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#38135 - 06/03/11 10:44 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...
Its official, the worlds gone mad, the last Islay tasting was NOT sold out. 5 drams from the island paradise including a Port Ellen for £20 and there were half a dozen tickets left, yet the next tasting is all but sold out and not a dram revealed.

Whatever. We kicked off with the somewhat traditional, for these tastings, non-peated Caol Ila- the current issue from 2010. I don't bother vetting this one any more as it is so interesting and to follow the editions is quite curious - will a consistency emerge? The first batch was conspicuously peaty. For me this one, the oldest yet, was somewhat muted on the nose but explosive on the palate despite a calmer 57.4% (I think) weigh-in unlike earlier super heavy weights. The palate unwatered is likewise flat, for me, while the diluted option seems to awaken little. A sweetness is detectable along with a crisp maltiness but thats all I'm getting. Sorry but a bit of a non-event for this reviewer, not bad just totally lacking charisma or indeed identity. Odd. I have been told Diageo have stopped producing non-peated C.I.- the shadow of Roseisle might be cast far. My lack of enthusiasm is untypical but seemes not to be entirely reflected in the scoring- 11234555555677 an acceptable 48%. 'Stranraer', 'sweet and boring', 'flowers', 'a Franz Klammir - pretty good', 'baw bag', 'Pitlochry', 'hot and peppery', 'like Jimmy Chjos - posh shoes I think'.

Next a Cadenheads 15yo 46% Bowmore from a Bourbon hogshead bottled a couple of years ago. Its been in the shop for ages and while not a stunner it's inclusion as a nice example of a poised low key Bowmore is well warranted. As I have reported before I turned a corner with Bowmore a couple of years back- I now get it and am very pleased I can appreciate the qualities of the distillery whilst not overlooking it for the 'bigger' hitters from the island. Indeed I think my shift away from the bruisers, especially the younger examples seems to be a developing trend. Anybody else feel disenchanted with ppms being all important? Here the unique scented trait is not overplayed leaving a very impressive development and finish which altogether results in a subtle but impeccably constructed whole. With a hint of water the 15 years are more obvious and leave a feeling of a very settled set of ingredients. Nice one. 144556666667777 a distinguished 61%. 'Perth', 'leather, kelp, honey, tea leaves', 'leather jacket', 'a Nash + Dixon - no bad', 'no a bad c**t', 'Oban', 'herby cough sweets', 'smells like wellies'. There is a bit of manure on the nose too but thats okay, isn't it?

Next was the reverse of dram 1 - a peated Bunnahabhain, An Toiteach 46%. I first encounterd this in the Bon Accord bar in Glasgow after a marathon Arran tasting at Oran Mor. I don't get out much and I enthusiastically combined the Arran event with a determination to visit as many Glasgow whisky bars as possible. This was my last dram, I think, and seemed just what I needed at the time but I always felt trying it on a fresh palate might be a good idea. So a couple of days before the tasting I was a bit unsettled to find an apparently youthful peat fest- not really what I had in mind, my confidence was already shaken with the line up being less than eye popping. However after a couple of warmer uppers it came into it's own and was a bit like a Darrach Ur Islay stylee. The wood and peat went well alongside the youth leading to a barbecue with a sour sherry sauce. The weight on the palate especially mid flow is impressive and the follow up finish adding to the appeal. On the nose an akwardness tricks you enough so that the palate easily out performs expectations. The last write up saw the Springbank being my glass refiller, tonight the fourth dram effect has moved forward to this cheeky little number. Bravo. After Signatory doing so well with peated Bunnies is great to see the distillery put out a contender. I'm looking forward to trying the revitalised standard 12yo now it is unchillfiltered and up to 46.3%. The last time I tried the 12yo was at 40% and even then the peatyness was apparent, I'd actually quickly grapped it as a representive of a non-blended, not old, malt not from sherry casks and the guys at the tasting mostly commented on how smoky it was- I thought I'd accidently given them the peaty dram we were meant to finish on. The An Toiteach again has the farm yards when diluted, just another string to it's bow. Distillery bottlings have really come a long way in just the last couple of years- people power! I like it, they're listening to us. Long live the revolution, perhaps a bit early to make a headstone for caramel but lets keep chipping away at the source and our cause will be done, brothers and sisters, etc. 44555666677778 a deserved 'winner' with a bold 66%. 'Bridgend', 'smells like sweaty socks', 'lovely peat', 'a Torvill and Dean - great', 'a brammer', 'Uig, Lewis', 'the most interesting', 'comfy nice boots'.

