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Whisky Tasting


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Petits billets d'humeur
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Hi, you're in the Archives, February 2005 - Part 2
February 2005 - part 1 <--- February 2005 - part 2 ---> March 2005 - part 1

February 28, 2005


Bruichladdich 1993/2003 (57%, Berry Bros, cask #1622-1623)
Colour: dry white wine - don't believe the 'official' picture on the right. Nose: lots of coffee and caramel, and lots of grainy notes too. Hot milk, porridge, müesli, mashed potatoes, almonds… Really close to a new make, but with less fruity notes. Some grassy, herbal notes, like green tea, freshly cut roots, green melon, green apple… alos quite briny, with a lot of vivacity! Mouth: sharp and bold, with lots of rooty aromas. Very herbal, with some lavender, smoked tea, cinnamon, aniseed, dried parsley… Strangely, it’s not fruity at all. It gets leafier and leafier, and then a little too bitter towards the long and very grassy finish. 80 points.

  Bruichladdich 1993/2003 (57%, Berry Bros, cask #1622-1623)
Bruichladdich 10yo (58.2%, James MacArthur Old Masters, mid-90’s)   Bruichladdich 10 yo (58.2%, James MacArthur Old Masters, mid-90’s) Colour: straw. Nose: powerful and very grassy, vegetal. Mustard, radish, pepper… Almost aggressive. Develops on curry, vinegar… Really special. Hints of green apple, bamboo shoots, pear… This one is sort of ‘funny’. Mouth: very strong, with some heavy cherry and plum. Lots of green pepper, mustard again, horseradish… Goes on with some watermelon and fresh pineapple, green tea… Okay, maybe it’s a little rough but it tastes very ‘natural’, with almost no wood influence. Yet, it’s rather balanced and quite compact and satisfying. A very good and interesting one. 84 points.
MUSIC – Very, very highly recommended listening - Popa Chubby does Stoop down baby - mp3. Yeah, yeah, yeah! (that was the shortest review ever). Please buy truckloads of Popa Chubby CDs. (photo Tasic Dragan)   Popa Chubby
1950 - Four Roses   1956 - Pinch   1962 - Chivas
1950 - Four Roses introduces a new cooling idea using ice, but then suggests: 'Wouldn't you rather drink Four Roses'   1956 - Pinch, aka Dimple, says it was 'perfected more than 3 centuries ago' (yeah, sure) and sort of suggests it shouldn't be drunk on ice, as the large glass on the left is empty. Ha-ha!   1962 - Chivas won't argue, and makes things even clearer: 'Scotch without rocks.' A whole new paradigm is installed: good whisky is drunk naked (and bad whisky on ice...)
1962 - Old Taylor   1976 - VAT 69   1977 - John Begg
1962 - Old Taylor says it doesn't really matter, as it's 'So good... even the rocks taste better'. Yeah well, we all know that whisky improves the taste of water, don't we?   1976 - VAT 69 shows us a 'neat' glass, while telling us the whole story behind its name. The Old Man, when asked which vat did hold the best whisky, answered 'I dinna ken, it could be the first vat... it could be the 69th!...' So it was at random! ;-)   1977 - John Begg, who had seen Chivas' 1962 ad just above (I guess) makes things clear too: the ice stays outside the glass. Hey, there's some Royal Lochnagar in there! Anyway, at the end of the 1970's, good whiskies were to be drunk neat... Yet...
1981 - The Glenlivet   Whyte & Mackay   1986 - Chivas
1981 - The Glenlivet, a single malt, puts its product on ice again and in a big tumbler. That's probably what brought a 'taste beyond 12-year-old Scotch!'   1985 - But Whyte & Mackay, a blend, insists: 'Laissez les cubes aux petits' does it say to its French audience (Leave the cubes to the children.)   1986 - Chivas seems to have changed its mind since 1962, and shows a glass that contains much more ice than whisky. It's obviously a good way of drinking less, that is...
2002 - Glenfiddich   Jim Beam Black   Jack Daniels
2002 - Glenfiddich, which always advertised its NAS/8 yo /12 yo range 'with ice', finds a clever way of talking to its German customers: the 12 yo must be drunk on ice (left), the other ones neat (right).   2003 - Yet, Jim Beam Black, the brand that never brags about itself but says it's 'The highest rated whiskey', shows another glass that contains much more ice than whiskey. Almost icebergs!   2004 - And finally, Jack Daniels says 'Crafted with care. Please enjoy it the same way' while showing a guy from the distillery with a 'neat' copita, and for the consumer, two big tumblers with lots of ice. Very logical, eh?

