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Hi, you're in the Archives, August 2009 - Part 1
       

July 2009 - part 2 <--- August 2009 - part 1---> August 2009 - part 2

 

August 14, 2009


Strathisla

TASTING – TWO NEW 1967 STRATHISLA

Strathisla 42 yo 1967/2009 (44.5%, The Whisky Agency Fossiles Series, bourbon hogshead, 120 bottles) Colour: gold. Nose: nervous! Sure, not as nervous as a three years old Laphroaig at cask strength but what’s really striking with this old Strathisla is its youthfulness and compactness on the nose. Starts right on mirabelle eau-de-vie (you know, these very aromatic small yellow plums), honey and a delicate yet obvious toasty/coffeeish oak as well as quite some milk chocolate. Develops further on a slightly spicier mode, with a little cumin, ginger and just tiny-wee whiffs of lavender. Also quite some mint-flavoured tea. Very, very impressive at such old age. Mouth: it’s the oak that talks first this time, which is not surprising at 42 years of age. Starts on nutmeg, ginger and green tea, with also quite some liquorice wood and the fruitiness a bit hidden behind. Gets then more and more ‘spicy/herbal’, on some thyme, capsicum… The fruits aren’t masked too much that is. Seville oranges, hints of sherry? Finish: medium long, oaky but not drying. Aftertaste: earl grey tea (or a combination of unsweetened tea and oranges). Comments: the palate isn’t as youthful and full of aromas as the nose but it’s till quite vigorous. Very good oldie, maybe a tad less emphatic on the palate than the old Strathisla-branded sherry monsters. Obviously. SGP:561 – 89 points.
Strathisla 42 yo 1967/2009 (45.8% Whisky-Fässle, refill sherry wood) Whisky-Fässle is a small German bottler with a good reputation. Colour: gold. Nose: very, very close to its bro, only a little sharper, with the oak’s spices coming a little quicker to the front. Maybe added hints of aniseed and maybe a little less honey. A tad drier. The overall quality on the nose is just the same, that is to say pretty high. Mouth: once again, same overall feeling as with the previous one, even if the notes of oranges are a little quicker to appear here. Tangerines. The rest is similar to its bro’s. Finish: a little bigger and longer and, once again, a little more citrusy. Comments: a tad drier than the Whisky Agency on the nose but a tad rounder, fruitier and more honeyed on the palate. Not enough to make a one-point difference as far as scores are concerned. See, in such cases, even a 100-scale isn’t precise enough. Very good Strathisla once again. SGP:561 – 89 points.
Strathisla And also Strathisla 30 yo (43%, Gordon & MacPhail, +/-1995) Nose: a very nice fruitiness, with whiffs of yellow flowers and lemongrass. Perfect balance. Mouth: perfect balance once again, honey and light tannins. Not big but… err, balanced and highly drinkable. SGP:650 – 87 points (and thanks, Pascal).

MUSIC - Recommended listening: I went to a three-gig show last night, Nina Hagen, Simply Red and a surprise band from Israel, Asaf Avidan and the Mojos. I enjoyed the latter very much, at times I felt like if I was at an old Led Zep gig. Try their Hangwoman and you'lll see what I mean. Please buy Asaf Avidan and the Mojo's music!

Asaf
 

August 13, 2009


PETE McPEAT AND JACK WASHBACK on holidays in St Tropez
 
Longmorn

TASTING – THREE LONGMORNS FROM THE MID-70s BOTTLED IN 2008

Longmorn 1975/2008 (46%, Montgomerie's, cask #3967) Colour: deep gold. Nose: very 1970s Longmorn in style, that is to say very fruity but also a tad waxier and oilier than usual, with even whiffs of olive oil as well as a faint meatiness (ham). The fruitiness from the start (green bananas, apples) fades away a bit, the whole getting drier after a few minutes and even more on wax and apple peeling. Not the sexiest old Longmorn ever on the nose but this relative austerity is very pleasant. Mouth: sweet but gingery at the attack, with more and more oak that makes it a little dry. Banana skin, flour, tea, apple compote. More and more ginger and then quite some white pepper. Still nice but it seems that the oak finally had the upper hand. Finish: not very long, even a little fleshless so to speak. Quite some tannins in the aftertaste. Comments: still very okay but not one of these wonderful old Longmorns in my opinion. Having said that, it wasn’t expensive. SGP:351 - 82 points.
Longmorn 32 yo 1976/2008 (53%, The Whisky Agency, bourbon hogshead, 120 bottles) Colour: full gold. Nose: this one is rather more marked by the oak on the nose, with a lot of vanilla at first nosing, butterscotch, brioche and even croissants (true ones, excuse my Frenchness) but no ‘dryingness’. It’s also a little dusty but water should help a lot. With water: nah, water doesn’t help much, it rather makes this one drier and oakier. More apples, that is. Mouth (neat): ah yes, much more flesh and bones here even if the spicy and gingery oak is well present. Peppered orange marmalade and apple compote. Big! With water: now it got really good, more elegant and beautifully fruity. Williams pears and the spirit made thereof, strawberry drops, vanilla fudge… Finish: long, very pleasant, fruity/spicy. Gets a tad citrusy. Comments: embarrassing that this one swims much better on the palate than on the nose, you almost need two glasses when trying this baby! SGP:551 - 87 points.
Longmorn 1976/2008 (53%, Scotch Single Malt Circle, cask #5896, 120 bottles) Colour: deep gold. Nose: we’re relatively close to the The Whisky Agency at very first sniffing but it’s soon to get fruitier and much more fragrant. A little musky and muscatty, with even hints of lychees and roses that remind me of some gewürztraminer (note to 80% of the restaurants in the world, it’s gewürz and not gewürtz). A little nutmeg and ginger as well. Other than that there are lots of apples and vanilla. With water: more sweet oak, vanilla and ginger. First fill bourbon style. More mint. Mouth (neat): more fruitiness than in the TWA when neat, more power as well. Spicy fruit salad, cardamom and a little chilli. Rather wild. With water: even more modern-style, with some vanilla, ginger, nutmeg and apple pie. Same notes of Williams pears as un the TWA. Finish: long, once again very fruity/spicy. Grated ginger and cinnamon on apple pie. Comments: simply very good. SGP:551 - 88 points.

MUSIC - Recommended listening (if you have good speakers): the extraordinary Buster Williams, one of the kings of double bass, playing the stunning ballad The enchanted flower (from his 1977 Crystal Reflections album). Please buy Buster Williams' music.

