Bottle Polishing 2020: Odds & Ends, Part 2

Today a blend a grain and a Scotch are polished.


Catto’s Rare Old Scottish Highland Whisky [12yo] [1960’s] Ob. Spanish Import no abv [75cl?] WB0

Catto’s is a brand owned by Inver House. On a reasonably-supported hunch, I found an older Catto’s bottling at auction. Bottle #1 [a 1970’s Catto WLP] was a write-off so I bought a second bottle. Crossed fingers.

Catto’s Rare Old Scottish Highland Whisky [1960’s] Spanish import no abv.JPG
  • N: Initially smells like a strange paint-like factory porridge – whatever that means to you, whoever YOU are. With only a mild maltiness, the dry earthy vegetal pepper & turpentine=paint note with lemon detergent is oddly commendable. Shame then that the youthful light grain overwhelms the even lighter malt content. A subtle pickled briny chalky-dried metallic mineral < olive brine/liquid situation ensues. Everyone will have there own take on it, but this particular bottle is never going to rock any boats.
  • T: Again, the grain leads the malt. Probably why then, as an old abv-low bottle, it’s stayed relatively resilient after all these decades. Edgy, paint-like and extremely porridgy as if chewing on rolled oats that are slightly honeyed and have been soaked in oat milk & >>> coppery turpentine for a few hours, enough to be succulent but dry. Other underlying descriptors of note were butter biscuits and barley sugar sweets.
  • F: Without an immediate urgency we see a well-tempered yet sharp green-ish turn into an underlying bitter coppery light grain-led lift-off [Canadian Club-styley]. That just leaves lingering sour-ish dry fungal coppery icing & barley sugar.
  • C: I’m certain there are some good examples out there. This particular bottle was neither hugely appealing nor terrible, but my investigations here [with Catto’s] are over.

Scores 76 points


Next up is a 3cl blind sample, but the last 3cl of a bottle, so it still fits with the bottle polishing theme just about. The question is, which bottle?

Mystery dram.jpg

During the week [starting 16th March] of toilet paper & pasta raids, I’d been in the studio. By the end of that week, I was in need of supplies and the supermarket shelves were bare. It was scary, but fear not! My sister had sent me a lockdown package with many essentials including, most importantly, two toilet rolls! Also in the pack was this whisky sample [see pic], ironically the only thing I definitely had a lot of, but gift-horse and all that. Game on!

Colour: yellowy gold. Beading test result: flat as a pancake/no bubbles, so we must be around the 40% minimum.

Bruichladdich The Classic Laddie [+/-2018] Scottish Barley Ob. 50% WB82.62[280] WF79 [WM:2009]:81[13]

  • N: Very soft, slightly salty with a lightly toasted peatiness and a light barley oiliness. With such a soft and relaxed presentation, could this be Springbank, a tired/flat 10yo?
  • T: Peaty for sure. This is truly the olfactory taste of a malting barn and the copperiness from the stills. Soft-sweet delivery with a fair body [maybe this isn’t at the lowest possible abv then] with the tiniest suggestion of allium-fresh oily barley spirity heat underlying. Little action on the travel, just a straight-ahead unwavering journey. Good simple whisky overall. It’s no Springbank but I can’t pinpoint an Islay distillery that fits the bill. Maybe it’s something like a NAS Ardmore Legacy which I’ve never tried. An Cnoc also produces a lot of peated malt.
  • F: As expected, we’ve a soft natural smoke-peat barley-sweet finish. Reminds me most of Annandale’s Man of Swords, reduced to 43%. Really natural/untampered with whisky.
Bruichladdich The Classic Laddie [+:-2018] Scottish Barley Ob. 50%.jpg
WB photo
  • C: If not complex then certainly a competent uncomplicated if non-eventful whisky recipe. I pose my conclusions to my sister: 40-43% abc, maximum age 10yo but probably a NAS around 7 years, 100% bourbon cask-matured, peated [probably around 30ppm max], not complex but competent and sweet, so entry-level.

The reveal:

  • She tells me the abv is 50%. I’m surprised. I suggest it’s an old/tired bottle and it is – from March 2014 in fact!! I’m vindicated there but had totally forgotten about Bruichladdich as a distillery. The last time I tried The Laddie was a sample from this actual bottle, on 28th December 2015 [score: 82]. In today’s condition:

Scores 79 points


We finish today’s Odds & Ends session with a grain from a closed distillery [SW].

Cambus 1991/2017 25yo Claxton’s cask #1725-103028 [571bts] 52.1% WB88.33[91] WF83 tOMoh6

After sharing this with plentitude [not dissimilar to a Greenore 8yo that I couldn’t even shift at a vivacious NYE party], it comes to me to polish off the bottle. It’s time. The bottle has been open for over two years and the level is low. Unlike the Greenore, this has more to offer though I’ve struggled with it all the way. As usual, this has appeared more of a hit with the wider whisky community.

Cambus 1991:2017 25yo Claxton’s cask #1725-103028 [571bts] 52.1%.jpg

  • N: Even with only one dram left in the bottle for too long, it still kicks out some heat and energy. Young grain huh? Whilst demonstrating a reoccurring lactose-y/butyric edge, industrialised caramel > butterscotch and rich & thick vanilla custard-covered densely-sweetened apple dessert, covers the confectionary/patisserie aspect. Additionally, I pick out slightly scorched porridge, hints of rose water and ground sesame seeds that lead to a dustiness that is not unlike very dry soil and crushed Shreddies.
  • T: Straight-up fairly rich bourbon-matured column still spirit-driven arrival into a slightly milky husky delivery, soon followed by fragrant chilli vanilla pods, a small chink of an Extra Strong Mint and one lick of a Fisherman’s Friend. Boy, is this hangover juice or what? I pick out dried dill a number of times on the arrival, as a pleasing passing peripheral note. You could imagine this grain might have been cracking aged another twenty years, though maybe that heat would have become uncontrollable?
  • F: On the turn, cream [that’s on the turn], and much like the nose, a rich and straight-as-a-die salivating vanilla juiciness and a dusty shallow aromatic heat to follow. True to form, barley sugar concludes.
  • C: Absolutely fine in small infrequent doses. Any more than that became a chore.

Another 83 points






Bunnahabhain 2013, loose ends

2 thoughts on “Bottle Polishing 2020: Odds & Ends, Part 2

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