Hi, you're in the Archives, June 2005 - Part 2
- TWO YOUNG CAOL ILAS
Ila 13 yo 1988/2002 (57.6%, Gordon
& MacPhail Cask Strength, casks
Colour: white wine. Nose: smoky
too but with more wood, bitter chocolate,
coffee beans and rotten hay. Gets
then very animal, horse stable,
cow… Weird! Mouth: very sugary
and curiously vegetal. Lots of icing
sugar and lemon juice, getting bitter
and a bit acid. Not too enjoyable.
Gets also grassier and grassier
with time… Raw fruit spirit.
Really hard to enjoy although intellectually
interesting. But we aren’t
here for that, are we? 79
Ila 7 yo 1993/2000 (62.1%, Scotch
Malt Whisky Society, 53.50)
Colour: straw. Nose: extremely peaty
– peatier than usually. Smoky
and medicinal. Very pure and clean,
it smells like the distillery. Peated
malt. A few drops of water bring lots
of notes of white fruits (apple, pear,
white peaches…) Mouth: a bit
simple (peat and white fruits) but
punchy and rather well balanced. Very,
very good! 88 points.
listening: 1967, the ultimate yéyé
Taieb sings 7
heures du matin.mp3 with a great
garage sound avant l'heure. Her only
genuinely successful tune - too bad,
she had 'the sound', don't you think?
on Ardbeg's Feis Ile 2005 releases
(a little more water into my whisky,
thanks to Ian ;-))
- TWO FANTASTIC INDIE 1972 ARDBEGS
‘The Ardbeggeddon’ 29
yo 1972/2001 (48.4%, Douglas Laing
for PLOWED, 227 bottles)
Imagine I had never tried this legend
before! Colour: dark straw. Nose:
oh yes, here are the half-farmy and
half-seaweedy aromas I was looking
for. Apple compote. Perfectly balanced,
rather delicate and subtle, yet rich.
Not a wham-bam, ‘too obvious’
Ardbeg, contrarily to what many say.
Very, very classy stuff! Mouth: again,
superbly balanced. Lots of peat and
sugared lemon juice. Gets superbly
dry like some of the best Rieslings,
despite the sherry (?). Develops on
grapefruit… Some great spicy
notes too, white pepper… I love
it. A benchmark Ardbeg, no doubt –
and sorry guys if some of you think
it’s a ‘monster’;
I don’t - but again, I'm not
into monsters too much. I'd say it's
rather an angel, if you don't mind.
94 points (thanks
to all the PLOWEDsters).
28 yo 1972/2000 (49.2%, Kingsbury)
Nose: very clean and pure Ardbeg.
Fantastic smoke, with some great
and unusual animal notes (hare fur,
civet, game). Develops on tar, new
tyre… Very, very complex and
aromatically very 'wide'. Notes
of fresh oysters, seaweed…
All I can say is ‘wow!’
Mouth: lots of the usual lemon juice,
tea, cinnamon, oysters again…
Also some orgeat syrup, marzipan,
almond milk. Just a magnificent
Ardbeg, this one! Lots of power
and a great complexity at the same
time - it really does 'the peacock's
tail'. A masterpiece. 93
– JAZZ - Recommended
listening: excellent guitar player
Jackson, from New Zealand,
Love.mp3. And the bass player
is very good too! Please buy Leigh
Jackson's music if you like it...
WHISKY ADS - 21st CENTURY IN-STORE
I love them all. I really
do... Wot, waddaya say? Nope, I tell
Times fishing standee. The 'caption'
reads: "Here's to fish
that bite and whisky that doesn't"
Great Whisky, Great Times. |
Maker's Mark Whisky barrel
display using a real whiskey
barrel and holding three cases
of one litre bottles |
Maker's Mark corrugated fireplace
display, holding two cases
of one litre bottles (when
is Xmas again?)
