Therefore, to finish the evening I will re-visit one of the three to try again.
Which will I choose?
Perhaps surprisingly, I have chosen the Macallan 18y FO.
Not because it's the best, but it's the one I wish to give a second chance.
It still has that slightly insipid nose, but it is improved somewhat by the fact that I didn't wash my glass after trying the Ben Nevis.
In fact, with just a hint of Ben Nevis left on the inside of the glass, this has become a much more rounded whisky
I really like this now. It has that little something which I said it previously lacked. A certain roundness or completeness.
Hmmmmm, I may be on to a great new vatting here
Cheers and goodnight from me!
I already tried the 8y which is available here and liked it, so tonight I have another sample of the 8y alongside the 10y from Wendy.
Greenore Single Grain 8y & 10y head to head
Glass: Adelphi / Spiegelau
First the 8y:
Nose: Soft, gentle, slightly malty peaches. Wonderfully creamy nose.
Palate: Very smooth, very gentle. A lovely creamy nuttiness on the palate, but slightly watery and it fades quite quickly. Only to come back again in the back of the throat with a flavour of hazelnuts and malt.
I find it quite amazing that the nose has a distinct fruitiness which I identify mainly as peaches, but the palate has no flavour of this at all. The flavour is more one of nuts and marzipan, with a slight hint of cognac in a very smooth gentle way.
Overall impression: A good, but rather unusual distinctly Irish dram which is easy-drinking and an "anytime" one.
Second, the 10y:
Greenore, single grain, 10y
Glass: Adelphi / Spiegelau
Nose: Pretty much the same as the 8y; Malty peaches but perhaps a little more intense here in the 10y. There's also a hint of earthiness here which was not in the 8y.
Palate: My first impression is that where I found the 8y to be slightly watery, this is much more rounded and complete. It is wonderfully creamy and smooth, but more full-bodied too. Leaving absolutely no impression of wateriness. The grain is there, the nuttiness is not so prevalent, but the finish is still one of a good, smooth cognac and the finish is much longer too.
It is as if I have tasted a good smooth cognac. A slight wine flavour in the aftertaste, but this is very pleasant and really quite long. In fact, if I were given this (literally) blind, I might even think it more of a cognac than whisky. Only the nose would lean me towards identifying it as a whisky rather than cognac or other wine-based drink.
As the finish goes on, after 2-3 minutes it returns to a graininess which is more whisky (or grain) than wine.
Overall Impression: I like the 8y, I REALLY like the 10y. The 10y is much more full-bodied and rounded. It is a more complete drink with a richer flavour and much longer finish. I immediately identify the 8y as an Irish dram, whereas the 10y could be from any one of various countries. It even slightly reminds me of the Milford from New Zealand, as well as quite a few Scottish drams.
As I write these notes I have just poured the remainder of the 10y into my glass and as it rests and acclimatises, I find it opening into a more perfumed-style of whisky. Some floral elements are beginning to appear and even the nose is acquiring a slight, light Speyside style. Not spicy, but florally complex and in some ways like my older MiltonDuff Glenlivet.
Wendy, many thanks for the opportunity to try this otherwise unavailable dram. I did like the 8y, but this 10y has a complexity and depths that the 8y completely falls short of.
Now I really wantr to get my hands on any even older versions of Greenore to see what further ageing gives to this spirit.
- Glenfiddich - Global Brand Ambassador & Master Distiller
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Malt-Teaser wrote:I have a little while to relax before bed tonight, so I will try a little something from my (yes, rather exceptional) little haul.
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.
Once toured Miltonduff with some Distillery friends and was drammed with a 15 year old bottling, spectacular and worth looking for.
A Mortlach from around 1970-1 (12y old)
North Port, OMC, 1966, 36y
The Cask of Yamazaki, heavily peated
Plus, I already had an open bottle of Compass Box Eleuthera.
I have to say the Mortlach and Nort Port were amazing.
The Yamazaki I have already sampled and was totally blown away by, this is the most surprising whisky I have tried in many a year and have asked if a bottle can be sourced for me.
But, even more amazingly, I mixed a sample of the Mortlach with the Yamazaki and created possibly the best vatting ever, anywhere, by anyone!
