(Current entries)

Whisky Tasting


Daily Music entries

Petits billets d'humeur
(in French)



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

June 30, 2005

Caol Ila 13yo 1988/2002 (57.6%, Gordon & MacPhail Cask Strength, casks #1084-1087)


Caol Ila 13 yo 1988/2002 (57.6%, Gordon & MacPhail Cask Strength, casks #1084-1087) Colour: white wine. Nose: smoky too but with more wood, bitter chocolate, coffee beans and rotten hay. Gets then very animal, horse stable, cow… Weird! Mouth: very sugary and curiously vegetal. Lots of icing sugar and lemon juice, getting bitter and a bit acid. Not too enjoyable. Gets also grassier and grassier with time… Raw fruit spirit. Really hard to enjoy although intellectually interesting. But we aren’t here for that, are we? 79 points.

Caol Ila 7 yo 1993/2000 (62.1%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, 53.50) Colour: straw. Nose: extremely peaty – peatier than usually. Smoky and medicinal. Very pure and clean, it smells like the distillery. Peated malt. A few drops of water bring lots of notes of white fruits (apple, pear, white peaches…) Mouth: a bit simple (peat and white fruits) but punchy and rather well balanced. Very, very good! 88 points.
MUSIC – Recommended listening: 1967, the ultimate yéyé girl Jacqueline Taieb sings 7 heures du matin.mp3 with a great garage sound avant l'heure. Her only genuinely successful tune - too bad, she had 'the sound', don't you think? Jacqueline Taieb
NEW COMMENTS on Ardbeg's Feis Ile 2005 releases here (a little more water into my whisky, thanks to Ian ;-))

June 29, 2005

Ardbeg ‘The Ardbeggeddon’ 29yo 1972/2001 (48.4%, Douglas Laing for PLOWED, 227 bottles) Ardbeg ‘The Ardbeggeddon’ 29 yo 1972/2001 (48.4%, Douglas Laing for PLOWED, 227 bottles) Imagine I had never tried this legend before! Colour: dark straw. Nose: oh yes, here are the half-farmy and half-seaweedy aromas I was looking for. Apple compote. Perfectly balanced, rather delicate and subtle, yet rich. Not a wham-bam, ‘too obvious’ Ardbeg, contrarily to what many say. Very, very classy stuff! Mouth: again, superbly balanced. Lots of peat and sugared lemon juice. Gets superbly dry like some of the best Rieslings, despite the sherry (?). Develops on grapefruit… Some great spicy notes too, white pepper… I love it. A benchmark Ardbeg, no doubt – and sorry guys if some of you think it’s a ‘monster’; I don’t - but again, I'm not into monsters too much. I'd say it's rather an angel, if you don't mind. 94 points (thanks to all the PLOWEDsters).

Ardbeg 28 yo 1972/2000 (49.2%, Kingsbury) Nose: very clean and pure Ardbeg. Fantastic smoke, with some great and unusual animal notes (hare fur, civet, game). Develops on tar, new tyre… Very, very complex and aromatically very 'wide'. Notes of fresh oysters, seaweed… All I can say is ‘wow!’ Mouth: lots of the usual lemon juice, tea, cinnamon, oysters again… Also some orgeat syrup, marzipan, almond milk. Just a magnificent Ardbeg, this one! Lots of power and a great complexity at the same time - it really does 'the peacock's tail'. A masterpiece. 93 points.(thanks Bert)

Ardbeg 28yo 1972/2000 (49.2%, Kingsbury)
Leigh Jackson MUSIC – JAZZ - Recommended listening: excellent guitar player Leigh Jackson, from New Zealand, plays Beautiful Love.mp3. And the bass player is very good too! Please buy Leigh Jackson's music if you like it...