Mark Splash Bottle Glorifier
(it won a 'Design of the Time'
award - no kidding!) |
McKendric whiskey bottle holder,
boot made out of foam and
air brushed. (No design award
- TWO VERY SPECIAL 1970 BRUICHLADDICHS
31 yo 1970/2001 ‘valinch - I
was there but not today’ (47.3%,
OB, cask # 5085, 250 bottles)
Colour: pure gold. Nose: sort of farmy,
which is unusual. Wet straw, hay,
dried flowers. Develops on the usual
melon, peach, light honey, pollen.
Really beautiful, subtlety in malt
at its best. Some quince jelly too.
I love it. Some whiffs of white pepper
and nutmeg developing after a moment.
Wow. Mouth: so sweet and subtle, with
bunches of dried fruits, figs, ripe
bananas, banana flambéed…
Ripe melon, apricot, raspberry spirit.
An excellent one, no doubt –
all subtlety. A bit of lavender ice
cream and violets, and perhaps some
old papers… Medium long finish,
on nutmeg. An excellent one.
30 yo 1970 ‘The Great Whisky
Swindle’ (52%, MWBH, 161 bottles)
Interesting back label that reads:
'This bottle is a special commemorative
bottling to record the Great Whisky
Swindle of the 1990's. Your bottle
is one of just 161 bottles from a
single hogshead of malt distilled
in 1970 at the Bruichladdich distillery
on Islay. The cask was sold as an
investment by infamous company Vintage
Casks Ltd which was dissolved in September
1998. Enjoy it for its own sake or
keep it as a memento of the scam that
lost investors and credit card companies
millions of pounds. Paul Smith, 1st
July 2001' Colour: light gold.
Nose: starts on some heavy notes of
longan and dried litchis. Some ripe
melon; Gets quite grassy, with also
some herbal tea. Hints of coal smoke.
Quite clean and very, very interesting.
Mouth: sweet and creamier than usually.
Apricot and mirabelle jam. Lots of
various herbal teas (camomile, lime
tree…). Some nice spicy notes
too. An excellent swindle ;-)! 91
found this very nice rendition of
could happen to you by Minneapolis
Peterson (mp3 - with
Jack McDuff and Jay 'Bird' Koder,
who plays so much better here than
on his usual FM/smooth jazz tunes.)
I like it!
- THREE INDIE BUNNAHABHAINS
14 yo 1977/1992 (52.6%, James MacArthur,
Colour: dark straw. Nose: lots of
milk chocolate, burnt caramel, cake.
More and more milk chocolate and fudge.
Mocha, cappuccino… Even some
Bailey’s, Alexander. Very enjoyable.
Gets then very fruity, on ripe strawberries
and sabayon. Orange flowers. Refined
and very elegant! Mouth: bold, powerful,
compact, nervous… Great! Lots
of fruity notes, apple juice, pear
juice, watermelon… Light caramel…
gets a bit tannic and peppery after
a moment. Sure the palate is les complex
than the fantastic nose but it’s
still enjoyable. Long finish, perhaps
just a bit too sugary. Water doesn’t
work; it makes the malt even more
sugary and ‘simple’. Anyway,
87 points for this
very good surprise.
20 yo 1979/1999 (57%, James MacArthur
Old Masters, cask #9677)
Colour: full amber. Nose: deep sherry
with some persistent perfumy notes:
musk, lily from the valley, violets…
Develops on burnt cake, hot caramel
and old books. A bit dusty but nothing
too strong. A bit sulphury. Cold cappuccino,
overripe oranges. Nice but close to
the limits for me. Mouth: very strong
and also perfumy – in a bad
way this time (old official Edradour,
anyone?) Rotten fruits, perfume, overcooked
wine sauce, cheap liqueur… Too
bad, the nose was great but the mouth
is a bit awful, I’m afraid.
