Hi, you're in the Archives, December 2008 - Part 2
‘MIXED BAG’ SESSIONS:
for discount drinkers only, some
accumulated a huge load of whiskies
and samples that don’t quite
fit our slightly tedious Whiskyfun
tasting format (always whiskies from
the same distilleries) and now it’s
time to try a few of them. Blends,
vatted malts, oddities, obscure bottlings…
Not too sure this is going to be useful
but at least, it should be entertaining
(to us, that is) and maybe we’ll
find some true gems. What's more,
as many are quite cheap, some may
be some perfect anti-crisis drams.
(We had originally intended
to post this in chunks, but...)
‘MIXED BAG’ SESSIONS
Glen Finloch ‘Peaty Reserve’
(40%, Jean Boyer, France, +/-2008)
Colour: straw. Nose: fresh, delicately
peaty, pleasantly buttery (not butyric!),
the peat growing bigger after a moment.
Quite some ash and wet stones as well.
Also notes of white wine (Riesling)
but it isn’t winey. Mouth: sweet,
young and peaty, rather simple but
very enjoyable. Quite some iodine
and medicinal notes that may hint
at ‘that’ distillery on
the South coast. Finish: medium long,
clean, peaty, with quite some salt
as well. Comments: this should be
excellent with smoked salmon or other
smoked fish. SGP:337 –
of Islay 12 yo (40%, Gordon &
Colour: amber. Nose: obvious notes
of sherry, old walnuts, meat bouillon
and only then the peat shines through.
Exactly the opposite of the Glen Finloch.
Big notes of gunpowder as well, leather,
old liqueur... Mouth: round and creamy
attack, with a flinty peat underneath.
Drops a bit after that, getting maybe
a tad indefinite, on a strange kind
of mix involving walnuts again, cardboard,
porridge, bitter oranges and mint
drops. Tastes old and young at the
same time. Finish: a little short
and rather bitterish. Peaty cardboard
or something like that. Comments:
I liked the nose waaaaay better. SGP:256
– 75 points.
Selection 18 yo (40%, Loch Lomond
Distillery, 35cl, +/-1995)
A vatting of very old underproof malt
from the 60s and younger ones (overproof,
obviously). Strange bottling done
at Loch Lomond. Colour: straw. Nose:
milky, porridgy and a tad yeasty at
first nosing but gets cleaner and
straighter after a while. Hints of
mint, then fresh walnuts, marzipan
and smoked ham. Rather unusual but
‘old Ardbeg’ is not really
noticeable. Big notes of overripe
apples do come through, that is, as
well as whiffs of Barbour grease (more
exactly ‘Barbour Thornproof
Wax Dressing’ - sorry if you
never smelled that, it’s very
peculiar.) Mouth: even more unusual!
Smooth and zesty at the same time
at the attack (lemonade, coriander,
cornflakes… strange combo),
with medium peatiness but growing
bigger after a few seconds on your
palate. Smoked tea, quite some black
pepper, mint drops, yoghurt sauce,
something metallic… Bizarre
indeed. Finish: medium long but much
more ‘coastal’, with quite
some salt, lemon, oysters, bread…
Not kidding. Comments: one of the
strangest vattings I could try, but
Ardbeg does shine through (the old
10yo at 40%). SGP:347 –
Six Isles ‘Claret Finish’
2000/2008 (46%, William Maxwell, casks
‘A true reflection of the isles’
states the label. Well, not too sure
Claret (Bordeaux in English) is such
true reflection but let’s see…
Colour: apricot. Nose: do smoked mashed
potatoes exist? The good news is that
the claret influence is rather discrete,
the whole smelling very ‘islands’
indeed, with a blend of smoked fish,
used matches, orangeade, boiled cereals,
strawberry-flavoured yoghurt and light
liquorice. Very far from being unpleasant
I must say. Mouth: well, it is a bit
too sweet and fruity for my taste
now, starting on strawberry jam and
even blackcurrant Jell-O. The peatiness
does manage to come through after
that but we’re still on something
like cold mulled wine – or sangria.
It’s probably not bad but it
just doesn’t match my taste.
Finish: quite long, still very fruity.
Comments: strawberry jam with pepper
and a good measure of strong alcohol.
Let’s say this is ‘different’
– and I like the nose. SGP:725
– 75 points.
Peat Monster Reserve Edition (48.9%,
Compass Box, 1.5l, 2008)
A magnum, hurray! Colour: white wine.
Nose: WOW! This is extremely unusual
and I like it. Starts on very huge
notes of smoked fish and smoked ham
as well and goes on with even bigger
notes of ham, and then even bigger
notes of smoked salmon. It’s
only after a few minutes that more
‘mundane’ notes of plain
smoke, apple peels and fresh mint
manage to come through. Extremely
demonstrative whisky. Mouth: right,
it does not taste like smoked salmon
;-), rather like a very good ‘average’
Islayer. Peat, pepper, liquorice,
a little vanilla fudge, grapefruits
and hints of cloves. Very classic
on the palate. Finish: long, peaty,
peppery, very clean and very straight.
Comments: two whiskies in one here
(which should make 3 litres!) What
a spectacular nose! SGP:357
– 85 points.
Islay Malt 9 yo (51.5%, Canongate
Said to be a vatting of old Ardbeg
(how old?) and young Caol Ila. Colour:
pale gold. Nose: we’re really
all on fresh walnuts and apple peeling
here, with a rather delicate peat.
Extremely vegetal but in a very nice
way. Just like the Peat Monster, it
gets then more classically smoky/peaty
with, indeed, something of some older
Ardbegs (camphor, shoe polish, tar,
linseed oil). Very nice nose. Mouth:
sweet, round yet nervous, with Ardbeg
really shining through now. A lot
of salt, lemon marmalade, big smoke,
pine resin (sweets), dried ginger,
even some mustard… Excellent!
Finish: long, punchy, peaty. Comments:
extremely good Islay vatting made
in Campbeltown. SGP:358 –
‘MIXED BAG’ SESSIONS
Bottle (40%, OB, blend, +/-2005)
Colour: pale gold. Nose: light smoke
and linseed oil, then porridge, soft
part of the bread, metal and hints
of diesel oil. I didn’t remember
this was that dry and austere. Mouth:
much peatier and smokier, almost big.
A lot of salt, lemon… Alas,
it gets then much weaker and lacks
body but remember, it’s no malt.
Finish: medium long but nicely peaty,
with quite some iodine. Comments:
the influence of Islay’s peat
monsters is very obvious here, especially
on the palate. SGP:236 –
Bottle 10 yo (40%, OB, Matthew Gloag
& Son, blend, +/-2003?)
