ruckus is visiting. He has wanted to visit the SMWS for a while; time to take him through the ordeal. JS and MS join us later. Of course, PS is on site, as are a handful of other regulars.
Both my camera batteries die on me. No pictures today.
PS shows us a bottle of St. George's Pedro Ximenez (19%, OB, b.2011). An interesting concept: the English Whisky Co. buys full sherry casks because they cannot buy empty ones. To maximise profit avoid wasting the sherry, they cut it with their own new make, bring it down to 19% ABV and sell it as a liqueur.
35.117 17yo d.1996 Cock-a-hoop with happiness (54.6%, SMWS Society Single Cask, First-Fill Designer Barrel, 185b): what the deuce is a designer barrel, you ask? A marketing term is probably the right answer. Nose: light and ethereal, with hints of lemon sweets. Mouth: the Whisky Cyclist chooses this precise moment to talk to me, which means I have to swallow quickly. No notes. Finish: yellow flowers. Pleasant, if not revolutionary. 7/10
85.26 28yo 1985/2013 Fragrant perfumes and deeper resonances (44.5%, SMWS Society Single Cask, First-Fill ex-Bourbon Barrel, 186b): staff recommendation for JS. Nose: dry earth and coffee. The initial hint of meat vanished quickly. Very perfumey (hence the name, innit). Something from a tuna sandwich, says JS. It appears it is neither the tuna, nor the sandwich, but celery, she says. Water makes this one more leathery. Mouth: warm and comforting, with a quiet fireplace in the background. With water, it becomes fruitier, revealing tame peaches. Finish: wine, yet the dominant notes are dry clay, ash and black-leaf, milky tea. Water, again, makes it fruitier, still adding tame peaches. 7/10
We are invited to PS's secret pad for a couple more.
Linlithgow 25yo 1982/2007 (57.4%, SD The Single Malts of Scotland, Hogshead, C#1872, 85b): nothing at first, yet that void is quickly filled by cigar boxes, then cut pears. With water, it becomes jammier and fruitier, with blood oranges and juicy plums. Mouth: very warm honey, then embers and burning vegetables leaves. With water, blood orange juice, augmented with a few drops of lime juice. Is there a pinch of salt too? Finish: indistinct fruit and flowery soap. Water makes it warmer, strangely enough. 8/10 (thanks PS)
Linkwood 11yo (60.5%, James MacArthur In Celebration 500 Years of Scotch Whisky, Sherry Cask, b.1994): meat, then decaying flowers and rotting mushrooms. Mouth: white wine, gin, even. Finish: powerful and stripping, with paint thinner and stainless steel plates. Interesting experience, though not my favourite whisky. 6/10 (thanks GT)
Superb afternoon, as usually.