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Hi, you're in the Archives, December 2012 - Part 2
       

December 2012 - part 1 <--- December 2012 - part 2 ---> January 2013 - part 1

 

December 31, 2012


Whiskyfun

Introducing the
Mini-Verticales

In case you don’t know yet, which I doubt, a ‘verticale’ (or vertical tasting session) consists in trying several wines or spirits from the same brand or distillery or domain in a ascending order, that is to say from the youngest to the oldest. BTW, a horinzontale rather consists in tasting drinks of the same ages or vintages but usually from various makers, although you could try various casks from a unique distillery and from the same vintage or age and also call that a ‘horizontale’. There are two main ways of organising vertical tasting sessions, either you take ages into account, or you take vintages. In the latter case, which is my favourite because that way better showcases changes of styles, it can happen than older whisky comes first. For example, if you have Glenthis 20 yo 1990/2010 and Glenthis 15 yo 1975/1990, I’d have the former first even if it’s ‘older’ – while age isn’t linear with whisky anyway. Granted, the ideal way would be to taste whiskies from various vintages, but all of same ages and maybe even wood type. For example, Glenthat 10 yo 2000/2010, Glenthat 10 yo 1995/2005, Glenthat 10 yo 1990/2000, all from sherry hogsheads. But that’s difficult to do because you have to source the whiskies… Anyway, let’s kick things off with…

Ladder

The Mini-Verticales, today we’re tasting our 300th Highland Park

After Caol Ila and then Ardbeg, Highland Park is the third distillery to reach the ‘300’ mark on WF. Not 300 points, mind you, but 300 different expressions tasted and assessed. So we’ll have a nice bunch and then declare which one was the official 300th. We’re having them all at the same time so there’s no particular order, it’ll be up to me to decide on my favourite, which will be the official 300th. Yeah I know…

Highland Park 25 yo (52.7%, Whiskies of Scotland, 2012)

Highland Park 25 yo (52.7%, Whiskies of Scotland, 2012) Three stars and a half No vintage on these babies. Colour: amber. Nose: very nice, it seems that we’re not very far from the officials of similar age. It’s a blend of roasted nuts, honey sauce, brine, parsley, olives, malt, leather and chocolate. All that is moderately aromatic but water should help. With water: doesn’t change much but all that remains pleasant. A few meaty tones flying around (chicken soup, maybe even a little miso while we’re at it). Mouth (neat): nervous, very fruity, hinting at a finishing. Marmalade and white pepper, grape pips and bags and bags of blackcurrants. Some mint and liquorice lozenges too. Black raisins. With water: the best part if you like grapefruits and gingery oak. Pepper, ginger, cinchona, bitter oranges. Finish: medium, on more or less the same notes. Comments: it’s not particularly complex for a 25yo HP but it’s a very satisfying dram. SGP:462 - 84 points.

Highland Park 1986/2012 (54.1%, Malts of Scotland, Amazing Casks, bourbon hogshead, cask #MoS 12052)

Highland Park 1986/2012 (54.1%, Malts of Scotland, Amazing Casks, bourbon hogshead, cask #MoS 12052) Four stars and a halfThis baby was one of the stars at the Lindores Whisky Fest in Ostende. Colour: pale gold. Nose: a very interesting version, much more medicinal than the usual HPs, phenolic and mineral ala 1980s Clynelish. A lot of grass as well, linseed oil, then touches of porridge, muesli and seaweed. It’s no easy dram so far, maybe for aficionados only? With water: more toward porridge, as often. Hay, a little seawater. Mouth (neat): really big, phenolic, uncompromising, a true islander. Quite some peat and pepper, ginger, heavy herbal liqueur, touches of juniper berries, liquorice wood, grapefruits… It’s all very nervous and becomes more and more gingery and sappy. A little extreme, in a way, and certainly not your average HP. With water: more citrusy tones, more minerals, more wax. Me likes. Finish: long, with a peppery and smoky side that never stops growing. Comments: not an easy baby and certainly a worthy wrestler, with an uncompromisingly austere side. It’s a style… Maybe just a tad too intellectual? SGP:363 - 88 points.

Highland Park 28 yo 1977 'Ping No. 2' (52.3%, OB  OB for Juuls Vinhandel, cask #7959, 240 bottles)

Highland Park 28 yo 1977 'Ping No. 2' (52.3%, OB  OB for Juuls Vinhandel, cask #7959, 240 bottles) Five stars Colour: dark amber with red hues. Nose: some sherry this time, and this is just as unusual as the 1986, with these wee whiffs of fur coat, Chanel No.5 and reseda at first nosing, and then these touches of old Burgundy wine, dried mushrooms, peonies, amaretto, cherries and then the expected dried fruits from the sherry cask. Dates, figs, sandalwood, almond oil…  It’s very complex but you have to work on it a bit. Cigars. With water: I like this a lot, manzanilla-style with the Chanel flying above it again. Beautiful complexity. Mouth (neat): starts earthy/dusty, with touches of cardboard, tapioca, heavy cloves and gin from the oak. Some heavy liquorice too and then more classic dried fruits, rather dark and not too sweet. Smyrna raisins, blood oranges. High sherry content. With water: once again it’s the earthiness that comes out, together with something ‘pleasantly chemical’. Vitamin C tablets? Finish: long, more on raisins and other dried fruits. Slightly fizzy. Comments: this one likes water but careful with your pipette or your teaspoon or the fizzy side could become ‘too much’. SGP:562 - 90 points.

Highland Park 30 yo 1973/2003 (58.7%, Jack Wiebers, Old Train Line, cask #8396, 168 bottles)

Highland Park 30 yo 1973/2003 (58.7%, Jack Wiebers, Old Train Line, cask #8396, 168 bottles) Four stars and a half Colour: gold. Nose: it seems that we’re having a very herbal one, as it starts on mint and eucalyptus, with some beeswax and orange zests as well as a little paraffin. So, a great start but the parafinny side tends to grow a little too big. Lamp oil, patchouli, leather grease. With water: shoe polish and marzipan. Mouth (neat): a sharp, ultra-zesty, hyper-nervous and mega-waxy start that would waken the deadest dead. It’s most probably not to everyone’s tastes, especially because there’re also massive amounts of pepper kicking in, but what’s sure is that it’s really spectacular. Unreduced tequila. With water: grapefruits, grapefruit liqueurs, grapefruit jams, grapefruit drops and any other stuff made out of grapefruits. Finish: long, jammy, salty, with always a lot of… guess what? Peppery aftertaste. Comments: an unusual beast, much more restless than the usual 30yo HP. Exactly the kind of whisky you enjoy when you regularly taste quite a few whiskies… Although it’s very far from being perfect. Hey, who cares about perfection? SGP:373 – 89 points.

Highland Park 1955 (52.8%, Gordon & MacPhail, Cask series, +/-1985)

Highland Park 1955 (52.8%, Gordon & MacPhail, Cask series, +/-1985) Five stars The Italians (Meregali, Intertrade) had several stunning 1955s from G&M’s (all WF 93/95), so we have high expectations… This one is rather less famous, I don’t know why. Colour: full gold. Nose: it’s no whisky, it’s manzanilla and the best one. Fresh walnuts and shoe polish, no more, no less. Hits you between your eyes and you just love it – provided you love manzanilla, of course. With water: extreme smoke now, various polishes and a lot of pitch, encaustic and pinesap. Old Ardbeg? Mouth (neat): this explains why many say that Macallan and Highland Park used to make the best whiskies just after WWII. Reunites power and balance, with only three or four main flavours at first sips (say almonds, bitter oranges, honeydew and chlorophyll) and then an explosion of smaller notes, herbs, resins, dried fruits, minerals, waxes and God knows what else. Staggering. With water: you know whom to call, don’t you? There’s anything organic and anything mineral in there. Finish: extremely long, a cavalcade of sappy, citrusy, waxy and mineral tones that come and go, relentlessly. Comments: I think it’s safe to say that this baby was our preferred and certainly worthiest 300th Highland Park. What an utter beauty! SGP:564 - 94 points.

(With thanks to Kasper and Olivier)

More tasting notes Check the index of all Highland Park I've tasted so far

 

Whiskyfun fav of the month

December 2012

Favourite recent bottling:
Glenglassaugh 39 yo 1972/2012 (57.5%, OB, for Germany, refill butt, cask #2896, 516 bottles)  - WF 93

Favourite older bottling:
Bowmore 1969/1979 ‘Bicentenary’ (56.2%, OB, Fecchio & Frassa for Federico Minetti, sherry, cask #315, 300 bottles) - WF 96

Favourite bang for your buck bottling:
Bruichladdich ‘Bere Barley 2006’ (50%, OB, Kynagarry Farm, Achaba, Achfad Fields, 7200 bottles, 2012)  - WF 90

 

 

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Block Today: BLUES ROCK. Performer: Matt Schofield. Track: Siftin' Through Ashes. That's on the excellent live album 'Ten From The Road' (thanks again Nick). Please visit the website and buy the music...
 
 

December 26, 2012


Whiskyfun

SHORT RAMBLINGS (too long for Twitter ;-))
WF’s No Awards 2012
I don’t know exactly how many whiskies I’ve tried in 2012, probably between 1,000 and 1,200 (not all sessions have been published yet).

This is a wee list of the 57 whiskies bottled in or around 2012, which were worth a score of 90 or more in my book (remember, only one man’s opinions). Please note that I have many other new whiskies yet to taste - so this list is most probably incomplete - and that this is absolutely not a list of any kinds of awards.