6 yo 1997/2003 (59.4%, Scotch Malt
Whisky Society, 10.56)
Colour: pure gold. Nose: big sherry
(one of these ultra-fast maturing
casks), sweet wine, with lots of elegance
this time. Nicely sour. Notes of wine
sauce, balsamic vinegar, Thai curry
sauce… Very special! Also some
light mustard sauce. Mouth: extremely
creamy, like an old Balvenie (!) Quince
jelly, apricot wine. Heavy wine sauce
again, soy sauce (I know, too much
sauce…). Hot honey. Quite some
icing sugar, notes of dry wine (chenin
blanc). Gets a bit grassy with a few
drops of water, but keeps on developing
on Xmas cake and dried fruits. A very
nice one indeed! Flawless –
astonishing, these speedy ageings!
listening - Nope, I'm not crazy and
yes, I know, this is nothing but lounge
disco music. But hey, summer is here
and you'll probably need a few easy
tunes sooner or later (barbeque, garden
party, whatever). So, here we have
Quick, invite the neighbours and prepare
the dance floor! And please buy Geiger's
music... (via fluxblog)
– Longmorn-Glenlivet 1964/1983
(46%, Duthie for Samaroli, 180 bottles)
Colour: sweet white wine. Nose: wow,
all sorts of herbal teas (camomile,
thyme…) together with some bold
notes of fresh tangerine. Hints of
eucalyptus and camphor. It then develops
on humus and mushrooms… Absolutely
beautiful! Mouth: superb attack, extremely
fruity, on pink grapefruit, tangerine,
lemon juice… Yet, it’s
rather subtle and delicate. It goes
on with some pine honey, and even
some fresh bananas… A wonderful
dram, no doubt. When Longmorn is good,
it’s very good! 92 points.
– JAZZ - Imagine
it's Sunday, 11:00 AM. Already 30°C
in the shade. You pour a wee dram
of a young Rosebank into a tumbler,
you add a few ice cubes... Then, you
up your old Thorens turntable
and just close your eyes. When Duke's
first notes arrive to your ears, you
take a first sip of whisky, just like
that, without even nosing it... And
when Trane's sax is on, you're in
Malt Maniacs' Malt Monitor
has just been updated. It now lists
exactly 10,914 ratings for 4,110 different
Apollo, London, Tuesday 21st June
2005 - by
fans will recall that this was ‘the
best concert that I missed‘
from last year, so I was naturally
delighted when the Kings
found their way back to the UK, and
in particular to three sold-out nights
at the Hammersmith Apollo.
surprising really as they seem to
have found their way into the hearts
(and pockets) of the Brits far more
successfully than their home audience
– both (brilliantly produced)
albums – Youth & Young Manhood
and last year’s Aha Shake Heartbreak
have been runaway hits, and their
visits here are always over-subscribed.
In fact their debauched rock and roll
lifestyle as they toured the first
album provided much of the material
for the second – music great
but shame about the secondary school
lyrics and obvious sexual innuendo.
But Carry on Rock and Roll. It’s
a joy to be in a packed hall of mainly
mid-twenties rock and rollers and
realise that there is hope after Coldplay,
Travis et. al. after all. And if one
might have a sense that there is a
little too much of the marketers hand
about the band then this is one instance
when it can be forgiven – perfect
product, perfect marketing.
those that don’t know the Kings
are four Followills; brothers Mathew
on lead guitar (looking like Johnny
Depp doing Keith Richard doing Johnny
Depp), Jared on bass (a sort of cross
between an oversized Ronnie Wood and
Sid Vicious), Caleb on guitar and
vocals (he’s the one that looks
like Legolas minus the bow and arrow
and skateboard), and Cousin Nathan
(he’s the one with the beard,
bass-pedal power foot, and bubblegum).
Tipton - no – not the one near
Birmingham where I played my first
paying gig, but Tipton County near
Memphis, they bring a Southern soaked
rock and roll with echoes of Tom Petty
and the Heartbreakers, Lynyrd Skynyrd,
Creedence Clearwater and at times
even the Band. But there are traces
of Europe in there too – you
can hear the Buzzcocks, Motorhead,
Golden Earring (yeah Johannes –
they made it!) and certainly a riff
or two from the Keith Richards ‘Play
in a Day’ tutor. But the sound
is no rip off – it’s a
real mixing pot, and the result is
something quite unique, not least
thanks to Caleb Followill’s
out of this world half sung, half
spoken, and half muttered (hang on
– that’s one and a half!)
vocals. The glue, as they say, which
holds the whole thing together.
