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

May 14, 2005

MUSIC – Sad news: Gong drummer and leader Pierre Moerlen passed away last week.He was born near my place and I could meet him several times. He was a very cool guy and, above all, a fantastic musician. Pierre had joined Gong in 1974 and became the band's leader in 1979, when Gong became Pierre Moerlen's Gong. He also played with Mike Oldfield (remember Tubular Bells live?) or Stevie Winwood, Mick Taylor, Henry Cow, Brand X... Have a go at Second wind.mp3, recorded live in Germany back in 1988. Wasn't he spectacular? Please buy Pierre Moerlen and Gong's music.   Pierre Moerlen
Oban 12yo (40%, OB, early 70’s)   TASTING - Oban 12 yo (40%, OB, early 70’s) This one was the first decanter bottle (picture, left). DCL switched to a ‘pear shaped’ bottle (right) later on. Colour: amber. Nose: wow, what a nice and delicate peat! Rather medicinal and quite waxy, with some whiffs of camphor. Notes of tea, leather and tobacco… Really complex and highly enjoyable, not weak at all at 40%. Mouth: again, a superb balance. Lots of honey, menthol, propolis and smoke, with a layer of crystallised fruits and orange marmalade. Not too powerful but again, highly enjoyable. 90 points.
MUSIC – JAZZ - Recommended listening - Something light and charming for a change: Anita O'Day sings a beautiful Little girl blue - mp3. Refreshing, eh? Please buy Mrs O'Day music if you like it, she's still kicking!   Anita O'Day

May 13, 2005


Bruichladdich ‘3D’ 2nd batch (50%, OB, 2005)
The first edition was extremely successful and sold within a short period of time. This batch is larger, and also bottled at a higher strength. It contains more Port Charlotte and less of the peated batches made in 1998 by the former owners, using some malt that had been made for Bowmore at Port Ellen (if any). The nose is fresher, and also more balanced than batch #1. Very nutty and waxy, with a bit of tropical fruits. The peat smoke is quite delicate, yet very present. Very, very nice… Mouth: superb balance with a very nice peat and lots of lemony notes (grapefruit juice). Very clean and rather delicate, but with quite some body. High pleasure! 88 points (86 for the first batch).

  Bruichladdich ‘3D’ 2nd batch (50%, OB, 2005)
Bruichladdich 1964/1996 (43%, Samaroli, cask #3611)   Bruichladdich 1964/1996 (43%, Samaroli, cask #3611)
Colour: dark amber. Nose: big, bold sherry that overwhelms the spirit. Tons of cinnamon, cocoa powder, nutmeg, cooked strawberries, wine sauce… This one is for sherry heads, no doubt… Mouth: extremely sweet and more balanced than expected, but it’s still a sherry infusion. Too bad the mouth then gets a bit weak and even watery, the spirit not being able to stand such a heavy treatment, I’m afraid. Some notes of bitter almonds… the finish is rather short but getting very, very dry. I guess this one would please some sherry freaks, but it’s not really my cup of malt… 81 points.
MUSIC – BLUES - Recommended listening: some power blues again, with wah-wah and all that, this time by Smoking Joe Kubek. Not the most 'subtle' website (flags and all that), but try for instance Worst Heartache - mp3: not too bad, eh? I like it! Please buy Joe Kubek's music if youy like blues (or anything from Texas...)   Smoking Joe Kubek

May 12, 2005

  Highland Park 23yo 1980/2003 (54.8%, OB, cask #7367)


Highland Park 23 yo 1980/2003 (54.8%, OB, cask #7367)
Colour: amber. Nose: very flowery, on lilac and lily from the valley, with even some whiffs of violet. Goes on on tea jelly, with also some hints of Virginia tobacco and apple skin. A little sea water, and then lots of salted liquorice or salmiak. Very, very nice. Mouth: oh, too bad, it’s not too bold and even a little weak and too grassy. Thank god, it gets then better again, with some herbal tea, crème brûlée and cold camomile, but the finish isn’t too long and, to tell you the truth, a bit too drying. 86 points for the great nose.

