Hi, you're in the Archives, March 2005 - Part 1
– TWO DALMORES AND TWO JURAS,
at a very rock and roll Richard Patterson’s
12 yo ‘Black Pearl’ Madeira
Finish (40%, OB)
This one’s been named ‘Black
Pearl’ because Madeira is called
‘the Pearl of the Atlantic’.
LOL! It’s been a long finishing:
two years and a half. The nose starts
on some big, bold vanilla and caramel,
apricot jam. Hints of ‘portiness’.
Smells of rubber and hot metal. Mouth:
lots of leather and tobacco. Creamy
and slightly smoky, with some hints
of grapefruit. The finish is a little
bit salty. Not a stunner, but it’s
rather enjoyable. 80 points.
30 yo Cabernet-Sauvignon finish (51%,
OB, cask sample)
A four years long finishing, to be
bottled soon. The nose is nice, very
oaky and spicy (nutmeg, cinnamon).
Lots of varnish that grows heavier
and heavier. Some volatile acidity
(always the same story with these
ex-table wine casks). The mouth is
pungent and prickly, bitter and extremely
tannic. Again a wood infusion, barely
drinkable. It improves with a bit
of water, and becomes mellower, but
the tannins are still there, obviously.
Maybe they will call this one ‘Oaky
Pearl’? 80 points.
of Jura 30 yo 1973 (55%, OB, cask
#3155, 466 bottles)
This one was matured in an oloroso
butt from Gonzalez Byass’. The
nose has a lot of pinewood, and cedar
wood, and is very fragrant. Interesting.
Some nice notes of mastic, marzipan,
with some hints of old books. I really
like it. It gets quite minty. The
mouth is punchy, on overripe banana,
rum and raisin. A classic oloroso
but with a twist. The finish is quite
salty. A great one. 90 points.
We also had a cask sample of one of
these heavily peated Juras that was
rather better than most of the ones
that are already on the market, and
which had lots of ‘greeny’
peat smoke and salted butter (86 points).
- Recommended listening:
crafted pop-folk, like for instance
- mp3. Now, as for attending one
of their gigs, maybe it's going to
be difficult as according to their
website, 'The Decemberists travel
exclusively by Dr. Herring's Brand®
Dirigible Balloons'. At least
they don't blow hot air! Please buy
their music if you like it.
WHISKY ADS - SWEEPSTAKES IN THE
80's - Left: Crown
Royal 1984 'Win a $57,000
customized Royal Excalibur (...)
The standard by which all other
automobiles of its kind are measured'
- Noticed the 'of it's
kind' part? And what was customized?
Ah, yes, a refrigerated whisky bar!
Right: Johnnie Walker Red
Label 1988 'Win the
Johnnie Walker Red Jaguar - Enter
the Johnnie Walker Red Jaguar sweepstake'.
the roaring eighties, so refined!
A message to Wilson & Morgan,
Samaroli and all the other Italians
now: can we have a Maserati, please?
And to Glann Ar Mor, please, an
old Delahaye or Delage, thanks!
And oh, yes, the Germans, please,
there's also been this RonRico
'Marshal Tucker Band' sweepstake
in 1975... (left). Well...
- THREE NEW GLENMORANGIES
London 2005 is now over, and we
had some great whiskies again yesterday.
Some great fun too with fellow maniacs
Charlie, Dave, Olivier, Lex and
Ulf. My winners have been the latest
Brora 30 yo OB (no wonder, eh?)
the Laphroaig Quarter Cask, the
new Mortlach 32 yo OB, some new
Inchgower 1968 and Highland Park
1980 by Duncan Taylor and Signatory's
new cask of Benriach 1975. Watch
this space for my (short) tasting
notes within the coming days...
In the meantime, here are three
rather new Glenmorangies...
‘Artisan Cask’ (46%,
This one was matured in American
oak from the Ozark Mountains. The
nose has some big, bold vanillin,
which indicates there must be lots
of wood in there indeed. Very bourbonny,
with lots of meadowflowers, pollen
and light honey. The attack is powerful
but nicely balanced, and extremely
sweet with lots of light caramel,
corn syrup, vanilla… Very
compact, nicely crafted, but maybe
it lacks a little complexity. 83
1993/2004 ‘Burr Oak Reserve’
(56.3%, OB, 1152 bottles)
The nose is very aromatic, with
tons of tannins, tea, vanilla. It’s
extremely oaky and fragrant at the
same time. The mouth is even oakier
(‘pencil sharpener juice’),
Extremely tannic, really too bourbonny
for my taste – which doesn’t
mean I don’t like bourbon,
no need to say. Frankly, Glenmorangie’s
delicate spirit is completely overwhelmed
by the new American oak here, although
I sort of like the boldness. 78
30 yo ‘Oloroso Cask Finish’
(44.3%, OB, 4548 bottles, bottled
Nose: very special, on watercress
and walnut skin, with some notes
of Darjeeling tea. Very subtle and
just superb. The mouth is rounded,
sweet but nervous and complex. Some
nice notes of ripe bananas, fructose,
tropical fruits, getting quite smoky,
spicy and gingery. This one is pure
pleasure. 90 points.
– JAZZ for Sunday
- Very, very highly recommended listening:
Silveira and Swami Jr.
play John Coltrane's 26-2
- mp3 quite stunningly. What a
sound they have! Please, please buy
the wonders of Wi-Fi, thanks to Starbucks
– even if I’m definitely
not into ‘plastic’ coffee.
WhiskyLive London is again a great
event this year. The only ones who,
again, missed the point yesterday
was Bowmore, with a more than silly
focus group, I mean, ‘masterclass’,
called ‘Recent Rarities’.
A sexy name, eh? Yep, but imagine
they poured us a Bowmore 12 yo (a
rarity indeed), a 30 yo Seadragon
(recent indeed) and a Claret (yuk!)
plus three good, but rather mundane
Suntory whiskies such as the Hibiki
Blend 12 yo . Bugger! And they had
the guts to call that ‘Recent
Rarities’! A swindle, no less,
and we left before it was over. Anyway,
I’ll post a bunch of new short
tasting notes in the coming days,
and why not start right today with…
NEW COOPERS CHOICE BOTTLINGS
are single cask bottlings, even if
no such statements are made on the
12 yo 1992/2004 (46%, Coopers Choice)
Nose: very nice balance, with the
usual lemony notes. It’s also
very creamy and nutty, with some nice
notes of hot caramel. Just like a
lemon pie topped with caramel! Palate:
again very lemony, with lots of orange
marmalade and a long and creamy finish.
An excellent Rosebank. 85
Park 14 yo 1990/2004 (46%, Coopers
The nose is quite heavily smoky, with
much more coastal notes than usual,
lots of dried herbs, dried flowers,
heather. Hints of rubber. Mouth: even
rubberier, smoky and creamy. Notes
of burnt wood. Again a very good one,
with a long finish. 85 points.