June 28, 2005

I love them all. I really do... Wot, waddaya say? Nope, I tell you, really!
Early Times fishing standee. The 'caption' reads: "Here's to fish that bite and whisky that doesn't" Great Whisky, Great Times.
Maker's Mark Whisky barrel display using a real whiskey barrel and holding three cases of one litre bottles
Maker's Mark corrugated fireplace display, holding two cases of one litre bottles (when is Xmas again?)
Maker's Mark Splash Bottle Glorifier (it won a 'Design of the Time' award - no kidding!)
McKendric whiskey bottle holder, boot made out of foam and air brushed. (No design award yet ;-)).
Bruichladdich 31 yo 1970/2001 ‘valinch - I was there but not today’ (47.3%, OB, cask # 5085, 250 bottles) Colour: pure gold. Nose: sort of farmy, which is unusual. Wet straw, hay, dried flowers. Develops on the usual melon, peach, light honey, pollen. Really beautiful, subtlety in malt at its best. Some quince jelly too. I love it. Some whiffs of white pepper and nutmeg developing after a moment. Wow. Mouth: so sweet and subtle, with bunches of dried fruits, figs, ripe bananas, banana flambéed… Ripe melon, apricot, raspberry spirit. An excellent one, no doubt – all subtlety. A bit of lavender ice cream and violets, and perhaps some old papers… Medium long finish, on nutmeg. An excellent one. 91 points. Bruichladdich 31yo 1970/2001 ‘valinch - I was there but not today’ (47.3%, OB, cask # 5085, 250 bottles)
Bruichladdich 30yo 1970 ‘The Great Whisky Swindle’ (52%, MWBH, 161 bottles) Bruichladdich 30 yo 1970 ‘The Great Whisky Swindle’ (52%, MWBH, 161 bottles) Interesting back label that reads: 'This bottle is a special commemorative bottling to record the Great Whisky Swindle of the 1990's. Your bottle is one of just 161 bottles from a single hogshead of malt distilled in 1970 at the Bruichladdich distillery on Islay. The cask was sold as an investment by infamous company Vintage Casks Ltd which was dissolved in September 1998. Enjoy it for its own sake or keep it as a memento of the scam that lost investors and credit card companies millions of pounds. Paul Smith, 1st July 2001' Colour: light gold. Nose: starts on some heavy notes of longan and dried litchis. Some ripe melon; Gets quite grassy, with also some herbal tea. Hints of coal smoke. Quite clean and very, very interesting. Mouth: sweet and creamier than usually. Apricot and mirabelle jam. Lots of various herbal teas (camomile, lime tree…). Some nice spicy notes too. An excellent swindle ;-)! 91 points.
JAZZ - Just found this very nice rendition of It could happen to you by Minneapolis singer Linda Peterson (mp3 - with Jack McDuff and Jay 'Bird' Koder, who plays so much better here than on his usual FM/smooth jazz tunes.) I like it!   Linda Peterson

June 27, 2005

Bunnahabhain 14 yo 1977/1992 (52.6%, James MacArthur, cask #5473) Colour: dark straw. Nose: lots of milk chocolate, burnt caramel, cake. More and more milk chocolate and fudge. Mocha, cappuccino… Even some Bailey’s, Alexander. Very enjoyable. Gets then very fruity, on ripe strawberries and sabayon. Orange flowers. Refined and very elegant! Mouth: bold, powerful, compact, nervous… Great! Lots of fruity notes, apple juice, pear juice, watermelon… Light caramel… gets a bit tannic and peppery after a moment. Sure the palate is les complex than the fantastic nose but it’s still enjoyable. Long finish, perhaps just a bit too sugary. Water doesn’t work; it makes the malt even more sugary and ‘simple’. Anyway, 87 points for this very good surprise. Bunnahabhain 14yo 1977/1992 (52.6%, James MacArthur, cask #5473)
Bunnahabhain 20yo 1979/1999 (57%, James MacArthur Old Masters, cask #9677) Bunnahabhain 20 yo 1979/1999 (57%, James MacArthur Old Masters, cask #9677) Colour: full amber. Nose: deep sherry with some persistent perfumy notes: musk, lily from the valley, violets… Develops on burnt cake, hot caramel and old books. A bit dusty but nothing too strong. A bit sulphury. Cold cappuccino, overripe oranges. Nice but close to the limits for me. Mouth: very strong and also perfumy – in a bad way this time (old official Edradour, anyone?) Rotten fruits, perfume, overcooked wine sauce, cheap liqueur… Too bad, the nose was great but the mouth is a bit awful, I’m afraid. 78 points.
Bunnahabhain 6 yo 1997/2003 (59.4%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, 10.56) Colour: pure gold. Nose: big sherry (one of these ultra-fast maturing casks), sweet wine, with lots of elegance this time. Nicely sour. Notes of wine sauce, balsamic vinegar, Thai curry sauce… Very special! Also some light mustard sauce. Mouth: extremely creamy, like an old Balvenie (!) Quince jelly, apricot wine. Heavy wine sauce again, soy sauce (I know, too much sauce…). Hot honey. Quite some icing sugar, notes of dry wine (chenin blanc). Gets a bit grassy with a few drops of water, but keeps on developing on Xmas cake and dried fruits. A very nice one indeed! Flawless – astonishing, these speedy ageings! 86 points. Bunnahabhain 6yo 1997/2003 (59.4%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, 10.56)
Geiger MUSIC – Recommended listening - Nope, I'm not crazy and yes, I know, this is nothing but lounge disco music. But hey, summer is here and you'll probably need a few easy tunes sooner or later (barbeque, garden party, whatever). So, here we have Geiger doing Cocain-E.mp3... Quick, invite the neighbours and prepare the dance floor! And please buy Geiger's music... (via fluxblog)

