Hi, you're in the Archives, March 2005 - Part 2
– TWO SUPERB BUNNAHABHAINS
34 yo 1968 (43.5%, OB)
A superb sherry, beautifully balanced
but with a lot of oomph. It’s
very tannic but these tannins are
quite soft. Very satisfying and
compact, perhaps just a bit rougher
than the fantastic and already legendary
1968 ‘ Old Acquaintance –
Hogmanay Dram’. 90
24 yo 1979/2005 (55%, Signatory,
bottled Friday, March 4th)
Very farmy and quite smoky, not
unlike some Broras. Some heavy,
but very nice sherry, making the
whole very expressive, bold and
concentrated. Very warming: everything
but a gentle Bunny, this one. Good
work: 90 points.
QUIZZ (for a change) - Who
is singing today's recommended listening
in blue swede shoes - mp3? Just
click below to check if you're right
and win my eternal consideration.
And, of course, buy that band or artist's
music if you like it...
- THREE OLDIES BY DUNCAN TAYLOR
36 yo 1968/2005 (46.3%, Duncan Taylor,
Oh, what a stunner! Not the usual
dusty/oaky tired old malts but rather
a maelstrom of violets, marsh-mallow,
tangerine, chives, honey, beehive…
Triple-wow! Develops on spearmint,
camomile… Some dried pineapple
and guava…It just goes in all
directions. Extremely fresh, complex,
balanced: a thrill, exquisite and
glorious. I can’t give it less
than 93 points (and
why would I, by the way?)
Keith 33 yo 1971/2005 (50.8%, Duncan
Taylor, Cask #8056)
This one is very heavily sherried,
with quite some sulphur and rubber.
Then you get the typical cocoa powder,
together with some interesting meaty
notes. The mouth is surprisingly powerful
at such an old age. Heavy sherry again,
with some hints of copper. A very
good one again, even if I’m
not into these sherry monsters too
much. 85 points will
37 yo 1967/2004 (47.6%, Duncan Taylor,
Bourbon cask #1332)
Rather discreet right at first nosing,
getting flowery, with some nectar.
A little subdued but very subtle.
Quite contrarily, the mouth is explosive,
on marzipan, flower syrup (mullein),
quince jelly… Stunning palate,
concentrated and cheerful, extremely
satisfying. 90 points.
– Fellow maniac
Mark Adams suggested we should have
a look at this new machine named 'AWOL
AWOL means Alcohol With Out Liquids.
It consists of two components: an
oxygen generator and a hand-held
vaporizer. Tubes from the generator
attach to the vaporizer. The user
chooses an 80-proof spirit, which
is poured into the vaporizer. Oxygen
mixes with the alcohol producing
a mist which is inhaled through
the mouth. Alcohol enters the bloodstream
through the lungs rather than the
stomach making AWOL low calorie
and low carbohydrate. The resulting
feeling is the same sense of well
being an adult gets from consuming
alcohol in the traditional manner,
only milder. Once the alcohol enters
the bloodstream, it affects the
body in the same way as drinking
alcohol. Additionally, the alcohol
leaves the body in the same manner
as if it had been consumed by drinking.
the benefit, you may ask? They say
it reduces the effects of a hangover
and is low carbohydrate. But it
shouldn't be too good for nosing
our beloved Single Malts, I'm afraid...And
I'm just wondering whether it isn't
just another joke. A good one, in
any case! But hey, why not try the
new Ardbeg Manager Choice for Outer
Mongolia with AWOL!...
listening: American singer-songwriter
Marks does Unpredictable
- mp3. A very nice little song,
don't you think? Please buy her music
if you like it. Btw, she's touring
the US with the show 'Nice Jewish
Girls Gone Bad' these days.
– TWO SPECIAL LAPHROAIGS
Laphroaig ‘Quarter Cask’
(48%, OB, double cask)
Delicately peated, on ripe apples,
kiwi, pine smoke. Some notes of
fresh butter. Superb nose. The mouth
starts on liquorice roots, gentian
roots, with a refined peat. Not
a monster in any way, yet it’s
very satisfying. Some great notes
of ripe strawberries, topped with
a lot of white pepper. I like it
a lot. 91 points.
