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Hi, you're in the Archives, September 2005 - Part 1

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

September 15, 2005

NEW ON WHISKYFUN - Here are...
Toby Keith MUSIC – Recommended listening: always a good laugh,Toby Keith doing I'll never smoke weed with Willie again.mp3 (on the Bob and Tom radio show). I know, Toby doesn't look too 'funny' on the picture... But it's also always interesting for us Europeans to observe a 'patriotic' artist because we haven't got any - almost an oxymoron over here (except for a few skinheads). Now, it's true it's 'country' music, isn't it?


Glenury Royal 23 yo 1971/1995 (61.3%, Rare Malts) A wonderfully sherried one, with a perfect balance between some superb notes of bitter oranges and a more than perfect woodiness. An absolute winner! 92 points. (note to self: try this one again soon and write some more detailed tasting notes!)

Glenury Royal 23yo 1971/1995 (61.3%, Rare Malts) Glenury Royal 29yo 1970/1999 (57%, Rare Malts)
Glenury Royal 29 yo 1970/1999 (57%, Rare Malts) Nose: rather dry, very herbal and grassy. Some farmy notes… peat? Getting more and more interesting, like kind of a mini-Talisker. Mouth: sweet, perfumy and nicely structured. Again, some farmy notes developing. Lots of crystallized fruits too and even some fresh ones. A very good one, that gets even fruitier with a few drops of water. 87 points.

September 14, 2005

Glen Garioch 1975/1988 ‘Fragments of Scotland’ (50%, Duthie for Samaroli, Italy, 648 bottles) Glen Garioch 1975/1988 ‘Fragments of Scotland’ (50%, Duthie for Samaroli, Italy, 648 bottles) Colour: straw. Nose: the attack is very spirity and rather simple, but that doesn’t last for long. It gets then both delicately perfumy and fantastically peaty and smoky, somewhat in the Brora genre (yes!) A very ‘vegetal’ peat at first, getting then very maritime, in a very delicate way. Seaweed, fireplace. What a sublime nose, very fresh and very complex – and clean! Gets slightly rubbery (bicycle inner tube) and tarry. Stupendous nose. Mouth: yes, a superb attack! Peat, pepper, ginger enter the dance right from the start, the whole being perfectly ‘rounded’. Develops on gentian spirit, liquorice roots, tea, quite earthy. Gain some feint rubbery notes, getting quite leafy. Certainly the most peaty Glen Garioch I ever had, and it stands the comparison with all islanders – easily. The finish is long, peaty, earthy and most enjoyable, with a “come back later” taste. 94 points. (thanks Bert)
Glen Garioch 16 yo 1988/2004 (54.4%, Usquebaugh Society) From a Dutch bottler and whisky club. Colour: gold. Nose: rather medicinal attack, with again quite some peat and lots of notes of smoked tea together with some fudge, hot butter and hot caramel. A little camphor and paraffin. Goes on with old rose and nutmeg. Pretty nice nose, I didn’t know they were still making such great whisky at Glen Garioch in 1988. Mouth: creamy but nervous attack, again rather peaty (although much less than the ‘Fragments’) Lots of tropical fruits mixed with sugared coffee, pastry. Really nervous and powerful. Quite a beast in fact, but an harmonious one (?) Also some notes of great old rum and even Marc de Bourgogne spirit (earthy flavours). Very long finish, quite impressive. Just a bit rough… 89 points. Glen Garioch 16yo 1988/2004 (54.4%, Usquebaugh Society)
Glen Garioch 1988/2005 (55.9%, The Whisky Fair, Refill Cognac Cask) Colour: light gold. Nose: Ha! But this doesn’t smell whisky – nor Cognac, for that matter. Very sweet and very winey, with some notes of burnt cake and some bold notes of fudge and butter caramel. Not too subtle, I’d say, but rather ‘coherent’ and enjoyable. Is it whignac? Cogsky? Just a few strange and slightly disturbing sulphury notes. Mouth: sweet attack, sort of caramelly and rather fruity, getting then very earthy and rooty (gentian). Bold and compact – and very quaffable – even if, again, it lacks a bit of extra-complexity. Rather long and creamy finish. A marriage that works pretty well. 85 points.

EASY LIVING IN LONDON - I know, this is perhaps off-topic but I thought it was really funny. Imagine, you're in London - in a pub. Here's what will happen to you, in twelve steps...
-0. Stone cold sober. Brain as sharp as an army bayonet. -1. Still sober. Pleasure senses activated. Feeling of well being. -2. Beer warming up head. Chips are ordered. Barmaid complimented on choice of blouse.

-3. Crossword in newspaper is filled in. After a while the blanks are filled with random letters and numbers. -4. Barmaid complimented on choice of bra. Partially visible when bending to get packets of crisps. Try to instigate conversation about bra. Order half a dozen packets of crisps one by one. -5. Have brilliant discussion with a guy at the bar. Devise a foolproof scheme for winning the lottery. Sort out cricket/ tennis/ football problems. Agree people are same the world over - except for the bloody French. -6. Feel like a demi-god. Map out rest of life on beer mat. Realize that everybody loves you. Ring up parents and tell them you love them. Ring girlfriend to tell her you love her and she still has an amazing arse. -7. Send drinks over to woman sitting at table with boyfriend. No reaction. Scribble out message of love on five beer mats and frisbee them to her across the room. Boyfriend asks you outside. You buy him a pint. -8. Some slurring. Offer to buy drinks for everyone in room. Lots of people say yes. Go round the pub hugging them one by one. Fall over. Get up. -9. Headache kicks in. Beer tastes off. Send it back. Beer comes back tasting same. Say, 'That's much better.' Fight nausea by trying to play poker machine for 10 minutes before seeing 'out of order' sign. -10. Some doubling of vision. Stand on table shouting abuse at all four barmen. Talked down by barmen's wives, who you offer to give baby to. Fall over. Get up. Fall over. Impale head on comer of table. Fail to notice oozing head wound. -11. Speech no longer possible. Eventually manage to find door. Sit and take stock. Realize you are sitting in pub cellar having taken a wrong turn. Vomit. Pass out. -12. Put in taxi by somebody. Give home address. Taken home. Can't get key in door. Realize you've given address of the local football club. Generally pleased at way evening has gone. Pass out again. (via z-jokes)
Johnny Adams MUSIC – Recommended listening: a wonderful blues ballad by the late Johnny Adams, called Everything to me.mp3. Please buy Johnny Adams' music.