June 26, 2005

TASTING – Longmorn-Glenlivet 1964/1983 (46%, Duthie for Samaroli, 180 bottles) Colour: sweet white wine. Nose: wow, all sorts of herbal teas (camomile, thyme…) together with some bold notes of fresh tangerine. Hints of eucalyptus and camphor. It then develops on humus and mushrooms… Absolutely beautiful! Mouth: superb attack, extremely fruity, on pink grapefruit, tangerine, lemon juice… Yet, it’s rather subtle and delicate. It goes on with some pine honey, and even some fresh bananas… A wonderful dram, no doubt. When Longmorn is good, it’s very good! 92 points.   Longmorn-Glenlivet 1964/1983 (46%, Duthie for Samaroli, 180 bottles)
Ellington Coltrane MUSIC – JAZZ - Imagine it's Sunday, 11:00 AM. Already 30°C in the shade. You pour a wee dram of a young Rosebank into a tumbler, you add a few ice cubes... Then, you fire up your old Thorens turntable and just close your eyes. When Duke's first notes arrive to your ears, you take a first sip of whisky, just like that, without even nosing it... And when Trane's sax is on, you're in paradise!
The Malt Maniacs' Malt Monitor has just been updated. It now lists exactly 10,914 ratings for 4,110 different malts.

June 25, 2005


Hammersmith Apollo, London, Tuesday 21st June 2005 - by Nick Morgan

Kings of Leon
Music fans will recall that this was ‘the best concert that I missed‘ from last year, so I was naturally delighted when the Kings found their way back to the UK, and in particular to three sold-out nights at the Hammersmith Apollo.
Not surprising really as they seem to have found their way into the hearts (and pockets) of the Brits far more successfully than their home audience – both (brilliantly produced) albums – Youth & Young Manhood and last year’s Aha Shake Heartbreak have been runaway hits, and their visits here are always over-subscribed. In fact their debauched rock and roll lifestyle as they toured the first album provided much of the material for the second – music great but shame about the secondary school lyrics and obvious sexual innuendo. But Carry on Rock and Roll. It’s a joy to be in a packed hall of mainly mid-twenties rock and rollers and realise that there is hope after Coldplay, Travis et. al. after all. And if one might have a sense that there is a little too much of the marketers hand about the band then this is one instance when it can be forgiven – perfect product, perfect marketing.
Kings of Leon For those that don’t know the Kings are four Followills; brothers Mathew on lead guitar (looking like Johnny Depp doing Keith Richard doing Johnny Depp), Jared on bass (a sort of cross between an oversized Ronnie Wood and Sid Vicious), Caleb on guitar and vocals (he’s the one that looks like Legolas minus the bow and arrow and skateboard), and Cousin Nathan (he’s the one with the beard, bass-pedal power foot, and bubblegum).
From Tipton - no – not the one near Birmingham where I played my first paying gig, but Tipton County near Memphis, they bring a Southern soaked rock and roll with echoes of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Creedence Clearwater and at times even the Band. But there are traces of Europe in there too – you can hear the Buzzcocks, Motorhead, Golden Earring (yeah Johannes – they made it!) and certainly a riff or two from the Keith Richards ‘Play in a Day’ tutor. But the sound is no rip off – it’s a real mixing pot, and the result is something quite unique, not least thanks to Caleb Followill’s out of this world half sung, half spoken, and half muttered (hang on – that’s one and a half!) vocals. The glue, as they say, which holds the whole thing together.
Pity then that the one downside of the show (apart from the typical June London heat wave, which had venue promoters Carling rubbing their lager soaked hands) was the sound system. I mean I know he mutters and all – but aren’t you supposed to be able to hear it nonetheless? Too bad really. Onstage these boys were as tight as ninepence – showing an uncanny ability to start a song, do the bit in the middle, and then finish perfectly. They powered through almost all the material from both albums at pretty much top speed, with barely a word to the audience.
Spare and simple in their playing, they were supported by an equally understated yet effective light show (marvellous when it projected their giant shadows on the back of the stage during ‘Spiral staircase’). Phew! If it was thirty degrees outside then the Kings raised the temperature inside by another 30 – energy (as they used to say as an excuse for anything in the good old days of punk rock) and raw power by the bucketful. They can come back and visit any time. Kings of Leon
And I hope I’ll be back too. But bad news rock fans! Serge and I are at loggerheads, like nations divided in a confrontational standoff, over the Rebate I negotiated on my Whiskyfun expenses. I mean, how can a few French farmers matter when compared to my globalised free market rock and roll reviewer’s lifestyle – stretch Hummers, Green Point fizz, Chinese Ray Banns, and even American HP Sauce? No, I can’t give it up. But Serge, I’m reaching out to you. Lets call a truce and let the good times roll again. How about we make a comic romantic gesture of reconciliation for our public by getting engaged at the top of your Tower of Eiffel? What say you, “oui” or “non”? Nick Morgan (concert photos by Kate)
Thank you Dear Tony, I mean, Nick. It's true that Whiskyfun's huge funds have been entirely donated to a local snail grower, plus to a few useless and lazy bureaucrats we must pay anyway (whether through our hugely advanced and cunning social system, called The Administration, or through our Merovingian-inspired unemployment agencies). On the other hand, as I told another English friend who just drove with his Peugeot, first to Paris to undergo minor surgery (not the car, the guy had liver and kidney problems) and to buy a few bottles of whisky at La Maison - cheaper here -, and then to Provence to buy a house 'where the sun shines': "Let's not get fooled by our political leaders and their agendas; Churchill and De Gaulle, Mitterrand and Thatcher, Tony and Jacques, Sarkozy and Brown... Can't they just have a few glasses (whisky and wine mixed together right in the cask, a hit) and give us, the people, a break?" So, I say "yeoui" for the Eiffel Tower thing. We'll do that next time you come to Paris, and please bring the Brora, I'll bring the foie gras. As for the music, agreed, let's drop Elgar and Debussy and choose the Kings of Leon's California Waiting.mp3 (sorry, slow server). Wait, 'California'... Where's that, again? Ah, yes... That after you forced us to wear some Hawaiian shirts on Islay... Nick, you're incorrigible! ;-) Let's rather try this.
TASTING - Tomatin 1965/1989 (46%, Moon ‘The Animals’, casks 124-125-126, 600 bottles) Colour: light amber. Nose: quite grainy and a little dusty right from the start, quite typical of some old ‘regular’ malt from an old bottle. Some notes of light honey and toffee, with some dried flowers. It’s okay but nothing special here. Mouth: rather weak attack, quite grainy and a bit herbal, with some tea… It’s quite enjoyable, in fact, just a bit simple and too inoffensive (despite the snake on the label). 79 points.   Tomatin 1965/1989 (46%, Moon ‘The Animals’, casks 124-125-126, 600 bottles)