1994 ‘Highgrove Edition’
Tasted at the excellent new Albannach
restaurant in London with the Malt
Maniacs. It was just like some fully
smoked marzipan – although I
don’t know if that exists ;-)
WHISKY ADS - OR WHY THE YOOF STARTED
TO PREFER VODKA?
Haig 1965 'Who
knows as much about scotch as the
Scot's? - We English. The Scots distill
Haig - we jolly well drink Haig. Of
hundreds of scotches, Britain's largest
seller is Haig. You'll find Haig to
your taste, too.' Right: Smirnoff
1968 'Rudi Gernreich
fashions the breathless scene. And
women start turning up in colors beautiful
enough to drink. Bloody Mary Red.
Blizzard Lime. Screwdriver Orange.
Mule Copper. And Martini Silver. Pick
your favorite Smirnoff drink. Then
pick a woman to match.'
(!?) Now, if memory serves,
both John Steed and Mrs Peel were
drinking Cognac and Champagne, weren't
By the way, I'm looking forward
to see the ads for the brand new J&B-6şc
to be launched later this year. Will
they use an antique white car again?
Top Ten lists have been updated. The
Brora 30 yo OB bottled 2004 and the
new Ardbeg single cask for France
enter the Top Ten of the recent bottlings
(bottled 1995 and later) while the
Caol Ila 15 yo OB 'Bulloch & Lade'
enters the Top Ten for the old bottlings
(bottled before 1995).
Some other news: I'm currently working
on Brora's 'new' history. Expect a
full 12-pages 'sub-site' with plenty
of pictures, old labels, bottles,
and finally the whole story behind
what happened there between 1968 and
1975. I'll keep you updated.
– TWO NEW GLEN MORAYS
Glen Moray 20 yo (40%, OB)
The nose starts on ashes and mown
grass, and develops on meadow flowers
and caramel. It’s light but
quite nice. The mouth is very sweet,
round and creamy, on apricot syrup,
apple pie… Quite nice and
undemanding, getting a wee bit too
tannic for its style. 81
Moray 30 yo ‘vintage’
They call it ‘vintage’
because it’s 30 yo but it’s
not from one single year. Well.
The nose is a bit sulphury, quite
smoky, on some strange notes of
fresh paint and even exhaust pipe.
Some smoked ham. Very sulphury indeed.
The mouth starts on wet chalk, very
mineral, with again some sulphur.
Gets quite fruity but quite oddly
(rotten fruits). Too bad, the ‘mineral’
side was great. 81 points.
listening - Queen of talk over Ursula
Rucker does Time
- mp3 with the band 4
Hero. Urban hip hop? Chill
out? Trip hop? Drum and bass? Ambient?
Yeah well, I'm kinda lost here but
all I know is that I like Ursula Rucker
very much, and I hope you like her
too. In that case, please buy her
– Recommended listening
- American folk rock band Camper
van Beethoven plays a
nice and fresh Sweet
hearts - mp3 with an Eddie Jobson-esque
violin in the background. Please buy
their music if you like it.
- Balblair 24 yo 1979/2003 (46%, OB,
This one is a Bourbon only. Lots of
very ripe apples and peaches. Beautiful
mouth, quite spicy with quite a lot
of nutmeg and cinnamon. A very good
one again, nicely balanced and enjoyable.
Pure pleasure, highly drinkable! 88
NEW OMC’s (short
25 yo 1979/2005 (50%, Douglas Laing
OMC, 331 bottles)
Very flowery and buttery, a nice
‘Bourbon’ Macallan but
no big thrill. 83 points.
Ellen 21 yo 1983/2004 (50%, Douglas
Laing OMC, sherry cask, 525 bottles)
Rather austere and restrained, getting
meaty and smoky as usual. A toned
down version (compared to some other
recent stunners by DL), that’s
still nicely balanced and powerful.
