The old man’s big weekend arrives, an event shrouded in mystery and accompanyied by drip-fed online clues months previously. Fourteen of us gather at the Cadenhead shop in Marylebone and try ten drams, mostly blind. I’d not been drinking for 10 days, so bear that in mind when reading my notes and interpreting scores – the palate soon becomes unacclimatised to ethanol.
Also, I lost my pictures of the night so I’m stealing from Frank & the tinter-web. Hope that’s ok?!
Hosted by the brilliant Steven Worrell, he opens proceedings with the line [focused towards our two American guests] “Manafort is in prison” – a suitable timeline reference.
Rosebank 1987/2017 30yo Private bourbon cask sample 43% tOMoH8
The story goes that five bottles of Rosebank with their seals already broken, were intended for a 3ltr ex-rum cask fate [Cadenhead, Mayfair branch]. Whilst refraining from expletive-filled sentences, Stephen saved a bottle from impending doom. Here it is.
- N: A natural [Strathmill-styled] number on sawdust, varnish, floral>bananas, dry citrus and [after ten minutes], creamy bourbon.
- T: In an old-yet-youthful way, I find it pretty woody with light fizzy prickles. Again, very natural.
- F: Dry bourbon-y sweetness coupled with more [now bitter/sour] grapefruit citrus and hay.
- C: As Stephen had previously explained, it’s certainly not a very Rosebank-y Rosebank. I good sighter however.
Scores 81 points
There’s talk of Cadenhead’s Glenlivet 42yo. “One of the best whisky’s you’ll ever try”, says Stephen, a release that was overlooked for sometime. I find one at whiskysite.nl for 480 euros but Frank tells me Jean-Michel has three! He is sitting next to me. Thankyou JM and great to meet you.
Glen Moray 1971/2011 39yo SMWS 35.59 ‘Arabian Nights’ [74 bts] 40.9% WB90 WF90 tOMoH19 tOMoH29 Blog90
Frank brought this because it has a ‘39’ in it! A collective penny-dropping “aah” sound fills the room. I had this Moray before and liked it a lot if memory serves. Prompted, we are reminded by the Swissky Mafia that there’s lots of SMWS Glen Moray around because the former SMWS owners [Glenmorangie], own Glen Moray.
- N: Today I find this a rich floral bourbon-driven malt with dry resinous oily jams and elderflowers in the main, but there’s plenty on offer – all joyous.
- T: Whilst already sold on the floral oaky dunnage and elderflower notes, the journey continues in a floral, herbal, savoury liquorice direction. Tonight I find it [again] woody and perhaps also the Rosebank is still talking.
- F: I noted a liquorice & cinnamon heat, no doubt my palate slowly acclimatising to whisky again despite this one’s low abv.
- C: After checking, I did indeed love this last time [Blog90].
Today, it scores 88. That’s the way it goes.
There’s much talk of the Gelston’s 26yo. Apparently Frank McHardy had a hand in it when he was working at Bushmills all those years ago. I hear there’s to be a Gelston’s 50yo coming out, which may or may not come from a secret Scottish distillery starting with B! Eyes peeled, wallets filled.
Cadenhead Creations 26yo  Batch #3 ‘Light Creamy Vanilla’ 43.8% WB85.50 WF86 tOMoH8 Ben MR
Is it me, or is this another Creations Batch 3! Last year’s was an 18yo [WB]. This 26yo is a vatting of Aultmore, Braeval, Bruichladdich, Glen Grant, Glenlivet, Strathisla and Tamdhu – all married in the Highlands.
- N: Similar to the Glen Moray with it’s sweet floral qualities, coupled with a cereal malty sweetness from delicate [Nice-like] biscuits.
- T: If like the Moray on the nose, it’s rather more like the Rosebank to taste. Given its array of components, it’s of no surprise in that the profile changes all the time. I find it fairly woody, though water promotes floral malty putty notes with a light yet discernible chew.
- F: Citric-dry with a growing chewy caramel note, quite some freshness and dare I even mention – a mild soapy hue.
- C: Given the nature of these complex blends, this is very decent indeed, tasty too and very popular amongst our group.
Scores 86 points
Port Dundas 29yo  Cadenhead ‘Individual cask’ [216 bts] 50.7% WB84 tOMoH8
- N: Glue, metals, white rum, sawdust, turkey? [a chlorine reference I suppose], popcorn and sweet glycerin. This is certain be a grain.
- T: Grain for sure given the liquid sawdust & fruity rum vibes. Nicely aged grain I’d imagine, though not old enough to be entering the ‘jammy realm’ just yet. I’d guess we must be talking around 30yo.
- F: The sweet-ish sawdusty fruity rum notes keeps ticking over, joined by grape juice with the tannic seeds included.
- C: Very rum-like. Subjectively, not my style of grain, but I‘m taken by the impeccable form.
Scores 87 points
Linkwood-Glenlivet 1987/2018 30yo Cadenhead CS ’Authentic Collection’ [480 bts] 57.2% WB89.33 tOMoH7
- N: This straight dunnage-y>floral<malt profile is so familiar that I know I’m going to kick myself when it’s revealed. Shredded wheat and cereal putty also plays a part.
- T: Edgy yet firm & rich straw barley arrival – in hindsight, a firm Linkwood trait.
- F: Straight, creamy barley finish, the strength somewhat biting.
- C: I haven’t had a Linkwood for ages! Sharing similar qualities, I had wondered whether it was a Mannochmore – both of which I’m a fan. Amazingly, this is not from a bourbon cask but sherry refill.
Unusually, I didn’t write down a score. Around 88 probably.
Next up, Part 2/2
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