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Hi, you're in the Archives, December 2005 - Part 2
December 2005 - part 1 <--- December 2005 - part 2 ---> January 2006 - part 1

December 31, 2005

Royal Brackla 27 yo 1975/2002 'Green Brackla' (59.7%, The Whisky Exchange, cask #5471, 204 bottles)
Colour: bronze. Nose: extremely complex right at first nosing, starting on all sorts of fruit jams (plums, oranges – not marmalade – blackberries…) and on hot praline. Lots of chestnut honey, vanilla-flavoured chestnut cream, starting to develop towards some superb waxy notes. Furniture polish, ‘natural’ shoe polish, beeswax… Then you get quite some chocolate and toffee, something nicely cardboardy and whiffs of peppermint. Hints of wine sauce… What a superb nose, so complex! Mouth: very playful, with again all the fruit jams, the praline, the waxy notes and the mint, but much less chocolate. Rather coffee… Lots of crystallized oranges. There are some tannins but of the silky kind. What a body! The finish is very long and complex, going on with the same ‘mix’ of flavours. Just superb. 92 points.
Royal Brackla 27yo 1975/2002 'Green Brackla' (59.7%, The Whisky Exchange, cask #5471, 204 bottles)
Royal Brackla 1976/2003 (57.1%, Scott's Selection) Royal Brackla 1976/2003 (57.1%, Scott's Selection)
Colour: straw. Nose: bold and powerful, with lots of toasted bread at first nosing. Burnt cake, cereals, hot milk, vanilla crème. Whiffs of limestone, grindstone, garden bonfire. Kind of austere but in an enjoyable way. It gets smokier and smokier, with also faint whiffs of fresh lavender, paraffin. Buttered mashed potatoes, hot croissants. Very nice in its own style. Mouth: nervous but not pungent, easily drinkable without water. Starts sweet and very grainy and malty, with a little menthol and fruit candies (pinepapple), melon jam, maybe quince jelly, liquorice and salt (just a pinch), carrot cake, caramel lollipop, Werther’s Originals… It’s very compact, very rounded and really full-bodied. Something waxy, cough syrup… Very, very good and the finish is long and enveloping, on fruit jams, orange marmalade, caramel and mint. Almost as thrilling as its oldest green brother. 90 points.

December 30, 2005


Inchgower 26yo 1976/2002 (49.9%, Hart Bros)

Inchgower 26 yo 1976/2002 (49.9%, Hart Bros) Colour: white wine/pale straw. Nose: rather powerful and very fruity, with little ‘age’. All sorts of white fruits such as apples and gooseberries, fresh strawberries, ripe melon and kiwi… Notes of hot vanilla sauce, a little paraffin. Also some boxed pineapples, boxed lychees. Then we have apple skins… It’s incredibly fruity at 26 years of age. Whiffs of beer… Mouth: very sweet and, again fruity, with exactly the same aromas. Maybe it’s more on kiwis and pink grapefruits but other than, I could just copy-and-paste the ‘nosing part’. No, wait, there’s also quite some liquorice, and it gets definitely more citrusy after a while. The finish is medium long, mainly on sugared grapefruit. Anyway, a 26 yo malt that tastes almost like a 12yo… Not very economical, I would say. 80 points.
Inchgower 24 yo 1980/2005 (60.4%, Adelphi, cask #14152) Colour: full amber with bronze hues. Nose: now we’re on full sherry mode, with lots of chocolate and raisins at first nosing. Hints of burnt cake and rubber but not much else… Let’s let it breathe for fifteen minutes… … … Good, it opened up indeed, even if it didn’t get really explosive. Dried oranges as expected, cooked strawberries, Cointreau… Something meaty as often in sherried malts, whiffs of balsamic vinegar, something waxy… A flawless sherried malt, no doubt, but no extravaganza. Inchgower 24yo 1980/2005 (60.4%, Adelphi, cask #14152)
Mouth: ha-ha, things are really improving now. Extremely bold, extremely sweet, extremely creamy and coating, with some very bold rum (it could be rum!), all sorts of raisins, oranges in all their forms (fresh, dried, crystallized etc.)… Almost pasty but no plumpness, quite astonishingly. It’s quite hot, at that. Gets rather coffeeish, tending towards a double-thick Irish coffee. Juts like the nose, it’s not very complex but so bold and ‘invading’, somewhere like a cough syrup. And no need to say the finish is extremely long, rummy and raisiny… Ah, it’s almost like if you ‘eat’ it rather than drink it, and it is an extravaganza this time. Anyway, 90 points for this spoonable Inchgower.
The Hoodoo Kings   MUSIC – BLUES - Very, very highly recommended listening: veteran musicians Eddie Bo, Raful Neal and Rockin' Tabby Thomas from Louisiana, aka 'The Hoodoo Kings', do an energetic Hard Times.mp3. Yeah, they are all seventy - more or less - but gosh, what a sound! Play'em loud, and please buy their music!

December 29, 2005

Highland Park ‘Capella’ (40%, OB, UK, 2005) Or was it 2004? Colour: straw. Nose: very fragrant at first nosing, expressive, typically Highland Park with quite some honey and heather, slightly tarry and smoky. Some notes of rum, fruit cake, apricot liqueur, mirabelle jam… It’s not overly complex but nicely balanced and rather ‘present’. Also something distantly coastal… And some praline. Colour: very nice attack, with quite some sherry and fruitcake, toasted bread and burnt caramel, vanilla crème… Rather sweet and rounded but not ‘sleepy’. Something curiously Macallanish (the 12yo), and it’s quite rich at 40% ABV. A certain creaminess. The finish is rather long, balanced, very classical. I really like it: 85 points. Highland Park ‘Capella’ (40%, OB, UK, 2005)
Highland Park 24yo 1980/2004 (58%, OB for Park Avenue Liquors, cask #7366) Highland Park 24 yo 1980/2004 (58%, OB for Park Avenue Liquors, cask #7366) Colour: gold – amber. Nose: wow, it’s extremely coffeeish, with also some very bold notes of marzipan and cocoa. An impressive sherry, with quite some smoky and waxy notes, getting then very, very ‘balsamic’. And what a beautiful dryness! The winey tones are superb, with some old high-end rancio and lots of ‘yellow’ (neo-oxidative, like in Jura’s vin jaune – yellow wine) plus tons of chocolate. A perfect sherry, superbly balanced and ‘vital’. Wow! Mouth: oh yes, it’s confirmed. Powerful and vibrant, bold, creamy but not ‘thick’, almost invading… A more than perfect sherry again as well as some superb notes of candied lemons and kind of an acidity that’s most enjoyable and that keeps the malt really playful. Burnt Smyrna raisins, cake, something tarry and smoky… It’s very ‘male’, whatever that means. Lots of dried and crystallised citrus fruits, a little almond milk and walnuts… It gets then quite bitter (nothing excessive) and a little drying, but the finish is superb, with notes of cough syrup (eucalyptus, menthol, candy sugar). Beautifully compact and highly satisfying! 91 points.
Highland Park 38 yo 1966/2005 (40.7%, Duncan Taylor, 138 bottles) Colour: gold. Nose: very, very fragrant and aromatic again at first nosing, with lots of honey and the trademark heather. Then we have lots of cooked fruits (beautiful notes of quince jelly, which I cherish), strawberry jam, apricot pie… Very, very appetizing. Quite some crystallized oranges as well… And it keeps developing, with a beautiful blend of smoky, woody, meaty and slightly soapy/waxy aromas. It gets then meatier and meatier, on hot ham, but never loses it fruitiness, with even whiffs of bergamot (earl grey) and very ripe coconuts, and, perhaps, a little fresh mint. Extremely enjoyable and no sign of tiredness. Mouth: a certain weakness at first sip and quite some tannins as well, the whole making it really dry this time. Develops on some ultra-bold coconut (even Malibu – yes) and dried oranges, clove and ginger, nutmeg, white pepper… Lots of oak, with a rather short finish, with some notes of rum… Well, this one may have spent too much time in its cask and went over the hill but it’s far from being unpleasant. And the nose was rather magnificent! 85 points. Highland Park 38yo 1966/2005 (40.7%, Duncan Taylor, 138 bottles)
Highland Park 1967/2005 (41.3%, Duncan Taylor) Colour: gold. Nose: this one seems to be much drier and more marked by the wood. Rather caramelly and chocolaty, and perhaps more vegetal, even if we have more or less the same fragrances again, just toned down for a few minutes. But good news, it gets then more and more expressive, with more oak (vanilla, tannins, coffee beans, cocoa…) Almost as nice as the 1966, just less fruity and heathery and a little more chocolaty. Which is a little scary considering the palate… let’s see. Mouth: oh, this is curious! It’s very tannic again but not weak at all, with some rather funny cheesy and salty notes. Emmenthal? (you know, that strange cheese that humorist Coluche called ‘weird, because when you have more Emmenthal, you have more holes, and when there’s more holes, there’s less Emmenthal’ – pataphysics indeed). Gets very caramelly, with lots of coconut too but, again, very drying as well and getting then much quieter. The finish is longer than the 1966’s, though, and quite toffeeish. A rather similar profile but more body. 86 points.
Herman Düne MUSIC – Recommended listening - Yes, the Herman Düne are really excellent! Why the English press has called them 'Swedish Lo-Fi Serge Gainsbourgs', I don't know but I like their twist. Let's try for instance Suburbs with you.mp3 (live at the BBC in June 2005)... Nice, isn't it? Please buy their music...

