1 March 2016

27/02/2016 Themeless (though heavily Campbeltown-centric) tasting

JS, OB and I decide to have a few after all. MR joins for the first time and she cannot do any other date. Notes are short, as is the session. Shortish.


Glen Scotia 17yo (40%, OB, b. late 1990s) (me): it seems like we had this one not too long ago, yet OB and MR have never tried it and the general feel of the lineup kind of calls for it. Nose: oregano, thyme, a full botanical garden, actually. Herbal breakfast, apple juice, sprinkled with herbs. Mouth: viscous, herbal tea. Finish: herbs, sprinkled on custard, then milk chocolate. Still lovely, this. 8/10

35.131 19yo 1994/2014 Cherries, chocolate and chai (55.1%, SMWS Society Single Cask, 1st Fill Ex-Bourbon Hogshead, 117b) (OB): somehow, this one seems to have gone by unnoticed. Not sure it ever was part of an outturn. Nose: after-shave lotion, then a fresh morning in a forest undergrowth, cedar-wood shavings, ground, green cardamom. After a while, the promised cherries show up -- red ones. What is that? A hint of smoke from a fruit-tree fire? Mouth: lovely, peppery cherries. Finish: butterscotch, toffee. 8/10

Littlemill 24yo 1990/2015 (50.8%, Cadenhead Authentic Collection, Bourbon Barrel, 144b) (me): nose: boom. Starts with trademark herbs, wood, then banana bread, dried plantain peels and doughnuts. Mouth: silky, then the citrus grows and grows, lemon and lime. Finish: butterscotch, then an explosion of tropical fruit, ripe, almost to the point of clogged sink (which is overripe tropical fruit). This is superlative. 9/10 (thanks SW for the sample)

Springbank 16yo 1997/2013 (56%, OB for the UK, 10y Bourbon Cask/6y Madeira Cask, C#07/178-3, 630b) (courtesy of EG, who is not here): nose: ooh! Sticky barbecued ribs, smokey barbecue, but also digestive biscuit and fortified wine -- the madeira, no doubt. Mouth: dry, very dry, it becomes quite hot quite quickly. Finish: juicy and fruity, though it retains the smokey ribs flavours. A great Springbank. 8/10

The barbecue flavours prompt me to cut the remaining jamón from our trip to the South, five months ago.

Kilkerran 9yo 2006/2015 (57.3%, OB Single Cask, Calvados Cask, 282b) (OB): first ever Kilkerran at a tasting. Tried some in festivals or shops, but good to get to try it in more adequate circumstances. Especially this one, which is pretty limited. Nose: cinnamon-topped apple pie, eau-de-vie (the Calvados influence, I would wager), even cork stoppers. Mouth: eau-de-vie again, perhaps peaches in syrup, with peach stones too. Saké, cut pears and apples. Finish: the saké returns, more eau-de-vie and berries. This is good, provided one likes eau-de-vie. It is not overpoweringly eau-de-vie flavoured, yet it is hard to miss. 7/10

Springbank 10yo Marrying Strength (49.2%, OB for Cadenhead Whisky Shop Campbeltown, b.2015) (MR): nose: an animal character -- wet dog. It has a bubblegummy side to it too. All in all, it smells a bit like a beef casserole with apple slices. Mouth: fresh and lively, it has a bite to it! It becomes dry pretty quickly -- dry white wine, Riesling. It has corn flakes too. Finish: yes, white wine here too, barley (local?) and hints of coal. Another good one. 7/10

Undisclosed Distillery 49yo 1966/2015 (52.9%, Private bottling, Bourbon Cask, re-racked into Sherry Cask, re-racked into Rum Cask, 1b) (me): nose: as with all things of such a venerable age, the depth is unbelievable. My co-tasters think it remains very fresh at the same time. Olive oil, old apple species, aged cider. Mouth: velvety, soft and and well-mannered, like an old woman (lots of teasing about this note), yet it does remain fresh indeed. Tapenade. Finish: again, fresh, very deep, with green olives. Perhaps less impressive than the first time, yet what a delight to be able to try this and share it. 9/10 (thanks SW for the sample)

Balvenie 12yo (62.7%, OB Single Barrel, 1st Fill Sherry Butt, M16132007) (EG who is still not here): nose: molasses, leather, crushed Brazil nuts, walnuts, black bun. This is really far away from the regular Balvenie profile!  It even has a whiff of cured meat. Mouth: powerful as hell, with concentrated sultanas (black bun, eh) and bitter nuts. Finish: sticky, almost tarry, now, with figs, dates and sultanas. This is as good as it is unexpected. 8/10

Wonderful times, as usual.

Special message for EG

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