It was a beautiful morning on Monday and the walk from London Bridge to Old Billingsgate takes in some iconic landmarks, old & rare.
Trade day [part 2/2] sees a flight of old age-statement Scotch, blends & malts. First up however is a young Japanese malt matured in an Indian pale ale cask.
Chichibu IPA  Ob. Ichiro’s Malt [6700 bts] 57.5% WB88.80
- N: When you know it’s IPA, it’s undoubtedly beer-ish.
- T: Firm funky almost Rampur-esque juice but thankfully a touch softer.
- F: Again, once you know it’s IPA,…
- C: Weird brew. Quite a struggle after the odd & dominant palate.
Scores 80 points
Robertson’s BEB 15yo Blended Scotch ’Hamilton & Co. Import New York’ 90 proof [75cl] WB0
- C: Intact with a lovely murkiness.
Scores 86 points
Hielanman Old Liqueur [1940’s] Cadenhead 70 proof
- N: [No notes].
- T: Nothing initially. Then comes the sugar surge, a 1940’s kind of sugar surge!?
- F: Long long. Amazing ashy mineral and heathery dry.
- C: It’s currently possible to pick up Hielanman miniatures cheaply at auction .
Scores 88 points
Tomintoul 21yo  Ob. 40% WB83.67
- N: Rounded fruity/malty number, perfectly full at 40%.
- T: This 21yo’s age and pedigree is shown through the malty sour fruits.
- F: Creamy lactose and chalk leading to a long milky vanilla finish.
- C: Identifiably Tomintoul with an improved recipe that doesn’t greatly suffer from its minimal bottling strength.
Scores 87 points
20 years in US sherry oak with a 4 year oloroso finish/re-rack.
- N: The sherry finish comes with a funk.
- T: The oloroso dominates.
- F: ,… but the spirit does its best to come through.
- C: Good but unmoving. I’ll stick with the brilliant 22yo at a super price of £90 [Oct ‘17]. I do hope they won’t slowly phase out the 22yo and then this 24yo, only to replace it with a premium priced 25yo [a la Pulteney, up next]. Oh, already gone is the 22yo.
Scores 86 points
[Old] Pulteney do have NAS expressions but they remain committed to age statements. The range however is seeing a switch-around. Gone is the 21yo, replaced by the 25yo [at double the price mind you]. In 2018, OP will introduce a 15yo and an 18yo. The 12 yo will remain unaffected.
Old Pulteney 25yo  Ob. 46% WB87.80
22 years in bourbon before 3 years in oloroso first fill. Due for release,… doh, i missed the scoop!
- C: I always found the 17yo just right and the 21yo a tad over-cooked. So now we have that 21yo ‘finished’ for a further four years, inevitably ‘premiumised’ and subsequently double the price. I find it not at all shabby and thankfully the finish isn’t too obtrusive. It would seem the new 15 and 18yo coming out in the new year will help establish a three tier range for Pulteney, providing the wealthy/affluent with the over-priced 25yo and [occasional] supermarket shoppers with the decent 12yo, leaving malt heads to enjoy the cream of the crop in the middle. Let’s hope eh?
Scores 87 points
Glen Scotia 25yo  Ob. 48.8% WB89
24 years in refill with a one year first-fill finish.
- N: It’s impossible for me to get the 15yo out of my mind, one that has quickly become a GS benchmark.
- T: Straight ahead at times, countered with a curious funkiness
- F: Lime lemonade.
- C: Decent & interesting though i refer the sooty and briney 15yo.
Scores 85 points
Tamnavulin 40yo  Elixir/Speciality [323 bts] 40.6% WB0
- N: [no notes]
- T: [no notes]
- F: Huge dryish vanilla finish.
- C: A brilliant one, amazingly youthful for its age. I didn’t right down a score but i think it would have been high.
Glengoyne 40yo SMS 56.8% WB92.33
- C: This has everything from liqueur to soot.
Scores 91 points
[Caol Ila] Port Askaig 45yo SMS 40.8% WB90
Consists of juice from five 1968 vintage [ex-Bunna so i was told] sherry butts. So Bunnahabhain meets its neighbour Caol Ila then?
- N: All of the mango products.
- T: Fruity & liquid sooty ash.
- F: After all the fruity action follows 45 years of cask softness.
- C: Speciality roll out another masterpiece.
Scores 90 points
That’s me done until next year unless i feel inspired enough to publish the Paterson session. We shall see.