September 13, 2005

Bush Hall, London, Thursday 8th September, 2005
by Nick Morgan
This is getting spooky. There we were in the faded splendour of the Edwardian Bush Hall (built, apparently, by Irish publisher William C Hurndall as a gift for his daughter – I hope she remembered to say “thanks Dad”) luckily seated at one of the few tables in front of the makeshift stage, sharing our space with a couple of West London types. As support band Hardkandy take the stage (a not unpleasing baggy-jeaned funk soul outfit with a great vocalist) the bloke to the left of The Photographer takes out his little black notebook and starts to write. Husky Rescue
Another reviewer! Not to be outdone out comes my little black number, and we spend much of the rest of the evening sparring with occasional bouts of frenzied scribbling (hands guarding our pages like paranoids in an examination hall), followed by long periods of contrived cool indifference to all around us. We both refuse to be drawn into any audience participation, and he, at least to my way of thinking, clapped somewhat too enthusiastically.
Like gunslingers at dawn we stared at each other through dead eyes, waiting to see who would blink first. Needless to say it was the kid, seen off by my Elvis ‘Jailhouse Rock’ shirt (a real collector’s item I have to say), the debris of beer bottles that I intimidated him with, and when we compared notes at the end, the fact that I’d managed to include ‘Ian Dury’, ‘John Malkovich’, ‘The Helsinki marathon’, ‘Anthony and the Johnsons’, ‘Jim White’, ‘Seasonal Affective Disorder’, ‘Seal’ and ‘homemade Thai sausages’ into my jottings, compared to his ‘Coldplay’, ‘lemonade’ and ‘crisps’. A hands down victory for the mature man I’d say.
Anyway we’re really here to see Husky Rescue, the latest big thing to hit the music scene from Finland (oh yes, and no surprises, the night is sponsored by Nokia, part of their Raw Tour series for ‘the best breakthrough acts of 2005’). From Helsinki, Husky Rescue is a collective, a band, and just Husky himself, and the gig was advertised as a solo performance – “hypnotic one man band” said the Guardian. What we got was the excellent five piece outfit – Husky (aka bass player and studio multi-instrumentalist Marko Nyberg), singer Reeta-Leena Korhola, keyboards, guitar and computer man Ville Rippa, drummer Ansi Sopanen, and Fender and lap-steel guitar ace Miika Colliander. At least I think that’s who it was – no one was introduced on stage and Catskill Records didn’t reply to my request for the band line-up (or a set list) – so if it’s wrong I’m sorry guys, but you know who to blame.
Husky produce ‘cinematic music strongly influenced by the power of films and the hypnotic quality of photography’ says their web site, and the word ‘ambient’ seemed to be on everyone’s lips (they’d probably read that a great influence was David Lynch, and apparently Lars von Trier, who I personally have never forgiven for the uniquely depressing ‘Breaking the Waves’). Well I could be wrong, but what I was hearing were very pleasing, catchy and artfully constructed country influenced tunes, with a bit of ambient in the background (and the fact that the album version of ‘Mean Street’ seems to have a coda of two minutes of silence won’t persuade me otherwise).
To be sure, the single ‘New light of tomorrow’ could have come straight out of a Lynch film, but a lot of the rest of the short set wouldn’t have been out of place on a Jim White album – although there was perhaps less of Jim’s eccentric and black humour, and more bleak rain swept and sun-deprived Finnish landscapes (the band claim to produce “exquisite music to shield themselves from the bitter cold of Finland’s harsh artic winters” but somehow I don’t think they can quite escape it). Husky Rescue
Colliander’s guitar was responsible for the country feel – and I suppose the steel guitar did add a ‘hypnotic’ twist too. His Fender work was outstanding – here was a person who really knew what a Telecaster was for and how to play it.
But the eye catcher was vocalist Korhola. With blonde hair and the sort of glasses my mum used to wear in 1965, dressed in a knee length dress and white shawl, it wasn’t clear if she had just come from a drug crazed weekend at Woodstock or the school library. But her breathless soft vocals were quite captivating – if not sometimes (deliberately?) difficult to hear, and she whipped the Finnish boys in the crowd (have you ever heard Finnish heckling Serge?) into a frenzy as she Yippe-aye-ayed her way through the middle section of the wonderfully poppy ‘Summertime cowboy’, thigh slapping and all (curiously The Photographer said this was irritating). This was a strong counterpoint to Husky, who occasional smile apart, barely moved all night (but he did play an excellent bass), and Riipa, who seemed to be trying to outstare the two reviewers in the audience, much to our mutual discomfort.
Husky Rescue The set started with the curious ‘Good man’ (with an introductory taped monologue from hot Finnish DJ Jonathan Hutchings – well actually he’s a Welshman who’s lived there for years, and obviously – and understandably prefers Helsinki to Haverfordwest) and ended with the lullaby ‘Sleep tight tiger’. In between there was (amongst others) ‘Sweet little kitten’, new single ‘City lights’, ‘Rainbow flows’, ‘My world’ and especially for Serge, ‘Gasoline girl’, with the refrain “I’m dreaming of a girl on a motorbike”.
Which reminds me Serge, apparently Husky is a great motorbike fan too, and he drinks ‘White Russians’, but only made of organic milk. Cool or what?
Overall a very satisfactory evening, a thought backed up by a few plays of the album Country Falls, nicely packaged with sleeve graphics like a cross between some of the early (and impossible to find) Ronnie van Hilversum albums and the Beatle’s Yellow Submarine. Whether you’re in a log cabin in Finland, a flat in London, or a farmhouse in France, sit with a glass of your favourite dram with Country Falls playing, and let the Atlantic waves of Scotland’s Midnight Wine slowly break over you, and the surf gently pull you back, and then push you forward, and feel, as Husky promises, ‘a warm breeze to counter the chill of daily life’. That’s my way of saying ‘please buy their album’. Ok ? - Nick Morgan (concert photographs by Kate) Husky Rescue
Thank you Nick. A very good new band from the cold indeed, that already caught attention in France as well. And guess what? We do have New light of tomorrow.mp3, and there's also this nice streaming video of Summertime cowboy (thanks for that one). By the way, did the young gunslinger leave the hospital?
Bruichladdich 14yo 1985 (57.9%, Gordon & MacPhail Cask Strength, cask #1961) Bruichladdich 14 yo 1985 (57.9%, Gordon & MacPhail Cask Strength, cask #1961) Colour: full amber. Nose: a great sherry. Lots of Grand Marnier, crystallised oranges, light caramel, strong honey. Xmas cake and Chinese plum sauce (the one they serve with the Peking duck). Very nice! Mouth: some funny notes of marshmallows, dried fruits, overripe oranges and marmalade. Some weird perfumy notes, getting a little too tannic and quite bitter. The nose was absolutely great but the palate has lots of offbeat notes, too bad. 82 points.
Bruichladdich 14 yo 1986/2000 (55.6%, Scott’s Selection) Colour: white wine. Nose: very fresh and fragrant. Lots of the usual white fruits, melon, peach, gooseberries, freshly cut pear… A very nice one. Mouth: spirity, bold and punchy. Some green tannins and a sugary feeling that may come from the alcohol. Lots of salted liquorice too, grapefruit. Long and spirity finish, getting a little bitter, with some notes of gin and tonic. 85 points. Bruichladdich 14yo 1986/2000 (55.6%, Scott’s Selection) Bruichladdich 12yo 1991/2003 (58.7%, James MacArthur)
Bruichladdich 12 yo 1991/2003 (58.7%, James MacArthur) Colour: white wine. Nose: very yeasty, on mashed potatoes, porridge, muesli… Also some cooked yoghurt, mash… Mouth: sweet and fruity attack, very young and spirity. The usual melon, gooseberry and apple. A rather simple, yet very enjoyable young Laddie. 83 points.