Bizarrely, the Black Bottle NAS is
green whilst the 10yo is well black.
Colour: gold. Nose: very close to
the NAS version, maybe a tad softer
and rounder, with also more meaty
notes. Mouth: richer than the NAS,
with more oak influence but also a
similar Islayness. Doesn’t drop
like the NAS did. Finish: Comments:
a big blend, unmistakably Islay. SGP:336
- 80 points.
of Skye 8 yo (40%, Ian McLeod, blend,
Contains quite some Islanders but
not only malt from the Isle of Skye.
Colour: gold. Nose: just as peaty
as the Black Bottles. A tad more on
the cardboardy side after that. Something
organic. Mouth: very big, almost explosive
and just as peaty as the Black Bottles,
maybe even more! Lemon juice. Big
rooty/earthy notes. Finish: long,
peppery and salty, as if there was
some Talisker in there indeed. Comments:
surprisingly assertive at 40% vol.
Isn’t this almost pure malt
whisky? Too bad the nose was a bit
so-so. SGP:336 – 78
Island 17 yo (40%, Arran Distillery,
Blend, late 1990s)
This was bottled by Arran but of course
not distilled there. Colour: full
gold. Nose: dry, almost silent, papery.
Stones, paint, aspirin. A serious
lack of aromas but maybe the palate
will be better. Mouth: weak attack
but some rather nice notes of resin,
almonds and soft peat seem to be there
in the background. A little watery,
that is. Finish: short, with just
a little peat. Comments: harmless
– and that may be the problem.
SGP:124 – 59 points.
Island 21 yo (40%, Arran Distillery,
Blend, late 1990s)
Another version of Royal Island, there
was also a 30yo. Colour: full gold.
Nose: cardboard and wet papers galore
at first nosing, then pleasant citrusy
notes (tangerines). Medium peatiness
and a general profile that has its
eyes on Bowmore. Hugely superior to
the 17yo as far as the nose is concerned.
Mouth: once again, bigger than the
17yo even if the difference isn’t
as striking as on the nose. Peat,
marzipan, salt and bitter oranges.
Finish: short but coastal (low tide,
eh) and quite salty. Bigger at the
retro-olfaction. Comments: these 17
and 21yos are strange old whiskies,
oddly selected and blended in my opinion.
SGP:235 - 70 points.
‘MIXED BAG’ SESSIONS
MORE ISLANDER BLENDS
& Lade's Gold Label (40%, Bulloch
Lade, mid 1980s, 75cl)
Bulloch & Lade holds – or
held - the license for Caol Ila distillery
so there should be quite some CI in
this one. Colour: gold. Nose: quite
light but peaty indeed, a tad beefy,
malty (stock), with also notes of
warm butter and pastries. Slight smokiness,
ashes and metal polish. OBE starting
to appear (metallic notes). Not really
great, that is. Mouth: better and
more nervous than on the nose, with
an obvious peatiness now. Something
that reminds me of old versions of
Johnnie Walker Black. Good maltiness
but also quite some caramel. Grows
bigger, with even more caramel. Good
presence but gets a tad too cloying/caramelly.
Finish: long, smoky and caramelly
(yes); with a little salt. Comments:
a good blend with ‘an Islay
heart’ (S, cut the crap if you
please) but also a little too much,
guess what? Caramel! SGP:334
- 78 points.
Loch 21 yo (40%, OB, Springbank, +/-2005)
A famous blend from Campbeltown but
nobody’s sure about the proportion
of Springbank in this one. Some say
there’s none, others say there’s
as much as 60%. Colour: pale gold.
Nose: unexpectedly dry and waxy at
first nosing, and very grassy. Graphite,
linseed oil, new newspaper, shoe polish,
ink bottle… It’s austere
whisky and it may well be beautiful
altogether but let’s check the
palate first… Mouth: extremely
unusual. Nervous, smoky, ‘hammy’
(I mean, that tastes like ham), and
extremely metallic. Almond liqueur.
Quite some peat as well, as well as
hints of coriander and maybe also
dill (not aniseed as such but close).
Is it good? Hard to say, it’s
so unusual… Finish: long, salty,
meaty. Comments: a big personality,
extremely different from most blends
as far as we can say. Maybe a blend
made for malt drinkers? SGP:244
– 80 points.
Dhubh 12 yo (46%, Praban Na Linne,
I believe the 12yo green label has
been issued at 40 and 43% before.
Colour: deep gold. Nose: this is richer
and less austere then the Campbeltown
Loch, more orangey as well, but it’s
still dry whisky. Notes of wet chalk,
very faint smoke, paper, lager beer
and lemon-sprinkled porridge, then
sea air. More smoke but also more
notes of old wood (barrel) after a
moment. Mouth: more body and more
peat than in both the B&L and
the C.L. 21yo. I don’t know
if it’s my mind playing tricks
to me but it does taste like Talisker
(Praban Na Linne are on Skye.) ‘Smoked
oranges’, pepper, salt, lime
and kippers. Finish: rather long,
more on lemon. Comments: I think it’s
the best Poit Dhubh I ever had, but
I think I only had three or four before.
Good stuff but at the same price,
why not buy the genuine single malt
from that island? SGP:346
- 81 points.
‘MIXED BAG’ SESSIONS
10 yo (40%, OB, Speyside pure malt,
Colour: gold. Nose: dry, mashy, porridgy
and kind of metallic. Seems to lack
roundness but hints of citrus fruits
are nice. Improves over time, with
added notes of shoe polish and soot.
Not too typical of Speyside, though.
Mouth: rather strange, a tad weak
but certainly not uninteresting. Quite
some wax, almonds, apple peeling,
oranges… Alas, it really loses
steam after that and gets drying and
cardboardy. Finish: almost none I’m
afraid. Comments: this one has its
moments for sure. SGP:242
– 72 points.
17 yo (40%, OB, Speyside pure malt,
Colour: deep gold. Nose: rounder and
thicker than the 10yo and much more
expressive as well. More ‘Speyside’
too, with quite some cooked fruits
and a rather big maltiness. Also farmy
notes, a little smoke, hay, grass…
I like this nose, there are some good
malts in there. Mouth: once again,
this is a little too weak but the
composition has been nicely done.
Oranges, wax and almonds, close to
the 10 here. Finish: very short but
with nice spicy afterglows (white
pepper). Comments: ah, if only the
palate had matched the nose! SGP:332
– 75 points.
21 yo (40%, OB, Speyside pure malt,
‘Created unashamedly for connoisseurs
with some of the rarest malt whiskies
found on Speyside.’ LOL! Colour:
gold (lighter than the 17). Nose:
maybe there’s less sherry here.