Highland Park 36 yo 1967 (49.7%, OB for The Whisky Exchange, cask #10252, 138 bottles)
Colour: gold. Nose: quite powerful, starting on camphor, lavender and turpentine. Some great whiffs of smoke, peat, heather smoke… Develops on marzipan and almond milk. What a beautiful nose! Mouth: again, the attack is great, on some spearmint and camomile. Lots of fudge and caramel… It then gets quite peppery, and perhaps the finish is a bit too tannic. Just a bit… A very special one, in any case, and an excellent old Highland Park. 91 points.
  Highland Park 36yo 1967 (49.7%, OB for The Whisky Exchange, cask #10252, 138 bottles)
Eszter Balint   MUSIC – Recommended listening: after featuring in Jim Jarmush's adventurous movie 'Stranger Than Paradise', actress Eszter Balint started to sing... rather adventurously (in a good way). Try for instance Cheeseman.mp3 from 'Flicker' or 'Good Luck.mp3' from her latest CD: 'Mud'. Doesn't she have 'a sound'? Please buy her music if you like it.

May 11, 2005

Ardbeg 19yo 1975/1994 (58.1%, Cadenhead)  


Ardbeg 19 yo 1975/1994 (58.1%, Cadenhead) Colour: gold. Nose: this one starts on both some bold peat smoke and some milk chocolate. The peat is curiously much farmier than usual, and there are some very nice minty notes coming through. It gets then a bit yeasty (muesli, porridge, fresh bread). A very nice one, in any case. Mouth: very bold and very powerful, with a sweet attack. It’s soon to get strangely mustardy, that is, and also a little burning. Some wasabi? Horseradish? Lots of peppery notes too… It’s quite a beast, that’s for sure. I’d say it lacks a little more balance to get really enjoyable. 84 points

Ardbeg 25 yo 1976/2001 (50%, Silver Seal, 146 bottles) Colour: pure gold. Nose: quite mellow, far from being a peat monster at first nosing. Sure it’s smoky but there are also quite some sulphury notes (cooked egg). Rather nice but far from being one of the best. Mouth: ah, this is better. Bold and smoky attack, developing on lemon, grapefruit and lots of pepper… It then gets even more peppery, and less balanced. Some strong notes of quinquina, Campari (Italy again?) and parsley. The finish is very long but also very herbal. A strange old unbalanced Ardbeg… 84 points.   Ardbeg 25yo 1976/2001 (50%, Silver Seal, 146 bottles)
Ardbeg 32yo 1972/2004 (45.3%, OB for Germany, bourbon cask #861, 216 bottles)   Ardbeg 32 yo 1972/2004 (45.3%, OB for Germany, bourbon cask #861, 216 bottles) Nose: stunningly Ardbegish, if you see what I mean. Pure smoke and apples, extremely satisfying. Mouth: more appeased, perhaps just a bit fragile on the middle, but the old lion is just having a short nap, before the smoke and the cooked white fruits wake up and assault your palate. It’s not extremely complex, perhaps a little less sharp and clean than its French brother, but I’d say it’s also easier to enjoy. Again a great one. 93 points.
MUSIC – BLUES - Recommended listening: T-Bone Walker student Roy Gaines was born in 1934 but he plays his guitar like a youngster. Please have a listen to W.C. Handy sang the blues.mp3, make up your own mind, and then buy Roy Gaines' music ;-). Oh, by the way, Roy played with Billie Holiday! Imagine!   Roy Gaines

May 10, 2005

Springbank 10yo (57%, OB for Sutti Milano, light vatting, 70’s)  


Springbank 10 yo (57%, OB for Sutti Milano, light vatting, 70’s) Colour: white wine. Nose: starts very grainy, yeasty and flowery, getting quite nervous. Develops on white fruits, pineapple juice, and a bit of coconut. Quite unusual for Springbank, but very nicely balanced. Some notes of acid drops…Yow youthful! Mouth: powerful but again, fresh and balanced. It’s like candies! All sorts of fruits, strawberries, gooseberries, ripe apple, tangerine, lemon, with a good dash of white pepper. It gets more and more acidulous, and the finish is long and mainly on acid drops. Again, it’s very unusual but highly enjoyable. 89 points.

