Im still standing, but mainly sitting at this stage.
Carsebridge 1964/1992 SV Ronnie’s dram 43%
Understandably, people often start with the grains. Sometimes however they work well as resumption drams after tea.
- N: At 27-28 years old, this is a gentle sweet-vanilla spirit that suggests a calm crossing – especially given the low abv.
- T: Surprisingly prickly>spikey varnished start,… one that then diminishes.
- F: ,… and then flattens.
- C: Pretty simple, but good simple.
Scores 79 points
No flight logic, still. My next malt from Springbank was put on the radar recently after a rave review from Dave Broom SW90. At the bar it caught my eye.
- N: Potent, pungent, sweet, fruity, candied, farmy>funk. Vanilla sweetness & red wine drive things, at least equal to the sweet farminess. Good nose, firmly directed.
- T: Needs a little water to shake off the ‘shrill’ and allow the subtler ‘sweeter-than-you-think’ overtones to sing more freely. Alongside are the also subtle-yet-sure oily-presented cereal=farm notes.
- F: Warm woody winey vanilla. I found the peat smoke throughout pleasingly incidental.
- C: Cleverly managed success.
Scores 87 points
Auchroisk 1975/2009 34yo Daily Dram [bottled for Bresser & Timmer] [97 bts] 41.3% WB86
- N: I simply love these fruity bourbon casks from the 1970’s, something Balblair of that decade excelled at, and Bunna with a good cask – as well as numerous others. Soft, fruity dunnage, a little coconut water [Norbert], even a soft coconut water Daiquiri. Minutes later the dunnage bourbon sugars [DBS!] come to light with melon citrus, sweet grapefruit,.. a mellow lightly sweetened fruit salad in the main. Far more dunnage with time, fresh not fusty.
- T: Appears rather light [given the low abv and a low opened bottle level], but actually takes a little water rather well. In fact water sharpens it up and brings an acute short attack of citrus. Somewhat dry-tannic and a little tight/austere but with readily aromatic notes of cumin seeds, melon and [oh its gone],……. the waxy/clay=putty mouthfeel heralds the next scene.
- F: Now it truly relaxes, moving into banana=coconut water whilst slowly adding a little grapefruit>zest, fresh nettles and various herbal=fruit [cold] teas as well as stewed black tea. Nice movement between the waxy candid taste=mouthfeel and the sour=sweet grapefruit alongside melon=cereal. At the death, woody old & dry vanilla and raspberry leaf.
- C: A thinkers dram for sure, but rewarding. All-sorts here.
Scores 85 points
Strathmill 15yo  Ob. Managers dram [btl #865] 53.5% WB85.35
- N: Quite a simple one this, bearing in mind all that’s come before. Cereal base, honey, a little citrus and plenty of putty, sponge cake and some sweet [Sauternes?] white wine notes. Sweet cereal>putty in the main. Far easier with water, lemon sponge coming through, a touch of lemonade and sweeter barley sponge.
- T: More of the same which is just fine. Quite a kick in the head neat. With water, it leads like a cereal-based Lowland-style malt with cereal putty & heather-honey on the turn.
- F: Light savoury-sweet cereal mash. Like on the turn, a cereal putty & heather-honey reprise.
- C: An example of a ‘natural’ one that soon became same-y.
Scores 79 points
Glenfarclas 1973/1987 SMWS 1.25 51.5%
These early SMWS bottlings are often long gone, drunk and enjoyed – true yesteryear gems. The initials J.B. are crudely written on the label – Jon Beach, James Bond? Lots of dried up mouldy marks on the bottle suggest some precarious storage conditions over the years – namely, damp.
- N: First nosing indicates its a little wine-y and needs opening up.
- T: Strong/potent with a little herbal-bitter-sour liqueur arrival. Not sure what’s happening here, lacking clarity – me and the bottle.
- F: Raspberry leaf and nettle tincture tea liqueur finish.
- C: This needs time, ill take this one home. Provisionally scores in the high 80’s
BACK AT HOME
- N: Nice chocolatey malty notes, caramel on wafer, raisins, goji berries, spray-cream and a pinch of salt, but its far more savoury than it reads. Bourbon cask Glenfarclas?
- T: Its lost some of its potency since i bottled it last month, but now i find it just right. Definitely getting the sour herbal notes from before, almost soapy [OBE] but more spirity-milky. Goes quickly spirity dry, later on focusing more on creamier-herbal-dark caramel.
- F: More murky dry herbal with metallic [battery rust] & butyric notes.
- C: Unlike any official Glenfarclas ive had. I was more convinced first time around but it still has it’s moments. I wonder if whatever caused the damage to the label equally affected the juice?
Today scores low 80’s – most unusual to have such a big range.
Time to say goodbye to Dornoch for another year. Hopefully ill be up again in 2018.
Thankyou Phil & Simon