Due to the nature of my work I can't always manage to participate in the official tasting evenings, but I do like to report on what I drink, whisky-wise.
So, I will use this forum, or this discussion thread to record my own personal oddball little tastings.
As the Germans, or at least Bavarians, might say, this is my version of Whisky for One and is definitely NOT limited to New Year's Eve
Tonight I have the rare fortune to be sampling two rather nice drams, so pin yer ears and eyes back and here goes:
Alloa 40y single grain. Hart Bro's, cask 30295, bottle 36 of 204, July 1964-Feb 2005, 42.5%
Nose: The luxury of honey and butterscotch with a hint of apricots, peaches and cream. Overlayed on this is a delicate promise of something just very slightly spicy.
Palate: If I follow Richard Paterson's rule, the first sip of any whisky should be kept in the mouth one second for each year of the whisky's age. OK, back in 40 seconds with a report ...................
Mmmmmm, my first impression was that after the nose, I expected a luxuriously thick, fruity syrup with lots of honey. The texture was rather normal, not syrupy at all. It took something like 10 seconds for the flavours to emerge and the first one was of a slightly sweet, perhaps butterscotch likeness. After the twenty second mark, the spiciness began to grow and overpowered the sweetness. But this was certainly not unpleasant. This spiciness spread from the middle of the tongue to the extremeties and brought with it the flavour of peaches and ice cream - a wonderful experience.
From 30-40 seconds this peaches and ice cream flavour dominated and the spiciness receded to the background.
More Nose: Whilst I have been typing, the whisky has stood on my desk and I have decided to nose once more. It now retains the peachy fruitiness, but also offers aromas of wheat and cereal alongside. In fact, there is almost an aroma of a bowl of something between Special K and Weetabix, but not quite porridge.
Please don't be put off here, these aromas are a delight and nothing like as bad as they sound from my description!
Palate again: So here we go with sip no. 2 ..... Once again, the build-up of flavours is slow. This is not a whisky which immediately hits you, it creeps up gently and then explodes into a fruity, spicy life. The peaches and cream were there again. So was the gentle spiciness which took a few seconds to emerge, this time on the back of the tongue.
On the third sip, the butterscotch started to emerge with the spiciness. In fact, although there is no taste of ginger, it reminds me of a ginger-style tingle as opposed to a chilli-style one.
Aftertaste: The aftertaste, including the after-tingle is long and pleasant on both the front tip and back of the tongue. This is more a butterscotch than peaches and cream flavour which I suppose suits the idea of butterscotch.
Overall impression: Wonderfully smooth, just a like a single grain should be. Lots of nice fruit with peaches and apricots, but also a slightly spicy butterscotch element which dominates the aftertaste.
This is a thoroughly pleasant dram and I can't help thinking about what kind of blend I could design with this as the base, if only I had the skills of a remarkable few in the trade. I could envisage mixing this with some Glenlivet Nadurra CS and maybe the 18y as both also have lots of summer fruit flavours. For balance I may include something like Benrinnes or Blair Atholl and if I could get the quantities right, I am sure it would be a winner!
As a second thought, Ardbeg 30y would also be a great partner to this Alloa if anyone wanted to create something totally sublime!
With water: Oh dear, just 3 drops of water in about 1cl of whisky was too much. The palate was weakened but the aftertaste improved and lengthened - strange, I have never encountered this before.
I'll take a rest now and come back a little later with Caol Ila 25y CS.
I love Caol Ila, especially CS versions so I am really looking forward to trying this one.
Nose: Here is the first surprise. No trace of the typical smoke and peat of 'normal' CI's, just a faint smell of an island dockyard combined with a barrel load of freshly delivered barley. This really does smell of fresh barley, just like you see on distillery tours.
Palate: Raw power, perhaps too much so. For me, it needs water ......
With water: 8 Drops in about 1cl;
Back to the nose: That's better! Now we have the typical CI smoke, more wood-smoke than peat, although there is a little peat in the background.
And the palate again: Strange, this really is difficult. The nose was much improved with the 8 drops of water, but the palate was weakend just a little too much. I added a dribble more whisky and then I had about the right mixture.
This is now a wonderfully smooth, but very powerful Caol Ila. It has lall the 'right' attributes of smoke, a little peat and a great 'Scottish jetty' feeling.