Oscar

95 (1 whisky)

Port Ellen 32 yo 1979/2012 ‘12th Annual Release’ (52.5%, OB, 2964 bottles) A rather controversial bottling, displaying a bigger complexity and rather less raw peaty power than previous editions. If you’re into PE for the oomph and the straightforwardness, this was maybe not for you. Infuriating but kind of understandable high price.

94 (3 whiskies)

Brora 35 yo (48.7%, OB, 1566 bottles, 2012) Brilliant, but maybe the last official Brora at ‘buyable’ price?

Glengoyne 1972/2012 (55.5%, Malts of Scotland, Warehouse Diamonds, sherry hogshead, cask #MoS 12044, 254 bottles) An implacably consensual sherried wonder. I’m still looking for the tiniest flaw…
Talisker 35 yo 1977/2012 (54.6%, OB, 3090 bottles) Huge complexity and, above all, not as expensive as Port Ellen and Brora – for the same quality.

93 (4 whiskies)

Glenglassaugh 39 yo 1972/2012 (57.5%, OB, for Germany, refill butt, cask #2896, 516 bottles) I think Glenglassaugh joined the ‘Formula One’ category in 2012, with quite a few outstanding old casks.

Karuizawa 1960/2012 (51.8%, Number One Drinks, sherry, cask #5627, 41 bottles) With four casks in this list, Karuizawa stole the show in 2012 (together with Clynelish and, quite surprisingly, Littlemill).
Karuizawa 28 yo 1983/2012 (57.2%, OB, Noh Whisky, sherry butt, cask #7576, 571 bottles)
Port Ellen 1982/2012 (58.6%, Malts of Scotland, sherry hogshead, cask #MoS12017, 298 bottles) The sherry seems to have softened this stunning PE, all for the (even) better.

92 (7 whiskies)

Clynelish 1989/2012 (53.5%, Thosop by The Whiskyman, bourbon barrel, 138 bottles) It’s not a secret that I love Clynelish. These batches will reign supreme when they reach 30 or 35 years of age. Agreed, unless we drink them all in the meantime.

Glendronach 40 yo 1972/2012 (50.2%, OB, LMdW, Oloroso Sherry Butt, cask # 713, 476 bottles) The winner of the MM Awards 2012 in the Ultra-Premium category.
Glenlochy 31 yo 1980/2012 (53.1%, Signatory, hogshead, cask #3021, 164 bottles) One of the recent wonders by the excellent and refreshingly ‘unloud’ (by today’s standards) Signatory Vintage.
Isle of Jura 24 yo 1988/2012 (50.8%, The Whisky Agency & Bresser & Timmer, bourbon barrel, 251 bottles) The Whisky Agency’s wizards of malt whisky showed us that middle-aged Jura can be stunning.
Karuizawa 1983/2012 (62.1%, OB for La Maison du Whisky, cask #8597, 262 bottles)
Karuizawa 1984/2012 (64.5%, Number One Drinks, The Whisky Exchange, first fill sherry, cask #4021)
Springbank 17 yo (52.8%, OB and Ralfy.com for charity, fresh Port, 1 bottle, 2012) The coup of the year!

91 (16 whiskies)

An Cnoc 35 yo (44.3%, OB, +/-2012) Another name that attracted more light in 2012. Rightly so!

Balvenie 'Tun 1401' (50.4%, OB, batch #5, 2012) All the batches of the ‘Tun 1401’ are excellent in my opinion. An ode to multi-vintage versions – as long as they’re done by skilful people and aren’t marketing gimmicks that are just done to hide very young ages.
Caol Ila 1979/2012 (52.3%, Malts of Scotland, bourbon hogshead, cask #MoS12022, 280 bottles) Caol Ila at 30yo or more is unbeatable. Never came across a bad one (as far as I can remember) and the prices remain pretty fair. Hint, hint…
Flaming Heart ‘4th Release’ (48,9%, Compass Box, 2012) Perfect proof that John Glaser’s ideas work (one of them being that top notch malts make top notch vattings – or so it seems). There’s something Steve-Jobs-esque in Compass Box…
Glen Grant 58 yo 1953/2012 (47.9%, Gordon & MacPhail for LMDW, 1st fill sherry butt, cask #2604) The old guard at its best, there’s a lot of cachet in Elgin. I think G&M, more than anybody else, perfectly know what not to do – which is the key in these highly digitalised ages. Oh well…
Glendronach ‘Cask Strength’ (54.8%, OB, batch 1, 2012) After the 15yo Revival a while back, another statement by Glendronach. There are many single casks (yeah, 1972s) missing from this list because I still have to taste them ‘formally’, but several belong here indeed.
Glenturret 34 yo (47.6%, Berry Bros & Rudd, cask ref #2, 2012) Yes, Glenturret! Impeccable selection by BB&R – unsurprisingly.
Isle of Jura 1977/2012 (46%, OB) Jura’s going up as far as quality is concerned.
Lagavulin 1997/2012 'Islay Jazz Festival' (54.5%, OB, refill sherry butt, cask #1894, 624 bottles) It’s a gif each year.
Lagavulin 21 yo 1991/2012 (52%, OB, sherry, 2772 bottles) Comparing this baby with the older 21 is any whisky blogger’s favourite sport these days. I like the latter a little better.
Littlemill 23 yo 1988/2012 (49.3%, Archives, third release, sherry cask) These Littlemills were one of the best surprises in recent years. Why the owners never issued such casks, I don’t know…
Littlemill 23 yo 1988/2012 (52.4%, Whisky-Fässle, sherry cask)
Macduff 38 yo 1973/2012 (46.9%, The Exclusive Malts, cask #16, 213 bottles) Another great surprise. Very well done, David Stirk.
Pl1 (60%, Specialty Drinks, Elements of Islay, 2012) Another masterstroke by the good people at The Whisky Exchange. This is Port Charlotte.
Tomatin 1976/2012 (49.2%, Malts of Scotland, Angel's Choice, sherry hogshead, cask #MoS 12046) Tomatin 1976 at its best.
Tomatin 36 yo 1976/2012 (49,3%, The Whiskyman for Fulldram, 103 bottles) See above.

90 (26 whiskies)

Ardmore 1992/2012 (49.9%, The Whiskyman, 'Peat Fighting Man', 146 bottles)

Balvenie 'Tun 1401' (50.4%, OB, batch #4, 2012)
Banff 1975/2012 (43.8%, Malts of Scotland, bourbon barrel, cask #12015, 165 bottles)
Bowmore 14 yo 1997/2012 (51.8%, Whisky-Fässle, Duck Edition, bourbon hogshead)
Bowmore 1995/2012 (56.8%, Malts of Scotland, sherry hogshead, cask #MoS 12018, 225 bottles) On of these massive sherried 1995s. I haven't loved all of them, but this one, well, I have.
Bruichladdich ‘Bere Barley 2006’ (50%, OB, Kynagarry Farm, Achaba, Achfad Fields, 7200 bottles, 2012) The triumph of true artisan and terroir spirit, way beyond marketing and PR stunts. Maybe the most important bottling of 2012, in fact...
Bruichladdich 1988/2012 (54.3%, Malts of Scotland, sherry hogshead, cask #MoS 12040, 188 bottles)
Bunnahabhain 43 yo 1968/2012 (47%, The Whisky Agency, refill sherry butt, 498 bottles)
Caol Ila 1981/2012 (51.3%, Whisky-Fässle, bourbon hogshead)
Caol Ila 33 yo 1979/2012 (53.7%, The Whisky Agency & The Nectar, refill hogshead, 241 bottles)
Clynelish 1997/2012 (57%, Svenska Eldvatten, cask #5722)
Clynelish 1998/2012 (50.7%, Malts of Scotland, cask #MoS 12025, 189 bottles)
Clynelish 22 yo 1989/2012 (53.2%, Malts of Scotland, Bourbon Hogshead, cask #MoS12012, 235 bottles)
Dalmore 1990/2012 (51.8%, OB, LMdW, bourbon barrel, cask #1)
Girvan 48 yo 1964/2012 (49.5%, The Whisky Agency and The Whisky Exchange, sherry butt, 487 bottles)
Glenglassaugh 33 yo 1978/2012 ‘The Chosen Few’ (46.3%, OB, Mhairi McDonald, bourbon, 275 bottles)
Lagavulin 16 yo (43%, OB, +/- 2012) An old favourite. Remains up there despite some slight changes of style.
Limerick 24 yo 1988/2012 (56.8%, Adelphi, Irish, cask #10516, 188 bottles) Yes, an Irish! Great but pricey...
Littlemill 1988/2012 (52.1%, Malts of Scotland, sherry hogshead, cask #MoS 12028, 125 bottles)
Littlemill 24 yo 1988/2012 (54.2%, The Whiskyman, 159 bottles)
Port Charlotte 2001/2012 (63.3%, Malts of Scotland, sherry hogshead, cask #MoS 12039, 302 bottles)
Samaroli ‘Evolution 2012’ (45%, Samaroli, blended malt, cask #4, 2012) A very strange vatting of ultra-rare old malts, reasembled.
Speyburn 1975/2012 ‘Clan cask’ (55,8%, OB, sherry butt) It's absolutely great to see a Speyburn in this list. Well done!
Springbank 1998/2012 (51.5%, Malts of Scotland, sherry hogshead, 212 bottles)
Talisker 10 yo (45.8%, OB, +/-2012) The one I have in bars when there's no Lagavulin 16. Despite what some say, I think it never disappointed.
Tomatin 44 yo 1967/2012 (51.9%, Clan Denny for The Whisky Fair Limburg, refill butt, cask #HH7993)

Regarding distilleries, the three ‘winners’ are Clynelish, Karuizawa and Litlemill, with four whiskies each. Then we have Caol Ila, Lagavulin and Tomatin (three each) and Balvenie, Bowmore, Bruichladdich, Glendronach, Glenglassaugh, Jura, Port Charlotte, Port Ellen, Springbank and Talisker (two each). Of course this situation is partly related to my tastes, Clynelish is a good example of a kind of personal bias that I just won’t deny.