The citrusy notes are still there
(tangerines), as well as various tropical
fruits (passion, mangos) and notes
of leather. Good quality and a selection
of malts that seems to have avoided
mainstreet. Whiffs of mint and soot
just like in the 10yo. Mouth: ah yes,
this one has much more power than
the shy 10 and 17. Smokiness, peat
(Ardmore?), oranges, cough medicine
and the same kinds of tropical fruits
as on the nose. Very good vatted malt!
Finish: much longer than the younsters’,
delicately peaty and spicy. Tangerines.
Comments: an excellent tipple if you’re
no label drinker. SGP:433
– 82 points.
‘MIXED BAG’ SESSIONS –
Glen 5 yo 1976 (40%, Crazy Scotch
Whisky International Company, vatted
Highland malt, early 1980s)
Crazy name for this Glaswegian company!
Colour: gold. Nose: hey hey, this
starts well! Clearly Highlands, old
style, with quite some wax, metal
polish, shoe polish and various citrus
fruits. Beautiful nose, very expressive
and amazingly complex at only 5 years,
even if it does fade away a bit after
a moment. Mouth: oh, no, it’s
big indeed, smoky, citrusy (orange
and lemon zests), maybe a tad buttery,
very peppery, getting just a tad too
cardbaordy after a while, which is
quite normal. Imagine, 5 years in
wood and almost 30 years in glass!
Finish: rather short but more peppery
and maybe just a little too bitter
and green. Comments: a ‘crazy’
surprise. SGP:443 –
Elgin 8 yo (40%, Gordon & MacPhail,
vatted malt, 1980s)
Colour: gold/orangey. Nose: rather
simple, malty, a tad cardboardy. Not
very expressive but not ‘repulsive’
either. Only rather average…
Gets a tad more orangey after a moment,
also more on cereals, cornflakes,
milk chocolate. Still not big, that
is. Mouth: better now, quite nervous,
orangey (squash) and malty, with also
quite some white chocolate. Apple
juice. So much nicer than on the nose!
Finish: unexpectedly long, citrusy.
Comments: eminently quaffable –
and no need to nose it! SGP:431
– 80 points.
Elgin 8 yo (40%, Gordon & MacPhail,
vatted malt, early 2000s)
Colour: gold (lighter than the older
version). Nose: very different from
its older bro. Less malty/cereally
and grassier, with also more fruity
notes (banana skin, orange zests.)
Nice. Mouth: this is strange, now
it’s the more recent version
that’s weaker. Same notes of
orange squash but also much more cardboard
and even something dusty. But it’s
still pretty drinkable. Finish: not
its best part. Shortish and cardbaordish.
Comments: well, the older version
was globally better. SGP:330
– 74 points.
12 yo (40%, James Buchanan & Co,
vatted malt, 1970s)
‘A Blend of Single Malt Scotch
Whiskies’, how confusing –
and funny – is that? Colour:
pale gold. Nose: very old style, starting
on a winning citrus-metal combo. A
lot of lemon but also mangos (that
do smell kind of metallic, don’t
they?) and then soot, shoe polish,
coal, pencil lead and beef stock…
A blast from the past as far as the
profile’s concerned. This kind
of whisky doesn’t exist anymore.
Mouth: very antique indeed. Not really
bold but there are the same resinous
and sooty/waxy notes as on the nose,
and the citrusy notes are here as
well. Too bad the lack of body makes
it a tad ‘unsatisfying’.
Finish: short, as expected, but clean
and citrusy. Diluted lemon juice.
Comments: well, these old ‘mundane’
bottlings are often a tad ‘wobbly’
and this one is no exception, but
what a great nose! SGP:433
- 79 points.
Dunn 12 yo Pure Highland Malt Whisky
(43%, Alexander Dunn, vatted malt,
Colour: pale gold. Nose: very malty,
cereally, spirity and porridgy, without
anything else at first nosing. Beer.
Not much development I’m afraid…
Lettuce? Mouth: not exactly flat,
quite the contrary in fact, but once
again, the profile is too simple and
kind of dull. Malt, cereals, beer
and sugar. Finish: medium long, still
quite indefinite. Tea-ish. Comments:
no need to chase this one down I’d
say... SGP:241 – 64
Cast 15 yo (70° proof, Gordon
& MacPhail for Giaccone, 1970s)
This one was a vatted malt, not a
blend like the more recent versions
of Spey Cast. Superb label by the
way, only matched by G&M’s
Monster’s Choice ;-)…
Colour: amber. Nose: it’s no
secret that Mr Giaccone knew how to
select a whisky and this is just another
proof. Big dram, rich and nervous,
candied, superbly orangey (crystallized),
phenolic and resinous, with hints
of camphor, eucalyptus and mint and
a rather beautiful sherry (smoky sherry,
barbecue, raisins). Does it smell
like some older Macallans? Absolutely!
Mouth: superb, creamy and rich but
firm, smoky, nutty (marron glace)
and a little resinous again. Good
maltiness, hints of popcorn, rosehip
tea, tobacco… Gets just a tad
drying after a moment but that may
come from old bottle effect. Finish:
long, more on bitter chocolate, coffee
and black Corinth raisins now. Comments:
pretty fantastic – let’s
go fishing! SGP:553 - 89 points.
Age ‘1992 First Edition’
(46%, Samaroli, vatted malt, 4,200
No Age is a concept where Mr Samaroli
tried to replicate the style of older
single malts that where made more
traditionally than today’s production.
The whiskies that have been vatted
range from 12 to 45 years of age.
Colour: pale gold. Nose: indeed, this
smells like an old-style malt, with
these phenolic notes that many old
Highlanders or even Speysiders used
to display. There’s some peat,
some coastal notes (wet seaweed),
ashes and soot, and then quite some
green tea, apple peelings and paraffin.
Certainly not ‘contemporary’
(you know, big vanilla and/or big
winey/fruity notes). Mouth: think
vatting of old Clynelish, Pulteney,
Ardbeg and Glen Garioch. That’s
right, there’s quite some peat
again, lemon, wax, grass, salt, marzipan…
And yes it’s very good. Finish:
long, complex, assertive, ending on
more peppery peat. Very dry and beautifully
so. Comments: I think Mr Samaroli’s
goal has been fulfilled, he really
managed to replicate an excellent
old-style Highlander, even if not
a specific one. Excellent. SGP:255
– 88 points.
