(Current entries)

Whisky Tasting


Daily Music entries

Petits billets d'humeur
(in French)



Hi, you're in the Archives, August 2005 - Part 1
July 2005 - part 2 <--- August 2005 - part 1 ---> August 2005 - part 2

August 14, 2005

Lots of concert reviews to come! Yesterday it was Iggy and the Stooges, tonight it's Marilyn Manson (nope I didn't change my mind), and we'll also have some great reviews by Nick. Stay tuned!

MUSIC – Recommended listening: 1986, Françoise Hardy sings V.I.P.mp3. Oh, by the way, Françoise, it's GlenMOrangie, not GLENmorangie... Anyway, Miss Hardy's most recent opus, 'Tant de belles choses', is really excellent. Please buy it, especially if you understand French.

TASTING - Mortlach 22 yo (80 proof, Cadenhead dumpy black label, 70’s)
Colour: straw. Nose: starts on lots of chocolate, herbal tea. Gets then a bit yeasty, with some smells of mashed potatoes, tobacco and leather. Quite grassy too, with some notes of freshly mown lawn. Lactones, old books. Slightly dry on the nose, in fact. Mouth: lots of vivacity! Great tropical fruits and citrus, with a nice ‘green’ bitterness (lemon seeds). Some citronella. Perhaps a little mono-dimensional, in fact, but it’s very compact and highly satisfying. 87 points.

August 13, 2005

TASTING - Aberfeldy 1974 (40%, G&M Connoisseur’s Choice, old map label) Colour: amber. Nose: starts on some nice oak, light caramel, breakfast honey. Hints of sweet white wine. Some nice notes of apple pie and white pepper… A very nice nose, rather fresh. A perfect breakfast malt ;-). Mouth: light but not weak, with quite some oak, tannins, pepper… Yet, it’s far from being a monster. Develops on apricot jam, cocoa powder, getting rather herbal, on infused tealeaves. Rather long and peppery finish, getting a little dry and slightly too woody. 80 points.
MUSIC – Jazz - Strongly recommended listening: German pianist extraordinaire Joachim Kühn plays an ever-developing Lili Marleen.mp3 that will leave you short of wind. This guy is totally brilliant! Please buy his wonderful music (perhaps you could just avoid his early jazz-rock work but even that...).

Above, left - Seagram's VO 1971: 'For people who really know how to live.'

Above, right - Seagram's VO 1971: 'For people who squeeze all they can out of life.'

Left - Seagram's VO 1971: 'For people who do everything just right.'

Yeah, no doubt horse riding, diving or sailing are most enjoyable hobbies that 'make the good life good' in summer, but frankly, can't these ugly machos pour their wives (or girlfriends) a dram or three - at least for the pictures?


August 12, 2005

TASTING - FOUR DAILUAINES - from best to not so good
Dailuaine 31 yo 1973/2005 (47.8%, The Whisky Fair, butt #14739, 204 bottles) Colour: full amber. Nose: rather oaky and perfumy attack with some smells of wine cellar. Simpler than expected. Notes of wet wood, burnt cake and overripe oranges, getting then quite flowery (nectar, yellow flowers from the fields) – with something of Balvenie. Goes on with some typical dried fruits (bananas, figs, pear), some caramel. Some very funny hints of fresh parsley that give it some extra-complexity. Some notes of golden rum as well. Much more complex than I had thought at first nosing, this one really smells like an ‘old single malt’. No sign of tiredness, though. Mouth: rather bitter attack, on lots of burnt bread and burnt cake, roasted sultanas… There is quite some wood in there, obviously. Some nice dried fruits notes (oranges), marmalade, bitter almonds, dry sherry. A bit of pepper and also some dried herbs (Thyme? Rosemary? Parsley again?) Interesting, I must say, although it might lack a little more sweetness. Rather long finish, on strong red wine (tannins) and artichokes (!), quite drying. A ‘different’ kind of sherry, that’s for sure, and a very interesting Dailuaine, quite ‘intellectual’, whatever that means. 87 points.
Dailuaine 18 yo 1986/2005 (58.6%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society 41.31, 258 bottles) Colour: dark straw. Nose: very spirity at first nosing, with the alcohol sort of masking all other aromas. Switches to hot butter and pear juice for a moment, before it gets a little flowery. Hints of varnish, and then lots of radish, mustard, freshly cut grass. Again, a special malt. Mouth: bold and powerful, rather sweet right at the start but soon to get quite herbal and a little bitter. Burnt cake, over infused tea, overcooked coffee… Notes of pineapple juice (the alcohol). Gets really tannic and drying. Some notes of tequila with limejuice, ginger ale. In short this one’s good but it lacks a little complexity and depth for my tastes. 80 points.

