We split up and take position strategically. I move back to Glenglassaugh.
Glenglassaugh Torfa (50%, OB): nose: young barley and gentle peat smoke. Not exactly stunning. Mouth: young and not very good. Some smoke. Finish: more young spirit, with barley, smoke and no appeal. 4/10
The whistle blows: it is time for the half-time orange dram. The concept is simple: every visitor gets one voucher. However, it can only be redeemed after the whistle has blown, halfway into the game. Some stalls become rather hectic, needless saying.
Glenglassaugh 35yo 1978/2014 (42.9%, OB, Port Hogshead, C#1810, 279b): nose: sultanas, leather, unlit cigars. Mouth: fresh, minty, with still a big sherry influence. Finish: balanced, with a mix of leather and sultanas again, cola and corn syrup. Good dram, yet nothing too special. Disappointing. 7/10
Tomatin 36yo (46%, OB, B#1): nose: phwoar! Tropical fruit (mango, lychee, peach). Mouth: soft and juicy. It could probably use more power, but then my palate is half-fried, at this stage. Finish: fruity and velvety, with mango pieces in a broth of coconut milk. This is amazing. Chances are it would reach top score in better circumstances. 9/10
Glenfarclas is next.
Glenfarclas 21yo (43%, OB, b. ca 2015): nose: fresh and flowery, with notes of green wood. Mouth: milky. It has not much else to say. Finish: more cream -- Bourbon cream, custard cream. Pretty good, if rather generic. 7/10
Compass Box as a next stop.
Hedonism Quindecimus (46%, Compass Box, 5689b, b.2015): a blend of Dumbarton, North British, Cameronbridge and Port Dundas. Nose: not very complex, but nice, soft, with touches of white wood (pine, birch), coconut. Mouth: more rounded softness, mellow and milky. Finish: wood-driven grain whisky, with vanilla, custard, coconut shavings. Again, not terribly complex, very pleasurable. The presentation is the best bit. 7/10
Knockdhu is next.
anCnoc 18yo (46%, OB, b. ca 2015): nose: putty (JS), plasticine and few spices. Mouth: gentle, yet still has a gingery bite! Finish: ginger, cinnamon and ground cloves and cardamom. Solid dram, this. 7/10
Gordon & MacPhail is the following port of call.
Inchgower 2000/2014 (46%, GMP Connoisseurs Choice): nose: herbaceous, with hints of caramel. Mouth: fresh, bitter and mentholated. Finish: orange-y, with lots of bitterness. 6/10
Everywhere, the room starts smelling of fart, sweat and regret. The ventilation is good, but nothing stops it ruining the experience.
A short trip to the pompously-named Malts of Distinction.
Highland Park 21yo (47.5%, OB, b. ca 2015): nose: this one is more animal than the previous batches. Mouth: leather, pepper. Finish: leather, tobacco. Jolly Toper likes it, I find it inferior to the older bottlings. 6/10
Benromach Organic 2008/2015 (43%, OB, Virgin American Oak): nose: wide, full of walnut shells and walnut tree, waxed cupboards. Mouth: mellow, though still woody and full of tannins. Finish: long, wide and distinguished, with the influences of a gentlemen's club. 7/10
Back to Hunter Laing's.
Port Dundas 25yo 1990/2015 (51.9%, HL The Sovereign, Refill Hogshead, C#HL REF 11593, 236b): nose: trademarks of a grain, with almond croissant and all kinds of wonderful bakery goodness. Mouth: custard, coconut and wood-driven shenanigan. Finish: phwoar! More untainted bakery loveliness. Love it. 8/10
Final trip to Gordon & MacPhail's.
Teaninich 2006/2014 (46%, GMP Connoisseurs Choice): nose: grassy and bitter, with notes of buttercups. Mouth: the same. Finish: the same. Not very pleasant, but then I am baked too. I am actually surprised I can still take notes (it took me a while to read that line back, mind). 5/10
Struggling to decide what to take as a final dram, I end up at the Springbank stand.
Kilkerran WIP 7 Sherry Wood (46%, OB, b. 2015): nose: lovely plum tart. A bit of peat smoke, I suppose, but the sherry is louder. Dried plums, dates, prunes, wine. Mouth: good balance, with juicy raisins, dried figs and cooked wine. Finish: more cooked wine and dried fruit. Pleasant and well balanced, better than this year's Bourbon Wood, in my opinion. 7/10
A quick trip to the shop (they have to drive something in from the warehouse for us, as it is sold out already, both at the venue and in the shop), then we leave. Intense, interesting experience.
Amongst the good points, the venue is wonderful, the amount of people they let in is adequate, the queues are quick-moving, the short time frame (four hours) prevents ridiculously-drunk people, compared to other festivals, it is affordable (£30 a pop, including a half-time orange dram coupon and a £10 discount at Royal Mile Whiskies) and the atmosphere is friendly enough.
The only negative point would be the generally average selection (again, compared to other, bigger festivals). Well, that and the smell of fart.