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#24928 - 14/07/08 09:10 PM Re: Edinburgh/Canongate Regular Tastings [Re: Jolly Toper]
Jolly Toper Offline
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Registered: 18/01/08
Posts: 553
Loc: East Calder, West Lothian, Sco...
I'm only posting these entries one by one as I'm scared of losing all the info in one mammoth post if some gremlina ttacks, it has happened.
Next was the Springbank 17yo port cask from The Sprinbank Society. The theme of the tasting was 'exclusive' drams. All these bottlings were limited and, even beyond this restriction, difficult to acquire. I wanted to look behind any hype and see what companies were bottling. Some of the bottles enjoyed a fair bit of air play while others were much lower key. Another reason for the tasting was to let some very difficult to find drams be sampled by those with a passion and curiosity for whisky. I also assume that some of those buying these drams might not be looking to open the bottle for a while if at all.
Springbank have recently released a couple of port wood expressions in their wood influenced range. They state time spent in both first and second casks. Here there was no mention of dram being fully matured or otherwise. For me 'finishing'/'ACEing'/'Double Maturing' is not a problem in itselfbut I'd love to have as much onformation regarding the bottling as is sensible. appreciation can surley be fueled by understanding.
A pleasant pink hue was certainly inviting. The nose didn't make me recoil like it seemed to others, I expect 'vomit' not to be a draw ina nosing. At 17yo this rates as old by the standards of what is currently being released by the distillers. Port was apparent on the nose but less so on the palate however still influencial. I found the dram undramatic but engaging nonetheless thankss to a lengthy finish of recedding oak swwetness with little distillery character. This seemed at odds with respondants:-

46% 0 (this is as rare as a 9) 2 2 2 2 3 3 4 5 5 6 6 6 6 6 6 7

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#24931 - 14/07/08 09:41 PM Re: Edinburgh/Canongate Regular Tastings [Re: Jolly Toper]
Jolly Toper Offline
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Registered: 18/01/08
Posts: 553
Loc: East Calder, West Lothian, Sco...
The next dram almost had the rest of the tasting as a vehicle for the excuse to open it. Striking gold a year ago with a customer who was happy to swap this bottle for a missing piece of his Flora & Fauna jigsaw my fortune was underlined as research began to show just how special the bottling is. Michel Couvreur as mentioned in previous posts is a gentleman of clear taste and means. This from the rear label:-

BERE BARLEY

Sown and harvested in 1985 at Noup Bay, Westray Island, Orkney. Floor malted thence dried over Orkney peat in summer 1986. Distilled in Scotland on the 19th November 1986. Matured over 10 years in Scotland till 21st May 1994 (you're right about the maths Willy) in Delgado Zuleta cream sherry Spanish oak thence in the best ageing Burgadian cellar in fresh first filling 17 years Dos Cortados sherry Spanish oak butt. Reduced to 45% with Loch Katrine water. 494 bottles.

The questions again remain. Did he commission the growing of field(s) of barley, the malting then the distilling or did he just purchase one cask? Who did if not him? How many cask have been bottled and how many left to bottle. Why go to the bother with the barley then use such powerful casks? When this barley was widely used for distilling it would tally with European oak dominating maturation right enough so American oak and this strain of barley are probably odd bedfellows historically but may lead to a better feel for the flavour contribution of the barley. We'll have to wait for the experiments currently maturing at other distilleries to come to light.
This glasful certainly split opinion. Hazy to the eye and not too bold on the nose the palate was long with sherry notes dominating, for better or worse. Sweetness again evident but only as part od a big picture. I had time to get to know the dram (the bottle was only 50cl so samples were not as generous as ideal) and liked it more every time despite initial reservations.
Incidently the bottle had a screw neck but was corked - classy).

48% 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 3 5 6 6 6 7 8 8 8 8 See what I mean by bi-polar

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#24932 - 14/07/08 09:52 PM Re: Edinburgh/Canongate Regular Tastings [Re: Jolly Toper]
jonbrumwell Offline
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Registered: 19/11/05
Posts: 629
Loc: Shropshire, UK
 Originally Posted By: Jolly Toper
Incidently the bottle had a screw neck but was corked - classy.

48% 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 3 5 6 6 6 7 8 8 8 8 See what I mean by bi-polar

Screw neck/cork stopper? Definitely an identity problem (if not completely nuts... ).

Thanks for the bottle detail - I'm thinking of attacking my postal samples tonight and this all sets the scene. I don't intend to let the notes influence me (I'm ignoring the first couple of lines to try not to see which one you're writing about but it's not entirely foolproof - remember the Likely Lads episode when the boys were trying to avoid hearing the score of a football match... ). Easier said than done...