Dailuaine 1971 (40%, G&M CC old map label) Nose: starts on caramel cream, grain and cardboard but not much else, I’m afraid. Not too bad but not really interesting. Mouth: just like any MOTR blended whisky. Grainy and dusty, getting drying. Some notes of cheap, overcooked tea, industrial caramel dessert. I’m sorry but it’s quite boring. 69 points.

Dailuaine 14 yo 1979 'Friars Carse' (59.7%, The Whisky Connoisseur, cask #8965) Nose: very herbal, dry and yeasty. Sawdust, cardboard… Hints of dried oranges. Mouth: dry, herbal, with some notes of rotten oranges and caramel. Gets very bitter. Too difficult to enjoy, I’m afraid, but good news: I think they only did some minis ;-). 63 points.
MUSIC – Highly recommended listening: if, like some other maniacs, you often complained about the fact that bagpipes neither swing nor rock, maybe it's time to have a go at Taxi Chain, from North Mississippi, doing James Brown ate my bagpipes.mp3. Get prepared to roll on the floor and please buy Taxi Chain's music! (via livinblues)
It's no secret that building tourist attractions in the vicinity of a Scottish distillery is an interesting way of improving its cash flow. It's also well known that Egyptomania rules since quite some decades now and that's why a leading drinks company is said to have decided to build three 'Cask Pyramids' in the courtyard of a famous Speyside distillery. Their names should be McKeehops, McKeefreain and McMeeckereenos.
McGowan of Glasgow's new Cask Pyramid Builder

August 11, 2005

MUSIC – BLUES - Recommended listening: truely excellent harmonica player and vocalist Paul deLay does a finely crafted Too old to scold.mp3. He's brilliant on the chromatic harp and he's also a great composer. In short, please buy his music! (via livinblues)


Talimburg 19 yo 1986/2005 (45.9%, The Whisky Fair, bourbon hogshead #1485, 252 bottles) Colour: white wine. Nose: very clean and fresh attack, very maritime at very first nosing (fresh oysters). Some bold but very enjoyable notes of lemon and grapefruit juice are soon to arrive, with also lots of grassy notes and Riesling wine (which I like, of course). Whiffs of sawdust, hints of books. Very little cask influence and not much complexity, but a most enjoyable freshness. One to sip on oysters? Mouth: very nice attack, very similar to the nose. Simple but fresh and very clean. Lots of lemon juice, lemon seeds, smoked tea and perhaps not much else, but I like it a lot for its superb ‘cleanliness’. Not enough complexity to reach 90 points or more in my book but I feel it deserves a good 88 points.

