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Hi, you're in the Archives, April 2005 - Part 1
       
       
March 2005 - part 2 <--- April 2005 - part 1 ---> April 2005 - part 2
 

April 15, 2005


Dewars ad

CRAZY WHISKY ADS – Are the Scots tough guys or are they as gentle as lambs? That’s an important question, no doubt, but we sure won’t find any answer in these old ads, as in 1939, Dewar shows us an old threatening clansman, one hand on his sword, the other hand next to his dagger, whereas in 1938, Old Angus’ landlord plays with some lambs… Sweet as a baby!… But maybe that was during the Highlands Clearances?

 
The Klezmatics   MUSIC – Recommended listening - I first got interested in Klezmer music after having seen Charlie Parker in Clint Eastwood's movie 'Bird', with Forrest Whittaker. Charles McPherson actually recorded the sax part because there hadn't been any taping of the actual event, a Jewish wedding where Charlie Parker, who had been hired to entertain the guests, switched from jazz to tradtionnal Jewish music - so funny!. Anyway, one of the best Klezmer bands I know is The Klezmatics , aka 'the possessed Jewish with horns'. Listen to them playing Katz un Moyz - mp3 and please buy their music if you like it. (via piranha)
 

TASTING - TWO (POOR) BALMENACHS

Balmenach 1979/2000 (58%, Scott’s Selection) Colour: dry white wine. Nose: grainy, herbal, on freshly mown lawn. Some hot milk... Not much else, I’m afraid. The cask must have been quite neutral (who said dead?) Mouth: extremely spirity, yet bland. Quick, some water... Now it’s killed! - even with Gleneagles. Frankly, I’ve been told there are some much better gins out there. 69 points.
Balmenach-Glenlivet 12 yo 1981/1993 (62.3%, Cadenhead) Colour: dry white wine. Nose: spirity, grassy, simple... Gets extremely grainy… and that’s all. Mouth: monstrously pungent. Water please... Thanks! It gets better, I mean drinkable. Yet, it’s much too grassy, grainy, with some hints of raw French beans, burnt bread... Okay, one for cocktails. 70 points.

  Balmenach 1979/2000 (58%, Scott’s Selection)
 

April 14, 2005


Brora 29yo 1971/2000 (50%, DL Old Malt Cask, 210 bottles)  

TASTING - TWO BRORAS

Brora 29 yo 1971/2000 (50%, DL Old Malt Cask, 210 bottles) Colour: straw. Nose: ‘a very delicate cow stable’. Well... Extremely refined, elegant yet so farmy! Paris Hilton? Kidding. Anyway, another evidence of Brora’s absolute top class in those years. Need I say more? Mouth: beautiful and totally flawless. I’m speechless again. Couldn’t be better, really, and what a perfect balance! Okay, I’d better stop now... Ah, just this: perfection is when you can’t draw out nor add anything, according to Olivier. And again, this Brora is perfect. It’s just a bit less explosive and demonstrative than the latest 30 yo OB '2004', that is. 94 points.

Brora 18 yo 1981/1999 (58.3%, SMWS 61.9) Colour: straw. Nose: well, 1981 wasn’t 1971 (yeah!) and at Brora, that’s particularly true. Yet, this one is very nice. Whiffs - just whiffs - of smoke together with cooked apples, milk, muesli, a bit of candy sugar... A nice one indeed, compact and satisfying. Mouth: the attack is sugary and fruity, but there‘s quite some peat coming through after a while. Alas, it’s too strong to be enjoyed ‘naked’ any further, so let’s ad a few drops of Gleneagles water (some recent tastings revealed it’s one of the waters that fit whisky best). The mouth now gets rounder, creamier and even fruitier... making it really enjoyable, with a long and rounded finish. Anyway, a nice one, that proves, once again, that Brora wasn’t just about heavy peat. 88 points.   Brora 18yo 1981/1999 (58.3%, SMWS 61.9)
Brian Chevalier   MUSIC – Blues - Recommended listening: Brian Chevalier, from Eugene, Oregon, plays When dream die - mp3. A special singing that strays from the beaten track and a great guitar, we don't need anything more, do we? Please buy Brian Chevalier's music if you like it.
 