Buster Williams
 

August 12, 2009


SPEED TASTING – SIX BLENDS
Blends
I’m often accused - gently - of trying too many rare or hard to find whiskies, which is an idea I solemnly refute ;-). It’s just that when you have the opportunity to freely choose between Petrus and Red Bicyclette, you usually go for Petrus unless you have a very twisted mind. Anyway, we’ll have a few blends today. Please note that we always use the same scale, whether for ’75 Ardbegs or cheapo blends (or motor oil).
Cutty Black (40%, OB, Berry Bros & Rudd, +/-2009) There’s also a version at 100°proof. Colour: full gold. Nose: starts rather malty, with whiffs of toasts and a little toffee, but not overly expressive. Touches of oranges, dandelions and honey and a tiny-wee hint of peat. Not very aromatic but nicely composed. Gets more expressive after ten minutes, with more dried fruits. Mouth: good honeyed attack, malty again, roasted and toffee-ish. The middle is a little thinner but clean. Caramel. Finish: not as short as I had thought, with mild smokiness and quite some roasted peanuts and notes of figs. Comments: it has something of Johnnie Black indeed. Good quality blend. SGP:332 – 78 points.
Passport Scotch (40%, OB, William Longmore, +/-2008) This is rather big in Africa, I found this bottle in Morocco. Colour: gold. Nose: que gran horror! Raw wood spirit and nail polish remover. Ugly! Mouth: rather powerful and not as ugly as on the nose, smoother and rounder but still whacky and naughty. For (bad) cocktails? Finish: rather long but kind of burning, making you want to rinse your mouth with water. Comments: no. SGP:231 - 55 points. Passport
1970 advert for Passport Scotch. Has Passport always been a whisky for blondes? ->
Scotia Royale 12 yo (40%, OB, A. Gillies & Co, +/-1995) One of the base malts is obviously Glen Scotia. Colour: gold. Nose: hello, anybody in there? Rather flattish at first nosing, getting then finely smoky and grassy but lacks the roundness and smoothness that one would expect from a 12yo blend. After ten minutes: a pleasant waxiness, orange zests. Mouth: ah yes, this is much better. Pine resin, bananas, honey and a very pleasant earthiness. There must be quite some good quality malt in there. Very good body. Finish: long, peaty and slightly medicinal. Cough drops. Comments: too bad it was a little shy on the nose because the palate is excellent. SGP:242 - 80 points.
The Talisman (43%, OB, +/-2005) The malt behind Talisman is Tomatin. According to the owners, it’s “a whisky of good fortune and great character. » Colour: white wine (little or no caramel, congrats!) Nose: smooth, relatively malty (but not as malty as the Cutty.) Whiffs of wet papers, faint hints of oranges. But where’s Tomatin’s fruitiness? Mouth: smooth, round, fruitier than on the nose but also weirdly resinous and cardboardy. Gets then drier and drier despite hints of bubblegum. Finish: medium, a little spirity. Marshmallows. Comments: not too bad, I’d say. SGP:231 - 70 points.
King George IV (40%, OB, The Distillers Agency, Taittinger France, +/-1980) Colour: full gold. Nose: the smokiest of them all. Also notes of mint flavoured tea. Gets then a tad too soapy and cardboardy. Whiffs of sea brine and more peat coming through after a while, finally a little vanilla and honey. Nice nose, the most complex of them all. Mouth: powerful attack, smoky and waxy, very dry. Almost hot after all these years in glass. No development, though, gets dry and austere, all skin and bone. Finish: rather long, dry, waxy. Comments: maybe it was good… one day. The nose was very interesting but the palate is or got too dry. SGP:251 - 65 points.
The Three Scotches (43%, OB, Paisley Whisky Co., Grain, +/-1980) This is an unusual all-grain version, there used to be also a regular blend. Colour: white wine. Nose: typical grainy nose that reminds me of Black Barrel (remember?) Vanilla-infused vodka, varnish and cut grass. Not exactly a disaster, though. Mouth: not totally unpleasant. Sweet, simple, bubblegumy and mildly spicy (ginger tonic). Sweet pepper and kirsch (gorilka?) Finish: rather long but very narrow. Very grassy aftertaste. Comments: we’ve tasted worse whiskies. SGP:430 - 60 points.

MUSIC - Recommended listening: Argentina's supergenius saxophonist Gato Barbieri playing one of his super hits Bolivia (form his eponymous record, 1973). Please buy Gato Barbieri's music.

 

August 11, 2009


Dailuaine

TASTING – DAILUAINE AFTER 30 YEARS

Dailuaine 11 yo 1997/2009 (46%, Douglas of Drumlanrig, cask #4888, 715 bottles) Colour: full gold. Nose: not a very expressive kind of spirit but the profile is clean and straight, not exuberantly fruity nor porridgy/mashy at eleven years of age. It’s a Dailuaine that’s clearly more Highlands than Speyside in style, with notes of green apples, linseed oil, candle wax, pastries and just a little vanilla crème. Perfectly enjoyable and well balanced. Some quince coming through after ten minutes. Mouth: excellently sweet and fruity with a medium spiciness. Green apples and lemons plus almond cake, fresh oranges, a little ginger, a little cinnamon and just touches of salt. Very, very good in my view. Finish: long, clean, a little more candied (Demerara sugar). Barley sugar and just hints of lavender sweets. Pepper. Comments: excellent surprise, this youngster is a perfect dram, excellent value for money (sorry, I cannot remember the price but it isn’t expensive). Recommended. SGP:552 - 87 points.
Dailuaine-Glenlivet 31 yo 1966/1997 (56.8%, Cadenhead's Authentic Collection) I believe there was also a ‘Chairman’s Stock’ version of a 1966/1997, it was great, great whisky (WF94). Colour: full gold. Nose: it is very interesting to try this one after the 11yo because we’re well within the same family as far as the base spirit is concerned, with these waxy/oily notes and a moderate fruitiness. But then, what the long ageing and ten years of further mellowing in the bottle did to the whisky is rather spectacular, with superb notes of camphor and eucalyptus, mint, wax polish, truffles (NOT sulphur), old books (by a great novelist ;-)), a little saffron… With water: more of the same, gets a tad more leathery and even phenolic. Mouth (neat): oh yes oh yes oh yes. Powerful of course but extraordinarily fruity and resinous at the same time, just like on the nose. Angelica, crystallised lemon, spearmint, dried papayas, liquorice rolls, marzipan, mint liqueur (or Ricqlès if you know that)… What a blast! With water: stunning, just stunning. Mint flavoured tea shared with Debra Winger and a Tuareg chief right in the middle of the Sahara (I’m sorry, I watched Bertolucci’s Under the Sheltering Sky again last night). Finish: endless and fabulously balanced. Comments: a masterpiece by Cadenhead’s (and Dailuaine Distillery of course). I hate not to have a sample of that Chairman’s Stock on my shelves for due comparison but I can’t see why I wouldn’t score this one just the same. Big dram. SGP:562 - 94 points.
 
PETE McPEAT AND JACK WASHBACK on holidays in St Tropez
 

MUSIC - Recommended listening: a Breton band called Strollad, playing St-Malo. It's typical modern 'fusion' music (Celtic, rock, reggae) from Brittany, please buy Strollad's music.

