Hi, you're in the Archives, October 2004 - Part 2
listening: better than Sheryl Crow,
McNally sings Down
& Dirty (mp3) A powerful voice,
some not-too-commercial arrangements,
some fantastic musicians... Wow! I
don't know whether one could say this
is some FM rock, but what's sure is
that it's pretty excellent - and her
voice sometimes makes me think of
Stevie Nicks (Gipsy, anyone?) Another
good tune by Shannon is I'll
always be around (mp3). Please
buy her music!
- THE NEW 'SHERRY' MACALLANS
12 yo 'sherry' (40%, OB, 2004)
A second go at this new expression.
Colour: deep gold. Nose: fresh and
yes, sherried, but the sherry seems
to be quite lighter than in the
earlier versions – the ones
from the nineties, at least. Fresh
and flowery. Caramel, pollen, plum
jam, cream. Quite nice! The fact
that it got somewhat fresher than
the old, boldly sherried 12 yo isn’t
obligatorily bad news to my ears.
Melon sherbet, apple wine, apricot
syrup. And, most interestingly,
no winey notes, no woody notes.
Ha-ha! Mouth: sweet attack, on caramel,
tannins and flower syrup. A little
weak because of the ABV, but it’s
still quite solid. Orange, oriental
pastry (orange flower water). Gets
a little sweetish and fragmented
– perhaps because of the 40%
vol again. Medium finish, on sugared
water and orange peel. Nice, but
I’d really like to taste this
one at 43 or 46%. Let’s have
just a go at an old 12 yo 43% now…
noses aren’t that different,
in fact, but the palates are so different!
The old one is much more sherried,
bolder and punchier, and to be honest,
simply better, even if perhaps a little
rougher indeed. 80 points
for the new one. (My score for that
old one – probably bottled around
1998: 84 points).
18 yo 'sherry' 1986 and earlier (43%,
Colour: amber. Nose: again, quite
fresh and lively. Not too bold, I’d
say. Creamy, nutty, fruity. Lots of
fruit jam and syrup. The sherry is
quite discrete, which makes it somewhat
classier than some earlier ‘hyper-sherried’
versions, I think. It’s also
quite flowery (mullein flowers). Some
winey notes emerge after a while,
but it remains quite pure and fresh,
not vulgar. Develops on dried orange,
but no dark chocolate this time. Mouth:
very similar to the 12 yo at first,
just a little bolder. Lots of orange,
crystallised fruits, jam, honey, caramel…
And again, very few sherried or winey
notes. It gets also a little fragmented,
and somewhat watery. Lots happening
on the palate and at the back of the
tongue, but nearly nothing on the
tip and the sides. It remains simple
after a few minutes, hence really
lacks development. The finish is rather
long, though, but sticks to dried
orange and marmalade. In short it’s
good malt, no need to say, but quite
far from the mythical single malt
the 18 yo used to be. Ah, success!
18 yo 1980/1998 (43%, OB)
Colour: full amber (on the right -
the new one's on the left. Colour
consistency?) Nose: much more sherried
than the new one, that’s for
sure. Wine, orange peel, chocolate,
wood… Somewhat more tannic (cocoa).
Extremely classic but not too complex
– less complex than most 18
yo distilled in the seventies, I’d
say. It gets quite smoky and even
sort of peaty after a moment. Hints
of hot caramel, fresh vanilla, butterscotch,
light tobacco (Virginia). Even some
incense develops after a few minutes.
Very nice, that’s for sure…
Mouth: oh! Nice! So much bolder and
richer than the new one! Creamy, on
apricot syrup, quince syrup, orange
marmalade, sweet white wine…
It’s really like a fruit jam!
I’ll try it for breakfast…
Yet, it’s perhaps not as thrilling
as some of his older brothers, but
it sure sends the new one back to
school. Hints of smoke, cake, cinnamon,
aniseed. Again and again, a classic,
lacking just a little oomph. 87
time - View
from my window, this morning, 9:30am.
- TWO MORTLACHS
1990/2004 (43%, The Spirit Safe,
Another one from Jean Donnay’s.
Colour: white wine. Nose: fresh,
spirity and rather grassy at first.
Flowery (violets, lavender). Hints
of liquorice. Develops on pear and
apple juice. A good, young and fresh
malt, but nothing too special yet.
Mouth: sweet and slightly bitter.
Caramel, overcooked coffee, herbal
tea. Mirabelle jam, sweets. Medium
finish, on cooked raspberry. 80
11 yo 1992/2004 (46%, DL McGibbons
Colour: white wine. Nose: very spirity
and grassy. Milk, green cereals, fern.
Hints of dust, nutmeg, fresh sawdust.
Apple juice. Some floral notes too.
Again, not too spectacular. Mouth:
punchy and spirity. The aromas are
rather similar to the ‘Spirit
Safe’. Cooked apple, gooseberry,
oak, apple skin… not much else.
