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Jolly Toper Tastings Program Jan. - July

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Jolly Toper Tastings Program Jan. - July

Postby jmrl » Sat Jan 09, 2010 3:42 pm

All of the Jolly Toper's whisky tastings take place on Thursday nights from 7:30pm until approximately 10pm at the Tollbooth Tavern, 167 Canongate, Royal Mile, Edinburgh.

January 21st: £28/25*: SOLD OUT

50yo 1937 - 1987 speyside single malt

Dalmore 21yo 43%

Clynelish distiller's edition seco 46%

Something peaty

Something else

+ a mystery dram


February 4th Thursday: Mortlach
£27/24*-

Cadenheads 1992-March 2009 16yo Bourbon hogshead 57.2% 263 bottles

Golden Cask 1994 55.1%

Signatory 5.8.91-10.3.9 17yo sherry butt 46%

Flora & Fauna 16yo 43%

Gordon & MacPhail 1954-2008 40%

February 11th Thursday: Rum £18/15*-

Trinidad Providence from Caroni distillery patent still 66.1% 1991-2006 14yo

Jamaica CRV Long Pond Estate continous still 69.8% 1974-June 1997 22yo

Demerara 1975 40.5%

Barbados 18yo 46%

Nicaragua 8yo 46%

Antigua English Harbour 3yo 40% white rum

February 18th Thursday: Springbank £18 ALL PROCEEDS TO WATERAID (No member's discount)-

Springbank 18yo 46%

Springbank 12yo Claret wood expression cask strength

Springbank CV 46%

Springbank 12yo cask strength

Longrow

March 4th Thursday: old/sherried/peaty/rare/unusual/mystery £20/17*-

Springbank private bottling 1996-2009 13yo frsh sherry hogshead 56%

Birnie Moss 'intensely peated' from Benriach distillery 48%

Dewars 12yo 43%

Caol Ila unpeated 10yo bottled 2009 65.8%

Ardmore 25yo 51.4%

+ a mystery dram


March 18th Thursday
: 5 anonymous Islay/peaty malts at 40% No.2 £16/13*-

Glenkeir Treasures (2 malts vatted The Whisky Shop)

Pride of Islay 12yo 40% Gordon & MacPhail

Islay Storm single malt

The Ileach single malt

special guest Brora 1982-2008 43% refill sherry butts Gordon & MacPhail

April 1st Thursday: old/sherried/peaty/rare/unusual/mystery £20/17%

April 15th Thursday: World Whiskies £tbc-

India- Amrut Fusion single malt 50%

Japan- Super Nikka blend 43%

Australia- Lark single malt 43%

Canada- Lot No. 40 40%

USA- tbc

Europe- tbc

Future dates:-

29th April, 13th May Highland Park, 27th May, 10th June Anonymous Islay malts 43% The Ileach 12yo single malt, The Pibroch 12yo single malt, Smokehead single malt, Six Isles plus a special guest (Brora or Port Ellen), 24th June and 8th & 22nd August

Future tastings:-

peaty blends 40% : date,drams & price tbc
Islay Mist
Islay Hallmark 8yo
Black Bottle 10yo
Black Grouse
Black Bottle
plus a special guest (Brora or Port Ellen
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Re: Jolly Toper Tastings Program Jan. - July

Postby jmrl » Fri Jan 29, 2010 5:19 pm

The write up for the tasting on January 21st is now posted on the Bladnoch Forum under 'events'. This tasting featured a 1937 50yo single Speyside malt thought to be Macallan. The next tasting, 4th February, is a Mortlach night including a 1954 54yo example. The following tasting is a rum do with the next being a Springbank night where the ticket price goes to WaterAid.
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Re: Jolly Toper Tastings Program Jan. - July

Postby jmrl » Tue Feb 09, 2010 1:25 am

The Mortlach tasting is now written up over at the Bladnoch forum. This featured a 1954 54yo bottling, the highest scoring, oldest most expensive whisky we've had at the Jolly Toper tastings. This week is rum, next week that Springbank and a future tasting will include a 1958 MacAllan.
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Re: Jolly Toper Tastings Program Jan. - July