Pity then that the one downside of
the show (apart from the typical June
London heat wave, which had venue
promoters Carling rubbing their lager
soaked hands) was the sound system.
I mean I know he mutters and all –
but aren’t you supposed to be
able to hear it nonetheless? Too bad
really. Onstage these boys were as
tight as ninepence – showing
an uncanny ability to start a song,
do the bit in the middle, and then
finish perfectly. They powered through
almost all the material from both
albums at pretty much top speed, with
barely a word to the audience.
and simple in their playing, they
were supported by an equally understated
yet effective light show (marvellous
when it projected their giant shadows
on the back of the stage during ‘Spiral
staircase’). Phew! If it was
thirty degrees outside then the Kings
raised the temperature inside by another
30 – energy (as they used to
say as an excuse for anything in the
good old days of punk rock) and raw
power by the bucketful. They can come
back and visit any time.
And I hope I’ll be back too.
But bad news rock fans! Serge and
I are at loggerheads, like nations
divided in a confrontational standoff,
over the Rebate I negotiated on my
Whiskyfun expenses. I mean, how can
a few French farmers matter when compared
to my globalised free market rock
and roll reviewer’s lifestyle
– stretch Hummers, Green Point
fizz, Chinese Ray Banns, and even
American HP Sauce? No, I can’t
give it up. But Serge, I’m reaching
out to you. Lets call a truce and
let the good times roll again. How
about we make a comic romantic gesture
of reconciliation for our public by
getting engaged at the top of your
Tower of Eiffel? What say you, “oui”
or “non”? Nick Morgan
(concert photos by Kate)
you Dear Tony, I mean, Nick. It's
true that Whiskyfun's huge funds have
been entirely donated to a local snail
grower, plus to a few useless and
lazy bureaucrats we must pay anyway
(whether through our hugely advanced
and cunning social system, called
The Administration, or through our
agencies). On the other hand, as I
told another English friend who just
drove with his Peugeot, first to Paris
to undergo minor surgery (not the
car, the guy had liver and kidney
problems) and to buy a few bottles
of whisky at La Maison - cheaper here
-, and then to Provence to buy a house
'where the sun shines': "Let's
not get fooled by our political leaders
and their agendas; Churchill and De
Gaulle, Mitterrand and Thatcher, Tony
and Jacques, Sarkozy and Brown...
Can't they just have a few glasses
(whisky and wine mixed together right
in the cask, a hit) and give us, the
people, a break?" So, I say "yeoui"
for the Eiffel Tower thing. We'll
do that next time you come to Paris,
and please bring the Brora, I'll bring
the foie gras. As for the music, agreed,
let's drop Elgar and Debussy and choose
the Kings of Leon's California
Waiting.mp3 (sorry, slow server).
Wait, 'California'... Where's that,
again? Ah, yes... That after you forced
us to wear some Hawaiian shirts on
Islay... Nick, you're incorrigible!
;-) Let's rather try this.
- Tomatin 1965/1989 (46%, Moon ‘The
Animals’, casks 124-125-126,
Colour: light amber. Nose: quite grainy
and a little dusty right from the
start, quite typical of some old ‘regular’
malt from an old bottle. Some notes
of light honey and toffee, with some
dried flowers. It’s okay but
nothing special here. Mouth: rather
weak attack, quite grainy and a bit
herbal, with some tea… It’s
quite enjoyable, in fact, just a bit
simple and too inoffensive (despite
the snake on the label). 79
- TWO PRE-CAMILLA MALTS
1948 and 1961/1981 (40%, G&M,
Colour: amber. Nose: great sherry,
cake, dried fruits, a bit minty,
eucalyptus, beeswax… Very
nice, very satisfying, Delicate.
Really superb. Mouth: light caramel,
Irish coffee, cake, crystallised
oranges, camomile, butter caramel…
Extremely enjoyable if not a total
winner. Excellent! 88 point.
Grant 1948 and 1961/1981 (40%, G&M,
Colour: amber. Nose: a bit of bitter
caramel, bread, cooked cake. Tobacco.
