More personal taste experiences from TWE Show 2019. With a focus on independent bottlers [WLP], today a trio from G&M. We begin with the contemporary bottling at a decent age.
Highland Park 2001/2019 17yo G&M CC CS for TWE 20th Anniversary 1st Fill bourbon cask #19/066 [163 bts] 54.9% WB89
- C: I’d never have guessed this as Highland Park, and would have guessed an abv of ‘only’ 46%. With water, bingo! The reveal and mouthfeel move in unison. It’s a good’un. Solid.
Scores 86 points
Strathisla 1957/2007 49yo G&M 1st fill sherry butts #1717 & 1718 43% WB91.79 WF92
- N: Sweet, hollow fungal and charred honey vibes.
- T: How does this remain so punchy at 43% [going on 48%], and after all those years? Travels along sweet oaky fungal lines with mild kiwi & watercress undertones.
- F: A buttery waxy ashy thing, proportions-of changing from sip to sip. Acute astringent chalky sweet ashy finish.
- C: More ‘obvious’ compared to the MacPhail’s [coming up]. Opulent, tasty, just so.
Scores 91 points
MacPhail’s 1938/1988 50yo G&M The Dram Taker’s 40% [75cl] WB93.28
Initially the price of £30 for a small pour seems to sting, but when you consider 2cl of 50yo whisky distilled in 1938 is the same price as two half-arsed cocktails in All Bar One for example. Both valid experiences from time to time! I took this one home in a sample bottle for a more considered reflection.
- N: On the nose we’ve the epitome of a warehouse you could say. That is, rather foosty. Within its dank oak jacket I found a light-yet-complex array of flavours that included green apples, pickled jack fruit, slightly fermented fruit, sooty & ashy dunder, essence of blackberry juice, dried melon, a touch of boot polish.,…. [you name it]. I’m amazed by the balance and control of the casks, whilst the distillate remains present and clear. That’s the magic of refill wood for ya! At some point I’m going to mention the abv, but until then,,.. doh! This was bottled in 1988 after all, but what a shame.
- T: More oaky on the palate than on the nose [but still with balanced], soon followed surprisingly & pleasingly by plenty of mildly-sweet peat smoke – albeit soft and distant. After a brief-yet-jaunty light Speyside-styled journey, there follows a subtlety complex transition into the finish.
- F: Soft peaty honeyed distillate [still wrapped up in that hard-worn oak jacket, with some give] into double cream. There’s some peaty-green oakiness at the death, but every sip brings subtle changes.
- C: A lovely example of an old old malt from a by-gone era. Just don’t over-think it. it’s [rare and very expensive] guzzle juice.
Scores 91 points
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