December 28, 2005

Glen Elgin 1978/2005 (47.5%, Adelphi, cask #4512, 208 bottles) Colour: gold. Nose: yes, another superb Glen Elgin, it appears. Bold and punchy but not overpowering, with some beautiful hot praline, hot cake and beeswax right at first nosing. Rather smoky, at that. Goes on with lots of roasted nuts such as pecans, cashews, peanuts… some nice farmy notes as well (hay, bonfire), milk chocolate… It gets more and more phenolic, on humus, smoked tea, hochicha (Japanese roasted tea). Just superb. Mouth: very dry at first sip, with lots of over-infused tea and strong cider, developing on strong tea, cinnamon, herbal tea… Goes on with liqueur filled chocolate and lots of dried herbs (mainly parsley). The finish is long but again, rather drying, on herbal teas and burnt cake… In short, a nice one with a great nose, that got a little too tannic on the palate but that’s still very enjoyable. 82 points. Glen Elgin 1978/2005 (47.5%, Adelphi, cask #4512, 208 bottles)
Glen Elgin 19yo 1978/1997 (43%, Hart Bros) Glen Elgin 19 yo 1978/1997 (43%, Hart Bros) Colour: straw. Nose: starts rather fragrant and aromatic, malty, with some nice whiffs of dry sherry, caramel and hot cake. Develops on roasted nuts, violets and roses, lychees (gewürztraminer?), getting very heathery and very smoky at the same time, with also hints of new plastic, spearmint and lemon balm, hot butter. Very satisfying, a lot of ‘plenitude’. An excellent surprise! Mouth: very present (although not really full bodied) but, alas, very drying, almost astringent right from the start. Again! Lots of tannins in there, with the usual white pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg, but also some nice flavours hiding behind them. Oak, vanilla, dried apricots, peaches, wit something toffeeish and coffeeish. The finish is rather long but getting quite herbal and even drier. In short, too bad it’s so tannic again, because the nose was really beautiful. Did they use special oak at Glen Elgin in 1978? What, sessile oak? ;-). Anyway, 82 points as well.
MUSIC – Heavily recommended listening - Brilliant new singer Jaymay, from NYC, sings Letter.mp3. Absolutely superb IMHO. Please buy her music! Jaymay
SHOPPING - For just $799.97, you can 'add a dose of tranquility to your life with a relaxed sophistication' by ordering this club chair + ottoman at Club Chairs. What's so interesting, you may ask... The name, sir, the name! It's 'Clynelish'.

December 27, 2005

WRECKLESS ERIC, supporting Wilko Johnson, The 100 Club, London, December 23rd 2005
It always seemed a shame to me that Wreckless Eric was somehow considered one of the also-rans of the great Stiff Records stable of the late seventies that spawned Elvis Costello and Ian Dury and the Blockheads, a sort of not-to-be-taken seriously novelty act amongst novelty acts. No doubt the name may have had something to do with this, and the famously reckless behaviour, and the astonishingly reckless drinking that fuelled it, which became for a considerable while Eric Goulden’s demon. But he wrote great songs and performed them with a unique candour. If he was an artist, and if I was an art critic (which thank the lord I’m not Serge) then you might describe his work as rude, or belonging to a naive school.
Wreckless Eric
Wreckless Eric in the late 1970's
I’d just prefer to say that his songs were very open and honest, with not a lot of room for subtlety. However, obvious they were not. But hang on a minute! Why all this past tense? This isn’t an obituary it’s a bloody review. And not only is Eric still alive, he’s back with a new(ish) album Bungalow Hi. Back from where? Well, for a while Serge he was in your lovely France, where in addition to the highly regarded Len Bright Combo he also had a band called Le Beat Group Électrique. And during this time he was also dealing with his personal demons, as they say in the wild world of rock and roll. But to be honest he’d almost disappeared from my personal radar until I picked him up again, talking with great frankness and humour on one of those Sunday night religious sounding radio programmes that I only listen to in the car.
So that’s why we’re here nice and early in the 100 Club to see our man who is supporting Whiskyfun favourite Wilko Johnson on this festive Friday gig. We fall in with the Edinburgh branch of the Wreckless Eric Fan Club, who appoint themselves as personal bodyguards to The Photographer. “See that man” says one, gesticulating with his beer at Eric, “he’s a fucking God”. We’re then shown mobile phone photographs of set lists from previous Eric gigs. Later I get the tattooed arms round the shoulder treatment, “Listen, how does he remember all of those words. He’s a fucking poet man, a fucking poet…” These two aren’t the only fans, and the rest of the crowd are good natured enough to give Eric a fair hearing, and he responds with a cracking forty-five minutes or so.
Wreckless Eric
He’s a happy guy, despite the fact that you might think otherwise from his songs, and not just the more recent ones. He’s also blessed with a lovely smile and Tommy Steele eyebrows, so even when the songs get bleak (and believe me Eric does bleak very well) there’s still a nice feeling in the air. He chats, questions (“Am I fucking this up?”), and challenges, “Someone said this was the most alienating song I ever wrote, so let’s see what you think of it …”, then “If you think that was fucking alienating then try this one …” Oh yes, and he’s also wearing a very nice suit. He sings, in no particular order, ‘Continuity Girl’, ‘Same’, ‘Local’, and ‘33s and 45s’ (introduced with the comment, “Some people find me difficult to live with, can you fucking believe that?”) from Hi Bungalow, ‘Whole wide world’, ‘Joe Meek’, ‘Final Taxi’ and ‘Someone must’ve nailed us together’, playing acoustic and electric guitars, with some funny stuff from a bass keyboard that he sets off occasionally, and also some congas that he hits. There are also what Edgar Allen Poe described in The Fall of the House of Usher as ‘wild improvisations of the speaking guitar’ – reflecting the style of all the Bungalow Hi songs, “Fuck, it’s gone all progressive” shouts Wreckless as he looses his way during one of these.
Later The Photographer disappears with her bodyguards and returns with my copy of Bungalow Hi signed with a message from Eric, “Be kind?” He means the review of course. I don’t need to be. His set was more than worth the ticket money, and we’ve still got Wilko to come – I should mention here that Wilko (who was competing with the great Norman Watt Roy for the roles of Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future) was just as good as when we saw him in March. But have a look at Eric’s website to see what he does with reviewers, which is a sort of review and reviewer deconstruction by the reviewee. Cool stuff.
Wreckless Eric
Kate, Whiskyfun's Official Concert Photographer with Wreckless Eric
And yes, if you do go to the website you can not only order copies of his albums (which you should do – Bungalow Hi is really worth a listen), but also his book, A dysfunctional success, the Wreckless Eric Manual. And you can look up his dates and make sure you go and see him if he turns up for a gig somewhere near you – he deserves the audience. - Nick Morgan (concert photographs by Kate)
Wreckless Eric Many thanks Nick, I remember Wreckless Eric and his Cockney accent (always very hot in France, a Cockney accent - it's Cockney, right?) quite well, although I had thought it was 'Reckless' until know - but then again, I've been writing 'Zepellin' for a long time... I think Wreckless Eric's old tunes deserve repeated listenings indeed, and just like you wrote, they may sound 'too easy' at first try but then they sort of invade your mind whilst gaining kind of depth (my favourite is 'Take the K.A.S.H.').
I tried to find a sample from his latest CD 'Bungalow Hi' (picture, left) but couldn't find any - despite the fact that all the reviews I could read were pretty excellent. So, I just ordered it from Eric's website, and his book as well... I can't wait! Now, there's something I fail to understand: why the hell did he leave France and go back to the UK? There must be secret reasons somewhere! ;-). As for music, we do have his version of Clever Trevor.mp3 (from Stiff's Ian Dury tribute album). Cool!
Dalmore 21yo (43%, OB, circa 2004)
Dalmore 21 yo (43%, OB, circa 2004) Colour: amber. Nose: not very expressive at first try, curiously watery (very light tea) with whiffs of cake and smoke. Quite some sherry coming through after a while, with notes of dried apricots and finally lots of nutmeg and tamarind as well as coal. Something distantly perfumy in the background. Rather elegant but maybe it lacks a little more depth. Mouth: again, it starts a little weakly, with a rather meagre mouth feel. Rather malty, very sweet, with some strawberry pie, roasted peanuts, overripe oranges (very overripe ones). Sort of toned down. A little cocoa, bitter caramel.. Something leafy. The finish is medium long, mostly on smoke, fruit liqueurs and caramel. Not bad at all but somewhat antiquated. Not exactly thin but lacking a little more body, I’m afraid. 79 points.
Dalmore 12 yo (43%, OB, cream label, mid 1990’s)
Colour: amber. Nose: rather punchy, very malty and caramelly at first nosing. Bold notes of burnt cake, a little winey, with something of a Cognac. Whiffs of smoke. Gets then very grassy and even farmy (hay) and meaty, and finally extremely coffeeish. Bold and rather complex, certainly quite better than the current versions, even if it’s a little austere. Mouth: extremely creamy, malty, sweet, bold and nervous – quite hot. Strong notes of cooked wine, fortified white wine, crystallised oranges, marmalade. Lots of cake, mocha, sugared coffee, Tia Maria, Cointreau… And also some dried herbs, thyme, parsley, rosemary. Lots of heat and vivacity! Long, rather hot finish, on rum, orange liqueurs and cooked caramel. Very good! 86 points.
Dalmore 12 yo (43%, OB, bottled 1977) Colour: amber. Nose: ah yes, this is even better. Some superb waxy notes, furniture polish, notes of Sauternes wine, beeswax, flowers (peony, lilac). Quite complex! Something superbly resinous, fireplace, ashes, mustard sauce, sherry… Strong honey (chestnut). It gets smokier and smokier (coal fire). Very, very nice. Mouth: simply fantastic. A superb creaminess, very coating, with an extraordinary balance. Orange liqueur and resin, lavender honey and eucalyptus, natural tar liqueur and mastic… Some marzipan, orgeat syrup, crystallised fruits (kumquats, oranges, tangerines). Gets quite smoky, with some notes of burnt cake. And what a beautiful and compact finish, on orange and lemon marmalades. Just a superb malt, extremely drinkable. No less than 92 points.
Dalmore 1986/2004 (43%, McKillop’s Choice, cask #3090) A very fresh one, unusually light for a Dalmore but with a nice balance. Notes of bitter oranges, nice vanilla and some most enjoyable fruity notes (apples, peaches, gooseberries…) Lots of vivacity and playfulness despite its lightness. A different Dalmore. 85 points.