And yes there’s no Ardbeg. Are the Ardbeg years over? No Laphroaig either, by the way. Globally, it seems that all the old stunners by the very big names are either gone or insanely priced. The second third still seem to have some great old casks (Tomatin is just an example) but I doubt that will last. As for the third third (no names!), well they never had too many great casks anyway ;-).

What’s more, just like last year, the German bottlers and their affiliated sub-bottlers stole the show. Imagine that Malts of Scotland alone have 12 different whiskies in the list, while I do try hard to taste whiskies from all bottlers. Some of them, especially in Scotland, seem to be losing steam these days, especially the ones who have probably already sold all the great casks they used to own. It'll be easy to spot them, their names are worryingly absent from my little list, while they would have had several whiskies in a similar list in 2005 or even, say 2009.

 

Tasting a few rums and a surprise

WF will be on holidays for just a few days… Maybe only two or three days, we’ll see. But holidays mean rum from the islands…

Homère Clément 'Cuvée Spéciale' (44%, OB, Martinique, +/-2007)

Homère Clément 'Cuvée Spéciale' (44%, OB, Martinique, +/-2007) Two starsI think this rhum agricole was around 6 years old at time of bottling. I think it’s now bottled in decanters. Colour: reddish amber. Nose: very aromatic, with bags of raisins and mint, liquorice, coffee… Spearmint, eucalyptus and liquorice all over the place after a few minutes. Reseda, a little tar, pitch... This rather extravagant baby has a lot to say! After a few minutes: as if you put your head into a huge bag of liquorice allsorts. Mouth: much less interesting on the palate. Some kind of bitter oak and too much liquorice at this point. Burnt coffee, bitter oranges and heavy caramel. Finish: medium long, nicer again, on caramelised orange zests. A grassiness in the aftertaste and quite some ginger. Comments: I’m not a huge fan of this very liquoricy style, but the nose was very nice for sure. SGP:561 - around 75 points.

Neisson XO ‘3eme millénaire’ (45%, OB, Martinique, decanter, +/-2012)

Neisson XO ‘3eme millénaire’ (45%, OB, Martinique, decanter, +/-2012) Two stars Probably around 10 years old. I think Neisson are the last truly independent distillers in Martinique. Colour: amber. Nose: this is very different, it starts slightly feinty and milky, which is bizarre, and gets then much fruitier than the Clément, with more peaches for example. Some spearmint, cedar wood and then more and more vanilla from the oak. Probably less ‘commercial’ in a way, but I’m not against commerce. Mouth: it isn’t very far from the Homère Clément this time. The oak’s quite loud and slightly bitter. Sour fruits and liquorice. Finish: medium length, same profile. Something slightly soapy. A saltiness in the aftertaste. Comments: no bad shtuff in my opinion but we’re far from the stellar Neisson 1991 ‘Hors d’Age’, for example (WF 87). SGP:550 - around 70 points.

Bellevue 13 yo 1998/2011 (46%, Silver Seal, Guadeloupe)

Bellevue 13 yo 1998/2011 (46%, Silver Seal, Guadeloupe) Five stars As you know, Guadeloupe is the sister island of Martinique (which the Guadeloupeans would never admit ;-)) Guadeloupe is usually more ‘artisan’ but I think the styles are similar. Bellevue make the famous Damoiseau rhum. Colour: deep gold. Nose: more distinguished and sleek than the Clément, with these usual notes of rhum agricole but also more ‘different’ aromas such as black olives and rich honeydew. Pinesap, heavy liquorice, black raisins, raspberry jam, peonies… I loved this when I first nosed it and now I love it even more… Mouth: oh yeah, it’s another planet after the Martiniquais. Wonderful sugar cane, even a little agave, perfect toffee, mint and liquorice, bananas flambéed, raisins… Textbook rhum agricole. Finish: long, more herbal, the liquorice being louder too. Lovely. Touches of, say anchovies in the aftertaste. Comments: nearly perfect, clearly on par with the best Demeraras (yeah, and Caroni). J’adore. SGP:651 – around 90 points.

Jamaican Rum 35 yo 1977/2012 (61%, Adelphi for Paul Ullrich AG, cask #19, 211 bottles)

Jamaican Rum 35 yo 1977/2012 (61%, Adelphi for Paul Ullrich AG, cask #19, 211 bottles) Three stars These old Jamaicans are usually Long Pond. Some Jamaican rum bottled by some Scots for a Swiss importer, that's fun, isn’t it! The very high strength suggests ageing in tropical climates but that sounds strange. Colour: amber. Nose: we’re leaving the ‘agricole’ world and enter the world of molasses, which isn’t necessarily bad, mind you. This baby hasn’t got the complexity and fullness of the Bellevue – and it’s rather oakier with quite some pencil shavings and green bananas – but otherwise it’s expressive and seemingly quite complex, although water is dearly needed at such high strength. With water: little changes, so with more water (down to +/-40%): more grassy sugar cane juice, raisins and touches of honey. Mouth (neat): some kind of ultra-strong orange liqueur. With water: creamy, sweet, liqueury rum. Sultanas and maple syrup. Finish: medium long, sweet, slightly sugary. Comments: I don’t think the old age showed much, but other than that, it’s some very fine rum. Hard to say much more. SGP:640 - around 80 points.

Wait, while we’re tasting non-whiskies, why not also have something very unusual as the last ‘dram’ today?

Serbika 54 yo 1956/2011 (50%, OB, slivovitz)

Serbika 54 yo 1956/2011 (50%, OB, slivovitz) This utter rarity was distilled in Serbia from a kind of purple plum called požega?a and then aged for 54 years in oak casks. Požega?as do look like Zwetschke I must say (or Quetsche as we call those over here in Alsace). Colour: bronze gold. Nose: we’re very close to Quetsche eau-de-vie as I distil some myself every two or three years. It’s got these notes of very ripe plums, some almonds, something quite rubbery (rubber bands, for example – which is normal in these eau-de-vies) and then quite some cut grass as well as a little white wine. Maybe… Or rather grapes? With water: works. Notes of ale and sorb berries. Too bad it gets then quite sour after just a few seconds. Sour cream. Mouth (neat): it’s a strangish spirit. The plums are talking for sure but we’re closer to unaged spirit than to some oak-matured one, despite the 54 years in wood (probably very inactive). To be honest, I think most eaux-de-vie (Obstbrand) are better when aged in glass rather than wood (except sloe). With water: it’s smoother but frankly, the years don’t show too much. The spirit lacks a little precision, while precision (heating, speed, cut and so on) is obligatory when you want to distil some fine fruit eau-de-vie. Finish: medium long, always with a little rubber and these sour touches. A little green and gritty, but the aftertaste is rather nicer. Comments: makes you think of an old James Bond movie (like From Russia With Love). After all, the original Bond was Serbian and was named Duško Popov! SGP:460 - no score.

(and thank you, Herbert)

Bonus: speaking of Caroni, a brand new one just arrived after I had finished my session so let's have it too, together with another little partner that I'll try to find on my 'rum shelf'. Because remember, when tasting spirits or wine (or beer, I suppose), only comparison is reason. And why not a Demerara such as this…

Uitvlugt 18 yo 1993/2011 (50%, Silver Seal, Demerara)

Uitvlugt 18 yo 1993/2011 (50%, Silver Seal, Demerara) Four stars Apparently, Uitvlugt is to be pronounced 'eyeflat'. Uitvlugt comes from a French continuous still called a Savalle. You'll find more very interesting bits about the old Demerara distilleries and stills at rumgallery.com (http://www.rumgallery.com/el-dorado-single-barrel.html) Colour: pale gold. Nose: it's maybe not quite as classy as the Bellevue but I really enjoy this half-grassy, half-sweet nose. It's also slightly meaty, liquoricy again, then more roasted/toasted and finally more and more coffee-ish. Also some noticeable briny touches that can be found in many Demeraras in my opinion. After a few minutes: becomes grassier. With water: smoked meat and cane juice. Beef jerky? Smoked sausages? And always quite some grass, even hay… Mouth (neat): starts a little acrid and bitter, and even grassier than before. It's the opposite of a smooooth rum and I'd say it's also quite anti-commercial, in a way. Then more molasses, strong liquorice, some kind of reduced sugar syrup, burnt, err, stuff… Not the easiest rum for sure. With water: a lot of peppermint comes through now, salted liquorice… Finish: long, salty, grassy, even gamy. A lot of marzipan in the aftertaste. Comments: maybe this excellent Uitvlugt lacks a little more definition but it remains top-notch rum 'for malt lovers'. The opposite of a syrupy commercial rum (that malt lovers such as yours truly usually hate). SGP:471 - around 85 points.

Caroni 1997/2012 (61.8%, Svenska Eldvatten, Trinidad, cask #108, 114 bottles)

Caroni 1997/2012 (61.8%, Svenska Eldvatten, Trinidad, cask #108, 114 bottles) Five stars The rum is from Trinidad, not the bottler, who's in Sweden. 1997 was one of the last vintages at the now closed Caroni distillery - it was closed in 2002. Colour: amber. Nose: eminently Caroni, that is to say quite heavy, tarry and kind of phenolic/sappy. Some pencil shavings too and then a growing smokiness that reminds me of the strongest lapsang souchong teas. Spectacular nose - and it doesn't even burn at 60+% vol. With water: even more of all that. Hints of horse sweat and then even more lapsang souchong. It's all hugely tarry. Mouth (neat): perfect heavy style, totally in line with the nose. Huge concentration, massive power and always this ultra-tarry profile and even something medicinal, between camphor and bandages. Also earth, black olives… I haven't tried dozens of Caronis but I've always thought there was something 'Islay' in Caroni. This is another example. With water: smashing! It got a little sweeter and even quite raisiny but all the heaviness remains there. Sweet smoke, pine wood smoke… It's even got something of some old full-power rye. Finish: ultra-long, with a salty tang. Comments: it's a shameless beast! The Octomore of rum. Love it mucho mucho. SGP:563 - around 90 points.

