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Hi, you're in the Archives, December 2010 - Part 1
       

November 2010 - part 2 <--- December 2010 - part 1 ---> December 2010 - part 2

 

December 14, 2010

Whiskyfun
SHORT RAMBLINGS (too long for Twitter! ;-))

At last, serious answers to THE big question
Why do new whisky lovers drink so much less Scotch than twenty years ago, while there are so many more bottlings around?

Why Do Whisky Lovers drink less?

Laphroaig cask strength

Tasting two official Laphroaigs at cask strength

Laphroaig 10 yo ‘Cask Strength Batch 002’ (58.3%, OB, 2010) Five stars I’m not sure the CS version is the same as the regular 10, only at cask strength, but the difference between both since the mid-1990s is an ode to higher strengths, even if recent batches are maybe less stunning that the first ones. Ah, the 1-litre, duty-free bottle from around 1995! Colour: pale gold. Nose: let’s be quick (I’m also nosing an old 10 CS just now): this is much more monodimensional, more on straight, mineral and medicinal peat and much, much less on fruits. Now, I like straight, mineral and medicinal peat. It’s also very grassy. Certainly more medicinal and more ‘Laphroaig’ than the first batch of this new 10 CS. With water: more sea breeze, seaweed and wet dogs. It became sort of gentler. A little tar and rubber in the background. Mouth (neat): sharp peat, a little earthy, more lemony than on the nose, rooty and rather ‘green’. Apple peelings, fresh walnuts. With water: not really complex yet but almost perfect now. Sweeter and rounder, with a perfect balance between the peat and the ‘resinous’ fruitiness. Fresh almonds and green apples. Finish: long, clean, ‘narrow’ but quite superb. Cough syrup and pepper, with touches of cumin. Ashes in the aftertaste with a big peatiness. Comments: extreme peat for dedicated peat freaks, you need quite some water to tame this baby. Having said that, quality’s high and I feel it’s a little better (okay, okay, I like it a little better) than batch 001 from last year. SGP:268 - 90 points.

Laphroaig 25 yo 'Cask Strength' (51%, OB, 2009 edition) Three stars and a half This one was matured in ‘a combination of the finest oloroso sherry and American oak casks’. I think this ‘American oak’ mention can be misleading as most sherry casks are made out of American oak anyway if I’m not mistaken. Colour: gold. Nose: this is rather strange. Curiously herbal and vegetal (beans, cabbage), very farmy, with whiffs of wet animals (dogs, sheep – sorry both) and then big, bold notes of antiseptic, bandages and embrocations. The most medicinal Laphroaigs I ever nosed. With water: really toned down but even earthier (old pu-erh tea). Touches of ink, old papers and mud. Mouth (neat): rawer than expected from a 25yo, almost as rooty and earthy as the 10 but also more medicinal again. Cough medicine, heavy liquorice lozenges and lime. Aloe vera juice. With water: it got cardboardy and dry, water works much worse than with the 10, which is a little strange. Muddy waters! Finish: long, rather bitter, herbal and a little acrid. A little grapefruit in the aftertaste. Comments: this odd one seems to hate water, which is strange when considering the distillery’s location. This one was sitting on my shelves since quite a few months and I must say I’m slightly disappointed, especially after the excellent 10 CS. Proof that ‘the older (and the more expensive), the better’ is sometimes plain wrong. SGP:277 - 84 points.

More distillery data Our tastings: all bottlings that we tried so far
The complete distillery profile on Malt Madness

 

MUSIC - Recommended listening: speaking of Laphroaig, here's a good slice of typical 70s prog-rock with Manfred Mann's Sky High. That was on their LP 'The Good Earth' that had an interesting feature back in 1975: owners of this album were entitled to rights over one square foot of the earth situated at Llanerchyrfa, Wales. The inner sleeve included a coupon that had to be sent for registration. Sounds familiar, doesn't it? Were the good Iain Henderson or Allied's advertising agency fans of Manfred Mann? Anyway, please buy Manfred Mann's music.

Manfred Mann
 

December 13, 2010

Whiskyfun

Peaties

Tasting three recent peaties

Ledaig 10 yo (46.3%, OB, +/- 2010) Three stars Just like the new Tobermory 10, this new Ledaig is bottled at 46.3%. A funny and clever attempt at suggesting small batches or even single casks or cask strength, not unlike Balvenie or Glenfiddich usually do (or is there any other rationale behind these lowish ‘decimal’ ABVs?) Colour: straw. Nose: aromatic and very farmy, probably one of the farmiest peats these days. Many rotting fruits (nicer than it sounds!), a little manure (same comments), butter, raw leather… Changes direction after a moment, getting sootier and ashier, quite briny as well. Pickle juice? An interesting peaty one, very different from anything from Islay or the mainland – and from older Ledaigs as well. Keeps developing on smoked ham. Mouth: very unusual once again, very much on orange juice and peat smoke. Smoked oranges? There’s also a good deal of salt, kippers, lemon, more brine… It’s maybe a little ‘indecisive’ but good it is. Finish: rather long, very ashy. Very smoky aftertaste – not unlike when you’ve just smoked a double corona or three. Comments: an interesting beast, kind of the opposite of any modern sweetish and super-vanillaed whisky. I think the smokiness is bigger than in earlier young official Ledaigs. SGP:147 – 81 points.

Caol Ila 1981/2010 (46%, Gordon & MacPhail Reserve, cask #6408, 229 bottles) Three stars and a halfColour: pale gold. Nose: smoked grapefruits! Then sea water, old dry white wine (with a bit of Madeirisation), cold ashes, fresh butter, fresh almonds, tarry rope and we’re back on grapefruit. Maybe a little butyric globally. Mouth: an interesting, fairly rounded Caol Ila for a while, with a grapefruity wave arriving after a few seconds. Brine, liquorice, ashes, oysters, iodine. Not that classic! Finish: medium long, even saltier. Tequila, salt, lemon. Big liquorice wood and peppermint in the aftertaste. Some olive oil as well. Comments: an old Caol Ila with a twist, funnily tequila-ish in my opinion. SGP:266 - 84 points.

Laphroaig 2000/2010 'the ten 09' (50.10%, La Maison du Whisky, refill butt) Four stars and a half A bottling done by Signatory in a series by LMdW that’s supposed to display the ten different classic malt profiles. Number 09 is ‘Heavy Islay Peat’ and we can’t be against that, can we? Colour: straw. Nose: big phat peat indeed and a profile that’s not without remind us of some of the official 10 CSs. You know, that superb combination of smoke and ashes with touches of passion fruits and mangos. Behind all that: wet dogs of course (apologies, dogs), antiseptic and eucalyptus. Classic. No water needed it seems. Mouth: perfect young Laphroaig, nervous, wonderfully sharp, ‘chiselled’, lemony, smoky (not kidding) and only mildly medicinal. Simple pleasures. Oh, and a super-big peat. Finish: long, on the same flavours. A little gentian in the aftertaste and bags of ashes. Comments: textbook young Laphroaig. Not 90 material because of its ‘uncomplex profile’ (please don’t argue) but quite close. The peatiness is of Supernovesque levels. SGP:358 - 88 points.