I'm trying again, this time almost 2cl & 5 drops of water:
Yes! Smoke, a little peat and lots of Scottish sea air. The texture is smooth and velvety, which is much more refined than the CI's I have tried up to date. Perhaps this is what the extra years do for it. If so, then I wholeheartedly approve. This is definitely no juvenile, it is a refined and fully mature adult in the prime of life.
Aftertaste: The aftertaste is long with peat and plenty of tingle factor on the front and middle of the tongue.
Overall impression: My first and over-riding impression of this whisky is one of smooth elegance, in a peaty and smoky kind of way. It is a very refined and mature adult, but not for the faint-hearted.
It needs water, but getting the right amount and balance correct is far from easy. When you do get it right, you have an excellent whisky, perhaps even a great. But get it wrong and you have something very ordinary at best.
My tip: Persevere until you succeed, it's well worth it!
So, back down to earth a little this evening as I sample an Aultmore 12y:
Aultmore 12y OB, 40%
Nose: I was about to comment on liquorice, but it isn't quite that. Further nosing attempts sense a herbiness which is akin to the pre-packaged herb selection I often use in cooking called "French herbs" plus maybe a little sage. This is rather a faint impression, but that is exactly what I sense.
Palate: This whisky has stood for a while in my study which is kept on the cool side, therefore, the whisky is just a little too cool. It is now being hand warmed to a more normal room temperature. However, that first cool sip started slowly and then burst into a refreshingly spicy herbal liquorice assortment.
Hand warming: As it sits gently warming in my hand the herbal influence of the nose increaes slightly, although the spicy explosion on the palate decreases when slightly warmer.
Overall impression: As I mentioned, this whisky starts slowly, but the aftertaste is long and strong, almost like a delayed reaction.
I am now wondering if 40% is enough, I think this would be a much more enjoyable dram at 43-46%, maybe even as an OMC at 50%.
This is a quite pleasant dram, but not one which could enter the hall of fame as a great.
I would be interested in finding a food match for this at one of my gourmet evenings. Perhaps alongside a spicy Italian first course, or maybe even with a mild Penne Arabbiata.
It's almost like a fresh, nearly minty herb garden, in a weak kind of way.
I really do think a few extra % would improve it no end.
My next notes on here over the forthcoming week or so will include:
Milton Duff - old 1980's bottling
Macallan 1979, 18y, classic label
Dallas Dhu, 23y
Bunny, Hart Bro's, 35y, 1967, Casks 3323 & 3231
Yamazaki, The Cask of Yamazaki, May1993 - Oct 2007, Heavily Peated, White Oak Puncheon, 62%
Springbank, Milroy, 30y, 50%, bottling from mid 1960's
Rosebank, "Unblended" 15y Zenith, rare clear glass, 50%
Old Elgin, 15y, G&M, 43%
Glen Keith, 1967, 21y, 3.11.67-08.89, 46%
I have tried the Glen Keith yesterday at the fair, it was the best dram of the day for me! I look forward to re-visiting it in peace and writing some notes for you.
As for the rest, what a lucky chap I am!!!!
I have already tried this first one and was astonished how good it was, but I didn't write any notes, so here you are now, live:
Milton Duff Glenlivet, 1980's bottling
Nose: There's some malt, but also something much more complex, it's fresh, in a herby kind of way. Almost mint-like without being minty and more flowery than fruity.
Palate: The first sip is gentle malt. But upon swallowing it comes back with an explosion of spicy flavours, a delayed reaction!
This explosion hits the front of the tongue, which I find rather strange, very pleasant, but very different as it seems to totally miss the back and front of the tongue.
The actual flavour is very much a re-inforcement of the nose. No fruit, but malty and quite floral, although I can't identify individual flowers in there.
If anything, there is a slight hint of violet.
Overall impression: A lovely dram, one which I would love to find a secret stash of and keep for personal drinking.
I expected little from this one, especially as I acquired it at an excellent price a few years ago. What I get from it is a magnificent surprise and yes, I will look out for more and buy them if they are not too expensive now.
The aftertaste just goes on and on and on .................
It recedes and then just comes back again, time after time.
A really good whisky.