A bit tired and not too expressive,
I’m afraid. Hints of vase water.
weak, dusty, with some chocolate and
just hints of tropical fruits. Quite
some mint too, growing bigger and
bigger (After Eights). Not too bad,
after all! Gets quite bitter, though,
on coffee grounds. 81 points.
- Sunny days here...
Time to golf - I don't - and have
some light drams - I do ;-)... (via
- Recommended listening:
Czars, from Denver, play
Light (mp3). Simple and charming
music with violins. Please buy their
music if you can find it.
1981/1998 (57.7%, Scott’s Selection)
Colour: sweet white wine. Nose: very
flowery, on dandelion and buttercup.
Fresh mint, getting grassier and grassier.
Notes of fresh butter. A very clean
one, if not too complex. Mouth: bold,
fruity and spirity. Some sour notes…
A bit indefinite, in fact. Hints of
ginger ale… Gets very tannic
and bitter, the finish being long
but very spirity and drying at the
same time. Not in the same league
as the Cadenhead, I'm afraid. 76
listening: 1998, Bobby
Conn sings Rise
Up, Now! - mp3. What's interesting
is that he shares the same record
company as Glyn Styler (see feb
24) and that company writes 'The
less you know about Bobby Conn, the
better you’ll feel.' Wow,
support indeed! I think Conn's work
is very special, which sometimes equals
'interesting'. Please buy his music
if you like it. (But does Bobby buy
Robert Smith's make-up leftovers?)
JUST IN - Quote:
'The Prime Minister of the Italian
Republic, Silvio Berlusconi, and his
companion Signora Ciampi, were guests
during their recent State visit of
the Lord Major and The Corporation
The banquet for 750 guests was held
in the Guildhall, in the City of London,
was in the presence of Their Royal
Highnesses the Prince and Princess
Michael of Kent.
A fifteen year old Bruichladdich
Islay single malt was served for toasts
in the president’s honour while
the orchestra of the Scots Guards
played a diverse mixture of Scottish
and Italian music including O
Sole Mio and Swing and O’The
The banquet was arranged to consolidate
the close trading links, cultural
influences and political ties between
the City of London and the Italian
nope, these are not Valpolicella
and Pinot Grigio 'affined' Bruichladdichs
;-). But they might be very heavy
- TWO LEGENDARY OLD BOWMORES
'Black' 1964/1993 (50%, OB, first
edition, 2000 bottles)
Colour: bronze-brown. Nose: extraordinary
sherry, with lots of tropical fruits
(passion, mango) mixed with some waxy,
smoky notes. Lots of coffee beans,
a bit of paraffin, Roasted almonds,
pecan pie, vanilla cream. Really a
thrill, getting very chocolaty with
time. Mouth: superb attack, on dried
tropical fruits, raspberry jam and
some delicate milk chocolate. Fresh
pineapple, passion fruit, pink grapefruit.
Extraordinary balance. Notes of peat,
toffee, coffee… Some smoke,
breadcrumb… I like the way it
tickles your tongue. Really playful,
absolutely fantastic. No wonder it
became a legend – I think it’s
quite better than both the second
and the final editions, which I both
have at 91 points. The first is in
another dimension: 96 points.
20 yo 1965 (49.1%, G&M for Sestante)
Nose: wow, lots of the usual passion
fruits mixed with some high-end bitter
chocolate and some first class Italian
coffee. Just wonderful. Mouth: on
full fruit jam covered with white
pepper. Lots of oomph… A great
old Bowmore, perhaps not as complex
as some other old ones (and a bit
drier) but extremely compact and satisfying.
What a great body! I love it: 92
points. (Thanks, Luc)
listening: king of 'Wellness Pop'
and 'Astro Musette' Zofka
was born in Prague but it's in Switzerland
that this highly skilled electronic
artist emerged. He seems to be influenced
by some old French movies (with Jean-Paul
Belmondo), as L'automobile.mp3
will testify. Please buy Zofka's music
if you like it!