December 26, 2005


Convalmore 28 yo 1977/2005 (57.9%, OB) A beautiful, old-style packaging. Colour: gold. Nose: punchy and powerful, starting very malty and very sweet, on cooked strawberries, cake and buttered caramel, with whiffs of cinnamon and a nice, sweet and sour woodiness. Gets then more herbal, with notes of yellow Chartreuse, Darjeeling tea, American coffee and cocoa. There’s something ‘ascetic’ in it, for it’s rather close to nature (yeah, whatever that means). A malt that’s isn’t made-up, it appears, probably for aficionados, like many of these new limited bottlings by Diageo that appear to be rather austere (but you might know I like that) and without compromise.

Convalmore 28yo 1977/2005 (57.9%, OB)
Mouth: a powerful attack, extremely sweet and quite woody, starting on fruit liqueurs (such as pineapple), Chinese rice spirit, with a ‘sweet-and-sourness’ that gives it something funnily Extreme-Oriental indeed. Rather tannic, getting a little drying after a while… Right, let’s try it with water now… (and while the nose gets even fruitier and quite farmy as well…) Ah, yes, now it’s much more civilized, harmoniously fruity (apricots, peaches and melons, even tropical fruits such as mangos and passion fruits), with notes of freshly crushed mint leaves. The finish is rather long, balanced and enjoyable with water, always very fruity, with a little icing sugar. A malt that needs water to get tamed – or it’ll take no prisoners! Anyway, it’s the kind of no-peat-no-sherry-no-prisoners malt I like – 89 points.
Convalmore 1981 (40%, Strathblair Collection, 2004) Convalmore 1981 (40%, Strathblair Collection, 2004)
A curious fairly new series from Switzerland, showing no bottling year and no cask number although they are single casks, most of them being bottled at 40%. Hum. Colour: straw. Nose: very grainy and fruity at first nosing, with quite some light caramel and boxed fruit salad. Whiffs of cologne, hot milk… Big, bold notes of vanilla fudge. Rather clean and nicely balanced. Nothing too special but no flaws either, I must say. Mouth: sweet and more powerful than expected. Grainy and malty, with lots of caramel and liquorice sweets, herbal liqueur, maybe tequila… It does lack a little body in fact, but nothing too dramatic. Notes of mashed chestnuts, English cake getting slightly bitter but it’s okay. The finish is rather short with quite some bitterness, alas, but the whole is still worth 80 points in my books. Not bad at all.
MUSIC – JAZZ - Recommended listening - Brazil's Edgar Duvivier does a pretty excellent rendition of Bird's Donna Lee.mp3 that sounds like a choro (and Donna Lee is what jazz is all about). Just superb! Please buy Edgar Duvivier's works... Edgar Duvivier

December 25, 2005

MUSIC – It's Sunday AND it's Christmas, so let's listen to The Duke University Chorale (Durham, North Carolina) singing Still, still, still.mp3 (obviously). And they are good!
An interesting - I think - head-to-head session with a young, recent Talisker and an older one that was distilled... More than 90 years ago, when Talisker was still triple-distilled. But there's no point in trying to answer silly questions such as 'was it better in the old days?', as 80 years in a bottle will have taken their toll anyway. Well, that's what I had thought in the first place... Talisker Reserve 1913 (70° proof, Berry Bros and Rudd, probably late 1920’s - early 1930's)
Talisker 10 yo (45.8%, OB) A recent version that I reduced to 40% a.b.v. for the purpose of this unusual head-to-head session. Colour: pale gold. Nose: rather maritime right at first nosing, with the usual mix of peat smoke, wet hay, oysters and pepper (not an extreme pepper here). It gets then rather waxy, with also quite some beer (quite mashy!), porridge, boiled cereals and fermented barley. Mouth: it starts much more peppery this time, with lots of spices and quite some oak. Maybe it’s a little harsher, less rounded that some earlier versions, and it gets extremely herbal after a moment (parsley, mustard seeds) with also quite some iodine, salt, getting frankly ‘seawatery’. Almost no fruits and no sweetness except, maybe, hints of dried pears. The finish is long, extremely peppery and very, very dry, with a lot of persistence. No smoothness at all in this very austere version for big boys, that’s sharp like a blade – but again, I like this kind of rather extreme profile a lot. 88 points.
Talisker Reserve 1913 (70° proof, Berry Bros and Rudd, probably late 1920’s - early 1930's) The bottle was cracked open by its owner right in front of my eyes, the cork, which was probably a wine cork, was in a relatively good shape, although it broke into three or four pieces despite careful handling. It was bearing the Berry Bros logo. Anyway, let's taste it now... Colour: pale gold, slightly paler than the current 10yo, with greenish hues. Nose: this one comes from the same family, most obviously, although there is something antiquated here. It starts on fresh mushrooms and wax, mixed with a little eucalyptus and quite some camphor. It is smoky indeed although not as smoky as the 10yo. It gets then rather resinous, with notes of mastic and a little marzipan. Talisker Reserve 1913 (70° proof, Berry Bros and Rudd, probably late 1920’s - early 1930's)
It’s also growing quite vegetal (hay, a little fern, dried moss…) and gets finally a little peppery, with notes of old, waxed furniture. Slightly musty indeed, but hey, more than 70 years in a bottle! After a good fifteen minutes, it gets much more caramelly and fudgy, and does the peacock’s tail. Just superb!
Mouth: the attack is very creamy, almost oily, very soft, waxy and coating, with lots of camphor and oriental pastries (orange flowers). Very delicate but with a rather thick texture. Develops on mastic-flavoured Turkish delights (c’mon, maltoporn again!) with a little olive oil. Goes on with quite some caramel crème, marzipan again, just before a certain spiciness and quite some pepper do come through. Quite some tannins at that, and a very subtle peat that didn’t disappear like in some other very old peaty whiskies. Notes of walnut liqueur, pu-erh tea… Now, it does get a little cardboardy and, to be honest, weak. I doubt it’s still at 40%, I’d rather say around 30 or 35%. The finish itself isn’t too long but beautifully waxy, with a little nougat and hints of cough syrup. In short, a pretty excellent old Talisker that still smells (mostly) and tastes (a little)… well, like a Talisker. The nose was fantastic, quite similar in its profile to the current 10 yo (although the latter is much spicier, peatier and much more peppery) but subtler – 93 points for the nose, whereas the palate was all delicacy but, to be honest, lacked a little oomph and body (85 points). So, the grand total is 89 points, even if it’s much closer to 100 on an 'emotional' scale. Watch this space, we’ll have another interesting H-to-H session on January 1st!...
What's more appropriate, in our money-driven consumer society, than this quintessential 1972 ad for Johnny Walker to wish you, once more, a Merry Christmas?
(... and did you notice the bottle's level? It's just the beginning and there are just four people...)

December 24, 2005

Longmorn 15 yo 1990/2005 (60.4%, Single Malts of Scotland, cask #30091) By The Whisky Exchange. Colour: pale gold. Nose: really powerful but surprisingly aromatic despite the high alcohol. Quite bourbonny at first nosing, with bold notes of hot vanilla sauce, zabaglione, apricot liqueur… Lots of caramel sauce as well, oak, toasted bread, developing on pastries (hot croissants), milk chocolate and, after a few minutes, vodka and perhaps coffee liqueur. Incredibly enjoyable at such high strength. With a few drops of water: it gets more perfumy and herbal, in nice ways. Hints of violets, lily of the valley, a little smoke… I like it. Mouth: again, it’s easily drinkable when neat, starting mainly on fruit eaux-de-vie such as Williams pear and kirsch as well as grappa, The pear grows bolder and bolder, with also quite some grainy notes, coffee liqueurs… With water: much sweeter and less spirity, as expected, but there’s even more pear! Incredible, I’ve distilled some pure pear spirit several times myself and, believe me or not, the output hasn’t always been as ‘peary’ as this Longmorn. A wood-matured pear spirit? I love pear, that is… 87 points. Longmorn 15yo 1990/2005 (60.4%, Single Malts of Scotland, cask #30091)
Longmorn-Glenlivet 1974/1985 (60.8%, Samaroli, 600 bottles, sherry)

Longmorn-Glenlivet 1974/1985 (60.8%, Samaroli, 600 bottles, sherry) Colour: mahogany – bronze. Nose: extremely sherried at first nosing, very rubbery and quite sulphury. Bold notes of bicycle inner tube, bitter chocolate and dark toffee. I feel this one was bottled just at its peek, one more year would have been too much. Really fat, oily, but with still some nice notes of fresh fruits. Probably a genuine sherry cask, that had contained sherry for years and years.

