Hi, you're in the Archives, July 2005 - Part 2
- Ardbeg 18 yo 1978/1996 (64.7%, Adelphi,
cask #274, 192 bottles)
An incredibly high ABV! Nose: extremely
powerful, quite smoky and minty, with
a bit of eucalyptus. Notes of burnt
cake… Quite some wood too. Mouth:
very punchy but drinkable. Notes of
hot still (metal), very sugary but
almost no peat. Was it an unpeated
batch? Not bad at all but a strange
one… Almost as strange as Johannes'
Cambodian funk yodeler (Wot, you doubt
that exists? Then listen to this!)
Water doesn't work too well with this
Ardbeg, alas (but it might help you
yodel). 80 points.
– JAZZ - Highly
recommended listening: I've been wanting
to write a few lines about Aziza
Mustafa Zadeh since I
started this little website, and now's
the time, as Charlie P. once said.
Indeed, 'the Azeri Princess' is one
of my favourite jazz pianists (with
Don Pullen, Abdullah Ibrahim, Randy
Weston, Monk and Bill Evans of course...)
and besides, she always looked much
better ;-) Here are a few samples
of her great work, so that you can
judge by yourself: Chargah.mp3
of Fire.mp3 - Take
Five.mp3 (yes, she also sings
beautifully). And no need to say that
you must buy her music. (via Jo's
the flying Dutchman just added a google
search function that comes quite handy
and dandy. And whiskyfun, you may
ask... Well, everything's in the indexes.
12 yo ‘De Luxe’ (70 proof,
OB, Arthur Bell’s)
Colour: dark straw. Nose: fresh and
lively, on fresh fruits, soft spices
and dried flowers. Not extremely complex
but a nice nose. Mouth: too bad, it’s
a bit weak and also quite bitter.
It then gets sour and woody, with
some dust and old books. The finish
is very dry… Too bad, really:
the nose was nice. 74 points.
19 yo 1985/2005 (60.7%, Adelphi, cask
Nose: starts on some fruit liquors
(apricot by Bols). Powerful, with
some notes of sweet white wine (Monbazillac)
Hints of rubber… Very nice indeed
but a bit rough. Mouth: it starts
on some strange notes of aspirin,
C vitamin tablets and ‘chemical’
orange juice. It then gets more natural,
thank God, with some nice notes of
dried oranges, pineapple, candy sugar…
A nice one despite the slightly disturbing
‘chemical’ notes. 80
listening: forget about the Brazilians
and try Israeli percussionist Raz
Mesinai, if you want
something really efficient. For instance,
dance.mp3 won't let you breathe
one single second - thank God it's
only an excerpt. Ah, yes, there's
Dem Crazy.mp3: cool, eh? Please
buy Raz Mesinai's music if you like
Spey 21 yo 1970 (55.4%, James McArthur)
Colour: white wine. Nose: nice attack,
on freshly mown grass, ginger ale.
Gets very flowery, on lily of the
valley, Easter lily. Develops on lemon
juice, grapefruit, a bit of parsley.
Very ‘natural’, I like
it. Mouth: very lemony attack, with
lots of 'fine' sugar too… A
good surprise. The cask must have
been very inactive, so the distillery
really shines through. Gets quite
bitter (lemon seeds) and grassier
and grassier. Austere but enjoyable.
Spey-Glenlivet NAS (56.4%, Cadenhead’s)
This one is actually labelled as ‘Speyside’
but a back label states it’s
a Glen-Spey. Colour: amber. Nose:
a nice sherry, with lots of light
toffee, caramelized honey, burnt cake…
Gets very yeasty, on Guinness, overcooked
wine sauce, sweet and spicy Chinese
red sauce. Mouth: lots of sherry again,
extremely sweet, on all sorts of caramelized
fruits, Xmas cake, candy sugar…
Extremely sweet and malty. Long finish.
I quite like it although some other
maniacs didn’t enjoy it too
much. 79 points.
SUMMER ADS - PART IV
VO 1984: 'Break away
from the ordinary. Try the drink that
leaves the rest behind.' What
did they mean by 'the rest', exactly?