MUSIC - Recommended listening: mind you, this is meant to be 1970s German Krautrock! Yet, Kraan's Buy buy (from their 1978 album Flyday) sounds much more funky and even loungy... No wonder Kraan have been so influential. Please buy their music.

Kraan
 

December 12, 2010

Whiskyfun

Glenlivet

Tasting a new official Glenlivet

Glenlivet 'Founder's Reserve 1824' (55.6%, OB, 1824 bottles, bottled 2010) Four stars and a half A bottling done to celebrate the distillery’s expansion in 2010, that included ‘an additional mash tun, six new stills and eight Oregon pine wash backs’.

Colour: dark gold. Nose: starts with whiffs of new oak and pencil shavings but nothing off-putting, quite the opposite. Classic rather creamy vanilla on top of a sweet sherriness plus quite some fudge and butterscotch. Sultanas. Rather average but in the best sense of the word, meaning ultra-classic. With water: rather more nervous, with very nice whiffs of aniseed and dill on top of a ‘farmy’ oakiness (with notes of hay). Liquorice roots and then raw pu-erh tea, with a very pleasant earthiness (and damp clay). Mouth (neat): creamy, rich, unctuous, on lemon pie, apple compote, candy sugar and custard. Midway between rich first fill bourbon and sweet sherry PX-style. Having said that, not too sure about what it really is. With water: ‘perfect’, maybe even a tad too perfect if that’s possible. Honey, stewed fruits, vanilla and sweet spices. Finish: long, creamy and honeyed, with a little cinnamon. The oak’s tannins come out in the aftertaste. Comments: it’s absolutely perfect, but it’s not a 90+ malt in my book because I think it hasn’t got what some single casks (and other larger batches as well) sometimes have: a little more personality. I don’t mean it’s boring, not at all, but maybe this perfectly perfect malt whisky lacks a little… emotion? SGP:551 - 89 points.

More distillery data Our tastings: all bottlings that we tried so far
The complete distillery profile on Malt Madness

MUSIC - Recommended listening: something superbly and freshly gipsy in Courtney Fortune's latest tune Lost In The Memory (from her CD Speak Love). Please buy Courtney Fortune's music!

Courtney Fortune
 

December 10, 2010

Whiskyfun

Glen Mhor

Tasting an old young and a recent old Glen Mhor

Oh joy! I was desperately thinking that I should try to taste less old and rare bottlings and rather focus on newish ones so that WF could become a tad more useful to its distinguished readers, when I could spot a comment on a popular whisky forum by a gentleman who was sort of saying that I should not stop tasting old glories from time to time. Thank you, that was truly balm to my heart and I mean it, especially since I have many old bottlings yet to try.

Glenmhor 10 yo (75°Proof, OB, Charles McKinlay, 1960s) Five stars Maybe this one was even bottled in the 1950s, which would mean it was distilled around war time (not during the war, mind you), certainly before Glen Mhor started to use Saladin boxes for malting, that is to say before 1954. It’s rarer than the more recent official 10yo tat used to be bottled in a Jura-style ‘pinched’ bottle. Colour: pale gold. Nose: ooooh! The old days! Graphite, brown coal, paraffin, shoe polish, metal polish, motor oil, ink (or ‘at an old printer’s’), wet gravel, mint, eucalyptus, turpentine, wet clothes, wet dogs (I’m sorry, dogs!), marzipan, clay, putty, leather, ‘new car’, lubricating oil, linseed oil… What? We haven’t gotten all day? Apologies! Mouth: stunning. Starts a little smooth, on a little cane syrup, but gets then as ‘oily’ and petrol-like as on the nose, with a lot of wax, sunflower and olive oil, bitter almonds, lightly sugared halva, mint, verbena, wormwood, aniseed, then more oil again, almond oil… Sure it’s not the punchiest whisky ever but it’s not tired at all after all these years. Amazing! Finish: maybe a bit short but clean and oily. Marzipan, mint and lemon oil. Comments: calls for maltoporn. I’d kill to be able to try this at 80 or 90°Proof (75°UK means +/-43% vol.) Now I understand why Neil Gunn seems to have said that “until a man has had the luck to chance upon a perfectly matured Glen Mhor, he does not really know what whisky is.” SGP:364 - 94 points.

Glen Mhor 44 yo 1966/2010 (49.7%, Blackadder Raw Cask, refill Sherry Butt, cask #1898, 428 bottles) Four stars and a half Amazing that the excellent people at Blackadder could still put their hand on such an old Glen Mhor! Colour: deep gold. Nose: it’s also quite amazing that this oldie shares a pretty similar profile with the old 10! Almost as austere and as much on hydrocarbons, with maybe less oils and greases and with more leather and vegetal notes (dead leaves, roots, humus). The sherriness only takes off after a while, with quite some old rancio, old walnuts, vin jaune, very old amontillado… It’s all superbly dry. Mouth: more sherry influence, more dryness and more sourness from the wood. Probably less mesmerizing than on the nose but it’s still very enjoyable, only a tad bitter like some extremely old armagnacs can be when they have spent 100 years or more in wood. Walnuts, leather, grass, herbs (rosemary, thyme), bitter caramel… Great notes of lemon marmalade in the background. Mushrooms, morels… Finish: long, herbal and a little bitter. Old walnuts galore. Comments: it’s great, great old whisky. Technically, it cannot fetch 90 in my book because of the dryness on the palate, but I think it’s wonderful that Blackadder sent this baby to the Malt Maniacs Awards 2010 while knowing that it probably wasn’t consensual enough to win gold – but hey, it still won big, fat silver! Me loves it. SGP:272 - 89 points.

More distillery data Our tastings: all bottlings that we tried so far
The complete distillery profile on Malt Madness

MUSIC - Recommended listening: only the Brazilians can make drum and bass sound as groovy as this. This time it's Vanessa de Mata who's at it with Nao Me deixe so (a few accents missing, I'm sorry). Please buy Vanessa de Mata's music!

Vanessa da Mata
 

December 9, 2010

Whiskyfun

Glen Breton

Tasting two Glen Breton

Glen Breton is distilled at Glenora Distillery in Nova Scotia, Canada. After some legal fight with the Scotch Whisky Association they finally won the right to keep the suffix ‘Glen’ and then used the outcome at length in their PR – not sure there’s also been a fight against the Bretons. Anyway, Glen Breton is neither Scotch nor Breton malt whisky, it’s well Canadian, and even ‘Canada’s Only Single Malt Whisky’ according to the label.

