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

June 2011 - part 1 <--- June 2011 - part 2 ---> July 2011 - part 1

 

June 29, 2011

Whiskyfun

Barbados

Tasting six rums under hot climates

It was so hot over Alsace these days (37°C!) that I just couldn’t switch on whisky mode and decided to go for rum instead, just like I did last year in July. A little rum from time to time can’t do no harm… We’ll have two Barbados, two Demeraras, two Jamaicans and maybe a little bonus, we’ll see. By the way, I’m not against ice in whisky or other cooling treatments but that just doesn’t work when your aim is to properly assess a nice dram.

Barbados 10 yo (46%, Cadenhead’s, Green Label, +/-2011) Two stars and a half Although the label doesn’t say so, this is possibly from Mount Gay distillery. Colour: gold. Nose: a nice, fresh nose, all on sugar cane and some light herbal notes such as wormwood and mint. Gets then a little more aggressive and spirity but nothing embarrassing. Some aspects remind me of white rum (unaged). Also touches of vanilla and fresh butter. Pretty nice, very ‘natural’, with little wood influence that I can detect. Oh, and also obvious whiffs of plain sugar and then marzipan. Big, loud marzipan. Mouth: it’s simpler than on the nose and probably both drier and more drying. Quite some white pepper, ginger, even something a little mustardy, all that on a fairly raw spirit. What’s sure is that it’s rawer and rougher spirit than all malt whiskies that I’ve tried. A bit peasant, so to speak. Finish: long, rawish, grassy, with some burnt sugar in the aftertaste. Comments: I enjoyed the nose very much but the palate’s too, err, raw for this sissy of a whisky taster. Lacks sweetness and roundness. SGP:371 – around 78 points (remember I’m no rum taster).

Barbados 10 yo 1996 (46%, Silver Seal, Chairman’s Reserve) Three stars and a half Maybe also from Mount Gay… Colour: pale amber. Nose: more vanilla and coffee at first nosing, café latte, toasted brioche… After that it’s all on typical sugar cane, sweet spices and bananas flambéed, as well as some flowery notes and even a little ‘natural’ lavender. And then wormwood again as well as some lovage. Both rums converge after a few minutes, despite an obviously more active cask with this one. Same notes of marzipan. Mouth: I like this better than the Cadenhead’s even if it’s a tad rawish as well. Also something sour… sour liquorice? Other than that, it’s solid rum, with notes of raisins, candy sugar, black olives and, quite curiously, malt. Finish: long, with an unexpected saltiness. Comments: very good, very interesting rum. I liked the black olives very much. SGP:561 - 84 points.

Port Morant Let’s have the two Demeraras now. As you know, the Demerara region lies in Guyana and used to have many sugar estates and distilleries, all defunct by now, with only a large one in Georgetown, called Diamond. Diamond owns several old stills from the former distilleries and keeps making some of their styles. When some people ask me which active distillery I’d really like to visit one day, I always answer ‘Diamond!’ and this is no lie.

Demerara 1975 (40%, Cadenhead’s, Green Label, +/-2010) Four stars I think there were some earlier versions of this baby at 40.3% or 40.5%. I also believe it’s from a single cask but have no ideas regarding the distillery. Could be Port Morant as there was quite some 1975 Port Morant/Mourant around. Colour: deep amber. Nose: a sweet, much rounded style, starting all on dried and overripe fruits. Mostly bananas and figs. It’s only after a few minutes that some drier and spicier notes come out, such as cloves and cardamom, together with a lot of cocoa. Van Houten, anyone? Also raisins and just touches of brandy and plain marc (grape skin). A little rubber. Mouth: it’s quite light and very slightly drying at first sips (cocoa powder) but other than that, I get raisins once again and even notes of cognac. It’s all smooth and rather easy. Also touches of coffee and something slightly muscaty. Absolutely not over-oaky. Finish: a tad short, more on Demerara sugar (obviously) and molasses. A much grassier aftertaste, with also a lot of liquorice and star anise. Comments: quite fresh at more or less 35 years of age. They don’t sell it for a lot of money so I think it’s a good choice if you’re looking for some very enjoyable old rum. SGP:640 - 86 points.

Port Morant 1992 (46%, Blackadder, Demerara, +/-2011) Three stars And now a younger Demerara, from the famous Port Morant still that’s said to produce some very heavy rum… Colour: straw. Nose: straight sugarcane and several herbs, aniseed, wild carrots, lovage, juniper berries… It’s got something of some high-end gin I must say, this is interesting. Orange blossom and jasmine. There’s also a little charcoal and kerosene. Becomes a little grassier over time, with notes of, well, plain grass. It’s a nice, very fresh and clean nose. Mouth: oily, fresh, straight, uncomplicated. Simple grassy and slightly lemony rum, with quite some molasses and burnt sugar in the background. Some pepper as well as something earthy. Finish: medium long, at times sweet and even sugary and at times a little acidic. Also liquorice allsorts, vanilla. Comments: another ‘natural’ one, well distilled and very entertaining and pleasant. SGP:551 - 82 points.

Jamaica

Hampden 1990 (46%, Blackadder, Jamaica, +/-2011) Four stars Hampden is a cane plantation, sugar factory and distillery. Rum.cz will tell you more… Colour: white wine. Nose: even straighter than the Port Morant by Blackadder, as it starts all on sugarcane and only touches of vanilla and coconut. Ultra-simple but mega-appealing because of that. Fantastic freshness, even if it becomes rather heavier after a little breathing (I’d say clean molasses, whatever that means).

Mouth: bang! Big, straight, in-your-face both grassy and sweet rum. No quibbling, no fuss: straight rum. Don’t I sound like Cosmo Kramer? I like this style. Finish: long, more on apple juice and Muscovado sugar. A bit of parsley and dill in the aftertaste, that’s cool. So to speak. Comments: this on a few ice cubes! Sure it’s a tad simple but the profile is pretty perfect. Excellent distillate from a moderately active cask, that’s what the people needs. SGP:541 - 85 points.

Smith & Cross (57%, Plummer & Wedderburn, rum, Jamaica, +/-2011) Two stars and a half Pure port still rum English style. You’ll learn more about this company there. Colour: full gold. Nose: e.x.a.c.t.l.y. the opposite of the Hampden. Dry, soapy and dirty-ish and very spirity. I guess water is obligatory so let’s not lose any time here… With water: nope, the soapiness is even bigger and it just wouldn’t go away. And I’ve been patient. There are also ultra-big notes of pears, this is probably very young. Mouth (neat): punchy, sweet and rounded rum, nicer than on the nose when neat but still a tad dirty. Loads of molasses and corn syrup, then liquorice. Not my favourite style. With water: much better now, sweeter and rounder, on fruitcake and cane syrup. And always quite some pears (dried ones this time). Loads of olives and even capers after fifteen minutes. Finish: rather long, more on sultanas. Some honey as well. Comments: some parts are most pleasant, but some others aren’t in my opinion. Please note that it was tricky to come after the excellent Hampden… It’s simple and while I’m not against simplicity, I feel that should come with precision and cleanliness. Having said that, I’ll have to try this baby again because several friends who are much more into rum than yours truly said it was brilliant. I may have missed a few things… SGP:441 - 77 points.

