21 October 2013

19/10/2013 The hunt for Red October

23 rabbits' fur
idealrichard is ill and cannot make it. Only JS, yours, truly and KB who took the theme very seriously indeed, showing up in a rabbit-skin coat.
He also brought sausages, cheese and crackers, the perfect snack for hunters.

Tomatin 16yo 1996/2012 (46%, GMP Exclusive for Inverness Airport, C#5128) (me): G&McP's logo is a stag, which covers the hunting theme, it was bottled in October 2011, and everyone knows tomatoes are red. Nose: floral and fruity, grassy, even (JS). Black bun, says KB. Dark raisins, prunes, dried figs, honey, pine sap. Rather sweet altogether (KB). It opens up to reveal black bananas, later on. Mouth: liquid honey (acacia), honeysuckle -- this is light and easy, perfect to start with. Finish: a sprinkle of white pepper, gently spicy, while still bearing more floral qualities -- honeysuckle again, I think. Lovely drop, this. Love it every time I have it. Great buy and it was dirt cheap to boot.

Red 8ber
Isle of Skye 8 (40%, Ian McLeod, b. ca 1980s) (me): this one is 8 years old -- 8 as in October. And that is written in red on the label too. I liked a more recent version very much, last year and thought it was great value for money. This one was bottled in the 1980s or early 1990s and therefore could be interesting. Nose: shy at first, then dust, leather belt, polish (KB) and even plastic (KB). Something earthy, though not quite farmyardy -- mud. Mouth: very watery. Very, very, very watery, in fact. It spent too much time in the bottle. Finish: absent. This should have been drunk years ago. Not worth noting or scoring, it is just a case of bad luck and one that was foreseeable: half the bottle has evaporated. Ah well, it is a cheap disappointment, so no hard feelings.

Ord is rad
Ord 15yo 1996/2011 (57.3%, Cadenhead's) (JS): red label. Nose: after the watery previous, this one has quite some kick. Pine sawdust, as if entering an Ikea warehouse. Roasted pineapple, peach stew. Water simply makes it shyer without otherwise altering it. Mouth: fiery pepper and sawdust. It becomes a lot fruitier with water, though not exactly a fruit bomb either -- pineapple? Finish: now quite drying, though not in a bad way. A vague impression akin to licking boots (what I do in my free time is none of your business) and the fruity/bitter taste of peach stone. Very nice.

Irish barley

Slaney Malt 11yo 2001/2013 (57%, Adelphi Limerick Selection, C#9929, 235b) (JS): released and bought in October this year, not to mention it is Irish (Bloody Sunday, and blood is red). We had this one at the Whisky Show a couple of weeks ago and liked it very much. Nose: custard, vanilla, peach yoghurt, roasted coconut. Rhubarb & custard boiled sweets (KB), powdery custard (KB on a roll). Mouth: fruit and quite a bit of pepper on top of a custard pudding. Finish: passion fruit, kicks in, alongside a strangely drying feel that reminds me of the effect of grain whisky. A superbly balanced dram, we all love it. 9/10

Tomatin 35yo 1978/2013 (44.1%, Cadenhead Small Batch, Bourbon Hogsheads, 594b) (me): this one was released and bought in October as well, on top of being made out of red tomatoes. First one of the Small Batch range that I open myself: I really like the format of the bottle, how it takes little space on a shelf and how it fits in the hand. It is atrociously impractical to pour, though. Guaranteed to wet your shoes. Nose: trifle (KB), raisins (JS), fresh doughnuts, custard, bread and butter pudding (of which we discuss the concept and taste), grapes. It is even quite pruney, with figs and dates, perhaps not fresh from the tree, but not completely dried either. Mouth: balanced and, overall, sparkly. Toffee and chocolate make an appearance, after a minute. Finish: flat cola, (stale?) ginger beer and chocolate. This might not be the most complex, especially considering the age, but it is a definite winner. 9/10

Macduff 24yo 1989/2013 (53.3%, Cadenhead Small Batch, Sherry Butts, 516b) (KB): released and bought in October and supposedly packed with red fruit. K's first ever bottle, so it is with anticipation we reach this point. Nose: delicately cured meat, shoe polish, coffee pot on a polished piece of furniture. Make that an empty coffee pot on a polished buffet in the officers' mess. It opens up with musk (fox skin) and fruitcake (KB) to die out with a whiff of candle wax, as well as some custard. Mouth: flat cola again, cold coffee, polished furniture. Finish: never-ending, with a big sherry influence -- coffee (marc de cafĂ©), leather and tobacco, mostly. A bit of an old man's whisky, but a good dram, great to finish with. Just like the Highland Park last month, this would score higher if the profile was more my thing. I even think it is better made than the Highland Park. 7/10

We have a Victoria sponge cake with the final dram, which goes down a treat.

Excellent tasting. Low turnout, one disappointment, yet an otherwise superb selection. Pity we did not have any Bladnochtober, Octobermory or Red Octomore, but there is always next time. :-)

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