30 November 2016

27/11/2016 Peter Sellers

dom666's yearly birthday bash. The theme? You read it right: Peter Sellers. dom666 thought Monty Python would be too commercial.
The suspects: dom666, JS, Psycho, PSc, myself, and adc joins us for the last couple of drams too.

But first, an apéritif.


Carolus Whisky Infused (11.7%, OB, B#001, C#B-6-13/14/15) (dom666): yes, this is a beer. And it is not even in theme. We talked about it a while ago, dom666 wanted to try it and share it -- there you are. Nose: sweet, with warm honey and candy floss, as well as a tiny amount of hops. Mouth: liquorice-flavoured candy floss, sweet and mellow. It has the texture of acacia honey. Finish: the vanilla roundness of a whisky cask (no shit, Sherlock), the stickiness of honey and the gentleness of almond milk. Very nice. 8/10

JS presents: Peter Cellars

Glenmorangie 10yo Cellar 13 (40%, OB, L4300 1242 3ML): a recurrent visitor at these little tastings. We discover with shock that Psycho has never had it. Nose: cut pine wood, warm bread, tree bark, a hint of coconut and delicate citrus. Mouth: citrus-y (mandarin), acidic, with notes of coconut yogurt and pine needles. Finish: delicious vanilla and coconut-tainted yogurt, with a dash of lime juice. This is fruity (apples and pears, according to Psycho). A modern malt -- but a wonderful one. Psycho tries it against Atisan Cask, which he also never had. 8/10

Glen Grant 5yo d.1965 (40°GL., OB imported by Armando Giovinatti): this is not in theme; I brought it because I was convinced it was distilled in 1966 (that will make sense shortly). There is little left of it (leftover from another tasting, during which EG abandoned it), so this is a chance for everyone to try it, since we are such a small number, today. Nose: wonderful digestive biscuit and (tropical) fruit, fancy tea and a hint of pepper. Mouth: it feels watery and is probably under 40%, unfortunately. Fruity soap, vanilla, coconut. Finish: custard, cut apple, lime. Here, it is still lively and refreshing -- salty like a margarita. The mouth disappoints (due to the lack of oomph). 7/10 (Thanks EG)

Augmented with oregano

Psycho explains the mouth of the Glen Grant reminds him of his sister's ex-boyfriend: insipid. He means the whisky might as well not be there, as far as the mouth is concerned.

I proudly present the next one. I wanted to bring it because of its age statement. I was not sure how to shoehorn it into the theme, however. imdb helped me.
In 1966, Peter Sellers played in a film called The Wrong Box. The following whisky was distilled in 1966. And to make sure, I brought it... in the wrong box. A Small Batch box, when it is from the Single Cask collection. Zomg.

Glenlossie 48yo 1966/2014 (43.5%, Cadenhead Single Cask, Bourbon Hogshead, 168b): nose: oh! my, the fruit! Marzipan (dom666), to which Psycho answers, "No, rather dried fruits." "Almond, perhaps?" (dom666) Concentrated satsuma juice, even a little smoke. Phwoar! The fruit turns tropical, with mango, orange and all sorts of jams. PSc finds vanilla and banana in it. Mouth: perfectly balanced, it has a delicate mix of wood (walnut oil) and fruit (apricot compote), a whiff of smoke and a pinch of green pepper. Finish: long and wide, with hazelnut spread, manuka honey and more apricot compote. Marvelous. 9/10

At the same time, we have the following, which is not in theme. It is another 1966 and it seems the right time to open it. It belongs to the group.

Benriach 42yo 1966/2008 (43.9%, Signatory Vintage Cask Strength Collection, American Oak Hogshead, C#1019, 175b): nose: roar! What a depth! Very fruity again, with pears and crisp apples. It evolves to give away Petit Beurre biscuits, a good dose of wood (it never becomes invading or overpowering), and apricots. This is amazingly fruity and complex: it morphs to unveil dark smoke, noble furniture and polished dashboards. Mouth: unripe fruit (green hazelnut) crushed in honey. This is mellow, unctuous and delicious. It has the texture of peach nectar and a hint of green pepper. Finish: a small explosion of exotic fruits, green hazel tree, ground hazelnut in a honey sauce. The whole oscillates between wood bitterness and tropical fruitiness -- wow! I like it better than the first time. A mesmerizing dram. 10/10

Get your kicks
On Route 66

Food enters. The starter is toasted brioche bread with truffle-spiked foie gras, truffle-spiked Brillat (cheese) and saltufo (truffle-spiked salami, rolled in grated Parmesan). Next is a minestrone with Espelette chili. Finally, blood sausages (cabbage, nuts and apple, I think), cheeses (a Calvados-cured Epoisses is particularly to my taste) and pâtés (duck, pear and one more), accompanied by spelt rolls. Fingalickin' good. Does the trick too, as we needed a bit of a palate cleanser to make room for the rest of the programme.

