5 March 2012

Whisky Cabal 7 : Where we experience the Americans, and retreat quickly to the spiritual homeland

The cabal assembled, although one of number had to call off with illness, so we were back to three. But many whiskies, so we coped.
All links, as expected, to our besties at Loch Fyne Whisky.
Here's a pic of the line-up including a glass for absent, poorly, Dr's. (apologies for the horrendous photo, I've chastised my phone, and it's apologised profusely)

We opened with a bourbon - for variety, and to see how the bourbon flavour affect the whisky.

Woodford Reserve Bourbon, distillers select.
Nose: bourbon, fruity, lemon, PVA glue, phenol
Palate: undergrad drink, vigorous
Finish: warm, but short
4-5/10 as a whisky
None of us are bourbon drinkers, but were keen to try some. Thanks to Beaux, we could. We ain't sold on it, we appreciate what it does for scotch, but on it's own? probably not. I may try making some bbq sauce (Rich, any recipes...?). I'm not saying no to trying more, but dunno if I'll rush out either.

Glenrothes 1994 Signatory Vintage 17yo 239/805; dist 28.01.94, bot 07.04.11; 46%, sherry butt
Nose: toasted marshmallows, burnt fireworks, rubber
Palate: sultanas, tangy, honey, cloudy lemonade
Finish: med - long
The main comment, very very drinkable. You cannot go wrong with this baby.

7-7.5 /10

Tomintoul 16yo 40%
Nose: parmesan cheese, old wood chips, cut grass
Palate: good fighty, tangy, lemon, bourbon, thick mouth feel (2 of us, the usual dissenter piped up to say no)
Finish: short, manuka honey
6.5-7 /10
Again, very drinkable. Just not quite in the Glenrothes class.

Bruichladdich 10yo 46%
Nose: hint of old socks, artificial smoked fish
Palate: salt, smooth, smokey, sherry?
Finish: long salt, growing

This is, apparently, LFW's bottling of the year. We can see why. It's a superb stuff. Our tasting notes don't do it justice, but we really like this. It's everything a whisky should be.

Glengoyne Teapot dram 58.8%
Nose: sherry 'oh sir'
Palate: fcuking sherry monster, sugar, honey, molasses, sherry, honey - did we mention sherry?
Finish: long, hot, honey

Only available from Glengoyne, hence the link heading off to them rather than LFW. This is a brilliant sherry monster. Neil and I tried a number of their really expensive whiskies, and this kicked them into touch.
Addition of water gave cut grass and wet sheep on the nose (yeah, ok, wet sheep was mine)

Bunnahabhain 2001 Signatory Bottling 57.7% 10yo 572/581; dist 21/09/01 bot 25/11/11' sherry butt cask 1765
Nose: sweet, marshmallows, love hearts, teardrops
Palate: sweet, salt, pears, vanilla
Finish: med-long, sweet, prickly
Definitely drinkable. I'm annoyed tho as I'm having to reassess my view of Bunna, which I had thought was overrated, but appears to have come right over the last few bottles I've had...

BenRiach 10yo Curiositas 40% 
Nose: salt, phenol
Palate: salt, peat, sweet
Finish: short
7.5 /10
Not a lot of subtlety in this. It says salt, it delivers salt. You want sherry? Don't buy this.

BenRiach Solstice 17yo 50%
Nose: salt, sweet, peat, treacle tart
Palate: salt, sweet, stupid port, fruits, nuts
Finish: med-long

It's fair to say the 15yo Solstice and I had a deep and passionate relationship. On so many levels did I love it. It was stupid, it was complex, it was imminently drinkable.
The 17yo is less bats arse mental, and as a result loses a bit to the 15yo. I won't say it's more mature, as it's still stupidly ridiculous. But slightly more under control. Sadly LFW are saying it's out of stock.

Springbank Rundlets and Kilderkins 49.4%
Nose: salt, peat, phenol, wet woollen sock
Palate: smooth, sherry, xmas cake, raisins, rhubarb
Finish: smooth, medium
8.5 - 9 /10

My Springbank had died, and this was it's reincarnation. It's not half as aggressive as LFW suggest (...a cross between Vinnie Jones and Sid James...).
A bit of background (thanks google and my long history of drinking...), a runlet is an archaic size of wine cask, holding about 68 litres, and the kilderkin a size of ale cask, holding about 81 litres. The reason, I suspect, Springbank have used these is that it causes whisky to develop quicker - smaller sized casks develop quickly allowing quicker bottling as the flavours have come through.
Either way, very interesting and good dram - recommend that one too.

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