Springbank 12 yo 100 proof (50%, OB, European version, early 90’s) This one is neither the 100 proof US version at 50%, nor the UK/European version at 57% vol. Colour: like some liquid caramel. Nose: wow, stunning again! Bold, compact and voluptuous, starting with some eucalyptus, turpentine and mango, developing on pine needles, natural mastic and wax polish. It goes on with some dried fruits like apricot and coconut… Magnificent! Mouth: very creamy and very complex, with lots of crystallised orange and apricot pie, together with some vanilla stick and caramel. Not as complex ass the nose but still very demonstrative. An all-time hit, just a little simpler than the fantabulous versions from the 60’s and the 70’s. 93 points. PS: History says this one was diluted with old, underproof malt instead of water. Cool idea!   Springbank 12yo 100 proof (50%, OB, European version, early 90’s)
Springbank 15yo 1964/1979 (45.7%, OB for Samaroli, Italy)   Springbank 15 yo 1964/1979 (45.7%, OB for Samaroli, Italy)
Colour: amber. Nose: again in the style of most versions of the 12 yo 100 proof, with lots of resinous notes, eucalyptus, beeswax, dried tropical fruits, coconut, and perhaps a little more notes of fresh fruits (kiwi, not so ripe strawberries). Mouth: quite lighter this time, yet most enjoyable. Dried apricot, caramel, vanilla, and some whiffs of camphor and tiger balm. Perhaps it lacks just a little oomph but it’s still a fabulous whisky. 90 points.
Dewars ad   Grants ad
Dewar's White Label, 1949: a beautiful and unusual ad. Second degree? Perhaps, perhaps not... But no doubt about which country the guy's looking at. And this ad ran in U.K. magazines, no need to say...   Grants, 1960: "Truly RARE 8 Year Old Scotch (...) Grants, largest selling 8 year old Scotch in America." Something oxymoronic in there, don't you think? But it's another beautiful ad... for some perfume!
MUSIC – Recommended listening: try Necessito.mp3 by rock trio Some Girls and tell me if they do not sound like some female Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Bill Wyman... Yes, extremely simple but it works, doesn't it? Please buy Some Girls' music if you like it.   Some Girls

May 9, 2005

Glenmorangie ‘Natural Cask Strength’ 1987/2004 (54.1%, OB, Cask #6813)   Glenmorangie 15yo (43%, OB)   Glenmorangie 18yo (43%, OB)
Glenmorangie ‘Natural Cask Strength’ 1987/2004 (54.1%, OB, Cask #6813)
A single cask issued for Germany. Colour: gold. Nose: wow, very fresh and clean, fruity and delicately yeasty. Lots of flower nectar (buttercup, dandelion…) and light breakfast honey. It then gets a little farmy, which adds some extra depth. Hints of liquorice. Very, very nice! Mouth: extremely creamy, on violets, all sorts of herbs, herbal tea, Darjeeling… Superbly balanced. Some white pepper that gives it more oomph… Wow, a very nice Glenmorangie, worth no less than 89 points.
  Glenmorangie 15 yo (43%, OB) Colour: gold. Nose: curiously farmy, with lots of butter, grain, lentil soup. Very special and highly enjoyable, nothing to do with the 10 yo I think, as it has much more depth. Quite spicy and nutty, but not the usually kind of dull nutty notes. Rather complex. Mouth: quite special, on leather, herbs, parsley, with quite some oak and vanilla but not in the Bourbonny style (this time). It then gets quite spicy, with a long finish that’s loaded with notes of salted liquorice. Very, very good: 88 points.   Glenmorangie 18 yo (43%, OB) Colour: gold. Nose: much less special, more ‘commercial’ I’d say. It starts on some hesitating sherried notes, but it then gets quite nicely flowery, mainly on violets and meadow flowers. A bit too sweetish, though, lacking freshness. Mouth: very sweet but also a little weak and watery. Not bad but the sherry is sort of imprecise. Some honey and some nice notes of white pepper that prevents it from getting really dull. A simple, undemanding Glenmorangie, very far from having the 15yo’s appeal. 82 points.
MUSIC – Recommended listening: you already know Bobby Womack's entranced version of Summertime.mp3, don't you? Anyway, please Bobby Womack's music if you like it (how many CD's do you already have?)   Bobby Womack

