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Serge whiskyfun

 

Tasting notes:
Whiskies 12,522
Other spirits 1,236
Guests
3

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Index of whiskyfun


Whisky Tasting

 
Aberfeldy (43) - Aberlour (95)
Abhainn Dearg (2)
Allt-A-Bhainne (2
6)
An Cnoc (
20)
Ardbeg (3
62) - Ardmore (68)
Arran (
86) - Auchentoshan (95)
Auchroisk (
30) - Aultmore (44)
Balblair (74) - Balmenach (35)
Balvenie (
88) - Banff (46)
Ben Nevis (
103)
Ben Wyvis (
2)
Benriach (
160) - Benrinnes (46)
Benromach (
51) - Bladnoch (63)
Blair Athol (
50) - Bowmore (423)
Braes of Glenlivet (
37)
Brora (
119)
Bruichladdich (2
44)
Bunnahabhain (
272)
Caol Ila (480)
Caperdonich (
81)
Cardhu (
31) - Clynelish (317)
Coleburn (
15)
Convalmore (1
8)
Cragganmore (
64)
Craigduff (3) - Craigellachie (
51)
Dailuaine (52) - Dallas Dhu (35)
Dalmore (104) - Dalwhinnie (24)
Deanston (28) - Dufftown (48)

Edradour (60)
Imperial (66) - Inchgower (48)
Inverleven (20)
Isle of Jura (98)

Kilchoman (31)
Kilkerran (
12) - Kinclaith (7)
Kininvie
(3)
- Knockando (
31)
Ladyburn (10) - Lagavulin (124)
Laphroaig (376) - Ledaig (91)
Linkwood (125) - Littlemill (101)
Loch Lomond (35)
Lochside (65)
Longmorn (195) - Longrow (62)

Macallan (262) - Macduff (62)
Mannochmore (
35)
Millburn (
21)
Miltonduff (
55) - Mortlach (155)
Mosstowie (1
9)
Oban (25) - Octomore (14)
Old Fettercairn (28)
Old Pulteney (71)

Scapa (36) - Speyburn (28) - Speyside (16)
Springbank (2
63)
St-Magdalene (46)
Strathisla (
94) - Strathmill (30)
 
 
Pete and Jack



2017
April 1
March 1 - 2
February 1 - 2
January 1 - 2

2016
December 1 - 2
November 1 - 2
October 1 - 2
September 1 - 2
August 1 - 2
July 1 - 2
June 1 - 2
May 1 - 2
April 1 - 2
March 1 - 2
February 1 - 2
January 1 - 2

2015
December 1 - 2
November 1 - 2
October 1 - 2
September 1 - 2
August 1 - 2
July 1 - 2
June 1 - 2
May 1 - 2
April 1 - 2
March 1 - 2
February 1 - 2
January 1 - 2

2014
Music Awards
December
1 - 2
November
1 - 2
October
1 - 2
September 1 - 2
August 1 - 2
July 1 - 2
June 1- 2
May 1 - 2
April 1 - 2
March 1 - 2
February 1 - 2
January 1 - 2

2013
Music Awards
December
1 - 2
November
1 - 2
October
1 - 2
September 1 - 2
August 1 - 2
July 1 - 2
June 1 - 2
May 1 - 2
April 1 - 2
March 1 - 2
February 1 - 2
January 1 - 2

2012
December
1 - 2
November
1 - 2
October
1 - 2
September 1 - 2
August 1 - 2
July 1 - 2
June 1 - 2
May 1 - 2
April 1 - 2
March 1 - 2
February 1 - 2
January 1 - 2

2011
Music Awards
December
1 - 2
November
1 - 2
October
1 - 2
September 1 - 2
August 1 - 2
July 1 - 2
June 1 - 2
May 1 - 2
April 1 - 2
March 1 - 2
February 1 - 2
January 1 - 2

2010
Music Awards
December
1 - 2
November
1 - 2
October
1 - 2
September 1 - 2
August 1 - 2
July 1 - 2
June 1 - 2
May 1 - 2
April 1 - 2
March 1 - 2
February 1 - 2
January 1 - 2

2009
December
1 - 2
November
1 - 2
October
1 - 2
September 1 - 2
August 1 - 2
July 1 - 2
June 1 - 2
May 1 - 2
April 1 - 2
March 1 - 2
February 1 - 2
January 1 - 2

2008
Music Awards
December
1 - 2 - 3
November
1 - 2
October
1 - 2
September 1 - 2
August 1 - 2
July 1 - 2
June 1 - 2
May 1 - 2
April 1 - 2
March 1 - 2
February 1 - 2
January 1 - 2

2007
Music Awards
December
1 - 2
November
1 - 2
October
1 - 2
September 1 - 2
August 1 - 2 - 3
July 1 - 2
June 1 - 2
Feis Ile
Special
May 1 - 2
April 1 - 2
March 1 - 2
February 1 - 2
January 1 - 2

2006
Music Awards
December 1 - 2
November
1 - 2
October
1 - 2 - 3
September
1 - 2
August
1 - 2
July
1 - 2
June 1 - 2
Feis Ile
Special
May
1 - 2
April
1 - 2
March
1 - 2
February
1 - 2
January 1
- 2

2005
Music Awards
December 1 - 2
November 1 - 2
October
1- 2
September
1 - 2
August
1 - 2
July
1 - 2
June
1 - 2
Feis Ile
Special
May
1 - 2
April
1 - 2
March
1 - 2
February
1 - 2
January
1 - 2

2004
December 1 - 2
November 1 - 2
October
1 - 2
September
1
August
1
July
1
June
1
May
1
April 1
March 1
February
1
January
1

No archives for 2002-2003

 
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1969 - 1983

   


 

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Disclaimer
 

All the linked files (mp3, video, html) are located on free commercial or non-commercial third party websites. Some pictures are taken from these websites, and are believed to be free of rights, as long as no commercial use is intended.

I always try to write about artists who, I believe, deserve wider recognition, and all links to mp3 files are here to show you evidence of that. Please encourage the artists you like, by buying either their CDs or their downloadable 'legal' tracks.

I always add links to the artists' websites - if any - which should help you know more about their works. I also try to add a new link to any hosting website or weblog which helped me discover new music - check the column on the right.

I almost never upload any mp3 file on my own server, except when dealing with artists I personally know, and who gave me due authorizations, or sometimes when I feel a 'national' artist deserves wider recognition. In that case, the files will remain on-line only for a few days.

I do not encourage heavy consumption of alcoholic beverages, nor dangerous motorbike riding. But life is short anyway...

