22 February 2017

19/02/2017 The Whisky Show Old & Rare (Day 2 -- Part 1)

The story starts here.

Here I am again. I would like to say a good night's sleep sorted me out and I can now think straight, that I am at peace with the world and humanity, but it would be a lie. I woke up at 2:00 and was so tense I could not fall asleep again. Even more frustratingly, I am supposed to meet up with pat gva and JS at 9:30 for breakfast, but struggle to get out of my somnolence, when it eventually comes.

However, when sleep is not an option, one can count on a solid full Scottish to put everything back into place. \o/

It also helps that the juice tastes of Bowmore 1966

The plan for the day is to meet up with DH. Further than that, it is rather freewheeling. DH offered a trip to a distillery. It is Sunday, though. Quick call to the staff of the show: there are still tickets available for the day. DH is up for it. It sort of contradicts my analysis of last night, but then I am happy to guide DH through this nonsense. Also, I am keen to spend time with pat gva and share the content of my flasks with everyone. Finally... I will stop making excuses: I want to go again. Game on.

Just look at that selection!

Shock upon entering the room: there are tables in the centre. It seems as though enough people complained about the lack of them that the organisers took it on board. Not for the next edition -- for the second day. Yay.

First thing today, I am treated to a sniff of an empty glass of Largiemeanoch, the mythical 1967 Bowmore. Even though the glass has been empty for fifteen minutes, I am moved by the scent. I cannot afford a dram of my own, though.

Oban 12yo (70° PROOF, OB): nose: leather, horse's sweat, iodine, cut pears. Mouth: fresh, almost green as in: green wood, with a hint of vanilla. Finish: delicate, though quite assertive at the same time, tranquil and maritime. 8/10

The real star of the show is that t-shirt

No pic of the 'lochy,
but JS has this 'Riach
Glenlochy 35yo 1980/2015 (51.1%, Signatory Vintage Cask Strength Collection Rare Reserve, Hogshead, C#3232, 218b): nose: austere, flinty, herbaceous. This is a proper Glenlochy, difficult and indomitable. Mouth: spicy, gravel-y. Finish: fruit, rocks and tobacco. Wow. 9/10

Miltonhaugh 28yo d.1966 (63.5%, OB for The Whisky Connoisseur, C#3154, b#12): the label tells us it is Balmenach. Nose: spirity, with hints of leather. Mouth: very light, ethereal, with a whisper of jasmine, perhaps. Finish: again, delicate and light, almost absent, yet slightly wine-y. The high ABV deterred me from trying it yesterday, but it is really not an obstacle. At the same time, it does not hold a candle to the Jura for Corti. Glad I spaced them a bit. 7/10 (Thanks pat gva)

Glenury Royal 13yo 1966/1979 (46%, Cadenhead): the only Glenu* of the show. Nose: balsamic vinegar. This is not easy! After a long while, it opens up and unleashes flowers, meringue and wax. Lots of wax. Mouth: mellow, velvety, with white peach flesh. Finish: chocolate-coated apricot. This needs time. Given it, it opens up superbly. 9/10

Rosebank 34yo (88° PROOF, George Strachan, b. early 1970s): this curiosity has become quite famous. Firstly, it is an aged Rosebank, secondly, it is Rosebank distilled before the war, thirdly, the label reads 'Highland Malt,' which is pretty hilarious. The guy reminds me there are two versions -- this and a 70° PROOF. Nose: herbaceous, with hawthorn, bullrush, thyme, rosemary, then a horse's back. This is austere! Chutney, nigella seeds. It reminds me of the 15yo decanter for Zenith, although it is less austere than that one. Mouth: completely different. Honeydew melon with a pinch of tarragon and dried sage. Finish: woah! The width of this thing! Burnt embers, charred wood, barbecue residue and a touch of honey. Love it. 9/10

Meanwhile, JS has two Caperdonich 1972
While I am having this at the table, the guy next to me waves at the one manning the stand. The latter comes over with the bottle of Rosebank. My table mate produces a sample. The 70° PROOF version! They have it back to back and share with me.

Rosebank 34yo (70° PROOF, George Strachan, b. early 1970s): I do not sip enough to make proper notes, but it seems to be a more traditional one, softer, with flowers and honey.

I pour my flasks to my fellow tasters of the day. They try to identify, but cannot. One jokes it is a blend. I say it is Johnnie Walker Black -- for a laugh. Another gets up and brings me a dram back from a stand. Something stunning, gently smoky, yet elegant. I have no inspiration; he tells me it is Johnnie Walker Black. Bottled in the 1940s.