February 27, 2005

Greenore 8yo (40%, OB, single grain)   TASTING - Greenore 8 yo (40%, OB, single grain) This one has been distilled at Cooley, in Ireland. Colour: straw. Nose: heavy notes of caramel, burnt wood and vanilla cream at first nosing. Very grainy, with some notes of hot milk, getting somewhat dusty… Develops on mashed potatoes and breadcrumb, with some feint hints of flowers (a bit of violet). Quite simple and undemanding. Mouth: the attack is sort of weak, with some notes of burnt wood, burnt sugar and overcooked fruits, banana flambéed, rum… Not really satisfying and too sweetish, with some hints of overcooked herbal tea. It gets somewhat spicy (cinnamon) but that isn’t enough to make it interesting. Well, Cooley makes some much, much better single malts – and even blends. 60 points.
MUSIC – Recommended listening: if you desperately need some 'sunny' music right now, try Filó Machado's Maria Três Filhos - mp3. A Brazilian Al Jarreau? Maybe... But we'll see if you'll manage not to tap your feet... Btw, take care, the end is... well, quite brutal! Please buy his music if you like it.   Filó Machado

February 26, 2005

Valery Milovic   ART FOR THE WEEKEND - Fellow Malt Maniac Peter Silver, from New-York City, draws our attention to this nice and funny painting by Valery Milovic, seen on eBay.com. Its name is 'Mr. Pig Extols The Virtues Of A Single Malt Whiskey' and Taiwanese Maniac Ho-Cheng just told us that the newspaper's headline (bottom, right) reads something like 'sudden death of a man jams a main street'. Erm... is it kind of a warning? And who was the model for this? Anyway, I quite like this 'oUtSiDeR art - bRoKeN art', as Valery Milovic calls it.
TASTING - Glen Keith 1983 (43%, OB, circa 1995) Colour: straw. Nose: starts in a nice way, on lavender and liquorice. Hints of cold ashes, matchstick. Gets quite grassy (freshly mown lawn) and sourish (Chinese sauce for the dim sums). Hints of burnt caramel, with quite some wood too. Mouth: quite bold, herbal. Cold herbal tea, liquorice, nutmeg, cinnamon. Hints of old wood and coffee liquor. Medium long finish, on infused camomile and lavender sweets. I quite like it, because it’s not just like any other MOTR Speysider. 79 points.   Glen Keith 1983 (43%, OB, circa 1995)
Chocolate Genius   MUSIC FOR THE WEEKEND – Love, what else? Recommended listening: Panamean born Chocolate Genius sings Love - mp3. Yeah, love, love, love! I don't know if this song has anything to do with the downtown New-York avant-garde scene as it ought to, but I do like it. Please buy Chocolate Genius' music if you like it too - coz of course you do.

February 25, 2005

Isle of Jura 5yo 1999/2004 (60.6%, OB, cask #19)  


Isle of Jura 5 yo 1999/2004 (60.6%, OB, cask #19) Colour: dark straw. Nose: big, bold peat that takes no prisoners. Yawn… It really smells ‘the kiln’, but maybe not much else. Peat smoke plus peat smoke = peat smoke x 2, right? Mouth: ah, that’s better. A lot of sweetness from the alcohol plus, again, some big bold peat, but that’s all, that is. Don’t get me wrong, it’s quite enjoyable, but I feel it’s somewhat like pepper vodka: just pure alcohol with an added flavour. Thank god it’s a flavour I love! I found some previous casks I tasted, like #92 at 3 yo and #21 at 5 yo , to be more complex, and aromatically much more interesting. But what a genuine peat monster, this one! 82 points.

Isle of Jura 5 yo 1999/2004 (61.3%, OB for The Whiskyfair, cask #144) Colour: golden straw. Nose: ah, here’s something subtler. Lots of peat smoke again, but also some burnt leaves, cold ashes, beer, cooked apples. Again it isn’t too complex but rather interesting and smoother than #19. Develops on hay and freshly cut grass. Mouth: yawn, it’s strong! Biting, pungent, yet sort of sweet. What a beast! Lots of peat smoke, grass and cold coffee. A rather simple one, though, even if much more balanced than #19. I like it better, no doubt. Besides, the water works well with this one, helping many fruity flavours to develop (apple compote). 85 points.   Isle of Jura 5yo 1999/2004 (61.3%, OB for The Whiskyfair, cask #144)
Ryuichi 'Kyojoo' Sakamoto   MUSIC – Highly recommended listening, just in case you don't know it: 1983, Ryuichi 'Kyojoo' Sakamoto plays Forbidden Colours - mp3 with the great David Sylvian - see February 17 - on vocals. That's right, the theme was the same as Sakamoto's 'Merry Xmas, Mr Lawrence', the OST for that famous movie with David Bowie and Tom Conti. Remember? Many cried... And if you want more of the excellent music by 'The Professor' try Rain - mp3 or his superb, 2002 rendition of Caetano Veloso's Coraçoa Vagabundo - mp3 with Paula Morelenbaum's beautiful singing. Wow! Please buy their music...
(a click on the images will show you larger ones)
Jim Beam   Jim Beam   Jim Beam
1989 - Manshair   1989 - Badges   1989 - Xmas trees
Jim Beam   Jim Beam   Jim Beam
1991 - Swimsuits   1992 - Pants   1993 - Stadiums
A very interesting and clever series of ads run by Jim Beam at the turn of the 90's and that stresses the vanity of fashion and its cycles. Whether Jim Beam is a basic whiskey or not is another question... And I hope they weren't suggesting we should buy a bottle every 30 or 40 years, because that would have been a rather strange way of building customer loyalty, don't you think?