September 12, 2005


Tamdhu-Glenlivet 8 yo (70° proof, Gordon & McPhail licensed bottling, 70’s) Colour: deep amber, almost mahogany. Nose: wow, heavily sherried! Lots of chocolate, raisins, strong caramel, all sorts of dried fruits, Grand-Marnier… An extraordinary balance, quite unexpected, to be honest. In the same league as some Macallans (Gran Reserva), perhaps better. Fantastic old style sherry, totally brilliant. A great surprise! (just whiffs of old papers).

Tamdhu-Glenlivet 8yo (70° proof, Gordon & McPhail licensed bottling, 70’s)
Mouth: so bold and rich – and creamy. Perhaps it’s a little too bitter (burnt caramel) but it’s still an excellent heavily sherried malt. Smyrna raisins, bitter chocolate, Provence herbs. Hints of balsam, old Port, mocha, tea… Wonderful whisky – and eight years old! The finish is quite long, at that, with a funny salty feeling on the tongue. What a nice surprise indeed! 89 points.
Tamdhu 10 yo (40%, OB, 80’s) Colour: gold. Nose: very fresh, nicely grainy and very flowery, with also whiffs of sea air. Beautifully clean. Develops on acacia honey, sweet white wine (Sauternes, and one of the best), quince jelly. A stunning nose again! Whiffs of peat… Also quite some orange marmalade and hints of aromatic herbs. Lots of flowers (lilac). Again a fantastic surprise! Wow! Surprisingly complex – hundred percent pleasure. Mouth: quite punchy, creamy, sweet, really full-bodied. Something nicely sour and winey, with lots of fudge, Xmas cake, grass jelly. Again, the balance is perfect – the guy who did this vatting (I guess he’s retired now) deserves the Malt Maniacs golden medal – should that exist. Great honeyed notes, ripe mirabelle plum. How good! Long, creamy and bold finish, with a superb ‘peacock’s tail’. 90 points, well deserved.
Left: Seagram's V.O. 1992 'Getting close to nature. Nice to see that tradition back' - right: Glenmorangie 2004 'Take yourself to the glen of tranquillity'. Thanks to these two big brands for offering us true values.
Bubble Puppy MUSIC – Recommended listening - oldies but goldies: you're in 1969, you take a little Hendrix, a little Cream, a dash of Led Zep and a pinch of The Who (and perhaps something Airplane-esque), stir well and you get Bubble Puppy and their devilish Hot smoke and sassafras.mp3. The good old days indeed...

September 11, 2005

TASTING - Bullseye Baggies ‘Whiskey super premium’ (40%, Little Drinks Company) This oddly packaged product is made by a Dublin firm that’s owned by an American businessman and has already been withdrawn from most Irish retail outlets, because as it’s packaged like some candies (or French letters?) it’s been said it could lead to increased underage drinking. But the company managed to put its ‘baggies’ on all Ryanair flights (where a two-for-one offer is currently available – not so good news methinks). It has also signed a deal with a distributor in the Balkans, where nine ferries should already stock these baggies. Bullseye Baggies ‘Whiskey super premium’ (40%, Little Drinks Company)
Most funnily, the Little Drinks Company also said that it was 'targeting women in their 20s and 30s who might like to use the new product for home entertainment' (statement made before it was withdrawn from the 'regular' retail outlets). But let’s taste this 'condomised' whiskey now, as the actress said to the bishop… Colour : gold – orange. Nose : well, it does smell whisky indeed but it’s very weak. Grain, caramel, alcohol and a bit of burnt wood. Whiffs of rotting oranges, and perhaps traces of burnt meat. Not totally disgusting but very watery and lacking aromas, similar to many cheap supermarket blends. No ‘Irishness’ that I can smell but again, it doesn’t claim to be Irish, even if spelled ‘whiskey’ (or is it American?) Mouth: very light, but again, not totally repulsive at first sip. Lots of caramel, lots of overcooked or burnt ‘things’, orange liqueur, grain… The burnt tastes get stronger and stronger, but there’s almost no finish except kind of a bitterness. Well, again, it could have been (even) worse… And good news, there’s no tastes of plastic!… A rating? Well, that’s hard and rather pointless, but I’d say something between 20 and 30 points. We’ve seen worse… But 'super premium'? By the way, here's Ryanair's tasteful advertising...
Bullseye Baggies ‘Whiskey super premium’ (40%, Little Drinks Company)
Bullseye Baggies ‘Whiskey super premium’ (40%, Little Drinks Company)
MUSIC – Recommended listening: quite a lot of Irish music these days, like these Blaggards doing 'Bog songs.mp3'. They say they're making some Irish stout music and that's probably right. Please buy their music - they have a CD out, 'Standards' (via Celtic mp3s) Blaggards

