30 September 2014

30/09/2014 Blitz at Berrys' #9

My latest visit is so fresh in my memory, it seems like yesterday. Ahem. *cough*

Glen Garioch 23yo 1990/2014 (56.1%, BBr Selected By Berrys', C#7939): this one was nowhere to be found yesterday, but it is here today. Herbs, a subtle note of tropical fruit (it unfortunately fades away promptly), burnt thyme in the aftertaste, as well as oak. A tad drying, yet better than yesterday's 1990. 8/10

Allt A Bhainne (55.1%, BBr Selected By Berrys', C#177624): barley, low-quality chocolate pudding (low cocoa percentage), crayons and herbs. I do not find it as impressive as yesterday. Downgraded. 7/10

Glengoyne 13yo 2000/2014 (46%, BBr Selected By Berrys', C#1073): meat, paint thinner, prunes, OXO broth, and a weird bitterness, close to grape seeds. Interesting, not my profile. 5/10

Blue Hanger 11th (45.6%, BBr Selected By Berrys'): smoke, greengages, cured meat and a finish bringing roasted hazelnut. Pleasant. 6/10

Nicaraguayan Rum 11yo (46%, BBr Selected By Berrys'): sweet and syrupy, maple syrup. Very nice. A whisky drinker's rum.

Bunnahabhain 26yo 1987/2014 (49.8%, BBr Selected By Berrys', C#2451): again, just to confirm yesterday's impression. Sweaty feet, confined air -- that smell one gets at 6am, upon entering a closed compartment on an overnight train, in which people have been sleeping. That quickly makes room for marzipan, toffee, oak and stewed prunes. Lovely Bunna, still. 8/10

29 September 2014

29/09/2014 Blitz at Berrys' #8

Scouting excursion before the Whisky Show, you understand. Why waste my (and the staff's) time at the show trying things I have easy access to all year round? I agree.

Glen Garioch 24yo 1989/2014 (53.8%, BBr Selected By Berrys', C#7854): a distillery I shamefully gloss over, usually. I am told there are some stellar ones, yet I do not yet know them. Herbs, lemon and light smoke, this has. Very pleasant indeed. 7/10

Glencadam 22yo 1991/2014 (53.3%, BBr Selected By Berrys', C#4765): this one jumps at you with sharp lemon. Follow a medicinal note and verbena. It is pretty drying. Similar profile to the Garioch, but not as enjoyable. 6/10

Allt A Bhainne 18yo 1995/2014 (55.1%, BBr Selected By Berrys', C#177624): a rare sight, though less rare, these days, I suppose. Chocolate pudding, almond liqueur, crayons, and a finish that is not too dissimilar to a liqueur praline. Convincing. 8/10

Bunnahabhain 26yo 1987/2014 (49.8%, BBr Selected By Berrys', C#2451): unpeated, of course. Marzipan, toffee, and a touch of oak. The finish is rich with stewed prunes -- I like it a lot. 8/10

23 September 2014

20/09/2014 Independence

Only two days afer the Scottish referendum, there was only one theme we could follow.
The suspects: idealrichard, MJ, PS, JS and myself.

The menu:

Mick Harris & Ambre - Dys

Moidart 10yo (40%, J&A Mitchell, b. ca 2010) (brought by me): this one even reads, 'My king landed here.' The king in question is Charles Edward Stuart, pretender to the thrones of both Scotland and England. A unionist of his time, then. It is also a blended malt, a union of several singles. Nose: peach (PS), sherbet (MJ), pears, perfume, Bramley apple peels, cooking on the hob (specific, eh?) Mouth: a faintly bitter taste, balanced out with honey and squashed peach, white grapes. Soft and silky at first, it moves towards white pepper and green chilli, in the end. Finish: burnt cereals, warm peach. Pretty nice, this. 7/10

125.61 10yo (61.9%, SMWS Society Cask, b. ca 2012) (idealrichard): an independent bottling. idealrichard's selection got lost in the post, so he had to make do with whatever he had. Nose: ginger bread, Black Forest Gateau (if I knew what the fuck that is). This is rich and intense. With water, cake is even louder. Selkirk bannock. Nice. Mouth: black olives, anchovy pizza (yes, really). The first sip is very salty. Salted caramel (JS). With water: less salt and more bakery flavours. Finish: cinnamon cake, ginger bread, blackcurrant, toffee. With water, dark-fruit jam. Surprisingly enough, idealrichard received 125.61 and 25.61 as part of the same welcome pack. 7/10

