Hi, you're in the Archives, April 2008 - Part 1
18 yo (43%, OB, dumpy, 2008)
Colour: pale amber. Nose: starts
boldly, right on tobacco, honey
and orange cake. Adorable profile,
really. Not powerful but assertive,
even at 43%. Gets then a little
maltier, smokier (pine wood smoke),
even sort of leathery, getting rather
‘tertiary’. Green tea,
apple peel, hints of diesel oil...
Like if someone had teaspooned this
using an Islayer from the south
interesting and really complex. We’re
used to see Aberlour in every supermarket
here in France but this is certainly
not supermarket fodder. Mouth: maybe
a tad weaker at this point but it’s
soon to get more expressive, unexpectedly
and nicely dry, much maltier than
on the nose. Also apricot pie, toffee,
liquorice, mastic, something that
reminds me of Bailey’s (sorry)...
Even something slightly resinous and
minty. Gets bolder and rounder after
that, mostly on honey and apricot
jam. Maybe quinces. Finish: rather
long, toffeeish and honeyed, with
notes of candy sugar and just a slight
oakiness. Comments: I wouldn’t
call this a surprise but what’s
sure is that it’s a most engaging
dram in its own style. Interesting
way of getting bigger and bigger on
the palate. SGP:531 –
8 yo (50%, OB, black plastic screwcap,
I thought it would be a good idea
to try the new 18 head to head ‘against’
one of these old ‘cube bottles’...
Colour: gold. Nose: extreme honey,
honey and... toffee at first sniffing,
extremely spectacular in that sense.
My dear father is a part-time beekeeper
and believe me, this smells exactly
like when you open a honey-loaded
beehive in the middle of summer –
minus the stings, that is. Gets then
a little more ‘antique’,
with notes of newly polished leather,
old furniture, linseed oils, even
a little turpentine... Now, it’s
not overly complex whisky, and we’ve
had several old 8yo ‘cubes’
that were more exciting. But what
a, err, honeyed malt! Mouth: curiously
rougher and wilder at the attack,
not too complex and much less honeyed.
More on cherry spirit actually, mirabelle
spirit, orange marmalade and dried
ginger. Finish: long, still a bit
harsh and lacking the ‘unctuousness’
that’s usually associated with
this distillery. Comments: a very
good dram, still, but the new 18 is
much better I think. SGP:451
- 82 points.
McPEAT AND JACK WASHBACK
free advertisement is meant to be
a compensation for all the rude things
we've recently written or said about
the Scotch Whisky Association ;-).
(and thanks for your help, Davin)
– Recommended listening.
French rap artiste: MC
Solaar does Jardin
d’Eden.mp3 from his album
'Mach 6'. Far from the ghetto...
Please buy MC Solaar's music!
– SIX HIGHLAND PARKS from the
Park 16 yo 1987/2003 (50%, Douglas
Laing OMC, USA, ref 1640, 306 bottles)
Colour: straw. Nose: not too expressive
at first nosing. A little spirity
and a little grainy/mashy. Mashed
potatoes, flints, soot... Develops
more on ginger, camphor and eucalyptus
but never gets really complex. Hints
chicken curry. Mouth: very sweet,
almost sugary at the attack, getting
then a little bitter and spirity again.
Fruit spirit, brown ale, paraffin
and pepper. Finish: long but a bit
indefinite (spirity). A little salt.
Comments: not bad at all but lacks
sexiness. SGP:432 –
Park 1984/2008 (50.9%, Duncan Taylor
Colour: straw. Nose: starts a little
like the 1987 but with more oak influence.
Vanilla and toasted bread plus grated
coconut. Gets then very heathery,
which is what’s expected with
Highland Park, isn’t it? Mouth:
very, very similar to the 1987 at
the attack but once again, the development
is nicer. Ginger, mint, white pepper,
various honeys. A tad resinous. Finish:
long, clean, resinous and peppery.
Comment: a good HP, not exceptional
but the resinous notes are entertaining.
Good oakiness. SGP:452 –
Park 19 yo 1986/2005 (53.8%, OB, Beltramo's
California, cask #2498)
Colour: amber. Nose:
sherry galore! Extremely winey but
in a nice way. Dried mushrooms, soy
sauce, game, ‘hare belly’
(not Halle Berry, eh!) roasted pecans
and geraniums (no heady geranium notes
that is.) Old pu-erh tea, cigar box,
patchouli. Very ‘tertiary’!
Mouth: superb sherry, all in the same
vein as on the nose. Caramelized beef,
liquorice, tar, prunes, mint, cream
sherry, chewing tobacco (yeuukk –
but it’s great here), kumquats
and maple syrup. Finish: long and
all in the same vein, with a mushroomy
aftertaste (no flaw at all in this
case). Comment: excellent oomphy sherried
Highland Park, lots happening. Does
not need water – even if I’m
sure water would make it even more
complex. SGP:553 – 90
points (and thank you,
Park 20 yo 1985/2006 (58.3%, Blackadder,
cask #1425, 312 bottles)
This one from a hogshead. Colour:
pale gold. Nose: we’re back
to more austerity here. Wet limestone,
paraffin, soot, mashed potatoes, grass...
Gets even waxier over time. With water:
ah yes, that works. Our beloved wet
dogs are back (even after quite some
minutes), green tea, lemon honey,
hops, ‘good’ porridge
and the very big notes of thyme. Very
interesting! Mouth (neat): very good
attack on lemon, oak and vanilla.
Lemon balm, kiwis, good white rum,
lemon honey. Very clean spirit. With
water: it got more candied and more
honeyed. Kumquats, vanilla and white
pepper. Finish: rather long, a little
grassier now. Comments: an excellent
‘natural’ HP. SGP:453
– 87 points.
Park 9yo 1988/1998 (59.5%, Scotch
Malt Whisky Society, 4.57)
Colour: white wine. Nose: very hot,
rough, spirity, immature. Cologne.
Raw alcohol, let’s see if water
will help. With water: got worse.
Chemicals, plastic, scouring powder.
Mouth (neat): sugary young spirit
plus something unpleasantly meaty
(industrial ham – whiffs of
plastic and preservative). Water should
help: indeed, it got cleaner and more
lemony, but also very grassy and sort
of acrid. Finish: long but ultra-grassy
and bitterish. Comment: it’s
only on the palate and diluted to
roughly 45% that this one got acceptable.
SMWS bottlings are usually much, much
better. SGP:262 – 70
Park 1987/1997 (63.7%, Gordon &
MacPhail Cask, casks #15474-15477+15490-15492)
Colour: white wine. Nose: a little
silent, masked by the high voltage,
but one can guess that what’s
behind is quite classy. Peat, mint
and wet stones. With water: it got
very austere, which was unexpected,
but beautifully so. More wet stones,
ink, ashes, soot, metal, gunflints...
Opens up after a good ten minutes,
getting superbly waxy. Putty, wet
wool and marzipan. I like this one
a lot. Mouth (neat): too hot but this
may be good. Quick, water: amazing
how water worked here. All sorts of
candied nuts, lemon zests, spices
(cardamom, cloves, ginger) and honey.
