Following on from Part 1,… dram number 7 [of 12!!] is up.
Tullibardine 2006/2020 14yo Whiskybroker cask #33 [662 bts] 56.8% WB87.90
- N: Syruped oloroso sherry all the way yet it’s not over the top. Thankfully there’s no sulphur or rubber either. This one is towards a vegetal slight dunder-funk vegetal direction, biscuity, and with some decent age behind it [I imagine].
- T: Is this oloroso cask-matured or are we talking something like Palo Cortado? Either way, this is good quality strong whisky [high 50s? – yep], yet with plenty of dirty sherry syrup leading to stewed plums and prune juice, chocolate, ginger, cinnamon, llicourice, even suggestions of aniseed-based alcohol liqueurs. Nice chewy mouthfeel turns resinous on the turn.
- F: Slightly scorched cinnamon toast over oak-astringent peppered < honey,… and on the other hand, a sour rhum agricole < dirty-oily character with a sour-sticky spirity spice into boot polish.
- C: The kind of sherry-matured whisky that makes me question why we whisky drinkers don’t drink more sherry. No idea [again] of the distillery but a very decent, complex, all-sherry malt, though one I may well have different views on over the course of enjoying a bottle.
Scores [85~]86 points.
My bottle is up next. I pop into the Zoom meeting to present it. It’s a Strathclyde 2005 9yo DH The Clan Denny cask #10710 55.7% – WB86.83 – a bottle I reviewed on these pages back in October 2016. It was, in fact, my second ever entry [WLP90]. This is the last bottle of three or four that I’ve previously devoured. Another full bottle report shall follow in due course. We’ve plenty more to be getting on with as it is.
- KH: “We invariably end up with more drams than people”.
I’d already tried this a few months earlier, but this being a blind tasting, I did not know it at the time.
- N: Meaty sweet-savoury bone-dry yet luscious aromatic peppery [contemporary Macallan-esque?] sherry nose.
- T: Syruped resins remain present yet with a controlled arrival, the palate Macallan-esque again with an exotic darkish oily underbelly. On second thoughts, this is too edgy/adventurous/active for Macallan. It’s not Glendronach either.
- F: Being uber spirit-driven, it’s rather more simple as it unravels.
- C: A malt that appears older than it is, much like my Strathclyde [both from good casks]. PM guesses the bottler as Jamies Eadie and is correct again. Amazing!
Scores 85 points [same as before, so it turns out]
- WB: Has anybody tried the Watt whisky bottles yet?
- BC: Watt whisky?
- WB?,… er yeah
Everyone is either talking, eating and/or smiling at this point, and there’s still 59 minutes to go on the playback!
Booker’s 6yo  Ob./Jim Beam Small batch #2020-01E 63.2%/126.4 proof WB84.83
- N: This is a rich-dusty-woody and husky=fusty nose with dry rice/koji leanings, stored grains…. tea shops,… peanut shells,.. lager & lime?! BC tells us the key note of ‘peanut brittle’ is very indicative of the distillery profile, and as the minutes pass, it’s very clear this is bourbon – aged bourbon, [relatively] well-aged bourbon. The notes here are wide and colourful. I think it was RB who called out ‘mint’, then RM “there’s vanilla and cinnamon”, and WB “orange” – all spot on. Abv? 53%? Ha, I’m only 10 away!
- T: That’s bourbon alright, though perhaps not as old as I first thought. Revealed: this one is exactly 6 years, 4 months, and 21 days matured. Then again, whilst it’s rich, those dense dusty tea shop vibes ensue with orange [chocolate] cream/peel,… It’s one hell of an arrival and mouthful, but we are soon into a controlled bold waxy even [gentle] resinous grassiness with a delicious nutty citrusy complexity.
- F: Echoes thereafter, the gems are to be found within the subtleties – again, fairly typical of the style apparently. I love the fustiness at the tail, just up my street.
- C: RB guesses Booker’s after BC says it’s from Jim Beam. ‘Standard’ Beam drinkers have no idea what they are missing. Over to the man himself [BC]: “This started the small-batch trend”,… bottles that were originally given by [late master distiller] Booker Noe to his friends and family. Typically aged between 6-8 years old, it’s become an annual/bi-annual batch release since,.. 1988?
Scores [86~]87 points
More well-intentioned nonsense from the Swaggers:
- ‘I’ve got one of those little things where you can actually push your things in and if it doesnt go, it doesnt go”.