Now for the main feature. Port Ellen. I left it to the last minute on my selection. This stuff is getting rare and expensive. I have some bottles put aside. I bought them shrewdly as their prices were very appealing when I bought them and now are frankly ridiculous. Amongst them the best I've tried from the distillery- a Golden Cask bottling. However if the tasting was not a sell out I would be unhappy at sacrificing one of my babies. To be fair to myself I guess the ticket price, which is set by the amount spent on the bottles, should have been decided this time by replacement costs for Port Ellen rather than purchase costs. A look at websites showed nothing below £100 was to be had. Last year we tried a dissappointing G&M PE. I was determined to get cask strength. RMW had run out of a recent MacKillop's bottling which seemed a good deal at £150 and having been at a Lorne MacKillop tasting I was pretty sure his selection was unempeachable. Drat. A McTears sale two days before the tasting was a possible source- it was exclusively island bottlings and a lot of PEs were featured. However my pals who normally proxy bid for me had decided not to attend as they felt the auctions were becoming too frequent and their spending power was not unexhaustive. As it turned out there was nothing below £100 and what was in the low centuries was of the namby pampy G&M 40% or Douglas Laing 46/50% level. My get out was three cases of 20cl 'Ultimate Islay Selection' getting dusty in the shop. At over £100 they were not moving but contained a 7th release PE. Pro-rata expensive but the latest official PE was knocking on £300. Lady luck was on my side. With no chance of test driving it I had to trust in Diageo, I remember the 5th release (I think) being poor. This is everything it should be. The nose carries the age just the way I like it- all time and cask- nice and musty. The distillery/Islay contribution is there in style. Yet there is a melancholy aspect, this is the work of artists who were undone by commerce, their sacrifice necessary for the survival of the machine. Without food the beast wlll starve and as the health of the giant suffered a diet of less extravagance was called for, now its putting on weight again it is sad we can't dine on such delights for much longer. Sorry I've obviously been hit with the verbose blethers stick tonight. 25556666667788 a proud and distinguished 65%. 'Portree', 'balanced, sweet', 'viola', 'a Graham Bell - one of Scotland's best', 'good gear', 'Skye', '£300, ha ha', 'pair of Couboutins, ok not sure about the spelling but they are posh boots, I was shocked to see some at £440 in a sale'.

Finally, Lagavulin. Never a dram conspicuous by it's prolific nature. With a themed tasting of Lagavulin coming up I had little up my sleeve. So The Whisky Exchange's LG1 was knicked from the themed tasting for tonight. LG2 will hopefully replace it in July. How I regret selling a 25yo to C57 and not stockpiling 21yo, the 30yo never even blipped my radar. Hopefully another pal will take back a distillery only bottling from Islay next week. After TWE's AR1, which held the highest score for some time at these tastings, this bottling was going to end the night on a good note. Due to its peaty extravagence there was no other place than the last dram but unfortunately it had nothing much to compete with the PE or even the Bunny. Don't get me wrong, this has Kildalton written all over it but the grafitti artist was no Banksie. A sweetness is noteworthy and the abruptness is not necessarily a failing however when the distillery constantly proves itself there is a lot to live up to. Had this been a young Kilchoman or such perhaps we would have been more generous but i think some people were comparing this to Ardbeg on an off day. In it's favour was a stark, gruff nature which reminded us of how much a product of the landscape whisky is- if you have ever experienced the west coast of Scotland in inclement conditions you'll know how elemental things get. Here we have in a glass just such a dark night. Maybe some of us just like our shelter from the storm. See told you: blethers. 11144455666888 a wobbly 53% but note the vote spread. 'H', a regular, said- in typically admirable frankness, the best Port Ellen and the worst Lagavulin. Mind you he did talk about a brotheliser rather tahn a breathaliser, someting on your conscious 'H'? 'Port Askaig Hotel', 'fusty', 'rubber bullets', 'the Eddie The Eagle of the night', 'Glen Affric', 'a big beast', 'Converse'.

the next tasting is Thursday 17th, Peaty/Old/Unusual/Rare/Sherried, line up will be blind £20/17- almost sold out. Iain will do his Japanese tasting next Thursday which will be featurted here too, can't wait.