Gardel

Bogus Bonus
Gardel 32 yo 1977/2010 (50%, Silver Seal, Guadeloupe, rhum agricole) Gardel is a large sugar refining factory with a distillery in Le Moule, on the French island of Guadeloupe. Some websites claim that they made their last rhum in 1992 but quite some independent1998s are available here and there. They must be distilling intermittently. Colour: mahogany. Nose: oooh! We’re all on some old furniture/old Jaguar notes here, with a little tar and liquorice on top of that! There’s even a smokiness that isn’t too far from peat, and that I already found in some rhums agricoles if I remember well. Perfect balance, without any excessive oakiness but that may change on the palate. Well, it usually does…

Mouth: whahahah! What is this? Ultra-heavy oak extraction, huge tannins, enormous mint and bitter almonds notes, tankers of walnut wine and probably dozens of flavours that we… well, never put into our mouths unless we’re forced to do so. Seriously, this is plain wood infusion and we’re not far from Chinese torture. Finish: yes and if I don’t stop now, I’ll have an oak tree growing on my tongue. Eat a full bag of strong liquorice and you’ll have a vague idea of the aftertaste. Comments: loved the nose but the palate is simply insane. I’m sure the Grande y Felicísima Armada made use of less oak wood than this spirit. By the way, rhum, can I have my tongue back? SGP:292 - 49 points.

Good, I think that baby killed me. I had planned to try a few more but that’ll be for another day (for example, I’ve got some excellent stuff by Rum Nation and a few Enmores yet to try – and am now hunting for a few suggestions that some distinguished Facebook friends just made)…

MUSIC - Recommended listening: the men of the desert Tinariwen doing Tenhert from their CD 'Imidiwan: Companions'. What a blend! Please buy Tinariwen's music...

Tinariwen
 

June 28, 2011

Whiskyfun

Tomatin

Tasting two new official Tomatin

These two new official Tomatins just hit Whiskybloggistan. Time to add my own impressions today…

Tomatin 30 yo (46%, OB, 2011) Four stars This one comes from both European and American oak casks and replaces the very good 25yo. Colour: pale gold. Nose: starts very ‘Tomatin’, with this peculiar combination of ripe white fruits, fresh herbs and cereals that makes me sometimes think of Irish pure pot still. Becomes really emphatic after a few minutes, with some bananas, butter pears, mint, camphor and just hints of papayas and passion fruits. Touches of ‘mature oak’ and vanilla complete this very nice and very fresh profile. Mouth: starts sort of bi-dimensional, with the fresh fruits on one side and some spicy and slightly drying oak on the other side. Quite some liquorice as well, touches of bitter herbs… The whole is quite powerful and slightly biting, which was unexpected. Oh, and that Irish side is here again. Goes on with more gooseberries and ripe apples and touches of mangos. Finish: rather long, with a little green oak and a combination of both sour and overripe apples. Also a little barley sugar and touches of toasted bread. Comments: an interesting Tomatin, right between the ueberfruity oldies and the younger batches. I liked the nose a little better than the palate but the whole was of high quality (and Tomatinness). SGP:651 - 86 points.

Tomatin ‘Decades’ (46%, OB, 2011) Three stars Composed by Master Distiller Douglas Campbell, who added one hogshead of 1967 to some butts, hoggies and barrels from 1976, 1984, 1990 and 2005 and came up with the oldest 5 years old malt whisky ever during the process ;-). Colour: straw/gold. Nose: this one is completely different from the 30, with much less fruity lightness and freshness and some unexpected whiffs of patchouli, coriander and coffee at first sniffs. Then come the pears and marshmallows, a little muesli and beer, touches of varnish and lastly, a lot of ripe apples (goldens)… What’s interesting is that the older whiskies start to talk later, making this nose closer and closer to the 30’s even if some ‘young fresh bourbon’ notes always remain there. Mouth: it’s a bit strange now, with some dissonance between youthful fruity notes and oldish woody ones. Ripe apples, a little mead, white pepper and cinnamon, ginger, malt, hints of tinned papayas… Also notes of ale. Finish:  long, dry. Apple peeling, pepper and mustard. Comments: this is very well made but I’m not sure one can easily blend very old with very young whiskies and come up with something really consistent. Not that this baby isn’t, but I felt a little dissonance (says the guy who loves free jazz). It’s probably me. SGP:571 - 81 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 in St Tropez
PJ
PJ

MUSIC - Recommended listening: let's have more dazzzzzling Hammond organ today (and Rhodes), with new cats (ahem) Elephant9 from Oslo and their Fugl Fenix (from the CD Walk the Nile). Punchy stuff, buy it.

Elephant9
 

June 27, 2011

Whiskyfun

Glen Keith

Tasting two old Glen Keith

Let’s remember that Glen Keith used to be triple-distilled until 1970 and that they kept making ‘tripled’ batches from time to time until the 1980s…

Glen Keith 25 yo 1974 (52.7%, James MacArthur, Old Masters, +/-1999) Four stars Colour: straw. Nose: notes of sunflower oil and fresh white fruits with touches of caramel and honey, then more beeswax and something slightly mineral. Very fresh and fruity, not unlike some Glen Keith from the 1960s. Becomes rather grassier and more porridgy after that, though. With water: the wax and the grass come out more, which I like a lot. A little custard as well, it’s also a little tarry and carbolic. Where does that come from? Mouth (neat): excellent! I had some other old Glen Keith by this very bottler (1973s) but they weren’t as good as this baby. Pinesap and fresh fruits plus marzipan and liquorice. Too bad it all gets a tad more jumbled after a little time and a tad dirty-ish (sour wood) but other than that, it’s all great. With water: indeed, the wood became a tad drying but other than that, it’s an interesting combination of fruits and black pepper. Finish: long, too bad there’s something cardboardy that comes out now. Comments: some parts were brilliant, some others weren’t, but it’s a very interesting dram despite its slightly shaky style. SGP:462 - 86 points.