June 24, 2005

Glenburgie 1948 and 1961/1981 (40%, G&M, Royal Marriage)


Glenburgie 1948 and 1961/1981 (40%, G&M, Royal Marriage) Colour: amber. Nose: great sherry, cake, dried fruits, a bit minty, eucalyptus, beeswax… Very nice, very satisfying, Delicate. Really superb. Mouth: light caramel, Irish coffee, cake, crystallised oranges, camomile, butter caramel… Extremely enjoyable if not a total winner. Excellent! 88 point.

Glen Grant 1948 and 1961/1981 (40%, G&M, Royal Marriage) Colour: amber. Nose: a bit of bitter caramel, bread, cooked cake. Tobacco. A bit tired and not too expressive, I’m afraid. Hints of vase water. Too bad.... Glenburgie 1948 and 1961/1981 (40%, G&M, Royal Marriage) Glen Grant 1948 and 1961/1981 (40%, G&M, Royal Marriage)
Mouth: weak, dusty, with some chocolate and just hints of tropical fruits. Quite some mint too, growing bigger and bigger (After Eights). Not too bad, after all! Gets quite bitter, though, on coffee grounds. 81 points.
    The Czars
SHOPPING - Sunny days here... Time to golf - I don't - and have some light drams - I do ;-)... (via a18golf, from Catalunya)   MUSIC - Recommended listening: The Czars, from Denver, play Blue Light (mp3). Simple and charming music with violins. Please buy their music if you can find it.

June 23, 2005

Glendullan 25yo 1965/1990 (51.1%, Cadenhead)


Glendullan 25 yo 1965/1990 (51.1%, Cadenhead) Nose: ultra-grassy and very woody - a nice oak. Lots of wet stone, diesel oil… Very mineral, with also some notes of lamp petrol. Most special, very interesting. It makes me think of a good Riesling from the Riquewihr/Ribeauvillé area. Mouth: very bold and sweet, with some eucalyptus, menthol and all sorts of herbal teas. Just superb. Some nice notes of butter caramel. Gets also very grassy again, with some hints of green Charteuse liqueur (Taragonne anyone?) Anway, wow, what a superb Glendullan! 88 points.