Dallas Dhu, 23y, 1978, G&M "Rare Cask Selection", 46%. Distilled 21.2.1978, bottled 2.8.2001, cask 344, No. 109 of 844 bottles
Nose: In complete comparison to the very pale colour, the nose is extremely strong and powerful. It offers a little malt, some liquorice and quite a dose of aniseed.
Palate: This is initially much more gentle than the nose suggests. It is smooth and very gentle. No real trace of aniseed - thank goodness. But there is some malt, just a little liquorice and something quite floral.
Overall impression: This one is difficult, it is a lovely dram with strong flavours, but I struggle to identify them individually.
It's definitely an after-dinner dram as it is so strong and would overpower any food eaten afterwards or alongside it.
Willie JJ wrote:Nice notes Keith. I like Miltonduff. The current G&M 10 yo bottling has a great nose, but the palate is thin. Good finish though and the nose is to die for.
i think it is a hugely under-rated distillery
Willie, is it 40%?
This one seems to benefit from being slightly stronger at 43%.
Rosebank "Unblended", 15y, Zenith, rare clear glass bottle, 50%
Nose: Is there a slight hint of peat in this Rosebank? Surely not! Then what is that very slight smokiness / peatiness on the nose?
There is definitely some Scottish heather and moorland in this glass.
Once again not exactly fruity, but then my experience of Rosebanks is usually floral.
Palate: Wow, at 50% this is quite strong for a Rosebank and it certainly hits the palate with some force. The over-riding first taste is one of violets, perhaps even those strange little sweets from my childhood called "Parma Violets". Even on a second taste, that violet floweriness just spreads across the palate and gently warms the mouth.
Have I ever tasted a whisky which warms in this particular way?
I really don't think so, I certainly can't remember one.
With 3 drops of water the nose has evened out a little, it's no longer so powerful.
With the water, the flavours are more complex too. The violet is still there, but it is now accompanied by many more floral notes. That Scottish moorland is certainly still evident, as is the heather basking in Autumnal sunshine, but there is more, much more ....
A little drop more water creates a spiciness which wasn't present earlier .... but now ...... unfortunately, that's the end of my sample.
Oh boy, this is a glorious dram and I wish I had more.
In fact I have, I have a whole series of these old Rosebanks in my personal collection .......
But no matter how good they are, they are remaining sealed!
I'm not really a Springbank person, but this one I can't resist much longer:
Springbank, 30y, Milroy, 50%, distilled mid-1960's
Nose: Unlike the rosebank, here is some fruit. A fruit cocktail perhaps containing apple, pear and peach. It even makes me think of another childhood sweet. Those little fruity chews which used to cost a penny (that's a real, old penny, not one of those later decimal thingies) for 10 sweets.
They had a kind of creamy peachy flavour, quite like this nose.
I also sense a very slight hint of aniseed in there, for the second night running.
Palate: My initial response is that this is much creamier in texture than I expected. It is exceptionally smooth and not at all harsh. That creaminess on the nose translates into the taste - thankfully.
The 3 drops of water really open the nose and make for a more spicy floral experience. Perhaps including a dash of freshness too. But unfortunately, the flavour of this whisky is really weakened by the drops. The creaminess is still there in flavour, but not so much in texture. It has also gained a little more spiciness which causes a prolonged tongue tickle, on the front of the tongue long after the whisky is gone.
Some may prefer it this way, but I don't think I do.
As I mentioned earlier, I am not a big Springbank fan, but this is most certainly the best Springbank I have ever tasted - by a very large margin!
But preferably, without the water for me.
Macallan 18y, 1979, old classic label, 43%
Nose: Sherry, old oak, prunes and cardomom seeds with a very slight hint of molasses thrown in.
Palate: My first impression was molasses! How unusual! There are dark fruity in there, also some very aged dark oak giving a long, very long, flavour. But my over-riding feeling is still one of very dark old rum, in a gentle kind of way. Is this whisky or a rather pleasant, very old dark rum?
I am so astonished at this. It is most certainly not what I expected.
I thought I would experience lovely old sherry and oak, in a luxuriously whisky kind of way. Instead, I am experiencing the aged flavours of a delightful old rum!
I know that many people have a scale, or table for these 18y Macallans. Judging them against one another and stating which they believe to be the best.
I really wonder how this one compares with others?
I'm signing off now for the evening,
Astonished of Bayern!