Rather long finish, on apple skin.
- Well, some will
perhaps need a little sense of self-derision
to 'swallow' this funny song by Joel
Midwestern (mp3). 'Social Commentary'
was this song's category at the IAP
Awards. Funny, I told you. Please
buy Joel's CDs if you like his music
- and his sense of humour.
- FIVE HIGHLAND PARKS
Park 12 yo (40%, OB, 2004)
Here’s this all-time winner’s
latest batch! Colour: gold. Nose:
fresh and fragrant. Lots of flowers
from the fields (dandelion, buttercup),
heather. Very honeyed (light honey),
and creamy. Seems somewhat lighter
and sweeter than some earlier versions.
Hints of tangerine, orange juice.
A perfect balance, even if not a
monster of complexity. Mouth: mm…
not that big! Starts a little sweetish
and even watery. Slightly bitter
and woody. Orange skin, burnt breadcrumb,
over infused tea. Too bad…
Is it I? I remember the earlier
expressions I had were creamier,
smoother, and certainly quite bold
and satisfying. Medium finish, getting
peppery and slightly dusty. My score:
83 points still,
for the nice nose.
Park 18 yo (43%, OB, 2004)
Colour: vibrant gold (?) Nose: wow!
Again lots of flowers and honey, but
with lots of added fruits like banana,
pineapple, melon… Superb. Smells
like a fruit salad with honey. Hints
of wood and caramel, Really fantastic.
What freshness! It smells almost like
a great Sauternes. Mouth: oh yes,
Highland Park is more like this. Creamy,
nutty, fruity (mirabelle, quince jelly).
Lots of light toffee, cappuccino,
Bailey’s (or rather like an
Alexander). Lots of strong honey (chestnut,
fir). Keeps developing on lavender
creme, crystallised oranges, dates…
Superb, even if very smooth. Long
finish, on candy sugar. Always a winner.
Park 25 yo (50.7%, OB, 2004)
Colour: plain, deep gold. Nose: double
wow! This time it’s a little
less fresh and clean, but much, much
more complex. Flowers and fruits,
for sure (see above) but also sea
air, mocha, peppermint. Hints of eucalyptus
and turpentine, freshly crushed hazelnuts,
subtle sherry… The developments
are simply endless. I’d better
stop here or I’ll need bytes
and bytes. Mouth: bold attack, even
if much more austere than expected.
Smoke, burnt cake, black toffee, coffee
liqueur. The alcohol gets even a little
burning. Very creamy, though. It really
coats your mouth. Lots of crystallised
orange, chestnut honey, lemon marmalade.
Understatedly fruity (melon, ripe
apricot). Hints of camphor. In short,
this one is extremely nice, and far
less ‘commercial’ than
expected. The finish is very long,
on orange syrup and honey. It comes
in a nice black ‘pencil box’
but beware, don’t pass it to
little children, as the brass shutter
can pinch you quite severely. Well,
that’s what happened to me,
at least… 90 points.
Park 18 yo 1985/2003 (53.9%, Signatory
for La Maison du Whisky, cask #2915)
Colour: light gold. Nose: nice! Not
as stunning as the official 25 yo
but as nice as the 18yo’s, with
more punch and more sherry, more smoke,
and more coastal notes. Hints of turpentine,
fir honey, I like it a lot! A great
Highland Park – perhaps slightly
rougher than the OBs, but it’s
also got more oomph. Yes, it’s
a boy! Huge development on vanilla
fudge and milk caramel. Great.
oh yes! Stunning! Who would have expected
this one would hold a candle to the
official 25yo? It does! Punchy but
not too much, with lots of smoke,
heather honey, cake, dried fruits,
carrot cake, pumpkin soup. Wow! Extremely
satisfying, it goes on with some nice
liquorice and even aniseed, Chinese
anise, herbs liqueur (Chartreuse).
Absolutely great, I’m stunned.
The finish is long, very long, on
liquorice and salt… Yes, lots
of salt left on the tongue…
Salt in whisky? Hmm, yeah, perhaps,
and I feel 'NaCl'
(mp3 - a beautiful song by Michael
Cooney) sort of says it all.
Funny, isn't it? (via Jim's Chemistry
105). Anyway, 92 points
for this absolute winner by Signatory
and La Maison du Whisky. Respect.
Park 1996/2003 (60%, Signatory ‘Cask
Sample’ series, #140)
Colour: plain white with a green hue.
Nose: plain spirit. It’s not
that it’s bad, it’s just
some fully immature whisky. Pear eau
de vie, pineapple juice, sour milk…
A few flowery notes… Not much
else, I’m afraid. Mouth: ah,
it’s more interesting this time.
