23 June 2021

23/06/2021 The Munro's Part 6

Beinn a'Chleibh (40%, Lambert Brothers The Munro's): nose: old honey, crystallising in its jar, furniture wax on dark-wood armchairs, patina-coated coffee tables. Suddenly, something more vegetal appears, perhaps lily of the valley leaves, vine leaves, introducing dried lime leaves, bay leaves and curry leaves. The sweetness of honey is never too far behind, however, nor is the furniture wax that comes back, this time closer to encaustic. Warm butterscotch is certainly present as well. The second nose is more flowery, the leaves making room for jasmine buds, forget-me-nots and banana jam. It later turns more root-y, with ivy stems (do not eat those simply to discover their taste!) and liquorice root. Mouth: mellow and honeyed from the start, this one does not have the immediate OME of the other expressions we tried. It is sweet, yet not too sweet; it has a soft bitterness, yet it is not too pronounced; it has woody notes, yet it is not woody. Honey-glazed pecans -- no! Honey-glazed macadamias, melted toffee, honey-glazed dried banana slices... In fact this makes me thing of banana chutney: fruity, sweet, and softly spicy (nigella seeds would be my guess). Finish: the finish sees a similar softly-woody sweetness. Here, it is augmented by a drop of refreshing minty toothpaste (the leafiness from the nose, no doubt), which is balanced out with a delicately-bitter note of liquorice root and, perhaps, earthy Jerusalem artichoke. Somehow, it makes me think of quince jelly, though I cannot explain why; this is drier and not as fruity. A jelly that would be covered in mould, perhaps Honey-glazed nuts re-appear, late in the game, this time skinned walnuts, rather than macadamia. In any case, it is very good. 8/10 (Thanks for the dram, JS)

I am sure the idea behind the concept was that hillwalkers would drink these after bagging the Munro named on the label. I can see it enhancing the exhilarating experience of standing on top of a mountain alright. With that in mind, I cannot imagine there being too many of these miniatures left. In other words: good luck finding them! :-)

21 June 2021

21/06/2021 The Munro's Part 5

Beinn a' Chreachain Blended Scotch (40%, Lambert Brothers): nose: OME in full effect! This has heady brine and wood varnish, as well as walnut oil and some nutty vinegar. Next up is an unexpected whiff of warm metal, either a domestic boiler, or a kettle that has just boiled. Still, the brine manages to somehow apply a chokehold on everything else. Later on, linseed oil and freshly-laundered linen appear, dry leaves on an October afternoon, devoid of any humidity, walnut fruit flesh... This is turning into quite the autumnal nose! The second nose has a perfume-y note -- and by that, I mean that it makes me think of perfume for some bizarre reason, namely Yves Rocher's Magnolia. Is it memory playing tricks on me? Mouth: woody and briny on the tongue, it displays all sorts of bitter nuts (walnut, hazelnut, almond, all with skin on) and seeds (linseed, pumpernickel, sunflower seed). It retains a bit of brine too. The second sip is much oilier, both in terms of texture and terms of taste. I now find olive oil and hazelnut oil to complement the bitterness of nuts. There is a twist of the peppermill too, which adds a balanced spiciness. It lacks a bit of freshness to drink more than the one dram at a time, probably. Finish: as the other expressions in the Munro's collection, this is really rather sweet. Unlike the others, however, whatever caramel was added to the blend does not overpower an assertive bitterness. It is not an unpleasant bitterness, mind. It is that of nuts again. Walnuts, almonds and grape pips, with the associated oils and a drop of unidentified vinegar (my guess is raspberry). The sweetness at play makes me think of corn syrup, but really, it is perfectly tolerable. 7/10 (Thanks for the dram, JS)

18 June 2021

18/06/2021 The Munro's Part 4

Beinn Ime Blended Scotch (40%, Lambert Brothers): nose: it is funny: I had imagined (and feared) that these would all contain the same whisky, but they are all so different from one another, in perception, at least. Bottle variation, perhaps? This one has old, yellow-fruit jams and encaustic. The second sniff does bring some brine and rancio; after more than thirty years in glass, that is hardly surprising. In fact, it is even sawdust on a clay floor. Plum liqueur appears, overshadowing faint bandages and antiseptic. That is right: this one has a gentle medicinal side. I told you they were different! Smoked pineapple shows up upon second nosing, which is as welcome as it is unexpected. Mouth: lush and mellow, it has warm custard, topped with a caramel liqueur of sorts. That changes into butterscotch and toffee starting to melt in the heat. Old wood purrs in the background, old bookshelves and faded newspaper cut-outs. The second sip is juicier, harking back to the smoked pineapple from the nose, although this also has an earthier, bitterer note, faint, but tenacious. Might it be roasted fennel seeds? Finish: toffee, toffee, toffee. Another sweet number. Beyond that are toasted flavours: milk coffee, aniseed, caraway seeds. The second sip transforms it, turning this into something as close to a marmalade as can be: acidic, bitter and sweet all at once, harmoniously balanced. It is a medium-long finish that leaves the tongue a little numb, as if under the spell of grated ginger. I have a new favourite! 8/10 (Thanks for the dram, JS)