Glen Keith 40 yo 1970/2011 (49,1%, Malts of Scotland, Bourbon Hogshead 6042, 160 bottles) Five stars Colour: gold. Nose: it’s one of these fantastic moments where the wood and the spirit achieved perfect balance and display an amazing complexity, which translates into many flowers, fruits, herbs and spices in this case. At random, mint, fresh almonds, olive oil, bananas, barley sugar, tobacco, leather, coffee, coriander… Oh well… With water: wonderful development on rare old spices, curry powders, Turkish delights, fluid foundation… It’s definitely kind of oriental. Mouth (neat): a tad scary at first sips, because of the oak that’s quite loud, but the resinous and very sappy profile does counterbalance all that. There are also lots of apples, bananas (not overripe ones) and big notes of caraway seeds or cumin. It’s a tad unusual but I quite love it. With water: well, water made the oak a little too drying, cardbaordy… But that was to be expected. Whatever, what’s behind is quite classy. Finish: medium long, on resins, almonds and apple peelings. Comments: maybe I shouldn’t have added water, it would have gone higher. Sadly, I don’t know whether this one was triple-distilled or not and after all these years, that’s hard to say… SGP:461 - 90 points.

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

MUSIC - Recommended listening: a bit of rare (hence cult) French rock today, with François Wertheimer's L'automne, a B side from 1971. Please buy François Wertheimer's music.

Wertheimer
 

June 25, 2011

Whiskyfun

Black Bull

Tasting one blend for the weekend

Black Bull ‘Special Reserve No.1’ (46.6%, OB, Duncan Taylor, 978 bottles) Four stars All the previous Black Bulls (12, 30, 40) have been excellent. Colour: pale gold. Nose: very nice nose! Starts on sugar cane juice and barley sugar, with some pollen and marzipan in the background and develops more on fern, spearmint and green bananas. There must be some old whisky in this one… Also whiffs of old tin box, old tools... It’s full yet complex.

Mouth: starts on walnuts and green tea, unexpectedly dry, but opens up after that, becoming fruitier and mellower. Touches of honey, ripe gooseberries, juicy sultanas, Muscovado sugar… Then more spices, together with a little honey sauce. Cloves and Seville oranges, zests… It’s quite rich but not thick, not at all. The malt content must be very high. Finish: it’s here that it’s maybe a little weaker than some pure malts, just a little… A little burnt sugar and fruitcake in the aftertaste. Comments: big yet elegant body. There must be quite some sherry wood in this very nice combo! But pssst, between us, I believe that just like John Glaser’s latest, these whiskies are sponsored by the whole Scotch industry, which may well be trying to win us over to blends by using despicable – and very sneaky - tactics. In short, these blends are quite un-blend. SGP:551 - 86 points.

MUSIC - Recommended listening: I thought we could have more Wadada Leo Smith today, this time with Don Cherry's Electric Sonic Garden from the very recent double CD Heart's Reflections. Fab stuff, please buy it! (and thanks, Dave)

Wadada Leo Smith
 

June 24, 2011

Whiskyfun

Dalmore

Tasting official and independent Dalmore

Dalmore 'Mackenzie' (46%, OB, 3000 bottles, 2010) Four stars This baby was first matured in ex-bourbon for 11 years and then in Port casks for six additional years. It’s got a story but I’m sure you’ll find it vie google, not need to spend any extra-kilobytes here. Colour: full gold. Nose: no Port that I can detect at first nosing and to be frank, that’s very good news. In fact, it’s closer to some Sauternes finishing such as Glenmo’s. A lot of juicy ripe apricots and oranges, then more honey and pollen, touches of quinces… And bags of ripe peaches. Wasn’t it white Port? It’s a very pleasing nose, fresh and fruity, with good presence. After a few minutes: more oak, old wine cellar, a faint mustiness (and humus) and quite some white chocolate. Slightly mushroomy. Mouth: less smooth and rounded than on the nose, with rather more oak and leather. Bitter chocolate, pepper, cloves (a lot), gingerbread… Orange liqueur as well, tea… And marmalade. Again, very little red wine here apart from some tannins, but that’s more the wood I guess. After a few minutes: touches of black cherries and blackberries (ah, the Port!) Finish: medium long, with more red wine this time but we’re rather closer to pinot noir than to touriga in my opinion. Comments: a finishing that worked well, without any extra-big winey notes despite (or maybe because of) the long finishing. SGP:551 - 85 points.

Dalmore 21 yo 1989/2011 (51.4%, Cadenhead, bourbon hogshead, 156 bottles) Four stars After the ‘treated’ one, here’s a fully ‘natural’ Dalmore. Colour: white wine. Nose: very interesting. It’s 21 years old but it could as well have been 8 or 10, as it’s all on fresh garden fruits at first nosing. Not so much pears but a lot of gooseberries, sweet apples, oranges again (typically Dalmore in my experience) and just touches of pineapples. What’s great here is that it’s all rounded off by the years but without any embarrassing vanilla notes or toasted oak. Very nice fresh fruity and mature Dalmore. With water: no changes at all, which isn’t bad news. Mouth (neat): exactly the same feelings and the same profile as on the nose. Big notes of garden fruits and oranges, both fresh and tinned. Touches of liquorice allsorts, pineapple drops, Spanish apple liqueur (Spanish because I haven’t seen that anywhere else)… Only touches of burnt wood in the background. With water: again, same, with only a few more spices. Hints of nutmeg. Finish: medium long, fresh and fruity, mainly on apples. Comments: this ‘young old one’ shows that Dalmore’s distillate is very classy, while most official bottlings do not really let it shine through the wood treatments. Having said that, both are of similar quality in my opinion so I won’t come up with a different score. Good stuff. SGP:641 - 85 points.

While we are at it, why not also try a few other recent Dalmores, namely the ‘Dee’, ‘Tay’ and ‘Tweed’, three no-age-statement versions that were released for charity? (well, only partly so I guess). Again, you’ll easily find the stories on the Web. I believe there were four of them but I’ve only got three, shame on me.

Dalmore

 

Dalmore ‘Dee Dram’ (40%, OB, Rivers Collection, 2011) Two stars and a half Colour: full gold. Nose: a malty, easy, chocolaty nose, with also a good deal of orange marmalade and maple syrup. Quite some caramel too and touches of cinnamon cake and sherry. Reminds me a bit of some good quality blend, maybe Royal Salute? Mouth: smooth, relatively light, with a citrusy and honeyed attack but a slightly shy middle on a little orange juice and just touches of ginger. Finish: short but nicely clean. Traces of orange peel in the aftertaste. Comments: very easy, very quaffable. Too bad it’s a little weakish on your palate, otherwise it would have made it to, say around 82. SGP:531 - 79 points.