Ila 25 yo 1979/2004 (50%, Douglas
Laing OMC, 266 bottles)
Powerful and sweet at the same time,
like all good Caol Ilas. Beautiful
peat, refined yet expressive. Develops
on some nice ripe fruits like kiwi,
gooseberry, freshly cut green pear…
For once, Caol Ila defeats Port Ellen!
Ashleigh Caldwell sings
on a page - mp3 live. A charming
little song that makes me think of
the great Joni Mitchell. Please buy
C. Ashleigh Caldwell's music if you
like it (and Joni Mitchell's while
you are at it).
- TWO 'RAREST OF THE RARE' BY DUNCAN
29 yo 1975/2005 (44.5%, Duncan Taylor
Rarest of the Rare, Cask #5812)
Mosstowie was distilled until 1981
at Miltonduff with some Lomond stills.
This one is very flowery and fresh,
with a light character typical of
this kind of distillation. Some wax,
light honey, nectar, with some hints
of old papers. Yet, it’s creamier
than expected on the palate. Again
a very nice one: 87 points.
22 yo 1982/2005 (58%, Duncan Taylor
Rarest of the Rare, sherry cask #5156)
Lots of chestnut honey, with some
great smoky notes and some herbs,
parsley… It’s also quite
yeasty, in a nice way. Not too sherried,
good news! It’s also quite nervous
on the palate, with lots of various
fruits and white pepper. An excellent
Glenugie: 87 points.
WHISKY ADS - 1960-1970 - TWO DECADES
OF SEDUCTION - PART IV:
MACHO AND ANTI-MACHO
1960's: VO asks an utterly
stupid question: 'Does a woman
really appreciate the taste of fine
whisky?' Notice the 'fine', because
women usually like bad whisky, that's
a proven fact! How stupid they were!
1969: here's the answer -
although I have no clue as for McMaster's
being fine or not. What's sure is
that a rich and beautiful girl didn't
seem to bother with Seagram's VO in
– TWO 'REFILL SHERRY' LADDIES
Bruichladdich 14 yo Links ‘Troon’
From some refill sherry. Young and
fruity, on cereals and white fruits,
watermelon, white peach. The mouth
is a bit rough, quite yeasty and
grainy, but it’s globally
very enjoyable. Another good hipflask
malt for a winter walk (or golf,
indeed). 84 points.
Infinity (55.5%, OB)
A mix of Port Charlotte and Bruichladdich
from 100% refill sherry casks, but
with no peated Laddie from the 1998
runs, unlike in the ‘3D’.
It’s been bottled exclusively
for four independent retailers like
Royal Mile Whiskies, Loch Fyne etc.
The nose is really beautiful with
a superb peat, very refined and
elegant. Hints of beer, with quite
some sherried notes. Bold and subtle
at the same time. The finish is
very, very salty. Wow, there are
still some brilliant casks at Bruichladdich's,
it appears! 90 points.
- 1960-1970 - TWO
DECADES OF SEDUCTION - PART III:
WHISKY AND DATING
Horse 1961: Dialogs, girl:
'Does a dry Scotch taste better?'
- guy: 'Try White Horse and see.'
The girl hasn't got any whisky yet,
but she's dying to taste a dry one...
Will she walk into the trap? Alas,
we'll never know...
1970: A strange, very strange
ad. The guy is leaving the girl with
his J&B in the hands - the girl
seems to have spurned his advances
- and the headline suggests that,
had the guy brought something better
than J&B, he would have been welcomed!
Or did they want to suggest that J&B
is 'better' than the girl?
listening - Trip hop can be crappy
and boring. Very crappy and very boring...
But with Mr.
Scruff, things are getting
better! I especially like his 1999
dew - mp3, with a certain Feebi's
beautiful, warm voice. Please buy
Mr Scruff's music if you like it.
– Recommended listening
- Iranian born 'no wave' passionaria
Youssefi sings On
the road - mp3 (from her album
Enantodriomia). I pretty much like
her slightly detuned voice and the
'arty' dissonance of her skillful
compositions. Please buy Azita's music
if you like it as much as I do.
