Hi, you're in the Archives, August 2009 - Part 2
- TWO ARDBEG
1991/2005 (43%, G&M Connoisseurs
Colour: straw. Nose:
archetypical Ardbeg from that period
in my opinion (the distillery was
only running intermittently), with
probably more tar and coal on the
nose than before… and later.
There’s also a little lemon
and then exactly what some guys call
‘a fisherman’s boat’.
Fish (obviously), diesel oil, seawater,
fuel smoke, tarry rope… Tod
bad there are also notes of wet cardboard
that arise and that get bigger and
bigger, but it also gets more medicinal,
somewhat ala Laphroaig (antiseptic).
Mouth: much more lemon in the attack,
candied fruits, straight peat…
And a lot of salt that comes very
early. There’s a little cardboard
once again but less than on the nose.
Goes on with notes of seashells and
lemon, bitter almonds, maybe a little
green tea, and finally some pepper
and even more salt. Faint mouldiness
but that goes well with the profile
here. Finish: rather long, tarry,
peaty and almondy, with even more
salt. A lot of salt. Comments: very
good, and the 43% aren’t a problem
at all. There isn’t only cask
strength in life, is there? SGP:358
- 86 points.
next Ardbeg, bottled August 2009,
sold out in a flash, like anything
Ardbeg at cask strength these days
or so it seems. So, I don’t
see why I’d bother with writing
in large, very expensive letters or
with finding a small picture of the
label! This photograph, taken at random
from the Internet, will do. And I
wont even spend big money on stars...
15 yo 1993/2009 (58.9%, Duncan Taylor,
Rare Auld, cask #1724, 292 bottles)
Colour: pale gold. Nose: bang! Violent,
spirity, brutal, almost aggressive,
roasted and very, very smoky. Peat
smoke but also tobacco smoke and coal
smoke. Also some gunpowder. Perforates
your nostrils, water is needed! With
water: amazing, it’s still brutal,
even at +/- 45% vol. Other than that,
it’s an avalanche of organic
aromas, wet fern, old rabbit hutch,
sheep, of course wet dogs (sorry again,
dogs). Unusual hints of orange marmamalade.
Mouth (neat): hot! Peat, oysters,
lemon and over-infused green tea.
Not really subtle when naked, but
I guess that was to be expected. Having
said that, it does ‘show its
potential’. With water: perfect
now. Perfect balance between the wildness
(read above) and notes of crystallised
fruits and marzipan. Finish: long,
more on peat, lemon and salt but there’s
less salt than in the G&M. Comments:
a simple, wild beast, almost as peaty
as the Supernovas. Not too sure but
I believe it’s the first Ardbeg
by Duncan Taylor (according to our
Malt Maniacs Monitor), let’s
only hope they’ll have more
of this spectacular kerosenish malt!
SGP:269 - 90 points.
- Recommended listening:
a true unidentified flying piece
of music, Ghana's late blind man
Nua (check this magnificent
blog!) doing I
feel alright. Please buy Onipa
Nua's music - if you can find it.
never forget Michael
August 30 was the second anniversary
of his death.
– THREE 1996 LAPHROAIG
12 yo 1996/2009 (56.5%, The Whisky
Colour: white wine. Nose: bang! Pure
lime juice, tincture of iodine and
mercurochrome® at cask strength
plus a little almond milk. Marzipan,
also a little carbonaceous. New plastic
pouch. Amazingly sharp and brutal,
quick, water! With water: added notes
of burnt herbs (thyme) and a very,
very heavy resinousness. Is that normal?
Was the cask made out of pinewood?
Mouth (neat): not quite clean I must
say, these notes of plastic and an
uebergreenness are a tad disturbing.
Bitter, burnt vegetables. Water should
help. With water: it does get better
but this bitterness behind the whole
isn’t much to my liking. Barbecued
herbs, soap, perfume? Finish: long
but yet not quite straight. Comments:
I feel something isn’t quite
right with this one. A 1998 by the
same excellent bottler was waaaay
superior in my book. SGP:268
- 72 points.
12yo 1996/2009 (56.9%, The Perfect
Dram II, Bourbon, 120 bottles)
Colour: straw. Nose: oh well,
this is even sharper and narrow when
nosed ‘naked’. Lime juice
and five dozen oysters. Manages to
develop a bit, mainly on heavily medicinal
notes. Embrocations, mercurochrome
again, iodine… Gets just a tad
rounder once your nose got used to
it (apple juice). With water: not
a lot of development, it stays very
medicinal and rather flinty as well.
