29 May 2013

26/05/2013 Two random Speysiders in an RSPB reserve

Bird-watching is a dehydrating activity. After spotting a couple of kingfishers (yep), we (adc, JS and I) stop for a dram.

A tough, tough life

Glen Keith 1993/2009 (43%, GMP Connoisseurs Choice): nose: adc finds it acrid, while JS detects unidentified Autumn fruit. Cut pear and detergent in my nose, yellow fruit too. Warm, covered apple pie with walnuts. Mouth: custard cream, pine needles, almond skins and some pepper. Finish: long and coating. Custard, génépi (adc). This is superbly easy to drink, perfect on this wonderfully sunny day.

Imperial 1991/2008 (43%, GMP): nose: grassy and woody at first, then a slice of lemony vanilla cake. Green wood and candle wax. Mouth: slightly astringent fruit juice (unripe orange?) and tree sap. Not at all disagreeable, if not extremely well-balanced. This one reminds me of the 1990/2000 bottling upon opening the bottle. Since this one is a miniature, I will never know if oxidation affects it as positively. Finish: odd mix of tree sap, ash, hair lacquer and lime. Not an immediate success, this. In fact, if it were my first introduction to Imperial, I would probably not explore that distillery's offering any further.

Lots of things flying around (dust, pollen, birds, butterflies) which means the conditions might not have been ideal (stuffed nose, lack of focus). Still enjoyable and a dram in the wild is hard to beat.

The Bridge on the River Kwak

28 May 2013

25/05/2013 30 years of official Rosebank

It is a nice, sunny day and we (adc, JS and I) have been walking the whole day. Around 18:30, we feel it is a good time to stop and have a drink or two in a park.

Rosebank 8yo (40%, OB, b.1980s) (brought by JS): this is clearly the youngest Rosebank to pass these lips (so far). Nose: slightly more animal than expected from a Rosebank. Crème brûlée with caramel coulis. Mouth: mellow and sweet, with more crème brûlée and refreshing milk shake. Finish: vanilla, custard, daisies. Easy and agreeable. Love it. adc finds it more aggressive than the next. I disagree.

Rosebank 22yo 1981/2004 (61.1%, OB Rare Malts Selection): The oldest Rosebank I have had (so far). Nose: cooked pear, a whiff of leather, it seems quite discrete altogether, but opens up with time. Coconut, meadow flowers, grass, cola, perhaps. Mouth: yes, cola. Probably some kind of sherry influence -- it is slightly thicker and more robust than the previous, without becoming invading. Although there is enough black pepper to detect the power, it is a gentle dram. Finish: an explosion of spices. Black and Szechuan peppers, red, sweet chilli, saffron. It finishes on bay leaves and green tea. I had been told this one was too tired, but I disagree. It still has what it takes where it is needed. Three hours later, my tongue is still anaesthetised, though. Not good, that. At that point, I realise it is 61.1% ABV. Hardly a gentle dram (thanks pat gva for the sample).

An aggressive guest chased off a couple of geese

Long later, we have another one as a digestive.

Lochside 30yo 1981/2011 (54.9%, Cadenhead's, Refill ex-Bourbon Hogshead, 246b): nose: stringent citrus (grapefruit, lemon, lime), vanilla, almonds (adc). To me, it is dunnage warehouse, varnish and maybe a promise of exotic fruit with green pepper. Mouth: slightly stringent again (or we were out for too long and our lips are chapped :o) ). Tangerine juice, coconut milk (!?), sun cream. Finish: it remains one of those ridiculous drams that cannot not make you smile. Half-disappointing for a quarter of a second, then a shy explosion of passion fruit takes you by surprise. Yay! 9/10