Talimburg 32 yo 1972/2005 (45.2%, The Whisky Fair, rum finished refill hogshead #1568, 146 bottles)
I guess one could wonder why they decided to ‘finish’ a 32 yo T******r… Let’s see if a tasting will give us some answers… Colour: gold. Nose: uh-oh, this is rather strange… The very first nosing reveals some rather heavy notes of varnish, paint thinner and glue. It then gets better, with some nice wax polish and pineapple juice coming through. The varnish notes are slowly disappearing (I say good news), the whisky getting very, very lemony and herbal. Still not utterly enjoyable, I’d say. Really strange, probably another love it or hate it indie T******r. No smoke’n’pepper that I can smell. Mouth: mmm, interesting attack! Lots of bitter almonds, marzipan and lemon peel, quite punchy if not bold. Some notes of gin, herbal tea, dill. Lots of spices (clove). A little bitter, I must say, with some green tannins that make your tongue stick to the palate. It gets more and more lemony with time, getting rather extreme. Oyster juice. Some will love it but some will hate it, I think. Hard to make up my mind, it’s not that I love it but I enjoy the fact that it’s so special. At least, it’s not boring – at all! Okay, I guess 87 points will do (but I wouldn’t be surprised if some would give it 95 points, and some others only, say 75!)
Tactical 31 yo 1970/2002 (50%, Douglas Laing Old Malt Cask, sherry finish, 222 bottles) Colour: deep gold. Nose: very different! Less fresh and less lemony, the attack being more on hot butter, vanilla crème and orange water. Much more wood influence, in a very nice way. Milk chocolate, caramel crème, white pepper… Very little smoke and no peppery blast, but still lots of vivacity. Apple pie, cinnamon. Lots of cooked apricot, peach pie… Very, very nice but not really typical. Oh, finally, some notes of eucalyptus and varnish. Well… Mouth: again, not very T******rish right at the start. Bitter caramel. Some curious notes of seawater, though, but also lots of citrus again. Rather rough, tannic, hot. More and more citrusy, in fact. Concentrated lemon juice? Quite some oak, and also some peat, finally. The finish is extremely long, almost burning, with some rather strong salty notes that play with your tongue. Funny? Not really but this one is really extreme, hence worth the try! 90 points.
Left -  Seagram's VO 1959: jet set party on Waikiki Beach, Hawaii. We learn that 'With the start of the festivities, the scene shifts to V.O.. This richly-rounded whisky adds a welcome international flavour wherever there is cause for celebration'. An international flavour, isn't that what we're looking for indeed, from Bali to Ibiza, and from Acapulco to... Hawaii?
Right - Seagram's 7 Crown 1971: 'It fits right into your world.' We like the tartan cloth on the beach!

August 10, 2005


Macallan 8 yo (43%, OB, Rinaldi, late 70’s) Colour: dark amber. Nose: lots of sherry, really in the style of the best 12yo’s from the early to mid nineties. In short, it’s on full oloroso mode. Too bad it lacks a little roundness, not to mention subtlety. Mouth: quite muscular, with lots of honeyed notes. Much more balanced than expected, even if the coffee notes are very present (espresso). Long finish… 86 points.

Macallan 8 yo (43%, OB, Rinaldi, early 70’s) Colour: dark amber. Nose: again lots of sherry but of a very elegant kind. Bunches of dried fruits, developing on cooked strawberries and then fresh ones. A very, very nice one, perfectly balanced if not tremendously complex. Mouth: full bodied, with some bold notes of bitter oranges and lots of various liqueurs (Grand-Marnier, Cointreau, Bénédictine, Tia Maria…) And again a very long finish! Pure pleasure if not a masterpiece… 89 points.  
  MUSIC – Recommended listening: when I'm not listening to Frank Zappa, I'm having a little Captain Beefheart, like his beautiful Her eyes are a blue million miles.mp3. Okay, one might not like the drummer too much, but otherwise, 'sss magic! Please buy the Captain's records (or his nice paintings).

August 9, 2005


Longrow 1973/1988 (50%, Samaroli Fragments of Scotland, ‘Campbeltown’, 648 bottles) Colour: dark straw. Nose: starts on quite a lot of camphor, beeswax, Tabasco. Develops on herbal tea, dried fruits (pear, banana) and fudge. Much less smoky than the 1973 OB's, and closer to a Springbank. Notes of pollen and a bit of marzipan. I like it a lot, it’s quite complex. Mouth: peatier than expected, with some caramel, burnt cake, lots of spices and ginger. Quite bold! It gets more and more gingery, and even a little bitter but in a nice way. The finish is long but perhaps a bit too grassy. Anyway, an excellent Longrow, perhaps just a tad less impressive than the OB’s from 1973. 92 points. (thanks, Bert)