1984: 'The civilized
way to get your feet wet.' We're
still wondering about the uncivilized
ways, aren't we?
listening: now that the craze following
their latest album 'I am a bird now'
(featuring Lou Reed, Devendra Banhart,
Rufus Wainwright and Boy George) is
almost over (well, not sure), it's
time to listen to Frankenstein.mp3
and the Johnsons peacefully.
Controversial but quite unique and
beautiful. Please buy their music
if you didn't already.
- TWO 1974 ARDBEGS
30 yo 1974/2004 (53.7%, OB, MC for
Italy, cask #2739, 134 bottles)
From a bourbon hogshead. Nose: wow,
very pure and almost crystalline.
Sea air, seaweed, fresh oysters…
Rather delicate peat smoke, getting
a bit farmy after a while (wet straw).
Not a smack in your face Ardbeg
at all. Delicate and beautiful.
Mouth: sweeter than expected, not
too powerful again but nicely balanced
at first sip. It then grows stronger
and stronger, as usual. Quite classical
in fact, with the usual peaty-lemony
notes. A very, very nice Ardbeg
if not one of the greatest MC’s.
91 points. (thanks,
26 yo 1974/2001 (50%, Douglas Laing
OMC, 252 bottles)
SofI Colour: dark straw. Nose: a beautiful
peat smoke, with some nice notes of
smoked ham and cooked French beans.
Cider apples. It gets more and more
maritime, on oysters and seaweed.
Some lettuce and some chocolate (!).
Grapefruit. Mouth: very bold attack,
superb. Sweet and spicy at the same
time. Lots of ginger and some heavy
notes of liquorice. Again a magnificent
Ardbeg. 91 points
(and thanks, Gordon).
– JAZZ - highly
recommended listening: Jimmy
Scott (aka Little Jimmy
Scott) sings Charlie Chaplin's Smile.mp3,
from The Modern Times' OST. That's
on Jimmy Scott's 2000 'Mood Indigo'
album, which you should absolutely
buy immediately, unless you don't
like great voices, elegant souls and
refined vocal jazz. Vive Jimmy Scott!!!
- TWO INDIE GLENLIVETS
29 yo 1963/1992 (52.1%, Signatory
Vintage, cask #269-270)
Colour: mahogany. Nose: full liquorice,
smoke, burnt grass, balsamic vinegar,
soy sauce. Superb sherry, very special.
Espresso coffee, Havana cigar, lapsang
souchong tea… Getting waxy,
roasted pecan nuts, all sorts of dried
fruits, including tropical. Stupendous
sherry, with an extraordinary smoky
underlining. Even some notes of smoked
ham, pine needles. Incredible whisky.
Mouth: starts on all sorts of fruit
jams, plum, gianduja, very old port
and rum, balsam. Gets more and more
resinous… Notes of Smyrna raisins.
Some great tannins that give it a
superb structure. Finihs: gets quite
meaty, maple syrup, A fantastic old
sherried malt! 92 points.
30 yo 1971 (43%, Inverallan’s,
This one is a not too bad but rather
MOTR Glenlivet, I think. Some dried
flowers, straw and oranges on both
the nose and the palate, but not much
else… Too bad it gets soapy
and sort of perfumy after a few seconds
in the mouth. Not one of the best
old casks, that’s for sure,
but it’s still quite drinkable.
Now, it's 30 yo and even if it's at
the lower end of the scale, they sell
it for cheap, so it might impress
your neighbours around Xmas... 79
SUMMER ADS - PART III
Club 1947: 'I dived so
deep for an Aegean sponge, that the
champ had to dive for me.' Thank
God they had some Canadian Club to
Club 1959: 'Barracuda
puts crimp in sunken treasure hunt.'
Geez, every time a Canadian Club drinker
dives, something weird happens!
listening: young Norwegian artist
Hukkelberg sings a very
fresh and bouncing little song called
Scandinavian minimalism? Maybe, but
isn't she very good? Please buy Hanne
Hukkelberg's music! Oh, here's another
very excellent piece: Balloon.mp3.
Take care, Björk!