I still have samples of all of these, so I will add some tasting notes over the next few days.
Mortlach, 12y G&M
OK, so it doesn't sound special, but this is one of those white label editions which was bottled around 1970-71 which means it is rather special.
Nose: Amazing. Not only sherry and almonds, but lilac and hints of lavender. This is an extremely aromatic Mortlach!
Palate: It does have that gentle Christmas Cake sensation. One of currants, raisins, nuts, sherry and maybe even black cherries in the background. But all this is overlayed with that wonderfully aromatic, perfumed lilac and lavender. Not heavily, but it is present and makes for a really good dram.
If anything the actual feel of the whisky in the mouth is a little watery or thin, but the flavour more than makes up for that.
Overall Impression: I really like Mortlach in general, but if only they still made them like this!
I want more
Unfortunately, I can't afford more. These are pretty expensive these days.
This may be a slower than normal tasting as I'm trying this whilst sitting at my PC catching up on other things.
Anyway, first impressions:
My very first nosing found some very nice hints of Scottish moor. Not so peaty, more heather-like.
But as it sits here in a glass, warming to room temperature, it is steadily filling the room with a wonderful, solid peaty aroma.
It seems to be growing in the glass!
More soon ......
I'm still on the nose and it seems to be quite sweet. Peaty, earthy, slightly floral and just a faint aroma of newly polished hiking boots.
Ok, back again.
I spent the last few minutes questioning my own comment about hiking boots.
Well, I have often spoken about the great times I have spent in my beloved Yorkshire, hiking in The Dales. The place I used to stay at was a converted pub which the school I attended until the age of 19, used to own.
Lots of olde worlde brass and country inn atmosphere. Getting up on a morning and preparing for the day's hike by treating my boots with dubbin was a real joy.
This Renaissance has just brought that vision back!
Freshly dubbinned leather boots sitting next to an open peat fire.
A wonderful image and aroma.
But don't be put off, the leather / dubbin aroma is extremely faint and may even be my own imagination playing tricks. But I certainly got that image in my head from this dram.
Maybe it's now time to try it:
Palate: An initial and surprising burst of smooth cream, followed immediately by gentle mixture of peat and wood smoke. Again, shortly followed by liquorice on the tongue.
This is indeed smooth and relatively sweet.
With Water: 5 drops of water in about 1.5cl really expands the nose. It is now much more aggressive. More spicy and the floral aspects take over from the peat.
Palate / Water: Still smooth, almost more so with water. The initial flavour is now mainly liquorice, but this is soon replaced as the peat comes back from the throat, tingling across to the front of the tongue and lingers almost forever.
Overall impression: I loved the "Almost There", but this is more rounded, a little more complete and very different. Which do I prefer? I'll let you know after a H2H.
Meanwhile, this is a really good whisky. Not exactly what I expected as it is more creamy than I ever expected. There are even some floral and fruity elements which almost remind me of the Kildalton, in a peaty kind of way.
I like this and will be looking for some more.
Last night I invited them around for a bbq and whisky tasting. I added two further drams to the line-up; Ardbeg Renaissance & Compass Box Eleuthera.
Here are my notes on the whiskies:
Bladnoch new make spirit, 63.5%
Nose: My first thoughts on the nose were immediately "Just like a great grappa!". Seriously, I don't wish to be facetious, but this has all the aroma and character of a magnificent grappa. It's extremely floral with lots of perfume and then, after a good 5 or 6 nosings, slight citrus elements.
Palate: An initial assault on the front of the tongue tells me this is strong, very strong. It's sweet and floral, perhaps a lily kind of flavour. But it needs water.
With water: The nose is lessened but on the palate, wow. Great. It'S now more spicy but still tasting like a fantastic grappa.
Overall impression: Bottle this and sell it.
Nose: Light, slightly floral and fresh. It's hard to identify the aromas, but you can certainly identify this with the new make spirit just tasted.
Palate: Creams and gloriously smooth. This is wonderful for a 6yr whisky. The aftertaste, immediately after swallowing is very strong creamy vanilla. Lots of it.