27 May 2013

24/05/2013 A few drams at the SMWS

Visitors in town who like whisky. And a long weekend ahead -- that certainly calls for celebration.
Fixou calls off: although it was supposed to be his day off, he had to work all the same. I reach the venue much too early myself. It is not crowded at all, though a pack of Americans is hugging the sofas and being a little loud. During my first dram, I am joined by adc, JS, KidJ and O. I mostly do not take notes of everyone else's whiskies, as they were too busy tasting them themselves to share. :o)

63.24 19yo Hawick Balls in Granny's drawers (52.7%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill ex-Bourbon Barrel, 186b) (me): nose: very gentle and distant, mostly reeking of varnish. It soon turns into sponge cake (madeleine). Mouth: warm and gentle. There is a little heat, but it is mostly hot milk or warm pudding. Finish: quite grassy now -- bay leaves? A touch of metal or flower petals (dandelions is my guess). Milked-up coffee. Rather good, if slightly drying in the aftertaste -- peach stone, I think. Eventually, peach and custard emerge. A good dram to start with and a nice comfort in this drab weather. 7/10

121.59 14yo 1998 Vanilla candles on a polished table (55.8%, SMWS Society Single Cask, 187b) (adc): nose: fruity and astringent as citrus (adc). 7/10

Glenburgie claims another casualty
71.34 13yo 1998/2011 Rabbit, ginger & treacle tart (56.8%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill ex-Sherry Gorda, 830b) (O): O asks me for something out of the ordinary and a bit stinky. Following a previous experience, I reckon this one should do the trick. KidJ and O reckon it smells of a men's work-out room.

31.26 24yo 1988 BBQ smoke by a rolling sea (53.6%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill ex-Bourbon Hogshead, 262b) (KidJ): he likes peat so I have a plot -- start with a 3 and work the way up to a 127. He joins me at the bar while I struggle to choose a 3 and asks for a recommendation himself. The barman gives him this one, which KidJ has a hard time acknowledging is a Jura, as this is so different to all the ones he has had.

37.52 9yo 2002 Bottled essence of gardens and orchards (58.9%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill ex-Bourbon Hogshead, 586b) (JS)

Now, KidJ and O giggle about weird smells in whisky and decide they want something that smells of pee for one and of manure for the other. I suppose the bar staff have heard others, as they do not seem bothered at all and are quite able to help. I do not try them, but both men seem satisfied with their drinks... and their respective smell.

3.180 15yo 1996 Wet coal and peppermint tea bags (61.2%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill ex-Bourbon Hogshead, 221b) (O)
"It smells like manure? Did you wash your hands,
Old Man of Huy?"
28.23 21yo Attention-grabbing spicy wood (57.5%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill ex-Sherry Butt, 607b) (KidJ)
7.83 19yo 1993 Fresh, airy and sherbety (52.1%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill ex-Bourbon Hogshead, 248b) (adc)

121.46 11yo Exotic fruit and scented wood (55%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill ex-Bourbon Hogshead, 275b) (me): nose: green pepper (KidJ), grass, an unexpected amount of leather and lots of green tea. Mouth: more green tea and green capsicum. Finish: pear (O), lovely chocolate milk , waves of dryness and chocolate milk. Water only dilutes it -- same character, but tame. KidJ, the "peat freak" decides this is the best drop he has ever drunk. They still have one bottle for sale. Not any longer.

G4.3 30yo 1982 Custard creams and Kentucky staves (54.5, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill ex-Bourbon Barrel, 252b) (JS): nose: varnish, hair lacquer, wood shavings and dark soda -- yes! Mouth: green chilli, paint thinner. Finish: wood juice. Nice vanilla, wood shavings, varnish. A rather predictable grain, but so good.

I then decide to take things into my own hands. O is a Bourbon enthusiast. He needs a grain.