Glen Breton 10 yo 'Rare' (40%, OB, Canada, +/-2010) Two stars Colour: straw. Nose: typical young fruity spirit, all on pears, apples and muesli, with a slight feintiness. Faint whiffs of lilies of the valley and scented soap plus a little vanilla and ginger. Very harmless so far. Mouth: sweet, candy sugar, tea, barley and white pepper. Not much body. A little cardboard. Finish: short. Grains and just a little cider, with a rather soapy aftertaste but that’s okay. Comments: not unpleasant at all and I’m sure newer bottlings will be more interesting (how PC was that?) Good enough not to get a trash-score (<70). SGP:330 – 70 points.

Glen Breton 10 yo 'Ice' (40%, OB, Canada, +/-2010) There are also versions at cask strength as well as a 15yo. This one was matured in (Canadian?) ice wine barrels, it’s got nothing to do with Smirnoff Ice and other oddities. Colour: pale gold. Nose: a slightly grassier and woodier version, without much sweet wine notes. Touches of yogurt and asparagus, then oak and bitter almonds. Not big, for sure. Mouth: a little more happening here but these notes of cooking kirsch and caramel aren’t too pleasant in my opinion. Pears. Finish: shortish, a little bubblegummy. Oak in the aftertaste. Comments: I’m sure the version at cask strength would’ve been much more to my liking as well as the 15yo ‘Battle of the Glen’ that, according to Davin (Mr Canadian whisky), should be ‘quite good’. SGP:240 - 65 points.

Well, I feel the need to have another north-American whisky now. I haven’t got hundreds on my shelves… Wait, why not one of the latest batches of Rittenhouse’s Straight Rye? It won a World Whisky Award in 2010 and as I was a judge, I may recognise it…

Rittenhouse

Rittenhouse (100° US proof – 50%, OB, USA, Straight Rye, +/-2010) Three stars Colour: deep gold. Nose: expressive, a tad oaky and toasted at first nosing but pleasant, with notes of orange liqueur and corn syrup. Gets then more and more complex, with various dried fruits, a little mead, loads of vanilla and honey plus touches of coconut. Also whiffs of pencil shavings. Mouth: sweet, rather nervous, very fruity but not cloying, on coconut milk, jellybeans, custard and dried figs. A little liquorice as well, liquorice allsorts… Scotch drinkers aren’t used to this big sweetness but there’s enough oak and sweet spices to counterbalance it. Finish: long, more on strawberry jam and toasted brioche, then cinnamon and liquorice. Comments: not complicated but all good if you dig sweet whisky. SGP:531 - 80 points.

Hmmm… I’d still like something big, something really rich, something that’s got… er, cojones. Wait, why not an American liqueur? I’ve got some Wild Turkey liqueur on my shelves, that should do.

Wild Turkey

Wild Turkey American Honey (35.5%, OB, liqueur, USA, +/-2010) Three starsThis one is made out of bourbon and honey. I don’t know much about Wild Turkey, which is strange as it’s French-owned (Pernod-Ricard). Well, I don’t know much about Renault either. Colour: pale gold. Nose: it’s funny, it smells much more of orange liqueurs such as Cointreau or Grand-Marnier (but it’s nicer than Cointreau or Grand-Marnier so far). Unless they’ve used orange blossom honey? There’s also a little raw alcohol, then hints of pine sap and cough medicine and even a little humus. Rather complex for a liqueur. Mouth: good attack, rich, very sweet but not quite sugary, more on honey than on oranges this time. The bourbon manages to shine through, which is quite amazing. Quite some vanilla as well. Finish: long, a little hot, maybe a little fat at this stage.

Wait, we had this baby at room temperature, maybe it’s rather supposed to be sipped on ice? Let’s add a cube and see what gives… (coming back soon)… Right, the nose became drier, much more on ginger, tobacco and gin, whereas the palate became creamier, the oranges being back and the honeyness being much more obvious. Comments: excellent if you like your drinks sweet (sometimes), but it’s dangerously drinkable, especially on ice. SGP:930 – 82-ish points (yes, I really liked it).

Better stop this session now or we’ll have Drambuie, Glayva and Southern Comfort. This will remain under control!

MUSIC - Recommended listening: some very delicate Nordic jazz with the Tord Gustavsen Trio playing Graceful Touch (indeed!) Superb minimalism, extremely clever. Please buy the Tord Gustavsen Trio's music.

Tord Gustavsen
 

December 8, 2010

Whiskyfun

Dewars

Tasting two 12yo blends by Dewar’s

Let’s do another of these supposedly ‘funny’ (well, I have fun!) sessions where we’ll oppose some very old bottling to a newer version of a brand or distillery. This time it’ll be two blends by Dewar’s, a very old ‘Victoria Vat’ from around WWII bearing a spring cap and Dewar’s newish 12 yo ‘Double Aged’.

Dewar's 12yo 'Double Aged' (40%, OB, +/- 2010) Two stars and a half Double aged? Does that mean that the regular Dewar’s are six years old? Colour: gold. Nose: very nice, mildly smoky at first nosing, with whiffs of hot toasts, then quite some candle wax and light honey, butterscotch, orange cake, vanilla fudge… An obvious smokiness stays there hile the whole moves towards more leafy and slightly tea-ish notes, rather drier. More and more on fresh walnuts. Very pleasant nose, very well composed. One cannot not think of the best batches of Johnnie Black here. Mouth: nice but not in the same league anymore, I’m afraid. Simpler, maybe a tad weakish, lacking depth and fruits… Not bad at all but a tad dry, too much on toasted bread and herbs for my taste. A little corn syrup. Having said that, it’s still one of the very good blends in my opinion and I’m sure a version at 43% vol. would be much more ‘satisfying’. Finish: short and rather thin. Same comments! Comments: an almost perfect nose! A blend to nose? That’s rather new to me. SGP:242 - 77 points.

Dewar’s 12 yo ‘Victoria Vat’ (86.8° US proof, OB, spring cap, 1940s) Three stars and a half Not quite sure what ‘Victoria’ was referring too. Was it ‘victory’ in wartime? Was it Queen Victoria? What’s sure is that this was a top of the range bottling. It’s a version for America, bearing the line ‘by appointment to the late king George V (who died in 1936, so this is definitely post-1936). ‘Victoria Vat’ was the new name of the earlier Dewar’s ‘Ne Plus Ultra’ version and I think they replaced it with Dewar's 'Ancestor' in the early 1950s. Colour: amber/brownish. Nose: we aren’t that far from the new one here, as this old one starts with quite some walnuts and an obvious smokiness. Roasted chestnuts, coal, soot, pencil lead, leather… There is some OBE, a rather sooty one actually. Cider apples, peeling, a little tar… I must say this one lacks a little depth and smoothness but let’s not forget it’s been in its bottle for almost 70 years! Mouth: it’s not really punchier than the new one but this VV has valid excuses! Smokier, sootier, more honeyed as well, with also more cough medicine, liquorice, a wee saltiness… Becomes more cardboardy after a while, which is kind of normal after all these years. What’s sure is that it’s oilier and more phenolic than the new 12. Finish: a tad short again but pleasantly roasted and tarry. Glazed chestnuts (well, marrons glacés). Comments: more than in the malts, I think it’s in the old blends that one will find the biggest differences with Scotland’s current production. This one was a very good example. SGP:353 - 84 points.