Strollad
 

August 10, 2009


TASTING – MORE OLD GLEN GRANT SPANNING SEVERAL DECADES
Glen Grant
After the rather difficult 1974s I had the other day, I felt like I should try a few old wonders by this well-known yet slightly low-key distillery. And not just any old wonders…
Glen Grant 1965/2004 (40%, Gordon & MacPhail, Licenced) Colour: amber. Nose: ooh this starts well. Exceptional at first nosing, bursting with soft yet intense sherry and tons of dried fruits, then a wide range of soft spices and all things finely leathery. Develops on stewed fruits and a little mint and parsley, getting more and more complex. When I see the junk that some distillers issue for the same amount of money as what cost these superb old Glen Grants, I feel like going to bed. But we’re not done with this session… Mouth: rich yet playful, candied, extremely sippable, all on fruitcakes and various herbs that keep it full of youth at almost 40 years of age. Old sweet white wine, then a little mint (mint julep?), caramel fudge, onion jam, liquorice… Some sherry but it’s no sherry monster as such. Finish: rather long, rounded, clean, fresh. A little more honey again. Comments: a classic. Why these aren’t three times more expensive (or the others three times cheaper) is beyond understanding – or most buyers just don’t know their whisky. SGP:542 - 91 points.
Glen Grant 1929 (20 u.p., Matthew Gloag & Son, 1950s?) 20 under proof, that is to say 80°proof UK if I’m correct, that is to say roughly 46% vol. This was available by the dram at Limburg’s Whisky Fair and we’re assuming it was genuine. Colour: gold. Nose: it does not ‘smell old’ at all but rather smokier than the 1965 and pretty intense. Superb whiffs of walnuts and waxed cardboard, ‘a bag of apples from last year’, spearmint, green tea, then beeswax and green bananas… Ale. Wonderful but certainly not antique in style. I guess only god knows… Mouth: big, fat, thick, as peaty as, say today’s Talisker, starting also on some slightly extreme herbal and resinous notes that, indeed, are to be found in some very old casks. Peated honey (will you stop! –Ed), faint geraniumy notes, old sweet wine (a bit tired), some cardboard and then more cardboard. More mint and lemon as well. Unusual and certainly not ‘recent Glen Grant’ but I’m afraid I’ve got no experience with Glen Grants from the 1920s. Who has? Finish: long, half-syrupy, half-cardboardy but, I must say, very good in spite of the heavy tannins that start to come through in the aftertaste. Comments: some odd resinous/medicinal notes in this one, and certainly little ‘Glen-Grantness’. Is it genuine, is it a fake? Only three or four Italians may know. It’s very interesting for sure, especially if Glen Grant used to be rather peaty indeed before WWII. SGP:374 – 87 points.
Glen Grant 48 yo 1953/2001 (45%, Gordon & MacPhail, Private Collection, casks #1860-1864) Blimey, this one is younger than yours truly! Colour: dark mahogany with bronze hues. Nose: well, this is completely different again, with many more wood extracts. Starts very resinous, with huge notes of rum agricole and ripe bananas (reminding me of a fab old Old Pond 1941 rum by G&M). Develops more on chocolate liqueur and balsamic vinegar, then banana liqueur again, Mandarine Imperiale and chestnut purée. Superb nose but you have to like them ‘concentrated’. I do. Mouth: more a liqueur than a whisky at first sipping, but it does get drier after a few seconds, with truckloads of dry sherry, then mint drops, hawthorn tea (big time), chocolate, Smyrna raisins (not the sweetish kind of raisins such as sultanas) and finally some rather funky ‘youngish’ notes. Strawberry Jell-O? Some crème de cassis too. Anyway, it’s wonderful, not tired in any way. Finish: medium long, playful, on even more cassis and something such as hazelnut liqueur. Comments: yet a wonderful old Glen Grant by G&M. How many casks do they still have? It’s often said the Glen Grant is a very light spirit. Maybe, but in that case how come can it stand the test of time that beautifully? SGP:551 - 92 points.
Glen Grant 1969/1984 (59%, Samaroli, 3 hogsheads, 720 bottles) Colour: amber. Nose: this one is unusually spirity (yeah I saw the ABV), harsh, very grassy, with heavy notes of lees, red wine and cherry stem tea. Not very pleasant I’m afraid but I’m sure water will help mucho. With water: gets a little cleaner and smokier as well, but not really any more aromatic. A little more mint, though, as well as a little leather. Hints of peat. Did they sometimes peat Glen Grant in 1969? Mouth (neat): wham-bam-bim-a-la-dong! It’s all pretty much higgledy-piggledy when undiluted, even if less so than on the nose. I believe very old Glen Grants can be superb at 40 to 50% vol., but they may lack oxygen when climbing higher. With water: water works a little better than on the nose, bringing out more spices but other than that it’s hard to say this one improved a lot. A little peat once again, but less than on the nose. Finish: rather long, unexpectedly grassy and paraffiny. Herbal liqueur, Underberg. Comments: Mr Samaroli was unbeatable in those years, but he’s human. And humans fail sometimes. SGP:362 - 82 points.
Glen Grant 36 yo 1972/2009 (56.3%, The Whisky Fair, 209 bottles) Colour: amber. Nose: typical of these rich 1972 Glen Grants from Duncan Taylor’s stable, all on figs, dates, beeswax, honey and apricot pie. Extremely appealing, no need to say more. With water: exactly like a beehive. Amazing. Superb. Fabulous. Entrancing. Right, let’s save our adjectives for later duties. Mouth (neat): extraordinarily candied. Fudge, baklavas, figs, honey… Oh well, I’m sure you see what I mean. Brilliant vintage at GG. With water: the only problem is that one could swallow litres of this. The very best mead ever made for Mount Olympus (I guess you know that Greek gods used to quaff mead when on the mount.) Finish: maybe not the longest ever but these meady/honeyed notes are fantabulous. Comments: not whisky but candy for grown men and women. SGP:631 - 92 points.
Glen Grant 34 yo 1973/2008 (54.7%, The Single Malts of Scotland, sherry puncheon, cask #1856, 489 bottles) I chose to add this one to this longish session because 1973 was a rather unusual vintage. Colour: gold. Nose: starts on huge whiffs of vanilla but it’s also too hot and too grassy in my opinion, very different from the 1972. Once again, water will be necessary. With water: it does not help much, alas. It’s very, very nice whisky but it seems that they broke the mold at Glen Grant at the end of 1972. Mouth (neat): it is much better than on the nose when unreduced, but still sharp around the edges and lacking a bit of the old Glen Grants’ lusciousness. But once again, water may be salutary here. With water: works pretty well, it’s the herbal/mentholated side that comes out. Spearmint, buttered tea (Tibetan of course, ever tired that?) and liquorice. Finish: long, but gets a little drying and tannic. Comments: a good old Glen Grant for sure but there are so many of them… SGP:451 - 87 points.
 
STEPHANE THE MAD MALT MIXOLOGIST
Stephane

proposes his Summertime malt cocktails

"So British"

Pour into a shaker, with ice :
- 6 cl St Georges "Chapter IV" (peated) 46%
- 4 cl London dry gin (a good one!, like Tanqueray or Old Raj)
Shake and strain into a cocktail glass, decorate with an olive and a bacon slice on a stick.

MUSIC - Recommended listening:
Artist: WF favourite Abdullah Ibrahim
Title: a peaceful and soothing For Coltrane
From: African Dawn (1987)
Please buy Abdullah Ibrahim's music.

Abdullah Ibrahim
 

August 9, 2009


Our friend and Malt Maniac Luca is as passionate about some bands and musicians as he is about whisky. He sent us this review of a CD by one of his favorite bands, a band which I know only by name. Weren't it for Luca, you'd never hear about Dream Theater on WF, so thank you Luca. - S.