G1.10 21yo 1990 Sweetness somersaults around the mouth (61.1%, SMWS Society Single Cask, ex-Bourbon Cask, 137b): cedarwood and some strawberry. Good, but will not do the trick. The barmaid, who is celebrating the end of her last-ever exam recommends G3.3. I have already had it, so had not thought of it, which is silly. It is good and O has never had it, of course.
KidJ needs a stupid peat attack. No 127 left at all. I am then lost for ideas, when she recommends the latest 29. I notice it is now also the only 29 in house. Scary, considering they have had as many as ten different ones on the shelf.

G3.3 26yo 1986 Curious but good (56%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill ex-Bourbon Barrel, 174b) (O): he seems stunned with this Caledonian -- and who would not be. It is excellent.
29.130 19yo 1993 A chimney sweep smoking a cigar (52.1%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill ex-Bourbon Hogshead, 230b) (KidJ): he likes it so much he buys a bottle of this too. To be fair, I think he would buy a pink tractor, in this state of his.
G9.1 11yo 2001 Sweet and Sour Mélange (57.8%, SMWS Society Single Cask, 187b) (adc): she is convinced by this one too.

66.37 10yo 2002/2012 Building site workers dram (55.7%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill ex-Bourbon Barrel, 240b) (me): KidJ wanted to try this one, before he got obsessed with manure. Not too sure what to get myself, I decide to go for it. Nose: 'it smells like a frog' (KidJ). 'That's manure' (me). Bacon, chorizo, even, mud, barbecue sauce and cologne. Grapefruit (KidJ). Mouth: more barbecue and teriyaki sauces. Finish: long, with cured meat, covered in barbecue-sauce. A bit of chocolate and mushrooms (KidJ who is obviously reaching his limit, by now :o) ). This is lovely indeed.

76.95 10yo 2001 Tropical Fruit Salad (58.2%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill ex-Bourbon Hogshead, 307b) (JS): she wants tropical fruit. That is difficult enough, but to make it more challenging, it sort of has to be something that we do not own and have not tried before. Again, the staff have an answer. A Mortlach!? Not as tropical as promised (keep in mind we had a 1966 Bowmore last week), but comes with lots of coconut in the back. Nice.

A nice session indeed. Good to catch up with friends I have not seen in nearly a decade. Many good drinks, lots of silly nonsense, most of which about masturbating monkey cuff links the boys found in a shirt shop, the other day, and discussions about the differences between Europe and the USA. Thanks adc for inviting us.

'I am telling you: you need those cufflinks!'

24 May 2013

23/05/2013 26 horizontal

adc is in town. That is good enough an excuse to pour a few drams. adc, JS and myself. Tonight, we will have three drams from unrelated, closed distilleries, all 26 years old.

St Magdalene 26yo 1982/2009 (59.1%, DL for TWS Glenkeir Treasures Cask Strength Selections, 144b): nose: salt (adc), saltmarsh, clams, distant vanilla and even choux dough, chocolate éclairs. Mouth: smooth, with a sprinkle of pepper. Finish: it manages to hit a fantastic balance between grass and flowers -- a lush meadow, then. Long and comforting like a nice cup of tea prepared by a grandmother. The girls reckon it is slightly peaty, but I do not. Surely, they have been drinking. 9/10

Glen Albyn 26yo 1975/2002 (54.8%, OB Rare Malts Selection, 6000b): nose: vanilla (adc), sponge cake (JS). In the beginning, it smells like an old wallet. Nosing it around 30 minutes later, not so much anymore. Velvet curtains and old corduroy trousers left unworn in the cupboard for years or decades. Lichen, herbs burning on a campfire. This is wonderfully complex, given some time in the glass. Oyster crackers (JS). With water, it becomes more leathery again. Mouth: thick, thick, thick! Coating and soft, velvety, voluptuous. Thick cream. adc finds it sweet. Finish: bitter marjoram in the back, aouch! It makes me think of that tannis-root necklace Mia Farrow wears in Rosemary's Baby. It wears out and becomes very milky and very long, though, which is good. Excellent, though austere and not half-repulsive to the regular Joe, I would expect. I tried this one years ago in a pub and did not think much of it. Much more convinced, this time (thanks pat gva for the sample). 8/10

