MS initially refused to join, claiming to be skint. At the last moment, he caved in, very probably because of the new 41. My answer to his asking me what time we should meet up was: "14:30ish. You're weak."
17.39 12yo d.1990 Relax, take it easy (56.1%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill ex-Bourbon Barrel, 243b): the previous 17 was in November 2013, so it is with excitement that I see this on the list. Where did .37 and .38 go, by the way!? Nose: green-chilli heat accompanies more rounded pastry scents, plum juice and almost liquid shoe polish. After shave and scented shower gel -- cherry-scented shower gel, actually. Fruity shit. Love it. Mouth: it feels a bit green, at first, then fruity jam kicks in, thick and comforting. Finish: the alcohol is well integrated and lets more fruit and pastry emerge -- raspberry, blackberry and blueberry roll. Beautiful. 8/10
29.161 14yo d.2000 A bodega is burning (60.4%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill ex-Sherry Butt, 494b): nose: punchy and bold, yet noble at the same time. A horse stable in the sun, overheated hospital corridors. Mouth: surprisingly easy and soft. It does remain very present, do not get me wrong. Finish: a tranquil force bringing earth and ploughed fields, horse sweat and pleasure. MS claims it "tastes like a burning hospital." 8/10 (thanks EG)
41.65 30yo d.1984 Sweet couscous with Argan oil (48.5%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill ex-Bourbon Hogshead, 86b): with the recent run of excellent, old 41 expressions, it is no surprise this one comes full of expectations. It is priced in line with the previous ones, which means I cannot afford it at the moment, and it pisses me off: 86 bottles are not going to stick around forever. I am even more upset to realise the dram is a tartan, the top end of the price spectrum. Three years ago, it took another £100 per bottle to make a dram a tartan. Anyway. Nose: wide and unctuous, with tobacco, bay leaves, verbena and thyme. Raspberry gum tames the grassy character. Enticing, confident. This one says very clearly: "I know my value, I don't need to show off." Mouth: oh! what a balance. Mild chocolate, chai -- that will be clove, cardamom, cinnamon, milk and tea leaves. Finish: a hint of mint, a drop of apricot juice, white pepper and chocolate. Wonderful. JS finds it disappointing. MS gets agitated about the silver polish note the panel wrote about in the official tasting notes. It triggered childhood memories in him: he used to have to clean silverware as a chore. He reckoned that he would hate the whisky or that the notes would be wrong. He is stunned to detect the note, stunned that someone else got such an obscure reference too and stunned that, on top of it all, he loves it. 9/10
7.117 24yo d.1990 Mouth-coating, viscous and weighty (55.2%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill ex-Bourbon Hogshead, 244b): 7.116 was the donkey's bollocks, so it is obvious we need to try this one. Nose: cologne, effervescent medicine and hay. Hm! Not a great start, is it? Mouth: lots of citrus (lemon and lime juice) first that pave the way for... What is this? Cucumber? Tzatziki? Finish: more lemon, alongside milk chocolate, now. Refreshing and decent. Certainly not a patch on .116, however. We keep telling EG that. He is confused that 116 is not the same distillery: it is a Japanese one, he just bought one. 116 is the cask number, EG! 7/10
G8.4 25yo d.1989 Summer meadow hoedown (59.9%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill ex-Bourbon Hogshead, 275b): PS brings this to celebrate Cthulhu-knows-what. Nose: banana skins, nail-varnish remover, then a weird note I never get a chance to understand. Mouth: hot, with green chilli, wood shavings and coconut shells. Finish: the wood speaks loudly now, with a good dose of roasted dry coconut shavings. It does not leave my tongue dry, not does it give me a headache. Rare enough with G8 to be mentioned. 8/10 (thanks PS)
27.109 16yo d.1998 Guns on the grouse moor (58.3%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill ex-Sherry Gorda, 738b): nose: lots of leather, cured meat, roasted nut shells and even old shoe (JS cracks me up). Mouth: tingles a bit, with green peppers, green chilli and paprika. Finish: wide and prominent, with hints of bakery, gingery dark fruit and jam. 6/10
Two groups walk in in separate occasions. One with a baby, the second with what I gauge to be a six-year-old. Both are turned away, of course: the licence does not allow children. I am more than a little surprised people would try and bring kids to a private whisky club.
After this, EG whisks us off to try this:
Tamnavulin 15yo (45%, Moon Import The Birds, 3600b): first Moon Import here, I am not half excited! Nose: flour and sugary sweets. Everything is so well put together and integrated it is tough to isolate and identify particular smells. Honey? Smoke? Heather? Thyme? Mouth: superb balance, with honey indeed, mead, banana sweets. Finish: coconut shavings, coconut cream, rose water, custard, honey. The wood ultimately gives it a slight bitterness, yet the whole remains amazing. We are rushing a bit, unfortunately. Probably 9/10 (thanks EG)