14 yo 1990/2004 (46%, Coopers Choice)
Nose: lots of sherry, and a very elegant
one at that. Some heavy ‘burnt’
notes, getting very creamy and meaty.
Moth: extremely salty right from the
start, with lots of spices, butter
caramel, vanilla crème. Very
spectacular and extreme, yet so nicely
balanced. 88 points.
Grant 27 yo 1977/2004 (46%, Coopers
The colour is astonishingly greenish.
It’s very refined, elegant,
with again lots of sherry but with
no lumpish notes at all, nor any sulphur.
A classic. 88 points.
Ila 14 yo 1990/2004 (46%, Coopers
Very typical, smoky and sweet at the
same time. Pure and clean, developing
on wood smoke and mown grass. Too
bad the tannins get a little drying.
A good one, still. 83 points.
– JAZZ - Very
highly recommended listening, brass
and reeds Brazilian band Aquilo
Del Nisso plays Na
Pressão? - mp3. Triple
wow! They almost made me look after
my old Supersax LPs in my basement...
They are brilliant, you should really
have a listen to them, even if you
aren't into jazz too much. And please
buy their music...
- I'll attend WhiskyLive London today
and tomorrow, and then spend a few
days in Scotland (of course).
I'm not sure the hotels will have
a Wi-Fi hotspot or if I'll manage
to update WhiskyFun the old way (plug
my Mac and try to play)...
So, here's a big, bold entry to keep
you entertained for a while. See you
on Thursday 17th (or before, I hope)
- SIX OLD ABERLOURS
‘Over 9 years old’ (70
proof, OB, 70’s)
Colour: straw, much lighter than what
we’re used to. Nose: a little
weak and grainy at the start, with
lots of notes if new tyre and rubber.
Heavy notes of sulphur, stale beer,
rotten kiwi. Not too enjoyable, I’m
afraid. Sort of medicinal. Really,
really special, but not tired, that
is. Mouth: very strange! Aromatically
narrow, yet very punchy. Notes of
cold tea, aspartame, eucalyptus. Lots
of propolis, hay, tar, gentian roots…
Very special indeed, unlike any other
malt. Not utterly enjoyable but interesting…
10 yo (40%, OB, white label, late
Colour: pure gold. Nose: ah, the old
bottle effect? Lots of tropical fruits,
mango, passion fruit, guava…
Goes on with some eucalyptus, camphor,
beeswax, wood polish… Very nice.
Hints of sherry, walnuts, hot caramel.
Very nice indeed! Mouth: amazing attack
for such a mundane malt. Very peppery
and strong, even a little sharp. Lots
of herbal tea, burnt bread, black
toffee… Creme caramel, Irish
coffee. Not extremely complex but
I’m sure this one must have
been a bang for your buck malt when
it was on the shops’ shelves.
Rather long, creamy and heathery finish.
12 yo (43%, OB, cream label, 80’s)
Colour: amber. Nose: heavy sherry,
toffee, Grand-Marnier, raisins, rum.
Notes of caramel cream, with quite
some tropical fruit developing after
a while. Very classical. Mouth: nice
and punchy attack, balanced, compact
and very satisfying. Cold herbal tea,
dried parsley, herbes de Provence
(thyme, rosemary), balsamic vinegar,
caramel sauce. Hints of Worcester
sauce. Very good, in spite of a long,
but drying and bitter finish. Another
very good one. 85 points.
12 yo ‘VOHM’ (43%, OB,
Cognac-shaped bottle, 80’s)
A famous and funny bottle, tying to
mimic a Cognac (VSOP, of course).
VOHM was meaning ‘Very Old Highland
Malt’. Colour: deep gold. Nose:
lots of sherry again, with some caramel,
raisins, coffee. Very classical, not
much more to say, except that these
whiskies were really great. No sign
of bottle age. Mouth: strong, bold,
coating and very, very chocolaty.
Astonishing! Some pepper too, some
cocoa, vanilla cream, hints of rum,
coffee liquor. Gets then a little
vegetal, on caramelized carrots and
beans. Hints of salt and even smoke.
Very compact and satisfying, but perhaps
a little less complex than the two
previous ones. 84 points.
19 yo 1970/1990 (46%, Signatory, cask
Colour: golden. Nose: much flowerier
than all old OBs, but with a superb
sherry and lots of Cointreau. Very
warming and, again classical. Raisins,
oak, hints of fruit eau de vie and
even Cognac. Nice. Mouth: less ‘coherent’
than the OBs, but with more vivacity.
Lots of orange marmalade and spices,
Notes of apricot syrup, quince jelly.
Lots of pepper too. The finish is
very long but very peppery as well,
and perhaps a little simple. Anyway,
a good one again. 85 points.
8 yo (50%, OB, cube shaped bottle,
small cork stopper, 70’s)
Colour: deep amber. Nose: a little
closed at first, but some fantastic
notes of vanilla cream mixed with
fresh mint develop after a few seconds…
Lots of cooked cabbage and rubber/latex
too. The latex gets then bolder and
bigger. Quite some smoke, tar, roasted
peanuts, omelette. Perhaps just a
little sulphury. So special –
and beautiful. Some nice grassy notes
arrive after a moment... Wow!
what a punch! Dried tropical fruits,
bacon, caramel, heather honey. Lots
of tar, burnt cake etc. Hints of flowers
jam, nectar… Stunning and extremely
interesting. The casks must have been
something! Top quality! The precursor
of the a’bunadhs? In any case,
this one is aromatically bolder and
more complex that all a’bunadhs,
in spite of its lower alcohol level.
Just great! 91 points.
- Recommended listening:
WhiskyFun favourite Nellie
McKay uploaded a full
gig of her's here.
She rules! Please buy her music...
WHISKY ADS - THE IMPERIAL SAGA: BUYING
BY THE CASE, BY ANY MEAN
On a scooter... (tricky!)
On a bicycle... (Yes, better
In a Falcon Futura... (Did the
car maker pay half the budget?)
Letting it being delivered...
(Much more classical)
On a water bicycle... (Getting
On a skidoo... (Even crazier!)
Too bad they never used any Formula
- TWO INDIE CLYNELISHES
19 yo 1983/2002 (57.5%, Dun Bheagan,
Colour: dry white wine. First nosing:
rather sharp. It starts on notes of
grass, smoked ham, Develops on diesel
oil, matchstick, mushrooms, cold ashes,
chalk. It keeps developing on porridge,
muesli, soap. Some hints of parsley,
alcohol, green apple. Quite mineral
and very grassy. Not too appealing,
although it’s rather sort of
complex. Perhaps too narrow. Whiffs
of peat - of the farmy style. Palate:
the mouthfeel is powerful but sour
and very astringent. It starts on
grass, overinfused tea, mustard. Quite
weird and very bitter. It develops
on plastic, cork... Some notes of
chemicals, chicory, burnt cake...
And finally a little varnish. In short,
it's rather unbalanced and too robust.