February 24, 2005

Chivas The Century of Malts (40%, OB)   Chivas The Century of Malts (40%, OB) This one is a blend of 100 different malts that was launched quite a while ago, so it’s technically a Pure Malt – sorry, a Blended Malt Whisky. I'm curious because they are now selling the blended Chivas 18 yo at a higher price, which could be bad news for the 'Century' regarding their confidence in its quality. Colour: pure gold. Nose: fresh and rather clean, but curiously simple and undemanding. Vague hints of sherry and freshly cut apple, together with a bit of caramel and fresh cream, but not much else. Was it really worth the trouble – and the fuss? Mouth: rather bold attack but again, really un-definite. Notes of sherry and wood, together with some toffee and dried orange… That’s all. Of course it’s drinkable, but it isn’t any better than a simple Single Malt like, say Tamnavulin or Tamdhu. A perfect example of a 70 points malt.
Auld Blended 35 yo (46%, Duncan Taylor)
This one is a blend composed in the early 80's that has been then re-racked for further maturing. Colour: full amber. Nose: yes, this is something else! Lots of ‘old’ smells like beeswax, shoe polish, old turpentine, pine needles… really great and beautifully complex. Yet, it’s fresh and lively. Great hints of mint, eucalyptus, camphor, smoke and liquorice. The wood is beautiful, bringing some subtle spices and some great notes of fresh vanilla from the Bourbon isles (nothing to do with the whiskey ;-). I don’t know if they did put some of their legendary old Invergordons in there, but this blend is superbly composed. Mouth: wow, how bold and powerful! Extremely enveloping, with lots of oak but a nice one. Very elegant, very satisfying, with bunches of fruity flavours and spices, mostly white pepper. Rich and complex indeed, and not tired in any sort of way at such an old age. Wow! 90 points – yes, for a blend!
  Auld Blended 35yo (46%, Duncan Taylor)
Glyn Styler   MUSIC – Recommended listening: 'Sinatra on Prozac, Nick Cave on Lithium... Simultaneously beautiful and horrifying'  - that's what his record company says about New Orleans artist Glyn Styler. Hey, that's support! You'd better listen to The desperate ones - mp3 and judge by yourself... I did, and I liked it a lot. Please buy Glyn Styler's music!

THIS JUST IN! - We could get hold of this official photograph of the brand new Beckham baby. When our special reporter asked Posh where she'd go to recover after the accouchement, she answered: "We are considering the Black Cuillins, despite the fact that David has good contacts with the Brora Rangers..."


February 23, 2005

Lochindaal (Bowmore) 1992/2002 (56%, Aflodal, cask #3740, 310 bottles)  


Lochindaal (Bowmore) 1992/2002 (56%, Aflodal, cask #3740, 310 bottles) The name ‘Lochindaal’ might hint at Bruichladdich but this one is indeed a Bowmore. Odd. Colour: dry white wine. Nose: wow, lots of peat! Very clean, rather austere, with some notes of wet straw, hay… Hints of Schweppes, white pepper, with no oily notes at all. Really great, even if not overly complex. Mouth: again, a beautiful peaty attack, with loads of gentian roots, earth, smoked tea, dill. Extremely clean and pure even if, again, not too complex. One to try chilled, on caviar or oysters! Hints of chilli, green pepper… The finish is long and delicately peaty, which leaves your mouth fresh like a baby’s mouth. An excellent young cask strength Bowmore, far, very far from the official version. Good news! 90 points. (Thanks, Peter)

Bowmore 10 yo 1992/2002 (46%, McNeill’s Choice) Colour: dry white wine. Nose: finely smoky, peaty, and maritime at first nosing. Extremely fresh and clean. Hints of fresh oysters, seaweed… Really delicate. Then comes a whole basket of fresh white fruits, like apples, pears, perhaps guavas… Some white currant, gooseberry, fresh banana… Beautiful! Notes of fresh butter… Yes, ‘fresh’ is word considering this great Bowmore.

