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

December 24, 2013



Glendronach and Karuizawa
for Christmas

In my opinion, old sherry monsters are the most christmassy whiskies one can find. And as Glendronach and Karuizawa keep stealing the show at the Malt Maniacs Awards year after year, well, let's simply have one of each. Merry Christmas!

Glendronach 41 yo 1972/2013 (51.7%, OB, batch 9, oloroso sherry butt, cask #702, 448 bottles)

Glendronach 41 yo 1972/2013 (51.7%, OB, batch 9, oloroso sherry butt, cask #702, 448 bottles) Five starsI know, Glendronach again... Colour: dark amber. Nose: it's menthol that comes out first, together with some liquorice and quite a few tinier terpenic aromas. Pinesap, cough medicine... All that gives this oldie a huge feeling of freshness before the old-cognac side starts to unfold in a wonderful manner. That means plenty of raisins, then ripe peaches, honey and cherries in kirsch. Amazing freshness, no fatty chocolaty tones, so all is pretty perfect so far. With water: swims like Shirley Babashoff. Who remembers Shirley Babashoff? Stunning herbal profile, always amazingly fresh. And I love these tangerines, its all getting even more christmassy. Even some quality limoncello. Mouth (neat): the cherries are back, together with some strong chestnut honey and, this time, more chocolate and kumquats. Earl grey tea, a little mocha coffee, drops of bitter herbal tea (peach leaves, maybe) and a little curry. Excellent. With water: really rather sweeter than other old oloroso monsters, and with many more oranges, tangerines and kumquats. Plus these touches of menthol that keep lifting the whole into the most ethereal heights (yeah yeah, right...) Finish: long, on some kind of high-end mint flavoured tea mixed with grapefruit juice. Comments: I don't find all old sherry monsters very elegant and refined. This one is. Utterly lovable, like many 1972s. Merry Christmas! SGP:561 - 93 points.

Karuizawa 1973/2013 (67.7%, Number One Drinks, sherry oak, cask #1607, 138 bottles)

Karuizawa 1973/2013 (67.7%, Number One Drinks, sherry oak, cask #1607, 138 bottles) Five starsThis baby is the ueber-winner of the Malt Maniacs Awards 2013. Colour: dark amber. Nose: exactly what I had expected, the Karuizawa is spicier and more on polished wood than the Glendronach, more on coffee as well, while some rather similar whiffs of old cough syrup start to arise after just five seconds. More tobacco , cedar wood and incense as well, we're well at Karuizawa and just like in the Glendronach, the sherry does not dominate too much. Brilliant.

With water: very lovely putty-like scents, almond oil, sandalwood, amarena... At this stage it's absolutely impossible for me to tell you which one I like best, both are stunning. And this one makes me think more and more of a super old Demerara rum. Mouth (neat): it's very strong but the syrupiness makes it kind of quaffable provided you don't take more than a quarter of a drop at a time. A feeling of polished woods again, menthol cigarettes, ultra-dark 90% chocolate, crunching coffee beans... With water: yesss! Water can make these old ones a tad too woody but that's not what's happening here, not at all. It's an avalanche of kumquats, spices of herbs that hints at high-end mulled wine. Especially cinnamon, cloves and dried orange zests are very obvious. Finish: very long, on menthol, dark chocolate and coffee, but it never, ever gets drying. Comments: as exceptional as expected. My compadres from the current Malt Maniacs Awards jury sure have good tastes. And once again, Merry Christmas! SGP:562 - 93 points.


Pete McPeat and Jack Washback







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