6 November 2013

04/11/2013 Christmas outturn preview a the Grange Hotel

New location, in the sky bar of the Grange Hotel, a veranda on the rooftop. It is very close to the November outturn (it was pretty much yesterday), but we have no fear! Fixou and Mrs. Fixou join us, the usual suspects come and go during the evening.
On to the drams. Given the amount, the descriptions will be short.
Due to the ever-present blue light, the pictures look horrible. Get over it.

Not here for a laugh!

80.6 14yo d.1998 Laura Ashley with attitude (59.1%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill ex-Bourbon Barrel, 205b): after thirty years of activity, this is only the sixth Glen Spey from the Society. Needless saying I am excited. Nose: lots of lemon, perfume and peach. Mouth: velvety and sweet, peach and apricot. Finish: very slightly bitter, with a fruity kick.

71.40 23yo d.1989 Sticky apricot tarts at an Indian Market (56.3%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill ex-Sherry Butt, 432b): nose: fudge, caramel, maybe even coffee. Fixou reckons it is noodles and soy sauce. Mouth: velvety, with a touch of pepper. Finish: flowers and pepper.

The rather cool venue with its space-ship lighting
125.68 9yo 2004/2013 A tale of two ladies (58.5%, SMWS Society Single Cask, ex-Bourbon Hogshead, 201b): nose: lady's perfume, vanilla. Mouth: very soft, satin-like, then develops some horse powers. Finish: wood, dried banana shavings. 7/10

76.111 9yo d.2004/2013 Boisterous and exuberant (57.6%, SMWS Society Single Cask, First-fill Barrel, 225b): nose: honeysuckle essence with a note of vanilla in the back. Mouth: very mellow and creamy, with black pepper power. Finish: cream and pepper, coating like varnish.

7.87 27yo d.1985 A tropical market (55.1%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill ex-Bourbon Hogshead, 141b): nose: fruit! Jam, quince, mango and something I cannot identify. Mouth: rhaaaaaaaa! Finish: long and sweet, full of goodness. This is great. 8/10

17.36 11yo 2002/2013 Exotic and Oriental (56.3%, SMWS Society Single Cask, ex-Bourbon Barrel, 251b): nose: vanilla, custard, butterscotch, then pine needles. Mouth: salty, but mellow. Finish: salted caramel, milk chocolate, dessert (Fixou).

The shop. Under Acid.
5.36 14yo 1999/2013 Rubbing White Tiger Balm on your forehead (59.8%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Second-fill ex-Sauternes Hogshead, 211b): a rare Sauternes cask, though it is not written on the list we were given at the entrance. In fact, the bottling is not on the list at all. Nose: old, unwashed wee-wee (Fixou). PS wonders whether Fixou is up for a promotion at work, but then he comes up with sweaty balls (he claims he said he would rather smell sweaty balls than this, but he is obviously trying to backtrack). Bad glue to me. Mouth: bitter? Acrid? no, it is a different feeling, but I fail to pinpoint it. Not great, in any case. Finish: some sweetness, but mostly, overly burnt caramel. This is not good. 4/10

35.98 10yo 2003/2013 Let's paint the town red (59.7%, SMWS Society Single Cask, ex-Bourbon Barrel, 237b): nose: perfume, essence of flowers, even a bit of coffee. Mouth: green pepper and butterscotch. Finish: lots of chocolate and cocoa.

"I'm blue da-ba-dee da-ba-daa"
44.57 22yo d.1990 Sea salted caramel pebbles (52.9%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill ex-Bourbon Hogshead, 300b): nose: summer flowers, roasted pears, perhaps. Mouth: soft and easy. Finish: green as in: fruit-seed bitterness, milk chocolate, and a tiny whiff of smoke.

4.181 16yo 1997/2013 A muscle man from Orkney (54.6%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill ex-Sherry Butt, 650b): nose: burnt compote, heavily sherried, this. Some nuts in the back, which is better, almost redeeming. Mouth: slightly drying, unbalanced. Finish: light peat smoke and tons of sherry. Not my thing.

3.209 20yo d.1992 Out of the ordinary (53%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Second-fill ex-Bourbon Hogshead, 154b): nose: farmyard galore. This one smells like the wheels of a tractor. Mouth: simple but balanced, farmyard. Finish: yup, still very much farmyard-oriented with a bit of a damp campfire. Good, but well.

129.3 4yo d.2008 Unwind and set your watch to Islay Time (60.2%, SMWS Society Single Cask, ex-Bourbon Barrel, 256b): nose: garden fire, a day at Peatneyland. Mouth: actually quite easy and palatable (with water!) Finish: a diffuse peat discharge (with water). Fixou reckons it does not make any sense without water, so I do not try it without.

127.33 11yo 2002/2013 Mouth-numbing mountaineering dram (63.5%, SMWS Society Single Cask, ex-Bourbon Barrel, 182b): nose: so wide, this! We are in a different category. Tannins, leather and farmyard. Mouth: between leather saddles and horse's sweat. Controlled in a lovely way. Finish: long and definitely present, but balanced. Black pepper, farmyard. Lovely drop, this. The kind of things that drew me into whisky in the first place. 7/10

36.65 15yo d.1997 Apple flavoured tobacco in a Hookah (58.6%, SMWS Society Single Cask, 208b): nose: lots of pine sawdust, cologne and white wine. Mouth: white wine indeed, very dry and fruity (Riesling?) Finish: lingers on on a white wine impression. It is becoming quite late for proper notes.
27.104 14yo d.1998 Cowboy’s delight (55.6%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill ex-Sherry Gorda, 659b): nose: meaty, slightly sulphury, with leather and Marmite. Finish: drying. Cowboy alright (it is in the name), with lots of soy sauce and such. Not my thing. PS likes it, but then he is drunk, I reckon.

One of the usual suspects
72.28 30yo d.1982 What a wonderful world (51.2%, SMWS Society Single Cask, ex-Bourbon Hogshead, 144b): nose: some easy wood, bakery things, gentle custard, pears and quince. Mouth: light and easy. Finish: milk chocolate with pine needles and quince jelly.

36.63 15yo d.1997 There is chilli in the fruit pie (58.7%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill ex-Bourbon Barrel, 195b): exclusive for people who join today, if I understand correctly, though it was in the September outturn. Nose: a plant stem dunked in jam. Mouth: easy and soft, lovely. Finish: long and fruity in a satisfying way.

G10.5 23yo d.1989 A ‘Schweppervescence’ moment (61%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill Hogshead, 332b): it seems a good one to end with. Nose: metal and bakery -- that'll be a baking tray, then. :-) Mouth: quaffable. Finish: more baking tray things, I like it a lot, unsurprisingly.

Time to go to bed. Epic tasting in good company. Hard to believe the thirty-or-so bottlings they brought along represent only half of the monster outturn. Good location (some even went to the terrace), good organisation, good food (though too little of it) and good drams.

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