It really lacks elegance, and has
too much burnt notes. The finish is
long on alcohol, new make... Well,
I’ve had so many better Clynelishes!
I’m wondering whether this Cask
wasn’t deffective, or the bottle
simply corked... It ruined my palate!
1972/2000 (57.79%, Helmsdale Bar Tok
Colour: light gold. First nosing:
warming, refined. It starts on notes
of cardamom, quince jelly, crystallised
mango, litchee... Stunning! Develops
on white pepper, nutmeg, vanilla stick...
It's beautifully spicy! It keeps developing
on caramel, fudge and cappuccino...
It's really satisfying. Whiffs of
smoked tea, iodine, old cardboard.
Wow, it goes in all directions...
Beautiful, refined, elegant... What
a contrast! Palate: the mouthfeel
is creamy, satisfying. The attack
is on white pepper, soft tannins,
honey... Yes, like some peppery honey.
It develops on herbal tea, orange
marmalade. Some notes of roasted peanuts,
praline. Hints of smoked tea, rum,
camomile. Very bold and refined at
the same time. It’s so good,
despite the very heavy wood and the
tannins which start to stick the tongue
to the palate.
gingery, at that. The finish is long
on soft tannins and vanillin from
the oak. An excellent one, a good
example of an old cask that stood
the test of time. Now, a littlle less
tannins would have made it an absolute
stunner. 90 points.
RECIPE - A WHISKY FRUIT CAKE
need the following: a cup of water,
a cup of sugar, four large eggs,
two cups of dried fruit, a teaspoon
of baking soda, a teaspoon of salt,
a cup of brown sugar, lemon juice,
nuts, and a bottle of whisky.
Sample the whisky to check for quality.
Take a large bowl. Check the whisky
again. To be sure it is the highest
quality, pour one level cup and
drink. Repeat. Turn on the electric
mixer, beat one cup of butter in
a large fluffy bowl. Add one teaspoon
of sugar and beat again.
sure the whisky is still okay. Cry
another tup. Turn off the mixer. Break
two leggs and add to the bowl and
chuck in the cup of dried fruit. Mix
on the turner. If the fried druit
gets stuck in the beaterers pry it
loose with a drewscriver.
Sample the whisky to check for tonsisticity.
Next, sift two cups of salt. Or something.
Who cares? Check the whisky. Now sift
the lemon juice and strain your nuts.
Add one table. Spoon. Of sugar or
something. Whatever you can find.
Grease the oven. Turn the cake tin
to 350 degrees. Don't forget to beat
off the turner. Throw the bowl out
of the window, check the whisky again
and go to bed. (via aboutfood)
I know that one is hardly new but
I'm sorry, I'm a sucker for these
kinds of silly, easy jokes...
listening: 1996, Herbie
Hancock organises the
return of his powerful HeadHunters
and records a striking Funk
Hunters - mp3, with a big, BIG
SOUND! Wowie, that's groooovey...
Please buy Herbie Hancock's music,
whether very funkish like this one
or more jazzy.
listening: energetic blues lioness
Fournier does Not
forgotten - mp3. Her guitar playing
is very good and she sings perfectly
well. My favourite of the week! Please
buy Nicole's music if you like it!
REVIEW: PROCOL HARUM
London - Sunday March 6th 2005 - by
can’t now remember if it was
my brother or sister who came home
one summer Saturday afternoon clutching
a copy of Procol
Harum’s Salty Dog,
but whichever it was, I was hugely
jealous. The LP cover, wittily based
on one of Britain’s most famous
and iconic tobacco trademarks (Serge,
ok to mention smoking products here?)
was stunning, and was also a fond
reminder of my Great Aunt Win, who
wilfully smoked a few Player’s
untipped every day ‘till she
died in her nineties.
music was surprisingly bluesy for
a group that had produced THAT single
(which was already wearing thin by
1969, and is now simply painful),
the songs were great (and have stood
the test of time far better than THAT
song) and the eponymous ‘A salty
dog’ (a poetic warning to sailors
all) quite outstanding. Anyway somehow
that piece of beautifully packaged
vinyl (and I don’t care what
anybody says, packaging is important)
found its way into my collection,
and now the CD is a regular part of
my extended playlist. Which is odd
really as I couldn’t give a
fig for the band, whose earlier and
meanderings (Grand Hotel – give
me a break!) were to me symptomatic
of the pompous and witless rubbish
that finally pushed the door open
for punk rock in the late 1970s. But
for all that when I saw they were
playing in London (“blimey,
I thought they were dead”) I
just couldn’t resist getting
hold of some tickets.
a few points on the band before I
move to the heart of the matter. Did
you know that the core of the classic
line-up (Brooker, Trower etc.) were
originally Southend rhythm and blues
rockers The Paramounts (hit single
– ‘Poison Ivy’)?
That Brooker is still working with
co-writer Keith Reid (who never performed
with the band)? Did you know that
at one point Brooker gave it all up
to go fly-fishing? Did you know that
Brooker performs mightily with Bill
Wyman’s Rhythm Kings? Or that
the band always thought of themselves
as a blues-band (“welcome”
says Brooker, “to an evening
of Procul Harum Blues – more
than three chords, but that’s
the only difference”)....
that they loathed being compared to
the Moody Blues (well, come on, who
wouldn’t …). Or that Brooker
is the only one of the original band
to still perform? Or that this is
the first concert I have attended
where Liquorice Allsorts were for
sale in the foyer? “Who cares?”
Well the answer is that someone does
– a lot.
I knew there was something odd going
on from the moment we walked into
the theatre. It wasn’t just
all the old fat grey haired men and
their surprisingly elegant wives.
Or the earnest young ones with beards
intently studying the equipment on
stage, noting down arcane technical
specifications. Just how big was the
air intake on Josh Phillip’s
Hammond organ? There was something
eerily familiar about the look on
some of their faces, and the expectant
and almost reverential atmosphere.
Finally of course it clicked. This
wasn’t a concert at all. In
effect it was a fan-club (of the most
extreme ‘Play Misty for me’
stalker sort) convention. The majority
of the audience were on first name
terms, and many (again I think a majority)
had travelled from the continent (and
some from the United States) to be
it turned out a good number of them
had been at a party for much of the
afternoon, celebrating some anniversary
or other connected with THAT song.
And during the performance many clapped
their hands and waved their arms in
the air like proselytites at a revivalist
meeting, whilst others muttered darkly
that “Garry vas not playink
so properly, didn’t he miss
a note out there?” And of course
they all wore their secret society
Salty Dog T-shirts. Crikey Serge,
anything sound familiar here?
what of the concert I hear you ask.
Hmmm. High points: Gary Brooker’s
singing on the newer bluesey (lower
key vocals) songs; Brooker’s
“Light and bitter corr that’s
a bit of a larrf” patter; Hammond
Organ heaven; an almost faultless
version of ‘A Salty Dog’.
