31 October 2015

31/10/2015 London MkI

For the last day of October, we will start what I am hoping becomes a small tradition: a tasting on the theme of London. Any street, borough, park, station will do. The city is so big and so rich in potential bad puns it would be a shame not to exploit it in depth!

The suspects: JS, JH, EG, OB and yours, truly.

OB is first. We have a drop of Deanston 17yo (43%, OB) as aperitive.

JH, shows up as usual: hungover and with an empty stomach. He toys with the idea of ordering a pizza, yet does not.

Littlemill Hill East

Littlemill 17yo (43%, OB, b. ca 1999) (brought by me): I expect OB not to like this, as he is not a fan of herbaceous profiles. I serve it anyway -- for the pun and because it is not something one drinks every day. EG, who has seen his share of bottles thinks it is an 8yo before he sees the bottle. He has never seen this. Nose: plum-like (JH), greengages (JH), gooseberry (OB), even notes of damson plum (JH), sparkling wine (JH, in verbose mode). It reminds me of bubbly indeed, with cut grass too. Mouth: yes, this is plummy alright, today; a mix of plums and greengages. There seems to be little touches of smoke as well, which is less expected. Finish: dry finish (JH), dark cocoa powder, ground coffee beans and the associated bitterness. It keeps its roundness all the same; it has mandarins and butter. 7/10

Although, it is the 31st October, we make our way to the terrace -- in t-shirts, believe it or not. Gives us a chance to witness a forceful arrest across the street. It is the final game of the rugby World Cup and, if everyone drinks, not everyone can take their alcohol.

Hazelburn Rd

Hazelburn Rundlets and Kilderkins 2003/2014 (50.1%, OB) (EG): nose: red berries and a thin veil of smoke, unexpected, since Hazelburn is supposed to not have any. JH does not like this one at all. Everyone else seems to enjoy the note of papaya. Mouth: it has an interesting bitterness (green plant), good strength, with green plants and butternut (topical, is it not?) Finish: coating, with fruit and... coal? Slightly drying in a walnut-flesh type of way. 7/10

JS makes an entrance. Bang on time: it is her time to pour.

Macdufferin St

Macduff 24yo 1984/2008 (46%, Direct Wines First Cask, C#877, L08/498) (JS): interestingly, this was bottled by Signatory Vintage, if the duty sticker can be believed (usually, it can). It is also our first First Cask bottling, as well as a reference to an obscure street, ha! Nose: bubblegum, Chardonnay (JH), sweet wine. Pineapple and croissant dough -- this is amazing! Mouth: nuts at first; it seems a lot more powerful than 46% too. The palate still gives a bit of fruit (plums) and wet clay. Finish: more fruit, wet earth, milk chocolate, crisp, ripe pears also come out (JH). Lovely! 8/10

EG tries to find out how much the Macduff cost

Longmorn Ln

Longmorn 15yo (43%, OB imported by WaxOr Milano, 240K562/240K818, b. late 1980s) (EG): this is not one I have ever seen before. Exciting. Nose: body odour, says JH -- below the waistline, apparently. "So, you don't smell the arse-crack?", he asks. We don't mate. Stewed prunes, shitake mushrooms (JH), boiled eggs (that is probably sulphur, which never becomes unpleasant). Nuts appear, after a bit. Mouth: feels a bit weak, initially, then prunes, plums and liqueur all come out. EG says he "bought two shits," which amuses us a lot. Beautiful, this. Finish: wood? Walnut flesh? Dried dates? Figs? The finish is beautiful too! 8/10

My fingers smell of arse-crack too!

Friern Speyburnet

Speyburn 25yo Solera (46%, OB, P0 12982 11:08 7206 25) (me): OB reckons I am doing a Northern Line tasting, but then he mistook this for High Barnet. No, sir! Nose: nutty and gently meaty, before it becomes a lot fruitier -- that stewed fruit again, likely prunes. Mouth: great quality sherry casks, this, which gives notes of manuka honey and maple syrup. Finish: walnut shells, peach stones, almond skins -- yes, this is a little bitter. Everyone likes it, which is a relief for me, as it was not exactly a hit when I opened it, a couple years ago. 8/10

Nibbles are served: oat cakes and belotta ham from Lomar's. We move back inside. The weather is nice, but the sun sets early.