With water: There is now vanilla on the nose, but not so much on the palate or with the aftertaste. It is also now much more spicy, but it hasn't lost the smoothness.
A very long finish.
Overall impression: Very good. I wasn't expecting too much from a 6yr Bladnoch, but this is surprisingly good and highly recommendable.
Nose: Slightly sweet with faint caramel / toffee. I was wanting or hoping to find sherry and perhaps some banana on the nose, but it just wasn't happening.
Palate: Fiery with lots of tingle, this one is not so smooth, unlike the bourbon cask. I immediately wanted to add water to see how it would react.
With water: Just three drops greatly improved this. It is now much more smooth and more rounded, but the finish is really quite short.
Overall impression: I was highly impressed with the bourbon variant, but this one was quite disappointing. I beieve it's just too young. It needs a few more years for the sherry cask to do its job.
I would love to try this after perhaps 15 or 20 years.
Nose: This CB is light and delicate. But with an almost insignificant nose. It really is hard to describe.
Palate: I usually try this one early in a tasting, but today it comes fourth in the line-up and for the first time, I am now identifying some slightly different characteristics. This has a real maritime feel. Not peaty or smoky, but in amongst that light floral character are hints of sea air and salt.
Overall impression: I do like the CB Eleuthera and it was a delight to suddenly find the maritime characteristics. Maybe this was due to already having sampled a few other drams, none of which had this character!
Or maybe it has just changed over time as the bottle was down to the last quarter.
Either way, this is a good light whisky.
JW Blue Label:
Nose: Nuts and slight phenol.
Palate: Fantastically smooth and lots of nuts.
Overall impression: This really is good. But the typical price here is around â‚¬120 and I'm sorry, but it's not THAT good. For the same â‚¬120 I can get some great single malts which are much better.
I would now like to finish with a few of my guests' thoughts and comments:
Everyone loved the Bladnoch new make spirit and also the bourbon cask.
Other than the person who brought it, nobody would spend â‚¬120 on a JW Blue.
Surprisingly, a couple of guests used words like "Dettol" and "Germolene" for the Eleuthera. Do they mean it smells and tastes bad, or cures all ills?
We ended the evening with a vote, where I asked people to score their three favourites.
By far, the winner with almost a perfect score was the Bladnoch Bourbon Cask.
In second place, with double the score of the third placed whisky, was the Bladnoch New Make Spirit.
In third place was the Ardbeg.
Fourth place - Eleuthera & Bladnoch sherry cask
Last, with zero votes was the JW Blue.
Basically, the Bladnoch bourbon cask and the new make spirit were revellations and they set the evening alight. But the sherry cask was much weaker and just didn't work for us. But it was fantastic to have this rare opportunity to try not only two different cask types, but also the new make, straight from the still.
My very last comment is one directly for Sue at Bladnoch:
Many, many thanks. I know it has taken me some time to finally get round to 'do' this evening, but thanks to yourself it was a real delight and pleasure for us all.
Keep up the good work at Bladnoch (and concentrate on those bourbon casks )
The samples for the next week or so are:
North Port, OMC, 1966, 36y
Ardbeg 1974, Sig, '74-98, 51.2%
Balvenie 15y Single Barrel, 1990-2005, 47.8%
Rosebank, Sig, 1989-1997, 43%
Rosebank 1990, 16y, OMC
Keep yer eyes peeled on here for the next few days.
Balvenie, Single Barrel, 15y, 1990-2005, 47.5%
Nose: A gentle warm marriage of orange (Cointreau style), hazelnut and marzipan.
Palate: Very much an extension of the nose. It's creamy, elegant, smooth and very warming. The flavour is not so much an explosion, more a gentle expansion of nuts and marzipan with a slight orange sauce.
Overall impression: I like this. It's gentle, warm and sophisticated.
I just looked back through my notes and have seen that at the time I felt that my palate may have been too influenced by the dram I tried immediately before this one. Tonight I have tried it first and what a difference.
It didn't seem as perfumed as last time, but it was deliciously creamy and full of flavour.
