6 May 2014

25/04/2014 An impromptu tasting

Psycho cannot make it to the tasting on Sunday, so he pops in today for a dram or two. Or ten.
Psycho, JS, adc and myself.

A tasting with no ambition whatsoever.

Littlemill 8yo (40%, OB, clear glass): nose: overly ripe fruit, raisins, fruit cake (Psycho), dark chocolate/orange PiM's. An interesting blend of wax and fruit -- peach jelly and a gentle whiff of smoke. Mouth: the texture is that of fruit juice, honeyed and acidic, with a drop of lemon juice (that'll be the Acidity, then). Finish: creamy, fruity. It then evolves towards bitter cream coffee and mild tobacco. A most unexpected configuration. Very interesting. 7/10

Formal dress mandatory

Littlemill 8yo (40%, OB, green glass): nose: rougher, dusty, with old newspaper and Calvados, believe it or not. Mouth: quite vinegary. Another strange combination, this time old books and peach stones, alongside green hazelnuts. Finish: milk chocolate with a coffee flavour. Less good, this one, though not bad either (thanks mars for both samples). 6/10

Tomatin 16yo 1995/2011 (46%, GMP Exclusive for Inverness Airport, Refill Bourbon Barrel C#5128) (brought by me): nose: slightly acidic (Psycho), foot and camembert (adc), flowers about to wilt (peonies, to be precise), carnation in bloom. It finishes with ripe pears. Mouth: a little honey, flower juice, very refreshing. Finish: stringent, but also flowery and filled with honey.

Bladnoch 16yo 1991/2007 (51%, La Maison du Whisky Belgique Taste Still, C#8411, 126b) (me): it has been a while. Time to revisit it. Nose: leathery and as un-Bladnoch-y as can be. Fox skin, distant coffee, musk, wet alley cat (Psycho). Behind all that, strawberry, some wax -- one gets to wonder if this is not a mislabelled Clynelish! Mouth: creamy and peppery (Szechuan), still unlike any other Bladnoch, I think. Finish: sparkly and spritzy, Acidic (Psycho), with cola. Very nice, but an oddball. Mystic - Ritmo Del Bladnoche would work great on Sunday, but we have other plans. :-) 7/10

Five Lakes Canadian Whisky 3yo (40%, Five Lakes Blend, EMB 62140 549) (me): Canada law apparently allows blenders to use a certain percentage of other alcohol in the mix and still call it blended whisky. Crazy. This one reeks of rum, so go figure. Nose: rum, grain (JS). Chock full of cane sugar and woody rum. Psycho finds dry tree bark and Rhum Agricole (cane juice rum) in it. Mouth: sweet and gulpable. Syrup and rum again. Finish: long and sweet, syrupy (maple syrup, surely ;-) ) and pleasant. A drop of coffee complements the whole. More interesting than good (the Old Man of Huy is not a rum fan), but boy! is it interesting. Not ordinary, this. 5/10

Knappogue 36yo 1951/1987 (40%, Terra Knappogue Castle, Sherry Casks) (adc): the bottle is on its last leg, so great to try this Tullamore once more. Nose: grass, flint, wax, honey, then daffodils. The mini drop of Five Lakes that was likely still in the glass renders this even better than usual -- rounder and more enticing, with a note of lovely toffee. Mouth: thin and lively, with a very distant hint of brewing coffee. Finish: long and soothing, far from invading. Honey and toffee pudding. An outstanding dram, still. 8/10

5.31 11yo (57.7%, SMWS Society Cask, b.2011) (JS): one of Psycho's favourite distilleries, therefore it seems in order. Nose: ginger bread (Psycho), herbaceous, vanilla, varnish (adc). Mouth: gently spicy, creamy and coating. Pleasant alright, this. Finish: vanilla, pastry, herbs. Yep, good one. 7/10

76.82 15 yo (56.7%, SMWS Society Cask, b.2011) (JS): nose: smoked ham, butter caramel sweets (the golden, flat one in Quality Street tins). At second nosing, it smells of boats. The kind of tar they spread below the floating line to keep it waterproof, to be precise (adc). Mouth: jam, all of a sudden, with a dash of black pepper. Oily. Finish: pepper, wax, jam -- very, very good. 7/10

Banff 23yo 1976/2000 (55.5%, SV, C#2249) (me): nose: Psycho finds it volatile. It is light, orangey and ashy. Vegetable soup (Psycho specifies it is the green-tomato kind). More seriously, hay, hydrocarbon, an oil refinery (adc). Mouth: lovely marmalade with a hint of oil products (or is it mustard?) Good balance. This is lovely indeed, spicy and lively. Finish: yep, marmalade, kumquat and, on the sides of the tongue, Dijon mustard (the grainy kind). Preserved lemons, Moroccan citrons. What a drop this is! 9/10

Ardbeg 25yo Lord of the Isles (46%, OB, OB, L5 285 2138 4M1) (adc): nose: a campfire dying out (Psycho), dried dung (adc), the traditional Ardbeg barley and the extremely refined peat that one can only find in those Ardbeg from the 1970s. Dried lemon zest, damp coal (Psycho). Mouth: this is pornomaltic. A perfect balance of tame peat and basalmic vinegar (© Fixou). Finish: peat, sea salt, sea spray, brine, preserved lemons, pleasure. One of the few contemplative drams for me. I continue to think that those reduced small batches are superior to the single-cask Ardbeg from the same era. Let the shark fight over those. The only reason the Lord does not get top score from me is that it is not moreish -- a dram is enough. 9/10

Well, that was not so lightweight as anticipated. Great, relaxed session on the terrace, enjoying the sunshine.

And a chicken pie to boot, w00t!

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