16 February 2016

13/02/2016 Some miniatures for Valentine

EG and JS join me for a small-scale celebration. Considering the low turnover, it seems perfectly suitable to have only minis.
EG, in traditional Mediterrannean style shows up almost two hours late. Bah.

Bowmore 12yo (43%, OB, b.1980s) (EG): we had two of these in Toulouse, a few months ago, and realised how different they could be from one batch to the other. Nose: savoury, with barbecue sauce, brown sauce, malt vinegar, dried herbs, and even smoke, after a a minute. This is a delicate and refined nose. Mouth: luscious and complex, it oscillates between fortified wine and barbecue sauce, raisin juice (Pedro Ximénez?), prunes, tinned plums. Finish: huge, syrupy, with PX again, then a whiff of light smoke and gentle wood. This is a good one! Dram of the day for JS. 9/10

Rosebank 8yo (40%, OB, b.1980s) (JS): we had this several years ago and I remember liking it. EG explains he read somewhere this is generally considered a weak Rosebank. I am puzzled; let us see. Nose: floral, with rosewater and a touch of light smoke. Cut, juicy apples, tinned pineapple, a cake in the oven. Mouth: light and floral, it has vanilla, cut apples again, iced with vanilla sugar. It grows in power, with a bit of wood spices and black pepper. Finish: apples, caramelised apples, with a drop of custard. Custard-y apple pie it is, then. Another note is the slight bitterness of mandarin skins. EG is wrong: this is superb. 8/10

Inchgower 12yo (70° PROOF, OB, b.1970s) (me): nose: aaah! The old miniature effect -- dusty old books and old libraries. It sometimes leads to magical results. Let us see... It morphs to reveal apple core, then becomes dryer, with apple eau-de-vie, Poire William and fruity granola. Cork? Woah! The nose dies out with a splash of soft fruit and bold spices. Mouth: fruity, with crisp apples, wood spices in a creamy texture. Finish: long and pronounced, with dunnage warehouse, cork, gingery spices from the wood, drying and complex. This is amazing. 8/10

Funky bottle too
Old Fettercairn (40%, OB, b.1980s) (me): nose: a dusty dunnage warehouse, with fruit inside... peach stone is the first to show up, then banana, grapefruit and mint. More fruit emerges, soaked in nail varnish. Mouth: this is creamy -- it has the texture of ripe brie and the slight bitterness of green grass, as well as tinned-peach syrup. Finish: an avalanche of berries and custard. Phwoar! this is unexpectedly great. Dram of the day for me. 9/10

Benromach 10yo 100° PROOF (57%, OB, b.2014) (me): nose: toasted barley and gentle smoke. EG is reminded of Campbeltown, I can see why. Fruit comes up after a while (raspberry, perhaps?) Later on, all that remains is barbecue sauce, though it ends up becoming pretty citrus-y too. Mouth: milky, with toasted barley again, and hot custard. Finish: gentle, now. It has warm chocolate, butterscotch and a generous dash of lemon juice. 7/10 (thanks Fixou for the sample)

Glenturret (100° PROOF, OB, b. late 1970s) (EG): nose: old books and old warehouses. Time allows it to develop gherkin vinegar, then water in which sausage has cooked. Berry-flavoured yoghurt in the back, perhaps? Even tropical fruits are there, though tame. Surprisingly complex nose, this. Mouth: sharp and powerful, it comes with citrus and vinegar, acidic. It feels less complex, now, but still good. Finish: hot cocoa with too much milk, lime, green grapefruit, peaches in syrup, tinned pineapple in syrup -- a-ma-zing! Pity the mouth is a bit behind. 8/10


Starter is served: trofie con panna e salsiccia salsa.

Macallan 8yo (43%, OB, b.1980s) (EG): nose: the sherry influence is huge, with shoe polish, cured meat, leather saddles, Brazil nuts, old corks and musty warehouses. Mouth: Brazil nuts and skins, here too, including the associated bitterness. It also has gingery wood spices, nutmeg and the shoe polish from the nose. Finish: more of the same -- Brazil nuts, shoe polish, leather belts. Good, provided one likes that old-school, sherried style. 7/10

Some serious action in the kitchen

Main course is here: apple and sausage bake with caramelised onion glazing. This-ish is an English-ish dish-ish.

Macallan 20yo 1973/1993 (46%, Signatory Vintage, C#10212, 1200b) (me): we struggle a bit to open this one. Nose: mushrooms, initially, then methane, nail varnish, new rubber and plastic, cooked cabbage. Mouth: warm, soft plastic, styrofoam, warm rubber. EG reckons this is a fake, as it seems so flawed. Finish: cola and a bit of rubber. This is not overly good, is it? I refuse to believe it is a fake, yet it is certainly not as good as the pedigree might suggest. 5/10

Check the level!
Prestonfield House Malt 18yo d.1970 (43%, Prestonfield) (me): it takes three people and three tools to open this one, so stuck it is. We end up breaking the tin cap. Good thing there are three of us to drink it up, especially with that fill level! EG claims it is a Glendronach in disguise. Nose: oddly similar to the second Macallan. Cooked cabbage, methane, nail varnish, hot rubber, then fraises tagada, and fortified wine. Dark berries (elderberry), then coffee. It opens up to unveil Christmas cake and orange juice. It becomes quite fruity, actually. Mouth: fortified wine again, dark-grape juice, cold coffee. It is pretty hot too. Finish: dark chocolate, coffee and raisins or prunes, with some nuts thrown in for good measure. It is alright, not my favourite profile, yet well made. EG and JS reckon it is a fake again. I do not believe it. With breathing, it could become an 8. For now, it is 7/10

Biggest mini of the day
Glenlivet 15yo (57%, GMP for Meregalli Import, IG/AHH, b.1997) (EG): nose: dunnage warehouse, dusty books -- OBE in full effect. Preserved fruit, candied fruit, tutti frutti, candied citrus, then flowers, candy floss and damp earth. Mouth: orange juice, mandarin peels, liquorice, lots of candied things (fruit, but also angelica), red chilli in mango chutney. This is super rich. Finish: milk chocolate, citrus, chocolate fondant. The candy is a lot tamer, now, which is just as well, from my point of view. More chocolate, really. This is wonderful. 8/10

We stop here. EG is asleep (he closed his eyes "for ten minutes") and it is midnight. No point jeopardising the whole Sunday for another couple of drams.


Good session, full of good surprises from yesteryear.