REVIEW: ALAN GLEN AND SONNY BLACK,
Ealing Blues Festival, July 23, 2005
by Kate Kavanagh
note: Nick Morgan, our
regular reviewer is currently "sailing
up shit creek" in the Hebrides
without a diesel engine and praying
that two big mermaids will turn up
shortly to tow them to the nearest
dry land, failing that... sing "We've
gotta get out of this place"
and wait for the Oban lifeboat. Thank
God, Kate, our official concert photographer,
agreed to write a few lines about
these various Animals (not the mermaids)
down the avenue (Gunnersbury Ave.,
that is), I observed with relief for
Alan Glen’s sake that Mister
Blue Sky was living here today for
another great celebration of British
blues. Ace ex-Yardbirds harmonica
player and his tremendous guitarist
pal, Sonny Black, need not have worried
earlier about weather and consequent
turnout for their fine acoustic set
in the beautiful park surroundings.
I did note that Alan had roped in
the whole of his lovely enthusiastic
family, Jackie and the boys, to boost
audience numbers and/or as “roadies”
– bless them all!
splendid “tour de force”
of blues harp, slide and picking and
just generally great guitars from
the guys took us through Slim Harpo’s
(via Rolling Stones) “I’m
A King Bee”, G. L. Crockett’s
(via Duster Bennett) “Man Down
There”, Jimmy Rogers’
(via The Barcodes) “That’s
Alright”, Sonny and Brownie’s
“Hoedown”, Sonny Boy Williamson’s
“Byebye Bird” (check out
SBW with the Yardbirds, live at the
Crawdaddy some decades back, on CD).
Indeed, there were plenty of Crawdaddies
and Mummies around at today’s
it was good. To the extent that
it deserved a commemoration (see
pic). Great T-shirt, merci Serge,
and not bad whisky, either! So busy
dramming were they that they almost
missed the next bit…
Having spent a day at London Zoo
earlier this week, I thought I would
be able to understand something
of evolution. But not in the case
of these Animals! The number of
name and lineup changes over the
years would require a Darwinian
understanding of the British R and
simply, today’s gang of four
were formed by original “Animals”
drummer John Steel. Around him were
grouped Pete Barton on bass and vocals,
Johnny “Guitar” Williamson
on lead guitar and Micky Gallagher
on keyboards. Honestly, I didn’t
jump up, windmill-arm, do the splits
and chorus “WHO are you?”!!
The rest of the crowd (several hundred
crammed into a splendid tent and more
standing five deep outside) roared
their appreciation for the opening
number, 1964’s “Baby Let
Me Take You Home”, dedicated
to “Chas” Chandler and
Dave Rowberry. Nice. Then, 1965’s
“It’s My Life” and
the rest…a mix of new and, mostly,
old. “Don’t Let Me Be…”,
“I Believe”, “Bring
It On Home…”, “Don’t
Bring Me Down”, etc.
was it her age, the absence of THE
great voice, or just her unrequited
junior crush on Alan Price (please
do not mention the daft “Dancing
Bear” song) which made Nick’s
recently “idle photographer”
(now known as “Doolittle”
– geddit?!) walk away from
the Animals, not talk, or grunt
or squeak or squawk with the Animals?
But back home, you can dram with
the Animals, as you loved them!
So Serge, for my big men, their
fave: “Don’t Let Me
Be Misunderstood” on mp3,
original version, please. Merci!!
- Kate Kavanagh (text and pictures)
you so much, Kate. Perhaps you'll
notice I did a bit of unusual extra-editing
on the pictures, I hope Nick won't
be jealous! And as a lady's will is
God's will, yes we have the original
let me be misunderstood... Ooooops,
no, wait, here
- TWO SPECIAL YOUNG SPRINGBANKS
8 yo 1995/2004 (56%, OB for the Springbank
Society, fresh sherry, 306 bottles)
Colour: full amber. Nose: lots of
sherry, a bit sulphury. Dried orange,
dried fruits – a little closed.
Quite yeasty too. Notes of leather,
getting farmy, on wet dog and rubber
band. Mouth: punchy and very creamy.
A bit rough and immature but very
enjoyable. Develops on liquorice.
The finish is long, still on liquorice
but also with some rubbery notes.
NAS Private Bottling (OB for distillery
visitors 2005, mini)
Colour: light amber. Nose: caramel
and coffee, toffee, dark chocolate.
Much more sherry than expected. Hints
of lamp petrol, peanut oil, burnt
cake. Not too complex but enjoyable.
