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|
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|
I present: Shaggy - Oh Caol Ila
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|