Finish: long, clean, ‘precise’,
on honey, spices and pine resin. Big
pepperiness. Comments: Mark Spitz.SGP:354
– 88 points.
– Recommended listening.
Buchanan does Beer
Please buy Roy Buchanan's
– THREE DUFFTOWNS
Dufftown 1992/2004 (46%, Wilson &
Morgan, Barrel Selection, Port Finish)
Colour: pink gold. Nose: medium
expressive, starting on vanilla and
sweet white wine (something muscatty)
plus a little wood smoke but gets
then rather porridgy and slightly
feinty. Rather vinous as well. Not
my cup of malt I must say, like most
round and vinous, candied, jammy...
Wine brandy and blackcurrants mixed
with roasted peanuts and cornflakes.
Gets kirschy after that, sweeter,
mildly spicy (Chinese anise). Finish:
rather long, a little maltier and
less vinous as this point. Comments:
typical average wine finished whisky.
Probably not bad but frankly, all
these are getting really boring and
tiring. Nothing to do with Wilson
& Morgan of course, who have so
many great, ‘natural’
whiskies in their ranges – and
fairly priced at that. But this, I
mean... It’s simply not true
whisky in my book. Yes, another winesky.
SGP:531 – 74 points.
35yo 1965/2001 (49.6%, Douglas Laing
OMC, Sherry cask, 228 bottles)
Colour: gold. Nose: little
sherry as such at first sniffs, rather
some big almondy notes, butter, a
little varnish and nail polish, ham,
tea and ‘clean’ vase water.
Yes, make that light green tea. A
rather delicate oldie, much less wham-bam
than expected – and much less
woody as well. Becomes waxy and slightly
papery after a while, with also notes
of linseed oil and mint. And more
shoe polish after a moment. Rather
complex but lacks a little zing. Let’s
see what gives on the palate... Mouth:
it’s all a matter of wood it
seems, but this big woodiness is very
far from being unpleasant. At random,
we have camphor, ginger, soft curry,
nutmeg (big), tea, mint, liquorice,
rosemary, marzipan, wax, bitter oranges...
It’s only at the very end of
the middle that it gets a little tannic.
Finish: long but the oak got a little
less enjoyable now. Drying tannins,
overinfused tea and apple peelings
on top of orange marmalade and mint
drops. Comments: all very good except
the finish I think. SGP:461
– 85 points.
1978/2007 (58.3%, Jack Wieber, The
Cross Hill, 184 bottles)
Colour: full gold. Nose: another rather
delicate one it seems, despite the
high alcohol. Light tobacco, tea,
nuts and whiffs of old books (yeah,
from an old trunk in the attic.) Slight
mouldiness, a little humus, infused
tealeaves... Maybe water will wake
it up. With water: indeed, it got
even mouldier (pleasantly so), on
humus, mushrooms, old clean wine barrel,
old pu-erh tea, various herbal teas
(verbena, lemon balm) and milk chocolate.
A little lavender as well. Nice nose.
Mouth (neat): really powerful and
extremely citrusy. Crystallised oranges
and lemons, kumquats and pink grapefruits.
Big tannins on top of that, the whole
working a bit like pincers on your
tongue. At cask strength, that is.
With water: much more civilised, candied,
jammy, compact... Peppered orange
marmalade plus nutmeg. Finish: long,
fruitier and much less tannic than
at the attack, which is unusual. Orange
drops and marmalade. Comments: a very,
very good whisky that needs time (and
water) if you don’t want to
miss its nicest side. SGP:542
– 88 points.
– Recommended listening.
Let's listen to the wonderful
Fredette with Steve
Kuhn at the îano,
they're doing I’m
gonna laugh you right out of my
life.mp3 (from the album: 'In
the shadows'.) Please buy Carol
Fredette and Steve Kuhn's music!
The new GLENMORANGIE ASTAR
am right now at Louisville,
Kentucky, USA. This is a special
media trip organized by Glenmorangie
to visit the Ozarks, looking
for the "perfect oak".
It is also a pre-launch program
for the new Glenmorangie bottling
is the new generation product
of the"Artisan Cask",
and we, among the seven journalists
from all over the world, are
able to taste the prototype
batch of the new "Astar".
This batch is a vatting of 10
on which Glenmorangie has been
working for the past 15 years.
And as whisky lovers, we all
know that these are the Ozark
These "designer casks"
have there important characters:
1.) chosen from the slow growing
oak in Ozark mountains. 2.)
air-dried for at least two years.
3. ) Heavily toasted but lightly
Astar doesn't actually mean
'A Star', it's a Gaelic word,
it emphasize what Glenmorgie
has done to seek for these "Designer
I won't go through the details
at these moment but I think
it would probably be interesting
to have my tasting notes for
the "Astar", which
will be bottled at 100 proof
NAS Astar (57.1%, OB, prototype
of 10 casks vatting)
Colour: light yellow, quite
oily with fine legs.
Nose: some vanilla comes out
first, quite spicy as the first
impression. A lot of new oak
feeling. then I get some lemon/citrus.
With some notice from Dr. Bill
Lumsden, you can actually nose
the Balsamic vinegar note.
Palate: tasted straight, it's
quite spicy and 'attacks' the
palate with a strong and robust
feeling. somewhat dry but with
a quite long and lingering finish.
Diluted: diluted with just a
drop of water, you get a clearer
vanilla nose, along with obvious
white chocolate and cocoa notes,
still quite spicy, even with
some cinnamon along with just
a wisp of apple.
Comments: 88 points.
I actually discussed with Dr.
Bill Lumsden about my impressions
on both Artisan Cask and Astar.
For me, the old Artisan Cask
is kind of lighter in style
with more citrus and floral
notes, while the new "Astar"
is heavier and richer in style
and certainly more layered and
complex. Bill agrees with that,
in fact, they actually evolved
a little bit regarding what
they want from these "designer
casks". And it is important
that these casks are even more
mature in style than the previous
Artisan Cask bottling. And for
your information, Astar carries
no age statement but is actually
between 9-10 yos. and will be
marketed at a at least 50% higher
price than the current core
And tomorrow,we are heading
to Ozarks to see the oaks!
- Ho-cheng Yao (Taiwan)
– Recommended listening.
Deschanel and Leon
Redbone are doing Baby
it’s cold outside.mp3.
Indeed. Please buy these poeple's
Earldom 17 yo 1990/2008 (46%, The
Nectar, Daily Dram, 220 bottles, Dalmore)
Colour: pale gold. Nose: this
one is quite expressive, starting
on something clearly ‘Highlands’
(well, what I do associate with the
Highlands, which don’t include
Speyside in my book). Something Pulteney,
something Clynelish... Wax, wet stones
and whiffs of sea air. Yet, it gets
much more ‘Dalmore’ after
a while, that is to say more on crystallised
oranges, orange marmalade, milk chocolate.
