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Hi, you're in the Archives, February 2011 - Part 2
       

February 2011 - part 1 <--- February 2011 - part 2 ---> March 2011 - part 1

 

February 28, 2011

Whiskyfun

Black Bull

Tasting one new old and one old young blended Scotch

Black Bull 40 yo Batch 2 (41.9%, Duncan Taylor, Blended Scotch, 957 bottles, 2011) Five stars This is the new batch of Black Bull 40, batch 1 having been magnificent in my opinion (WF 91). But warning, batch 1 used to contain no less than eight malts including Springbank and Highland Park, whilst this new batch contains only malts from three distilleries (Tamdhu, Bunnahabhain and Glenlivet). So, maybe less complex but maybe also more ‘compact’? As in batch 1, the grain is Invergordon. Colour: gold. Nose: starts on a wheelbarrow of both fresh and tinned fruits, with the old grain’s pineapples and coconut on top of it. Overripe apples and pears, melons, juicy peaches, hints of bananas… Second stage: more herbal notes as often, a little camphor, verbena, pine sap… The whole is superbly fruity and really reminds us of several old casks in the bottler’s Rare Auld/Peerless ranges. One of the freshest old blends I’ve ever tasted (old blends are usually much more on fudge, caramel and roasted nuts in my opinion.) Very, very discreet oakiness. Mouth: the best news here is that the oak does not dominate at all despite these touches of roasted coffee beans and toasted bread. The fruitiness is intact and much in line with what was in the nose (maybe a little more on bananas), while the grain is almost undetectable in my opinion. Also a little honey and juicy sultanas. Pina Colada. Becomes a little drier then, with touches of cinnamon and white pepper. All very good. Finish: medium long, with more liquorice now as well as mint liqueur. White pepper in the aftertaste. Comments: I think it’s a slightly rougher and marginally oakier version (on the palate) but it’s as excellent as batch 1, no doubt. SGP:562 - 90 points.

Teacher's Highland Cream (86 US proof, OB, rotation 1936) Four stars and a half An old post-prohibition Scotch for the US of A, most probably distilled in the 1920s. It’s a pity that I haven’t got any sample of the recent ‘Teacher’s Origin’ that, as is fashionable these days, tries to recreate Teacher’s older style. Colour: gold. Nose: it is, as expected, completely different from the Black Bull 40. Much more phenolic (Ardmore, already?), camphory and medicinal, with more tar, earth (old pu-erh tea), damp clay, aniseed and chives… A lot of peat, coal smoke (old stove)… There’s also a great fruitiness, still lively after all these years. Mostly lemons and kiwis. Fabulous old style nose, reminding me a bit of old bottles of Islay Mist. Mouth: an incredible creaminess and these big medicinal notes again, as if this vatting was made when it was de rigueur to be ‘medicinal’ to enter the US market (I think whisky was sometimes sold as medicine during prohibition). Loads of herbs, thyme, mint, eucalyptus, then some grapefruit, liquorice, pepper, hints of kumquats, smoky Russian tea and only the faintest Old Bottle Effect (dusty/metallic). We’re very far from today’s Scotch whiskies here. Finish: long, very herbal. Huge liquorice. Comments: big power, big phenols, big herbal and medicinal notes. The opposite of Black Bull 40 in style, yet of the same high quality in my view. A fabulous old blend – and one can only dream of all the long closed distilleries that had been added to this great composition. When we try these old blends, we understand why many old books used to claim that Scotch was smoky. It always was. SGP:374 - 89 points (heartfelt thanks, Geert).

 

PS: for once, the copy in this 1936 US ad was quite right: "Flavour... that's the answer to every question about Teacher's Scotch Whisky... It has that real Scotch flavour. Your first sip will tell you why Teacher's has been appreciated by lovers of Scotch the world over for a century... and why it is so overwhelmingly popular throughout the United States today."

Teachers

And just for fun, this is a prescription form for medicinal liquor that I have in my collection. It was issued in 1933 and was prescribing whisky (not whiskey!) to a lady quite possibly named… ahem, Laura Bush.

Prohibition

MUSIC - Recommended listening: fabulous harmonics in Jean-Luc Ponty's recent composition Point of No Return. This superb version by JLP and his band was recorded live in 2008. Please buy Jean-Luc Ponty's music...

Jean-Luc Ponty
 

February 27, 2011

Whiskyfun

Berry Bros

Tasting an old blended malt by Berry Bros

One of the old wonders that are resting in the cellar of Paris’ Harry’s Bar. Never saw this one before while Berry’s ‘All Malt’ is well-known within anoraky circles (WF 89).

Berry’s Pure Malt 12 yo (43%, Berry Bros & Rudd, blended malt, for France, +/-1985) Four stars and a half Colour: dark amber. Nose: starts on quite some rich sherry, fudge and caramel then mint and dark chocolate (After Eights). Just a little tar over the whole. Goes on with enjoyable whiffs of burnt tyre and then old books and thuja wood. Very complex for a middle-range malt whisky. Gets finally nicely mushroomy (chanterelles!) and just a little metallic. A lot happening in there. Mouth: I didn’t get much peat in the nose but the palate starts like an old sherried Talisker, really. Big peat (considering it’s old ‘commercial’ vatted malt), big pepper and lots of chillies, coated with chocolate and amaretto. Goes on with some leather, old raw pu-erh (cheng cha), touches of nettle and green apple. Big on the palate, quite a surprise. Finish: dry, long, very long, very peppery. Comments: a perfect old-style vatting that resembles nothing that’s available today. It's a much drier and peatier version of the famous 'All Malts'. They have an open bottle at Paris’ Harry’s Bar and replacements in the cellar. Don’t miss it next time you’re around! SGP:366 – 88 points.

MUSIC - Recommended listening: why not a little Mahavishnu Orchestra 1st line-up today? It's called You know you know and it was on Mahavishnu's first album 'The Inner Mounting Flame' (wasn't that one the epitome of 'jazz-rock'?) Please buy McLauglin, Hammer, Cobham, Laird and consorts' music.

Mahavishnu
 

February 25, 2011

Whiskyfun

Glenlivet

Tasting one 1977 and two 1975 indie Glenlivet

The two 1975s are sister casks (bearing consecutive numbers) and both fetched the very same average score of 88.36 at the MM Awards 2010, which was quite unbelievable as we had eleven 100% blind tasters and 250+ whiskies (100% blind means no data whatsoever, not even country of origin).