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#38136 - 06/03/11 11:13 PM Re: Edinburgh/Canongate Regular Tastings [Re: Jolly Toper]
Ardbeggordon Offline
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Registered: 06/04/01
Posts: 2012
Loc: ?
Nice to see the Toiteach do well in a tasting Mark , Bunnahabhain seems to be going places at last . The revitalised 12yo at 46.3%/ucf is fantastic and the slightly de-sherried 18yo at 46.3%/ucf is imo stunning . Wonder if the 25yo will get the treatment as it's still the most disappointing of the O.b.'s to me .
BTW still think the Lg1 is better than the Lg2......
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#38179 - 10/03/11 06:54 PM Re: Edinburgh/Canongate Regular Tastings [Re: Jolly Toper]
yogi Offline
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Registered: 06/11/08
Posts: 118
Loc: Edinburgh
 Originally Posted By: Jolly Toper
Its official, the worlds gone mad, the last Islay tasting was NOT sold out. 5 drams from the island paradise including a Port Ellen for £20 and there were half a dozen tickets left, yet the next tasting is all but sold out and not a dram revealed.


cmon Jolly no wonder, you actually announced it sold out since the tasting mid Feb. I was a wee bit baffled on the nigh, but who wants to go against his master. From now on though I promise to keep you right against a small wet fee ;-)
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#38282 - 20/03/11 11:57 PM Re: Edinburgh/Canongate Regular Tastings [Re: yogi]
Jolly Toper Offline
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Registered: 18/01/08
Posts: 553
Loc: East Calder, West Lothian, Sco...
After last tasting's empty seats I was pleased to welcome 28 drammers to Thursday's tasting- especially as none of the whiskies were known to those attending. With Cadenheads having recently bottled I'd hoped for a wealth of choice for the night. However there proved fewer stars than hoped for. Also always with a budget to balance the final line up was only settled on the day of the tasting, always an 'exciting' proposition this- I like to be better prepared than that.

First was a dram which was stuck under my nose due to its ridiculous price as well as it's lineage- Cutty Sark 12yo 40% blend. Having recently tested the 25yo and some time ago the 18yo it also made sense to try this deluxe edition. Being as the brand has just been swapped for the Glenrothes brand between Highland Distillers and Berry Brothers & Rudd I can only surmise a rebranding is imminent as these editions are being sold off at give away prices. This expression costs just £12 retail! (I don't use exclamation marks often but I feel this use is warranted[!]). Having taken a bottle home recently after a 'refreshing' night out with Mrs T I was so impressed with the dram- it had depth and length while the character was complex and just what I was in the mood for- an almost humbling experience. On the night though my moment at home with my feet up was not transferrable to the bustle of a full tasting in the Tollbooth with perhaps an air of expectancy naturally raising the bar. Tasting now the nose is welcoming if not captivating and not immeadiatly recognisable as a blend. The palate quickly shows the grain (presumably handsome helpings of good old North British thanks to the tie in with ownership). A suspicious colour may lead to an assumption of over generous caramel and in turn draw attention to a bitter note hanging around before building at the finish, but this could be paranoia. Overall the dram is like a good standard blend but given the price I'll be happy to buy and drink some more as well as pour it for future tastings. Cutty Sark is an interesting brand with a great story behind it. Even the title is romantic- coming from the Dumbarton built clipper ship which in turn took it's name from a line out of Burns's Tam o' Shanter. All the tales about prohibition and gangsters, rum runners, famous artists and printing errors add to the marketer's dream ticket. Unfortunately performance on the night disappointed with a lowly 34%- 112222333333444444444 'Reet up X 1', 'easy drinking- well done', 'smells like vanilla', 'smells like flower garden', 'nice introductory dram, didn't have it down as a blend', 'initial nose is ok, palate bland, easy to drink though..but hey lifes too short, wheres the meat?'.

