We'll try a new official bottling from Bladnoch - 'Samsara'. Although I might be able to say Bladnoch was my favourite Lowland dram I've not been finding much success with the most recent releases so it'll be very interesting to see what the current owner is proposing.
After the interesting comparison of 2 15yo Glencadams bottled a few years apart: one filtered and coloured at 40% the other 46%, natural colour and un-filtered, there's a few more pairings we can do, perhaps Dalmore 12yo could be the next in line.
For our sherry cask we'd better test drive the latest official Glendronach full stength release: Batch 6.
Royal Mile Whiskies have just bottle what I think is the first UK Benromach 'Merchant's Bottle'. I pick up some distinct peat but other's might be looking for a bit more so I'll see if slipping in a mystery Islay malt at full stength will work too or even the newly released full strength peated Benriach.
There's a very tempting 1987 Caledonian (closed grain from Edinburgh) but it's a bit of a budget bender so perhaps we'll go for another mystery dram.
All soon to be finalised.
We started with Dramfool's 21yo Tobermory which I felt warranted its inclusion as nobody I poured it to before had anything properly negative to say about it. As I've probably reported before I allow one 'academic' over 'hedonistic' dram in a tasting so felt within my rights. Having had the bottle at home and tested and re-tested maybe I should have listened to myself and used it as a bonus 6th dram. It wasn't bad just a bit all over the place. Nobody came close to guessing the age which could be considered as the 'oh that's interesting' moment - illustrating to those who still believe age is everything and older is better and time in the cask always discernible.
Onwards : Signatory 1987 29yo Caledonian closed Edinburgh grain. This is the first dram of the night I hadn't test driven - it's difficult to sample everything I'd like to but I'd better think that one through as while the dram was fine it fell short of my expectations of an aged grain which I know can be wonderful, unfortunately I wasn't the only one with this disappointment. Some took to it though. The class did show in spots here and there but ideally the complete package of harmonious cask, grain, time and spirit would have presented itself. Nice (if sad) to try another 'ghost', especially a local one with such an interesting history. The challenge of keeping the ticket price down and still taste closed distilleries is not getting any easier.
Next was the Bladnoch Samsara - I like to include new releases in order that those curious to try new drams but for whatever reason don't want to buy a bottle can see what's happening. I find the shift in style from Bladnoch of old to current really interesting - can anyone explain where the citrus, fresh grassy notes have gone and where the fuller body has appeared from? If I had to guess I'd say a combination of change to the yeast variety coupled with an adjustment to fermentation time.
Next was a solid Glendronach Cask Strength Batch 6, not as balanced as the previous two full strength sherry beauties but fine nevertheless. could this be Rachel Barrie's first attempt?
Finally the show stopper - a private cask of Port Charlotte from my mate Sascha. Fantastic. I wish I'd kept more of it but I felt it had to be shared to make up for the shortcomings of some of the other pours.....
Jolly Toper wrote:Next was the Bladnoch Samsara - I like to include new releases in order that those curious to try new drams but for whatever reason don't want to buy a bottle can see what's happening. I find the shift in style from Bladnoch of old to current really interesting - can anyone explain where the citrus, fresh grassy notes have gone and where the fuller body has appeared from? If I had to guess I'd say a combination of change to the yeast variety coupled with an adjustment to fermentation time.
http://www.executivestyle.com.au/bladno ... sky-gtg9os
Despite using aged stocks, this is a brand new taste for Bladnoch created by master distiller Ian MacMillan, who has 40 years experience in the industry. "He has recasked it, he's finished it, he's taken certain batches together: he's done all of that to give you a very unique expression of Bladnoch," says Prior.
And from their own website...
Samsara: This unique malt is created by blending Bladnoch Single Malts matured in first fill ex Bourbon casks and first fill ex Californian Red Wine casks – both American Oak – to create a rich and smooth winey palate.
Ages: Minimum 8 year old plus rare, older whiskies.
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