Glenlivet 33 yo 1977/2010 (56.7%, The Whisky Cask, bourbon cask) Four stars and a half Colour: gold. Nose: ha-ha! It’s one of these un-sherried Glenlivets that display a rather ‘un-gentle’ profile at first nosing, this time with quite some herbs such as parsley and chives. Having said that, it’s soon to become more ‘Glenlivet’, with good doses of honey, overripe apples and beeswax as well as a little vanilla and earl grey tea. With water: becomes earthier, leafier, even slightly leathery, which adds an extra-dimension here. Also touches of nutmeg and cinnamon. Nice oak! Mouth (neat): perfect lemony, very zesty and even a little fizzy attack, very nervous and lively. Tangerines, pepper, ginger and hints of kiwis and lemongrass. With water: excellent, sweet and creamy, fruity, with excellent balance. Apples and oranges and a light honeyness. Finish: pretty long, with a slightly louder oak but it never becomes drying. Comments: an excellently balanced Glenlivet that reminds us of the recent old officials – probably for half their prices or even less. Recommended! SGP:551 - 88 points.

Glenlivet 35 yo 1975/2010 (55%, Signatory, Cask Strength Collection, Sherry Butt, cask #10863, 489 bottles) Four stars and a half Colour: amber. Nose: chocolate galore! Also prunes, a little balsamic vinegar, English brown sauce, a lot of nutmeg and quite some soy sauce. Absolutely no gunpowder or struck matches. Some old rancio like in some old cognac, and whiffs of peonies. With water: more oranges, old liqueurs, marmalade, roses… Superb nose! Mouth (neat): creamy and rich, typical old chocolaty sherry monster with a good layer of juicy fruits. Raspberries and blackberries. Also some sultanas and quinces, kumquats, some ginger… All perfect although it’s rather simpler and less ‘wide’ than on the nose now. With water: more of the same and a profile that’s more towards Glenfarclas if you see what I mean. Finish: long, fresh and clean. Oranges and chocolate. Comments: this is much to my liking! If you’re allergic to anything ‘gunpowdery’ and would like an old sherried malt, this baby may be for you. SGP:651 - 89 points.

Glenlivet 35 yo 1975/2010 (55%, Wilson & Morgan, Barrel Selection, Sherry wood, cask #10862) Four stars and a half Colour: amber. Nose: oh so very close to the Signatory! Maybe a wee bit more dry and even more on chocolate but I may be dreaming. Both whiskies are almost identical so far. With water: a wee bit of struck match notes that we didn’t get in the Signatory but also a slightly wider spicy profile. Cloves? Also more dried mushrooms. Mouth (neat): maybe a wee bit richer and sweeter than the Signatory. Maybe. With water: we’re very close again. No need to split hairs I guess. Finish: ditto. Maybe a little more green tea in the aftertaste (tannins). Comments: both casks were almost identical when neat but water brought out nice nuances in their noses. But I agree with the other Maniacs, same high quality in my book. SGP:651 – 89 points.

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

MUSIC - Recommended listening: but who made the first organic music? The great Don Cherry 'of course', right in 1974. Let's listen to Brown Rice and then buy all of Don Cherry's music (and his offsprings' as well while we're at it).

Don Cherry
 

February 24, 2011

Whiskyfun

St Magdalene

Tasting three indie St. Magdalene
This will probably be one of the last occasions we’ll have to do a nice St. Magdalene session involving some newish expressions. Sure we could try more older bottlings such as the old G&M CC but indeed, there aren’t many new St Magdas around, it’s so sad…

St Magdalene 18 yo 1964 (40%, Gordon & MacPhail, Connoisseurs Choice, old brown label) Five stars This one’s got quite a reputation… Colour: deep gold. Nose: waowao! One of the most metallic and herbal profiles I’ve ever nosed. I think metallic noses can be awful (especially when it’s the cap that contaminated an old whisky) but that isn’t the case at all here. Imagine some old tin boxes, old guns, engines, used coins… It’s quite spectacular. There’s also a little lemon liqueur, lemongrass, some coffee, parsley, quite some chervil (unusual as well in my experience)… In short, a very ‘different’ nose but St Magdalene used to be a different malt. Aren’t we very curious about the palate now?… Oh, and quite some shoe polish as well. Mouth: oh yes, litres of shoe polish, also some tar, heavy liquorice, pine resin, mint… It’s really like some old-style cough syrup. Tar liqueur. Maybe one of the biggest whiskies at 40% vol. I ever tried, even after thirty years in a bottle. Now, you have to like shoe polish… Finish: long, rich, extremely sooty, even ashy. Comments: I’ll simply second what my Maniacal compadre Olivier Humbrecht told Andrew Jefford in the March 2011 issue of Decanter: ‘What I like in those old bottlings is the trace you find of more artisanal methods – sometimes burnt notes when the distilling wasn’t good, different woods, sugars or no sugars, whisky made with more adventurous, less precise methods.’ Hail! SGP:473 - 92 points.

Linlithgow 27 yo 1974/2001 (50%, Silver Seal, First Bottling, 220 bottles) Five stars As you know, Linlithgow was St. Magdalene by another name. Colour: gold. Nose: oh yes! There is something faintly metallic again in the background but the rest is much creamier, rounder and more candied than in the 1964. Great whiffs of pine sap, beeswax, marzipan, coal (and coal smoke), soot, mint, some eucalyptus, grapefruits, fresh almonds, a little sugar cane… Superb and unusually resinous by today’s standards. Once again, an ‘un-boring’ malt whisky. With water: out-of-this-world citrusy/mineral/waxy profile. Mouth (neat): hallelujah! This is no perfect whisky but this is great whisky, especially when you’ve already got a few dozen (hundred, thousand) bottles in your bar (cupboard, garage, basement). Indeed, its main asset is its dissimilarity in my opinion. Wax, soot, kumquats, barley sugar, lime, liquorice, cough syrup, tar… Wow! With water: maybe it became a bit dusty but that’s all right. Finish: long, much grassier and very spicy. Very peppery aftertaste, which came unexpected. Comments: protean, as they say. The very sharp finish makes it loose one or two points on the WF scale. SGP:362 - 90 points.