September 10, 2005

Linkwood 19yo 1985/2005 (60.6%, Dewar Rattray, cask #4543, 233 bottles) TASTING - Linkwood 19 yo 1985/2005 (60.6%, Dewar Rattray, cask #4543, 233 bottles) Nose: very bold, bourbonny attack, on light caramel and breakfast honey. Lots of vanilla cream. Quite some oaky notes, vanillin, lactones. Mouth: bold and powerful attack, very sweet and curiously winey. A bit too hot, I’d say, but water doesn’t really improve it. Develops on lots of fudge and caramel. In short, it’s rather nice and enjoyable but perhaps it lacks a little extra-complexity. 82 points.
MUSIC – Recommended listening - sure they seem to be completely crazy but have a listen to Tortelvis and Dread Zeppelin playing Heartbreak hotel.mp3 and don't tell me it's not, at least, amusing. Btw, some say even Robert Plant loves them! Please buy their music... Tortelvis and Dread Zeppelin

September 9, 2005

HMV Oxford Street, London, 6th September 2005 by Dave Broom

I was early for the next appointment, so decided to kill time by browsing in HMV Oxford Street. Just browsing, mind. (Who are you kidding? Browsing infers no intention of buying. Your version is about resisting temptation and only buying one cd rather than five and then trying to convince yourself that money has been saved because four have been put back. “Just the one” .. It’s the same with drink.)
Anyway, I’m looking for Doctor Dog. It’s hard to tell if there’s anything there because a bloody mixing desk is blocking the end of the ‘D’ section. I twist into a ridiculous shape to try and discern the presence of the Doctor. (You call that browsing?)

K.T. Tunstall
The mixing desk doesn’t register as I wander into the next aisle (Just look. What was on the list? Forget the list.) When I turn around I’m wedged in by a crowd of remarkably clean and glossy young people. Maybe there was a reason for the mixing desk. Right enough, there’s a stage, a mic and a big screen saying “K.T. Tunstall here at 1pm” Might as well hang on. Don’t mind K.T. Scottish you know. She’ll also stop any “just the one” happening.
The last in-store performance I witnessed was Elliot Smith (the heroin-addicted singer-songwriter) at Amoeba Records in Haight Street, the best record store in the world (.. well .. up there with Aquarius .. oh and Louisville’s ear-X-tasy.. and NYCs Other Music. You’re making another list. Stop it. How many voices are in here?) Anyway he was fantastic. Chatty and happy even if his songs were of despair and heartbreak. I found myself crushed against the C section looking into the eyes of Gene Clark (the alcoholic singer songwriter) It seemed too much of a coincidence. Just the one..

So I wait for the same thing to happen ..

Electric Prunes
Electronic Embrace
another minute then I must go ..

East of Eden
Earth Eels!

.. she must be on soon ..

Froufrou Fruit Bats
Free freak kitchen

If you’re still here you must really like her.
4th Finger..
Fountains of Wayne!

and she’s on.

K.T. Tunstall
She has a voice. A very very good voice, a natural blues voice rather than the swallowing technique which makes the singer sound like she’s singing in Martian in a empty metal septic tank. Think Anastacia.
She has songs. Black Horse and the Cherry Tree is a cracker. She’s from a folk tradition, a blues tradition which drifts into soul. She does Other Side of the World, Another Place to Fall (a bit Macy Gray, which is no bad thing) and Black Horse, stomping on pedals to create loops of claps, backing vocals, sounds, layering the sound. I clap.
K.T. Tunstall       That said, I have a problem with her album. It’s overproduced, her solo-penned numbers are stronger than the ones with joint credits. (though the little electronic bleeps and grinds on Universe & U takes her towards Beth Gibbons territory). You get the feeling her personality is drowning as the buttons of style are pressed (bit of nu-soul? tick; hint of country? tick; straight pop? tick). She’s on the verge of being airbrushed into acceptability : oor wee KT from Skye.

Here, on her own, in the aisles she’s better, more raw. This is has happened before. In the 60s and early 70s, Glasgow produced two great r&b singers. One was Maggie Bell who formed Stone The Crows and then .. well .. disappeared, potential unfulfilled. The other was Lulu who ended up a national pop treasure. I want KT to be Maggie Bell. Jerry wexler could do wonders with that voice. Reckon her management want her to be Lulu.
I’m still in the F’s. I’m looking at Lepidoptera by Fursaxa. Moths and butterflies. Night and day. Seems to make sense. I buy it. Just the one... - Dave Broom

Many thanks, Dave. And writing in colours, very psychedelic indeed! I had a try at the music of that lassie from Skye and my daughter jumped into my room, wondering if I was alright. I mean, that's precisely the kind of music I should not like. But it's so charmingly composed and so nicely overproduced that, well, I enjoyed it. Yes, even the over-overproduced Other side of the world.mp3. A strawberry milkshake from Skye rather than a Talisker, but yes, I liked it. Ah, I feel so young just now! (but is that what Nick calls 'pink' music?)
Port Ellen 1981/1999 (40%, G&M Connoisseur’s Choice Port Ellen 1982/2003 (61.2%, Scotch Malt Whisky Circle, sherry) Port Ellen 17yo 1982/1999 (46%, Murray McDavid, MM 2599)

Port Ellen 1981/1999 (40%, G&M Connoisseur’s Choice)
Colour: dark straw. Nose: very grassy, grapefruit skin. Rather austere. The peat is very discreet. Mouth: nice balance between peat and citrus. Some tary notes. A rather good one, not complicated. 86 points.

Port Ellen 1982/2003 (61.2%, Scotch Malt Whisky Circle, sherry) Colour: full amber. Nose: great sherry combined with some eucalyptus and menthol. Peat and dark chocolate, burnt bread, a bit of pepper. Not a sweetish sherry this time! Mouth: very nice mix of peat, bitter chocolate, bitter oranges and all sorts of tropical fruits. Gets very bitter, though, and quite drying. It makes the palate stick to the tongue! Long finish, on strong coffee. 86 points.
Port Ellen 17 yo 1982/1999 (46%, Murray McDavid, MM 2599)
Nose: typically smoky, with the usual notes of tar, burnt tyre and whiffs of sea air. Notes of fresh oysters. Typical indeed. Mouth: rather sweet, with also lots of marzipan. Gets very fruity, with some nice notes of roots. I like the freshness and the cleanliness. Excellent if not overly complex! 89 points.
And also: Port Ellen 25 yo 1978/2004 4th release (56.2%, OB) Really bold and powerful, very good but perhaps 'a little tad' simpler than the previous editions. I really have to have a more serious go at it. 90 points.

