Very winey retro-olfaction, that’s fun, and that comes together with some pineapple. The aftertaste is a tad too leathery for me, but there… It also reminds me of the stunning 1973 Clynelishes by Prestonfield/Signatory, only with a little less depth. If you ever know what’s inside, please drop me a line at rulerealwhisky(at)gmail.com, grazzie mille! Finish: quite long, candied, liquoricy and delicately smoky. Nothing like that here, this is ruled by walnuts and flowers, especially peonies and lilac, then tobacco and marzipan. Some peppery oak, some mustard, a little clay, walnut skins, then bitter lemons and oranges, crystallised zests, leather… I’ve always wondered why the owners had stopped promoting it, while there used to be some great OBs in the past (1970s-1980s.) The Bar du Nord in Carouge is one of the best whisky bars in Switzerland. Cough syrup plus orange liqueur, Fernet-Branca (those artichokes) and liquorice. Starts with some fresh and cooked rhubarb as well as whiffs of mashed turnips – those vegetables again, and would rather go on with a piny earthiness, some leather and quite some marmalade. Mouth (neat): big whisky indeed, rather young, with pretty much the same tart notes (rhubarb, orange) and a spicy oak. This is fragrant, with roses, peaches and even touches of litchis, then a very faint smoke (wood smoke) and the expected raisins. Mouth: starts a little aggressive despite the low strength, with some tannins as well, but the fresh fruits work well and make it fresher.
Perhaps it’s time to have a few more American whiskies today, now that a real craftgate has been started at several and very great American bloggers. Comments: I’m afraid I’ve been a little too fast this time. Anyway, 2010 may have been the year when you could still buy some old glories such as this one for a relatively good price. Then roasted nuts, smoked tea, more malt and, again, a chalkiness. Mouth: oily start, with lemon juice, pepper, salt and smoke. Nose: it’s rather a leafy smoke that arises this time – granted, it’s less ‘peaty’ than all the previous ones – together with some tobacco (newly opened box of Cubans), a little cedar wood that comes with the cigars, some toffee, marmalade and raisins, then more and more coastal notes, possibly the Brora heritage. I find this nose very complex, and yet it does not seem to lack coherence and definition. Comments: I think it’s a little sad that this baby was bottled at 40% vol. Some tobacco too, some wood smoke, a little gunflint, and then just touches of dried Christmas fruits indeed. Spices, pepper, ginger, marmalade, pencil shavings, then Corinthian raisins, black cherries, oranges, mint lozenges and cinnamon mints. A combination of Clynelish, Allt-A-Bhainne and Caol Ila that comes with a story – we’ll spare you the story. I have no time or need to delve deeper into these matters, but what I understood is that you just cannot trust the American labels. Magnificently beehivy, full of honey, mead, nectar, beeswax and pinewood. With water: the most fantastic old cough syrup plus some kind of high-end cellar-aged mead. Exceptional notes of litchis, bananas, honey, guavas and almonds. With water: maybe a notch less well-defined, but it's still super great. Finish: rather long, with an unexpected salty touch. Isn't that what we could call 'the good not-so-old times? Nose: starts rather earthy and malty, there seems to be a little ‘something’ in this one. Mouth: good malty presence and rather more peat than expected. Oyster juice, lemon curd, grapefruits, zests, kippers… Reminds me a bit of the better Islay Mists, with more oomph. A little camphor and menthol arising after two minutes. A kind of Double Black with more depth and less immediate creamy oak, perhaps. I find the arrival quite beautiful, even firm, sadly the low strength tends to dismantle it, in a way, rather leaving a bitter smokiness on your tongue after five seconds. Nose and arrival on the palate were almost top notch, but all the ‘43s’ that we had before beat it after just a few seconds, despite their youth. Starts with some shoe polish, bark, leaves and damp earth, before a kind of fairly dry fruitiness kicks in. Not too sure Allt-A-Bhainne will have much to say in this context ;-). Nose: as always, the Islays are singing louder, even louder than Clynelish – despite the fact that Caol Ila’s not the loudest peater up there. Lemon balm, chamomile, mint, brine, kippers, riesling, and just a touch of light honey. Then cinnamon cream and coffee beans, but I find it remarkably un-oaky. Comments: I have to say this baby gained my sympathy in the glass. Some people might say that this is an attempt at taking advantage of the ‘halo’ that’s around the necessarily limited George T. The price, £75 for a /-8 yo bourbon, may not put them wrong. No, it’s not that it’s