The truffle trilogy

Porn sausages

When Inspector Clouseau comes home in The Pink Panther films, he invariably fights his servant, Cato. He is Clouseau, he always win. Or as they say in French, "Clouseau nique Cato."

Without further ado, dom666 presents:

Nikka Coffey Malt (46%, Nikka, b. ca 2016): the pun was far-fetched (Nikka for nique Ca... to, geddit?), but I have not tried this for many moons, so am well pleased. Nose: hot pastry, brioche bread, perhaps pizza dough, frangipane. Mouth: it is very neutral, here; a little vanilla, Greek yogurt. Nut liqueur makes a late appearance. It is soft, silky and delicate. One can see why those malt whiskies distilled in a column still were called silent malts, in the 19th century. Finish: flowery, with vanilla and coconut shavings. It packs the right amount of punch, even if it remains delicate, soft and silky. 8/10

Psycho presents:

Auchentoshan 17yo 1999/2016 (55.5%, Cadenhead Small Batch, Bourbon Hogsheads, 498b): this is not in theme. Psycho had two bottles in mind, he forgot them at his. He received this today and opens it straight away for this very tasting -- yay! Nose: vinegar, stone fruit, meat loaf (Psycho), frangipane, meringue. It is very good, though the alcohol seems more aggressive than when I tried it in the shop. It even has herbs (sage, marjoram, oregano) and traces of satsumas and clogged sink. Mouth: cut pear, floor wax, beeswax, encaustic. This will benefit from breathing, I reckon. It feels a bit smothered, here. Finish: bold milk chocolate, hints of varnish, hair lacquer. The fruit soon spreads its wings: pineapple, pistachio paste, Jacques chocolate with a creamy pistachio filling. Great Auchentoshan, this. Looking forward to trying it again. 8/10

First dessert enters: a chocolate bomb.


dom666 presents: The Mouse That Roared

Brace yourself, dear reader: this is not an obvious one.
The Mouse That Roared can be split into 'Mouse' and 'Roar.' Mouse becomes Kate Mouse (for Kate Moss, innit), Kate becomes Cat, the Cat Laughs (a comedy festival in Ireland), which leaves us with Laugh and Roar. Laugh Roar. Laphroaig. Boom.

Laphroaig 30yo (43%, OB, LS76256 / LQ0168): nose: balsamic vinegar, salted caramel, decaying pears and apples. It has a faint leather note, yet mostly fruit, as well as polished dashboards, furniture wax, industrial polish and a basket of soot in another room. There is even a hint of tropical fruit in there. Mouth: unctuous, balanced, with cider vinegar and gentle leather flavours. I find it is missing a bit of power, today. Finish: peat smoke, rich and thick, leather, notes of tropical fruit, cantaloup melon as the dominant. Excellent dram, always a pleasure to revisit it, even if the mouth suffered a bit, after the powerful Auchentoshan. 9/10

adc joins us.

In an unknown context, dom666:
-Ça permet de séparer le bon gars de l'ivre.

tOMoH presents: Murder By Death
The French title is: Un Cadavre au Dessert
In French, un cadavre (litterally: a corpse), also means an empty bottle.
The second dessert is about to be served (tarte normande, custard, apple slices and sugar). The next bottle is about to die during dessert, sacrificed on the altar of a good pun.

64.40 22yo 1990/2012 Gingery heat and oaky tannins (53.7%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill ex-Bourbon Barrel, 172b): nose: coastal, salty, with remnants of a walk in a pine forest. It also has a note of citrus (lemon, lime, grapefruit). Mouth: acidic as citrus (grapefruit, lime), rhubarb; this is very acidic, today, with a slight, gingery touch of wood. Finish: a roller coaster of citrus and wood shavings. Unbelievable how much this has changed: it used to be a walk in the forest, stepping into a carpenter's workshop; now, it has lots of citrus and the bitterness of dark tea leaves -- the wood, dancing with the citrus. Psycho even finds capers in it, briny. A good dram. I am sad to see it empty, but glad it was shared with so many. 8/10

Teh casualty

tOMoH brought the next and final one, because it was a best-Sellers until June 2016, when HMRC decided Cadenhead had to stop bottling Live Casks. It has the wrong label stuck to the wrong bottle. Unfortunately, Sellers did not star in The Wrong Label, nor in The Wrong Bottle.

