Imperial 21yo 21.08.1995 – 18.01.2017 2 hogsheads 496 bottles Signatory 56.7% closed distillery
Highland Park Dark Origins 1st fill sherry casks NCF 46.8%
Dram Fool Islay single malt "Avian Gull" distilled June 2008 bottled in February 2017 8yo 59.2% 202 bottles
then two official 15yo Glencadams bottled about ten years apart - one natural colour, non-chillfiltered and 46% the other 40%, chill-filtered and colour adjusted.
I'll also pour the sister cask of the stupendous Whisky Broker 25yo Cambus bottled at full strength from a single sherry cask by Whisky Broker we tried last tasting: it's almost toxically undrinkable. Pouring them at the same time would have been an excellent way to illustrate the difference single casks can make...
Next we had he sister cask of Whisky Broker's stupendous Cambus sherry cask 25yo that we tried at the last tasting. I know no independent bottler hits the bull's eye every time but I thought it worth taking a punt on this bottle due to its predecessor being so good. Oops. This would have been another good side by side comparison for illustrating how different the same thing can be. Not one person in the room enjoyed the nose and most of us struggled with the palate although it must be said a few folks found some qualities in the odd notes of what I found to be whisky botrytis. I'd taste it now but really don't have the motivation I'm afraid.
Next was a proven success - the current Signatory 1995 Imperial. This batch of casks has become quite familiar to employees of RMW and attendees of Jolly Toper tastings of late. There is definitely a distillery/parcel character coming through with age being apparent and a well noted positive response to dilution.
What I believe to be a discontinued expression : Highland Park, Dark Origins may have taken advantage of good timing after the drams up to this point or perhaps is simply cracking stuff. I recall tasting it when first released and being far from impressed but on a recent re-visit the experience was very much different. On the night the wonderful balance and harmony of component flavours was inspiring. Cask, time and spirit seemed to sing in unison. All this was present in a most understand way which gave a level of sophistication not too common these days. Bravo.
Finally new independent bottler Dramfool covered themselves (well himself) in glory with a splendid 8yo single Islay with all the peaty goodness one would hope for from such a deservedly high profile distillery. The name of the source had to be hidden so this bottling went under the title of "Avain Gull'. Like some Islays and heavy sherries tasting in the afternoon is one thing but when tried after a few drams this kind of thing really seems to rise to the occasion. More please. http://www.dramfool.com
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