You know what? What would be interesting would be to compare the VV with the regular 8yo ‘White label’ from the same era, that is to say the one bearing the very same ‘late king George V’ mention. Okay, let’s do it…

Dewars 8

Dewar’s 8 yo ‘White Label’ (86.8° US proof, OB, spring cap, 1940s) Three stars and a half Colour: bronze-ish. Hmmm… Nose: there might have been a little metal contamination from the cap here, much more than in the Mackie’s we had the other day anyway. That’s the problem with these old bottles, they were usually sold lying in wooden cases, not standing, and any long storage in that position maybe have caused metal ‘contamination’ from the spring caps – but usually no leakage! So, what do we have here? Some slightly sour metallic notes and something slightly vinegary (or stale cider-alike) but all what’s beyond that is quite beautiful, with an obvious sherry, apples, mead and indeed quite some smoke. Not really peat but coal and wood, no doubt. Very curious about the palate now…

Dewars 1942

Mouth: right, touches of metal (silver spoon) but also more oomph than in the VV, more roasted nuts, sherry, liquorice, ham, dried beef, honey, mint… It’s close to the VV in style, only with more oomph and, sadly, more iron. Finish: medium long, smoky and honeyed, with a metallic signature. Comments: rating this one differently from the VV wouldn’t make any sense, the bottles’ conditions being crucial with these antiquities. In truth, not sure rating them makes any sense at all. SGP:353 - 84 points.


<- Old ads can be very useful for finding out when an old whisky's been bottled. This ad ran in 1942 and as you can see, both 'our' 12yo Victoria Vat and 8yo White Label were featured, both with their spring caps.

MUSIC - Recommended listening: warning, geniuses ahead! This blew me away, imagine the Swingle Singers meet Robert Wyatt... And sing WF favourite Maria Schneider's finest!!! They're Julia Dollison and Kerry Marsh and they're doing the great bandleader's Sky Blue (it's on their fab CD Vertical Voices). Please buy ten copies of the CD!

Julia Dollison
 

December 7, 2010

Whiskyfun

Glentauchers

Tasting one old Glentauchers

There are quite a few youngish Glentauchers around but not many older ones. To tell you the truth, I never tried such an old one so I’m very curious…

Glentauchers 35 yo 1975/2010 (47.3%, The Whisky Agency, bourbon hogshead, 189 bottles) Five stars Colour: straw. Nose: quite beautiful! It’s one of these old style very ‘natural’ malts without much oak influence but with these flinty and waxy notes that I enjoy quite a lot. I wouldn’t say it’s very sexy, to say the least, but it’s very elegant with these whiffs of graphite oil, rubbed lemon skin and freshly cut grass. Let’s see whether a few drops of water will unleash more fruits… With water: nope. Even more austere and grassy. Mouth (neat): excellent combination of lemon liqueur with peppermint oil and bitter almonds. Maybe not very complex but it’s perfect – exactly my kind of profile. With water: a thicker body, with notes of sunflower oil and always quite some lemon. Beautiful notes of bitter herbs (and wormwood). Grapefruits. Finish: long and beautifully bitter. Grapefruit skin. Bitterness can sometimes be off-putting in whisky but this time it’s an asset, clearly. Comments: it’s maybe not state-of-the-art malt whisky but any whisky lover who would already own many bottles may buy one of these (same with the Glenallachie by the same bottler) because of its uniqueness, which is worth no less than 90 points in my wee book. SGP:372 - 90 points.

Convalmore

By request: tasting an old Convalmore

With barely ten Convalmores tasted so far, this closed distillery is almost terra incognita to this humble taster. Let’s enhance our Convamore mileage by 10% in one go!

Convalmore-Glenlivet 30 yo 1977/2007 (61.6%, Cadenhead) Four stars and a half Colour: gold. Nose: of course it’s punchy and powerful but a deep creaminess and bags of vanilla manage to come through despite the high strength. There’s also quite some nutmeg and touches of overripe apricots, with something pleasantly sourish. With water: a little closer to raw barley for a while, with also quite some muesli, grass and soured cream. Then more damp papers and notes of herbs such as chives, green tea and finally distant whiffs of tarmac and bandages. Definitely old style! I like this. Mouth (neat): powerful of course but also very zesty and sweet, with a very oily mouth feel. Almost some lemon pie! Nice notes of fructose or icing sugar playing with your tongue. With water: the oak got bigger but it’s a playful one, delivering a very pleasant spiciness. White pepper, hints of kummel, chamomile tea, wax… Less zestiness now but it’s still fresh and rather ‘nervous’. Finish: rather long, more on grass, ginger and herbs, with touches of lime and leaves in the aftertaste. Sorrel? Comments: a typical slightly unsexy but fairly profound old style malt whisky. The good old days… I like mucho! SGP:362 - 88 points. (and thank you, Steven!)

 
PETE McPEAT AND JACK WASHBACK

MUSIC - Recommended listening: this is History, Mike Bloomfield and Buddy Miles' Electric Flag playing Howlin' Wolf's Killing Floor in 1968. It's Lyndon Johnson who's talking in the first seconds. Please buy Electric Flag's music.

Electric Flag
 

December 6, 2010

Whiskyfun

Tasting four Ts

Four T

Tamdhu 8 yo (40%, Gordon & MacPhail, MacPhail Collection, +/-2010) Three stars and a half It seems that G&M are willing to push their old MacPhail Collection again. Good idea, especially since they were always very fairly priced. Colour: straw. Much less caramel than in earlier batches of this collection. Nose: indeed, this is much closer to the grains and malt. Some porridge, muesli, lager beer, liquorice roots, then hints of freshly cut potatoes, some tobacco and just touches of shoe polish before some sultanas and a little pine sap come though. Surprisingly complex at just 8 years old. Mouth: good attack, not weak, on orange drops and barley sugar, but the middle is much weaker, with a rather abrupt fall. Too bad, it started excellently! Finish: short but not non-existent. Phew! Some lemon marmalade, wine gums and a little mapple syrup. Calvados in the aftertaste. Comments: Tamdhu’s a classy malt, we all know that, and this young expression is just another proof. At 45 or 46%, it would have been a winner in my opinion but at 40%, it’s a little… how shall I put it? Yes, irritating! SGP:430 - 83 points.

