Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A + B = a (comparatively) quiet night!

A rather more sedate tasting with David Keir at Sloan’s. Proper pourers and a limit on the number of drams meant the gathering had an enjoyable evening, if not quite so riotous as previous occasions!

David is one of the club’s favourite hosts – he brings good whiskies, but more importantly he has a refreshing honesty when he talks about the industry and the problems it faces. The fact that he’s a committed club member is a bonus.

David handles Arran and Bruichladdich for Blavod, the drinks distributor, and he spoke of the year ahead for the two distilleries – new bottlings, a reduction by Bruichladdich of its wide variety of finishes, and the upcoming 15th anniversary celebration by Arran.

We were eagerly anticipating the unveiling of Arran’s latest in its Icons series – the Rowan Tree. Not quite as immediately WOW! as the Peacock revealed last year at Whisky Fringe, nonetheless it is an important drink, and we were privileged to be the first club in Scotland to get a taste. A limited edition of 6000 bottles globally, 600 are destined for the UK market; so if you want one, grab it quickly.

The 1997 Rowan Tree comes from 100% sherry butts, a departure for Arran, which normally mixes with bourbon and had cherry brandy, cherry cola cubes and a spicy note. Left for an hour, it had improved tremendously in the glass. It’s a grower I think. I rather liked it.

First up, however, was the Arran 10, with more sherry influence than before, followed by Rowan Tree.

A new ‘laddie, the Classic, was next. A NAS, it had a lot of old Whyte and Mackay distillation in it, as well as more recent work by Jim McEwan. It was 100% from bourbon with a peating level of 3ppm.
Number four was the Bruichladdich Sherry infusion. It reminded me of Sunday in the Kirk – Everton mints on the palate! A multi-vintage ‘laddie Peated (at 35ppm) again 100 from, bourbon casks was next, delicious, and the star of the night for me.

Final dram was an Arran peated, cask strength at 59.8% and a beautiful big dram, full of sherbet dip! Only four years old, but full of life.

Many thanks again to David for the evening. He’s keen to come back to visit. We only ask that it’s not during an election year!