(Soon to be bottled, Signatory straight
from the cask) This one has been finished
for 8 months in a cask from Château
Pontet-Canet (Pauillac near Bordeaux).
The nose is nice, interestingly smoky,
but the mouth is too syrupy for my
tastes. I’m not saying it isn’t
good, it’s just a matter of
taste – and it’s ten times
better than the Bowmore ‘Claret’
anyway. There’s also a salty
tang somewhere towards the finish.
28 yo 1975/2004 (57.1%, Signatory
Cask Strength Collection, cask #7221,
Quite smoky but not as much as the
stunning earlier bottling (cask #7216)
which I scored 92 points. The nose
is a bit closed right from the start,
but it opens up after ten minutes,
getting vegetal, smoky, farmy…
The peat arrives, superbly! The mouth
is explosive again, on dried tangerines,
passion fruit, dried mango, with lots
of fructose and quite some delicate
peat smoke. Just superb again: 91
29 yo 1975/2005 (48.7%, Signatory
Cask Strength Collection, cask #96/3/38)
Again a very good Saint-Magdalene,
perhaps less complex than some earlier
versions but very citrusy. A very
‘Lowlandish’ one, for
once! 87 points.
- 1960-1970 - TWO
DECADES OF SEDUCTION - PART II:
Satin 1965: The body reads
'A man and his closest friends.
You'll enjoy Red Satin at first meeting.
It's an adventure in taste. And every
meeting is as rewarding as the first.
So make a date to meet Red Satin.
Velvet 1972: But is she really
going to drink this full glass? And
proud of it, at that! No, the text
at the bottom does not read 'Please
drink responsibly etc.'...
- 1960-1970 - TWO DECADES OF
SEDUCTION - PART I:
MARRIED OR SINGLE?
Walker Red 1969: She's married
but lonely at Xmas, she looks sad
and unhappy, she'got trapped - and
she doesn't even drink whisky. Whisky
is for her husband, not for her (not
to mention the Single Malts he's buying
1973: She's single and she
obviously chose to, she looks quite
happy, she's having some good time
in bars playing snooker and enjoying
whisky with friends (see the second
glass?)... You can draw your own conclusions!
– THREE NEW SINGLE GRAINS
BY DUNCAN TAYLOR
Invergordon 39 yo 1965/2004 (49.6%,
Duncan Taylor, Cask #15504, 254
Again one of these stunning old
grains from Duncan Taylor’s.
Will this one match the beauty that
performed so well at the Malt Maniacs
Awards last year? It’s got
lots of rum, wax, and is very oaky
but in a nice way. Develops on beehive,
getting even a bit smoky. Some raisins,
some burnt cake, and some hints
of wet stone on the nose (slightly
dusty). A very nice one again, 88
25 yo 1979/2005 (56.4%, Duncan Taylor,
Carsebridge distillery got mothballed
in 1983 (the sad year) and I confess
it’s the first time I could
taste one, thanks to Kirsty from Duncan
Taylor’s. It’s surprisingly
compact and bold, quite similar to
the Invergordon but with even more
oomph. Very waxy, on vanilla, rum,
raisins and burnt cake. Not extremely
complex but very satisfying and totally
flawless. Hints of fructose, fresh
pineapple that add some extra-balance
to it. Superb! I’m glad this
one didn’t end its life in a
super-premium blend for Hong-Kong!
24 yo 1980/2005 (62.6%, Duncan Taylor,
A whopping alcohol level at 24yo!
Lots of burnt wood on the nose, heavily
charred oak, burnt caramel…
Hints of herbs. Lots of varnish after
a moment, together with some tar.
The mouth is very strong and powerful
but it’s ‘drinkable’.
Some nice fruit juice, light honey,
quince compote… The palate is
much nicer than the nose. Again a
great grain: 87 points.
- Glen Albyn 1966/2005 (43%, G&M’s
The nose is very discreet, with some
hints of ripe apple and whiffs of
pepper, but otherwise it’s quite
weak. Just an added bit of vanilla.
