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#27263 - 04/12/08 01:51 PM Re: Edinburgh/Canongate Regular Tastings [Re: Jolly Toper]
Willie JJ Offline
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Registered: 21/11/07
Posts: 634
Loc: Midlothian, Scotland
 Originally Posted By: Jolly Toper
In August I had tried this when my palate had pretty much handed in its P45 and peat was beckoning. Some how this got in my glass and I was most impressed by the bullish way my palate was convinced to re-sign it's contract.


I love this metaphor Mark \:\) That is exactly the kind of thing I'm looking for at these fairs after the first dozen or so drams; something that lights up your palate and makes you take notice.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to make it on the night and haven't tried all the drams yet, but I will post comments when I am done.

 Originally Posted By: Alan Davidson
Ye gods!I knew that I knew very litle about Scotch, other than the fact that I enjoy it. BUT. I didn't realise I knew so little by reading the comments of Jolly Toper and Leither who are so very knowledgeable. Surprised you let the likes of me on to this forum!!!

Stick around Alan. You'll soon be boring your friends and family, same as the rest of us. ;\)
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Willie

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#27497 - 21/12/08 10:57 PM Re: Edinburgh/Canongate Regular Tastings [Re: Willie JJ]
Jolly Toper Offline
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Registered: 18/01/08
Posts: 554
Loc: East Calder, West Lothian, Sco...
Missed the last post deadline for delivery of Christmas cards for the 24th so what better way to spend time than a tasting update?

An hopefull festive group gathered for a typically eclectic mix of drams kicked off by a Christmas bottling of Campbeltown Loch blend. 40% and NAS retail around £15.50. Similar seasonal bottlings have been released in the last two years so a tradition is building to include the bottling (always differing). Test driving before the night lead to no disappointment but the aim of quality is always high so there was no expectation of 'oohs' and 'aaahs' from everyone. Just as well as there were none. Over time as the price of fillings have risen the possibility that any blender with their own destillery being more inclined to opt for the cheaper option of using more of their own produce than previously must be tempting. Campbeltown Loch is produced by J. & A. Mitchell proprietors of Springbank distillery which also produces Longrow and Hazelburn single malts as well as Kilkerran single malt from Glen Gyle distillery. Therefore the tell tale notes of this dram's roots are overt. Not a bad thing but on this occassion opinion was expressed of the youthful aspect of the whisky, not in a particularly positive way. For my own tuppence the glass was drained swiftly and perhaps I have becomed accustomed to the more robust style of the area and familiarity has not bred contempt. A measly 34% recorded.

A note about the scoring system. By summing all scores recorded the average of 58% can be used as a measuring stick. The highest score to date was 83% for Ar1 (unaged Ardbeg sold by The Whisky Exchange) the lowest 24% for Old Overholt rye. The best overall score for a tasting was the latest Ardbeg tasting (65% average score) and the lowest was this June's tasting (51%). I'll update any change to these extremes.

Next we went for a Cadenheads bottled Pulteney 17yo cask strength from a Bourbon barrel. Compared to trial tastes the night of the tasting saw an absence of the keen Bourbon influence on the finish which was so appealing but otherwise a good performance at 67%. Like any dram this distillery can turn up trumps, its just a case of how often it does which sets it apart from its peers. I think its fair to say that this bottling could be the inspiration for others to take a serious look at Wick's weird shaped still if they haven't done so already.

Next was St. Magdalene 26yo again from Cadenheads. Its been ten years since the company bottled the Linlithgow malt so it was a welcome surprise when this turned up on the bottling program. The nose promised and the palate delivered. Opportunities to taste these lost distilleries are surely becoming more precious. It is my aim to redouble efforts at trying as many as possible. One of the merits of these tastings form me is the chance to taste highly priced bottling on a budget. This bottle retails at £106.50. I wonder what the price would be in a bar for a 25ml dram? Somewhat surprisingly the overall result of the poll was 47%. However scoring was polar with a clutch of low results contrasting with some much higher feedback. Having said this only 2 thirds of those present filled in the response sheets and a whisky of this style, mainly a function of extended age, could be said to be an acquired taste. Bourbon hogshead cask strength.