Glenugie 26yo 1982/2008 (50%, DL Old Malt Cask 50º, ex-Bourbon Barrel, C#4703, 310b): nose: metallic, according to adc. Unripe cantaloupe and Wellington boots for a minute, then lots of yellow fruit and flowers, as well as some red fruit (redcurrant and gooseberry) and greengage. Mouth: a bit stripping, this! A lot more lively and impetuous than the first two, until it becomes very soft and silky. Finish: chocolate and custard (adc and JS), milk chocolate with a drop of lemon. What a dram! 9/10

St Magdalbugie 26: yes, that is a blend of the above three. Nose: well, the Albyn speaks the loudest, here. Leather, lichen, a bit of varnish. Train brakes that have just been used. With water, more marmalade or chutney emerge, but not in a convincing way. Mouth: unbalanced, now. Flower stems, fiery ginger and distant marmalade. Finish: rather green and bitter, unripe. Green wood and flower-stem juice. Meh. This is a waste of three otherwise wonderful drams.

20 May 2013

18/05/2013 Grain week at the SMWS

Big month, May is. In the middle of the month, the SMWS releases ten grains, some of them from past outturns, some brand new and some that were previously released on other shores. Although a recent trip to Speyside means spendings should be on the backburner, it is difficult to give this one a miss.
PS and C are there, sipping away. I happily join them before JS completes our group.

G1.9 21yo 1990 The palate gets a Ping! (62.8%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill Hogshead) (me): this one comes highly recommended by PS. He knows nothing about grain, yet I decide to trust him. Nose: typical grain, this -- nail-varnish remover, hair lacquer and some less usual coffee. Mouth: black-coffee bitterness, mint freshness. The second sip brings pleasant, dark, hot chocolate (cocoa powder in hot water, that is). Finish: a bit drying, with more cocoa. Nice, but not the best.
"To Pringle or not to Pringle?"

G3.5 33yo 1979 Chocolate Cafe Latte (49.6%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill ex-Bourbon Hogshead, 159b) (JS): it took me a while to finally buy a Caledonian, thinking it was a now-or-never thing, then the usual happened: every other bottler released one or five of them. Nose: lots of wood, varnish, cedar wood, some bandages too, in a good way (if that makes sense). Mouth: so sugary it hurts. Green pepper and dark, muscovado sugar, crushed banana with cane sugar. Finish: long and warming with unidentified herbs. Nice, this one. 8/10

G9.1 11yo 2000 Sweet and Sour Mélange (57.8%, SMWS Society Single Cask, 187b) (me): yes! It is here at last! This one got everyone excited six or seven months ago (or more?), yet we never saw it. It was a Canada release that was also presented at a tasting in Leith, but it never made it Daahn Saahrf. Nose: lots of paint thinner with orange and melon. An unexpected combination that works a treat. Mouth: apricot shavings swimming in skimmed milk. Finish: milk coffee and vodka orange. Excellent. Well glad I was able to procure a bottle (thanks CD). 9/10

G7.5 28yo 1984 Smoky Werthers Original (58.9%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill ex-Bourbon Hogshead, 275b) (JS): I remember a time when Girvan was a very rare sight. And when electronic music was all fields. Nose: more downplayed and flowery than the above. Vanilla-sugared whipped cream. Mouth: green pepper and honeyed milk. Finish: very milky, now, with hints of milk chocolate. 8/10

Magdalene comes out of her box
Linlithgow 26yo 1982/2008 (63.7%, SD Single Malts of Scotland, Butt, C#1622, 601b) (all): as is often the case, a bottle materialises from the ether and, upon my noticing what it contains, full glasses appear in front of everyone. Nose: peach stone. It burns the hair of my nose, actually, which is hardly surprising, at nearly 64%. Past that, there is definitely some fruit in there (mirabelle plum  is my guess) and flowers (green forsythia). Water makes it seem more aggressive, but also fruitier -- melon, blackberries, raisins. Lavender (JS). Mouth: light and sweet with a grain or two of ginger powder. Very easy on the palate, considering the manly ABV. Water makes it silky smooth. Finish: mirabelle plum it is, and cappucino. Water enhances the flower impression. This is lovely (thanks PS).

