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#31221 - 18/07/09 05:01 AM Re: Edinburgh/Canongate Regular Tastings [Re: Jolly Toper]
MacDeffe Offline
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Registered: 29/09/04
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I grabbed a dram of the Duthies Islay unnamed the other day in a hotel bar. I found it a rather pleasant dram. I had it on a clear palate. Maybe the low score is due ti it following other stronger drams ?
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#31472 - 10/08/09 09:49 PM Re: Edinburgh/Canongate Regular Tastings [Re: MacDeffe]
Jolly Toper Offline
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Registered: 18/01/08
Posts: 553
Loc: East Calder, West Lothian, Sco...
At last something to report, the program for the remainder of the year is taking shape. I'll post details when they're more solid but the next tasting will be:-

Thursday 3rd September. Time and place as usual.

The drams, all cask strength from Cadenheads (but maybe not the mystery dram)

Auchentoshan 19yo Bourbon Barrel

Glendronach 18yo Bourbon hogshead

Glenlossie-Glenlivet 14yo port hogshead

Glen Elgin 30yo Bourbon hogshead

Caol Ila 13yo Butt

and a mystery dram.

See http://www.jollytopertastings.co.uk for more details and updates.

Cheers

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#31647 - 23/08/09 08:08 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 usually mention the tastings only after the latest one gets reviewed but thought I'd plug this one as I've just posted elsewhere. The next in the series of tastings comparing officially bottled standard issue cask strength expressions of a malt with 4 independently bottled examples and a red herring (this is a figure of speach rather than a food pairing).

Macallan official bottle 10yo 58.5% (litre bottle)

Golden Cask 1992 - 2005 291 bottles 56.8% - no cask type stated but surely a Bourbon hogshead

Scott's Selection 1985 - 2005 53% - same thoughts on cask as with the Golden Cask botttling

Scotch Malt Whisky Society 24.104 18yo 56.9% first fill sherry butt 612 bottles

Cadenheads 1987 - 10/08 20yo sherry butt 282 bottles 53.2%

Red herring

Tollbooth Tavern, Royal Mile, Edinburgh, 24th September 2009 7.30pm
£20/17 (discount for first timers/members) check http://www.jollytopertastings.co.uk for further details on these tastings.

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#31830 - 05/09/09 12:47 AM 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...
Hello again, after the enforced break due to the Edinburgh festivals we kicked off the new sesson with a full house (28 of us) and 5 cadenheads bottlings as well as the first up which was a mystery dram. Once again the generosity of an attendee was much appreciated. This time new regular Bas fron Dutchland brought along a malt from his homeland.

Millstone 8yo 'pure pot still' Dutch single malt May 2000 - 24.2.2009 8yo in French oak from Zuidam distillery. We had bottle number 910! At 70cl this cask must have been considerable. I wonder if the Scottish legal restrictions on parameters for production are at least those of European law or does each country have individual quirks like maximum cask size?
Anyway on the nose there is considerable pungencywith a fruit schnapps angle which is familiar to me from virtually all my limited experience of European malts. Not unpleasant but not so familiar to the Scottish whisky drinker. On the palate the character is all to brief, the filtering and low bottling strength surely responsible for thinning the body, shortening the finish and slightening the depth. However I would rate this as my most enjoyable European dram to date. A bottling at 6yo stocked at RMW offered more body and a bit more going on but I@ was a bit surprised and dissappointed with the cool reception this dram received, whats not to like? I'm sure a bottle of this wouldn't last long although not knowing the price makes it difficult to judge value. According to the excellent Eyewitness Companion the producers are famed for their aged Genevers and have produced malt since 2002. The book also lists another distillery starting with 'Z' so its not quite as unique as might be thought. A poorly 26%. 'a lot like Bourbon, thought it might be French' 'light& easy going' flat, a like a weak grain whisky', 'bitter' x 2, 'flat' x 2, 'was it aged in a well used farmer's clog?' 'like Bourbon' x 2. Plenty more Euroskies to try, keep them coming.