Not monstrously complex but extremely compact and very satisfying, with also lots of liquorice and herbs. A great sherried nose. Mouth: lots of sherry of course, extremely bold and powerful. Not that it’s unbalanced but I’d call it a howitzer of a whisky: lots of gunpowder, dark caramel, toffee, toasted raisins, crystallised fruits and even chilli. A great one indeed but it’s also a little tiring and too pungent. Let’s try it with water now… Ah, much nicer! It is a swimmer. The dried fruits notes become much more precise (pear, guava, kumquat) and it gets also nicely medicinal. Garden bonfire. Totally beautiful with water! 92 points (but only 88 without water…)
Longmorn-Glenlivet 12 yo (40%, G&M licensed bottling, 'Pure Malt', 1980’s)
Colour: light gold. Nose: extremely fresh and vibrant, with lots of nectar, pollen and light honey. Some great notes of flowers from the fields and lots of fresh fruits (oranges, tangerines, bananas…) Very clean and so enjoyable (even if not too complex). Pure pleasure! Mouth: nice attack, quite malty this time. Lots of crystallised fruits, oranges, bananas, figs… Quite some oomph, at that. It then gets perhaps just a tad woody and drying but nothing problematic. Rather long finish, on dried oranges and light toffee. Simple but excellent, and what a nice balance! 87 points.


MUSIC – Very heavily recommended listening - The interstellar John Coltrane doing one of his most famous and tremendously brilliant pieces: Giant Steps.mp3 (1959) I could listen to it 100,000 times and not get bored. Okay, 100,001... 100,002... 100,003... 100,004... Hard bop at its very, very best! Please buy more John Coltrane music...

John Coltrane

December 23, 2005

Johnnie Walker
That Santa himself was called for help isn't really a surprise, is it?. Left, Dewar's, Xmas 1935, 'Making up his Christmas list' - Middle, Johnnie Walker, Xmas 1976 - Right, Johnnie Walker, Xmas 1977, 'This time of year it's especially natural to turn to red'. Oh my God! So, Santa doesn't even exist, it was just Daddy! I hope no little child managed to put his hands on a magazine where they were running this ad... Ah, it was just in Playboy? What a relief! What? In Hustler as well???
Laura Veirs MUSIC – Recommended listening - I just checked that I never posted anything about Laura Veirs. How is that possible? Let's quickly repair that by listening to Rapture.mp3 (what else?) - and please let's buy Laura Veirs' pretty excellent music!
Scapa 13 yo 1990/2003 (43%, Signatory, cask #4324) Colour: white wine. Nose: rather spirity and extremely raw, mashy, grainy and yeasty at first nosing. Little ageing, it seems, the cask must have been very neutral. Yet, it grows nicely fruity after a moment, with some various berries, freshly cut apples and pears… Simple but not bad at all. Mouth: very fruity, like a fruit eau de vie or even a grappa, getting also a little milky. Rice cake, vanilla crème. Very, very simple but, again, drinkable. The finish is medium long and, again, very fruity. For simple pleasures… 78 points. Scapa 13yo 1990/2003 (43%, Signatory, cask #4324) Scapa 1993/2005 (45%, Gordon & MacPhail for La Maison du Whisky)
Scapa 1993/2005 (45%, Gordon & MacPhail for La Maison du Whisky) Colour: straw. Nose: this is much more complex right from the start, with some very nice waxy notes, beeswax, resin, and even turpentine. The cask must have been hyper-active this time, as I almost never got such strong waxy notes in such a young malt. Or is it something else? It goes on with some apple juice and cider, lager, and lots of smoke (burning white wood). Too bad . Mouth: there’s also some Alka-Seltzer in the background, old papers and dust, but this is an unusual Scapa. Ah, and also some potatoes… Mouth: a nice boldness, very sweet but also quite resinous and waxy again. Did they use some fir tree instead of oak? Develops very smoothly, on almond cake, sugared apple juice, eucalyptus candies… It gets even bolder and creamier after a few seconds, with some olive oil, walnut skins and hints of balsamic vinegar. The finish is, as expected, long, waxy and coating. A classy Scapa, worth trying. 85 points.
Scapa 8yo (40%, Gordon & MacPhail licensed bottling, 1980’s) Scapa 8 yo (40%, Gordon & MacPhail licensed bottling, 1980’s) Colour: gold. Nose: fresh and rather vibrant at first nosing, with some bold notes of apple juice mixed with a little cinnamon. Nice notes of lemon balm, ripe kiwi and old white wine (a little rancio, hazelnuts), spearmint… Nice hot caramel, vanilla pods, getting a little cardboardy but the whole is very nice. And what an enjoyable freshness! Mouth: again, it’s rather enjoyable. Quite caramelly but also fruity (caramelized apples), with some notes of coffee, liquorice and toasted bread. Goes on with some cocoa, coffee beans, vanilla powder, cinnamon… To bad it lacks a little body but the whole is most enjoyable. The finish is a little short and drying (mostly on coffee beans) but again, this old young Scapa is perfectly sippable, even if, maybe, a little old fashioned. I quite like it: 82 points.

December 22, 2005

Seagram's Crown Royal
A good old idea - and Seagram, again is king of recycling. Left, Dewar's, Xmas 1934, 'A sock makes a wonderful 'Stocking' when filled with Dewar's.' - Middle, Seagram's Crown Royal, Xmas 1972, 'Just a little reminder. It's almost Christmas again.. - Right, Seagram's 7 Crown, Xmas 1990, ''Hint. Hint." You may think all that isn't very subtle and you're right. But Christmas advertising is rarely subtle, is it?
Michel Galliano and Michel Portal MUSIC – JAZZ - Very highly recommended listening - When two virtuosi like Michel Galliano and Michel Portal play tango together, it gives us a pure thrill like their magnificent live rendition of Astor Piazzolla's famous Libertango.mp3. Please buy their music and let's keep jazz (and tango) alive and kicking!
Glen Spey 12 yo (43%, James MacArthur, 2005) Colour: white wine – almost white. Nose: rather punchy and spirity, close to a fruit eau-de-vie. Something of a young Auchentoshan. Very perfumy and fruity, with notes of freshly cut apples and pineapples, getting then yeastier and yeastier, mashy, on muesli. As close to new make as possible at 12yo, but far from being unpleasant. You guessed it, no wood influence here. Mouth: rather powerful and very, very fruity, almost like some mixed fruit juice where you’d have poured some raw spirit. Notes of cider… Gets then very resinous, a little bitter but also rather citrusy (grapefruits), with a little icing sugar, pine sweets, getting rather waxy, spicy, peppery during the finish. Well, nothing too special here but no real flaws either. 76 points. Glen Spey 12yo (43%, James MacArthur, 2005)
Glen Spey 15yo 1985/2001 (43%, Signatory, sherry, butt #3045) Glen Spey 15 yo 1985/2001 (43%, Signatory, sherry, butt #3045) Colour: pale white wine. Nose: quite some sherry despite the very light colour, even some wood (wow!). It then gets very minty, resinous again, and starts to smell like hash (don’t ask me which kind), pine needles, cough syrup… Quite astonishing. Also some peach skin, varnish, paint thinner… Sort of funny. Will it taste like magic mushrooms? Let’s see… Mouth: sweeter again but also very waxy and, yes, resinous, with some waxed paper, caramel rice, cocoa, getting then more and more peppery, with a finish that’s very similar to the MacArthur’s. Now, this one isn’t really better, but certainly ‘funnier’; ever got hashish smells in your whisky? 78 points.

December 21, 2005


Glenrothes 8 yo 1997/2005 ‘Very Cloudy’ (40%, Signatory for La Maison du Whisky) A funny experiment, the whisky being barrier-filtered before it’s reduced with water, hence getting very cloudy in its bottle. Now, what I’ve got (10cls in a sample bottle) got completely transparent again, which means that the cloudiness might well disappear after a while – but not sure about that. Colour: white wine.