Slicin' for a livin'

Glen Gordon St

Glen Gordon 15yo (40%, GMP, IB/AHF, b.1992) (EG): this was the first bottle EG ever bought at auction. Nose: molasses, tropical wood (teak), macerated plums, berry liqueur. Mouth: wet, burnt wood, caramel (it is full of it, despite EG's protests). It feels a bit tame at 40%, yet the burnt wood sort of balances that out. Finish: this is the weak point, with burnt wood and caramel. 6/10

Miltonduff St

Adelphi Theatre

Miltonduff 32yo 1981/2014 (54.2%, Adelphi Selection, C#5067, 226b) (JS): whisky counts double, with this one. I remember liking it a lot at the Whisky Show last year. Nose: bonded warehouse, clay floors, moss on casks and angels' share. "This is good arse-crack," says JH. You tell me, mate. Butter, wood dust -- yes, still dunnage warehouse and buttery walnut shells. Mouth: flowery and peachy. Peach and flower body butter. Finish: an explosion of citrus fruit (quince, preserved lemons). Great, great Miltonduff that is unanimously appreciated. 9/10

Royal Bracklademy

Royal Brackla 30yo 1984/2015 (54.1%, Cadenhead Single Cask, Bourbon Hogshead, 192b) (OB): nose: deep and bold, with dunnage-warehouse whiffs and pencil lead. Mouth: oooh! The kick! Prune juice, raisin juice and a hefty dose of white pepper. This is big. Finish: almond milk. This is old-school whisky, almost austere. EG finds a Japanese influence and reckons it is a sexy whisky. I do not think it is sexy at all (not tout: no vanilla or custard), but then I like this old style anyway. JS likes it too, which surprises her. Probably the best Brackla I have had, which does not say much, maybe. 8/10

OB unfortunately has to leave at this point and misses the last two drams.

Theobaldnoch Rd

50.69 25yo 1990/2015 A celebration of life! (56.5%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill ex-Bourbon Barrel, 91b) (JH): JH brought this with no clue how to make it fit the theme, other than it is a celebration of life in London. I almost changed my own selection, then thought it would be a good idea to drink two expressions of the same distillery side by side. Nose: poppy-seed cake, saffron (JH). "It's really boom in your mouth" (JH). After Eight -- that is mint-stuffed chocolate thins, for the few who do not know. Mille foglie (EG) -- mille-feuille, in French; "Eh? Milf?" (EG) Apricot stone, dandelion petals in sizzling butter. Mouth: hot dough, apricot turnover. Finish: this is warming as fook, with apricot and bakery notes. That will be an apricot turnover, then, eh? 8/10

Posing or pouring
One must choose


Bladnoch 23yo 1977/2001 (53.6%, OB Rare Malts Selection, 6000b, b#00565) (me): this is an old friend and always a pleasure to share, though it is the first time I pour it as the last dram in a tasting. Nose: sage, thyme, chocolate, nuts, cork -- this is awfully complex, is it not? White chocolate, Kellogg's Smacks (puffed wheat sweetened with caramel) and coconut (JH). Mouth: initially salty, then sweet (says JH). It remains salty for me, with roasted barley. Finish: explosive, it leaves a long-lasting, warm presence in the mouth, with white chocolate and apple-stuffed bakery. Lovely. 9/10

Boom! We have a theme.

As a night cap, we have G4.1. I take no notes and, although we could easily make it fit the theme, we will keep that for another time.

Excellent tasting, once again. All drams were good to great, with only one that was more on the interesting tip.

Whatever is happening, here

Totally Speyburnt out

All maps courtesy of Google Maps. Tube map courtesy of TfL. Any copyright question, please ask.


  1. I said gooseberry but I meant physalis.
    Re: Brackla, funny EG made the connection with Japanese whisky as the dram I poured myself and drank in 2 sec made me think of genmaicha. What a crazy story.

  2. Also the speyburn tag is wrong, but I'm afraid to say it otherwise you might not invite me anymore and I will never see my Royal Brackla and its shiny, golden label again.