Mouth: very punchy but quite bitter
and herbal this time. Dried herbs,
dark toffee, smoke. Long, but slightly
sour and rubbery finish. Not too bad
indeed, although I’d say it’s
not really worth a visit to most depressing
Campbeltown. 79 points.
- TWO OLD BALBLAIRS BY G&M
NAS (70 proof, G&M licensed bottling,
Colour: dark amber. Nose: very nice
sherry, with an interesting mix of
meaty notes and dried fruits (figs,
dates, raisins). Sure it lacks a bit
of oomph but it’s still a nicely
balanced oldie. Mouth: a little too
dry this time, mostly on stale tea
and beer. It then gets quite dusty
and cardboardy. Too bad, the nose
was really great! 78 points.
10 yo (40%, G&M licensed bottling,
Colour: gold. Nose: this one really
smells like when you enter a warehouse.
Wet wood, humus, dried fruits, white
pepper… Some hints of orange
marmalade. Rather nice but quite thin,
I'm afraid. Mouth: the attack is a
bit flat, developping mostly on dried
herbs, old papers, nutmeg, and cinnamon…
Alas, it's soon to become very drying.
Once again, the nose was quite interesting
but the mouth didn't deliver and was
even unpleasant. Too bad.
73 points (for the nose).
- Lac’Holl (42%, OB, France,
This one is distilled near my place,
in Riquewihr in Alsace, and is 4yo,
roughly. Gilbert Holl is both a distiller
and a brewer, which means that 100%
of the product has been made at the
distillery, unlike many other ‘foreign’
whiskies. Colour: light amber. Nose:
nicely fruity, with some grain and
white chocolate. Better than expected.
It does smell whisky indeed, without
too many notes of ‘white eau
de vie’. Mouth: nice fruit again,
very sweet and rounded. Some notes
of sweet white wine, red fruits, ripe
gooseberries and apple juice. Nicely
made, this one – and I ain’t
chauvinistic here. 75 points.
SUMMER ADS - PART II
Park 2003: 'Experience
the warmth of the world's northernmost
single malt Scotch Whisky.' A
warming ad indeed, even if, maybe,
they could have written 'Scotland's
northernmost single malt whisky' instead.
Or do they suggest one can make Scotch
Whisky anywhere in the world? Did
the SWA approve?
- Crown Royal 2003:
'Paradise found.' But where's
this bottle tree located? Do they
have other kinds? Brora trees?
listening: Japanese pop can sound
silly, very silly, but this time it's
different. Sure, Gutevolk
- aka Hirono Nishiyama - hasn't got
a 'voice' but she knows how to craft
some very clever little ritornelles,
like for instance Sora.mp3.
Far, very far from Pizzicato Five!
Please buy Gutevolk's music if you
- TWO INDIE ARDBEGS DISTILLED IN THE
30 yo 1967/1997 (50.3%, Signatory,
dark oloroso, US, cask #1141, 510
Colour: deep mahogany. Nose: wow,
some bold notes of eucalyptus and
camphor right from the start. Develops
on tropical fruits (passion), beeswax,
beehive, wax, paraffin. Some Mandarine
Impériale liqueur too. Magnificent
oakiness. Some tiger balm and also
some superb notes of old Sauternes
(Yquem 1967?) Magnificent indeed.
Mouth: starts with all sorts of
herbal teas and herb jellies, creamy
but not lumpy at all. Develops on
a beautiful sherry (dried oranges,
Xmas cake, honeyed pecan nuts…)
before some very discreet peaty
notes do emerge (a bit ghostly).
Fantastic balance. The finish is
perhaps a bit tannic but it’s
still a thrill. No wonder this one’s
already a legend. 95 points
(and thanks, Tom).
24 yo 1969/1993 (40%, G&M for
Carato, Van Gogh Collection, sherry)
Nose: starts on some nice tropical
fruits, grapefruit juice… Gets
quite grassy, with some hints of wet
straw. A little too weak, alas, lacking
a little oomph. Sometimes Arbeg easily
stands 40% ABV but here we want more.
