28 June 2014

21/06/2014 Solstice tasting at the SMWS

Hoping to catch one dram at the Society on this sunny Saturday afternoon, though of course, it was not meant to be: the regulars are there and claim they are so happy to see us after a long hiatus that they feel the urge to shower us with whisky.

Cambus 22yo 1991/2013 (53.8%, Signatory Vintage Cask Strength Edition, Refill Butt, C#55888, 534b): nose: flint, at first, which is atypical. Liqueur-soaked plums come out soon thereafter, then earth and the more traditional bakery. Perhaps some shoe polish, or distant coffee? Oh! Refill butt! There you go. It turns out to be an unexpected combination of coffee and pineapple. Mouth: soft and smooth, honey-like, even, akin to pineapple juice. Finish: a good dose of earth and coffee, now. It is unexpected, but well balanced, with roasted pineapple, lovely. A great Cambus. I just need to find out if I can still taste it tomorrow (remember Cambus usually strips my tongue to the point it is still in my mouth 36 hours later?) Answer: yep, still there the next day, with a headache to boot. :( Thanks PS for the dram nonetheless.

5.37 13yo d.2000 Lazing on a Sunday afternoon (59.5%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill ex-Bourbon Hogshead, 169b): nose: starts with lots of marzipan, white wine, and a high volume of alcohol -- pear eau-de-vie, then perhaps honeysuckle. Mouth: the bitterness of white-grape seeds. Watered-down white wine with a dash of custard. Not very expressive, but not disagreeable either. Finish: it is now very obvious chocolate milk with a trait of white wine. A pinch of white pepper erupts, it tickles a bit. A young, strongly alcoholic Auchentoshan (thanks B for the dram).

121.71 14yo d.1999 Eating the Italian way (54.8%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill ex-Bourbon Hogshead, 273b): nose: crisp, lemony, with Irish cream and perhaps a whiff of foot sweat. Mouth: a lot mellower than expected, hovering around caramel and custard. Finish: flowery and sweet (bakery), long and super pleasant. Another excellent Arran (thanks G for the dram).

26.101 9yo d.2004 An autumn feast at springtime (59.3%, SMWS Society Single Cask, 1st fill ex-Bourbon Barrel, 247b): nose: candle wax, spent wick, cut apples, furniture or floor polish -- this is a really waxy Clynelish! Some smoke emerges after a while. Mouth: spent wick and coating candle wax. Quite predictable. Finish: candle wax (d'oh!), cooked pears. Not the most complex or challenging dram, but does the trick (thanks Dr. C for the dram).

The thirty-minute quick fix transformed into a three-hour session. Great to catch up with mates we have not seen in a while, though.

16 June 2014

14/06/2014 Terrace tasting

Lost for themes everyone can follow, since I have little or no visibility over everyone else's collection. The sun has been out all week, so it seems like a great opportunity to make use of the terrace. Naturally, as soon as Saturday begins, the weather turns dreary, overcast, then even slightly rainy. We still stay outside most of the time.

The suspects: idealrichard, MJ, JS and myself.

Cragganmore 1969 (40%, GMP Connoisseurs Choice, b.1980s) (me): nose: dust, balsamic vinegar -- lots of OBE in action. Sawdust, old books, attic and unripe plantain (MJ). Some dark coffee or cured meat in the back. Sherry maturation, perhaps? Hard to say, as it is rather light in colour. Finish: embers, barbecue and burning flowers. Mon Chéri pralines. Lovely. Another terrific, brown-labelled Connoisseurs Choice. 7/10

Bruichladdich 12yo (46%, OB, b.06/02/2006, 06/0013) (idealrichard): nose: Armagnac, melon (MJ) -- yellow melon, that is. There is something else too; a stone fruit; apricot, almost certainly. Mouth: this is super silky, with some vanilla cream, orange water and grape seeds for an added bitter touch. Finish: very short, though it throws fruit at you before fading away. A great aperitive Bruichladdich, very refreshing. It is supposedly slightly peated, but if that is the case, it is so infinitesimal it is not worth mentioning. 7/10

Craig vs. Craig
Craigellachie 1971 (40%, GMP Connoisseurs Choice, b.1980s) (me): nose: sawdust and old books again. Let us wait a bit... Ha! Cola and strawberry. Much later on, tons of dough, sugar and barley, as well as marmalade (MJ). Mouth: sparkly, now! Lots of soda again. A fruit-soaked soda drink. Finish: weird and funny, fizzy, full of bubblegum; strawberry bubblegum, to be accurate. 8/10