Tobermory 10 yo (46.3%, OB, +/- 2010) Three stars Tobermory 10 used to be a rather difficult dram ten years ago or so and I never quite liked it (WF70). Time to check if this new expression has improved. Colour: white wine. Nose: it has improved! No more cardboardy, sour and slightly dirty-ish notes, rather a profile that’s very clean, slightly smoky (is there a bit of Ledaig inside?), a little waxy (paraffin, lamp oil) and quite grassy. Notes of green apples and a little soot. Mouth: fruitier and maybe a tad ‘dirtier’ now, with a little cardboard and ‘old’ porridge but otherwise it’s all fine, straight, slightly honeyed, with some cider, beer and almond oil. Something roasted as well (sunflower seed). Finish: medium long, a little more on corn syrup. Faint dustiness in the aftertaste. Comments: excellent progress in my opinion, especially the nose is most enjoyable. SGP:362 - 80 points.

Tomintoul 12 yo Portwood Finish 'Limited Edition' (46%, OB, +/- 2010) Two stars and a half Tomintoul, the ‘gentle dram’, is advertised as being a ‘Speyside Glenlivet Single Malt Scotch Whisky’ on its label. Sounds very 1960s, doesn’t it. Colour: salmony. Nose: porridge and strawberries plus touches of wet rocks. Some tea as well. Well… Mouth: fatter and more coherent than in the nose, and not as bubblegummy as I had feared. Cranberry juice, muesli, green bananas and ale plus a little brown sugar. Finish: medium long, with something ‘greener’. Apple peeling, walnuts. Comments: a very all right dram, maybe not very inspiring but nicely made. We’ve seen Port finishes that were much worse. SGP:431 - 78 points.

Tomatin 21 yo (52%, OB, casks #31648 to 31654, 2400 bottles, +/- 2010) Four stars Colour: gold. Nose: it’s not an ueberfruity Tomatin such as the old ones that we enjoy so much, it’s rather an austere one, grassy and vegetal, that displays unexpected notes of vegetables such as artichokes or asparagus beyond quite some vanilla. I know that sounds unlikely but it’s actually very nice, not only because it’s ‘different’. Very straight grassiness. With water: becomes extremely flinty, almost chalky. Whiffs of leaven, then fresh parsley. Again, quite unusual but I like this a lot. Mouth (neat): much more sweetness than in the nose and a great creaminess. Coconut, vanilla, marzipan, sap, black raisins (suggests sherry)… All good! With water: gets slightly thinner but the profile is quite perfect, more or less on the same notes than when undiluted. Finish: medium long, with hints of ginger and nutmeg that suggest rather active American oak. Comments: very, very, very good. What else can I say? SGP:551 - 86 points.

 

Canadian whisky awards
Davin de Kergommeaux, our Canadian compadre, just published the results of the first Canadian Whisky Awards, an independent, non-profit operation. Very useful if, like me, you don’t know much about Canadian whisky and would like to start to delve deeper. Check all the winners at canadianwhisky.org

MUSIC - Recommended listening: some loungy but nice electronica today, with Tadashi Yabe and Raphael Sebbag aka the United Future Organization and their Sixth Sense. Please buy the United Future Organization's music.

UFO
 

December 4, 2010

Whiskyfun

Phylloxera

Malternatives: tasting three pre-whiskies for the weekend
(let’s get hyster… I mean, historical!)

Pre-whiskies? Well, if you’ve ever read a good book about the history of Scotch or attended a masterclass where the engaging Richard Paterson was waving a giant plastic bug, you already know that the rise of Scotch whisky occurred because of an American insect called Phylloxera vastatrix that ravaged the French and European vineyards during the second part of the 19th century.

At the time, both the English and the Scots (at least in the cities) used to quaff cognac as if there was no tomorrow and the rustic Scotch whisky was mainly consumed where it was produced: in the Highlands. Phylloxera vastatrix was first spotted in Cognac in 1872 and by 1895, it had destroyed 85% of the vines, causing a severe blow to the cognac industry. The Scots, in the meantime, had built no less than thirty new distilleries and Scotch simply started to replace cognac in many British pubs, clubs and households. In other words, Scotch became the new cognac. Now, what’s also quite interesting is the fact that pre-phylloxeric cognacs used to be distilled out of the high quality but fragile grape called ‘folle blanche’, while the post-pylloxeric cognacs were and are still made out of the more robust but more mundane ‘ugni blanc’, which is the main variety that was replanted after the devastation. Today, ugni blanc represents 97% in cognac.

Cognac

Anyway, I’ve always wanted to do a vertical session with some pre-phylloxeric cognacs, especially after having read what the good people at Finest & Rarest have written (‘pre-phylloxera cognac has a unique quality, not found in modern cognacs’), and now’s the time! Please note that all three original bottles have been opened one week ago so that the very old spirits could breathe a bit before tasting.

AE Dor

A.E. Dor Hors d’Age ‘Réserve N°9’ (40%, OB, +/-1985) Four stars and a half Amédée Edouard Dor (A.E. Dor) started to collect casks of cognac in 1858 and, as some independent whisky bottlers do today, let them further mature at his own place until they were deemed ready. Then he decanted some of them into demijohns that were sealed with wax, some of these demijohns still existing today in A.E. Dor’s ‘paradise’. According to the company’s website, the Réserve N°9 comes from demijohns that were filled in 1964 with Grande Champagne and Fins Bois that had aged for one whole century in oak casks, which should make them pre-philloxeric indeed. This one is an older bottle but A.E. Dor still does new bottlings of the Réserve N°9, under a slightly different label. It’s to be noted that the ABV is natural, as no water has been used at times of filling or bottling.

AE Dor Paradis

A well known picture: A.E. Dor's paradise

Colour: deep amber. Nose: doesn’t this smell… young? There’s some varnish and even hints of nail polish remover at first nosing, which was certainly unexpected. It all gets rather smoother after a little breathing, with distinct notes of strawberry syrup and something like orange blossom water and even rosewater. It’s rather sweet globally, not too far from some old sherried malt even if it’s less grapy. Gets then more and more complex, with added layers of tobacco-like scents, smoked tea, roasted nuts (pecans, yes, pecans!), old rancio (de rigueur in old cognacs!), walnuts, sugar cane and finally these whiffs of menthol and pine sap that are to be found often in very old golden spirits. Again, what’s surprising is the relative absence of grapiness or vinosity in this old cognac. Beautiful nose! Mouth: it’s tad rougher at this stage and the rancio is bigger, hinting at old walnuts and Madeira. You have to like this style, I believe true Cognac Maniacs do. It’s kind of fino-ish, slightly leathery, maybe a tad too tannic for my taste but still beautiful. I’m sure it’s state-of-the-art cognac, but I don’t believe all whisky lovers would fall in… love with this one. Finish: shortish, nutty and slightly leathery/cardboardy. Notes of Madeira again in the aftertaste, with even a wee saltiness and a dry tarriness. Comments: as much as I love all old golden spirits, I remain, first and foremost, a whisky enthusiast and while this nose was fantastic, the palate was a little less convincing. But it’s still a very great old spirit, mind you! SGP:362 - 88 points.