Postby jmrl » Sun Feb 28, 2010 1:09 am

If anybody is interested the rum, Springbank and usual suspects tastings are now written up over at Bladnoch/forum/events/canongate tastings
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Re: Jolly Toper Tastings Program Jan. - July

Postby jmrl » Mon Mar 08, 2010 10:58 pm

The write up of last week's tasting is now posted over at Bladnoch.co.uk - events - Canongate Tastings. We had Dewars 12yo, Ardmore 25yo, Tormore 15yo, Caol Ila 10yo (unpeated), a Springbank 13yo fresh sherry hogshead private bottling and the Benriach 'Birnie Moss'

The next tasting - five 40% anonymous Islay/peated malts at 40% and a G&M Brora 1982 is all but sold out however a recent Cadenheads bottling program has warranted the inclusion of yet another tasting:-

Provisional line up for WEDNESDAY 24th March £20/17:-

Linkwood-Glenlivet distillery 1989 - 02/10 20yo 55.4% port cask 256 bottles

Glen Mhor distillery 1982 - 02.10 27yo 56.8% sherry cask 236 bottles

distilled at Heavenhill Distilleries Inc., Bardtown Kentucky Bourbon barrel 13yo 61.6%

Springbank distillery 2001 - 02/10 8yo cognac cask 58.5% 625 bottles

Ardbeg distillery 1994 - 02/10 15yo Bourbon hogshead 56.0% 268 bottles

+ a mystery dram
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Re: Jolly Toper Tastings Program Jan. - July

Postby jmrl » Sun Mar 21, 2010 11:32 am

The write up of the anonymous Islay tasting is posted over at http://www.bladnoch.co.uk, under events
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Re: Jolly Toper Tastings Program Jan. - July

Postby jmrl » Sun Mar 28, 2010 12:59 am

The write up for the latest tasting (Cadenheads February bottling program) is now posted over at Bladnoch. The next tasting details to follow but basically the chance to try a 1958 (19yo?) Macallan which sold for £615 at Bonhams a few weeks ago and another 5 drams for £29.
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Re: Jolly Toper Tastings Program Jan. - July

Postby jmrl » Wed Apr 14, 2010 12:13 am

The tasting featuring the 1958 Macallan is now written up over at the Bladnoch website under forum, events. The Macallan received the joint highest feedback score since these tastings have recorded opinion, we've rated hundreds of drams now.

Also_

The next tasting is Thursday 15th April £21.50/18.50 World Whiskies No.3 :-

Kornog Taouarc'h Eilvet 09 peated single malt 3yo 46% : France
Amrut Fusion single malt 50% : India
Frysk Hynder : Holland
Lark single malt 43% : Australia
Super Nikka blend 43% : Japan
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Re: Jolly Toper Tastings Program Jan. - July

Postby jmrl » Sat Apr 17, 2010 2:48 pm

The world whisky tasting has now been written up over at Bladnoch. Next tasting:-

29.4.10 Old/Sherried/Peaty/Rare/Unusual £22/19*
Early 20th century Antiquary blend
The English Whisky Company Chapter 6 batch 2 3yo 1st fill Bourbon casks
Cadenheads Ardbeg 1991 - 02/10 15yo 56% Bourbon hogshead 268 bottles
Abhainn Dearg distilled 10.02.10 61.7%
G&M Glen Keith 1968 46% (triple distilled)
+ mystery dram from a sherry cask

* members /first timers
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Re: Jolly Toper Tastings Program Jan. - July

Postby jmrl » Mon May 10, 2010 11:39 pm

The last tasting has now been written up over at Bladnoch forum. The next tasting is sold out, an Highland Park vertical. I'll aim to post the complete write up here. The next tasting is on Thursday May 27th at 7.30pm in the Tolbooth Tavern, Royal Mile, Edinburgh, details to follow...
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Re: Jolly Toper Tastings Program Jan. - July

Postby jmrl » Tue May 11, 2010 8:03 pm

Et voila: the details of the next (un-soldout) tasting

Glenlossie 1978 - 2007 Gordon and MacPhail refill sherry hogsheads 46%

MacDuff 16yo cask strength Cadenheads butt

Hazelburn 9yo 46% Duthies sherry cask (to be confirmed)

Ardbeg Rollercoaster

Cambus grain 24yo Bladnoch Forum

a mystery dram
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Re: Jolly Toper Tastings Program Jan. - July

Postby jmrl » Mon May 17, 2010 11:06 pm

Here is the Highland Park tasting write up.