Cadenhead's Islay (unknown ABV, Cadenhead 1842 Live Cask): nose: a composition of peat smoke, leather belts, macerated stone fruits and farmyard scents. Fruit emerges too: quince and char-grilled pineapple. Mouth: velvety, yet powerful, with a veil of smoke (think: vaping, rather than a furnace. In other words: camp smoking, rather than camp fire). It is the enveloping gentleness of vapour, not the acridity of tobacco smoke. A little drying, still, with a twist of the pepper mill. Finish: fruit, smoke, peat, drying fishing nets. It turns very salty and coastal, with smoked whelk and cockles. Drying and salty, with a bitterness that is not necessarily pleasant -- although Psycho finds it suave. Warming, this. 7/10 (Thanks SW for the sample)

The tasting reaches its natural conclusion. We are stuffed as turkeys and certainly do not need more whisky. What an afternoon! Happy birthday, dom666!

25 November 2016

24/11/2016 Late-November outturn at Cadenhead's

Another month, another outturn -- or release tasting, at it is called here. There is a private tasting in the dedicated room, so it is a few drams while standing... in plastic cups. Notes are short.

Clynelish 26yo 1990/2016 (45.3%, Cadenhead Authentic Collection, Bourbon Barrel, 258b): nose: varnish and wax. The varnish is really rather loud and unlike the regular distillery profile. Mouth: pine needles, then back to nail varnish. Finish: spicy varnish. Mm, it is not bad, but not really my bag. 6/10

Ord 20yo 1996/2016 (54.2%, Cadenhead, Château Lafitte Cask, 252b): nose: musky, wine-y, really not my thing at all. Mouth: coffee and red wine. Spaniards, if you read this, there is an idea for you: kafelimoxo or kalimoxoffee. Finish: much better here, it has berries and other fruit, with a touch of leather. 6/10

Mortlach 27yo 1988/2016 (52.6%, Cadenhead, Sherry Cask, 498b): nose: game in sauce grand-veneur, pheasant dried sausage from the Ste Catherine market in Huy. Mouth: peppery red meat, game casserole with spices. Finish: hints of berries, initially, then beef biltong for dogs, Rioja -- overpowering red wine. The master of ceremony has been pimping this all week. It does not resonate with me. 6/10

Hazelburn 8yo 2007/2016 (54%, Cadenhead Authentic Collection, Bourbon Hogshead, 162b): nose: soft baking and delicate fruit, this is gentle and subtle, but of course, it is triple distilled, so it is to be expected. Mouth: mellow and pleasant, with honey, flowers and raw chou dough. Finish: more of the same -- raw dough, honey and a hint of gentle peach. The whole is topped with a spoonful of paprika. 8/10

Springbank 14yo 2002/2016 (47.7%, Cadenhead Authentic Collection, Bourbon Barrel, 168b): jokes fuse left and right, here. JS posted pictures of last week's tasting on social media, everyone who is here tonight saw them and jealousy bit many. The comments today are about the fact that this one is not ancient enough. Haha. Nose: verbena and noble wood. Mouth: warm custard, cassia bark, liquorice. Finish: wood and earth, with a kick of herbs and beef stock. 7/10

Glen Scotia 16yo 2000/2016 (57.8%, Cadenhead, Sherry Cask, 612b): nose: I find it earthy, JS finds it fishy. Mouth: wood lacquer, white pepper and red wine. Finish: wood polish, then a growing note of anchovy indeed. Water removes the character. This is more interesting than good, though it remains decent. 7/10

Bowmore 13yo 2003/2016 (56.7%, Cadenhead, Burgundy Cask, 276b): nose: hay and roasted barley. Mouth: gentle custard. Finish: smoke and burning hay, scorched earth. A beautiful, if simple Bowmore. 8/10

Ardbeg 23yo 1993/2016 (47.7%, Cadenhead Authentic Collection, Bourbon Hogshead, 210b): I had a chance to buy this this afternoon, when it went online. Knowing the waiting list was very long, I considered it -- in the worst case, I could retrocede it to a poor soul who did not have that opportunity. Then I got sidetracked, forgot and missed my chance. I overthought it, in other words. Great, then, to be able to try it anyway. Nose: unexpectedly farm-y; it smells of a cow's behind, after it has been milked. A heap of manure. Mouth: this tastes of sherry influence, despite being a Bourbon cask. Finish: burning hay and more farm-y flavours. Weird. An unusual Ardbeg. JS likes it a lot, I dislike it as much. Glad not to have bought it for myself. One in the group today is giving up his bottle, so it is not just me. This one really is not for everyone. No doubt some will love it and it is sold out, anyway. 5/10