1. Balblair Elements
This was a last minute buy on my way to the bar. I have never tried this before and considering the price, I really didn't expect too much from it. But I did fancy taking something along which I knew no-one else had tried before either.
Nose: Very maritime; salty with hints of cream and malt.
Palate: Smooth and creamy with malt. No sign of the salt.
With water: Now the salt comes out, it really opens up into a very drinkable maritime-style dram with just 4 drops of water in a large measure (around 4cl).
Overall impression: This was a rather cheap dram which I may even find cheaper when I look at my normal suppliers, so for some reason I expected very little from it. But I was very pleasantly surprised, especially with the salty maritime nose which opened onto the palate with a drop or two of water. This is style of whisky which I like and I will certainly now consider keeping this with my regular stock in the pub. I will be able to offer this at a very good price and I am sure it will be quite popular.
2. OMC 19y Glenrothes
Nose: very soft and creamy with hints of nuts
Palate: Wonderfully smooth. Warm and luxurious on the tongue with cream and gentle nuts.
Overall Impression: I do normally like Glenrothes, but I tend to prefer ones over 17y. This 19y did not disappoint!
By far the best dram of the evening, pure luxury in a glass and a very worthy dram to be the first in my new Spiegelau glasses presented to me last night.
So, Malty has his samples and would now like to try them.
I have not long since eaten and I'm sure this will affect my tasting, so I will use only small samples now and save some for another day too.
I haven't read anyone else's notes on these, so I am trying not to be influenced by anything other than my own senses here.
Aberlour 10, 12, 16 & 18
Colour 10y: A nice light bronze.
Colour 12y: Slightly richer than the 10y.
Colour 16y: Very slightly darker still.
Colour 18y: Obviously the darkest, but not by much. They are all a lovely typical sherried-style of colouring. Nice!
Nose: Definite hints of currants and raisins, but some of the dark fruits from Christmas cake are missing, so I can't liken it to that.
Palate: A little thinner than I expected, but not exactly watery. It is also quite smooth and not at all harsh. The flavours I immediately sensed were somewhere between nuts and raisins, but they soon dispersed. Not a long finish.
But I wonder if this is due to what I ate just before.
Overall Impression: A nice dram which I haven't tried before. In fact I haven't tried any of these before, so I am looking forward to them all.
Nose: The 12y is more pronounced than the 10y, with a nose including slightly stronger raisins and just a hint of marzipan.
Palate: This has a little more of a bite with a slight tingle on the very front of the tongue. The flavours are again those of currants and raisins, with a touch more nuttiness in the aftertaste.
The 12y certainly has a longer finish than the 10y.
Overall Impression: Nice, a slight improvement on the 10y, by which I mean deeper flavours and longer finish.
Nose: Mmmmm, there's more aroma here, slightly perfumed too. This bodes well, a nice aromatic 16y sherry cask!
There is more of a hint of nuts / marzipan here than the currants and raisins of the previous two.
Palate: This is much more robust. Creamy and rich, not at all as thin as the previous two. The flavour is also more rounded, more of a complete Christmas cake with much more (dark) fruit alongside the nuts, raisins, currants and marzipan. This is almost a mild Christmas pudding, not a cake!
Overall Impression: This one I like much more than the previous two. It is much more rounded in character and more complex too. It 'feels' more like a good sherry cask dram.
Nose: Only slightly richer than the 16y, really not much difference.
Palate: A much better feel in the mouth, very rich, smooth and creamy with very pronounced dark fruits, currants, raisins and some hints of marzipan.
The finish is also not as dry as the 12y & 16y.
Overall Impression: Good, I like this.
Conclusions: This is quite difficult. I found the 10y quite thin, the 12y slightly better and then the 16y & 18y much better. Which do I like the most? It#s really hard to choose between the 16y and 18y. The 16y is perhaps slightly more complex, the 18y slightly deeper and richer. I think the 18y would be a great Christmas dram after lunch, whereas the 16y is more of an 'anytime' dram.
The 18y leans more towards the infamous A'Bunadh, but it is still a million miles away, if you can understand that. Related yes, but distantly so.
The label is handwritten and smudged, so I can't read who the bottler is, but it's a Mortlach single cask, 1988-2001 at 54.1%
If the August tasting is Mortlach, I'll include this one.
