Time for some old skool!
- N: With a fair amount of OBE, we’ve a fusty-yet-vibrant oily & garage-y grain with soft-dry barley sugar and some contained sooty peaty vegetal onion-y suggestions of heat to follow.
- T: A tightly presented, determined sour dryish lemon-y grain with more of that contained onion-y heat in the background.
- F: Surprisingly sustaining barley sugar & sour grain finish with a touch of milk of magnesia and Fisherman’s Friend heat.
- C: Not much to write home about, but it works to a point.
Scores 78 points
Haig Dimple [1950’s] Ob. 70 proof [WB]82
I bravely let Lady Locks pick a time-captured bottle at random from the miniatures collection. The Fort Knocks of seals, it took some effort and tools to get into the bottle.
- C: This particular bottle was a little flat/tired, 40% blah blah,… Still, the taste of [1950’s] yesteryear was a joy, in watered-down sooty runny honey form.
Scores 84 points
Old Elgin 8yo [1980/90’s] GM Fine Old Malt 40% [5cl] [MoM]
- N: A warm yet splinter-y, waxy dirty & < malty/fruity-banana-bready number, containing some bygone mineral intrigue. Despite the 40% minimum, the vegetal aniseed = liquorice & allium-fresh edge indicates something of the profile to come.
- T: This one gives out something different on every sip. Overall it’s a soft-yet-edgy-salivating malty > fruity > mineral >metal-y number with a modest oak spice. Seemingly dry at first yet actually with a more liquid-oozing edgy-malty development, a desirable waxy bitter-oak butyric oaky-oiliness and very light molasses on the turn.
- F: Waxy=salivating > butyric = banana malty fresh-ish chew and the fruity-ish > bitter=sweet liquorice molasses, faint yet sustained for a while. Then there’s some dusty OBE showing more strongly later on and a desirable sweet-oily-briny-ness.
- C: A few years ago, these miniature bottles were give-away items at auction yet highly drinkable expressions worth collecting in number for a multi-5cl session.
Scores 84 points
Something similar perhaps, bottled a decade or so earlier.
- N: Metallic-y grapey malt.
- T: Same again and becoming decidedly wood-bitter. Also a touch solvent-y, though in a good way! Add a drop of linseed > turpentine and > swarfega thereafter.
- F: Wood-dense waxy > vanilla, but not as we know vanilla today [Jim].
- C: Though it’s rather clumsy, I’m also rather keen. More 5cl sample revisits to follow in due course.
Scores 84 points
Warmed up, let’s get serious!
On the back of a Knockdhu Ralfy review, I opened this.
- N: Brora meets Strathmill? – and also a little like a personal favourite Arthur Bell 10yo Dufftown [WB] bottling, yet with far more firmness and fruity complexity.
- T: A delicious honeyed farmy note follows with a nice mouthfeel to boot. Feels like this juice has rolled around a few great casks.
- F: A grumpy bear at times, it flourishes in water, oozing savoury milky ambrosia perfectly seasoned with a pinch of salt.
- C: Scottish? Yep. Japanese? Worth sneaking into an Asian-themed blind challenge. Delicious? Dig!
Scores 89 points
Now I’m really in the mood now. Let’s crack open another Knockdhu.
[An Cnoc] Knockdhu 1974 Captain Burn’s [French import] 40% [5cl] WB83
- N: I’m a sucker for these thick cloudy honeyed Spey malts that subtly ooze, and here’s another one. Weetabix lovers, step right up, hot chocolate lovers too.
- T: A bit lively at first and not the greatest in the middle, but there are some lovely parts. 43% was plenty. Water is a friend.
- F: Rather tantalising yet also a touch ‘blended’. Good though.
- C: And to think these miniatures were regularly going for as little as £2 nearly three years ago [Sept 2016].
Scores a precocious 85 points
I’m getting carried away now, chasing the previous 12yo in fact. Sticking with Captain Burn’s, let’s jump back to the swinging 60’s.
[Glenburgie] Glencraig 1968 Captain Burns 40% [5cl] WB0
- C: Another grumpy bear, one that needs careful handling. It’s a little ashy [well charred perhaps?], with tingly-soft herbal notes. Perhaps this would pass as a tamed/aged bourbon in a blind tasting?
Scores 83 points
Finally, let’s find a decent solo dram to watch Ralfy’s 10 year anniversary episode by.
Strathisla 1979/2005 25yo SV cask #1533 [622 bts] 57.2% WB87.13
- N: Alongside the honeyed orchard fruits, there’s all manner of husky levels to this one – straw, coconut husks, nut skins, light hessian as well as steeped porridge, crispy white tiger bread,… and is that plum crumble with savoury digestive biscuits?
- T: This doesn’t hold back, one with an abv that challenges my biological acidity regulator. Butyric notes stay firm with a strong citric-fruity spirit. Adding water is instinctive after the nose. Dilution brings out further citrus action with floral & tropical overtones, though we remain thoroughly barley-based and ruggedly Scottish. Lowland-esque this one, Rosebank-like possibly though I’m no expert.
- F: A rough & tumble journey concludes with more butyric =/< citrus action and a touch more barley bread.
- C: Unapologetic and stalwart. Many thanks to Malt Martin for this, alongside four other drams soon to be tried and enjoyed.
Scores 87 points