Off-tasting, I try:

Girvan 26yo 1988/2015 (57%, Cadenhead Small Batch, 246b): nose: hot pastry and citrus. Mouth: soft puff pastry, burning apricot compote and grilled pineapple. Finish: long, full of apricot turnovers and citrus-y goodness. 8/10

Great session, even if the selection left me mostly cold. Lots of mindless giggles in a relaxed atmosphere while drinking whisky. What is there not to like?

22 November 2016

20/11/2016 Nachspiel with the Swissky Mafia

One dram did the rounds, last night, that JS had and told me I had to try. I did not, so as to avoid saturation (whether I succeeded is debatable). Today, however, I will have it.

Longmorn 22yo 1969/1991 (61%, GMP Cask, C#3716/7, IB/AFA): nose: dusty books and astringent fruit, with perhaps a drop of distant wine. I smelled it last night: it seemed a lot more expressive. Furniture wax, then plums and raisins. Mouth: punchy, citrus-y (lemon and pink grapefruit). It has quite a bit of ginger and white pepper too. Finish: finally, the fruit explodes (mango), alongside nail varnish and gentle pepper. Good, yet I might have enjoyed it more if I had had it yesterday, after all. 8/10

19/11/2016 Springbank tasting at The English School, Zürich

Back we are for what promises to be a wonderful experience. The Swissky Mafia have organised a "little" Springbank tasting. Last time we were here, they were particularly excited to have secured what would the last dram in today's official line-up.

Here is a hint of things to come.
Before the madness starts, a few apéritifs.

Campbeltown Loch 25yo (40%, Springbank Distillers, b. early 2000s): interesting to try this today, since there is no Springbank in it, contrary to popular belief. Nose: some fruit, hints of leather, rubber. Soon, the fruit becomes more insistent (cut apples and carambola), then apricot compote, spread on old furniture -- caramelised compote, to be accurate. Mouth: thicker than the nose hinted at, with gentle rubber, molasses and unripe apples. The starfruit (carambola) is more subdued, but still present. Finish: long and delicate, it has cut apples and caramelised carambola (also known as: caram-caram and often mistaken for caram masala). This becomes fruity alright, in a similar vein to Duthie's Bowmore for Corti Brothers (of course, not on the same level). Love it. 9/10

Ambassador 12yo (43%, Taylor & Ferguson, T275): the label bears a "AN. 32" indication that seems to suggest a 1932 bottling. The bottle itself is engraved with prohibition-era text, which would confirm the date. That text was present on US bottles until the 1960s, though, so not sure, especially seeing as the ABV is in % (as opposed to ° Proof) and the volume is in cl (as opposed to fl. oz.). It gets the conversation going, which is the most important. What is certain is that this was not bottled last week. Ambassador was mainly marketed in Central and South America, although this one is Italian. The main component is Scapa (we know that from a meeting with an old Scapa worker, years ago) and it probably has some Highland Park too. Nose: full-bodied, yet fruity, it has candied apples and hints of chocolate. Mouth: velvety, with a dash of ground, black pepper and notes of apricot compote. Finish: soft, yet rather assertive. Brine, heather, a fireplace, ink and crushed cardamom. Wow. 8/10 (Thanks CD for the dram)

I will drink ye dry!

Springbank Founder's Reserve (46%, Rochdale & Co. for Japan): nose: crazily-strong spices, or rather turpentine. Plantain gently takes over (the Swiss reckon banana, showing their grasp of exotic fruit leaves to be desired), hot porridge, muesli. Mouth: soft and velvety at first, the spices soon spread their wings. Banane flambée with paprika, sprinkled on top. Finish: hot fruit juice (warm plums?), dark grape juice with paprika again, unripe pineapple. Good drop. The spices are a bit too loud for me and mess up the balance, somewhat. Still nice. 7/10 (Thanks R for the dram)

Chocolates enter the scene. It seems the locals took my comment about the inferior quality of their products to heart, as the selection today is even more varied and abundant. All good, guys. The Swiss are the Belgians' best students, when it comes to chocolate. ;-)


Time for the real menu. PG gives a little speech about the bottles ahead of us, though CD keeps teasing me that I should really be doing it. Smart-arse I was, when I complained last time that there was no introduction whatsoever. Serves me well. I think the addition is beneficial, though, and gives context to the otherwise informal session. The fact everyone present knows about whisky does not make this completely redundant.

