It’s been a while and lots has been happened whisky-wise in the last four weeks: tastings, distillery visits, TWE Show, RumFest! I’ll catch up with myself eventually. For now, here’s a random pair of pairs i have tried in the last week or so. First up, a brace at the SMWS in London, both from October’s outturn i believe.
Mannochmore 2006 10yo SMWS 64.95 ‘Jasmine candles & Moscow Mules’ [234 bts] 58.6% WB0
I ask Jasmine to recommend a starter. She remembers i’m a sucker for Mannochmore whilst finding one with her name on it. Smart!
- N: Resinous vanilla which is to be expected from a young 1st fill bourbon cask. Water and time reveals a light bodied hessian/dunnage sweet grassy malt.
- T: Surprisingly pleasing mouthfeel. Some underlying heat – think mild Extra Strong mints. Adding water aggravates it, becoming rather brash & brittle.
- F: Creamy woody vanilla.
- C: SMWS Mannochmore’s have consistently been rather decent but I find this one a bit too immature and generic.
Scores 80 points
My next request [to Chris], is for something ‘crazy’. Last time i asked for something crazy at the SMWS i got given ‘Temptation to the dark side’ WB – a young & blatantly unapologetic sherried Tullibardine that i fell for. Today i’ve received a heavily sherried Tomatin with twice as many years on the clock. Good good.
Tomatin 2000/2017 16yo SMWS 11.34 ‘Magical Mystery’ [179 bts] 53.9% WB87.63
- N: Less resinous than the Mannochmore and softer of course [given those extra 5 years], and finished in PX. PX can be a refreshing change from heavily tannin-ed oloroso which often buries the spirit. PX by comparison can tend to veer whisky in a different direction, often with varying success. Notes of nutty potatoes, olive oil with a chunk of infused tyre, marjoram, vegetal Bakewell tart [no icing], Cognac-esque sugars, a tobacco stained cardboard box, a little linseed oil [no putty], some sweet lemon juice,… Refreshingly interesting. Let’s see how it fairs on the palate.
- T: Greasy mouthfeel with an unobtrusive coppery/sulphury mineral ‘boing’ and an odd yet tasty nutty/vegetal savoury>sweet maltiness. Reminds me of that SV 1988 Fettercairn WB. Later some Cognac sugars emerge, the beauty of adding grape-d casks to whisky. Slightly edgy throughout but there are no alarm bells.
- F: Burned nut oil, sesame seeds, more Bakewell suggestions, pokey tap water and vegetal sweet fairy cakes with a light greasy slightly curdled creamy biscuit finish. A greasy chew remains to the last. Nutty/cognac-y PX=dirty witch hazel at the death.
- C: We got through without incident. This whisky was perfect in the moment, time & place and all that – though one dram was enough. Not sure that any Tomatin character was evident.
Scores 86 points
Next up, a truly random tandem enjoyed round at ‘Chez Nick’.
Hankey Bannister ‘Heritage Blend’ 46% WB82.58 WF80 Ralfy87
- N: Tomato-ey vanilla blended malt with a modern-styled oily-malty potency. All credit to Inver House for the 46% abv.
- T: Edgy vanilla with a sweet-sour middle and a fair oily/fatty mouthfeel in the midst.
- F: Slightly metallic and fruity dry tannic vanilla.
- C: I’ve no problem with this blend but there are plenty of alternatives for the price [£19 Oct ‘17], including the odd single malt.
Scores 77 points
Benromach 1981/1998 17yo Ob. Centenary Bottling [btl #1836/3500] 43% WB85.48
- N: A rather impressive old style (70’s bourbon) nose coupled with a vibrant buttery floral character. Super start with plenty of ooh’s & aah’s but one which fades quickly to the exposure.
- T: Doesn’t quite deliver on the prickly palate. There’s a sense that the fragility of the old spirit is being wholly supported up by the relatively more simple, more modern juice.
- F: Chocolate malt with only a soft sherry influence. Short, sweet & clean.
- C: I wonder if the older juice had fallen below 40% and simply had to be bolstered up by fresher, stronger mature stock? An interesting old & new hybrid whisky.
Scores 87 points
Rum is likely to come up next.