April 12, 2005


MUSIC – BLUES - Recommended listening: Ruby and the Red Hots play a long pot-pourri of tunes. Just click here. Excellent voice and excellent players, they are cool! Please attend their gigs - I've not seen any record yet (too bad!)   Ruby and the Red Hots
Convalmore 12yo 1969 (40%, G&M CC, Old Brown Label)  

TASTING - TWO CONVALMORES

Convalmore 12 yo 1969 (40%, G&M CC, Old Brown Label) Colour: straw. First nosing: rather mellow. It then starts on some notes of Cologne water and lavender perfume but in a rather nice way this time. Develops on beer, porridge and goes on with some fruits such as crystallised oranges or tangerines. Some hints of liquorice, vanilla and caramel. The whole is nicely balanced. Palate: the first mouth feel is powerful while the attack is on vanillin and smoked tea, with some soft tannins. It develops on caramel cream, with some notes of nutmeg. Globally, the palate is astonishingly rich and satisfying. An excellent surprise, bold and most satisfying again. The finish is long, on white pepper and toffee. A very good one, indeed. 85 points.

Convalmore 14 yo 1983/1997 (43%, Signatory, cask #1639) Colour: straw. First nosing: fresh and warming at the same time. Starts on lots of fresh hazelnut skin. Interesting! It develops on cereals and hot brioche, followed by some grassy notes. In short, it’s interesting but simple (or the contrary). Palate: the mouth feel is quite creamy. Attack on sweet fruit liquor (the one in the sugar Oyster eggs). It develops on Malibu liquor (save my children), bubble gum, marsh mallow. Some grassy notes, cold herbal tea… Rather robust but again, simple. With a long but bitter finish, on burnt vegetables. Okay, 80 points for the rather special notes of hazelnut skin.   Convalmore 14yo 1983/1997 (43%, Signatory, cask #1639)
 

April 11, 2005


Dallas Dhu 17yo 1974/1992 (43%, Signatory, cask #1496)  

TASTING - TWO DALLAS DHUS

Dallas Dhu 17 yo 1974/1992 (43%, Signatory, cask #1496) Colour: dry white wine. Nose: very fresh, young and flowery - and grassy at first nosing. Develops on heavy passion fruit, rosewater and eau de Cologne. Gets a bit yeasty, on hot milk and porridge. Hints of rubber. Something Bowmore-ish. Nope, I didn’t write soapy. Mouth: oh, too bad. Lots of chemicals, oddly grassy. Rather undrinkable, to tell you the truth. Very bitter and disjointed, extremely soapy: there is a problem in there. Let’s stop the pain a.s.a.p! 59 points, because the nose was okay...

Dallas Dhu 23 yo 1981/2004 (53.5%, The Whiskyfair)
Colour: straw. Nose: starts on cold coffee, then cold coffee and then, perhaps, cold coffee? That’s funny, a perfect breakfast malt! It then gets very smoky (wood smoke for the moment, not peat). Cold ashes, matchstick. Something Ardmore-ish. Quite austere, in a nice way. A special one, that’s for sure. And the peat arrives after a good ten minutes... Mouth: completely different! Quite sweetish but also very peaty right from the start (of the farmy kind of peat). Interesting! I didn’t know Dallas Dhu did some rather highly peated batches. It’s also nicely balanced, with quite some orange juice and a dash of pepper. Long finish. A special one indeed, not overly complex but sort of ‘funny’ and very interesting. Congrats for having sourced this one, Whiskyfair. 87 points.
  Dallas Dhu 23yo 1981/2004 (53.5%, The Whiskyfair)
Rodney Jones   MUSIC – Recommended listening: somebody wrote that 'Rodney Jones can lay down a groove faster than you can say James Brown' and that might well be true. But why not judge by yourself while having go at his excellent version of Franco-Cameroonian sax player Manu Dibango's Soul Makossa - mp3? Yes, it's the great Maceo Parker on the sax! Please buy these guys' music if you like funk and soul jazz.
 