  Bowmore 10yo 1992/2002 (46%, McNeill’s Choice)
Mouth: strong and bold, even a little prickly. Lots of peat again, but also some farmy notes this time, herbal tea, dried grass, parsley and lots of mustard. Hints of over-infused tea, lavender sweets, green pepper… Less fruity than what the nose suggested, but it’s still extremely enjoyable. The finish is rather long, herbal and mustardy. Again, a very, very nice indie Bowmore. 87 points.
Bowmore 15yo 1989/2004 (46%, Hart Bros)   Bowmore 15 yo 1989/2004 (46%, Hart Bros) Colour: dry white wine. Nose: much farmier, less clean and less pure than the McNeill’s. Less smoky but with more cardboard, beer, and even dust. The fruity part is more on cooked apples and ripe pears… It’s nice, but nowhere near the superb McNeill’s. Mouth: ah, now it’s much fruitier. Lots of apple, apricot, yellow plum… Very good! Develops on aniseed, dill, violet creme… Now it gets closer to some OBs, with these usual strange perfumy notes, but it stays below the limits, which makes it most enjoyable. The mouth was better than the nose this time: good news! 84 points.

MUSIC – Very highly recommended listening - she could have been Jimi's little sister: Deborah Coleman plays You're with me - mp3 live. Please, please buy Deborah Coleman's music! (photo Jen Taylor)

  Deborah Coleman
  SHOPPING - They thought about everything! If you ever wondered how to carry your most cherished bottles of whisky with style, here's a company from New-York City, which can provide you with this stunning aluminum briefcase that holds six bottles. Might also work with other sorts of goods!

February 22, 2005

Dufftown 12yo 1980/1993 (43%, The Master of Malt, cask #19877)   Dufftown 12 yo 1980/1993 (43%, The Master of Malt, cask #19877) Colour: almost white. Nose: clean and quite fresh, very grassy, herbal. Develops on quinquina, ginger ale, freshly mown lawn. Hints of rubber and copper polish. Not too enjoyable… Aromatically quite narrow. Some hints of bitter ale. Mouth: very grassy attack, strong and penetrating. Cold tea, mastic, liquorice, lavender sweets… Very bitter but in a nice way, this time. Notes of burnt bread, pepper… The finish is quite long and grassy. A rather nice Dufftown, with no sherry at all. 80 points.
Dufftown 13 yo bottled 1991 (59.4%, James MacArthur) Colour: pale white wine. Nose: loads of coffee and rubber at first nosing, the whole getting then extremely grassy. Roots, straw, liquorice stick, gin tonic. Quite mono-dimensional, and even simple, but rather enjoyable. Mouth: very powerful, with a lot of sweetness from the alcohol. It gets very peppery and almost bitter, and makes me think of some raw fruit spirit. Hints of ginger, dried pineapple… Very estery! Lots of rubbery notes developing… Maybe it’s a little too simple. The finish is medium long but quite spirity. In short, a so-so Dufftown, but not a bad one. 77 points
Dufftown 20 yo 1981/2002 (50%, DL Old Malt Cask, sherry)
Colour: dark amber, a little brownish. Nose: big, bold sherry and some strong notes of Guiness beer. Quite smoky and rubbery, and perhaps some sulphur from the cask. Lots of coffee and toffee, with plenty of fresh mint and smoked tea. Some very interesting meaty notes (smoked ham, sausages). Lots of ashes developing after a while. What a nice nose, quite complex! Mouth: wow, what a nice attack! Lots of sherry but not of the ‘lumpish’ kind, rough but complex. Heavy dried orange, green pepper, and lots of ‘winey’ notes, again of the best kind. Some milk chocolate and some caramel… It gets a little sour and woody, but within reasonable limits. Sure it’s a sherry infusion – more a fortified sherry than a sherried whisky, but it’s a very good one. Besides, the finish is very long, on Rivesaltes wine, or Maury. Excellent! 88 points.
  Dufftown 20yo 1981/2002 (50%, DL Old Malt Cask, sherry)
Egberto Gismonti   MUSIC – JAZZ - Highly recommended listening: the great Egberto Gismonti and fellow Brazilian artist André Geraissati play an almost Mozartian Karaté - mp3 live. Absolutely beautiful, even anti-jazz and anti-brazilian music people will love it, I'm sure. Please buy Egberto Gismonti's music, 'Alma', for instance, is a must.
NEW BRORA - This one comes from G&M's 'Private Bottlings' series, and has been made for a new Milanese club settled by Giorgio D'Ambrosio and Andrea Giannone, 'Collecting Whisky'. It's been issued only for club members, but the membership fees are 10 Euros, so... And there are only 120 bottles!  