Longrow 1987/2002 (55%, Samaroli, cask #115, 312 bottles) Colour: sweet white wine. Nose: extremely sweet, attack, with quite some bubble gum and strawberries that are soon to be replaced with the usual herbal notes, plus quite some peat smoke, seaweed, rotting hay. Quite clean, fresh and very lively – lots of things happening in there! Wow! Mouth: punchy attack, on gentian spirit, smoked tea, caramel, hot butter, hay jam… Gets very spicy, with some pepper, sweet pepper and ginger… Really superb, with a rather long finish, getting more and more coastal. Watch this one, it’s superb. 91 points.
Longrow 1987 11 month old (57%, New filling malt, Samaroli, Fragments of Scotland, 648 bottles) Colour: almost white. Nose: very farmy, peaty, grassy… Much less sweet that any new make from Islay, for instance. Really interesting. Mouth: sweeter but very nicely balanced – incredibly balanced in fact. This one is almost a bottle aged malt and sure it doesn’t really taste like new make. Should that show evidence of bottle ageing? Maybe… Gets very salty and fishy, perhaps a bit astringent… Incredibly drinkable! I'd say it's as good as Samaroli's 'Ageing Monography 18 months old', so it's going to be 85 points.
Longrow 14 yo 1990/2004 (57,8%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society 114.4, 624 bottles) Nose: lots of peat, in the farmy genre. Heavy smells of lamp petrol, grapefruit juice and even wet stone. Austerity at its best! Mouth: lots of ginger tonic together with some liquorice. Powerful but also a bit too austere this time… Not an easy one, for sure, but I still like it a lot. 88 points.
Can we really blame getwhisky.com for the way they're using Jim Murray's ratings on their web site? Well, not sure and Big T is probably a very decent dram, but I doubt it's any better than The Macallan 18yo, whether the latter is the finely oaked version or the heavily sherried one. Very, very embarrassing, don't you think? (But I doubt Murray's spelling is as bad as that, that is!)
P.S. Of course I tasted and scored Big T.
MUSIC – Oldies but Goldies: 1971, the Staple Singers, aka 'God's greatest hitmakers', do a blend of R&B, reggae and soul that hits #1 in the US charts: I'll take you there.mp3. Wow, what a family! No wonder they are in the Rock+roll hall of fame. Please buy their music. (via livinblues)

August 8, 2005

TASTING - Habemus Cerevisiam Destillatam (50%, Regensburger Whisky-Club, Germany, 2005) This one is a very special bottle, both because it's been the Malt Maniacs' 10,000th rating, which was given by Johannes on Islay earlier this year, and because of its own story. Indeed, it was Peter Krause and his Regensburgian fellows who decided to let some Islay malt mature for a few more weeks in some oak that grew near Regensburg-Pentling, which is the place where the new pope Benedict XVI was born. When they learnt about the "white smoke" that came out of the Sistine Chapel, they decided to bottle the malt - a smoky one indeed - in honour of the new pope. But let's taste it now, with no condom of course.
Colour: deep amber. Nose: quite powerful, with a very nice smoke, very Laphroaigish. Lots of seaweed, iodine, and lots of oaky notes. Perhaps a tad too simple (like the dogma?) but the whole is rather balanced and very enjoyable. Mouth: bold and peaty but perhaps a tad too woody again and sort of winey (mass wine?). Some curious notes of English brown sauce. Gets slightly sour and also meaty after a moment, but it's good. Anyway, a very interesting (and blessing) proposition by the crazy Regensburgians! 87 points. (at the left: part of the back label)
TASTING - Kinclaith 26 yo 1975 (52.3%, James MacArthur’s Fine Malt Selection)
Colour: gold. Nose: a very nice blend of sherry and Grand-Marnier, Mandarine Napoléon liqueur, bitter orange. Lots of various herbal teas too, developing on cake, fudge. Some hints of aspirin, ginger ale, honey sauce… Very special nose – quite enjoyable.
Mouth: orange cake, orange water, Turkish delight… All sorts of crystallised fruits, big bold notes of crystallised kumquats… Very, very good, getting also quite spicy (mulled wine) and even slightly soapy. Nothing too offending, though. A great experience, as Kinclaith seems to have been not only rare, but also an excellent malt. Great! (and 1975 was the last year of distilling). Now, this was a mini and I don't think there were any full bottles issued. Perhaps one or a few bottles from another bottler (Signatory?) rebottled and relabeled. 90 points.
Pete McPeat (Speyside)
in Marbella (Spain)
Jack Washback (Islay)
in Portofino (Northern Italy)
MUSIC – BLUES - Highly recommended listening: awarded vocalist Janiva Magness sings an absolutely wonderful Soul of a man.mp3 that just hits you between your eyes. Is it rather gospel? Who cares, please, please buy her music... (via livinblues)