Medium-peaty. Mouth (neat): a big
beast, heavily phenolic, oily, very
almondy and ‘walnutty’,
slightly bitterish but much less so
than the Whisky Cask. Lemon-flavoured
marzipan. With water: same. A little
more on tar and hard liquorice. Finish:
long, tarry, slightly ‘burnt’
and bitterish. Comments: certainly
good but not exactly my favourite
kind of Laphroaig, a little too austere.
As always, a matter of individual
taste - and I'm happy I could find
at least one bottling that I did not
adore within the Perfect Dram's otherwise
fantastic range ;-). SGP:267
- 82 points.
1996/2009 (58.5%, Malts of Scotland,
bourbon hogshead, cask #5382, 243
Colour: gold. Nose: a version that’s
much more vanilla-coated, without
having lost its character. It’s
actually more expressive and maybe
better balanced, with a lot of lemon
marmalade, lemongrass and turpentine
on top of the iodized/coastal notes
that are well here. Bandages again,
a little tar and, yes, mercurochrome.
With water: more coastal notes, oysters,
seaweed and just hints of fresh paint.
Mouth (neat): rich, thick, creamy,
the richest of them all once again.
Very tarry, ashy and peaty but once
again, it’s all coated with
rounder notes of pastries, liquorice,
lemon drops and vanilla. Hot stuff
but very good stuff. With water: balance
totally achieved. Coastal, earthy,
citrusy and finely candied. Finish:
long, smoky, medicinal and maritime,
with a peppery kick at the end of
the end plus an extreme ashiness (cigar).
Comments: a classical, almost perfect
young Laphroaig that easily defeated
its competitors of the day. This new
bottler sure knows how to select his
casks! SGP:458 - 90 points.
1998/2008 (58.5%, Jean Boyer, Best
Casks of Scotland, Re-coopered hogsheads,
A very fresh and coastal Laphroaig,
more salty and kippery than usual.
A summertime 'phoaig to sip on the
beach. SGP:448 - 87 points.
10 yo (90 US proof, OB, Regal Brands
N.Y., eary 1970s)
Nose: superb smoke, fireplace, fresh
butter and candy sugar. Mouth: crystallised
lemons and fine peat, fir cone smokiness.
Impeccable although not quite at the
same level of complexity as some old
versions for Italy. SGP:466
- 92 points.
- Recommended listening:
of Noise and their
(from Below the waste, 1989). Please
buy Art of Noise's music.
– ONE GLENFLAGLER
Right, I always try to taste several
malts from the same distillery together,
it’s much better to pick up
nuances (how can you try a Glenkinchie
and a Laphroaig in the same session?
Why not a Bud Light with a Westvleteren?
A Partagas Lusitania with a Marlboro
Light?) but it’s not impossible
that I never find any other sample
of the ultra-rare Glenflagler in the
foreseeable future so let’s
try this singleton from the Lowlands
alone, if you don’t mind. As
you may know, Glenflagler used to
be made at Moffat from 1965 to around
1980 if I’m not mistaken. Careful,
several ‘official’ Glenflagers
that can be found at auctions are
actually vatted malts, not the true
23 yo 1970/1994 (50.1%, Signatory,
Dumpy, casks #1260+7861, 350 bottles)
Colour: full gold. Nose: the oak does
all the talking but nicely so, with
notes of ginger and vanilla that smell
very ‘modern’. Hints of
coriander, then cloves and cinnamon,
a faint meatiness (beef bouillon)
and an obvious leathery character.
With water: more mint and liquorice,
then coriander again. Rather pleasant
but it’s hard to get anything
that doesn’t came from the oak.
Mouth (neat): big attack, oily and
once again, it’s the wood that
speaks out, with some big resinous
notes. Retsina? Develops more on ginger
and cloves, getting more and more
bourbonny. More cask strength bourbon
than Scotch whisky. With water: even
oilier and a lot on cough syrup and
fir tree honey. A lot of wood extracts
but no excessive tannins. Once again,
rather bourbonny in style. Finish:
long and even more resinous. Green
Chartreuse and ginger liqueur. Comments:
the whole is pretty pleasant but the
Scotchness is hard to detect. I’m
afraid it’s not today that we
will have found the true character
of Glenflagler! SGP:362 -
- Recommended listening:
Sidran playing For
Margarita Xirgu (from Sidran's
excellent Concert For Garcia Lorca).
