Whisky in Berlin: Cafe Bar Madonna, Part 2/2

Micro brewery.jpegIt’s a new day. After only four hours sleep I’m not at my best, but after a long, cold walk and a few beers from Brauhaus Georgbraeu’s micro brewery [right], I’m ready for more malt action at Cafe Bar Madonna. My idea tonight was to play safe – starting with an Elijah Craig 12yo perhaps – but again, I take the risk and strive for something more unusual & memorable.


Tamdhu 2006/2014 8yo Douglas McGibbon cask #10570 46% WB76.33[3]

Tamdhu 2006:2014 8yo Douglas McGibbon cask #10570 46%.jpeg

  • N: Porridge, burnt raisins, nut shells, hessian sacks,…
  • T: A natural one with a pleasing barley malty chew. Despite a simpleness, we’ve a lovely match between spirit & oak.
  • F: Savoury-sweet aniseed and desirably light bitter notes.
  • C: A very easy drinker from a rarely-found single cask Tamdhu, originally available for next-to-nothing [£32].

Scores 83 points


Tamdhu 1973/2008 35yo GM Reserve cask #3230 [481 bts] 56% WB90.62[128] WF91 WM91[4]

Colour-wise, this has a distinct murky golden ruddiness that only a really old sherry number, one that’s aged in cask & glass could provide.

Tamdhu 1973:2008 35yo GM Reserve cask #3230 [481 bts] 56%.jpeg

  • N: Despite the thick smoke that’s fully penetrated every corner of the bijou Cafe Bar Madonna, I’m picking out a shopping list of flavours centred around textural & chewy oaky fructose sugars with a fungal touch. This is ‘full’ despite also being a little delicate yet sharp/peppery with some spiced heat, caramel-ed dried fruits, fruits in lolly & yoghurt form, candy fruits, fruit pieces in sponge, boot polish, leather, some murky fusty dunnage,.…. I love what Serge says about this being ‘Not easy-easy and maybe a tad cerebral, but truly wonderful’. His overall notes for this whisky are amazing.
  • T: Immediate head nods for the express-delivered OBE-led dustiness & dry sherry>sweet citrus chew. It swiftly becomes somewhat narrow with a focused spicy attack (yet totally within acceptable limits), and a little acidity before widening out again towards more of that heady-light ethereal action – the physical experience concentrated mainly around the mid~side palate. Doesn’t long-aged first fill sherry-matured juice just love these long standing glass-contained conditions? Bravo Charlie Tango and I share all manner of personal & philosophy thoughts whilst a strong & singular waft of sinsemilla enters the nicotine-filled bar.
  • F: Fructose-sweet old dusty sherry, flavoured with cloves, cinnamon, vivid dried clementines and radishes. The savoury-fructose-sweetness with a fungal sour side and only a little oak bitters & dry oak oils, tickle the umami G-spot.
  • C: A sensational experience despite this being the last pour from an old bottle. Only the high 56% abv saved this one from oblivion. A true Berlin highlight.

Scores 91 points


Pittyvaich 1989/2009 20yo Ob. Special Release [btl #1284/6000] 57.5% WB86.54[184] WF83 WM86[6]

Pittyvaich 1989:2009 20yo Ob. Special Release [btl #1284:6000] 57.5%.jpg

What could follow that? A Pittyvaich perhaps? To the amazement of another bar tender, the owner locates it immediately. Hid behind other bottles on the top shelf, he instinctively reaches for it on tip toes, and it’s one I’ve not had before.

  • N:T:F: I think of Pittyvaich like I do with say Mannochmore or < Linkwood, and this is a prime example. Conversation-wise, Bravo Charlie Tango and I are both in too deep for proper whisky noting, but that doesn’t stop my enjoyment of the moment with this straight bourbon-matured number with just the right years on the clock to deliver a no fuss, delightfully balanced natural styled dram with a slick wood-oil & grain-oil mouthfeel. Adding even a few drops of water however, disturbs the serpent somewhat. I much preferred it neat.
  • C: The less I thought about this one, the more I enjoyed it. One to be devoured if it weren’t for the current market value [£250].

Scores ranged between 86-84, so 85 points.


Thankyou to all at Cafe Bar Madonna. It was a pleasure.

Further reading:






Madonna bar front

3 thoughts on “Whisky in Berlin: Cafe Bar Madonna, Part 2/2

  1. That Pittyvaich is excellent. It featured at mine a few times, though apparently, before you joined.
    You can still pick it up for less money, btw. 🙂
    Seems like a good place. Shame about the smoking indoors.


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