April 9, 2005


TASTING - An Cnoc 1990/2004 (46%, OB) Very balanced, creamy, malty, with some light caramel, some pollen and nectar. The mouth is sweet, with some heathery notes, caramel, vanilla crème. It’s like the relatively new 12 yo , just bolder and with a longer finish. Very sippable! 84 points. By the way An Cnoc distilled some peated malt (35 to 38ppm) last year, and will do it again this year. Fashion!   An Cnoc 1990/2004 (46%, OB)
Brigitte Fontaine   MUSIC – Recommended listening - 1995: crazy veteran French underground singer Brigitte Fontaine sings Conne -mp3 (Dumb). I can assure you she isn't! Please buy her music if you like it... and if you understand French, otherwise you'll miss most of its... err... charms!
 

April 8, 2005


FREE ADVERTISEMENT - After having read Whiskyfun's tasting notes regarding one of the casks he owns at Glenfarclas, which I rated 93 points (it's cask #689 - at 37 yo it's a stunner), fellow maniac Luc Timmermans decided to let it being bottled immediately instead of waiting till 2008. I think it's an excellent decision, especially since Luc is now selling a chunk of his lot on a 'first come, first serve' basis and as very short term futures (a matter of days).

 
The prices are very fair for such an old single malt that is right at its peak:
Option #1: 195 Euros for one bottle.
Option #2: 899.99 Euros for one bottle plus a hand signed cricket cap like the one Luc's wearing on the picture.
I know Option #2 is much more appealing, but as far as I'm concerned, I chose Option #1 (Luc, just between us, does this cap have a sentimental value or something?)
Anyway, should you be interested, be quick and ask Luc the details by clicking here. Oh yes, by the way, the vintage is 1968 - a very good one at Glenfarclas (don't ask me why, I have no clue).
 
Longmorn 17yo 1987/2004 (55.1%, OB, Chivas Brothers, batch #LM 17 002, 50cl)   Glenlivet 16yo 1988/2004 (56.9%, OB, Chivas Brothers, batch #GL 16 003, 50cl)

TASTING – TWO NEW BOTTLINGS FROM CHIVAS (short notes)

Longmorn 17 yo 1987/2004 (55.1%, OB, Chivas Brothers, batch #LM 17 002, 50cl)
This one is very creamy and floral at the same time – perhaps a little too tannic. 82 points.
Glenlivet 16 yo 1988/2004 (56.9%, OB, Chivas Brothers, batch #GL 16 003, 50cl)
Sweet and yeasty on the nose, sweet and caramelised on the palate. Not very much happening here, but it’s quite enjoyable and flawless. 80 points.