Jon B


Edited by jonbrumwell (14/07/08 09:52 PM)

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#24933 - 14/07/08 09:58 PM Re: Edinburgh/Canongate Regular Tastings [Re: Jolly Toper]
Jolly Toper Offline
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Registered: 18/01/08
Posts: 553
Loc: East Calder, West Lothian, Sco...
On the night of the tasting I suffered an alarming failure of both taste buds and olfactory system. But all is back to normal now. The 4th dram was a 12yo Highland Park From a single oloroso cask bottled for Oddbins at cask strength for 30 something pounds. Although surprisingly closed on the nose for such an obviously influential cask the palate does enough talking to make up. I found getting close to the nose hard due to the high strength nose prickle. Of all the drams this was the one that moved me the least during test driving for the tasting however it was a good performer on the night and I'm finding its charms easily right now. Once again long on the palate with the oak lingering marvelously. Micheal Jackson was indeed wise with the comment of HP being the great all rounder.

62% 1 3 4 5 5 5 5 5 5 6 6 6 7 8 8 8 8
The top 9 nine votes were exactly the same as the previous dram but the other half of the room made the difference showing how friendly this one was. I wonder how much an offficially bottled example like this is worth to the collector. They'll probably have to fight the drinkers hard for this one.

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#24934 - 14/07/08 10:14 PM Re: Edinburgh/Canongate Regular Tastings [Re: Jolly Toper]
Jolly Toper Offline
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Registered: 18/01/08
Posts: 553
Loc: East Calder, West Lothian, Sco...
Finally Ardbeg Corryvreckan for Ardbeg Committee members (or anybody who phones up apparently) £53 including post and packaging (and marketing).

67% 1 4 5 5 5 5 6 6 6 7 7 7 7 7 8 8 8

Usually the peaty ones do very well at these tastings and since the introduction of the poll it will be interesting to see just how popular the smoky drams are across the board compared to sherry casks, old drams and lighter examples. Certainly the scores here surprise me because of their conistency at the top end.

Not as in-your-face as Ardbeg can be, this example has more than a bit of mystery about it. No vintages, age, cask variety. But whatever the result is a success. a cross-over of old and new spirit? Weighted towards past masters or more from what we will be seeing from GM production?. Hopefully the latter which would be re-assuring. Cue a tasting of Ardbeg. Small sips are enough to treat the tongue with a coating of Islay oil. Mint diesel doesn't sound good but tasting notes are not my forte.

Next tasting 3rd September. Inverness. Millburn, Glen Albyn, Glen Mhor, Ord and Royal Brackla. Details to follow. Anybody know of a venue in Edinburgh or district not high-jacked for the festival? If so and it has a drinks licence maybe there could be another tasting in August.

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#25455 - 13/08/08 10:46 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...
A quick post about next tasting:-

Wednesday September 3rd Tolbooth Tavern, Royal Mile, Edinburgh

Inverness Drams:-

Glen Mhor 1980 43% Gordon & MacPhail

Glen Albyn 15yo 43% bottled 1996 120 bottles Royal Mile Whiskies

Ord 1996 - 06.08 12yo 58.2% Bourbon hogshead 210 bottles Casdenheads

Royal Brackla 1992 - 02.05 12yo Bourbon barrel 234 bottles 59% Cadenheads

Millburn 1974 - 05.06 31yo 52.3% Bourbon hogshead 246 bottles Cadenheads

£18.50"/£21.50 +£3.50 P&P UK

* members discount. Membership = £10 first 13 months,£5 next 13 then free

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#25458 - 14/08/08 08:34 AM Re: Edinburgh/Canongate Regular Tastings [Re: Jolly Toper]
Par Offline
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Registered: 13/11/03
Posts: 2231
Loc: Gothenburg, Sweden
An interesting selection of old malts from distilleries long gone, Mark. I've had some Millburns (well, two) and Glen Mhors from the SMWS that have been really good, a bit in-yer-face-sherry-monstery, but good all the same.

Good luck and have fun at the tasting.

/ Pär

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#25794 - 05/09/08 10:57 PM Re: Edinburgh/Canongate Regular Tastings [Re: Par]
Jolly Toper Offline
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Registered: 18/01/08
Posts: 553
Loc: East Calder, West Lothian, Sco...
This was the first Canongate tasting after a break for my hols and the Edinburgh festivals. So it was good to have old and new faces eager to try some drams. 21 attended with another mail ordering. We started with a 1980 Gordon and Macphail bottling of Glen Mhor at 43%, they're current release. The slightest dram of the night it seemed to be accepted by all but some comments showed the lightness of body to fall short of a few hopes. As all the Inverness stills are gone the chance to taste any example of any of them should be welcome and although there was little to fault this dram with I expect other examples may merit more interest. G&M can be a double edged sword. Nobody has stock stretching so far back in vintage but they have a tendancy to dilute their bottlings to surprising levels. That said they can be difficult to beat on price. Value turns out to be a function of both quality and price. This bottling did not feature a bottling date, as some do (the bottles were all 5cl miniatures so perhaps not enough space for full disclosure of bottlings DNA while the 70cl packaging may be more revealing). So an age statement can't be quoted. A respectable 58% of votes.

