[Following on from Part 1]
- N: Whoa, what?! Coffee, burned plastic! Is this Mescal or maybe rum matured in a Mescal cask [if there was such a thing]?
- T: Ok so it’s a rum, is it? An aged rum I’m guessing with a dry-ish savoury wheat-like profile. Others rightly are calling it out as grain.
- F: A split wood & caramel-y rum finish. This has rum written all over it, or possibly a grain whisky matured in a rum cask?
- C: No one can believe it but apparently this is credited with sherry cask maturation! A fun one for a blind session for sure.
Scores 82 points
- N: After that tricksy Invergordon we don’t know where we are! What’s next? I’m guessing we’re back to single malt [refill cask], that’s clear, but with a [Sauternes] wine finish? PX? There’s all sorts of soft funk going on here, a malt displaying an array of vinegars, bitters, herbs,…… got it – Chacha! [Blog] This to me is clearly another old/youthful one [like the Rosebank blog], so we are talking of a spirit fabulously long aged [+/-30yo?], in a well used cask. Mature old-skool Glenmorangie?
- T: With a fizzy, strong and peppery start it soon settles down, again much like a light & dependable Glenmorangie. [It’s not going to be Glenmorangie].
- F: There’s a butyric note after a spirity>woody build.
- C: I got the age right at least. Not sure anyone guessed or would guess Macduff. Cask-wise, this is another example of a malt from a refill sherry butt that appears more like straight bourbon maturation.
Scores 84 points
Springbank 30yo Private cask sample 42% tOMoH8
Matured in a fresh bourbon hogshead and a refill sherry cask.
- N: Soft/incorporated straight/phenolic peat & savoury-sweet profile with a candid & desirable warehouse griminess throughout.
- T: That lovely soft-dry phenolic character continues to reverb, joined by sweet farmy barley, a fleeting floral>soap note and cinnamon & liquorice on the turn.
- F: Decidedly & desirably woody though the presence of the sweet barley spirit is maintained, leading to a savoury-sweet balanced finish. Finishing very Port Ellen-like, I begin to pick up lots of [mildly salty grassy]<lemon at the death, just before Frank announces it – great minds!
- C: Though the wood is prominent, there’s balance for sure. Fabulous stuff.
Scores 88 and probably more had I the luxury of time.
Commonly known as the Sea Dragon, a bottle went for £1300 at auction just a few days ago [July 1st, 2018].
- N: Blooming awesome straw-like, floral, soft briney-herbal, farmy peat with bone-dry old skool vibes. Cracking!
- T: Grape seeds [again], with an indescribable bone-dry complexity. This very much reminds me of the 1968 Bowmore I had at the Old Man’s last year [blog]. Beginners luck or is Bowmore from this period completely distinctive from any other?
- F: Oozes woody savoury-sweet, not in any way you’ll find in current/contemporary bottlings.
- C: Frank tells us there are fruitier versions, though this remains an awesome whisky nevertheless.
Scores 92 points
[Vatted] Islay 47yo Private sherry cask sample 47% tOMoH6
To finish this session, Stephen presents a truly mysterious malt. Apparently it contains single malt from every Islay distillery [open & closed], except for the more recent Kilchoman. There was some confusion over the details and I’m easily confused, so as I understood it [calculators at the ready]: the oldest malt contained within is 59 years old, the youngest being 47 years. Crickey!
- N: Sweet floral, biscuits, crumble toppings, carbolic-mineral, heathery,…. it’s good I tells ya!
- T: All sorts – go dig treasure hunters!
- F: Same again, a treasure trove, pot luck, lucky dip!
- C: To add to the intrigue, Steven says 45% of this 47yo+ blend is made up of Port Ellen!!! The Swissky Mafia do the maths whilst talk centres around Cadenhead’s various April Fool’s jokes over the years, including a release of an Ardbeg-Glenlivet. I’m not sure whether this is a 45% 47yo+ Port Ellen blend or a 13yo Hazelburn for example [kidding], but Frank indicates that it’s legit. I spend the next two days googling the name of an old film [1950/60’s?], where an elderly woman bestows a Michael Angelo sculpture to a child. Only the two of them know whether the sculpture is an original or not, a secret that is to be withheld from the public & press as it passes through the generations – and us, the viewer too. I have not yet remembered the name. Anyone?
The warmup over, I retire early in preparation for the main event whilst others head over to the SMWS for the afterparty.
Up next: The Main Event Part 1/2