 
CONCERT REVIEW: DIZZEE RASCAL
Royal Festival Hall, London - Tuesday March 15th 2005 - by Nick Morgan
Ok ok Serge, I know it’s late, but like I told you, I very nearly didn’t even get to the gig. After all, I’d had a week in Paris on some sort of marketing thing, enduring some of the worst food I’d ever eaten in my life (Serge said he thought an Englishman, Irishman, Scotsman and Welshman must have got into the kitchen, but I have my doubts) (1). And then back to blighty for a quick hour or two at Whisky Live (more than any normal man can handle) followed by a very Big weekend and a great night at Nick Lowe on the Monday. Well, the photographer was keen (although as it turned out the excessive security prevented any reasonable access for shooting purposes) as was my daughter (no – she was positively twitching with excitement). But me – well I wondered if I really wanted to be there.   DIZZEE RASCAL
As it turned out I wasn’t alone. First up on this special night at the South Bank Centre’s Africa Remix Festival was Nigerian drumming legend Tony Allen, the right hand of Fela Kuti, and often acknowledged as the co-founder (with Kuti) of Afrobeat. Boy – he was almost as unhappy as me. “I just want to say, I don’t want to say nothing, I am just here for the Dizzee”. Playing second fiddle to a teenage East End prodigy was clearly not his bag, and his painful indifference to the gig was only compounded by his most pedestrian band, who had clearly undergone a rhythm bypass and a funkechtomy. Add to this two “singers” whose booty-shaking was a tribute to the (just withdrawn from the market) Rowntree’s jelly-cube (and maybe as appetising too) and you should begin to see just how bad it was. Sort of in-between early Santana and the Crusaders, with barely a dash of Africa, and at several RPMs less than it deserved. So for one I wasn’t quite as surprised as Allen’s band when he abruptly left the stage as they prepared for their final number; “Now I hand you over to the Dizzeeee”.
DIZZEE RASCAL   Dizzee Rascal rocking the Royal Festival Hall (yes Serge, the Royal Box was devoid of teenagers and soon-to-be weds) – not an immediate match made in heaven. Dizzee with an awesome DJ deckmeister (“how did he make all that noise?” I asked my daughter, still half deaf, in the homeward bound hooptie) and a fellow MC whose repetitive hand gestures suggested he spent the whole night in fear of loosing his testicles through the crotch of his baggy denims. A Dizzee who, despite his various brushes with rival MCs from the grime (don’t ask me, but apparently a very high velocity London take on Garage and Hip Hop) posse, and the boys in blue, seems more likely to die by suffocation at the hands of the chattering white middle classes than from a drive-by shooting.
Have no doubts, these clever clogs are grasping at DR as the acceptable face of young black music in the UK, a Mercury Prize winning alternative to misogynistic US rappers and their over-aggressive crews. And they are all out in force - beards, sandals, Guardians and all - at the RFH safe in a comfort zone never afforded by the Brixton Academy.
And why all the fuss? Well once you got over the jarring and largely alienating high speed rhythms (too many RPMs !) and almost industrial bass lines and samples (although I have to say the former did send a thrilling vibration through my thickly textured corduroy trousers) and caught up with the Dizziness himself (“Don’t ask me to sing slower, just listen faster”) what you got was a surprisingly intelligent and fiercely moralistic young man, singing with his heart on his sleeve, a plaintive voice for the young inner-city dispossessed. Actually I’m not sure that singing is the right word, but his powerfully delivered lyrics could have been written by his mum, though I suspect she might have used fewer “fucks”. Witty, good-humoured, and at the end of it all hugely optimistic I have to say that the final result was almost life-affirming (I last saw this word used in the Guardian of all places, in a review of a Chas and Dave gig! Surely it’s better placed here?).  
Corduroy trousersCorduroy trousers
(archives)
What were the songs? How should I know? But a bit of research and listening afterwards showed that he played almost all of the new Showtime and The Boy in da Corner. You can make up the rest for yourselves. Oh yes – and I should have mentioned Dizzee’s fiercely expressed pride in his home city, which came through in his interplay with the audience (although we remain disappointed that he didn’t give it out to the Chiswick Crew) and his songs. Now the boy had better watch out, because if he’s not careful Ken Livingstone will co-opt him onto London’s Olympic bid (Ken, you read it here first mate), and then you Serge, and your Paris, just won’t stand a chance. - Nick Morgan

Thanks, Nick. Yes, a Hilton might not be the best place to eat when in Paris (was the porkpie that bad?) Lazy choices make bad memories, said a famous travel consultant ;-). Now, as for Dizzee Rascal, hats off, that's dedication, and sure you deserve the Pulitzer. I didn't know this rascal, so I had to do a bit a research and... well... I mean... you know... it's like... well, not my cup of t... I mean, not my glass of malt. I have nothing against the heavy use of samples, provided it doesn't sound like a heavy use of samples. Anyway, I could find two 'interesting' tracks. We have Just a Rascal - mp3 and Lucky Star - mp3 with Basement Jaxx (and I sort of like Basement Jaxx). As for Tony Allen, that's another story, as Every Season - mp3 will testify.
(1) Note to French readers / Note aux lecteurs français: vous voyez sur quelles bases nous sommes jugés? Ces Anglais sont incroyables, quand ils se rendent à Paris, ils séjournent dans un Hilton et après, ils viennent se plaindre de la qualité de la cuisine. Je parie que la prochaine fois qu'ils loueront une Jaguar chez Avis à Charles-de-Gaulle, ils mettront sur notre dos le fait qu'elle ne tient pas trop bien la route et que la qualité du cuir n'est plus ce qu'elle était. Ah, ces Angliches, il en faut de la patience!