Springbank 21yo (46%, OB signed by Hedley G Wright, b. ca 1990): nose: fruity as fook, it has cut apples, fresh carambola (a rare fruit, so it is impressive to find it twice today), cut quinces and unripe pears, even white peaches. Mouth: a superb balance, sweet and fruity again. All the unripe fruit from the nose is now ripe and sweet. Love it. Finish: long and gentle, fruity, with a clean, coastal kick. Yum. 9/10

The following three, I have at the same time, to better distinguish the small differences.

Springbank 31yo 1966/1997 (53%, OB Local Barley, Bourbon Oak Cask, C#486, b#68): nose: sawdust and lovely fruits again. Unripe white peach, sprinkled with dried galangal, ginger powder and ground cardamom. It further morphs to reveal paint. The fruit becomes riper and riper, wonderful. Mouth: impressive balance, with quite some sawdust (lots of it), yet also fruit (char-grilled apples) and varnish. Finish: varnish, turpentine and warm apricot compote, pickled with sawdust and ground cloves, grated ginger and galangal. It even has lemon marmalade. This is fruity, yet that fruit is almost smothered by the wood spices. This was initially my favourite of the three. It subsequently falls to second place. 9/10

Springbank 32yo 1966/1998 (54.4%, OB Local Barley, Bourbon Oak Cask, C#494, b#32): nose: a lot wider than C#486, it has peach jam, rose-petal jam -- phwoar! Salty and grand, it soon turns to sea air and pastry. Hot ginger peaks through, interspersed with gentle citrus (satsuma and kumquat). Mouth: salty as sea water, slightly drying (galangal?), then silky as almond milk. It fast becomes very drying -- dehydrates the palate with dark tea, leaving a rough mouthfeel. Pity. Finish: long, whilst delicate, with coconut yogurt, ginger purée. It remains drying, though not too much so. The mouthfeel makes this my least favourite of the three casks; a shame, because the nose was the most promising. 8/10

Springbank 33yo 1966/1999 (53%, OB Local Barley, Bourbon Oak Cask, C#502, b#39): nose: the weirdest combination of yellow stone fruit (apricot, peach, plum) and leather (horse saddle), horse stable and wood. It later smells of syrup, tangerine juice, gouache, crayons. Mouth: syrupy indeed, liqueur-like in texture -- almond liqueur, to be precise. A generous amount of spices is also present (cloves, ground coriander, allspice). The creamy, syrupy texture makes this the most balanced mouthfeel of the three Bourbon casks. Finish: peaches in syrup (dare I say, "pêches au thon?"), pineapple juice, an old toolbox, cigar leaves, then acacia honey, peach juice, soft plums and mandarins. Woo! Best of the trilogy, according to tOMoH. 10/10

Springbank 24yo 1966/1990 (58.1%, OB Local Barley, Sherry Oak Cask, C#443, b#180): only three of those fabled Local Barley bottlings were ex-Sherry casks. They were also the first to be released. As a consequence, this and the other two (C#441 and C#442) are much harder to obtain than their Bourbon-casked siblings. Nose: leather, horse sweat, liquorice. This is well made, yet I fear it will be too overly sherried for me... Soy sauce, barbecued, marinated ribs, even bitter coffee and beef stock. Mouth: red meat, marinated in dark soy sauce, then dried fruits (sultanas, prunes, figs), then nuts (Brazil nuts, almonds with skin), game casserole (boar, hare, venison, pigeon). Finish: hot, with game in a thick wine sauce, concentrated beef stock (Maggi or OXO), soy sauce, leather. It also has a gently sweet note of fruity pastry. A great dram, no doubt, even though the sherry is too loud for me. 9/10

We just had four of the Local Barley Springbank. Four bottles that have becomes legendary and that anyone with a serious interest in whisky would happily try. The Swissky Mafia did not want to end there, however. They found one more bottle to complete the line-up. The one they were so excited about, two months ago.
The gears shift dramatically, and I will let you, dear reader, decide whether they go up or down. We will end with a Springbank, of course. A mere 12yo.


