Off to the masterclass, then, where our Swiss friends also are, as is MB (remember, we met him last year).
The room is upstairs, next to the canteen. It is in fact a wide corridor with big, round tables. There are air-conditioning vents on the floor that blow very hard -- one is right under our feet, which makes it uncomfortable. The layout is badly thought-out: it makes it impossible for half the audience to see the presenter without rubbernecking. Also, the tables are so big the presenter cannot really move about freely.
Anyway, to the point. Being the ghost hunter that I am, this masterclass was what one calls a no-brainer as far as I am concerned. With Colin Dunn at the helm on top, it was always going to be enjoyable. And the drams...
Glenesk 1969/1993 (60%, OB, 25th Anniversary Glenesk Maltings): this one has been arousing my curiosity for a while. I am excited to get a chance to try it. Nose: an animal scent with herbs (tarragon, sage), a note of flowers (dandelion) and brisk lemon. Mouth: austere, with flint, gravel, then a citric acidity comes out strongly. Finish: black pepper and lemon juice. This is very pungent, lively, though it does not seem strong, if that makes sense. It is 60%, yet the alcohol does not burn; it is the whole that makes it lively. A wunderbare dram for grumpy people. I love it. 8/10
"You know I don't like to do things traditionally, so we will move from dram #1 to dram... #2. I think it is the first time I go from 1 to 2!"
|Admire that hair!|
|The front label went AWOL|
"Have you tried Caol Ila? Not to be confused with Kahlúa..."
St Magdalene 20yo 1978/1998 (62.7%, OB, Refill European Oak, 396b, 100y Waterloo Street Engineering): rarer than hen's teeth. This is one of the deciding factors to attend, for anyone who needed convincing. It was bottled in 1998 to celebrate the completion of the United Distillers/Diageo building in Glasgow -- in Waterloo Street. Most of the bottles went to those who designed and built the building, and to United Distillers' employees. Some more were served at staff events, leaving a handful of dozens to be sold at the Lochnagar distillery. In other words: not many people own this. Only one in the room does -- and it is full of geeks, believe me! Worth noting that this was poured into the cask at 68.7%; a piece of trivia one rarely comes across, obviously from before everything was cut down to 63.5%. Nose: heavy sherry influence, with mint and leather, then jasmine! Very clearly too. Later on, flint and toffee come out -- this is huge, confident and assertive. The woody tones grow dramatically to reveal lots of spices. Mouth: the sherry speaks loudly again, in a polished-wood fashion. Muscular, very spicy. Finish: ample, long, never-ending, actually; it crushes all on its path. Colin finds Grand Marnier in it. It is cinnamon, molasses and cloves to me. 9/10
"When I used to read Michael Jackson's book on how to perform Thriller and beat it..."
Brora 30yo (54.3%, OB, b.2010, 3000b, 9th Release): this one we had last year. It is a mild disappointment to try it again (there are still a fair few Broras I have not had, including official ones), but I am nitpicking, here. Nose: candle wax, cow dung, farmyard, then varnish and a hint of fruit. Mouth: all is well integrated, with candle wax, matchsticks and tractor tyres. JS finds wood and sulphur -- that will be the matchsticks indeed. :-) Finish: ash and peat smoke, tyre tracks in the mud, candle wick. Brilliant dram. 9/10
"It finishes better than Ronaldo."
Convalmore 36yo 1977/2013 (58%, OB, Refill European Oak, 2680b): another one I am excited to try. Ever since it came out last year, I have been curious. Only the price tag stopped me taking a punt. With an RRP of £600, it is no wonder it is still on shelves in many places... Nose: nuts and an obscene depth! Virginia tobacco, peaches... Peaches? Yes, lots of fruit, in fact -- fresh and dried. Indistinguishable. Mouth: powerful, with lots of fresh and dried fruit again. This is superlative! Finish: JS compares it to dubstep; waves of flavours come crashing in the mouth, the same way waves of loud bass ripple one's guts (wop-wop wop-wop). This is amazing. So complex and interesting. 10/10
Glenury Royal 36yo 1970/2007 (57.9%, OB, 1926b): nose: fresh and mentholated, mixing herbs and dried fruit with wood dust. Another big and noble dram, eh? Mouth: unbelievable. It dances on the tongue in a great jig of spices and fruit. Peppery and lovely. Finish: black pepper in good doses. We need to vacate the room, which leaves little time for more notes. 9/10
Very, very good masterclass, with a cracking selection. Colin did recycle a few jokes and anecdotes, as well as come up with new ones.
The only room for improvement, I think, is the room. The session was not very interactive, despite CD's efforts to involve audience. I am convinced that is partly because the room's layout was so opposed to socialising.
|The chocolate from your country sucks!|