Craigellachie-Glenlivet 15yo (46%, Cadenhead, b.1980s) (me): nose: grain, grain, grain. Brandy, pears and all sorts of fruity eau-de-vie. MJ finds Camembert in it, as well as AirFix glue. He is drunk, quite clearly. Mouth: beefed-up pear juice and peach nectar. Finish: so sparkly and fizzy, with a touch of milk chocolate and verbena. 7/10

MJ -This tastes of Jerusalem artichoke.

My fellow tasters start with the Cadenhead offering and love it. I start with the Gordon & McPhail, which makes the Cadenhead a bit disappointing, actually. The GMP ends up getting everyone's preference anyway. Both great drams, though.

GlenDronach 18yo Allardice (46%, OB, b.02/09/2013, LG30878) (MJ): nose: Christmas pudding, cured meat, black bun, warm, flat cola, raisins and dried figs. Mouth: more cola and dried fruit, fizzy and balanced. Finish: dark chocolate and black bun; very, very nice. 7/10

Jack Daniels Single Barrel (JS): nose: Haze air freshener (idealrichard), varnish (MJ), sweets. Extremely sweet, in fact. Mouth: no surprise -- this is very consistent with the nose. Marshmallows (MJ). Finish: more of the same. Pleasant dram, though pretty predictable.

Glen Mhor 28yo 1976/2005 (51.9%, OB Rare Malts Selection) (me): nose: white wine and hay. This seems quite shy and closed, at first. It becomes fruitier with time. Pears and apples, almonds (MJ) and dunnage warehouse (which I love). Mouth: apple eau-de-vie, white wine. I reckon the predecessor might have altered our taste buds, unfortunately. This is good, not outstanding, today. Finish: lively and fruity, pears again (thanks pat gva for the sample). 8/10

MJ -I think almonds are an incredibly interesting thing.

Glenturret 34yo b.2012 (46%, Berry Bros Selected by Berrys', cask ref. 1) (idealrichard): if you read this blog frequently, you might have picked up that we all share a distinct affection for Glenturret cask ref 2. idealrichard wanted to replenish his stock of it and got sent this one by mistake, that was bottled a year earlier. A mixed case of curiosity and can't-be-arsedness made him keep it and bring it. Yay! Nose: dunnage warehouse! There is some fruit in that warehouse, stacked in cardboard crates. After a while, loads of pear show up. Lovely, this! Mouth: the fruit is now more prominent. It is creamy, fruity (stone fruit) and awfully good! Finish: perfectly smooth  (read: creamy) and fruity -- pink grapefruit, melon, guava. This one is just about as good as ref #2, which still remains my favourite. Superb. 9/10


Farewell, dear friend

Ardbeg 1978/1999 (43%, OB) (me): this one is dying and MJ has not had it, while idealrichard has not had it in a long time. Nose: barley (hey! it's Ardbeg), balsamic vinegar, kelp, oysters. MJ finds something almost metallic in it -- verbena it will be. Mouth: balanced, with a maritime feel (fishing nets) and more balsamic vinegar. Finish: again, barley, kelp, oysters, mussels and pleasure. This remains a superlative dram. I have had this one many times in the past (that is why the bottle is empty, dummy!) and it absolutely NEVER disappointed. A bottle that will be sorely missed. 9/10

Lochside 46yo 1964/2011 (42.1%, The Whisky Exchange, C#8970) (me): celebration! Nose: sugary and sweet (MJ), sherbety (MJ). Overripe tropical fruit (citrus, according to MJ, maracuja if you believe me), greengages, crisp apples (MJ). There is also a bakery scent, with vanilla and redcurrant marmalade. Mouth: an extraordinary balance of tropical fruit and bakery stuff. Finish: as usual, it is great for three-to-five seconds, but not as good as in my memor... BANG! The passion-fruit roundhouse kick in the face! :-) Infallible remedy against bad mood, this. One of the best drams of all time. 10/10

Great tasting, a step up from the ones in March and April. Unfortunately, we have to rush a little: idealrichard has to leave at 17:00, while MJ bids good bye around 18:00. Ten drams are a couple too many to drink over less than three hours. I end up tipsy (hips).