Mouth: rather thin body but with some
huge notes of caramel, cinnamon and
dried fruits (dates, raisins). Gets
then a bit sweetish, on liquorice
allsorts. Really in the G&M Connoisseur’s
Choice style, although some CC's are
much better than this one. You got
it, it really lacks a little bit of
oomph (and perhaps one ear ;-)) 78
listening: French singer Claudine
Longet has now a cult
status, despite the fact that she
stopped recording around 1974. She
had been co-staring with Peter Sellers
in Blake Edward's movie The Party,
had married Andy Williams and divorced,
eventually killed her boyfriend two
years later (unintentionally, it is
said), and then decided to keep a
much lower profile... (good news?)
Let's listen to one of her last recordings
now: Lynsey de Paul's Sugar
me.mp3 (1974). Lethal, isn't it?
- TWO GLENLOCHIES
27 yo 1974/2002 (53.3%, Signatory,
cask #4459, 212 bottles)
Colour: gold. Nose: extremely perfumy,
notes of mead, overripe fruits.
Whiffs of paint thinner, getting
very orangey. Notes of sangria wine,
apple wine… I think it’s
plain weird but perhaps some would
like it. Mouth: very strange, on
chemical fruit juices (Tang), green
plums, getting quite metallic (silver
spoon). Some plum sauce. Really
strange, I think, but some other
malt maniacs sort of liked it. 68
24 yo 1980 (58.6%, Scotch Malt Whisky
Nose: very nice, grassy and flowery.
Heather, meadow flowers, hot milk…
Perhaps a bit dry and austere, I think.
Mouth: very hot, tannic, herbal. Gets
quite sugary after a moment…
It keeps improving, developing on
icing sugar and fresh fruits. Yet,
it remains a bit too ‘neutral’
but it isn’t bad malt at all.
listening: Elvis Presley does Are
you lonesome tonight.mp3 live.
LOL!!! I now this version is famous
but listen to it again, it's irrestistible
and very refreshing! One question,
though: did he fire the chorist after
full amber. Nose: lots of sultanas,
cooked strawberries and dried dates
at first nosing, mixed with some very
nice notes of humus, tea, mushrooms,
forest… A very nice balance
indeed, together with a nice boldness.
It’s quite rich but not lumpish
at all. Excellent! Some nice notes
of toasted wood, and even some botrytis
(noble rot – but I know there
mustn’t be any in there). Some
hints of burnt rubber. Mouth: sweet
and mellow attack, but still nicely
balanced. Dried fruits, bitter orange,
pu-ehr tea… Gets a little rubbery.
The finish is quite long and creamy,
but again, not lumpish at all and
perfectly balanced. In short, one
can feel the double maturation really
added some extra-complexity to the
malt, and that’s it’s
been ‘crafted’ with much
care. Not a quick-and-dirty finishing
at all – too bad these Vin de
Paille casks are so scarce. 88
By the way, I could also taste the
third batch of Glann ar Mor’s
newmake while visiting the
superb little distillery a few days
ago. Even if master distiller and
owner Jean Donnay told me he didn’t
reach the perfect ‘equilibrium’
yet during that batch, I must say
I’ve been impressed. First,
because unlike many ‘foreign’
whiskies and malts, Glann ar Mor’s
‘French Plain Spirit (!?)’
really smells and tastes like a single
malt. Second, it’s clean and
pure, but also complex and quite bold,
with no metallic and/or rubbery notes,
and the fruity notes are well here
and very elegant but not in the grappa/fruit
eau de vie genre at all (again, unlike
many ‘foreign’ whiskies).
The small stills sure offer more contact
with copper, and I’d say the
result is perfect, with lots of character.
Impressive indeed (nope, no chauvinism
here) and I can’t wait to taste
the peated batches to be distilled
1992-1994/2004 (43%, Jean Boyer Best
Cask Selection, France)
new series by a French indie bottler,
which includes mostly young malts
such as Macalan (no typo), Pulteney,
Linkwood, Mortlach… Most are
bottled at 43% but there’s also
a Port Ellen 1983 bottled at 46%.
Strange. Anyway, let’s taste
this new Benriach. Colour: white wine.
Nose: astonishingly fresh and very
maritime, with lots of smoke, grapefruit,
oysters… Lots of peat (it’s
one of these peaty batches), very
clean, more complex and finer than
the official ‘Curiositas’.
Mouth: not as complex as the nose,
and a bit yeastier but still a very
nice peaty malt, somewhat in the Caol
Ila genre. Notes of freshly cut apples.