Low points; Brooker’s voice
on most of the older material (he
simply couldn’t make the notes,
and in fact apologised in a sort of
a way when he explained that he had
sung his voice out in rehearsals).
Other lowpoints: School of Rock lead
guitarist; the plodding nature of
many of the songs – they really
dragged; THAT song; and the bizarre
‘multi song suite’ (ugh!)
from the 1968 album Shine on Brightly,
‘In held twas in I’.
played and poorly rehearsed (but I
wondered, was it specially played
for this most special of audiences
as the result of a request, or even
maybe a threat?) this piece (I listened
to at home later over a much needed
Brora) allegedly influenced all those
later creators of what came to be
known as rock opera.
far as I could see all it could have
inspired was that particularly daft
bit in Spinal Tap when the mini-stonehenge
arches were lowered to the floor on
wires. But the audience loved it,
sang along, did crowd noises on cue
during ‘Twas tea time at the
circus’ (a lot of ‘twas’
then) and almost wept at its conclusion.
I was in shock, but by this time had
decided that discretion was the better
part of valour as I couldn’t
help sensing someone looking over
my shoulder at the invective I was
scribbling in my little black notebook.
My photographer said “they’re
a group of well meaning blokes in
danger of becoming their own tribute
band”. And maybe it was that
which caused her camera to malfunction.
I said, “Lets get out of here,
fast”. So we did. - Nick
Morgan (last photo by Kate)
you, Nick. I must confess I didn't
dislike Grand Hotel that much - and
I especially liked Broken Barricades.
Now, as for THAT song... is it this
one you're talking about? Yes,
Stevie Moore doing it. Not too
bad, eh? And what about Annie
Lennox' version? Ah, yes, some
genuine Procol Harum... Here's Simple
Sister - mp3 then - a good one,
- TWO MINI BLAIR ATHOL(L)S BY CADENHEAD
Athol 21 yo (46%, Cadenhead)
Colour: straw. First nosing: powerful
and rather clean. The attack is on
grass, herbal tea, tealeaves. Develops
on sulphur, ashes, wet garden bonfire.
It goes on with some burnt cake, rubber
band, green vegetable... Something
like peat, green apple, tar... It
gets quite Islayish! Well, this one’s
not overly enjoyable... It’s
too grassy and tary for my tastes,
although it does improve with time.
Palate: the mouthfeel is compact and
satisfying. Good news! The attack
is on herbal tea, Japanese roasted
tea, bread... It goes on on gentian,
anise, dill. Some notes of cinnamon.
Hints of fructose and ginger.
quite rich and satisfying. Much more
so than what the nose suggested. The
finish is long on sugared tea. Not
a stunner but a good one... But you
have to like tea! ;-) 82 points.
Atholl 23 yo 1966/1990 (57.1%, Cadenhead)
Yes, sometimes Cadenhead’s wrote
‘Athol’ with one ‘l’,
sometimes with two. No need to say
that one 'l' is right, but Cadenhead's
is not the only one... Colour: straw.
First nosing: sharp,.prickly. It starts
on notes of cedar wood, varnish, turpentine
and evolves on beer, bread, broiled
cereals... It keeps developing on
hay, peat, humus, getting very farmy.
Something like pine needles, turpentine,
resinous, cigar box... In the same
'aromatical' league as the 21 yo ,
but much nicer. Still developing after
a lot of time, on coffee... Palate:
the mouthfeel is almost biting and
very peppery. - The kind of peppery
notes that come with high alcohol
levels. To start with, lots of varnish,
caramel, toffee. It develops on clove,
cocoa, yogurt. Some notes of Havana
cigar. Hints of cooked butter, roasted
hazelnuts... It's quite robust and
bold! I tried it with water but it
got very grasssy, although some nice
notes of beehive and honey developed.
The finish is long, on peppery notes
and light honey. A very good one,
really in the ‘grassy - honeyed
- peppery’ genre. A very interesting
non-peated and non-sherried oldie!
REVIEW: WILKO JOHNSON
Half Moon, Putney
- Saturday March 5th 2005 - by
not so old that I can’t remember
those teenage dreams that made us
boys so hot, sweaty and sticky. For
Serge, I guess, the subject matter
was motorbikes, a Ducati 900SS perhaps,
or maybe even a 1952 Vincent Black
Lightening (Serge, you do know this
most wonderful of all biker songs
don’t you?). For me it was an
orgy of raunchy rhythm and blues (properly
defined, none of that modern-day R&B
nonsense) bass and guitar. So I had
to pinch myself (could I be dreaming?)
when I woke up on Saturday night in
a Fender fantasyland, as Wilko
Johnson strutted his
stuff at the Half Moon in Putney,
ably supported by the blistering bass
of the incomparable Norman Watt-Roy,
and the rhythm machine drumming of
(ex Jesus and Mary chain) Steve Monti
(actually to be honest, it should
have been him, but I’m not 100%
sure that it was).
me remind you once more about Wilko.
An Essex boy who first came to fame
with the Canvey Island All-stars,
Dr Feelgood, he went on to become
a Blockhead, before setting up his
own Solid Senders. All that was many
moons ago, and for the past decade
or more he’s been a regular
circuit performer, supported by Norman
and a variety of drummers. In that
time he’s released a number
of frankly disappointing albums (a
new one, Red Hot Rocking Blues is
on the way), and his song writing,
which never offered much by the way
of lyrical subtlety or curious and
complex structure, has probably gone
into reverse gear. But that’s
not really the point. We’re
not here for complex or subtle. We’re
here for Wilko’s quite unique
guitar style, his truly bonkers eyes
and facial expressions, and his on-stage
histrionics. He was, and remains,
one of the great R&B live acts.
know I’ve mentioned it before,
but the Wilko Telecaster technique
I read recently, from Mick Green,
guitarist with Johnny Kidd and the
Pirates – “when I first
heard him it changed my life”,
writes Wilko on one of his websites)
spawned hordes of imitators (along
with bulging eyes, crew-cuts, and
buttoned-to-the-collar black shirts)
and inspired a few, like the Gang
of Four’s Andy Gill, to take
it to even greater heights. So if
current pop-darlings Franz Ferdinand
(and I understand the even newer and
hotter Kaiser Chiefs) are determined
to look to Gill and the GOF as a source
of inspiration, then Wilko’s
contribution to the current (and much
to be welcomed) revival of the British
guitar band, should also go on record.
a note to the youngsters. No plectrums
please – copy Wilko’s
incredible thumb and fingerpicking
style if you can. And forget the effects
pedals. Wilko blew us away with just
his Telecaster and a clever use of
pick-ups and amplifier tone and volume.