Next Glendronach (1826) 18yo Bourbon hogshead. Now that the boys from BenRiach have got Glendronach under their wing we can look forward to some quality and interesting releases. The new 15yo and 18yo certainly didn't dissappoint. The evangelic move towards non-chillfiltering and dropping of caramel has a new convert. With Deanston also joining in this is certainly a renaissance, long live the new order. This Cadenehads bottling doesn't have the sherry influence commonly found in Glendronach but does not play second fiddle to European oak. while we had a sample bottle in the shop it was almost always the case somebody tasting it would buy it. The honey notes are clear with cereal and malty notes. A few suspected high strength at play but its qualities were not lost before dilution. When this dram was produced both floor malting and direct heating of the stills by coal would have been features. It will be interesting to compare the spirit of the new regime when its is available. Perhaps it is I don't know when these methoda were abandoned. I think UDV's experiment with Dalwhinnies worm tubs being replaced by condensers the tubs being restored will havfe its affects, if any, round about now. Am I right? Has anybody noticed anything? Or do other influences overpower such subtleties? Apparrantely workers in distillereis where the change from direct to indirect heating took place preferred the traditional methods. I aslo know someone who could tell blind spirit from wooden and stainless steel washbacks. For me this dram offers a esy dinking glass as well as a reasonably assured character, an excellent gift for someone when you're not sure about their likes. 54%. 'too buttery', 'too much spirit destroys the nose', 'not much to this', 'magnificent' 'like a Lowlander'

Now an actual Lowlander. 19yo Auchentoshan (1815) Bourbon barrel. We've done a bunch of this vintage and they've all been great examples of active Bourbon barrel maturation. I'm thinking this is first fillings in the American oak. I wish this information was detailed, but as the revolution continues the detials we find on the labels are improving. I'm not sure we need to know the number of calories or units slcohol or the distillery cat's name but more than a vintage would help. Number One drinks Company have taken to a great length detailing most every common statistic and feature of the ditillery. Information, like choice is good, but there are limits before overkill sets in.
A dram with a beginning, middle and end. Great value for the change in flavours, some Bourbon spice and plenty sweet vanilla. Tingly but with an oily aspect to the texture. Like it's sister Bowmore I seem to have rediscovered this distillery and ham happy to keep investigating. A challenger for Bladnochs crown as Queen of the Lowlands. I've always liked Rosebank but with the chance we know have to try so many examples of so many stills the one time headline act has been decapitated for some of us. An admirable 68%. 'best value for money' 'yes please Santa' 'tropical fruit, smells like an old grain',

Next was Glenlossie (1876) 14yo port hogshead. Being one of the tertiary line up for /diageo we're hardly spoiled for choice from this still and we can't expect Billy Walker to buy everything. My limited experience of 'Lossie has been good and better. Long live the IBs. Portwood for a long time was mywood of choice if you wanted to clearlyt notice a traceable wood influence and also my choice for the success rate of finishing. with this one I doubt I'd pick the wood out. Cadenheads are not forth coming about length of time 'finishing' but I beleive we're talking years not months. A couple of people commented on sea air in this dram while I was getting leather. I've had this afew times now and it seems to be at its best after afew drams have washed over your palate. For me this is a great dram with a long beefy finish but the nose is so inviting I could take a long time over a glass. With or without water the layers of and waves seem to ebb and flow so wonderfully. The rumour mill had us believe the Flora and Fauna range was for the chop, perhaps the insanely priced 'Manager's Choice' will be part of the new master plan. Tiny batches at colossal mark-ups with loads of stock diverted away from single malt to Johnnie Walker, born in Kilmarnock rehoused in Fife. 61%. 'bit too salty', 'unremarkable', 'brilliant','seriuosly good'.

Now for the oldie. 30yo Glen Elgin. A dram which has for some time been used as a single malt and now promoted to a 'Classic'. Accurately predicted to be the last still built in Speyside for fifty years on its commission in 1898. The company has a pricing policy that everything 30yo-35yo is £141.50. We've nearly sold out of the Convalmore and Millburn so maybe the high price is a good business move. But nobody present reaching for their wallet. Would this have been the case regardless of how good it was or is your average punter just not that wealthy? I've spent much more on bottles but only as investments. working with the stuff hasn't actually given me much first hand experience in buying for consumption. sometimes it amazes me people are apparently so rich to spend £50 to £100 on a drink or not be so rich but derive so much pleasure the cost is justified. Also sometimes I think £100 is a bargain. Sometimes I think too much too. However althoguh I've not tasted the new 9yo Oban I'd be surprised if it was twice the value of this dram.
On the nose the rich dark druits had a lot convinced it was sherry cask matured. I remember being tricked by some 28yo Glenfarclas the same way. There might even be some indian food in there somewhere, could it be corriander or is it getting late? One of thoise drams that seem to melt into your tongue and swallowing isn't necessary, an exquisite reverse-osmosis. Thank God for overproduction on the 1970s. We aleays hear of the boom and bust cyclical nature of tthe industry. But surely the number of ancient bottlings have never been greater than now. ITs also hard to imagine the peaks and troughs of supply/consumption will ever be so extreme again. But with job loses very quickly following the arms race of ramping up production the fickle and brittle nature of the consumer's demand nay still lead to some headaches for the acountants, although this latest graph of rise and fall is surely an inconsequential blip compared with the misplaced optimisim whish led the whisky loch of the 1980s.
A mighty 73% and one of only two 9-out-of-9 of the night. 'great whisky, but not worth £141', 'dram of the night'.

