18 January 2016

16/01/2016 Songs

First tasting of the year and first musical tasting for this UK lot. It left a few of them puzzled, initially, yet all gave it their best shot and came up with good things.
OB had to call off due to visitors showing up and JH did not make it either, following a spike at work.
The suspects: MS, PS, EG, JS and yours, truly. MS provides the soundtrack, a great and eclectic selection.

While waiting for EG and JS to arrive, we three have an apéritif. It even fits the theme:

Jackie Quartz - A la vie à l'Ardmore

Ardmore 19yo 1978/1998 (46%, Cadenhead's Original Collection) (me): Nose: sweet and dusty, with a whiff of coal dust. Mouth: sweet and slightly hot -- chilli heat. Finish: more tingling from chilli, as well as salty popcorn. MS jokes that it could be my after-shave whisky, which makes me laugh, since it was, two weeks ago. It seems to be at its full potential, now, early in the lineup. Still not a stunner, mind. 7/10

Time for serious action, now.

JS and I present: Littlemahl - Neverend-Mosstowie

Littlemill 16yo 1991/2008 (50%, DL Old Malt Cask 50°, C#DL4064, 276b) (JS): long time since we had this one. I remember loving its nuttiness. Nose: nuts indeed, hazelnuts, to be precise, a drop of lime, grappa in the back (says EG, I agree) and unsalted pistachio shells. Mouth: gentle, yet assertive, with green hazelnut. Finish: more (green) hazelnut and -- what is new -- a tiny dropkick of tropical fruit. I realise my notes are going to be awful and short, today. All the same, I like this a lot. 8/10

Mosstowie 33yo 1975/2008 (48.4%, DT Rarest of the Rare, C#5816, 184b) (me): thanks again EG for giving me the idea, as I had forgotten I had this one. Nose: stir-fried pears, cinnamon, tarragon (MS, getting into the groove), apple compote. Water makes it more citrus-y, with lime and grapefruit. Mouth: mellow, full of custard, augmented with a pinch of white pepper. With water: lemon is definitely more present and the texture becomes creamier. Finish: oooh! Beautiful mix of crisp, unripe apple, cinnamon and white pepper. With water, the whole turns more acidic, though remains custard-y. Lemon custard, then. 9/10

EG explains how he has been on a kale diet, recently, and describes how to stir-fry it. MS observes that it sounds like a good way to get rid of kale. Kale enthusiasts unite!

EG presents: Eddie Grant - I Don't Wanna Dance

Glen Grant 5yo d.1965 (40° GL, OB imported by Armando Giovinetti Jr.) (EG): nose: grappa (MS), aromatised grappa (a la ruota), lemon, βανίλια. Mouth: watery -- I reckon this is below 40%, now. French toast (pain perdu) comes up, then mild spices, akin to a milky korma. Finish: silky smooth and lemon-y, with custard and vanilla. This is not complex, but pretty nice all the same. 7/10

EG presents: John Mason and The Scottish Fiddle Orchestra - Spirit of Strathisla

(No video available, unfortunately)

Strathisla 10yo (43° GL, OB imported by M.P.T., b.1970s) (EG): nose: candy floss (PS), peach (PS again), greengage, green apple peel, wet, burnt wood, at times. This is a bit weak, really -- in terms of ABV, I mean. Mouth: milky, watery, with hints of pepper and touches of other things, yet nothing is very distinct. Finish: again, it is OK, but indistinct and watery. 6/10

EG asks for a replacement cork, as the original from the 1970s is in tatters. He gets one of the high-tech ones JS brought back from a recent trip.

MS presents: Skunk Anansie - Hedonism

Hedonism (43%, CB, B#MMXV-A, b.10/03/2015) (MS): nose: delicate bakery scents. Mouth: unfortunately, this feels watery to me as well. I fear it is one of those days. Finish: this is where it reveals itself -- full-on bakery, half-baked dough, custard and goodness. 7/10

Nibbles are served: ham, bleu d'Auvergne dry sausage and Christmas sausage, as well as crackers. I realise I am a lot hungrier than I thought.

The Ring of the Nibble-ungen

A bit too keen, PS breaks the cork of the next bottle.

PS presents: The Undertones - Teaninich Kicks

59.24 10yo 1993/2004 (61.5%, SMWS Society Cask) (PS): if you cannot see the connection, just know that 59 is the SMWS code for Teaninich. Nose: flint and limescale, lemon; this is pretty austere! With water, it becomes very quiet, then opens up to reveal animal scents. A Clynelish cask that got mixed up? Mouth: powerful! Violent! Pepper heat! Water does not muzzle the strength completely, yet helps lemon emerge, as well as limescale and moss. Finish: it really hits hard, an austere malt, with more lemon and flint. Hot and unsexy. Interesting, though. Water renders it really difficult, extremely lemon-y with a drop of wax. 6/10

MS is in a rush and decides to change the running order, which is fine. He drew a blank on this one, yet brought it to share it. I venture Captain Hollywood Project - Bowmore and Bowmore and Bowmore, only to realise it cannot be anything other than...