Glendullan 1981/1998 (57.7%, Scott’s Selection) Colour: sweet white wine. Nose: very flowery, on dandelion and buttercup. Fresh mint, getting grassier and grassier. Notes of fresh butter. A very clean one, if not too complex. Mouth: bold, fruity and spirity. Some sour notes… A bit indefinite, in fact. Hints of ginger ale… Gets very tannic and bitter, the finish being long but very spirity and drying at the same time. Not in the same league as the Cadenhead, I'm afraid. 76 points. Glendullan 1981/1998 (57.7%, Scott’s Selection)
Bobby Conn   MUSIC – Recommended listening: 1998, Bobby Conn sings Rise Up, Now! - mp3. What's interesting is that he shares the same record company as Glyn Styler (see feb 24) and that company writes 'The less you know about Bobby Conn, the better you’ll feel.' Wow, support indeed! I think Conn's work is very special, which sometimes equals 'interesting'. Please buy his music if you like it. (But does Bobby buy Robert Smith's make-up leftovers?)
THIS JUST IN - Quote: 'The Prime Minister of the Italian Republic, Silvio Berlusconi, and his companion Signora Ciampi, were guests during their recent State visit of the Lord Major and The Corporation of London.
The banquet for 750 guests was held in the Guildhall, in the City of London, was in the presence of Their Royal Highnesses the Prince and Princess Michael of Kent.
A fifteen year old Bruichladdich Islay single malt was served for toasts in the president’s honour while the orchestra of the Scots Guards played a diverse mixture of Scottish and Italian music including O Sole Mio and Swing and O’The Kilt (!!!).
The banquet was arranged to consolidate the close trading links, cultural influences and political ties between the City of London and the Italian Republic.'
Blair Berlusconi
Picture: nope, these are not Valpolicella and Pinot Grigio 'affined' Bruichladdichs ;-). But they might be very heavy cocktails...

June 22, 2005

Bowmore 'Black' 1964/1993 (50%, OB, first edition, 2000 bottles) Colour: bronze-brown. Nose: extraordinary sherry, with lots of tropical fruits (passion, mango) mixed with some waxy, smoky notes. Lots of coffee beans, a bit of paraffin, Roasted almonds, pecan pie, vanilla cream. Really a thrill, getting very chocolaty with time. Mouth: superb attack, on dried tropical fruits, raspberry jam and some delicate milk chocolate. Fresh pineapple, passion fruit, pink grapefruit. Extraordinary balance. Notes of peat, toffee, coffee… Some smoke, breadcrumb… I like the way it tickles your tongue. Really playful, absolutely fantastic. No wonder it became a legend – I think it’s quite better than both the second and the final editions, which I both have at 91 points. The first is in another dimension: 96 points. Bowmore 'Black' 1964/1993 (50%, OB, first edition, 2000 bottles)
Bowmore 20yo 1965 (49.1%, G&M for Sestante) Bowmore 20 yo 1965 (49.1%, G&M for Sestante) Nose: wow, lots of the usual passion fruits mixed with some high-end bitter chocolate and some first class Italian coffee. Just wonderful. Mouth: on full fruit jam covered with white pepper. Lots of oomph… A great old Bowmore, perhaps not as complex as some other old ones (and a bit drier) but extremely compact and satisfying. What a great body! I love it: 92 points. (Thanks, Luc)
MUSIC – Recommended listening: king of 'Wellness Pop' and 'Astro Musette' Zofka was born in Prague but it's in Switzerland that this highly skilled electronic artist emerged. He seems to be influenced by some old French movies (with Jean-Paul Belmondo), as L'automobile.mp3 will testify. Please buy Zofka's music if you like it!   Zofka

June 21, 2005

Benromach 55yo 1949/2005 (40%, OB, 70 bottles)


Benromach 55 yo 1949/2005 (40%, OB, 70 bottles)
A brand new, very limited bottling of the oldest Benromach ever, introduced for the first time at Vinexpo, Bordeaux. Good news, I was at Vinexpo yesterday (and I’m still there today), so let’s taste it. Colour: full amber. Nose: rather fresh and clean at first nosing. There’s quite some wood, obviously, but it’s rather of the ‘spicy’ kind, instead of vanilla and old cardboard. Quite gingery in fact, with also some notes of Xmas cake and quite some milk chocolate. Rather subtle but not too bold, that’s for sure. Some notes of bananas flambéed, and also some passion fruit and fresh mango. Goes on with some crystallised oranges… Complex indeed, with a most enjoyable ‘oakiness’. Palate: a very spicy attack, on dried ginger again, white pepper and herbal tea (camomile). That’s it, tropical fruit juice and white pepper. Green coconut juice, orange juice…There’s quite some tannins, of course, but not of the drying kind.