Glenrothes 8yo 1997/2005 ‘Very Cloudy’ (40%, Signatory for La Maison du Whisky)
Nose: extremely fresh and clean, fruity and yeasty. A nice mix of white peaches and fresh butter with just a few rubbery notes. Develops on mashed potatoes, zabaglione and lilac, with a little smoke, torrefaction and quite some vanilla crème, and gets finally a little peppery. Uncomplicated but neither bland nor dull. At all. Mouth: as ‘promised’, it’s more full-bodied than expected, with a very fruity and caramelly attack. Something a little bitter – not really too bitter – and herbal, smoked tea, parsley, diluted pear juice… Gets then a little gingery and peppery. There’s still a certain lack of ‘fullness’ but it’s all quite enjoyable, with a medium long finish, on pear spirit, spearmint and a little paraffin. An interesting youngster, with something of a Zubrovska. 82 points.
Glenrothes 10 yo 1994/2004 (46%, Eilan Gillan, bourbon barrel) Colour: white wine. Nose: a little sharper and markedly more vegetal (freshly cut grass) and rubbery. Rather bold notes of rubber band, smoked tea, milk, vanilla, developing on freshly cut apples and pears, maybe a little lavender and finally something slightly soapy. A simple one that hasn’t got the cloudy’s rather long development. Mouth: creamy, coating, rounded and sweet at first sip but getting then rather bitter (rubber, apple skins, wood), in a disturbing way. Notes of raw green pepper, hot pepper, getting aggressive, with something of a cheap gin. Hard to enjoy for my tastes, and the finish is medium long, quite rubbery. Very rubbery in fact. I don’t like it too much, I’m sorry. 70 points.
Glenrothes 10 yo 1993 (51.8%, Chieftain’s, rum finish) Colour: white wine. Nose: rum! Very interesting to taste it after two ‘natural’ young Glenrothes, because you can really get what the rum’s influence is. Cane sugar (no kiddin’!), something faintly waxy, sultanas but also molasses, before it gets very vegetal, with a little peppermint, fern, raw alcohol, mustard and curry… Not too easy to enjoy, I’d say. Mouth: very sweet and rummy again, almost sugarish, on maple syrup, getting rather rubbery again, vegetal, bitter (artichokes, infused tealeaves), more on tequila than on rum. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a miss but it’s just not the kind of profile I like, it’s too far away from a malt. Right, let’s not bash it too much then: 75 points.
Romulo Froes MUSIC – Very highly recommended listening - Cool, very cool... It's Brazil's Romulo Froes singing a very delicate and intimate Sem nada pra dizer.mp3. Aahhh... Please buy Romulo's music and support all 'authentic' artists from Brazil.
CRAZY WHISKY NEWS: STOLEN WHISKY ON ISLAY - CULPRIT FOUND! It all started when the people at Ardbeg Distillery had wanted to select a new cask for the 2005 Belgian single cask limited bottling. A sherry butt filled in 1972 was found to be completely empty! There was a hole in the bottom of the cask and kinds of 'crumbs' of oak were lying on the floor. A bunch of malt maniacs and Plowedsters who had just visited the warehouse had been first suspected and Scotland Yard was on the case... STOLEN WHISKY ON ISLAY
It's only when, six months later, Dutch whisky enthusiast Ruud van Pitloover finally developed the 12,000+ photographs he had taken during the 2005 Islay Whisky Festival that an odd detail was uncovered on one of the pictures (see above). Ruud told Whiskyfun: "Ja, I had taken a few photographs of the sheep that's usually strolling on the hills behind the distillery and it's only when looking closer at one of them that I could spot something rather incongruous..." Quite a relief for all the maniacs indeed!

December 20, 2005

Kinnie Starr MUSIC – Recommended listening: are you pro-Kinnie Starr or anti-Kinnie Starr? Well, I'm all for her, despite the heavy 'electronics'. And what a voice! So, please, listen to Alright.mp3 and make up your own mind - and then rush out and buy her music. (photo by Robert Kenney)


SEEN IN STRASBOURG, ALSACE - This small photocopied poster hung on a a do-not-enter street sign in a little alley: 'Je n'ai jamais dit que vous deviez autant consommer pour célébrer mon anniversaire !!!' (I never said you had to consume that much to celebrate my birthday!!!). Does that include whisky? I suppose the answer is 'yes', even if whisky isn't just goods, it's Culture, it's History, it's 'spiritual food', it's... What? You say I'm going too far? Errr, yes, well, don't we all need justifications these days?

Macallan 14yo 1990/2005 (53.9%, Adelphi, cask #10136, 211 bottles) Macallan 14 yo 1990/2005 (53.9%, Adelphi, cask #10136, 211 bottles) Colour: pale amber. Nose: starts funnily medicinal for a Mac, with also quite some camphor, turpentine, Vicks Vaporub… goes on with some notes of wet fern, forest under the rain… Probably not a dazzling glory but it’s extremely interesting. Mouth: very punchy attack, with some bold liquorice and candied fruits, getting then nicely herbal, all that in a perfect balance, especially during the long and coating finish. Most likeable and, again, interesting – one to try, definitely. 87 points.
Macallan-Glenlivet 17 yo 1987/2005 (59.1%, Cadenhead Authentic Coll., sherry butt, 630 bottles) Colour: amber. Nose: starts with some very bold but rather balanced sherry – almost vinous – with lots of coffee, dark chocolate and rum, as well as bitter oranges, Corinthian raisins and roasted peanuts. Some meaty notes as well, game, caramelized meat sauce… It’s nice. Mouth: creamy, powerful, almost too aggressive, with an overwhelming, dominating oloroso and some sourish notes that are slightly excessive for my tastes. Lots of chocolate, dark rum, simple cognac… One has to really love sherry to enjoy this Macallan. The finish is long but rather drying – for sherry monsters freaks only. 83 points. Macallan-Glenlivet 17yo 1987/2005 (59.1%, Cadenhead Authentic Coll., sherry butt, 630 bottles)
Macallan 1990/2004 'Exceptionnal Single Cask' (59.6%, butt #24483) Macallan 1990/2004 'Exceptionnal Single Cask' (59.6%, butt #24483) Colour: amber. Nose: strong, powerful, with a big, bold, beautiful sherry. A true classic. Lots of raisins, toffee, dried fruits, bitter oranges, Grand-Marnier, Whiffs of coal smoke, cooked wine, chocolate and burnt cake… Not much else to say, it’s simple but it’s perfect. Mouth: creamy and nervous, invading and very sherried, no need to say. Lots of crystallized orange zests, kumquats, caramelized wine sauce, cooked fruits, toffee, chocolate… Again, a total classic, that needs no further comments. 90 points.

December 19, 2005

Invergordon 39 yo 1965/2005 (49,8%, Duncan Taylor for The Whiskyfair, 90 b.) Colour: gold. Nose: extremely fresh and clean, smelling exactly like some freshly squeezed oranges and tangerines at first nosing. Develops on grain, light caramel, oriental pastries, rubbed orange skins… Hints of fresh mastic and whiffs of natural varnish, with then some bold notes of vanilla beans arising and, curiously quite some malty notes (the coffee ersatz some old people still drink here). Invergordon 39yo 1965/2005 (49,8%, Duncan Taylor for The Whiskyfair, 90 b.)
Ah, also some marzipan… It was very simple at first nosing but it got much more complex after a few minutes, that’s great. Mouth: very sweet, starting on caramelized cereals and getting then rather fruity, with quite some apple and pear pie. Develops on roasted peanuts, marzipan again, eucalyptus candies… Rather simple but very, very nice indeed. What strikes me is that it tastes quite young, and except if the cask has been very neutral (which I doubt), it makes me wonder if Invergordon does not age slower than many malts. Yes, I know grains are supposed to age at full speed… Anyway, 86 points for this excellent old grainy beauty.
Invergordon 1964/2005 (47.1%, Adelphi, Cask #57637) Colour: gold. Nose: very, very similar, just hotter at first nosing. It gets then a little waxier and less orangey, with more wax polish, encaustic and some bolder notes of marzipan. Just as nice! Mouth: beautiful again, creamier than the 1965, with more body. It’s also closer to a malt, with lots of dried fruits, wax, caramelized cereals again, roasted nuts, marzipan indeed, butterscotch, cake, sugared tea… Lots of oomph and a long and coating finish, at that. Another beautiful old Invergordon, very interesting because just like the 1965, it’s more ‘natural’ than the (great) sherried Invergordon one can find these days. 87 points.
North British 1980 (60.3%, OB, new oak cask, circa 2000?) North British 1980 (60.3%, OB, new oak cask, circa 2000?) An off-commerce - I think - single grain whisky, probably made only out of corn – or in the majority, at least - as North British processes only corn these days (switching from one cereal to another one needs lots of time and equipment tweaking, I think). Colour: straw. Nose: very grainy of course, rather pure and clean, with something that makes me think of J&B. Quite some vanilla, freshly baked pastries, white flowers and oak (fresh sawdust)… No too complex, as expected, but rather balanced and not bland at all. Rather interesting, especially because there’s no sherry involved. Keeps developing a bit, on caramelized apples and lots of milk chocolate.
Mouth: very sweet, fruity and extremely bourbonny. Lots of syrups (pomegranates, plums), with tons of vanilla and oaky notes. Gets very fudgy and caramelly, with some hints of burnt milk. Well, it’s not exactly complex but not bland either. The finish is long and bold, quite spirity, somewhere like if it was a cask strength J&B. Worth trying, definitely. 80 points (thanks for this opportunity, Christophe and Olivier).
Left: Teacher's, Xmas 1967, 'Make a big splash for the holidays - no gift improves the flavour of water like Teacher's' The old trick of whisky improving water, they did it again. Right: Ballantine's, Xmas 1967, 'Good taste is why you give it.' Short and sweet...
Spanic Boys MUSIC – Recommended listening: it's the Spanic Boys doing The man who hates the world.mp3. Doesn't this sound ring a bell - I mean several bells? Cool! And please buy their music!

