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#24899 - 12/07/08 05:28 PM Re: Edinburgh/Canongate Regular Tastings [Re: Jolly Toper]
Willie JJ Offline
Full Member


Registered: 21/11/07
Posts: 634
Loc: Midlothian, Scotland
 Originally Posted By: Jolly Toper

Penultimate dram. Finlaggan. 58.0% single malt. Sorry to be inconsistant but this one went down so well with one individual (I won't name names but it starts with a W and ends in a illy JJ) that he acquired the remnants of the bottle to share with anybody within striking distance so no sample for tonight's write up. Writting tasting notes on the night of the tasting is a luxury rarely enjoyed. Cheesey label of castle on island in loch deserves special mention. 60% of points with the only 9 out of 9 of the night.


Ha ha, you could have taken a sample for review, that wouldn't have been a problem.

The Finlaggan tasted to me just like a peated Bunnahabhain from an Oloroso cask, but it was late in the evening and my reliability at that stage was probably not very high.

It wasn't me that gave it the 9/9 so I wasn't the only person that really liked it.

Cheers
_________________________
Willie

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#24900 - 12/07/08 07:35 PM Re: Edinburgh/Canongate Regular Tastings [Re: Willie JJ]
jonbrumwell Offline
Full Member


Registered: 19/11/05
Posts: 629
Loc: Shropshire, UK
Seem to remember reading somewhere that the Finlaggan is actually La...

No, can't be...
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Je suis Marxiste, tendance Groucho

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#24901 - 12/07/08 08:00 PM Re: Edinburgh/Canongate Regular Tastings [Re: jonbrumwell]
Willie JJ Offline
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Registered: 21/11/07
Posts: 634
Loc: Midlothian, Scotland
Yeah I've heard those rumours too Jon, but I just struggle to give them any credibility. Why would they be giving it away in unspecified bottlings when they don't have enough for existing markets at premium prices?
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Willie

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#24902 - 12/07/08 08:41 PM Re: Edinburgh/Canongate Regular Tastings [Re: Willie JJ]
jonbrumwell Offline
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Registered: 19/11/05
Posts: 629
Loc: Shropshire, UK
My thoughts exactly - puzzled me too...
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#24903 - 12/07/08 08:51 PM Re: Edinburgh/Canongate Regular Tastings [Re: Willie JJ]
Willie JJ Offline
Full Member


Registered: 21/11/07
Posts: 634
Loc: Midlothian, Scotland
I'll just take up Mark's suggestion and pop up a few brief notes on the tasting that took place on the 10th. I should say that these notes are from memory, because as usual I got, err ... tired and forgot to pick up my scribblings at the end of the night.


1. Nikka Japanese single coffey malt 55%
This was really enjoyable, but not as I anticipated. It came across as a late teen/early 20s single grain that had been matured in a first fill bourbon cask. I guess it must be the coffey still that has given it the grainey feel. I had always assumed that the flavours of grain whisky were largely due to the different grains, but this dram has me thinking it is the still that does it. Fascinating and 2nd favourite for me.


2. Springbank society refill port hogshead 12.90 - 02.08 17yo 51.5% 570 bottles
This stuff was ok, but I didn't hear a lot of enthusiasm near me for it and at least one person at my table really didn't like it. A vomitty nose was the most memorable suggestion. I didn't quite get that myself, but I could sort of smell where he was getting it from. I guess when Mark releases the poll results we will see if anyone really liked it, but it was my least favourite dram of the night. It tasted ok and I would have no real trouble drinking it, but there was so much better on offer.


3. Michel Couvreur's over 16yo bere barley malt 45%
This is really interesting and if it was available at non-stupid prices I would be tempted to buy one to explore it further. The nose was unusual, I couldn't really pin it down, but it was interesting and not at all unpleasant. Very nice on the palate though. Something I would love to spend more time with, if only out of curiosity. The detail on the bottle was iffy though. As I recall it said that it was distilled in 1986 and matured for ten years in Scotland until 1994, before being relocated for further maturation. That doesn't add up in my book. Anyway this was my third favourite dram of the night and highly enjoyable it was too.


