13 July 2015

11/07/2015 Flemish Community Day

Today is Flanders Day. The Flemish flag is a lion, king of the animal realm. Royal whiskies it is, then, because -- let us face it! -- it is tougher to find whiskies that are kaas croquette- or tomaat garnaal-flavoured.

One also looks significantly more badass than the other.

Glenury 14yo 1978/1993 (43%, SV, C#9769, 2400b, 05079302): one of the few Glenuries that does not advertise its regal status (usually Glenury Royal, for those who do not know). Nose: lots of crisp apples, although baked apples are there too. A shy note of faded leather and eau-de-vie. I find this eau-de-vie note frequent with old whiskies at 40ish%. Onions, gherkins and garlic emerge later on, yet soon give way to cut, ripe fruit. The nose is not exactly bold, but it is more complex than it initially appears. Mouth: this tickles at first, with subtle notes of vanilla, buried under lemony water. Once the tickling ends, the mouth has warm custard and dusty wooden spoons. Dark grapes too, including the bitterness of the pips. Finish: warm custard again, with a few squashed, dark grapes to keep it interesting. Dusty-wood flavours end up rising -- I find them comforting, though they will not please everyone. The second sip reveals dark chocolate, which is well in theme. Go Belgium! I am probably generous with this one, due to the fact it is a Glenury. Still 8/10

Royal Lochnagar 17yo 1996/2013 (57.4%, Cadenhead, Rum Cask): nose: much bolder, of course, since it is 17.4% higher in strength. Old wooden barrels, covered in dust, soaked wooden staves, furniture wax, paint pots and rubber boots. Mouth: fortified wine, syrup. The alcohol is present, yet remarkably integrated, going up and down and up again in successive waves of power. Notes of rum appear here and there, indistinct. Apples, soaked in brown alcohol, alongside white pepper heat. Finish: more syrupy notes come forward, a warm punch bowl, pipe tobacco, candied apples and caramel. The finish coats the mouth indeed, exactly like rum would. It is also very warming in a hot-toddy sort of way. An interesting take on a distillery that does not get reviewed very often, on this blog or elsewhere. 7/10

Glenglassaugh 40yo 1972/2013 (43.1%, Carn Mòr Celebration of the Cask, Sherry Butt, C#R13/08/01): yeah, it is not Royal. Get over it. Nose: a saw mill. It smells as it would upon entering a room whose floor is covered in fine sawdust. Behind all that sawdust, the nose offers juicy fruit (apricot and plum), but also citrus (waxy lemon zest, green grapefruit). In fact, the citrus soon dominates, denoting a crisp acidity at this stage, already. Yellow fruit come back, alongside effervescent tablets (Alka Seltzer?) This hints at a certain mineral aspect -- maybe stone powder from a quarry. An hour later, it has become an apricot-driven fruity cocktail. Mouth: all the citrus is here too (lemon, green grapefruit, kumquat, tangerine), with the acidity from the nose. It remains pleasant, though. The texture is that of fruit nectar -- as if a mango had been thrown into the green-grapefruit juice. Very nice. Finish: wood, tame, green-chilli warmth and a spoonful of custard. The journey between those flavours is consistently repeated at each sip. Very good whisky, though it is debatable whether it is £400 good (introduction price for this bottle). As far as I am concerned, this now empty sample will suffice. 8/10

Happy day to all our Flemish readers.

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