The Optic Crux - DJAX-UP-CD6

The BenRiach 19yo 1994/2013 (55.3%, OB for the UK, Virgin American Oak Hogshead, C#4386, 344b) (MJ): MJ received this bottling to celebrate the tenth anniversary of his union with Mrs. J. Nose: raisins (sultanas, says PS), cake (by now, everyone calls it Gattox), lots of ginger. Mouth: dry and -- dare I say? -- rough. Tannins, grain (idealrichard), leather (PS), white pepper. Finish: more raisins, ginger and spicy gateau. Good this. MJ reckons he will keep his wife for another while. 7/10

Snacks enter the game: dried sausage, oat cakes, Maltesers.

Springbank 28yo 1974/2002 (46%, IML Chieftain's, Barrel, C#1388, 180b) (PS): another independent bottling. This theme thing is not taken very seriously, it seems. Nose: walking through an orchard (apples, satsumas). This one is resolutely straightforward, but oh! so nice. An atypical release from Springbank, though. In the back, dunnage warehouse and baked apple pie. Mouth: surprisingly peppery, still full of apples. Finish: the first impression is drying, yet that quickly evolves towards orchard fruit with a hint of polished wood. An unexpected Springbank and a pleasant surprise. 8/10

Longmorn 22yo 1990/2013 (48.1%, SD Single Malts of Scotland, Hogshead, C#12289, 199b) (idealrichard): independent bottling. Nose: starts with farm and leather-workshop scents, then opens up to reveal dark fruit (decaying cherries, perhaps some quince too). A touch of lemon too, yet the leather remains quite prominent. Mouth: very lemony, now. Acidic and sharp, perhaps with a few herbs (oregano?) Finish: a fleeting impression that vanishes quickly, only to come back, slowly but surely. Lemon pie it is, with some cinnamon. This is rather agreeable, saved by a good finish. 7/10

The Pussycat Dolls - PCD

Port Dundas 17yo 1991/2008 (61.5%, DR Cask Collection, Barrel, C#120306, 180b) (me): indie bottling of a big-group distillery. Nose: corn-flakes dust (PS), ginger bread, corn syrup. Mouth: lots of pepper, today, red chilli and crushed bay leaves, all blended into a paste and spread on top of ginger bread. Finish: peppery ginger bread, steady and strong. Complex? Noble? Perhaps not, but efficient it is! 8/10

Bruichladdich 28yo 1964/1993 (50.6%, GMP Cask, C#3670--3672) (me): independent distillery, up until recently, at least. Nose: citrus fruit. This starts with 's' and ends with 'tunning.' We will save it for later to protect the innocent. And the next bottlings.

Highland Park 21yo 1984/2005 (54.1%, TWS Glenkeir Treasures Cask Strength Selection, Sherry Butt, 450b) (PS): yet another independant bottling. Nose: burning cow dung, old rope (PS), a tarry note (PS). I am more of an Amiga person myself, I have to say. Quite flowery (the traditional heather), honey, steak and lychee. Mouth: the balance is superb. It moves between peach , lychee and heather honey. Lovely. Finish: slightly bitter and tarry, liquorice (PS), tar on rope. The weak point of this dram, this finish. Still good, though. 8/10

Linkwood 26yo 1975/2002 (56.1%, OB Rare Malts Selection) (me): the distillery is part of a big group (Diageo) and this was bottled by United Distillers. Nose: the grass note one finds in laundry detergent (PS), dunnage warehouse and melon. Mouth: perfect balance again, MJ finds it ethereal. A touch of honey, black pepper, elderberry syrup -- not too thick, but wonderful. Finish: candle wick, heather, citrus (PS). This is a colossal Linkwood and the best I have had. 9/10

MJ and idealrichard unfortunately have to leave at this point. We change the music and go back to this dram.
Michael Nyman - The Draughtman's Contract

Bruichladdich 28yo 1964/1993 (50.6%, GMP Cask, C#3670--3672) (me): nose: kumquats, sweet oranges, some fleeting smoke (PS), cucumber, kiwi -- stupendous nose, to tell the truth. Mouth: balanced, silky, with a twist or two of the black-pepper mill, cucumber peels, mint, shortcake (PS). Marvelous, this is. Finish: flippin' 'eck! Melon, kiwi, peach, black pepper, some bitterness -- is it lichen or wood? Peppermint, far in the back, grapefruit -- pink, green or otherwise. This is majestic whisky alright. And neverending to boot, straight from the golden 1960s. 9/10