 

 

CD REVIEW by Luca Chichizola
DREAM THEATER
BLACK CLOUDS AND SILVER LININGS
Roadrunner Records

Dream Theater
What do you have if you try to imagine a Dream Theater album without the freshness, innovation and unexpected twists of their two masterpieces called “Images and words” and “Awake”, without the awe inspiring grandeur and cinematic flow of “Scenes from a memory” (their best and most creative studio recording to date), without the impressive scope of the monumental and very diverse “Six degrees of inner turbulence”, without the monolithic modern/trendy metal heaviness of “Train of thought” (maligned by some fans, who considered it a sellout, but actually very energetic), without the bland commercial radio-friendly derivativeness of “Octavarium” and even without the sprawling gothic excesses and toungue-in-cheek flamboyancy of “Systematic chaos”? You have an album which is very weird indeed, and at the same time not surprising at all… on the contrary, in spite of the lack of all the above mentioned elements, it manages to be a perfect distillate of Dream Theater, a textbook example on how to make a progressive metal record, and not a bad one at that (even if it might be one of their less immediately appealing and accessible works ever). Yes, “Blacks Clouds And Silver Linings” could be considered the most straightforward (but, by no means, not lacking in ambition, grandeur and heaviness) Dream Theater album so far. An album which blends extremely solid and classic heavy metal with softer moments, without giving a damn about commercial appeal. Solid from start to finish, enjoyable, stunningly played but without too many frills in spite of the prog metal flourishes, almost restrained at times.
The opening track, “A nightmare to remember”, is absolutely wonderful: very heavy, metal-sounding, dense and dark, gothic, clocking at more than sixteen minutes but never overlong. It’s like Megadeth, but subtler. There are some Opeth influences in the more delicate parts at the beginning of the second movement, too. If I were to find a weakness, it’s that the lyrics (narrating about a car accident happened to John Petrucci as a kid) are VERY mundane and literal, spoiling the atmosphere a bit. Alas, it’s a problem which plagues the whole album and which somewhat detracts from its grandeur: not that Dream Theater have ever been particularly subtle about lyrics, but they have done better than this. Not to mention that Mike Portnoy’s very fake and digitally processed “growl” in the final part is, as in previous albums, quite lame. No, Mike, you are not Mikael Akerfeldt... sorry! Anyway, a very good opening for the album.
The second track is also the first single (though the radio and TV version was severely cut for length reasons): “A rite of passage”, about freemasonry. It’s an OK metal song, very epic and somewhat sounding like it was lifted straight from the ‘80s. Good stuff, not memorable but very solid. Of course the best part of it is the wild guitar and keyboard soloing in the second half, which is pure Dream Theater progressive rock. Dream Theater
Then we have the softer song of the album, called “Wither” and dealing with the writer’s block which had struck drummer Mike Portnoy.
Very delicate, very melodic, and the only track with potential commercial appeal on the album (not to mention the only one at a “normal” length). A fine song if you ask me, but no originality at all: Dream Theater have had some better ballads in the past, more touching and sincere. And, again, the lyrics are so mundane that they are almost painful at times…
Those who know Dream Theater already know that Portnoy is an ex-alcoholist, and that in each of the last four albums he wrote a song dedicated to his rehabilitation. “The shattered fortress” is the fifth and final chapter in his Alcoholist Anonymous saga, and it’s an excellent one: it blends themes, chords, lyrics and moods from the previous four ones in a lengthy (almost 13 minutes) saga which is rousing, heavy, diverse and brilliant. Sure, with all the influences and references at times it may sound like a patchwork of already known songs, but it manages to complete the saga in a very nice way. I won’t be as enthusiastic as the reviewer of Allmusic was (he even managed to say that it’s a song which features “emulation of the Conceptual Continuity Clues method favored by one of Portnoy’s herpes, Frank Zappa”), but just let me say that if you don’t stand Dream Theater you will hate it, if you know them by heart you will absolutely love it…
The fifth song, “The best of times” is a bit hit-or-miss. Sure, the theme is absolutely sincere: it’s Mike Portnoy paying homage to his recently departed father, a role model for his life. It’s sincere, yes, and it’s touching. And the Eric Clapton-like guitar intro is pure gold. But… once again the lyrics are so stereotypical, so literal, so trivial, so blunt that they might not be out of place in the soundtrack of a Disney movie. Sure, personal feelings are not to be criticized, but a little more effort would have been welcome to avoid this song getting into sappy sentimentalism, not to mention that like most other songs in the album it’s very long and this time it DOES feel overlong indeed.
The album ends with the sixth track, an absolute masterpiece of mood, stunning musicianship and sprawling grandeur: “The Count of Tuscany”, once again testing hard the patience of non-fans with its NINETEEN minutes but leaving fans in bliss (they will feel like those 19 minutes were only five or six, completely entranced by its utter brilliance). It’s an almost horror tale, about a meeting with an eccentric nobleman in the Italian countryside and the eerie history of his ancient estate. It’s at the same time heavy, melodic, chilling and uplifting, a true gem in Dream Theater’s discography. Sure, the trained ear will find some echoes of the band Rush, but it only adds to the preciousness of this composition: once again Dream Theater prove that they can write long epics that if it weren’t for the loud drumming and guitars wouldn’t be out of place in a classical music symphony. Don’t miss, in particular, the lovely intro and the ethereal Vangelis-like keyboard intermezzo which serves perfectly as a bridge between the heavier and darkest first half and the sunnier and joyous ending. “The Count of Tuscany” is a long, stylish, complex composition which does wonders in reminding us that progressive rock is not dead and crushing many modern rock bands into shame: it’s beautiful, it’s bold, it’s brave and it stimulates the ears and the mind, while rocking so incredibly hard when it’s needed. Again, the lyrics are not particularly subtle, but this time the music covers any possible flaws in the song.
“Black Clouds And Silver Linings” is a grower, an album which you probably won’t fully appreciate on the first listenings but which will see you returning to it in time: while exquisitely crafted, it won’t catch your attention immediately like the previous Dream Theater albums did. And even after some listenings, you will probably think that it’s a very solid record, with the usual great musicianship… but a bit less entertaining, flamboyant, daring and creative than usual. It’s a rather hardcore album: very classic heavy metal with less frills than expected from the band, very solid and monolithic, and with some softer but not less interesting moments. But it’s also much less gratuitous, less derivative (and with an absolute bare minimum of pure show-off technical wizardry) than one could legitimately think, which will be good news for those who thought that Dream Theater had taken a bad road of excess in recent years.
Personally, I am divided: the absolutely demented and unsubtle “cheese” factor of songs like “In the presence of enemies” from the previous album (which dared to include a furious ripoff of “Flight of the Bumblebee” and heavy Faustian themes), while extremely criticized by purists, was certainly much funnier than anything on “Black Clouds And Silver Linings”. And even if “The Count of Tuscany” is a great suite, it’s no match to the eclectic brilliance of the “Octavarium” suite from the (otherwise mediocre) album of the same name. These guys are so over the top in musical style that IMHO it’s actually fitting when they write cheesy and larger than life stuff, when they overindulge in their dazzling instrumental antics. So, we have nothing of the ultra-ludicrous but fun Egyptian horror of “The dark eternal night” here, or of the romantic vampires of “Forsaken”, or of the ambitious psychological themes of the second disc of “Six degrees of inner turbulence, or the complex murder thriller investigation of “Scenes from a memory”. It’s a return to “A change of season” territory: still overblown, still filled with more changes in tempo and style than you can imagine, and with gigantic and larger than life structures and wild arpeggios… but with some more restraint than usual. Solid, coherent and compact in spite of the length of the compositions, even. In “Black Clouds and Silver Linings” there are many Dream Theater trademarks: the long running times, the musical wizardry, the intricate textures and arrangements of the instruments, the stunning melding of classic metal with the most creative progressive elements. But, compared to previous efforts, you almost never get the feeling that the musicians are continually desperately trying to get astray on a berserk solo every ten seconds, on a personal showcase of talent regardless of the rest of the band and of the purpose of the songs themselves. So, is it a better integrated, tight (well, at least for a band that insists on 20 minutes epics…) and well-organized album than the previous ones, or simply a less exciting, daring and creative one? I won’t try to answer the question: I prefer to listen to it once again, and simply say that it’s a good album and that you should definitely own it if you like progressive rock and heavy metal.
Don’t forget that it’s also available in a fantastic deluxe boxset: this limited edition contains the album itself on CD and on two audiophile vinyl LPs, a CD with all the tracks in instrumental versions (for the heavy metal purists who always complain that James La Brie’s voice is too delicate/effeminate for the genre), a DVD with all the separate wave tracks of the instruments so that you can mix your own version of the album at home, and a mousemat and a numbered lithography with the cover artwork (although on the mousemat there is a funny difference… spot it!). But wait, there’s more: a third CD filled with some very nice songs from other bands! It’s very nice to hear Dream Theater covering Rainbow, The Dixie Dregs, Zebra, The Queen (La Brie’s voice is the best Freddie Mercury impersonation I’ve heard EVER!), Iron Maiden and (to the possible shock of some) even King Crimson’s “Larks tongues in aspic, part two”.
Random copies of the boxset may also include a lithography hand-signed by the artist, or a ticket for meeting the band in person at a concert of choice. No, I haven’t found any of these two bonus gifts… better luck next time? - Luca Chichizola
Rating: 80
LIsten to Dream Theater on Myspace
 