 

April 7, 2005


TASTING - TWO COLEBURNS

Coleburn 17 yo 1965 (40%, G&M CC Old Brown Label)
Colour: light amber. First nosing: very refined and elegant. Very nice! It then develops on some very empyreumatic notes, beeswax, resinous wood, cedar wood… Develops on some turpentine. It goes on with vanilla and caramel, and some hints of dried flowers. Superb! Palate: the first mouth feel is full of smoothness but satisfying. Then lots of nutmeg and white pepper, a bit drying right at the start. Develops on passion fruits - the old bottle effect? Some notes of bitter orange and milk chocolate. In short, it’s classical, it’s balanced and it’s refined. A superb old whisky. The finish is medium long, that is, on white pepper and nutmeg again, with the soft tannins being well present. Another very good old Connoisseur’s Choice. 88 points (it would have been worth 90 points without the dryness).

  Coleburn 17yo 1965 (40%, G&M CC Old Brown Label)
Coleburn 19yo 1981/2001 (46%, Signatory Unchillfiltered, sherry, dist 22/10/81)   Coleburn 19 yo 1981/2001 (46%, Signatory Unchillfiltered, sherry, dist 22/10/81) Colour: straw. First nosing: quite sharp! It’s very sulphury right at the start, not far from H2S, I’m afraid. Then I got some hot milk, porridge, yeast, and some whiffs of rubber band. Some rather heavy burnt sugar. Not repulsive but way too ‘yeasty’ for my tastes. Palate: quite creamy, with some sherry and some honey. It develops on orange marmalade, with some notes of ginger tonic and infused tealeaves. Hints of candy sugar, with lots of crystallised orange towards the finish. Globally, the palate is bold and satisfying, most enjoyable. Too bad the nose is so sulphury, but the great mouth makes it worth 82 points in my book.
MUSIC – Recommended listening: she's an excellent 'smoky slide guitar' player and singer! Natalia Zukerman from NYC does a groovy and elegant Fool's gold - mp3. Good, eh? Please buy her music...   Natalia Zukerman
Paul Adam   WHISKY AND MUSIC - My old friend Paul Adam loves both whisky and music, especially Serge Gainsbourg's. That's why he did let his bar being personalized with one of Gainsbourg's most famous profiles, sand-blasted on the glass. Would that work with Janet Jackson too?
 

April 6, 2005


TASTING - FOUR OLD HIGHLAND PARKS - PART II

Highland Park 38 yo 1966/2005 (42.4%, Duncan Taylor for The Whisky Fair, 168 bottles) Colour: light gold. First nosing: mellow, refined and elegant. It starts on apricot syrup, Mirabelle jam and beeswax, all at the same time, and then develops on pineapple and caramel cream. Quite a lot of vanillin too, with some very soft tannins, going on with some fructose or icing sugar. There is some wood but it’s not overwhelming at all. Again, a superb one. Palate: alas, it lacks a little balance on the palate, getting even quite bitter. Happily, that strange phenomenon vanishes after a moment and the malt then gets nicely creamy and heathery, with some hints of camphor, eucalyptus and cold tea. Some burnt butter and roasted almonds. It tastes much younger than it is, in fact. Rather long finish, getting even flowery (nectar, light honey). Excellent! 89 points.