Nectarines appear and promptly disappear. We hear Tropic of Cancer - Restless Idylls

Flaming Heart FH16MMVI (48.9%, CB, b.2006) (PS): union of malt and grain whiskies, as are all blends. Nose: smoked ham, grape and peach nectar, then stones (granite, limestone). Sage too? Yes. Mouth: sharp and clean. After a minute, it becomes rather mineral, with flint and gravel. Finish: grape and peach juice, still (pips and stones included), with smoked ham floating in it. It ends with lichen on stone. Another worthy Compass Box effort. 7/10

Pete Namlook - Silence IV

Laphroaig Cask Strength Batch 003 (55.3%, OB, b.2011) (idealrichard): this one is off-theme. idealrichard brought it anyway, since we never had it at a tasting. Nose: peat smoke, manure, varnish, carbonyl (dark wood tint), creosote. This one is soothing my soul (the music helps too). With water, dust comes out. Mouth: sharp at first, chiselled, peppery. The balance is better with water. More fruit and white pepper. Finish: cereals, peat, tons of peat, fire. This is a dram for the evening in a dark cottage on a windswept island. I do not find it too complex, but I understand why people like this sort of things. It is immediate, seductive whisky. A whisky for beginners in search for a thrill. 7/10

It is late and PS has missed his train. Before he catches the next one, we finish off with a drop of Lochside 1964/2011 TWE. Happy days. :-)

Superb afternoon, full of good whisky and giggles, mostly around MJ's fabled bottle of Grant's. Better planning is required in the future, however: MJ and idealrichard often need to be in bed by 18:30, which means they have to rush through the last few drams.

19/09/2014 One Coleburn

Coleburn 17yo 1965 (40%, GMP Connoisseurs Choice, b.1982): I have had this in my secret drawer for a while. Today seems like the right time to find out whether it is worth getting a full bottle or not.

Nose: polished oak and varnish -- this is noble! Some spices (nutmeg, mace), herbs (mint, bay leaves), roasted coffee beans in the distance. The nose is surprisingly loud, for a whisky that spent thirty years in the bottle. Later on, sparkly cola and a whiff of dust, at last. It eventually dies out with slightly burnt, crusty banoffee. Mouth: oily, viscous, even. More banoffee (particularly the caramelised dough that sticks to the baking tin). Mint makes an appearance too, alongside light coffee and nutmeg. Still lively enough, this one! Finish: mint first, then light coffee and cola that ends up with flat Alka-Seltzer . Most peculiar. This note of effervescent Aspirine/Alka Seltzer gone flat stays as well, which spoils an otherwise promising dram. Grand nose, good mouth, weird finish. Probably deserves 7/10 all the same.

16 September 2014

16/09/2014 Ian Buxton - 101 Legendary Whiskies You're Dying to Try But (Possibly) Never Will

This is not a tasting note, but a brief book review (I did try to chew the book, before you ask -- it has a cardboardy side to it).
A month ago almost to the day, Ian Buxton's latest opus hit the shops. I have not read the first two in the 101 series; take it as arrogance from my part if you will -- I did not think there was anything for me in them. This one, however, promised something a lot geekier, something for collectors, ghost hunters and, let us be honest, nerds. All boxes ticked, then.
Since it just came out and patience is not the my strongest point, I relied on the one review I gleaned from an Internet forum (pretty much a one-liner) and jumped in.

At 101 pages plus introduction and acknowledgements, it is hardly Tolstoy, which means it only took 24 hours to read (with pauses). And that, although I was fuming just flicking through the pages, at first. Read on, read on!

When I finished mopping the angry froth off my chin and started reading, my mood changed dramatically. Having never read anything of significant length by Ian Buxton prior (shoot the Old Man of Huy), I was pleased to find the writing style to be particularly apt for this sort of books where the intrigue is set and solved over the course of a page. It is humorous (tongue-in-cheek), occasionally sarcastic, remarkably astute, painfully incisive and very, very mischievous in a school-boy kind of way. Buxton holds no punches and though always seemly, appears quite pleased to insert a snide remark here and there, keeping his best snarks for those pundits in the industry who not only were/are unable to shake off the comfortable numbness of the status quo, but also impose(d) said status quo upon more innovative types.

