[Part 1/2 HERE]
Suspend no longer, let’s go stratospheric!
- N: Spot on from the off, heralding some instant ‘dad noises’ [link included especially for JS]. With a firm fruity fruit tea character, it’s bourbon maturation all the way [for me].
- T: Another soft one, albeit with edgy & narrow oak-led spices and a floral-sweetness.
- F: Controlled oaky vanilla cream, a touch butyric at the death.
- C: My description doesn’t read too pretty, but on the contrary, I found this very fine indeed. I could only guess this was from a distillery that most often presents whisky as sherry cask-matured, and sure enough,…
Scores 90 points
As we near the end, expectation of a cracking Bowmore builds – or even a Lochside.
- N: Being such a dynamic shape-shifter of a nose, it’s almost futile to try and list such temporal descriptors as a road map. Of those I noted included mineral-y Worcester sauce, white putty, egg yoke, burned caramel~coffee sugars and dry bacon. What’s sure is the peat is truly consolidated which suggests yet another great oldie/40yo. This is truly a fabulous tasting that I wish had no end.
- T: Old sherried & consolidated all-sorts, the ppm fabulously understated alongside the bourbon-y, peaty, mineral-y and dusty dry meat notes.
- F: Mineral=peated sherry>bourbon [illusion?], with aniseed and a plethora of fruit-sweet cough drops. Rallies at the end.
- C: Really deserves much more time.
Scores 92 points
One last chance for a Bowmore then!
- N: If we had taken off with the Benriach, we are now cruising at altitude with Springbank. This beauty contains all-sorts that include a cream element leading to cake icing=emulsion, violets, puncture chalk and apricot fruit jams. Spot-on!
- T: Again, everything you’d want is here. That includes a floral bouquet, apricots and chewy, dry, earthy Brora-eseque hues, though in truth we are now slipping away from the objective plain. Soft aniseed warmth on the turn.
- F: Sweet bourbon action [though a refill sherry cask is stated!?], deep dunnage chalk, herbal/fungal/earthy culminations,…. rolls on & on & on.
- C: Not a Bowmore in sight, yet this is super-league stuff.
Scores 94 points
That was a cracker to end on, but the old man being the old man, has pulled out all the stops and an encore ensues. The birthday boy reveals a surprise digestif that nearly raises the roof – a whisky so precious it’s padlocked.
[Re-racked into a sherry cask for 20 years, after 20 in bourbon].
- N: After such a raucous reception for the reveal of this bottle, a dumfounding hush immediately falls upon our entire party, for a nose that [for me], reaches a new bar – every sniff refreshingly mind blowing. As a result, I almost immediately give in to the imaginary realm. For example, I noted: ‘after the temporal presence of being in a timeless & vaguely familiar shadowy forest, I’m transported into the essential heart of a dingy sweet shop of yesteryear, effortlessly inhaling ambrosia sugars wrapped up in a vine leaf’. I also managed to scribble down things like lozenge putty & yoghurt coatings but descriptors seemed wholly irrelevant over emotional reactions at this time in space, an experience shared amongst friends & like-minded folk who had travelled far for this special occasion.
- T: Maintaining full vibrancy without full power [the low abv causing zero issues], the herbal barley spirit travels some, touching many many parts of the flavour spectrum as it passes through. With an underlying sweetness, the herbal side is most keen. I get tastes of allotments, garden sheds and the distillery itself as I imagine being magically transported back there to a time before visitor’s centres, chocolate pairings and highly managed consistency. This is the ethos of old & rare personified, and a quest fulfilled.
- F: Develops a heathery, herbal, liquorice waxiness, the barley juice checking in now and again. A soothing tranquil heathery finish.
- C: Wowee, this is nearly off the charts – much like the 1937 Glen Mhor [WLP], or some of those unforgettable G&M ‘Generations’ bottlings.
Scores my highest mark yet, 96 points!!
Thankyou so much ‘old man’, and happy birthday.