December 18, 2005

Talimbourg 23 yo 1982/2005 (49.5%, The Whisky Fair, bourbon hogshead, 222 bottles) A brand new bottling by our Limburgian friends. Colour: straw. Nose: here’s a very clean, very straightforward Talisker, it seems. Not extremely expressive right at first nosing, with a rather typical kind of austerity, with just whiffs of lemon juice and wet hay. Not very peaty, that’s for sure. Starts to develop rather slowly, on some very nice mineral notes, such as gunflints, wet chalk, going on with notes of grape clusters, grass, fern, rubbed apple and lemon peels, whiffs of paraffin. A profile I like very much, even if it’s a little ‘Jansenist’. Very, very pure. Mouth: very similar, with more peat but also lots of sugared lemon juice, wax, various herbs (thyme, parsley, chive). The usual pepper is well here as well, as well as a little clove. It is sort of austere again – but I like austerity just as much as extravagant richness in my malts (so well, you may ask?). Anyway it’s got a medium long but perfectly balanced finish, with some very peaty notes at the retro-olfaction. Most enjoyable and recommended. 91 points. Talimbourg 23yo 1982/2005 (49.5%, The Whisky Fair, bourbon hogshead, 222 bottles)
Talisker 25yo 1975/2001 (55%, The Bottlers, cask #3727) Talisker 25 yo 1975/2001 (55%, The Bottlers, cask #3727) Colour: straw. Nose: now we’re on a much farmier and sweeter Talisker, although it’s not that different. Again these mineral and vegetal, grassy notes but also some wet dog (not a dirty street bastard’s) and also some bold grapefruit juice. Just as nice, I’d say, even if a little less pure and clean. Mouth: more powerful and also sort of bitterer and sweeter at the same time. Some strange notes of rotting oranges, with also something rather oddly perfumy. Ahem! Cheap curaçao, old ham, bacon… Gets very waxy and rubbery (ever tasted rubber bands at school?) Too bad, I feel the palate is slightly flawed, especially after its great nose – and after the superb Talimburg. Anyway, let’s give it 80 points – it’s not that calamitous!
Fiskavaig 27 yo 1977/2005 (51.3%, Douglas Laing for The Whisky Shop, 265 bottles) Another one from the only distillery on the Isle of Skye. Colour: gold. Nose: a perfect balance at first nosing, a superb mix of peat smoke, sea air and cider. Very, very clean and straightforward, not too complex but so enjoyable. Notes of milk chocolate and vanilla fudge, green bananas. And, of course, whiffs of pepper. Mouth: full bodied, very sweet and very peaty at the same time. Lots of liquorice in there but again a perfect balance. Quite some salty notes, violet candies… Not complex at all but extremely satisfying. Ah, simple pleasures! 90 points. Fiskavaig 27yo 1977/2005 (51.3%, Douglas Laing for The Whisky Shop, 265 bottles)
Ballantines, Xmas 1971
Left: Ballantines, Xmas 1971, 'Educate your friends' a cool packaging that reminds us of Springbank's famous 'ceramic books'. Right: Vat 69, Xmas 1967, 'Give & Take.' Introducing that funny 'traveller's' bottle that fitted in any attaché-case.


MUSIC – Recommended listening - It's Sunday, we go classical with Manuel Ruiz Seharra (piano) and Rocio Martinez (soprano) doing the beautiful Vanne, o rosa fortunata.mp3 (Vincenzo Bellini, 1801-1835). Please buy their music and go to their concerts. (via Darby Louise)

Rocio Martinez

December 17, 2005

Glenlochy 1974 (40%, G&M Connoisseur’s Choice old map label, early 1990’s) Glenlochy 1974 (40%, G&M Connoisseur’s Choice old map label, early 1990’s) No age statement or bottling year on this one. Colour: light amber. Nose: wow, lots of oomph, quite unexpectedly. Some beautiful notes of freshly squeezed oranges, quince jelly, ripe mangos and guavas… Superb! Something of the old Lochsides or Clynelishes, getting rather waxy and starting to smell like a pine forest, fir honey, menthol and honey sweets, a little eucalyptus, camphor… Add to that a little caramel and quite some pepper and you’ll get the picture: it’s a perfect malt.
Mouth: again, quite some oomph, even it suffers from being quite cardboardy right at first sip, a little bitter and extremely herbal. Quite some peat coming through now with also a nice waxiness, quite some dried oranges, chlorophyll chewing gum, getting suddenly very, very spicy and quite meaty, with also some soy sauce, lots of pepper… Unusually bold, rich and complex, and even the finish is very long (and salty!) for a Connoisseur’s Choice. A great surprise, even if it’s probably not an ‘easy’ malt. 90 points.
Glenlochy 25 yo 1980/2005 (55.9%, Silent Stills for Waldhaus am See, cask #2821, 259 bottles)
A bottling by Signatory for Switzerland. Colour: pale straw. Nose: really powerful and incredibly peaty and medicinal. Extremely rooty, earthy, waxy… Some bold notes of cow stable, gentian, wet hay… Goes on with bandages, embrocations, eucalyptus, smoked tea, camphor… Then it sort of tones down, shifting towards marzipan and herbal tea. A great surprise in any case, I didn’t know that they had made such peated malt at Glenlochy – it’s rather excellent, not the ‘simple, quick and dirty’ kind of peatbomb at all.
Glenlochy 25yo 1980/2005 (55.9%, Silent Stills for Waldhaus am See, cask #2821, 259 bottles)
Mouth: oh yes, lots of peat here, very ’Ardbeg’. Lots of pepper, smoke, tealeaves, applesauce, dried ginger, lemon, grapefruit… And a salty feeling on top of that. Quite simpler than what the nose suggested but still very nicely made – perhaps just a tad too austere, despite the nice notes of violet candies coming though after a moment. And the finish is very long, peaty and sweeter now. Anyway, again a great surprise. Glenlochy rules! 89 points.
The Ramblers MUSIC – Recommended listening - 'You'd better slow down, honey'... Yeah and listen to The Ramblers doing Two Timin Woman.mp3. Some good old greasy country-rock! Please buy these Ramblers' music. When you have a CD called 'Rindin in the wind' you can't be... Well...
Crown Royal, Xmas 1978
Left: Crown Royal, Xmas 1978, 'You don't give it. You bestow it - Seagram's Crown Royal. The legendary Canadian. In the purple sack. Understandably expensive'. Right: J&B, Xmas 1979, 'Will your gift come out ahead of the others?'.

December 16, 2005

ROBERT PLANT AND THE STRANGE SENSATION, The Forum, London, December 6th 2005

Isn’t it strange how you can get a thought in your mind, and it just won’t go away. Like Health and Safety. Why, in a packed balcony of a packed Forum did the security guys allow people to sit in the gangways, effectively making exit to bar, beer and potentially escape, impossible for several hundred people?

And why, at the end of the gig were all the upstairs exits closed (yes – I know, it was the after show piss-up in the bar) forcing a few unpleasant moments of anger frustration and panic on this most good natured of crowds as we were herded down narrow stairways to the main dance floor? And why – even there – was the route to the exit obstructed by the merchandising store?
Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers And who booked Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers as support act? They deserved their own particular health warning – “what were they called then?” asked the computer guys behind me, “we need to know so we can be sure never to see them again…” Actually I quite liked them, but was largely in a minority of one in this jungle of ‘I was at Knebworth’ T-shirt wearing Led Zeppelin fans. And why was no weight limit put on the crowd? I have rarely been on a balcony that rocked and rolled as much as this one, but when Mr and Mrs Whoateallthepies stood up to dance at the end I swear my whole life passed before my eyes.
In fact it seemed to me that the only person who’d really taken note of health and safety lessons learned was the svelte Robert Plant, in his now-famous baggy self-fibrillating trousers, invented especially for him after his eleven years leading the world’s greatest rock band in the world’s tightest trousers.
There’s a bit of a Middle Eastern hippy thing going on, somewhat alarmingly reminiscent of CS&N. Rugs on the stage, bunches of joss sticks burning from the monitors (regularly refreshed by the roadies), and peppermint tea in a nice mug for Mr Plant.
All we’re missing are scented rose petals. As the band crack into two tunes from the new album The Mighty Rearranger, they begin to dance around the stage like spliffed-out waiters in a Stoke Newington kebab house, with no regard for how many plates they smash. ‘Ooops’ says Plant as he drops his tambourine (he’d earlier only narrowly avoiding strangling himself as he tried a bit of microphone swirling callisthenics), “I keep on seeing the doctor about that but I just can’t remember how to do it any more”. The new album, if you haven’t heard it, is a real cracker, with a Grammy nomination for Plant as vocalist on the song ‘Shine it all around’, and for the song (‘Best hard rock performance’) ‘Tin Pan Alley’, both of which we got in the course of the evening, along with ‘Another tribe’, ‘Let the four winds blow’ and ‘The enchanter’ (I think). These songs are richly textured rock pieces, where, according to something I read, ‘the Mississippi Delta meets the Atlas Mountains’.
The Middle Eastern stuff marks a logical progression for Plant given his recent work, and it can even be heard in some Zeppelin songs too, but it’s cranked up by the new band, for which the word ‘accomplished’ is hardly sufficient. They weave their songs together with mastery – and it was a pleasure just to see them at work. At the back of the band is a sort of West of England conspiracy – keyboard player John Baggott worked with Bristol’s Massive Attack and Portishead, drummer Clive Deamer is a veteran of Portishead’s path breaking Dummy, whilst bass player, the ‘unknown’ Billy Fuller is also a Bristol ex-pat.
Robert Plant Up front guitarists Skin and Adams perform a lip smacking beauty parade of mostly hollow bodied guitars (who polishes them?). Skin is mostly hunched over his guitars, periodically tweaking the rather excessive four story effects tower at the right of the stage. Justin Adams leads the dervish dancing and, brought up in a diplomatic family in the Middle East (where he also learned to play the blues guitar) seems to be the main source of the devilish mix of musical and cultural influences that inform their set. All the songs are set in this similar deep groove which you might think was repetitive – but it’s Plant’s voice (which is remarkably fresh) and the individual twists and turns that the band give them that keep it fresh. And, I should observe, they’re all having a wonderful time, and none are subdued by being in the presence of a Rock God.
“Hey, how do you like my covers band?” says Plant. In addition to the new work they play Arthur Lee and Love’s ‘Seven and seven is’, Dylan’s ‘The girl from the North country’ and an absolutely awesome version of ‘Hey Joe’ – sorry for the hyperbole Whiskyfun rock fans – but you just had to be there to hear this one. And then of course there’s the Zeppelin material – artfully mixed into the set. ‘Black Dog’ comes first. Then “this is the song that was born in the misty mountains of the last century … you can’t keep on trading on that, unless you need to …” as they break into ‘Going to California’, a souked-up version of ‘What is and what should never be’ (which includes a grinning Plant astride the front of the stage, mike-stand above his head), ‘When the levee breaks’, and finally after a very bluesy Justin Adams led ‘Hoochie Coochie Man’ the inevitable, but highly agreeable, ‘Whole lotta love’ – and even this wasn’t spared the Kebab shop treatment.
Of course by then it was little short of mayhem – the balcony tossed and pitched like a boat at sea, jumping, dancing, hands waving, why even the friezing Roman centurions on the walls seemed to be waving their spears and brandishing their shields along with the irresistible rhythms. And in a few corners even some tears from youngsters who obviously never thought they’d witness the day.     Robert Plant
Robert Plant It was a scorcher. Buy the album – and try and find a soon to be released live EP of the new band recorded in Paris (just hope and pray it has ‘Hey Joe’ on it). By combining with a young(ish) and highly innovative band Plant has shown that under the right circumstances old rock and rollers need never die. At the end as they left the stage he paused, walked back to the microphone, shrugged his shoulders and said “what else should I do?”. Quite right too. - Nick Morgan (concert photos: colour by Kate, black by Nick's new Nokia).
Thanks a bunch, Nick. Robert Plant’s quite hot in France too these days and I like what he's doing a lot - I still remember my first encounter with Led Zeppelin, I was a boy scout and we used to listen to their first albums all day long instead of doing all sorts of useful, educational 'things' we were meant to do, according to our parents and to the parson (no need to say the latter hated these devilish, extremely long-haired - for the time - Lehdzeppeluh). Now, as for your new Nokia, thank you so much for having sent me something I've been looking for for a long time: the only known photograph of the Great Strikes at the Brora coal mine in 1919. A rarity indeed. And regarding music, why not have a 12,254th go at Kashmir.mp3, possibly the ‘old ledzep’ tune that’s closest to Robert Plant’s recent works - if you agree.
Glenfarclas 40yo 1964/2005 (53,5%, DL for QualityWorld Denmark, Norse Cask Selection, Sherry Butt DL 1578, 515 b.) Glenfarclas 40 yo 1964/2005 (53,5%, DL for QualityWorld Denmark, Norse Cask Selection, Sherry Butt DL 1578, 515 b.) Colour: cognac/tobacco. Nose: starts on some heavy, but refined and elegant oloroso, with whiffs of something unusually phenolic (sea water?). Develops on all ‘classical’ sherried notes such as dried oranges, butter caramel. Hints of balsamic vinegar. Extremely complex, yet immediately enjoyable. Also some whiffs of the forest after the rain (fresh mushrooms, fern, pine needles)...