Dalmore ‘Tay Dram’ (40%, OB, Rivers Collection, 2011 )Two stars and a half Colour: full gold. Nose: this one is a tad narrower but maybe more elegant than the Dee, certainly grassier, with maybe a little rubber in the background. Quite some orange zests as well, butter… Mouth: less differences than in the nose. Very similar in fact… despite a slightly bigger body and more notes of coffee and a little kirsch. Finish: shortish, a tad drier than the Dee. Slightly cardboardy. Comments: same level in my opinion. SGP:441 – 79 points.

Dalmore ‘Tweed Dram’ (40%, OB, Rivers Collection, 2011) Three stars Colour: gold (slightly paler than the others). Nose: the most ‘silent’ of them all, but also the one that’s the most on Dalmore’s markers, namely oranges and chocolate. I think it’s the one I like best on the nose, it displays a very nice freshness. More marmalade after a while. Mouth: the driest but also the most interesting indeed, with quite some oranges again, a little ginger, cinchona… Is this Campari-orange? Nice dryness (walnuts) despite a low middle again. Finish: little, but it’s clean, with nice notes of walnuts. A little Muscovdo sugar in the aftertaste. Comments: my favourite. SGP:441 - 81 points.

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

MUSIC - Recommended listening: this is for our friend Juan-Carlos Hernandez, the great jazz photographer, with whom we were talking Miles recently. It's Ishmael Wadada Leo Smith and his fabulous piece South Central L.A. Kulture (please listen from start to end, don't give up too early!) as I I believe this is as close to Miles as you can get these days. Well, to Bitches Brew, at least. Please buy Ishmael Wadada Leo Smith's music!

Leo Smith
 

June 23, 2011

Whiskyfun

Caol Ila 1980

Tasting two new 1980 Caol Ila

What’s to be said about the 1980 Caol Ilas, apart from the fact that they lie between the famous and often excellent1979s and 1981s? Ah, yes, that Malts of Scotland had a great one two years ago (cask #4935, WF 91).

Caol Ila 30 yo 1980/2011 (50.1%, The Maltman) Three stars and a half The Maltman is a new venture by Donald (of Hart Bros fame) and Andrew Hart. Their new range was introduced in Limburg this year. Colour: white wine. Nose: you say thirty years old? The colour already suggested very little wood influence and the nose does confirm that, which does not mean that this isn’t mature, quite the contrary here. It’s crisp, zesty and very coastal Caol Ila, in truth it smells like some fresh, big fat oyster at first nosing, with only the faintest touches of vanilla custard. Also whiffs of fresh lavender flowers (nothing to do with cosmetics here) and then more brine. Medium peatiness. With water: it became narrower but even cleaner. Oysters. Mouth (neat): classic briny and rather earthy Caol Ila, maybe not the most complex ever but it all works well. A little sour cream, touches of almond oil, then more salted fish, anchovies… Once again, the peat isn’t very big. A little pu-erh tea (that earthiness). With water: sweeter, cleaner, saltier. Kippers and apples. Finish: a tad short, on… kippers and apples. Comments: a pretty good Caol Ila having aged very slooooooooowly. SGP:445 - 84 points.

Caol Ila 30 yo 1980/2010 (60.1%, High Spirits, cask #4690) Four stars and a half Colour: pale gold. Nose: more oak in there, as the darker colour suggested. Hints of sour wood at first nosing, then cider apples, brine, white wine (dry sauvignon blanc), and then an unexpected burst around white tequila notes. Not joking. With water: more of the same plus wet fabric (old tweed jacket after a heavy shower – or something like that). Okay, less tequila. Mouth (neat): richer and fatter than the Maltman, not only because of the higher strength. More of everything, peat, kippers, brine, grapefruit, liquorice, gentian spirit… Very quaffable at 60% vol.! Hold on, 60% vol. at 30 years of age!? With water: some fresh almonds coming through, as often with Caol Ila in my opinion. That’s very nice. Finish: medium long, briny, slightly ashy (another marker). More peat and salt in the aftertaste. Comments: all good. We’ll taste our 300th Caol Ila pretty soon, I’ll try to come up with a rare one! SGP:356 - 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 in St Tropez
PJ
PJ

MUSIC - Recommended listening: yes I'm a sucker for anything with some Hammond organ inside, and yes I love Decoy aka Alexander Hawkins, John Edwards and Steve Noble. After Medeski Martin & Wood (and a few others such as Barbara Dennerlein of Joey DeFrancesco), I think Decoy is the next best thing that recently happened to the Hammond organ. Let's listen to Who's Who and then buy Decoy's music!

Decoy
 

June 22, 2011

Whiskyfun

Glen Mhor 1982

Tasting two 1982 Glen Mhor

You probably know the stories about Glen Mhor, one of the three Inverness distilleries that were closed in the beginning of the 1980s (gosh I hate the 1980s). Glen Mhor is probably more famous than Millburn and Glen Albyn, maybe because there were/are more expressions around... But I think Glen Mhor’s output was uneven, ranging from stellar (the very old official 10) to downright crappy (no names ;-)). Let’s check two recent 1982s today, will they behave well?

Glen Mhor 27 yo 1982/2010 (55%, Signatory, Cask Strength Collection, hogshead, cask 1327, 235 bottles) Three stars Colour: gold. Nose: ah, it’s one of the bizarre ones. Swiss cheese and vinegar (right, a little) at first nosing and then a lot of toasted bread, charcoal and vanilla plus a little rubber and sour wood… And then not much else. Woosh! A bizarre dram indeed, water may be needed. With water: apples and apples and apples and apples. Apples all over the place! Also a little porridge. Mouth (neat): starts much better on the palate than on the nose, cleaner, rounder, rather fruity and kind of resinous. Between cough drops and pomegranates. There’s also quite some vanilla again, some liquorice and touches of chlorophyll gums. Nice greenness (sauvignon blanc?) Also a little barley sugar. With water: nice resinous notes but other than that, there isn’t any further development. Finish: medium long, on green tea. Comments: quite good but not an easy one in my opinion, a tad raw and too ‘unsexy’. The nice attack on the palate keeps it at 80. SGP:451 - 80 points.

Glen Mhor 27 yo 1982/2010 (55.8%, Riverstown, cask #1348, 259 bottles) Four stars As you probably know, Riverstown is a recent brand by Blackadder. Colour: gold. Nose: starts cleaner than the Signatory, straight on toasted bread, charcoal and vanilla, but also with more flowery notes (dandelions) and fruits (butter pears). It’s not really more expressive than the Signatory but it’s, well, straighter, which may well be an asset here. With water: yes, water makes all the difference. This one is more complex, rounder than the Signatory, with touches of figs, orange blossom, maybe a little coconut… Great nose I must say. Mouth (neat): very punchy, fruity, ‘pleasantly raw’, greenish again, slightly bitter and acrid. Better than it sounds ;-). With water: more honey on top of the grassy notes. Some leather as well. Finish: rather long, herbal. Too bad the aftertaste is a tad dirty-ish (cardboard). Pepper. Comments: really good, but needs water! SGP:361 - 85 points.

