11 March 2014

06/03/2014 P/O/U/R/S at the Kilderkin

One of the two main reasons we are in Edinburgh today is that this tasting is taking place. The line-up does not contain anything I would go for if I had to choose, but then that is part of the appeal. The venue is a back room in a local pub, the audience is around thirty-strong, connoisseurs and first-timers, the host is well-baked even as we walk in (he got a drink or two from the Finns we met at the show last year, amongst others), the purpose is simple: Peaty, Old, Unusual, Rare and Sherry, and the proceedings are even simpler: we try everything blind, then share impressions before the host tells us what we just had.

A Krautpleaser
Craigellachie-Glenlivet 14yo 1999/2014 (55.1%, Cadenhead for 10th anniversary of Berlin shop, 234b): bottled to celebrate the German branch of Cadenhead's -- only a handful of bottles in the UK, this is the Rare. Nose: sawdust aplenty, burnt custard, stale Grand Marnier. With water: more flowers come out and white grapes. Mouth: sawdust in milk, a bit stripping, it has quite a sting. With water: immensely improved. Most of the bitterness went in favour of white grapes and chocolate milk. Finish: dry -- pleasantly so, but dry. Dryish white wine and strong coffee. With water: still wine and coffee, but shy enough to be agreeable. This is ok, not something I would buy, though it gets A LOT better with water. 5/10

JollyToper, 'This was 46.70£, but if you want the last bottles, suckers, it'll cost you 55£, 'cos my boss is a capitalist.'

JollyToper, 'When we tried this one in the shop, we thought it would be a Krautpleaser.'

Invergordon 25yo 1988/2013 (51.5%, Whiskybroker, C#8117, 86b): this could be the Old, but it is in fact the Unusual. Nose: butter and all sorts of dairy, a whiff of glue (J), some kind of wood paste, liquid paper. Fruit and caramel, says our table neighbour. Mouth: creamy, coconut milk with wood shavings again. Big wood influence, here. Finish: this is Invergordon alright. There is a fleeting discharge of blackcurrant, then loads of woody sawdust. I am proud to have recognised it (should not, really, it was dead easy). 7/10

Successful rum maturation
Glen Elgin-Glenlivet 22yo 1991/2013 Rum Cask (56.8%, Cadenhead, 498b): this one is the Old. Nose: dry and ripe -- I thought some wine maturation, but it might be rum after all. High strength and a rough edge -- in a nice way. Cough syrup with an orange tang. Water takes the edge away a bit. Lots of vanilla, now. Mouth: oh! yes, drying. This is a rum cask, but a well-balanced one. Lots of orange that coats the tongue. With water: a lot more balanced and pleasant, full of blood orange and caramel. lovely. Finish: long and nice, with lovely orange. With water: the same, but less pronounced. 8/10

Glentauchers 16yo 1997/2013 (54.3%, GMP Cask Strength for The Whisky Exchange, Refill Sherry Hogshead, C#5580): nose: SHERRY! That would be the Sherry, then. Meat, leather, unsalted biltong, smoked haddock says our neighbour, 'proper smoked haddock, not that crap from the supermarket' (another fellow taster at our table). Old saddles, cured meat, an old man wearing a smoking jacket in a library (J). Burning candle wick. With water: better -- the meat is more discreet. Mouth: fortified wine it is, very sherried indeed, full of meaty and gamey notes. Finish: smoked haddock is now taking over in a huge way, very salty and wide. Subtle peat smoke. Water does not alter it, it only makes it everything tamer. Good finish, otherwise not exactly my bag. Good swimmer, but it does not improve so much. 6/10

Lagavulin 12yo b.2013 (55.1%, OB Natural Cask Strength): obviously the Peat. Nose: barley, smoke, peat, chewing tobacco, one-dimensional and overpriced (the whole room says the same). Lots of alcohol and easily decipherable peat. Mouth: shellfish, oil rigs, all sorts of maritime shenanigan. Finish: invading and ashy. Smoked mussels, but nothing really noteworthy. This is soooo unsubtle. Certainly not bad, but simply not interesting. Well, after a while, blackcurrant emerges. Simple and monolithic and not at all good value for money. 6/10

There is a raffle at the end. Nearly everyone gets something and so do we: a mini of Gentleman's Jack and a mini of an Aldi blend. A nice touch.

JollyToper is sorry that none of those drams really did the trick for me, but it does not matter. The whole experience was nicely informal and a good night out. The drams were good quality, just not my thing. And -- hey! It cannot always be White Bowmore.
Mac Ukulele

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