With TWE Old & Rare Show looming, let’s get in the mood with more notes unearthed from the archives. Like yesterday’s drams [WLP], these five delights were all enjoyed on Port Ellen beach during an occasional midge-heavy Feis Ile 2018.
Owned for a time by a Spanish sherry company, Daily Dram have [according to WB], bottled three Lochside’s thus far.
- N: I believe this has been PX-finished. The result? Friggin’ delicious, this old herbal-y barley-light malt with a vibrant/contemporary oak-driven sherry-succulent tincture-like thread.
- T: More sherry action follows on the palate with armagnac then cognac references, derived of course, from the cask. The journey continues with cherry marmalade and a hard sponge maltiness. This Lochside remains vibrant yet conversely old skool-ish in style.
- F: Plenty of dark bitter herbal oak tannins and more armagnac/cognac vibes after a long dessert-styled finish with a pleasing array of Christmas-y sultana and sweet-spicy fig mince pie notes that run & run.
- C: Warm & inviting whisky, thanks in part to Destilerias y Crianzas and their cask management [SW].
Scores 88 points
We move onto a trio of vintage G&M bottlings that [like those old White Horse WLP] can vary wildly vary in calibre depending on caps & conditions.
- N: A funny nose that tells of nutty sour cream, bourbon-y vanillas, sweet cereal, boiled wheat germ, almond butter, a turmeric popcorn crunch,… Overall it’s a cooked/stewed & nutty affair on the nose with consolidated oakiness in keeping with G&M’s bottlings of this era but certainly not as generic as many of those CC expressions.
- T: A pokey/white peppery malt to taste, accompanied by some light phenol action, [sherry]-oak sugars, sherry, violets [Serge], lilies, peanut toffee brittle,…..
- F: A creamy toffee sweetness tries to linger but soon enough there’s oaky witch hazel and it’s gone.
- C: A tricksy yet moreish number that requires some effort to glean the best from it.
Scores 85 points
Dave Broom tells us: “Oldest examples from refill casks have a wonderful tropical fruit/leather interplay” [SW]. It pours like a thick cordial with the colour to match.
- N: This oldie reveals a slightly floral prune juice profile with additional notes that include plastics, Chesterfields, wisps of old fruity furniture polish and yeasty malty concentrated,… stuff!
- T: Compacted, muted, short-lived, dry, fruity and ultimately delightful.
- F: Shows its OBE tiredness, like an old & dusty [congener heavy-ish], Demerara rum.
- C: If you want to drink whisky like this at Feis Ile, you have to bring it yourself. Anti-midge provisions are also highly recommended.
Scores 87 points
- N: From what appears to be fully bourbon-matured malty malt, notes include glycerine, beeswax, pine/cedar wood [the brilliant Serge again], hazelnut-y/husky gooey confectionery and ice cream desserts. An hour later we’re talking of Shreddies with a nice varied sweetness and subtle vegetal smoke-peat with some Bovril-like Pan-Asian flavours that exceed all expectation.
- T: Initially sweet-sharp, seemingly distillate first, oak second. Travels along a barley-straight road thereafter before softening delightfully and turning more woody > malty and a touch cardboard-y-dry [quibbles really].
- F: With a fusty honey dunnage profile, we’ve a better bourbon finish than the Forester [WLP], with an apt fungal > fresh conclusion.
- C: Fabulous bourbon-like whisky with a malty heart.
Scores 88 points
B. McMillan Pre 1914 Fine Old Scotch Whisky abv unknown
- N: Uh oh! It smells soapy and floral as in Grandma’s rose soaps & scented candles. There may be trouble ahead.
- T: Indeed! Soapy again. There’s a hopeless recovery attempt, but once you’ve clocked the soapiness it’s game over.
- F: Dryish heather.
- C: I’m surprised this was made available at the Old & Rare Show. Possibly excellent back in the early 1900s but not in the early 2000s for this particular bottle. A rare flop amongst all the gems.