TASTING - TWO BRAND NEW BOTTLINGS
55 yo 1949/2005 (40%, OB, 70 bottles)
A brand new, very limited bottling
of the oldest Benromach ever, introduced
for the first time at Vinexpo, Bordeaux.
Good news, I was at Vinexpo yesterday
(and I’m still there today),
so let’s taste it. Colour:
full amber. Nose: rather fresh and
clean at first nosing. There’s
quite some wood, obviously, but
it’s rather of the ‘spicy’
kind, instead of vanilla and old
cardboard. Quite gingery in fact,
with also some notes of Xmas cake
and quite some milk chocolate. Rather
subtle but not too bold, that’s
for sure. Some notes of bananas
flambéed, and also some passion
fruit and fresh mango. Goes on with
some crystallised oranges…
Complex indeed, with a most enjoyable
a very spicy attack, on dried ginger
again, white pepper and herbal tea
(camomile). That’s it, tropical
fruit juice and white pepper. Green
coconut juice, orange juice…There’s
quite some tannins, of course, but
not of the drying kind.
short, the whisky isn’t bold,
nor powerful, but rather subtle and
enjoyable. For £3,000, which
is the recommended UK price, one could
buy quite some bottles of very good
whisky, but perhaps whisky that might
not be as ‘historic’ as
this very nice antique that comes
in a genuine copper tube. 88
points (and thanks, Derek).
Big Smoke ‘60’ (60%, Duncan
brand new vatted malt – sorry,
blended – that comes both as
a ‘40’ and a ‘60’.
Let’s taste the ‘60’.
Colour: white wine; Nose: powerful
– but not overpowering, fruity
and very peaty at first nosing: we’re
on Islay. Simple but quite rounded
and enjoyable, nicely balanced. Gets
a little farmy, and grows smokier
and smokier with time. Mouth: easily
drinkable! Sweet and peaty again,
with quite some smoke and apple juice.
Again, it’s simple but very
nicely balanced. One for peat lovers
who need a good , easy and flawless
Islayer for everyday – and who
don’t desperately look for lots
of complexity when they have a dram.
I’d love to try it on ice next
it’s also true that one could
buy 150 bottles of this one for the
price of one bottle of Benromach 55
yo (I know, a stupid comment, please
forgive me but now you can calculate
its price ;-). 80 points.
listening: Canadian singer Kate
Maki does Sweet
Time.mp3. She was still a teacher
two years ago, but she seems to gather
growing audiences these days. No wonder
why! Please buy her music...
Ellen 21 yo 1982/2004 (50%, Douglas
Laing for the Islay Whisky Shop, cask
#477, 182 bottles)
Nose: quite sulphury, on some notes
of cooked eggs. Quite oaky. Lots of
maritime notes and also some watery
ones (sea water, vase water). Some
won’t like that but I do –
sort of. Mouth: bold attack but perhaps
a bit dry. The peat arrives rather
slowly, together with lots of peppery
notes and a bit of fructose, icing
sugar. The finish is quite balanced
and just a bit too bitter for me.
A very special one indeed, not a typical
Port Ellen at all but it’s very
interesting. 87 points.
Ellen 21 yo 1979/2001 (50%, Douglas
Laing OMC, sherry, 618 bottles)
Amber. Nose: quite some sherry and
lots of tar, burnt tyre, burnt bread.
Very nice, even if not one of the
best sherried Port Ellens by the Laings.
Mouth: lots of dark chocolate, peat…
a little prickly and getting oddly
medicinal. Some notes of rotten oranges.
Too bad the palate is so strange.
Ellen 21 yo 1979/2001 (50%, Douglas
Laing OMC, 636 bottles)
Colour: straw. Nose: much cleaner,
with a very nice smoke, citrus, lemon
juice, new tyre… Gets a bit
herbal, grassy. Very nice and rather
pure and fresh. Mouth: sweet attack,
with some nice peat on lots of lemon
juice and a dash of white pepper.
Gets peatier and peatier. Not overly
complex but very enjoyable. Funny
salty note. Nice one! 89 points.