August 7, 2009


Clynelish TASTING – TWO 1982 CLYNELISH

I’m not far from thinking that Clynelishes from the 1982/1983 era were as close as they could get to ‘old Clynelish’, that is to say the old distillery before it was rechristened ‘Brora’. Maybe because Brora was about to get silenced forever…
Clynelish 27 yo 1982/2009 (53.9%, The Perfect Dram II, Bourbon, 240 bottles) Colour: straw. Nose: holy featherless crow! This is it, one of the most austere yet magnificent spirits ever made by man. A spirit so great that it does not need any vulgar speedy oak doping, nor any crappy wine finishing to express its full class. In other word, a distillate that needs no crutches! As I had hoped, we’re very close to ‘old Clynelish’ (think the different old 12yo 100°proof for Giaccone), with a quintessential waxiness and a full bag of other aromas such as limejuice, flints, oysters and riesling. The perfect profile in my opinion. With water: lemon-scented candles and old Alsatian riesling from the best makers’. Mouth (neat): it is exceptional Clynelish, no doubt, reminding me of a very rare 1983 by Samaroli for A. Bleve in Rome that was very impressive. Indeed, this 1982 is an amazing whisky, maybe not the most complex ever but these flavours of lemon pie and honey-loaded beeswax plus a very tensed flintiness are totally perfect. And so is the oak. With water: please call the anti-maltoporn brigade. Finish: long and exceptional. Comments: I want to marry this whisky. Perfect dram indeed. Oh and one more thing, this isn’t an uberfuity Clynelish such as the ones from the early 1970s so if it’s what you’re looking for you’ll be disappointed. More for us! ;-) SGP:363 - 93 points.
Clynelish 1982/1995 (64.5%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, 26.3) One of the first Clynelishes by the SMWS. Colour: dark amber with reddish hues. Nose: it seems that we’re in the same category as the 27yo but this is so powerful that the tiniest vapours will just perforate your nasal fossae and blow your brain out in a flash. If you don’t mind, I won’t even try and shall pour a good dozen drops of water into it before going on. With water: superb notes of parsley, very old balsamic vinegar from Modena (a genuine one, not the supermarket crap), leather, walnut liqueur, coffee and shoe polish. Does the heavy sherry mask Clynelish? Not quite, they rather work in symbiosis here, which isn’t that common with whisky. Mouth (neat): wowie! Coffee-schnapps galore but it’s all too strong. Cough, cough… With water: a very old Château Chalon by Jean Macle or Marius Perron, only with more alcohol. If you don’t know these superb wines yet, you should really try to put your hands on one or three bottles, they age even better than Charlotte Rampling. Amazing ‘taste of yellow’ and walnuts. Finish: endless, more on toasted bread. Quite some peat in the aftertaste. Comments: I liked the ‘naked’ version a little better coz it’s purer but this is fantastic as well. SGP:463 - 92 points. (and thanks a bunch, Luc).
 
PETE McPEAT AND JACK WASHBACK on holidays in St Tropez
Whith thanks to Bruno at whisky-distilleries.info (forum)

MUSIC - Recommended listening: the very grrooovey late Big Twist & his Mellow Fellows doing I've got a problem. Please buy Big Twist's (and the Chicago Rhythm & Blues Kings') music.

Big Twist
 

August 6, 2009


Glendronach 12

TASTING – TWO YOUNG GLENDRONACHS (well, if it goes on like that in Scotland, 12yo will soon be very old for malt whisky)

Glendronach 12 yo 'Original' (43%, OB, 2009) Picture: various recent labels, from oldest to newest (the one we’ll now try).

