I think you could probably work out what kind of mood I’m in by my writing style, sometimes I find myself being straight to the point – here’s what I tasted, here’s what I think of them, other times I go off on a tangent, I think tonight may be one of the later although I’m getting tired and I’m still kinda working (had to wait for a few GB of data to copy over to setup a new profile for someone so now I have a Russian doll type thing going with remote sessions that’s starting to make me feel dizzy).
As usual I’m going to pimp my other blog post over at Glasgow’s Whisky Club blog before I get started on mine. As I mentioned in my other post whisky season really starts to be kicking off, Springbank last week, I was at this tasting on Tuesday, I was taking part in The English Whisky Co twitter tasting last night with The Whisky Wire (going to revisit them and do a post on them when I get the chance), I’m off to the Good Spirits Company tomorrow night for their first birthday bash and then I have at least five other tastings to go to in June, it’s going to be an awesome month!
There are often nights I really don’t want to leave, this was another one of them and I didn’t until that bell rang to tell me to go home as I had work in the morning. As I said in my other blog post there was quite a small turn out due to the Islay festival, this meant a lot more whisky for us which is a great thing. The club’s got quite a bit bigger since I joined so having any trace of whisky left in the bottles at the end of the night is becoming increasingly rare so a night where you can revisit any of the drams makes me feel nostalgic.
Robbie Douglas – Single Grain 21 Year Old North British Distillery – 56.8% ABV
I love this dram, I brought a sample of this to our last club night, it was extremely popular with those I shared it with, so we had to buy a bottle! I’ve done a full write up of this bottle here which still nicely sums up my feelings towards this dram.
Duncan Taylor – The Octave – 32 Year Old Cameronbridge Grain – 50.8% ABV – Bottled Exclusively for Wholefoods
For those who don’t know, Wholefoods is an extremely expensive, organicy (not sure if they’re 100% organic hence the y), healthy supermarket with a pretty decent booze selection although again, they’re very expensive. The first Wholefoods in Scotland recently opened up not far from me, they had a small sherry octave sitting on their bar (refilling wine bottles etc. is good for the environment) with a flashing neon sign saying “Sniff my bung hole!” (I may have imagined that bit). Since visiting it for the first time and seeing the octave and their bottles of 32 year old grain whisky I’ve wanted to try some, but it was a bit out of my price range for a dram I’d never tasted. The octave yielded just 66 bottles, they still have a decent amount of them left, if I had the money to spare I’d buy a bottle, but there are bottles I’d much rather for the price.
I really liked this dram, the nose isn’t that impressive, it’s obviously old, woody, but it has those emulsion notes often associated with grain whiskies. Onto the palate there’s a lot more there, stewed plums, spicy, freshly roasted dark coffee, lots of coffee! dark chocolate, figs, burnt toffee, lots of wood, pencil shavings, polish and old furniture. I went back to it a little later after leaving it with some water and it went a lot more fruity, I was getting melon and papaya with maybe a hint of celery.
Berrys’ 11 Year Old North British Grain – 46% ABV
Another single cask grain offering, this time from Berry Bros & Rudd. This was an interesting dram, but not really to my tastes, the nose was actually really harsh and sharp with too much emulsion, again the taste was a bit too rough for me, despite this being stronger than the previous two drams it tasted a lot stronger despite only being 46% ABV. This would be a good one to give to someone who says all whisky tastes a like – this doesn’t taste like whisky! It actually tastes pretty young, tasted of bananas and reminded me of the really cheap fudge you’d get in a pick ‘n’ mix that had been sitting in a jar or tub for months or years, maybe also of cheap highland toffee knock offs, but I guess there’s not a massive difference between to two. I found this dram extremely metallic, lots of copper there like it had taken a layer of the still to the cask with it, it did soften up with water after being left for quite a while and became rather fruity, lots of raisins and fruit cake. I think this dram’s an excellent indication on why most grain whiskies normally get at least 20 years in a cask before bottling, I like this bottle as an educational piece and as a curiosity, but not something I’d sit and drink.