May 8, 2005

Mortlach 21yo 1970/1991 (56.7%, G&M for Intertrade)   TASTING - Mortlach 21 yo 1970/1991 (56.7%, G&M for Intertrade) With a nice old-style label. Colour: pure gold. Nose: lots of nectar, pollen and apricot jam at first nosing. It’s soon to get a little meaty (typical Mortlach) and quite gingery. Really, really nice, with even some beautiful whiffs of smoke. Mouth: bold, very flowery and peppery at the same time. Less complex than expected but still very satisfying. It gets quite spicy (mainly on clove and ginger)… Long and compact finish. Again, a very good old Mortlach. 87 points.
MUSIC – JAZZ - Recommended listening: 1963, Julie London sings a sultry Fly me to the moon.mp3 (from her 'End of the world' album). Sweet like candies...   Julie London

May 7, 2005

TASTING - Longrow 14 yo 1990/2005 (56.9%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, 114.5) Colour: pale straw. Nose: curiously cheesy at first nosing (Appenzeller, Fribourg), with truckloads of lemony smells. Very special indeed. Develops on lots of yeasty notes (fresh bread, mashed potatoes, yoghurt). A malt of its own kind, which I like very much. Mouth: beautifully complex – more complex than on the nose. Sure it’s still sort of austere, like most ‘unfinished’ Longrows, but it’s in a very nice way. Goes on with some lemon seeds and barbeque herbs… The finish is very long and quite farmy. A very nice one, but perhaps not for newbies. 90 points.   Longrow 14yo 1990/2005 (56.9%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, 114.5)
Jim Thackery   MUSIC – BLUES - Recommended listening: the people said 'We want more Jim Thackery!' I say that's a pretty good idea. So, why not have a listen to this hyper-hendrixian (?) version of Red House - mp3 by Jim Thackery and The Drivers? Please buy their music if you like it... Ah, yes, there's also this heavy Roy's Blues - mp3! (via Net Television)
EXPERIMENTAL WHISKY - In an e-mail that arrived at Whiskyfun's this morning (by error) I have just discovered that a famous drinks company is secretely experimenting with a new technique that should allow them to make whisky by planting some full barrels into any fertile soil (see the photograph, taken at the company's secret 'field #23' in Kazakhstan, last summer).   Planting barrels
One the company's executives, Mr N. M., confirmed all that this morning on the phone: 'Indeed, peaty soils should produce some Islay-barrel trees, while we're expecting something gentler to come out of calcareous ones. I believe we're now very close to the concept of terroir, and we're currently buying some vineyards in Jerez, Alsace, Burgundy and Bordeaux, where we'll plant a few butts and wine barrels... We're also considering acquiring the Rangen de Thann but the guy is very suspicious...' And, last but not least, he added: 'Serge, we've kept a few casks of 1972 B****. If you wish, we can ship them to you, so that you can plant them right in your garden...'

May 6, 2005

Benny Green and Russsel Malone  

Munster Jazz Festival, May 4th, 2005 - by Serge

‘Breathtaking’ was the last word I had written in my notebook, as two angels were still flying very high above our heads, long after Benny Green and Russsel Malone had finished their second- and last – encore. Then, as we were driving back home in Christophe’s big-ass Audi, I decided to add ‘moving’ and ‘entrancing’. A Mozart effect again…

I must say I hadn’t listened to such a fantastic jazz duo since… Well, I can’t really remember having heard something that brilliant in the piano plus guitar format, actually. Perhaps Bill Evans and Joe Pass, but that was on record… I know some find it difficult to listen to such a duo without the complement of bass and drums, but in the right hands, the combination provides a magical listening experience, and Benny Green and Russell Malone 'possess four of the best hands around', as somebody wrote. Besides, these eternal new cats played in such conversational pace and with so much mutual admiration that one could hear a pin drop during the whole set. Breathtaking indeed. Just between us, these guys are that good, that they can quote virtually any other great master and still have their very own styles. So, with Green, we also had Monk, Bud, Bill, and even Willie ‘The Lion’ Smith with us in Munster’s small concert hall, while Malone sounded either like Wes Montgmoery (on Jingos) or like Pat Metheny, or even Charlie Christian. Too much showing off? Oh no, not at all! Just a thrill… The kind of thrill that makes you want to tell the musicians just these simple words: ‘Thank you’. Thank you for the way you gave us ‘Sunny’, or ‘Falling in love with love’… Thank you for being so graceful, delicate, subtle and distinctive… And thank you Benny for having made us laugh by showing us your socks between each tune! And please, please, keep playing together!