February 21, 2005

The new Ardbeg 1972 for France finally reached my doorstep, and as I had high expectations, I decided to taste it ‘against’ two of my all-time favourites peat monsters: the Port Ellen 22 yo 1979 ‘1st Annual Release’ and the ’61.1%’ version of the Brora 22 yo 1972 ‘Rare Malts’.
Ardbeg 1972/2004 (49.2%, OB for France, bourbon hogshead, cask #2781, 216 bottles)   Ardbeg 1972/2004 (49.2%, OB for France, bourbon hogshead, cask #2781, 216 bottles) Ah, a pure old Ardbeg! It’s not that I don’t like the sherried ones, but I’m always more interested in the ‘naked’ versions. Let’s taste this one now… Colour: pale gold. Nose: wow, lots of lemongrass and grapefruit juice at first nosing. The peat is soon to arrive but it’s a very elegant one, far, very far from the trendy ‘smack in your face’ kind of peat promoted by… Ardbeg (Very Young, anyone?) Some great notes of seaweed, sea-urchins, oysters… The lemony smells strike back after a moment, and then the peat smoke again, and then the sea elements… And all these aromas finally melt to give us something really beautiful and unique: an old and pure Ardbeg. Wow!
Mouth: oh, what a stunner! A sweet and almost funnily lumpish attack on apple pie and pink grapefruit, which doesn’t manage to hide the big, bold, yet elegant peat blast for very long. Sneaky! It then gets both extremely lemony and smoky, like if you were enjoying some smoked oysters with lemon juice. And no sign of over-ageing whatsoever! Perhaps it’s not extremely complex, but it’s superbly compact and amazingly satisfying. The finish is very, very peaty and again, lemony (or rather on grapefruit). Ah, I’m so glad this ‘Ardbeg for France’ isn’t a sherried one! Austerity at its best! 95 points.
Port Ellen 22 yo 1979/2001 ‘Annual Release’ (56.2%, OB, first release)
I had planned to use the 22 yo 1978 Rare Malts, which I prefer, but I haven't any opened bottle left at this very moment. Colour: dark straw. Nose: ah, this is something completely different. Sweeter and much rubberier right at the start, with some typical notes of tyres, tar, pepper… Some fruity notes emerge, like apple, green pear, green plum. Yet, it’s finally even more austere than the Ardbeg, and perhaps a little less satisfying.
  Port Ellen 22yo 1979/2001 ‘Annual Release’ (56.2%, OB, first release)
It then gets quite vegetal (wet fern, moss) and even a little mineral (wet chalk). A great one, perhaps just slightly less stunning than the new Ardbeg. Mouth: again, it’s crispier and fruitier at the same time, but still very austere. More tar, more rubber, and much, much more pepper. Some sweetness but it comes from the alcohol. It then grows more and more powerful and drier… What a body! The pepper grows even stronger after a few minutes… And the sweetness vanishes, leaving just a mixture of smoke, pepper and lemon zest that might displease the lovers of round and smooth whiskies – but not the peat heads, obviously. The finish is very long but again, very austere. Decidedly! 93 points.
Brora 22yo 1972/1995 (61.1%, Rare Malts)   Brora 22 yo 1972/1995 (61.1%, Rare Malts)
The malt that still reigns supreme on my ‘bottled recently’ list – although with another ABV, but it’ll rejoin the ‘old bottles list’ later on this year, where it will have to fight some old stunners by Springbank and Bowmore… Anyway, let’s have a go at it now. Colour: pale gold. Nose: ha, this one is even more austere than the Port Ellen! Sharp like a blade, on pure peat smoke and beer, with some notes of sour apples. Lots of seaweed and iodine developing after a moment, together with some cold ashes, balsamic vinegar, and perhaps some whiffs of wet dog. Absolutely stunning, exactly my taste! And it’s so clean…
So let’s sum up for the moment: 1st the Brora, 2nd the Ardbeg, 3rd the Port Ellen. But they’re all stunning! Mouth: oh yes! Again, quite a lot of sweetness right at the start – the alcohol again – but then there’s a beautiful peat blast with lots of salt (which I didn’t get in both the Ardbeg and the Port Ellen). It then gets saltier and saltier, with some hints of oak, loads of peppery notes, some lemon again, and quite some spices like clove and chilli. Some hints of mustard, green tea, wasabi… It’s more complex than both the Ardbeg and the Port Ellen, in fact. Even if, again, it's very austere. The finish is extremely long, on salt and un-sugared strong tea. Well, perhaps like the Port Ellen, this one is an acquired taste. It’s not immediately appealing like the Ardbeg, and certainly more ‘difficult’. But what a grand whisky! I’ll give it 96 points, just one point less than the ‘58.7%’ version which is perhaps even more complex – and just a little more ‘sippable’.
MUSIC – PEATY BLUES? When I first wrote about Paul Cummins’ great music - on Feb 7th - I was far from guessing that the skilled L.A. blues guitarist is also a single malt aficionado, and that his Stratocaster happens to be fuelled by some ’30 something year old Bowmore’ (not always, Paul told me it’s also fuelled by Johnnie Walker Black – maybe at rehearsals?) So, now it’s time to check whether Paul’s licks are peated or not, and if his tremolos are as sweet as some perfectly ripe mangos. The answer is in The Hookman – mp3. Yeah, there are also some nice hints of old oak in there! ;-)   Paul Cummins
Anyway, please buy Paul’s CD ‘Bluteus Maximus’ if you like his ‘peaty blues’. And oh, btw, Paul advises us to have a look at the Blindman's Blues Forum. 'The Blindman' himself is a Scottish drummer who knows and enjoys the good stuff....', he adds. Ah yes, blues and malt, the perfect match!!!

