The suspects: dom666, Psycho, ruckus, adc, JS, JD, sonicvince, kruuk2 and myself.
To fit the theme, ruckus made a mix of theme songs. It gets us all playing name-that-tune for three and a half hours. Good fun!
Once that one is finished, we listen to this mix.
The menu is ambitious, to say the least. Conversations fuse pretty quickly, while I often get distracted by dinner preparations. The result is that my notes are sometimes thin and/or uninspired.
Glenmorangie 12yo Nectar D'Or (46%, OB, Sauternes Finish) (brought by JD): the link is Histoire d'O. JD is confident that he followed the rule, this time -- but no! That is a film, JD. However, it works very well for Les Mystérieuses Cités de Nectar d'Or, one of the best cartoons of all time. Nose: vanilla and subtle citrus. This is not very expressive, but pleasant. Mouth: soft and silky -- velvety, in fact. Finish: warming, with honey and woody tones, such as vanilla and custard, as well as a very slight bitterness. I had wanted to try this one for a while: I am not disappointed. It is a modern malt (ruled by oak), easy and seductive, and that is fine. 7/10
Appetisers appear, courtesy of adc. Sausage rolls covered in sesame seeds, cheesy salmon palm trees, smoked salmon on oatcakes, all very nice and popular.
ruckus presents: Imperi-Alf
Imperial 18yo 1995/2014 (46%, SV The Un-Chillfiltered Collection, Hogsheads, C#50288+50289, 742b): no-one can remember the theme music to Alf, so I have to hum it for everyone. Nose: lemon, herbs (tarragon?) and watered-down honey. JD finds lamb meat and goat cheese in it -- or are his fingers covered in appetisers? Mouth: very velvety, almost acacia-honey like, though less thick. Finish: verbena, honey and a vague metallic note (the verbena, eh?) adc is all excited, since she loves Imperial. This one does not disappoint. 8/10
Starter is served: curried pumpkin soup, which JD finds a bit too spicy. It really is not.
sonicvince presents: Roswell-bank
Rosebank 16yo 1990/2007 (46%, SD The Single Malts of Scotland, Hogsheads, C#1255/1458, 635b) nose: grapefruit (sonicvince), apricots, quince jelly, green apples (JS). Mouth: sharp, with notes of grape juice and a bit of custard. Finish: green grapes, apricot juice and a good dose of white pepper. A superb Rosebank, this (is there another kind?) 8/10
JD presents: Edgar, Ledaigtective Cambrioleur
Ledaig 1990/1999 (40%, GMP Connoisseurs Choice): nose: kruuk2 declares it a horrible Ledaig, almost atrocious. Prejudice, eh? It is immediately very farmyard-tainted, while also sugary. The sherry influence is very obvious -- cured meat is the undertone, here. Mouth: velvety and sherried. Cured meat, caramelised onions, pan scrapings etc. Finish: again, farm-y and sweet, with dark chocolate. I like it a lot. ruckus and kruuk2 less so, though they find it better and better with time. 7/10
kruuk2 presents: GoldoRiach
The BenRiach 10yo Curiositas Peated Malt (46%, OB, L4231BB 3 04 46): nose: cow dung (sonicvince), farmyard, manure. Mouth: a lot smoother than the nose suggests. Touches of mild spices (ground cumin, I think) and sandy earth. Finish: shy farmyard, at first, before a quick explosion of peat smoke. This is not very complex, but it is pretty agreeable. 7/10
Main course comes in: potato and parsnip puree, potato and beetroot gratin, leek, swede and potato bake, vegetarian haggis and, of course, the chieftain o' the pudding race. It was impossible to find a haggis that feeds eight, this year. Obviously, serving small ones is spoiling the fun, so we scaled up. To the chieftain. A 3.6kg monster that serves 16.
|kruuk2 is a sucker for monster sausages|
At that point in ruckus's mix, U96 - Das Boot plays. Debate about whether that was a film or a series -- well, a mini-series made for television counts as a series. I am baffled that some do not know Das Boot.
With supper in, we can resume serious activities.