Notes of very old Sauternes wine. A fantastic nose, with a more than perfect balance – probably one of the most balanced and complex sherry monsters I’ve nosed until today. Ah, yes, also some bitter chocolate, of course. Mouth: big and powerful, much more nervous than expected. A funny and very enjoyable note of concentrated lemon juice right at the start. Bold toffee and lots of crystallised fruits, sultanas. Quite some tannins but they are easily bearable. Notes of very strong coffee (a bit acid like Costa Rican or Mexican coffee) Then lots of liquorice and quite some salt - more and more salt in fact. Funny again! The finish is long, a bit drying (but I guess it‚s very old), on heavily reduced wine sauce and just traces of rubber (rubber band). In short: stunning nose, excellent mouth and finish, no ‘lumpiness’ at all: 95 points. (And many thanks again, Luc)

Glenfarclas 1994/2005 (46%, OB for Switzerland, cask #3979, 402 bottles) Colour: full amber. Nose: an enjoyable sherry and some rather nice sulphury notes (yes). Dried fruits, raisins, rum and quite some pine needles, rubber, fir tree honey… It’s simple but balanced. Classic. Mouth: oh, it’s incredibly tannic! Lots of caramel (both sweet and bitter), liquorice, crystallized oranges… Getting more and more caramelly – it’s crazy. Quite some salty notes and lots and lots of wood. Almost aggressive, with a long but really heavy finish. A monster for ‘monster lovers’ (our Swiss friends? ;-)), no doubt. 83 points. Glenfarclas 1994/2005 (46%, OB for Switzerland, cask #3979, 402 bottles)
Glenfarclas 1989/2005 (60.2%, OB for Single Malt Whisky Shop Belgium, first fill sherry, cask #11462, 618 bottles) By Fisser. Colour: deep amber with bronze hues. Nose: again a powerful and punchy nose that’s easily bearable (does my nose get too used to high strengths?) Starts with lots of coffee and a little sulphur, getting then rather meaty (hot ham) and very smoky. Burning wood, hot chocolate, raisins and rum, hints of marzipan and burnt cake and, finally, the usual dried oranges and kumquats. An excellent, classical Glenfarclas that doesn’t need any water. Mouth: excellent attack, both raisiny – chocolaty and fruity, which makes it most balanced. Lots of ground coffee beans, strong caramel, cake, toasted bread and bitter chocolate plus dried citrus fruits, overripe apples, banana liqueur… The balance stays perfect all along… It’s always great to come across a heavily sherried malt that stays nervous and complex. As for the finish, it’s very long, a little rummy and fruity, with also quite some coffee liqueur. Very, very good! 89 points.
Glenfarclas 5yo (40%, OB, Frattina, Italy, ca 1975-1979)

Glenfarclas 5 yo (40%, OB, Frattina, Italy, ca 1975-1979) An unsherried version issued in Italy to fight the hugely successful Glen Grant 5yo. Colour: straw. Nose: fresh, very grainy and rather malty, with some notes of caramel. Lots of honey too, ripe tropical fruits, bananas… Very interesting if not too complex. Mouth: sweet and grainy, less interesting at first sip. A little hot and even slightly burning, with some notes of burnt bread. The finish is rather long and again quite spirity. The whole is simple but quite enjoyable, especially the very fresh nose. 82 points.

And also: Glenfarclas ‘Heritage’ 1995 (45%, OB, France, 2005) Very creamy, on lots of coffee. Perfectly balanced but not too complex. 81 points.

Black & White, Xmas 1971
Left: Black & White, Xmas 1971, 'A man can never have too many friends'. Right: Johnnie Walker Black Label, Xmas 1967, 'Put your best friends on your Black List. - (Over 40 expensive Scotch whiskies blended into 1)'.