Everything seems to come from the
wood only. The mouth has some fructose,
tannins, and some spicy notes, but
the finish is short and rather tired.
A rather weak antiquity. Too bad.
listening: unconventional, hence controversial
and 'probably bound to pass unnoticed,
even on an underground cult level'
artist from Louisiana Damien
Youth sings Red
ghost mother - mp3. Please buy
Damien's music if you like it.
– THREE SUNTORIES: THE SECOND
(AND BEST) PART OF THE BOWMORE MASTERCLASS
Hakushu 12 yo (43.5%, OB)
A nice nose, on apple and light
spices, with some fresh maritime
notes. The mouth is sweet and delicately
peaty and smoky. Quite rounded but
with a nice vivacity. A good one:
17 yo (43%, OB, blended)
Fresh, on cereals, quite bold. Hints
of spices but nothing really special.
Mouth: a nice balance but not much
character, with some caramel and
apricot jam. A little bit of wood.
Flawless but not too interesting.
18 yo (43%, OB)
This one was matured in sherry casks.
The nose is very woody, in a nice
way, with some varnish, turpentine.
A beautiful balance. Some very soft
tannins… Extremely oaky but
masterfully crafted. The mouth is
superbly balanced, with lots of
orange juice and spices. Creamy
yet nervous, with all sorts of fruit
syrups and jams. Besides, the finish
is very long. I loved this one:
– JAZZ - Highly
recommended listening for a sunny
Saturday, again from Brazil, André
Hosoi plays a beautiful
choro called Choro
pro Guinga - mp3. How elegant,
how refined! And I like the sound
of the harmonica so much... Please
buy his music if you like it...
REVIEW: NICK LOWE
The Barbican, London - Monday
March 14th 2005 - by
far as I can remember my first intimate
moment with Nick
Lowe went like this. I was browsing
through the vinyl 45’s in
the Stiff Records Shop in Convent
Garden one Tuesday lunchtime (yes
youngsters, this is how we used
to download our fave tunes in the
olden days) when Wreckless Eric
burst through a door pursued by
Nick Lowe and a tear-gas spray.
Once round the shop and they departed
through the front door, shortly
followed by me, tears in my eyes,
no vinyl in my hand.
that’s my 1978 story and I’m
sticking to it. So it goes …
then our relationship has been mediated
through vinyl, tape and CDs, and a
couple of memorable London gigs over
the past six years when Lowe, King
of Cool that he is, has blown away
audiences with a tighter than tight
band supporting his brilliant voice
and songwriting skills. But tonight
intimacy is restored at the Barbican
as the Nickster is solo (unplugged,
as they say, despite all the plugs)
for about two thirds of his set, before
he is joined on stage by outstanding
grand slam pianist and long-time collaborator
Geraint Watkins. And despite his alleged
nervousness (“all I want to
do is bolt for the door with a fag
and my hand and a large Scotch at
the bar”) this is not a man
who’s cracking up, in fact he
is obviously occupying a comfort zone
larger than the size of a tennis court.
I would be surprised if somewhere
in your music collection you don’t
have some of the following: a Nick
Lowe album (Impossible Bird would
be best, but anything would do) or
single (I know Serge’s favourite
is ‘What’s so funny ‘bout
peace love and understanding?’