More tasting notes Check the index of all Rum I've tasted so far

 

 

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Block Today: EXCELLENT PROG/PSYCHE ROCK. Performer: Marsupilami. Track: Born to be free (1971). Please buy their music...
 
 

December 24, 2012


Whiskyfun

Merry Christmas with old Glendronach!

Together with old Karuizawas, old Glendronachs stole the show again at the Malt Maniacs Awards 2012. It's a kind of Senna-Prost situation since a few years, what can we do, they're just the most consensually appealing whiskies and 100% blind tasting is implacable…Time to try the overall winner today, as well as a worthy sparring partner…

Glendronach 40 yo 1972/2012 (50.2%, OB, LMdW, Oloroso Sherry Butt, cask # 713, 476 bottles)

Glendronach 40 yo 1972/2012 (50.2%, OB, LMdW, Oloroso Sherry Butt, cask # 713, 476 bottles) Five stars Colour: deep amber. Nose: wham! An unbeatable combination of very old Sauternes, raisins, pipe tobacco, Demarara rum, prunes and, well, Christmas cake...

That was just the first layer, because many tinier aromas are well alive underneath it, including cured ham, cigars, truffle, leather polish, humus and chocolate. Ultra-classic top-notch sherry maturing without the slightest flaw.  After fifteen minutes: more pleasantly heady notes of big black raisins (and maybe dried goji berries). Mouth: powerful and hugely concentrated, starting both spicy and fruity (dried). It's appropriately extremely Christmassy, in fact. Chocolate, cloves, juniper berries, raisins, prunes, caraway seeds, dates, cardamom… It's all fantastic and strikingly fresh and heavy at the same time. High concentration. Finish: very long, with more coffee this time as well as touches of kirsch. Cloves again in the aftertaste, and big time. Comments: simply another wonder from Scotland's emblematic vintage. Vintage effects are controversial in whisky but should they exist, I think 1972 was to Scotch was 1959 was to French wine. SGP:652 - 92 points.

Glendronach 41 yo 1971/2012 (47.9%, OB, PX Sherry puncheon, cask # 1247, 529 bottles)

Glendronach 41 yo 1971/2012 (47.9%, OB, PX Sherry puncheon, cask # 1247, 529 bottles) Four stars Colour: deep amber. Nose: one would have thought this 'PX' version would have been rounder and sweeter than the Oloroso but actually, it's quite the opposite, probably thanks to a slightly higher oakiness. That also translates into more mint and eucalyptus as well as more moss, humus, mushrooms, liquorice… In short, it's rather less 'straight' and a little more tertiary, but it's just as marvellous globally. It's on the palate that this kind of profile may lose more points wrt the Oloroso, let's see... Mouth: indeed, it's a little less polished than the 1971, with more rough edges as well as unexpected notes of fresh fruits (around blood oranges). A few sour tannins, the whole becoming quite grapey. Finish: long, on blackcurrants and spices. Red wine. Comments: a superb nose but the palate got smashed by the 1972's. Maybe a death seat effect. SGP:571 - 87 points.

More tasting notes Check the index of all Glendronach I've tasted so far

 

 

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Block Today: JAZZ. Performer: Carla Bley. Track: Santa Claus Is Coming To Town. Please visit the website and buy the music...
 
 

December 23, 2012


Whiskyfun

Pre-Xmas hotchpotch 3 by 3 No. 26

Our last little pre-Xmas hotchpotch will be quite different, as we'll explore the lower end of the 100-scale again, just for fun…. All that before tomorrow's special Christmas session that should have much more cachet!

Michigan (30%, Metro, Spiritueux, France, +/-2012)

Michigan (30%, Metro, Spiritueux, France, +/-2012) Metro sell this monster for 5.50 Euros a bottle. It's not whisky, it's a mixture of 98% pure ethanol and 2% (!) imported pure malt, probably not from Scotland. Of course, it's packaged as if it was genuine whisky… Colour: gold. Lots of caramel. Nose: nothing. Well, maybe a little burnt coffee and touches of charcoal. Otherwise nada, niente, nichts, nothing, rien. In a way, that's reassuring, because nothing can't be bad, can it! Mouth: weak, burnt, caramelly, bitter. Very thin. Not only there's almost nothing happening, what 'exists' is totally unpleasant. There's also something weirdly metallic, between aluminium foil and sucking some used copper coins. Terrible stuff. Finish: there isn't any, always good news in this context. Comments: some poor cleaning agent. Not even sure 30% vol. will be enough to properly clean our windows. Having said that, there isn't any sulphur ;-). SGP:110 - 10 points.

Old Nobility (40%, Metro, blended whisky, France, +/-2012)

Old Nobility (40%, Metro, blended whisky, France, +/-2012) 6.14 Euros a bottle this time, which is in fact cheaper per degree. It's a blend of grain and malt whiskies from the USA, Canada, Germany, India and Scotland, all matured in oak. In other words, true world whisky! Colour: gold. Nose: sour wood and burnt caramel, breakfast coffee left in a heated pot until around 5:00pm, burnt bread and, well, nothing more… Yeah yeah, nobility… Mouth: oh, but this is fair! I mean, it's weak and void of any interesting flavours, but there isn't anything repulsive. Touches of malt, Guinness, toasted bread and vanilla. Thin body. Finish: very short but kind of clean. Toasted wood. Comments: well, no noble drink but we've seen and tasted worse. SGP:220 - 25 points.

Pfff, that's enough, let's rather have something more serious, much more serious…

Hazelgrove 14 yo 1998/2012 (46%, The Maltman, sherry, 331 bottles)

Hazelgrove 14 yo 1998/2012 (46%, The Maltman, sherry, 331 bottles) Two stars Hazelgrove is Hazelburn. Colour: gold. Nose: much more presence, obviously, much more malt, herbs, touches of grapefruits, a little dairy cream and yoghurt, green bananas, then more walnuts, probably from the sherry wood. It's no big nose but the way it stays close to the barley is quite pleasant. Mouth: very unusual, spritzy, lemony, with some cardboard and ginger tonic. Some kind of oak-aged gin? I already came across some of these unusual Hazelburns (but not all Hazelburns are like this one). Some bitter oak, nutmeg, bitter oranges… Finish: medium, with even more gingery/bitter tones. Lemon marmalade in the aftertaste. Comments: a fine example of an interestingly difficult malt, I'd say, very different from the otherwise very, very good other whiskies in the new Maltman's range. SGP:251 - 72 points.

 

 

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Block Today: JAZZ. Performer: Soft Heap. Track: a little gem from 1978 named Fara. Please buy their music (and Soft Machine's and so on...)
 
 

December 22, 2012


Whiskyfun

SHORT RAMBLINGS (too long for Twitter ;-))
True fun, at least!
The G-Whisky is out and you can buy it online there. It’s 12 yo single malt from Scotland and every single drop was poured over the breasts of Alexa (Playmate Of The Year 2012).

Sure the price is a bit excessive (139.00€ for 50cl) but I don’t think this funny stunt is any more pornographic that what we can see these days here and there north of Edinburgh and Glasgow. What’s more, maybe I’m being too French but as Nabokov wrote, ‘nothing is more exhilarating than philistine vulgarity.’ I’m expecting to taste the G-Whisky soon…

 

G Whisky
 

Pre-Xmas hotchpotch 3 by 3 No. 25

Hurray, the world goes on and mankind survives (so far), it seems that the bloody Mayans were wrong. Let’s celebrate with another batch of pretty rare spirits (yeah, I know, just any excuses…)

Lochside 32 yo 1966/1998 (61.2%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, #92.7)

Lochside 32 yo 1966/1998 (61.2%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, #92.7) Five stars There have been many utterly brilliant 1966 Lochside malts in the past but sadly, I don’t think I’ve seen any new ones since ages. I especially remember sister cask SMWS #92.6, that one was superb (WF 93). Colour: dark amber, this should be ex-sherry. Nose: oh yes, a huge sherry but a very elegant one, although it has something of some sherried Yamazakis, in a way (25yo). Huge ganache, raspberry jam, peonies and, yeah well, Christmas cake (don’t shoot!) But it’s just too strong to be fully enjoyed, let’s add water… With water: the only flaw is that the original spirit and its lively fruitiness just cannot make it through the massive, yet absolutely wonderful sherry. Otherwise, I’m strongly reminded of the best old Karuizawas. Stunning high-end chocolate, sweet game sauce, juicy golden raisins and blackish pipe tobacco. You get the drift… Mouth (neat): high-impact sherry and a very strong mixture, one mustn’t take more than half a drop at a time. Ultra-rich, with some European oak talking (seemingly, not too sure because the sherry’s really massive) and highly concentrated notes of bitter oranges and sugar cane. It’s got something of an old rye ala Willett, which can be seen as the last straw in this context. With water: perfect. It’s not heavy anymore, as if the distillate finally managed to have its say, and the balance is just perfect. I even seem to get wee touches of passion fruits, but I may be dreaming. Finish: extra-long, rich, fruity (dried), spicy and very chocolaty. Comments: I’m sorry I’ve quoted many other distilleries, which is a bit clumsy and lazy, but I could as well have quoted old-school Macallan. Brilliant. SGP:652 - 93 points.