Meat it is. The next dram was pretty much the star of the last Cadenheads bottling. A 20yo Rosebank 52.9% only 144 botlles from a sherry cask. I've heard of sherry cask Rosebanks but never seen one let alone tried an example. We only got 18 bottles in the shop- they were gone in four days. A really interesting nose gives plenty- cough syrup, cherries, is that smoke? hints of Bourbon some how, nutty coffee, had I been told this was a sherry cask Amrut then I'd have to believe it. It gives an aura of being even older than 20 years but perhaps the low out turn may indicate a problem cask where an abundance of head space inside the cask speeded some flavours up. One of the Quality Street chocolates from a metal tin but I can't say which one. Doughnuts just out of the frier. If this isn't in my top ten noses come the end of 2011 then there must be some great drams to come this year. On the palate the complete absence of sulphur is a joy. This is as clean a sherry cask as you might dare to hope for. Has this been a touch up job with the contents of a falterring cask being transferred into a supercharger to make it fit for purpose? I just can't read the signs clearly, but really who cares when the result is as enjoyable as this. But a very surprisingly low score of 47% might reflect the strong character went beyond a lot of people's thresholds. There were quite a number of folk there who I couldn't account for their likes/dislikes and experience unlike most night when I can know better those present and their foibles. 0112233444555555666677 'Pretty good', 'wonderful dram, almost my best of the night', 'more chocolate please', 'mon cherie', 'sherry taste but too strong finish', 'reet up X 3', 'obviuos initially, i.e. sherry but palate and finish betrays something far more complex and briney and woody'.

Next another triple distilled dram- Hazelburn Sauterne Wood Expression: 5 years in refill bourbon casks then 3 in fresh Sauterne 9000 bottles. After the success of the port casks Hazelburn at the Christmas tasting this bottling had promise. Given the warm reception the sample bottle got in the shop it was a bit of a no brainer for the tasting although given how weighty the previous one was never mind the fourth dram I had worries the tasting would be top heavy with big wood. Trademark Campbeltown lurks in the glass- plenty dark and rich delights bubbling away. Apparently Dave Broom called this 'Winnie The Pooh's wet dream'. Thats just sick, and very funny. Melted Twix bars in a leather attache case on the nose with chilli chocolate on the palate. Sour sherry like notes are redolent particulrly at the beginning of the long finish. This has class stamped all over it. Another feather in the cap for wood management policies and further evidence, if any is still needed, that age is mostly a distraction. The few other Sauterne maturation/finishes I've tried have been no where near this intense. Perhaps there is a spectrum of character within the world of Sauterne- wine is pretty much a closed book to me although I do like looking at the cover. It interests me a distiller would practice triple distillation, a more expensive option, with a spirit result higher in the purity stakes then stick it in a bold cask. Auchentoshan Triple Wood always seemed an anomally to me. But could it be the type of alcohols and congeners created at this higher strength extracts a different set of flavours from the wood- perhaps a more penetrating effect. Whatever, there seems to be a winning formula as the results are becoming conspicuously consistent. We recently got some new make from the distillery- Springbank, Longrow and Hazelburn, for the second time the Hazelburn shone the brightest. Once again I'm frustrated such good spirit exists and mostly goes unappreciated, I wish some of this got bottled. 3344444455555555566 a more fruitfull but still modest 54%. 'Nearly drinkable without water', 'salty!', 'reet up X4', 'silage and sherry- choc orange finish'.

Next was another head turner from the Cadenheads program. A 14yo Heaven Hill Bourbon. A few years ago we had half a dozen self bottled Bourbons on our list- the rate of bottling overtaking consumption. Now we have one and it will probably sell out before too long. There is definatley a greater awareness and appreciation of the big flavours coming out of Kentucky. Imported whiskies in the UK are where the growth in sales lies at the moment. I wonder if the SWA are concerned. Very unfortunately I don't have a sample right now but a full on spicy wood fest is still clear in my mind. Don't look for a spread of subtle character but enjoy the waves of oak and dry dusty pepper. This time the lighter sweeter vanilla is overshadowed by long years in cask, perhaps a higher rye content is also at play. Like many I'm getting more and more from American whiskies and the chance to investigate a whole new world of taste, history, practice and personalities is most welcome. 002222233333444556777 again the challenge might have been too much with a slight 39% and two zeros indicating some people were well out of their comfort zone however a nice spread of scores also shows some were accepting while others caught the breeze. 'I didn't get it was a 14yo Kentucky Bourbon but I did say it could be a very old grain', 'too normal', 'tastes like a poor grappa', 'surprisingly good', 'reet up X 2', 'Bourbon/grain/fruit/wasn't a patch on 23yo cola (?) Bladnoch'.