Margarita Xirgu was a Spanish actress
who was a friend of Federico García
Lorca. Lyrics by Garcia Lorca. Please
buy Ben Sidran's music!
- TWO OLD INVERGORDON SINGLE GRAINS
1971/2009 (48%, Berry Bros & Rudd,
Colour: gold. Nose: powerful, nosing
rather higher than 48% vol. Starts
rather less on the expected coconut/vanilla
combo, and more on fresh fruits such
as quinces and figs. Sure there’s
a little varnish as almost always
in the old grains (remember they’re
originally filled at much higher strength
than malt whisky, and often into first
fill casks) but it remains way below
the (well, my) limits. Gets then more
toffee-ish and even a little caramelly.
Werther’s Originals. Also fruitcake.
As I said before, it’s rather
powerful, so let’s try it with
water. With water: superb oakiness,
with more green tea, mint, roots,
even wet earth and then notes of tinned
pineapples and dill. Celery. Some
sage, and then more sage … No
sluggishness whatsoever, whilst many
grains can become a little sluggish
when diluted. Mouth (neat): excellent
attack that reminds me a bit of the
stupendous old ryes by Willett. Encaustic,
dried dates, fudge, chestnut liqueur,
honey, chocolate-coated marzipan.
All pleasure, this one! Water isn’t
really needed on the palate but while
we’re at it… With water:
wowie! Something such as strawberries
covered with crushed mint leaves and
grated chocolate. Finish: not the
longest but gets more and more mentholated.
Comments: a beautiful grain –
and god knows I’m no grain freak.
More complex than usual old grains
for sure. SGP:651 –
43 yo 1965/2009 (50.8%, Duncan Taylor,
Rare Auld, cask #15528)
Colour: gold (a little
paler than the 1971). Nose: we are
extremely close to the 1971, I guess
six more years don’t make much
difference with very old grains. Maybe
a little more coconut and also more
grassy notes and coffee that give
it a slightly ‘malty’
profile. Maybe also a little more
plain oak and quite some mint from
the wood starting to show off. A faint
Irishness, something of that old Dungourney
1964/1994, remember? With water: not
a lot of development, only an added
waxiness and more mint and coconut,
then cloves. Very nice anyway. Mouth
(neat): exactly the same differences
with the 1971 as on the nose. More
coconut liqueur (no brand names!)
and more milk chocolate, dried ginger
and a ‘responsiveness’
that’s quite unusual at such
old age. Sure it’s kind of an
oak liqueur but it’s all under
control and mucho pleasant. With water:
more spices and more direct oakiness.
‘Pencil chewed during math class’.
Liquorice. Finish: rather long, even
more on liquorice, with an unusual
salty touch and a late fruitiness
(gooseberries). Comments: let’s
face it, all these old Invergordons
are very good, and such is this brand
new bottling, even if it hasn’t
got all of the 1971’s magic.
SGP:630 - 88 points.
- Recommended listening:
one of the most singular jazz voices,
the great Andy
Bey, singing Dark
shadows (it's on Shades of Bey).
Please buy Andy Bey's music!
– THREE GLEN GARIOCHS
Garioch 18 yo 1989/2008 (53.3%, Duncan
Colour: gold. Nose: starts rather
explosively, with plenty of sawn oak
and a very pleasant earthiness as
well as hints of orange peel and roots.
Grows even woodier, this time more
on thuja wood and wax polish, with
whiffs of camphor and cigarette tobacco.
Very compact, very nice. With water:
gets a tad rounder and more honeyed
but never ‘too smooth’.
Some peat comes through, as well as
more toffee. Water works very well.
Mouth (neat): punchy, very woody once
again and a tad spirity, very compact.
Notes of kirsch and orange liqueur,
with also a faint dustiness (flour).
A rather big dram, a tad rough around
the edges when undiluted. With water:
it doesn’t really get rounder
on the palate, only a little more
on oranges. The oak is still rather
loud. Finish: long, getting a little
more citrusy. Lemon balm. Comments:
very good, a marginally rougher version
of a middle-aged Glen Garioch. Very
fairly priced, at that. SGP:442
– 86 points.
