Loose Ends: Summer 2020

Remember the days, when the sea was warm from the searing heat of the sun, and the thought or need for jumpers and coats was inconceivable – about two weeks ago?! These random drams, I’ve enjoyed at various times during those hot barmy months just gone.

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Buffalo Trace Single Barrel Select [2019/20] Ob. for Martin’s Wines & Spirits, USA 45% [MR]6/10

Where does one go after a 34yo 1982 Caol Ila [WLP93]? Bourbon of course, somewhere completely different.

[Random photo]
  • N: That’s bourbon alright, but this isn’t a big broad loud punch to the face whiskey, there’s subtlety and depth with fruits, flora ‘n’ fauna.,,,, The [vanillin] oak itself, whilst beautifully tempered, brings its own desirable character to the fold.
  • T: Wow, that’s berry juice and the blossom of. Thankfully, the berry juice never stops flowing – raspberries in the main – but there are other enjoyable contenders besides.
  • F: A slightly chalky tannic > fresh > cinnamon finish, but it’s all very low-key compared to many a bold bourbon, and with raspberry juice till the last.
  • C: Bring me a bottle of boozy raspberry juice please Jeeves. With thanks to Ben for the sample.

 After all that, I forgot to write down a score [85/86, perhaps?]

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What next? Obviously a grain!

Cambus 1993/2020 26yo DL Old Particular refill butt #13914 [217 bts] 43.3% WB85[4]

Grain after bourbon? Remember, there are no rules but one’s own.

  • N: Knowing what it is, I instantly pick up on the grain qualities of burnt/toasted nuts, a waft of petrol & linseed oil, briny almond oil, and wheat germ, but it’s the sweet almost candied tones mixed with the wheatgerm that impress the most. Is that a hint of [Faith In Nature] grapefruit shampoo, the emphasis on the grapefruit? Indeed it is, and with more waxy wheat germ to come.
  • T: Sweet-sour, briny ,… > petrol-y/turpentine-y < ,… citrusy,… muesli,…
  • F: ,… and > pepper [white pepper checks out for me too, Holborndrinker] – the sour < sweet thread remaining true, relaxed, and resolute.
  • C: Alongside a clearly defined form, the distillate remains true yet commendably aided by a polite cask #13914, which realised a very good result.

Darn, I forgot to write down a score for this too [perhaps 86 also?]. With thanks to Ben once again.

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Three Ships 7yo [2019] Ob. ‘Moscato’ finish [btl #393/716] 55.1% [750ml] WB0 WF86

I picked up a generous sample of this at the Old & Rare Show 2020, for a mere £1. As the label says, this saw a ‘Moscato’ finish – an infamous typo for an infamous whisky that couldn’t belong to any old & rare flight.

  • N: Being pre-warned about this bottling, I’d been too apprehensive to try this before now, but now I’m suitably lubricated, I’m wondering what there is to be wary of? It’s malty, phenolic, lactic and grain-like, but there’s nothing too freaky so far. Before long, however, emerges a briny pickle element and the smell of some oily/dirty Ground Cruiser tyres I bought for a Raleigh Chopper, bicycle tyres that smelt like they’d spent a lot of time doused in Octomore. Indeed, this isn’t too far away from Octomore 3.1 aside from that pickle/brine situation.
  • T: Oh, and there it is, the infamous qualities of an odd ‘moscato’ cask. Namely, burnt rubber tyres lightly covered in Swarfega into,…
  • F: ,… slightly butyric =< halitosis and putty-ed tar. That’ll be enough of that then!
  • C: Maybe for some, it’ll be a revelation, but I’m unsure why anyone would have bottled this [though I wouldn’t mind trying the sample that Whiskyfun reviewed]? With only two [WB] members with bottles in collection, it seems I’ll be the first [and possibly the last?], to review it on Whiskybase.

[No score]

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Tomintoul 12yo [1970/80s] Ob. 43% [5cl] WB79[3] [WB]83.78[20]

I’m a fan of Tomintoul. I have it, in my scattered mind, close to Glencadam in style, though geographically, they are a national park apart. Who though, puts whisky in plastic bottles? I believe Angus Dundee currently owns Tomintoul Distillery, but it’s more than likely that this miniature is from the 1970-80s when Whyte & Mackay were part of the complex company ownership landscape.

  • N: A reliable yet characterful nose. Let’s start with a mention for those dusty bourbon-fruity-citrus-savoury > sweet wax capacitors that leads to a surprisingly medium-full-bodied older-style bourbon-aged apricot/gala melon & condensed mango  > pineapple-vanilla-emulsion fruity funkiness.
  • T: Tomintoul can often ooze sour-ish waxy grapefruit-citrus flavours, but this one begins and endures with a savoury > sour > > sweet peppery fizziness. Cast that aside if you will/can, and you’ve a sweetish-peppery grapefruit-dry, focused-yet-easy pleasing malleable and still peppery=sawdust-y and grapefruit-tannic pith-moist mouthfeel-like development.
  • F: The moderately-dry, [slightly metallic] broad bourbon-matured barley grapefruit > sweet < savoury citrus profile holds out till the last.
  • C: With much to appreciate, this could be an ideal dram to explore the history of Tomintoul with. It’s a story of business [SW]. The fizz holds it back, otherwise, we’d easily be nearer 86/87.

Scores 83 points

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Let’s conclude with a current malt at a similar age.

Glenallachie 15yo [2020] Ob. 46% WB85.64[440]

As I remember it, when Billy Walker’s Glenallachie launch occurred in 2018, only the 10, 12, and 18yo were available [alongside a CS version of the 10, perhaps]. This is the first time I’ve tried the 15yo, compliments of Charlie.

  • N: Being very sweet – raisin, fig & date-sweet – with a rubbery vanilla boing to start, is it a great surprise that there is a close similarity between this and the Glendronach Revival [post-2015] – both whiskies being matured in PX & oloroso casks in this, the ‘seasoned sherry cask era’ we find ourselves in?
  • T: Juicy syrup-sweet and somewhat cask-astringent, this is aged-yet-fresh juice, though with a softer cask sponge middle.
  • F: You can’t get away from this one’s ‘engineered’ modern situation, but tasty it be, and there’s plenty to like. Continues along the lines of sweet syrup to caramel to coffee and a touch of tobacco to herbal resins with sweet sticky mouthfeel as a keep-sake.
  • C: No point comparing this to St Magdalene, Coleburn, or North Port [WLP]. All we need do is embrace and appreciate what we have now – enjoyable modern whisky that will give fans a dilemma: whether to buy this or the Revival – or perhaps both?!

Scores 85 points

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END

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