Last minute: I’ve seen that unofficial sources (websites) claim that it’s a 1914 vintage instead. I tend to rather believe the official websites and yes, of course, I tried to email the company but they haven’t replied yet. When you own Napoleonic cognacs, why bother answering stupid emails (or blogs or forums)? So pre-phylloxeric indeed or not? I’ll keep you posted.

Rouyer

Rouyer, Guillet & Co 1865 (No ABV, Cognac Grande Fine Champagne) Five stars The house Rouyer Guillet was founded in 1801 in Saintes. It had large vineyards and, at some points, 37 stills (albeit much smaller ones than Scottish-style pot stills)! The name was big in the 19th century and very successful in the UK. Today, the distillery is dismantled but the brand still exists, even if it seems that it’s lost a bit of its lustre. Not too sure when this 1865 was bottled, maybe around 1920? What’s sure is that the driven cork was in great shape.

It is to be noted that I opened the bottle using a ‘double-blade opener’ (not sure how you call this in English) and I urge you to do the same whenever you want to uncork a very old bottle of spirit or wine, as any corkscrew will simply wreck an old cork, even when it’s in good shape like this one.

Bilame
Colour: dark amber. Nose: sweet Jesus! It’s the greatest old rum I’ve ever nosed! Yes, I wrote rum. So much ‘resinous’ honey (rather honeydew), sugar cane, maple syrup, pine needles, fresh mushrooms (brand? Say boletus), fern, banana skin, cigar humidor, pipe tobacco, prunes, sultanas, coffee, coal smoke… Better stop here or I’ll quote Merriam-Webster’s complete works.

This nose is utterly s-t-u-n-n-n-i-n-g, absolutely not oldish and certainly not tired, quite the opposite. To tell you the truth, I don’t think many Scotches – or rums, or calvados, or armagnacs, or other cognacs - could compete with this utter beauty. It’s not spirit, it’s a miracle. Mouth: it’s Puccini’s Missa di Gloria. At times quiet and whispering and at times roaring with mint liqueur, bananas flambéed, walnut liqueur (Nussswasser!), toffee, khakis… It’s really fantastic, even if the ABV’s probably around 36 or 37%.

Rouyer

Gets more and more resinous and sappy, mainly on cough medicine. Finish: not really long, of course, but amazingly firm, and fading out very slowly and not as abruptly as many ‘short’ spirits. Leaves touches of grape skins in the aftertaste.

Comments: a surprise, really a surprise. The nose was totally out of this world, it lets you touch the stars and be on familiar terms with the angels. The palate was more than great but, as expected, a tad less mesmerising because of its probable low strength. SGP:462 - 95 points.

Stills
Rouyer Guillet's old stillhouse

Bisquit

Bisquit Dubouché & Co 1830 (No ABV, Cognac Grande Fine Champagne) Five stars Another name that used to be big in the 19th century and during the first part of the 20th century, especially in the UK where this magnificent little bottle came from. Imagine what was happening when this one was distilled… In the US, it’s the Indian Removal Act; Louis-Philippe replaced Charles X (a Bourbon) as the King of France; the first regular railway in the world was in function between Liverpool and Manchester and Belgium became independent from the Netherlands (but will that last!)

The Bisquit Dubouché brand name still exists even if it’s now little known, I’ve just seen that they won commendations at the International Spirits Challenge 2010 (ha, awards!) I’m not quite sure about the current links between Bisquit Doubouché and the famous Bisquit brand but in the old days, Bisquit was one of the brands of Bisquit Dubouché. By the way, the appellation ‘Grande Champagne’ means that the grapes came only from the two ‘1er Crus’ of Cognac, which are Grande Champagne and Petite Champagne. This old appellation ‘Grande Fine Champagne’ means that the grapes came only from the Grande Champagne, hence the right to use the words ‘Fine Champagne’ as well. Of course, nothing to do with the region of Champagne where the famous bubblies are made.

Mucha
Poster by Alfons Mucha for Bisquit Dubouché, late 19th century.
Colour: even darker amber. Nose: oh no, it’s another stunner. Maybe it hasn’t got the 1865’s immediate in-your-face brilliance and maybe it’s just a tad more, say ‘aromatically narrow’, but these whiffs of forest after the rain, moss and mushrooms, coated with some milk chocolate, mocha and long-forgotten orange liqueur are absurdly beautiful. And I love these hints of old leather, horse sweat, old steel (old guns) and pipe tobacco…

‘Finishes’ with more candy sugar and, just like the 1865, quite some honeydew. Excuse me, but ‘wow again’. Mouth: look, this was distilled 180 years ago and it’s fantastically fresh, curiously bolder than the 1865, rather grapier as well and more on brown sugar and blackcurrants, rather reminding me of some very, very old armagnacs that I could taste in the past. There’s some mint liqueur, Corinthian raisins, a little orange juice (another flavour that was unexpected), notes of blackcurrants, blackberries and in the end touches of grape skin/pips. It’s probably got something a tad more ‘rural’ than the Rouyer and it could have been a very old Calvados as well at this point (notes of cider). Finish: medium long, longer than the 1865, more and more on old calvados, with obvious notes of overripe apples in the aftertaste. Comments: it’s not spirit, it’s a journey. Quality is extremely high after all these years and it just wouldn’t let you not think of all what was happening almost two hundred years ago. I hope I’ll be able to taste a 1811 next year, that’ll be the ultimate session! (tasting the Year of the Comet, two centuries later!) SGP:551 - 93 points.

Charles X, king of France until 1830 ->

Bisquit
Charles X

Oh and lastly, just one word about a slightly famous whisky writer who once wrote about a particular Aberlour, as I just remembered: “It is sold primarily in France, and one can assume only that this is God’s way of making amends for that pretentious, over-rated, caramel-ridden rubbish called Cognac they’ve had to endure for the last couple of centuries”. Sure only little men are afraid of little writings, as Beaumarchais once said, but instead of using a four-letter word, I’d reply that maybe there’s quite some caramel in some cognacs (just like in some Scotch), but there’s one thing which is really different indeed: at least cognac makers aren’t allowed to mature their spirits in just any kind of oak cask. By law, they can only use new oak or oak that had previously contained cognac. Oh, and let’s not forget that according to some old Scotsmen, some of the best malts used to be enhanced with cognac in the old days! ;-)

(With heartfelt thanks to Mike, Nick and Olivier
for having made this session possible.)