Colour: full gold. Nose: oh, once again it seems obvious to me that the new Glendronachs do fill the seats left vacant by The Macallan a few years ago. Seriously, this is very close to the ‘old 12’ in style, with that very peculiar blend of maltiness and sherriness with some very pleasant notes of yellow flowers plus toasted brioche and orange marmalade. It’s also obvious that it’s much better composed than the older Glendronach 12 ‘Original’ that wasn’t very inspiring in my opinion. Mouth: syrupy, much bigger than ‘40%’ and probably more complex than on the nose, which is quite an achievement at such young age (but again, is 12 still young?) Big honey and apricot jam, ripe yellow plums, then notes of sherry, milk chocolate and a little Cointreau plus drops of Bailey’s (I’m really sorry). Extremely coherent and superlatively drinkable. Finish: unexpectedly long and big, with quite some spices kicking in. Pepper and cloves. Bailey’s is back in the aftertaste. Comments: sure it’s no very complex whisky but it’s perfectly balanced despite its richness and relative thickness. Recommended. SGP:531 - 86 points.
Glendronach Glendronach 9 yo 1987/1997 (58.5%, Signatory Dumpy, cask #57, 520 bottles) Warning, Signatory had several stupendous sherried Glendronachs at the time… The 1970s are legendary. Colour: amber. Nose: take some gunpowder, some dark chocolate and some pepper, then mix the whole and add a good deal of alcohol and you may get this. Truth is that it’s superb, except if you’re a whisky pacifist and hate gunpowder in your dram. Actually, there isn’t much else in this youngster but you can achieve balance using only two or three elements, can’t you? With water: gets drier, with maybe a little sulphur and certainly whiffs of bicycle inner tube. Not greatly great at this point.
Mouth (neat): big yet elegant attack, more complex than on the nose (same phenomenon as with the new 12), more on strawberry jam, fudge, Armagnac-soaked prunes, liqueur-filled chocolates and something like peppered gunpowder (wot? –Ed) With water: does not change like it did on the nose, which is great news. More of the same, just more quaffable. Finish: very long, balanced, with a little more marmalade and ginger liqueur. Comments: the nose was ‘interesting’ but the palate was really superb. It reminded me of some sherried Port Charlotte in a certain way, great casks can do wonders in a flash. I mean, genuine great casks. Too bad water brought out a little too much rubber for my taste, otherwise this fearless youngster would have deserved a full 90 points in my book. It’s also not far at all from the new 12 somewhere on the palate. SGP:541 - 88 points.
 
STEPHANE THE MAD MALT MIXOLOGIST
Stephane

proposes his Summertime malt cocktails

"El Capitan"

Pour into a cristal wine glass :
- 4 cl Glendronach 15 yo Revival 46%
- 4 cl ruby port of quality (e.g. Churchill's crusted port 2002)
Place the glass into the fridge about 30 minutes before to serve and drink.
Dedicated to my trip in La Baule and to a great person to absolutely meet there : Gilles Le Capitaine.

MUSIC - Recommended listening: another treat from the past, Germany's seminal band Amon Düül II do Luzifers Gnom (that was on 1969's Phallis Dei). Ah, krautrock! Please buy Amon Duul 2's music.

Amon Duul
 

August 5, 2009


Caol Ila

TASTING – THREE 1982 CAOL ILA

Caol Ila 27 yo 1982/2009 (50%, The Whisky Agency Fossils Series, Rum Wood finish, 115 bottles) Finishing an old Caol Ila in rum sounds like marinating goose foie gras in Diet Coke to me but who knows, maybe the end result would be good. Colour: gold. Nose: right, Caol Ila is powerful whisky so as expected, it’s not a few litres of rum that will harm it too much. Actually the rum is very discreet here and if it did impart an extra-sweetness to the malt, it’s very hard to say whether that sweetness came from the rum or if was there before the transgression was organised ;-). Anyway, this is a rather simple, sweet, mildly peaty Caol Ila. With water: more farmy notes as often, and less sweetness. Clean cow stable, clean manure, hints of burnt sugar and molasses indeed, maybe from the rum. Mouth (neat): good, sweet peat, rather rich and creamy, candied (quince jelly, dried bananas), mildly peppery. No ‘coastalness’ here, or very little. Pleasant but certainly not mindboggling. With water: oh, this is unexpected, the ‘coastality’ just came out, with notes of tinned sardines and anchovies and quite some salt. So funny! Finish: medium long, now on a mixture of cane sugar and kippers. Sounds horrible but it isn’t. Comments: a funny baby indeed, going back to the sea as any living being will sooner or later (well, that’s what I’ve heard). SGP:446 - 85 points.
Caol Ila 27 yo 1982/2009 (62.4%, The Perfect Dram II, Bourbon, 108 bottles) Colour: gold. Nose: another world, completely another world. Sure it’s hot and powerful but I do get a few camphory, tarry and resinous notes plus quite some pepper and ginger, a profile that reminds me of much older bottlings of CI and, to tell you the truth, of some old Ardbegs. With water: yes indeed, even if it got crisper and flintier and rather less medicinal. Maybe a tad more ‘Port Ellen’ this time. Huge notes of wet limestone and ‘the beach under the rain’. Mouth (neat): once again, there’s something antique in this one, that is to say notes of cough syrup and tar liqueur that are usually more to be found in older bottles. Also a great zestiness (lime juice). With water: bursts with Islayness, peat, iodine, oysters, lemon, pepper… And a slight sugariness in the background (orange drops.) Finish: long, now ultra-clean, well in the style of the best Caol Ilas. Comments: a fascinating dram. Sometimes Cao Ilas can be a tad boring (all peated Islays can actually) because there are so many of them but this one is different. Excellent and very big for Caol Ila. SGP:467 - 91 points.
Caol Ila 1982/2008 (62.7%, Scotch Single Malt Cask, Bourbon Hogshead, cask #2724) Colour: gold. Nose: once again, an extremely powerful beast that hits you right between the eyes as soon as you raise your glass to your nose. Let’s say that it seems that this one is rather farmier, kind of more organic than the Perfect Dram. With water: it came a little closer to the Perfect Dram but once again, it’s farmier and earthier, and more herbal as well. Gentian roots, mint and liquorice tea, a little verbena… Mouth (neat): a little rounder than expected but once again, it’s much more ‘down to earth’ than the Perfect Dram, rootier, more on liquorice wood and green apples. Not the same whisky at all. But it’s damn h-o-t! With water: once again, a little more typically Caol Ila than its bro even if they’re much closer than when tried neat. Kippery for sure, iodized, gently lemony, a tad medicinal (cough drops), earthy… Finish: very long, with more lemon marmalade. Clams. Some lemon playing with your lips. Comments: more a classic but of the same high quality as the Perfect Dram. I’m sorry, I won’t spend all night trying to decide on which is my favourite. SGP:357 - 91 points.
 
THE GLENWONKA ANNOUNCE DAZZLING NEW PRODUCTS
The Glenwonka
In a shock development, after their record-breaking new 100 years old, The GlenWonka just announced imminent launch of no less than seven (7) new bottlings, ranging from the most innovative (The GlenWonka For Girlz!) to the most traditional (The GlenWonka 1898 ‘Sissi’). All details at The GlenWonka’s website.
Imperial Tribute PS - By the way, do you know The Imperial Tribute, a legend that 'was born 2,000 years ago when the proud Ninth legion of the Roman Army were defeated by the fiercely independent men of Caledonia.' and a whisky that's 'highly sophisticated, venerably aged, as smooth and rounded as a Henry Moore sculpture?' It's real, even I couldn't have made that one up!
 
PETE McPEAT AND JACK WASHBACK on holidays in St Tropez
 

MUSIC - Recommended listening: Argentina's Soda Stereo and the singer of Colombia's Aterciopelados, both superbands, doing En la Ciudad de la Furia (live). Please buy Soda Stereo and Aterciopelados' music.

Aterciopelados
 

August 4, 2009


CONCERT REVIEW by Nick Morgan
BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN AND THE E STREET BAND

Hyde Park, London
June 28th 2009

I know, Serge that like me, you abhor excess. The gross and grotesque over- consumption that seems to signal, even in times of recession, twenty-first century society. A “we want more” world, when quantity so often seems to be preferred over quality, where responsibility is abrogated in favour of thoughtless over-indulgence, with the consequences of obesity, ill-health and mental weakness.