Now that is a good dram.
Anyway, as my samples diminish, I find I am left with four. But what a four!
These are some serious drams and I will attempt to try them over the weekend and report here for you.
The Cask of Yamazaki, heavily peated, 1998-2007, 62% (Pit tells me this is a real "hammer" and an absolute "must").
Bunnahabhain, Hart Bro's, 1967, 35y, casks 3323 & 3231, 40.5%
Old Elgin, 15y, G&M, 43% (I tried this care of Pit at the festival and just had to buy what was left in the bottle. I just remember this being extremely good).
Glen Keith, 1967, 21y, 46% (Another great from the festival - this was the best whisky I tried on the day. I just had to have more).
See you over the weekend - probably Sunday evening.
But then again it gives me chance to taste, as well as write about some great drams at the same time!
I have enjoyed a rare full day off from my pub by having a walk around my home town of Erding on an open-shopping day. We finished the afternoon with a meal in a local restaurant where I enjoyed a steak. Nothing too palate-destroying!
I am also using my recent acquisition of the Adelphi tasting glass which I have found to be the best ever!
So, my first dram will be the Glen Keith, 1967, 21y.
Glen keith, 1967, 21y, further details of cask and bottle numbers as previously posted
Nose: This is so intense, the Adelphi glass is working wonders compared to the Bugatti, Signatory or even the Glencairn.
The nose is extremely complex with a mixture of fruit and wild flowers. I really struggle to identify individual components, maybe some apricot, slight marzipan, a little gentle toffee, or is it butterscotch? There are also some alpine herbs and flowers in there amongst the Scottish moss and heather.
The more I nose, the more I now begin to find an extra dimension which is almost medicinal. Not in a Laphroaig kind of way, but slightly more gentle.
Oh boy, I could sit here nosing this for a day or two, this is so good!
Perhaps the only thing in my experience which has come close to this was a wonderful Rosebank some years ago.
Palate: The first sip concentrates the herbs on the front of the tongue whilst making the sides of the tongue and inner cheeks water with delight.
The initial flavour is a herby one with slight spice in an almondy / marzipany kind of way.
This is smooth, very smooth and offers lots of palatable luxury which almost spreads into a cream toffee flavour over time.
My second taste offers much more of the martzipan and toffee flavours and no herbs at all. In fact, the more I think about this, the more I think of nuts!
Amazing, the flavours are intense and concentrate almost exclusively on the front and middle of the tongue, leaving the back almost completely clear.
The finish is long, very long and very pleasant with plenty of nutty and toffee flavours. This does have a strong taste, but in an extremely kind and gentle way.
Just 2 drops of water turn the nose into something else. The herbiness has completely gone and is replaced by slightly medicinal hazelnuts in a bed of fresh straw.
With the 2 drops of water, the flavour has changed in a way that I would never have expected. In my experience, which I know is rather limited, water usually opens the whisky into a more spicy dram, this is exactly the opposite.
It has become even more smooth and creamy, losing some of the potency of the nuttiness.
Overall Impression: This is a true great. I would have to say it is one of the best 5 or 6 whiskies I have ever tried.
OK, so my own experience is limited, but I can recognise a great when I try it and this is one of them.
Do I prefer it with the drops of water, maybe I do. But either way, I want more of this and I feel I just may be disappointed as if I find any, it may be just too expensive for my pocket.
It's a good job I have another sample to come back to later.
I absolutely hate to give points or a score to whiskies, mainly because these are extremely comparative and I always feel that until I have tried every single bottling of every whisky, I could not give honest scores to any.
But, if I were pushed to score this one, it would have to be in the mid 90's out of 100 and that is extremely rare from me.
Nose: In some ways this is very slightly reminiscent of one of my Christmas drams. I am back in my dream country house, sitting in the study after a good dinner enjoying the ambience of a library of old oak shelves and lots of old books, enjoyed from the position of deep-buttoned luxurious leather furniture.
This is that old oak, well looked-after with years of polishing. It is also dark fruits (currants, raisins, prunes ...), but without a strong sherry influence.
Palate: The currants, prunes and oak are evident on the palate. This warms your soul on a dark winter day, but fades quite quickly.
It is also a little drier than I expected, but not in an unpleasant kind of way.
