5 September 2013

04/09/2013 Blitz at Berrys' #3

Berry Brothers have been doing some works in their St James' shop. The result is more bottles on display, but a colder feel akin to that of a Whisky Shop store. Gone is the impression you were entering an out-of-time shop of yesteryears. Oh! there are still derelict bottles on display above the windows, and the adobe wall is now visible (yeah!), but the barrel has gone, all the Cutty Sark references bar one too (of course, since they sold the brand), while the desk/counter/bar/whatever it was looks like it has been pulled out of an Ikea catalogue, with stain-prone leather coating and all. Pity. The welcome I get there is always worth the visit, though. And there are lots of new bottlings to boot -- woot!
Concise notes, as usual.

Auchroisk 14yo 1998/2013 (46%, BBr Selected by Berrys', C#13424): fresh, green, clean and light. A summer dram without pretension, perfect in this current weather.

Aultmore 15yo 1997/2013 (46%, BBr Selected by Berrys', C#970003582): apart from the ridiculous cask number, this one shows more richness on the nose -- wood, spices (mixed pepper) and some bitterness. It then has the softness of fresh fruit (grapes) and some bitterness (grape seeds). Hawthorne and Mediterranean vegetation is also present. I joke it is as soft and fruity as biting into an olive, then as bitter as chewing the pit. Long, peppery and powerful. It feels like a 54+% cask strength when it is actually 46%. And it is a bargain to top it all.

Glenturret 35yo b.2013 (46%, BBr Selected by Berrys', Cask ref 26): a sister cask to last year's Cref 2, this one is around 80£ more expensive and the most expensive thing BBr has ever bottled. It is brilliant as well -- just not as good as Cref 2, in my opinion, but then that one was phenomenal. Today, though, it is ahead of the game. Complex, elegant, noble, impressively balanced, slightly fruity with a discrete, but mildly disappointing green/bitter touch that prevents it from reaching the same heights as its ancestor. Do not expect to try it at the shop: the tasting sample is all gone.

Littlemill 24yo 1989/2013 (52.3%, BBr Selected by Berrys', C#32): this one is a strange 1988 vintage... distilled while the distillery was closed. Lovely drop it is, full of tiny flaws that keep it original and interesting. Ever-changing, quite woody, with the usual vanilla, coconut, polished wood, but also unexpected "young" touches. A bit of a (pedestrian) roller-coaster ride. Dram of the day.

Littlemill 22yo 1990/2013 (46%, BBr Selected by Berrys', C#16): wonderful balance with more wood influence (vanilla, coconut) that gives way to the well-known hiking-boot/clogged sink found in other Littlemill of that vintage (SMoS and The Whiskyman I tried last week).

Littlemill 20yo 1992/2013 (54.5%, BBr Selected by Berrys', C#11): this one is another good 'mill, though I find it too strong to be on par with the previous two. Lots of wood, all sorts of pepper and a high level of alcohol. You read correctly, by the way: there are four new Littlemills in total, on the shelf.

Imperial 17yo 1995/2013 (46%, BBr Selected by Berrys', C#50348): another sister cask, of the recent Imperial I liked so much. This is relatively similar to that (read: criminally easy to drink, full of vanilla and other seducing things), yet it is also greener than its ancestor and therefore less to my liking. On its own, it is beautiful, though.

Jamaican Rum 12yo: I am certainly not going to start giving notes for rum, but since it is so kindly poured, I sample it. It is nice, full of molasses, cane sugar (no kidding!) and sweetness of all sorts, as well as Jamaican pepper (allspice). I still think it is designed to spice up Glühwein -- though admittedly, one would make a bloody good Glühwein with this one in particular!

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