I could not help but feel betrayed all the same. Many, many of the entries in this book are not legendary whiskies at all. Some are legends of the whisky world (people, references in literary works), historically important (and possibly overlooked) bottlings or events, or simply heavyweights who have, in the past, churned out legendary bottlings.
Cadenhead's? Gordon & MacPhail? Their contribution to the industry is noteworthy, sure. Is that a legendary whisky we cannot taste, though? No, it is not. Buxton even goes as far as giving examples of bottlings from those institutions that went on to become legendary... well, those seem like perfect candidates for this book to me, then. Given the title, I would have enjoyed an entry for the Longrow 1974 Authentic Collection 150th Anniversary. That would have been a good opportunity to talk a bit about the bottler, Cadenhead's. An entry about Cadenhead's and a mention of a couple of their bottlings is missing the point of the title, in my opinion. A shame, since other brands have up to six expressions on display. It does not seem to have been a question of space.

The writer gives a very clear disclaimer about the controversial content and justifies each entry of this book rather convincingly. I have to say I still do not agree. Yes, all those entries belong in one same book, being all building bricks of the whisky world as we know it today. No, they do not all belong in a book called 101 Legendary Whiskies You're Dying to Try But (Possibly) Never Will. Was Glenfiddich 12yo instrumental in the conquest of the world by single malt? Of course it was. Does it then qualify as a legend, worthy of the same title as Black Bowmore? Most certainly not.

All in all, it is a pleasant little book. I learnt a lot of things from it -- Mr Buxton is very, very good at unearthing obscure trivia and sharing personal anecdotes. Simply do not go in hoping to read tasting notes for 101 legendary whiskies, because you will not. It is a good book with a misleading title.

As a side note, there are a few typos, which is only understandable, but also a geographic error that is hard to forgive (so, Ian, Linlithgow is in Ireland, these days?)

Now, let us have a dram all the same. Old Orkney it is. Not the original, which has its own entry in the book, but the GMP tribute.

Old Orkney b.2011 (40%, GMP, AA/JAIB): nose: nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice and mace (that is a yellow-fleshed nut, akin to nutmeg, if you are not familiar with it; it goes into garam masala, amongst others). This is pretty spicy indeed. After a moment, that all calms down to make room for sea air, iodine and salt... with a drop of cola. Salty cola? You got it. Mouth: gentle and soft, custardy, even. The salty side is still there, however, and pleasant it is too. Lovely balance, if the whole is not too complex. Finish: it gets rather maritime, now, with sea spray, algae, kelp and wet sand, yet also pipe tobacco. Think Belinda Carlisle meets Captain Iglo (if Captain Iglo ever smoked a pipe, which seems in character). Is that toffee too? Probably Fisherman's Friend -- the soft sort that does not obliterate your mouth.
Obviously, I will never know how the original Old Orkney tasted. Having said that, this is a great effort by GMP. And to reward your attention, here are a picture of the old Stromness distillery site (who produced the original Old Orkney) and a song by Ms. Carlisle.

15 September 2014

14/09/2014 One solitary dram

Fixou gave me this sample so long ago I cannot remember when -- arguably, that is because my memory is not so good anymore, as it cannot be much longer than a year ago.
I am rather excited, since I do not get to taste Glen Elgin very often (if you read this blog frequently, you will know that, of course), and even more rarely at this age. Besides, Fixou pimped it up rather relentlessly, raising my expectations. A dangerous thing to do, though that is a separate discussion. Let us get cracking, shall we?

Glen Elgin 31yo 1975/2007 (46%, BBr Berrys' Own Selection, C#5167+5170): nose: my! this reeks of nobility! Saddles and leather boots after a day hunting in the woods and fields. In other words, leather, mud, grass and cow dung alongside a touch of wood. Perhaps it is as close to a peasant's clogs, after all. With breathing, this give away wood fire, logs for the fire in a humid cabin -- this is amazing, actually! It ends up properly earthy, almost ashy. Mouth: oily to the max, with a vaguely bitter note of dryish white wine. Add a dash of black pepper and shy elderberry to that. It is lively and balanced. Finish: very earthy again, warming and soothing. This is one for base camp, after a grand day out, hiking. It even delivers some wax to remind me of candles at the bivouac.
This is the best Elgin I have had the pleasure to taste, or at least, my favourite (and I did try a Manager's Dram sherried expression a while ago). I dare say it is not too far from a Brora. It deserves a rating somewhere between 8 and 9 -- I think I will go with 9/10. There is still enough to revise my judgement another day. (Thanks Fixou for the sample)

10 September 2014

10/09/2014 Blitz at Berrys' #7

Have not visited the good people at Berrys' for a while. Time to correct that.