This is defintiely rich and on the second sip a little creamier and not so dry. But it is definitely an after-dinner malt. I could envisage this as being enjoyed after a rather strong and heavy dinner. Maybe after a wild boar steak, or deer in a rich sauce.
You would not enjoy this after a gentle chicken breast in a creamy sauce!
This may also be enjoyed from a hip flask on the top of a Scottish mountain in Winter. Maybe you have just spent hours conquering one of the Munroes, enjoyed a veal or other game butty from your lunchbox and are now looking for a dram to warm the cockles of your heart before the descent. This would be that dram!
Ooops , there I go pairing food and whisky again.
OK, if you must, sample this one with a piece of traditional Christmas cake which is covered with a slice of strong, dry and crumbly cheese.
Nose: My first impression here is that this is much darker than I expected!
I am used to Bunnies being rather pale, this one looks like an old Glenfarclas!
The nose is also much less maritime than I am used to from bunnies. Those 35 years have really left their mark on this dram!
For the third time this week I am left describing the nose of a whisky as having slight hints of liquorice and aniseed. Not at all a typical Bunny!
Palate: Very unusual and unexpected. I really expected a big explosion here. What I received was gentle and almost weak.
The flavour corresponds to the nose, slight liquorice and aniseed, but not much else. It is creamy and in a funny way rich, but at the same time, weak in comparison to my expectations from the nose.
Some whiskies have a powerful aftertaste, hitting you more than they did in the initial taste. this one is long, but not powerful.
That initial flavour stays for a long time, but doesn't get any stronger, it just, well ....., kind of lingers around for a long time.
Overall impression: I am glad I had the opportunity to try this, but I suspect it is quite an expensive dram and to be honest, one which I will not go out of my way to find again.
I like Bunnahabhain, but I doubt whether I would pay the price to sample this one again. It is good, but not THAT good.
If this were an OMC (or similar) at 50% or maybe a little more, then I expect it would have the power I expected from the colour and nose. In that case, it may have been much better than it was.
You aint heard nothing yet!
My final dram for the evening is what has been described to me as a "real hammer" and one I have been immensely looking forward to.
The Cask of Yamazaki, heavily peated, 1998-2007, 62%
Nose: Wallop! Wow! Bloody 'ell and bloomin' 'eck, pick me back up off the floor!
That bloody hammer just smacked me in the face.
This is smoke like I never experienced before in a whisky.
I have posted elsewhere about the difference between peat and smoke. With smoke being wood-smoke.
Well, this one is heavily peated, but the nose offers me lots of charred wood. Not so peaty on the nose, but very heavily burned wood.
A third and fourth nosing are starting to get even more powerful with burnt rubber. Did a corvette or Bugatti suddenly scream through my study leaving four inches depth of burnt rubber across my desk, it certainly smells like it.
This has more "in your face" power than any other whisky I have ever nosed.
Palate: My goodness, if that was only the nose, just what is my mouth about to experience?
A final nosing before my first taste confirms what I suspected, this gets even more powerful as it sits in the glass!
Just a tiny sip ....... ohhhhhh bloody 'ell! (As a Tyke might exclaim)
The nose was smoke, burnt wood, smoke, burnt rubber and a little more smoke.
The so-called missing peat has just exploded in my mouth.
The initial sip started very smoothly. There was smoke, but it was rich and smooth.
The peace was soon shattered as this dram rapidly exploded into a volcano of peat which sent spasms of pleasure throughout my soul.
If you don't like peat - forget this one.
If you don't like powerful whisky - forget this one.
If you don't like smoke - forget this one.
If you DO like any of the above - just try to find this one and don't worry about the price. It WILL be worth it!
Overall impression: I think I have just been smacked in the mouth, had all my taste buds blown away and been left in state of total shock.
If I gave you this blind I am sure you would argue between it being a rather strange Ardbeg and a very rare Lagavulin.
No, this is bloody Japanese and has more "in your face"-ness than anything I have ever tried.
Buy one and try it for yourself.
You can't go through life without ever having tried this!
Three drops and has the nose been tamed?
No chance. It's even stronger.
As for the flavour - no way. This has opened up into an even more smoky finish which is almost inexplicable.
Three more drops ...... Need I tell you that this does not seem to have been tamed yet.
OK, it is 60%, but there isn't much left in my glass and it smells like there is half a bottle in there.