September 8, 2005


Tomatin 10 yo (43%, OB, ‘golden label’, 80’s) Colour: gold. Nose: again a punchy oldie, starting on some bold notes of fresh oranges and passion fruit. It gets more and more citrusy, with also all sorts of other fruits. A malt can hardly be fruitier, I think. Not too complex but very nice and straightforward. Mouth: lots of fruits again! Passion fruit again, mango, kiwi, and something of the famous Chinese liquor called ‘mei kwei lu’. Quite gingery too, and nicely balanced if, again, not too complex. Rather long and satisfying finish. Most drinkable! 84 points.

Tomatin 10yo (43%, OB, ‘golden label’, 80’s)
Tomatin 12yo ‘Scone Palace’ (40%, OB for the Earl of Mansfield, circa 2000) Tomatin 12 yo ‘Scone Palace’ (40%, OB for the Earl of Mansfield, circa 2000) Colour: quite nice but much more ‘classic’, with lots of grain, light caramel and mashed potatoes. Goes on with some hot butter, boiling milk, hot porridge (aaah!) Simple but good, no question. Mouth: smooth but a bit thin at first, getting then very malty but also cardboardy and quite bitter. Some notes of burnt vegetables, strong liquorice, but other than that it’s also curiously watery and disjointed. Well, it’s not a winner, for sure. 70 points.
MUSIC – Jazz - Recommended listening: again, this is drumming! Cuban powerstation Julio Barreto plays a very good Oleo.mp3 with his fellow compatriots Leandro Saint-Hill, Eduardo "Dudu" Penz, Ademir Cândido and Tany Simon Milanés, aka 'Julio Barreto Latino World'. Thats on their ' Live & Rhythm' CD - please buy it you like it! Btw, Julio Barreto has been Gonzalo Rubalcaba's drummer, which says it all! Julio Barreto

September 7, 2005

The Glenturret 8yo (43%, OB, 80’s) Glen Turret NAS (75 proof, OB, Paisley Whisky Co, 70’s) Colour: straw. Nose: rather bold, very sweet and quite grainy and flowery, with some whiffs of roots. Develops on violets, fresh butter, dill… Rather clean and quite fragrant, nice! Also slightly maritime (sea air), with also some notes of freshly squeezed oranges. A great surprise, getting a little yeasty (porridge). Quite vibrant!
Mouth: sweet but again, rather bold attack, very perfumy (Cologne water – hard to drink, I know), with some notes of rotten oranges (yes, not too good) and cardboard… Getting weirdly bitter (burnt herbs, burnt caramel, ‘flawed’ dried almonds if you see what I mean). Hard, very hard… To bad, the nose was so great! Long (alas) and bitter finish… Well! 70 points, still, for the very nice nose.
The Glenturret 8 yo (43%, OB, 80’s) Colour: straw. Nose: milder, very different, starting on some very bold cardboard, almonds, orgeat syrup. I never had that so boldly in a malt. Notes of dried mushrooms, Chinese mushrooms, mastic, argan oil, orange skin… Quite bizarre but sort of enjoyable. And some bold notes of paraffin, burning candle… More interesting than really good, actually. I’m curious about the palate… Mouth: light and sweet, but again lots of cardboard, wax, orange water, soap… Difficult, very difficult, especially because it then gets bitter and too grassy, with some notes of cheap vodka or gin. Gets watery, yet bitter… Medium finish, getting quite sour and always bitter. Well another miss, and the nose wasn’t that great… 65 points.
The Glenturret 10 yo ‘High Proof’ (57.1%, OB, 80’s) Colour: white wine. Nose: strong and spirity, with again these fresh almonds right from the start, but also some nail varnish. Gets very herbal, grassy, with some notes of fresh parsley… And again something chemical (varnish, glue) and some apple vinegar. Not completely unbalanced in fact, but rather hard to enjoy. Now, with a few drops of water: the ‘chemical’ notes do vanish, but the malt gets even more herbal and rather yeasty, with again some notes of rubbed orange skin. Not too bad, in fact, but that’s not what I would call ‘pleasure’. Mouth: (neat) punchy, almost pungent, but more enjoyable than its lighter brothers. Lots of grapefruit, lemon… Also a strange metallic taste, iron… And then it gets quite salty. What kind of reaction is that? Anyway, it’s not as bitter as the other ones, good news! With water: ah, yes, this is more like it. Lots of citrusy notes, passion fruit, kiwi… Some icing sugar… And also quite some pepper, parsley, ginger. Quite austere but I like it. Long finish but with a heavy metallic taste (and grapefruit juice). At least, this one is interesting. 80 points.
MUSIC – Recommended listening: let's all remember the great Rory Gallagher, and listen to Ghost blues.mp3. Please buy Rory Gallagher's music. (boohh, that was short) Rory Gallagher

September 6, 2005

Highland Park 25yo (53.5%, OB, late 1990’s)


Highland Park 25 yo (53.5%, OB, late 1990’s)
Colour: amber. Nose: rather bold and extremely honeyed and heathery, as usual. Lots of nectar notes and quite some peat coming through (unusual at that level). Quite some sherry too and also some fine oaky notes. Rather complex and surely full bodied. Mouth: starts rather drier than the current version, but with lots of oomph. Strikingly saltier as well. Complex development, with some notes of seawater, wood, smoke, and still quite some sweetness, the whole being perfectly balanced. The finish is bold and long, on honey, smoke and salt. A great classic. 90 points.