Bruce

And of course it’s always someone else’s fault ; accountability kept firmly at arm’s length by the perpetrators as they feed with frenzy at the trough of intemperance. But just once in a while, the architect of this gluttonous greed is so clearly apparent that culpability cannot be denied. Those heartless villains whose only thought is to fuel this culture of surfeit. Which is where Bruce Springsteen comes in. Who in their right mind needs a three hour concert? In case you don’t know, Bruce has come hot foot to Hyde Park Calling in London from Glastonbury, where his barnstorming Saturday night headline (only about two and a half hours) blew a hole in the curfew, earning the disapproval of the local authorities and a fine for the organisers.
Don’t get me wrong. This is a brilliant showboating performance, from the moment that the Boss and his indefatigable E Street Band take to the stage and break into the opening chords of ‘London’s calling’ (they opened Glastonbury with Joe Strummer’s ‘Coma girl’). If that wasn’t enough to win the hearts of the crowd (many of whom were showing predictable signs of a surfeit of beer by this time) it was followed by several quick jaunts from the stage to the crowd. Requests were collected and several played, and at one point, Springsteen stretched his arm as far as he could to hold his microphone to the lips of a young child held aloft by his father, who promptly sang a word-perfect chorus for the Boss. And of course, despite his brash braggadocio (displayed at its worst by an ill-judged tub-thumping appeal to the ‘power of love’) , he also displayed vulnerability, falling prone on the steps on one of his return journeys to the stage: “I’m sixty, man, get me a fucking elevator”. Quite where Mr Springsteen gets his energy from I don’t know, but the remarkable thing is that it was matched to every last degree by his band. Of course, long-time collaborators ‘Little’ Steven Van Zandt and Nils Logfren are to the fore; Logfren’s guitar playing, which is often overlooked, was particularly good. But the outstanding performance of the night, after the Boss himself, probably came from drummer Max Weinberg. He hardly stopped playing for the whole set, drumming out of one song and, as Springsteen changed guitar with a “One two three four”, drummed into the next.
So there’s not much wrong with the performance, it’s just too long. It’s like having those extra two or three drinks that you don’t need, or another bowl of chips or an extra portion of chocolate dessert. You know you don’t need it, you know you don’t want it, and as you do have more you lose the sense of appreciation and enjoyment of what went before.
Certainly with Bruce one of the problems is, not least because of the way the songs run into each other, that after a while you can easily get the sense that the songs all sound pretty much the same, and lose the impact they might have had. I’m sure the Bruce-addicted gourmands probably relished every one of the one hundred and eighty minutes. But we weren’t alone amongst the gourmets who chose to leave before the Boss crashed into his encore of Rosalita, Hard Times, Jungleland, American Land, Glory Days and Dancing In The Dark. It’s just too much, Bruce. It’s not responsible. - Nick Morgan (photographs by Kate)
Listen: Bruce Springsteen on good old MySpace
 
TASTING – THREE GLENGLASSAUGH
Glenglassaugh  
The new owners managed to put Glenglassaugh back under the whisky lovers’ radars thanks to some clever social marketing and a few unusual bottlings such as some newmake and even finished newmake (!) But today we’ll rather have an old indie as well as two recent old style decanters.
Glenglassaugh 1983/1995 (40%, Gordon & MacPhail, Connoisseur's Choice, old map label) Colour: gold. Nose: starts very fresh, on light notes of flowers from the fields, acacia honey and cereals as well as a faint toastiness. Pretty harmless, very gentle and rather clean. Goes on with whiffs of a newly opened pack of liquorice allsorts and maybe some tiny-wee hints of cardboard and cold tea. ‘Pleasant’. Mouth: sweet, light but not weak, very cereally and malty with touches of caramel and gingerbread. Funny that we find quite some liquorice again (funny? – Ed). Gets maybe a tad bitterish towards the finish (over-infused tea). Finish: medium long, very malty and somewhat tea-ish. Comments: it’s good, just a little middle-of-the-road. Were now used to more firmness in our whiskies, aren’t we? SGP:331 - 81 points.
Glenglassaugh 21 yo (46%, OB, Glass Decanter, +/-2009) Colour: pale gold. Nose: this one is more polished and probably more elegant but the general profile is pretty close to the 1983’s. Light, moderately fragrant, pleasantly flowery and honeyed. More vanilla as well, and also notes of apple pie, strawberry pie and butterscotch, fresh butter and just a little sawdust. The oakiness grows bigger over time (quite some cinnamon and a little mint). Mouth: once again we find the same profile as with the 1983, only much bigger this time and rather fruitier too, with notes of peppered pear drops, should that exist. Gets then frankly grassy and malty, with the oak singing rather loud. Strong tea, Nescafé and a little vanilla plus white pepper and cinnamon. It’s not very ‘wide’ but there’s good quality oak behind the whole. Finish: medium long, the oak giving it kind of a slight sourness. Cider apples? Liquorice wood. Comments: it’s not a luscious old Speysider such as the ones that usually end up in decanters, but it’s pleasant. SGP:331 – 82 points.
Glenglassaugh 30 yo (55.1%, OB, Glass Decanter, +/-2009) Colour: gold. Nose: much more oak in this one, which is probably normal. Yet it’s not exactly plankish, but there’s quite some cinnamon and nutmeg. Develops much more on lemon balm, lemon pie and even citronella oil, with a good deal of marzipan in the background. A little grassy too (and apple peeling). With water: more apple peeling, fresh walnuts and plain oak and much less fruits. Still nice. Mouth (neat): much, much more happening than in the 21yo, even if this one is very concentrated and almost thick. Heavy wood extracts plus blackberry jam and touches of chilli. It’s also funnily grapy (big red muscats). Turkish delights. With water: it’s the oak that comes to the front, with more strong tea, but the playful sweet notes (jelly beans?) are still there. Finish: long and kind of dual, on ‘green’ oak and sweets. Comments: a thick, heavy baby this time, maybe a little more panzerish than the younger ones but also more interesting and entertaining. SGP:551 - 84 points.
 