All that finally mingles together
in a rather beautiful way, with also
hints of cigar tobacco and leather
polish. Complex yet compact!
nice attack, a little rougher than
the nose but still candied and very
saltiness again. Chocolate and spices
(rather big cloves), dried ginger,
bitter caramel... Also quite some
liquorice and notes of strong black
tea. Dark toffee. Finish: long, even
more on toffee and cloves, with hints
of speculoos (ginger and brown sugar
cookies). Comments: I swear I didn’t
mention speculoos because the bottler
is Belgian! Anyway, a very good indie
Dalmore, close to the best officials
both in style and in quality. SGP:643
– 88 points.
20 yo 1978/1999 (56.6%, Signatory,
cask #10133, shery butt)
Colour: gold. Nose: this is much more
violent, and that’s not only
the higher alcohol. Harsher, much
grassier, more organic (wet hay, apple
peeling)... The sherry is bigger as
well (kirsch, orange liqueur, various
fruit spirit). Big notes of leather
polish again. With a splash of water:
gets very vegetal, herbal, on all
kinds of herbal tea and hints of asparagus
as well as paraffin, wet cardboard,
mint and something like waxed paper.
Or linseed oil? Certainly less civilised
than the Daily Dram. Mouth: hot and
punchy, spirity, with something rubbery
and a little salt again. A little
hard I must say but water will probably
help once again. With water: the rubber
vanished but now it’s the salt
that plays the leading part. Pleasant
notes of oranges, that is –
very big in fact. Finish: Comments:
salted oranges. Sounds weird but it’s
rather good I must say. SGP:452
– 83 points.
McPEAT AND JACK WASHBACK
friend Yves draws our attention to
the wonderful website of the North
British grain distillery.
It's true that we'd love to see more
distillery websites like this one,
which is very educational. Thumbs
– Recommended listening.
The good old Flamin’
woman.mp3 (from the album Yesterday’s
numbers.) Maybe not their best track
but there's whisky, so... Please
buy The Flamin’ Groovies'
– SIX GLENROTHES
8 yo (40%, Gordon & MacPhail,
Colour: deep gold. Nose: fresh and
rather clean, starting on unexpected
whiffs of peat, then apple compote
and old walnuts. Something ‘antique’
in this one. Goes on with toasted
bread and a little mint, before it
gets maltier and slightly orangey.
Impeccable dryness at this point.
Gets also very coffee-ish after a
while. Very nice! Mouth: good body
but it’s more ‘simply’
malty at the attack, with also some
orange marmalade and, alas, quite
some cardboard and flour (dry and
‘mat’). Also a pleasant
honeyness in the background. Dried
apple slices, also this coffee and
hints of mint, even a little verbena.
Finish: unexpectedly long, more coffee-ish
now, as well as quite malty. Chicory.
Comments: a rather oomphy old young
malt whisky, displaying little OBE.
SGP:453 – 85 points.
1978/1999 (43%, OB, restricted release)
Colour: gold-amber. Nose: very similar
to the old 8yo despite the extra-12
years in wood. Maybe even drier. Takes
off very slowly, with a gentle honeyness
and hints of pollen and dandelions.
Smoked tea, herbal teas (chamomile),
roasted nuts, hints of orange zests
and fresh butter. Rather subtle, certainly
not big. Actually, this one is curiously
‘silent’, even after a
good fifteen minutes. Restricted indeed
;-). Mouth: again, this is no big
whisky, but it’s a bit more
talkative than on the nose. Malt,
‘dark’ honeys, cappuccino,
burned bread... Grows bigger at the
middle, more candied and caramelised.
Milk chocolate, nougat... Quite some
tannins in the background, that make
it a bit drying. Finish: rather short,
malty and tea-ish. Comments: this
one is obviously not the best Vintage
bottling by Glenrothes in our opinion,
lacks development. The 1972/2004 still
rules! SGP:341 - 78 points.
39 yo 1968/2008 (48.2%, Duncan Taylor,
Previous 1968’s by Duncan Taylor
have proven very good, and so did
1969’s. Colour: pale gold. Nose:
we’re much more on the fruity
side here, even if it’s no fruitbomb
at all. Bigger orange notes, then
something leathery, tobacco, black
tea, figs, orange blossom water...
Loses oomph over time and gets a little
drier, with the oak coming into the
game (hints of oak sawdust), as well
as more citrusy notes (tangerines,
not lemons). Very pleasant nevertheless.
Mouth: very good attack (albeit a
little tannic) on oranges, tangerines,
macadamia nuts and strong black tea.
A lot of oomph. Sure the oak has its
say here, with quite some pepper,
dried cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon...
Also quite some ginger. A good example
of a rather oaky old whisky that’s
still very pleasant. Finish: long,
a tad prickly (the tannins) but balance
isn’t lost. Liqueur-filled chocolate
and black tea. Comments: maybe not
as much a total winner as the 1968/2005
cask #13485 by the same bottler, but
it’s still an excellent old
Glenrothes – provided you don’t
just hate oak in your whisky. SGP:542
– 89 points.
21 yo 1986/2007 (55.1%, Alambic Classique,
finished in Cognac Grande Champagne,
cask #7116, 149 bottles)
Grande Champagne is a part of the
Cognac region and has nothing to do
with Champagne. Yes, tricky... Colour:
amber. Nose: maybe it’s the
power of mind but it does start like
a Cognac somehow (is this what some
call a brandified malt whisky?), before
it gets very chocolaty and coffee-ish.
Rather big notes of orange marmalade,
walnut stain, toast and butter, gingerbread,
cigar box... Strawberry jam. Very
faint whiffs of dill and mint. Well,
it seems that this new embodiment
of the Auld Alliance works quite well.
With water: bizarrely, water almost
killed this one. It got too dry, cardboardy,
Bizarre-bizarre. Let’s wait...
zzz... No, that didn’t work,
it got almost silent now. Yes, bizarre.
Mouth (neat): extremely creamy, thick
and oily, with an immense fruitiness
and, indeed, something that’s
not wholly ‘whisky’ (but
Cognac is barely noticeable as such).
A whole fruitcake, baklavas, apricot
jam (loads), quince jelly, marzipan-filled
dates... With water: even sweeter,
almost sugary now. Got much simpler
– again, this one swims like
a flat iron. Finish: long, sweet,
creamy, candied, with quite some cloves.
Comments: fruit jam at cask strength
– but don’t add water
to this one. SGP:631 –
1980/2004 (56.3%, OB, cask #17563,
Colour: amber. Nose: this one starts
on pure coffee and bitter chocolate,
very dry and pleasantly so. It seems
that this was a superb sherry cask!
Goes on with walnuts, toasted bread,
orange cake, fruitcake, raisins, then
Spanish ham (patanegra), old rancio,
balsamico, rose water, gewurztraminer,
bitter oranges... What an areopagus!
Extremely classy, top-notch sherry
cask. With water: my, it got even
nicer! Beefier, more organic... Chinese
prune sauce, horse sweat, high-end
sherry vinegar, best Havana cigars
(unlit)... This is stunning nose.