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

MUSIC - Recommended listening: a great, unusual voice 'in the Karen Dalton vein' (I think - although they're very different), she's Kath Bloom and she sings Heart So Sadly (from her 2010 CD Thin Thin Line). Wonderful, don't you think? If you do, please buy Kath Bloom's music!

Kath Bloom
 

June 21, 2011

Whiskyfun

Tasting six Scotch grains from the 1960s, two 1965s, two 1964s and two 1962s. Or maybe just one.

In my experience, such very old grains can be, well, very so-so but some can be superb as well, especially when they’re all about ‘ageing’ indeed, the original spirit being almost flavourless (the Irish distillers call it ‘silent spirit’, which may say long…) In any case, nobody would even tell you about the cereals that were used in the first place. High nitrogen wheat? Low nitrogen wheat? Maize? Millet? Sorghum?... Does that matter?

Grain 1965

Carsebridge 30 yo 1965/1995 (57.6%, Signatory, cask #155091, 461 bottles) Two stars Well, this one isn’t that old… Sister cask # 155112, bottled in 1994, was to my liking (WF 86). Colour: full gold.

Nose: very grassy at first nosing, raw, aggressive but pleasant if you like rough whisky. Then a little coconut flying around, vegetables (beans, celeriac) and something very metallic and mineral. Chalk, gravels… All that after the rain. It’s quite nice because it’s quite unique. Also funny hints of some sort of tequila (I think they call that reposado). Mouth: well, this is strange! Heavy varnishy notes and bags of pear drops plus touches of green leaves (sorrel?) and something ‘chemical’, bitter... Let’s add water, maybe that’ll improve it… With water: it becomes slightly cleaner but it’s still bitter and harsh. Not an easy one. Finish: long, bitter… Artichoke liqueur? Jaegermeister? Comments: a nice nose but the palate is too unlikely – and bitter - for this taster. I liked the sister cask much better! SGP:281 - 72 points.

Invergordon 45 yo 1965/2010 (44.7%, The Whisky Agency, Private Stock, refill hoghsead, 77 bottles) Four stars Colour: straw. Nose: this one is very different from most old Invergordons I could try so far, but it’s true that many were sherried or from first fill. It’s a bit grassy but less so than the Carsebridge and it’s got more vanilla and coconut. No aromatic monster, it’s rather delicate in fact. More and more oak after that (new sawdust) but it never becomes an oak bomb. Mouth: some high extraction have been going on here but the bitter oakiness is more than balanced by some very nice notes of lemon, tangerine liqueur, coconut and even green apples. Nice. Finish: medium long, lemony, fresh… Comments: despite the obvious oakiness, I’d never have said this was 45 years of age. It even lacks a bit of polishing… But I like it. SGP:561 - 85 points.

Grain 1964

Port Dundas 1964/2010 (44.1%, Scott's Selection) Four stars Colour: gold. Nose: well, this is something completely different! Starts on a lot of yoghurt and butter, sour cream… Then we have custard and more yoghurt. In fact, I think that I never got so much yoghurt in a whisky. After ten minutes: more straight oak (once you’ve filtered out the yoghurty smells). Mouth: no yoghurt this time, rather sweet liqueury notes (oranges, lemon) and bags of pepper and ginger. Also a good grassiness, roasted nuts, marzipan, a little coffee… Finish: long, more peppery as often. Comments: I’m asking you, how do you score a whisky that’s got a very unlikely nose and a great palate? No, don’t tell me about that 4*25 thing… SGP:460 - 85 points. (thanks, Carsten H.)

Girvan 46 yo 1964/2011 (49.3%, The Whisky Trader, cask #85, hogshead, 62 bottles) Four stars Colour: straw. Nose: as the amazingly pale colour suggested, this is much lighter than all the previous ones, much younger in style and not without reminding me of Black Barrel, that grain whisky that owners William Grant had launched quite a while ago (15 years?) Light grassiness, touches of varnish and bubblegum, a little vanilla, traces of coconut… All that is a tad whispering… And certainly not inelegant. Mouth: hey, this is quite excellent! Very fruity, very playful… Cherries, tinned pineapples, gooseberries… Also a light grassiness in the background, notes of tea, apples… It’s the ‘maltiest’ so far and maybe it could be mistaken for a Lowlander (but a much younger one). Good body. Finish: medium long, fruity… A little more vanilla but no significant over-oakiness (wot?) Comments: all good. The nose was a bit shy but the palate is fresh and very pleasant. Some 46 years old aperitif? SGP:641 - 87 points.

Grain 1962

North British 1962/2010 (47.9%, Whiskyspirits) Four stars and a half Colour: gold. Nose: another old one that’s no vanilla-and-coconut bomb! It’s the leafiest so far, with also earthy tones that are not without reminding us of some white rum agricole. Other than that it’s rather delicate and subtle, with hints of mushrooms, moss, old leather jacket, cigars… Nice complexity.

Mouth: excellent! Once again, it tastes rather younger than it actually is but it’s also the one that’s the closest to a ‘typical old grain’, with more coconut and vanilla than the others, some notes of rum, candy sugar, maybe a little kirsch, maple syrup, something tropical (not quite bananas but close), a little honey… Wild strawberries? It’s quite sexy at 48 years of age. Nope, Sharon Stone is older. Finish: medium long, with more coconut liqueur and bananas flambéed. Very nice retro-olfaction on more of all that. Comments: a very cool old grain. Pour this blind and only then tell your friends how old it is. SGP:651 - 89 points.

North British 48 yo 1962/2010 (47.9%, The Perfect Dram, bourbon hogshead, 146 bottles) Four stars and a half Colour: gold. Nose: this could very well be the very same cask as the Whiskyspirits’. The ABVs are the same anyway and the noses are very much alike. Not having exactly the same amount of whisky in two tulip glasses can lead to faint differences but again, it’s not quite the case here. Okay, enough babbling… Mouth: it is the same whisky indeed. Finish: ditto, said Beth. Comments: probably the thrills and spills of cask sharing. SGP:651 – 89 points.

MUSIC - Recommended listening: since my son Arthur launched his very own music blog (in French, it's called This Music Don't Buzz) I'm feeling that I should post more trendy stuff too from time to time. Such as Jonas Reinhardt and their bouncy Atomic Bomb Living (from the CD Powers of Audition, 2010). Take that, son! Please buy Jonas Reinhardt's music...

