Back here, yay! The place is busy, though it does not deter JS and me.
Scapa 25yo d.1980 (54%, OB, 2000b): the cork is floating inside the bottle. It worries me a little, though it is too late: I did not notice until it was poured already. Nose: a mixture of fresh brioche, red-fruit-soaked boiled sweets, tropical wood (mahogany, teak), raisins. After a while, tree bark comes out, moist after a light drizzle. A soft whiff of varnish ends up teasing the nostril, and even a bit of musk. Much later on, moist cake appears, frangipane, even. Mouth: acidic at first, it has the character of unripe stone fruit (apricot?) It is warming, with plant sap, almost soup-y (carrot, spinach), with a copious dose of chilli powder. Finish: delicate, soft wood abounds, as well as coconut cream, hot custard and a certain vegetal acidity. At the same time, it leaves a velvety impression of chocolate. 8/10
St Magdalene 1982/2013 (46%, GMP Rare Old, B#RO/13/01): nose: simultaneously generous and austere, if such a combination were possible. The trademark flint is there (austere), lemon-flavoured boiled sweets and a note of sweet pastry (apricot pie or turnover -- generous). JS detects mortar (austere), while tOMoH thinks the pastry becomes more and more prominent (generous). Mouth: it seems soft, almost silky, until one realises that the lemon is pretty piercing. Regardless, it is not aggressive; simply closer to fruit juice than to cream. Finish: the generous austerity continues with ripe citrus (preserved lemons) and ground apricot stones, gentle herbs (chives) and flint. This masterpiece even has a medicinal aspect to it. 9/10
Inverleven 26yo 1978/2004 (50.1%, DT Rarest of the Rare, C#1873, 216b): we had to skip this one on the last couple of visits for lack of time. Time to right that wrong. Nose: pâtes de fruits, lush and chewy, then vanilla-ed rhubarb emerges. Shards of black marble, wet gravel. It retains a fruity note all the same (citrus initially, then berries). Mouth: silky and characterful, if that makes sense; it is soft and delicate, though it also has some imperfections. And by that, I mean asperities that stick out and make it interesting, rather than flaws. It is slightly spicy and stings like a pruned bush of roses, if one is not careful, yet it is very elegant. It becomes woody after a while, with polished-dashboard features. Finish: long and quietly assertive, it carries notes of crushed flowers, dark chocolate, tarragon, gentle milk coffee, bitter. Pâtes de fruits make a comeback (lemon-y ones). Flower petals eventually come to the foreground (roses and cherry blossom). Is this good or what? 9/10
Oishii Wisukii 36yo (46.2%, The Highlander Inn, Sherry Cask): of course, blends are not usually something we go for. But then blends are not usually 36yo small batches exclusively bottled for a highly-respected whisky bar. Nose: perfectly-controlled sherry influence -- coffee and leather kept on a leash, hazelnut, walnut and even a hint of smoke. Brown toast (JS), sizzling portobello mushrooms, roasted chestnuts. Mouth: oh! yes, buttered, brown toast. This is a breakfast whisky if tOMoH knows one! it is rounded and velvety as a smoothie too. Of the coffee and leather, there is not much left; instead, we have gentle marmalade on toasted bread. Finish: it feels too short and sharp, really, yet it retains the softness of the palate and the same general notes -- jam on toast, smokey and sweet. An excellent blend. Water disintegrates it. Careful. 8/10