dom666 presents: L'Oban des Secret Stills (after Le Bal des Secrets, which no-one knows)
Oban 1992/2006 Double Matured (43%, OB The Distillers Edition, OD 155.FR, L6210CM000 02625492): dom666 accuses me of forcing him to bring this. The real conversation went along the lines of, 'we never seem to try any Oban. It is a shame we do not have more expressions of it, in order to drink it more often.' Anyway. Nose: pear (sonicvince), varnish (JD and adc), dark fruit and the more typical coastal character underneath. Frangipane (JD), bouquet garni (sonicvince). Mouth: nutty and oily, with distinct notes of furniture. Finish: varnish, flat cola, wood. The wood goes so far as to make it rather drying. 7/10
Secret Stills 1.1 50yo 1955/2005 (45%, GMP Secret Stills, Sherry Butt, C#1312): we have not had this one in a long time, which makes me full of anticipation. It is not every day one gets to try a fifty-year-old whisky and this is the one that made me change my opinion of this popular Skye distillery. Once in the glass, the colour is unbelievably hypnotic, almost Port-like. Nose: what a depth! Cola (fizzy), mud and all sorts of polished, precious woods. Teak, mahogany, ebony. Dark raisins, stewed prunes, eggs on toast -- amazing sherry maturation, this. Mouth: spicy and woody, with dust and old books, barrel scrapings. With water: it becomes more balanced and fruitier (figs, raisins, blackcurrant jam). Finish: varnish, splinters and dark wood lacquer. With water, the finish is more velvety, less bitter. This one is a little too drying to deserve the top score, but it is moving all the same, although JD does not like it. 9/10
|A hypnotic, russet hue|
Bunnahabhain 32yo d.1976 (49%, MMcD Mission, Fino Sherry / Château d'Yquem Casks, 626b): according to my notes (not on this blog), we tried this at the Unpronounceable tasting, in 2011. I cannot remember it at all. Fitting series: following the 1955 glory is a mission and a half, if not a nigh-on impossible task. Nose: nuts, cigar boxes and dried fruit (raisins). There is something else too -- something animal. Bacon? Crayons, pastels and shoe polish. Another wonderful sherry cask, this. Mouth: past the stewed prunes, spices show up in force -- clove, ground cardamom, pepper. Brazil nuts too. Finnish: big cloves, black peppercorns, marzipan. A sweet and nonetheless acidic dram. Not sure how I could forget it, so fantastic it is, even as a follow-up to the incredible Secret Stills. 9/10
ruckus presents: The Greenorenet
Greenore 8yo Small Batch b.2013 (40%, OB, L13008): yes, we do need a palate reset, now. JD says it is green. I am thinking his lenses are full of mould, or he is influenced by the name. Nose: seems a bit quiet, at 40%. Soft and sweet, with bakery dough. It smells a lot greener and more bitter than yer regular grain, but then yer regular grain is rarely eight years of age. Varnish and sweet corn (JD, who likes it much more than yer regular grain). Mouth: super easy on the palate, full of custard and vanilla pudding -- not unlike yer regular grain. Finish: lemonade, fruit juice (ruckus), yellow-fruit stew. Yep! Peach juice, to be accurate. Lovely drop, this. Not sure how they make it in Ireland, but it is lighter and more frivolous than yer regular grain. It is also as pleasant and exactly what we need at this stage. 7/10
|sonicvince photobombing an otherwise |
perfectly synchronised Greenore formation flight
sonicvince presents: The Little Mill in the Prairie
Littlemill 20yo 1991/2012 (50%, DL The Old Malt Cask 50º, Refill Hogshead, C#DL REF 8431, 121b): someone had to. Nose: hazelnut (JD, on fire tonight), green hazelnut, though. Was JD not obsessed with green, a minute ago? Moss-fire smoke, almost peaty, which is unexpected from this Lowlander. Dried lime peels. Mouth: lime in tonic water. It tastes and feels like lime Schweppes (without the sparkling). Great. Finish: (very) acidic, with a touch of overripe, rotten fruit (that clogged sink feeling) and delicate smoke. A murderah Littlemill. 9/10
Desserts flow in. Apfelstrudel and ginger cake (spiked with Longmorn 1996 BBR for LMDW).
For the next round, I have had to ask for help from contributors. Matching one dram with one series is for amateurs. A pun involving two drams is more like it, while three is a noble goal. But I am the Old Man of Huy! The suspects expect more of me (and worse). Since overkill is overrated, my target is higher: I want to spell the first line of a cartoon's theme tune with no fewer than seven drams. That is a lot of whisky, though. To make it better distributed, not all the bottles are mine. Also, due to a lack of glasses, space and will, we will have the following in three distinct flights.