Age ‘Edition 2002’ (46%,
Samaroli, vatted malt, 1,980 bottles)
Colour: pale gold. Nose: very different
from the 1992, closer to some young
malts in the sense that there’s
more mashed potatoes, porridge, baker’s
yeast and plain beer. Less peat as
well – but there is a little
peat. Now, an old-style grassiness
does arrive after a while but it’s
rather discreet (fresh walnuts). Mouth:
sweeter and rounder than the 1992
but closer to it on the palate than
on the nose, thanks to an obvious
peatiness. Now, it’s also simpler
whisky (peat, apple juice, pepper,
salt) but maybe ten further years
of bottle ageing will help? Finish:
long and pleasantly Taliskerish. Comments:
very good but not as spectacular as
the 1992 in my book. SGP:345
– 82 points.
8 yo (100° proof, MacDonald &
Co, vatted malt, 1970s)
Colour: gold. Nose: speaking of old-style
Highlanders, we’re not too far
from the No Age 1992 here, with even
bigger notes of soot, shoe polish
and various waxes. Quite some bitter
chocolate as well, old leather, raw
French beans, then hints of lemon
skin (rubbed) and whiffs of seawater.
You got it, this is also very dry.
Mouth: punchy, powerful, a tad prickly
and very peppery, with big tannins…
And even more pepper. It’s almost
a mixture of chilli and wasabi! Let’s
see what gives with a little water…
Well, no, that didn’t work,
it got almost completely flat and
cardboardy. I think I almost never
encountered such a bad swimmer. Finish
(when neat): very long and uber-peppery!
Comments: what a dry beast, it’s
really amazing. Peated whiskies make
for a huge proportion of the vatting
here. Spectacular. SGP:166
– 86 points.
‘MIXED BAG’ SESSIONS –
McKinlay & Co had an important
role in the whisky history. It’s
a very old company, that employed
famous men such as Thomas Dewar and
James Buchanan in the XIXth century
and that was involved with Glen Mhor
and Isle of Jura distilleries. The
whole story is there.
5 yo ‘Old Scotch Whisky’
(40%, OB, Blend, Moccia, Italy, 1970s)
Colour: full gold.
Nose: it’s funny how our mind
works. Knowing that Moccia was the
importer for the famous Glen Mhor
10yo (Valentino Zagatti’s favourite),
we do find notes of Glen Mhor! Beefy
and metallic, smoky (ham), kind of
roasted, slightly peaty and violetty…
Quite a character for sure. Mouth:
ho-ho, this is very punchy, very malty
and very ‘old-style’.
Little OBE if any but a lot of chocolate,
malt, orange marmalade, liquorice
and then a very smoky and sooty signature.
Notes of lemonade as well. Finish:
unexpectedly long, smoky, roasted
and dry. Comments: more personality
on the nose than on the palate but
it’s still very impressive 5yo
blended whisky. SGP:234 –
12 yo ‘Legacy’ (40%, OB,
Blend, for Belgium, 1980s)
Colour: full gold. Nose: very close
in style to the 5yo, maybe a tad drier
actually, and even smokier. Coal,
cigarette smoke, whiffs of warm tarmac,
cut grass… Probably a very high
proportion of malt here. Keeps developing
for a long time but switches to herbal
notes. Dried parsley, chives, coriander…
Very ‘funny’. Mouth: powerful
but maybe a tad more ‘middle
of the road’ now, malty, grainy,
chocolaty (powder) a little coffee-ish.
Hints of chestnut purée. A
UMC old blend. Finish: medium long,
still good but less interesting than
the 5. Comments: as often, the nose
was great but the palate was a little
more mundane. SGP:243 - 79
points. By the way, we’re
using exactly the same scale for malts
and for blends. We love malts, so
79 is already a very high mark for
a blended whisky.
12 yo ‘The Original’ (43%,
OB, Blend, for France, 1990s)
Colour: full gold. Nose: the profile
is similar to the older 12yo’s,
only a little less expressive and
more mineral. Also more roasted and
coffee-ish. Quite a lot of smoke again.
Mouth: less big than the 12 Legacy
and more herbal/minty as well. Notes
of green apples topped with caramel
and candy sugar. Tastes more like
a ‘regular blend’ than
its older siblings. Finish: medium
long, clean, malty and caramelly.
Comments: good blend but not really
‘involving’. More or less
in the same league as JWB and Chivas.
Interesting that smokiness decreased
a lot with the recentness of these
bottlings. The 5yo was really great.
SGP:332 - 72 points.
‘MIXED BAG’ SESSIONS
- THREE HEAVY SELLERS H2H
(45 years later...)
A deluxe tasting, wazzat? Well, it’s
just the same as a normal session
except that we add the original ads
for the whiskies we try. A weird idea?
Don’t worry, we won’t
do that too often…
Walker Black Label (no ABV statement,
OB, blend, duty free, 1960s)
Colour: gold. Nose: a rather striking
nose, starting both on camphor/turpentine
and on straight malt. The trademark
peatiness is well here after all
these years, and the whole is anything
but tired. Develops more classically
that is, on dried oranges, chocolate,
cereals and hints of old books (very
slight moisture), before it gets
finally much drier, on ‘new
newspapers’ and tea box. None
of the sweetness that’s to
be found in most modern blends.
sure it’s no big whisky but
flavourful it is. Starts on an unexpected
waxiness (very big), with also quite
some smoke, honey, straight malt and
something very oily, both in taste
and in texture. With the smokiness
it reminds us more and more of argan
oil. The development rather happens
on straight malty notes, but there’s
also quite some salt. Very good. Finish:
medium long, dry, smoky and malty,
with just a faint cardboard coming
through. Comments: great old whisky,
worth many current single malt whiskies.
SGP:344 - 85 points.
(And thank you, Jean)
Gold Label (70°proof, OB, tin
cap, early 1960s)
Tin caps ensured an almost perfect
airtightness so this should be much
closer to how it tasted when it was
bottled. Colour: gold. Nose: it’s
amazing how close to the JWB this
one is, as if both master blenders
were spying on each other ;-). Very
similar, except for a slightly bigger
smokiness in this one. It’s
also got a little more herbal notes
(hay). Well the differences should
lie on the palate. Mouth: a little
less body in this one (but maybe the
JWB was bottled at 75 or 80°proof?)
but also more resinous and spicy notes.
Hints of cloves and cardamom. Gets
then much more mineral and flinty,
dry, herbal, with even notes of chlorophyll
gums. Great whisky again, maybe a
tad narrower than the JWB but also
a little more peculiar. Maybe less
‘commercial’ in style?