The finish is medium long and fresh
like a baby’s mouth. Definitely
a good one. 83 points.
SUMMER ADS - PART I (a
new series that should last until
the end of August)
Club 1985: 'Be a part
of it.' Or why one should always
wear a tie, even when at the beach.
Classy, don't you think?
Seven Crown 1987: 'Seagram's
7 and 92°' Guys and girls
on inflatable mattresses, with glasses
in their hands. It remains to be seen
how they'll manage to sip their whiskeys...
listening: Canadian composer Sam
Andreyef is kind of a
crossbreed of Peter Skellern, Picabia
and Raymond Queneau. Baroque dadaïsm?
Pataphysics? Anyway, have a go at
final days.mp3 and you'll hear
what I mean... Very nice, eh? Please
buy Sam Andreyef's music if you like
music (sam lives in Paris). (via
David F.'s excellent
Carling Academy Glasgow, July 15th
by Nick Morgan
still don’t think I’ve
recovered, mentally or physically,
from having my head wedged in a
door at the Port Charlotte Hotel
at the end of a heated discussion
(with a distinguished Malt Maniac
of all people) over the literary
merits or otherwise of the erstwhile
author Nick Hornby. Now let’s
get my position straight. Having
read the first 37 pages of Fever
Pitch, and then never having turned
another of any of his novels, I
am uniquely positioned to judge
his writing as flaccid, self-indulgent,
white middle class twaddle. An unfortunate
stain on the reputation of 21st
Century British literature.
yes – and I was mightily pissed-off
when I lost my regular North London
parking space outside the Home of
Football at Highbury when Fever Pitch
was being filmed (key message Mr Hornby
– never fuck with someone’s
parking). But I conceded – and
at this point the pressure on my head
somewhat eased – that Hornby’s
31 Songs is an inspired read, and
in truth was the book that lead me
Mann – not enough
to warrant forgiving Mr Hornby for
his other sins, but maybe it’s
a start. And certainly, as I recall,
enough to diffuse a potentially nasty
confrontation which ended happily
in a musical discussion over a Caol
Ila or three.
Hornby is also responsible for us
being in Glasgow to see the great
camera shy Diva – as the photographer
discovered when a strip search (it’s
a Glasgow thing) resulted in all her
equipment being confiscated (very
pleasantly I should add) for the duration
of the evening. It’s part of
a European tour to promote the new
‘concept’ album The Forgotten
Arm. Actually I’m not sure it’s
a concept in the way that marketeers
might understand it – no apparent
functional benefit for example, but
rather a collection of songs (a song
cycle then) narrating the torture
of a doomed relationship, foundering
on despair and drug addiction. So
doomed and so despairing that I’m
surprised that it manages to go for
twelve songs – I might have
given up after about half a dozen,
but as at least one other writer has
said, so it goes.
previous two albums, Bachelor No 1
and Lost in Space were works of real
lyrical and musical beauty, marked
to a great extent by the guitar work
of Michael Lockwood, as well, of course,
as Ms Mann’s astonishing and
quite unique voice. New concept, new
album, new producer, new band, but
unfortunately nothing as new and surprising
– and simply as engaging –
as some of the work on the previous
Not to say that this isn’t a
good evening. Ms Mann is one cool
performer; relaxed, charming and chatty.
Nothing to suggest the ‘difficult’
reputation that she is supposed to
have. She handled the good-natured
Glasgow hecklers with aplomb, and
won the hearts of the audience (well,
those that she didn’t already
have in her pocket) during the encore
with a call for requests. All rehearsed
I cynically thought, until she and
the band embarked on a song that quite
clearly neither they, nor I, for that
matter, could remember. Brave stuff.
We got most of the new album in the
correct ‘concept’ order
(apart from the nice ‘King of
the Jailhouse’ which was the
first encore) interlaced with a selection
of older tunes, such as ‘Back
to Zero’, ‘Invisible Ink’,
‘Susan’ and ‘4th
Mann’s voice lived up to all
expectation, added to which she played
acoustic and electric guitars, bass
and piano. No lack of talent there
then. Nor with her band who, though
we didn’t catch the name of
the brilliant drummer – ‘played
like an old-fashioned jazz percussionist’
said the idle photographer, were I
strongly suspect the core of the musicians
on Forgotten Arm. And a nice set of
lights too, which reminded me of the
lettering on the cover of the old
Jimi Hendrix Smash Hits album.