Nothing else. Just keep it simple.
way of a set list I may mention some
of the Feelgood classics and old Wilko
suspicion’, ‘Back in the
night’, ‘Don’t let
your Daddy know’, ‘Dr
Dupree’, ‘Down by the
waterside’ and a raft of other
twelve-bar standards. Some truly stunning
improvisation from both Wilko and
Watt Roy (with Johnson’s grey
eye-brows theatrically hitting the
ceiling whenever Norman strayed into
a jazz riff) was accompanied by more
than a sufficiency of machine-gun
guitar. Wilko let his Telecaster (and
his face) do most of the talking,
but his self-depreciating “Just
to show we’re not as stupid
as we look ….” as the
band took to the stage for a series
of encores (much to the satisfaction
of their packed beery audience) was
undeserved. This is a man whose place
in the history of rock and roll is
assured, and whose playing should
put him high on everyone’s list
for a rocking Saturday night out.
- Nick Morgan (photos by Kate)
a bunch, Nick. Well, I suspect the
English liked the Ducati 900SS because
it was almost always black and gold,
not unlike many British bikes... ;-).
And I remember having seen Wilko with
Doctor Feelgood in concert around
1976 here. The guest band was a punk
rock combo named... The Police! That
was way before 'Message in a bottle'...
Anyway, here's a short example of
Wilko Johnson's 'staccato' playing:
with the kid - mp3.
– TWO MINI BENRINNES
Benrinnes 15 yo 1982/1998 (43%, Signatory,
Colour: light amber. Nose: very milky
attack, switching to sherry and oak.
Very classical, on dried orange, dark
chocolate and burnt cake. Not too
complex, but a very nice and, again,
classically sherried malt –
with no sulphury notes whatsoever.
Good news! Hints of fresh parsley
developing after a few minutes. Mouth:
rather sweet and vinous attack, with
lots of sherry and caramel. More and
more caramel in fact… Well,
it almost tastes like pure caramel,
but a very nice one. Okay, you have
to like caramel to enjoy this Benrinnes!
I do. It’s really like a crème
caramel, with a long finish. 85
12 yo bottled 1991 (63.8%, James MacArthur)
Colour: straw. Nose: very dusty and
woody, on cocoa powder, clove and
nutmeg, milk powder. It gets then
very grassy and floral, with some
heavy notes of lily from the valley
and lis – which isn’t
very enjoyable. Gets quite dusty (old
books). Mouth: powerful but drinkable
at almost 64%! Again some nice sherry
and quite some pepper, vanillin, tannins…
Quite spicy, with some caramel, dried
parsley, liquorice… With a pinch
of salt on the tongue. Another nice
one with a rather long, but perhaps
a little metallic finish. 82
– TWO 10 yo INDIE BOWMORES
10 yo 1989/2000 (43%, Blackadder,
cask #22525, 175 bottles)
A cask that’s also been partly
bottled at cask strength (120 bottles).
Colour: white wine. Nose: very peaty,
smoky at first nosing. Fresh, very
clean, with quite some peppery notes.
Some soapy notes too but in a nice
way – no traces of FWP whatsoever.
It gets quite vegetal, with some hints
of grapefruit juice and wet hay. It
keeps developing, on farmy notes and
even some seaweed, fresh oysters…
And then it gets extremely smoky again!
A beautiful nose, very clean and complex
at the same time.
funny attack, on liquorice and gentian
roots, getting then extremely grassy
and vegetal. Lots of smoke, bonfire
– this one must have come from
an unusually heavily peated batch.
Hints of perfume, getting a little
too bitter after a moment… But
it’s still very enjoyable, and
again, quite extreme for a Bowmore.
It gets earthier and earthier, rooty
and leafy, with even some vegetables.
The finish is quite long, on tealeaves
and even parsley. A very good one,
and very interesting, at that.
10 yo (42.5%, Cadenhead Original Collection)
Not much data on this one, but this
kind of label indicates it’s
been bottled around 1990, I think.
Colour: gold. Nose: wow, this is something
completely different, with much more
wood influence. It starts on some
heavy varnish and turpentine, together
with some beautiful notes of rancio,
but these explosive notes don’t
mask the other great aromas for long,
though. Vanilla fudge, dried apricot,
guava, coconut milk… And then
a swirl of refined and elegant spicy
notes, like cinnamon, nutmeg and a
bit of Chinese anise. Just stunning
– and almost peatless. Mouth:
full bodied - quite peaty this time
- and very spicy and peppery attack.
Really special, with lots of notes
of old books, paprika and nutmeg.
a lot of soft tannins – the
oak is very present but not overwhelming
in any way. The finish is medium long,
getting a little drying but still
very nice. The mouth isn’t as
stunning as the extraordinary nose,
but still beautiful. A very special
one, that tastes much older than 10
years. The cask must have been hyperactive!
9 follow-up information:
Carsten at Mara's
just confirmed that 'they could
not trace back when it was distilled
(according to their words). It should
have been a cask without prints and
lacking the code sheet that should
have been attached. So by the time
of bottling they did not know how
old the whisky was (therefore no year
of distillation or bottling is indicated)
and decided to have it released as
listening, yet a very 'special' one:
a consummate Marlui
Miranda sings an Agnus
Dei - mp3 adpated from a traditionnal
Arua Indian song. Some big, bold choirs
and sort of a blend of the Missa Criolla
with Yma Sumac - when seen from Europe,
at least. I thinks it's beautiful.
Please buy Marlui Miranda's music.
listening: so you like Brazilian music,
it appears! Great! So, what do you
think of Anna
de Hollanda's rendition
Filme - mp3? Excellent, isn't
it? Please buy her music if you like
- THREE NEW FINISHINGS BY CELTIQUE
1993/2004 ‘Monbazillac finishing’
(43%, Celtique Connexion)
Monbazillac is near Bergerac, east
of Bordeaux, and is famous for its
sweet whites, somewhat in the Sauternes
style but usually a little less aromatic.
Colour: deep gold. Nose: very sweet
at first nosing, on quince jelly,
roasted nuts, toffee, apricot jam,
strawberry jam. Not too vinous. Some
oak but not too much. Whiffs of yellow
wild flowers (dandelion, buttercup),
nectar, light honey. Hints of burnt
cake. Very nice and perfectly balanced…
A finishing that seems to work, at
least on the nose, with no ‘dull
and lumpy’ aromas like in some
other ‘sweet wine finished’
malts (sorry, no name ;-). Something
of the old Macallan 12 yo OB. Mouth:
sweet and rounded, yet quite nervous.
Quite oaky, with some roasted peanuts,
toasted bread, and all sorts of fruit
jam. And again something Macallanish
(oloroso). The finish is a bit winey
this time – and maybe there’s
even some botrytis but that might
well be my imagination. The finish
is quite long, very balanced and elegant.
A very good one! 86 points.
1990/2004 ‘Cadillac finishing’
(43%, Celtique Connexion)
Cadillac is a very small part of Bordeaux,
and its sweet white wines are little
known but they do have some followers.
And no, sorry, I don't know why an
American car maker once picked this
name. Colour: pale gold. Nose: much
fruitier, and smelling much younger
than the Monbazillac, quite curiously.