Finally I needed something peaty and over 25yo to fulfill the P/O/U/R/S promise. I could only be an old Caol Ila given how many pennies were left in the tin. Adelphi had a promising offering but proved too ellusive in the end and with nothing in the Bladnoch shop my old chums at Golden Cask came up trumps with an affordable 26yo at 51%. A first aid box in a farmyard all lightly dusted with icing sugar. Yum. An interesting thought was presented by a regular. I noted he wasn't overly impressed by the recent old Caol Ila night we had proposing Caol Ila is best young, hibernates for a bit then comes back out to play at great age. Any body care to comment? Is Caol Ila better in short or long trousers? Discuss. I can easily see the point when young ones are so complete. Oldies are the best value for Islay but is the difference that significant? Here I'm also noticing a glimpse of the pine/Christmas trees one of Raymond's bottlings had in impressive stocking fulls. 333444455556666667788 we have a winner with 58%. 'This is for me', 'peat/silage/iodine', 'wonderful peaty dram', 'smoky', 'want more', 'reet up X 3'.

All-in-all a poor scoring night, which is a bit bohtersome as I deliberated long and hard about the line-up believing they were all strong, perhaps too strong. Next tasting is 31st March and will be the 4th World whisky night. If this doesn't pull in the crowds I'll probably abandon dedicated nights and slip the occassional curve ball into the regular tastings. This is a shame as finding quality from obscure sources is getting easier. It used to be the choice was more academic in interest than hedonistic but the list of decent foreign produced stock is growing alongside its convenient accessability. For what its worth this line up must easily be the best yet-

Hammerhead Czech single malt ~20yo

St. George English whisky rum finish

Rocky Mountin Rye

Yamazaki puncheon

Amrut Hamnambam

£19/16*

This tasting will be further down the Canongate at James's (from Waverly Buffet and ex of The Blue Blazer) new charge 'Jenny Ha's' as the new management at the Tollbooth give the place a bit of a spruce up.

G'night.

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#38461 - 07/04/11 12:30 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...
Bonjour, ola, welkemmon, kon-ee-che-wa, fit like. The world whisky tasting wasn't the wash-out I feared with 19 of us having suitably open and imaginative minds. It was a case of Jolly Toper on tour as well. The Tolbooth is under new managemant- one of the bar staff has taken over the licence and it was deemed time for a spruce up. So we packed our bags and headed East. 200 yards later we arrived in need of refreshment and nourishmnent after our tiresome journey. Luckily our host at Jenny Ha's more than matched our needs with a foaming tankard of Stewart's 80 (seriously drinkable) and the best pub curry this whisky geek has tasted. James is famed for his bar keeping and cellaring from over a decade at the distinguished Edinburgh hostelry The Blue Blazer. After taking over at Leith Walk's Windsor Buffet (where we have hosted a couple of his 'Booze schools') he and partner Jacqui now run Jenny Ha's another famous city hostilery.

To get the ball rolling we started with a 1989 Czech single malt 'Hammerhead' from the Tesetice distillery 40.7%. I never found out why this strength, I believe most vatting of casks is followed with a dilution to slightly above minimum bottling strentgh before final adjustment on bottling day. Perhaps they forgot to tweek it. Who knows? Where to start with this curiousity? The company was taken over recently and the story goes the new owners discovered aged stocks. The quality was more than acceptable so they decided to release some to travel retail at the generous price of £35. Given this stock is over twenty years old and is so unusual I can only think the obscurity and amount of stock acted as a deterrent to a higher price. I've certainly tasted less inspiring malts for a higher price but have to admit the overall experience was more light entertainment than a revelation from some newly discovered piece of Bohemian theatre. A light gold aspect to the appearance and a hint of Bourbony notes point towards some slow maturing vessels. There are some woody notes on the nose and even a sharpish almost ammonia like waft was evident but only soon after pouring. On the palate things start gently but roll along nicely for quite some time leaving a fair finish. I found it moreish and there seemed to be an accumulative affect when taking successive sips. The wood used was Czech oak. I wonder if this is the source of the delicate nature- any wood/tree/maturation experts able to enlighten us? I wonder what else was discovered in the acquisition. Perhaps most stock has been dumped with young grain for a cheap blend and this parcel of casks was the the only group to escape the blenders clutches. It would be great if the were other ages or wood types still to come out. Otherwise we'll have to wait and see if the currently mothballed distillery is going to offer any variety at all in the short term. As a first outing this is far from a disaster but perhaps bottling at 46% and foregoing chill filtration would have upted the ante. I believe the intention is to put this on more genersl release. Recommended for collectors with an eye for the unusual or drinkers with an exploratory nature. Related products are Printers blend (quite drinkable, actually difficlut to pick out in a line up of budget Scottish alternatives, and Gold Cock (not a new Bond adversary) a malt which the Black version was 12yo I think but might be wrong- I tried something of this nature in The Highlander Inn in Craigellachie recently. 12334455 not many folk scoring never-the-less a far from strong 38%. 'Tequila', 'very good, smell reminds of a good brandy'.