The problem was that as the evening
wore on the one real weakness in Ms
Mann’s armoury became apparent.
Most of the songs were one paced,
played at the same tempo which was
frankly verging on the tedious just
before the main set ended. And it
makes all the songs sound the same,
which I know isn’t true, but
then I’ve never listened to
three of her albums back to back,
and to be honest I’m beginning
to wonder if I’d buy a fourth.
So what I began to think was that
you needed to be a real fan to like
this stuff in such intense doses,
and began to doubt if I was. Lucky
though that 99% of the good-natured
audience were. They had a ball, and
we had a good time too. Just a bit
disappointing, that’s all.
Anyway music lovers, it’s adieu
from me, at least for a little while.
I’m writing this from a room
overlooking Oban Bay, and I’m
about to start my annual fortnight’s
adventure around the West Coast of
Scotland. But not to worry –
plenty of great gigs lined up for
August, including our Festival Special.
Happy sailing. Nick Morgan
you so much, Nick. The Festival Special?
We can't wait! But let's have Save
me.mp3 (live) by Aimee for now.
And oh, to our readers: I wasn't that
malt maniac discussing over the literrary
merits of Nick Hornby at the Port
Charlotte. I don't even know who that
Hornby guy is!
- TWO SPEYBURNS
12 yo (63.1%, James MacArthur, bottled
1992, cask #3337)
Colour: white wine. Nose: full pineapple
juice and grass juice – really
pungent. Spey-burn indeed. Difficult
to get anything else than alcohol.
Mouth: sweet but very strong. Sugarish,
with some notes of white fruits
but almost nothing else. Perhaps
pear spirit? Not interesting, even
with water and at various dilutions.
15 yo 1975/1991 (60.1%, Cadenhead’s)
Colour: white wine. Nose: starts on
some heavy notes of walnut skins,
Fra Angelico liqueur, getting then
very fruity, on apples and pears.
Wet hay, ripe kiwi… Very lemony
too. Interesting Speyburn! Mouth:
sweet, extremely powerful so let’s
taste it with water (otherwise it’s
undrinkable). Very sweet and simple,
with lots of fresh apple and lemon
skin but not much else. It then gets
dry and spirity, with no special flavours
that would give it any interest. 77
points (because the nose
- THREE MINI 50 yo MORTLACHS BY GORDON
50 yo 1936/1986 (40%, Gordon &
Colour: pure gold. Nose: starts on
caramel, developing on beehive, wax
polish, apple compote. Fir honey,
hints of eucalyptus, quince jelly,
Mirabelle jam. Lots of maple syrup,
butter caramel, Werther’s Originals.
Beautiful toffee, with hints of citrus
that give it a kick. Complex yet compact.
Just superb and very ‘traditional’.
very creamy, on fine caramel, fudge,
Mandarine Imperial liqueur. Develops
on cake, biscuits, crystallised fruits…
Lots of liquorice and plum jam. Some
wood but not too much, which is amazing.
Some nice tannins. Rather long finish,
on fudge and oak, getting finally
a bit too drying. 89 points.
50 yo 1938/1988 (40%, Gordon &
Colour: pure gold. Nose: idem but
a bit woodier, a bit more sour, and
perhaps with more eucalyptus and balsamic
aromas. Slightly dusty. Mouth: creamier
and also peatier, smokier. The balance
is really perfect in this one, with
bunches of fruit jams, eucalyptus
candies. Superb vivacity brought by
some tropical fruits such as passion
fruit and kiwi. Lots of herbs too.
Long, bold finish, with some smoke,
peat and quite some tannins. Wunderbar,
bolder and punchier than the 1936.
50 yo 1939/1989 (40%, Gordon &
Colour: pure gold. Nose: this one
is again closer to the 1936, with
lots of milk caramel, hot milk, caramel
crème, chicory. Brown tobacco,
cooked red cabbage, quite some smoke
and peat. A bit of burnt wood and
even button mushrooms. Mouth: more
herbal, even medicinal. There’s
quite some peat in this one! Lots
of herbal teas, camomile, vanilla
crème… Beautiful vivacity
at such an old age. Long, creamy finish,
on crème brûlée
and tea. I like it the same as the
1938: 91 points.