In short, the whisky isn’t bold, nor powerful, but rather subtle and enjoyable. For £3,000, which is the recommended UK price, one could buy quite some bottles of very good whisky, but perhaps whisky that might not be as ‘historic’ as this very nice antique that comes in a genuine copper tube. 88 points (and thanks, Derek).
The Big Smoke ‘60’ (60%, Duncan Taylor) A brand new vatted malt – sorry, blended – that comes both as a ‘40’ and a ‘60’. Let’s taste the ‘60’. Colour: white wine; Nose: powerful – but not overpowering, fruity and very peaty at first nosing: we’re on Islay. Simple but quite rounded and enjoyable, nicely balanced. Gets a little farmy, and grows smokier and smokier with time. Mouth: easily drinkable! Sweet and peaty again, with quite some smoke and apple juice. Again, it’s simple but very nicely balanced. One for peat lovers who need a good , easy and flawless Islayer for everyday – and who don’t desperately look for lots of complexity when they have a dram. I’d love to try it on ice next time… The Big Smoke ‘60’ (60%, Duncan Taylor)
And it’s also true that one could buy 150 bottles of this one for the price of one bottle of Benromach 55 yo (I know, a stupid comment, please forgive me but now you can calculate its price ;-). 80 points.
Kate Maki   MUSIC – Recommended listening: Canadian singer Kate Maki does Sweet Time.mp3. She was still a teacher two years ago, but she seems to gather growing audiences these days. No wonder why! Please buy her music...

June 20, 2005


Port Ellen 25 yo 1978/2004 (50%, Douglas Laing OMC, DL657, 604 bottles) Nose: very fresh and sweet, the peat developing progressively. Lots of apple juice, apricot, gooseberries… Mouth: quite some tropical fruits, the peat and the peppery notes growing stronger and stronger after a while. Gets extremely peppery, in fact… Talisker in disguise? Anyway, I like it very much. 90 points. (thanks Todd)

Port Ellen 25yo 1978/2004 (50%, Douglas Laing OMC, DL657, 604 bottles)
Port Ellen 21yo 1982/2004 (50%, Douglas Laing for the Islay Whisky Shop, cask #477, 182 bottles) Port Ellen 21 yo 1982/2004 (50%, Douglas Laing for the Islay Whisky Shop, cask #477, 182 bottles)
Nose: quite sulphury, on some notes of cooked eggs. Quite oaky. Lots of maritime notes and also some watery ones (sea water, vase water). Some won’t like that but I do – sort of. Mouth: bold attack but perhaps a bit dry. The peat arrives rather slowly, together with lots of peppery notes and a bit of fructose, icing sugar. The finish is quite balanced and just a bit too bitter for me. A very special one indeed, not a typical Port Ellen at all but it’s very interesting. 87 points.
Port Ellen 21 yo 1979/2001 (50%, Douglas Laing OMC, sherry, 618 bottles)
Amber. Nose: quite some sherry and lots of tar, burnt tyre, burnt bread. Very nice, even if not one of the best sherried Port Ellens by the Laings. Mouth: lots of dark chocolate, peat… a little prickly and getting oddly medicinal. Some notes of rotten oranges. Too bad the palate is so strange. 82 points.
Port Ellen 21 yo 1979/2001 (50%, Douglas Laing OMC, 636 bottles) Colour: straw. Nose: much cleaner, with a very nice smoke, citrus, lemon juice, new tyre… Gets a bit herbal, grassy. Very nice and rather pure and fresh. Mouth: sweet attack, with some nice peat on lots of lemon juice and a dash of white pepper. Gets peatier and peatier. Not overly complex but very enjoyable. Funny salty note. Nice one! 89 points.
Buddy Guy   MUSIC – BLUES - Highly recommended listening: he was just inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, on March 14. This is nothing but justice! Nobody plays the blues like Buddy Guy, as Look what all you got.mp3 should testify (and that Marilyn Manson who thinks he plays dirty - ha!) Hey, by the way, how many Buddy Guy CD's do you have? None? Then please rush out and buy a few! ;-)
ARTS – Electronic artist Bruce Cannon invented this very interesting 'Electronic Sculpture' in 1995, using an oak barrel and a computer. As Cannon wrote: 'It is a metaphoric model of the primordial soup.  This electronic, time based sculpture is developing the capacity for speech over a period of many years.' Ahem, doesn't that sound familar? Any similarities with whisky ageing, by chance? Now, maybe that could also explain why some distillers sometimes come up with some weird whisky. Only one question then: does Bruce Cannon work - undercover - as a consultant for the industry? Maybe this is a secret prototype for... super-fast maturing?