WAIT!

There’s something bothering me, how would some current high-end cognac compare with the oldies we just had? Aren’t these stories around folle blanche only a myth? What was the importance of bottle maturing in these stunning old cognacs? There’s only one way to find out: trying a current cognac of high quality. Let’s check what I have at hand…. Right, how about a…

Paradis

Hennessy ‘Paradis Extra’ (40%, OB, +/-2010) Four stars One of the most famous ‘above XO’ cognacs by today’s largest cognac house, Hennessy. The word ‘extra’ doesn’t mean anything, it’s most probably the same quality of cognac as the earlier ‘Paradis’ version. It’s composed with many vintages, some being very old (but as in similarly composed Scotches, probably only a few drops of them are involved) and said to be around 30 years old on average. Retails at around 350-450 Euros.
Colour: amber, a little redder than the oldies. Nose: hey-hey, this baby almost stands the course! Granted, it’s a tad rougher around the edges, less polished and certainly more grapy than the oldies, but it’s far from being ridiculous. We have more varnish, more red berries, more straight orange marmalade and more… cognacness.

It isn’t really complex but it’s perfectly balanced and I think it avoided any excessive smoothness. In short, very nice nose that, if you dig comparisons, reminds me a bit of the older Macallans 18yo. Mouth: it’s more difficult now. More power for sure but also more sugariness, which makes it a tad both dull and turgid after the magnificent oldies. Don’t get me wrong, it’s high-end spirit, it’s just that instead of adding it to this session at very last minute, I’d rather have had it first. Orange liqueur, sweet ginger, grenadine and old sweet wine. Little rancio, but rancio there is. Finish: medium long, rather clean. Some honey. Comments: maybe I didn’t do this one justice. I’ll try it again in the future, with more fitting i.e. easier company. SGP:541 - 85 points.

Have a nice weekend!

MUSIC - Recommended listening: while we were in 1830, let's listen to Gaetano Donizetti's Anna Bolena: Act 2 sung by the fabulous duet Jennifer Larmore and Hei-Kyung Hong. Anna Bolena was premiered in Milan in... 1830. Please buy all these people's music.

Donizetti
 

December 3, 2010

Whiskyfun

Glendronach 1972

Tasting the Winner

Glendronach 38 yo 1972/2010 (49.5%, OB, Taiwan Import, Oloroso Sherry butt, cask #700, 241 bottles) Five stars This baby won both Gold at the Malt Maniacs Awards 2010 and our Non-Plus-Ultra-Award in the Ultra-Premium category, which simply means that it’s the entry that we collectively liked best out of the 262 candidates.

Colour: mahogany. Nose: deep sherry, all on prunes and raisins, with also heady flowery notes (peonies) that make it rather unusual for a sherry monster. Very faint whiffs of struck matches, the whole becoming then gradually meatier with, I swear, notes of jamon iberico (pata negra). Mouth: vibrant and, once again, rather unusual, leathery and meaty, starting on many old liqueurs including gingery ones. Also notes of lemon squash in the background, flints and mint flavoured smoke (right, Kool). Other than that, it’s a ‘traditional’ sherry monster that’s rather more complex than most ‘traditional’ sherry monsters. Very nice notes of milk chocolate, also blackcurrant jam. Finish: long, with the mentholated part growing bigger. Also more leather again in the aftertaste. Comments: all very good in my opinion, and pleasantly singular, not the ‘average’ old sherried malt. Very well selected by our Taiwanese friends! And goes well without water. SGP:552 - 90 points.

 
PETE McPEAT AND JACK WASHBACK

MUSIC - Recommended listening: French jazz vocalist Monique Hutter sings L'homme de ma vie est un artiste with Daniel Huck on saxophone. BTW Daniel Huck just played extremely well at Eddy Louiss' 50th anniversary gig. Please buy Monique Hutter and Daniel Huck's music.

Monique Hutter
 

December 2, 2010

Whiskyfun

Mackie

Tasting Malt Mill. Almost.
(so you wanted more blends! ;-))

We’ve published the results of the Malt Maniacs Awards yesterday and yes, you’ll soon find tasting notes for many of them on WF, not to mention the whiskies I had already tried before. Last Saturday was also our private D-Day event here in Alsace that followed a wee 50th birthday party I had thrown on Friday. Sadly, I could only invite a few whisky buddies and have probably ruffled a few feathers by doing so. To tell you the truth, I had planned not to even mention those events publicly but I did one small mistake (nah, I'll do it again): invite a talented whisky blogger and friend (not a MM, rather a young Scotsman now known as ‘The Sponge’ all over Alsace ;-)), who started to do just that… blog about the events and the liquids that I poured. Yes he had asked permission and yes, I didn’t say “no”, but what a mad digital world, let’s beware of young bloggers ;-)!

Anyway, time to resume our much quieter tasting sessions but instead of trying newish bottlings just now, let’s rather be more anoraky and assess a very rare old bottle that had been sitting on my shelves for a long time and that I decided to crack open during that Friday party. It's...

... Mackie’s Ancient Brand! What’s that? It’s the ‘American’ version of a blend that was either named ‘Mackie’s Ancient Scotch’ or ‘Mackie’s Ancient Brand’ and that used to be bottled and sometimes exported by White Horse. The base malt of this rare blend was Malt Mill on Islay, founded by Peter Mackie in 1908 and which used to be on the site of Lagavulin Distillery before both were merged in the early 1960s. Let’s have a look at both the UK and the USA versions, you’ll notice that the UK version does indeed mention ‘Malt Mill’, here as the home of White Horse Distillers, while the version for America rather mentions White Horse Distillers in Glasgow.

Mackie

The UK version did bear a twist cap whilst the US version had a spring cap, which makes the latter even more interesting as spring caps were praised and known by distillers (and whisky lovers alike) as virtually airtight, which means that the whisky should be almost as it was seventy years ago, when it was bottled. The levels in such bottles bearing twist caps (or driven corks) are usually well into the shoulders whereas the level of this spring cap version was roughly at the base of the neck, which suggests almost no evaporation, if any. But enough babbling, let’s try the whisky!

