Yet another ‘live’ SWAG meetup at the fabulous Cut Your Wolf Loose in Brighton. It’s also my birthday! Age-wise, I can tell you there’s an 8 in it!
A CYWL 2008/2021 13yo Glen Elgin at 56.6% is waiting for me on arrival, compliments of the Foz who had read I have a soft spot for this one since discovering it on Halloween. Following on from the Glen Elgin is a 31yo Tormore no less, compliments of Wayne:
- N: Typically coppery, becoming more and more fruity as an hour rolls past. In addition, we’ve wonder stuff such as peanut brittle, honey, a biscuitiness – Nice & Digestives for example,… That the spirit still talks so freely after 31 years is remarkable.
- T: On the palate, it starts off well and further loosens up with time like a treat. Flavour-wise, we are talking biscuit-sweet/savoury butterscotch with a crisp coppery edge.
- F: Again, typically Tormore, a quirky yet straight-ahead slightly reserved malt at times – in between a Linkwood and a Fettercairn if you will – becoming maltier whilst maintaining a slightly puckering spirity edgyness.
- C: Most engaging. This one showcases Tormore’s ability to retain its idiosyncratic form through to full maturity.
Scores 88 points
Oxford Artisan Distillery Oxford Rye  Ob. Heritage Grains 40% WB0
This was a dram being passed around. Don’t mind if I do.
- C: Being more gin/genever-like than whisky at this stage, I certainly pick up on Nc’nean-esque vibes [WLP]. At just 40% abv and with little body to speak of, I see higher-strength releases have been regarded favourably [WF85]. Let’s also bear in mind that these guys have their own unique and commendable approach to making [English] whisky, and it’s very early days for the distillery.
Highland Park 2008/2021 12yo CYWL 64.2%
- C: Dist: 19/02/08 btl: 26/08/21, simply put, this is perhaps the best dram of the night – so far. No doubt I shall revisit this one another time, for more in-depth scrutiny and analysis [if there’s any left].
[Provisionally scores 89 points]
Next up, yet another birthday treat,.. this one, compliments of Garson.
- N: Going from strength to strength, this one displays the cleaner/more restrained side of Ben Nevis, so less scrambled eggs and more on pancakes, muffins, bellini’s, whipped cream,… > souffle, creme brulee, olives, olive oil,…
- T: Continues on the palate with the clean & focused Ben Nevis narrative yet with an apt greasy-ish murky chew. Refill hoggie wonders ensue.
- F: Admiringly adaptive barley juice with an olive oil-like textural chew to finish.
- C: A ‘scrubs up nicely’ shining star that shone brighter and brighter as the afternoon ticked over into evening.
Scores 90 points
I overhear there’s a Dumbarton in the house. Closed in 2002 [SW], I seize on a dram with immediate effect. I don’t think many peeps realise how rare, grain from this closed distillery is and how good it can be. Jeez, I’ve [just about] more Dumbarton’s in storage than I’ve ever actually tried. This will make it three.
Dumbarton 1997 22yo AWWC ‘Infrequent Flyers’ cask #178 [202 bts] 55.3% WB84.57
‘Infrequent flyers’ sounds like a satirical travel retail reference, but it’s nothing of the sort. Further reading: alistairwalkerwhisky.com
- N: Despite being a relatively contemporary vintage [for a grain], this is a whisky more in the [often unquantifiable] ‘old-style’, an inviting, beguiling,.. fine-oiled honeyed grain without an overt bourbon-y imprint. Let’s dive on in.
- T: Old style indeed. One rarely comes across these delicate if precise styles of grain anymore,… a charmer not un-reminiscent of Glen Scotia’s 15yo circa 2016/2017 [WB] in some respects.
- F: Peanut-ish oils,…. butterscotch and a French Fancies sweetness.
- C: I’ve noticed a number of Dumbarton parcels come & go last year , and at reasonable prices too. Grab every one you see whilst you can.
Scores 87 points
Another birthday dram from Garson. Merci.
This is an undisclosed Caol Ila from a first-fill ruby port wine barrique – but is it a finish or full maturation, and what’s with all those [Ardnamurchan-esque] numbers? They aren’t simply coordinates.
- N: This would be a fun one to nose in front of a flavour wheel. Being so open, it’s easy to pick out notes from a broad flavour spectrum that sees the smokiness high, the peatiness is low, and a consolidating port grape sweet spot in the middle.
- T: Same again, the smokiness turned up, the peatiness turned down,… the grape EQ-ed ‘flat’, as we say in the music business.
- F: Slightly waxy, a pinch of salt, cinnamon,… some new wood.
- C: An easy pleaser for sure. Add a chunk of ice and let’s call it dessert.
Scores 84 points
That’s a good place to conclude proceedings at CYWL. I’ve paced myself remarkably well this evening though there may be more to come,…. there’s always more! A number of us make it back to the home of the Foz’s infamous Living Library. There, I finally get to try the Glenturret everyone has been raving about. Expectations are high, but knowing me, it would be typical if I was the only one who wasn’t as enamoured with it as the majority seem to be.
- N,T,F: Many peeps are likening this to old Macallan though I’ve not seen a single or credible side-by-side comparison just yet. I find a moreish squidgy syrupy chewy sherried wee-beastie with a desirable dirty underside and a smoky touch – probably char note – in the background. I struggle with the rubbery/syrupy element – PX in conjunction with oloroso casks,… even some red wine perhaps? – a contemporary take on the 20th century sherried style which, frankly, has been done to death in recent years. On the plus sides, there’s a commendable blended maturity here and no overt resinousness from the wood itself.
- C: From almost total obscurity to this, hasn’t Glenturret come far?! Though there’s little [previous] distillery character to glean, no doubt this will help redefine Glenturret for years to come.
Scores 85 points
Thank you Swaggers, for an excellent birthday bash.