Back to Campbeltown for our next one. Bottled by the Springbank Society to mark the distillery's 180th year of (legal) production this was a vatting of two sherry casks. One a refill butt the other a hogshead, 850 bottles in total 11yo and 15yo respectively. 48.7% £30. Happily for most drinking this wasn't an example of cask smothering spirit as the Campbeltown element could be detected whilst the fireworks and struck matches were not in charge. For my part the nose had me focused. Very inviting but although not difficult to drink the nasal hypnotism didn't transfer ideally to the palate. 66%.

Now for the mystery dram. This had been procured quite some time before and was on a back burner waiting for the rigth line up to 'compliment'. For this read I didn't think it was going to impress so couldn't afford to put it in a tasting where any of the others were less than high scorers. Shows you, again, how much I know. It scored 60%, a notch higher than average. For me this underlines how difficlut in can be to be objective in the matter of deciding how good a bottling is for the enjoyment of all. This was a malt that took some time to come to the table. Glenora distillery in Nova Scotia commenced production in the mid 90s and went through some testing times. Only last year did it become available as a stock item in the UK. Even now only a handfull of stockists list it. This version was a first. The first time a malt whisky had spent time in ice wine casks. Bottled in 25cl bottles costing £25, albeit a cask strength (57% I think), this was not a mainstream price point for the age (10yo). Although there was a circuitous route to these particular tables through several supplier's hands, although it appears a high priced malt in it's home market. The room warmed to it's sweet charm amd I began to doubt my wisdom in passing on it's big brother 10yo 40% edition. Somebody tell me I did right! The special oak seemed to have lifted what I had read as a mundane malt although the strength too could only have been an aid. I'm by far a poo-pooer of 'unusual' oak but surely a distillery can't only offer special examples of maturation and must rely on a good standard ex-bourbon matured bottling. Hopefully there will be more oportunities to try this elusive example of the distilers art.

Finally once again a return to Campbeltown, and yes I do try to avoid overplaying the bias for this region but all these drams stood up on merit for inclusion in the old, rare, unusual, peaty and sherried template for such a tasting. Longrow 7yo Gaja Barolo wood expression. 5 & 1/2 years in refill bourbon hogsheads the the remainder in the northern Italian full bodied red wine casks. Cask strength wood expression range from Springbank distillery about £40. I had earlier used the recent bottling of Longrow CV (46% at a similar tasting but had regretted not using this higher powered example. After 5 drams even 46% peat needs to be pretty to shouty to be heard. This bottling however brought its own megaphone. The kiln didn't rule the program as the casks made sure of the depth and width of the body and length of finish with complex development made this the night's winner with 79%. Having poured this at this years Dufftown Whisky Festival and noted its wide appeal can I suggest giving it a whirl for the peat curious? I'll calm my personal enthusiasm in the interests of objectivity. But the appearance of more and more 'youthful' whiskies, by accident or design, is very welcome, I wonder how old the Ar1 was. Lets hope more distillers have the bravery to not only state the ages of the juveniles but the conviction in the vivacity these casks can offer.
Next tasting 8th January Islay No.1 : PC7, Octomore, unpeated Caol Ila, Cadenheads Ardbeg 15yo and Signatory peated Bunnahabhain 10yo sherry butt. (No Campbeltowns whatsoever)
Sold out.

If trying to waste time try reading A Christmas Carol with a whisy angle on 'Lothian Life' website under 'Tastebuds' and 'whisky'.

Otherwise all the best to you and yours and hope you drink something memorable of the festivities. Thanks to Raymond and the gang for giving us Bladnoch with all its trimmings. Lets hope 2009 treats us well.

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#27500 - 22/12/08 04:42 PM Re: Edinburgh/Canongate Regular Tastings [Re: Jolly Toper]
newbie Offline
Full Member


Registered: 19/10/08
Posts: 22
Loc: South Yorkshire
Good write up. Its always difficult to decide what IB's to buy as they can be so different from one another. I'll have to go for the AR1 next time I'm at the whisky exchange. Brought the Ardbeg from the cask last time. First impressions very good, upon retasting I thought the finish was a little dry and oaky, I'll have to try it with a fresh palate tonight.