Next we're off to Norfolk with the Saint George NAS rum cask 46% 660 bottles. To date the chapters released have on the whole been very promising. The distillers don't seem to be marketing these releases under a 'work in progress' banner but when their youth is taken into account I for one am pretty impressed. If however this is what we are going to be seeing released five or ten years from now I expect the traditional malt drinker will need some persuading. Personally I'm finding my enjoyment for the younger style malts is mot one universally shared so I was interested to note the disquiet amongst some pockets of resistance on the night. For me the sweet under cooked fairy cake aspect was not a turn off. I'm not saying this is a session whisky but I do find it surprising just how unhappy some folks were with the barely cultivated new make edge. For my part the rum cask was lost on me. Our rum guru James wondered if it might be a Rhum Agricole with the sharper greener style compared to the sweet Caribbean or heavy Demerara rums. Still this is shaping up to be English whisky not a Scottish copy cat made south of the border. 24555556 51% quite acceptable after all. 'Smooth, honeyed- very nice', 'better taste than smell'.

Now this one had a reputation to uphold. Amrut Kadhambam 50%. After the terrific responses to the Intermediate sherry cask, The 100, and the peated examples we expected no less of this incarnation of the great elixir. Transferred between three cask types perhaps the layers did not end up been interwoven as well as hoped or maybe the idea was to unravel the knot with layers of flavour emerging as we move through the mix. This aside there is complexity and depth on the nose. The rich full spirit we hope for is there, maybe not as oily as usual and a menthol note is new. Mts T says it reminds her of the Whisky Society (no not expensive and contrived). An earthy touch replaces the peat we are sometimes treated to. On the night there was certainly a degree of disappointment particularly from the regulars who have taken a lot of enjoyment from the other botlings. For me tasting it now I wonder if this a more clever Amrut than we've been used to, more speaking softly than the confident words we listened to before, but still worth being heard. With water chocolate brownies come out on the nose, the mouth feel takes on a satisfying fatty texture and the flavours also congeal. A Blackcurrant Tunes development remind me of a 21yo Dalmore but this is almost certainly less than 5yo. Of course all things are relative- the evaporation in Bangalore is about 8 times that in Scotland but still it is interesting to compare this with the St. George's as they are roughly the same age. Scoring is low- 41%: 1124567 and unfortunately no comments. It might not make the first team while fusion is fully fit but as a substitute the manager must be confident.

Next Japan and Yamazaki Puncheon 48%. This was released the same time the Hakushu (I've been mis-pronouncing this- its Hack shoe!) Heavily Peated came out. Like its sister cask this is typically classy. while quite reserved on the nose beyond some woody notes deep down and a hint of raspberries the elegance of this bottling slowly unwinds from a gentle start through a soft mid palate to a lingering warm finish. With a name like Puncheon one might expect a fist of furious sherry/port splinters but no. Here is a quite Speyside like treat, as if a mix of Aultmore and Cragganmore leaving sticky lips and a pear drops after glow. With water a sherry sour note emerges briefly much to my pleasure, but the main show is light sweet caramel with a chewy vanilla essence teasing the child in your taste buds. I'll have to investigate puncheons as I can't help but feel the name didn't prepare me for the light white oak jaunt however yummy it was. The winner with a sensational 78% - 5666899. 'A tasty nip', '£60 for this: excellent'.

Now might be a good time to plug 'Spirit of Union' a bottling to raise funds to aid Japan's ongoing problems. Google it to find out how you can help while getting a unique bottle in the process. I aim to use a bottle in a Japanese whisky tasting dedicated to fund raising. Those nice people at Suntory have donated a bottle of Yamazaki too. If any representatives of Japanese whisky companies are reading this please help- I need three more bottles- the less I pay the more funds are possible.