Scapa d.1958 (46%, R.W. Duthies imported by S. Samaroli, 180b, b#164): nose: perfume-y (jasmine?), soft and delicate, with vanilla and a couple of ginger shavings. Mouth: soft and creamy, until gentle spices show up (lemongrass twigs). Finish: wow! Vanilla, coconut, yogurt and jasmine or forsythia. Beautiful. 10/10

Bowmore 1962/1990 (43%, Brae Dean Int. imported by Moon Import): I cannot spend much time on this, unfortunately. It is fruity, though that trait is subdued, very complex.

Laphroaig 16yo (46%, Cadenhead): the label fell off, but this was almost obviously distilled in the 1960s. Nose: dusty and fruity -- dunnage warehouse goodness. Melon (pat gva), lychee. Mouth: soft, gentle, dusty, with granite dust, straight off the mill (or the quarry). Finish: perfection. Dunnage warehouse, dusty and fruity, lichen on wooden staves. This is similar to the fabled 40yo. 10/10

Yet another victim of JS's
At the Douglas Laing stand (who apparently were not foreseen to take part, and showed up on the day to set up shop), the North of Scotland 40yo appeals to me. The guy in front of me has it in his glass and generously offers me to try it. It is woody, with glue and wood stain, nice, but perhaps not what I want to try now. Rich with the experience of that mini-sip, I go for:

Invergordon 52yo 1964/2016 (42.5%, Douglas Laing XOP, Refill Barrel, C#DL REF: 11487, 236b): nose: wood glue, wood stain, a hint of liquorice, baking dough, even gentle coffee, dark fruit. Mouth: minty chocolate, milky and gently spicy, a little drying, with liquorice. Finish: slightly rubbery liquorice, then a kick of blackcurrant comforts you wonderfully. This is on-par with G5.5. 10/10

Tobermory 1972/1995 (50%, Brae Dean Int. imported by Moon Import De Viris Illustribus, 600b): nose: peat and tons of barley to smack one in the kisser. Mouth: velvety, with a hint of coffee. Finish: similar to the nose -- lots and lots of barley and smoke. 8/10

Tomatin 1965/1989 (46%, Brae Dean Int. imported by Moon Import The Animals, Hogshead, C#124-125-126, 600b, b#10): nose: tree bark, vinegar, mustard. Mouth: mustard-y mayonnaise. Finish: soft plums, velvety coconut cream. Love this, although it is not as fruity as could be expected. 9/10

Rosebank 11yo 1980/1992 (60.1%, Cadenhead Authentic Collection 150th Anniversary): interestingly (or embarrassingly), this is the first whisky in that collection I get to try. Nose: big and beefy, glue-y. Mouth: beef stock, horseradish and salt. Is this a Rosebank? Finish: long, huge, full of horseradish. This reminds me of the Waitrose roast beef with a horseradish kick crisps. We are faring better with Rosebank, today. 9/10

EG is double-fisting again
Highland Park 13yo 2002/2016 (59.2%, OB Single Cask Series for Whisky Clubs of Finland SMWS & VYS, 1st Fill European Sherry Hogshead, C#6367, 306b): nose: oxtail broth, earth, then minty toothpaste and leather. Mouth: drying beef stew, leather, meat, game marinate. Finish: bwoar! Rich, dark and meaty, full of beef stew. DH loves this. It is less my style, but well made, of course. 7/10

Caol Ila 18yo 1995/2013 (58.6%, Wilson & Morgan Barrel Selection, Sherry Butt, C#10028): nose: animal and wild, smoky. Mouth: brutal, smoky, spicy and wild. Finish: uncompromising, with coal, barley and peat. Caol Ila remains a great distillery. 8/10

Convalmore 16yo 1981/1998 (43%, The Vintage Malt Whisky Company The Cooper's Choice): nose: white-wine vinegar and unripe gooseberries. Mouth: light and gentle, with cut flowers. Finish: a bit weak, but good. Nutty, with toasted coconut. The nose is not the best and the low strength makes it weak after the Caol. I like it, though. 8/10

Meanwhile, at EG's stand...

Bowmore d.1965 (50%, OB imported by P. Soffiantino, Sherry Casks): nose: I instantly turn emotional. This is full of overripe fruit turned brown. Mouth: fresh, velvety, fruity and lovely. Finish: never-ending, noble and fruity. Words do not do it justice, nor does the pace at which we drink. 10/10

Fiddler's Inn's sense of humour

pat gva goes out for a bite, at some point. I am still so stuffed from the humongous breakfast I forget that, perhaps, DH should eat something. Woops!

Read on here.

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