(neat): fantastic sherry! Huge concentration
but all that is very drinkable. Old
sloe gin, old plum eau de vie, coffee-schnapps,
prunes in Armagnac... Well, I’m
sure you get the picture. With water:
wow! Now we get many plants and herbs,
old Chartreuse, mint, eucalyptus,
verbena, liquorice... Truly excellent.
Finish: maybe not the longest ever
but it’s so perfectly profiled...
Comments: a masterpiece, very sherried
AND very balanced, which doesn’t
happen that often. SGP:553
– 93 points.
16 yo 1990/2007 (57,3%, Cad Authentic
Collection, Rum Butt, 588 bottles)
Colour: amber. Nose: well, the profile
is similar to the 1980’s but
whilst the latter was going to eleven
(Spinal Tap fans will understand),
this one goes to seven. Big chocolaty
notes, that is, coffee, leather, Virginia
tobacco... Something slightly metallic.
Now, maybe it’ll get more complex
with water: actually, it does. Nice
notes of pipe tobacco and buttered
tea, a little shoe polish. Mouth (neat):
the rum comes out at this stage but
I don’t like it too much. Too
sweetish, too ‘twisted’
in my book, tastes like a mixture
of two products at the attack. Now,
it does get better after a moment,
but also too spirity, too hot. Quick,
water again: no, that didn’t
work this time. It got sort of acrid
and bitter, with aromas of raw fruit
distillate (kirschy). Finish: long,
spirity. Kirsch, spearmint and grape
pips (tannins.) Comments: a tricky
one. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes
it isn’t (IMHO). Now, it’s
true that it’s hard to stand
comparison with the rather stunning
official 1980. SGP:541 - 81
– Recommended listening.
The very free Rahsaan
Roland Kirk does Runnin’ from the trash.mp3 from his
famous album 'Natural Black Inventions:
Root Strata'. Please buy Roland
McPEAT AND JACK WASHBACK
– THREE 25yo HIGHLAND PARKS
Highland Park 25 yo 1941 (75°
proof, OB, St Magnus yellow label,
It’s always very moving to try
a wartime malt, even if quite some
distilleries were still working in
1941. Colour: full gold. Nose: austerity
rules here! Dry, malty, vegetal, even
grassy, starting on bitter almonds,
wet limestone, newly cut grass and
fusel oil. Develops on something a
little resinous (turpentine, fresh
putty), and then wax and paraffin
ala old Clynelish. Maybe hints of
heather but that may be far-fetched.
The fruits manage to come through
after that: grapefruits, oranges,
quinces... It’s all a little
restrained, that is, but it’s
a very elegant and subtle whisky on
the nose, no doubt. Well, I guess
one had to whisper near Scapa flow
in 1941, U-boats were listening.
bolder, wilder, almost powerful now.
Frankly, it tastes more recent than
it is. The attack happens on pine
honeydew and black tea, then bitter
oranges and café latte, cornflakes,
butterscotch... Dried dates and figs,
dried pears, honey... A slight roughness
in the background (tannins, a bit
drying.) Also cough syrup, mint drops...
All that is quite compact. Finish:
not too long but what remains on you
palate is a beautiful and unctuous
this one never went down! SGP:543
– 89 points (and
thank you, Olivier.)
Park 25 yo (51.5%, OB, 2000)
Colour: amber. Nose: guess what, this
isn’t really more expressive
than the old 25yo. Now, there’s
more wood for sure, more ‘English
club smells’ (that is to say
leather, wood and cigar smoke –
before the smoking ban of course),
more honey and beeswax... Grows bolder
after that, with some sherry coming
through, mead, all sorts of honeys,
even pollen, apricot jam, orange marmalade...
Lacks a little complexity, that is.
Expressive but slightly monodimensional,
even if some nice notes of fresh parsley
do arise after a while. Mouth: it’s
obviously a bigger whisky than the
1941. Thick, creamy, rich, almost
explosive and going into all directions,
dried fruits, prunes, honey, smoke,
cake, liquorice, oranges... All that
is quite beautiful but also slightly
rough, especially when compared to
many superb official single casks
that were distilled in the 1970’s.
Finish: long, both spicier (cloves,
a little mustard) and sweeter (fructose).
Comments: rawer and more virile than
one may have expected, but an excellent
malt, naturally. SGP:663 –
Park 25 yo (48.1%, OB, 2007)
Colour: amber. Nose: close to the
‘2000’ version but it’s
quick to display additional aromas,
namely more peat and more resinous
notes. In that sense it’s closer
to the 1941. Bigger ‘waxiness’
as well, more mint, more nuts (walnuts,
almonds), more liquorice... Hints
of dill and aniseed... It’s
still not a very big whisky but there’s
a beautiful complexity. Multidimensional
and protean (wot?) Mouth: frankly,
I really like this one better than
the ‘2000’ version, even
if we’re in the same family,
obviously. A bigger peatiness, more
spices, more pepper, more grassy notes
as well (that’s the drawback),
more wax, more cough syrup... More
powerful honeys (our beloved chestnuts
and such)... The tannins are a little
bigger as well, less silky, but I
think they give a better structure
to the whole. Finish: long, punchy,
spicy and, err, virile. Comments:
my favourite from the pack, even if
it’s the wildest (and the ‘2000’
was already quite wild. Good news,
it’s widely available. SGP:663
– 91 points.
not the only MM who thinks that whisic
and musky – I mean, whisky and
music – gang togither. Indeed,
many MM’s are also music lovers,
and some of them are excellent musicians.
That’s why when Italia’s
Luca Chichizola sent me this review
of a CD by Dream Theater, while adding
that I might well do whatever I saw
fit with it, it seemed pretty obvious
that it had to go online. Especially
since this is the kind of music I
know strictly nothing about (and I
doubt Nick would ever go see this
kind of band live and write one of
his excellent reviews about it.) Frankly,
even the name ‘Dream Theater’
didn’t ring the smallest bell
to me, so grazie mille, Luca! –
REVIEW by Luca
THEATER - GREATEST HIT (… and
21 other pretty cool songs)
it or hate it”: Laphroaig’s
motto could very well be applied to
too. Very few bands can divide the
public opinion as much as the American
masters of progressive metal: fans
love them obsessively and melt with
joy when listening to the over-elaborate
and furiously fast guitar solos of
John Petrucci or the bombastic drumming
of Mike Portnoy, while the skeptics
bash them saying that they are little
more than sophisticated masturbators,
boring wizards concentrating only
on playing technique (after all they
have a solid and rigorous musical
background), overpolished but devoid
of soul and inspiration.
usual, truth lies in the middle, although
I admit that I lean towards the first
group: sure, they are technically
proficient and at times a bit too
eager to gratuitously show off their
superhuman skill in playing impossible
riffs and virtuoso scales. Sure, they
can be a little too bombastic and
pompous at times, with songs clocking
at extenuating lengths just for the
sake of it. Sure, in recent years
they might have put out a couple of
uninspired records (“Octavarium”
comes to mind), and even the last
one (“Systematic chaos”)
while excellent is a bit too derivative
with all its nods to other bands like
Metallica and Evanescence. But let’s
not forget the heights they have reached
in their career: “Images and
words” and “Awake”
are prog metal at its best, inventive
and fascinating; “Scenes from
a memory” is a brilliant concept
album with a captivating plot structured
as a psychological thriller and an
extremely ambitious compositional
framework, and even the much maligned
“Train of thought” is
a very thick, direct and hard sounding
disc, almost thrash-metal in style.