August 7, 2005

Mekhong whisky (35%, OB, Bangyikan Distillery, Thailand) Tasted last week with some friends at the Blue Elephant, Paris. Colour: deep orange. Err, that's a nice start! Nose: industrial alcohol, caramel, cheap Cologne water, molasses, rotten oranges. Almost putrid! Mouth: aaargh! Finish: yes, me. Points: pointless. Okay, I must confess I didn't drink more than one tiny drop of it (I don't want to get blind) but my friend Fred had a good idea...
He put a few drops of Mekhong whisky on his neck and that immediately attracted some very pretty girls! (see the picture). So, forget about Guerlain and try the Mekhong effect - and it's also much cheaper. But please, please, don't drink it, it's probably full of glycerine, methanol and various other chemicals.
MUSIC – Recommended listening: yeah, that's right, Marilyn Manson. When my daughter told me she wanted to go see Mr Grand Guignol at the Foire aux Vins of Colmar on August 14, I said "Honey-you-cannot-go-there-alone-so-I-will-come-with-you". Now we have the tickets and I guess I can't turn back anymore... Okay, time to dig a little deeper then... I saw Mr Manson only once, it was in Michael Moore's 'Bowling for Columbine'. Quite a cool guy, if you ask me, but I still had to put my hands on his music. Hey hey, guess what I found? Some Eurythmics, some Depeche Mode and some David Bowie! And it was good!
Anyway, I'll write a due report about the 'concert', of course (yes, I will survive), but in the meantime, why not have a listen to Bowie's cover Golden years.mp3? Not bad at all! Please buy Marilyn Manson's music - yep, Serge speaking. (music via shuck and jive)

August 6, 2005


Jazz Café, London 4th August 2005
by Nick Morgan

They say that you can never escape your past, so it’s probably not surprising that Eric Burdon drew the evening to a close (much to the relief of the adoring fans in the audience) with That Song. Verging uncomfortably on self-parody – as he had done a number of times during the set - Burdon was constrained by a voice that only occasionally reached the nerve jarring pitch of his early recordings.