St. Magdalene 27 yo 1982/2009 (54%, Silver Seal, 400th Anniversary of Galileo, 180 bottles) Four stars and a half What the good Galileo had to do with Scotch or even St. Magdalene, I don’t know… Or could St. Magdalene sometimes be telescopic? Colour: gold. Nose: did I tell you how ‘un-boring’ St. Magdalene could be? This is another fine example, this one being more on coffee and even cola and grapefruit. Other than that, there’s also the same range of sooty and slightly smoky tones as in the 1974. Also very unusual notes of vegetables… What could that be? Turnips? Oyster-plants? And some very nice mineral notes (damp gravel). With water: more turnips as it almost became a tad dirty. Kennels? Also some paper and ink (newspapers – what shall we do when we’ll only have iPads? Do iPads even have smells?) Mouth (neat): bang! A genuine brute now, extremely austere, grassy, mineral and even bitter… Maybe a bit intellectual as well, whatever that means. Well, I mean that it won’t give you ‘straight pleasure’ but that in its context, it’s fab. Oh well, lets forget about that junk. With water: even sharper, more austere, sort of unapproachable. Not an easy one! Finish: long, very peppery, in the style of the 1974. This whisky would beat anything, it’ll even beat Chuck Norris! Comments: when flaws are assets… Very imperfect and very excellent, even if I just cannot go over 88 here. 88 it is. SGP:272 - 88 points.

PS: may I insist on the fact that it’s more than time to buy the whiskies from the lesser-known distilleries that were closed around 1982/1984, before they’re gone for good or priced at £500 a bottle?

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

MUSIC - Recommended listening: that bunch of Anglo-French geniuses called Gong* were at it again in 2009 with a stunning record called '2032'. Let's listen to How to stay alive (always useful) and then buy all of Gong's music.
*Daevid Allen, Gilli Smyth, Steve Hillage, Miquette Giraudy, Mike Howlett, Didier Malherbe, Chris Taylor.

Gong
 

February 23, 2011

Whiskyfun

Glenfarclas

Tasting NAS-105 vs. 40-105. Yes, Genfarclas.
After the Award and Gold Medal at last year's MM Awards, the 'regular' Glenfarclas 40yo just won a much deserved Malt Advocate Award. Let's celebrate with an earlier (and rarer) official 40yo today, the 40yo '105'. Last time we tried the ‘104’ for the US, this time we’ll oppose ‘the old’ and the ‘young’ 105s. This should be interesting…

Glenfarclas '105' (60%, OB, +/- 2010) Four stars Time to formally taste the popular 105 again. Last time that was in 2004 according to this wee website! Colour: pale amber. Nose: starts relatively hot but not aggressive, rather nutty, with a slightly vinous background. Develops on quite some caramel, fudge, Demerara sugar, hints of strawberry jam… The whole is big but again, not un-nosable at 60% vol. Also a little burnt coffee (the one they keep for hours on the cooker in all American movies ;-)). Rum. With water: it’s the sherry that comes out and quite loudly so. Wine sauce, with touches of wine vinegar. Make that balsamico. Also heavy pipe tobacco. Mouth (neat): powerful but also creamy, rich, starting on coffee and orange liqueurs and little winey notes. Some pepper, dark toffee, brownies and just touches of blackcurrant jelly. Also strawberry jam. With water: sweeter and unexpectedly lemony. Finish: long, rich, maltier and nuttier at this point. Comments: some simple but not simplistic pleasures. The 105 is always a great dram and it’ll allow you to experiment with water and a pipette (or a tiny coffee spoon). SGP:551 - 85 points.

Glenfarclas 40 yo '105' (60%, OB, 893 bottles, 2008) Five stars From two casks bottled in 2008 to commemorate the first regular '105' that came out in 1968. Colour: amber. Nose: oh, I didn’t know this baby was that great! I should have tried it sooner… A complex, rich but very elegant sherriness, blending oranges, sultanas, milk chocolate and the most subtle notes of cinnamon and other spices. It really reminds me of some high-end mulled wine, maybe mulled wine made with some Hermitage Chapelle 1978? (the horror!) Seriously, it’s a fabulous nose so far. High-end chocolate. With water: fa-bu-lous development on many herbs and spices. Sultry but not heavy at all and very complex. Amazing. Mouth (neat): extraordinarily good! Stunning resinous and sappy attack, much more nervous than expected, more citrusy than other old Glenfarclasses. And many herbs and many spices… Only the high power is slightly ‘too much’ for this sissy of a taster so I’m eager to add a few drops of water to this utter beauty. With water: exceptional! Please call the anti-maltoporn brigade! Hundreds of candied fruits and thousands of herbs. And an amazing ‘ vibrancy’. Finish: long, big, penetrating. Endless – warning, it’ll kill your tasting session, which is what just happened here at WF Towers. Comments: only one regret, not to have tried this one when it came out in 2008. What an utter sherried beauty! Vattings of two or three casks are often more complex than single casks, as we already found out several times with Mr. Samaroli’s old bottlings, for instance. Or when mixing the remnants of a wee tasting session. This 40-105 is another perfect example! SGP:662 - 94 points.

More distillery data Our tastings: all bottlings that we tried so far
The complete distillery profile on Malt Madness
 
PETE McPEAT AND JACK WASHBACK
PandJ
PandJ

MUSIC - Recommended listening: in 1970 John Cale recorded a totally brilliant album called Vintage Violence, with this little gem called Gideon's Bible. Ha, Gideons! Please buy John Cale's music...

John Cale
 

February 22, 2011

Whiskyfun

Amrut

The weirdest session ever? Two whiskies from Bangalore and one matching old Demerara

I’ve got more friendly complains about the fact that there’s only expensive whisky on WF. Well, I think that’s not true but let’s not argue and rather try to correct that feeling with one whisky that should be… well… let’s see… It was made in Bangalore, just like Amrut. Yet, we shouldn’t be on the same planets…

Director's Special (42.8%, OB, India, Shaw Wallace, Bangalore Grape Winery, +/-2000) This one was 'for sale only in Karnataka' and was brought back from India by my friend Christian a few years ago. Colour: pale gold. Nose: less unnosable than I had thought although it does not smell like whisky, rather like some wood alcohol into which one would have poured a little caramel, vanilla and crushed peanuts. There’s also something dusty and slightly mineral, but it’s not quite the same kind of great minerality that’s sometimes to be found in Scotch. Say damp scoria. Mouth: maybe not the worst brew ever but frankly, it’s bad stuff. Something burnt and rotten at the same time, traces of bubblegum, long-forgotten pemmican (right, right, that one was made up), old wood, burnt caramel, rotting oranges… Even a yak would say yuk. Finish: that’s the problem, it’s not really short. Leaves a bitter taste. Burnt artichokes? Comments: I believe India is the #1 whisky producer in the world, but sadly, not all Indian whiskies are like Amrut, as we already found out several times. Vile stuff (and if the Directors drink this, what do the workers swill?) SGP:150 - 12 points. There.