Some of Highland Park’s markers
are well here, especially honey and
heather. Frankly, it’s always
a thrill to taste some newmake or
some very young malt when visiting
a distillery, but we’re not
really expecting the industry to sell
some as ‘regular’ single
malt whisky. Somebody said whisky
need maturation, and except a few
fantastic very young whiskies (peated
Jura, Bunnahabhain Moine, some very
young casks sold by the SMWS), I’d
say such tries rarely succeed. But
don’t get me wrong; this one
is immature malt, but good immature
malt! 69 points.
- New bottling by
Douglas Laing: a 22 yo 1982/2004
(58,5%, Old Malt Cask, Sherry Cask)
Tasting notes by Bernd - translation
Thomas: Nose: unmistakably Sherry.
Palate: the Sherry turns the Brora
into a completely different drink.
Very creamy, like a Vanilla-Cola-Float.
Acacia syrup. Overwhelming coconut.
Hint of smoke. Finish: extremely long,
sweet-sour finish that finally lets
coastal notes come through after all.
Thanks to the German
- The Whisky that Cannot be Named
50 yo 1953/2003 (54.3%, Adelphi,
Owner Jaimie Walker wrote that the
purpose of this bottling was: 'celebrating
a decade of decadence from Adelphi'
and fellow Malt Maniac Charlie MacLean
added it was 'a superb example
of how the very best of Speysides
tasted in days gone by'. Ha-ha!
No wonder I'm eager to try it now...
Moreover, they sell it for £500,
mind you! Colour: deep amber. Nose:
wow! An extraordinary maelstrom
of beeswax, shoe polish, turpentine,
varnish, fir honey, Sauternes wine
(Raymond Lafon, Yquem), Olivier’s
Rangen de Thann (especially the
gewurztraminer VT 1998), apricot
jam, quince jelly, mirabelle eau
de vie, milk caramel, hot butter,
vanilla fudge… It’s
endless. What’s crazy is that
at 50yo, it’s still extremely
fresh, and that some light floral
notes like dandelion or buttercup
make it extremely balanced. A piece
of art, one of the most extraordinary
un-peated noses I’ve ever
had. Really a nectar...
oh, what a punch for such an old whisky!
It starts on herbal tea (cold camomile)
then jumps to tropical fruits (guava,
pineapple, sultanas), and then gets
very spicy (oak, nutmeg, cinnamon).
Is it over? Oh no! The yellow fruits
do arrive now: cooked peach, apricot,
pear. Some turpentine, eucalyptus,
camphor. Sure it gets a little bitter
(50 years in some oak) but not too
much, which is quite incredible. The
cask must have been quite neutral
right from the start. I know I should
add a few drops of water and check
what happens, but I just don’t
have the guts to do it – and
I love this ‘boldness’
and relative compactness.
finish is long of course, on turpentine,
fir liquor and spices (pepper, clove)
from the wood. Wow, wow, wow! Ah yes,
a rating… I guess 94
points will do. Some added
smoky or meaty notes would have propelled
it to over 95 points. Now, as for
which distillery this baby should
have come from, my bet would be Macallan…
Hey, just a bet, I could be completely
wrong! 18:58 - I've just
learnt it might as well be Glenfarclas.
- Oldies but Goldies:
cult and rather unusual English progressive
rock band Renaissance
are Burning (mp3 from Ashes are
Burning, 1973). As AMG writes, it's
'one of the few lengthy progressive-rock
pieces of the era that holds up'.
Sure, it doesn't 'groove' - at all
- and there isn't any single blue
note in there, but Annie
Haslam, what a voice! Memories...
gift: a silver whisky tumbler.
asks for £385 each... VAT included
(what a relief!) 'It demands to
be held', they say. Well, at
that price, that's for sure. Beautiful
yet not very 'tasteful', if you ask
REVIEW: THE WATERBOYS
Cabot Hall, Canary Wharf, London
by super-deluxe guest writer Nick
One of the reasons for Mike Scott's
continued longevity in the music
game is his refusal to be put into
a box. Always changing, never getting
tired. But on Friday night in the
middle of London's monument to mendacity
he was walled in (with an audience
of wedding-reception chaired admirers)
by the Temple of Avarice. His response
was to open his two-hour set with
Universal Hall (from the quite brilliant
eponymous album) - a song forged
at the Altar of Love. And the effect
was magnetic - Scott, pianist Richard
Naiff and fiddler Steve Wickham
delivering an evening of such intimacy
(at one point Scott took time out
to poll his audience on a new song)
that Mammon was put firmly back
into his own box.
