Thursday, August 14, 2008

Herald Whisky Supplement August 2008

The club's co-operation with the Herald continues this month with a selection of six drams which were tasted blind.
We're obliged to members of the tasting panel for their notes, which were effortlessly turned into prose by Andy Clark.

Littlemill 1990 Scotch Malt Whisky Society bottling - cask no. 97.11 @ 56%

From a lost distillery on the Clyde comes a dram fit for the new world.
It’s like New England in the fall … heavy with freshly cut oak and bourbon-vanilla. There’s grass and fresh herbs growing beneath your feet, and a hint of salt from the far-off ocean blowing on the wind.
As you explore you’ll be met with the tang of citrus and apple peel and the richness of butter and fudge.
There’s even a touch of coconut and passion fruit to show that this old master from times gone by is still very much alive.
Who said history was boring?

Mammochmore 1992 SMWS bottling 64.15 @ 57/1%

Want the recipe for something special from Speyside? Well, go get a pencil and pay attention.
Take fruit … lots of it … and throw it into a large glass. Add a handful of nuts and rolled oats, some honey and a touch of spice.
Next, toffee (fudge if you’d prefer) and maple syrup.
Now pour in fresh rain water and stir the whole thing up with a stick of charcoal.
And what do you get?
Rich, dark cake with marzipan fresh from the oven, covered in a generous dusting of sherbet.
Fruity. Fizzy. Tasty.
Definitely for sharing with friends … that’s if it makes it out of the kitchen!

Dalwhinnie double matured. Diageo. Bottled 1990 @ 43%

When it comes to quality, why make life complicated?
From the maker of one of finest 15-year-olds on the planet comes a malt that is simple, and special - an elegant, fur-coated lady of a dram.
There are no airs or graces … she’s soft and approachable, even though she’s seriously rich and a bit fruity.
You can even smell the sherry on her breath.
She’s quite a catch … and if you take her home and put your feet up, you’re sure to have the time of your life.
It’s as simple as that.

Cragganmore 14 Distillers Edition. Diageo. Bottled 1993 @ 40%

Fancy a day out just like the good old days?
A picnic, perhaps … sitting among the long grass at the back of the dunes?
We could have sweets, dried fruit, and coffee and walnut cake covered in treacle.
And for drinks, how about a flask of milky coffee and some nice expensive brandy?
We could even stop on the way home for rum and raisin ice cream, just to round things off.
So let’s pack the car, jump aboard and explore. We’re sure to have an adventure we’ll never forget.

Talisker Double Matured. Diageo. Bottled 1993 @45.8%

Skye. It’s a seriously daunting prospect.
Much like its famous Cuillin Ridge, it’s rugged, at times inhospitable and just a little bit scary. Definitely not a place for the faint-hearted.
But what if someone gave the less committed among us a helping hand, just to ease the way?
That’s what’s so special about Talisker Double Matured.
It’s still serious, it’s still a major challenge, just like the usual Talisker.
But now there’s a bus to the start of the climb.
You’ll get a leg-up just at the point you’re losing your nerve.
The true spirit of Skye, but with a dab of antiseptic cream to protect your knees from the roughness of the rock.
A trip to treasure, and no mistake … surely that’s not a ladder up the Inaccessible Pinnacle?

Black Grouse. No Age Statement. 40%

Ever thought of abandoning the path of righteousness and turning to the dark side?
Well, here’s the perfect excuse.
Black Grouse - which has just been awarded a Gold medal at this year’s International Spirits Challenge (ISC) - is so nice it’s naughty.
Initially it’s quite overpowering … a high spirit burn.
But give it time and it reminds you of hot sun on a lawnmower … oily, warm and comforting.
It’s fruity and sweet with malt, oak and sherry.
Perfect on its own, great with ice. Exciting as a base for a cocktail.
This is a drink that will definitely bring out the devil in you.
A true piece of Black magic.

Many thanks to those who supplied the samples.

Monday, August 11, 2008


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A capital weekend in the capital for a handful of club members. Whisky Fringe was a 500 a day sell out and has become a much better bet than Whisky Live, in your scrivener's humble opinion. The exhibitors are top class, and the £10 voucher for use in the Royal Mile Whiskies shop made it a complete bargain. I was there on Sunday and met Maggie (on her own - husband Ken having decided - bizarrely - that motor bikes are more interesting than drams) Bobby, Laura, Erik, Mark, Ralf and we had a blether and a dram, as you do. The interesting thing from my point of view was the number of exhibitors who recognised us, knew us from tastings and were quick to offer interesting samples from below the radar.We also met some new folk, including Ian Logan, The Glenlivet International Brand Ambassador, who works with Alex Robertson. His 21 year old called Eclipse, err ... eclipsed everything I tasted on the day. Ralf thought differently, as befits a Chanty Rassler. His selection, along with mine and Mr Banford's, are below. If you've got a top five from the Fringe, let me know at the whiskyclub address.

Ralf's Chosen Few:

5 - Aberlour a'bunadh (Batch 23) 90 points
4 - Springbank '97 (Batch 2) 90 points
3 - Compass Box Hedonism Maximus 92 points
2 - Adelphi Mortlach 1990 16 y.o 92 points
1 - Signatory cask North British 45 y.o. 94 points

Toshie's Tops:

1. Glenlivet 21 51.9% single cask "Eclipse"
2. Adelphi 1990 Mortlach
3. Compass Box Hedonism Maximus
4. Glenkinchie 20
5 Glenfarclas Family Cask

Bobby's Choice:
1st:- Dewar Rattray - 1989 Linkwood - beautiful sherry/floral a cracking Speysider. Who needs peat when whisky tastes like this?
2nd:- Adelphi - 1990 Mortlach - fantastic dark chocolate / Xmas cake lingering taste
3rd:- Signatory - 1977 Inverleven - soft/dry/spicey fantastic
4th:- Tomintoul 27 yr old - smooth as silk and only £55.00 bargain!
5th:- Dewar Rattery:- 1991 Mortlach - as Adelphi but slightly softer.

BIGGEST disapointment :- Glenmorangie Astar, after all the hype far to sweet for me.
'Fur coat and no knickers' as they say