2 February 2015

01/02/2015 CoCa-CoLa

CoCa-Co29, maybe...

Coleburn 14yo 1983/1997 (43%, SV, C#796, 3650b, 97/1173-): yes, that is a mini. They do not yet make casks that hold 3500+ big bottles. ;-) Nose: wow! The first time I had this, it smelt of dust. Not so today! Fermenting pears, quince and marzipan. It swiftly moves towards white wine, Madeira, then a mix of daisies and tangerines. Sherry takes over, after a bit -- funny, as it is likely a bourbon cask. Mouth: lots of wine, now, though never over the top. Citrus complements it (grapefruit, this time). There is a splash of bitter plant juice too, yet the whole is coating and velvety. Finish: dried grapefruit peels, toast, a dash of Madeira again, then polished wood. A drinks cabinet, perhaps? Sticky toffee pudding spiked with Mandarine Napoléon and a teaspoon of milk coffee. This remains a good Coleburn; not legendary by any means, but more than merely interesting. 7/10

Caol Ila d.1969 (40%, GMP Connoisseurs Choice, b. early 1980s): I wanted to keep this and drink it with Psycho, but he has not made a move in this direction for years. I have waited long enough. Nose: dust, then something perishable that has expired. Indeed, this one gives faint peat, burnt coal, yet also a more peculiar smell -- either full rubbish bags, or a field, freshly sprayed with manure. Fortunately, the nose keeps evolving. Soon, the nasty smell is forgotten and makes room for incense, iodine, burning cinnamon sticks, smoked mussels, balsamic vinegar and a healthy dose of engine oil. Spent matches show up too, next to a pot of cooked turnips or cabbage. To finish it off, a femme fatale's dark red nail varnish. Hang on! Not over yet. Here comes the fruit: sangria-macerated fruit. Phew, that was something! Mouth: balsamic vinegar first, and dark fruit in sangria -- although that lasts for a moment only. Chilli-sprinkled smoked salmon comes in quickly, with charcoal, barbecued seafood, a fireplace where fishermen gather. Their wives are gutting fish near the kitchen fire, eating olives in brine. Finish: is this big, or what!? Hard to believe it is only 40% ABV. Fire meets the sea, in here. The coal room of a steamboat, braseros on the seashore, barbecued salmon, coated in balsamic vinegar. Burning wood, grilled eels. This is coating, sticky, never-ending. An ashy, metallic note appears underneath all that -- the cast-iron door of the steamer's boiler. A legendary dram, really. 9/10

Convalmore 16yo 1984/2001 (43%, IML Dun Bheagan): this one, I had more recently. It has got to go all the same. Nose: roasted almonds, cashew oil, a glass of brandy, hazelnut-stuffed pralines. A fleeting smell of boiled potatoes comes up, then average red wine and cereals (puffed oats) to finally settle on stewed oranges. Mouth: baked potato skins, geranium (yep). The palate is a bit light, perhaps. Nail varnish remover, then some pine wood. At last, the orange stew starts dominating. Finish: slightly bitter, sappy, with pea pods and flower stems, as well as unripe hazelnut shells. A couple of sips in, it unleashes medium-dark chocolate, blood oranges and roasted cocoa beans. 7/10 (thanks mars for the sample)

29.128 21yo 1990/2012 Deep, dark and hugely entertaining (58.8%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill ex-Sherry Butt, 601b): I tried this one when it came out, then completely forgot about it. Nose: a woman varnishing her finger nails in a leather workshop. Cured meat, kippers and lots of dried peat. Not so much TCP as is the house style, rather farmyard, here -- tractor wheels, actually. Hints of chestnut in the back. Mouth: some sulphur and some kick, what with this being the only cask strength of the lot. Anchovies, shoe polish, tar, spent matches, gun powder, charcoal and soot. The farm seems absent, this time. No! Freshly ploughed fields in the distance. The ash and burnt peat is the dominant, however. Finish: a huge discharge of dark peat smoke, bonfires, Lapsang Souchong, but also a maritime feel -- fishing nets, barbecued crab. There might be one dark cherry lost in the mix, but it is almost too subtle to mention. Finally, the hospital opens its doors (TCP), though it is a burnt-down hospital, if the ashy overtones are to be trusted. Better than the first time, still no winner. 6/10 (thanks DK for the sample)

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