4. Highland Park single oloroso cask 12yo 60.6% for Oddbins
Now I'm lucky enough to have a couple of bottles of this waiting to get drunk, (in the queue as it were), but I had not yet had a go at it. I wasn't disappointed. This is a cracking dram in my opinion; a really super sherry cask worthy of the name. A sweet nose and a palate to die for followed by a lingering finish. Really good stuff and the best of the night for me. I only wish HP would make more of these releases. It's not one of my top ten distilleries, but it easily would be if they kept doing bottlings of this class. Great stuff!


5. Ardbeg Corryvreckan 57.1% Ardbeg Committee
I'm a big Ardbeg fan. No doubt about it. I have to say though that the Corryvreckan is not my favourite Ardie. I know its provenance is obscure and the best info we can get is that it is a range of ages and cask types, but that doesn't really bother me. What I don't get is that it just doesn't really seem to be able to settle very well on my palate. Sure there're sherry notes and lashings of peat and they don't conflict particularly, but then they don't really seem all that well integrated either. Just me probably, but there are a lot of Ardbeg bottles that I would reach for before this one (the Renaissance being high on the list). Still, I would never turn it down and was quite happy to pick up the rest of the bottle at the end of the night to share around with the very pleasant company at my table. Enjoyable, but not stellar, I think. Fourth out of five for me.

I find it interesting that the two drams I rated least were the ones that were supposed to be 'special' for the fans of those distilleries.

After the main event we had the raffle and the Drams that came our way were a drinkable Whyte & Mackay NAS blend, a not bad (for most of us) Scott's Selection 13yo from the Speyside distillery, an excellent 30yo OB Talisker and a stunning Cadenhead's North Port 1977 29yo at 51.4%.

All in all an excellent evening.

Cheers
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Willie

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#24904 - 12/07/08 08:58 PM Re: Edinburgh/Canongate Regular Tastings [Re: jonbrumwell]
IrishWhiskeyChaser Offline
Full Member


Registered: 29/11/06
Posts: 518
Loc: Galway, Ireland
Fuaran Ile is also supposed to be Lagavulin so going on that they do sell it on .... However the Fuaran Ile has always been Bourbon casks (well the 2 i've had seemed that way). So maybe they have plenty of bourbon casks and I would further guess that any sherry casks would be seriously guarded. So from that view maybe they do deal but just not in Sherry Casks.

This is just pure guess work from my behalf but sounds like a logical reason to me.....
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SlŠinte


Adrian

Irish Whiskey Society

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#24906 - 12/07/08 09:15 PM Re: Edinburgh/Canongate Regular Tastings [Re: IrishWhiskeyChaser]
Willie JJ Offline
Full Member


Registered: 21/11/07
Posts: 634
Loc: Midlothian, Scotland
That just makes it all the more likely that the Finlaggan is not Laga Adrian because it has a lovely rosie hue and is clearly sherry matured.

In the interests of science I've dug out my bottle and opened it, because I was concerned that my recollections from the other night might be flawed. Now nosing it I can see why people might think Lagavulin, but as soon as it hits the palate that notion should be dispelled. I'm more sure than ever that this is a peated Bunny. It is quite excellent and well worth the money if you can find it btw.

Anyway Adrian, you say that 'Fuaran Ile is also supposed to be Lagavulin'. Is there any real evidence to support that or is it just more guesswork?

Cheers
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Willie

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#24911 - 13/07/08 12:40 PM Re: Edinburgh/Canongate Regular Tastings [Re: Willie JJ]
IrishWhiskeyChaser Offline
Full Member


Registered: 29/11/06
Posts: 518
Loc: Galway, Ireland
 Originally Posted By: Willie JJ


Anyway Adrian, you say that 'Fuaran Ile is also supposed to be Lagavulin'. Is there any real evidence to support that or is it just more guesswork?