Finally a Caol Ila (1846) from a sherry cask albeit only obvious in the hue and not the palate, except perhaps in the finish where a sort of texture lingers with the embers. 13yo. A proud 66% which as usual doesn't show the polarisation of voting between the peat heads and the non-smokers. The other full mark. and a third of voters gave it 8-out-of-9. I'm not looking for it but I've yet to have a poor Caol Ila, and I've had more than a couple. This distillery just doesn't dissapoint. althoguh some said, even with the high score, y could expect a little more from Caol Ila. 'Octomore, eat your heart out', 'nae burning Pirelis here', 'sooty', 'Ilove the smell of Islay in the morning'.

And so to bed...

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#31831 - 05/09/09 04:30 AM Re: Edinburgh/Canongate Regular Tastings [Re: Jolly Toper]
MacDeffe Offline
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Registered: 29/09/04
Posts: 834
Loc: Århus, Denmark
Hi Mark, can you please (re) tell how the scoring system works ?

About the Millstone, if its from a 477 liter sherry butt, and 15% has evaporated in 8 years, and if it has been matured at high strength (70% maybe) and it has 65% stregth after 8 years, thisk cask will produce 940 bottles at 40% approx

So it might not been an unusual cask size compared to Scottish whisky standards

Macdeffe
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#31832 - 05/09/09 04:35 AM Re: Edinburgh/Canongate Regular Tastings [Re: MacDeffe]
MacDeffe Offline
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Registered: 29/09/04
Posts: 834
Loc: Århus, Denmark
I just checked http://www.zuidam.eu/?pagina=product&product_cat=4&id=44

Matured in small casks with a 4-5% angels share. I reckon its not a single cask but a vatting ?

Macdeffe


Edited by MacDeffe (05/09/09 04:35 AM)
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#31834 - 05/09/09 11:38 AM Re: Edinburgh/Canongate Regular Tastings [Re: Jolly Toper]
Willie JJ Offline
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Registered: 21/11/07
Posts: 634
Loc: Midlothian, Scotland
It was an excellent tasting to start the new season. I enjoy the themed tastings, but I prefer the variety that the unthemed ones bring to the table.

 Originally Posted By: Jolly Toper
Millstone 8yo. According to the excellent Eyewitness Companion the producers are famed for their aged Genevers and have produced malt since 2002.

The book has to be wrong in this case. 2002-2009 is only 7 years, so they must have been producing malt since at least 2001 to have an 8yo. I thought the Millstone was nice enough. It fortunately lacks the levels of bitterness that appear in the German malts that I have tried. I dont know if that was because the wood had been used before (but I dont think so) or if French oak is less bitter than German oak, but it left the spirit in much better condition. I would have no problem buying this if it was reasonably priced.

 Originally Posted By: Jolly Toper
Next Glendronach (1826) 18yo Bourbon hogshead. This Cadenheads bottling doesn't have the sherry influence commonly found in Glendronach but does not play second fiddle to European oak. For me this dram offers a easy dinking glass as well as a reasonably assured character, an excellent gift for someone when you're not sure about their likes. 54%.

No doubt about the bourbon cask here. Loads of vanilla and sugars in the whisky explain why it was easy to sell after a taste. This was a very good first Scotch of the night. Its always nice to get a normally sherried dram in a bourbon cask. Glendronach has nothing to hide.

 Originally Posted By: Jolly Toper
Now an actual Lowlander. 19yo Auchentoshan (1815) Bourbon barrel. We've done a bunch of this vintage and they've all been great examples of active Bourbon barrel maturation. I'm thinking this is first fillings in the American oak.
A dram with a beginning, middle and end. Great value for the change in flavours, some Bourbon spice and plenty sweet vanilla. Tingly but with an oily aspect to the texture. Like it's sister Bowmore I seem to have rediscovered this distillery and ham happy to keep investigating. A challenger for Bladnochs crown as Queen of the Lowlands. An admirable 68%.