Speaking of Macallan… (but let’s make a long break because the next baby will be much lighter…)

Pride of Strathspey 36 yo 1950 (40%, Gordon & MacPhail, crystal decanter, +/-1986)

Pride of Strathspey 36 yo 1950 (40%, Gordon & MacPhail, crystal decanter, +/-1986) Four stars An undisclosed single malt but the first time I tasted this old baby – without taking notes, the fact that it was Macallan inside was quite obvious. It dates from the times when G&M had lost Macallan’s license and started to bottle it under various ‘fantasy’ names such as… Pride of Strathspey. Colour: full gold. Nose: immediately very complex, with this wee smokiness that could be found in Macallan at the time and myriads of tertiary aromas, pine cone smoke, walnuts, kumquats, cigars, marzipan, old style orange liqueurs, chicken soup (just drops)… Sadly, it tends to lose steam over time, becoming a tad carboardy (there are also old books, old province library, which is nicer) but there’s also more menthol and spearmint, which is something I enjoy. In short, it’s all complex and delicate… Mouth: yeah well, maybe it lacks body and oomph now, it’s a little too ‘un-modern’ as far as the mouth feel is concerned. Having said that, the profile remains superb, fruity and tertiary at the same time, with tobacco, black tea, toasted bread, oranges, raisins and then more and more cinnamon and nutmeg from the wood. Becomes a little too drying. Finish: short and dry, its not its best part. Comments: pretty fab smoky nose but the palate is a little too dry and fragile (please note that the decanter was just opened and that the level was more than okay). SGP:552 - 86 points.

All right, just one more. We said three max, didn’t we!

Clynelish 29 yo 1965/1994 (52.1%, Signatory, sherry, cask #667, 530 bottles)

(Old) Clynelish 29 yo 1965/1994 (52.1%, Signatory, sherry, cask #667, 530 bottles) Five stars This baby from the old Clynelish Distillery that was to become Brora. Remember you’ll find the whole story there in case you’re interested and haven’t seen it yet. Independent pre-Brora Clynelish is very rare, only Cadenhead’s (plus their affiliated bottlers/importers in Italy) and Signatory have had a few in the past. BTW, I loved this baby’s devilish sister cask #666 (WF 93). Colour: gold. Nose: greatest of news, the sherry isn’t overwhelming. I haven’t got anything against heavy sherry of course but in this case, that would have been a shame because what we’re interested in is the rare spirit, obviously. In fact, we’re quite close to the official ‘12s’ cream label, with this cunning combination of all things mineral, all things waxy and all things pleasantly metallic (old garage, old toolbox, silverware and such). It’s certainly drier than ‘modern’ Clynelish, more austere than the most austere ones and quite leathery. Shoe polish, mushrooms, fino, walnuts, wax polish, moss, old cigar box…  Yes, all that jazz. With water (just drops): even less sherry wood, even more Old Clynelish. The interior of a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO (of course I’m making that up!) Mouth (neat): some would start to yodel. Extremely punchy, penetrating (I’d say), very leathery, waxy, as mineral as the most mineral Riesling and curiously ashy, not unlike an old peater. After that, more oranges and tangerines, mangos, kippers, brine… It becomes more and more coastal. With water: it’s all things salty that are coming out, oysters, olives… Fabulous. Finish: none because this whisky will remain carved in your memory forever! (that’s cheap, diving to new lows again, Serge…) Comments: one of the greatest distillates ever in my opinion. I think that all serious whisky aficionados should try to taste Old Clynelish before all bottles are gone forever. Yes that’s doable, they’re expensive but in fact ridiculously cheap in comparison to all these ugly glitzy modern bottlings that some try to sell to the wealthy uneducated for the prices of small cars. Some bottles contain 75cl of whisky but in fact they’re empty. Oh well… SGP:463 - 95 points.

(with thanks to Angus and Max)

 

 

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Block Today: FLAMENCO. They don't only make sherry in Jerez, they also make great flamenco. The best Jerezian cantaor may be José Mercé. Track: Amanecer. Please visit buy his music...
 
 

December 21, 2012


Whiskyfun

Pre-Xmas hotchpotch 3 by 3 No. 24

Three rare peaters just before the End of the World

So according to the ancient Mayans, today is the end of the world. It's all very stupid but maybe they were right? Maybe we should try a few rare wonders before the little bottles get destroyed by a huge hurricane, lava, fire, meteorites, drones, Donald Trump, tsunamis, caramel, André Rieu, earthquakes, another Spice Girls reunion, Freud, Scottish marketing agencies or any of the seven plagues of Egypt (or was it ten?)… No need to tell you that we’ll select these VERY carefully…

Mayan

Bowmore NAS ‘Bicentenary’ (43%, OB, wooden box, 1979)

Bowmore NAS ‘Bicentenary’ (43%, OB, wooden box, 1979) Five stars Why do I try this baby again? Well, this one has a story. Until very recently, all whisky lovers I knew and even some die-hard Bowmore exegetes have been thinking that all the ‘Bicentenaries’ were from the 1964 vintage, as indeed some versions used to bear ‘1964’ on their labels. Well, it seems that little aficionados do read the blurb that’s sometimes delivered with high-end bottles, as this is what I could read in the ‘letter’ that’s to be found in the wooden box of this ‘NAS’ version: “This bottle contains a vatting of the oldest stocks in the Bowmore Distillery. Some of it was distilled in 1950, twenty-nine years ago. In fact the vatting contains whisky from ten different years between 1950 and 1966 – all very rare.” Ha-ha! Colour: dark gold. Nose: even if you know this baby well, it’s always an enchantment. What’s really striking is the complexity of it all, every time you think you’ve found a particular aroma and try to put a name on it, it’s another aroma that shows up and replaces it before you’ve found that name. That happens within quarters of seconds, it’s a true aromatic blitzkrieg. Yet, I seem to have found iodine, tangerines, creosote, mangos, motor oil, kippers, Parma ham, old tin boxes… Oh well, and hundreds of other aromas. Right dozens, let’s not brag too much. An utter classic. Mouth: first, the 43% taste like 50%, at least. In fact it’s less smooth and silky than expected, it’s even sort of brutal, with a lot of salt, pickled sardines or anchovies, then more dried fruits, prunes, sultanas, crystallised papayas, cough lozenges, more salt, honeydew, strong chestnut honey, smoked fish… And a great peppery signature, with also a little nutmeg and cumin. Excuse me, but ‘wow!’ Finish: yes, sadly (I know, the most stupid joke any taster can tell after the whisky turkey and the chef who always cooks with whisky…) Comments: seriously, it’s fabulous whisky. I know, nothing new… The peat and the salt are bigger than I remembered. SGP:566 - 96 points.

Bowmore 1969/1979 ‘Bicentenary’ (56.2%, OB, Fecchio & Frassa for Federico Minetti, sherry, cask #315, 300 bottles)
Bowmore 1969/1979 ‘Bicentenary’ (56.2%, OB, Fecchio & Frassa for Federico Minetti, sherry, cask #315, 300 bottles)

Bowmore 1969/1979 ‘Bicentenary’ (56.2%, OB, Fecchio & Frassa for Federico Minetti, sherry, cask #315, 300 bottles) Five stars We already tried sister cask #322 on October 24 and loved it (WF 93) although it may have been a notch ‘below’ the regular Bicentenaries. Let’s check this other cask that was filled on the very same day and bottled at the very same strength (and for the very same Italian gentleman). Colour: gold. Nose: this is so much sharper and more mineral at first nosing, then so much grassier, earthier and more leathery. It’s not the same profile at all, this is more austere. Rocks, aspirin tablets, motor oil, manure, hay, then huge notes of camphor, the whole getting more and more medicinal. Also old car engine, dried porcinis, old very earthy pu-erh, cigars... Yeah, it’s quite fabulous so far. With water: wahouwawaouh! Mouth: ho-ho-ho! Thick and oily, resinous, salty, it really does taste like the regular Bicentenary at ‘cask strength’ – although that can’t be, obviously. Immense whisky, extremely rich and complex, with more or less everything that was in the regular ‘B’, only amplified. Nigel Tufnel’s Bowmore, no need to tell you more. With water: not sure the anti-maltoporn brigade will manage to control the situation but please call them. Finish: oh, loses one or two points here because it’s just a notch drying and bitterish. Resinous wood. Having said that, it’s endless. Comments: so same points as the regular Bicentenary, because of the finish. But otherwise, it would have been a 97 or a 98 – exactly the kind of whisky that shows you why one needs the 100-scale – but also why it wouldn’t be very smart or wise to use the higher part of it for just any cheap booze (be it local or ‘artisan’). SGP:577 - 96 points.

Okay, what could we have after those wonders? An Islayer for sure but which one? Should be a strong one or that wouldn’t work… Let’s try to find something ‘old’, of similar age and of even higher strength. In other words, a true monster such as the…

Port Ellen 15 yo 1974 (64.6%, Gordon & MacPhail for Intertrade, 300 bottles, +/-1989)

Port Ellen 15 yo 1974 (64.6%, Gordon & MacPhail for Intertrade, 300 bottles, +/-1989) Five stars I really liked a very austere and mineral 14yo Intertrade from the same vintage but that was a long time ago (WF 92). Almost 65% vol., let’s get our tissues ready… Colour: straw. Nose: the raw, brutal, unadulterated, ultra-mineral smokiness of a youngish Port Ellen from the midst of times (remember ‘modern’ PE only worked from 1967 to 1983). I must say that in a way, it’s a sharper version of a modern young Caol Ila. Oysters, ashes, coal smoke, brine and seawater. There are probably other aromas but let’s not take any chances, we’ll need our nostrils later on. With water: as expected, antiseptic, tar, fumes, soot and fresh almonds. Some kind of smoked frangipane? The coastal side got rather quieter. Mouth (neat): ma-gni-fi-cent. Extremely oily (it’s the high strength) and superbly lemony and salty. Certainly less complex than the current 30+yo PEs that generate so many shrieks these days because of their prices, but this ‘compactness’ is admirable. After a few minutes, more tar plus some herbal liqueur – or rather our beloved tar liqueur. It’s really massive. With water: absolutely perfect in its simplicity. Grapefruit marmalade, brine and a very tarry liquorice, with oysters and other shellfish in the background. Finish: hot and long. Love those candied grapefruits. Comments: a ‘peat monster’, more or less in the style of the famous Rare Malts but a tad more citrusy. Water is obligatory. SGP:448 - 92 points.