June 19, 2005

Lori McKenna   MUSIC – Recommended listening: Lori McKenna, from Stoughton, Massachusetts, sings a beautiful In this fire.mp3. Wow, what a voice! Certainly the pick of the week, if not of the month. Please buy Lori McKenna's music if you like it. What, you want more? Then listen to Never die young.mp3. Okay, now you can buy the music...
TASTING - Balmenach-Glenlivet 15 yo 1971 (46%, Moncreiffe) Colour: straw. Nose: supremely elegant and refined, on old books, camomile, mint liquor and straw. Really delicate and certainly one of the nicest Balmenachs I ever had. Mouth: beautiful attack, much more powerful than expected. It gets quite medicinal, with some very nice notes of crystallised kumquats, dried ginger, and perhaps some hay jelly and bee’s propolis. Long finish. Excellent and very interesting, with some unusual notes and a perfect balance. A great old bottle. 89 points.   Balmenach-Glenlivet 15yo 1971 (46%, Moncreiffe)

June 18, 2005

Craigellachie-Glenlivet 17yo 1972/1990 (45.7%, Cadenhead dumpy)  


Craigellachie-Glenlivet 17 yo 1972/1990 (45.7%, Cadenhead dumpy) Colour: white wine. Nose: very yeasty, on green vegetables and mashed potatoes. Some muesli, porridge… Getting very grainy. A very ‘natural’ style, with little wood influence – just as the colour suggested. Mouth: some nice violet candies and lavender ice cream right at the start, but it then gets a bit dusty and drying. Quite some milk chocolate and lots of liquorice… I quite like it, although it’s far from being one of the best winner old Cadenhead dumpies. 84 points.

Craigellachie 1974 (40%, G&M Connoisseur’s Choice, old map label) Colour: amber. Nose: quite sherried this time, with quite some caramel, cooked apple, ale. Perhaps a bit sour and woody. Nothing special but it’s quite enjoyable. A breakfast malt again? Mouth: very caramelly and a bit tannic. Very sweet and peppery (white pepper) but not much else. No distillery character that I can get, I’m afraid - what's Craigellachie's marker again? 75 points.
MUSIC – BLUES - Highly recommended listening: legend James Bolden plays Friday is my holiday.mp3. (That could also be the French bureaucrats' motto ;-)). Now, take care, you'll keep listening to James Bolden again and again for days... Yeah, better buy his CD's right now!   James Bolden

June 17, 2005


Caol Ila 1991/2002 ‘Flagon Collection’ (43%, Signatory) Nose: a very fruity one, with lots of freshly cut apple and whiffs of simple, straightforward peat smoke. More fruity than smoky. in fact. Mouth: very fruity again, with quite some smoke this time. Simple, fresh and clean. Very little wood influence: an excellent summer Islayer. 85 points.

Caol Ila 1991/2002 ‘Flagon Collection’ (43%, Signatory) Caol Ila 10yo (46%, Douglas Laing Premier Barrel, 301 bottles)
Caol Ila 10 yo (46%, Douglas Laing Premier Barrel, 301 bottles) Wow, what a bottle! The Laings sure will never win an award at the World Design Competition, but who cares? Nose: a simple, young Caol Ila. Smoky, a bit farmy, some apple juice… Not complex at all but quite nice. Mouth: a bit sweetish, apple juice again, white pepper… Slightly ‘dirty’. Gets quite dry, with some over infused tea… Okay, 80 points for the more than funny bottle!
Caol Ila 10 yo 1993/2003 (57.3%, Hart Bros, cask #6996) Colour: white wine. Nose: very n ice peat smoke and green tea. Beautifully balanced if not complex. Some nice white fruits (gooseberries, green pears) and grain. A very nice nose, very clean and pure. Mouth: a simple, clean and straightforward Caol Ila. Peat, smoke and tea again, with some apple pie and grass… Notes of liquorice roots. Simple, perhaps a bit smokier than usually, and very enjoyable. 85 points.
Helen Merrill   MUSIC – JAZZ - Highly recommended listening: Helen Merrill sings I'm a fool to want you.mp3. No comments, except that you should buy Helen Merrill's music.
FIRST GLANN AR MOR SPIRIT: 3 EASY STEPS (we have the pictures!)
Glann ar Mor Glann ar Mor
Step #1: Fermentation (view of the Glann ar Mor washback) Step #2: Distilling the wash, by pouring it into the... err, wash still!
Glann ar Mor <<< Step #3: oh no, Jean, no!!! That isn't the way you should do it! The gospel is: the low wines go into the spirit still and the distiller stays outside - and not reversely. Yes, even if you're looking for a 'meaty' whisky!!!
All joking apart, Jean Donnay is doing all that very seriously - state of the art - and I really can't wait to taste Glann ar Mor's new make. That's why I'll go to 'By the Seashore' ('Glann ar Mor' in Breton) within a couple of weeks and, of course, let you know what I think. Kenavo!