Finish: medium long, saltier, still
quite dry. Notes of ale. Comments:
it’s impossible to decide between
these great old blends! The Johnnie
Walker was, say ‘fuller’,
whilst the Haig was a little more
– 85 points. (And
thank you, Patrick)
Regal 12 yo (43%,
Colour: deep gold. Nose: superb, even
if it’s no big whisky. Beautiful
notes of tropical fruits ‘ala
1968 Bowmore’, that is to say
tangerines, mangos and passion fruits,
blended with a little wood smoke,
chocolate cake, orange marmalade,
earl grey tea and old leather (polish).
Also hints of Virginia tobacco (unlit
Camel). Fantastic nose. Mouth: and
it keeps going on, drier than on the
nose but all the elements are still
there. The tropical fruits are more
discreet but there’s more smoke
and straight peat and pepper. The
middle is a tad weaker but it does
take off again after that phase. Finish:
long, half-peaty, half-malty, with
an orangey afterglow. Comments: no
we won’t try this H2H with a
modern Chivas. Because we haven’t
got any modern Chivas at hand (sssh!)
SGP:444 – 86 points.
25 yo (43%, OB, ceramic, sword handle,
this absolutely beautiful? Colour:
deep gold. Nose: extremely vegetal
and dry, totally unlike any Glenfiddich
or Balvenie we ever tried (and Kinninvie
didn’t exist at the time.) Takes
off after that but slowly, with first
a few metallic notes (aluminium pan),
then hints of citrus fruits (lemon),
then shoe polish, then fermenting
grass… Ends up by being kind
of Madeirized, not unlike an old white
wine. Strange… Mouth: yes, this
is quite flat, tea-ish and cardboardy.
Only a few notes of overripe apples
do linger on. Ha, ceramics! Finish:
almost non-existent. Comments: like
many old ceramics, this one didn’t
stand the test of time it seems. Better
to keep them unopened I guess…
SGP:120 – (useless)
‘MIXED BAG’ SESSIONS
BAG OF BLENDS FROM THE 1960s
Bannister NAS (no ABV statement, OB,
Colour: gold. Nose: typical old blend,
a tad dusty, sooty, smoky, dry and
much more nervous than current blends.
Lacks depth, that is, even if the
bottle kept very well it seems. Mouth:
good, smoky, slightly metallic, malty,
with some tropical notes (incense,
sandalwood). Notes of wild mushrooms
as well and finally hints of chestnut
crème and mocha. Lots happening
in this one! Finish: unexpectedly
long, a tad citrusy now, with a little
salt playing with the tip of your
tongue. Comments: contrarily to what
usually happens with these old whiskies,
the nose was rather indefinite and
simple but the palate was complex
and almost restless. And very good!
SGP:232 – 79 points.
V.V.O. 8 yo (no ABV statement, OB,
blend, USA, 1960s)
Colour: white wine. Very unusual colour
for an old blend. Nose: extremely
dry and very spirity, which is unexpected.
Huge flintiness, whiffs of rubbed
lemon skin, big smoke, peat, metal…
There must have been a lot of Islay
in there. Hugely different from most
old blends we could try so far (except
ver, very old ones). Mouth: same,
this is amazingly peaty, to the point
where it could be mistaken for a modern
Caol Ila - honestly! Also ultra-big
notes of lemon and quite some salt.
Whoo-hoo! Finish: ultra-long, very
peaty and zesty. I’d have never
said this was an old blend. Comments:
an amazing old blend. Too bad we haven’t
got enough time to do some research
but it would be very interesting to
check what they used to put into Martin’s
VVO forty years ago. Anyway, it’s
brilliant old blend. SGP:426
– 84 points.
Bay Best Procurable Scotch Whisky
(40%, OB, France, blend, 1960s)
So Hudson’s Bay doesn’t
come from New York? I’m falling
off my chair… Colour: deep gold.
Nose: very antique! Old furniture,
old Italian ham, cigar box, old leather,
attic, wet paper… It’s
quite pleasant but with this kind
of nose, the palate is often completely
out. Let’s see. Mouth: dead.
As flat as water - honest. Finish:
none. Comments: it’s quite interesting
that the nose kept glowing whilst
the palate went completely off-road.
As for the very unlikely
Hudson's Bay ad, well, it's just as
'unratable' as the whisky.
Buff Label (40%, OB, blend, late 1960s)
A little-known brand, at the time
connected to Aberlour I believe. This
comes from a mini. Colour: white wine.
Nose: another old-style blend, much
peatier than current blends, with
little sweetness and quite some ashes,
notes of stones, wax, linseed oil,
green apples, almonds. Dry and austere
but not unpleasant. Mouth: a tad weakish
at the attack but takes off after
two seconds, very peaty, smoky, peppery
and mineral, somewhat in the style
of the Martin’s VVO, only a
little weaker. Finish: quite short,
very dry and quite tannic. Comments:
old style indeed. SGP:234
– 77 points.
John (no ABV statement, OB, blend,
Long John used to be a heavy seller
in France when I was young (yes, not
so long ago). Colour: deep gold. Nose:
dry and tea-ish at first nosing, then
quite malty and chocolaty. Hints of
old roses, sandalwood and oranges.
The opposite of the Buff Label. Mouth:
unexpectedly punchy, malty and peaty,
dry, with also notes of bitter chocolate.
Reminds me of old versions JWRed.
Big body. Finish: quite long, still
malty, with notes of roasted peanuts.
Comments: an old bottle that kept
perfectly well. Another proof that
old blends really used to be much
peatier than today’s versions.
SGP:244 – 75 points.
Ransom 12 yo (43%, OB, blend, for
France, cube bottle, 1960s)
Colour: white wine. Nose: very different
from all the other old blends. Unusual
notes of cologne (it’s pleasant
here), furs, violets, orange liqueur
and liquorice… Very, very retro.
I’m really curious about the
palate. Mouth: very unusual again.
Violet sweets, Turkish delights, rosehip
tea, oriental pastries, orange blossom,
a little cinnamon… And, once
again, quite some peat and pepper.
Finish: medium long, even peatier,
with quite some pepper. Very peppery
aftertaste. Comments: funnily antique
and unlike any other blend I could
try so far. A style of its own. SGP:333
– 74 points.
Special Reserve (40%, OB, blend, cubic
bottle, round red label, 1960s)
An old bottling by Douglas Laing.