  Highland Park 38yo 1966/2005 (42.4%, Duncan Taylor for The Whisky Fair, 168 bottles)
Highland Park 30yo 1973/2004 (47.8%, OB for Japan, sherry, cask #11207, 520 bottles)   Highland Park 30 yo 1973/2004 (47.8%, OB for Japan, sherry, cask #11207, 520 bottles) Colour: amber. First nosing: very warming, with lots of toasted bread! A bit subdued right from the start, in fact, but it then develops on some heavy eucalyptus again, turpentine, burnt heather (when they burn it to let the grass grow to feed the starving sheep in the Highlands). It goes on with some apricot syrup, apple pie, squeezed orange, sweet white wine, sherry… Again a thrilling one, it appears. Some hints of smoke and rubber… It’s so complex and full-bodied! Palate: compact, creamy and… fabulous. Lots of smoke, herbs, fruits, spices and essences of all sorts: the list would be too long, just like the finish. Just endless. Perhaps it just lacks a little elegance this time… Anyway, here’s my rating: 91 points.
MUSIC – JAZZ - Recommended listening: Peruvian born pianist Felipe Riveros plays French Dance - mp3, which I don't like only because of the name, I promise! This great tune has a French feeling indeed, and is on Felipe's CD 'Ten Easy Pieces', which you should definitely buy if you like jazz. And the sax, he's good!   Felipe Riveros
 
CRAZY WHISK(E)Y ADS - THE ONES WHO SERVE IT TALK ABOUT IT BEST!
Four Roses 1938 ad  
PM 1953 ad
Four Roses 1938: In the heat of the night avant l'heure? The actual old-fashioned blaze of glory was to happen one year later anyway... (and no, they didn't have Adobe Photoshop at that time, it appears)   PM 1953: 'A dividend in value!' says the young guy, who's already obsessed by money. 'A dividend in taste!' answers the old guy, who knows about true values... Ah, Santa Barbara!
     
Walker's Deluxe 1955 ad  
Walker's Deluxe 1965 ad
Walker's Deluxe 1955: 'Elegant in taste, uncommonly good'. Ah, old black buttlers, you couldn't beat them! Yet...   Walker's Deluxe 1965: They fired the old black guy (who's been hired by Uncle Ben's then) and hired an old European-style buttler who says 'Nothing else quite measures up.' Noticed the 'quite'?
     
 

April 5, 2005


TASTING - FOUR OLD HIGHLAND PARKS - PART I
Highland Park 17 yo ‘no vintage’ (43%, OB, James Grant green dumpy, 70’s) Not to be confounded with the ‘vintage’ versions. Colour: greenish amber (eh?). First nosing: mellow and extremely elegant. It starts on some beautiful notes of dark old rum, chestnut honey and resinous wood again. Develops superbly, on eucalyptus, turpentine, varnish… It goes on with some tropical fruits, tangerine, apricot syrup. Some fantastic winey notes too, mostly flor and walnut skin. That’s the kind of sherry I like! Just plain stunning. Palate: absolutely fantastic. The attack is, well… err… it’s a whole army! Fresh mastic, camphor, beeswax, eucalyptus pastilles, some smoke and some cake, wood polish, butter caramel, kumquats...   Highland Park 17yo ‘no vintage’ (43%, OB, James Grant green dumpy, 70’s)
Holy sugar, what a stunning whisky! And a long and extremely refined finish, at that. Wow, wow, wow! 95 points.
Highland Park 12yo bottled 8/07/92 (40%, OB, Belgium market)   Highland Park 12 yo bottled 8/07/92 (40%, OB, Belgium market) Colour: it’s funnily light (ohne Farbstoff this time?) First nosing: very clean. A bit closed right at the start, and dusty at that, but... it then develops on some very fresh resinous notes, freshly sawn pine wood, going on with some fresh hazelnut, butter…
Hints of vanilla crème and praline. Really complex and beautiful. Palate: superbly balanced and powerful. The attack is unusually smoky, peaty and peppery, with lots of caramel cream. It develops on milk chocolate, cappuccino, with some notes of herbal tea and some hints of Havana tobacco. Globally, the palate is very complex and refined. Too bad it’s a little weak at 40%. But what a difference with the current expression! Too bad the finish is rather short, with a little lack of oomph. 88 points but it would have deserved 90+ points at 43 or 46%).
MUSIC – Recommended listening: just another pretty young American singer fallen off a truck from Nashville? No, no, Dani Linnetz is better than that. Have a listen to her catchy song The library - mp3 and I'm sure you'll agree. So, please buy Dani's music if you like it!   Dani Linnetz
 