Garioch 20 yo 1988/2009 (54.4%, Duncan
Taylor, Rare Auld, cask #1558, 249
Colour: deep gold. Nose: the global
profile is not too far from the Lonach’s,
only richer and a little more on toffee
and vanilla custard. A little more
plum spirit as well. With water: gets
very different from the Lonach this
time, probably more complex, waxier,
more mineral, grassier and finally
fruitier (grenadine, strawberry pie).
Hints of sherry. High quality. Mouth
(neat): really rich, creamy and very
different from the Lonach this time.
Beautiful notes of gentian spirit
(or Suze), a little peat, ginger,
pepper, liquorice wood, honeydew…
Then cough drops and pepper. Another
big Glen Garioch of high quality,
even if it’s a tad too powerful
when naked. Excellent ‘compact’
oakiness, not of the easy vanilla/ginger
kind. Also hints of plum spirit once
again. With water: excellent, with
more spices and a little grapefruit.
Nutmeg, peat. Finish: long, with more
liquorice and pepper. Comments: just
excellent, perfectly balanced. SGP:443
- 88 points.
Garioch 20 yo 1989/2009 (55.1%, Alambic
Classique, cask #9475, 168 bottles)
Colour: gold. Nose: we’re sort
of between both earlier bottlings
here, with indeed a little vanilla,
plum spirit, warm oak, quite some
eucalyptus and mint and just whiffs
of geranium on top of the whole. Pleasant
ones! With water: differs more from
the others, with more herbal tea,
liquorice, grass and quite some fresh
almonds. More mint as well. Mouth:
we’re in the same territories
as with the DTs but this one has more
sweetness (cranberry sweets), getting
even a tad perfumy. Orange drops.
It’s got something of the late
1980s Bowmores in a certain way, whilst
the Lonach from the same vintage did
not display that very peculiar profile.
With water: just more of the same.
Finish: long, on spices, mint and
violet sweets. Comments: really a
variant, not sure whether that comes
from a different distilling regime
or from a different kind of cask.
Very good anyway, the minor perfumy
notes never becoming ‘too much’.
SGP:542 - 86 points.
– TWO 1990 BEN NEVIS + ONE
Nevis 16 yo 1990/2007 (46%, Duncan
Colour: white wine. Nose: very aromatic
but close to mash and beer, with little
wood influence. Strawberries, peaches,
a little liquorice and a little mint,
develops then more on porridge and
sour apples and just faint hints of
baby puke (I’m sorry babies).
Mouth: much fruitier this time but
also somewhat ‘burnt’
and very toasted, smoky, very malty,
lacking roundness and Ben Nevis’
usual uberfruitiness. Also a little
pepper. Finish: long but hot and rough,
rather spirity. Comments: rough malt
whisky, lacking ‘polishing’
in my view. Younger versions are much
more downable, including many by Duncan
Taylor. SGP:352 - 71 points.
Nevis 1990/2008 (61.2%, Jack Wieber,
The Cross Hill, sherry cask, 611 bottles)
Colour: amber. Nose: waaaah! Pure
varnish! Uhu glue! With water: loads
of balsamic vinegar, dead mice, game,
soy sauce and finally all kinds of
vinegars and even hashish. Gym socks.
Totally wacky! Mouth (neat): wood
extracts, alcohol, plank and varnish.
Not swallowable at full strength.
With (quite some) water: right, right,
it’s more or less back on tracks
but still very bizarre. Bitter oranges
galore, Fanta and Maggi, sour. Finish:
rather long, getting gingery but still
dirty. Comments: oh my, that was something.
More fortified vinegar than malt whisky
if you ask me, the sherry cask was
probably all mouldy. Did they forget
to burn sulphur? This one is for malt
perverts and certainly a lame duck
within Jack Wieber’s usual very
high standard whisky ranges. But kind
of 'funny' it is! SGP:331
- 39 points.
Nevis 13 yo 1990/2004 (46%, The Ultimate,
Colour: straw. Nose: the cleanest
of them all, much flintier and austere.