Not to mention the intricate and charming
work of the keyboardists who in the
course of twenty years contributed
an extra layer of complexity and freshness
to the guitar shredding: from the
never forgotten Kevin Moore to the
ultra-sophisticated Jordan Rudess
of nowadays, passing through the short
period with Derek Sherinian (who also
played with Alice Cooper and Kiss).
one is dedicated to the hardest songs
and starts with two classics from
their early albums (the dark Pull
me under, a song on death with
references to Shakespeare, and the
funky and very ‘80s Take
the time), in slightly remixed
versions which do not betray the originals
but simply make them sound a bit cleaner
and very slightly more “contemporary”.
We then range from the grinding metal
of Lie to the anthemic rock
of Sacrificed sons, passing
through gems like the nu-metalish
Endless sacrifice, the dreamy
Peruvian skies, the ferocious
The test that stumped them all
or the almost Radiohead-esque Misunderstood.
second disc, on the other hand, focuses
on power ballads and delicate easy-listening
songs. A couple of them are slightly
corny, very arena-style, at times
reminding of stuff like Europe (yuck!).
Musically, though, they generally
are at the same great level of the
hard pieces… and at least show
that Dream Theater are not cold and
passionless robots. Ranging from the
classic Another day (again,
in a slightly updated version) to
the U2-carbon copy of I walk beside
you (one of their most maligned
songs, though quite powerful and enjoyable),
the CD contains fine tracks like Hollow
years (which might have been
a very radio friendly hit… but
wasn’t), the acoustic The
silent man and especially the
enchanting and romantic Through
her eyes, The spirit carries on, The
answer lies within, and the uplifting
Peter Gabriel-influenced Solitary
shell. You can also feel some
vague echoes of Pink Floyd or the
Beatles, in this second disc!
a compilation such as this needed?
Well, the material on the two discs
is of very high quality, with almost
no filler. But I personally feel that
at least part of Dream Theater’s
charm (for those inclined to appreciate
it, of course) actually comes from
that much denigrated over-the-top
approach, from the symphonic nature
of their records, from the recurring
themes, from the abrupt and disturbing
changes of pace and style that punctuate
their best albums (and those who have
listened to The dance of eternity
in “Scenes from a memory”,
with that sudden jump from metal to
ragtime and then to metal again, will
understand what I am saying).
collection for obvious reasons omits
the longest, most flamboyant, challenging
and sophisticated symphonic suites,
and presents almost exclusively the
most “accessible” songs
(often in slightly edited and radio-friendly
versions, too). And please note that
there are none of the fine songs from
“Systematic chaos”, which
was published under another label,
neither from their debut album “When
dream and day unite”…
but this, on the other hand, is not
a great loss.
is a great loss is that elaborate
tracks like Erotomania, Stream
of consciousness, Metropolis,
or the wonderful symphonic Overture
from the second disc of “Six
degrees of inner turbulence”
(and many others) couldn’t find
a place on the compilation…
already have the albums from which
this collection was assembled, with
the unedited versions and the longest
and most elaborate pieces which could
have never found a place in a release
like this, but they might be mildly
interested in the remixes and in the
To live forever B-side. For
newcomers, it might be a nice start
for approaching the most accessible
side of the band with a solid collection
of songs that make for 2 and a quarter
hours of pure enjoyment (unless you
prefer quieter genres, or on the other
hand you are a fan of even more “badass”
music and sneer with contempt at the
idea of a metal band that actually
tries to take the genre to “artistic”
heights, to build texture, style,
atmosphere, musical rigorousness and
subtleness instead of simple brutal
noise and fury, and that isn’t
targeted to a moshing/beer guzzling/leather-clad
audience of bikers).
again, if you have even a slight suspicion
that you might enjoy a band like this,
you could actually have a much better
introduction with some of the original
albums: listening only to such a compilation,
you might be left puzzled and wondering
why Dream Theater are labeled as progressive
rock/metal and not simply pop-rock
like many other similar sounding bands.
The forced separation of the hard
tracks from the gentle ones is another
culprit here, completely disrupting
the sense of balance, emotional buildup
and climaxing that the original albums
do have in spades. As such, the compilation
has many great moments, but (as predictable)
seems to lack focus. Dream Theater’s
best albums are usually meant to be
listened to from start to finish without
interruption for experiencing their
complexity, flow, scope, grandeur
and careful structuring (which are
just as important as the music itself),
not simply as a collection of songs:
would you be listening to a compilation
of 6-7 minutes highlights from Beethoven’s
symphonic compositions, rather than
to the whole compositions? I don’t
choice is yours… the money too.
And, as Serge would say, please buy
Dream Theater’s music anyway!
Verdict: 84 points
for sheer music quality (but only
65 points as showcase
of the band’s real worth)
- Luca Chichizola
Note: the title of the compilation
an ironic reference to the fact that
Dream Theater never got much airplay
by radio or MTV except for one of
their early ‘90s singles (the
excellent “Pull me under”)
and nonetheless managed to build a
large and loyal fanbase. Those who
appreciate in-jokes will also notice
the different color on the album cover
of those four letters in the title…
one of the well-known sparks of juvenile
humor from a band that usually takes
itself very seriously, one of those
quirks you would never expect from
guys who play so heavy and are renowned
for their maniacal quest for perfection,
for their constant highbrow references
in lyrics and musical content.
– TWO OLD STRATHMILLS
Strathmill 39 yo 1962/2001 (45.2%,
Douglas Laing OMC, 270 bottles)
Colour: coffee. Nose: starts like
a very typical old sherry monster,
with first quite some coffee, chocolate
and wood smoke and then a development
on dried fruits and old sweet wine/rancio.
Figs, dates, fruitcake, dried bananas...
Then we’re back on lit matches,
and finally something meaty but not
exactly beefy. Something like English
brown sauce, cooked onions, ham...
And prunes. Fresher than expected
in any case, no excessive tannins
whatsoever and a smokiness that grows
bigger with time. Also cigar box,
tobacco. A good surprise.
a bit heavy now, hugely concentrated
(cooked wine) but not exactly cloying.
Big notes of spirit-soaked prunes,
sultanas, cherry liqueur, liqueur-filled
chocolates... Alas, it gets also a
little too tannic, drying (strong
black tea, apple skin, raw blackcurrants.)