– BLUES - Highly
recommended listening: he was just
inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall
of Fame, on March 14. This is nothing
but justice! Nobody plays the blues
Guy, as Look
what all you got.mp3 should testify
(and that Marilyn Manson who thinks
he plays dirty - ha!) Hey, by the
way, how many Buddy Guy CD's do you
have? None? Then please rush out and
buy a few! ;-)
Cannon invented this
very interesting 'Electronic Sculpture'
in 1995, using an oak barrel and a
computer. As Cannon wrote: 'It
is a metaphoric model of the primordial
soup. This electronic, time
based sculpture is developing the
capacity for speech over a period
of many years.' Ahem, doesn't
that sound familar? Any similarities
with whisky ageing, by chance? Now,
maybe that could also explain why
some distillers sometimes come up
with some weird whisky. Only one question
then: does Bruce Cannon work - undercover
- as a consultant for the industry?
Maybe this is a secret prototype for...
McKenna, from Stoughton,
Massachusetts, sings a beautiful In
this fire.mp3. Wow, what a voice!
Certainly the pick of the week, if
not of the month. Please buy Lori
McKenna's music if you like it. What,
you want more? Then listen to Never
die young.mp3. Okay, now you can
buy the music...
- Balmenach-Glenlivet 15 yo 1971 (46%,
straw. Nose: supremely elegant and
refined, on old books, camomile, mint
liquor and straw. Really delicate
and certainly one of the nicest Balmenachs
I ever had. Mouth: beautiful attack,
much more powerful than expected.
It gets quite medicinal, with some
very nice notes of crystallised kumquats,
dried ginger, and perhaps some hay
jelly and bee’s propolis. Long
finish. Excellent and very interesting,
with some unusual notes and a perfect
balance. A great old bottle. 89
1974 (40%, G&M Connoisseur’s
Choice, old map label)
Colour: amber. Nose: quite sherried
this time, with quite some caramel,
cooked apple, ale. Perhaps a bit sour
and woody. Nothing special but it’s
quite enjoyable. A breakfast malt
again? Mouth: very caramelly and a
bit tannic. Very sweet and peppery
(white pepper) but not much else.
No distillery character that I can
get, I’m afraid - what's Craigellachie's
marker again? 75 points.
– BLUES - Highly
recommended listening: legend James
Bolden plays Friday
is my holiday.mp3. (That could
also be the French bureaucrats' motto
;-)). Now, take care, you'll keep
listening to James Bolden again and
again for days... Yeah, better buy
his CD's right now!
Ila 10 yo (46%, Douglas Laing Premier
Barrel, 301 bottles)
Wow, what a bottle! The Laings sure
will never win an award at the World
Design Competition, but who cares?
Nose: a simple, young Caol Ila. Smoky,
a bit farmy, some apple juice…
Not complex at all but quite nice.
Mouth: a bit sweetish, apple juice
again, white pepper… Slightly
‘dirty’. Gets quite dry,
with some over infused tea…
Okay, 80 points for
the more than funny bottle!
Ila 10 yo 1993/2003 (57.3%, Hart Bros,
Colour: white wine. Nose: very n ice
peat smoke and green tea. Beautifully
balanced if not complex. Some nice
white fruits (gooseberries, green
pears) and grain. A very nice nose,
very clean and pure. Mouth: a simple,
clean and straightforward Caol Ila.
Peat, smoke and tea again, with some
apple pie and grass… Notes of
liquorice roots. Simple, perhaps a
bit smokier than usually, and very
enjoyable. 85 points.
GLANN AR MOR SPIRIT: 3 EASY STEPS
(we have the pictures!)
#1: Fermentation (view
of the Glann ar Mor washback)
#2: Distilling the
wash, by pouring it into the... err,
Step #3: oh no, Jean,
no!!! That isn't the way you should
do it! The gospel is: the low wines
go into the spirit still and the distiller
stays outside - and not reversely.
Yes, even if you're looking for a
joking apart, Jean Donnay is doing
all that very seriously - state of
the art - and I really can't wait
to taste Glann ar Mor's new make.