Half grassy, half on apple peeling
and melon, with a faint dustiness
in the background. Candle wax. Gets
then a little spirity and kirschy,
alas. Mouth: sweet, rather round,
a little peppery, with notes of apple
juice, bubblegum and then some dry
spices. Cloves, strong green tea.
Finish: long, spicier, peppery, liquoricy.
Faint soapiness. Comments: not quite
there but it’s more than drinkable
in my opinion. SGP:441 - 78
McPEAT AND JACK WASHBACK on holidays
in St Tropez
- Recommended listening:
some free funk from the center of
the wooniverse, Bernie
Worrell and his apocalyptically
The Tone/Victory (from Pieces
Of Woo: The Other Side, 1991). Please
buy Bernie Worrell's music.
by Nick Morgan
Hyde Park, London
July 2nd 2009
do wonder how many retired rock musicians
have been rudely awakened from various
forms of bucolic bliss by the knowledge
that their hard earned investments,
savings and pension plans have shrunk
to an alarming degree over the past
six months or so. It certainly must
have had something to do with the
giddy number of reunions that have
taken place this year and particularly
those that seemed the most unlikely:
the comeback of Brit Pop art-school
tops the list. In case you’ve
forgotten, Blur were the middle-class
darlings of a musical movement broadly
embraced by the chattering classes,
and positively hugged by British New
Labour prime minister Tony Blair,
who for a short while couldn’t
be seen enough in the company of young
rock and rollers. Artfully arty Blur
were the counterpoint to the brash
and braggartly Oasis with whom they
famously went head to head, and sort
of won. But for all their increasing
commercial success, the band imploded
in the very early twenty-first century
with the departure of guitarist Graham
Coxon, whose relationship with
singer and composer Damon Albarn was
widely considered to be irretrievable.
Albarn became a regular polymath:
Good, the Bad and the Queen; an
opera about a monkey and various excursions
into world music. Coxon, who had embarked
on some advanced drinking studies,
dried up and reinvented himself as
an acclaimed solo performer. Drummer
David Rowntree pursued his interest
in politics and has stood unsuccessfully
for the British Parliament as a Labour
Party candidate. And bassist Alex
James moved to the Cotswolds, made
and became something of a pundit.
And then – in the teeth of the
worst recession in living memory,
they announced they would reform,
originally only for a single concert
in Hyde Park. This in turn became
two concerts, then a tour, a very
purchasable ‘best of’
album, and a headliner at Glastonbury,
which has, as they say, gone down
the Hyde Park gig is worthy of a minor
place in history too, if only for
the number of junior Morgans in attendance,
they being of an age to remember Blur
properly first time round. Well, not
entirely, and I’m sure, Serge,
you don’t need me to rehearse
those “but you were too young
to really appreciate them …”
arguments which seem to delight the
youth so much. Anyway the more adventurous
of them is almost at the front of
the stage, the slightly older one
in a more mature midway position,
whilst the Photographer and your Reviewer
(particularly following their Bruce
Springsteen experiences) chose the
spacious area at the back.
sound is astonishingly excellent.
The view dependant on numerous large
video screens. The tea hot and satisfying
(how rock and roll does it get?).
And our neighbours are those slightly
older Blur fans in their late twenties
and early thirties who’ve
come along with their youngsters
to enjoy an evening out, although
not without taking the appropriate
is disappointed by a career-spanning
set that sounds remarkably up to date,
and has, along with Blur’s characteristic
chirpy English music hall interludes,
a surprisingly hard-edged feel.
is hoarse, talkative and visibly excited.
Coxon demonstrates that the plaudits
he has earned are more than deserved,
and occasionally excels himself. The
rhythm section play with a refreshing
looseness, now and then suggesting
that they might have been introduced
only minutes before the show. But
the overall effect is absolutely compelling,
and a wonderful treat on a sunny,
warm, early July evening.
with a family of critics to hand we
later played ‘what was the best
song in the set’. The boy swithered,
captured by the physical response
to second song ‘Girls and boys’
(the earth shook, as they say): ‘Honest,
we were so close to the front, that
when they started, it really all kicked
off and everyone went bonkers’.
The girl was on stronger ground, and
eventually we all agreed that the
critical choice was the song that
ended the main set, ‘This is
a low’. If you listen to nothing
else by Blur you should hear this
wonderfully sensitive song, about
weather forecasts (well, I’m
sure it’s a metaphor really,
but let’s not go into that).