As they say here: 'L'abus d'alcool est dangeureux pour la santé - à consommer avec modération'

   
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Copyright Serge Valentin,
2002-201
7

 


Scotch Legal Announcement

 
 

April 23, 2017


Whiskyfun

High rums again

Yes we’re doing it again, but first, a light apéritif if you don’t mind, to give us more contrast…

Angostura ‘1824’ (40%, OB, Trinidad, +/-2016)

Angostura ‘1824’ (40%, OB, Trinidad, +/-2016) Two stars Right, some things are a little fishy here. The expression ‘premium’, the large vintage look-alike, the price… No it says it's 12 years old, and the bottle is lovely. Colour: full gold. Nose: roses and incense, that’s not un-nice, just a little unlikely. In a pastry shop in Istanbul. Some raisins too, molasses… Mouth: it’s certainly sweet, but it’s not a sugar bomb. Some tobacco, honey, a touch of roasted malt, and surely some coffee and orange liqueur. I could drink this. Finish: short, and yet a tad cloying. Corn syrup and honey, plus caramel. Comments: actually much too sweet for me, but I wouldn’t quite call it a ‘liqueur’. Needs ice, though… SGP:730 - 70 points.

Now, let’s get serious…

Demerara 14 yo 2002/2017 (46%, Le Gus’t, cask #144, 300 bottles)

Demerara 14 yo 2002/2017 (46%, Le Gus’t, cask #144, 300 bottles) Four stars This guy came from a Caroni cask, imagine! There’s also a version at cask strength, we’ll try that one later. Colour: full gold. Nose: seriously, rosemary? (could make for the title of a movie, eh). There really is a lot of rosemary, some thyme as well, a petroly side, thuja wood, cloves, and simply a lot of fennel seeds. It’s really unusual, and it just works. Would make for some nice bitter, in a posh cocktail. Mouth: tar and diesel oil, then tar liqueur, more thuja wood, caraway, and indeed fennel seeds and rosemary. Tends to become saltier, with also more nutmeg, but the thuja wood keeps singing loud. Finish: long, a tad gentler. Superb herbal aftertaste, reminding me of some old tar and herbs liqueur. Comments: some action! Very nice wood oils, unless that was the Caroni part. Great unusual rum that just killed the humble Angostura. Who said that was to be expected? SGP:462 - 87 points.

Good, Demerara…

Diamond 8 yo 2008/2017 (59.3%, Hunter Laing, Kill Devil, 239 bottles)

Diamond 8 yo 2008/2017 (59.3%, Hunter Laing, Kill Devil, 239 bottles) Four stars and a half It says ‘pot still’, so it’s not from one of the columns (thank you Einstein). It’s also reassuring to learn that at nearly 60% vol., this is ‘cask strength’ rum. Colour: pale white wine. Nose: get out of here! Brand new Pirellis, two tons of rubber bands, and your sister’s bicycle inner tubes. You see the idea… With water: the tyres of an A.C. Cobra after a run. Mouth (neat): Ardbeg matured in a new scuba diving suit. Plus salt and lemon. The question is, do we enjoy this much rubber? What’s sure is that this Diamond is rather Jamaican, if you see what I mean. With water: civilisation! Olives, brine, tar, earth, gentian, mezcal… Finish: very long, tarry, rubbery, and salty. There’s bad rubber and there’s good rubber. This is good rubber. Comments: who’s doing the rums at Hunter Laing’s? He/she deserves a raise. Just saying, not my money. SGP:365 - 88 points.

Sure the Jamaicans could compete, but there’s also Fiji. Seriously, Fiji…

South Pacific 10 yo 2004/2015 (44%, Compagnie des Indes, Fiji, cask #SF13, 302 bottles)

South Pacific 10 yo 2004/2015 (44%, Compagnie des Indes, Fiji, cask #SF13, 302 bottles) Three stars and a half These babies have made for some of the greatest discoveries in recent years. Fiji doesn’t only mean rugby, apparently… Colour: straw. Nose: sugar Easter eggs and rosewater at first, then benzoin and burning lamp oil, with whiffs of barbecue and wallflowers. Some camphor as well, tiger balm, bandages… You got it, this is quite unusual. And ultra-nice. Mouth: really some two-step rum. Starts sweet and almost sugary (those small ester eggs again), and gets then rather smokier and a notch petroly. A little sandalwood, burning hay… Nice touch of crystallised oranges capping it all off. Finish: medium, rather Cuban in fact. Candy sugar and hay. Comments: this baby kept hesitating between a petroly ‘Jamaican’ style, and a gentler ‘Cuban’ one. You could drink a while bottle and not make up your mind in the end. Dangerous stuff. SGP:552 - 84 points.

Back to Demerara? And how about a legendary one?

Demerara 1974/2001 (45%, Samaroli)

Demerara 1974/2001 (45%, Samaroli) Five stars Dear Silvano! I’d bet this was a Port Mourant, but I have no proof, and it’s so sad that I couldn’t ask the great man himself anymore. Colour: mahogany. Nose: extraordinary parsley, tar, and black olives at first sniffings, then walnut stain and just seawater. Amazing notes of tamarind jam and prunes in armagnac in the background. Perhaps even hints of Pousse-Rapière, some stuff they make down there (not in Guyana mind you) and that would kill, or at least muzzle any opposition. Mouth: oak, liquorice, ashes, and bitter oranges. Definitely old Port Mourant/Morant. Fantastic tar, brine, lamp oil, salt, cloves, cigars, tamarind again (never found this much tamarind elsewhere), prunes… And it would get saltier and saltier. I know there’s no salt in whisky, but is that the same with rum? (I’m asking salt experts). After three minutes, a total avalanche of raw cocoa and chocolate, and totally no sugar. Sugar kills anyway. Finish: very long, with a wonderful mentholy oakiness. And tar, and liquorice. Comments: it’s a bit massive, otherwise I would have gone even higher. But I’m keeping my points for the ‘West Indies’ 1948 by Samaroli, soon on WF, stay tuned. SGP:363 - 92 points.

(Many thanks again, Francesco!)

