8 June 2015

07/06/2015 Kinclaith Tierce #2

I missed last year's celebration, as I was ill on the fateful day. Today, we will right that wrong.
For the record, we are celebrating the birthday of tennis champion Kim Clijsters, because I back away from no pun, however bad others think it is.
As a side note, I am not half proud to have another opportunity to show off try three of those rarities again -- all different from two years ago!

Ki, ki, ki sont les whiskies?
Kinclaith 1966 16yo (40%, GMP Connoisseurs Choice, b. ca 1983): nose: immediately, it reeks of spice and fruit, rather than the usual dusty books one gets from those old bottles. Mango chutney, coupled with chilli pickle. I am suddenly in a Bangladeshi restaurant and I think I like it! Do not be fooled, the dust is present; yet it is subtle and is more akin to black pepper than old cardboard. After a moment, tropical fruit tries very hard to be heard -- in the distance, initially, then more pronounced. Starfruit, mango and empty coconut shell. Evergreens make a late appearance, pine cones and needles. Wow! Nothing is in-your-face, in this nose, yet it rewards the patient taster. Leave it too long in the glass and the whole disappears, unfortunately. Sixty minutes maximum to drink it! Mouth: assertive orange juice in the first sip. It is not more than lukewarm (spicewise) and velvety, as comforting as a blanket. Wood spices come up a bit: ground cassia bark and a little pepper. Upon swallowing (second sip), an odd note comes forth: a mixture of cough syrup, melted plastic and brass. Finish: long and coating, with notes of cold, milky coffee, or chicory instant coffee (l'ami Ricoré) and tingling spices. Although not invading at all, the finish is very persistent, not unlike a good chocolate truffle. An excellent brown label again, though the note when one swallows makes it lose one point. 8/10

Kinclaith 1967 (40%, GMP Connoisseurs Choice, b. ca 1991): there were five versions of this 1967. No bottling date on my miniature, which means I do not know for sure which one it is. Nose: a lot darker in colour, it is also deeper in the nose, with ripe (blood) oranges. There were probably more sherry casks in this one, boldly assuming that it is not a single cask. Again, ground white pepper is easy to detect, as is the wood influence: wood dust and varnish hint at a carpenter's workshop. The blood oranges dissipate to let pink grapefruit emerge. Instead of growing assertive, this one seems to becomes more timid with time and air. Very faint leather -- the carpenter's weathered boots, certainly. Mouth: peppery, though the pepper soon fades away in favour of orange juice, augmented with the juice of one pink grapefruit and orange zest. Pepper comes back with the numbing power of ground cloves. I reckon cinnamon is also present, perhaps caraway seeds. It is a ping pong between those spices and fruit juice. Not supremely complex, yet pleasant and interesting enough. Finish: fleeting vanilla, then citrus-y custard (not strong or buttery enough to be lemon curd), spiked with various spices (pepper, clove, ground cardamom, fenugreek, nutmeg) and fruit, this time, tropical. The whole dances a happy jig in the throat. Absolutely lovely, although it is, again, for the attentive drinker. Nothing here punches one in the face. 9/10

Kinclaith 40yo 1969/2009 (47.3%, SV Cask Strength Collection, Hogshead, C#301445, 217b): this is the one they were pouring at the Whisky Show in 2013. I managed to get hold of a sample for this very occasion. Nose: an altogether different beast, lighter and seemingly more complex at first sniff, showing its age at once. At second sniff, its lineage becomes more obvious, with ground white pepper and citrus peel -- probably grapefruit. Time helps it give out a refined vinaigrette, with sherry vinegar and virgin olive oil, pepper and oregano. Interestingly, tinned fish in oil also rears its head in the distance (sardines, mackerel or pickled herring). Mouth: this is far bolder. Cask strength, of course, but at 40 years old, I did not expect it to be so lively. Tropical-fruit juice, drowned in orange juice. Mango, papaya, persimmon, peach... and orange. Pepper kicks in thereafter, as well as a certain green acidity (or is it bitterness?) -- lime? Tea leaves? It is surprisingly wild and unpredictable. Bounces on the tongue! Vanilla is in there, under control -- definitely not a modern malt where vanilla does all the talking. Finish: high-quality milk chocolate (that reads like an oxymoron, I know), before chai storms in with its usual blend of overboiled tea leaves, generous milk pour and mix of spices (cardamom, cloves, cinnamon). Once swallowed, the liquid leaves the mouth slightly dry, an impression perhaps similar to that left by a Chablis or a Pouilly. Or indeed, tea. I suspect that is the sugar, which this Kinclaith has quite a bit of. Once that bitter dryness vanishes, the way is clear for chocolate and cocoa to settle (Nesquik-style; rendez-nous Groquik!) 9/10

I forgot to blend the three, this time. The 1967 is my favourite, today.

Very satisfying session again. Not quite sure I will ever be able to do #3. The amount of expressions available is staggeringly low and none of those is exactly cheap. If anyone is willing to donate the 1963 PC, 1965 CC, the Mo Ór, JMcA or another RotR or SV, I will be happy to celebrate their generosity...

Happy birthday, Kim!

No comments:

Post a Comment