April 4, 2005


Gavin Friday     Enrico Caruso
MUSIC – Recommended listening - Irish ex-Virgin Prunes founder Gavin Friday does a heavy Caruso - mp3. Wait till the end of the tune, there' are even some samples of the great Caruso himself. Please buy Gavin Friday's music if you like it.     MUSIC – Recommended listening - 1907: the great Enrico Caruso himself sings Vesti la gubbia - mp3 from Leoncavallo's I Pagliacci. (Very good remastering by Andre Evangelista - thanks for that). Btw, did you know Caruso was smoking?
Ben Nevis 10yo 1992/2002 (43%, Signatory, butt #3312)  

TASTING - THREE 1992 BEN NEVIS

Ben Nevis 10 yo 1992/2002 (43%, Signatory, butt #3312) Colour: dry white wine. First nosing: clean. It starts on some notes of broiled cereals, porridge, yeast… Develops on grain and mashed potatoes. It goes on with some bubble gum, lilac, yogurt; some hints of gooseberry, dust, old books. Simple but quite enjoyable. The mouth feel is quite strong but a little bitter. The attack is on grass, over infused tea and pepper. It develops on oak, grain, burnt cake with some notes of yogurt, green tannins and some hints of turpentine, quinquina, even pepper vodka, humus… Globally, the palate is simple, austere and rather drying. The finish is long, on burnt green vegetables. The nose was nice but the palate is too bitter and grassy for my tastes. Just another young so-so cask from a so-so batch? 76 points.

Ben Nevis 10 yo 1992 (55.2%, OB) Colour: amber. First nosing: warming an compact. It starts on notes of heavy sherry, oloroso, caramel. Develops on chestnut honey, beeswax, getting very winey and buttery. It goes on with some balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, old rancio. Hints of cooked apple, cooked quetsche, cold coffee. Gets a little sour... Very, very winey. It smells almost like a mix of wine and spirit, like for instance a Macvin from Jura, or a Pineau des Charentes. The mouth feel is powerful, compact, quite satisfying. The attack is on caramel, burnt cake, dried orange. It gets bolder and bolder with time. It develops on pepper, clove, fructose. Some notes of herbal tea, mustard, even wasabi. It's getting quite biting. Some hints of ashes, quinquina, over infused tea, Jägermeister (German liquor). Globally, the palate is robust and a little unbalanced. The finish is very long, on fructose and heavy sherry. It gets very salty after a moment. Salt and pepper indeed! Quite a beast, this one... 81 points.   Ben Nevis 10yo 1992 (55.2%, OB)
Ben Nevis 11yo 1992/2003 (59.6%, Blackadder, cask #687, bourbon hogshead)   Ben Nevis 11 yo 1992/2003 (59.6%, Blackadder, cask #687, bourbon hogshead) Another Blackadder with these strange - and slightly disturbing - pieces of wood swimming in the whisky...
Colour: dry white wine. First nosing: sharp. It starts on notes of hot milk, mashed potatoes, porridge, and develops on lavender, liquorice, hay… It goes on with some orange zest, cold herbal tea… Some hints of yeast, anise, yogurt… A young and simple one, with very little influence from the wood. The signatory was cleaner and livelier. And better on the nose. This one’s mouth feel is powerful and sweet. The attack is on bubble gum, eucalyptus and varnish. It develops on lavender, Cologne water, cooked butter… Perfumy indeed! Some hints of white rum, tequila, chemicals… This palate is quite indefinite in fact, very robust and rather austere, not in a nice way, alas. The finish is very long on over infused tea again, grass… It’s getting really bitter and too grassy! Far from being enjoyable, I’m afraid... Some feint hints of pear spirit emerge after a long moment. 75 points.
 