More tasting notes Check the index of all rums I've tasted so far

 

 

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April 22, 2017


Whiskyfun

Welcoming Angus as our Guest Taster

Friends, you’ve most certainly noticed that the numbers of new whiskies launched every month are getting exponential. Of course I’ll never manage to try them all, I would be dead in no time! Plus, contrarily to what some good folks are half-jokingly saying, I’m trying to take good care of my liver and other important organs, and shall never further increase the amounts of whiskies and other aged spirits I’m tasting. Around one thousand a year is a strict maximum to me, and to the World Health Organization alike, as it appears, as I’m obviously not ingesting full measures of each drink I’m tasting (well, in the case of Brora…)

Angus Serge

What’s more, I’m busier and busier business-wise, and no, drinking booze is not part of my work, another myth we need to debunk.
That is why I’m really happy to welcome my friend Angus MacRaild within these humble pages. Angus is a Scot (no kiddin’), he lives in Edinburgh, he’s tasted thousands and thousands of whiskies already, and he’s incredibly knowledgeable and experienced in spite of his young age, as many of you already know. Furthermore, we rather share the same tastes with regards to spirits and other drinks such as, well, riesling, and I know that whenever we’ve been tasting whisky together, we’ve almost always come up with the same conclusions and, most importantly, with very similar scores (more or less). We both favour complexity, we both prefer spirit-driven whiskies, and we both don’t crave for vanilla or wine bombs, although we both enjoy our genuine sherry monsters when they’re properly done. I know that personally, I’d trust and follow Angus’s pieces of advice with my eyes closed, or I wouldn’t have welcomed him. What’s more, I know that as a whisky writer, he’s totally independent, and that there aren’t any companies holding his pen, either directly or indirectly.
Now Angus’s tasting notes or articles will always be posted on a pale yellow background and clearly attributed to him, while mine will remain on that very fashionable buttercup yellow that everyone seems to just adore since 2002. And pssst, on the Web, yellow’s the new white anyway, did you know that?

 

 

 

Angus's Corner
From our casual Scottish correspondent
and guest taster Angus MacRaild
Angus  
Three Vintages
Of 1990s Bowmore
Serge, it seems that Bowmore from the late 1990s goes from strength to strength with almost every bottling these days, so I thought it might be fun to try a 98, 99 and 2000 all from bourbon casks. Lets see if we find some lurking tropical fruits. So, in ascending order of vintage...

 

Bowmore 17 yo 1998 (58.6%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, #3.290, ‘In a shaman’s teepee’, refill barrel, 150 bottles) Bowmore 17 yo 1998 (58.6%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, #3.290, ‘In a shaman’s teepee’, refill barrel, 150 bottles) Colour: Straw with a green tinge. Nose: A fragrant seashore! Chiselled mineral notes underpinned by fresh green apple peelings, a little mashmallow-esque sweetness (what?) and some tinctures of iodine and mercurochrome that add some deft medical touches. It’s such a pure and unmistakably ‘Bowmore’ style, one that is quite close to some of the more ‘straight’ 1972-74 Bowmores. With a little time the fruit starts to emerge. Orange blossom, lemon rind and little touches of passion fruit. With water: more menthol, more herbal with notes of bay leaf and rosemary and also something quite pleasingly farmy. Good complexity! Mouth: It’s a bit hot on delivery but the fruitiness is immediate, syrupy, tropical and quite majestic. This is really not too far from early 1970s Bowmores. Greengages, lemon oil, some herbal notes such as dried tarragon perhaps, pineapple, mandarin and those beloved passion fruits. A beautiful and extremely classical Bowmore! With water: more of the same only a bit more exuberant with the coastal qualities. Finish: Long, salty and textured with a huge, tropical flush of fruit on the swallow. Some warming, lingering wood smoke after a while. Comments: I just adore this style, it seems to tread a tightrope between the opulent fruitiness of the distillery’s glory years and the more pristine, ‘chiselled’ profile it displayed in the early 1990s. If they can keep making this style nowadays then Bowmore is undoubtedly one of the great ‘grand cru’ distilleries of the modern era. Now, I suspect a good refill barrel also played a hugely important part in nurturing this wonderful distillate. SGP: 647 - 91 points.  

 

Bowmore 18 yo 1999/2017 ‘Hand Filled’ (51%, OB, bourbon hogshead)

Bowmore 18 yo 1999/2017 ‘Hand Filled’ (51%, OB, bourbon hogshead) I find some of the bottlings in this series can be a bit hit or miss - certainly the wine cask releases. Colour: Gold. Nose: Much thicker, oilier and more syrupy than the 1998 at first nosing. A tad more creamy vanilla from the oak along with some fresh honey. Goes on with a lovely herbal streak, notes of old yellow Chartreuse, aged Sauternes, touches of camphor and tea tree oil. There is fruit as well but it’s more along the lines of tinned fruit syrup such as that of pineapples and peaches. Gets a little more mineral with time. With water: now we have more coal hearths, lamp oil and a slightly unexpected but pleasant waxiness. Water seems to discharge more underlying distillate character. Mouth: Again this is oakier, the wood is clearly more active than in the 1998 but there is some really nourishing spiciness, black peppercorns, black olives in brine, TCP, some lovely fresh mint after a while as well. Another really good one! With water: Pow! Now this is another really classical Bowmore, the tropical fruit goes up a few notches and there is something quite fat and phenolic in there that really reminds me of some older White Horse Lagavulin 12 year olds from the 1970s. Just great whisky! Finish: Long and coastal; full of brine, olive oil and notes of anchovies and sardines. A whole fishing boat full of sea creatures! Comments: Slightly different dram, same score. Another hugely impressive modern Bowmore, and the fact it is an official bottling is greatly encouraging and it’s definitely my favourite so far in the Hand Fill series. SGP: 656 - 91 points

 

 

Bowmore 15 yo 2000 (54.5%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, #3.272, ‘Perfect Potted Plants’, first fill barrel, 222 bottles) Bowmore 15 yo 2000 (54.5%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, #3.272, ‘Perfect Potted Plants’, first fill barrel, 222 bottles) Not sure who is coming up with the names for these SMWS bottlings but I wouldn’t mind some of whatever it is they were smoking at the time. Colour: Light gold. Nose: Different again and a little more simplistic perhaps at first nosing. Very fresh and coastal with quite typical notes of oysters, fresh lemon juice, white pepper, capers in brine and a nice, simmering peat smoke aroma underneath. Develops along this very chiselled, ‘pure’ line with mineral qualities, notes of wet pebble beaches and a light tarriness. There is a fruitiness in there as well but it’s slightly more subdued than in the previous two. With water: Out come some rather lovely notes of gorse, nettle and caraway.  Continues with a little medicine and more citrus notes. Mouth: A powerful and salty attack with notes of sandalwood, dried seaweed and something resinous as well. Earl Grey tea, a nice ashiness and something suggestive of coal hearths (although I don’t spend much time tasting coal hearths I’ll admit). The fruitiness is quite green and seems to just hover in the background occasionally poking its head round behind all the smoke and seashore characteristics. With water: More mentholated and more fruity in the direction of citrus fruits, various oils and herbs and assorted medicinal notes. Finish: Another lengthy one with a big, saline echo around the gums and throat. Comments: I wonder if the SMWS have a secret silly name to quality whisky internal coding system going on...? It seems that 2000 wasn’t quite as extravagant as the late 1990s casks, but the quality is still very high. SGP: 558 - 88 points.  