I have also now read the earlier tasting notes from everyone else and I am also quite surprised to see that we all have some general agreements.
Basically the 10y & 12y are quite thin, the 16y & 18y much better, but it is not quite certain which is the better between those two.
The one thing I will say from tonight is that I think my preference is for the 18y as opposed to the 16y.
But that might just be my own mood and palate today.
TAX ( )
I am now sitting playing online poker and enjoying a generous dram from that wonderful Connemara Single Cask.
Gentle peat, honey and wonderfully smooth with just a hint of maple syrup.
A sample of Bowmore, 1966, 40y
Bowmore, 1966, 40y
Colour: Light golden honey
Nose: Wow, here is my first surprise; It has some hints of iodine and even horse stables ( ), but in a very pleasant way!
There's a dryness on the nose too, along with something almost akin to butterscotch. I keep wanting to say honey too, but not any normal honey. This is quite similar to a rather special honey which I recently had the pleasure of sampling and cooking with, thanks to a famous TV chef who took over my kitchen for one evening, a while ago. If ever you get the chance to try "Tasmanian Leatherwood honey" please do so. This Bowmore really reminds me of it!
Palate: Here goes ....... I have been looking forward to this for a few days now ....... Errrrmmmmm .... initially not at all what I expected!
Are you ready for this?
The initial flavour was one of Sunday luch, to be exact ... Roast Pork!
Yes, really. But it only lasted a micro-second before the flavours opened up into a very flowery and slightly nutty delight.
The aftertaste is one of slight nuttiness and is long, very long.
It is more 'warming' than 'tingly' on the tongue and is not as thick or rich as I may have expected.
But don't take any of this as a negative. This is a very good whisky, but if I were given this blind, I would struggle to place it as being from Islay.
Overall Impression: I love the combination of roast pork with delicate flowers, turning into nuts and maybe even a little marzipan.
This has been a real pleasure. The chance to savour a whisky which I would probably never have done if left to my own devices.
North Port, OMC, 36y, 1966
Nose: Delightfully rich with plums, old Oak, a little marzipan and just a hint of iodine.
Palate: An initial iodine tingle on the tongue, fading quickly to a creamy smoothness and then a sudden burst of marzipan and plums as the explosion returns.
A second taste increases the presence of marzipan and offers a fantastically smooth and creamy nuttiness with hints of dark fruits like plums, raisins and blackcurrant.
The flavours hit with an explosion, but quickly dissipate and then return slowly in a luxurious creaminess which lingers and lingers ..... and lingers....
Three drops of water open the nose a little and also increase the tingle on the tongue, making it slightly less creamy and possibly longer in the finish.
Overall Impression: Wonderful, from the deep amber colour to the rich nose and the smooth deep flavours.
This is a very good dram, perhaps not the most complex, but certainly luxurious, creamy and a delight to drink.
I recently sold my 35cl of 38y, 1955 Talisker and the new owner, being a drinker as opposed to collector, offered me a sample from it.
Malt-Teaser wrote:The one sample I have left which I hope to taste during this weekend is a real stunner, or it certainly should be.
I recently sold my 35cl of 38y, 1955 Talisker and the new owner, being a drinker as opposed to collector, offered me a sample from it.
A great deal! Getting to share great whisky, special!
But no, not tonight.
This means I will be adding a few retrospectively, but not too many to clog up your board(s).
Mortlach, OMC, distilled March 1984
Nose: My notes say this was a difficult one to identify. Maybe it was a little late in the day after quite a few samples
Palate: Some spice, orange and other faint citrus notes. However, the big surprise here was its similarity to a Caol Ila. I often say that CI reminds me of the peat-smoking chimneys of teh Yorkshire Dales. Well, this was just like that.
Overall Impression: Deceptively good!
Mortlach "Single Malt Connoisseurs Club MÃ¼nchen"
Distilled 1989, bottled 2001, Cask# 259 (sherry), 54.6%
Glass: My beloved Spiegelau
Colour: Wonderfully rich gold, just like a sherry cask should be, without being over-poweringly dark.