but personally I can’t help
liking ‘I love the sound of
breaking glass’); a band featuring
Nick Lowe (Brinsley Schwarz, Rockpile,
Little Village); a Nick Lowe produced
album or single – by Graham
Parker and the Rumour, Elvis Costello,
The Mavericks, Dr Feelgood, Wreckless
Eric, John Hiatt or the Pretenders
(‘Stop your sobbing’)
etc.; or a recording of a Nick Lowe
song, and if I mention Johnny Cash
singing ‘The Beast in me’
on the first volume of The American
Recordings (some say he only married
Carlene Carter in order to get her
dad to sing this song) then that’s
probably enough isn’t it ? Actually
if you don’t qualify in any
of the above categories then dump
the questionnaire and move on bro’,
as we relationship marketeers sometimes
has to be said that the Barbican is
not a cool space for a cool Brentford
boy like Lowe in his white shirt and
pleated Italian trousers, but he fills
it with his lazy acoustic guitar thumb-picking
and strumming technique, and his deeply
soulful voice, which got stronger
in depth and range as the night went
on. He knows how to sing and how to
use a microphone, but occasionally
the magnificent Barbican sound-system
gets the better of him (did we really
hear the gnashing of his false teeth
on the beautiful ‘Shelley my
set was made up largely of classics
from the Lowe songbook, with an emphasis
on his last three albums, –
‘You inspire me’, ‘Soulful
wind’ ‘Lately I’ve
let things slide’, ‘I
knew the bride (when she used to rock
and roll), ‘I live on a battlefield’,
‘Indian Queen’s, ‘Cruel
to be kind’ – and a few
covers, John Hiatt’s ‘She
don’t love nobody’ and
Watkin’s pretty song ‘Only
a rose’. But he also road tested
a few new compositions intended for
a new album (“my manager keeps
on telling me that its four years
since the last one”) including
Bingo (not well received), ‘The
other side of the coin’, and
the hugely misogynistic ‘Trained
her to love me’ (believe me
its rare to have a whole audience
gasping and wincing at the audacity
of a performers lyrics as they did
when he spat his way through this
one). “There’s one for
all you girls,” grinned Nick
as he finished.
not surprisingly the audience were
somewhat Barbican-restrained but (full
hall – all seats sold) they
were clearly having a wonderful time
(including one of the world’s
leading experts on intellectual property
law, who I bumped into in the gents.
Ah – the unifying power of rock
and roll) relishing the wit and wryness
of Lowe’s lyrics, the remarkable
rhythm that he drives through the
evening, his infectious passion for
his music and general good humour,
and his occasional classic rock star
poses (yes, I suppose I must mention
the quiff at this point). So even
though some booed when he ended with
only a short encore (last song, naturally,
‘The Beast in me’) everyone
left with a smiling face...
is, until some French bloke (captured
with unerring accuracy by my cub photographer)
tried to pinch a souvenir from the
merchandising store ….. -
Nick Morgan (photos by Kate except
Many thanks, Nick. As, apparently,
I've been caught by your eagle-eye
photographer - unerring accuracy
indeed, was it really me? Looks
rather like inspector Clouzot! -
I must admit that yes, indeed, I
was there, undercover. 'Vertauen
ist gut, kontrollen ist besser'
say the guys at Daimler-Benz, so
I was just checking whether WhiskyFun's
enormous budget for Music Reviews
wasn't spent backstage with ageing
rock stars and young girls, drinking
expensive Champagne (or Single Malts)
till dawn after the shows... I can
sleep soundly now, thanks.
Ah, yes, Nick's Lowe music... We
have two songs today: Poor
side of town - mp3 from the
latest studio album 'The Convincer'
knew the bride (when she used to
rock & roll) - mp3 which
he recorded in 1977 according to
my sources. Anyway, great gig, thanks
again! Also, I'll try to post about
great Geraint Watkins within the
– WHISKYLIVE LONDON, BOWMORE'S
MASTERCLASS: ‘THREE RECENT RARITIES’
having poured us a recent and rare
;-) Bowmore 12 yo that was even sweeter
than I could recall, with no FWP but
that was still quite vulgar and loaded
with caramel (but rather drinkable:
75 points), they made us taste the
latest batches of the…
30 yo ‘Seadragon’ (43%,
OB, for the Asian market, last batch)
Short notes: The nose is balanced,
with quite some peat and some chilli,
together with the usual passion fruit
and some hints of wet hay but not
much else. Rather disappointing, lacking
complexity. The mouth is quite okay
at first sip but too weak and getting
too sweetish (liquorice allsorts).
84 point, yet, for
the simple, but rather nice nose.
‘Claret’ (56%, OB, 12000
bottles) A Bowmore
12 yo racked into some casks of Suntory-owned
Château Lagrange (Saint-Julien).