Really playful! Lots of Mirabelle
jam, pineapple syrup, and even some
hints of bubble gum. It’s very
nice but less complex and less special
than the previous one. Hints of peach
very sweet attack again, but then
there’s quite a lot of spirity
notes. Quite rubbery, with some cooked
yogurt, burnt wood, ‘still’
tastes (metal). I liked the ‘Monbazillac’
much better. Some slight bitter notes
(tea leaves). The finish is long but,
again, a little bitter and offbeat.
1990 ‘Armagnac finishing’
(53.5%, Celtique Connexion, cask sample)
Colour: straw. Nose: much less expressive
and demonstrative, but also cleaner,
mostly on some nutty notes like fresh
hazelnut. Lots of ripe pear developing,
together with some interesting flowery
and herbal notes. Really clean, with
little influence from the cask’s
previous content, this time. The nice
notes of pear keep developing (but
not the usual pear one gets in the
very young spirits, rather dried pears,
or ‘beurrée hardy’
- which some call 'French butter pear').
bold, rich, powerful, but easily drinkable.
Again it’s more austere than
its ‘wine finished’ cousins,
although the Armagnac really shines
through now. That’s really interesting:
of all the ‘spirit finished’
malts I already had (mostly rum),
it’s the one where I could taste
the original spirit the most. Lots
of notes of raisins, violet sweets,
grapes jam... It’s nice, something
really different but not odd at all.
The finish is long and more and more
‘Armagnac-ish’. One to
celebrate the auld alliance, indeed!
I think it deserves to be bottled
at cask strength. 87 points.
WHISKY ADS - IS THE BOTTLE THE MESSAGE?
Walker Red 1971: 'How
to get about 20 more drops out of
Johnnie Walker Red.' Want the
answer? Here it is: 'When your
bottle of Johnnie Walker Red appears
empty, place it under hot, scalding
water, and more drops of the world's
largest selling Scotch will appear.
You can do the same thing with any
empty bottle of whiskey, but when
you do it with Johnnie Walker Red
Label, it's worth the trouble'.
Walker Black 1985 for France: 'Colère
Noire' (Black Anger, which
means a very strong anger in French
- and perhaps in English as well?)
A typical French ad with very little
text, yet playing with words.
1965: Funny to see how Chivas
actually suggested people can re-use
an empty bottle and put any other
whisky into it. We all like to do
what's forbidden, don't we? But were
1977: 'If you think people
buy Chivas Regal just for the bottle,
try selling this one.' Mmm...
Doesn't this contradict what Chivas
sort of said in 1965?
Royal 1990: 'Have you
ever seen a grown man cry?'
Royal 2003: 'Ever see
a grown man cry? ' Well, not
a new idea, obviously - and the English!
Not really an improvement within 13
years... (but who am I?)
- Springbank 30 yo (46%, OB, parchment
label, late 1980’s?)
Colour: dark amber. Nose: extremely
sherried at first nosing, but it’s
soon to gain balance and refinement.
Lots of waxy notes, dried bananas,
old rum, raisins… I’m
sure I’d have said it’s
a great old rum, had I tasted it blind.
Lots of oloroso character, though.
Perhaps just a little lumpy. Mouth:
beautiful, doing the ‘peacock’s
tail’. Orange creme, Grand Marnier
(the best old cuvées), very
old tokaji wine. It’s really
dominated by the sherry. A great bottle
but you have to like heavily sherried
malts. It’s no secret I prefer
the more balanced ones, the ones that
let the distillery’s character
shine through… 89 points.
- Recommended listening:
very sympathic Canadian singer/songwriter
does a nicely crafted little song
way - mp3, with nice and engaged
lyrics. It's jolly good! Please buy
his music if you like it!
FOR SUNDAY - Some
liked Valery Milovic's painting a
lot (see February 26), and suggested
I should post about art and whisky
a little more. Good idea! So, how
do you like this one, by Ian
- TWO VERSIONS OF THE FIRST BELGIAN
Malt (40%, OB, Belgium)
A brand new distillery founded in
2004 near Liège – I
don’t quite know how they
already came up with some official
whisky, but let’s have a try
at it. Colour: straw. Nose: yawn,
it smells partly like a ‘tutti
frutti’ spirit running right
from a still, and partly like some
freshly distilled beer (yes, I also
tried to do that, that’s why
I know how it smells ;-). Notes
of kirsch and white rum. Hints of
rubber and metal (copper). Not too
bad but somewhat weird… Very
far from a whisky, in fact. Mouth:
watery and a little weak at first
sip, but some rather nice fruity
notes do emerge (pear, pineapple).
It still doesn’t taste whisky
at all, but I guess it should be
rather enjoyable in summer, on a
lot of ice, just like a gin. 50
Malt ‘distilled from Belgian
beer’ (40%, OB, Belgium)
Colour: straw. Nose: ah, this is much
better, with much less weird fruity
notes. It actually smells beer, but
much less than the other version,
which is bizarre. Much more refined
and quite clean, with some hints of
white flowers. Not bad at all. I guess
they should stick to distilling beer,
the result is so much better! Mouth:
again, it has nothing to do with whisky
– it’s just some nice
distilled beer – but it’s
quite good, nicely fruity (apricot?)
and more elegant than the other version.
It obviously lacks ageing, but again,
this one shouldn’t be bad on
ice. A company called Wolfberger makes
what they call ‘Fleur de Bière’
(Beer Flower) near my place, and it’s
rather similar, even if this Belgian
expression is a little better, I’d
say. But hey, Belgian beers ARE the
best, so, no wonder! Anyway, I think
we should encourage this small new
distillery, their products are promising,
and I’m looking forward to tasting
them when they’ll get matured,
as they have put some into wood. Anyway,
60 points for this
interesting Pur.e Malt ‘distilled
from Belgian beer’.
- TWO 'MINI' CRAIGELLACHIES
12 yo (43%, The Master of Malt,
Colour: dry white wine. Nose: fresh
and lively, on grain, mashed potatoes,
broiled cereals. Hints of anise
and lavender. It then gets quite
spicy, with some notes of fresh
cardamom seeds and perhaps a little
Cologne water. Mouth: soapy and
quite powerful… Bitter almonds,
raw tea leaves, burnt bread, perfume…
It gets very bitter and drying after
a moment, and quite difficult to
drink. The finish is quite long,
but alas, getting really too bitter.
A rather bad Craig’, I’m
afraid. 69 points,
because the nose wasn’t too
21 yo 1973 (53.5%, ‘Drambowie’,
The Whisky Connoisseur)
Colour: gold. Nose: very dusty attack,
on old books, nutmeg, moisture…
Strange! It then gets very grassy
(fern) and nutty (fresh hazelnuts,
almond milk) Hints of marzipan…
Getting dirtier and dirtier, with
more and more old paper, sawdust and
dust. Not too enjoyable, I’d
say… Mouth: bold but rather
bitter and disjointed, with some ugly
notes of foreshots, cooked wine and
over-infused tea. Getting burning,
like some young and ultra-strong cheap
rum. The finish is long but quite
dirty, with something winey and lots
of tannins. This one isn’t a
disaster, but it isn’t far from
it, I’d say. For connoisseurs?