Bonus tasting (coz remember, it’s the end of the world today so quite chauvinistically, I need something very French as my very last spirit ever)…

Marc de Bourgogne 1959 (46%, Jean Michelot, 72cl, +/-1975)

Marc de Bourgogne 1959 (46%, Jean Michelot, 72cl, +/-1975) Five stars So spent pinot noir grapes that are usually de-stemmed, let fermenting on their own, then distilled twice and finally matured in oak. Michelot is a famous name in Pommard in the Côte de Beaune, the grapes themselves were probably from Pommard. Oh, and 1959 was a fabulous vintage in Bourgogne – right, not only in Bourgogne. Colour: gold. Nose: extraordinary. I’ve tried many marcs in my not-too-distant youth (I can hear you!), having studied in Dijon in Bourgogne, but I’ve never nosed something as wonderfully grassy and rounded at the same time. High-end sultanas all over the place, orange blossom water, pine or even cedar smoke, praline, Moroccan pastries, butter cream, mint-flavoured tea, a little vanilla from the oak (they never use very active oak, which is a blessing – their spirit does not need it) and then more and more moist pipe tobacco. Absolutely amazing! Mouth: marc can be rough but this one is  as smooth as silk, even if the grapiness is well there, it’s ‘obligatory’ in marc or it can become dull. So, we’re maybe not as high as with what happened on the nose, but it’s still wonderful, with some spices (cardamom seeds this time, cinnamon), apple pie, sultanas, quince jelly and then more and more liquorice, maybe from the wood. Impeccable body and strength, just what’s needed. I don’t want to sound like a French-Cancan dancer but ouh-là-là! Finish: long, very grapy and grassy now, the roundness having almost vanished. That’s typically what always happens with marcs in my experience. Comments: I know marc de Bourgogne (or any other marcs for that matter) isn’t very well known abroad but if you’re into superb aged spirits in general, you may try to find a few old ones, they’re usually quite cheap. Okay, the ones from the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti can be a bit pricey, I agree… And now, adieu! SGP:761 - 92 points.

(with heartfelt thanks to Mayan chiefs Patrick and Diego)

 

 

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Block Today: JAZZ. Performer: Duke Ellington. Track: Blood Count (Billy Strayhorn, late 1940s I believe). Please buy the Duke's music...
 
 

December 20, 2012


Whiskyfun

Pre-Xmas hotchpotch 3 by 3 No. 23

Caperdonich 18 yo 1994/2012 (53.8%, Whiskybox.de, bourbon hogshead)

Caperdonich 18 yo 1994/2012 (53.8%, Whiskybox.de, bourbon hogshead) Three stars Colour: white wine. Nose: it’s a very acidic kind of spirit, very different from the old Caperdonich that we all know. Bags and bags of green apples, lemon skin, grass and green barley. It’s even a tad ‘spritzy’ as we say in the wine world. With water: just the same. Also touches of cheese, baker’s yeast and porridge. Mouth (neat): a very tart and very sharp attack, again on a lot of green apples and lemons. Remains extremely nervous and zesty all along… Schweppes. With water: really improves this time. Sharp clean lemon juice, apple peelings and tutti frutti eau-de-vie. Finish: medium long, with more grass again. Slightly gingery aftertaste. Comments: I thought it was a little difficult until I added water, that worked very well on the palate. SGP:451 - 82 points.

Speyside 17 yo 1994/2012 (61.2%, The First Editions, cask ref #ES 019/01)

Speyside 17 yo 1994/2012 (61.2%, The First Editions, cask ref #ES 019/01) Three stars This baby’s well from the Speyside Distillery, it’s not just an undisclosed Speysider. The few I’ve tried so far have been very mundane to say the least, so I don’t have very deep hopes here… Colour: gold. Nose: well, the Caperdonich was green but this is super-green. A strange mixture of grass, hay and dry sherry, with quite some balsamic vinegar and more and more flints. I must say some parts were a little offbeat at first nosing but it does get nicer, with more notes of cigars and juicy cherries. Almost heady notes of peonies and lilies coming more to the front after a few minutes, as well as, wait, old Chardonnay? Meursault? Interesting and fun… With water: litres of porridge mixed with fruits. So rather muesli… Mouth (neat): it’s funny again. Icing sugar and grass juice, cranberries, orange squash… It’s very ‘different’. Yes that’s another word for ‘slightly unlikely’ but again, it’s fun. With water: just like with the Caperdonich, water makes wonders. It became much cleaner, with totally unexpected notes of grappa or even marc de gewurz. Finish: medium long, with more oranges and kumquats (the bitter kind). Bergamots? Comments: fun whisky, not perfect but anything but boring, which is worth quite a few extra-points in my little book – provided there are no obvious flaws, of course. SGP:541 - 82 points.

Glenlossie 27 yo 1984/2012 (57.9%, Signatory for Waldhaus am See, cask #2532, 504 bottles)

Glenlossie 27 yo 1984/2012 (57.9%, Signatory for Waldhaus am See, cask #2532, 504 bottles) Four stars Another new bottling for St. Moritz’ famous hotel. I think they’ve got the largest whisky bar in the world, by the way… And they’ve even got ‘pivate’ official bottlings such as old Bowmores or Highland Parks. If you’re ever cruising Engadine in Switzerland, don’t miss the place. Colour: full amber. Probably from a butt. Nose: coffee-schnapps at five in the morning. Well, anytime. Lots of raspberries and chocolate, coffee, roasted chestnuts and then even more chocolate. It’s very punchy so water is needed and quick… With water: becomes a little acetic and vinous. Balsamic vinegar and very old Bourgogne, Madeira… Mouth (neat): rich and sweet, extremely fruity but not quite on the fig/raisins side that’s so typically sherry, rather on red berries and grapes. Redcurrants and pepper. With water: the oranges come out, together with the pepper and a little cardamom. Stays clean and fruity. Finish: long and spicier, which is normal. And always these notes of old wine. Comments: I’m a sucker for old wines so I enjoyed this baby quite a lot ;-). SGP:652 - 87 points.

 

 

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Block Today: SOUL JAZZ. Performer: Donald Byrd. Track: Slow Drag. That was in 1967. Please buy Donald Byrd's music...
 
 

December 19, 2012


Whiskyfun

Pre-Xmas hotchpotch 3 by 3 No. 22

Bruichladdich

Bruichladdich 1991/2011 (50.1%, Berry Bros & Rudd, cask #2996) Two stars and a half Colour: pale white wine. Nose: I was expecting some kind of very fruity spirit but it's a very grassy one instead, with bags of, well, cut grass and then a little candy sugar and marzipan. Also a little corn syrup and fresh butter. All in all, it's a rather shy Bruichladdich so far. With water: very eau-de-vie-ish. Kirsch, hay and porridge, with a little vanilla and a little porridge. Mouth (neat): punchy but aromatically quite narrow, focussed on barley sugar and corn syrup. So very sweet but narrow… With water: more jams and maple syrup. Chestnut purée. Finish: medium long, all on candy sugar this time. Comments: sippable but not extremely interesting in my opinion. Maybe these casks do explain why the previous owners had to do quite some tweaking to the stock (aka finishings). Frankly, I'd have done the same. What a difference with the 2000s' distillation! SGP:341 - 77 points.

Bruichladdich

Bruichladdich 20 yo 1992/2012 (51.5%, Signatory for La Maison du Whisky, hogshead, cask #1353, 239 bottles) Three stars Colour: straw. Nose: I wouldn't say it's explosive Bruichladdich but there's more happening in your glass, although it's quite grassy too. Dairy cream, watermelon, sawdust and green bananas. With water: oh, a little something's happening! Nice touches of aniseed (ouzo-like), old books, maybe roses… Again, not extravagant (well, it sleeps) but it's pleasant. Mouth (neat): we're very close to the 1991, it's all on sugar and syrups made thereof. Some kind of distilled honey? It's actually pleasant to sip, it's just that it's not very interesting in my opinion. There's also some beer. With water: ah, now we're talking. Mind you, it's no 1972 Brora but I quite like these dried and fresh fruits. Gooseberries? Plums? Finish: medium long, mildly fruity. Some vanilla and butter pears in the aftertaste. Comments: certainly good and flawless malt whisky but there must be millions and millions of similar casks sleeping over there in Scotland. Exactly my definition of a 80-point whisky. SGP:441 - 80 points.

While we're at Bruichalddich...