Finally we had another follow up bottling to an earlier success. High West Rocky Mountain Rye (the Americans have all the best names for whiskies -although Mortlach still takes some beating in my book) 16yo batch 5 46% 80% rye, 10% corn and 10% malted barley. Rye whiskies normally have a lower rye content and higher (cheaper) corn content. Here the bottlers are supplying something originally destined for blending with Canadian whiskies much in the same way intense peaty Islay malts were used in blends. While waiting for their own spirit to mature the company is doing a John Glazier/Compass box thing. Salavaging high quality whisky and taking something new and distinct to the market. While Bruichladdich fuel sports cars with X$4 I expect this is the NASCAR equivalent. Prety big stuff but I'm looking for a bit more dimension. For 80% rye the 16y years seem to have undone some of the weight but having such limited experience of the style I could well be missing the point. An 18yo Sazerac from a few years ago semed to be less subtle for better or worse I'm not sure. The lengthy woody finish is good and a strange mixture of coriander and marzipan is also entertaining. I could quite get used to this, in fact the 21yo is now lined up for a future tasting. Given time the spicy wood notes really develop with a burnt caramel more obvious. 3446778 a very admirable 62%.

There you have it the next tasting is another secret line up and is close to sell out. 14th April £20/17* back at the swanky new Tolbooth.

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#38463 - 07/04/11 04:30 PM Re: Edinburgh/Canongate Regular Tastings [Re: Jolly Toper]
MacDeffe Offline
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Registered: 29/09/04
Posts: 834
Loc: Århus, Denmark
How come just around 7 rated a whisky with 19 participants ?

Steffen
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#38465 - 07/04/11 07:47 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...
I left my homework on the bus. Well probably something like that. Or maybe apathy.
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#38466 - 07/04/11 11:36 PM Re: Edinburgh/Canongate Regular Tastings [Re: Jolly Toper]
MrTH Offline
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Registered: 16/02/09
Posts: 792
Loc: Springfield Massachusetts USA
What's worse, apathy or ignorance?




(Your line: "I don't know and I don't care.")
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#38467 - 08/04/11 07:55 AM Re: Edinburgh/Canongate Regular Tastings [Re: MrTH]
Jolly Toper Offline
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Registered: 18/01/08
Posts: 553
Loc: East Calder, West Lothian, Sco...
I don't care that I don't know
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#38490 - 16/04/11 11:47 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...
Back to a full compliment of tasters at the last bash. All in the shiny new Tolbooth. We were treated to paper hand towels AND a hot air blower in the toilets while upstairs was deep cleaned, painted and varnished. So it was in the good ship Tolbooth we all set sail on our next adventure. The first encounter was with a very low profile dram- Allt-a-Bhainne bottled under the Deerstalker label at 12yo 46% non-chillfiltered. As Cadenheads recently sold the last of our bottlings from this distillery, as well as the siter still Braeval (formerly know as Braes of Glenlivet) and as there is not a proprietor's bottling we have started stocking the Deerstlaker editions. The Braeval is 15yo and 46%. There is also a 12yo Balmenach in the range. These bottlings are small batch, 2 or 3 casks, and represent good value- we sell the Allt-a-Bhainne at £25.50 and very popular it is. When we first opened a bottle we were suitably impressed- the nose is fairly subdued but my initial tasting saw the fresh but calm palate open up quickly into quite a lively and long cascade of classic Speyside honey covered cleanliness. However on the night everything seemed to be hidden under a blanket of Tolbooth fug (maybe even deeper cleaning requirted). Certainly our original confidence was restored after letting The manageress at the Bow Bar (Edinburgh whisky bar of unwavering high status)- Helen was most animated over the dram's charms. Hey ho, this eventuality is impossible to account for- 112222233334444455 an under par 33%. 'A Diet Pepsi of a whisky - no thanks- mediocre', 'Skoda', 'Acrinton Stanley', 'dried fruit', 'no bad', 'wouldn't buy if over £19'. Now I have some remnants in the bottle it will be interesting to see how many people buy this after sampling, I expect a good response despite feedback on the night. My xperience of this 1970s ditillery is quite limited but I have still to encounter a poor example- recommended.