The Old Man of Huy presents: MiMi CraCra, Lo Ellen Sca (featuring adc, dom666 and JS)
|It was more complicated to do, 'l'eau moi j'adore ça, ça dégringole et je rigole.'|
|In the Midleton family,|
the name Kate is spelt
Millburn 25yo 1975/2001 (61.9%, OB Rare Malts Selection) (brought by me): nose: coffee beans, fish (dom666). It changes quickly: dom666 reckons it smells of socks after a long hike. Walnut and rotting peach, grass (JD), Cognac, far in the back of the nose. With water, it turns more accessible, with peach stone, including shreds of peach flesh, and melon (JD). Mouth: warm, though not overly so, considering it is 62%. Coffee, bakery, though mostly green chilli. A time bomb, this is! It burns alright, just not from the get-go. Water makes it more balanced and fruity. Unfortunately, also more watery -- perhaps I was too heavy-handed. Finish: boom! Invading and never-ending. Powerful, almost brutal. (Very) light coffee, peach stone, moss on stone (that will be mineral, then). This is pretty old school. With water, milk chocolate and ripe peach flesh. Another brilliant -- if difficult -- Rare Malt, even if dom666 does not like it at all (but then he did not give it much time either). JD loves it, on the other hand. Well done UDV! 8/10
44.53 22yo d.1989 Lip-smacking, chewy and chunky (51.5%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill ex-Bourbon Hogshead, 279b) (brought by JS): nose: strangely coastal feel, with sea spray and sea weed. This is also fruitier than .56 below. Extremely light coffee and bakery scents (kruuk2). Mouth: silky, before green-plant juice comes forward. Finish: cheese (ruckus); Medium Gouda. The slight bitterness of a green plant. Out of the two, all find this one more classic (whatever that means). 8/10
44.56 23yo d.1989 Sweet and sour creative tension (51.8%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill ex-Bourbon Hogshead, 300b) (brought by JS): I nearly offered a Cragganmore, then JS noticed that her two Craigellachies were distilled on the same day and bottled one year apart. That was too interesting an opportunity to pass. Nose: complex, yet impulsive and evanescent -- it goes from mead to leather in a matter of seconds. Mouth: silky, creamy, in fact. It soon turns to grass and hay. Finish: honey, white pepper and some fruit. Not really the best conditions for notes, but very good drop. I think I like this one better than .53 above, though both are cracking drams. The others seem to find this one more lively (whatever that means). 8/10
Psycho goes to bed at this time. The fool.
Longmorn 25yo (45%, OB Centenary Edition, b.1994) (supplied by the community): this would warrant a tasting of its own. We tried it last summer, so I will not spend much time writing notes. Nose: a symphony of fruit, of course. Mouth: fruity yoghurt. This is grand. Finish: good for a moment, then passion fruit kicks you in the nuts, while its friends papaya and durian smother you. Cannot wait to give this one more time. 10/10
Port Ellen 24yo 1978/2002 (50%, DL The Old Malt Cask 50º, 474b) (brought by dom666): nose: varnish, polished wood, ash and... Dreft washing powder! Mouth: oh! This is powerful. Burning embers and a touch of red fruit. Water improves the balance greatly. Finish: ash, toasted barley and embers. The ash is a bit invading, really. More pleasant with water. 8/10
Scapa 14yo 2000/2014 (53.9%, OB Cask Strength Edition, SC 14 008) (brought by me): nose: passion fruit and banana (JD), crème brûlée, roasted coffee beans. Mouth: hot dessert rice. Finish: big and powerful, with hot custard. A juicy and lovely dram, this. First CSE for us: the verdict is unequivocally good, which comes as a small surprise, especially considering its place in the sequence. 9/10
|Mr Burns says it's excellent|
Before going to bed, adc brings chocolate truffles (augmented with Cameron Bridge 25yo DT) that fill everyone with despair. They are wonderful, yet nobody can move, too full with food already.
Psycho presents: Thierry Laphroaig
Laphroaig 18yo (48%, OB, 1LAPH18B02): nose: the peat is kept in check, leaving room for toasted barley and roasted corn flakes. Mouth: again, good balance, with sweet vanilla filtering through the mild peat and enough horsepower to warm us all up. Finish: powerful, yet it retains a certain subtlety all the same. The peat is there, but it is not alone, shouting for attention. 7/10
|That awkward moment when someone flicks through a photo album|
and realises you are wearing the same polo shirt as ten years ago
The Old Man of Huy presents: Glen Huggy Bear (you know, the funky informer in Starsky and Hutch)
Glenugie 31yo 1977/2009 (58.1%, SV Cask Strength Collection, Oloroso Finish, C#7, 577b) (provided by me): nose: noble leather, flat cola, soda bread and yeast (JS). With water, the leather strangely becomes more pronounced, hand in hand with chocolate. Mouth: wow, harmonious! Leather, shoe polish, oxtail broth, then cloves, coriander corns. Water gives it a Chinotto feel -- flat cola, maple syrup. Finish: black pepper, leather coats, ground cardamom, black cardamom, black cumin. With water: long and gulpable, with maple syrup again. A great dram, innit. sonicvince seems impressed. 9/10
JS goes to bed.
Man of Huydden Dragon
Absolutely epic tasting. Never have we had such a long line-up that we actually completed. Never have we had so many high flyers. Never have we had so much food either. There are a few minor tweaks here and there that could make the preparation smoother (everything was ready ahead of schedule, though some aspects can still be improved), but shy of everyone bringing pre-war whiskies next time, this year's edition will be hard to top.