February 19, 2005

Knockando 1987/1999 (40%, OB)  

Knockando 1987/1999 (40%, OB) Colour: straw. Nose: very light and fresh, on caramel, dried flowers, and vanilla, perhaps slightly vinous. Sort of enjoyable, actually. Hints of beer, mashed potatoes and hot milk. Not too interesting but flawless. Mouth: smooth and a little grainy, but not flat, nor dull. Cereals, porridge, oak, caramel, vanilla… Getting just a little dry. The finish is medium long, nicely balanced, and bolder than expected. Perfect if you just want a whisky. 78 points.
Knockando 1984/1998 (43%, OB, US) Colour: straw, but darker. Nose: quite similar but a little drier and woodier, and perhaps a little less fresh. Some added dried fruits and chocolate. It’s got more flesh and is more satisfying. A nice nose, again, totally flawless if not a thrill. Mouth: really close to the 1987, with just a little more oomph, but that could be just the extra-alcohol. Better this than a 'dodgy' single cask, that’s for sure! 80 points.

MUSIC – JAZZ - Highly recommended listening for the weekend: great virtuoso Mauro Senise plays Weekend - mp3, precisely. To be tried if you're in a bad mood... It won't last for long! It makes me think of some old Richie Cole records I have somewhere in my basement - I really have to put my hands on them again. Anyway, please buy Mauro Senise's music if you like it.   Mauro Senise

February 18, 2005

Glenfoyle 17yo 1985 (40%, Longman Distillers, Dalmore)  


Glenfoyle 17 yo 1985 (40%, Longman Distillers, Dalmore) Here’s one of these ugly 'recycled' fighting brands: I think this one was for Germany and of course it's not one of these rare old malts from the long gone Glenfoyle distillery. Colour: gold with an orange hue. Nose: very winey at first nosing, slightly sour. Overripe banana, rum, old wood… Hints of ‘chemical’ vanilla cream and orange zest. Grand-Marnier. Whiffs of smoke. Not too bad! Mouth: very sweetish attack, with some weird soapy notes. Really bad! Rotten fruits, cheap rum, burnt sugar, shampoo (you know, when it gets into your mouth…) Gets then very dusty: old plank, cardboard… Too bad, the finish is rather long and… soapy. Aaargh! Yes, not all single malts were top notch in the ‘good ol’days’! 59 points because the nose wasn’t too horrible, after all.

Dalmore 30 yo 1963/1993 (54.5%, Cadenhead) Colour: light straw, almost white wine. Nose: quite oaky at first nosing, with lots of vanilla. Develops very nicely on cooked apple, grain, butter… It then gets nicely flowery, which is strange considering its age: lily from the valley, peony… And then very, very nutty, mainly on roasted hazelnuts. Hints of fresh almonds, grass and straw… It’s rather subtle. Feint hints of old papers. Oh, wait, now it gets fruity, on citrus and fresh pineapple. Great! Mouth: superb attack, very lively! Lots of fruits and pepper, together with some nice oaky notes. Gets a little prickly. Cooked apples, spices, grass… Too bad, the tannins get very aggressive and drying, making the rather long finish quite bitter. Anyway, this one is very ‘natural’, whatever that means, and I like nature ;-). 86 points then (but the sherry and/or peat freaks won’t like it too much).   Dalmore 30yo 1963/1993 (54.5%, Cadenhead)
The Bills   MUSIC - Recommended listening: the Canadian band The Bills play Let em run - mp3 with fiddles and all that. From here it sounds like a mix of Cajun and Irish music - with a dash of 'humour'. What's sure is that they are extremely good and full of energy! Please buy their music if you like it!
SHOPPING - Seen on eBay, these funny little bottles. From left to right:
Old Croak, Kentucky Straight Embalming Fluid, 100 Proof - Bobbled by - U.R.Stiff.
Sudden Discomfort The Grand Old Drink of the House, Mud on the Bank of the Mississippi, Southern Comfort Station.
Buffalo Bilge Whiskey, 4/5 Snort, The Pain Killer of the Plains, Best Either for Man or Beast, Wild West Pottling Company, Coated Tongue, S. Dakota. - Thanks Mayoliver.