MS presents: David Bowiemore - I'm Deranged

Bowmore 12yo 2003/2015 (58.1%, Cadenhead Wine Cask, Burgundy Wood, 270b) (MS):
précisément la semaine où David Bowie est mort. Ha! Nose: meat, cured meat, to be accurate, old bandages, this is lovely! Mouth: wine-y, with very faint notes of barbecue and barbecue sauce. Finish: a mix of peat, wine character and dark fruit. This should never work, but it does. I am glad I convinced MS to buy a bottle. :-) 8/10

PS observes about the next bottle that, 'EG did me well, there.'
Too much information, mate.

Sealed with a kiss
Mind you, I tell EG that, 'after two weeks without a dram, I am so high I could kiss your beard.' EG answers, 'I would charge you for it.'

JS presents: Cindy Lauper - Girls Just Bunnahabhain

Bunnahabhain 27yo 1978/2006 (55.6%, SV Cask Strength Collection, Sherry butt, C#2542, 509b) (JS): nose: leather, wax, elderberry and new rubber -- eraser, says JS. Burnt wood too, perhaps. Mouth: elderberry liqueur, blackcurrant, some spices (black cumin in particular). Finish: sharp and herbaceous. Others get bacon from this, I call their bullshit. Charred meat on a hot griddle, though, I will agree. I think I prefer Psycho's 1976 by MMcD, yet this is more than alright! 8/10

PS presents: Audrey Hepburn & Andy Williams - Moon River

With a plunger
and everything
North British (46%, Moon Import The 10th Anniversary of Moon Import, exclusive for Pasticceria Tambone, d.1964, 300b) (PS): this is certainly not something one comes across every day! EG, in true Truffle Pig style, salvaged it from the red-hot remains of a burnt-down trattoria in Castellabate, back when the Romans still dominated the whole Mare Nostrum. Either that, or he found it in a regular shop in Italy, who knows? In any case, PS had to change underwear when he was given the opportunity to buy it. Considering the current apparent state of his underwear, it is difficult to gauge whether he ever did. Nose: nail-polish remover, acetone (PS who seems to know a thing or two about inhaling dangerous substances), corn-flake dust (PS goes on to explain his sister grinds cereals to a powder to eat them) and faint white spirit. Mouth: fresh and teeming with bakery and nail-varnish remover. Finish: more nail-varnish remover and a note of fruit turnover. To say it is not extremely complex would be an understatement; it is a bit of a one-trick pony, innit. Good, though. And what luck to get to try this at all! 7/10

I present: Shaggy - Oh Caol Ila

Caol Ila 32yo 1975/2007 (58.4%, SV Cask Strength Collection, Hogshead, C#458, 221b) (me): nose: gouache paint, dry earth, leather belts. This is so deep, farm-y, with notes of very dry prunes. Mouth: peppery, with nutmeg, white pepper, dry earth again, and leather. Finish: dry as sand, with cured meat, dried cork and more dry earth. I am well pissed, by now, yet this is bold enough to be truly enjoyable and discernible. 9/10

EG blends the Strathisla, North British, 59.24 and Bowmore: nose: rich, with coconut, a pasty, sprinkled with coconut shavings. Mouth: hot and meaty. Finish: a bit weak, here, with overcooked pork skewers, mulled wine. The weak sides of the Bowmore and the Strathisla sort of ruin the rest. Interesting experiment, still. 6/10

MS unfortunately has to leave. Given the date, I insist on pouring something else. Not in theme. Shock horror.

Laphroaig 40yo 1960/2001 (42.4%, OB, 3300b) (me): I bought this 12 years ago, give or take one day. It is a sort of yearly memorial. Nose: plenty of fruit (PS), including pear, mango, peach, melon and lemon. There is a bit of earth too, but fuck! The depth of this!! Mouth: although it is a mere 42.4%, it feels so full, big and assertive, loaded with notes of melon, pomegranate, grapefruit, a dream of smoke, some rubber, plastic sheathes -- oochie mama! Finish: the smoke finally takes over, with a bucket of coal dust next to a basket of fruit (melon again, grapefruit) and rubber boots (which I do not recall ever detecting in this one). The king of drams. Not blindingly fruity, not blindingly peaty, not blindingly anything, really -- yet blindingly good. I feel so privileged to have had a chance to procure one of these, and even more to be able to share it with people who can appreciate it. 10/10

EG slowly drifts away, while PS stays for another bit -- he needs to finish his 59.24, since the cork is broken. Excellent tasting, as per usual. Roll on the next one!

PS in his current favourite t-shirt

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