Colour: gold. Nose: this is fruitier
again, with quite some citrus fruits
(oranges first, then grapefruits)
as well as notes of peat once more,
metal, stones, ashes and hints of
shoe polish. Rather complex. Mouth:
it’s fairly big whisky after
all these years. Creamy, very orangey
again (pure orange juice), fresh,
getting then spicier (cinnamon and
cloves). The peat is well here in
the background. Finish: unexpectedly
long, with more pepper and straight
malt. Comments: a good example of
these super-blends that Douglas Laing
used to compose. SGP:434 –
‘MIXED BAG’ SESSIONS
BAG OF BLENDS FROM THE 1970s and
& White ‘Choice Old Scotch
Whisky’ (40%, OB, blend, France,
Colour: full gold. Nose: rather
malty, caramelly, with whiffs of
hot bread and roasted peanuts. Maybe
not the hugest personality. Mouth:
creamy, malty, peatier than on the
nose, with also notes of apple juice
and apricot pie. Gets a tad too
caramelly for my tastes after that
but it’s good whisky altogether.
Finish: medium long, sweet and smoky.
Comments: exactly what we’d
call an ‘averagely good Scotch’.
Not bland. SGP:313 –
Walker Red Label (40%, OB, blend,
Kupferberg, Germany, 1970s)
Colour: full gold. Nose: less malty
and nutty and a tad smokier. Garden
bonfire, barbecue, flowers (dandelions).
Wax. Mouth: creamier, with more flavours
and smokiness than the B&W. Very
obvious peatiness, spices, orange
liqueur, fudge and pepper. Finish:
long and peppery. Comments: Johnnie
Red used to be a big whisky. Twenty
five years of bottle ageing added
a pleasant complexity. Buy such old
bottles for cheap on eBay? Good idea!
Especially since this may well contain
some 1972 Brora ;-). SGP:324
– 78 points.
Finest (40%, OB, blend, Spirit SpA,
Italy, early 1980s)
Colour: pale gold. Nose: lighter and
much less malty and peaty than both
the B&W and the JWR. A little
more floral as well. Hints of shoe
polish and metal. Mouth: lighter body
again but more fruits (apples, oranges)
and also something pleasantly resinous.
Cough sweets. Also a bigger yeastiness.
Let’s say it’s a tad more
‘natural’. Finish: longer
than expected, and peatier as well.
More spices (pepper). Comments: another
good whisky from the old days. SGP:432
– 76 points.
Supreme (40%, OB, blend, France, 1980s)
Colour: gold. Nose: more nervous and
less polished. More leather and tobacco,
Indian spices, roasted nuts…
Also a little more cardboard. Mouth:
very punchy, starting on tinned pineapples
and apple juice, even pears, with
a good spicy backbone. Malt, pepper,
burned bread. Also a little varnish
and fruit eau de vie. Very punchy
in fact, picking up steam after a
slightly difficult middle (we observed
that many old bottles display a slight
drop in the middle of the palate).
Finish: very long, peppery. Comments:
a wilder blend, with a big personality.
Big malts in there. SGP:343
– 75 points.
Campbell 5 yo (40%, OB, blend, France,
blac oval label, early 1980s)
Clan Campbell is tightly related to
Aberlour and a big brand in France.
Colour: gold. Nose: a lot of young
malt in there it seems. Mashed potatoes,
baker’s yeast, orange juice,
passion fruit (some Bowmore?) and
green vegetables. Unusual. Mouth:
the fruitier of them all so far, with
again these Bowmore-ish notes of tropical
fruits. Pineapples, guavas…
A blend that does not taste like a
blend. No caramel and/or roasted nuts.
Finish: medium long, with even lemon
now and the smoke in the background.
Comments: well, it’s a surprise.
Good stuff, but stuff that cannot
be found these days. The French drank
all of this rare 5yo!
OB, blend, Gio Buton & Co, Italy,
I always found this bottling to be
funny, but never gotten around to
try it. Colour: gold. Nose: we’re
in mundaner territories here, at least
at first nosing. Slight fruitiness,
slight maltiness, faint smokiness…
It’s not tired at all, just
uninspiring. Apologies! Mouth: more
oomph now. Creamy body, sweet and
fruity (banana liqueur), with notes
of hazelnuts and café latte.
Quite some vanilla as well. Not bad
at all. Finish: medium long and a
little firmer, with a little pepper
in the aftertaste. Hints of cloves
and ginger. Comments: another good
one. We’ve yet to come across
a bad one in this flight! SGP:422
– 75 points.
OB, Marks & Spencer, blend, 1980s)
This one bears a blue diamond-shaped
label. Colour: pale gold. Nose: it
has obviously a larger proportion
of grain whiskies when compared with
the older blends. Now, it’s
pretty ‘noseable’, with
hints of smoke and quite some cereals
and butterscotch. A little spirity
and young, that is, this hasn’t
been maturing for long. Mouth: sweet,
grainy, slightly malty. Apples and
candy sugar with, again, hints of
salt and smoke. Finish: medium long.
Comments: it’s inoffensive but
certainly not unpleasant. Simply a
tad simple… Err… SGP:321
– 70 points.
Highland Cream (43%, OB, blend, 1980s)
As you may know, Teachers means Ardmore!
And old Ardmores can be terrific!
Colour: full gold. Nose: this one
is much more vegetal and grassy than
all the other ones. A little rubber,
then coal smoke, cut grass, paraffin,
pencil shavings, ink, peat, beer…
Very interesting but much less sexy
than the ‘teacher’ they
were using in their beautiful ads.
Mouth: now we’re talking! Fat,
big, punchy, peaty, candied, creamy…
What a beautiful attack! And then
come the lemons and the grapefruits,
together with even more peat, spices
(chilli!) and crystallised orange
zests. Impressive, very impressive.
Finish: incredibly long and peaty.
Comments: this one isn’t a blend
for nosing (but I guess no blend drinkers
spend much time nosing their whiskies)
but the palate is quite incredible.
This would send many malts back to
school – indeed!. Big peat.
SGP:435 – 86 points
Haig (43%, OB,
blend, Vibena, Portugal, 1980s)
Colour: full gold. Nose: another austere
one, extremely grassy, cardboardy,
then resinous (pine resin, mint leaves),
going on with ‘a walk in the
forest’ as dear old MJ would
have said. Moss, fern, mushrooms,
earth, dead leaves… Mouth: balance!
Nothing really stands out at the attack
but the general sensation is pleasant.
Oranges, cereals, milk chocolate,
notes of mocha, Turkish delights,
caramel… And yes, a little peat
once again. In fact, all these old
blends had quite some peat! Finish:
rather long, balanced, very, let’s
say ‘satisfying’. Comments:
simply very good Scotch. Eminently
sippable and better than many malts
in my opinion. SGP:333 –
BAG OF 12yo OLD BLENDS
12 yo (40%, OB, blend, France, 1980s)
Colour: gold. Nose: not unlike the
5yo we had before, this is very fruity,
almost Irish. Rum-soaked bananas and
pineapples, orange liqueur and custard.
