Invergordon 25yo 1988/2013 (46%, Berry Bros Selected by Berrys', C#8997) (brought by kruuk2): nose: varnish, coconut, toasted oak, paint thinner -- the archetypal grain, if you like. JD does not like it, everyone else does. :-) Cinnamon, ginger bread. Mouth: ginger bread and toasted coconut. Finish: lovely, full of ginger bread, cloves, cardamom and cinnamon. Not the cleverest, perhaps, yet full of goodness. Top grain. 8/10
Cakes make it to the table. They are the usual, but one of them is enhanced with Port Dundas C#120306, which is a first. Mrs. sonic has an allergy that is triggered by alcohol, but she indulges anyway because she is weak.
Glencraig 1970/1996 (40%, Gordon & MacPhail Connoisseurs Choice) (brought by sonicvince): finally get to try this, which was bought a couple of years ago and transited through my place. Nose: citrus aplenty (lemon, kalamantsi, waxy grapefruit), an orange tree in the sun. Mouth: slightly acidic, to then become smooth and easy. It feels a bit watery, rather than creamy, but is balanced enough. Finish: a faint, metallic bitterness, before bakery takes over in waves. I am not raving as enthusiastically as sonicvince, but it certainly is a very good dram. 8/10
|Lost in contemplation|
Port Dundas 17yo 1991/2008 (61.5%, A.D. Rattray Cask Collection, Barrel C#120306, 180b) (brought by me): again, JD is against the grain and therefore does not care for this one. Nose: coffee, super dark chocolate. Mouth: powerful, round, sweet and liqueur-like, not unlike a Bourbon. Varnish, wood glue. Finish: wonderful, coating, full of bakery and coffee. 7/10
Home-made truffles (enhanced with HP 1990) and shortbread appear (and disappear rather quickly).
After this third grain to reset our taste buds once more and before we start unleashing the Islay, why not try something special?
Banff 35yo 1975/2011 (42.4%, Douglas Laing Old & Rare A Platinum Selection, Refill Hogshead, 158b): we had this one last year. It is one we bought together. If we do not have it for Burns' Night, then when is good? Nose: dust, fresh laundry (kruuk2), Provence herbs (thyme, oregano, sage), wax, fabric softener. Mouth: yup, wax, soft cheese, herbs, fruit too, though I cannot tell which one. Finish: dried herbs again. It is missing the Chaumes-rind I felt the first time I had it at the Whisky Show 2011, but remains a great, great dram. 9/10
dom666 -La pollution, je dis: "non." Le whisky, je dis: "oui."
Port Charlotte Scottish Barley (50%, OB) (brought by JD): nose: braised bacon (not smoked), burnt tyre (ruckus), burning embers and some nail varnish for good measure. Mouth: honey, wood influence and cured meat. Finish: barbecue with gravy sweetness. Last week's PC was better, I thought. 7/10
Ar2 b.2009 (60.5%, Speciality Brands Elements of Islay) (brought by ruckus): nose: burnt merguez (dom666), the same impression as eating a cigar (sonicvince). Lots of burnt, charcoaled wood. Mouth: wood smoke alongside a sweeter note. Finish: long and invading, full of embers and wet camp-fire smoke. It is big and bold... and unsubtle to the extreme. It is OK to finish on, but is otherwise not very interesting. 5/10
sonicvince and Mrs. sonic leave. JD, JS and adc go to sleep. Off-tasting, the final four have the following:
North British 45yo 1963/2009 (50.7%, Signatory Vintage, Hogsheads CC#117362, 117363, 117365, 290b) (brought by dom666 and myself): kruuk2 and ruckus could not attend the Novermber tasting, so this is a catch-up session, really. Nose: varnish, flat cola, lots of pastry scents -- violet croissant. Superb! Mouth: aaaaaaarrhhrhrhrrhhh! Bakery, violet jelly, lavender. Not usually very popular notes in a dram, but we all love them. Finish: flat cola, wonderful blackcurrant jelly on warm croissant. Wonderful drop of whisky! 9/10
We call it a night at 4AM. ruckus had prepared some mighty fine music (a disco mix, including, of course, Patrick Hernandez), but due to a missing cable, we had to listen to it on a tinny phone speaker. Good fun, though.
The following day, we have haggis leftovers with melted cheese on top of grilled mushrooms -- absolutely outstanding. Not a dram to go with it, though. My fellow tasters seem to have had enough. :-)