13 April 2015

11/04/2015 Unorthodox bottle formats

In a permanent quest for a theme that is original and interesting enough, whilst remaining open enough for everyone to be able to take part, this seems like a good idea. Anything that is not a tall, 70cl, glass bottle will do -- dumpies, half-bottles, minis, decanters, ceramic, you name it.
Despite careful planning, PS and JH call off the day before. Shame, but their loss.
The suspects: MJ, MS, JS and myself.

The menu, minus MJ's contribution, cos he is late

Although relatively new to this game,
MS is a complete geek already
Glenkinchie 12yo (43%, OB, 20cl) (offered by JS): nose: drying hay, roasting pineapple, a drop of apricot juice. MJ says sweet clementine and finds it polite. MS agrees and does not mean it as a compliment. Mouth: apricot juice in which the stone has been left to soak. Finish: mild, with a lingering sweetness, vanilla sugar and honey. Very good, this. Summery, perfect for today and better than in my memories. I suspect no-one will ever write a book about it, but it does what it is supposed to do. 7/10

Glenmorangie Artisan Cask (46%, OB, 50cl flat bottle) (JS): nose: hazelnut oil on doughnut. Raspberries appear in the back of the nose. In fact, it feels like raspberry yoghurt. Exotic fruits show up, eventually: mangos and papayas. Mouth: more raspberry yoghurt. It is sparkly (JS) with a hint of exotic fruit, as well as walnut and lemon sorbet (MS). Finish: sparkly, with raspberry yoghurt and coconut cream. This one has been a favourite since it came out in 2006. It never disappoints. 9/10

Glengoyne 15yo (43%, OB, 5cl) (brought by MJ): nose: notes of dunnage warehouse, yet the dominant smell is red-wine-marinated meat. Coq-au-vin, pigeon casserole or cured venison, with bay leaves in the broth. MS reckons it reeks of a baseball glove left in the front locker. It is surprisingly full of personality, in any case. Water makes it fruity (peach). Mouth: orange juice and coq-au-vin broth. With water: tame marmalade. Finish: mild coffee, latte, chocolate milk. With water, yep, more marmalade and lemon juice. Not entirely my bag (a bit too meaty), but rather interesting. 6/10

Bruichladdich The Organic Scottish Barley (50%, OB, MAR 14, P/132239 14/051, 100cl blue bottle) (MJ): nose: unripe green melon with some leather. The nose oscillates between grassy, cerealy and fruity notes in a pleasant manner. This is muesli. MS detects caramel and grapefruit, JS finds it sweet. Hints of butter, in the back. Mouth: fruit juice-like in texture with some horsepower. Cream. Let us face it: this is a spoonful of muesli again. Finish: weirdly out of sync with the nose and the palate, this delivers barley and smoke, salt and pepper. Water does not change it much. 7/10

Miltonduff 16yo 1998/2014 (52.9%, OB Cask Strength Edition, MD 16 004, 50cl dumpy) (brought by MS): nose: bonded warehouse, lichen on wood, fruit (melon skins) and a discreet scent of varnish. Mouth: pear juice in texture, with pineapple notes, more (green) melon and fiery pepper, alongside barley water. Lovely stuff. Finish: the weak point of this dram, though it remains good. Unripe melon, unripe avocado, chilli, unobtrusive coconut and vanilla. A wonderful CSE. 8/10

Port Dundas 23yo (43%, Vom Fass, b. ca 2013, 70cl square bottle) (brought by myself): nose: nail varnish, mostly. Some paint too. It feels like getting high on paint whilst repainting a wall. Triggered by MJ, MS goes into a childhood recollection about plantains. Coconut and vanilla make a late appearance, in the back, bringing some herbs along (tarragon? Oregano?) Mouth: thin, though creamy enough for the Old Man of Huy. Trademark coconut and vanilla. Finish: pine sap, varnish; it is very woody, of course (it is a grain, after all), but not overly so. A plain good grain, not stellar, but pleasant. 7/10 (Thanks dom666)

Scapa 14yo 2000/2014 (53.9%, OB Cask Strength Edition, SC 14 008, 50cl dumpy) (me): we had this one for Burns' Night and loved it then. Nose: crisp, acidic apples, hints of lichen on stone, peach stone bitterness. Also weird notes of unidentified fruit -- pineapple? Grapefruit? Mouth: warm, slightly peppery, full of fruit (pink grapefruit). Finish: our dear clogged sink (aka decaying fruit), then chilli-sprinkled fruit. Great, bold, complex drams, those CSE, so far. Love this. 9/10

Aberlour 23yo 1989/2013 (54.9%, Cadenhead Small Batch, Bourbon Hogshead, 522b, 70cl square bottle) (me): MJ insists this one is not in theme, since it is 70cl. He is nitpicking to retaliate for my teasing him other times. Nose: herbs (tarragon, verbena, oregano) with a hint of leather in the back. MS finds it full of personality -- an alternative personality, rather than the usual, modern markers, such as vanilla or coconut. Mouth: slightly warm, with more herbs on warm pudding. Finish: becoming hotter, now, more influenced by the verbena, ie slightly metallic. Not a very easy dram, this, but interesting it is! 8/10

Glasgow Blend (43%, Compass Box, 50cl) (me): the whole theme was some kind of excuse to open this one all along. And I forgot to add it to the lineup. Luckily, I remember on time! Nose: the peat is really obvious, here -- much more so than anticipated. Farmyard, ploughed fields, smoke. Mouth: surprisingly mild (then again, it is merely 43%) with a bit of fruit (apricot juice) and fried bacon. Finish: yup, the peat dominates again, with crisp bacon, earth and some barbecue smoke -- even charcoal (MS, who is very sensitive to peat). This is good, yet a bit straightforward, especially after the last few complex ones. Not sure where else it would have fit in, though. 6/10 (Thanks MJ)

Linlithgow 25yo 1982/2008 (59.2%, SV for LMDW Collectors' Edition, Wine-treated Butt, C#2201, 388b, 70cl decanter) (me): austere to the max, this time, with flint, rosemary, then loads of lemon juice. And a few pears for good measure. Mouth: sparkly, today; it gives me an impression of citric-powder-filled, UFO-shaped sweets from yesteryears. Pears and lemon/lime juice with balls. Fucking balls. Finish: fruit and flint. This is lovely, today. Better than ever before. 8/10

Dailuaine 22yo d.1973 (61.80%, OB Rare Malts Selection, 20cl) (me): MS and JH have a distinct enthusiasm for this distillery, so I thought I would share this with them one last time. JH is not in, which means more for everyone else. :-) Nose: leather, flowers, then I stop taking notes, somehow. Mouth: MS finds it engaging, and, with honey and infusing tea, it is indeed. It is also brimming with Watts! 62%, caramba! Finish: it now becomes more bitter, with a hint of dark chocolate, then full-on, bitter tea. Difficult to put words on it, so complex it is. Will not be able to any longer, since it is now empty, but more notes here. Great drop, though. 8/10

Chilling. Drinking.

MJ leaves to be home by curfew time. It has been a very good and very sunny afternoon, full of great whisky. As a nightcap, we three have a Glenugie C#7. No notes for it -- we all know it is not very good. :o)

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