Amrut 'Port Morant Rum Finish' (62.3%, Blackadder, cask ref BA 9/2010, 278 bottles) Four stars Wasn't it for one very hard to please Maniac ;-); this baby would have fetched high silver at the MMA last year. Colour: full gold. Nose: this is very, very wild! Plenty of hay, game, tobacco, molasses, ginger and leather, with also a layer of tar and liquorice. Also lots of herbs and grass, whiffs of farmyard in Summer, maybe a little smoke… With water: wham! A blast of peaty grass – or is it grassy peat? We’re almost on Islay, even if the peatiness is soon to diminish. Gets then more leathery. Mouth (neat): this is very rich, almost thick, with more rum than on the nose. Works well with Amrut’s sweet profile. There’s also much more peat now, bitter oranges, some heavy honey, kumquats, ginger, tonic water, liquorice… Frankly, this is very unusual, even a little unlikely and certainly rock and roll (but I like it). With water: peat and Demerara have now mingled. Still a very heavy style but it’s excellent. Finish: extremely long, with the peat and pepper winning in the end. Sugar cane and leather in the aftertaste, though. Comments: a VERY devilish beast, this peated Amrut that was finished in Port Mourant casks in the UK. Did the good Blackadder people know this was going to be great? SGP:666 (devilish indeed) - 87 points.

WAIT! Would you mind having a go at a rum from Port Mourant, while we’re at it? Who knows, maybe it came partly from the cask that was used to finish the Amrut? BTW, Port Morant and Port Mourant are the same rums.

Port Mourant 1975/2008 (56.7%, Velier, Demerara, 3 barrels) Five stars This Demerara rum was aged somewhere in the UK and not in Guyana. I believe it was distilled at the original Port Mourant distillery and not at Georgetown's Diamond Distillery, where the original pot still has been moved. So, this is a slice of distilling history. Colour: dark red amber. Nose: waaaah! This is no spirit, it’s a decoction! Extremely heavy and rich, concentrated, with a lot of sweet oak, spices, many caramelised, well, things… This one would make any El Dorado light and easy in comparison. Gets then more gamey and tarry, balsamic… With water: more raisins, much more raisins. Corinthians. Mouth (neat): once again, a true decoction. Lapsang souchong (the extreme one from Taiwan that they call ‘tarry’), caramel, orange liqueur, dried bananas, sugar cane, red chilli sauce… Really extreme! With water: superb, on sultanas and toffee, with hints of herbs and cardamom. Balance is perfect. Finish: very long, sweet and spicy, with some spicy oak in the aftertaste. Comments: frankly, it’s thick but in no way as sickly sweet or sluggish as some old dark rums can be in my opinion. If you like Demeraras I think you’ll love this. SGP:752 - 90 points. (and many thanks, Thierry)
PS: there was a family likeness between the Amrut and the Port Mourant indeed!
PPS: I did a quick 50/50 vatting of both. I did not add the Director's Special. My, that rocked!

MUSIC - Recommended listening: more R.L. Burnside today with Someday Baby (that was on 'A bothered mind'). He had THE sound. Please buy R.L.'s music.

RL Burnside
 

February 21, 2011

Whiskyfun

Dalmore

Tasting two official Dalmore

There’s a new Dalmore that should help raise funds for restoring Castle Leod. Let’s oppose it to a recent batch of the well-known official 12.

Dalmore 12 yo (40%, OB, +/- 2010) Three stars Last time I tried the 12 it was in 2008 and I had thought it was improving (WF 83). Let’s try a circa 2010 bottling. Colour: dark gold. Nose: starts relatively rich, slightly winey, with whiffs of peonies and orange marmalade. Also fresh blood oranges, milk chocolate, touches of blackcurrant jelly and then a little leather, liquorice and tobacco. Stewed strawberries. Looses a part of its vinosity over time, with more vanilla and candy sugar. Mouth: unexpectedly dry and leathery at first sips, much less sweet and rich as on the nose although it’s quite powerful at just 40% abv. Having said that, there’s quite some orange, maybe a little curry, bitter chocolate, then more cloves and cinnamon... Then more bitter oranges and walnuts. Gets slightly bitter but in a rather nice way. Finish: medium long, a tad drying, with quite some cinnamon. Slightly grassy and leafy aftertaste. Comments: it’s a very controversial dram within maniacal circles, much less sweet and rich than what some were thinking, and possibly than earlier versions. SGP:341 - 82 points.

Dalmore ‘Castle Leod’ (46%, OB, Bordeaux finish, 5000 bottles, 2011) Three stars and a half RSP £100. This unusual NAS baby was matured in both bourbon and sherry and then finished for 18 months in Bordeaux casks. The official notes mention both cabernet-sauvignon and 1er cru classé, which means it must be either Mouton, Latour, Lafite, Margaux or Haut-Brion. Having said that, the PR sheet talks about the Bordeaux having added a ‘sensual finish of kiwi, sweet pear and sweet mango’, which does not sound very ‘red’ and rather evoke a Sauternes-ish impact. Let’s see… Colour: copper/red orange. Nose: the wine stands out at first nosing, but it’s rather less on peonies/blackcurrants than the 12. More toasted oak, a bit of gunpowder, leather, maybe a little tar and a sudden burst of ginger and curcuma. Quite possibly first fill chateau casks (the 1ers crus usually fill their barrels only once for their wines and then resell them). Also rather obvious notes of patchouli and a little Grand-Marnier. It seems that the fairly unlikely combination works so far… Mouth: we’re close to the nice Bruichladdichs ‘First Growth’ here, with the wine doing most of the talking at first sips. It’s a rich whisky, with many fruity and spicy notes as well as quite some oak (very different from heavily toasted American oak, much less sweet and vanilla-ed). Notes of rose jelly, pomegranates, blackcurrant jelly, cherry liqueur, some capsicum, cardamom as well, a little green tea, liquorice, greengages, bitter oranges… A few tannins flying around but it’s no tannic whisky at all. Again, works well. Good body. Finish: rather long, on a combination of blackcurrant buds, green pepper and a little cinchona. Comments: you may know I’m not too much into this kind of winesky but after many years of trying hard, I think I’m now able to make a difference between a finishing that’s rather well made and the ‘unlikely result of some unnatural marriage’. Err… Anyway, I think this one belongs to the former category. SGP:461 - 83 points.

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

MUSIC - Recommended listening: don't miss the first seconds of the DeFrancesco Bros' very recent Get high tonight (it's on 2010's 'The DeFrancesco Brothers' album.) Good spirits in there (would work with whisky too!) Please buy Joey and Johnny's music.

