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

November 27, 2013


WWI Scotch by old wine merchants

A useless session? Well, it surely is useless as far as availability is concerned, as these babies are totally unobtainable, but to the taster they're real gems as they're most probably single malts and possibly come from long-gone distilleries. Sadly, it's totally impossible to retrieve this kind of information but who knows, maybe we'll now have sips of pure Dalaruan, Auchtermuchty, Stromness or Dalintober? Who knows?... We'll have the youngest first. As for their strengths, no ideas! And as for WWI, let's simply remember this great quote by Captain Edmund Blackadder (as far as I can remember): "A war hasn’t been fought this badly since Olaf the Hairy, High Chief of all the Vikings, accidentally ordered 80,000 battle helmets with the horns on the inside." (with apologies to Highland Park ;-))


Very Old Highland Whisky (Dymoch, Howden & Co. Ltd, Pure Malt, bottled +/-1910?)

Very Old Highland Whisky (Dymoch, Howden & Co. Ltd, Pure Malt, bottled +/-1910?) Five stars This old glory had a driven cork. Dymoch Howden used to be wine merchants and grocers in George Street, Edinburgh. It's most probably single malt and it could as well have been bottled in the very late 1800s! Colour: pale gold. Nose: old style of course, that is to say full of waxes, linoleum, oils and tars (and straight pitch), with then more herbs and saps, citrons, tangerines (huge), a wee chalkiness and puffs of exhaust fumes from an old Rolls-Royce (well, not too sure about that one. Ahem.) After ten minutes or so, rather more plasticine and fresh putty, with also a little more chalk. It's all very complex and profound, we're almost nosing History - and old artillery. Magnificent. Mouth: high-impact, peaty, citrusy and sooty arrival, impressively assertive and imposing. Feels well like we're around 43 to 45% vol., at this age! If we had to mention one or several contemporary distilleries, I'd say we're right between Talisker, Springbank and peaty Glen Garioch. I even find oysters, mind you. Absolutely wonderful and totally 'Old Highlands'. Becomes even waxier over time, with a growing spiciness. Pepper, cinchona... Amazing. Finish: incredibly long, salty, peppery, smoky, waxy, medicinal and lemony. Comments: that that much peat remained after all these years suggests that this baby was a very heavy hitter when it was bottled. Totally exceptional. I'd surely kill to know the name of the distillery that made this! SGP:455 - 96 points.

Special Scotch Whisky 50 yo (Strachan's of Royal Deeside, bottled October 31, 1968)

Special Scotch Whisky 50 yo (Strachan's of Royal Deeside, bottled October 31, 1968) Five stars Strachan's in Aboyne still exist to this very day. They also used to bottle whisky as 'George Strachan Ltd', a brand that many whisky collectors do know very well. This Scotch was probably distilled around or even before World War I as it says 'Over 50 Years Old' and as many distilleries used to be closed during World War I due to barley shortages. Colour: gold. Nose: how very interesting and beautiful! This one does not really feel older than the Dymoch etc., it's rather more on brine, dry white wine, cider apples, metal polish and old toolbox (in an old garage, of course). And then we find more dried porcinis, shoe polish, tobacco, wee hints of Worcester sauce and a slightly sour and musty earthiness. A old dunnage warehouse? A great nose again, it's just a little less 'obviously great' than the Dymoch (and gang). Mouth: well in line, as smoky as the Dymoch, maybe even smokier, a little spicier too, more metallic and rather more on sour apples instead of lemons. This is big whisky again and it does remind me of Talisker once again, but Talisker was triple distilled until 1928, so theoretically lighter. Oysters again, seawater, touches of marzipan, soot and earth... Excellent once again, just a little less 'obviously great' than its compadre. Finish: rather long, with more metal, a feeling of iron or even copper coins... Comments: another typical old Highlander. It cannot be a blend, unless there's only 10 or 20% grain. Only the rather big metallic side can be a tad disturbing, that could also be a wee 'taste of glass'. SGP:564 - 91 points.

(with heartfelt mercis to Max, Angus, Jon, Phil, Simon, and Rowan Atkinson)







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