That's why I'll go to 'By the Seashore'
('Glann ar Mor' in Breton) within
a couple of weeks and, of course,
let you know what I think. Kenavo!
- FOUR INDIE 1973 ARDBEGS
27 yo 1973/2000 (47.4%, Kingsbury,
dark straw. Nose: very smoky and
maritime, with no ‘sweetness’
whatsoever. Seaweed, oysters, sea
air… Now, this is really ‘a
walk on the beach’! Some great
notes of fresh walnut skin, Jura
vin jaune, fino sherry… Hints
of Virginia tobacco, leather, apple
juice, camphor. So complex, yet
bold and rich! A fantastic Ardbeg!
Mouth: very punchy, very peaty,
very compact, very satisfying…
Astonishingly impressive. It has
just everything, no need to list
all flavours. That means 95
points, no less.
27 yo 1973/2000 (50%, Douglas Laing
OMC, 228 bottles)
Colour: dark straw. Nose: ouch,
some strange smells of vinegar,
stale cider, ‘wood juice’.
Really weird, There’s more
and more vinegar… An accident?
Some rancid butter too… OK,
let’s be brave and try the
mouth now: ah, this is better. Creamy,
with a rather nice sherry and a
beautiful peat. Nice balance and
no acetic notes – good news!
It’s going to be 85
points, finally –
but the nose was scary (and it had
the death seat next to the Kingsbury).
14 yo 1973/1987 (53.4%, G&M
for Carato Private Stock, 75cl)
Colour: light amber. Nose: marvellous
attack, on freshly cut apple and
sea air. So clean, so fresh! Fresh
butter, fresh hazelnut skins, coffee…
extraordinary old-young Ardbeg. The
smoke is very subtle… White
wood smoke? Notes of light toffee,
white chocolate, butterscotch. Just
wonderful! Some melon, white peach…
Mouth: ha-ha, lots of oomph! Still
a bit rough after twenty years in
its bottle, but it’s like a
marvellous all-fruit jam with some
white pepper and all sorts of spices.
Add some smoke and you have it! Wonderful.
1973/1988 (57%, Samaroli ‘Fragments
of Scotland, 648 bottles)
Colour: sweet white wine. Nose: a
bit less complex than the Carato but
also smokier. Espresso coffee, apple
skin, caramel crème, but little
fruit this time. Yet, it’s got
the same aromatic profile as the Carato’s.
Just beautiful. Mouth: wow, a stunner
again! Powerful, bold, nervous…
Great vivacity! Some vegetables (turnips?),
some white fruits (apples, pears,
white peaches), some oysters (Islay’s
of course), some pastry, some vanilla
crème and lots of spices. Add
to that some fabulous notes of roots
(gentian, wild carrots…) and
you’ll get one of the most complex
– and powerful – whiskies
I ever had. What a beast! With just
a little more subtleness it would
have made it to 95 points or above.
So, 94 points. (and
Eitzel sings Proclaim
your joy.mp3. Excellent, really
excellent (I think). Please buy Mark
Eitzel's music if you like it - even
if he wrote on his website: 'is it
any wonder that I don't sell any records?'
(while commenting on his picture).
Nonsense, have you ever heard Brad
the index of all entries:
malts I had these weeks - 90+
points only - alphabetical:
1973/1988 (57%, Samaroli ‘Fragments
of Scotland, 648 bottles)
27 yo 1973/2000 (47.4%, Kingsbury,
28 yo 1972/2000 (49.2%, Kingsbury)
‘The Ardbeggeddon’ 29 yo 1972/2001
(48.4%, Douglas Laing for PLOWED, 227
20 yo 1965 (49.1%, G&M for Sestante)
'Black' 1964/1993 (50%, OB, first edition,
30 yo 1970 ‘The Great Whisky Swindle’
(52%, MWBH, 161
31 yo 1970/2001 ‘valinch - I was there
but not today’ (47.3%, OB, cask
# 5085, 250 bottles)
1964/1983 (46%, Duthie for Samaroli,
Ellen 25 yo 1978/2004 (50%,
Douglas Laing OMC, DL657, 604 bottles)