Port Charlotte ‘The Peat Project’ (46%, OB, 2012)

Port Charlotte ‘The Peat Project’ (46%, OB, 2012) Three stars I know, lots of Port Charlottes on WF these days but I like them. This multi-vintage version replaces the previous 3D, Peat and An Turas Mor versions of peated Bruichladdich. Colour: pale white wine. Nose: instantly reminds me of the Bruichladdich ‘Peat’ indeed, although I think I’ve never written proper tasting notes for that one. It seems to be quite young, sooty and smoky, quite farmy, with some wet dogs (yeah, I’m sorry, dogs), raw wool, some mint and aniseed, seawater, a little lemon, wet clothes and then a growing barleyness. A farmyard near the sea. Mouth: quite good, quite creamy, between lemons, a green kind of peat smoke, barley sugar and a mix of vanilla, cut apples and liquorice. For a peated Islayer, it’s relatively light and pretty easy. The 40ppm do not show, this is rather less peaty than all three ‘monsters’ from the Kildalton coast. Finish: medium long, briny. Comments: this baby’s probably quite young on average. It’s an easy and simple peater, quite fresh, pretty undemanding and rather quaffable. Would be great on an ice cube… Next July! SGP:336 - 81 points.

 

 

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Block Today: TRADITIONAL. Performer: music that's supposed to be found on whisky websites for once, Angus Darroch. Track: Bonnie Islay. Please buy his music...
 
 

December 18, 2012


Whiskyfun

Pre-Xmas hotchpotch 3 by 3 No. 21

Mortlach 22 yo 1990/2012 (46%, The Maltman, bourbon, cask #1650)

Mortlach 22 yo 1990/2012 (46%, The Maltman, bourbon, cask #1650) Four stars I have a fondness for Mortlach but sometimes the sherried ones can be a tad strange. Let’s try this ‘bourbon’… Colour: white wine. Nose: very little oak, this is very natural and, I must say, much cleaner than expected. Burst with gooseberries and rhubarb, grapefruits, then a lot of muesli and maybe angelica. A Mortlach with a lot of presence, as usual, but no meaty/flinty (or matchsticky) notes whatsoever. Mouth: it’s very zesty, starting with a lot of lime and lemon, then more white tequila and plain grass. It’s funny how this one could be mistaken for a much lighter and much fruitier distillate, I’d even dare suggest Auchentoshan. Tangerines and limejuice with just a little candy sugar and fresh mint. A mojito made in Scotland? Finish: medium long, very clean, grassy and limy. A little pepper in the aftertaste. Comments: a Mortlach for summer that is very good in winter too. SGP:651 - 85 points.

Ardmore 20 yo 1992/2012 (49.5%, Whisky-Doris, bourbon barrel, cask #4768, 134 bottles)

Ardmore 20 yo 1992/2012 (49.5%, Whisky-Doris, bourbon barrel, cask #4768, 134 bottles) Four stars and a half Colour: white wine. Nose: less Ardmore than other Ardmores, I’d say, mainly for the fact that there’s less garden fruits and rather more wet clothes, soaked grains and grass than usual. Having said that, it remains as peaty as Ardmore can be (although I noticed that aficionados always tend to forget Ardmore when they list traditionally peated malt whiskies) and the whiffs of coal smoke and soot never stop growing. I get greengages after quite a few minutes, though. Maybe white peaches too. Mouth: a big, classic Ardmore now, with this unusually sweet peatiness. A lot of green spices too (green cardamom, fresh peppercorn) and then more and more green – or cider – apples. At the sweet fruit department, we’ll find melons as well as strawberries and oranges. Never stops improving, give it time! Finish: long, very zesty, on peated lemons. And why not? Comments: I felt a bit lukewarm at first sniffs and sips but then it really unfolded while remaining fresh and greatly sharp. Top notch Ardmore. SGP:556 - 89 points.

Peat calls for more peat… (in a tasting session). Such as this baby…

Laphroaig 13 yo 1998/2012 (60.1%, The Ultimate, refill butt, cask #700394, 716 bottles)

Laphroaig 13 yo 1998/2012 (60.1%, The Ultimate, refill butt, cask #700394, 716 bottles) Four stars and a half There are many new 1998 Laphroaigs around but I chose this one because of its pedigree. Refill sherry, 60%, a lot of bottles… That’s intriguing! (most other 1998s come from bourbon wood). Colour: amber. Nose: imagine you just opened a new pack of Werther’s Originals (of the peated kind, hint, hint.) Huge toffee and smoke plus some milk chocolate, then, very gradually, more and more Laphroaigness, between brine and antiseptic. It’s a bit hot but it seems that we have a winner in our glass… With water: evolves toward fino and vin jaune, walnuts, leather, curry powder and heaps of kelp, both dry and fresh. I’d even add Thai crab soup ;-). Mouth (neat): A-wop bop-a loo-mop, a-lop bam-boom! No, no tutti frutti, rather a very massive, almost monolithic mix of pepper, orange marmalade and cigar ashes. Absolutely huge and, obviously, not very complex. So far?... With water: a lot of salt now, salted fudge, kumquats, pepper… Excellent and, indeed, more complex although this is no lace, obviously. Finish: very long, with more pepper and more dried figs. Salty aftertaste, with a lingering peat – as they say. Comments: a big phat sherried Laphroaig that, as they also say, takes no prisoners. Spectacular. SGP:557 - 88 points.
 
PETE McPEAT AND JACK WASHBACK
PJ
PJ

 

 

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Block Today: ARABIC. Performer: Jordan's Yacoub Abu Ghosh. Track: an utterly wonderful Sama3i Sa3eed. Please buy Yacoub Abu Ghosh's music...
 
 

December 17, 2012


Whiskyfun

Pre-Xmas hotchpotch 3 by 3 No. 20

I think we’ll have more new old ones today…

Glenglassaugh 39 yo 1972/2012 (57.5%, OB, for Germany, refill butt, cask #2896, 516 bottles)

Glenglassaugh 39 yo 1972/2012 (57.5%, OB, for Germany, refill butt, cask #2896, 516 bottles) Five stars Selected by Andrea Caminneci. Colour: gold. Nose: the wonders of old refill sherry. I could stop here but as you paid dearly to come here, I guess I’ll have to deliver ;-). Well, I don’t know if it’s the vintage (1972 equals great stuff at many distilleries, which is still a kind of mystery today) but this nose is pretty magnificent and, above all, very complex. There are tropical fruits ala 1972 Clynelish, honey ala 1972 Caperdonich, a little smoke ala 1972 Ardbeg (well, quite), raisins ala 1972 Glen Grant and even some farmy, ‘organic’ touches ala 1972 Brora. Excuse me? Ah, yes, and prunes ala 1972 Glendronach – and I won’t even mention Glengoyne, or Longmorn, or... All that with due apologies to the good people at Glenglassaugh ;-). With water: extraordinary notes of a newly cut round of genuine and very fruity Swiss Gruyère. Marvellous. Mouth (neat): fantastic. It’s big, it’s just as fruity as on the nose (many topical fruits, both dried and fresh) and it’s wonderfully spicy. Zwetchke pie with a lot of sweet cinnamon. Love this. With water: this feeling of ‘rich fruit salad’ plus some mead and other honeyed tones. Passion fruits and very ripe red apricots (the sweetest ones). Finish: long, with more Xmas spices. Cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger… Merry Christmas! Comments: some observers could have thought the distillers would have ‘spent’ all their best old casks around the time when they relaunched the distillery and the brand (agreed, all the casks were old anyway). Well, all I can say is that apparently, we were very wrong. And superb selection work, Andrea! Ha, work… SGP:652 - 93 points.

And now I’m asking you, why the hell would we try anything else than other 1972s at this point???

Glen Grant 1972/2012 (54.2%, Malts of Scotland, Angel's Choice, sherry hogshead, cask #MoS 12046)

Glen Grant 1972/2012 (54.2%, Malts of Scotland, Angel's Choice, sherry hogshead, cask #MoS 12046) Four stars and a half It’s true that things won’t be easy after the Glenglassaugh… Colour: rich gold. Nose: good, there’s no real death seat effect, this baby stands on its feet and does display the expected notes of sultanas, honey cake, rum baba and roasted pineapples. It’s all pretty lovely, especially the development on sweet herbal teas (some parts coming from the wood) such as honeysuckle and chamomile and then the marzipan and maple syrup. With water: some slightly sour wood spices are coming to the front but there’s also more mint – as usual, that’s true – and I like that. Mouth (neat): the oak’s a little louder this time, that is to say that the cinnamon strikes first, together with some heavy black tea and quite some nutmeg. The good news is that a beautiful combination of citrus fruits (both fresh and cooked) and mangos are still well alive in the background. With water: the fruits get revived. Swims very well on the palate. Finish: medium long, with good balance between the tea-ness and the honeyed fruits. Comments: top notch, just the oak in the attack/arrival on the palate prevents it from fetching 90/91 in my book. The stunning Glenglasaugh might also have harmed this very excellent Glen Grant a bit, after all. SGP:661 - 89 points.

Good, we could play it safe and choose a 1972 Caperdonich as #3, but I’d rather have a go at a Longmorn, I don’t know why… Maybe because there’s this baby from last year that I haven’t seriously tasted yet?…

Longmorn 1972/2011 (53.4%, Gordon & MacPhail Reserve for Van Wees, cask #1084, 422 bottles)

Longmorn 1972/2011 (53.4%, Gordon & MacPhail Reserve for Van Wees, cask #1084, 422 bottles) Colour: deep amber. Nose: awow, classic and classy old sherry plus Longmorn between stewed apples – rather poached in red wine - soy sauce/balsamico and old style cough syrup. Add some chocolate, a few raisins, two or three prunes and that’s it. With water: that famous old rancio, very old cognac-like, juicy black raisins, fresh pipe tobacco, and prunes soaked in Armagnac. A ta santé! Mouth (neat): it’s a bit weird now. Not that it isn’t excellent but there’s some extreme liquorice and heavy coffee plus something akin to burnt plastic. How strange… Let’s see what water will do to it. With water: remains a bit strangish. There’s this bizarre note behind it, hard to describe, rather around a mix of burnt sugar, iron and ‘industrial’ orange juice (Fanta?) this time. All the rest remains stunning. Cloves, gingerbread… Finish: long, spicy. A lot of caraway, juniper, mint, liquorice… Cocoa in the aftertaste. Comments: I’m in a moral dilemma. It’s stunning whisky form first fill sherry wood and there’s only one single off-note that may simply have come from one single bottle. Bah, I’ll simply not score it, that’s all. SGP:562 – no points (that’s not zero!).