Highland Park 26 yo (44.6%, Adelphi, cask #3900) Nose: extremely honeyed and waxy again, developing on oak, aspirin and gin. Quite bizarre! Gets then more and more herbal and dry. Mouth: sweeter and more rounded at first nosing (good news), getting more and more powerful and even a bit prickly and very peppery. Some fruity notes coming through, finally. Quite nice but still a little too dry altogether for my tastes. 84 points.
Highland Park 18 yo 1984/2003 (56.1%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, 4.96)
Nose: powerful and very, very fruity instead of the usual honeyed notes. Lots of vivacity, with some grapefruit skin, orange, tangerine, getting then very chocolaty. Not too complex, in fact, but very, very enjoyable. Mouth: bold, compact and balanced at the same time. The attack is quite peppery, with also lots of cooked fruits and jams. It then gets nicely bitter (lemon peel). In short, it’s not too complex but still very satisfying. 87 points.
SHOPPING: Great news! We can now take some peated baths without being obliged to pour a dozen bottles of Ardbeg 10 yo into our jacuzzis or hot tubs. As healthegoods.com explains: 'Now you can enjoy the benefits of peat in your jetted tub. There is no risk of clogging the jets as it is only liquid.  The beneficial aspects of peat are extracted, concentrated and placed in a handy container. Also great for those who do not want the natural muddy peat in their bath. Moor Peat Extract is excellent for quick body wraps. Little mess, quick application and easy to apply. Benefits of Moor Peat Extract: • great for jetted tubs • body wraps • great for those who do not want muddy peat on them • relaxing • nutritive properties: contains minerals, trace elements, humic acids, enzymes, plant oils and other nutrients beneficial to the skin.' Moor Bath has a molasses-like consistency and comes at $37.95 a bottle.
They also sell another 'liquid' they call 'Baleno Peat' (maybe it's rather 'Balneo', eh?) that comes from the Czech Republic and that's supposed to cure: 'Scoliosis • Post-workout tightness • Post-workout soreness • Joint stiffness • Poor flexibility • Sore muscles • Eczema • Psoriasis • Chronic Tendonitis • Chronic sprained ankle • Fibromyalgia • Chronic Arthritis • Detoxification • Immune stimulant • Cold or mild illness (sweat it out!) • Insomnia • Stress • Anxiety • Carpal tunnel syndrome • .....and more.' Yeah, exactly like whisky! And oh, they also have a Peat Shower Gel...
MUSIC – BLUES - Recommended listening: Buddy Guy and Bonnie Raitt (as a guest singer) do a quite unsually mainstreamish but absolutely beautiful Feels like rain.mp3 in 1993. Please buy Buddy Guy's stupendous music if you like the blues or any good music. (via livinblues) Buddy Guy

September 5, 2005

Glen Elgin 14yo (80 proof, Cadenhead, black label, late 70’s) Glen Elgin 14 yo (80 proof, Cadenhead, black label, late 70’s)
Colour: deep amber. Nose: incredibly powerful, with a delicate oakiness and some superb sherry notes. Nicely vinous. Develops on camphor, getting quite medicinal (herbs, Chartreuse liqueur). Smells of old wine cellar, moisture. Very, very nice and unusual, with a beautiful sherry. Almost like an excellent wine – also some notes of fresh strawberries...
Mouth: powerful but balanced. The attack is on cooked strawberries and pepper. It’s rather woody but it’s enjoyable wood. Quite some nutmeg as well, the malt getting quite drying after a moment. Notes of Van Houten cocoa, burnt caramel, getting rather extreme in fact. Some funny hints of parsley. Long finish, a little too drying and tannic. An excellent Glen Elgin, just too tannic to make it to 90 points. It’ll be 87 points.
Glen Elgin 13yo 1965/1978 (45.7%, Cadenhead, black label, bottled October) Glen Elgin 13 yo 1965/1978 (45.7%, Cadenhead, black label, bottled October)
Colour: golden amber. Nose: much subtler than the 14yo. Great notes of salted butter caramel, getting more and more maritime (curiously). Develops on beeswax, grandma’s cupboard. Very subtle and refined indeed, it’s all delicacy. Gets then very nicely herbal and minty, with even some notes of seawater, fresh oysters, and strong honey (like chestnut). Wow! Mouth: superb balance but also lots of oomph. Lots of oak again but no sherry that I can get this time. Lots of cooked fruits, though, and also light caramel and vanilla fudge. Gets then a little peppery, with all sorts of spices (mainly clove), quite gingery. The finish is long and again, perfectly balanced, with again quite some fresh mint. A beautiful Glen Elgin! 90 points.
Glen Elgin 1971/1988 ‘Fragments of Scotland’ (50%, Duthie for Samaroli, Italy) Colour: gold. Nose: very special start, on full tea mode (old pu-her) and candy sugar. Develops on lots of peppermint, with a superb balance again, getting very complex. Lots of honey, oriental pastry (orange water) and natural mastic. What a superb nose! Mouth: a beautiful attack again, with again quite some tannins but still a superb balance. Gets very peppery, yet nicely rounded. Strong caramel crème, cooked apples, honey sauce… Glen Elgin 1971/1988 ‘Fragments of Scotland’ (50%, Duthie for Samaroli, Italy)
30 yo Pu-Her tea from Yunnan. Thanks to Nico at Les Jardins de Gaïa
Yet, it’s very ‘natural’, with little cask influence that I can get, except oak itself. The finish is very long, very peppery and almost prickly (it teases your tongue). And very, very salty at that! Another wonderful old Glen Elgin: 91 points.
MUSIC – Recommended listening: 1995, excellent Belgian jazz singer David Linx and his compadre Diederik Wissels do a quiet and beautiful song called Lord of the Groundless.mp3 (from 'Up close') Wow, that's delicacy, don't you think? Please buy their music! (photo Michel Vonlanthen) David Linx

September 4, 2005

Hillside 25yo 1971/1997 (62%, UD Rare Malts) TASTING - Hillside 25 yo 1971/1997 (62%, UD Rare Malts) In other words: Glenesk. Colour: gold. Nose: very grassy and malty attack, growing more and more herbal. Extremely strong, hard to enjoy neat. It gets a tad smoky with a few drops of water, with also quite some honey. Mouth: very powerful attack, with some nice notes of spices and herbs beyond the sweetness that make me think of Oban. Some notes of fresh apricot. A good, kind of 'natural' one, too bad the finish gets just a little bitter. 82 points.
MUSIC – Recommended listening: better than both Keith Moon and Carmine Appice? If you like heavy percussions, perhaps you should have a go at the late Nigerian drummer Babatunde Olatunji doing Flirtation.mp3 (no mourvèdre in there ;-)) Please buy Babatunde's music - and support African music! (and Africa as a whole, while you're at it). Babatunde Olatunji