Scott confined to acoustic guitars
(rock-star posing notwithstanding),
Naiff on electric piano and Hammond
organ, and Wickham excelling on violin
and electric fuzz-fiddle (hang-on,
call in the Definitions Committee,
I thought this was an acoustic gig!)
the evening swooped and soared through
back catalogue and previewed some
fine new material. 'Dunderheid', the
audience agreed, not being the best,
but 'Strange Arrangement' and the
ballad 'Live with me' (a brave choice
for a final encore) certainly hit
'The return of Jimi Hendrix', 'Crown'
(from the underrated Rock in a Weary
Land), 'The Pan Within', and 'Peace
of Iona' were just some of the highlights
as crescendo followed crescendo (there
were in truth probably a few too many
crescendos) 'till we were eventually
ejected onto the streets, a strange
crew finding our way home through
the drink-fuelled bankers of what
was for them just another Friday night
in Canary Wharf. But we'd been somewhere
else. Memorable! - Nick Morgan
you Nick. After 'Peace
of Iona' that I already recommended
on October 21., here's another excellent
song by The Waterboys: The
Return of Pan (mp3)
- THREE IMPERIALS
1991/2001 Port Wood Finish (40%,
G&M Private Collection, cask
#99/48 1.2, 2600 bottles)
Finished in a Port cask for two
years. Colour: light amber. Nose:
fresh and quite fragrant. Very flowery:
lilac, old rose. Lots of fresh fruits
like strawberries, clementines,
pineapple. Hints of vanilla crème.
Not too winey at all. Not a bold
nose, but it’s quite elegant
and nicely balanced. Pleasurable.
Mouth: nice attack, not as weak
as the ABV would suggest. Sweet
and quite rounded. Apple pie, milk
caramel, vanilla. Quite honeyed.
Fruitcake. Gets slightly woody and
peppery after a few minutes. Nice,
medium finish on milk chocolate
and ripe orange. A nice, enjoyable
malt, for any occasion. 82
16 yo (43%, Scottish Wildlife, bottled
Bottled by Signatory Vintage for the
Scottish Wildlife Trust. Colour: white
wine. Nose: very fresh and perfumy
– like some eau de Cologne.
Orange skin, lily from the valley.
Flowers like buttercup, daisy, dandelion.
Develops on ashes, stone, matchstick.
Gets quite lactic and grassy after
a while. Freshly mown lawn. Extremely
clean, with no wood influence that
I can smell. Seems to be much younger
than 16yo. Mouth: a little weird.
Sawdust, cold herbal tea, nettle soup.
Gets really grassy and sugary. Develops
on broiled cereals, mashed potatoes.
Rather long finish, on tannins and
sugar, with kind of a metallic aftertaste,
and finally hints of passion fruit
Well, this one’s really special,
if not highly enjoyable. Worth trying.
1993/2004 (45%, G&M for LMW, single
already had this one at WhiskyLive
Paris, and it scored 85 points. Let’s
taste it again, in a quieter environment.
Colour: deep amber. Nose: fresh and
again, quite fragrant. Quite a lot
of oomph. Ginger ale, tobacco, fir
honey, sandal wood. Hints of eucalyptus
and turpentine. Some smoke too. Develops
on spices like nutmeg and cinnamon.
Very, very nice. Mouth: creamy and
nutty. Roasted peanuts, malt, caramel.
Quite a lot of crystallised orange,
hints of fir honey, eucalyptus, peppermint.
Gets quite peppery, with lots of vanilla.
Rather long finish, on pepper and
cooked fruits (apple, apricot). Very
nice balance, highly enjoyable. And
yes, this is still the best Imperial
I ever had. Let’s give it one
more point: 86 points.
11 yo 1984/1996 (43%, Signatory, butt
Colour: straw. Nose: rich and nutty,
with some discrete, but nice sherry.
Caramel, creme brûlée,
burnt cake. Lots of cooked fruits,
apple, apricot, mirabelle, quince.
This nose gets nicer and nicer. Nice
hints of spices, aniseed, Chinese
anise. Great balance and elegance.
Some peppermint. Mouth: nice attack,
quite sherried, but much less impressive
than the nose. Funny notes of herbs
from Provence (thyme, rosemary). Fresh
mint. Caramel, dried fruits, breadcrumb.
It’s good, for sure! Medium
finish, just a little offbeat. 84
- Recommended listening:
The Buffalo does The
Ones You Love (mp3). Somewhat
like a more modern America or CSNY...
Very nice! Please buy their CDs if
you like their music. (photo JC Juanis)
- Maybe this is an
anorak matter ;-), but somebody I
know took this picture at a cooper's
in Scotland not so long ago. I really
wonder what it is and what it means.
Maybe some Macallan malt is been shipped
to Glendronach in tankers and 'casked'
there? This cask was empty, obviously,
which might mean the 5 or 6 yo malt
has already been used for blending.
Please drop me an e-mail
if you have a clue, thanks!
ADS- It's been a long
time since I posted the latest crazy
whisky ads, so here are two new ones.
Left: White Horse 1972
- aren't we wondering when the damn
horse is going to jump into the bath?