Macallan 25 yo 1978/2003 (57.3%, Silver Seal, 236 bottles) Colour: dark amber. Nose: ah, a beautiful sherry, with lots of cocoa powder but not drying. Some burnt candy sugar, caramel and toasted bread, plus the usual rum and raisins. A very nice sherry infusion, lacking just a little extra-complexity. Mouth: big sherry again but with quite some vivacity. Loads of crystallised fruits, especially kumquats, and also some bold coffee notes and some Grand-Marnier. A very nice one! 88 points.

  Macallan 25yo 1978/2003 (57.3%, Silver Seal, 236 bottles)
Macallan 14yo 1990/2004 (53.7%, Engelholm Whiskycircle, Sweden, bourbon cask #9448)   Macallan 14 yo 1990/2004 (53.7%, Engelholm Whiskycircle, Sweden, bourbon cask #9448)
Colour: straw. Nose: lots of pear and apple, very fresh and youthful, with some very enjoyable notes of yeast and beer. Very clean and highly drinkable. Mouth: very lively again, with lots of body. The attack is rather sweet but all fruits are in there: pears, apples, peaches, apricots, berries… Some superb spicy notes add some extra-complexity to it… In short, a totally flawless one, and perhaps the best bourbon cask Macallan I ever had. 89 points.
MUSIC - Were were you on Feb 13th, 1960? I wasn't quite born yet (a matter of months) so I have a good excuse for not having gone to Berlin to see the great Ella Fitzgerald live... Not that I'm an eternal fan, but this one, this one! Listen to Mack the Knife - mp3 and you'll see what I mean. Ah, yes, the record: it's simply 'Ella in Berlin' (not Ella returns to Berlin, which is also great, btw.) Please buy Ella Fitzgerlad's music if you like classic jazz. What, you already have it?   Ella Fitzgerald

May 5, 2005

Brora 22yo 1982/2004 (58.5%, Douglas Laing for Alambic Classique, Germany)  


Brora 22 yo 1982/2004 (58.5%, Douglas Laing for Alambic Classique, Germany) Colour: pure gold. Nose: it starts on full sherry mode, together with some bold notes of hot butter and banana flambéed. Very toffeeish, with also lots of crystallised oranges and chocolate, rum, raisins, cooked wine… Lots of sherry indeed but a beautiful vivacity. It then gets quite resinous, with even some hints of eucalyptus and camphor. Not much distillery character left but still a superb balance. Mouth: bold and powerful attack on sherry, dried fruits and all sorts of herbs. Lots of tropical fruits (guava, mango, passion fruit) but no peat. A very nice sherried Highlander, complex yet compact, giving a lot of pleasure. And what a body! Flawless… 90 points (it would have deserved one or two more points with a little more distillery character).

Brora 22 yo 1981/2004 (60.8%, Peerless, cask #1426, 261 bottles) Nose: it starts quite grainy and very flowery. A clean and fresh one, that develops on some rather subtle aromas of meadow flowers, light honey and white fruits (gooseberries, freshly cut apple, white melon…) Some playful notes of parsley and dill, but no peat or smoke. Mouth: very nice attack, quite sweet and peppery, with lots of body. Very nervous indeed, with quite some cooked apples and fruit salad. It gets very gingery, and perhaps a tad too bitter. Long finish, just a little drying. Anyway, it’s certainly one of the nicest 1981 Broras I ever had: 89 points.   Brora 22yo 1981/2004 (60.8%, Peerless, cask #1426, 261 bottles)
Kenny Neal   MUSIC – BLUES - Recommended listening: some good organ plus an excellent guitar make for a great combo! Take for instance the hyper-speedy Neal and pray - mp3 by Baton Rouge bluesman Kenny Neal. That's energy! Please buy Kenny Neal's music if you like it... (photo Sue M. Wright)

May 4, 2005


Benriach 10 yo ‘Curiositas’ (40%, OB, 2004) A vatting made with some old peated batches made by Seagram when they thought it would be cheaper to do their own rather than buying some from Islay. Colour: straw. Nose: nicely peaty but rather simple, not too different from some young Ledaigs. Rather farmy than medicinal or smoky, and aromatically narrow. Mouth: quite peaty but rather weak and a bit watery. An inoffensive peated malt, not too bad, but not too good. Nothing to do with Signatory’s stunning bottlings of some peated Benriachs, I’m afraid. 75 points.