June 16, 2005


Ardbeg 27 yo 1973/2000 (47.4%, Kingsbury, 228 bottles)
Colour: dark straw. Nose: very smoky and maritime, with no ‘sweetness’ whatsoever. Seaweed, oysters, sea air… Now, this is really ‘a walk on the beach’! Some great notes of fresh walnut skin, Jura vin jaune, fino sherry… Hints of Virginia tobacco, leather, apple juice, camphor. So complex, yet bold and rich! A fantastic Ardbeg! Mouth: very punchy, very peaty, very compact, very satisfying… Astonishingly impressive. It has just everything, no need to list all flavours. That means 95 points, no less.

Ardbeg 27yo 1973/2000 (47.4%, Kingsbury, 228 bottles)
Ardbeg 27yo 1973/2000 (50%, Douglas Laing OMC, 228 bottles) Ardbeg 14yo 1973/1987 (53.4%, G&M for Carato Private Stock, 75cl)

Ardbeg 27 yo 1973/2000 (50%, Douglas Laing OMC, 228 bottles) Colour: dark straw. Nose: ouch, some strange smells of vinegar, stale cider, ‘wood juice’. Really weird, There’s more and more vinegar… An accident? Some rancid butter too… OK, let’s be brave and try the mouth now: ah, this is better. Creamy, with a rather nice sherry and a beautiful peat. Nice balance and no acetic notes – good news! It’s going to be 85 points, finally – but the nose was scary (and it had the death seat next to the Kingsbury).

Ardbeg 14 yo 1973/1987 (53.4%, G&M for Carato Private Stock, 75cl) Colour: light amber. Nose: marvellous attack, on freshly cut apple and sea air. So clean, so fresh! Fresh butter, fresh hazelnut skins, coffee…

An extraordinary old-young Ardbeg. The smoke is very subtle… White wood smoke? Notes of light toffee, white chocolate, butterscotch. Just wonderful! Some melon, white peach… Mouth: ha-ha, lots of oomph! Still a bit rough after twenty years in its bottle, but it’s like a marvellous all-fruit jam with some white pepper and all sorts of spices. Add some smoke and you have it! Wonderful. 91 points.
(Ardbeg) 1973/1988 (57%, Samaroli ‘Fragments of Scotland, 648 bottles) Colour: sweet white wine. Nose: a bit less complex than the Carato but also smokier. Espresso coffee, apple skin, caramel crème, but little fruit this time. Yet, it’s got the same aromatic profile as the Carato’s. Just beautiful. Mouth: wow, a stunner again! Powerful, bold, nervous… Great vivacity! Some vegetables (turnips?), some white fruits (apples, pears, white peaches), some oysters (Islay’s of course), some pastry, some vanilla crème and lots of spices. Add to that some fabulous notes of roots (gentian, wild carrots…) and you’ll get one of the most complex – and powerful – whiskies I ever had. What a beast! With just a little more subtleness it would have made it to 95 points or above. So, 94 points. (and thanks, Bert). (Ardbeg) 1973/1988 (57%, Samaroli ‘Fragments of Scotland, 648 bottles)
MUSIC – Recommended listening: Mark Eitzel sings Proclaim your joy.mp3. Excellent, really excellent (I think). Please buy Mark Eitzel's music if you like it - even if he wrote on his website: 'is it any wonder that I don't sell any records?' (while commenting on his picture). Nonsense, have you ever heard Brad Pitt sing?   Mark Eitzel

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


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

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

(Ardbeg) 1973/1988 (57%, Samaroli ‘Fragments of Scotland, 648 bottles)

Ardbeg 27 yo 1973/2000 (47.4%, Kingsbury, 228 bottles)

Ardbeg 28 yo 1972/2000 (49.2%, Kingsbury)

Ardbeg ‘The Ardbeggeddon’ 29 yo 1972/2001 (48.4%, Douglas Laing for PLOWED, 227 bottles)

Bowmore 20 yo 1965 (49.1%, G&M for Sestante)

Bowmore 'Black' 1964/1993 (50%, OB, first edition, 2000 bottles)

Bruichladdich 30 yo 1970 ‘The Great Whisky Swindle’ (52%, MWBH, 161 bottles)

Bruichladdich 31 yo 1970/2001 ‘valinch - I was there but not today’ (47.3%, OB, cask # 5085, 250 bottles)

Longmorn-Glenlivet 1964/1983 (46%, Duthie for Samaroli, 180 bottles)

Port Ellen 25 yo 1978/2004 (50%, Douglas Laing OMC, DL657, 604 bottles)