Next we stayed in Speyside but moved a bit closer to Grantown-on-Spey with a Cadenheads Bourbon barrel 25yo Tormore. I can only remember using an old Allied 15yo 46% Tormore at these tastings after G&M dumped a load of them on the market at a cut down price- response wasn't particulalry flattering. This example interested me from the first when it was bottled about three years ago- there is a unique aspect to the nose which is quite difficult to pin point but I fancy I detected a simllar but less pronounced measure of the same in a recent G&M Tormore. It is not particularly attractive but neither is it a taint. Its individuality certainly has one scratching one's noodle. I've detected it before but not very often. The palate is powerful with the peculiar note echoed in the taste but much more positively than on the nose. I find it curious that about 90% of Scotch is matured in old Bourbon casks and I have yet to see a bottler mention a cask being ex-rye. Is the ex-Bourbon nomenclature a simplification or are rye casks simply not used? I'd expect a contribution to the way the Scottish whisky tasted but perhaps not distinct enough to be significant. Hmmm. Water replaces the hard-to-define oddity with a more typical sweetness while the palate slips a bit to some mild barbecue sauce notes. All-in-all an unusual but enjoyable bottling which might not have you running out to find as many examples of the make as possible but surely will stick in the memory banks to be called up when next trying an example of the first post war Speyside new build (Glenkeith was not a purpose built site but mainly a conversion of an old mill). 25555555555566688 a solid 59%. 'Irn Bru- proud to be Scottish', 'expands flavours/nose with water- lovely', 'Tottenham Hotspur'.

Next back on familiar turf. Springbank 12yo cask strength batch 2 about 58%. Despite this bottling being around for a while I was never sure it was there with the best the distillery has in it's current line up. Most of the talk was it edged the first batch which was used some time ago at a dedictaed Springbank tasting to good effect. So after a bit of further scrutiny and its body lending itself to the missing piece of the jigsaw for the night's line up it was not too hard to include. Infact my experience recently of Springbank bottlings is how well received they are on the night. Coupled with my enjoyment when writing up the tastings- I catch myself pouring an extravagant second glass most times- then SB is becoming a pretty safe bet. Typical tobacco and sea air with quite a few folks wondering why the Islay wasn't the last dram, also a sweetness is more obvious than normal. Much as the 10yo 100 proof will be missed if this is the alternative then its a bit of 'the king is dead, long live the king'. Water brings out a spot of sulphur which has been mentioned over at http://www.whiskywhiskywhisky.com as a problem for some but for my tastes the Devil's matches are far from acrid and if anything add to the whole rather than subtract. Water can be added liberally before cracks begin to appear in the integrity of the structure. I fancy some sherry influence appear at the tail end of the long finish too while water brings out peat at the start. Just how much dram do you want for your money? 223455566666677777 = just pips the Tormore with a sweet 60%. 'A strong ginger beer, ouch, for the connoisseur', 'with water and oatcake good but not on its own- too much iodine', 'Port Vale', 'Renault'.

Next we needed a bold cask influence. Currently starved of big sherry casks at Cadenheads I looked to Macallan 18yo 43% 1991 about £85. Surely we could depend on MacA. Oops. Certainly the nose is great if a touch muffled but the palate is even more smothered. A bit like your battery running low on the MP3 when a great track comes on. I wish I'd used Glendronach 15yo , maybe next time- it will be interesting to compare notes. 333344556666666778 despite my personal reservations the dramocracy have voted - a b confident 58%. 'Sherry bomb', 'good nose, palate flat not worth £90, disappointing', 'Vauxhall', 'Wolverhampton Wanderers', 'very smooth but not complex', 'Coke Cola, high quality classic, best without water'.

Finally yet another Caol Ila: it'll be a long time before we get bored of this tune- 20yo Cadenheads Bourbon hogshead. Again this bottling was initially received as a bit lacking but returning to the sample bottle after a time to open up (days and weeks not hours) everything made more sense. The hot edge of youth is replaced with a more settled and broader character becoming of an advanced rest in wood. This has been a big hit in the shop after customers sampling- the best way to sell whisky. 134455556666778 an easy 58%. I can't remember the scoring being so tight before, even if voting was either spread or condensed this suggests an even race. 'Man city', 'BMW', 'could drink all night', 'Lilt, not much fizz, over familiar'.

Next tasting is a bargain- 6 Tomintouls- 12yo Oloroso finish, 12yo port finish, 14yo 46%, 21yo 40%, 33yo 40% and Balantruan 50% peated for £15/12 Thursday 28th April.

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