This has been a great series of Auchentoshan and this 19yo is almost as good as the long gone 16yo imo. I totally agree with the thought that it is first fill. Really well developed and quite delightful. Best dram of the night I thought and if all Auchentoshan was like this I would agree that it could challenge Bladnoch for the best lowland slot. However, all Auchentoshan is not like this and Bladnoch is quite safe.


 Originally Posted By: Jolly toper
Next was Glenlossie (1876) 14yo port hogshead. ... My limited experience of 'Lossie has been good and better. ... Portwood for a long time was mywood of choice if you wanted to clearly notice a traceable wood influence and also my choice for the success rate of finishing. with this one I doubt I'd pick the wood out. ... For me this is a great dram with a long beefy finish but the nose is so inviting I could take a long time over a glass. 61%.

I agree that Glenlossie is a good dram and I wasn't disappointed here. I didn't spot the portwood, but I'm not sure anyone else did either. The nose is wonderful and it was hard to get past it, but when I did the rest of the dram didn't disappoint. Quality stuff.

 Originally Posted By: Jolly Toper
Now for the oldie. 30yo Glen Elgin. ...
On the nose the rich dark druits had a lot convinced it was sherry cask matured. I remember being tricked by some 28yo Glenfarclas the same way. There might even be some indian food in there somewhere, could it be corriander or is it getting late? One of thoise drams that seem to melt into your tongue and swallowing isn't necessary, an exquisite reverse-osmosis.
A mighty 73% and one of only two 9-out-of-9 of the night.

This is a wonderful dram. There was enough oak to reveal the age, but it was gentle and juicy and redolent of delicate spices. I was one of the sherry cask fools, but I'm not embarrased by it. What a cask! Its not the greatest of the Cad oldies, but it is really special nonetheless. I wasn't responsible for the 9 though. It wasn't that good.

 Originally Posted By: Jolly Toper
Finally a Caol Ila (1846) from a sherry cask albeit only obvious in the hue and not the palate, except perhaps in the finish where a sort of texture lingers with the embers. 13yo. A proud 66% I'm not looking for it but I've yet to have a poor Caol Ila, and I've had more than a couple. This distillery just doesn't dissapoint.

Yep a cracking Caol Ila. All the more so for the sherry cask which I thought was evident on the palate. Totally agree about CI reliability. Raymond's recent bottlings are further evidence of that. If the distillery was less reliable I would have bought one of these, but I know there will be another good one along in a minute.

All together a great night. Looking forward to the next unthemed night now.
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#31837 - 05/09/09 07:57 PM Re: Edinburgh/Canongate Regular Tastings [Re: Willie JJ]
MrTH Offline
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Registered: 16/02/09
Posts: 792
Loc: Springfield Massachusetts USA
Perhaps Millstone have been bottling malt since 2002?
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#31838 - 05/09/09 08:47 PM Re: Edinburgh/Canongate Regular Tastings [Re: MrTH]
Willie JJ Offline
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Registered: 21/11/07
Posts: 634
Loc: Midlothian, Scotland
 Originally Posted By: MrTH
Perhaps Millstone have been bottling malt since 2002?

Its a thought Bruce, but I don't remember it having been around for so long. Anyone know the answer to this?
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#31839 - 06/09/09 07:47 AM Re: Edinburgh/Canongate Regular Tastings [Re: Willie JJ]
Jolly Toper Offline
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Registered: 18/01/08
Posts: 553
Loc: East Calder, West Lothian, Sco...
I've checked the book again and I've made a mistake. they say a 5yo was released in 2007. No start date is mentioned.

Also apologies for not checking the text in the post for typos, very anoying, nearly as bad as Whisky Magazine.


MadDeffe as for the scoring I ask people to mark the drams from zero to 9. Zero is 'less than no use' 9 is perfection. In between there are even increments of enjoyment prompted by a suggestion of enjoyment level. I need to re-word this as the text hasn't changed since it was originally used for a blended tasting. I then total the scores for each dram converting them to a percentage of total possible score. I encourage the use of the full range of scoring and each level on the scale is used. Most reviews scoring out of 10 or 100 don't report anything in the bottom half of their scales which suggests a bit of redundancy to me.
I also ask people to leave comments, these are the quoted desriptions at the end of each entry in the reviews. I'd like people to make more use of this as it can be more desriptive and quite amusing. Analogies and comparisons work well.

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