 

 

April 21, 2017


Whiskyfun

Three Glencadam

I may have written before that I’m feeling that it’s shame that after some pretty great official bottlings that came out around ten or fifteen years ago, Glencadam seems to have sunken into (relative) oblivion again. It’s a great dram!

Glencadam ‘Origin 1825’ (40%, OB, +/-2016)

Glencadam ‘Origin 1825’ (40%, OB, +/-2016) Two stars and a half No age statement, that famous trick with founding years and such, 40% vol. and a sherry finish… Pretty much the lowest form of marketing creativity if you ask me. But indeed this might be good, if a little, say despairing. Colour: straw. Nose: porridge, oatcakes, and gravel at first nosing, then more sweetish barley character, not unpleasant at all. Some pears and touches of varnish suggest this is quite young indeed. Mouth: good, sweet, malty, with some vanilla, pineapple syrup and some raisins, plus some peppery oak. Apple pie, some cinnamon, a touch of caraway. Finish: not that short, creamy, barleyish, peppery. Comments: I’m not going to write a novel about this baby, but I think it’s rather fair and honest. SGP:441 - 78 points.

Glencadam 18 yo (46%, OB, +/-2016)

Glencadam 18 yo (46%, OB, +/-2016) Three stars and a half Probably too expensive at 80 to 100€, but you never know, it may be a winner. What’s sure is that the distillate has got the ‘potential’, if not a name. Colour: white wine. Bizarrely paler than the NAS. Nose: this is much subtler, with many more garden fruits (first) and then even bananas and papayas. Now it’s also very barley-y and malty, with some golden syrup, maple syrup, cornflakes, light honey (sunflower?), honeysuckle, a little fresh mint… It may not be a very characterful spirit, but in this very ‘classical’ style, it’s fatter than Glenfiddich or Glenlivet. Mouth: same comment, pretty much. Pear and apple cakes, African banana cake, a little marmalade, then more all-spice, pepper, cinnamon… Solid body, good mouthfeel. Finish: medium, malty and spicy, with a sweet touch again. More apple cake. Comments: I’m not finding it quite a excellent as the official 21 yo that I tried a few years back (WF 88), or as the 15 from ten years ago (WF 87) but it’s still high-level malt whisky. SGP:551 - 84 points.

Glencadam 18 yo 1998/2016 (48.4%, Douglas Laing, Old Particular, refill hogshead, cask # 11474, 310 bottles)

Glencadam 18 yo 1998/2016 (48.4%, Douglas Laing, Old Particular, refill hogshead, cask # 11474, 310 bottles) Four stars Colour: white wine. Nose: well, it’s simply a fresher variant of the official 18, with a little more orange and pink grapefruit. Wee touches of chalk as well, which makes it a little more complex. Weetabix. Mouth: start with orange drops, many orange drops, and goes on with a tropical side that’s rather more citrusy than others. Shall we say it sits between a Tomatin and a Rosebank? The wee chalky side is still there as well. I’m finding this very good and rather more singular than the OBs. Finish: medium very fresh. All-vitamin fruit juice, a little green tea. Comments: super good, and quite a surprise. It’s even a little cheaper than the official 18, so a no-brainer IMHO. SGP:641 - 87 points.

More tasting notes Check the index of all Glencadam I've tasted so far

 

 

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April 20, 2017


Whiskyfun

Unknown singles by well known bottlers

May I ask you a seminal question? What’s more important, knowing about a single malt’s distillery of origin or knowing about its age/vintage? I know, some cruel dilemma, as the great Frank Zappa would have said… Excuse me? Yeah, both… But that won’t be the case today…

Speyside Region 2001/2015 (44.7%, Archives, sherry butt, 180 bottles)

Speyside Region 2001/2015 (44.7%, Archives, sherry butt, 180 bottles) Four stars The only independent bottlers who’re using fish instead of birds ;-). No, Speyburn aren’t ‘independent’. Colour: gold. Nose: would it be surprising that we would find echoes of Glenfarclas 12 yo? Porridge, butterscotch, bitter oranges, marmalade, dry black raisins… And in the back, some pipe tobacco and a wee earthiness. Does its job, really does its job. Mouth: good, solid, marmalade-y, with a touch of lemon and Schweppes (all right, Schweppes-Lemon), then a wee bit of dried ham and some dry marzipan. Finish: long, maltier and nuttier, but there’s always this meaty side in the background. Chestnut purée. Comments: all very fine. Does the job and does it very well. SGP:551 - 85 points.

Speyside ‘Very Old Selection’ (46.3%, Sansibar and S Spirit Selection, sherry butt, 322 bottles, 2016)

Speyside ‘Very Old Selection’ (46.3%, Sansibar and S Spirit Selection, sherry butt, 322 bottles, 2016) Four stars So we don’t know about the age, and we don’t know about the distillery. Thank God we know about the bottler… Colour: gold. Nose: smoke and seawater? Excuse me? And roasted chestnuts, used matches, stewed asparagus, damp black earth, new leather jacket, pine cones… Ah… Mouth: no, really, there’s some smoke, some ham, some tangerines in the back, some seawater even… It’s as if this Speysider spent its life in some ex-Islay cask. Which, obviously, did work very well here. Shall we ever know? Finish: long, lemony and smoky, with a Bowmore-y side. No, that is true. Comments: a surprising baby. Chance or destiny? It worked very well. SGP: 453 – 87 points.

Sherry Cask ‘01’ 23 yo 1993/2016 (53.5%, Svenska Eldvatten, 355 bottles)

Sherry Cask ‘01’ 23 yo 1993/2016 (53.5%, Svenska Eldvatten, 355 bottles) Four stars and a half Hold on, I’m just seeing that this is a blended mat and not a single, apologies. But there’s no way back, it’s already in the tasting glass… Colour: gold. Nose: butter and vanilla are ruling the thing for a good one minute, then we find some kind of waxy oranges, then plasticine and IPA beer. Did they hire John Glaser? With water: goes towards hay and earth. Dried porcini. Mouth (neat): extremely to my liking. Sour oranges, leather, tobacco, salt, and these small figs that they have in the best parts of Turkey (best as far as figs are concerned, eh). Great waxy structure. With water: takes water very well. Smoked tea, cigars, orange peel. Finish: quite long, wonderfully bitter and orange-y. Comments: they always do it well in Sweden. So, what’s inside? Isn’t that somewhere on some website? SGP:452 - 88 points.

