Last Friday my favourite shop, The Good Spirits Co were having a tasting to celebrate their first birthday, this seemed like an excellent way to start the long weekend so I had to pop along. If you’ve never been to The Good Spirits Co and you live in Glasgow (or are ever passing through), then you need to stop by! It’s a great shop, Mark, Mathew and Shane are great hosts and extremely knowledgeable about what they’re selling.
The tasting was excellent as always, the atmosphere was great, you could be sitting at a table full of strangers and still have a good conversation and there was a bit of friendly heckling which hopefully Mathew who was presenting the evening didn’t take offence to!
They kicked off the night with two brandy’s a Cognac and a Armagnac, neither of which I have any experience, but both of them were extremely pleasant.
Maxime Trijol XO – 40% ABV – Cognac
This was really interesting, rather “winey”, quite dry, but very fruity, berries, peaches & apricots and slightly minty. There was quite a lot of tastes I couldn’t put a name to or were simply new to me and I didn’t find it as complex as a single malt. I recently heard that the Asian market for malt whisky is increasing so much is because compared to cognac it’s quite a bit cheaper, but is still seen as a bit of a status symbol. While this cognac was really nice, I’d take a whisky any day!
Darroze 1970 – 42% ABV – Armagnac
This smelled red! The first thing I thought when I nosed it was “red” someone at the table I was sitting at said nail varnish a while after that so I guess I associate nail varnish with the colour red! Despite the nail varnish (or red) notes it was really nice, apples, anise, liquorice, sweet, nutty, syrupy and lots of menthol!
Glenglassaugh 3 Year Old – Distillery Only – 60.5% ABV
It was great to hear that recently reopened Glenglassaugh are now making a profit and I can’t wait to try their “Revival” bottling. This distillery only bottle was matured for 3 years in George Dickel Tennessee Whisky casks, it was great to try, but I felt this was very much a discussion or educational dram, not something you’d want to drink, it was extremely young tasting, still had that Butterkist toffee popcorn and raisins new make character about it. I really like Glenglassaugh new make, but to me what’s what this was, not whisky (despite what the law might say about it).
Balblair 1978 – 46% ABV
Balblair don’t do age statements, they release their whisky when it’s ready so they do vintages instead, but this one’s around 30 years old, distilled 1978 then bottled in 2008, but it really doesn’t tastes it’s age. There is that woodiness and spiciness you associate with older whiskies, but mainly it’s light, fruity, floral, lots of pears, apples, vanilla, toffee, caramel and a creaminess that can’t help, but remind me of ice cream.
Compass Box – M is for Magic – 46% ABV
Compass Box has got to be my favourite producer of blended whisky, these guys produce whisky that’s a lot better than a good number of the single malts out there, I’m going to a whisky festival next Saturday and I’m hoping they’re there as I’m always excited to pop by their table!
If you’ve not heard of this bottle before that’s most likely because it’s bottled for the French market, it turns out the French have a massive market for whisky (every day’s a learning day!). If I remember correctly this bottle was 30% malt, 70% grain, it did taste quite young, it had a lot of cereal, toffee and butter notes, mixed in with fruity, almost tropical flavours, a nice pinch of spice and some fudge to go along, a very pleasant dram, just as I’d expect from Compass Box.
The Good Spirits Co MacDuff – 11 Year OId – 54.6% ABV – Single Cask (Sherry)
This was The Good Spirits Co first proper bottling to celebrate their first year so of course I had to buy a bottle (I went for number 13 as I couldn’t find my birth year 85) . I’d never tried MacDuff (a.k.a. Glen Deveron) whisky before, they’re one of those distilleries that exist pretty much purely for the blended whisky industry and are owned by Bacardi Ltd. who I believe don’t have much interest in the single malt market. As I mentioned earlier the guys at The Good Spirits Co know what they’re doing so when they selected this cask they done a good job, it’s spicy, woody, lots of fruit, some very subtle tannin notes in there and a lovely oily mouth feel that leaves you wanting more!
Bowmore – 17 Year Old – 43% ABV
This is another one of those dreaded travel retail only whiskies, unfortunately I wasn’t that impressed by this one, maybe it was the strength and the fact that I’d just had a cask strength sherry bomb, but the peat and smoke should have cut through that. I got the usual Bowmore profile of peat and smoke, but I found it quite rubbery, floral and maybe a tiny bit of fruit (pears), but it was a bit of a let down for me.
Longrow – 10 Year Old – 57.2% ABV – Cask Sample
This is what drinking whisky is all about! Great whiskies, going straight from a cask into a bottle with a hand written label and then into a Glencairn glass! Drinking this I had “Whitesnake – Is this love” stuck in my head, it was awesome! My notes for this one consisted of “mmm, love, peat, whiff of smoke, fruity, nectarines, salty, <3″. Now I’m not saying the 7 previous drinks didn’t impact my feelings towards this one, but it was awesome! I want more!