Our journey to Campbeltown & Islay [May ’18] begins really early [really really early for a jazz musician], on a Monday morning. Not early enough however to avoid all sorts of testing traffic, rush hour[s]. accidents and vast stretches of speed restriction all the way up to Glasgow – our stop for the night. Ten and a half hour later, three whisky enthusiasts from Brighton reach our destination & salubrious accommodation, a Travelodge no less. Checked in, we head out to the Bon Accord.
We arrive at the aforementioned bar/pub/restaurant to find John McCheyne there giving an SMWS masterclass. Like us, he will soon be on his way to Islay with some festival offerings from the society.
After successfully navigating the bar’s fraught iPad system, we had assembled a single malt trio which we entitled ’Lichtenstein, Emin and Hockney’.
- N: It turns out I’ve had this before [Blog85]. A sound choice from the Foz given how well Benrinnes performs in refill bourbon around this age. With some agreeable ‘dad noises’, that desirable slow ageing has provided most notably, notes of boiled fruit drops and baked apple strudel amongst other goodies.
- T: Malty waxy/oily Mortlach=Clynelish-esque vibes.
- F: Tidy and typical.
- C: With Benrinnes [at this age], what you see is often what you get – sound whisky.
Scores 86 points
With more despondency than desperation after further iPad frustrations, I decide to point to a whisky I could actually see and plumbed for a Caol Ila.
- C: Here we have a heavy, roots-y, grizzly smoker, frankly rather apt after the long drive. With water, the profile overall is: lightly ashy fruity coal tar – or a rough shaven, disheveled Daniel Craig if you will. Pretty fab and memorable. An ideal post-gruelling-drive dram.
Scores 87 points
Chris cleverly spots the Bunna from North Star, a bottler making waves in these last months.
- C: This is a very decent Bunna, densely oaky & spicy with stewed tropical fruits. Ideally I’d need a bottle to make sure but it provisionally scores 88. Drats, all sold out!
We say farewell to John and the Bon and move onto The Pot Still, for me one of THE best bars in the world.