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

October 30, 2013


Cock-and-bull trio No.9, Clynelish and Caol Ila

Is there a better way of starting a wee 'random' session than having a little Clynelish from a good year?

Clynelish 15 yo 1997/2013 (52.2%, The Whisky Mercenary, for beproefd)

Clynelish 15 yo 1997/2013 (52.2%, The Whisky Mercenary, for beproefd) Four stars and a half Another Belgian affair ;-). Colour: straw. Nose: not much to say, this is a perfectly balanced, mineral, waxy and citrusy nose. I will say nuffin' more. With water: spritzer, lemonade, 'clean' floorcloth and tonic water. Some coal too. Mouth (neat): this is interesting. This baby starts with the expected waxy citrons and some kind of very mineral sauvignon blanc, Pouilly-Fumé style, but it tends to become a notch fatter than usual, with maybe a little more custard and vanilla cake. After that, a little pepper. With water: no, cancel that. Clean, zesty, mineral and lemony. Finish: long, sharp, zesty, chiselled. Modern Clynelish in full swing. Comments: it's a dangerous spirit because you can get hooked on this profile. Clynelish can kill many other malts, it can even kill Ardbeg once you've acquired the taste. Warning! SGP:462 - 89 points.

I think I found a baby that could follow that wonderful but killing Clynelish. Another Clynelish...

Clynelish 14 yo 1998/2013 (46%, Hart Brothers)

Clynelish 14 yo 1998/2013 (46%, Hart Brothers) Four stars and a half Colour: white wine. Nose: great news, the stronger 1997 does not kill this one, which is actually sharper, zestier and sappier. On the other hand, it's also got more difficult notes, such as old damp newspapers and aspirin tablets. Maybe a little too austere this time? Let's see what happens on the palate... Mouth: no, it's all good, really. Wonderful fruits, grapefruits and not too ripe mangos, lemon marmalade... It's less mineral and waxy than the 1997 but the fruits are quite perfect. Limejuice. Finish: long, sharp and chiselled, as expected. It's almost pure lemon juice with only a drop of cane sugar syrup. No, it's not a mojito. Comments: another impressive one, even at 46% vol. A bit in the style of the 1982s or 1983s. Very well selected, Hart Bros! SGP:552 - 88 points.

I think I may have trapped myself. I do not want to try another Clynelish... No new Broras around (yet)... Oh well, lets have some sherried Islay peat then.

Caol Ila 18 yo 1995/2013 (57.5%, Wilson & Morgan, sherry butt, cask #10027)

Caol Ila 18 yo 1995/2013 (57.5%, Wilson & Morgan, sherry butt, cask #10027) Five stars Anyone who hasn't tried the old Manager's Dram or the early James MacArthurs cannot imagine what Caol Ila + 1st fill sherry can do. It's like Motörhead on Brora 1972 (right, I may be exaggerating...) Colour: dark amber. Nose: bingo-ish. I mean, balance is found, which is quite an achievement, and the peat plus sherry combo creates this very peculiar kind of chocolaty profile that you cannot find in, well, chocolate. A leathery, tobacco-like kind of chocolate. With water: more cigars, hay and bitter chocolate. Mouth (neat): once again, this works. I don't know if this is because the excellent bottlers are Italian, but I find notes of maraschino and amaretto. Must be me... The peat is big! With water: yes. Smoother, perfectly balanced, cigary, with drops of kirsch and always amaretto and maraschino. In the background, oysters with a drop of tabasco. Finish: long, peaty, chocolaty and, bizarrely, kind of clean and fresh, which is always welcome at this stage. Comments: exactly what was needed after the Clynelishes. A style that's quite rare these days. SGP:456 - 90 points.







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