JS and I are kindly invited to this yearly event in the London shop. This is the last 21+ tasting of the year, which means the staff is relaxed and enjoying it with us. It is also a private tasting, where everyone knows each other -- well, everyone knows DW, at least, the other connections are promptly made. BC and PS are also here.
The circumstances are roughly the same as for the monthly outturns: tasting room, quick pace, limited time, short notes. We have cheeses and chocolate, today, which is nice.
North British 26yo 1989/2015 (58.4%, Cadenhead World Whiskies, Bourbon Barrel, 120b): nose: aaah! Banana butter, custard, shortbread, toasted coconut. Mouth: banana, custard, pastry dough, coconut shavings. Finish: long and sweet, with lots of vanilla-ed sugar. Typical grain. Some will hate it, I love it. 8/10
SW produces a DIY bottle from his personal stash. He insists this is not something that will ever come out, rather it is an old bottling that he happened to have a few drops of left over. In other words: do not call the shop, this is not available to buy.
Rosebank 23yo (46.5%, Cadenhead Authentic Collection, Fresh Bourbon Cask): I had been advised that this would probably be poured; it was hard not to tell JS, seeing as it is her favourite distillery, but I was brave: it is a surprise for everyone but me. nose: grassy, it has notes of thyme, oregano, hawthorn and some custard too. Lovely nose. Mouth: warm custard, cut flowers, turf. Finish: velvety, with similar notes as the palate -- vanilla and herbs. Delicious Rosebank! 9/10
Inchgower 25yo 1989/2015 (52.6%, Cadenhead Authentic Collection, Bourbon Hogshead, 210b): the oldest Cadenhead bottle in the shop; everything else was bottled more recently. Nose: it starts rather custard-y, but soon turns very grassy, then plasticine emerges, shortcrust and mincemeat pie. Mouth: herbaceous and metallic, with hay and cut dandelions. Finish: herbaceous alright, with berries, aromatics and quite a bit of power. 8/10
Auchroisk 27y 1988/2016 (48.6%, Cadenhead Authentic Collection, Bourbon Hogshead, 258b): nose: herbs and medicinal plants again, juniper leaves, honey. Mouth: soft and gentle, with yellow flowers, custard and aromatics. Finish: lovely custard, with sage and juniper berries. Still a favourite, this. 8/10
Rich Fruity Sherry 36yo (44.5%, Cadenhead Creations, B#2): nose: deep, earthy, with varnish and hot embers. Mouth: velvety, syrupy, full of dark berries. This is close to elderberry cordial. Finish: rich and generous, with lots of elderberry, honey, straw and apple pie. Nice! 8/10
Bunnahabhain 26yo 1989/2016 (45.9%, Cadenhead Authentic Collection, Bourbon Hogshead, 246b): nose: lots of cut pears, apricot peels, dried quince, apple compote, hot dough. Mouth: peppery and gingery, but mostly gentle, civilised, with a drop of citrus juice. Finish: lots of cut fruits and a pinch of white pepper. This is lovely. Better than the first time. 8/10
SW pours the last dram of the day, another one that is not and will not be available. A bottle for another market, presumably. Half a bottle made its way here and we will empty it tonight, yay.
Caol Ila 31yo 1984/2016 (56%, Cadenhead Cask Ends, Fresh Bourbon Cask): nose: unbelievably farm-y, with ploughed fields, dried mud and tractor tyres after a day out. Mouth: warm mead, honey, hazelnut liqueur. Finish: warm liqueur indeed, then warm earth and lukewarm mud. I really believe those old Caol Ila are the equivalent of the old Ardbeg bottled ten or fifteen years ago. 8/10
The line-up is finished. We have time to wrap up and chat for a bit. Just as well, because I brought something too. It was a challenge: I wanted to bring something exclusive enough, yet I also wanted to bring something that is available in the shop. After all, we are in a shop...
Linlithgow 24yo 1982/2007 (50%, DL The Old Malt Cask 50°, Refill Hogshead, C#DL REF 3560, 303b): nose: oooh! That wonderful mix of grass, cut flowers, flint, chocolate, lemon juice and medicinal notes that only St Magdalene could come up with. Mouth: acidic grapes, flint, dried grass, whilst it is also voluptuous and soft. Finish: great balance, with a ping-pong of mineral, grassy, chocolate-y and flowery notes. Amazing how it is austere and subsequently generous. This is spot on and a bottle I will miss! 9/10
One more, as a toast to the birthday boy's father, who did not live to see today.
10.91 10yo d.2005 A well-mannered dram (62.9%, SMWS Society Single Cask, Refill ex-Bourbon Barrel, 210b): nose: toasted wood, hot stove, hot towels. Mouth: warm and big (check the ABV!), without being aggressive. It is comforting, actually. Finish: big, slightly fruity, with dark-fruit liqueur and hot cushions (yes). 7/10
I have had enough to drink. We are all being thrown out anyway. :-)
Happy birthday, DW!