DeFrancesco
 

February 20, 2011

Whiskyfun

Meursault

Wine

I'm sorry, no whisky on this very Sunday because I wanted to focus on this:
You know you fell in love with a wine when you order one bottle after another at a restaurant without even asking for the wine list again. This is the 'simple' Meursault 2007 by Pierre André. Crisp, pure, mineral, chiselled. Wow.

 

February 18, 2011

Whiskyfun

Blair Athol

Tasting two new Blair Athol

Blair Athol always makes us think of Bell’s, which may be a handicap. It also reminds me of the times when Blair Athol was part of the Classic Malts, alongside Lagavulin or Talisker. No I’m not mistaken, although that didn’t last for very long. Anyway, let’s try these newish ones…

Blair Athol (55.8%, OB, Distillery only bottling, bottled 2010) Four stars This one came without any age statement. Colour: full gold. Nose: starts all on sweet and sour fruits as well as quite some flints and coal smoke, which is unusual with Blair Athol in my experience. Must come from the wood. It’s also a tad butyric at times but other than that, the very malty profile is much enjoyable. Also whiffs of patchouli and orange blossom, flor (yellow wine), maybe honeysuckle. With water: doesn’t change much. Maybe a little more leather. Mouth (neat): punchy butter cream, vanilla and snuff tobacco, how unusual! It’s a little prickly and fizzy (Schweppes?), quite waxy, with also notes of stewed oranges and litres of corn syrup. Some walnuts as well… As if it was a 50/50 vatting of first fill bourbon and fino sherry – or something like that. What’s sure is that it’s unlike any other malts, including other Blair Athols. With water: becomes kind of cleaner but there’s also more ginger from the oak as well as touches of cloves and pepper. Swims well. Finish: long, sweet and spicy, with some Seville oranges and pepper. Comments: unusual and very good. A profile you wouldn’t expect from an official bottling, unless it’s a distillery-only edition. Quod erat demonstrandum. SGP:552 - 85 points.

Blair Athol 12 yo 1998/2011 (60.3%, Single Cask Collection, bourbon hogshead, cask #2767, 337 bottles) Four stars and a half Colour: white wine. Nose: imagine this is quite gentle at 60%+! Much more honeysuckle than in the OB this time, apple pie, marzipan, whiffs of argan oil, sugarcane syrup… also something very slightly mineral (limestone, chalk)… Again, it’s pleasantly delicate – or am I getting used to power malt after all these years? With water: gets flintier and grassier. Also a little earthy and rooty, with these slightly medicinal notes of gentian that I enjoy so much. Mouth (neat): powerful but quaffable (and affable), sweet and sugary. It’s almost confectionery in fact, with notes of pineapple drops, sugarcane syrup again, liquorice allsorts, various fruit liqueurs… A little vanilla as well but it’s certainly not ‘modern’. With water: the gentian is back! Enough said. Finish: long, sweet and rooty, with some ‘clean’ raw mushrooms and a lot of barley sugar. Orange drops in the aftertaste. Comments: this is impressively immaculate, with the spirit doing all the talking and no noticeable oak influence (of course it’s there, but you don’t feel it). The kind of malt that I enjoy a lot. SGP:641 - 88 points.

More distillery data Our tastings: all bottlings that we tried so far
The complete distillery profile on Malt Madness
 
PETE McPEAT AND JACK WASHBACK
P
J

MUSIC - Recommended listening: Eric McFadden doing Where is Ferdinand? A sad story about the lost son of a famous French comedian. The song is on McFadden's Train to Salvation CD. Please buy Eric McFadden's music.

Eric McFadden
 

February 17, 2011

Whiskyfun

Glen Ord

Tasting young Glen Ord 1999, 1998 and 1997 (that’s called a verticale, baby)

Glen Ord 1999/2010 (54.5%, Malts of Scotland, bourbon hogshead, cask #31212, 289 bottles) Four stars Colour: full gold. Nose: a full, rich, almost thick and oily nose at first nosing, with a lot of vanilla, light honey, beeswax and warm brioche. It’s only after a few minutes that additional whiffs of lamp oil and putty do emerge, together with a few tannins and some mocha (newly sawn oak). Very ‘modern’ so far, very ‘newish American oak’ but there is some Glen Ord character behind all that. With water: greatest news ever (am I exaggerating a bit?), the oak is down and the spirit is up. Much better balanced, with Ord’s smokiness coming through together with quite some caraway and juniper berries. Mouth (neat): even more ‘modern’ than on the nose, more extractive for sure, with this very peculiar combination of vanilla, ginger and barley sugar that screams ‘new (or rejuvenated) American oak’. Hyper-extractive, really, with little room left for the original spirit in my opinion - unless water will unleash it! With water: not quite, it’s rather the sweet caramel and maple syrup that comes out with water. Liquorice rolls. Finish: long and very sweet, with quite some ginger liqueur in the aftertaste. Comments: hmm. This is technically perfect, they probably had 25 engineers behind that hoggie – night and day. Again, all perfect and eminently quaffable but what it lacks is emotion in my view. The epitome of modern malt whisky. SGP:641 - 85 points.

Glen Ord 12yo 1998/2010 (59%, Signatory, Cask Strength Collection, hogshead, c#3478, 270 bottles) Four stars Colour: straw. Nose: more or less the opposite of the MoS, with much less vanilla and other American oak-by-products and rather more ‘Ordian’ notes such as dried white fruits (mostly pears and bananas), a lot of wax including paraffin, sunflower oil, a little liquorice wood, whiffs of coal smoke, grass… It’s not really sexy but I find this relative nakedness rather refreshing. With water: more coal smoke and wee hints of fruity cheese. Gruyère cheese? Mouth (neat): sure it’s punchy and even kind of brutal but it’s also perfectly balanced between the raw power, the sweetness from the alcohol and the spirit’s waxiness. By the way, some sweet grass, does that exist? With water: excellent, more towards barbecued fruits, smoke and various jams as well as a little lemon. Finish: long and fresh. Crystallised fruits, angelica, lemon… Comments: that’s the style I like. No ueberly complex malt whisky but even in its flaws, it’s perfect. Err, does that make any sense? SGP:652 - 87 points.

Glen Ord 1997/2009 'Manager's Choice' (59.2%, OB, cask #10181, 204 bottles) Four stars From bourbon American oak. Colour: gold. Nose: we’re rather closer to the MoS than to the SigV but this one is drier than both and a bit more plankish – not that there’s anything excessive here. More sawdust on top of some apple juice and even cider. Quite some coffee, chicory and green tea and then the same kind of waxiness as in the others. The most austere so far. With water: almost the same as the MoS. Mouth (neat): extremely close to the MoS, it’s almost the same whisky in fact. Maybe just a little less of everything from the oak and a little more fresh fruits, especially kiwis and maybe rhubarb (something acidic). Now the dried ginger’s big! With water: modern sweetness from American oak. Finish: long, with the same notes. Comments: the MoS was going to eleven as far as American oak’s concerned, this one goes to ten. I see no reason to score it differently, though. SGP:552 - 85 points.

