20 September 2016

16/09/2016 Vorspiel in Zürich

JS and I are visiting friends in Zürich. Whisky friends. CD & RG, whom we met at the London Show, a couple of years ago. They invited us for supper tonight: a raclette. Funnily enough (ha!), the flight is delayed. For a country who supposedly master clocks, that is not a little surprising. Anyway.

When we reach the place, around 22:00, our hosts and the other guests are three bottles of wine down already. And supper is over. They kindly postpone dessert until we have caught up on the raclette and pierrade. Our hostess asks me if she may be so bold as to turn my meat, which amuses everyone immensely... and then she realises and blushes.
We leave no man standing.

Well done, pumpkin pie!

That is when CD brings out the goods. Ten or so bottles appear on the table out of nowhere.

Springbank 10yo d.2004 (54.9%, Duty Paid Sample, RS Butt, Rotation 570): whatever RS Butt means. Nose: initially rather sulphury, it then gives way to tar and charcoal-toasted leather (think of a blacksmith's leather apron), even a touch of cured ham. Later on, roasted apples show up too. Mouth: warm and peppery, it has stagnant water in an old tyre. There definitely is a mix of wet, burnt wood and hot rubber. Finish: burnt wood, melted rubber and overly tanned leather. This one is too extreme for my feeble palate, tonight. 5/10

Glen Grant 30yo 150th Anniversary Reserve (45%, OB, b. ca 1990): nose: milk chocolate, Amaretto and a certain fruitiness -- is it elderflower? Elderberry? Peach? Mouth: full-on peachy Amaretto. Finish: orange rinds, custard, Amaretto again, as well as soft peach. There is a less pleasant rubber note, which is why it will not score higher than 7/10

Benriach 28yo 1975/2004 (57.1%, SV Cask Strength Collection, Sherry Hogshead, C#7221, 208b): a sherried Benriach from that era could be good, though the sherry might also be too strong and smother the distillery's character. What it does is pique tOMoH's interest. Nose: phwoar! Marzipan, custard and a hefty dose of fruit (peach, apricot, mango). The fruit becomes louder and louder, bringing rose petals on its trail. Mouth: the beautiful tingling of chilli on fruit. Finish: dunnage warehouse, fern, moss on wood and lovely, lovely fruit. Winner. 9/10

RG, seeing how we like the Benriach, allows us to try her favourite expression.

Benriach 16yo 1997/2013 (59.2%, OB Distillery Exclusive, Sauternes Hogshead Finish, C#3764, 293b): nose: fruity too, though so much sweeter. Turkish delights, Greek pastries, meringue, Nic-Nacs biscuits. Mouth: soft, sweet and fruity. This is very pleasant, yet I am not sure I could drink more than a dram or two in a row. Finish: long, sweet and syrupy, with the softness of peaches in syrup. Lovely. 8/10

Tomintoul 46yo 1967/2013 (47.6%, The Whisky Agency, Refill Hogshead, 215b): been willing to try a Tomintoul from that famous year for so long! Nose: this is classy. Blackberry bushes, blackcurrant juice, dunnage warehouse and a hint of crushed mint. Majestic. Mouth: mellow, soft and round, with lovely cake icing -- not over the top. Finish: dunnage warehouse again, with drops of soft, ripe fruit. 46 years in wood make it a bit nutty, but it is surprisingly under control. Excellent. Dram of the day for me. 9/10

Port Ellen 25yo 1982/2007 (58.7%, SV Cask Strength Collection, Sherry Butt, C#2845, 491b): nose: refined peat, sandy beaches, drying fishing nets, flint and a bucket of soot in the distance. This is very elegant. Mouth: big, bold, yet not arrogant. It has refined peat again, citrus and chilli pepper. Finish: this is where it turns less interesting; hot paprika, ginger, lots of peat. All that is submerging everything else. Very good, not blinding, and the finish a reassuring sign that Port Ellen is vastly overrated, in tOMoH's opinion. I still like it, mind. 8/10

3am. Time to clock off and get some rest before tomorrow.


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