Eagle of Spey 27 yo 1989/2017 (45.4%, Riegger’s Selection)

Eagle of Spey 27 yo 1989/2017 (45.4%, Riegger’s Selection) Three stars and a half Picture of an older bottling. Said to be Glenfarclas. Yeah, as always ;-). Colour: full gold. Nose: wonderful. Starts with a touch of manure and old cigars, gets then rather mentholated and apricoty, with also notes of plum jam and even Turkish delights. Late harvest pinot gris. Mouth: sour and sweet arrival, then artichokes and heavy black tea, then raisins and sour fruit juices. Totally unorthodox, but there’s much fun to be had with this rather un-Scottish Scotch malt whisky. Finish: long, gritty, a little rough, but funnily challenging. No that’s not just me being PC. Comments: it’s a finishing, and it’s a tad freaky at times, but I really like it, mainly because it’s totally un-boring. SGP:561 - 84 points.

Speyside Region 40 yo 1975/2016 (52.8%, Club Qing, Hong Kong, fino sherry butt)

Speyside Region 40 yo 1975/2016 (52.8%, Club Qing, Hong Kong, fino sherry butt) Five stars Wonderful label, congrats. Colour: gold. Nose: oils at first (sunflower, linseed), then fresh artisan butter and paraffin. Then bags of fresh hazelnuts and walnuts, as well as cut grass and mango peel. A lovely floral side. All very nice delicate, and complex. With water: pretty exceptional, on patchouli, pot-pourri, walnuts, and barley syrup. Always great to find barley in some very old malt whisky. Mouth (neat): yes. Orange liqueur, honey lemon, spearmint, lemongrass, blue-green tea. Superb zestiness, and a supreme elegance. See, we can do it quick. With water: the menthol and other –ols came out of the cask, all for the better. Green tea, herbs, walnuts, and waldmeister. Do you know waldmeister? Touches of old white Sancerre. Finish: medium, very herbal, with a great dry bitterness. After all, it was a fino cask. Comments: did it really spend all of its life in a fino butt? That may have pushed up the G in the SGP. Make of that what you can. Great bottle! SGP:371 - 90 points.

Sherry Cask ‘06’ 36 yo 1980/2016 (47.2%, Svenska Eldvatten, 102 bottles)

Sherry Cask ‘06’ 36 yo 1980/2016 (47.2%, Svenska Eldvatten, 102 bottles) Four stars and a half Blimey, I’ve been caught again, this is another blended malt. Colour: gold. Nose: old plaster, wine cellar, vase water, ink, old magazines, asparagus peelings, graphite oil… Now for something different! I’m not sure there’s much sherriness in here, perhaps a wee walnut? It’s rather more dry Madeira than sherry if you ask me, but I do like this very unusual dry style. Mouth: wait. Let’s gather our thoughts… In truth this is bone-dry, even mustardy, with some tobacco, more walnuts, some ashes, very bitter oranges (those oranges that you may ‘steal’ from the trees while in Andalucia, and that you just couldn’t eat since they’re so acidic and bitter, you know…) And there are some ashes, some carbon or something, some black salt, many leaves, some leather… In short, you got it, you can’t make drier whisky. Finish: rather long, and very fino-ish indeed. Manzanilla Pastrana. Comments: this was ultra-Jerezian. Now if you would excuse me, I have to call the travel agency… SGP:272 – 89 points.

Perhaps a last one for the road…

Speyside Region 43 yo 1973/2017 (46.9%, The Whisky Agency, refill sherry)

Speyside Region 43 yo 1973/2017 (46.9%, The Whisky Agency, refill sherry) Five stars There’s no doubt whatsoever that this will be excellent. Colour: pale gold. Nose: walnut oil, ink, paraffin, beeswax, plantain bananas, and a wee slice of white ham. Austere, beautifully so. Also leaves, bay leaves, cut grass, and apple peel. Mouth: hell. Mint, sauerkraut, turnips, green olives, green bananas, manioc, turmeric, and some guava juice to make all that sweeter. We’re clearly in riesling territories, and since the bottler is German, I’d say Knipser’s Steinbuckel. Great German Riesling – this from an Alsatian, so take my word! Finish: medium to long, a tad sweeter and rounder. Orange and passion fruit compote, and a wee touch of lavender honey for good measure. Comments: these are the malts to buy these days. There’s no better new old Speysiders, anywhere. Yeah, unless, you know, at auctions for hefty prices… Seriously, buy this if you can find it! Or its siblings… SGP:561 - 92 points.

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April 19, 2017


Whiskyfun

Port Ellen from 11 to 33

The First Editions (Hunter Laing) have a new Port Ellen, so we’ll try it! This is also a good excuse for first having too rather apéritive-y ones at lighter strength. 

Port Ellen 11 yo (46%, Wilson & Morgan, Barrel Selection, bottled by Cadenhead, +/-1992)

Port Ellen 11 yo (46%, Wilson & Morgan, Barrel Selection, bottled by Cadenhead, +/-1992) Five stars Always a thrill to be able to taste some young Port Ellen! This is probably a 1981, since Cadenhead were having quite a few of those young 1981 PEs in the early 1990s. Colour: straw. Nose: tarry and luminous at the same time. A marinade made out of limejuice and seawater with bits of new tyres inside, which is very Port Ellen indeed. After that, quite a lot of camphor (slight OBE starting to happen?) and a rather sublime sootiness. Old jacket kept near some peat fire. It’s narrow, millimetric, even simple, but it’s just totally perfect. Mouth: lemon curd and bags of ashes, plus some barley syrup, which makes it sweeter than expected. There’s some youth in this, and we even find ‘ideas’ of butter pears. Hints of fish oil, tarry rubber as often, and a growing saltiness. That’s right, it’s also oystery, but not quite kippery. Finish: long, very lemony, then brinier, then very ashy. As for the aftertaste, you’ve got the feeling of having just swallowed a whole ashtray. Comments: rather rounder than other young 10-12yo PEs, but brilliant. SGP:467 – 92 points.

Port Ellen 25 yo 1982/2008 (46%, John Milroy Selection, refill sherry, casks #2030+35)

Port Ellen 25 yo 1982/2008 (46%, John Milroy Selection, refill sherry, casks #2030+35) Four stars In my experience those weren’t the best batches, but it’s still Port Ellen, mind you. Colour: white wine. Nose: this baby’s much chalkier, and more on wet fabric than the youngster, with notes of paint thinner and simply cow dung, as well as quite some porridge. A box of rusty nails, and a little lemon juice. Moderate peatiness. Mouth: there’s something slightly chemical in the arrival, then some peppery brine and some slightly stale lemon and apple juice. Touches of damp cardboard, and really more and more pepper. Feels a tad dissonant at times, but of course it’s very fine whisky. Finish: rather long, and very peppery, while it’s not that smoky. More chalky lemons… We’re not too far from Talisker here. Comments: extremely good, it’s just less ‘pure’ and ‘PE’. Perhaps a death seat after the marvellous youngster by W&M. SGP:356 – 86 points.

