Well it has been a while since my last post. A good long while. March..... Hells teeth!
But, it has been very cold and I have been quite tired and I did lose one of my good whisky drinking buddies to the Australians. So what are you gonna do?
Drink more tasty whisky...that's what.
So what's been happening? For a start there has been an absolutely salubrious tasting program at Regional.
Michael Fraser-Milne from whisky galore joined us for this evening and a great evening it was. Glendronach is a great drop for a Speyside. The two standouts were the 1972 vintage 37 y.o. Cask 719 at 54.8% and the GlenDronach 1993 vintage 16 y.o. Olorosso Butt 523 60.4%. The cask strength of these two fine drams made them an absolute winners on the night. I love tasting new whisky.
He he he he Laphroaig!! I bloody love Laphroaig. I am sipping on some 'Quarter Cask' as I type this. It's just so damn tasty. And if that's not good enough I have actually been there! Anyway, there are so many tasty drams from this classic distillery. The standouts were the 10yo Cask Strength 55.7% (of course) and the always delicious 'Quarter cask'. And to top it all off the mystery was Ardbeg Corryvreckan. Oh sweet jesus it was delicious. But more of that later.
Speaking of quarter casks here is display showing relative cask sizes from the good folk at Laphroaig.
JUNE: Sophisticated Speysides
I love the Speyside, it's home to so many great distilleries in such a concentrated area. Mortlach, Longmorn, Allt-a-Bhainne, Glenrothes.
These were the fine distilleries represented in this spectacular tasting. The standout was the Mortlach 17yo Adelphi 1991-2009 57% cask 4235. As with anything bottled by Adelphi, it was absolutely delicious.
Here is something interesting from the Speyside. It is the Gordon & McPhail store in Eglin at the top of the Speyside. You have never seen such an extensive range of whisky in your life. It's definitely my happy place.
Below is the Speyside cooperage where casks are bought in and reassembled to the different sizes you see above. It would take up too much space to import whole casks (all the air in the middle) so they are imported in parts. The coopers are paid by the cask so they go hell for leather cranking them out. It's a hard arsed way to earn a living and there is a definite art to assembly. You really need an extra hand!
JULY : Groundshaking Malts
What a brilliant idea! Tasty whisky from the Islands of Japan and some interesting drams from the great and thirsty country of New Zealand. Japanese whisky is absolutely delicious. It is quite sweet and clean flavored and a joy to consume. And consume it I did in great amounts. The other two drams came from Milford, a New Zealand distillery. Quite tasty, though probably due more to the cask strength than any inherent quality.
The pick of the night was as the Nikka 20yo 52% scoring 8.12. Cask strength wins again!
I did however purchase a bottle of the Milford on the evening. Lasted about a week. Mmm
AUGUST : Island Extreme
Ooooh mama this was an absolutely top of the line tasting. A range of whisky from the far flung Isles of Scotland. Several were at high cask strength! And I don't mind telling you ladies and Gentlemen, that by the time the evening was over I was partially 'off my chops'.
So what did we have?
Ardbeg Supernova - Hells teeth. This was the best of the bunch easily. This a giant monster whisky. So much peat. Not so much on the nose but as soon as you taste it you know what it is. It's like a kick in the mouth with a peat covered boot. Big, brutal and perfection itself. I gave it a 10. We gave it 9.07
Bruichladdich Octomore - A very close second. Nose was peaty & yeasty. This is another monster whisky. Not the smoked violence of the Ardbeg but at 62.5% it socks you hard in the face and makes your tongue lose all feeling. But not before the yeasty peaty flavours shine through. A gave it 9.5. We gave it a 7.77
Bruichladdich X4 - Hmmm, quadruple distilled raw spirit. Sweet but inherently tasteless. No character. Not even tasty like a double distilled Islay spirit. I mean what's the point, really? The spirit is taken off the final distillation at 90% but watered down to 50%. I gave it a 5. We gave it a 5.13
Talisker 18yo - I am a great fan of the Talisker. And this was another fine example from the fine distillery on the Isle of Skye. Slightly peaty and peppery and oh so very tasty. I gave it an 8. We gave it 8.66
Longrow CV - A great whisky from the good folk at Springbank. Longrow is their peated expression. Setup to prove an Islay style whisky could be made away from Islay, it had a delicious salty, peaty flavour. I gave it an 8. We gave it 8.58
Highland Park - A tastyish drop from the Orkney Islands. Your standard HP is a very nice drop but this was something different. A lot is made of old whiskies and to be honest I don't get it. This was a very subtle drop. Weak to be honest. The most expensive of the lot with the least flavour and at 46% not much to write home about. Give me a 6yo 60% whisky any day. At least you can taste it. I gave it a 7. We gave it a 8.68
OBAN 14 - This was the mystery. An appley, peppery, dusty flavoured dram. A pleasure to consume. I gave it an 8. We gave it an 8.02
All in all this was my favorite tasting so far this year. Glorious peat at cask strength. Yikes!
These people also liked it..
Little wonder I was partially trousered by the end of this wondrous event.
To wrap up this epic post here a few photos of some of fine distilleries mentioned above.
Talisker Isle of Skye
Talisker Still Room
Ardbeg Visitor Centre
Ardbeg Still Attachment (makes the spirit lighter)
Hooray for Single Malt Scotch Whisky.......Drink, Drink, Drink your way to better health!