Kidding?. 65 points.
listening - they sound like a reunion
of Parliament and Funkadelic on acid:
Soul does and hyper-speedy
version of Spam
Sucker -mp3 live. Holy sugar,
they're faster than Michael Schumacher!
Please buy Liquid Soul's CDs if you
like funk and soul jazz...
BUT TRUE - A COCKTAIL MACHINE COMMANDED
WITH A PIANO!
day before yesterday, on our road
back from Bordeaux with my old chap
Paul, and while we were having a shot
of Talisker at the Lord John Pub in
Limoges, France, we stumbled across
this incredibly huge cocktail-making
machine commanded with a piano. I
know, it's hard to believe, but it
by writer and musician Boris
Vian's 'L'écume des Jours',
this 'Bottle-Box' has been made by
a crazy inventor called Jean-Pierre
Huitema. Depending on what the pianist
plays (picture, left), a computer
commands the opening of 20 bottles
such as 'whisky', 'mango juice' or
'vodka' (picture, right), and the
mix then runs down a copper tube,
right into your glass (picture above).
Too bad we couldn't try it, I'd have
loved to 'taste' the difference between,
say some Jerry Lee Lewis and some
- THREE SOUTH-AFRICAN WHISKIES
Ships 3 yo (43%, Blend, South-Africa)
This one is a blend of Scotch malt
and South-African grain whisky,
dsitilled near Capetown. Colour:
light gold. Nose: weak, grainy and
watery. Some caramel, maybe…
and some light fruity notes (apple,
perhaps pear…) Hints of praline,
hazelnuts, getting a little sour.
An ultra-light blend, it appears.
Mouth: ah, much bolder, and better
than I had thought when nosing it…
Yet, it gets quite fragmented after
five or ten seconds. Very grainy,
with hints of old wood, vanilla,
vanilla creme, liquorice. The finish
is short, on liquorice stick…
Okay, 29 points
for this ‘antipodal’
Ships 5 yo (43%, Blend, South-Africa)
Colour: slightly darker than the
3 yo . Nose: very similar to the
3 yo . Caramel, fresh fruits (apple,
kiwi, pineapple). This one’s
better, obviously. Some coastal
notes which make me wonder if they
used some Clynelish, or Pulteney.
But it’s still weak…
Mouth: this palate is much better
than the 3 yo ’s. The attack
is more compact, less fragmented.
Quite fruity at that… Too
bad, it gets bitter after a while
(burnt wood, burnt vegetables).
Overcooked caramel… The finish
is quite burning and bitter. Not
too enjoyable, I’d say, but
I guess these blends are usually
drunk ‘on ice’. 39
Ships 10 yo (43%, Single Malt, South-Africa,
2003) This one's been
actually distilled in South Africa,
and was limited to 6,000 bottles.
Colour: light amber. Nose: hey! Nice!
Cleaner than the Penderyn I had before…
It still smells a little like some
cheap cognac or rum, alas, but it’s
quite nicely balanced. Vanilla fudge,
marzipan, violet perfume, caramel
cream. Lots of toffee developing after
a few minutes, burnt cake, charred
wood… I guess the casks made
most of the work here… It’s
nice! Mouth: very weird attack, on
rum, lavender creme, mescal…
Anything but malt, I’d say!
Bitter orange… It’s soon
to get very sour (Chinese sorghum
spirit, foreshots). Sorry, I have
to stop here, it’s almost undrinkable
– for my taste, of course. 39
points – just for the
palate made me miss the latest Strathmill
I had…Now, Andy Watts, maker
of the Three Ships line, said that
'tasting whisky is like sex. You'll
never find a man who doesn't claim
to know everything about the subject.'
Well, Mr Watts also said that this
malt is 'the culmination of a
quarter of a century's distilling
listening: Argentinian singer Liliana
Gimenez does a very funny
and 'special' version of the Stones'
spend the night together - mp3.
Between salsa and drum and bass...
I like the result a lot! Please go
and see Liliana's gigs, she lives
in Italy now.
Ronnie Scott's, London - Sunday 20th
Dury (1942 - 2000)
said, “You know I think
this might be a bit sad”,
having last seen the
Blockheads with their
late and much lamented front man
at the Bush shortly before he
died. But how could it be? In
a packed Ronnie Scott’s,
on a tiny and equally packed stage,
the Blockheads led a devoted audience
through a Sunday celebratory service,
and in an act of virtual transubstantiation
the presence of a benign Ian Dury
was conjured up amongst us to
enjoy the playing of the band
without whom he would have remained
somewhere up the Kilburn High
Road, doing a little bit of this,
and a little bit of that.
Blockheads, minus the deceased Charley
Charles and the departed Davey Payne,
appear at first sight to be something
of a late middle aged, badly dressed,
shambles, maybe a not so posh pub
band from Burnham on Crouch. But under
the direction of musical auteur Chaz
Jankel, in reality the man who was
at least fifty per cent of Dury’s
talent (although as his social-worker
demeanour suggested, without any of
his fierce charisma), they play like
a band possessed, as if the end of
the world’s longest pier at
Southend of Sea had somehow managed
to reach out to New Orleans.
Jankel carefully orchestrating every
move from his piano stool (or front
stage on guitar) the band deliver
some virtuoso performances. Norman
Roy Watt, who looks and moves like
Charles Dickens’ Quilp from
The Old Curiosity Shop, is simply
sensational on bass, and turns in
a fair vocal as he works through
Billericay Dickie (if you can’t
catch Norman with the Blockheads
then he’s always around playing
with Wilko Johnson). Drummer Dylan
Howe sounds as though his surname
should be Neville Brothers. Mickey
Gallagher plays his Hammond B3 faultlessly,
with barely a smile. Gilad
Atzmon (boy – what a weird
website, don’t you think Serge?)
plays funkadelic sax, and the still-alive
Johnny Turnbull played some great
guitar and also sang gamely on some
of the hits (opening number, ‘Rhythm
Stick’) and on songs from
the Blockheads’ 2003 CD Where’s
the Party. Oh yes, and Derek “the
draw” Hussey, looking like
a well spaced out Viv Stanshall
added percussion, a little bit of
Cockney rap, and his own quite decent
song, ‘Spread it’.
set was divided nicely between a
very respectfully chosen selection
of classics (excluding Ian’s
most personal songs) and Where’s
the Party; but the rhythm, the outrageous
humour of some of Dury’s lyrics
(“a seasoned up hyena couldn’t
have been obscener”) and the
palpable enjoyment of the band were
if the Blockhead’s newer offerings
sound a bit stale on vinyl (or whatever
it is that CDs are made of) then they’ve
lost nothing on stage, apart from
one of the greatest characters of
late 70’s English rock and roll.