G1.5 24yo Corn fields and oak forests (60.7%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill ex-Bourbon Hogshead, 245b) (all): PS is not one to offer one drink. This one is a favourite of his and is back behind the bar. Nose: this one burns the nostrils a lot more than the St Magdalene -- but then at 60.7%, it is not exactly for little girls either. Butter-based bakery overtaken by a pepper plantation. Mouth: herbs and dough. Finish: a drop kick in the tonsils, this! PS feels he has to add, 'Show me on the doll where the whisky touched you,' which amuses everyone immensely in a non-apologetic way. Lots of bakery activities going on, old-fashioned violet sweets, foxgloves (digitalis purpurea) (thanks again, PS).

Good times. We went for a dram and to pick up a bottle and ended up in there for several hours.

18 May 2013

12/05/2013 Supper in Craigellachie

Second evening of our Speyside tour and a well-deserved supper in a local place, which I will not name. Suffice to say they have a ridiculous Japanese selection, among others.

House of the Rising Sun
Convalmore 1975/2008 (40%, GMP Rare Old) (me): nose: quite austere. Unripe quince, dunnage warehouse, nail varnish, lacquer, plums, kumquats. All very nice! Mouth: vodka orange... without vodka. It is thin, yet retains the right consistency. Finish: creamy and milked-up orange juice with a very sharp, unripe plum aftertaste and white pepper. Quite unexpected. Or is it grape seeds? Bitter and dry. A very convincing Convalmore. A little too tame or discreet for its own good, hence no 9/10, yet the potential is definitely there! 8/10

"With so much candle wax, it is bound to be a Clynelish!"

Caperdonich 41yo 1969/2011 (40.1%, DT Rarest of the Rare, C#3254, 175b) (JS): nose: stunning. Lemon, quince jelly, rose-petal jam -- what a treat! squashed gooseberries, kumquats, physalis. Very sweet and floral (JS). Mouth: happiness. Very balanced, thanks to the naturally low ABV. Raspberry juice with a dash of lime. Finish: a whirlwind of vanilla, passion fruit, custard, banana, mango and a little black pepper. Drool. It loses a point for not being more assertive, but I am kicking myself for not buying it when it came out. 9/10

Food. Chicken & noodles soup and five-spice duck & noodles for JS, spicy sweet potato soup and Highlander Dufftown haggis-stuffed chicken for me. Superb.

Kawasaki 1981/2009 (62.4%, OB Ichiro's Choice, Refill Sherry Butts, 710b) (me): nose: trademark grain features, here -- paint thinner, coconut, vanilla, bakery, -- but also shy coffee, honeysuckle and nutmeg. A lot more refined than many Scottish grains, certainly more so than yesterday's Invergordon. Mouth: warming. Not a bit. Light bakery dough, red chilli and otherwise quite neutral. Some violets (boiled sweets). Finish: heather, lots of violet sweets and pastry cooling down on a griddle. Nice! It goes down easily too, considering the extravagant ABV. With water, it moves towards dark chocolate and coffee beans. 8/10

Lochside 1981/2011 (46%, Acorn Friends of Oak, Hogshead, 60b) (JS): how quaint is it that they seem to have tons of Japanese bottlings of Scottish whiskies, next to multiple Japanese whiskies? But then a substantial percentage of the clientele is Japanese, so it sort of makes sense, probably. Nose: an overwhelming basket of fruit -- melon, quince (quince couple of days, innit) and watermelon. A distant pair of hiking boots -- scratch that, it is dunnage warehouse. This is not too different from the 1981 Cadenhead bottling released last year, actually. A little bit of coal dust as well. Mouth: as sparkly as a can of Fanta! And as fruity too. Lots of orange, strawberry, red cherries. Finish: same fruits yet again, with a a pronounced impression of dunnage warehouse, or lichen. Perhaps even bread mould. Still great, but I prefer the Cadenhead's. :-) 9/10