No not guessing on this but that is not to say it is correct .... ;\)
All I have to go on is Malts & More and how they list their Ian Macleod stuff .... but may be just pure make believe or myth on their behalf. I did not have enough tasting under my belt to know whether they were Lagavulin's or Coal Ila's or what ... ???
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Adrian

Irish Whiskey Society

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#24926 - 14/07/08 08:21 PM Re: Edinburgh/Canongate Regular Tastings [Re: IrishWhiskeyChaser]
Jolly Toper Offline
Full Member


Registered: 18/01/08
Posts: 553
Loc: East Calder, West Lothian, Sco...
As regards the 'anonymous' bottlings of Islay malts I think the Finlaggan is a described as a 'single'. If people know/believe Finlaggan is Lagavulin this confounds a theory that Lagavulin is not sold by diageo onto the open market. Of course the shortage of Lagavulin at 16yo we saw a few years a go doesn't take into account any casks sold before there was the supply problem. Also is it possible supply contracts are honoured despite a company's desire to keep a hold of stock?
Another aspect worth remembering is the phenomena of 'teaspooning'. This is where a single malt which a distiller wants to save for their own exclusivity has its singularity corrupted by adding a small amount of another malt. This spoils the fun for a third party wanting to bottle it and use the prestige of its provenance. What is in the bottle is essentially the jealously guarded single malt but crucially the label must state 'blended malt'. As diageo has Caol Ila in this case of teaspooned Lagavulin the region can also be specified, Islay. This doen't go anyway to explain why independants are seemigly bottling Lagavulin as single malts under another name. Surely this single malt is required in house more than most. Glenfiddich/Balvenie/Kininvie is another example of teaspooning.
Also willy mentioned a Cadenheads 29yo North Port on the raffle, it was actually 29yo Banff. Yum.

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#24927 - 14/07/08 08:48 PM Re: Edinburgh/Canongate Regular Tastings [Re: Jolly Toper]
Jolly Toper Offline
Full Member


Registered: 18/01/08
Posts: 553
Loc: East Calder, West Lothian, Sco...
I'm tasting the Nikka single coffey 12yo and also trying to attribute the flavours to sources. One individual at the tasting had a strong opinion that freash Bourbon casks were very obviuosly present and certainly the sweetness associated with such casks is present. The vanilla too. I wonder if the casks were all from the same cooperage and distillery in the US. Perhaps a unique charring was employed. At 12yo the colour seemed too light for a first fill Bourbon cask unless the casks were employed for Bourbon for a long time or they weren't heavily charred. I believe Nikka experimented with this approach to putting 100% malted barley through a continous still to the extent that there is enough stocks to release further bottlings. This was on of 300 bottles and the first batch. I hope they do release more as I thought this was one of the best whiskies I've tried for some time. If I didn't know its quirky origins I wonder if it would have meant so much to me. At over £60 only releasing 84 bottles in the UK might be feasible. If the price was more accessible I'd like to think it would deserve a bigger release. Coincidently Nikka released some examples of their single grain coffey a while ago. A most interesting comparisson. Again for me the bottling I tried was also excellent.
Returning to the flavour influence could the method of distillation result in the similarity between the two varieties of grains used in production? certainlt this all malted barley example tasted unlike any malt I've experienced. Too light and sweet. This is very clean spirit. Questions like fermentation times, mature of wash backs, strain of barley and yeast, cut points all will figure in the answer. !2 is not very long to reach this level of quality for a grain. Maybe this is the reason for the experiment. Raise the bar for delux blends by having light and sweet components reach maturity swiftly. Fascinating, intriging and frustrating.
Results: 48% of possible marks. Not so hot. If I'm going to use feedback in a numeric fashion I think every score should be shown. This is practicle because the tastings are atended by only a few people. I 13 folk thought the dram deserved zero points and another 13 gave in 9 points the average score would not reflect people's thinking. Therfore below is the run of results put in order of magnitude. Patterns can be seen which can be interesting. sometimes ther is a clear skew towards high or low scores and other times there is more bi-polar.
1 1 1 1 2 2 2 3 4 6 6 7 7 7 7 8 8 (Tell me if I'm going too far!)

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