December 15, 2005

The Mean Fiddler, London, December 3rd 2005

I have to confess (and risk the wrath of all those nice SAHB fans that we met) that the only reason we were here was to see the Very Reverend D Wayne Love, sometime of the Alabama 3, and advertised as support to the Sensational Alex Harvey Band, touring apparently to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their Live album and to promote new album Zalvation. Sensational Alex Harvey Band
And to be really honest, we were only here at all because we couldn’t get tickets for New York’s hip favourites Gogol Bordello, a sort of Pogues meets the Three Mustaphas Three high energy punk outfit with an Eastern European twist, fronted by Ukranian Eugene Hutz. Watch out – you’ll be hearing more about this bunch over the next twelve months.
Sensational Alex Harvey Band So instead we headed for the Mean Fiddler, a tiny aluminium door squeezed between a tacky London souvenir store and a sex shop on the Charing Cross road. It’s a box like basement, sort of attached to the Pickle Factory next door, and owned by the same eponymous outfit (Mean Fiddler that is, not the Pickle Factory Group). And like the Astoria it turns into some sort of bohemian nightclub on a Saturday night, so it’s only seven o’clock and we’re here beer in hand waiting for the Very Reverend to take the stage.
Maybe there was some sort of mistake or misunderstanding, or maybe D Wayne’s central heating system packed up just before the gig and he decide to stay home to get it fixed (mine did, I didn’t, but that’s real rock and roll for you). Whatever the reason he didn’t show. So we mingled with the largely male audience, a very affable bunch once you’d got past the ill advised paunch hugging tour t-shirts from back in the 70s. And as there were only about twenty of them when we showed up not too difficult to sense check the whole lot. There was a very strong Dads and Sons tendency, with the Dads earnestly taking advantage of the lack of support to explain to the Sons some of the finer points of Alex Harvey’s history and the rise and fall of his sensational band, a fall provoked by them being simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, trapped in a vacuum between progressive rock and the punks, and finally brought about by the untimely demise of Alex Harvey in 1982. Or maybe they were just trying to prepare the boys for Zal Cleminson – but how could anyone do that?
And as the place filled out there were even two large family groups, Dads, Mums, Sons, Daughters and all. Which I thought said something about the fans of this band who only really lasted for four or five years, but who earned the reputation of being the best live rock and roll band in the world. And although we are sadly without Alex and his gruff Glaswegian voice (did I mention they’re from Glasgow?) we do have the original band of the McKenna brothers on keyboards and drums, Chris Glenn on bass, and the incomparable Zal Cleminson on lead guitar – you know he’s the one with the funny makeup – who should be an inspiration for men in their mid-fifties anywhere. And fronting is Max Maxwell, a Glaswegian performance artist with a beautiful Bridgeton burr and a theatrical Johnny Rotten sneer – oh yes, and some very nice three quarter length jackets.
Sensational Alex Harvey Band
Alex Harvey 1975
Personally I’m not a big fan – the only song I could remember was a solo Alex Harvey singing W H Auden’s ‘Roman wall blues’, which I recall the late John Peel played to death for a few months in the late 1960s. Apart from that and Delilah, SAHB's raucous take on that Tom Jones karaoke classic (a top ten hit in the UK) I didn’t think I knew any of their work. But as the gig wore on more and more of the tunes had a familiar air – ‘Swampshake’, ‘Next’, ‘Isobel Goudie’, ‘Framed’, ‘Tomahawk kid’, ‘The last of the teenage idols’ , ‘Boston T Party’ and ‘Vambo’ to name but a few. And the performance was of such gusto that it was really outstanding – Maxwell sneered and growled in guttural Glaswegianese, senior heavyweight bass player Glenn snarled and threatened his way through the set, and Cleminson delivered a master class in rock guitar histrionics – School of Rock guitarists please note – forget your lectures and tutorials and take time out to see Mr Cleminson, he’s worth it, for every note, every facial expression, and every menacing pose. And half way through – who’d have guessed it – on came fellow Glaswegian the Very Reverend D W L, having no doubt repaired his boiler first.
Reverend D. Wayne Love
Reverend D. Wayne Love
Looking frisky, fresh and gorgeously coiffured, he paid tribute to the band, “I’ve been listening to these boys sing rock and roll since I was a little child in a plaid skirt, so I thought I’d pay tribute by singing one of their more innocuous songs, a little number called ‘Gang bang’, which was followed by a very D Waynesque rendition of the band’s classic, but sadly commercially flawed, Christmas single ‘There's no lights on the Christmas tree mother, they're burning Big Louie tonight’, “apparently inspired”, according to a piece in the Independent, “by Francis Bacon's painting A Study After Velasquez: St Nicholas, which shows Santa screaming in what appears to be an electric chair”. Phew, happy holidays everybody!
In case you haven’t realised the Sensational Alex Harvey Band never took themselves too seriously. Their songs are wrung through with a wry humour and sense of the absurd that’s not out of place in the tradition of West Coast Scottish humour. Their glam rock posturing was always slightly tongue in cheek, a counterpoint to the sneering aggression of some of their songs, and more rooted in the British Music Hall (oh no – here we go again) than in rock and roll.
And what we got, in the jolliest of atmospheres was a summation of all of that, perfectly executed by a group of real professionals. And of course, the Zal Cleminson performance - I still have to pinch myself every time I think about it. You might not want to buy the records, but if you get a chance to see them, jump at it! - Nick Morgan (SAHB concert photographs by Kate)
Thank you so much, Nick. I'd bet all the 40-50+ rock and rollers all over the world do have the old ‘Next…’ LP in their basement, with the famous striped shirt and yellow handkerchief. I do! As for music, we have a piece from the SAHB’s first album, ‘Framed’ (1972), called Midnight Moses.mp3 and Snake Bite.mp3 (1975, from ‘Tomorrow belongs to me’) with its very Ledzep-esque riff. Other than that, I’ve learnt, from the Web, that the SAHB’s bass player, Chris Glen, played with ‘a one-off band featuring members of AC/DC and Motorhead, in which everyone played the wrong instruments’ (what’s so unusual here?) and that Alex Harvey once said “Do you think Paul McCartney makes records just to annoy me personally, or does he want to get up everyone's f*ing nose with his f*ing antics?" I guess he said that in the 1970's; was he also a prophesier? Ah, these lost prophets...
Bowmore 14yo 1991/2005 (46%, Murray McDavid, Guigal Côte-Rôtie, 2500 bottles) Bowmore 14 yo 1991/2005 (46%, Murray McDavid, Guigal Côte-Rôtie, 2500 bottles) Another new winesky by Murray McDavid in their brand new livery. Côte-Rôtie is a tiny, well-reputed vineyard just south of Lyon and Guigal is the largest winemaker there. Their rather new Château d’Ampuis is excellent. Colour: blush wine – onion peel (I mean, really). Nose: much cleaner than expected, with some rather delicate peat mixed with notes of blackberries and bananas – the whole going pretty well together. Goes on with some very mineral notes, whiffs of diesel oil, smoked meat, hot butter… And also some gingerbread, cloves (lots), fruitcake, gladiolus… It gets then very maritime, with some bold notes of oysters, seaweed… I feel they pulled something off with this one (and God knows I was sceptical). And no dreadful lavender!
Mouth: well, it could not have been quite as complex and thrilling as the nose, could it? Sweet, slightly sugarish (bubblegum, marshmallows) at first sip, with the peat in the background but no actual mixing of flavours. A bit of icing sugar, tealeaves, pepper… It’s not bad at all but rather far from the fantastic nose. The finish is medium long, smoky and fruity (grapefruit)… But what a stunning nose! 85 points altogether – (but the nose was worth 90+)
Bowmore 15 yo 1990/2005 (54.5%, Jack Wieber Scottish Castles, cask 1175) Colour: white wine. Nose: starts on gunflint, phosphor (matchstick), grapefruit and hay – rather sharp and sort of vivacious. Some very nice fruity notes do come through then, mostly white peaches, bananas again, rennet apples. Whiffs of pepper and quite some farmy notes (but ‘clean’ ones, not cow stable and such). A bit austere but totally flawless, with, again no ‘lavender’ (yeah, a code name) whatsoever. Perfect! Mouth: wow! Bold, invading, compact, with lots of grapefruit, peat and pepper and spices – almost Talisker-ish! There’s more and more tropical fruits (passion, mango, guava and many citrus fruits), almost like in the excellent recent Berry Bros 1993. Develops on all sorts of peppers, icing sugar, lemon marmalade, smoked oysters… Just beautiful, with a bold, compact and extremely satisfying finish. Sheer beauty: 91 points. Bowmore 15yo 1990/2005 (54.5%, Jack Wieber Scottish Castles, cask 1175)
Bowmore 34yo 1971/2005 (51%, OB, sherry, 960 bottles) Bowmore 34 yo 1971/2005 (51%, OB, sherry, 960 bottles) Colour: deep amber. Nose: oh, a Christmas malt indeed, for it starts on some bold notes of gingerbread, mulled wine and fruitcake. Wine-poached pears, the Chinese plum sauce they serve with Peking duck, rosewater, coconut milk, ‘arranged’ rum, prunes in Armagnac, Havana tobacco… Err, I know that sounds like maltoporn, sorry… And beyond the sherry, you have the classical peat smoke, seaweed, brine… Whiffs of ginger ale, horse dung, bold notes of wet hay… Very interesting, it’s very different from both the older ‘ tropical fruitbombs’ and the younger ‘simpler or lavender-perfumed’ Bowmores. I must say I like a lot, it’s sort of ‘wild’ and very organic. And ah, there’s also quite some soy sauce.
Mouth: oh-oh! Very liquoricy, resinous and meaty, with quite a maelstrom of very special flavours, mostly fermented fruits, wax, old rancio (oloroso indeed), herbs… There’s no point in listing them all, and this superb Bowmore has only one flaw in my opinion: the finish is a little too cardboardy and drying. But other than that, it’s a beauty, even if the usual fresh tropical fruits notes are missing. 92 points (but it could have made it to 94).
Bowmore 16 yo 1989/2005 (53.8%, Dewar Rattray, refill sherry, cask #1092) Colour: straw. Nose: starts on a rather heavy peat but also lots of hot apple compote and a little camphor. Gets then quite perfumy (cologne) but not much else, I’m afraid. Lacks complexity. Mouth: very perfumy this time. Peat, lavender and violets sweets, orange flowers water, Turkish delights… All that is quite disjointed and sort of weird, although we’ve seen worse. The finish is rather long but very perfumy again. Perhaps not one of my famous fellow female compatriots’ daily drams (if you see what I mean) but it’s not my cup of tea at all. Too discordant – but some may not disregard it as much as I do. 78 points. Bowmore 16yo 1989/2005 (53.8%, Dewar Rattray, refill sherry, cask #1092)
 (With thanks to K.)

December 2005 - part 1 <--- December 2005 - part 2 ---> January 2006 - part 1


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

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

Bowmore 15 yo 1990/2005 (54.5%, Jack Wieber Scottish Castles, cask 1175)

Bowmore 34 yo 1971/2005 (51%, OB, sherry, 960 bottles)

Dalmore 12 yo (43%, OB, bottled 1977)

Glenfarclas 40 yo 1964/2005 (53,5%, DL for QualityWorld Denmark, Norse Cask Selection, Sherry Butt DL 1578, 515 b.)

Glenlochy 1974 (40%, G&M Connoisseur’s Choice old map label, early 1990’s)

Highland Park 24 yo 1980/2004 (58%, OB for Park Avenue Liquors, cask #7366)

Inchgower 24 yo 1980/2005 (60.4%, Adelphi, cask #14152)

Longmorn-Glenlivet 1974/1985 (60.8%, Samaroli, 600 bottles, sherry)

Royal Brackla 1976/2003 (57.1%, Scott's Selection)

Royal Brackla 27 yo 1975/2002 'Green Brackla' (59.7%, The Whisky Exchange, cask #5471, 204 bottles)

Talimbourg 23 yo 1982/2005 (49.5%, The Whisky Fair, bourbon hogshead, 222 bottles)

Fiskavaig 27 yo 1977/2005 (51.3%, Douglas Laing for The Whisky Shop, 265 bottles)