PS: these days absolutely all self-styled connoisseurs including this very one are going bonkers on one issue: sulphur. Last year it was chill filtering, the year before it was prices, two years ago it was wine finishing and quite a long time ago it was caramel colouring (but there’s been a recent resurgence). May I already suggest fresh, rejuvenated or first fill American oak as the main issue for 2012? Or pesticides on barley? GMOs?

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

MUSIC - Recommended listening: some typical modern Ethiopian music with this very unusual but beautiful way of singing. She's Yezina Negash and her song is called Gedamu. Please buy Yezina Negash's music.

Negash
 

February 16, 2011

Whiskyfun

CONCERT REVIEW by Nick Morgan
Sea of Bees, Trevor Moss and Hannah-Lou, James Walbourne
The Bush Hall, Shepherds Bush, London, February 9th 2011

The whole world and his wife, or at least the UK folk-loving indie part of it, seem to have fallen head over heels in love with Ms Sea of Bees, alias Julia Ann Baenziger , aka Jules.  Her new album, Songs for the Ravens, has won considerable critical acclaim, and her UK gigs are garnering a list of four and five-star reviews. 

Sea of bees

But to be honest we’re only here by accident.  The Photographer’s octogenarian neighbour Bob (who is the only person I know who visits Putney Vale Cemetery to chew the fat with Sandy Denny), is a very lively and interested student of the contemporary folk and Americana scene, and had booked tickets for this Heavenly Recordings showcase at the lovely Bush Hall, which were going to waste.  Last time I was here I was on the stage (that, as they say, is another story), tonight I’m late (again), hot foot from Auld Reekie, hungry, sans notebook, and in all honesty not perhaps best disposed for a gig.

Trevor Moss Hanah-Lou

Trevor Moss and Hannah-Lou

We’ve also missed opener James Walbourne, but get to see the whole set from the charming Trevor Moss and Hannah-Lou, who are from Pinner, Peckham, or was it Perivale? They sing and play very closely, with some nice (and a couple of very good) songs drawn from the observations of mundane everyday life in Pinner, Peckham, or maybe Perivale, where I was surprised to learn that  in addition to allotments and rag-and-bone men, there are ‘sidewalks’ and ‘hustlers’.  I remain to be convinced that Trevor’s faux falsetto really worked alongside Hannah’s fuller voice, but as I said, I was not best disposed.

Sea of Bees is Jules, backed by vocalist and guitarist Amber.  Her appearance is greeted with whoops, hollers and cries from a gaggle of North American fans and possible friends.  She is, after all, from California, with a ragamuffin k d Lang appearance (Bob Dylan cap and all). It’s not hard to see why she has earned such good reviews. Incredibly intense and personal songs, drawn from an apparent lifetime of experiences (friends and lovers come and go like the H11 bus to Pinner) that seem to belie her tender years, and a powerful and captivating voice (it did remind me just a little of Melanie, but that’s me showing my age); at once painfully juvenile yet powerfully resonant. Guitar arrangements pleasingly simple, but featuring some nice minimalist Telecaster flourishes from Ms Amber.

Sea of Bees

Less captivating is the giggly and gauche dialogue with the audience, and the rather affected gestures (right arm raised to the heavens, with eyes following on in a transcendental stare) which are repeated a little too often.  She also, for the record, likes lashings of cider, and whisky, and insists on trying out her very weak Dick van Dyke “Hello Mary Poppins” accent.  For all that she clearly has great presence, and promises to be the real thing, once some of the naïveté wears off.

We left early.  I was starving, and headed home for some of Mrs Kirkham’s Lancashire and a glass or two of some of Scotland’s midnight wine after a unexpectedly cheesy night.  And I should apologise Serge, because I know how much you don’t like cheese. - Nick Morgan (photographs by Kate)

Listen to Sea of Bees on myspace

 

My favourite wines of the last two months

I don't score wine but just in case you're interested (I know, this is a whisky blog), these are the wines that I would have scored above 90 in the last two months. Sorry about the crappy iPhone captures.

The whites...

dagueneau

Bunel Fouassier

Blanc Fumé de Pouilly Pur Sang 2007 Didier Dagueneau

  Champagne Eric Bunel Millésimé 1996   Sancerre Domaine Fouassier Les Chasseignes 2008

Krug

Anne Trimbach

Champagne Krug Grande Cuvée bottled circa 2008

  Gewurztraminer Cuvée Anne 1998 Domaines Schlumberger   Riesling Trimbach Cuvée Frédéric-Emile 2001  

Valmur

Buisson Silice

Chablis Grand Cru Valmur 2008 Domaine Droin

  Blanc Fumé de Pouilly Buisson Renard Didier Daguenau 2007   Saint Joseph Silice 2007 Coursodon  

Garenne

Musar Heimbourg

Sauternes Chateau La Garenne 1988

  Chateau Musar Blanc 2000   Gewurztraminer Heimbourg Vendange Tardive Domaine Zind Humbrecht 1988  

The reds...

Guigal

Rayas Ermita

Côte-Rôtie Côtes Brune et Blonde Guigal 1982

  Chateauneuf-du-Pape Château Rayas 2002   Priorat L'Ermita 1999 Alvara Palacios  

Chevalier

Bouzy Irouleguy

Pessac-Léognan Domaine de Chevalier 2004

  Bouzy Rouge Georges Vesselle (no vintage statement), circa 2010   Irouléguy Domaine Arretxea Cuvée Haitza 2007  
 

February 15, 2011

Whiskyfun

Tasting Ten Caol Ila

Caol Ila

All right, let’s do something insane today: a verticale of Caol Ila, spanning five years from 1984 to 1980. But as that would be too easy-easy, we’ll actually do a double verticale, which means that we’ll have two whiskies from each year, because it takes two to tango. I’ll try to keep my notes short, but shall I make it? I may need your prayers…

Caol Ila 1984

The two 1984s

Caol Ila 26yo 1984/2010 (50%, Douglas Laing OMC, refill hogshead, DL ref 6207, 268 bottles) Four stars Colour: pale gold. Nose: typical fresh and coastal Caol Ila. Medium peat, whiffs of oysters and fresh butter, seaweed, soot and a little lemon. Nothing more, nothing less. With water: becomes slightly camphory and rather sootier, much ala old Ardbeg. We cannot be against that, can we! Very nice!