Coxon’s guitar playing was outstanding.
However, I would also have to call
out the soulful spiritual ‘Tender’,
which provoked a very jolly and largely
tuneful sing-along, demonstrating
that love really is the greatest thing.
And it would be rude not to mention
Phil Daniels, who I’m sure some
readers will remember as the actor
who played the protagonist in the
film of the Who’s Quadrophenia.
He also provided the original narration
to Blur’s Parklife. After a
dewy-eyed Albarn had told the story
of writing the song in a flat very
close to where we stood, Daniels burst
onto the stage to announce, to the
surprise of many, ‘You can stick
your post and your franking machine
and all that other rubbish I have
to go abaahht with and shove 'em right
up your arse!’. I’ll leave
it up to you film buffs to work that
one out. - Nick Morgan (photographs
Due to some extremely
high temperatures over Alsace, I had
to stop tasting whisky for a while,
and decided to take this opportunity
to go to Provence for a few days.
I'll try to resume our little tastings
around Monday if all goes well. Let's
try to survive! CU soon...
– THREE 1996 CLYNELISH, OR
1996/2008 (46%, Wilson & Morgan,
Barrel Selection, Marsala Finish)
Colour: gold. Nose:
Clynelish’s typical fruity waxiness
is well here but the wine has a lot
to say as well, with at first whiffs
of bubblegum and strawberries, and
then a combination that makes this
one smell like gingered marmalade.
Hints of scented soap too (Cadum?)
Fanta. Develops more on toasted brioche
and plain malt. Not unpleasant at
all but I do like my Clynelish neat.
A lot. Mouth: easy and very sweet.
Tastes exactly like a mix of walnut
and strawberry liqueurs. Try that!
Pretty good I must say… Finish:
long but it got also a little more
vinous, with these over-sweet notes
of strawberry drops and even cranberry.
Comments: a very good finishing if
you like confectionary, less sure
about Clynelish. SGP:741 -
12 yo 1996/2009 (52%, Whisky-Doris,
Colour: gold. Nose: Starts a little
bizarre, slightly soapy again (it’s
not me, I nosed other whiskies before
and they had no soap at all ;-)),
with a strong sherry influence albeit
not a classical one. The combination
then gives heavy notes of flavoured
marzipan and vanilla, quite some nutmeg,
honeydew and even mead. It has also
notes of something like a late harvest
gewurztraminer. Gets pretty cleaner
over time, more on straight beeswax
and honey, while the faint soapiness
has (almost) completely vanished.
With water: the sherry comes out.
Gets a little vinous and farmy (wet
hay). More ginger as well. Not sure
adding water work too well…
Mouth (neat): excellent, big, ‘naturally’
fruity, smoky, rather peaty, spicy,
citrusy and most certainly not soapy.
Maybe a little less waxy than other
Clynelishes. Sultanas. With water:
more peat but also more dryness. Gets
extremely herbal and almost bitter.
Finish: long, on very strong herbal
sweets, Jägermeister. Comments:
more peat than usual in this very
good Clynelish that’s a little
disconcerting, though. It doesn’t
seem that it takes water too well.
SGP:373 - 85 points.
12 yo 1996/2009 (58.3%, Whisky-Doris,
sherry butt, 221 bottles)
From the same cask as the “The
Dram”, only unreduced. This
should be interesting… Colour:
gold. Nose: this one is completely
different, no soapy notes at all,
rather a wonderful burst of almonds,
wet stones, paraffin and high-end
green tea (from a freshly opened box).
More austere than the ‘52’
version for sure, but also more elegant
in my opinion, as if the higher alcohol
tamed the sherry. With water (at +/-
the same strength as the ‘52’
the latter was reduced, that is to
say +/-45%): more on wet hay and heavy
paraffin but other than that water
kills it a bit (can’t you kill
‘a bit’?) Mouth (neat):
extremely oily, waxy, spicy and resinous.
High class, simply the best cough
syrup ever ;-). Fresh walnuts. With
water: resists better than the ‘52’.
A lot of pine resin, though, and a
lot more peat than usual once again.
Finish: very long, resinous, honeyed
and herbal. Very peppery aftertaste.
