20 January 2014

18/01/2014 LoLoBridgIDa

If you read this blog regularly, you will know I am not one to shy away from ridiculous puns and unlikely themes (if you do not know what I am talking about, may I suggest you read the other articles?) Now, one of the challenges when hosting a tasting with friends is to make sure they can bring something that fits the bill. Whether it is something they already have or something they have to purchase for the occasion. The risk with existing collections and given tastes is that we could end up doing Islay tastings, Ardbeg verticals, Laphroaig round-tables or Glenmorangie finishes. All nice, but awfully monotonous.
Dodgy puns are my way out of those sterile selections. In this case, anything with a name that contains 'Lo', 'Bridg', 'I' or 'Da.' Now, that should offer some interesting variations. Please note some prefer to try n expressions of the same distillery in one sitting -- their choice. I am perfectly happy with that if they are, of course. Each to their own.
The suspects: md, idealrichard, Fixou, JS and myself.
Oh! I discover at the end of the shindig that not one attendant knows what the pun is about -- in fact, md even thinks I have arranged bits of names of things I want to taste to make up a word. No. Here she is.

Before Leia, there was Gina

Longmorn 16yo (48%, OB, ca 2008) (me): nose: nice, this, full of oranges. Mouth: lots of oranges and a bit of leather. Simpleish and easy, without pretension. Finish: soft and delicate, with sweet orange rinds. People say this is horrible and a lot worse than the 15 year-old Chivas used to sell. I really cannot remember the 15 (over a decade since I last had it), but I think this one does not deserve the bad press (thanks kruuk2 for the sample). 7/10

Lochside 21yo 1989/2011 (48.2%, DL Old Malt Cask, Refill Barrel C#6953, 126b) (idealrichard): we tried this one last summer, but Fixou and md have not had it. Plus a Lochside is always worth trying twice (or more), is it not? Nose: figs (Fixou), overripe fruit, decaying fruit, a touch of sweaty feet and varnish. Very consistent with my notes from June. Also blue cheese and menthol, after a while in the glass. Mouth: yep, fruit and polished wood, as last time. Finish: slightly dry, with more fruit and walnut shells. It definitely is the same drink. To be honest, it is more interesting than good (it is not bad by any means), but I like it a lot. Sufficiently weird to keep one intrigued. 8/10

Glenlochy 1974 (40%, GMP Connoisseurs Choice, b.1990s) (me): nose: lots of dust, as is usual with those old bottles. Varnish then emerges, with some berries behind it. Fixou finds it herbal and floral and says that, like other 1970s' bottlings he has tried, it gives out a note of balsamic vinegar. He is right too: very noble balsamic vinegar is there indeed. idealrichard detects perfume in it. Mouth: herbs to a point it becomes slightly metallic. Berries again. It feels like licking a knife that was used to cut berries, sprinkled with high-quality vinaigrette. Finish: super complex, this! Bonded warehouse, lichen, berries and vinegar again, morphing from one to the other and back again. Wow! 9/10

Buffalo Trace White Dog Mash #1 (62.5%, OB) (md): nose: plums aplenty. In fact, I am convinced we are nosing plum eau-de-vie blended with a bit of grain. Mouth: powerful, yet not anaesthetising and quite round. Finish: balanced, grainy, rather jammy with some fruit. Interesting and certainly easier to drink than the 62.4% suggest. Definitely eau-de-vie related -- Quetsch and Slivovice come to mind. One for P, this.

Longrow's new packaging
A long row of people waiting for the pour
Longrow 18yo (46%, OB, b.2012) (idealrichard): nose: if you have ever walked into a farmyard, dear reader, this is it. Manure, mud, earth, hay, dried fern, rubber cement (JS -- it is a glue, apparently). Mouth: fresh and grassy, before it moves on to subtle manure. Then mud comes back. Finish: oh! yes, lots of very fine peat, which gives a distinctive impression of being at a farm. This does not disappoint! 8/10

