31 May 2017

26/05/2017 Campbeltown Festival 2017 (Day 3 -- Part 1) Cadenhead's Warehouse Tasting

Early start, today. We have another hearty breakfast at Café Bluebell, then I run to my 10:15 appointment at Springbank, for the warehouse tasting. I do not have a camera.


EC's stag do is there, as are MSo and the Franco-Swiss contingent. This will be rowdy, I can feel.

Cameron McGeachy is our MC, today. He has a sore lip from all the valinching he had to do yesterday, during the other Cadenhead warehouse tasting. Serves him well for pouring Littlemill when I am not there!

What happens in the warehouse
stays in the warehouse

We are given a brief introduction about less-well-known malts, why they are interesting and why Cadenhead bottles them. Nothing new under the sun, as far as I am concerned, but I suppose it is good to remind everyone that there are other names than Macallan and Ardbeg, in this world. Mind you, Cadenhead has not bottled any of the ones we are about to try: we will try them straight from the cask -- much to Cameron's dismay, as it means he has more valinching to do!

CMcG: "It's hard to speak when you have a valinch in your mouth."

Linkwood 29yo d.1987 (46.9%, Cask Sample, Bourbon Cask, C#11/324/67/249): gentle and delicate, with flower fragrance. Mouth: honey and flowers. The gentle sweetness of honey disappears and makes room for a pronounced acidity. Finish: a spoonful of honey, yellow flowers, and that disturbing acidity again. Meh. 6/10

McGeachy is on a roll, which encourages hecklers.
CMcG: "These days, everyone wants to know all the info. 'Dave filled this cask at 10:15, on Friday, the 13th.'"
BC: "I don't want to know this!"
CMcG: "Some do. Swedes."

Kilkerran 10yo (56.7%, Cask Sample, Rum Cask, C#17/228/10/189): nose: grass, gravel, and a bit of ash. I first think it is a St Magdalene. Mouth: gravel, ash, but also orchard fruit and old, dusty wood. Finish: long, drying, with old fruit and dust. This is acidic again, but it is more tolerable than the Linkwood. 7/10

CMcG: "It is bottled as Kilkerran, because Mitchell's did not have the rights to the Glengyle name."
CB: "Do you, now?"
CMcG: "I think so. M, do we have the rights to Glengyle?"
M: "No."
tOMoH (to CMcG): "How long have you been working here?"
CMcG: "I hope you have all enjoyed your LAST dram!"

Cameron underlines Springbank and Cadenhead appreciate the visit.
CMcG: "It is a long way to come into Campbeltown!"
MSo: "I spent an hour on the school bus, this morning!"

Glen Scotia 16yo (56.7%, Cask Sample, Oloroso Sherry Butt, C#17/230/8): I ask whether the ABV is a typo, or if that is the theme, today (the latest two drams have the same ABV). Considering CMcG's reaction, I feel I am now seen as a world-class geek -- not necessarily in a good way. :-) Nose: meaty, sweaty, with fresh leather and rotting berries. Mouth: berries, cranberry jam, cheese on crackers. The texture is pretty oily and coating. Finish: rich, berry-laden, sweet and syrupy. An OK dram, but I do not care for the nose. 6/10

CMcG: "You can't try something, say: 'let's leave it for five years,' because it can go wrong."
Unknown: "What do you do if it goes beyond the edge?"
CMcG: "We sell it to Germany."

Highland Park 29yo (51.5%, cask Sample, Bourbon Cask, C#06/265/1): nose: soft, honeyed, sweet. After being told what it is, I find heather, of course. Mouth: honey, heather and a hint of pepper. Finish: yup, honey and heather. The notes do not do it justice, really -- this is wonderful. 8/10

CMcG: "I like my whisky less mature."
tOMoH: "You paedo, you!"
CMcG (pointing to MSo): "This guy came with the school bus, today!"

Springbank 16yo (51%, Cask Sample, ex-Lammerlaw ask, C#06/263/1): Lammerlaw is, of course, the closed distillery from New Zealand, whose stills are now making rum in Fiji. Nose: mineral, flinty, then grassy. It has juniper berries and pot-pourri. Mouth: soft and honeyed, with a delicate touch of pepper. Finish: barley sugar, with sweetness and a thin veil of smoke. 7/10

CB: "Cameron, would you say this is the best thing to come out of New Zealand?"
Kiwi DH: "Ha. Ha."
MSo: "More importantly: can I get a student discount?"

Undisclosed Islay Distillery 9yo (59.5%, Cask Sample, ex-Bourbon Barrel, C#17/228/10/189): nose: smoke, bacon, piping-hot black pudding. The smoke builds up. Mouth: strong, spicy, hot and smokey. Finish: smoke, ash, soot, drying sand. This is not exactly my profile, these days. 6/10

We spend a lot of time loitering, taking pictures in the warehouse, chatting to Cameron and Mark Watt, who just joined. Many queue to buy bottles of what we just had; I decide to wait until the queue is no more.

I pour a few people my Springbank 1965/2002 (46%, Lombard Jewels of Scotland).

Queueing for a living
By the time I finally make it into the queue, they happily take my payment, but inform me there is no bottle left that I am after. I will have to wait until the rest of the cask is bottled and passed on to the shop. I suppose patience is a virtue.

As I walk out of the warehouse, the Franco-Swiss contingent offer a dram of Millburn 22yo 1974/1997 (59.8%, Cadenhead Authentic Collection). Needless saying it is phantastic. Also passed around is a Karuizawa 42yo 1969/2012 (61.3%, Number One Drinks, 400l ex-Bourbon Cask, C#8183). Probably the best Karuizawa I have had.

I pour my Springbank in return, as well as Glen Scotia 17yo (40%, OB, L4/332/97 402). Surprisingly, it is RX21's highlight; he insists on retrieving his sample of Glen Scotia 14yo from his car, to have both side by side.

Glen Scotia 14yo (40%, OB): nose: warm orchard-fruit compote. Mouth: soft, easy (at 40%, after all the monsters!), with orchard fruit and candle wax. Finish: more orchard fruit, though dried, this time, and candle wax. Not the most complex, yet a simple pleasure. Strange how I love older, official Glen Scotia, but the recent, independently-bottled, not so much. 7/10

Read on here.

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