Next was a Cadenheads Royal Brackla 12yo Bourbon barrel 59% bottled 3 1/2 years back. This had been a popular bottling so I squirreled a bottle away for a tasting like this. The strength wss quite an eye-opener after our entrees but its subsiding revealed the sweetness and spice of the Bourbon wood with the oily texture coming out mid palate. With water the long finish gave up some caramel leaving pleasing woody notes. A popular one with the assembled it 'scored' 69%

A welcome development has seen some regulars donating bottles for the 'mystery dram' slot. This heroic behavior is to be highly commended. To date we have benefitted from Willie's Turkish Ankara and enjoyed Bruce's gift of Suntory 'Zen' pure malt NAS 40% (a strange 640ml bottle - any idea where this size came from?) While visiting Japan Bruce had asked a taxi driver what local whisky was drunk by him and friends, the driver didn't seem to have much of an opinion of his 'other national drink' describing it as chemicals and ethanol. Spurred on by this keen sales pitch our galant scout procured a bottle of said compound and was duly uninspired himself. Finding it in his heart to share his fortune with others yet to benefit from the experience we all felt his character assination a little unjustified. The biggest crime Zen seemed to be guilty of was sitting on the pot but not crapping, little going on but what there was was fair enough. 28% awarded, We look forward to Leither's Wild Turkey Rare Breed, positively loose bowels compared to Zen.

Back to Inversnecky with a Cadenheads Ord 12yo current release 58.2% Bourbon hogshead. Compared to the Royal Brackla it seems the 12 years were spent in a cask used previously as the spirit was speaking loader than the wood. Quite a few commentators at the tasting felt the heat of the alcohol to be too generous and the fire brigade were called to damp the flames. With water an evener balance of constituents resulted in a dram that still couldn't easily be called charming but definetly tasty. 61% made it a cut above average.

Now we moved up a gear with some potentially really interesting stuff. Bottled by Royal Mile whiskies in 1996 to commemorate 250 years since Culloden was a 15yo Glen Albyn at 43% only 120 bottles being released. I bought this at auction when chasing the other bottle in the lot and having another unrepeatably aged Glen Albyn (the distillery closed in 1983) this tatsing seemed a good time to sacrifice this example of a distillery now only a memory. I generally have a rule of testing bottles before putting them in tastings, a couple of bad experiences have made me wiser. On this occassion I ended up taking a chance, although a lucky conversation with Alex at RMW on the morning of the tasting had him remember the bottling and he gave it the all clear. A herby nose suggested some depth, certainly more mellow calm than the other drams so far. Unfortunately short on finish the palate however was bordering on rich with an intangible wholesomeness coming out on subsequent sips. 67% meant others appreciated there to be something commendable there.

Finally we treated ourselves to a 31yo Millburn Cadenheads 52.3% Bourbon hogshead (£141.50) I'm not very objective about this dram as its one of my favourites (the 29yo and 26yo before also stod out like John Cleese in a line up of Oompa Loompas. The nose alone genuinely makes me salivate. Rich, deep, with lavender and puffs of swood smoke. An almost too luxurios sweetness greets the palate and the whole sensation lasts and lasts. Another rule was broken as this bottling had been used in a previuos Canongate tasting but if anybody was at the previous tasting they didn't complain, could they have forgotten such a beauty? Having said that there is no dram a 100% guaranteed crowd pleaser (or maybe you know better?) and the last time it was used a couple of wine drinkers brought to the tasting by a friend to enlighten them on 'the way of the malt' certainly didn't pray the same way as the rest of us. 79% and a rare 9-out-of-9 did more than justified its inclusion.

Next tasting September 25th

proposed drams :- Bladnoch 6yo sherry wood 56.9%, Green Spot Irish pot still 40%, Cadenheads 11yo Ledaig cask strength, North of Scotland single grain 36yo 51.1%, 7yo 2 of Clubs from Hanyu distillery Japan 57% Japanese oak finish, mystery dram

Mail order available

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#25796 - 06/09/08 02:23 AM Re: Edinburgh/Canongate Regular Tastings [Re: Jolly Toper]
peteys Offline
Full Member


Registered: 15/06/06
Posts: 433
Loc: Århus Denmark
Had a couple of the Hanyu's tonight, mind you the pint of N. Brown ale and the two drams was a hefty 35£ (4cl drams) but anyhow. Both were really great (~57 & 60% ) I believe they were 3 Spades, and 7 diamonds. drams to really enjoy.

Hopefully He'll (Ichiro) come up with something just as good at his new distillery

Peter

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#25800 - 06/09/08 10:22 AM Re: Edinburgh/Canongate Regular Tastings [Re: peteys]
Par Offline
Full Member


Registered: 13/11/03
Posts: 2231
Loc: Gothenburg, Sweden
Interesting line-up there, Mark. A number of discontinued ones, although in fairness, one can understand why one or two of them were selected for the cull... Glen Albyn seems a bit bland or at least unassuming, judging from the few I've tried. Bit like Glenlochy, the closed Fort William malt, that seems to lift itself only when having slept in a great cask - and then it is the cask that offers the extra pleasures. Millburn, on the other hand, like Glen Mhor, seems to offer more personality and character, although perhaps the few casks left today may be a bit of hit and miss?

/ Pär

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