  Benriach 10yo ‘Curiositas’ (40%, OB, 2004)
Inchmoan 10yo 1994/2005 (63.5%, Weiser, cask #645, 262 bottles)   Inchmoan 10 yo 1994/2005 (63.5%, Weiser, cask #645, 262 bottles) A third cask of Inchmoan (Loch Lomond distillery), after the first two by The Whisky Fair. Colour: white wine. Nose: peaty and grainy at the same time. A bit farmy and very yeasty. Notes of hot butter and mashed potatoes. Rather nice. Mouth: very sweet and peaty at the same time, close to a new make but rather nice again. It obviously lacks a bit of ageing – it's raw and simple but enjoyable. I tasted the two bottlings by the Whiskyfair but I couldn’t take any notes. I think they were a little better than this one. 78 points for this curiosity.
MUSIC – Recommended listening: Belgian singer An Pierlé has got her very own universe... I saw her live at the Eurockéennes in Belfort last year - she was playing with a symphonic orchestra. I quite like her work, although it's certainly an acquired taste. You can have a listen to As sudden tears fall - mp3 (live). Pretty interesting, don't you think? Please buy An Pierlé's music if you like it.(via Planet Claire - photo Chantal Boogers)   An Pierlé

May 3, 2005

Highland park 1970/1995 (40%, Gordon & MacPhail Centenary Reserve)  


Highland park 1970/1995 (40%, Gordon & MacPhail Centenary Reserve) The nose starts very nicely: creamy, rounded, with quite some flower nectar and light honey. Alas, it’s soon to get a bit dusty and rather weak, with just some notes of hot cake. Not too bad but lacking a lot of oomph. Mouth: rather delicate but getting sugarish, and perhaps a little too grassy. The wood takes then control, making the whisky a little bitter and dusty. This one really lacks body. Too bad… 78 points.

Highland Park 1974/1998 ‘Online Tasting’ (57.6%, OB, 228 bottles) Ah, the roaring nineties and the IT bubble! Already quite dusty, eh? Colour: dark amber. Nose: just superb, on some beautiful rum and Smyrna raisins. Plus, of course, the best sherry. It gets quite meaty, together with some dark toffee and lots of chocolate. The sherry is quite heavy but the whole is greatly balanced. Mouth: beautiful attack on fudge and baskets of dried fruits. So lively and powerful at the same time! Extremely compact, at that, with lots of soft spices and a bit of orange flower water. Just superb. 92 points.   Highland Park 1974/1998 ‘Online Tasting’ (57.6%, OB, 228 bottles)
CRAZY WHISKY ADS - BRAGGERS AND BRAGGARTS - PART 4: Don't be afraid, show your competitors!
George Dickel ad   Barton'sQT ad
Above, left: George Dickel, 1969: ''The other one. George Dickel is the other great Tennessee Sour Mash Whisky. We're not famous yet. But we will be. (...) George Dickel. We won't be the other one long."
Above, right: Barton'sQT, 1971: ''Barton's QT is lighter and milder than any whiskey you've ever tasted. Because it's distilled at a higher proof than traditional whiskey. And it's stored in selected, seasoned barrels (...) By next year, we expect that many other distillers will be selling whiskey distilled at higher proof than traditional American whiskey and stored in used barrels.But there won't be another whiskey as light and smooth as Barton's QT for a long, long time."
Right: Cutty Sark, 1974: ''When the place finally closes and the boss says "let's us have one"... Launch a little Cutty."
  Cutty Sark ad
Jake Thackray   MUSIC – Recommended listening: maybe this will surprise some people but I just discovered Jake Thackray's beautiful songs while browsing the Web. If you're in the mood for some tender folk songs, please have a listen to either Last will and testament - mp3 or I Stayed Off Work Today - mp3. Jake Thackray passed away two years ago, so I'll never have the opportunity to see him live. Too late, too bad... But please buy his music(via M. Joseph)

May 2, 2005

TASTING - THREE PEAR SHAPED SPRINGBANKS (or the darker the... younger?)

Springbank 15 yo (43%, OB, pear shape, 70’s)
Colour: amber. Nose: very elegant again, with some most enjoyable yeasty notes (fresh baguette). Then there’s quite some plum jam, and then it gets rather maritime, with some notes of seaweed. Goes on with some hints of hot wax… The whole being quite explosive. Mouth: rather creamy yet very nervous. Lots of vivacity! Some nice notes of fresh mint and eucalyptus, together with some crème caramel, some butter and some Malibu. Very, very nice indeed. 90 points.