Port Ellen 33 yo 1983/2016 (55.9%, The First Editions

Port Ellen 33 yo 1983/2016 (55.9%, The First Editions, Author’s Series, sherry butt, 142 bottles) Five stars The author on the label is the English poet Lord Tennyson, who’s not very famous in France (to say the least). Colour: gold. Nose: it’s now well known that Port Ellen ages particularly well, and particularly slowly. In this case, it’s got as many ashes and bits of tarry rubber as in the earliest days, I’m sure. For example, it’s straighter than the latest official special releases, and this mentholy/camphory smoke as well as the tarry ropes and all the hessian just do wonders. Love this nose – and the sherry stayed right in its place. So, not very noticeable. With water: fabulous, smoked tweed jacket and Islay mud. Rolls and rolls of hessian. Mouth (neat): emblematic arrival, massive, very punchy, wonderfully citrusy, and superbly salty/smoky. Serious, this could be 15 years of age. Magnificent pink grapefruits with some white pepper, some ashes, and a wonderful ultra-dry sootiness, the whole getting tarrier and more almondy by the second. A big Port Ellen, rather for your hipflask than for the club. I’m finding some echoes of the Rare Malts, if that rings a bell. With water: as often, the drying ashes come out more. Some tangerines too. Finish: very long, superb, on, well, just everything that’s needed in an old PE that’s not that old. Citrus, smoke, salt, tar… A lot of tar. Comments: and so I’ve checked good old Wikipedia, and apparently, Tennyson wrote "My strength is as the strength of ten, because my heart is pure". That fits this little PE just right, very well done Hunter Laing! SGP:567 - 94 points.

(Thank you Jon, Reto, and Tom)

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April 18, 2017


Whiskyfun

Another bag of Bowmore

We could do some Bowmoreing today, what do you think? Until dead, since there’s so much new Bowmore, as well as so many interesting old ones that we haven’t tasted yet. But first things first, that famous newish official called… No, wait first, the apéritif…

Bowmore 12 yo (40%, OB, +/-2016)

Bowmore 12 yo (40%, OB, +/-2016) Three stars and a half Because I’m often accused of only trying unobtainable whiskies. I don’t think that’s fair, I’m trying to taste all low-range officials on a regular basis, seriously! No, really, check the archives! And believe me, as we say in French, that is costing me. So… Colour: gold. Nose: take a little olive brine, add a little vanilla, add some smoked water, add a little lapsang souchong, add some artisan apple juice, add one oyster, and add a thin slice of banana. You have it. Mouth: really nice, really. Salted fruits, apples, pears, plums, a touch of vanilla, some cigar ashes, a wee sour side that’s very pleasant (brine)… It’s just that the body’s a little thin, and that’s the 40% vol. Finish: medium, ashy, seasprey-y. Nice finish, perhaps is there just a little too much ‘US oak’ in the aftertaste? You know, a plankish side? Comments: not my business, but they should do a regular 12 years old Cask Strength (do not tell me they already do). SGP:455 - 83 points.

Bowmore ‘Vault Edition’ (51.5%, OB, First Release, 2016)

Bowmore ‘Vault Edition’ (51.5%, OB, First Release, 2016) Three stars Without any age statement (boo!) but from a famous warehouse on Islay. This baby’s supposed to celebrate ‘Atlantic sea salt’, which reminds us of that old rumour about barrels being rolled in the sea from the distillery to the puffers, and gathering quite some seawater during the process. Ha. Oh and the price is stoopid. Colour: pale gold. Nose: hold on, vanilla, coconut, and pineapple? I’m not getting much Atlanticness, and neither do I get a lot of peat, this is very gentle, almost shy. Nicely tropical for sure, but it reminds me a bit of Laphroaig’s Select. Very intriguing, let’s see further… With water: damp hessian and old ropes, damp chalk (a lot), and simply fresh plaster. Mouth (neat): well defined, salty for sure, rather mezcal-smoky, and indeed quite tropical, with some kind of guava and grapefruits. With water: careful with water, don’t add too much of it, it’ll kill this baby. Light brine and a little vanilla. Finish: medium, with a little American vanilla (see what I mean) and a rounded kind of saltiness. Comments: I’ll tell you what, it reminds me of the first Bowmore ‘Legends’ from fifteen years ago. Very good, but maybe a little simple. Lighter Bowmore, despite the higher strength – although we wouldn’t call it ‘Bowless’. SGP:445 - 81 points.

Bowmore 2000/2016 (59.5%, The First Editions, refill hogshead, cask #HL12312, 230 bottles)

Bowmore 2000/2016 (59.5%, The First Editions, refill hogshead, cask #HL12312, 230 bottles) Four stars Usually very good stuff, from one of Hunter Laing’s affiliated brands. Colour: straw. Nose: a bit like listening to John Coltrane after Kenny G., if you see what I mean. Immaculately simple Bowmore, with a little earth and even some clay, but without any deadly ‘tropical vanilla’. Oh well I know what I’m trying to say. With water: paint remover and plasticine, plus ashes and ‘new stereo’. Mouth (neat): crisp brine, seawater, grapefruit juice, and repeat. Brine, seawater, grapefruit juice…  Very simple, but not a throwaway. With water: elementary, in a good way. Perhaps a touch of passion fruit. Finish: quite long, very clean, with a little vanilla indeed, but the smoke and the saltiness are defending the temple. Comments: simply very fine, not mindboggling, but very good, in other words some excellent Netflix Bowmore. SGP:456 - 85 points.

Rummage rummage… Perhaps another new one by Hunter Laing?

Bowmore 20 yo 1998/2017 (50%, Hunter Laing, Old Malt Cask, cask # 13301, 275 bottles)

Bowmore 20 yo 1998/2017 (50%, Hunter Laing, Old Malt Cask, cask # 13301, 275 bottles) Four stars Ah, the OMCs, do you remember the first Broras and Port Ellens? Colour: white wine. Nose: very different. This time I’m getting old tin boxes, metal polish, gherkin brine, and only a trace of coconut. It’s very moderately smoky, and I’m even finding more and more vanilla fudge and light herbal teas. Chamomile, perhaps. Extremely gentle, so far. With water: the usual damp jacket and a little muddy porridge. Oh forget. Mouth (neat): this feeling of herbal tea again, with a mentholy side to it, as well as a lot of limejuice and then a massive salty smoke. That’s all good, you could even call it a bit ‘Hampdeny’, should you be a rum freak as well. With water: perfect, smoky grapefruit juice and touches of dried papayas. Finish: medium, rounder and fruitier, but with an ashy aftertaste. You just smoked a small cigar. Comments: actually a rather ashy/smoky one. Quality’s high, as expected. SGP:456 - 86 points.