This is what hilarious mood in a glass looks like, folks
I then spot a bottle I am interested in trying. It is costly, but hey! Then a second one -- same distillery and vintage, different bottler. Fortunately, it is empty, or I would have had to have them back to back.

Bowmore 40yo 1966/2006 (43.5%, DT, C#3315, 153b) (both): nose: after smelling this, the Lochside smells like cat piss. This one is otherworldly. Passoã with more overripe passion fruit, new, synthetic trainers, resin. Not a trace of smoke. Mango, jack fruit, The Body Shop shower gel (JS). Mouth: fruit juice, plain and simple. As smooth as can be. Still no smoke. Finish: a bit disappointing for half a second, until the passion fruit roundhouse-kicks you in the stomach, bites your balls off and runs away laughing. A faint peat smoke settles in for good after a moment. The nose is by far the strongest feature, with the rest being ever so slightly less impressive. Still, this is such an outstanding dram it is completely stupid. It plays in the same league as TWE's 1964 Lochside, though that one is more of an all-round winner to this enthusiast. 10/10

The full Flora & Fauna range
What an evening.

16 May 2013

11/05/2013 An evening at the Edinburgh SMWS

En route to the land of whisky, we stopped in Edinburgh to visit a friend and have a dram or two.

59.20 20yo 1981/2002 (58.3%, SMWS Society Single Cask for the USA) (JS): nose: pepper and oregano. Mouth: uncommon mix of sumac (yes, it is becoming my favourite tasting note) and vanilla. Finish: very long, with bubblegum. Probably superior to the more recent expression (tasted here), but still not a total winner.

69.13 27yo 1979/2007 (58%, SMWS Society Cask) (me): nose: old school and as unsexy as it comes. Dust, rotting apples, lime. Not too impressive, but my kind of drams. Faded tobacco leaves, finishing on gentle candle wax. Mouth: tame dough, lemon. It is creamy too. Black pepper and peach. Wonderful. Finish: very long, with dust and orange peels. Brilliant, old Highlander. 8/10


69.14 28yo 1979 Complex and delightful (57.6%, SMWS Society Cask, 242b) (me): yep! Not only do they still have one Glen Albyn, they have two of them. Since I cannot decide which one to start with, I take both. Nose: ooooh! That's old school again. Marmalade, leather, maybe Cognac, even? A touch of coal dust and a lot of candle wax. Mouth: silky smooth, with a late discharge of black pepper. Finish: black pepper and... verbena? Bay leaves. It is superbly long. Two fantastic drops from a distillery I am not extremely familiar with. 8/10

64.40 22yo 1990/2012 Gingery heat and oaky tannins (53.7%, SMWS Society Cask, Refill ex-Bourbon Barrel, 172b) (M): Murrolo is looking for something nice for a gift and he has grown an appreciation for Mannochmore, so I recommend this one. Nose: squashed raspberries, alongside more usual vanilla and coconut (lots of it). Mouth: mellow and gentle, slightly tickly on the tongue. Finish: custard, coconut, maybe even butterscotch. Lovely dram, this. 8/10

Venison burger
Food. Venison burger for JS and myself, steak sandwich for Murrolo. We go for desserts as well, which is overly indulgent (pannacotta for M, pineapple carpaccio for me).