I can't believe I missed another Islay Tasting!!! I'll have to keep in touch with you more often JollyToper.

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#27850 - 09/01/09 09:34 AM Re: Edinburgh/Canongate Regular Tastings [Re: newbie]
butephoto Offline
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Registered: 14/02/08
Posts: 106
Loc: Glasgow, Scotland
Great tasting last night as always. Looking forward to the report. Wasn't particularly impressed by the Octomore and PC7, but the peated Bunny was superb!

Oops, you missed another Islay tasting newbie.


Edited by butephoto (09/01/09 09:35 AM)
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#27936 - 11/01/09 09:34 PM Re: Edinburgh/Canongate Regular Tastings [Re: butephoto]
Jolly Toper Offline
Full Member


Registered: 18/01/08
Posts: 554
Loc: East Calder, West Lothian, Sco...
Here is the report for the latest Islay tasting. As there ended up being a cancellation we can taste the drams as we write them up.

First came the 2008 bottling of unpeated Caol Ila. Last year's would take some beating whereas the first batch had us all scratching our heads with its apparent peatiness. Weighing in at a mighty 63.5%, high even for it's 8 years, water is pretty useful. If this was a SMWS tasting note I think we could get away with 'minty tea bags', but its not so lets say oily but quite ellusive. On the night there was a fair amount of indecision about particular characteristics. This wasn't in the dram's favour as scoring was low at 49% which is fair comment as there is little to recommend. Bring into consideration the rise in cost over last year's model and we have a bit of a leftover Christmas turkey. Get the 2007 edition if you're in the market for unleaded Islays.

Next was PC7 61%. Firstly a distinctly pink hue was engaging. Having first tasted this blind thanks to those lovely people at RMW I liked it but when asked would I buy it (which I had done already) I said 'depends how much' £70ish came the answer. Still not knowing age, strength, brand etc I declined due to impecunity but accept the purchase would have resulted in a fine possesion. Now knowing the identity surprise was the emotion. Familiar with the first two outings in the series the latest chapter offers much sleeker lines with a maturity and direction replacing the earlier bombastic style. Knowing the distiller's penchant for fancy casks could it be some port wood was enrolled? Otherwise a sound sprinkling of soot reminds of the whole raison d'etre. On the night I thought I detected some Campbeltown influence which doesn't seem so obvious now but still hangs in the air, an odd little number indeed. A score of 57% reflected a spread of points from clusters of low results through a strong middle ground with a few high ones to boost the overall aparent satisfaction. Price again is questionable. Of course the market decides the price but I wouldn't like to have to justify the high cost relative to production overheads. In their defence this company has done sterling work breathing life in not just their own distillery but has colourfully lit up a whole corner of the industry with their bravado. Its must be about time their brave financial backers reap the harvest. Also I'm hoping a few quid from these sales brings the real Port Charlotte closer to production.

Third was the latest peaty Bunnahabhain in sherry cask from Signatory. Not the only bottler to release such a beast it remains a mystery why the distillers themselves haven't released their own bottling. These annual Islay tasting have twice fetured this bottler's examples always to a warm reception. With this 10yo outing at 59.2% they have excelled. Again the dry soot notes show how well the oak and peat have come together so wonderfully. The absence of sulphur further adds to the enjoyment. A looong finish adds even more joy with subsequent sips seemimg to cumulate the effect. Personally I am closing in on a complete collection of drams from every distillery in Scotland over the last 50 years, not having a Bunnahabhain due to lack of interesting and accessible examples I believe I have found the missing link. More please.

The next dram was only included as a last minute mystery thanks to the pressure from a sponsor. Mr Neil Smith, a regular, kindly donated a bottle which otherwise would have proven difficult to source. Krottentaler single cask malt whisky 14yo from Robert Fleischmann of the Blaue Maus distillery, Germany. The unique aspect must be the maturation in new German oak. This type of wood would probably best suit a battleship rather than whatever type of sleek yacht a 'krotenntaler' might be. Comments included 'it doesn't taste as bad as it smells'. Personaly I was reminded of the Frankenstein's creation that was Wasmund's Rappahannock (I've only tasted one expression of this so don't sink the fleet yet due to one bad boat) Perhaps mercifully no scores were taken for this one. But being easily pleased some of us will find something commendable in every dram. I finished mine.