February 17, 2005

  THE ADS RACE GOES ON - These are two new ads I did for the malt maniacs - who, of course, encourage responsible drinking. Click on them and you'll get larger ones.
You can download them, copy them, resize them, pass them, use them as banners for links, whatever... But please don't alter them. Thanks!
David Sylvian   MUSIC – Recommended listening: I'm not too much into this kind of 'electronic dance-lounge music' (eh?) usually, but here it's Robert Fripp's buddy, the great David Sylvian singing! Have a try at the remix of Linoleum - mp3, from Chris Vrenna's album 'Tweaker'. It's very nicely done! And please buy David Sylvian's music if you like it! Another one who got much better with age...


Mortlach 1984/1995 (40%, G&M Centenary Reserve) Colour: light gold. Nose: nicely fresh and quite spicy (white pepper and nutmeg). Gets quickly very classical, with lots of caramel, fudge, dried oranges, dried pear. Rather expressive! Notes of light honey and lavender, getting more and more floral. Very, very elegant. Mouth: dry attack, with quite a lot of cardboard and dust. A little disjointed and bitter. This palate is already marked by the wood, and really lacks sweetness… It gets quite bitter, but also weak and watery. Very, very different from what the nose suggested. Yet, some nice fruity notes emerge after five minutes, but it isn’t quite enough to make it to 80 points. 79 points, then.

  Mortlach 1984/1995 (40%, G&M Centenary Reserve)
Mortlach 1990/2004 (46%, Wilson & Morgan, sherry)   Mortlach 1990/2004 (46%, Wilson & Morgan, sherry) Colour: amber. Nose: starts on coffee and toffee, with hints of sulphur. Some nice hints of camphor then, just before a whole bunch of dried fruits arrive (orange, pineapple, guava, pear). Lots of sherry too, but of a very elegant kind. Great notes of violets, with some interesting Provence herbs (thyme). Hints of soy sauce and smoke. Compact and complex at the same time: nice! Mouth: bold and powerful, with lots of sherry and dried orange zest. A little bitter again. Lots of burnt breadcrumb, infused tealeaves, bitter chocolate. Some sourish notes from the sherry… Again a malt that lacks a little sweetness and balance on the palate, but it’s still quite enjoyable, globally. Long finish, on orange zest, but getting a little too drying… 83 points.

February 16, 2005



Carling Apollo Hammersmith, London
Friday, February 11th - by Nick Morgan

Maybe it’s something to do with the drugs. If Snoop Dogg’s on-stage consumption is anything to go by this is a man with a serious habit. And then I read later in the weekend’s press that he’s now only a two ounce a day man, having cut back from a quarter of a pound (Serge, what is the cask-strength equivalent?).

So very heavy gangsta shite (as ol’ Snoop might say) and quite possibly the cause of the fog of amnesia that leads him to endlessly ask his audience at the Apollo, “What’s my name?”, of the occasional anger and frustration he shows, “I SAID, what’s my motherfucking name?”. Not that the assembled throng seem to mind such was their hazy good humour, despite the fact that (body searches at the door notwithstanding) I was convinced that we were surrounded by more knives than you would normally find in the cutlery department at John Lewis.
So it’s Friday night, two in a row for me in Hammersmith, and the Snoopster is eventually with us having had a busy early evening with ‘live’ TV appearances for Top of the Pops (plugging his new single ‘Let’s get Blown’; “he’s a wanker” says my daughter) and the Brit Awards. He’s on stage surrounded by a fog of smoke (no surprise there then) wearing an England football shirt, which the crowd love. It’s a No 5 shirt, which might make the recently narcotically challenged Rio Ferdinand a bit upset, but hell, Snoop’s only doing his best to make everyone happy.   SNOOP DOGG
That includes his audience, his band (real musicians, real instruments, I’m astonished!), his buxomly bottomed dancers, the crowd of hangers-on in the wings (including ‘the dancing machine’, aka Snoop’s uncle, who spends most of the night at the edge of the stage leering at the girls below), record company marketing men, film studio executives, various lawyers and judges, and even the franchise holders for the ‘Snoop de Grille’, soon to be available from BBQ stores somewhere near you. In fact I observe that the artiste formerly known as Snoop Doggy Dogg is trying so hard to please everyone (hell, he’s even got the Bee Gees on his new album Rhythm and Gangsta) that he’s lost his place at the head of the pack. According to his PR machine he used to be “a young nigga who was on the edge”. Now he’s so far away from the edge that he’s almost mainstream. 
SNOOP DOGG   The one-time King of gangsta rap should at least be thankful that he still has his brilliant debut album, Doggystyle, to depend on. Yes I know, its crude and misogynistic sentiments are offensive to the sensibilities of liberal middle class white boys like me (and of course, our ‘bitches’). But it was a marvellously executed piece of work (no doubt largely due to the influence of the good Dr Dre), mixing musical and lyrical wit with quite astonishing verbal dexterity. I should add that it gave a serous boost to my pension fund, as the song ‘Gin and juice’ (and the accompanying video) proved a far better stimulus to the sale of Tanqueray in the USA than either earlier unlooked for musical tributes (Johnnie Johnson and Keith Richard’s ‘Tanqueray’) or the brand’s hugely expensive advertising campaign. So a big Bow Wow to that!