August 3, 2009


BREAKING NEWS - £1,999,999 A BOTLLE!
NEW MOST EXPENSIVE RECESSION PROOF SCOTCH EVER TO BE LAUNCHED IN SEPTEMBER, FETCHES 99.9 POINTS
GlenWOnka 100
PRESS RELEASE
From the heart of Speyside comes this new expression of one of the world's most intriguing single malt whiskies. Aged for exactly 100 years by three generations of dedicated craftsmen the whisky has lain undisturbed in our oldest and finest palletised warehouses and has now finally been deemed ready for bottling. Presented at natural cask strength of 40° alcohol and bottled without filtration in the finest hand blown decanters made from the glass of the distillery’s old spirit safes.
Of course it is not easy to create a whisky of such elegance. Over the years the whisky has been carefully monitored and cared for. The potential of this spirit was detected when it was a mere 50 years old, luckily enough this coincided with the invention of cling film and through careful stock management this whisky has been nurtured to a full century. Only bottled when our master ear judged it a sound dram.
We understand a product with such high provenance will be truly desirable and at such an alluring price who would not be tempted? As is well known the doors of our distillery have been closed to the public for many years and the industry is alive with speculation and intrigue as to our techniques and practices. That’s why to mark the release of such a historic bottling we are offering five lucky people the chance to take a tour and tasting with our elusive and legendary manager Richard McEwan. These places are to be allocated to anyone fortunate enough to buy one of the five bottles containing a gold cork, could you be a lucky holder of the golden bung? Also for a limited time only all bottles will come with a complimentary Aston Martin V8 Vantage available in either Golden Promise Amber or Oloroso Sunset with a bonded aluminium structure and Spanish oak dash fashioned from the casks of this legendary vintage. Our master ear has personally selected models with the finest engine note to match this whisky.
This bottling will be officially launched in a special ceremony at the British Embassy in Paris next month. Among the many distinguished guests will be honorary master ear, HRH Prince Charles. All casks listened to by his HRH on the day will be auctioned at the evening’s dinner, the proceeds of which will go to aid the plight of the Speyside Gardener's Association.
This is undoubtedly a whisky of great olfactory significance so we have invited the well-known whisky expert Angus W. Apfelstrudel, Jr*. to scribe our official tasting notes.
GlenWonka
Gaze upon The GlenWonka's amazingly
deep, rich amber colour
Coming with the bottle: a magnificent
pewter tumbler made by Christofle of Paris
Scarf
Also this superb tartan scarf proudly
bearing The GlenWonka's embroidered logo.
Complimentary Aston Martin V8 Vantage
(here in Golden Promise Amber)
The GlenWonka 100 years old 1909 40% Single Malt Scotch Whisky (Suggested Retail Price £1,999,999**)
N. SWEET VISHNU! Never have I encountered such a swirling, vibrant interplay of oak and malt at such immense age. The fruit glimmers like the tail feathers of a frightened peacock disappearing into a dark forest of European oak. There is spice also, I am returned to my long summers as a child working the street markets of Bombay, ahh olfactory nostalgia of the highest order. There are even whiffs of the pre-war sense of foreboding and apprehension that pervaded the world of 1909 into which this magnificent spirit was spawned. Angus
P. Now we’re getting down to it. Reminds me of all the women I’ve ever seduced rolled into one and finished with a fine Cuban. It dances a true ballet on the palate, engaging all parts of the tongue. Rich notes of leather upholstery, old copies of National Geographic sat for decades in a private school's headmaster's study all rounded off with a deft flutter of the silkiest tannins. Makes me pine for the great lost Speyside character of old that I was proud to turn the world's attention to many summers past. Such complexity for the age, like spending an evening with Winston Churchill in a whirlwind of whispering smoke and well stewed fruits.
F. No finish on this baby, finishes end, God's got some thinking to do as this old beauty redefines eternity. WOW! An orgasmic tsunami of peat that peaks and seems to fade like the lingering memories of the finest Brazilian hookers, warm and spicy but with bite. A truly memorable drinking experience, on a par with the Uigeadail for Canada but it even eclipses that wild warhorse in the end.
B. Well what can I say? I was hoping for something special but this takes the piss. I'm so glad I came up with the idea of using peat to dry the barley otherwise whisky production might not have been sustained through those delicate pre-war years and this bottling might never have been. As it stands this bottling has done me proud.
99.9 points (would have been higher were it not for a faint whiff of bullshit)
* The latest edition of Angus Apfelstrudel’s acclaimed Whisky Tora is in shops now featuring over 375,000 new entries.
** The GlenWonka 100 years old is an extremely limited edition of only five decanters for the entire world and will be available at The Whisky Exchange (London), Loch Fyne Whiskies (Inveraray), Royal Mile Whiskies (Edinburgh), La Maison du Whisky (Paris), Park Avenue Liquors (New York), Potstill (Vienna), Whisky-e Ltd (Tokyo), World of Whiskies (Heathrow Airport), The Nectar (Zolder), Van Zuylen (The Hague) and Malt Rarities (Limburg).
The GlenWonka is a Yu Wan Mei Amalgamated Salvage Fisheries And Polymer Injection Group brand. Yu Wan Mei Amalgamated Salvage Fisheries And Polymer Injection Group consider that whisky is for drinking and do not encourage speculation. Please follow us on Twitter. Please join us on Facebook. Please watch our videos on Youtube. Please buy our other fine products. Please attend our masterclasses. Please read our blog (work in progress.) Please follow our updates on Plurk, Zing, Boomf, Bang, Strumpf, Zing, Woosh, Zwish, Proost and Slime. Please check our announcements on any new digital services that have yet to be invented. Please do not visit our distillery while wearing shorts, white socks, sandals or our competitors' T-shirts. Please remember that orange and yellow do not go well together. Please don't park your mobile homes in front of the warehouses' entrances. Please don't smoke spliffs in the still house. Please remember that jerrycans are forbidden in the filling station. Please don't just buy miniatures, Celtic jewelry, bagpipe CDs or fudge in the visitor's centre. Please put our Distillery only bottlings on eBay using your iPhone as soon as you're out of the visitor's centre but please always put a reserve price that's at least 1.5 times higher than our shop price. Please don't cook Indian food on the parking place in front of our highly acclaimed Old Worm Coil Café. Thank you, together we'll make Scotland a better world.
For more information about The GlenWonka, the Yu Wan Mei Amalgamated Salvage Fisheries And Polymer Injection Group or Angus W. Apfelstrudel, Jr, please contact Mrs Dearbhfhorghaill Yuan, Keep It Stupid PR, Suite 23745127, Building 9, 2918 North Zhongshan Rd, Shanghai, 200063, The People's Republic of China.
END OF PRESS RELEASE
(Any resemblance to actual companies, people or events is purely coincidental)

MUSIC - Recommended listening:
Artist: the Art Ensemble of Chicago (of course)
Title: Strawberry mango
From: Coming Home Jamaica
Please buy all of the Art Ensemble's music.

Art Ensemble

July 2009 - part 2 <--- August 2009 - part 1---> August 2009 - part 2


C
heck the index of all entries:
Whisky
Music
Nick's Concert Reviews

 

 

Best malts I had these weeks - 90+ points only - alphabetical: a heavy month!

Caol Ila 27 yo 1982/2009 (62.4%, The Perfect Dram II, Bourbon, 108 bottles)

Caol Ila 1982/2008 (62.7%, Scotch Single Malt Cask, Bourbon Hogshead, cask #2724)

Clynelish 1982/1995 (64.5%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, 26.3)

Clynelish 27 yo 1982/2009 (53.9%, The Perfect Dram II, Bourbon, 240 bottles)

Dailuaine-Glenlivet 31 yo 1966/1997 (56.8%, Cadenhead's Authentic Collection)

Glen Grant 36 yo 1972/2009 (56.3%, The Whisky Fair, 209 bottles)

Glen Grant 1965/2004 (40%, Gordon & MacPhail, Licenced)

Glen Grant 48 yo 1953/2001 (45%, Gordon & MacPhail, Private Collection, casks #1860-1864)