Comments: interesting to check that
even when reduced down to the same
strength, these two babies were so
dissimilar. That may show that reducing
a spirit isn’t an easy task,
which may explain why some spirit
makers (in Cognac, for instance) do
reduce their spirit very slowly, degree
by degree. Anyway, you got it, I liked
the ‘CS’ better. Excellent
Clynelish. SGP:273 - 88 points.
McPEAT AND JACK WASHBACK on holidays
in St Tropez
on another silly old joke
- Recommended listening:
Toussaint means extreme
class and downright authenticity.
Let's listen to him playing the
(it's on 'The bright Mississippi',
2009). More soul than that? Impossible!
Please, please buy Allen Toussaint's
– TWO OLD GLENGOYNE
30 yo 1967/1997 ‘Middle Cut’
(52.5%, OB, 100 bottles)
A legendary and rare bottling that
was presented in a dazzling brass
‘spirit safe’. As the
excellent people at Royal Mile Whiskies
have written, ‘Not quite sure
what the middle cut refers to... hopefully
the feints and foreshots are never
bottled!’ I’d bet it was
more referring to the packaging ;-).
Colour: gold. Nose: it’s quite
amazing how dry and austere this one
is, whilst we’d have expected
something, well, ‘luscious’.
Rather grainy and sort of vegetal,
with obvious notes of fresh oak and
grass. Water may be of help here.
With water: bingo, it does get wider
and ‘jammier’ but never
quite as aromatic as some more recent
bottlings. Yet, there’s quite
some marzipan, light honey, caramel,
cooked apricots and just tiny whiffs
of coriander. Mouth (neat): it’s
got nothing to do with the nose when
neat. Much more expressive, jammy,
fruity and wonderfully spicy. Say
some peppered plum jam plus quite
some quince jelly and just a little
orange blossom water. Baklavas. With
water: not much change, maybe a little
more spices. White pepper. Finish:
medium long, with more ginger and
quite some white pepper. Crystallised
oranges, Smyrna raisins. Comments:
this fancy bottling was excellent,
but the owners have issued many greater
old whiskies since 1997 in my opinion
(well, not only mine). The nose was
a little disappointing. SGP:541
– 88 points.
1972/2009 (52.8%, Malts of Scotland,
sherry butt, cask #3195, 305 bottles)
Independent Glengoynes are very rare,
not sure I’ve ever seen more
than two or three before. Colour:
pale gold. Nose: an avalanche of honey
and tinned pineapples! Many (great)
old Glengoynes that I could try were
much more influenced by the casks
whilst this is as fruity and pleasantly,
say ‘ethereal’ as malt
whisky can get. Yet, there is some
vanilla and there are some soft spices
but the extreme ‘light honeyness’
is spectacular. Develops more on sultanas
and plum jam. With water: gets rather
more tropical, with notes of pina
colada, that is to say more coconut
and pineapples. Superb, with an extreme
freshness. Having said that, it has
a tendency to fade away a bit. Mouth:
very oily, almost thick, starting
on sultanas and crystallised pineapple,
with quite some honey again and just
touches of pine resin sweets. The
spiciness is bigger than on the nose,
with some pepper, ginger and hints
of cloves. Extremely more-ish when
neat. Nougatine. With water: a tad
closer to the OB now, with more notes
of orange blossom water, tangerine
liqueur, coconut liqueur and a little
green pepper. Finish: rather long,
the citrus notes managing to balance
the oakiness that starts to emerge.
Comments: absolutely gorgeous but
too drinkable, whilst there are only
305 bottles! The sherry influence
is extremely discreet, to be honest,
I did not quite notice it. SGP:641
- 92 points.
NEWS : THE GLENWONKA CLOSED!
a shock development, The GlenWonka
just announced that the distillery
has been closed forever on Sunday
(while most employees were at some
Highland Games or at the pub), stills
sold and shipped to Mongolia. Their
Twitter account has been suspended
(they had gathered 1,300 followers
within five days but it appears that
they were using automated spam systems
to enhance their figures)
name that will never shine all over
famous consultant, the very outspoken
Angus W. Apfelstrudel, has been spotted
jetting out of Inverness airport with
the last flight to the Cayman Islands.
Two hours before, The GlenWonka have
put online what was to be their very
last bottlings, ‘The
World’ (£7,999) and ‘Jock
Koons Edition’ (£5,499).