September 3, 2005

Ardbeg 1974/1997 ‘Provenance’ (55.6%, OB) Ardbeg 1974/1997 ‘Provenance’ (55.6%, OB) A well known Ardbeg, always a huge pleasure to have another go at it. Colour: full gold. Nose: starts rather simply, on full smoke, peat and cooked apple. As often with these stunning Ardbegs, it needs a few seconds before it bursts into your nose… And here it goes: musk, ginger, sea air, iodine, wax polish, cooked apricots, old turpentine, old furniture, bandages, camphor… Need I say more? Even better than last time – this bottle was opened more than one year ago and was 2/3 empty. Incredible, it became even more complex! But wait, maybe the palate is a bit tired… Mouth: now it’s very quick in action! Smoky, peppery, gingery, very creamy and even sort of silky. Lots of Lapsang Souchong tea, grapefruit juice, dark chocolate… Also something a little ‘burnt’ (burnt cake, BBQ herbs, curry powder)… Not monstrously complex but extremely bold and balanced at the same time, with kind of a roughness that’s most enjoyable. The finish is ‘long like a day without bread’, peppery and spicy, with also some clove and quite some tannins. In short, still a total winner and a landmark bottling. 95 points. (unchanged)
Ardbeg 28 yo 1967/1995 ‘Pale Oloroso’ (53.7%, Signatory, cask #575, 548 bottles) A legendary Ardbeg – will it stand the comparison with the Provenance? Colour: full gold again, just a tad darker. Nose: beautiful attack, with much more sherry (which means it’s much quicker to assault your nostrils – peacefully of course). Not too smoky, nor peaty, but superbly waxy, with lots of ‘natural’ turpentine (which I always cherish), tiger balm, wax polish. And now come the sea air, seaweed, almond milk. It’s a little bolder than the Provenance actually, which is incredible indeed. Hints of cider, bitter oranges, milk chocolate. This is perfection… After a few minutes, it even overwhelms the Provenance when putting both glasses under your nose. Plain crazy! Ardbeg 28yo 1967/1995 ‘Pale Oloroso’ (53.7%, Signatory, cask #575, 548 bottles)
Mouth: the attack is very similar to the nose in style, which is not so common. Lots of waxy notes, white pepper and nutmeg, and some superb oaky notes as well (it makes me think of a 100% new oak Montrachet just before bottling). Some caramel, liquorice stick, pepper sauce again. The peat is well here but it sort of hides behind all other flavours… Long, bold and balanced finish. In short, the nose is totally stunning (even more complex than the Provenance’s, no question), the mouth is extremely good but perhaps a tad less ‘satisfying’ than the Provenance’s. In a whole, I feel it’s worth exactly the same rating: 95 points. Tie!
MUSIC – Blues - Recommended listening: new cat Shemekia Copeland (she's only 25) sings Getto Child.mp3. Very classical but very beautiful. Please buy Shemekia Copeland's music! (photo: Larry Busacca) Shemekia Copeland
Glenfarclas 50yo 1955 STARS - At least, we have the official picture, and en primeur at that! No, no, it's not that they are giving away a free bottle of whisky with each cupboard you buy, it's quite the contrary. This is the official picture of the new and delicious Glenfarclas 50 yo 1955 that I tasted recently - 93 points, no less. Thanks again, Malt Maniacs Belgium! (click the picture to have a closer look at it - don't worry it's free)
I'm sorry, it's got nothing to do with whisky or music - rather disgust. The world has gone mad - especially some advertisers. Please click on 'Yahoo' at the right and you'll see... (does not lead to Yahoo, just a hardcopy).

September 2, 2005

Clynelish 1991/2004 (43%, G&M Connoisseur’s Choice)


Clynelish 1991/2004 (43%, G&M Connoisseur’s Choice) One of the new CC’s, now bottled at 43% instead of 40%. Colour: white wine. Nose: fresh, clean and very fruity. Lots of ripe melon and pear juice, pear drops, ripe kiwi. Very youthful. It gets also a little yeasty, slightly sour in a nice way (mashed potatoes with a good deal of butter). Also some notes of apple skin, fern… And some sea air as well. Very nice, rather complex and totally flawless.

Mouth: a nice and very nervous attack, but perhaps a bit too bitter and woody this time. Quite tannic, in fact. It gets also very vegetal (‘roquette’ salad, the one they serve with the beef carpaccio), with some strong notes of over infused tea, gin, crystallised ginger (lots). Very strong and almost biting after a moment. A little weird, I must say, although it probably is ‘a profile’. Kind of a metallic taste, at that. The finish is rather long but there’s something strange growing, like a taste of aluminium. Yet, it’s not a lightweight malt at all. The nose was great but the mouth is a little flawed I think. 77 points
Clynelish 14 yo 1990 (43%, Jean Boyer Best Cask, ‘small barrel’) These small barrels were made out of American oak. Colour: white wine. Nose: rather powerful but ouch, this one starts on some heavy nail varnish, sawdust, sour apple juice… That’s quite disturbing, but it gets a little better after quite some minutes of breathing. There are still lots of notes of chemicals in there (artificial flavouring, jelly sweets) but also some pineapple juice, lots of ginger ale, aspirin and sweet sugared mustard (and brown sauce, while I’m at it). And always these sour woody notes, with also lots of butter, stale beer and quite some lactones and vanillin. Well, there might have been a small problem with the cask! Mouth: rather smooth this time, but also a little disjointed. Cold overcooked coffee, burnt caramel, overripe oranges… It gets rather herbal, with some rooty notes, herb liquors. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not too bad in fact, just a little too bitter. The finish is rather long and quite salty, with also something ‘chemical’. Well, it’ll be 77 points too. Clynelish 14yo 1990 (43%, Jean Boyer Best Cask, ‘small barrel’)
Clynelish 13 yo 1990/2004 (46%, Signatory Unchillfiltered, bourbon barrel #12737) Colour: light straw. Nose: rather punchy, starting on some toasted bread and gin. Very grainy and very herbal, getting even sort of violent. Beer, sour wood, cider… Also some cardboardy notes, porridge, Schweppes, Alka-Seltzer… Yeah well, I’d say this one lacks a little sweetness, to say the least. Some hints of violet perfume. Mouth: a little spirity and quite peppery and woody. Also a little sweetish and again, rather sour and biting your tongue a bit. Again a slightly steely taste. I wouldn’t say it’s perfectly balanced, but it’s not bad whisky, far from it. It just lacks aromas and flavours, and is perhaps a bit too close to ‘alcohol’. Long, powerful, salty finish, with also some pineapple (some fruit, finally!) 78 points.
Clynelish 12yo 1992/2004 (46%, Signatory Unchillfiltered, hogshead #6306, 404 bottles) Clynelish 12 yo 1992/2004 (46%, Signatory Unchillfiltered, hogshead #6306, 404 bottles) Colour: light amber. Nose: ah, this is much nicer! Starts on some extremely bold notes of milk caramel (the famous Werther’s Originals – I think I never got them that strikingly in a malt), very malty. Goes on with some hot butter, fudge, warm apple pie… And of course a good deal of vanilla. Also some cappuccino. It then gets very nicely sour and slightly woody, not unlike the G&M. Develops on white fruits, apples and pears… It gets perhaps just a bit too sour but nothing too offending. Definitely a nice nose, if not totally typical Clynelish. Some hot milk too. Mouth: a superb attack, powerful, very special and so typically Clynelish this time. Violet sweets, beeswax, strong honey, Smyrna raisins… Also lots of dried fruits, mastic candies, caramel… Very, very nice, even if just a bit ‘papery’ and perhaps slightly rough. Nice tastes of caramelised beer (sorry I know next to nothing about beers) and liquorice. Nice, medium long finish. A very, very nice young Clynelish! 87 points (and thanks Vincent).
The Bloody Irish Boys MUSIC – Recommended listening: The Bloody Irish Boys, 'a fast driven punk band inspired by the traditional Irish' does Streams of Whiskey.mp3. They are closer to the Pogues than to the Sex Pistols if you ask me, but I like them very much. But hey buddy, what's that bottle? Jim Beam??? Dear reader, please buy The Bloody Irish Boys' music, so that they can afford some proper Irish whiskey!

