28 December 2016

26/12/2016 Clearing the shelf #11

Boxing day, triple birthday, as usual. A few drams to make room on the increasingly busy shelves.

Knockdhu d.1974 (40%, Captain Burn's Selection imported by Ryst-Dupeyron): nose: apple compote, brine and rhubarb compote. This is gently acidic, in case it was not clear from the notes. That gives way to cooking Brussels sprouts and a whiff of peppery cologne, perhaps. Mouth: the fruitiness from the initial nose is back (apple, pear, rhubarb), accompanied by a hefty dose of black pepper. Finish: yes, definitely cut apples and the acidity that goes with them, rhubarb compote, thyme infusion and ground black pepper. Nice. 8/10

Rosebank 11yo 1989/2001 (43%, SV, C#708+09, 01/323): nose: aromatic herbs! Verbena, dried oregano, dried rosemary, dried heather, bay leaves, dried sage. Roasted chicken and rosemary crisps (for those who know). It is delicate, yet not much comes through of the distillery markers, which are closer to cut flowers and honeycomb. Mouth: fresh and grassy, with freshly-mowed lawn, herbs (sage, hawthorn and bay leaves), yet not as prominent as on the nose. A hint of gentle spices too (cumin). The texture is more Rosebank-y, honeyed and milky. Finish: the Lowland markers shine at last; creamy honeysuckle, and flower broth. At the same time, milk chocolate emerges too -- herbaceous milk chocolate. I would even go as far as saying the herbs are warmed over a wood fire, as it presents a certain smokiness. Yes, a smokey Rosebank. Oh! it is no Ardbeg, yet smoke it has. The longer one sips it, the closer it comes to a Rosebank -- gentle, mellow and full of honey. 7/10 (Thanks GL for the sample)

Man O' Words 14mo d.2015 (unknown ABV, Refill ex-Bourbon Cask, C#103, filled 29/01/2015): nose: eau-de-vie, initially, then ham, before coming back to plum eau-de-vie and hints of wax. Mouth: pungent wax, hot chilli pepper, hot plum compote and ground green pepper. Finish: once past the pepper, it is a full-on plum avalanche. Later, crayons and rubbers make an appearance (pencil erasers, for readers from across the Pond). We tried this not too long ago, so not spending too much time on it. It is a promising distillate alright. 7/10

Springbank 14yo 2002/2016 (47.4%, Cadenhead Authentic Collection, Bourbon Barrel, 168b): nose: coastal as hell, with whelk, cockles, drying fishnets, sea air, fishing boats at quay, then gherkins in brine, and finally, farm-y scents. Hang on! there is more. It becomes amazingly fresh towards the end, with cedar wood -- a walk in a pine forest. Algae and kelp come back in force, later on. Mouth: balanced and noble, it oscillates between sweet notes and more leathery influences. Baked potatoes, salt, which suggests the coastal character is still here, even if less predominant. Finish: crispy bacon, smoked whelk, drying fishing nets and farmland paths. It even has a note of lingonberry compote -- wow! Springbank! Believe! 8/10 (Thanks SW for the sample)

Caol Ila  21yo 1968/1989 (58.5%, Intertrade, 297b): nose: huge bacon and old sherry notes give way to capers in brine and rollmops. It swiftly evolves again to reveal a log fire in the fireplace and pickled pearl onions. The back-and-forth between all things pickled and burning wood is astonishing. Later on, teak furniture and wood varnish join the dance. Mouth: big again, with black pepper-coated pickled pearl onions, briney as fuck. Old furniture, freshly polished, green chilli, hot sand, tapenade, balsamic vinegar and, at last, coal smoke comes in to roast all those pickled onions. Finish: amazingly, the notes from the nose and palate are all there, in perfect harmony: pickled pearl onions, brine, marmalade kept in teak cupboards, furniture polish, tapenade and a roaring furnace, half log, half coal, entirely evil, in a steam-engine sort of way. This is massive! 9/10 (Thanks OB for the sample)

That is all, folks. Happy birthday MD, FH and JPH.

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