Nose: Marzipan, nuts and raisins. All bound together in a bunch of fresh herbs with just a faint dash of mint. This has a wonderfully fresh aroma, hence my 'herbs' comment as I have never experienced this before with a Mortlach.
The more I nose it, the more the herbs fade and give way to the marzipan and nuts.
There's still a little sting in this one, even after 6 or 7 nosings. Mainly due to the high alcohol level.
I will nose again with water later.
My mouth is now watering as I long to taste this one!
Palate: Different, very different, but I think good. I'll come back on that one.
What do I mean?
Firstly, it's creamy, very creamy. It initially hits the palate with a burst of tingle, which fades quite quickly, then returns with a vengeance.
At the same time, the initial flavour is one of nuts and raisins with a little marzipan. This also fades quite quickly, but almost immediately returns with double strength (of flavour).
The finish is long, very long. But the flavours change as the seconds pass. The nuts and marzipan suddenly give way to a burst of those fresh herbs where violet is pushed to the fore, just for a second or two.
The whole thing then just fades slowly into a very long and pleasant experience.
Overall Impression: I want more!
Rosebank, MMcD, (Orange Box version), 1990-2003, 46%
This is the last dram from a bottle opened 2 months earlier.
Nose: Slightly sweet and floral, but not too strong.
Palate: Smooth with vanilla, fruit and liquorice.
Overall Impression: Quite a strong tasting Rosebank and slightly different from the 'norm' as it's not so light and floral.
Nose: Smoke and treacle toffee on the open sea.
Palate: Banana, vanilla ice cream, smoke and toffee.
Finish: Long repeating finish concentrating on roof of mouth.
Nose: Oats and traces of a sweet malty drink (Milky version).
Palate: This is usually quite spicy, but this bottle has been opened for about 6 weeks and is now much more mellow, with considerably less 'tingle' on the tongue.
It still exhibits Bruichladdich's typical passion fruit, but it does taste quite old.
Extra Note: I normally love his whisky, quite a lively young Bruichladdie and not as creamy as the 14y versions (Links & WMD), but I have opened a few bottles and they soon seem to deteriorate. After as little as 2-3 weeks they can taste quite old and musty.
Malty's top tip: Drink them quickly and you'll be OK!
This was a tasting I ran called "Around the world in 8 drams":
1. Milford 10y, New Zealand
Nose: Not quite as flowery as when opened the day before, but still has lots of banana, toffee, choclate and a little sea air.
Palate: Bonfire night in the UK. Oh boy, back to my childhood again! Smooth toffee followed quickly by lots of banana. This is not what I would call pure banana, but think of a fruit shop where you see lots of bunches of banana. You want to buy some, but not a full bunch, so you break three or four from the bunch. As you break the stems, a specific type of banana aroma is released. This is the banana aroma / taste of Milford 10.
With water: This has now totally changed. It has a little smoke and a sharper taste, a little more spicy.
Overall Impression: I love it, but without water please.
In my notes I talked about bonfire night. This is 5th November in the UK when we celebrate one of England's great failures; That of Guy Fawkes trying to blow up Parliament. To celebrate, we hold bonfires all over the country and this is the one day when it is legal to let off fireworks.
As a child, this was a big event for my family. We had a massive bonfire in the garden and invited lots of friends.
The typical food served on bonfire night is a selection of soups, baked potatoes and home-made toffees and ginger cakes. With the unique toffee and banana falvours, this Milford 10 immediately took me back to Nov. 5th as a child, sitting around a burning fire, watching fireworks and eating wonderful toffee apples, gingerbread men and other similar delights.
Nose: Hay, straw and hints of rubber welly.
Palate: Sweet rubber wellington boot.
The initial flavour is short, soon fading awaay to leave a tingle on the middle of the tongue. Then it returns to swamp the palate with flavours of bitter honey and rubber welly.
Overall Impression: Long finish and quite smooth for a 3y.
Apparently they sell 50% of each annual distillation as a limited edition 3y, then save the other 50% with the intention of releasing a 12y version from 2012.
I am looking forward to trying the 12y version, but I have no need to come back to this 3y one.
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