Mouth (neat): crisp, lemony peat, with traces of fresh walnuts and touches of liquorice. It’s one of these very zesty Caol Ilas, not too ashy. Very good. With water: clean, crisp and unexpectedly honeyed profile. Smoky honey, does that exist? Finish: rather long, still honeyed, a tad medicinal. Mint and liquorice. Ashy aftertaste. Comments: excellent despite a slight lack of complexity. I’m nitpicking – please don’t be rude with your thoughts. SGP:556 - 87 points.

Caol Ila 25 yo 1984/2010 (55.7%, Wilson & Morgan, Barrel Selection, cask #5399) Four stars and a half Colour: gold. Nose: punchier than the DL, with a slightly wider spectrum. That means that it’s a tad fruitier (ripe pineapples) as well as a little grassier (white rum, quite obvious). Other than that, it’s similar to the DL. With water: same ‘old Ardbeg’ effect as with the DL. Not that old Caol Ilas aren’t great, but ‘hurray!’ Ahem, excuse me. Mouth (neat): again, very close to the DL but a tad richer, and that’s not only the higher ABV in my opinion. Fir tree honey, walnut skin, ashes, lemon. Excellent. With water: more of the same, with a greater mouth feel. Very zesty. Finish: long, clean, with more peat and pepper in the aftertaste. Comments: same make as the DL, with a bit of extra-power and creaminess. One more point will do. SGP:557 - 88 points.

Caol Ila 1983

Onto the two 1983s…

Caol Ila 25 yo 1983/2008 (50.7%, Exclusive Malts for Taiwan SMWTA, Hogshead, cask #4793, 300 bottles) Four stars and a half Colour: white wine. Nose: this is a more austere and more mineral make, and maybe also a more elegant one in my view. Rather flintier and waxier, probably less peaty as well. Beautiful notes of olive oil and fresh walnuts, a little paraffin, old style mint liqueur, ‘new car’…

With water: these notes of new car, bordering on plastic, become a little bigger but it’s certainly not a flaw, at least not for this humble taster. Old papers, paraffin. Mouth (neat): we’re closer to the 1984s but this is rather earthier, rootier, grassier and globally wilder although it’s very clean spirit. Notes of shellfish such as… wait, whelk? A little salt as well, obviously. Excellent. With water: becomes waxier and even more playful. Sweets, liquorice allsorts, marzipan and pine resin (cough syrup). All that remains very clean. Finish: medium long, clean, classically Caol Ila now. Medium saltiness, medium peatiness. Comments: maybe there’s something a wee-bit bizarre in the nose, or maybe not. The rest is absolutely wonderful in my opinion. Well selected! SGP:456 - 88 points.

Caol Ila 27 yo 1983/2010 (51.5%, Single Cask Collection, sherry butt, cask #2623, 64 bottles) Five stars Colour: full gold. Nose: much more discreet than David Stirk’s despite the sherry. Strange… Touches of dried oranges and leather but not much more… It’s also a wee bit spirity… Maybe water is really needed? Hey, wait, now it comes out, all it needed was time. It’s quite superb, with some medicinal notes mingled with dried fruits and quite some fresh mint… Also whiffs of old books, which I always like (ha, no such things with the bloody iPads and Kindles, eh!) With water: more animal notes, mushrooms, well-aged jamon iberico (whatever), coffee… Wonderful. Mouth (neat): less lazy than with the nose and certainly more citrusy, with rather less sherry influence. Herbs, liquorice, orange drops, ashes and marmalade. Touches of curry and mustard on the tip of your tongue. Another excellent one, and entertaining at that. With water: fantastic now! Rich yet elegant, very ‘full’, nervous, sweet but not too much… Nutshell: peppered peated oranges (wot?) Finish: long, in keeping with the attack. Comments: what a lazy b****d. It took off very slowly but never stopped improving after that. That adds to the fun. SGP:567 - 90 points.

Caol Ila 1982

The two 1982s

Caol Ila 26 yo 1982/2009 (49.9%, The Whisky Agency's Liquid Library, bourbon) Four stars Colour: straw. Nose: we’re back on a clean and slightly austere profile, waxy, flinty, slightly resinous, medium peated and moderately briny. Fresh walnuts, shellfish and lamp oil. That will do.

With water: greener, grassier, more austere… I’m not sure this one swims too well, which is strange for a coastal malt. I’m talking crap, am I not?  Mouth (neat): faint prickliness, (soda?), lemon juice, brine (a little) and a moderate peatiness. A rather sharper and ‘greener’ version now. With water: better, rounder, more satisfying, with some candy sugar, pine resin, cough syrup and then even some honey, vanilla crème and maple syrup. What a change! Finish: long, rounder and thicker, coating… Comments: a funny Caol Ila, starting austere and quite unengaging and almost ending with a Brazilian feeling. Well, quite. SGP:466 - 87 points.

Caol Ila 27 yo 1982/2009 (55.1%, Highlander Inn) Four stars Colour: straw. Nose: very similar to the 1983 by Exclusive Malts. Austere and mineral, narrower than the TWA, with maybe a little more fresh butter as well as a little diesel oil. The fresh walnuts are back as well. A toned down version of the TWA, so to speak, but thing may now change... With water: more farmy notes, and more coastal ones as well. That famous walk on the beach on a rainy September morning etcetera… Mouth (neat): very good attack, nervous, salty, lemony, very briny (pickle juice). Rather peatier than the others now. Traces of cardboard as well, that’s not so good news (but that’s a minor inconvenient here). With water: hurray, almost no more cardboard, rather more lemon liqueur and more ashes. Could someone try to smoke limoncello one day? Finish: log, crisp, clean, lemony. Some brine in the aftertaste. Salmiak. Comments: it’s a big one, in fact. Quality’s high despite the slightly sluggish start on the nose, but it’s true that Caol Ila is usually no aromatic powerhouse – in my book, of course. SGP:467 - 87 points.

Tennis

I NEED A BREAK! I think I overestimated my tasting abilities. These Caol Ilas are too close to each other, believe me it’s really tiring to try to pick up all the nuances between ten very similar drams (especially when you tried ten other drams just before - ahem). The eight young Ben Nevis that we tasted the other day were much easier because of their much more varied profiles, even if the global quality was lower. So, I’m afraid I’ll have to give up, I’ll have the four other CIs tomorrow (after having re-tasted the two 1982s of course, or comparison would not be reason – at all.) More later…

We’re back – I’ll post all this on the very same day.