The GlenWonka’s website is still
up but for how long?
comment: good riddance,
the shortest jokes are the best.
- Recommended listening:
jazz or Chopin? Let's let
Barber answer our stoopid
question with his fantastic Parachute
(from Shades of grey, 1986). Please
buy Billy Barber's music!
– TWO YOUNG HIGHLAND PARK
Park 10 yo 1998/2009 ‘High Dark
Plan’ (46%, The Nectar, Daily
Colour: white wine. Nose: it seems
that it’s one of these rather
flinty and mineral Highland Parks
that are very ‘natural’
and that display the naked spirit’s
typical oily waxiness and grassiness.
Wet chalk, green tea and fresh walnuts
plus just hints of pine needles. Gets
fruitier in a second phase, with notes
of freshly cut apples, lemon zests
and then just wee whiffs of wood smoke
and a little honey. Also funny hints
of young fruity Comté cheese
(which isn’t quite ‘cheesy’,
by the way). Mouth: excellent body,
rich, full and nervous. Peppery, half-grassy,
half-fruity, a little minty, not unlike
a strong mojito in a certain way.
Some ginger and a little lemon plus
the same notes of pine resin that
give it a slightly medicinal feeling.
Very good complexity and balance!
Finish: long, with more oak this time.
Tannins, tea, nutmeg and quite some
pepper in the aftertaste. Enjoyable
smokiness. Comments: not all indie
HPs are great but this one is, especially
at only ten years of age. Flawless
and ‘beautifully naked’,
but needs a little time to develop.
SGP:452 - 87 points.
Park 12 yo ‘Hjarta’ (58.1%,
OB, 3,900 bottles, 2009)
A new baby with a beautiful ‘Scandinavian
design’ label, exclusive to
the distillery, its online shop and
Scandinavia indeed. Adapting a label’s
design to a targeted market is an
interesting idea, let’s only
hope they won’t add berets and
baguettes to the next bottling for
France ;-). Colour: gold. Nose: this
new baby is obviously much more influenced
by the casks, starting with rather
heady notes of liquorice, butterscotch
and cappuccino. There are also notes
of sweet white wine (white Port comes
to mind) and quite some cut grass
once again. But it’s very punchy
whisky, let’s add water now.
With water: the malted barley comes
to the front as well as hints of cooked
butter and quite some vanilla. Also
a little lemon balm, nougat and then
we’re back on butterscotch and
maybe lemon-sprinkled waffles (I’m
sorry). Mouth (neat): once again,
this is strong! Starts on big notes
of bubblegum and strawberry liqueur
coated with many spices from the oak
and a good deal of honey sauce. Something
that reminds me of that spicy red
Thai sauce in a certain way. A little
peat it seems, but it’s hot
so, once again, water please! With
water: excellent! Water worked wonders
here, the whole getting extremely
well balanced, with a little bit of
many things that give a great whole.
Peat, liquorice, various dried fruits,
herbs, malt, vanilla, coffee, honey…
Very ‘full’. Finish: long,
a tad resinous, waxier, liquoricy…
Comments: this one needs water, and
trying it only neat would be a crime
in my view. A rich young Highland
Park. SGP:552 - 89 points.
THE MAD MALT MIXOLOGIST
his Summertime malt cocktails
into a shaker, with ice :
- 6 cl Glenkinckie 12 yo 43°
- 2 cl watermelon liqueur
Shake and strain into a cocktail glass.
Melon is a very special and difficult
to mix ingredient, and i don't like
pretty much Glenkinckie... but well,
both mixed together is not so bad.
- Recommended listening:
maybe the most delicate trumpet
player ever (with Chet Baker), Art
Farmer, playing A
time for love (from his 1971
Gentle Eyes album). Over-produced?
Nah... Please buy the music of the
great late Art Farmer.
the index of all entries:
malts I had these weeks - 90+
points only - alphabetical: a heavy month!
15 yo 1993/2009 (58.9%,
Duncan Taylor, Rare Auld, cask #1724, 292 bottles)
Malts of Scotland, sherry butt, cask #3195,
1971/2009 (48%, Berry Bros & Rudd,
10 yo (90 US proof, OB, Regal
Brands N.Y., eary 1970s)
1996/2009 (58.5%, Malts of Scotland,
bourbon hogshead, cask #5382, 243 bottles)