- “I dont want to know about your little thing”.
Deanston 2007/2020 13yo SV First Fill Sherry cask #900147 [625 bts] 65% WB88.80
- N: First-fill resinous sherry cask-forward with plenty of previous cask contents offering a confectionary lime leathery=buttery [savoury] window polish-sweetness, soft creamy-malty-toffee-sweet-ish chocolate < pistachio nut skin/butter > chestnuts,… Love it! I’m guessing the abv is at around 48%+
- T: Same again as the nose, this familiar Highlands[? – yes!] whisky is bold yet well-rounded with a well-selected cask balance, and boy does it swim! How strong is this? With some syrup oozing into the mix, I find the mouthfeel the most striking attribute – soft oozing grapefruit-ish citrusy sour toffee which provides a curious moreish textural situation. [15yo?] Glencadam-esque – yet the toffee-citrus here is too sharp – before getting some deeper Clynelish [Brora-esque] waxy citrus hints, but we certainly aren’t anywhere near there. Wowzers, those bananas. Ah-ha, that’s a tell-tale sign!
- F: I initially found this slightly resinous/spicy, but let’s not even talk about it with water and time. With yet more mint [sauce], mint sauce icecream even, vanilla with it,.. banana-ey and coppery also – are we talking Deanston? – and who’s got the hiccups/squeaky chair?
- C: I finally get one right. It’s those bananas, a reference note has never failed me since walking around the distillery [WLP] in 2017. This is a contemporary cask-led whisky that I feel would benefit hugely with some cellar-ageing.
Scores around [84~]85 points – boy I’m undecided today, scoring-wise. Nicer to round up than round down, no?
The anonymous squeaking/hiccup gag[?] hasn’t let up. BC is finding it virtually impossible to hide his laughter. RM and PM are most amused. It takes a while for the hiccup-er to reveal themselves. After 10 minutes, the game is up, and yet it’s a joke that keeps giving. BC: “For a 6’ 4” Glaswegian, you’ve got very delicate hiccups”. Laughs all round.
Caol Ila 2009/2020 11yo NNS First Fill Oloroso Butt [410 bts] 58.2% WB89.43 Angus: 88
- N: Our last dram of this 12-dram flight is this second offering from PM who had reservations about sharing it as he regards it highly,.. so thankyou. Octomore & Glen Scotia are initial guesses which means I could be on the wrong island,.. or peninsula. Leathery > meaty < malty,… oily-medicinal-clean garage-y/metals/sweat/dank notes. It’s “,.. off profile”, says PM. [Revealed, I’d have never guessed Caol Ila]. This whisky must carry a very high abv. It screams of barley despite the [PX or oloroso?] sherry influence.
- T: Boy what an abv. I reckon this is the strongest of the night [60+?], and yet it’s somewhat easily accessible with water. SMWS Laphroaig > Ardmore?,… not really. Salty-dry – toffee-ish – maltiness all the way with a touch of ground pepper seasoning, this dram is making me hungry. It also prompts the previous banana-ey toffee-d Deanston – in a dirty way – yet this dram is anything but dirty. It’s firm and direct, no messing. Complexity lies in the transition. Nice!
- F: As a youthful [< 10yo?] presentation, the [PX?] cask influence isn’t exactly passive yet the powerful eggy-ish custard-powder/hot chocolate spirit remains un-ruffled/untouched. I should be guessing Caol Ila now but I‘ve been drawn away by the [delicious] ‘off profile’ nose and palate.
- C: Proof that abv carries flavour. A cracking malt, and for £54, it’s a bargain!!
Scores 88 points
It’s been a very enjoyable session/or two, even on catchup! With 12 down, it’s a struggle to remember what’s been. Peoples favourites on the night are as follows:
- BC: The James Eadie Teaninich,… or the Strathclyde
- KH: [His own] SMWS Umami Salami
- PM – [His own] Caol Ila, and [when pushed] Umami Salami “equal first”
- RB: [My] Strathclyde – “the most unique one that I tried”
- RM: BC’s Booker’s
- TH: Another vote for the Umami salami – and a very close second: both of RMs drams.
- WB: WK’s Girvan 14yo.
- WLP: [My own] Strathclyde and PM’s Caol Ila,..
The Umami Salami wins it, but it was a close affair – such was the colourful array of similar-quality drams as well as one’s own [subjective] tastes. Regards to all the Swaggers.