G4.1 29yo 1979/2008 Mellow Menthol (53%, SMWS Society Cask, 236b) (me): our only 'bridg' comes in the shape of this Cameron Bridge that I "picked up" after a tasting in July. JS and I have tried it last year, but I cannot say I remember it much. Nose: vanilla, bakery, rose water (Fixou), orange water (Fixou). Girly, but well built (Fixou -- he must be talking about Gina). JS reckons it smells really sweet, with marshmallow candy. Croissant dough and noble wood for me. Mouth: perfect balance. Finish: a flash of fleeting exotic fruit (mango, maracuja), before it settles on the traditional bakery. A beautiful grain that has everyone under its spell (heartfelt thanks to PS). 9/10

Imperial 1969 (40%, GMP Connoisseurs Choice, b.1980s) (me): nose: grassy and mineral, dusty (another old bottle, innit). This is very, very complex! Lots of different herbs and all kinds of stones. Mouth: light and balanced, still quite grassy and unexpectedly powerful for its meagre 40%. Finish: some chocolate, a white-wine edge, maybe even some restrained leather. This is wonderful stuff. Another great CC brown label. 8/10

Dailuaine 16yo (43%, OB Flora & Fauna, ca 2010) (JS): nose: orange juice, a leather workshop. Pleasant nose if there ever was one, with nothing that shouts louder than the rest or louder than it should. Mouth: dark chocolate. Finish: chocolate with a citrus kick. Useless notes, by now, but what a great dram. It remains my favourite F&F (the Rosebank is not too far off, in a different price bracket) and, by the reaction it caused, I doubt I am the only one to think that way. 8/10

md likes tha sausage
Dailuaine 22yo 1973/1996 (61.8%, OB RMS) (me): nose: eau-de-vie, acrid (Fixou), bacon, strangely enough. It then evolves towards banane flambée with citrus rind. Mouth: smooth and powerful at the same time (Fixou). Pepper- and chilli-infused, banana-flavoured pudding. Finish: great kick, loaded with black pepper. I have not had a bad RMS bottling -- this is not breaking that rule. Fierce stuff too, at 61.80%. 8/10

md -Banffshire? It seems as though they make up names that you cannot pronounce. Does it even exist?
JS  -Banffshire? Oh yeah, that's a place in Scotland.
md -No shit.

md and idealrichard unfortunately have to leave at this point.

Fix   -You will love the Port Charlotte, JS. It is not at all as usual.
me    -It does not smell of smoked bacon, it smells of braised bacon!

Cooley 21yo b.2013 (56.3%, Cad World Whiskies, 210b) (Fixou): strictly speaking, this one is not in theme. However, Fixou has been willing to open it for months. Besides, if you spell Cooley backwards, it reads yelooC. Good enough. Nose: bacon and fruit. Strawberry, banana, mango and peat. Mouth: ooooooh! Lots of bitterness alongside warm embers and green things (it is an Irish whiskey, after all), with a note of vanilla. Lovely. Finish: long, warming, drying, with some charcoal, flowers and some subtle fruit. And then: bam! A dropkick of fleeting passion fruit. Excellent dram. 8/10

127.33 11yo 2002/2013 Mouth-numbing mountaineering dram (63.5%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Bourbon Barrel, 182b) (Fixou): here comes the Port Charlotte, then. Nose: lots of peat, of course, but also something else -- candle wax? Wick? This is the right whisky to end with: not only is it big and peaty, it also boasts an ABV to make one blind (63+%). Fruit and alcohol, as well as a touch of discrete vanilla. Mouth: lots of horsepower, with light fruit (white grapes, white plums) and tons of peat. Finish: an onslaught of peat with a dash of fruit. Not the kind of drams one could drink a lot of, but it is well pleasant in this context. 7/10

Still quite a mess, in the background

As an apotheosis to this first successful tasting at the new gaff, 127.33 will not do, though. Having said that, we need something that is able to follow it convincingly. Time to pull out the big guns.

Lost in contemplation
Lochside 46yo 1964/2011 (42.1%, TWE, C#8970, 139b) (me): nose: such fruitiness! Is it really necessary to say more? I have commented on this one on this blog and it is still the same quality, even after the monstrous Port Charlotte that should have rendered it pretty much tasteless. Fixou calls it a contemplative whisky. I call it bliss. Pity md and idealrichard had to leave early.
Splendid afternoon.

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