  Springbank 15yo (43%, OB, pear shape, 70’s)
Springbank 21yo (43%, OB, pear shape, 70’s)   Springbank 21 yo (43%, OB, pear shape, 70’s)
Colour: gold. Nose: rather satisfying and compact, yet quite subtle at first nosing. It then gets a bit weaker, mostly on light caramel… Not too explosive, finally. Develops on nutmeg, light spices, herbal teas… Delicate indeed, and less bold than the 15yo, that’s for sure. Mouth: sweet and rounded attack, but it’s soon to get rather grassy – in a nice way -, with also lots of herbal tea (cold camomile) and light breakfast tea. Medium long finish, a bit dusty, on flour and nutmeg. Again a very good one if not a winner. 87 points.
Springbank 25 yo (43%, OB, pear shape, 70’s)
Colour: straw. Nose: very fruity and flowery. Fruit syrup, plum jam, apricot pie, medicinal herbs… Lots of meadow flowers too, making the whole smell much younger than expected. Not absolutely stunning, though, lacking a bit of extra-complexity. Mouth: again, a fresh and lively attack, lacking just a little body. Lots of dried herbs, light tea, crystallized oranges, lemon marmalade… No smoke nor any resinous notes, this time, so it’s not monstrously complex, but it’s still a very, very good and elegant old Spirngbank. 88 points.
  Springbank 25yo (43%, OB, pear shape, 70’s)

Brigitte Bardot

  MUSIC – Oldies but goldies: as somebody once said, here is a summary of the basic ingredients for French pop success in the Sixties: 1. beautiful girl who is entirely unable to sing, 2. pure, bubble-gummy ‘yé-yé’ pop melody, 3. brilliant, slightly ironic lyrics. That's probably true, but perhaps Serge Gainsbourg and Brigitte Bardot made something a bit better in 1968: Bonnie and Clyde (click here). A few months later, Gainsbourg then wrote an even greater song, entirely devoted to his ex-lover: Initials BB - mp3. Another masterpiece by the great SG!

May 1, 2005

TASTING - Blair Athol 15 yo (59.4%, OB, Manager’s Choice, bottled Dec 1996) Colour: straw. Nose: lots of almond milk at first nosing, with some rather heavy notes of old books and beer. It then gets quite farmy, with hints of wet straw and little fruity notes (perhaps some white peach). Mouth: it starts very grassy, on all sorts of herbal teas. Some interesting notes of aromatic herbs such as rosemary or thyme. Really nice, just getting a little too bitter. The finish is quite bold, on some heavy salted liquorice. A special version indeed, a good step above most other bottlings of Blair Athol. It’s supposed to come from a sherry cask but there’s very, very little sherry influence that I could get. 87 points.   Blair Athol 15yo (59.4%, OB, Manager’s Choice, bottled Dec 1996)
Ornette Coleman   MUSIC – JAZZ - Oldies but goldies: 1959, Ornette Coleman plays Congeniality - mp3 with Don Cherry, Red Mitchell, Percy Heath and Shelly Manne. That was on the legendary 'The shape of jazz to come' album, before Ornette started to play his odd plastic saxophone... Anyway, please buy Ornette Coleman's music if you like it, whether very 'free' or more classical like this one.

April 2005 - part 2 <--- May 2005 - part 1 ---> May 2005 - part 2


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

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

Ardbeg 32 yo 1972/2004 (45.3%, OB for Germany, bourbon cask #861, 216 bottles)

Brora 22 yo 1982/2004 (58.5%, Douglas Laing for Alambic Classique, Germany)

Highland Park 1974/1998 ‘Online Tasting’ (57.6%, OB, 228 bottles)

Highland Park 36 yo 1967 (49.7%, OB for The Whisky Exchange, cask #10252, 138 bottles)

Longrow 14 yo 1990/2005 (56.9%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, 114.5)

Oban 12 yo (40%, OB, early 70’s)

Springbank 12 yo 100 proof (50%, OB, European version, early 90’s)

Springbank 15 yo 1964/1979 (45.7%, OB for Samaroli, Italy)

Springbank 15 yo (43%, OB, pear shape, 70’s)