G5.8 19yo 1993 Baked Goods (64.2%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill ex-Bourbon Hogshead, 231b) (me): this one comes recommended with the dessert I have chosen, so I go for it. Nose: lots of bakery shenanigans, violet and blackcurrant. Murrolo thinks it smells like a gentlemen's smoking room on a Sunday morning -- embers and Cacharel after-shave lotion. Mouth: blackcurrant, liquorice allsorts, TONS of white pepper. Finish: lovely blackcurrant and ginger bread. A neverending finish, this, for a rather traditional Invergordon. 6/10

35.91 10yo 2002 Caribbean fruit with tingly spice (59.9%, SMWS Society Single Cask, ex-Sherry Butt, 222b) (JS): the 51.1 I ask for is strongly not recommended by the staff, so I change my mind and choose this for JS. Nose: candle wax and marmalade. Mouth. light and gentle, flowery. Finish: slightly bitter, with a quince and grapefruit aftertaste. Dram of the day for everyone, surprisingly enough. 8/10

7.83 19yo 1993 Fresh, airy and sherbety (52.1%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill ex-Bourbon Hogshead, 248b) (M): nose: a tiny bit of coffee in the back, burnt croissant. Mouth: skimmed milk, then white pepper. Finish: quince jelly drowned in white pepper. Nice. Chocolate- or caramel-filled doughnuts. 8/10

Excellent session to kick-start the break. The venue is very hot, which makes it nice to eventually get out.
Once at Murrolo's, we go for a nightcap.

Mannochmore 12yo (43%, OB Flora & Fauna, b. ca 2011): nose: some wax and thick citrus jam. Milky Bar (M), lovely coconut. Mouth: white pepper in a bath of milk. Finish: delicate vanilla and jam or marmalade. 7/10

8 May 2013

03/05/2013 May outturn at the SMWS

Another month, another outturn. Fixou's first as well, as he is usually working the first Friday of the month. The place is busy, but not too crowded, which is a relief.

13.39 21yo Braised apples and ??? slices (52.7%, SMWS Society Cask, Refill Hogshead, 252b) (all): an older glory that happens to be there. Nose: brine, plum eau-de-vie and a slightly farmyardy character. Mouth: a mixture of salted honey and black pepper -- very interesting. Finish: another odd mix of paint and marmite, with a dash of vinegar, though it is red-wine vinegar, not the noble, basalmic kind (thanks PS).

48.34 9yo 2003/2012 In a sweetie shop (63.3, SMWS Society Single Cask, ex-Bourbon Barrel, 227b) (A): nose: nail varnish remover, some wood and Haribo sweets (A). Mouth: a little sparkly (Fixou), with more varnish, paint thinner and quite a bit of citrusy jam. Finish: more jam, marmalade and lots of wood. A nice Balmenach, probably one of my favourite, so far. 7/10

73.52 23yo 1989/2012 Speakeasy perkiness (57.5%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill ex-Sherry Butt, 544b) (JM): nose: lots of cured meat, Mentos sweets (that'll be mint, then), ether (JM). With water, the nose becomes really lovely. Mouth: this one bites! Powerful. Also strangely milky, in a good way. Oranges in the back. Finish: marmalade and leather. An enjoyable Aultmore, this.

121.59 14yo 1998 Vanilla candles on a polished table (55.8%, SMWS Society Single Cask, 187b) (A): nose: banana and coconut shell, as well as peach. Very nice. Mouth: gentle and light, with some yellow fruit -- peach again, I think. Unexpectedly coating, at any rate. Finish: flowers, honey, fruit and a little wood. New school, attractive and very agreeable. 7/10

64.43 23yo 1990/2013 Full, complex and reassuring (55.5%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill ex-Bourbon Hogshead, 260b) (me): nose: surprisingly waxy, with some vanilla-ed woodiness. Nice! JM finds marshmallows in there too. Mouth: plant-juice bitterness. Finish: long and bitter, with lichen and dunnage warehouse. Good nose, disappointing mouth and finale.