In fact I have to say that I spent much of the night thinking, as I do whenever the photographer plays her Animals albums, less of the great songs he’s rightly famous for, and more of all the great songs he never recorded in a career hamstrung by an almost overwhelming self destructiveness.Whilst his reputation as one of rock and roll’s greats is undisputable, he must also rank very high on the “might have been even greater” list too.
From chart-topping Animals to a solo Eric Burdon, through WAR, collaborations with Jimmy Witherspoon, Animals reunions, Brian Auger and Eric Burdon, the New Animals, and now Eric Burdon and the Animals his career has never captured the greatness deserved by one of popular music’s truly unique voices. An intimate of Jimi Hendrix, one-time drug user extraordinaire, allegedly John Lennon’s ‘the Eggman’, the invader who took Brit rock to the heart of California, drinker, singer of Radio Hanoi’s favourite track (‘We gotta get out of this place’) – Burdon has enough in his CV to satisfy most rockers several times over, and yet regretful under-achievement, ironically the theme of That Song, is the thought to which one constantly returns.
So who are these Animals? On guitar Dave Restrum, School of Rock guitarist with an Alvin Lee chin. On bass leather trousered Dean Restrum (hey Dean, it must have been sweaty in there), who I understand is fond of cats. On keyboards Martin Gerschwitz, a dead ringer for Lennie the Lion, and on drums the beanie wearing Bernie Pershey, doing, errr…. Animal. A competent enough outfit, clearly having fun behind a still menacingly aggressive yet now heavy and grey Burdon (so if you look at the publicity shots you can only conclude that he must be a shareholder in Grecian 2000).
To be fair a well put together set, mixing the old – ‘Boom boom’, ‘Don’t let me be misunderstood’, 'Gotta get out of this place’, ‘It’s my Life’, ‘Tobacco Road’, with the new – ‘Once upon a time’, ‘Factory Girl’, ‘Over the border’. And Burdon certainly gave the new songs all he could, aided by frequent resorts to some sort of inhaler, and a very clever use of echo on the sound system to contrive a voice of greater range and depth than was really there. But many of the new songs (from the new album My Secret Life, featuring the Leonard Cohen song of the same name) were fairly maudlin rock and roll retrospectives – ‘Factory Girl’ being the only one that really stood out.
“It may be another night out for you, but it’s a special one for me, I’ve just had a drink’ said Burdon returning for the encore, vodka firmly on amp (next to the inhaler). So we got a thankfully brief drunk routine before Chuck Berry’s ‘Little Queenie’ and, of course, That Song.
The audience were in raptures, none more so than the photographer, who with her second dose of Animals in a fortnight was so excited that she jammed the mechanism on the Whiskyfun gig-camera. Sorry folks – no pics! Me – well like Eric I’d done another night on duty, but I left Camden Town (this dirty old part of the city, where the sun refused to shine) with more regret than relief. But Eric, if you read the note that the photographer left backstage for you, and happen to read this review, then please don’t let me be misunderstood. You were a contender; you could have been the best. - Nick Morgan (photos by Rudolf Uhrig, Follets)
Many thanks, Nick. If you need a gift for The Photographer, I just saw that there will be a new live album issued in Europe on August 29: 'Athens Traffic Live'. And guess what, 'That Song' isn't on it! We also have three interesting tunes by Eric Burdon and The Animals now: my old favourite, which is San Francisco Nights.mp3 (1967), then a rather punchy and I believe recent version of Sixteen tons.mp3, and finally, if you want something very, very 'moody', try The black plague.mp3 (1967 again). Now we're all ready for a (bottle of) whisky!
TASTING - THREE GLEN SCOTIAS (the younger, the better?)
Glen Scotia 5 yo (No ABV, OB, A. Gillies & Co) Colour: white wine. Nose: very fresh and fruity, with lots of longan and litchi, pineapple juice, watermelon, rose. Not complex but really fresh and lively. Certainly a perfect summer malt. Mouth: rather powerful, grainy and fruity. Some notes of pear, perhaps a bit of peat. Interesting! 80 points.
Glen Scotia 8 yo (No ABV, OB, A. Gillies & Co) Colour: straw. Nose: grainy, herbal, really simple. The 5 yo was much better. Perhaps some whiffs of lavender and soap. Mouth: very sugary attack, getting grassy, herbal and a bit bitter. Not much else, I’m afraid, but's it's still quite quaffable. 75 points.
Glen Scotia 1992/2003 (62.1%, G&M Cask Strength, cask #89.92) Colour: amber. Nose: almost pungent. Lots of strange aromas, cabbage, sauerkraut. Some sherry but not an elegant one, that’s for sure. Notes of praline and ‘chemical’ vanilla. Mouth: again, it’s quite overpowering. Notes of distillation, still, eau de vie. Gets very grainy and ‘bacterial’ (gym socks). It gets a bit better with water but remains very grainy and aromatically simple. Well… 68 points.

August 5, 2005

MUSIC – Recommended listening: well-known Anglo-French band Stereolab plays Modular.mp3, a most enjoyable mix of retro riffs and modern sounds. Archi-lounge? Pedantic pop? Maybe but I like it - and the singer, she izzuh Frenchuh! ;-) Please buy Stereolab's music if you like it as well...

TASTING - TWO 14 yo CLYNELISHES (short notes)

Clynelish 14 yo (46%, Cadenhead, sherrywood) No vintage on this version. Colour: amber. Nose: quite powerful, with a nice mix of coastal and dry sherry notes. Mouth: perhaps it's a bit too sour and rubbery, with also a little sulphur. In short, it's still rather enjoyable but maybe a tad too simple for a Clynelish. 80 points, still.

Clynelish 14 yo 1990/2004 (50%, Douglas Laing OMC, 331 bottles) Nose: fresh and very fruity. Pear candies, pineapple. Gets quite yeasty (breadcrumb, mashed potatoes). Lots of Schweppes too. Mouth: full banana candies and pear juice. Simple but excellent if you're not looking for lots of complexity. The finish is quite long, just a bit too spirity. I like this one – lots of pleasure in there. 85 points.