Bowmore 14 yo 2002/2016 (46%, Chieftain’s, hogsheads, casks 815801-815810)

Bowmore 14 yo 2002/2016 (46%, Chieftain’s, hogsheads, casks 815801-815810) Three stars and a half It’s true that we do not try enough whiskies by Ian McLeod/Chieftain’s/Dun Beaghan on Whiskyfun. A shame, really. Colour: white wine. Nose: crisp and yet a little buttery. Hay and mud and damp beach sand, then a nice flowery side (honeysuckle, then hay) and perhaps a touch of fresh litchi. Hints of earth and roots. It’s all quite subtle, as often with small batch vattings of two to, say five casks. Mouth: very very good. Smoky grapefruits and salty lemons, what’s not to like? As usual, there’s also quite some brine. A wee burnt side as well. Over-roasted nuts. Finish: rather long, leafier, with some bitter chocolate and a sweet and sour brine. Much drier aftertaste, on old walnuts. Comments: feels a little ‘official’, don’t ask me why. SGP:366 - 84 points.

Bowmore 13 yo 2006/2016 (56.7%, Cadenhead, Wine Cask, refill Burgundy, 276 bottles)

Bowmore 13 yo 2003/2016 (56.7%, Cadenhead, Wine Cask, refill Burgundy, 276 bottles) Three stars Burgundy? Pure madness. That is right, Burgundy wood by the oldest independent bottler in Scotland (175 this year). Could we please know whether that was red or white Burgundy? Colour: white wine (serendipity?) Nose: little wine, and little smoke, and not a lot of Bowmoreness, rather a funny citronny smoke, and an obvious floral side, but not that from those whacky 1980s. To tell you the truth, I’m a bit lost. With water: smoked cider or something? Mouth (neat): did I say whacky? Lemons and almonds, with a wee soapy side, and an acrid ashy development. Sour apples. I’m still lost. With water: totally lost. Cider and orange juice, smoked. Or something. Finish: rather long. Razor clams cooked in wine? With wild leek? Or something like that? Comments: am still lost. A fourth dimension of whisky. Score dispensable. Roger. SGP:455 - 80 points.

Haha. We can’t leave all this at that, can we?... So a last one, but perhaps not just any Bowmore…

Bowmore 1962/1992 (43%, Moon Import)

Bowmore 1962/1992 (43%, Moon Import) Four stars and a half No comments, strictly. Now the 1964 ‘The Birds’ by Moon Import was rather immense… But ssh, let’s listen to this old glory… Colour: full gold. Nose: there are theories about those tropical fruits, some saying that they used to come from the yeast they were using when it was not all yield-oriented. What’s sure is that this is totally on dried figs and papayas, without the slightest hint of smoke, and that we’re rather evolving around oriental pastries, angel hair, baklavas, and all that. Figs and more figs, and then even more figs. In short some glorious old spirit that’s totally fig-driven, possibly because of some sherry casks that may have been involved, not too sure. So, dried figs. Mouth: aah… Ooh… It’s all figs-driven indeed. Figs, and figs, and figs. And I do love figs, although this may be the most expensive fig spirit (arrak?) ever. No, really, figs, figs everywhere. Sometimes very old sweet wines get very figgy as well, I’ll add, although that won’t help things along. So, figs. Small ones, large ones, figs. Dried. Finish: short to medium, and guess what? All on f….. Comments: as a matter of fact, I’m a sucker for dried figs. Especially those small ones that they have in southern Turkey, and that… Oh forget. SGP:542 - 89 points.

(merci encore, Emmanuel)

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April 17, 2017


Whiskyfun

Mrs. and Mr. Cardhu

Cardhu’s not very well known in the world, possibly because the Spaniards and the French seem to be quaffing it all. I remember well the ‘white labels’ in the late 1970s, you could find them in posh bars alongside Glenfiddich.

Cardhu 'Special Cask Reserve' (40%, OB, batch # Cs/cR.12.14, 2012)

Cardhu 'Special Cask Reserve' (40%, OB, batch # Cs/cR.12.14, 2012) Two stars and a half The first batches back in 2007 had been pretty okay in my opinion. Soft and very easy. Colour: gold. Nose: there’s a flowery/nutty character at first, then rather cereals and cake, with a little honeyed apple pie. Rather nice touches of stewed rhubarb and freshly squeezed oranges. Mouth: sweetly malty at first, then all on apple pie and tarte and even cider. Same notes of rhubarb as well, and a little vanilla cream. Finish: rather short, but pleasant. I really like these notes of rhubarb pie with a lot of meringue. Some white chocolate and butterscotch too. Comments: totally ‘access category’ malt whisky, good for beginners – but we’ve all known beginners that had started their careers with some peat bombs. SGP:541 - 79 points.

Cardhu 18 yo (40%, OB, +/-2016)

Cardhu 18 yo (40%, OB, +/-2016) Three stars and a half There’s more sherry in this older Cardhu than in the regular 12. I had really enjoyed the first batches, quite a few years ago (WF 83). Colour: deep gold. Nose: I find it quite complex, with walnuts and roasted almonds at first, then rather overripe apples and other slightly acidic fruits, such as kiwis and greengages, as well as orange blossom. Then toasted brioche and some classic maltiness, with a few baked raisins (our beloved Alsatian kougelhopf) and a drop of coffee. Mouth: more sherry this time, with sour raisins and more walnut wine, then ripe kiwis again, and a honeyed/malty unfolding that goes towards dry roasted coffee beans and black chocolate. Black tobacco. This is a style that would be interesting at cask strength. Say 50% vol. Finish: medium, even drier. More coffee beans, black tea, and walnuts. Comments: a very fine Speysider, firmer than people usually think. I even find a Cragganmore-y side to it. Off you go, one more point! The Cask Reserve was rounder and sweeter – and easier. SGP:451 - 84 points.

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April 16, 2017


Whiskyfun

Happy Easter with old Cognacs

It’s true that we’ve had a lot of rum in recent months! Let's try to find some of the very best new old Cognacs that the Easter bunny has brought o us (quite)...