Snoopy Dogg

But for da Snoop the album was a peak never to be reached again. And once he exhausted this backbone of his material on Friday (interspersed with some ho’ hum makeweights and arm-waving chants) he’d also exhausted both the interest, and patience, of much of his audience. Had it not been for the appearance of the hugely popular Pharrell Williams, which reignited the enthusiasm of the audience just in time for the finale, then I think the whole evening would have faded into a barely smouldering dog-end. But with truly awful sound all night, and a stage act that was just the end of a leash away from grotesque self-parody, what could you expect? Every dog has his day, or so they say. Snoop’s, I suspect has passed, and now its time he learned some new trixx.- Nick Morgan (photos by Kate)

- Thank you Nick, that's dedication, but are you expected to attend any event that's more or less related to that famous drink giant that owns Tanqueray? I've heard Archers Aqua will sponsor The Osmonds and Rubettes Reunion Big Band with The Gary Glitter Revival Extravaganza next year... So much good fun in perspective! Now, maybe that will be better than that 'arrogant, decadent, headstrong, debauched, licentious, spoilt, pompous bitch' named B.S. But I digress... I've been searching some Snob Doug... errrr... Snoop Dogg mp3's on the Web (while my children weren't looking) and here's what I could find: Tha Last Supper - mp3. Not even sure it's the genuine stuff, with all these remixes, sorry.

Port Ellen 14 yo 1983/1997 (56.9%, Scott’s Selection) Colour: straw. Nose: powerful! Lots of smoke, tar, rubber, and some quite unusual ‘farmy’ notes in this young Port Ellen. Very clean and straightforward, even if far from being complex. A smack in your face Port Ellen. Mouth: surprisingly sweet, yet very smoky at the same time. Bold and powerful, getting smokier and smokier, with lots of tar and some fresh fruits (strawberry, kiwi). Another cute little monster!   Port Ellen 14yo 1983/1997 (56.9%, Scott’s Selection)
The finish is long but perhaps a little simple (smoke and sugar). A very direct young Port Ellen for peat nuts. 87 points.
Glenglassaugh 22 yo 1974/1996 (56.9%, Scott’s Selection) Colour: dark amber. Nose: full-bodied and satisfying, but quite woody. Lots of burnt cake, nuts, toffee, caramel… Hints of liquorice and fresh vanilla. Mouth: again, bold and coating, very classical, on toffee, cookies, orange marmalade and praline, with a long finish. Very compact and ‘direct’, but not overly complex. 85 points.
Auchentoshan 18yo 1978/1996 (52.6%, Scott’s Selection)  

Auchentoshan 18 yo 1978/1996 (52.6%, Scott’s Selection) Colour: deep amber. Nose: very floral at first nosing, on nectar and honey. Bold, with lots of walnuts developing. Beautiful vanilla, praline… The wood is very elegant: great balance! Nose: powerful and nicely fragrant (musk). Very honeyed and again some very fine woody notes, with quite some liquorice, roasted nuts and burnt cake. The finish is long, coating and again, superbly balanced. 87 points.

February 2005 - part 1 <--- February 2005 - part 2 ---> March 2005 - part 1

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

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

Ardbeg 1972/2004 (49.2%, OB for France, bourbon hogshead, cask #2781, 216 bottles)

Brora 22 yo 1972/1995 (61.1%, Rare Malts)

Lochindaal (Bowmore) 1992/2002 (56%, Aflodal, cask #3740, 310 bottles)

Port Ellen 22 yo 1979/2001 ‘Annual Release’ (56.2%, OB, first release)