August 4, 2005

Everybody knows that heating up a cask of whisky speeds up ageing and imparts nice flavours to the spirit: roasted nuts, tar, meat sauce, garden bonfire etc. That's why a famous distillery in Speyside is said to use some new custom made 'cask barbeques' since March. Manager Pete McPeat just confirmed on the phone: 'Aye, that's true. We now use eighty cask barbeques. We're very pleased with the results, the spirit tastes like a 30 yo Glendronach after just fifteen minutes. We're also experimenting with various seasonnings since June. Tabasco comes out nice and satay sauce is a hit. Worcester sauce din't work out.'
Other rumours claim that there might be some problems, though. Some neighbours just confirmed they heard heavy explosions last week. 'It was like a giant machine gun and the cattle got crazy' said a local farmer. Latest news: all distillery tours cancelled until further notice.
MUSIC – BLUES - Recommended listening: excellent singer and guitar player Tinsley Ellis does a vibrant Hell or high water.mp3. In the fine ol' tradition! Please buy his CD's or attend his shows...  


Caperdonich 24 yo 1980/2005 (57.7%, Weiser, cask #7341, 249 bottles) Colour: straw. Nose: very chocolaty at first nosing, with also lots of nutmeg and cinnamon from the wood. Goes on with some hot milk and mashed potatoes, and even whiffs of smoke. Yet, it’s very simple malt, with just some notes of apple juice coming through as well. It then gets very dusty, alas… Mouth: sugarish and sort of perfumy attack, with quite a lot of Turkish delight notes but not much else, I'm afraid. Not too interesting, in fact, but there's no serious flaws either. In short, not too bad. 77 points.

Caperdonich 1968 (40%, G&M Connoisseur’s Choice old brown label) Colour: straw. Nose: quite herbal and slightly rubbery attack, with some paint smells, some burnt bread, getting then flowery with some nice notes of heather, light honey and cooked apricot. Some wet dog too (don't ask me which 'brand'). Mouth: starts on vanilla cake and honey, together with some herbal notes. A bit too herbal, in fact, with also quite some burnt caramel. It's still a good one I thing, even if it’s a little too much on the (bitter) caramel side. We've had some much worse ones. 80 points.

August 3, 2005


Balvenie 8 yo (70 proof, OB, 1970’s) Nose: fresh, herbal, very mild. Light honey and cardboard, herbal tea… Mouth: punchier, with a little smoke, mashed potatoes and caramel crème. Some notes of burnt cake… Quite nice but too bad it’s little weak. 75 points.

Balvenie 10 yo ‘Founder’s Reserve’ (40%, OB, Cognac bottle, 1980’s)
Colour: gold. Nose: very honeyed, like any classical Balvenie. Nice notes of quince jam and plum jam. Whiffs of white pepper and burnt cake, with even some petrol lamp. Nice! Mouth: rather creamy, mostly on the usual notes of cake, biscuits, vanilla crème and light honey. Quite bold and even powerful. Develops on some nice notes crystallised orange zests and Bailey’s. The finish is surprisingly long, mostly on sugared tea, but alas, getting a little too dry. 80 points.
MUSIC – Recommended listening: Boris Vian wasn't only a great writer and novelist, he was also an excellent musician, as Je bois.mp3 should testify. 'I drink systematically, to forget about my wife's friends. I drink systematically to forget about all my troubles. I drink just any booze...' That was in 1956 and it was pure fiction, no need to say...  
  Some malt heads claim that whisky was better in the old days, and many are wondering why and which were these old 'techniques' a part of the industry was using to come up with these stupendously good malts. 'Tropical fruits' but also 'good metallic tastes' are the main descriptors some are using to characterize the famous 'old bottle effect' and here's a breaking piece of news: well-kown journalist Bernhard Barnhard just put his hands on this very rare XVIth century etching that represents a knight's wife dipping her unfaithful husband into a cask of Highland malt whisky. The caption states it was called 'armour finishing' and it appears that the method was used at almost all northern distilleries, from John O'Groats to Perth, roughly.
It seems that it wasn't used on Islay, though, as 'The armours were getting rusty too quickly there', says Barnhard.
More serious: a very interesting debate on the influence of water here on maltmaniacs, with Charlie and Dave digging deep.