(thanks Marco) Right: Canadian
Club 1969. We're all wondering
which is this easier way she's thinking
about, aren't we?
– TWO 21 yo AUCHENTOSHANS
1983/2004 (46%, Berry Bros &
Rudd, cask #513)
- picture, right - Colour: white
wine. Nose: very fragrant, and extremely
citrusy. Is this riesling? Dry chenin?
Sauvignon? Very heavy grapefruit
and lemon that really overwhelm
the malt. Italian lemon liquor,
lemon cake, citronella… Well,
lemon + lemon = 2 x lemon. What’s
interesting is that it’s till
very enjoyable, and this ‘mono-dimensionality’
(hey?) does make it simple. It’s
great! Some great floral notes develop
after a while, like lime-tree (!)
or lilac. A great, great nose. Mouth:
what would you think? Yes, lemon
juice! Incredible! Some tangerine
and grapefruit too.
It’s sharp, clean and very pure,
and I guess all that must come from
the triple distillation and from a
very neutral cask, because nobody
would have said it’s a 21 yo
malt. I never had such a citrusy malt
– even from Bladnoch or Rosebank.
Its finish is rather long, on…
Well, yes, you got it. Perhaps it
doesn’t deserve such a high
rating, but I’d still go for
90 points, just because
of the fact that it’s so extreme.
21 yo 1970 (43%, OB, 1991)
- picture above, left - Colour: cigar/amber.
Nose: great sherry, very subtle and
elegant. Tons of chocolate, toffee,
coffee and orange liquor (Grand Marnier).
Really superb, with not an ounce of
vulgarity. Smells more and more like
a great cognac – and what a
fantastic freshness! I really love
it, with it’s more than perfect
balance and huge complexity. Yes,
one of the best heavily sherried malts
I had this year. Mouth: oh! Bold and
creamy, with lots of sherry (rather
in the fino style), orange marmalade,
liquid caramel, quince jam, roasted
peanuts, sweet white wine (old sauternes).
Really brilliant, with just a little
lack of power. I’ll try to taste
this one ‘against’ an
old Glen Garioch 21 yo in the future,
should be interesting. Nice, medium
finish, on caramel, orange and some
hints of burnt cake. 92 points
(and perhaps an interesting ‘old
bottle effect’ starting to show
- Recommended listening:
French singer Guesch
Patti sings Dans
tes Yeux (In you Eyes - mp3) with
Canadian born electronica wizzard
and 'international musical prankster'
- TWO SCAPAS
23 yo 1979/2003 (55.6%, Chieftain's,
sherry butt #663, 564 bottles)
Colour: amber. Nose: a mixture of
fresh grassiness and sherry. Freshly
mown lawn, apple juice, raisins,
caramel, cold coffee. Gets a little
woody and dusty. Vanilla. Not too
expressive either. Mouth: quite
bold. Sherry and honey, mixed with
banana flambee. Develop on fruit
liquors (parfait amour, amaretto,
maraschino). Hints of pepper and
nutmeg. Goes on with coffee and
toffee… Gets better and better.
Dried kumquats. Hints of smoke.
Quite nice! Long finish, on dried
fruits and Grand Marnier. I think
it’s no malt to make a fuss
about, but it’s quite enjoyable,
still. 80 points
9 yo 1988/1997 (43%, Signatory, dist.
Colour: white wine. Nose: not too
expressive. Grainy and grassy, hints
of muesli, broiled cereals, mashed
potatoes. Whiffs of lavender, not
much else. Somewhat like neutral alcohol.
Mouth: bitter and grassy, hints of
dried fruits (crystallized orange
zest). Some sweetish notes. Medium
finish, on sugar and alcohol. Well…
- Hmm, trying to find
something exotic for this automnal
Sunday... Oh yes, why not have a listen
to Tamil young singer Harini's
It sure has a 'Bollywoodian' feeling
to us westerners... Maybe a little
'overproduced'? Perfect for a dram
of McDowell, in any case...
