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. PassoĆ£ 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.

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