Longmorn 24yo 1988/2013 (46%, BBr Selected by Berrys', C#14385): this is elegant indeed, quite herbaceous, with a few notes of fresh orchard fruits. Compote, as well as a delicate touch of bitter white wine. Pleasant. It turns out I already had it and I think I preferred it the first time.

Littlemill 25yo 1988/2014 (46%, BBr Selected by Berrys', Cask Ref 32): a sister-cask to #32 I liked last year and very probably the last 1988 cask of Littlemill BBr had. This comes with an inflated price tag, unfortunately (double that of last year's). Is it worth it? Nose: caramba! Peat smoke! It is subtle, but definitely there. Shoe polish, leather belts, metal, verbena and light peat smoke. How unlikely? Is this a Dunglass in disguise? Mouth: round and pleasant, still displays some smoke, though the dominant is polished wood. Orange peel is also present. Dried orange peel, even. Finish: well, the smoke still speaks, but wood has a voice too, now. Leather is still there, still in check. Metal? well I suppo-- what!? fleeting fruit, now? Another nosing to confirm that and indeed: the nose has completely changed, to now give away overripe fruit, decaying, even. What a strange, strange whisky! Cask Ref 32 was a roller-coaster of a dram, displaying one thing before changing to the next. This one, although a completely different profile, seems to be as ever-changing (unstable, even). A funny whisky for sure! Perhaps more of a (pricy) curiosity than a pleasure dram, though.

Penny Blue XO Mauritian Rum Batch #002 (43.2%, OB, 2000b): round, quaffable, with the right amount of spice. This is a rum for whisky drinkers. I like it enough.

8 September 2014

06/09/2014 September outturn at the SMWS

The manager has left, yet it does not mean the shop has ground to a halt. Far from it, actually. Big outturn, this month.
The venue is very busy. It is clear the holiday season is over and members are interested in the rare releases on display this month. Let us get cracking!

91.20 37yo 1976 The Rumbling Thunder Of Contentment (46.9%, SMWS Society Cask, Refill ex-Bourbon Hogshead, 58b): is that not a low outturn? Nose: it starts out waxy and fruity (apricot), develops marzipan notes, before moving towards jasmine, thyme and hawthorn. Mouth: citrus, wax and more apricot -- lovely! It has a perfume quality to it, ethereal and fragrant. Finish: elegantly fruity again, reminiscent of a nice, subtle perfume. How I love those old casks in which the ABV has naturally sunk below 50%! Second Society Dufftown for me and it is a star. 9/10

26.105 29yo 1984 Bumblebees By The Sea (57.6%, SMWS Society Cask, Refill ex-Sherry Butt, 548b): old Clynelishes bottled by the Society can be magnificent creations. In fact, they are pretty much what convinced me to give that distillery another chance, after a few less-than-convincing experiences. Nose: wood, sawdust, pine board, an Ikea warehouse -- where are the distillery's characteristics? Flowers emerge, after a wee while, forsythia, to be precise. Mouth: velvety, silky. Polished oak and peach dominate the palate. With water, peach is even more assertive. Finish: sharp wood returns, backed by more juicy peach. Superb. With water: seems better than neat, still rather peachy. Wonderful Clynelish, for those who do not crave the house style (and are not afraid of wood). 8/10

Enter plates of cheese.

