dom666, OB, JS and I make it there thirty minutes ahead of schedule. The queue already stretches quite far -- hundreds of people waiting eagerly. Many known faces in the queue; this will be a social event, I can feel it.
Once the gates open, the building absorbs the crowd swiftly and efficiently. Soon, we are in. The staff have different views on how to tie a wristband, what with OB's choking his wrist to death, mine that I can remove at will and dom666's that is stuck to his fur. JS's is fine. Sexism, innit.
First stop is Bruichladdich. We have come prepared, you see: the list of interesting (to us) drams is printed and we know better than to leave dream drams for last.
If you have not followed the previous years' adventures, a dream dram is a dram that is not freely available to taste. Show attendants have to "pay" one or several tokens, depending on the calibre of the bottle. One token is given each day to each visitor, more can be purchased for a fair amount.
I cut the 'laddich lad in his marketing track and go straight for the dream dram. "Which one?" You only have one, mate. He struggles to find it, struggles to open it, breaks the cork, spends time with his colleague fishing it out, then is finally ready. My tasting mates lose patience and fetch something of their own. I have:
Bruichladdich 36yo 1966/2002 Legacy I (40.6%, OB, American Oak Hogshead, 1500b): nose: delicate and light, with honey, flowers, hints of herbs and vanilla. Mouth: fruity (melon) and honeyed, with a delicate note of smoke. Finish: long, wide, bold and good. 9/10
anCnoc 1975/2014 (44.2%, OB, 3 American Oak & Spanish Oak ex-Sherry Casks, 1590b): I hoped this would be available -- it is! Nose: sherry and a bit of sulphur. Not a brilliant start, this. Mouth: mellow and gentle, before it becomes a bit drying, with notes of cured meat. Finish: long, wide, bold and actually very good. I suppose I expected more out of it, yet it is a cracking dram. 8/10
OB comes back from his dream-dram expedition with:
Bowmore 40yo 1970/2010 (51.5%, SV Cask Strength Collection, Oloroso Sherry Butt, C#4686, 252b): nose: cheese rind, loud and clear! It seems as though under the influence of Port. Syrupy wine and cooked fruits. Mouth: walnut flesh, elegant wood polish. It turns rather drying. Finish: more noble wood, perhaps even tropical wood (teak) before a timid explosion of tropical fruit appears in the background. Bowmore rules. 10/10
Teeling Whiskey Single Grain (46%, Teeling, Wine Casks Finish, b.02/2015): nose: butter, custard and vanilla. Mouth: mellow and easy, a bit flat, even, with vanilla. Finish: bakery flavours, sugar; a nice grain that would benefit from more power. 7/10
|A drop of this too|
Rosebank 21yo Edition One (55.1%, SD, 498b): a new Rosebank is always something to look forward to. It leaves a bad taste in the mouth that this one is a dream dram, yet where else would we try it? Nose: very discreet, floral and light, so delicate it is almost absent. Mouth: honey, velvety fruit, happiness. Finally waking up, this one. Finish: sweetened custard, apple pie, crumble. Honestly, this is unchallenging, easy, simple, perhaps. Pleasant, though. 7/10
Longmorn 24yo 1990/2015 (53.7%, SD The Single Malts of Scotland, Hogshead, C#191954, 216b): nose: clogged sink (JS), old leather shoes. Urgh. Mouth: hot tart, lemon curd. Finish: sulphur, leather and sugar, with a touch of fruit. Unbalanced. Meh. 4/10
Linkwood 24yo 1991/2015 (53.8%, SD The Single Malts of Scotland, Hogshead C#586497, 268b): nose: cut-flower stems. Mouth: sweet and subtle until pepper kicks in. Cast sugar shines through after a minute. Finish: overly present alcohol, with lots of sugar -- melting white sugar. 6/10
Clynelish 19yo 1995/2015 (57.8%, SD The Single Malts of Scotland, Hogshead, C#932013, 254b): nose: very animal -- skinned fox. Mouth: the texture of apricot juice, though the taste is subtle, with a dash of black pepper. Finish: unbalanced, it oscillates between plant sap and wet dog. Not my thing. 5/10
Caperdonich 18yo 1995/2014 (46%, BBR Selected by Berrys', C#95076): nose: floral and girly. Mouth: again, it is light and floral, easy and pleasing. It has a gentle, acidic bite, still. Finish: hazelnut cream, now. 7/10
Aultmore 17yo 1997/2014 (46%, BBR Selected by Berrys', C#3591): nose: well-blended mix of custard, toffee and fruit. Mouth: fresh, lightly fruity and sweet. Finish: light, with bakery things -- croissants in particular. Lovely, this! 8/10
RW pours us something that is not whisky from under the desk: nose: Chinese radish (JS), cabbage, wax seals, grape and apple in the back. Mouth: radish (JS), apple peels. Finish: notes of apple compote. It is a Calvados 1965/2012 42% 8/10
|The tables are a nice addition|