The colour is pure orange. The nose
is pungent, unbalanced, with some
bold but disturbing aromas of cooked
wine and rotten oranges. Err….
The mouth is just awful (all sorts
of rotten tastes) and makes it plain
undrinkable. Yuk. 49 points.
Thank God they then poured us some
rather nice Japanese…(more later)...
– WHISKYLIVE: DIAGEO’S
MASTERCLASS, PART TWO
30 yo 2004 Edition (56.6%, OB)
This is the third batch, and I’ve
heard there will be a 4th one in
2005. Not sure about the following
years, though… Colour: pure
gold. Nose: smoke, peat and some
very bold animal notes: amazing!
Imagine you visit a farm, with its
dogs, the cow stable, a bonfire
somewhere in the courtyard…
It then gets very waxy and superbly
yeasty like Poilâne’s
bread… Absolutely stunning.
I had thought they would have put
the best casks into the first edition(s),
but this one proves I was wrong.
It then gets quite tary, with some
diesel oil. Yet, it’s more
refined than the first two editions,
and less brutal.
surprisingly sweet, creamy, and almost
un-peaty at first sip, but like in
the very best Ardbegs, the smoke and
the peat then develop into a magnificent
continuum, even if the whisky remains
always refined and subtle. It then
gets very lemony and tary again, on
green lemon, lemon grass… The
finish is very long, on a perfect
cocktail of smoky lemon juice with
pepper. What a fantastic presence,
deserving no less than 95
points in my book (but Olivier,
who’s a little less shy than
me with his ratings, gave it 97 points).
Now, as I already told you, the problem
is that this Brora is a killer, as
it sort of damaged both the Caol Ila
25 yo and the Talisker 25 yo that
were to follow…
Ila 25 yo 1978/2004 (59.4%, OB)
Sweeter and much more discrete than
the Brora, and also much less smoky
and peaty. Lots of ‘classical’
apples, with some whiffs of wood smoke.
Quite deceptively restrained, indeed,
but rather elegant and subtle. Mouth:
ah, this is much better and bolder,
but it’s too strong to be sipped
naked (the whisky). A few drops of
water make the nose much more mineral,
on wet stone and chalk. The mouth
gets fruitier, with a salty tang,
but the peat sort of vanishes. Anyway,
I feel it has much more to say so
I’ll try it again in solo –
and not after one of these egocentric
Broras ;-) … 89 points
for this new Caol Ila (conservatory
25 yo bottled in 2004 (57.9%, OB,
refill casks, 21000 bottles)
Whether 21K bottles is really ‘limited’
or not is debatable, but let’s
rather nose this one now, even if
the Brora’s still ‘there’.
Again the Talisker seems to be a little
restrained, with little smoke and
peat – if any. Far from the
usual blast of peat and pepper, it’s
rather on orange juice and fruit salad…
Or is it me? The palate is incredibly
smooth and sweet, with the usual peppery
notes slowly coming through, and then
some green chili. It gets spicier
and spicier and quite salty, but it
still lacks a little boldness and
the usual Talisker signature. I guess
it’s the Brora effect again
– a good excuse for a new try
another day! 88 points
Overall conclusion: what a bunch!
But please, Diageo, perhaps, I mean,
maybe you could put the Brora at the
end of the session next time –
yours sincerely etc., etc., etc...
listening - Another fabulous soul
jazz band from the UK: the James
Taylor Quartet (nothing
to do with 'You've got a Friend').
Cracking Hammond organ, superb sax...
And what a groove!!! Listen to Splat
- mp3 and I'm sure you'll agree...
Please buy the quartet's music if
you like it!
Meanwhile, I found another
excellent track by Niacin:
Train Blues - mp3.
– WHISKYLIVE: DIAGEO’S
MASTERCLASS, PART I
I’m currently near Edimburgh
- in Stirling, actually, where it's
raining cats and dogs - but the Swisscom
Wi-Fi hotspot at the Highland Hotel
is slooooow and unreliable like a
drunken Swiss snail, so I hope what
follows will find its way along the
path. Cross fingers! But back to Diageo’s
masterclass: Charlie Smith (manager
of Talisker) and Kenny Gray (manager
of Oban) – Dave Broom said they
are the Laurel and Hardy of the industry,
LOL - poured us six of their rarest
malts, all limited editions and including
the Mortlach 32 yo that goes for £350.