But nonetheless Serge these boys were
very alive and very Blockhead. C’est
si bon, c’est fantastique. Je
t’adore, ich liebe dich.
Editor’s Note: The Blockheads
logo is the Trade Mark of Blockheads
Limited. Beware of fakes and imitations.
- Nick Morgan
you, Nick. Yes,' C’est
si bon, c’est fantastique.
Je t’adore, ich liebe dich'...
I remember that song, it's 'Hit
me with your rythm stick', right?
I guess we all remember Ian Dury's
'Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll'
too, with its infectuous riff, so
here's another great one from 1980
- very moving: You'll
see glimpses - mp3. 'When
skies are blue, we all feel the
- FIVE 30 yo + TAMDHUS
34 yo 1968/2002 (40.1%, Peerless,
cask # 4104)
Colour: straw. Nose: very fragrant,
with lots of camomile, passion fruit,
beeswax, ripe banana and mango. Yes,
this one is astonishingly fruity considering
its age. Whiffs of white pepper. Mouth:
so sweet, yet quite nervous. Starts
on varnish, with some grassy notes,
and develops on white, soft pepper,
vanilla fudge and milk chocolate.
It’s also quite nutty, with
quite some roasted peanuts. Sure it’s
rather light, but not weak in any
way. Very nice, subtle and elegant
finish, that even manages to gently
bite your tongue – the tannins,
I guess. Maybe it still lacks a little
persistence to make it to 90 points.
Maybe it would have been even a little
better, had it been bottled three
years earlier. 89 points
33 yo 1969/2003 (40.5%, Hart Bros)
Colour: gold with a bronze hue. Nose:
cinnamon, clove, then tropical fruits
and caramel. Some interesting notes
of mastic and Schweppes. Less fruity
than the Peerless, it gets quite closed
after a while and switches to burnt
cake. Some hints of strawberry jam.
Very nice but less lively. Mouth:
now, the attack is bolder, but quite
dry, on crystallised fruits and pepper,
with some nice buttery notes. It then
gets very dry – perhaps too
much wood. Yet, there are some nice
notes of grapefruit skin, with quite
some salt. In short, this one is less
complex and oakier than the Peerless,
but it’s still a very nice one.
1958 (40.8%, Jack Wieber’s Prenzlow
Coll, cask #1622)
This one comes from an unsold stock
from Hart Bros, that was bottled as
a 42 yo and then simply re-labelled
by Jack Wieber last year. Colour:
dark straw. Nose: starts on orange
juice, caramel and white pepper. Lots
of crystallised orange skin, fresh
vanilla stick… some interesting
sourish notes, quite close to what
could have been peat but I guess it’s
the wood. Really nice! Lots of cappuccino,
Chantilly crème, apricot syrup.
Great balance! Then it’s back
on white pepper… Mouth: beautiful
attack, amazingly fresh, on honey
and beeswax. Very pure. Lots of wood,
of course, but less than in the Hart
Bros and quite rounded. The tannins
are quite soft. Nice notes of salted
butter caramel and white pepper. Crystallised
fruits, apricot syrup again…
Long, honeyed finish getting just
a little drying. Anyway, this one
is beautiful and not tired in any
way. Lots of wood but of an enjoyable
kind. Great! 90 points.
30 yo 1970/2000 (43%, Montgomerie’s,
Colour: gold amber. Nose: ah, this
one is bolder and richer, and also
more complex than the previous ones.
Very satisfying, with a lot of oomph.
Honey, herbs, caramel, dried pear,
Williams eau de vie, toffee…
Some whiffs of sea breeze –
I know, Tamdhu is far from the sea
-, dried apricot, mullein syrup, vanilla
crème… By the way, mullein
flowers make some stupendous eau de
vie. I made some a few years ago,
the only problem is that’s it’s
a hell of a work, the yield being
very small, and that you have to get
up very early to pluck the new flowers
before the bees take all the nectar,
i.e. the sugar. Anyway, back to this
Tamdhu, which is really superb. It
goes on with cappuccino, caramel crème,
crystallised guavas… Wow, it’s
just endless. Mouth: bold and rich
attack, perhaps less subtle than the
nose but still beautiful. Caramel,
dried fruits, beeswax, strong honey.
Notes of burnt coffee, roasted nuts…
Then it gets fruitier, with some cooked
strawberries, apple pie… And
then it gets quite spicy (clove, cinnamon).
Always quite compact and nervous,
yet nicely rounded… Just superb.
The finish is very long, dry and spicy.
Really beautiful! 91 points.
30 yo 1963/1993 (48.2%, Cadenhead’s)
Colour: amber. Nose: much sharper
than all the previous ones yet nicely
balanced. Lots of caramel and tannins,
plus quite some great vinous notes.
Really rougher than its brothers but
still beautiful. Lots of tropical
fruits a la old Bowmore (passion fruit,
mango) with some notes of burnt caramel.
Very smoky, at that. Develops on freshly
squeezed oranges, tangerine and apricot
syrup (a marker?) Tons of honeyed
notes, heather… It then gets
quite grassy, with some parsley, dill,
aniseed, celery, Chinese star anise…
Smokier and smokier… And nicer
nice attack, bold and nervous. Lots
of caramel, orange, roasted hazelnuts,
burnt cake, herbs from Provence (thyme,
rosemary). Sure it gets a little bitter
but it’s still beautiful. Ah,
here’s some balsamic vinegar…
Gets very salty, with some oxtail
soup… Saltier and saltier, in
fact (does it come from the cask?)
until the very long finish that does
‘the peacock’s tail’
with lots of spices, pepper, salt
and honeyed sauce. Wowie! 92
BREAKING MALTY NEWS - It
was in Rolling Stone on February 10,
and now it's in The Sun: Johnny
Depp is much into Lagavulin.
No wonder lots of people have been
talking about a shortage last year!
Mr Depp has also got a French wife,
actress Vanessa Paradis... Wait, he
likes Lagavulin, he's got a French
wife... Hey, just like me! ;-) (please
click on the article if you want to
MUSIC - Okay, we know
which malt Johnny Depp likes most,
but which is his favourite band, you
may ask? Well, I've heard it's The
Imperial Crowns. Have
a listen to (I'm
gonna) hunt you down - mp3. Not
too bad, don't you think? Good tastes
indeed... Please buy their music.
the index of all entries:
malts I had these weeks - 90+
points only - alphabetical:
8 yo (50%,
OB, cube shaped bottle, small cork stopper,
10 yo (42.5%, Cadenhead Original Collection)
1972/2000 (57.79%, Helmsdale Bar Tok
30 yo ‘Oloroso Cask Finish’
(44.3%, OB, 4548 bottles, bottled 2004)
of Jura 30 yo 1973
(55%, OB, cask #3155, 466 bottles)
30 yo 1963/1993 (48.2%,
30 yo 1970/2000 (43%, Montgomerie’s,
1958 (40.8%, Jack Wieber’s Prenzlow
Coll, cask #1622)