April 3, 2005


TASTING - Amrut (40%, OB, India) This one is actually a 3 yo . It’s got some nice fruit, cooked apple and vanilla. Quite rounded and sweet, not bad at all on the nose. The mouth is a little blander, grainy, getting quite vegetal and a little too biter. But what a nice surprise (especially when compared to McDowell or, for that matter, Sikkim!) 75 points.   Amrut (40%, OB, India)
Natacha Atlas   MUSIC – Recommended listening - Did you know this very 'interesting' version of I put a spell on you - mp3 by transglobal underground diva Natacha Atlas? Perfect for a sunny Sunday, isn't it? Please buy Natacha's music if you like it... Oh, by the way, she did also Man's world - mp3, sweet like honey - honey from the Atlas Mountains, no need to say...
 

April 2, 2005


MUSIC – Recommended listening - Oldies but Goldies: 1974, Billy Preston plays Outa Space - mp3. Billy's keyboards are indeed out of this world, no wonder both the Rolling Stones and the Beatles hired him for their recording sessions (on Let it Be, for instance) and tours. Billy Preston is still very active, so please buy his great music if you like it.   Billy Preston
Old Pulteney 17yo (40%, OB)   TASTING - Old Pulteney 17 yo (40%, OB) A new bottling – strange that they bottled it at a meagre 40%. The nose is very fragrant and smoky, with some hints of rubber and fresh pineapple, mango, apricot jam and a bit of sea air. The mouth is very creamy, gingery, getting quite waxy and peppery. A good one. 84 points.
 

April 1, 2005


TASTING - Ardbeg 1980/2004 ‘Kidalton’ (57.6%, OB) I’m glad I could finally taste this unpeated version. The nose starts on fresh apples, apple juice. Develops on mint, peppermint and citronella. Excellent. The mouth is sweet but quite spicy, both peppery and gingery, with quite some wood. In short, it’s bold but very elegant and balanced. So, Ardbeg doesn’t just mean ‘peat’! 90 points.   Ardbeg 1980/2004 ‘Kidalton’ (57.6%, OB)
Louis Bertignac   MUSIC – Raga - French guitar hero (?!) Louis Bertignac (ex-Téléphone) jams with Nepalese sitar player Bijaya here. Better than John MacLaughlin with Ravi Shankar? Maybe not, but it's still nice and very moody... Please buy Louis' music - it's usually much more 'rock and roll', like this rendition of Steve Miller's The joker - mp3 recorded live in... Nepal in 2003.
 
CRAZY WHISK(E)Y ADS - GUITAR GALORE!
Hiram Walker 1938 ad   Cutty Sark 1982 ad
Hiram Walker 1938: 'Win an Amateur Hour? Double your enjoyement with Hiram Walker's Ten High'. Gosh, I guess the drawer had never seen a guitar before!   Cutty Sark 1982 - with B.B. King: 'In a world full of copies, here's to the originals - The Scotch with a following of leaders - Cutty Sark.'
Jim Beam 1982 ad  
Jack Daniels 2002 ad
Above: Jack Daniels 2002: 'Mr Jack Daniel was no saint. But he did start something of a religion' (whith Jack Daniels sticker on the guitar case).
Left: Jim Beam 1982 - with Hank Williams jr: 'It's a family tradition.'
 
Right: Cutty Sark 2004 (poster for nightclubs): Aren't we wondering what she's doing with that guitar? Or is it another phallic symbol? Anyway, I guess this one is more appealing to the yoof... Bad taste? You decide! (I'm not referring to the whisky, of course).   Cutty Sark 2004 (poster for nightclubs)

March 2005 - part 2 <--- April 2005 - part 1 ---> April 2005 - part 2

     


C
heck the index of all entries:
Whisky
Music
Nick's Concert Reviews
 

Best malts I had these weeks - 90+ points only - alphabetical:

Ardbeg 1980/2004 ‘Kidalton’ (57.6%, OB)

Brora 29 yo 1971/2000 (50%, DL Old Malt Cask, 210 bottles)

Highland Park 17 yo ‘no vintage’ (43%, OB, James Grant green dumpy, 70’s)

Highland Park 30 yo 1973/2004 (47.8%, OB for Japan, sherry, cask #11207, 520 bottles)