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Hi, this is one of our (almost) daily tastings. Santé!

October 22, 2013


Cock-and-bull trio No.2, Balvenie, Glen Grant, Tomintoul

More incoherence today! We'll start with one of the new Balvenie 12 single barrel. In the old days, with the Malt Maniacs, we used to taste many 15s 'SB' and compare them but we were soon to lose track. I remember they were often a little austere when compared with the other, more luscious Balvenies.

Balvenie 12 yo 'Single Barrel' (47.8%, OB, cask #12715, 2013)

Balvenie 12 yo 'Single Barrel' (47.8%, OB, cask #12715, 2013) Four stars Picture not of the actual cask. The label states 'first fill' so it's probably first fill bourbon. Colour: white wine (not very first fill I have to say). Nose: very fresh, clean and fruity, I was about to add that it reminded me more of some fresh BB Aberlour than Balvenie as it's more on orchard fruits plus melon than on plain plums, apricots and quinces. However, it's quite floral as well, with some nectar and pollen, then some barley water, touches of aniseed, a little hay and, maybe, two or four pieces of charcoal. Mouth: Balvenie! Mirabelles, apricots, oranges, watermelon, vanilla, acacia honey and then a dash of white pepper and cinnamon. Excellent body at this perfect strength. Finish: long, maybe a tad sugary, with some custard, touches of litchis, pears and pineapples (youth!) and just a little white pepper. Tangerines in the aftertaste. Comments: a sweet baby that I enjoy a lot. I think this is much nicer and more interesting than most 'finished' or 'doubled-tripled-quadrupled' versions. Just my opinion! SGP:641 - 87 points.

Glen Grant 'Five Decades' (46%, OB, +/-2013)

Glen Grant 'Five Decades' (46%, OB, +/-2013) Four stars Bottled in celebration of the 50th year at the Distillery of the very engaging Dennis Malcolm. There's whisky from 5 decades, from the 1960s (little, I guess) to the 2000s (a lot, I guess). Let's see... Colour: straw (little old whisky, I suppose). Nose: I have to say I like this, whether it's old 'on average' or not. It's surprisingly phenolic and waxy, although the garden fruits (pears, apples, peaches) are all well there. Barley wine, many nuts (especially fresh hazelnuts), whiffs of (unused) engine oil, almond oil... It's relatively firmer than expected and, above all unsherried. Well, if there's some sherry, then there's very little. Mouth: soft and fruity, it's all like fruit juice with some barley sugar and a little vanilla. Cane sugar, custard, more apple juice, sweet 'iced' cider like our Canadian cousins make, touches of sweet muscat wine... It's ripe and yet it's full of youth - not unlike the excellent Mr. Malcolm! Finish: of medium length, even more on sweet cider and juicy apples. Comments: it's interesting that a master blender/distiller would compose a cuvée that's so close to the barley. Pleasantly against the general trend! SGP:631 - 85 points.

How about something really old?

Tomintoul 46 yo 1967/2013 (40%, Samaroli for Switzerland, cask #5417, 250 bottles)

Tomintoul 46 yo 1967/2013 (40%, Samaroli for Switzerland, cask #5417, 250 bottles) Five stars This newish bottle bears Samaroli's famous line that I enjoy so much, 'refined inside the bottle since July 2013'. Just like yours truly, Mr. Samaroli believes in bottle ageing. Colour: gold. Nose: not all very old Tomintouls are great in my experience, many are lacking depth, but this one's an exception. Imagine a huge fruit salad with bananas and pineapples playing first fiddles and peaches, melons and guavas, all that in a kind of sauce made out of honey, olive oil and drops of old Sauternes. Almost forgot almond oil. Having said that, all that isn't really huge so let's hope this old baby won't collapse on the palate... Mouth: no, it doesn't collapse and the oak did not take over. There's this feeling of fruit salad again, toped with the same oils and honeys. These Tomintouls have actually something Irish in my opinion, they're almost pure pot still whiskeys. I also enjoy these touches of rosehip tea, honeysuckle, bananas again... Good 'sustain' considering the age and the strength, even if it never becomes 'wide', like all these old Tomintouls. Finish: not short! Same flavours, slightly overripe fruits, pineapples, bananas, maybe a little mint, argan oil... Honeydew in the aftertaste. Comments: this baby's quite 'multi-miraculous'. Not quite fragile, not too oaky, not weak, not too old... For all that it deserves one or three extra-points in my little book! SGP:531 - 90 points.







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