Pleasant and inoffensive (wait, isn’t
that a pleonasm?) Mouth: round, sweet,
malty, candied, ‘roasted’,
with notes of fresh pastries, warm
butter and café latte. As smoooooth
as whisky can be. Finish: medium long,
clean, fruity. Comments: harmless,
and in that sense maybe not for malt
drinkers. But it’s good! Less
peat than in other blends –
the older 5yo was more impressive.
SGP:431 – 76 points.
12 yo (40%, OB, blend, late 1970s)
Aka Pinch in the US. Colour: full
gold. Nose: hey-hey! Complex, smoky,
resinous, fruity and spicy…
That is to say perfectly balanced.
Candied oranges, peat smoke, seawater,
iodine, spearmint, tobacco, old leather…
I told you, it’s very complex.
Brilliant in fact. Mouth: how rich!
Amazing presence and oomph, starting
on something like ‘resinous
oranges’ (yeah well…)
and developing on loads of various
spices and mints, lemon balm, ‘good’
marshmallows, liquorice drops and
just a tiny little bitterness that
may come from wood. Masterfully composed.
Finish: long and in the same style.
Comments: an exceptionally composed
blend. Was Stravinsky working at John
Haig’s? Now, seriously, all
true whisky lovers know that old Dimples/Pinches
were fab whiskies, but it’s
always great to be able to confirm
that. SGP:543 – 90 points.
12 yo (43%, OB, blend, dark brown
label, Barton & Guestier, France,
Well, we did put this one after the
Dimple because the ABV was higher
but maybe it wasn’t such a good
idea, after all… Colour: gold.
Nose: this is well in Ballantine’s
style – as far as we know –
that is to say floral, light and fragrant.
Cut apples, lilac, apricots and just
hints of leather polish. A little
vanilla as well, orange squash and
very soft spices. Mouth: it’s
the first time that we get so much
honey in a blend. So, we have honey
(light, like acacia or ‘all-flowers’),
apple compote, orange cake, sugared
tea (just any black tea, really) and
then he expected peatiness, rather
delicate yet firm here. Actually,
this won’t make you scratch
your head but it’s perfectly
composed. Finish: medium and a bit
more indefinite, alas. Comments: this
one did not stay coherent till the
finish but other than that it’s
good scotch. Good scotch? I wouldn’t
have thought I’d write that
one day. SGP:332 - 77 points.
12 yo Gold Seal (43%, OB, blend, black
label, France, 1980s)
I added ‘black label’
because there’s also been a
grey label. Don’t know what
the ‘gold seal’ added
to this bottling, that is. Let’s
see. Colour: gold. Nose: guess what,
it’s nicer than the ‘non-gold
seal’. For once, it starts all
on peaty and coastal notes, almost
like an Islayer. Seashells, seaweed,
plain peat smoke, wet rocks…
Then it’s rather its herbal
side that shines through (mostly pine
resin), a little camphor… An
unusual profile nevertheless, it’s
strange that a blender composed this
for the ‘general public.’
Well, we won’t complain. Mouth:
excellent. Round yet nervous, creamy,
fruity, resinous, peaty, globally
phenolic… Very, very good whisky
for sure. And the peat grows bigger
and bigger. Finish: very long, peaty,
peppery and ‘roundly’
fruity. Comments: isn’t it amazing
what a simple gold seal adds to whisky
? ;-) Seriously, this one is really
worth chasing down. SGP:344
- 86 points.
we quickly tried the ‘Grey Label’
version of the Gold Seal just to make
sure (we believe it’s more recent,
say early 90s) and even if it’s
still good whisky, it just doesn’t
hold a candle to the older ‘black
Regal 12 yo (43%, OB, blend, Corima,
France, late 1970s)
‘The’ Chivas Regal we
used to down in nightclubs while listening
to the Bee Gees. I mean, you just
couldn’t avoid the dreadful
Bee Gees at the time, could you? Anyway,
I believe it’s the first time
I try it neat (no ice, no coke, no
orange juice!) Colour: full gold.
Nose: I think this is really going
to become an ode to bottle ageing.
I mean, I tried around 5,000 different
malt whiskies so far and I believe
I ought to find any Chivas Regal totally
repulsive just because of that. Yet,
I find this very nice but indeed,
it’s now rather obvious that
it’s bottle ageing that improved
the ‘stuff’. No simple
caramelly-malty notes, rather an elegant
smokiness, notes of roasted chestnuts,
vanilla pods, old orange liqueur,
then a grassier phase (straight grass
but also ‘dry salad’ -rocket
and so on- or raw asparagus) and finally
all things leathery and ‘globally
phenolic’. I’ll spare
you the list.
very creamy, round, polished, fruity
(strawberry cake, quinces), with a
lot of vanilla (custard, cake, crème)
and oranges in all their states. There’s
maybe less peat than in other old
blends, but there’s another
kind of smokiness instead. More like
roasted nuts, dark praline and toffee,
heavy liquorice and so on. You got
it, I think this is very good. Finish:
not exactly endless but more than
sufficient (how stupid is that?) Comments:
seriously, this one isn’t quite
as brilliant as the old Dimple or
as the old Ballantine’s 12 Gold
Seal but I’m 100% positive it
got way better than it was, after
30 years of bottle ageing. Pssstt,
I think there are still quite a few
4.5l bottles flying around in Italy…
SGP:432 - 84 points.
‘MIXED BAG’ SESSIONS
Extra Special (40%, OB, blend, mid
This isn’t the 8yo version.
Colour: gold. Nose: smoky start,
rather pleasant, a tad spirity that
is. Gets then very mundane, grainy,
mashy and ‘simply’ fruity
(apples and pears). Hints of liquorice.
Mouth: weakish, caramelly, roasted,
tea-ish. This is why we’re
into malts. Finish: short. Comments:
none. Okay, drinkable. The best
part was the smoke at first nosing
(Islay!) SGP:321 - 65 points.
15 yo ‘Reserve’ (43%,
OB, blend, late 1990s)
Colour: gold. Nose: much more character
than Bell’s. Very pleasant ‘oriental’
notes, orange blossom, marzipan, orange
marmalade, cardamom… Hints of
turpentine and eucalyptus. Lychees.
Round and rather profound. Mouth:
creamy, nervous, very peculiar. Ripe
kiwis, small bitter apple, almonds,
argan oil, Seville oranges, mint drops…
Very good. Finish: it’s the
peat that does all the talking now,
and for quite a long time. Comments:
very good blend with a big personality.