Finish: long but thick and a little
too drying. Pleasant mintiness, though,
and a little icing sugar. Comment:
always the same song with whiskies
that may have spent a little too much
time in wood, the nose can be great
but the palate gets, err, ‘hard’
– for my taste, of course. SGP:572
31 yo 1976/2007 (48.4%, Dewar Rattray
for Jack Wieber for Monnier, cask
#1124, 60 bottles)
Colour: pale gold. Nose: this one
is completely different from the 1962.
No sherry, rather a bold yet simple
fruitiness – it’s even
sort of estery. Tinned pineapples,
butter pears, red apples, peaches...
Incredibly young at 31 years of age.
Gets even a little feinty/yeasty and
grassy (whiffs of fresh mint leaves,
newly cut grass) and slightly smoky.
It seems that this cask wasn’t
very active – exactly the opposite
of the 1962, but it’s pleasant
whisky. Mouth: how fruity! A load
of ripe bananas and tinned pineapples
mixed with a little coconut juice
and seasoned with grated ginger and
white pepper. Again, it’s simple
but the general profile is very pleasant
and entertaining. Much more wood than
on the nose. Finish: the fruits remain
but it’s really the wood’s
spices that play their part now. Long,
very gingery and very peppery. Comment:
I liked the palate better than the
nose, which doesn’t happen that
often with old whiskies. This ‘may’
explain why blenders ‘may’
have discarded this one at some point
(just a wild theory). SGP:720
– 86 points.
– Recommended listening.
Denny and Sail
away to the see.mp3. Radiant.
Please buy Sandy Denny's music!
REVIEW by Nick Morgan
(with Nine Below Zero)
100 Club, London
March 23rd 2008
around seven o’clock in the
evening on an unseasonably early
Easter Sunday in London, and outside
on the capital’s retailing
street of shame bewildered tourists
are walking by the closing down
sales and trash shops into the face
of a biting wind and stinging sleet.
the 100 Club it’s already hot
and sweaty, late lunches and chocolate
overdoses mixing with the plentiful
wine and beer to produce a pleasingly
benign atmosphere. It’s aided
by the fantastic music being played
by the exceptionally youthful-looking
comedian and TV presenter (and owner
of an allegedly huge collection of
‘obscure’ rock and roll
Lamarr. It’s cracking stuff,
and most appropriate for a crowd who’ve
paid what can only frankly be called
a ridiculous amount of money (sorry
Serge) to attend a ‘private’
gig featuring an 81- year-old three-times
jailbird who in the past has been
notorious for his throw-away live
performances. We need something to
settle our nerves.
out are Nine
Below Zero – you know who
they are – with the former Rory
Gallagher rhythm section Gerry McAvoy
on bass, and Brendan O’Neill
on drums, Dennis Greaves on guitars
and vocals, and harmonica virtuoso
Mark Feltham on virtuoso harmonica,
who deliver a pretty good set given
that it’s only about eight o’clock,
and it’s a Sunday. But most
of us are still thinking about the
old man – will he make it to
the stage? Will he deliver? I did
see him back in the late 1970s giving
a fairly tawdry performance, the centrepiece
of which was the rather shameful ‘My
ding-a-ling’, so I wasn’t
to the stage by his band (featuring
his son Chuck Berry Jnr on guitar),
who were made to wait nervously for
what seemed like ten minutes, Chuck
Berry finally made his
way through the crowd shrouded by
minders and stalked, by of all people,
Johnson, who’d been lurking
around since the start of the evening.
The man who created the riffs that
defined rock and roll is wearing his
age, skipper’s cap and blue-sequined
shirt pretty well, and like so many
performers gained at least a couple
of inches in stature as he took to
the stage, red Gibson hanging from
his Union Jack guitar strap, bursting
into a rather staccato ‘Roll
over Beethoven’. Chuck Jnr.,
looks on (as he does all night) concerned.
There’s obviously no set-list,
and as Chuck Snr moves from song to
song (in no particular way to go,
‘Around and around’, ‘Nadine’,
‘Rock' n' roll music’,
never can tell’, the unfortunate
‘My ding-a-ling’, ‘Carol’
‘Little Queenie’) you
can see that Chuck Jnr. is willing
him to get it right.
Well let’s say that his voice
is remarkable; I don’t know
where it comes from but it’s
Chuck Berry ringing out like a bell,
and most of the lyrics are good and
true (even if he can’t remember
the names of his band, which he can’t).
Of course he sings with his face –
he grins, raises eyebrows, smirks,
and gives the odd salacious leer like
an eighteen-year-old. As for the guitar,
it’s like talking to an older
person I suppose. Sometimes they just
don’t seem to be there, and
then you get moments of absolute clear
lucidity with razor-sharp recollection.
And that’s what we got from
Mr Berry’s guitar – and
when it was good, as it was when he
left the stage after an hour still
riffing away to ‘Reelin’
and rockin’’, it was as
good as it gets.
that last song he’d invited
some ‘gals’ of dubious
age to take the stage, which they
did, but there amongst them was the
ten-year-old boy whose Dad had sneaked
him in to see the Prime minister of
rock and roll at work. What a story
for his grandchildren, whenever that
might be. Sad of course that he forgot
to play ‘Johnny B Goode’
for him, but you can’t expect
a man of his age to remember everything.
- Nick Morgan (photographs by
– TWO 1990 GLENTAUCHERS
Glentauchers 17 yo 1990/2008 (57.6%,
Duncan Taylor, cask #14435)
Colour: straw. Nose: spirity, mashy,
lightly fruity. Hints of roses, freshly
cut apples and strawberries, other
than that, well... With water: gets
more porridgy, mashier, and grassier
but that’s all. Whiffs of orangeade.
Very, very simple malt whisky. Mouth
(neat): cask strength apple spirit.
Hmm... With water: diluted apple spirit,
but a good one. Very simple pleasures.
Finish: medium long, sugary. Spanish
apple liqueur. Comments: certainly
not bad but very, very simple, with
very little maturity. SGP:420
– 75 points.
13 yo 1990 (59.2%, James MacArthur)
Colour: straw. Nose: even more inexpressive
than the 17yo. Alcohol. Well... With
water: oh, it got almost silent now
(at 45%). Fern. Well well well...
Mouth (neat): raw spirit. Very sweet
but that’s pretty all. With
water: same as the 17yo by Duncan
Taylor. Marginal woodiness (a little
pepper). Finish: medium long, on fruit
spirit (tutti frutti) and a little
oak. Clean but very simple indeed.
Comments: none. Maybe we could discuss
the polar ice cap melting instead,
or Mrs. Sarkozy’s new Christian
Dior outfit but I believe this is
neither the place, nor the moment.
SGP:331 – 73 points.
TASTING – EIGHT GLENTURRETS
some friends pointed out, I’ve
always had problems with Glenturret.
‘Give it another go!’
they said... Right, right, let’s
try a ‘blitz statistical approach’
then, which will consist in trying
no less than 8 versions in a row.
Maybe one or two will stand out...
(frankly, isn’t that fair?)
12yo (40%, OB, +/-2003)
Colour: pale straw. Nose: expressive,
but mainly on warm porridge, wet wood
and soap. And ‘new plastic’.