horrible, it’s just pretty uninteresting, despite the wood smoke and the pinesap that improve it after one minute or two. Then our famous Christmas cakes, dried figs and raisins, the slightest touch of ginger and caraway, certainly cloves and oranges, tobacco, some black nougat, some chocolate, whiffs of mint… It’s less smooth and rounded than expected – but I wouldn’t say it’s brutal of course – and rather on dark chocolate, coffee, and bitter oranges. Not many distilleries are still making this style in relatively large batches (I’m looking at you, M.! I also find peanuts, which isn’t that common, and coffee beans. A touch of plasticine, which corroborates the rubber in the nose. Great oranges, bitters, a touch of peat (but there’s no peat in Glengoyne, as we all very well know.) Finish: long, firm, a little grassier. Nose: a drier, less rounded and less fruity version of a middle-aged sherry monster. Mouth: a big and sharp sherry monster, full of dried fruits. Finish: long, rich, on black raisins and black pepper. So yes, this is super-classic sherried malt whisky. A touch of Schweppes as well, quinine, then not-too-sweet black raisins and our beloved Christmas cake yet again. Comments: quite unusual, and quite different from the very classic batch #1. I also find more cognac, rancio, walnuts, shoe polish, aniseed, old armagnac, chocolate cake, cigars… Certainly a smoky blend, also with cakes and pastries, some grass, some tea and a coastal limy side. Touches of custard and honey and overripe apples again. Lemon, peat smoke, seawater, a little pepper, the expected waxy side, some paraffin perhaps, oysters, seaweed, antiseptic… Some kind of chutney – should go well with foie gras.
Comments: a very pleasant surprise despite the rather strange bottle. A brand new brand of blended Scotch, ‘created specifically to appeal to a modern palate’ according to the brand’s website. Overripe apples, grass and barley, vanilla, a handful of fresh almonds and then a rather grassy smoke. Mouth: once again, this is a slightly lighter version of the Mc Gibbon’s. Comments: carefully composed, probably a good pre-malt. A brand new composition bearing 67% malt, including CB’s favourites, namely Clynelish and Laphroaig. Nose: indeed, we aren’t very far, this is just fresher and cleaner, zestier, probably more distillate-led, in a way.
Nose: rather lighter and more floral than the Mc Gibbon’s at first nosing, but there are obvious similarities.
An all-Highlands blended malt that gathers Glen Garioch, Dalmore and Blair Athol. It’s almost white only because they use very, very old oak casks that have almost lost their colouring agents.
So we’ll have a few of them today, some being genuinely produced at the distillery and others being sourced from bigger distilleries in other states or even Canada, so simply faked craft. Nose: maybe refill this time, this is lighter, more herbal… Preserved plums, a feeling of chalk, rubber bands, sulphur, then pepper… Then we have old Sauternes, fresh mint, benzoin and a whole basket of various very-ripe-but-not-rotten fruits. ' One of these old-school bottlings that are supposed to appeal to golfers. Some wet chalk, grass, then more chestnuts and whiffs of raw wool, as well as overripe apples. Finish: medium length, very clean, zesty, whistle-clean, concise and precise. This baby was created ‘in honour of Sir Alexander Walker’s knighthood in 1920.’ According to the good people at Master of Malts, the master blenders have dared adding some Brora to this composition. A vatting of ex-oloroso malts – hence the figs, I suppose. In fact it’s really ‘a bonfire on the beach’ as some slightly uninspired bottlers would say.
Even if, agreed, knowing how to blend four barrels can be a kind of craft as well. Anyway, today we won’t even bother too much finding out whether any of these whiskies is ‘authentic’ or not. A brand by Kentucky Bourbon Distillers or Willet and, apparently, it’s sourced bourbon. Nose: smooth and rounded, pretty honest, maybe a little light. Comments: another one that’s just great, in my opinion, its just that some others were even greater in my book. I also find these whiffs of rubber again (bands) as well as rather fruit skins and leaves. Nah it’s very good, but once again, the others were better (in my opinion, as always.) Finish: quite long, a little more uncertain. Nice smoky signature, with a faint clean meatiness. I guess they could have called this Laphnish or Clynephroaig. Cut apples, seaweed smoke, sea air, a little butterscotch, then something slightly medicinal. Some cough syrup too, and that’s getting bigger by the second.
This seems to be the new livery for the ‘regular’ 18 yo. And then the roses, the whiffs of orange blossom, lime-blossom tea, fresh almonds… I’m no sexist, so I won’t write that it’s a little femini…