REVIEW: BLUES EXPLOSION - Shepherds
Bush Empire London - 10/20/04
by guest writer Nick Morgan
The first time I saw them it took
almost a week to recover. So I should
have known that four days sailing
(as it turned out we were on a spaceship,
not a yacht) and three nights sleep
deprivation in the company of a
well known Malt Maniac, followed
by a few days in the Fun Factory,
was hardly the right preparation
for a full frontal assault. Now,
aficionados may note that the JSBX
have been rebranded by those pesky
marketeers to the purer Blues
Explosion – but
believe me – the product is
with ‘She said’ from 2002’s
Plastic Fang, to an astonishing ‘Down
in the Beast’ at the end of
the main set, Spencer’s tightly
knit three piece beat an audience
of mixed-aged admirers into a pulp
of holy submission with twelve bar
blues infused with a manic effects-pedal
driven complexity – a brilliantly
engineered layer-cake of sound and
rhythm. Six songs into the encore
he was pulled off by the stage management
(I recall seeing this happen to the
Climax Blues Band in 1973 –
when their power was switched off
by the caretaker!). Spencer sang,
shouted, growled, howled and hunted
his audience, like an old time Mississippi
preacher. I wouldn’t be surprised
if he had LOVE and HATE tattooed across
his knuckles. And with him the razor
sharp Telecaster of Judah Bauer; and
at the heart of the band Russell Simins’
sensationally visceral drumming. Buy
the CDs, watch the video – but
to touch and feel the Blues Explosion
you really have to be there.-
- TWO 1993 GLENLOSSIES
1993/2003 (43%, The Spirit Safe
and Cask, 374 bottles)
I already tasted this one at owner
Jean Donnay’s place, in Brittany.
I did like it a lot! Let’s
have another, more serious go at
it. Colour : white wine. Nose: very
fresh, clean and flowery, young
and playful. Some milk, fresh crème,
broiled cereals. Hints of citrus.
Nice! Mouth: wow, very perfumy,
in a nice way. Cold tea, fructose,
apple (golden delicious), lavender
ice cream. A dash of pepper and
vanilla from the wood. Rather long
and fresh finish. I like it! Let’s
raise the rating to 86 points
(instead of 85).
1993/2004 (46%, Murray McDavid,
MM 0413, bourbon)
Colour : white wine. Nose: quite
similar to the Spirit Safe version,
perhaps a little more spirity, and
less fragrant. Grainier, and more
citrusy (lemon). Grapefruit juice.
Hints of fresh mint. A little restrained.
Mouth, very, very close to the Spirit
Safe version, just a little bolder,
and perhaps somewhat less fresh
and clean. Lots of cold tea, camomile.
Again a long finish, perhaps slightly
fruitier. But these two malts are
really similar. 85 points.
- My friend Paul almost
had to twist my arm to make me listen
to some Aerosmith,
by telling me it's great to wake up
while being full of energy. Don't
tell my mother but I sort of liked
it. I mean, not exactly liked,
but I must say the 30 first seconds
(mp3) were quite enjoyable to my ears.
Because yes, I do like harmonica...
- THREE INDIE CLYNELISHES
20 yo 1983/2004 (46%, Murray McDavid
Mission III, 498 bottles)
Colour: straw. Nose: extremely fresh
and fragrant. Strawberry pie with
vanilla crème, apricot, buttercup,
lilac. Most enjoyable! Develops
on some very refined coastal notes,
with whiffs of peat and pepper.
Not the most complex ever, but its
freshness is great. Mouth: perfectly
balanced. Sweet, fruity and slightly
peppery. Peppered strawberries,
peach jam. Gets a little dry and
woody after a moment (cocoa powder).
Medium long finish, a little woody,
with hints of cooked coffee. 85
14 yo 1989/2003 (50%, DL OMC, cask
#3850, 312 bottles, 6 month rum finish)
Colour: light straw. Nose: opens up
on coffee and burnt cake. Something
completely different! Toffee, raisins,
and yes, some rum. Goes on with some
peaty notes, mixed with hints of apple
skin and wood. Some grassy notes as
well: hay, fern… Mouth: bold
and powerful, not too different from
the Murmac. Rum, apple skin, ripe
banana, smoke. Gets quite woody and
drying after a while. Candy sugar,
caramelised carrots. Long and bold
finish, on caramel, rum and herbal
tea (camomile). Nice! 83 points.
13 yo 1989/2002 (56.7%, Adelphi, cask
Colour: straw. Nose, very interesting,
like if somebody had mixed the two
first ones. Lots of sour wood, toffee,
cooked fruits (apricot pie). Smells
like a working stillhouse. Seaweed,
peat smoke… Very nice again.
Gets quite animal after a while: horse
sweat, stable. Hints of caramel, cooked
soy sauce. This one’s the most
complex! Mouth: sweet, even sugary.
Candy sugar, caramel, vanilla crème.
Coffee drops, Bailey’s, Tia
Maria. Gets quite grassy (soy beans).
Roasted meat (Beijin duck), Long finish,
on caramelised vegetables (Cantonese
cooking) and marc de Bourgogne. How
nice! A superb and very special Clynelish,
that doesn’t play it ‘coastal’
this time. 88 points.
is an old Scotch Whiskey (?) flavoured
toothpaste seen on a collector's website.
Too bad, that site is down by now...
Not sure it was ideal when you had
a jungle mouth...
- TWO ROSEBANKS
13 yo 1990/2004 (46%, Whisky Galore)
Colour: straw. Nose: fresh and fruity,
not overly expressive. Cider, tangerine,
greengage. Gets quite flowery after
a while: buttercup, dandelion, violets.