Not as repulsive as it sounds, that
is. Mouth: fruity, lemony, porridgy,
less plastic-like. Not weak. Paraffin,
gin fizz, grass. Drinkable. Finish:
rather long, more lemonade. Comments:
an ‘unusual’ malt. The
palate is nicer then the nose in my
opinion. SGP:361 – 71
12yo 1993/2006 Port Finish (43%, Chieftain's,
cask #90771/90772, 1740 bottles)
Colour: pale straw. Nose: rounder,
fruitier, more appealing than the
OB but that may well be the Port.
‘Nice’ scented soap and
tinned fruits plus a little ginger
and quite some nutmeg. This is pleasant
I must say. Mouth: the same pleasant
kind of palate as the OB’s,
plus the extra-kick from the Port.
More orangey and candied. Finish:
quite long, orangey and slightly peppery.
Comments: probably a case where wine
finishing actually improved the original
whisky. SGP:451 – 79
13yo 1990/2004 (43%, Chieftain's,
casks #90151-90152, 2580 bottles)
pale gold. Nose: strange! Less rounded
than the 1993, much more on lemonade
and lemon marmalade (a little prickly)
and then these soapy notes again.
Plastic, ink and wet papers. Mashed
potatoes. Good or bad? Hard to say,
let’s check the palate... Mouth:
quite punchy but this time the winewood
doesn’t quite manage to mask
the weirdish spirit (hey, only my
opinion). Violet sweets, paper, orange
sweets. Finish: rather long, a little
spicier (cloves) but also slightly
drying. Comments: well, this is certainly
not a disaster but... I like it better
than the OB, that is. SGP:442
– 73 points.
14 yo (43%, Scottish Wildlife, Signatory,
mini, +/- 2000)
Colour: pale straw. Nose: similar
to the OB as far as the profile is
concerned, only cleaner, straighter
and nicer. Slightly overripe oranges,
beeswax and tea. Perfectly nice. Mouth:
again, this is very okay. Crystallised
lemons, bubblegum, strawberry drops,
grenadine. Good! Finish: long and
very fruity. Liquefied Chupa Chups
lollipops in a bottle? Comments: this
is good – albeit unusual –
whisky. SGP:721 – 82
1972 (43%, OB, Black Ceramic Decanter,
Colour: bronze (yeah, not unlike the
green Springbanks). Nose: hey-hey,
this is very nice! Highly unusual,
very fragrant (old roses, tinned lychees,
orange liqueur, rosewater). Also old
walnuts, cigar box... And finally
ultra-mega-big notes of lovage and
parsley. Maggi anyone? Soy sauce indeed!
Extremely entertaining I must say.
Walnut stain. Mouth: excellent! Soft
attack but it grows bigger, with Glenturret’s
usual ‘wackiness’ mingling
perfectly well with this strange,
but beautiful cask(s). Walnuts, bergamots
(earl grey), camphor, After Eights,
old Cognac and orange liqueur. Balsamico.
No more Maggi/lovage/soy sauce on
the palate, that is. Finish: maybe
a tad shortish but very pleasant –
albeit unusual again – on something
like mentholated walnuts and oranges,
should that exist in real life. Comments:
yess! Certainly our best Glenturret
ever, I knew that this statistical
approach would work. SGP:662
– 90 points.
16 yo 1988/2005 (50.1%, Scotch Malt
Whisky Society, 16.28, 'Violets and
This ‘violets’ thing is
scary, isn’t it? Let’s
see... Colour: white wine. Nose: same
as the 12yo but at cask strength.
ditto at the attack, but the middle
is better. Crystallised lemons and
oranges plus a little mint. Cleaner
I must say. Finish: long, lemony +
white rum. Comments: ready-made mojito.
Why not! SGP:550 – 78
20 yo 1978/1998 (53.8%, Signatory,
Colour: pale gold. Nose: the same
notes of lovage, soy sauce and balsamico
as in the wonderful 1972 OB, which
is great news, but the rest is rather
mashy, porridgy and oddly pastic-like.
Added whiffs of wet limestone, wet
chalk, wet hay and ink. Mouth: exactly
like the ‘Scottish Wildlife’,
only bigger and more powerful. Okay,
maybe a tad less bubblegummy. It’s
good. Finish: long – JuicyFruity,
pink grapefruit. Comments: very nice
palate but the nose is a little too
‘twisted’ for my taste.
SGP:451 – 77 points.
14 yo 1993/2007 (56.9%, James MacArthur,
bourbon, cask #188)
Colour: white wine. Nose: smells very
young, spirity (cologne), mashy but
not too much. Distilled oranges? Tinned
fruit salad. Buttered mashed potatoes.
Let’s add water: huge soapiness
as often but that disappears quite
quickly. More porridge, mashed potatoes
and wet grains. Mouth (neat): same
as the 1988 by the SMWS. Crystallised
lemons and oranges, sweetened porridge,
cornflakes. Little wackiness here,
but a somewhat simple spirit. With
water: gets really good, even if still
a little simple. Orange syrup, grenadine
and vanilla crème. Finish:
rather long, with an added grassiness
(and hints of sage). Comments: it’s
not impossible that like at several
Scottish distilleries, they started
to make a better spirit around the
early 1990’s at Glenturret.
Maybe less idiosyncratic but better,
really. Encouraging. SGP:531
– 83 points.
– Recommended listening.
Caine does I
often think they have merely gone
out!.mp3 (from album: Urlicht/Primal
light). Please buy Uri Caine's music!
– TWO 1996 ‘NATURAL’
Arran 1996/2007 (52,8%, Scotch Single
Malt Circle, cask #96/926)
Colour: pale gold. Nose: rather
powerful, mostly waxy and vegetal/grassy
at first nosing. Nice development
on linseed oil and candle wax, rather
big notes of shoe polish, walnut
skin, paraffin and fresh almonds.
nice profile, very straight. Very
little fruitiness, that is. Gets more
floral (roses). With a little water:
it became more complex, very nicely
‘wild’, with whiffs of
‘forest after the rain’,
mushrooms... Then something maritime
(clams?), kelp... Maybe not exactly
impressive but rather complex and
perfectly balanced. I like this nose.
Mouth (neat): sweet and ‘direct’,
maybe a little simple now. Apple juice,
pear juice and orange squash plus
vanilla fudge and a little nutmeg
and white pepper. With water: it got
more complex, spicier, wider, more
assertive... Very nice spices, cinnamon,
paprika, soft curry... All that on
top of orange marmalade and quince
jelly. Excellent. Finish: long, balanced,
candied, jammy but never ‘thick’.
Comments: this one really benefits
from a little water but then it gets
truly beautiful. It seems that natural
Arrans can be wonderful at 10yo+.
SGP:552 – 86 points.