SGP:343 - 78 points.
17 yo (43%, OB, blend, +/-2007)
Colour: pale gold. Nose: more vegetal,
herbal, dry and mineral. Fresh walnuts
and almonds, then pear drops and sea
breeze, farmyard, hay… The most
complex on the nose. Mouth: the creamiest
as well. Thick, resinous, phenolic,
minty. Cough syrup? Pleasant woodiness.
Finish: medium long. Green apples,
peat and resins. Comments: another
very good blend with quite some peat.
In the same league as J&B 15.
SGP: - 78 points.
12 yo (43%, OB, blend, +/-2008)
Nose: A very nice nose, rather malty
for a blend, with floral hints (mullein,
dandelions) and sultanas plus acacia
honey and buttered fudge. Mouth: smooth
and expressive but rather simple,
on notes of caramel, with quite some
tannins. Finish medium long, maltier
and gingery. The nose is much more
appealing than the palate. 68
Sark 18 yo (43%, OB, blend, +/-2008)
Nose: pleasant complexity on the nose,
with hints of peat and maritime touches,
then a little menthol and fir honeydew.
Good character. Mouth: the attack
is rather powerful, candied, on notes
of orange marmalade and ganache. Gets
bigger after a while, even fruitier
(raspberry jam). Very enjoyable but
at this price one may prefer a good
malt. 78 points.
‘MIXED BAG’ SESSIONS
GOOD BUT CONFUSING BLENDS
Spey Cast 12 yo (40%, James Gordon,
blend, late 1980s)
Exit the pure malts, this version
of G&M’s Spey Cast is well
a blend. Colour: full gold. Nose:
very malty for a blend, caramelly,
with also hints of aniseed and mint.
Coffee and chocolate. Nice nose. Mouth:
round and orangey. I mean, big orangey
notes. Muscat, vanilla fudge, apple
juice. Good. Finish: medium long,
on vanilla and orange juice. Comments:
not the full class of the older 15yo
‘pure malt’ that we had
the other day but still very drinkable.
SGP:431 - 79 points.
Calder (40%, Gordon & MacPhail,
blend, late 1980s)
Claims to be ‘from the Glenlivet
district’ but not to be a vatted/pure
malt. Colour: full gold. Nose: this
one is very ‘funny’, as
it smells almost entirely like cocoa
powder, switching to more fruits and
herbs only after a few minutes. In
the same league as the Spey Cast but
a tad bolder and better constructed.
Mouth: huge fruitiness mixed with
oak and vanilla plus a much bigger
peatiness than in the Spey Cast. Cider
apples, pepper, peat, rosehip tea,
cloves. Good body. Finish: rather
long, half-fruity, half-peppery. Comments:
a blend that’s got quite a backbone.
A lot of malt in there. SGP:433
- 80 points.
Tomintoul Special Highland Whisky
(57%, P&J Campbell, blend, early
Another strange labelling, this one
is well a blend and neither pure Tomintoul,
nor pure Highlands malt. It’s
made for the very friendly Whisky
Castle shop in Tomintoul (not to be
missed if you pass by Tomintoul).
Colour: gold. Nose: very close to
Glen Calder, only at full strength.
That is to say all on cocoa powder
and then cut grass. A little cardboard.
With water: gets much more medicinal
(tincture of iodine, aspirin) and
herbal (plain grass, green tea.) Certainly
not the kind of profile that you would
expect from a blend. Mouth (neat):
big, round and spicy. Orange marmalade
with cloves. With water: more of the
same but with even more different
fruits such as guavas and papayas
(crystallised.) Quince jelly. Very
good blend. Finish: long, round, candied
and very fruity. Turkish delights
and marshmallows with pepper. Comments:
worth trying! It’s to be wondered
if there’s any grain whisky
in there. Big whisky. SGP:543
- 81 points.
‘MIXED BAG’ SESSIONS
TWO VERY AULD
Blended 38 yo (40%, Duncan Taylor,
‘A marriage of Bunnahabhain,
Highland Park, Glenburgie, Miltonduff,
Glenlivet and Springbank with Invergordon
grain whisky’. All 38yo or more,
obviously. There’s already been
a 38yo issued in 2006 and it was rather
good but extremely woody. Colour:
gold. Nose: starts on a blast of oak
and other woods (sandalwood, cedarwood),
with an enjoyable fruitiness in the
background (Bunny and HP play first
parts here). Also whiffs of old roses,
patchouli, musk. Gets finally a tad
yeasty and ‘mishy-mashy’
(beer, baker’s yeast). It’s
a most interesting nose but this kind
of profile usually implies very tannic
palates. Let’s see… Mouth:
well, it’s not overly woody.
It’s not big, though, with kind
of a dustiness (flour, tapioca, cocoa
powder) combined with vanilla and
coconut as well as notes of very ripe
strawberries. Quite some nutmeg and
white pepper from the wood. Apple
pie with a lot of cinnamon. Finish:
medium long, sweet and dusty/spicy
(nutmeg). Comments: perfectly drinkable
but lacks a little oomph. Well, I
guess it’s inherent to this
series’ concept. SGP:331
- 78 points.
33 yo (43.4%, Duncan Taylor, Rarest
of the Rare, 750 bottles, 2007)
This one has been made using the ultra-rare
Kinclaith and Ladyburn malts plus
Glen Mhor, Glen Albyn, Glencraig (malt
made in Lomond stills) and Carsebridge
as the grain. Colour: gold. Nose:
somewhat in the same vein as the 38yo
on the nose, only less woody and more
yeasty/mashy. Not feinty, of course.
Notes of old cardboard, wine cellar,
attic (dust), then ham and even beef
stock (from Glen Mhor I imagine).
Also hints of ginger, pepper, mint
and mustard. Gets back to baker’s
yeast and fresh bread after that.
In short, a wild nose, extremely far
from what you’d expect from
a very old blend (usually more Cognac-alike).
Mouth: I would not say this is very
‘definite’, as it goes
into different directions, which makes
it a little ‘fuzzy’. Wood
extracts (including notes of ginger
and cinnamon), acidulated fruits (lemon,
green apples, kiwis), herbs (dill,
chives) and fudgy notes (and coffee,
caramel, praline…) Gets much
more coherent after a little time,
around notes of coffee liqueur and
soft spices (anise, cinnamon). Keeps
improving. Finish: rather long and
oriental (sweet and spicy). Comments:
frankly I didn’t quite like
the nose but the palate really kept
improving. Worth trying, it’s
not only a vanity bottling. SGP:441
– 82 points.
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