September 1, 2005


Glenury-Royal 13 yo (80 proof, Cadenhead, bottled 1979)
Colour: gold. Nose: quite spirity and very oaky attack (freshly sawn oak plank). Not very expressive right at the start but it then develops very nicely, on tea and gooseberries….

Glenury-Royal 13yo (80 proof, Cadenhead, bottled 1979)
It then gets a little minty, with also some notes of camphor and turpentine, all that with a perfect balance and lots of vivacity after all these years in glass. Playful and highly enjoyable, with a very long development on lots of various ‘micro-aromas’. Mouth: woody attack, but it’s nice wood. Then we have a superb mix of fresh mint, white pepper and liquorice. Wow, that’s pretty nice! Not monstrously complex but so satisfying, special, with a perfect roundness. Quite some marzipan. The finish is long, the malt keeps developing on olive oil and lemon seeds. The nose was very nice but the mouth is fantastic. A beautiful Glenury, worth no less than 92 points for me.
Glenury-Royal 30 yo 1973/2003 (50.7%, Blackadder Raw Cask, cask #6861)
Colour: light gold. Nose: similar to the ‘old young’ Cadenhead, just a little more on almond milk and orgeat syrup. Very nicely herbal, with some notes of camomile tea, Chinese green tea. Some beautiful oak. Also some notes of apple skin, and almost as waxy as an old Clynelish, paraffin. Also whiffs of peat. A perfect cleanliness and a great balance, wow! Mouth: superb attack, very punchy, on bitter chocolate and white pepper. Again some bitter almonds. A bit too cardboardy and very, very waxy. A great bitterness (if you like that), with also lots of roasted Japanese tea (Hojicha). A superb profile, I think, but it might not please the lovers of big peat and big sherry. Just lacks a little definition when compared with the Cadenhead. 90 points.
Glenury-Royal 23 yo 1966/1990 (53.8%, Cadenhead black label) Colour: dark gold. Nose: spirity, with some very strong notes of mustard, horseradish, wasabi (Glenury used to be decidedly Japanese, it appears!) It gets more and more vegetal, grassy. Freshly mown lawn. Notes of gin and Schweppes. A malt that doesn’t smell ‘Scotch’ at all! Also some notes of wet fallen leaves, green tea and old books. Again, I like that. Mouth: punchy and a little too spirity but it’s also very nicely herbal, on Chinese green tea this time. Alas, it’s also too woody and tannic, with also some burnt bread. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still enjoyable, almost like an excellent 100 proof gin (if that exists). Very long finish, nicely bitter and peppery. Okay, it’s a bit extreme… 89 points, still.
MUSIC – Recommended listening: I should not like this kind of song, this kind of music, this kind of arrangement, yet I love it! Maybe it's because it reminds me of long gone times (Curved Air? Renaissance?)... Anyway, have a try at Heather Dale singing 'May queen.mp3' and see if you agree with me... And then please buy Heather Dale's music! Heather Dale
Seen over at Taylor and Green of Etal: 'These Rocking Chairs are made from Oak that was reclaimed from a Whisky Distillery in Edinburgh. The timber had spent the previous 60 or more years as large 6ft deep, 32,000 litre Blending Vats used in the production of “Highland Queen” Fine Old Scotch Whisky. When the timber came to us it was painted white on one side and stained black on the other due to contact with the whisky. However, once we had dressed the surface of the timber we found that underneath was some of the finest quarter-sawn English Oak we had ever seen. When machining the wood there is still a very strong smell of Whisky!'
Now, what's funny is that they sell these rockers for £975.00, while a rocker made out of new oak is only £750.00.
NEW on Malt Maniacs: maybe the definitive piece about FWP and where it came from, by Dave. Wazzat? Well if you don't know yet, check MM #16!

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

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

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

Ardbeg 1974/1997 ‘Provenance’ (55.6%, OB)

Ardbeg 28 yo 1967/1995 ‘Pale Oloroso’ (53.7%, Signatory, cask #575, 548 bottles)

Glen Elgin 13 yo 1965/1978 (45.7%, Cadenhead, black label, bottled October)

Glen Elgin 1971/1988 ‘Fragments of Scotland’ (50%, Duthie for Samaroli, Italy)

Glenury-Royal 30 yo 1973/2003 (50.7%, Blackadder Raw Cask, cask #6861)

Glenury-Royal 13 yo (80 proof, Cadenhead, bottled 1979)

Highland Park 25 yo (53.5%, OB, late 1990’s)

Port Ellen 25 yo 1978/2004 4th release (56.2%, OB)

Tamdhu 10 yo (40%, OB, 80’s)