As for the palate, it is now a mere hammer instead of what we call a lump hammer in England.
My goodness, I have just been totally blown away.
It is not very often that I am lost for words. certainly when it comes to whisky.
I may have limited experience and sometimes struggle for comparisons, but lost for words?
When I pick myself up from the floor of my study and recover enough to become coherent again, I shall start my search for a bottle of this stuff and if it is anything like affordable, I shall buy some as I need to experiment further with this one.
So, until I report that I have found some and bought it, I can only report the following to you:
It is bloody awful.
DO NOT be tempted to buy any.
If you see any for sale, tell me and I shall do you all a favour by removong it from the public domain without you having to spend your hard-earned pennies on it.
Oh my goodness, stick with your beloved Islay monsters and do not be tempted to experiment with this. You will never be the same again!
Four of the malts are from the latest selection I have put over the bar in my pub. But five of them are ones which I would never have had the chance to taste had it not been for the generosity of a new, but now dear friend of mine.
I would like to say he is one in a million, but in reality he is one in 25.
Pit Krause is one of the renowned body of maniacs, that is Malt Maniacs.
He is one of only two in Germany and 25 in the world.
His club meets monthly in my pub and he personally organised the recent food and whisky event in my pub around the Munich whisky festival.
It is thanks to him that I have had the opportunity to try five of these superb drams which are of a level and quality that I would not normally manage.
Thanks Pit, these are truly fantastic drams and I say in the nicest possible way; "you are complete and true maniac!"
lawschooldrunk wrote:where can we obtain this beast?
LSD, I heard about this some time ago.
I seem to recall it is hard to find, rare and pretty expensive.
Other than that, I have absolutely no idea how to get hold of one, but I promise to tell you once I have secured mine. If ever I do.
If you want to experience this event 'live', then join me here on Sunday evening, probably around 10pm MET (German time) and I'll welcome your comments.
Here are another 9 which I shall dip into at the weekend and over the next week or so:
Aberlour A'Bunadh batch 20, 60.5% I have tried this before, but I want to revisit it and write my notes for it.
Ardbeg Murray McDavid, 1991-2001, 46%
Connemara CS, OB, 57.9%
Connemara Single Cask, OB, 1992-2007, 50.5% This will make an interesting head to head with the OB CS.
Clynelish 1971, 32y, 54.2%
Highland Park, Adelphi, 12y (or is it 14y, the label is hard to read), 60.9
Port Ellen, 2nd Edition, bottle 1141, 59.35% I'm really looking forward to this one.
Rosebank, Vintage 1989, Signatory
Royal Brackla, "The Companion" IB, 25y, 46% A great nose, I can't wait for this!!!
I am supposed to give my opinion on the whiskies as well as trying to identify them.
There are 3x 2-3cl samples, marked 1, 2 & 3.
That's all I have to go on, other than the person giving me them did say that none are Islays, but that is quite obvious from their noses.
So, here we go .....
Colour Very pale yellow
Nose: This has quite a powerful nose for one so pale. Very floral with a slight background of malt and almost a touch of sea air.
At this stage, my first impression reminds me slightly of Dallas Dhu or perhaps even an Old Pulteney with the sea air, but OP's are not usually so strong on the nose.
The floral notes are very strong and intense, almost like a flower bed of Hyacinth perfuming the air after a day of strong sunshine.
Palate: Wow, strong stuff, but really quite sweet in the beginning.
The sweetness hits the front of the tongue with an all-out assault and then fades slowly into hints of liquorice.
I seem to recall being told that these are all CS, which doesn't surprise me by the way that hit my palate.
From the whiskies I have tried before, I still say Dallas Dhu is the nearest to this one, although in some ways, the IB Bladnoch I have in The Arc has some of these same attributes, albeit not so strongly as it isn't CS.
With water: The nose has lost many of the floral notes in favour of the liquorice.
This is still sweet, but the finish is now much longer and is remaining on both the immediate front and back of the tongue with a lingering spiciness.
Verdict: My thoughts of Old Pulteney have faded, this is too floral and packs too big a punch for an OP. I have to stand by my idea of Dallas Dhu or Bladnoch as these are the only two whiskies I am reminded of when I drink this one.
Do I like this one?