1996/2008 (56.2%, OB for The Nectar,
cask #1860, 233 bottles)
Colour: dark gold. Nose: as powerful
as its sibling but sweeter, rounder
and fruitier. Some winey notes but
I don’t know where they come
from. Was it a wine cask? Other than
that it’s rather flinty and
waxy, with some shoe polish again,
warm butter, leather, light tobacco,
camomile, rosehip tea and nutmeg plus
a little vanilla. Gets spicier with
time. Ginger, cardamom. Hints of cheese
as well (Swiss gruyère). Lots
happening in there, it’s both
good and entertaining as far as the
nose is concerned. With water: it’s
the oak that comes out, and a beautiful
one. Wax polish, old furniture, leather,
cigar box, thuja wood, old walnuts...
All aromas that are usually associated
with older whiskies. Hey-hey! And
no more winey notes – maybe
I was dreaming. Mouth (neat): thick,
creamy and rich, ‘wider’
than the SSMC even if the general
profile is more or less the same.
No more ‘vinosity’ as
such. Sweet apple compote, ripe Williams
pears and ginger. With water: again,
water worked excellently. More ‘tertiary’
flavours, various spices, various
herbal teas, tobacco... This one came
from a very good cask for sure. Finish:
long, ‘focused’, a little
less complex now, maltier. Comments:
great whisky nonetheless. Obligatory
stupid comments: Arran, if all your
10yo + casks are like these two, you
may drop all the wine finishing from
now on, it would really be a waste
of very, very good whisky. I’m
sorry. SGP:552 - 88 points.
– Recommended listening.
Yamashita and his New
York Trio play Who’s
Valentine.mp3 from album: Fragments
(1999! Please buy Yosuke
THE MALT MANIACS MALT MONITOR
milestones have been reached,
as the shiny brand new, Monitor
now displays no less than
10,204 different whiskies.
You may download it here.
to MM's Luca for his tremendous
work and to Konstantin for
his numerous corrections ;-).
NEWS - THIS JUST IN!
based investment consortium buys Dallas
Dhu Distillery from Historic Scotland
and launches new 25 years old!
March 30. - A silent Scotch whisky
distillery is to start production
again after a 25-year gap, thanks
to a £9million Texan investment
consortium. Highland distillery Dallas
Dhu, which was owned by drinks giant
D.C.L., ceased production in 1983,
and was then sold to Historic Scotland.
But a £5m cash injection from
The Jolly Old Fellows Group, from
Dallas, as well as a further £4m
start-up funding from The Carlisle
Group, will see 25 jobs created at
the distillery, which is located in
the village of Forres, Morayshire.
visitor centre will be refurbished
once the distillery is operational
again, and at first, older remaining
stocks of whisky will be blended and
sold as a 25 years old, re-branded
‘Dallas Dude’ instead
of ‘Dallas Dhu’ to pay
homage to the new owners. The distillery
will change name as well.
Dickie ‘Big Belly’ Hundertpfund
, a consultant on the project and
now managing director, said: “The
start-up funding will cover running
costs for the first year – we
estimate it will take two or three
months to bring the distillery back
to full working order.
Dude has high growth potential. The
product will appeal to malt collectors,
the uber-rich, and target markets
include Vietnam, El Salvador, Afghanistan,
Somalia and Iraq.”
Jolly Old Fellows Group executive
vice-president, added: "The
whisky market is a booming sector
and, after due diligence, we recognised
that the Dallas Dude distillery had
massive potential and was a perfect
opportunity to bring a historic Scotch
whisky back to life. What’s
more, we thoroughly enjoyed all the
cask samples we could taste, especially
the trademark gunpowder aromas. Dallas
Dude rocks big time!"
update: there is a disturbing
rumour since this morning that the
new owners will bring dramatic changes
to the way whisky was made at Dallas
Dude (Dhu). Charcoal filtering should
be introduced, as well as heavy barrel
charring, also know as ‘alligator’.
Other gossips may indicate that various
finishings will be done on older stock,
should be three world premieres, namely
a ‘San Antonio jalapeno wood
finish’, a ‘guacamole
finish’ and a ‘frijoles
finish’. Whether the Scotch
Whisky Association will allow this
to happen or not is still to be seen,
but it seems that high-ranking U.S.
officials at the White House have
confirmed that such a move would 'certainly
further strengthen the existing ties
between the two countries'. No comments.
BREAKING NEWS WHISKYFUN EXCLUSIVE!
whisky lovers have been wondering
where the famous Mutter
Bowmore had gone after it was
bought at McTears by an anonymous
Russian collector. We’re proud
to announce that the answer dropped
into our mailbox right this morning.
It appears that it was actually
bought by a certain Boris-Yeltsin
Trust, which, in turn, presented
an American gentleman with it (picture).
to open it to celebrate my loving
wife’s victory at the elections
later in November, and to toast
to the memory of my old friend Boris
on the same occasion”
said the proud new owner on the
phone. Another mystery solved!
4 Months Old (48% / 96° Proof,
OB, USA, Batch#12, Bottled +/- 2007)
'Chip and barrel aged’. Colour:
as magnificently golden as a Patek
Philippe minute repeater, with a glinting
intensity. Nose: otherwordly. Phenomenal
meaty bouquet at first sniffing (nightingale
tongue pâté, barbecued
Oklahoma buffalo). Gets then emphatically
leathery (XK120 seat, Kelly handbag,
Argentinian polo saddle). Goes on
with Virginia tobacco (untipped 1978
Benson & Hedges) and mountain
blackberries, Catalonian pine nuts,
half-dried cardamom, Appalachian all-flowers
honey, Nicole Kidman’s cleavage
and, of course, wet dog (black labrador).
Incredibly deep, thick and silky –
in truth, the depth and complexity
of this bursting nose are totally
the power of this uber-unctuous palate
is truly astounding, with waves and
waves (and waves) of very complex
and subtle flavours. The attack alone
is a poem, absolutely mesmerizing.
Twenty years old Swedish liquorice,
burnt Scottish toffee, Michelin 3-star
crème brûlee, honey-coated
Peruvian pecans, candied Provence
apricots, Ostende shrimp croquettes,
Mouton 1928 blended with Latour 1945
(or maybe Lafite), white truffles
from Alba... do I need say more? Nibelungian
development, sappy yet silky - how
is this possible at just 4 months?
Only WF’s anti-maltoporn brigade
will prevent us from going any further
from now on... Finish: incredible
finish edging out the 12yo Springbank
100°proof Samaroli that we used
as a benchmark malt – and it
would not quit! Comments: a flamboyant
Gothic cathedral, a whisky by which
all other whiskies will be judged
from now on. SGP:987 –
99 points. (Update:
today was April's Fool day. We got
quite some requests and questions
regarding this whisky, so let's be
clear, these tasting notes were a
joke. We're afraid Wasmund's isn't
such a fabulous whisky in our book...
the index of all entries:
malts I had these weeks - 90+
points only - alphabetical:
OB, cask #17563, 558 bottles)
1972 (43%, OB, Black Ceramic Decanter,
Park 19 yo 1986/2005 (53.8%,
OB, Beltramo's California, cask #2498)
Park 25 yo (48.1%, OB, 2007)