August 2, 2005

Talisker 8 yo (45.8%, OB, John Walker & Son, 70’s) Colour: straw. Nose: not too expressive and even a bit watery at first nosing. Sea water, grapefruit… Very little peat. Gets a bit grassy, herbal… Mouth: sweet and peppery as usual, with quite some tannins and lemon juice. Nice but not especially better than the current 10yo. Gets more and more lemony and peppery… 86 points.
Talisker NAS (70 proof, G&M licensed bottling, 70’s) Colour: straw. Nose: nice grapefruit, tangerine, lemon juice and cooked apple. A bit herbal. Citronella, spearmint. No peat but a beautiful balance. Mouth: too bad it’s a bit watery, dusty and drying, but there’s quite some nice eucalyptus and a bit of menthol. Traces of peat – just traces. 87 points.
Talisker NAS (100 proof, G&M licensed bottling, 70’s) Colour: gold. Nose: encaustic, wax polish, tiger balm, whiffs of eucalyptus and lots of dried fruits such as kumquats and bitter oranges. Superb whisky with some great notes of balsam coming through. Pine needles, lamp petrol, butter caramel. Wow! Mouth: powerful, on some superb notes of lemon juice and eucalyptus, grapefruit skin… Gets very peppery as usually, with also some clove, ginger, nutmeg and a bit of cinnamon. Too bad it gets just a bit too drying, with some notes of cardboard, but otherwise it’s a great whisky, perfectly balanced (but you have to like citrus). 92 points.
  MUSIC – Recommended listening: something fresh and ethereal for today: Marissa Nander sings two of her most beautiful ballads, Mayflower may.mp3 and Hyacinth.mp3. Very flowery indeed! Please buy Marissa Nander's music if you like it...

August 1, 2005


Cadenhead’s Classic Islay (50%, Cadenhead, bottled 2005) This one is a vatting containing 99% Lagavulin plus a spoonful of Caol Ila, said the people at Springbank / Cadenhead's. Colour: white wine. Nose: pure Islay indeed, very young, farmy, with Lagavulin’s typical sweetness and smokiness. Rather close to a new make, not much maturation. Hints of roots and rubber. Mouth: fresh and fruity, with lots of smoke and pineapple juice. Rather long finish on peat and tea. A nice one! 80 points.

Lagavulin 14 yo 1984/1999 (46%, Murray McDavid, MM 3256)
Colour: light gold. Nose: rather sweet and rounded, with some notes of fresh hazelnuts and quite some coastal notes. The peat smoke is rather delicate but well here. Notes of apple pie. Mouth: nicely coating, sweet and quite fruity. The peat is growing stronger and stronger. Vanilla crème. The finish is long and very peaty, getting quite dry with a pinch of salt. A very sweet and peaty one – not complex but highly enjoyable. One to sip just for pleasure. 86 points.
Johnnie Walker 1990: 'She looks even better when she's walking toward you. And she drinks Johnnie Walker Red.' Good, but is she really drinking while walking in the sand? Tricky!   Canadian Lord Calvert 1971: 'Sure you could get a perfectly good suntan in your own back yard.' Well, it depends on the kind of sun tan oil you're using, I guess. Whisky, really?
MUSIC – JAZZ - highly recommended listening: gosh, wasn't he a genius? The great Eric Dolphy revisits a Body and soul.mp3 in a way Coleman Hawkins himself probably loved (I hope he had the opportunity to listen to Dolphy's version). And what a line-up: Freddie Hubbard, Curtis Fuller, Wayne Shorter, Cedar Walton, Reggie Workman and Louis Hayes, no less. Btw, here's Hawkins The Master's Version.mp3. I still listen to the original 78rpm from time to time on an old gramophone.. Aaahhh! What a sound!  

July 2005 - part 2 <--- August 2005 - part 1 ---> August 2005 - part 2


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

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

Longrow 1987/2002 (55%, Samaroli, cask #115, 312 bottles)

Longrow 1973/1988 (50%, Samaroli Fragments of Scotland, ‘Campbeltown’, 648 bottles)

Kinclaith 26 yo 1975 (52.3%, James MacArthur’s Fine Malt Selection)

Talisker NAS (100 proof, G&M licensed bottling, 70’s)

Tactical 31 yo 1970/2002 (50%, Douglas Laing Old Malt Cask, sherry finish, 222 bottles)