It is rather different, very pleasant, but different.
Yes, I like it but it isn't one which I would drink casually, day in, day out. It has a special taste and I think I would have to be in the mood for this one.
I also suspect it would be a great companion to a food dish in one of my "Gourmet evenings".
What would I pair it with? Probably a spicy starter or a "piquant" main course including pasta.
Colour Also very plae, but slightly brighter yellow than the first one.
Nose: Not so floral, slightly more medicinal and certainly more acidic on the nose, or do I mean pungent?
Mmmmmm, on the third and fourth nosing I am getting distinct hints of roasted almonds and it smells very much like those almond stands in the cold Christmas markets over here!
Once again this nose has a lot of power, but it is more one-dimensional than the first sample. Which means much less complex in aromas.
Palate: Sweet (again), but very rich and extremely smooth. The rich smoothness sits almost forever on the front of the tongue and doesn't move as the whisky slides easily down the throat.
The hints of nuts (almonds) are still in evidence on the palate, but there isn't much else other than the smooth sweetness.
With water: The aroma has turned more pungent and really attacks the nose. It has also developed a slight saltiness which wasn't there before.
The palate has also totally changed. No longer richly smooth, it now assaults the tongue with a massive spiciness and saltiness. This now has some Old Pulteney attributes, but again I would say it is a little too powerful for an OP.
Bladnoch comes to mind again. Could this be the 6yr Bourbon matured version? I have one but haven't tried it yet so I can't say for certain and I'm not opening it now just to test.
Again I do not believe this to be a Speyside malt. Maybe Lowland or Island, perhaps Highland, but I would be surpised with this colour.
Verdict: Again I like this and it is a little more of an 'every day' malt than the first sample. This was delightful with water, but I think I preferred it even more without. Although the first was better with 4 drops of water.
Colour This is the most colourful of the three, but it is still pale compared to most whiskies!
Nose: I seem to want to describe this nose as heavy. Defintiely not sweet and with lots of dough. My goodness, I am back in my Grandma's house when she is making bread. The dough hasn't yet been put into the oven, but it has risen and is about to have the tea-towel removed before placing it into the oven.
What a memory. I haven't thought of this scene for some 35-40 years, but this dram just brought it back to me.
Palate: This one leaves the front of the tongue alone in favour of the middle to back. Yes, it has some dough, it also has something herbal which I can't quite identify, alongside a little Juniper.
The juniper reminds me of Penderyn, but this one isn't quite so distinct as my previous Penderyn experience. Although I wouldn't be too surprised if this were a slightly older, sherry-cask Penderyn.
With water: This is much more lively with water. Much more spicy, but less distinct in flavour. The finish is now much longer and includes the front of the tongue.
I definitely prefer this one without the water. But that's just my palate and preference.
My favourite is the second, but then I find it hard to choose between the first and third.
The only thing I can think of for the third is possibly a sherry cask Penderyn, whereas the first two could be any one of a few different things.
As for ages, I get the impression that the second is the oldest and the first the youngest.
Whereas I feel the third is a sherry cask, I have the impression that the first two are bourbon casks.
But then what do I know, I am probably way off the mark here.
When I am finally told what these are, I will report back and let you all have a giggle at how wrong I probably am.
Ardbeg 1991, Murray McDavid, 46%
Colour: Very pale, almost like water.
Nose: Not what I expected. Lots of quayside and Scottish docks, but where is the peat wallop?
Palate: This is almost like a cross between Laphroaig and Ardbeg. The peat is definitely held back by the sea and beach. This is very maritime and a most unusual, but very pleasant experience. This doesn't pack that typical Ardbeg peaty punch. It is more subdued.
When drinking this I am standing in a Scottish harbour with fishing boats all around, bringing home their catches. If someone hadn't already claimed the name, I would almost call this fishky!
Overall impression: The flavour is unusual for an Ardbeg, but very distinctive. But the finish is quite short.
If you want to try a rather different Ardbeg, then this is certainly one to go for.
As it is, I doubt I'll ever taste enough to fill more than 20 pages. But it would be a nice thought.
Thanks for the vote of confidence, but I suspect it will be zero out of three correct.
I finished the evening with a revisit to sample 2, my favourite of the three blind samples. This really was good and I look forward to finding out what it was when they return from Limburg.
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