7.83 19yo 1993 Fresh, airy and sherbety (52.1%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill ex-Bourbon Hogshead, 248b) (Fixou): nose: very flowery (forsythia), cut grass, gooseberry, or red currant. Mouth: it is now black currant, a touch of honey and lots of pepper. Finish: very long, with some flower-stem bitterness too. My kind of drams, today. Fixou does not care for it: 'I don't have enough hair to enjoy that kind of whiskies, any longer,' he claims. 8/10

1.171 28yo 1984 Orchids in an old wardrobe (55.1%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill ex-Bourbon Hogshead, 176b) (Fixou): nose: lots of flowers (probably violets), new oak shavings. Mouth: this is really as neutral as can be. Distant pear, perhaps? Buttercup bitterness (for those who have tried chewing on one...) Finish: more plant bitterness, with a discharge of fruit in the back (papaya or mango). The finish has some strong characteristics, but this is otherwise not worthy of notice. 6/10

29.130 19yo 1993 A chimney sweep smoking a cigar (52.1%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill ex-Bourbon Hogshead, 230b) (A): nose: this reeks of ash, embers, spent cigar and earth. Mouth: smoke and farmyard. Finish: spent cedar wood. An efficient Laphroaig -- will not spend too much time on it, as it is as predictable as they come.

JM embarks on a mission to taste the good 26es and 29s, guided by captain Fixou. I do not keep track of that.

59.43 29yo 1983/2013 Caramel Swirl Ice Cream (56.4%, SMWS Still One Of A Kind, Refill ex-Bourbon Hogshead, 262b) (me): I am very interested in this one, as it is the first Teaninich at the Society since we have started frequenting the place. Nose: lots of alcohol, in there! Nail varnish remover, paint thinner, a bit of flowers and some liquorice allsorts, after a minute or two. It smells like a grain, oddly enough. Mouth: milk chocolate? Flower bitterness (it is such a day!), pepper, ground coriander, almond milk. Finish: silky smooth, lovely vanilla and chocolate shake. The nose is disappointing and it is too expensive. 7/10

77.32 25yo 1987 Salivating sweetness; savoury whispers (58.2%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill Hogshead, 246b) (JS): nose: milk, straight from the udder, and a bit of lichen and grape juice. Mouth: this is very dry! Almond, and vanilla milk in the back, with a twist of pepper mill as well. Finish: very dry again, with flower-stem juice. Alright, not blinding.

3.198 14yo 1997 Smoker's tooth powder and dentists' chairs (57%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill ex-Sherry Butt, 563b) (A): nose: lots of smoke, smoked bacon. Mouth: some nail varnish, light coffee, dark cocoa beans. Finish: lots of cocoa beans, now, coffee and proper bitterness. 6/10

G7.4 28yo 1984 Buttery waffles on polished wood (58.4%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill ex-Bourbon Hogshead, 295b) (me): nose: lovely bakery, butterscotch, banana, vanilla fudge (A), elderberry, pineapple, even. Burnt coconut shells, Tatin tart (A). Mouth: peppery, but also fruity -- pineapple again (roasted) and a little bit of banana to finish on liqorice allsorts. Finish: rising croissant dough, black currant, violet and some vanilla. Werther's Original (A). This is the dram of the day for Fixou and myself. 8/10

35.79 28yo 1983 Calming, warming and comforting (57.7%, SMWS Still One Of A Kind, Refill ex-Sherry Butt, 167b) (JS): nose: tons of faded coffee that sat in the tin for too long. Mouth: more tamed and faded coffee, butterscotch past its date. Finish: old, dry coffee again, ground coffee, roasted coffee, cold coffee. Is this one-dimensional or what?

Everyone had the lamburgerini, bar myself (suckling pig) and Fixou, who had a Scotch egg and is well into it, now, after a less-than-thrilling experience with Tesco's offering -- but then, it was probably made with horse eggs too.
The whole British beef industry is facing a new challenge

Good times, though the outturn is slightly disappointing. No stunner in there.