The GlenDronach PX Single Cask – 1995 – 15 Year Old – 56.2% ABV
Not the first time trying this one and I find myself wondering why I didn’t buy a bottle after the first time, I love this stuff! I didn’t write a lot of notes about this one as I was too busy drinking it! Very spicy and fruity, there was some sort of fizzy drink quality about it, maybe cola or cream soda, I couldn’t quite put a name to it, lots of cherries and raisins, xmas pudding, very warming – I wanted to cuddle this whisky! Butterscotch, some light tannin notes and chocolatey. This one is going on my to buy list if it’s still available!
Ardbeg Corryvreckan – 57.1% ABV
Named after the third largest whirlpool in the world and something, something, something (getting lazy now!) The Ardbeg Corryvreckan lives up to it’s name or something like that. I love this whisky, this was one of the first “expensive” whiskies I tried and it was the first one over £50 I bought, I taste something different every time I try it. I didn’t write all that much about this dram, I was too busy finishing the last and looking forward to the next one so I think I’ll come back another day and do a post dedicated to this dram as I really do love it, I’m just getting sleepy!
Laphroaig PX – 48% ABV
Travel retail only, I hate it! I touched on this a bit in my other post, but I end up wanting whiskies more just because they’re not readily available. I’ve not travelled much by air recently which is probably why I hate it so much, I read about this Laphroaig a few months ago and I’ve been wanting to try it since, I love Laph’ and I love PX casks so obviously I was going to love this… Nah, I was a bit disappointed, which makes me hate travel retail all the more, I’ve had too long to build this dram up in my mind so when I finally get to try it my reaction was “is this it?”, maybe it was all the cask strength whiskies before hand so I’ve got a small sample to go back to later, but I really didn’t think there was much to this one. There was the obvious peat and smoke characters, but a lot subtler than you’d expect from Laphroaig, but so was everything else, some raisins, a little buttery, butterscotch and maybe a bit of vanilla, but not much else. I’m going to try this one again later and if my mind’s changed I’ll give it a post, but the verdict for a lot of us on the night was this was the triple wood gone wrong then covered up with a PX cask, sorry Laphroaig, I love you guys, but this was a bit of a let down.
Whisky Broker 21 Year Old Bunnahabhain Sherry Cask – 54.5% ABV
These next two are what I think of as an “under the table dram”, they come out of someone’s bag at some point during the night, if you’re sitting at the right table you might get to try some, but there’s not enough for every one I’m afraid! I’ve been meaning to place an order with Whisky Broker, but I never get around to it, I think this was my first time trying any of his bottles and it was quite interesting, fruity, grassy, tropical sherbet, pineapple and then suddenly it tastes extremely meaty, being a vegetarian from an early age I suck at putting names to different dead animals so it just becomes a generic meatiness, that coupled with the hint of sulphur I got that seems to be fairly common in sherry casks of this age I wasn’t too keen on this dram, but that’s not going to stop me placing an order with him.
Bruichladdich 10 Year Old Octomore Cask Sample – Probably somewhere between 60-65% ABV
I think I mentioned Islay earlier on, if not in this blog then on the other, but one or two of our members that turned up on Tuesday spent the weekend from Islay, a sample bottle of this stuff may have found it’s way from Islay to the Bon Accord in Glasgow and I’m glad it did! Before this I hadn’t actually had any of the Octomore range, I know them by reputation of course and I’m always a bit wary of whiskies that people rate in PPM thinking more automatically means better, I view them in the same way I view a lot of the crazy melt-your-face-off hot sauces you get out there, I’d much rather something milder with more character so I thought I know what to expect here, but I was wrong! The nose on this one was just TCP and more TCP, that’s all I got, but when I took my first sip I wondered what happened to the TCP, it was amazingly smooth, very dry, but sweet, lots of raisins, mixed dried fruit, red berries, menthol notes and then the smoke came, something like smoky bacon crisps at first then it turned to wood smoke and kept going and going, this has to be one of the longest finishes I’ve ever come across, minutes later I was still tasting the smoke and wanting more! Sadly there wasn’t any more as it was just a small sample bottle and the gentleman who brought it along was kind enough to share it around quite a few of us.
I’ve hopefully got a lot more blog posts lined up over the next month if I can find the time, I’m going to a tasting tomorrow night and I need to get a post up about the English whisky, I was trying to type one up during the event last night, but due to PC problems it was lost (I have a habit of using notepad as my word processor) so it’ll mostly be my thoughts on the drams.