Mackie’s Ancient Brand (86.8 US Proof, OB, blend, spring cap, White Horse Distillers, USA, bottled around WWII) Five stars Colour: olive oil. The spirit had attacked the thin layer of cork inside the cap and a bit of metal must have dissolved into the whisky, imparting this greenish colour that can also sometimes be found in casks that had been patched using nails (remember the green Springbanks?) Nose: it is the peatiest blend I have ever tried, it’s even peatier than the famous and all-excellent White Horses with Lagavulin inside that also used to bear spring caps. It’s a very maritime kind of peat (fisherman’s nets), also coated with notes of honey, sultanas and figs. What’s really striking is the freshness of all this and the relative absence of old bottle effect, even if there is something very faintly metallic indeed, maybe from the rusting cap. Keeps developing on leather grease, candle wax, saltpetre and finally rather big notes of old herbs liqueur. Tarragone chartreuse, anyone?

Mouth: wow, the power of it! We’re used to quietened old blends, this is completely different. There’s some olive oil (that we already found in the… colour), some pepper, a lot of nutmeg, a lot of roasted chestnuts, a lot of eucalyptus (cough medicine), a lot of tar and a level of peatiness that’s more or less equal to a 10yo Talisker’s, if you see what I mean. Finish: surprisingly long but rather bitterer now. Peppermint galore, thyme, tar, grass, aloes… Comments: it’s hard to stay calm, there was quite possibly more than 50% Malt Mill in this baby, or maybe a little less, we’ll probably never know. Given Malt Mill’s rarity – and Sir Peter Mackie’s grandeur as a whisky maker and seller – this one had to be stellar. And it was. SGP:375 – 92 points. Apologies.

Peter Mackie
Sir Peter Mackie ->
PETE McPEAT AND JACK WASHBACK

MUSIC - Recommended listening: Jean-Luc Ponty plays FZ's King Kong. That was on 'King Kong: Jean Luc Ponty Plays The Music Of Frank Zappa, which was recorded in 1969, when Jean-Luc Ponty was joing Zappa's band. Please buy Jean-Luc Ponty's music.

Ponty
 

December 1, 2010

Whiskyfun
SHORT RAMBLINGS (too long for Twitter! ;-))

The results of the Malt Maniacs Awards 2010 are out!
Phew, it’s been a hard work this year, with more samples to taste than anticipated - despite some harder attempts at limiting the number of entries per bottler - and a few judges who simply couldn’t make it.

Yet, we made the deadline, with eleven dedicated judges who sampled 262 whiskies each (while we had despatched exactly 3,950 undisclosed sample bottles all over the world, on our own expenses and time!)
These are the main results only:

12 GOLD MEDALS (4.5%)

Glendronach 38yo 1972/2010 (49.5%, OB, Taiwan Import, C#700, 241 Bts.)
Longmorn 1964/2010 (45%, Gordon & MacPhail for LMdW, C#1034)
Macallan 1970/2010 (46%, Gordon & MacPhail for LMdW, C#10031)
Karuizawa 32yo 1977/2010 'Noh' (60.7%, Number One Drinks, C#4592, 190 Bts.)
Karuizawa 1975/2010 (61.8%, OB for LMdW, Cask #6736, Imported by LMdW)
Glengoyne 37yo 1972/2010 (57%, The Perfect Dram, Refill sherry wood, 220 Bts.)
Kawasaki 'Ichiro's Choice' 1982/2009 (65.4%, OB, Refill Sherry Butts, LMdW Import, 668 Bts.)
Glenfarclas 40yo (46%, OB, Bottled +/- 2010)

MMA
Caperdonich 37yo 1972/2010 (53.4%, Duncan Taylor Rare Auld, C#7420, 136 Bts.)
Glen Scotia 33yo 1977/2010 (57%, A. D. Rattray, Sherry Hogshead, C#985, 195 Bts.)
Karuizawa 32yo 1976/2009 'Noh' (63%, Number One Drinks, Sherry Butt, C#6719, 486 Bts.)
Port Ellen 'Pe2' (59.5%, Speciality Drinks Ltd., Bottled +/- 2010)

22 AWARDS (8.4%)

Glendronach 38yo 1972/2010 (49.5%, OB, Sherry C#700, Taiwan)
Caperdonich 37yo 1972/2010 (53.4%, Duncan Taylor Rare Auld, C#7420)
Macallan 1970/2010 (46%, Gordon & MacPhail for LMdW, Sherry C#10031)
Dalmore 26yo 1981 Amoroso Sherry finesse (42%, OB, 484 Bts.)
Port Ellen 'Pe2' (59.5%, Speciality Drinks Ltd., Bottled +/- 2010)
Glenfarclas 40yo (46%, OB, Bottled +/- 2010)
Kawasaki 1982/2009 'Ichiro's Choice' (65.4%, OB, LMdW, 668 Bts.)
Clynelish 27yo 1982/2010 (59,8% The Nectar Daily Dram)
Kavalan 'Solist' (58.2%, OB, Sherry C#S060703018, 569 Bts.)
Ballechin '#5 Marsala Cask Matured' (46%, OB, Bottled 2010, Peated)
Octomore 5yo 'Orpheus Edition 02.2' (61%, OB, Bottled +/- 2010)
Highland Park 12yo 'Saint Magnus' (55%, OB, +/- 2010, 11994 Bts.)
Lagavulin 16yo (43%, OB, Bottled +/- 2010)
Talisker 10yo (45.8%, OB, Bottled +/- 2010)
Aberlour 'A'bunadh' Batch #30 (59.8%, OB, Bottled +/- 2010)
Kavalan 'Concertmaster' Port Cask Finish (40%, OB, Bottled +/- 2010)
Longrow 'CV' (46%, OB, Bottled +/- 2010)
Bunnahabhain 12yo (46.3%, OB, Bottled +/- 2010)
Ledaig 2005/2010 (62.7%, Berry Brothers, C#900008)
Bunnahabhain 8yo 2001/2010 (54%, The Whisky Agency, Oloroso, 180 Bts.)
Karuizawa Distillery, Japan (as a whole)
Amrut Distillery, India (as a whole)

To read the whole list and to find out about which won what as well as all the Silver and Bronze medals, please go to maltmaniacs.org


November 2010 - part 2 <--- December 2010 - part 1 ---> December 2010 - part 2


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

 

 

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

Bisquit Dubouché & Co 1830 (No ABV, Cognac Grande Fine Champagne)

Glendronach 38 yo 1972/2010 (49.5%, OB, Taiwan Import, Oloroso Sherry butt, cask #700, 241 bottles)

Glenmhor 10 yo (75°Proof, OB, Charles McKinlay, 1960s)

Glentauchers 35 yo 1975/2010 (47.3%, The Whisky Agency, bourbon hogshead, 189 bottles)

Laphroaig 10 yo ‘Cask Strength Batch 002’ (58.3%, OB, 2010)

Mackie’s Ancient Brand (86.8 US Proof, OB, blend, spring cap, White Horse Distillers, USA, bottled around WWII)

Rouyer, Guillet & Co 1865 (No ABV, Cognac Grande Fine Champagne)