Jonas Reinhardt
 

June 20, 2011

Whiskyfun

More 1972 Caperdonich

Caperdonich 1972

There’s plenty of 1972 Caperdonich around these days, many coming from Duncan Taylor’s, either directly or indirectly. And many are very, very good! I think we already tried a good twenty expressions so far, let’s have a few more today…

Caperdonich 1972/2011 (48.3%, Men O'Quaich Collection, Duncan Taylor, cask #417407, 67 bottles) Four stars and a half A bunch of Russian friends have selected this baby, so I believe it’s the first Russian independent whisky bottling ever, this time from an octave. Na zdrovie, tovarich! (don’t try too hard, S.) Colour: full gold. Nose: oh well, it seems that it’s one of those ‘beehivy’ old Caperdonichs and that the octave did not impart too many heady oaky notes to it. In other words, it’s quite brilliant, all on flower nectar, honey, pollen, sultanas, figs and just light touches of pencil shavings and vanilla custard. My kind. Mouth: right, the oaky part is quite loud now, much louder than in the nose anyway. Quite some tea and straight tannins in the attack, all that being a tad drying (chalky). The good news is that all the rest is rather splendid, much in line with the nose, plus touches of gooseberries and fresh oranges. Finish: rather long, on oak and oranges, with quite some green and black pepper in the aftertaste. Comments: excellent, really. The slightly heavy oak on the palate isn’t a problem at all, unless you’re fiercely against oak, of course. Pazdravliaiu! (hope google didn’t mess up this time). SGP:652 - 88 points.

Caperdonich 38 yo 1972/2010 (52.6%, Duncan Taylor, Rare Auld, cask #7439, 137 bottles) Five stars Colour: gold. Nose: this one is less emphatically honeyed, a tad more austere at very first nosing but after only a few seconds, it does burst with the very same notes of yellow flowers, honey, Mirabelle plums, figs… Beautiful! With water: yes! Sure there’s a little more pencil shaving but some added whiffs of damp earth, leaves and touches of humus bring even more complexity to the table. Mouth (neat): it’s got a bit of the oakiness that was in the octave but other than that, it’s all a silky and hyper-fruity and honeyed development, exactly ala 1972 Caperdonich. With water: yes, exactly. Finish: long, with bags and bags of sultanas and jars and jars of honey. Comments: just another great 1972 Caperdonich. SGP:641 - 91 points.

Caperdonich 37 yo 1972/2010 (53.4%, Duncan Taylor, Rare Auld, cask #7420, 136 bottles) Five stars This baby easily won Gold at the MMA 2010 as well as the Best Natural Cask Award 2010 (Ultra Premium category). Colour: full gold. Nose: look, let me be lazy this time: it’s got everything that the two previous ones had on the nose. Say it’s a vatting of both, which means that it’s more complex. With water: even more of the same, which means a lot. Mouth (neat): more a blend of jams with honeys than malt whisky, if you see what I mean. All that is mucho appealing. With water: the oak got a tad louder. White pepper. Finish: quite long, maybe a wee tad tannic. Comments: same ballpark as cask #7439. A little more oak but not enough to give it a lower score. SGP:651 - 91 points.

Caperdonich 38 yo 1972/2011 (57.4%, Malts of Scotland, sherry hogshead, cask #1144, 98 bottles) Five stars Colour: full gold. Nose: this one is a little different, maybe because of the higher alcohol, maybe not. It’s kind of leafier and waxier, less fruity/sexy, I’d say. I like these notes of fresh almonds, wax polish, fresh hazelnuts… Actually, this could be a winner, but water is needed (not that it’s overpowering, mind you). With water: bingo! More flowers nectar, plums, honey and figs, that’s what we were expecting. Mouth (neat): it’s a tad too hot for us to get its general profile, there’s a little too much coffee (high ABVs can make whisky very coffeeish in my experience, but those notes do vanish as soon as you bring the whisky down to +/-45%). With water: it became a typical, high-end 1972 Caperdonich, armed with all its attributes. You’re right, plums, honey and dried fruits (dates, figs…) Finish: long, the oak being a tad louder now, which already happened with the DTs. Comments: another truly superb one, a tad more complex this time, but maybe all these 1972s will start to become a little too oaky from now on. Will they make it to 40? See you here in 2012… SGP: 652 - 92 points.

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

MUSIC - Recommended listening: many new bands and artists are inspired by the 'movie music' from the 1960s and 1970s, especially Italian and French ones (Morricone, Lai and such)... Norway's Jaga Jazzist is a good example - and they listened to Frank Zappa too! Let's enjoy their One-Armed Bandit (from the eponymous CD) and then buy their music.

Jaga Jazzist
 

June 17, 2011

Whiskyfun
PETE McPEAT AND JACK WASHBACK
PJ
PJ
PJ
PJ
PJ
PJ
PJ
PJ

 

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

Whisky and Music and friends
Howdy! Martine Nouet is after something very special: she’s organising a charity Music and Whisky Tasting on Islay on July 2, 2011.

It’ll happen from 5:30pm to 7:00pm at the Outback Art Gallery in Sanaigmore, as a prelude to the Cantilena Music Festival. Only £20 for tasting four great Islay Single Malts (Ardbeg, Lagavulin, Bruichladdich and Bunnahabhain) to the tune of Scottish Fiddle Music played by Cantilena musicians Angus Ramsay and Angus Anderson, you can’t miss that if you’re on Islay on that very day! Please book by email: martine.nouet(AT)gmail.com

Coleburn 1983

Tasting two 1983 Coleburn

There are a few Coleburns around these days and I must say I like them a lot, not only because it’s such a rare distillery – and certainly not because it used to belong to Clynelish/Ainslie & Heilbron ;-). Coleburn was closed in 1983 so the ones we’ll have are from the very last periods.

Coleburn 27 yo 1983/2011 (47.1%, Jack Wiebers, Auld Distillers, 82 bottles) Five stars Another micro-bottling by Jack Wiebers. Colour: straw. Nose: ah yes! Sure it’s no easy-sexy whisky, sure it’s anything but ‘modern’ malt and sure it’s probably a tad unbalanced but I adore these notes of fresh herbs, wax, orange zests, linseed oil, grapefruits and fresh almonds as well as these distant whiffs of heady flowers (lilies?) Maybe it’s a malt that you need to intellectualise a bit to get in sync with it but then it’s extremely rewarding. But then again, no easy-sexy whisky for sure. Mouth: I love this. Very old style, a tad acrid but with an oily mouth feel. Fresh walnuts, grass, bitter tea, lemon peel, bitter almonds, green plums… Indeed it’s no easy whisky but I think it’s great, even if this particular cask does not unfold much after the attack. Hints of white tequila. Finish: rather long, lemony and grassy, with a little sugar in the aftertaste. Comments: probably from pretty silent wood, which is great as we can ‘understand’ the original spirit better. Or maybe I’m just dreaming? Anyway, it’s probably no state-of-the-art malt whisky but it IS History. SGP:361 - 90 points.

