We eventually find our way to the bar, situated within St Paul’s Hotel in Hammersmith, and find a treasure trove of interesting well-priced drams and fantastic, attentive, & knowledgeable service to boot.
The Foz spots Hibiki 17yo for £16.50, which is a fine price in today’s climate. I bite, and start with this modest-strength blend.
- N: A nose with finesse and a lightness, though – even at 43% – it’s never light. Some of the character I noted down focused around the minerality, putty and < watercress.
- T: The mouthfeel is certainly not Scottish. With a sour putty direction, there’s a kind of dryness that is olive & wine-tannic moving towards a very considered sherry influence.
- F: A soft hum.
- C: I’ve never been blown away with Hibiki 17, but this evening, it was shining brightly.
Scores 87 points
I follow that up with a single cask flight that offers a great line-up [website] for just £25 [if memory serves]. Let the musings begin.
Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Select Ob. for Gerry’s Wines & Spirits 45% Gerrys
- N: Fortunately, Ben – SWAG’s US whiskey expert – is here to steer us in the right direction. ‘Very wheated’, he tells us. Indeed, I find it soft, a touch waxy and > fluffy with a perfumed detergenty hint. Bananas too. It reminds me of the first North of Scotland [grain] whisky I ever tried, a 1973 vintage from BBR and also wheated. I must dig a sample out one day and re-review it for these pages.
- T: Green banana for sure. Surprisingly astringent given the softer fluffy wheated nose.
- F: It softens a touch by the end and stretches out down a lovely grainy-barley route.
- C: An absolute must-try for those convinced that standard JD is the best whiskey in the world.
Scores 82 points
Pretty sure I have had this before. Sure enough, I have [WLP87].
- N: This represents whisky making before the full robot take-over. Glengyle’s beautiful smoky peanut-y pong offers loads & loads,….
- T: ,…. and loads. So refreshing to go back to a J. & A. Mitchell malt after a long spell with whiskies from such different designations.
- F: Dry smoky cocoa.
- C: A great whisky that offers a different perspective of Glengyle compared to the classic 12yo [WLP190 WLP289 WLP389].
Scores 88 points
Kilchoman 2007/2012 5yo Ob. The Kilchoman Club 1st Edition Single Cask #451/2007 [330 bts] 59.2% WB88.20
A five year old Kilchoman must have been quite something in 2012.
- N: Compared to the drier nuttier smoky Kilkerran, this leans decidedly towards briny smoke. With a fleeting Caol Ila-ishness, it’s oily oily oily, alongside distant sweaty old man and smoked spring onion notes.
- T: I reckon this could pass for Octomore with a sour fungal funk and a detergent/soapy quality towards vegetal car oil/diesel/petrol,….
- F: More of the same, concluding with ash,… oily ash.
- C: Easily the best Kilchoman I’ve tried.
Scores 89 points
Think I might have had this before too. Indeed, at the O&R whisky show in March 2020 [WLP86].
- N: Floral > soapy < ,… I drop my notebook, chat and enjoy. I really enjoy Daftmill.
- T: Waxy floral > lactose with a refreshing fruity lime-driven, lime-citrus mouthfeel.
- F: Detergent-y waxy lime, though others pick it up as sweeter. Perhaps my palate is done for the night.
- C: There hasn’t been a Daftmill I’ve not enjoyed and this is no exception. Same score as last time [as it turned out].
Scores 86 points
This has turned from a single cask flight to a revisiting flight. I’ve definitely had this before too, back in 2016 – pre-blog – where I scored it 86 points.
- N: Mineral-y oysters, sweet n sour oyster sauce, smoked spring onions,… Adding water promotes the bourbon cask influence. I’m not picking up sherried notes as I did before.
- T: Despite everything else, a bourbon cask astringency ensues. Water brings out more sweetness.
- F: ‘Effervescent larger-lime top’ is all I wrote.
- C: Good, though its youthful spirit in a lively cask that does all the talking.
Scores 85 points
“What’s next?”, asks our excellent host. My eye catches Balblair on the menu, and the choice is made.
Balblair 2011/2019 8yo Cadenhead Small Batch [648 bts] 57.8% WB87.13
- C: This young Cadenhead bottling has proved more popular amongst Whiskybase reviewers than with our small group tonight. For me, in relation to today’s long and varied drams, this appears edgy and gacky. The end of those fabulous official vintages was a big loss. It would seem those releases were the family jewels of the distillery.
Scores 81 points
Definitely home time. Night all.