50.58 24yo 1990/2014 A Seesaw Of Spring Cleaning And Scones! (55%, SMWS Society Cask, Refill ex-Bourbon Barrel, 90b): this one is not on the list, was not part of any outturn and never was at the bar either. It popped up as a Web-site exclusive in August; a few lucky members took a gamble, one brought a bottle today. Nose: pastures. Field flowers and cow dung, that is. Butter, buttercups. Mouth: much hotter than the nose suggested. Dandelions, red chilli and juicy grass. Finish: it becomes very flowery again, bursting with kerria japonica and daffodils. At second sip, overripe fruit -- that clogged-sink/hiking-boot impression I frequently mention. Brilliant Lowlander. 8/10 (Thanks Barry for the dram)

59.51 30yo 1983 A Refined Cocktail (51.5%, SMWS Society Cask, Refill ex-Bourbon Hogshead, 140b): nose: tons of wood (resin, sawdust, wood shavings) and quite a bit of yellow fruit (apricot), Then come cinnamon sticks, dried galangal and other dried spices. Mouth: mellow and subtle, with stone fruit. Black pepper makes an appearance, then green-wood bitterness settles in. Finish: ample and coating, white pepper, wood shenanigans alongside apricot flesh that becomes bolder and bolder with time. Beautiful expression from this lesser-known distillery. 8/10

9.91 23yo 1990 A Whispering Dram (53%, SMWS Society Cask, Refill ex-Bourbon Hogshead, 254b): nose: bay leaves, tarragon, thyme infusion, yet also some fruit: grapes, apples, apricot (it is an apricot day, be warned), hot plums. Mouth: razor-sharp, Acidic, grape-y. Finish: more white grapes, yet this time, it is soaked in cola -- what!? A rather fitting name, since this is not very loud. 7/10

Arran 15yo Easan Biorach (52.4%, OB for Lochranza Hotel, b. ca 2014): nose: venison, cured meat, boiled beef dice, beef stock, OXO broth -- do you think this is a sherry cask? Caramel also, but less. Mouth: more tamed, less animal. Melted chocolate in diluted beef stock. Finish: star aniseed, mint chocolate, marinated venison. Quite strong, but it works for some. Barry hates it, however. 6/10 (Thanks Whisky Cyclist for the dram)

G4.7 34yo 1979 Flying Saucers And Foamy Shrimps (51.9%, SMWS Society Cask, Refill ex-Bourbon Hogshead, 175b): nose: well, it is a grain, so lots of wood shavings, coconut and that jazz, but also peppermint. The Old Man of Huy usually hates peppermint, yet it works perfectly, here. Mouth: superb balance, quite mellow with subtle custard and cinnamonsticks. Finish: more mint and bakery goodies. Love this, as does everyone: not even 17:00 and all bottles are gone. 8/10

26.104 14yo 1999 Runny Honey And Chilli Pepper (58.5%, SMWS Society Cask, Refill ex-Bourbon Barrel, 233b): nose: this one is more akin to what one would expect from that distillery, ie all sorts of wax. Mouth: simple, but powerful and efficient, full of hot wax (for vinyl junkies). Finish: wax, wick -- again, simple, but efficient. Naturally, this one suffers greatly from the comparison with 26.105. 7/10

66.57 10yo 2004/2014 Asian Delight (59.1%, SMWS Society Cask, Refill ex-Bourbon Barrel, 214b): time to shift gears, since the alcohol is starting to take its toll on the palate. Nose: farmyard scents, wellies (JS). Again, simple, but lovely -- provided one likes countryside smells! Mouth: becomes fruity quite quickly (dried figs and apricot) -- oh! it is not a 1992, but it is a refreshing complement all the same. Finish: mild peat, farmyard again, fleeting soy sauce, then ashes. This is remarkably well made indeed. 8/10

3.225 16yo 1997 Galleon Attacked By Pirates (57.2%, SMWS Society Cask, Refill ex-Sherry Butt, 617b): nose: this clearly burns the nostrils. However, behind the alcohol, I detect rubber, gunpowder, pears and even game -- that will be a hunting day in Autumn, I suppose. Mouth: leather, weathered gamebag (one-track mind, or what?) Finish: some peat, at last, alongside black cumin and After Eight, as well as cola. The finish is neverending too. A bit heavy on the sherry, yet not bad. 7/10

53.212 22yo 1992/2014 Peat Smoke And Para Handy Puffers (56.4%, SMWS Society Cask, Refill ex-Bourbon Hogshead, 291b): nose: truckloads of manly peat, farmyard tractor wheels, mud. This is nice and adequate for the state I am in. Mouth: lively, neatly green, which is strange, considering the age. Bitter, but balanced. Finish: more bitterness, as well as palate-coating peat. 7/10

The bar as one rarely sees it
JS has another go at 91.20: it is still as good.

Good times. Probably too much to drink and the venue was busier than my preference, but the selection this month is very, very good. Best we have had in a while.