Coleburn 26 yo 1983/2010 (47.5%, Glen Fahrn Germany, cask #1465, 179 bottles) Five stars Colour: straw. Nose: you could have thought it was the same whisky at first sniffs but it becomes much drier and more mineral and grassy after that. Narrower but cleaner and probably more elegant. Quite some lemon (and zests), fresh butter, some rhubarb, sorrel, then lemon squash, lime… Also the same whiffs of linseed oil. Both converge after a few minutes, more air making them extremely similar. Mouth: again we’re close, but I feel this one has more lemon, oils and ‘good soap’ (right, rather almond oil and such). Also some sooty/ashy notes, apple peeling, zests, probably a little mustard, notes of liquorice wood… Once again both versions converge and become very similar after fifteen or twenty minutes of breathing, but this one does have more pepper. Or not? Finish: long, grassy and peppery, a tad acrid. Right, pretty acrid. Some marc in the afteraste. Comments: it’s funny how these two Coleburns diverge and then converge, and then diverge, and then converge… Sometimes they’re the same whisky and sometimes they’re not. Are they? Aren’t they? SGP:261 – 90 points.

A note about these scores: if you’re not into distilling history, if you don’t care for old closed distilleries and if you’ve got a sweet and ‘modern’ tooth, you’ll probably dislike these whiskies and find them too ‘opaque and austere’. You’ve been warned.

MUSIC - Recommended listening: Death Vessel is one of the fairly young bands that I really like (while there's sor much, err, sugar around). They play 'neo-traditional folk' (ah well)... Let's listen to Break The Empress Crown from their 2005 CD Stay Close and then buy their music.

Death Vessel
 

June 16, 2011

Whiskyfun

Bunnahabhain 1968

Tasting two sherried 1968 Bunnahabhain

What’s to be said about Bunnahabhain and 1968? Well, maybe that it’s the year of the ‘Auld Acquaintance’, the bottling that taught us that Bunnahabahain wasn’t only about an old sailor westering home…

Bunnahabhain 42 yo 1968/2011 (44.1%, Wilson & Morgan, sherry butt, cask #12408, 436 bottles) Five stars According to the excellent bottlers, this baby is their oldest malt whisky ever. Colour: full gold. Nose: beautiful! Well in the style of some other old lightly sherried Bunnies (or Glenlivets, or Caperdonichs), with this perfect combination of melliferous flowers (don’t laugh!) and ripe, juicy fruits. Plums, honey and then something flinty, mineral and slightly grassy. Quite some mead as well, orange squash, touches of cinchona, tonic water… It’s all very lively, a venerable whisky that hasn’t bowed its head yet, far from that. After a few minutes, more notes of fern and fresh mint leaves wit a faint mustiness, much pleasant here. Mouth: great! The fruitiness strikes first ad the oak comes only in tiny waves, with no tannic burst at all (which can happen with such old whiskies). The combination gives us notes of bitter oranges (and orange blossom water), spearmint, ginger, mint-flavoured marshmallows (sort of), marzipan and a little Cointreau. Finish: long and rather more herbal (Jägermeister), with more pepper in the aftertaste. Comments: what’s quite fantastic here is how the oak added some great mentholated notes to the spirit instead of the usual dryness and tannicity. A precious mint liqueur? SGP:461 - 90 points.

Bunnahabhain 42 yo 1968/2011 (47.8%, Liquid Sun, refill sherry, 257 bottles) Five stars Liquid Sun is a new sub-brand of the Whisky Agency/Whisky Fair empire. In my experience, those cool people rarely fail… But I’ll get them one day, I’ll get them! (pff…) Colour: gold. Nose: unsurprisingly, this is close to the Wilson & Morgan, although the musty/minty and even a tad piny notes are there right from the start. It’s also a little more on fresh garden fruits with, for example, notes of butter pears that are rarely to be found in such old glories in my experience. More and more honeydew after a while. A lot of honeydew! Also whiffs of ‘old books in the attic.’ Nutshell: no wham-bam old Bunnahabhain, but old Bunnahabhains aren’t often wham-bam, are they? Mouth: it’s a little softer than the W&M despite a higher strength, and a little fruitier as well. The oak is also more ‘normal’ and less minty/piny, while there’s also more honey and dried fruits (figs, longans). What’s quite impressive is that the whole is absolutely tireless and still very vibrant. Finish: long, still a bit softer than the W&M. Comments: quality is very similar, i.e. very high despite the oakiness that’s obviously noticeable at such old age. In fact, after fifteen minutes of breathing, both whiskies are almost the same. SGP:551 - 90 points.

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

 

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

More on modern whiskies
Okay, I got another batch of questions regarding that ‘modern’ definition of some whiskies that I sometimes use, so I should probably explain what I mean again, but not before I’ve insisted on the fact that it’s not a pejorative word in my mouth.

Indeed, on average, I do not think that ‘modern’ whiskies are worse or rather less good than ‘conventional’ whiskies (more on that later). But let me explain…

Golden/dark/amber/brown spirit is spirit that gained some of its characteristics through ageing in wood. Ageing is a non-linear process that needs time, which is usually measured and expressed in years, even if that notion can be misleading and incomplete. Ageing is a combination of three main effects on the spirit: 1. undesirable flavours are filtered out, 2. some new flavours from the wood and from the cask’s previous content are added and 3. an interplay between the spirit, the cask and their environment adds nuances to the final aged spirit. 1. is reasonably quick and 2 can be extremely quick while 3. needs time, a lot of time under cold climates.

The problem is that this model where, because of 3., the ‘time to market’ after distillation is of eight, twelve or twenty years or more does not quite fit today’s ‘we want it and we want it now’ mentality.  And it’s difficult to manage, and it’s costly, and it can be uncertain, and it’s almost undoable when you’re starting up. Or when your stocks of old spirits are exhausted. That’s why, I think, there’s a trend these days that consists in trying to replace 3. or a part of 3. with more of 2.

Oak

  In other words, less flavours from ‘time’, more flavours from ‘wood and its previous content’ to make up for that loss. Some call that ‘better wood management’. I don’t know if it’s really better, what’s sure is that it’s quicker while time is money. Usually, especially in the cases of first fill American oak or virgin oak, that translates into more sweetness and more vanilla and then a few other minor notes. I call that ‘modern whisky’ and it’s almost always pleasing (some would say flattering), as long as you’re not seeking a great deal of complexity in your malt.