There is
a back label
Springbank 12yo b.1982 (57.1%, OB imported by Samaroli, Sherry Wood, 2400b, b#45): this is regarded by more than one aficionado as the best Springbank ever bottled -- no less. Nose: unbelievable. It is firstly metallic, akin to entering a mechanic's workshop (metal tools, engine oil, grease, chains, soldering iron and hot metal filings). This has Jaguar XK120 engine written all over it. It becomes nutty, raisin-y, noble. Later on, scorched earth embraces the whole thing, dry as a hot towel, dry as English humour. Mouth: huge, bold, powerful, it has tons of old tools, butter, puff pastry, a hint of varnish and horsepower. Old screws, bolts, rusty spanners, warmed up by the nearby stove (coal-powered, of course). Finish: nail varnish, flat cola, oil, old tools and dirty-as-fook, battered overalls. This is amazing, I admit. The sherry is loud, but not overly so. Even fruit comes up (Corinth raisins). Very well made. 10/10

As a(n unfair) comparison with the above, we have:

Springbank 12yo 1989/2002 (53.7%, OB imported by Lateltin Lanz Ingold for Whisky Ship 2002): nose: cardboard, meat and bread dough, speculoos paste spread. It turns very buttery, with roasted nuts and prunes in juice. Mouth: peppery prune juice. It has a very dominant stone-fruit-juice character. Finish: it now becomes more raisin-y, prune-y, again, with peach stones. As expected, this cannot hold a candle to the Samaroli (it was a daft comparison), yet it is far from ridiculous. 8/10 (Thanks TK)

Much to my surprise (and excitement), TK brought the following expressly for me.

Glenrothes 35yo 1967/2002 (40.5%, DT Peerless, C#8390, 219b): nose: magnificent marzipan, chocolate mousse, custard, vanilla and chocolate pudding. CD detects papaya too (give me my glass back, you scrounger!) Mouth: weaker, with watery chocolate mousse. Not sure if it is the low ABV, or if the level in the bottle has allowed too much evaporation (this is a sample, so cannot assert). Finish: soft pastry, gentle chocolate, marzipan again, frangipane, buttery cake. Phwoar! Best Glenrothes to ever pass these lips. 9/10 (Thanks TK)

Longrow 13yo 1989/2002 (53.2%, OB Wood Expression, Sherry Butts, 2350b): topical that we should have the peaty brother of Springbank today. A discussion goes in parallel, as to whether there is a "really good" Hazelburn. Nose: rather neutral -- little smoke, if any, little sherry, if any, little anything. Buttery fruits come out, eventually, then acrid varnish. At last, crispy bacon shows up too. Mouth: buttery fruit. Bitter, buttery fruit. Finish: merbromin, varnish, red wine. Hardly any peat in there, even if one looks hard. I am sure this suffers from its place in the sequence. 7/10 (Thanks A)

Glenlivet 30yo b.2007 (55.2%, SD Anniversary Selection, Sherry Butt, 375b): nose: meow! Salt, leather, bone-dry tobacco, leather belts. Mouth: more leather, black shoe polish, liquorice. Finish: noble leather and tropical fruit. The finish is really nice. 8/10 (Thanks TK)

CD observes that life does not suck, right now. He is not wrong. :-)

Caol Ila 17yo 1974/1991 (61.1%, Signatory Vintage, C#5--9, 2400b): nose: extremely salty, then medicinal. It is peaty in a 1970s-Ardbeg sort of way. It has ink from the 1800s, old parchments, written by copyist monks, nose spray (JS), cockles and whelk (CD). Mouth: similarly medicinal, with old ink, black pepper, yet also a sweet touch, now -- panettone? Caramel coulis on cake? Apple turnover (CD)? Buttery mocha-cream cake? Finish: never-ending, with roughly the same notes -- a mix of seashore flavours, sweet pastry and a medicinal touch. Wow. 8/10 (Thanks CD)

While the others move on to more whiskies and/or cigars, TK pours me a final dram, for which I take no notes. An old bottling of James Macarthur Dailuaine, which happens to be... peaty! Most unusual.

The party winds down around 1:30.


What a night. Favourite of the night vary amongst the group, but not wildly. C#502 and the Samaroli 12yo seem to gather most of the votes. I found them the most Springbank-y and therefore like them best.

"My notebok is bigger than your notebook!"

The generosity on display from all the participants before and after the "official" tasting is noteworthy. These guys we have seen once shared drams with us as if they were friends of many years. Despite all my joking about the quality of the local chocolate (or lack thereof), I am touched by the warm welcome.
Roll on the next one!

We have winners!