So, unlike Bowmore, they didn’t
serve any mundane 12 yo or cheap blend.
Cool! So, we had…
Ord 25 yo 1978/2004 (58.3%, OB)
The nose is very rounded and sweet,
yet rather nervous. Quite grassy at
first nosing, on fern, hay, straw…
Develops on smoked tea and camomile.
Very, very good, with little wood
influence, letting the distillery’s
character shine through. Some nice
whiffs of sea breeze (yes, I know,
Ord isn’t really near the sea).
Mouth: creamy but again quite nervous,
bold and powerful. Lots of pepper,
cooked apples and cinnamon. A bit
of fructose, crystallised angelica,
lemon peel… A very serious whisky
that doesn’t play any dirty
trick, and with a superb balance,
at that. Most satisfying. 90
32 yo 1971/2004 (50.1%, OB)
Colour: surprisingly light, pale straw.
The nose is more discrete than the
Glen Ord’s, but more complex
and delicate. Extremely floral for
such an old malt, again there seems
to be little wood influence. Lots
of meadow flowers, buttercup, pollen.
Hints of farmy notes, wet dog. A little
yeasty, with some notes of porridge,
green bananas, hot milk. Very complex!
It goes on with some acacia honey,
and a bit of coconut milk. Very elegant.
The mouth is creamy, sweet, getting
very gingery with lots of white pepper
and nutmeg. Now I can feel the wood’s
influence. Goes on with some light
caramel, honey. Really splendid, complex
and subtle… The finish is long
and quite peppery. A winner, no doubt.
20 yo 1984/2004 (57.9%, OB)
I already had this one and liked it
a lot (91 points). This time I found
it to be quite closed and not too
expressive, but I’m sure the
Mortlach we had just before sort of
killed it. I guess Diageo ‘ranked’
the malts by peating level or something
like that, but I feel it didn’t
work too well as, again the fabulous
Mortlach almost killed the Oban while
the fantabulous Brora badly injured
both the Caol Ila 25 yo and the Talisker
25 yo that were to follow. I would
have started with the Oban and placed
the Brora right at the end of the
flight. Well, just my very humble
but honest opinion. But speaking of
the latest Brora 30yo… Watch
this space, more tomorrow! (Is this
teasing or what?)
listening: hey hey, lots of success
for Liquid Soul and Herbie Hancock!
I'm glad to hear that some other malt
aficionados like speedy 'funk-soul-fusion
jazz' just like me. Okay, let's go
on then... Oh, do you want an even
'speedier' piece? Then, have a go
grease - mp3. Yeah, I guess they
need some, that's for sure... And
please buy Niacin's music, like their
recent Live CD named 'Blood Sweat
& Beers' LOL! By the way, Niacin
is just three guys, but they manage
to make much more noise than ZZ Top!
the index of all entries:
malts I had these weeks - 90+
points only - alphabetical:
28 yo 1975/2004 (57.1%,
Signatory Cask Strength Collection, cask #7221,
Infinity (55.5%, OB)
30 yo 2004 Edition (56.6%, OB)
24 yo 1979/2005 (55%, Signatory, bottled
Friday, March 4th)
34 yo 1968 (43.5%,
Ila 25 yo 1979/2004 (50%, Douglas Laing
OMC, 266 bottles)
25 yo 1979/2005 (56.4%, Duncan Taylor,
Ord 25 yo 1978/2004 (58.3%, OB)
36 yo 1968/2005 (46.3%,
Duncan Taylor, Cask #5575)
‘Quarter Cask’ (48%,
OB, double cask)
1994 ‘Highgrove Edition’ (43%,
32 yo 1971/2004 (50.1%, OB)
37 yo 1967/2004 (47.6%, Duncan Taylor,
Bourbon cask #1332)
18 yo (43%, OB)