Yet, ‘modern whisky’ isn’t always young whisky. You can use first fill American oak as a finishing (read enhancing) medium on some older whisky that has spent fifteen or twenty years in barely active casks.  That’s not always written on the labels but you’ll easily detect those whiskies when tasting them, they’ll usually display flattering notes of fresh vanilla and maple or corn syrup and sometimes coconut and ginger that are rarely to be found in old more ‘conventional’ whiskies, that I sometimes called ‘real whiskies’ in the past but that was a judgement so I’ll try not to use it anymore. Because who am I to decide on what’s real (or authentic) or not? Now, as a friend suggested, we may also start to use that old word that’s been banished from the whisky industry: pure. Pure malt whisky for whiskies that let the original distillate shine trhough, how does that sound? ;-)

PS: this kind of move is or was seen in many other 'food' that need ageing. Pu-erh teas (some being sort of cooked since thirty years to make them 'readily ready'), wines (micro-oxigenation, American oak and so on), other dark spirits... It's also to be expected that the distillers will now start to advertise 'complexity and variation from American oak', as Glenmorangie already tried to do in the past (remember chinkapin, post, truffle and other burr oaks?) and as Buffalo Trace just did with their Single Oak Project (that's really a concept from tea, single trees, wild arbors, tops, bottoms and such, except that tea trees keep growing after the harvest ;-)...) The flipside of all this in my opinion is that the original spirit may become less and less releveant. Why bother with a distillery name when the wood's advertised as imparting 80 or 90% of its character to a whisky? And why bother with locations, water, stills, cuts, whatever? Some may start to claim that both the spirit and the wood are worth 90% of a whisky's profile, but 180% may not really work ;-). Some will claim that to do all that, you need top spirit in the first place while others will say that all you need is a very pure spirit that can be almost flavourless. Anyway, apart from a few companies who work with the concept of terroir for their grains (Bruichladdich), more and more other brands are starting to use the concept of terroir not for the barley, corn or wheat, but for the wood. Which is exactly the opposite of what almost all other aged spirits try to do (tequila, rum, cognac and armagnac, calvados and others...) Interesting times...

MUSIC - Recommended listening: the wonderful Hindi Zahra (she's a Moroccan born Berber) sings a sweet Imik Cimik. Please buy Hindi Zahra's music and go to her gigs!

Hindi Zahra
 

June 15, 2011

Whiskyfun

Glenlivet

Tasting three 12yo Glenlivet

It’s true that there are more old Glenlivets that come our way… Let’s try these youngsters, starting with an old yet humble official 12 that should make for a perfect aperitif.

Glenlivet 12 yo (40%, OB, red cap, mid-1980s) Three stars Colour: gold. Nose: starts dry and grassy, very malty, with a little cardboard as well but also nice notes of honey and overripe apples. Some nectar as well after a while, as well as more ripe apples and touches of muesli, butter and yeast. Nice and relatively complex so far. Mouth: not weak at all despite the age in glass and the low strength. Good fruity profile, on apples again, honey, caramel and touches of spices. Maybe a little aniseed? Quite some Ovaltine as well. Finish: quite long, with more liquorice. Some caramel in the aftertaste but it isn’t bitter. Comments: an excellent surprise, usually these whiskies rather cruise along the 75 points line in my book. SGP:441 - 80 points.

Glenlivet 12 yo 1997/2010 (54%, Exclusive Malts, first fill sherry butt cask #100288, 388 bottles) Four stars I think this one won good silver at the MMA 2010. Colour: amber with orange hues. Nose: full winey sherry mode, with oranges, blackcurrants and a very pleasant sourness that prevents it from becoming too heady. Quite some coffee and a little gunpowder and leather as well. With water: more gunpowder and struck matches come out and make it almost mineral. Dead leaves, then ham. Mouth (neat): rich and with a lot of coffee. As that sometimes happens, we’re not too far from some excellent coffee-schnapps. Also date liqueur, sultanas, honey sauce, chocolate… Big sherry but it’s all under control. Oily mouth feel. With water: water works perfectly on your palate. Many dried fruits, touches of honey and bags of sultanas. A perfect sweetness now. Finish: long, with no dryness whatsoever. Remains sweet and rounded. Comments: all good, extremely drinkable. Excellent swimmer on the palate. SGP:541 - 86 points.

Glenlivet 12 yo 1998/2010 (59.9%, Coopers Choice, sherry wood, cask #126913) Three stars and a halfColour: dark amber. Nose: very nice! Ultra-clean yet big sherry, all on raisins, chocolate and dried fruits. Touches of ham and balsamico as well but very little. The whole is very straight. With water: more and more raisins but it’s not grapey at all. Very nice rounded nose. After a while: a little balsamico. Mouth (neat): hyper-rich, thick, oily. You almost need a spoon to get it out of your glass. Almost. Many spices to the front, pepper, nutmeg… Also bitter chocolate, prunes, strawberry jam… It’s all clean and very straight, getting sweeter and sweeter after the attack. With water: it’s rather less sweet and fruity than the Exclusive Malt now, but it’s still very good. Nice touches of cumin and other spices (poppy seeds?) Finish: long, with a faint chalkiness. Comments: it was fun to try this one alongside the 1997. Sometimes it was standing up to it but in the end, the 1997 won, by a whisker. SGP:451 - 84 points.

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

MUSIC - Recommended listening: Youn Sun Nah singing Jimi Hendrix's Manic Depression. Since Gil Evans, we all know that Jimi's works can be wonderfully jazzified and this is another very fine example. Please buy Nah Youn Sun's music!

Nah Youn Sun

June 2011 - part 1 <--- June 2011 - part 2 ---> July 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:

Bunnahabhain 42 yo 1968/2011 (44.1%, Wilson & Morgan, sherry butt, cask #12408, 436 bottles)

Bunnahabhain 42 yo 1968/2011 (47.8%, Liquid Sun, refill sherry, 257 bottles)

Caperdonich 38 yo 1972/2010 (52.6%, Duncan Taylor, Rare Auld, cask #7439, 137 bottles)

Caperdonich 37 yo 1972/2010 (53.4%, Duncan Taylor, Rare Auld, cask #7420, 136 bottles)

Caperdonich 38 yo 1972/2011 (57.4%, Malts of Scotland, sherry hogshead, cask #1144, 98 bottles)

Coleburn 27 yo 1983/2011 (47.1%, Jack Wiebers, Auld Distillers, 82 bottles)

Coleburn 26 yo 1983/2010 (47.5%, Glen Fahrn Germany, cask #1465, 179 bottles)

Glen Keith 40 yo 1970/2011 (49,1%, Malts of Scotland, Bourbon Hogshead 6042, 160 bottles)