In short these pre-war Mortlachs are
really excellent and not tired at
all, probably the best 50yo's by G&M.
The minis are still available in the
UK, a great opportunity to taste some
pre-war malts... (and they're much
cheaper than the 1937 Glenfiddich!
listening: I was sure I did put some
Wyatt on this humble
website already, but I cannot find
him in the Index (can you help me?
;-)) Anyway, time for his Sea
song.mp3 now. And please buy the
Great Robert's music if you like it
- of course you do.
soon: Nick Morgan's review
of Aimee Mann's recent concert in
Glasgow. Stay tuned.
– Milton-Duff-Glenlivet 12
yo (43%, OB, Ballantines, 70’s)
Colour: very pale (white wine).
Nose: fresh and lively, grainy and
flowery. Not complex at all but
rather enjoyable and quite flawless.
Mouth: nicely balanced, on cereals,
candy sugar and fruit salad. Too
bad it’s a bit weak and getting
even watery… Not much else
to say about this one, I’m
sorry. 79 points.
on a very hot day: French band Mukta
plays and entrancing Portrait.mp3.
Something of Ravi Shankar with Philp
Glass, a perfect blend of jazz and
raga (not ragga!) that works extremely
well, I think. Please buy Mukta's
music if you like it!
- Longmorn 1973/2005 (51.3%, Duncan
Colour: straw. Nose: extremely clean
and fresh for such an oldie. Big,
bold notes of pink grapefruit, getting
even a little maritime. Very, very
big citrus. Mouth: grapefruit juice
again, lemon marmalade, lime…
Big citrusy notes again, that take
the control from the start to the
finish. Surprisingly youthful if not
too complex. One to try if you like…
lemon! (I know, I insist). 88
listening: le rap, c'est chic? Well,
maybe in Australia, as Macromantics'
Future.mp3 might testify. And
good news, no Lacoste or Sergio Tacchini
track-suits here, just a girl 'with
hair gelled back, in jeans and t-shirts
or shirt sporting canvas shoes with
rhymes so snappy they make the crocodile
hunter scared'. Okay, did you
listen to it? Good, now we can resume
our 'Please no rap' policy, but please
buy Macromantics' music if you like
- TWO GLENLOSSIES
12 yo (65.8%, James MacArthur, cask
Colour: amber. Nose: really overpowering.
Lots of dark chocolate, nutmeg,
cardboard, biscuits. Quite closed
on the nose, actually. With water,
it doesn’t get any better,
just less aggressive. Mouth: very
sugary and very strong. You can
dip your lips into the whisky but
you just can’t drink it. It
seems to be very simple. With water,
it gets somewhat waxy and even medicinal:
nice! 81 points.
13 yo 1966/1979 (45.7%, Cadenhead
Colour: gold. Nose: very delicate
at first nosing, with lots of dried
fruits (figs, bananas, pears), some
fresh pineapple and some herbal tea.
Hints of passion fruit and quince
jelly… A typical old bottle
effect. I like that. Mouth: superbly
balanced, on herbal tea again, with
lots of fresh fruits like strawberries,
gooseberries, melon… Some apricot
jam. Not really special but extremely
well balanced and most enjoyable if
not complex. One to drink rather than
collect! 89 points.
listening: hey, why not try something
a little smarter, for once? If you
liked the Kronos Quartet, you'll probably
and napalm.mp3 by Austrian band
They say they are playing some contaminated
chamber music - I'd rather say it's
some contaminating chamber music.
Please buy their excellent recordings.
the index of all entries:
malts I had these weeks - 90+
points only - alphabetical:
26 yo 1974/2001 (50%, Douglas Laing
OMC, 252 bottles)
30 yo 1974/2004 (53.7%,
OB, MC for Italy, cask #2739, 134 bottles)
30 yo 1974/2004 (53.7%,
OB, MC for Italy, cask #2739, 134 bottles)
30 yo 1967/1997 (50.3%,
Signatory, dark oloroso, US, cask #1141, 510
29 yo 1963/1992 (52.1%, Signatory Vintage,
50 yo 1938/1988 (40%,
Gordon & MacPhail)
50 yo 1939/1989 (40%, Gordon &