Agreed, we really need to do a large verticale of old Longmorns again, I’ll try to do that in January next year. Stay tuned…

 

Music by distillers...

Our friend Hans Offringa sent me this great review of another friend's new CD. Ah, all this friendship... Anyway a great CD that I'm enjoying a lot, not only while sipping Lagavulin (Mike was the Distillery manager a while back) - S.

Bluesmen don’t use umbrellas
by Michigan Curve

Release year:  2012
Where did that title come from? It might be straight out of frontman Mike Nicolson’s past. Having been a distiller for many years, among others at Islay distillery Lagavulin, the local weather might have inspired him.
Together with three seasoned (blues) musicians he released a 12-track-CD that catches the ear from the very first song Hard Road, tricking me into believing Mike hired Mac Rebennack, aka Dr. John The Night Tripper, as a singer. But no, it’s Mike behind the mike himself, as I learned from the crisp and informative website www.michigancurve.com.  This up tempo, somewhat funky song immediately shows the tightness of the band.

MIke
Mike Nicolson (R) with Mose Allison (L)
(Kate Kavannagh for Whiskyfun, 2005)

The next song, Prisoner of Love, has a “Rolling Stones” rock ‘n’ roll feel to it. What follows is 4th and 9th in a laid back jazzy setting, emphasised by a lingering sax solo (echoing the long finish of Lagavulin?). Track #4 Love to Burn goes rock ‘n’ roll again but with clear country influences. Show Me A Sign sounds as if a horn section is added with suddenly one false note (the only one I could detect on the entire CD) on the sax halfway, but that doesn’t interfere with the quiet setting of the song.
With Numptie Blues the band is clearly heading for Chicago, whereas Drivin’ in My Car sounds funky again.  Now I long for some real slow blues and am instantly served with J.C’s Blues. This is 100% chicken skin music and my favourite song on the album. These guys are versatile and know how to walk all the blues alleys!
Yuppie Blues returns to the rock & roll avenue, followed by Devil’s Hand, which could easily have been an up tempo Hooker riff, were it not that all material was written by Mike and/or Mr. Clements, the bass player. The latter has been forming a rhythm section with Ken Doskoch for years. Michigan Curve is completed with Andre Kaufman on solo guitar.

Song #11 is called Jesus Say and has that jazzy feeling on the crossroads where jazz meets blues. I hear a vague echo of Robben Ford. This song also exemplifies what original lyrics the band produces. They can all be found on the web site. The CD closes with Get You From Behind, with some nice breaks, underpinning the tightness of the band. Mike treats his audience on some nifty slide guitar.
I really dig this stuff. Umbrellas will be a traveling companion and “drivin’ in my car” for quite some time, never mind the weather.
Hans Offringa
Author of Bourbon & Blues and
Whisky & Jazz

Michigan Curve

Please buy Michigan Curve's album from CD Baby. After having listened to it numerous times or transferred the tracks to your iPad, you'll have the opportunity to store it on your whisky shelves next to these precious Lagavulin 21s that, if I remember well, Mike himself had distilled. - S.

 

December 16, 2012


Whiskyfun

Pre-Xmas hotchpotch 3 by 3 No. 19

Bruichladdich ‘Bere Barley 2006’ (50%, OB, Kynagarry Farm, Achaba, Achfad Fields, 7200 bottles, 2012)

Bruichladdich ‘Bere Barley 2006’ (50%, OB, Kynagarry Farm, Achaba, Achfad Fields, 7200 bottles, 2012) Five stars We’ll soon need to widen WF’s page if Bruichladdich keep coming up with long names. Seriously, how could we not applaud the amazing efforts they made around anything local, including the barley? At least, using the word ‘terroir’ makes sense at Bruichladdich. You’ll find a lot of data about bere barley on the Web, I think the only other pure bere that I could try was an Edradour by Michel Couvreur (I had thought it was an… UFO back in 2006).  Colour: white wine. Nose: we’re extremely close to the cereal, very ‘organic’, with a lot of porridgy notes, muesli, ginger, grass, branches, leaven, farmhouse loaf... And on top of all that, notes of rye whisky and Dutch genever. The farmiest nose one can find, I’d say (but its very clean). Mouth: love it. Really. First, because it’s different, and second, because it’s extremely good, wandering in other territories such as high-end mescal and tequila. Indeed, it does taste a bit of agave! Very full, very ‘neat’, perfectly chiselled, with sweet spices aplenty including caraway seeds and juniper berries. Excellent mouth feel. Finish: long, vegetal, very ‘precise’. Comments: I guess it makes a lot of sense to stay close to the cereal when you’re distilling such a rare variety. It is a huge surprise and, in my opinion, anything but a ‘vanity bottling’ or a marketing stunt. I’ll even add two or three points because of the craziness of this bottling (imagine bere gives you a yield that’s less than the half of that of classic barley!) And I’ll certainly buy some bottle(s). SGP:372 - 90 points. PS: my best bere ever ;-).

It’s not going to be easy to come after that little bere… Maybe a wild Pulteney will manage?...

Pulteney 22 yo 1990/2012 (55.2%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection, bourbon barrel, 204 bottles)

Pulteney 22 yo 1990/2012 (55.2%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection, bourbon barrel, 204 bottles) Two stars and a half Colour: straw. Nose: ever nosed grass? Well, this is grassier. I man freshly mown lawn but also fern, mint leaves, maybe chives, onions (really!) and then some clay and chalk. You said austere? With water: a few notes of plastic, which sometimes happen with these ultra-austere noses. Other than that, wet chalk… Mouth (neat): whaaam, grapefruit and lime juices plus just a little bubblegum. And grass. With water: fruitier, towards apple juice. Finish: medium long, lemony, chalky and slightly salty, with a much nicer aftertaste, quite mineral. Comments: look, you can always intellectualise anything, including any whisky, but this is quite difficult, pretty unsexy despite these nice ‘East Coast’ touches. I really liked some parts but I believe this is for extreme Highlands exegetes only… SGP:261 - 78 points.

Mortlach 20 yo 1992/2012 (55.1%, Cadenhead, sherry cask, 234 bottles)

Mortlach 20 yo 1992/2012 (55.1%, Cadenhead, sherry cask, 234 bottles) Two stars Colour: gold. Nose: bang, gunpowder and struck matches all over the place. Distinct sulphur – and I’m not the kind of guy who finds sulphur just anywhere – although we’re not on hard-boiled eggs. But black truffles, yes! Then smoked ham, earth (akin to sulphur indeed in this context) and tin box. Burnt sugar, artichokes. With water: yeah well, I have this feeling of old floor cloth now… Mould, mushrooms… Mouth (neat): the sulphury tones can be a problem on the nose, but not on the palate. In fact this is nice, very candied, raisiny, toffee-ed without being over-sweet, with also dried dates and figs, some sweet coffee, touches of liquorice and lavender sweets… With water: more candy sugar, caramel, praline… Nice. Finish: quite long, on coffee cake. Something bitterly mineral in the aftertaste. Comments: I’m sure some aficionados will love this and in theory, I could have loved it too but I think we went beyond my own limits as far as sulphur is concerned. Only talking about the nose, no need to add, the palate was really nice. SGP:373 - 73 points.

Ouch, little luck for the usually very excellent Cadenhead today but I’ve got many truly great ones (I pre-checked them!) by the same house yet to taste. I can’t wait…

 

 

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Block Today: ALT COUNTRY (maybe). Performer: Sara K. Track: Stop Those Bells. Please visit the website and buy the music...
 

December 2012 - part 1 <--- December 2012 - part 2 ---> January 2013 - part 1


 

 

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

Bellevue 13 yo 1998/2011 (46%, Silver Seal, Guadeloupe)

Bowmore NAS ‘Bicentenary’ (43%, OB, wooden box, 1979)

Bowmore 1969/1979 ‘Bicentenary’ (56.2%, OB, Fecchio & Frassa for Federico Minetti, sherry, cask #315, 300 bottles)

Bruichladdich ‘Bere Barley 2006’ (50%, OB, Kynagarry Farm, Achaba, Achfad Fields, 7200 bottles, 2012)

Caroni 1997/2012 (61.8%, Svenska Eldvatten, Trinidad, cask #108, 114 bottles)

Clynelish 29 yo 1965/1994 (52.1%, Signatory, sherry, cask #667, 530 bottles)

Glendronach 40 yo 1972/2012 (50.2%, OB, LMdW, Oloroso Sherry Butt, cask # 713, 476 bottles)

Glenglassaugh 39 yo 1972/2012 (57.5%, OB, for Germany, refill butt, cask #2896, 516 bottles)

Highland Park 1955 (52.8%, Gordon & MacPhail, Cask series, +/-1985)

Highland Park 28 yo 1977 'Ping No. 2' (52.3%, OB  OB for Juuls Vinhandel, cask #7959, 240 bottles)

Lochside 32 yo 1966/1998 (61.2%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, #92.7)

Marc de Bourgogne 1959 (46%, Jean Michelot, 72cl, +/-1975)

Port Ellen 15 yo 1974 (64.6%, Gordon & MacPhail for Intertrade, 300 bottles, +/-1989)