Hints of light honey (breakfast
honey) and sawdust. Turns slightly
sour (wood) and milky (yogurt).
The violets aromas make an interesting
come back, though. Mouth: powerful,
quite perfumy, with lots of bubblegum.
Goes on with pear spirit and vodka,
then some hints of cider and ginger.
Long finish, getting a little bitter.
A good, solid Rosebank, somewhat
different from the usual citrusy
ones, even if some notes of crystallised
citron do appear after a while.
Not and absolute winner, though.
12 yo 1991/2003 (60%, Signatory
‘Cask Sample’ series,
white wine. Nose: quite powerful.
Lots of vanilla crème at
first, getting grassy. Then the
fruits emerge, with lots of pear
and ripe gooseberry. Gets slightly
woody and spirity. In short, not
too complex but enjoyable. Mouth:
very powerful, on lemon, grapefruit,
cider apples. Quite bitter but in
a rather nice way. Grape seeds,
cold over-infused tea, walnut skins,
green apple, grass. Well, you get
the picture, I guess. Long, bitter
and sharp finish, almost prickling,
on lemon peel. A malt that makes
you able to count your vertebras
when you swallow it – can
be useful! 77 points.
the way, have you heard the news?
Champagne and Cognac company Moët-Hennessy
just bought Glenmorangie
plc for £300m.
- Recommended - or
should I say obligatory - listening:
Mike Scott and The
Waterboys singing Peace
of Iona (mp3, 64kbps), a fantabulous
song that comes from their excellent
latest record 'Universal Hall'. 'Peace
of the glancing, dancing waves...
Peace of the white sands... Peace
of Iona... Peace of the singing wind...
Peace of the stones... Peace of Iona...'
To enjoy with a wild dram from the
Islands, obviously... (thanks Nick).
- Again a young singer
I didn't know yet: Rachael
Sage. Have a listen to
Song (mp3) and judge by yourself.
And oh, again, please buy the artists'
CDs or purchase their downloadable
music if you like their works!
- THREE BOWMORES
10 yo (50%, OB, 1990’s)
An old bottling from around 1993.
Colour: gold. Nose: very special.
smoke, paraffin, smoked ham, turpentine,
wet dog. Rather weird. Lots of soapy
notes, lavender perfume, burning
fir-wood. Keeps developing on some
strange ‘chemical’ aromas,
even after ten minutes. Mouth: very
peaty, very smoky. Burnt cardboard,
pine-needle, old paper. Gets weirder
and weirder. Perfume, diesel oil,
burnt plastics. Almost undrinkable,
I’d say. No wonder this one
never was such a heavy seller, and
no wonder they did withdraw it.
1993/2004 Extra Strength (50%, Wilson
Colour: light straw. Nose: quite
bold and powerful, very smoky. Lots
of peat. Goes on with some nice
notes of orange juice, tangerine.
Quite clean and straightforward.
Develops on seaweed, iodine. Hints
of cooked banana. Wow, lots of tropical
fruits emerge after a few minutes,
mostly passion fruit and guava.
Mouth: bold, rich and powerful –
what a nice attack, on a perfect
mix of peat/smoke and fruits. Fruit
salad, pear syrup, ripe kiwi, peach
syrup. Gets quite peppery after
a while… The fruits strike
back, the peat responds, and so
on. It’s endless and beautiful,
just like the Duetto 'Sul
Aria' from Le Nozze di Figaro
(mp3 - Deutsche Opera Berlin). 90
points for this Bowmore.
1989/2004 (53.2%, Berry Bros, casks
Colour: light straw. Nose: less spectacular
than the W&M. A little closed
– needs a little water. Then
lots of fruity notes emerge, like
strawberry, both fresh and cooked,
apple, pineapple. Develops on some
nice and quite discrete smoke and
peat. Hints of burnt cake, breadcrumb.
Really nice. Some white rum. Mouth:
starts on lavender, thyme, pine tree
resin, strawberry jam, orange marmalade.
Rather perfumy, not unlike some OBs.
Develops on dried orange, milk chocolate,
dried figs. It keeps improving, with
more and more dried fruits, and always
some nice smoke and pepper. Its finish
is extremely long, on Christmas cake.
A good, solid overproof Bowmore. 86
NEWS: Okay, I was
a little too quick when I spoke
of a new Duncan Taylor Brora to
be bottled this week. I've just
learnt the operations will be slightly
delayed, but Malt Maniac's Luc
Timmermans just brought this
picture back from Scotland. Yes,
it's a picture of the cask #1426,
precisely that one. Not bottled
yet, indeed. Thanks Luc!
#11 is now on-line. Plenty of
- New feature: I just
added some stars to each malt I tasted,
for quicker and better reading..
means less than 70 points,
between 70 and 79,
between 80 and 84,
between 85 and 89,
90 points or more.