Caol Ila 1981

The two 1981s

Caol Ila 29 yo 1981/2010 (57.2%, Berry Bros for John Milroy Selection, Refill Hogshead, cask #8167) Four stars and a half Colour: pale gold. Nose: sharp, slightly spirity, with a little cologne at first nosing. Very little peat and very little coastal elements here, although it does take off a bit after a while. Another lazy one? Let’s wait…

Right, let’s add water: bang! Water unleashed hordes of sappy and resinous notes together with whiffs of sea air and quite some almond oil. It’s still no monster but the profile is greatly ‘resinous’. Oh, and the same traces of ‘old Ardbeg’ as in the W&M. Mouth (neat): ah yes, this is good! Punchy, rich, peaty, not subtle I must say… It’s almost a little burning. Big notes of green tea as well. With water: excellent, a tad fruitier, almondy, a little camphory, with also quite some salt… Excellent now. Finish: long, clean, with the lemony notes coming through now. Aftertaste on lime juice and ashes. Lots of ashes. Comments: slow but becoming superb. Do you know the The Tortoise and the Hare? SGP:467 - 89 points.

Caol Ila 1981//2010 (59.8%, Malts of Scotland, bourbon hogshead, cask #4807, 216 bottles) Five stars Colour: pale gold. Nose: rather richer and hotter at first nosing, with even a little rum and bananas flambéed. Gets rather more medicinal after that but the peatiness is quite discreet yet again. Notes of warm brioche and vanilla custard… With water: always these hints of white rum but the rest is all on a ‘traditional’ coastal and sooty profile. Quite beautiful, especially if you like ‘smoky marzipan’ (yeah, should that exist). Mouth (neat): bang! Powerful and very rich, candied, sweet, fruity… More peat than in the nose when neat but it’s still no peat monster. A little walnut liqueur and pineapple liqueur. This one is playful. With water: creamy, earthy and lemony peat. Big peat now, in fact – and bags of ashes. Finish: very long, zesty, very close to the BBR even if there’s less salt/brine in this one. Comments: again, high quality. One extra-point for the funny notes of rum that make it stand out of the crowd. SGP:567 – 90 points.

Phew, we’re almost done. Tough job but somebody has to do it, as they say.

Caol Ila 1980

Onto the two 1980s.

Caol Ila 1980/2009 (54.0%, Malts of Scotland, sherry hogshead, cask #4935, 175 bottles) Five stars Ah, sherry for a change… Colour: pale amber. Nose: it’s a very flinty kind of sherried whisky, with quite some gunpowder (don’t get me started), cured ham, leather and ‘old walnuts’ that, combined with the peat smoke, give to the whole a slight feeling of exhaust pipe (choose your brand). Quite some bitter oranges and mint as well but is this nice or not? Water may tell…

With water: it is. Gets expectedly gamey but not ‘rotten’, if you see what I mean, also with more mint and camphor as well as a wee sea breeze that lifts the whole. Works! Mouth (neat): yoodlaheedleehoh! Take a jar, pour one litre of tar liqueur, some grapefruit juice and add a little pepper, bitter chocolate and cloves and you have it. With water: that’s the spirit of these sherried peat monsters. Power and balance plus flavours that aren’t to be found in any other malt whisky. Excellent. Finish: long, mineral and leathery, dry but not drying, with some chocolate, bitter oranges and cloves in the aftertaste. Comments: politically incorrect. SGP:567 - 91 points.

Caol Ila 1980/2010 (54.6%, Romantic Rhine Collection, sherry octave, cask #401792, 72 bottles) Five stars Colour: full gold. Nose: some parts are similar to the MoS’s (the leather, the hints of exhaust fumes) but the whole is rather rounder, and certainly less mineral and flinty. Notes of chestnuts, old papers… Gets then meatier and meatier. Is that Marmite? With water: more struck matches (I know, I know) and various cooked vegetables. Yes, green asparagus (not the more extreme white wines). Maybe a little green mustard and ginger. Mouth (neat): we’re closer to the MoS but this is even more extreme. Smoked cocoa powder plus some chilli sauce and bags of ashes. What a mixture! Oh, and quite some tar and liquorice again. With water: works! It becomes sweeter and maybe a tad bitter as well but the whole is excellent. Pepper, bitter oranges, dark chocolate and something slightly green (yes, fresh green pepper). Finish: long, ashy. Unexpected notes of dry white wine in the aftertaste. Comments: maybe it’s a little more ‘disorganized’ than the MoS, hence the slightly lower score, but very entertaining it is. What you can do with a wee cask. SGP:466 - 90 points.

I think it’s very clever to pour some CI into some ‘heavy’ sherry wood, sometimes it works wonders. Without reaching the amazing level of some Port Charlotte bloodtubs (cheers Alan and Gordon) or of some earlier heavily sherried CIs (Manager’s Dram, James MacArthur…) this is quite beautiful indeed – provided you like the style of these unlikely mixtures as much as I do, of course.
But Lord this session was difficult! It’s even more difficult because when whiskies are so close to each other, you tend to swallow more of each and go from one to the other back and forth to detect the nuances and to make sure your scores make a little sense. I think I won’t do it again, cross my heart, hope to die…

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

MUSIC - Recommended listening: old sounds with a twist and bags of soul, it's Bernie Worrell doing Hold on in 1978 (from All the Woo in the World). Please buy that genius' music and go to his gigs.

Bernie Worrell

February 2011 - part 1 <--- February 2011 - part 2 ---> March 2011 - part 1


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

 

 

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

Black Bull 40 yo Batch 2 (41.9%, Duncan Taylor, Blended Scotch, 957 bottles, 2011)

Caol Ila 27 yo 1983/2010 (51.5%, Single Cask Collection, sherry butt, cask #2623, 64 bottles)

Caol Ila 1981//2010 (59.8%, Malts of Scotland, bourbon hogshead, cask #4807, 216 bottles)

Caol Ila 1980/2009 (54.0%, Malts of Scotland, sherry hogshead, cask #4935, 175 bottles)

Caol Ila 1980/2010 (54.6%, Romantic Rhine Collection, sherry octave, cask #401792, 72 bottles)

Glenfarclas 40 yo '105' (60%, OB, 893 bottles, 2008)

Port Mourant 1975/2008 (56.7%, Velier, Demerara, 3 barrels)

Linlithgow 27 yo 1974/2001 (50%, Silver Seal, First Bottling, 220 bottles)

St Magdalene 18 yo 1964 (40%, Gordon & MacPhail, Connoisseurs Choice, old brown label)