Back to Islay for our next candidate. Cadenheads Ardbeg 1993 15yo 57.0%. Back to form with a cobweb clearing blast of Kildalton. The paleness suggest a cask with little contribution which is borne out on the nose and palate. In complete contrast to the Bunny we have the spirit loud and clear. Quite a few that have tried it have appeared non-plussed however a vote totalling 73% reflected a wide spread of opinion albeit tending towards sound satisfaction. For me a fascinating example and far too easy to drink.

Finally, the Governor. Octomre 5yo £85ish 131 pm. Peatier than a peat sandwich, without the bread. Ridiculous realy but boundaries are there to be pushed, slapped and stamped on. We return to those loons at Bruichladdich for more fun with this unrestricted V8 turbo charged ride. Unsophisticated but unapologetic it is as subtle as US foreign policy. With 78% the crowd were pleased and not much could follow, well maybe some new make Longrow. Where do they go from here? The Sex Pistols wisely broke up as the point had been made. Will the demon distillers continue on their rampage with further atrocities against good practice and have the SWA excommunicating them altogher? I hope so. If you haven't got a bottle yet, good luck.

Next tasting January 29th £20/17:-

Old Potrero single rye malt 45% from San Francisco

Kilkerran from Glen Gyle distillery 58.6%

Gordon MacPhail Strathisla 30yo 43% (winner of Scottish Field's Whisky Challenge 2008)

Talisker 25yo 2008 bottling

Cadenheads Longmorn 1990 -06/08 18yo Bourbon cask 186 bottles 46%

+ mystery dram

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#27965 - 13/01/09 02:48 PM Re: Edinburgh/Canongate Regular Tastings [Re: Jolly Toper]
butephoto Offline
Full Member


Registered: 14/02/08
Posts: 106
Loc: Glasgow, Scotland
What was the score for the Bunny?
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www.whiskywhiskywhisky.com

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#27973 - 13/01/09 08:13 PM Re: Edinburgh/Canongate Regular Tastings [Re: butephoto]
Jolly Toper Offline
Full Member


Registered: 18/01/08
Posts: 554
Loc: East Calder, West Lothian, Sco...
Oops.80 points making it the most popular of the night. from memory I can only think of 2 higher scorers, I'll check that though. I'll have to start a list of everything scoring higher than, say 80.
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#28030 - 16/01/09 12:38 PM Re: Edinburgh/Canongate Regular Tastings [Re: Jolly Toper]
butephoto Offline
Full Member


Registered: 14/02/08
Posts: 106
Loc: Glasgow, Scotland
Glad to hear it. Definitely my favourite of the night by a long shot. I'll need to track some down in the future...
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www.whiskywhiskywhisky.com

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#28309 - 30/01/09 01:11 PM Re: Edinburgh/Canongate Regular Tastings [Re: butephoto]
butephoto Offline
Full Member


Registered: 14/02/08
Posts: 106
Loc: Glasgow, Scotland
Fantastic night again last night. Looking forward to the results!
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www.whiskywhiskywhisky.com

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#28311 - 30/01/09 11:28 PM Re: Edinburgh/Canongate Regular Tastings [Re: butephoto]
Jolly Toper Offline
Full Member


Registered: 18/01/08
Posts: 554
Loc: East Calder, West Lothian, Sco...
Sorry for delay in results but a nasty case of filing self assesment tax by 31st January has turned my head into jelly. Will endevour to report ASAP. Guests round tomorrow so its hardly good form to ignore them and tap at the keyboard. Although I've just been informed the Mr side of the couple coming over for dinner only drinks Bacardi Breezers for his alcohol intake. Fun night then.

Also apologies to Butephoto for not taking advantage of opportunity of plugging whiskywhiskywhisky and instead plugged Bladnoch Forum.

over and out

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