- TWO LOCHSIDES
1991/2004 (46%, G&M for LMW,
I think 1991 was Lochside’s
last year of distilling. Colour:
white wine. Nose: very fresh. Sea
water, ashes, matchstick, grass.
Notes of grapefruit, green lemon.
A little restrained but very clean.
Mouth: lots of fresh white fruits,
apple, pear. Gets quite grassy and
woody (dust). Develops on orange
peel, ginger tonic. Some vanilla.
Medium but nice finish, on grassy
notes and apple compote. A good
malt. 80 points.
1981/2004 (46%, Berry Bros &
Rudd, casks #610/613)
Colour: straw. Nose: wow, quite
punchy! Extremely fragrant. Lots
of tropical fruits, litchi, passion
fruit, pineapple. Superb! Whiffs
of Chanel n°5. Some very nice
coastal notes. Develops on spices
(cardamom). Really beautiful. Mouth:
again, just beautiful. Bold and
superbly balanced. Lots of tropical
fruits, apricot jam, white pepper.
Some smoke and some salt on the
tongue. Tea (oolong), tobacco. What
a great Lochside (like many 1981’s).
Funny hints of soy sauce. I really
like it! Long finish. 90
- I like English countertenor
Bowman since I listened
to him the first time in a little
Parisian church, more than fifteen
years ago. Great, aerial voice, always
thrilling when he sings Monteverdi,
Purcell or Pergolesi. Have a listen
to Bowman singing Sleep
(mp3) a quite modern piece by 20th
Century British composer Peter Warlock
(picture). Really beautiful.
- Benromach 'Traditional' (40%,
This is the first bottling of the
'new' Benromach, distilled since
Gordon and MacPhail took control
of this small East of Inverness
distillery. Colour: white wine.
Nose: youthful, very grainy and
grassy. Hay, lemon peel. herbal
tea, citronella. Interesting whiffs
of peat (G&M now uses some malt
peated at 8ppm at Benromach). Hints
of fresh butter. Nice and fresh!
Mouth: sweet and balanced, yet just
a little watery. Grainy, caramel
and vanilla. Again quite fresh.
Notes of violet sweets, butter caramel,
Japanese green tea. Medium finish,
with quite some smoke and some apple
skin. A good and clean malt, even
if a little too much on the light
side. 81 points.
- Perfect for a rainy Sunday: John
Lennon and the Beatles
King (mp3). Aaaah...
– OLD AND NEW GLENKINCHIES
Glenkinchie 17 yo (46%,
Cadenhead, old dumpy)
I think this one has been bottled
in the 80’s but I’m
not sure. I only have a miniature
(picture left). Please drop me an
e-mail if you know its distilling
or bottling year, thanks! Colour:
white wine. Nose: fresh, grainy
and spirity. Lots of paraffin oil,
copper cleaner. Hints of flowers
(lavender, violet) that are soon
to be replaced with hot milk and
broiled cereals. Develops on fruity
notes: freshly cut apple, pear,
gooseberry, kiwi. Whiffs of sawdust,
wet liquorice stick. Much nicer
than expected! Mouth: much simpler
than the nose would suggest. A mix
of white fruits (apple, peach) and
wood. Gets quite tannic and drying,
with quite some white pepper. Medium
long, dusty, bitter finish. In short,
a fantastic nose but a slightly
deceptive palate. 83 points.
12 yo (58.7%, OB, Limited Edition,
already had this one at WhiskyLive
Paris but now it’s time to have
another, slower and quieter go at
it. Colour: straw. Nose: bold, malty
and spirity. Notes of white rum, tequila.
Gets quite grassy – lots of
parsley (funny!) Some flowery notes,
but quite discrete. Develops on some
sour woody notes, mashed potatoes.
Quite austere, not too sexy, I’d
say. And quite simpler than the old
Cadenhead’s. Mouth: wow, very
powerful. Quite sweet, developing
on malty notes. Lots of fruits: pear,
quince, ripe melon. The alcohol is
soon to take control again, though.
Gets very grassy after a few minutes.
Quite some wood too… The finish
is long and powerful, getting slightly
bitter. This time I think the mouth
is nicer than the nose. I’ll
rise my earlier rating from 81 to
82 points. Almost
the index of all entries:
malts I had these weeks - 90+
points only - alphabetical:
Berry Bros & Rudd, cask #513)
21 yo 1970 (43%, OB, 1991)
1993/2004 Extra Strength (50%, Wilson
Park 18 yo 1985/2003 (53.9%, Signatory
for La Maison du Whisky, cask #2915)
Park 25 yo (50.7%, OB, 2004)
Whisky that Cannot be Named 50 yo 1953/2003
(54.3%, Adelphi, cask #1668)