adc's final night in town, better make it count.
Glen Keith-Glenlivet 23yo 1993/2017 (51.2%, Cadenhead Authentic Collection, Bourbon Hogshead, 240b): nose: juniper leaves, crushed juniper berries, pink-pepper shavings. Soon, wood joins in, polished dashboards, logs, drying outside before being cut. A bit of varnish, too, rather shy. Extremely-faded moccasins, perhaps a sprinkle of lime on flowery pastry. Mouth: sharp, acidic, almost green -- definitely green, in fact. Green hazel, unopened flower buds and lots of lime juice. This is surprisingly acidic! Finish: lime juice, milk chocolate, lime chutney. The finish is long, but thin, cutting a trench in the centre of the palate. White-wine vinegar. This is nice-ish, drinkable, but a bit too acidic, even for me. 6/10 (Thanks for the sample, SW)
Longmorn 28yo 1984/2013 (46%, Montgomerie The Single Cask Collection Rare Select, Sherry Wood, C#3213, 281b): nose: this is very, very discreet. It has a little dust, a drop of thin custard and dry earth. One really has to dig (pun intended) to find all that, though. Mouth: again, extremely faint, almost absent. A bit of green-grape juice and thin custard. The texture is milky and soft. Boy! is this shy. Finish: some action, at last. It has plums in syrup, plum compote and warm, thin custard, as well as a bit of marzipan. Boiled violet sweets appear for a second. Decent dram, yet very imperceptible. 7/10 (Thanks for the sample, LM)
Isle of Arran 21st Anniversary Limited Edition (52.6%, OB marking the 21st anniversary of the distillery, ex-Sherry Hogsheads, 5988b): nose: surprisingly, this has leather and dusty fabric, then apricot stones, old maps, a captain's log book. Surprisingly shy nose too, however. Is my nose shot? Hazelnut shells and, finally, grappa. Mouth: honey, fruit liqueur, pineapple drops. This is now warm and pleasant, if less impressive than in May. Pine sap, pine-flavoured cough drops. It is really fresh and the wood is kept in check. Nice distillate. Finish: pineapple and violet boiled sweets, long and comforting. It is sweet and unctuous, quite like pine sap, dripping from a fresh gash in a cypress trunk, or, in fact, like honey. Mountain-flower honey, that is. Lovely. 8/10 (Thanks for the sample, Bishlouk)
Time to make it propah special.
Tullamore 41yo 1949/1991 (65.3%, Cadenhead Authentic Collection): Cadenhead is rumoured to have filled 214 of these miniature bottles. Who knows for sure, though? Do not believe the fake-news sites that claim this is a Tullamore Dew blended Irish; it is juice from the Tullamore distillery, which closed in 1954. Yes, that is the same which produced the glorious old Knappogue bottlings. Nose: mesmerising! Prunes, marzipan, pine drops and a whiff of dust open the game. It swiftly moves in another direction: precious wood, an antiques shop and a carpenter's workshop, resinous spruce and a blend of spices. This nose has a depth that the previous three drams cannot even dream of! Dunnage warehouse aplenty: wooden staves on a clay floor. Said clay floor cranks the volume up, with shovelfuls of earth appearing and taking centre stage. In the back, elderberry and blackcurrant jam. Perhaps even a touch of gentle rubber. Cachous (black liquorice cough drops) come up, slowly, but surely. Water does not change it much. Maybe it becomes slightly woodier. Soon, it turns mildly rubbery, with a note of toasted bread too. Later on, farm-y notes appear as well. Mouth: "le maquis," says adc, i.e. thyme, oregano, marjoram. Hot, with warm liquorice, liquorice or blackberry cough drops (Cachous again). The dark-fruit jams are still there, but honestly, the heat is intimidating, coating and stripping. It has a woody touch, whilst retaining the fruity jam profile. Cachous and black liqorice bootlaces end up dominating fresh wood, galangal (lots of it) and dried lemongrass. Water underlines the toasted bread of the nose. The rubber, not so much, thankfully. Finish: huge, powerful, frightening, with lots of liquorice, elderberry cordial, all sorts of pine goodness and antique furniture, wood spices and fruity marzipan. Water unleashed more Cachous. It is then rubbery and cough-drop-like. Better without water, if one can face the strength. Water makes it just a little too rubbery and tones down the fruit. This is quite close to a venerable, sherry-matured, old grain, I find. In any case, it is amazing. Humbling. 10/10