yo 1970/1999 (57%, OB Rare Malts Selection) (provided by me): a few confused and confusing notes, now: sawdust is one, I think, grain whisky is another. Me? Nose: orange again (which no one else seems to get), hint of vague smoke (A and Fixou -- I kind of agree). After 30 minutes, it has opened up on shortbread and dust. Mouth: elegant and noble, posh marmalade with a mild punch. Finish: long, comforting and, well, simply an excellent whisky. Still kicking myself for not buying the second bottle when I had a chance (broken record, I know). Thanks adc for the sample. 9/10

North of Scotland 43yo 1964/2007 (45%, Robert Scott Scott's Selection) (provided by PS): when we met PS yesterday, he told me he had left something at TWE for Fixou and I, knowing we would go and unable to go himself. This, then, had my name on it. First NoS for me and more or less what provided the theme: I wanted to bring the Glenesk because A had asked me about it and he and the rest of the staff had never had a Glenesk. The Glenury has to go quickly, as the 15cl bottle contains more air than W. When P told me about the NoS, I realised those three were in the same region, so that was a done deal. ... "Wait!" I hear you scream. "North of Scotland used to be in the Lowlands!" Well, the distillery that started its life as North of Scotland and ended it as Strathmore was in the Lowlands, yes, and ended up as an annex to Cambus near Alloa. However, the early name came from another distillery that finished its life under the name North of Scotland and had started it as Bon Accord... in the Eastern Highlands. That one was a malt distillery, but I will still use the lame excuse.
Nose: mineral (slate, flint), a leather workshop behind closed doors, then it opens up and it is a full-on bakery. Mouth: doughnuts, more bakery shenanigan, liqueur. Finish: long, a bit drying, with more pastry/bakery goodness. This is happiness in a glass. More than an excellent first NoS experience: a treat. Thanks PS for the sample. 9/10

[/in theme]

Bushmills 21yo (40%, OB, b. ca 2012) (provided by E who is on a mission to surprise us): nose: "Blimey! There's a lawn in there!" (Fixou) Grassy, with scents of red fruit in the back. Mouth: light, delicate, fruity, girly and wonderful. Finish: fantastically fruity, dominated by jackfruit with a hint of lichen. Lovely. 9/10

Port Charlotte PC9 9yo 2002/2011 An Ataireachd Ard (59.2%, OB, 6000b) (provided by Fixou): seeing how cold it has been, lately, Fixou had made up his mind about what he wanted to bring. Something manly, then. Nose: barbecue, cured meat, spent matches (not in an invasive way). Mouth: punchy. Not very original to say, but yes, punchy. Finish: char-grilled meat and sizzling bacon, just like PC8. A finds it too sweet -- the sherry influence, probably. It is a nice W in its own right, perhaps not my style, today.
Glasses are starting to do a Smooth Criminal impression

Braes of Glenlivet 23yo 1989/2012 (54.9%, SD Single Malts of Scotland, Hogshead, 272b) (provided by E "the Truffle Pig"): nose: rose water. Mouth: pear eau-de-vie? White pepper, Acidic (Fixou) and malty (A). Finish: pear (the fruit), vanilla. Shoddy notes, yet I find it much better than at the Whisky Show. It is too late in the line-up to convince me to buy a bottle, though. 7/10

G5.2 17yo 1993 (65.3%, SMWS Society Cask, New Toasted Oak Hogshead, 248b) (provided by PS): the staff pulled out three more miniatures earlier, left behind by PS. They are not sure who they are for and reckon it is also for us. I somehow do not think so, but will certainly be polite if offered. Especially as this particular one impressed me very much yesterday. Nose: BAKERY! Perfume, vanilla, honey, butterscotch. Mouth: more bakery beauty, a lot of Watts at 65.3%, which causes A to pull a few faces and perform a Gene Kelly impersonation -- come to think of it, there is a lot of dancing involved, today. Finish: pastry, bakery, sweet dough, not as fruity anymore, but beautiful all the same. Two days in a row, this remains one of the best grains I have had. This is something I would enjoy getting blind on. 9/10

Dumbarton 45yo 1965 (49.5%, HH The Clan Denny, Refill Hogshead, C#HH7001) (provided by PS): first Dumbarton here, though I own one. Nose: deeper than the previous (A) -- it is also three times as old, so it makes sense. Mouth: Milky Way bar, stunning. Finish: cereals by the bucket, more Milky Way. The notes are shameful, by this point, but I am lost for words. This is great. 9/10

Port Dundas 34yo 1973/2007 (54.5%, DT Rare Auld, Sherry Cask, C#128321, 461b) (provided by PS): nose: a lot more sherry, after-shave lotion in the back, as well as some dark chocolate (60--70% cocoa). Mouth: cold coffee, which I am not too fond of. Finish: tons of varnish, wood glue, lacquer. This is a good dram too, yet it does not live up to its couple of glorious predecessors. In any case, thanks again PS for the samples. 7/10

-Coeur de Lily (provided by DR): DR's own blend for (or with) Compass Box. Although I take no note, it is pretty good.

A very pleasant afternoon with a few funny episodes (including a customer inquiring about the most expensive bottle and the highest-ABV beverage in the shop), constant nonsense chatting with the staff and great drams. The shop could have been less crowded for me, but all the better for business, after all.

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