Bourgoin 22 ans (43%, OB, Cognac, 2016)

Bourgoin 22 ans (43%, OB, Cognac, 2016) Four stars This is single estate Cognac, 100% ugni blanc, aged in 350l casks then finished in tiny heavily charred 10l casks, and reduced with rainwater. The grapes come from the tiny little-known ‘premiers bois’ cru. Colour: gold. Nose: it’s the fresh fruitiness that’s most impressive at first, with a blend of golden raisins, ripe peaches, and sunflower honey, then perhaps mirabelle pie and apricots, somewhat ala Balvenie. It seems, unless I’m wrong, that the small casks have also imparted notes of caraway and perhaps a little fennel and liquorice. Even verbena (Velay). Mouth: really very malternative, as we’re entering single malt territories indeed. Some mirabelle tarte covered with maple syrup, custard, and drops of citron liqueur, as well as notes of toasted brioche. The whole remains fresh and very seductive. Finish: not too long, but creamy, vanilla-ed, and rather pastry-like. Danish. A funny malty aftertaste. Comments: very good and very smart. We’re very far from the commercial caramelised Cognacs. SGP:541 - 86 points.

Vallein-Tercinier 'Hors-d'Age' (42%, OB, cognac, +/-2016)

Vallein-Tercinier 'Hors-d'Age' (42%, OB, cognac, +/-2016) Four stars and a half We’ve had an earlier batch four years ago. Lovely stuff. It’s a blend of old Cognacs, the younger ones being 40. Colour: dark amber. Nose: bam! It’s all very amazing, as almost everything at Vallein-Tercinier’s (WF’s favourite Cognac house!) Astoundingly subtle yet emphatic arrival, with two dozen fruits (say ripe apricots and white currants first, then oranges and similar citrus) and a luminescent (what?) herbalness. And sublime camphory touches. And moss and humus. Wow. Mouth: stunning fruity arrival, aerial and very fresh, and yet so complex… Some tropical fruits (mangos found on location, not in a western supermarket), ripe apples and pears, lots of melons of all kinds, raisins of course, some honeys, tiny herbs, forgotten herbal teas… Oh well, this is glorious. Only the body’s a tad thin, but you know what they always say in Cognac, ‘if we bottle at higher strengths, nobody’s buying the bottles’. I hope that is changing… Finish: a little short, but superbly clean and fruity. Stops rather abruptly Comments: the fact that this glory does not reach 90 in my book is only related to the low strength. SGP:651 - 89 points.

Now we’ve got a solution…

Vallein-Tercinier ‘Lot 90’ (51%, OB, Grande Champagne, fût #149, 990 bottles, 2016)

Vallein-Tercinier ‘Lot 90’ (51%, OB, Grande Champagne, fût #149, 990 bottles, 2016) Five starsThe fact that this baby came to me in three different occasions may say a lot about the quality. It’s most probably a 1990, so around 25/26 years of age. Colour: full gold. Nose: less easy/sexy than the Hors d’Âge, and rather spicier, with touches of gingerbread and cinnamon cake upfront. The liquorice, and many cakes. Orange cake, for example. After just two minutes, it becomes very citrusy, in a splendid manner. Citron liqueur and myrtle, which indeed, sounds very Corsican. Mouth: brilliant, and once again, totally and plainly malternative. It’s a blend of old Benriach and Rosebank, in fact. Ah, that’s their secret! Plums and oranges tangoing to perfection, plus tangerines and notes of lemongrass, with a little spearmint behind all that. Superb. Finish: long (yeah), very citrusy, with some chestnut honey and a little pipe tobacco. One lavender sweet in the aftertaste. Comments: very hard to beat. One day we’ll organise a 6 Nation Tournament, with spirits instead of rugby teams. SGP:651 - 91 points.

Vallein-Tercinier ‘Lot 90’ (51%, OB, Grande Champagne, for Liquid Art/Malternative Belgium, 180 bottles, 2016) Five stars I’m sorry, this is going to be short, I believe it is the same Cognac both on the nose and on the palate. Sure you’ll always find small differences, but I’m sure that would only be your mind playing tricks. Like, more speculoos and Trappist beer in this one. Of course I’m joking. Very well selected, Belgian friends! SGP:651 - 91 points.

What a session!

Petite Champagne 42 yo 1973/2016 (49%, The Whisky Agency, 483 bottles)

Petite Champagne 42 yo 1973/2016 (49%, The Whisky Agency, 483 bottles) Five stars Some good laughs were had with this one, as our excellent German friends used to call this ‘the Johnny Depp label’. While in truth, it’s a well-known self-portrait by Gustave Courbet, circa 1845. Now, it’s not impossible that Courbet was one of Mr. Depp’s ancestors… Ahem… Colour: deep gold. Nose: crikey, another great one. We’re wandering throughout similar territories, with the same bright and very complex fruitiness, some jams, some great honeys, and an exceptional creaminess. We’re approaching Cognacqy perfection, it’s just not one of those older earthy/rancioty ones. Oh and the oranges that are popping out are phenomenal! Mouth: we’re really in the same territories after the Vallein 1990. Bright and entrancing citrusy arrival, then jams and chutneys (mangos, blood oranges, quinces…) and a minty/liquoricy background that’s keeping everything straight. Some cinchona and ginger too, it’s even going towards the best kind of Aperol ever. Finish: long, brilliant, mandariny, with a layer of soft and gingery spices. Some ‘funny bitter apples’ in the aftertaste. Comments: well done Johnny Depp! Ha-ha-ha… SGP:651 - 91 points.

Perhaps a last one, and let’s stay at TWA’s…

Grande Champagne ‘Lot 19 NO.24’ (43.1%, The Whisky Agency, 38 bottles, 2016)

Grande Champagne ‘Lot 19 NO.24’ (43.1%, The Whisky Agency, 38 bottles, 2016) Five stars So, this is eighty years old Cognac distilled in 1924, paradised in 2004 (in demijohns of course), and bottled last year. What could go wrong? Colour: deep amber. Nose: awww… It is so fresh, so vibrant, and so extraordinarily fruity that you just cannot not adore it. Once again, it’s a bright one, not an ‘old style’ rancioty/fudge-y Cognac at all. In a way, it’s the opposite of those extremely pricy ones by the big brands. Although I do find hints of espresso in the back. Mocha, perhaps? Other than that, we’ve got pineapples, mangos, peaches, and melons. The best of all worlds. Mouth: I’ll say it, its got echoes of pre-war Macallan, and I am not joking. Touches of smoke, tangerine jam, orange blossom water, figs, cigars, Assam tea, the tiniest bit of artisan toffee… And yeah, oranges. A touch of hay as well. Finish: medium, incredibly clean, with only the faintest tannicity in the aftertaste. Comments: a lovely session, wasn’t it. I’ll also add, since I know our most distinguished German friends can take a wee joke, that they’re lucky that their grandfathers didn’t drink it all while they were on location. Frieden und Liebe, peace and love! SGP:641 - 93 points.

More tasting notes Check the index of all Cognac I've tasted so far

 

 

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