18 July 2016

17/07/2016 Clearing the shelf #9

Glencraig 16yo d.1968 (40%, GMP Connoisseurs Choice, b.1980s): the lomond-still expression from Glenburgie. This always appeals to this curiosity hunter. Nose: ah! those CC brown label. The trademark dust and old books, of course, yet also a fair amount of fruit (strawberries). The red fruit actually becomes pretty loud, blending with marzipan, frangipane, liqueur-filled pralines, then nail varnish, old bandages, dried apricots. A tantalising nose if tOMoH knows one! Mouth: as vibrant as the nose, with liqueur-filled pralines, almond liqueur, dark maraschino cherries and a drop of nail varnish for good measure. The bandages have gone, leaving only fruity goodness behind. It feels powerful, despite the low ABV, which makes for a good balance. Finish: dark chocolate pralines (Neuhaus, innit), filled with cherry liqueur (that would be closer to Mon Chéri, then), chocolate cake, topped with strawberries and maraschino cherries , freshly-applied nail varnish (Diorette 988, for those who know), dried apricots and figs, walnut paste. Excellent Glencraig, this! 9/10

Glenisla 28yo 1977/2006 (48.6%, SV Cask Strength Collection, Hogshead, C#19598, 274b): talking about curiosities... This, as is now well known, is an experimental whisky from Glen Keith. For a very short period of time, they used lightly peated barley and heavily peated water to produce this for blending purposes. Only Signatory ever released Glenisla as a single and it is highly unlikely anyone else ever will. The liquid is generally regarded as horrible -- but what do they know? I have not had this in ten years; let us see how my palate has evolved. Nose: wax and plasticine; this is akin to walking into a candle factory in which all the staff's children are playing with their respective Play-Doh Fun Factories. A hint of delicate smoke, perhaps, very, very far away, decaying melon (cantaloupe), waxy apricots, cake icing (as in: make a sponge cake and cover it in icing completely, Brit-style), crushed fruit stones. Mouth: the plasticine notes are still omnipresent, giving this a most unusual, wacky profile. I like it, though I can understand why they stopped making it. It is not something I would drink all night. Soft and creamy, it has the texture of peach flesh -- if peach were waxier. Greengage? The smoke is slightly more present, albeit very gentle, still. Fruit and wax dominate this dram completely. Finish: LOL. Ever swallowed plasticine? This is it. The smoke is slightly more pronounced than in the mouth, yet the prominent touch is that waxy platicine note from who-knows-where. It ends with heady, flower-scented soap bars. A candle-and-soap shop it is, then. This oscillates between 6 and 7; I will go with the latter for its sheer originality. 7/10

Ben Nevis 19yo 1996/2015 (46%, The Vintage Malt Whisky The Cooper's Choice, American Oak, Port Pipe Finish, C#0703, 245b): Notice how TVMW introduced an apostrophe in the new livery of their flagship range. This one is pink, which scares me. Nose: urgh. Winey, with bad, Belarussian chocolate melted in the sunshine on the back seat of a car (there might be good Belarussian chocolate; I simply have not come across it). This nose incarnates everything I do not like about Port-matured whisky: the fortified wine is way too loud. Mouth: better! This has the texture of chocolate coulis, straight off the pan, as one pours it on pancakes. The taste is in line, with distant, crushed star anisee, chocolate milk, augmented with crushed berries (elderberries and raspberries). Finish: the wine comes back, unfortunately, spoiling the chocolate-y and fruity kick that would otherwise be most agreeable. The nose wrecks this. It is just about saved by the lovely chocolate taste. 6/10 (Thanks LM for the sample)

91.20 37yo 1976/2014 The rumbling thunder of contentment (46.9%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill ex-Bourbon Hogshead, 58b): loved this when it came out. Nose: woah! Satsumas, lemon curd, candied grapefruit. Citrus-y? You can say that again! It does not do much else, today, but it does this very, very well. A hint of strawberry, perhaps? Mouth: gentle and citrus-y, it offers more satsumas, kumquats and a milky texture. Some would class this as a one-trick-pony. I say this one-trick-pony has class. Finish: a little more expressive, here -- it still bears the citrus-y character, yet this time, it also unveils more complexity, with walnut pastry and a pinch of herbs (chives, flat-leaf parsley). Wonderful. (Thanks MR for the sample)

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