Highland Park. 5 drams:- one official the rest from independents. Different ages, styles, strengths and prices. Unusually I'd only tried one of the drams before putting them in the line up. A pretty solid rule is to try before you buy but in a funny way the randomness of the sampling brought an element of trial by jury for the independents beyond something being thoughtfully selected after sampling. It proved tricky to get a taste of anything out there in time. I wasn't totally happy with the line up and as there is so much HP sauce out there I dare say the excercise will be repeated with another set of drams, Highland Park is very popular so I should sell most if not all tickets to the tasting. This one was a sell out but some inconsiderates called off at the last minute and didn't take the carry out option denying others their chance to take part:- you know who you are!

First up, and it was easily the lightest, was a 17yo single cask at 46% from Cadenhead's re-vamped pre-diluted range 'Duthies'. Pale yellow gold with a reserved nose, the palate was gentle but not too slight. Warm honey was the order of the day and an altogether understated intensity and body may well have proved too delicate for most. For me the dram's beauty lay in it's subtlety and the light character was a quality not a flaw. I forget the price but approaching £45 seems familiar. 1222233444444555 38%- poor, especially when the highest score was only a 5 making the underwhelmed nature of voting unanimous, I'd have given in 6 or 7 for what it's worth- I'm easy to please but hard to impress- is my line. 'Fruit', 'more like a sherry', 'bit sharp for my taste', 'Annabel Goldie- old and reliable', 'alcoholic Vicks nasal', 'the siesta before the fieast'.

Next was a 16yo from Alchemist at 46% 'enhanced' in calvados barrels, about £34. Still reserved on the nose but a fair bit more going on. The palate was again discreet. The finish and texture were more engaging than the initial dram with the first sip alluding to it's island provenance with a hint of kiln peat. A distinct fruitiness was the main difference to No.1 but still this was far from what we have come to expect from distillery bottlings with their medium to full body and richer style. A much more impressive 59%:- 2344555566667777. An interesting example from Orkney, like the first one I'd never have guessed it's home town and would only recommend it to a HP fan if they were looking to explore the possibilities. For somebody looking for a good quality malt I'd have no problems selling them this after underlining the gentler character it holds. 'Orkney calvados', 'cheap man's Cognac', Nicola Sturgeon- good at first but lacks staying power', 'Fox's glacier minys liquidised by distillling'.

I'm told Highland Park have a natty new addition to their website of 24 short clips to illustrate the malt's story. Also artificial colouring appears to have been abandoned and the ex-sherry casking policy has been underlined. New make appears to be available too, would anyone come to an all new make tasting? I'm well up for it.

1973 - 2009 Gordon & MacPhail 43% single first fill sherry butt about £120. When I saw this on paper I couldn't not buy it. G&M are the masters of old malt but age is no guarantee of quality nor low price necessaily a bargain. First fill sherry cask? Well you've got me there. 36yo? There too. £120. Nobody was willing to pay that but I see Highland Distillers have just released a HP at the same vintage at the predictable £600 mark. I wonder if they would have released this as a single cask, probably not. But its still good, every bit as good as the first two with a sweetness persisting. Honey Nut Cornflakes. I'm finding it difficult to say much else except for some reason the nose reminds me of the 40 Creek Barrel Select we had a few tastings ago, a bit weird that. Nice medium length finish though. 1123445555555688- 50% A real spread of opinion so half full marks blurs the spectrum of enjoyment but encapsulates the 50-50 feel. 'Peat', 'too peaty for me but good', 'Theressa May (or maybe not)', 'ticks all the boxes you'd expect from Highland Park- smooth sweetness and peatiness in perfect harmony...nice!'. Sorry but I can't find the peat, maybe the industrial stength garlic I had for my tea is interfeering, can't be'.

Now, again, for something completely different. Murray McDavid (another first timer for this independent at these tastings', 14yo 465 wine casks finish. Cahteau Lafite (I think) More on the palate tahn all the rest put together. Much younger on the palate than the age suggests. A bit dearer at over £40 (I know £600 is over £40 but you know what I mean). I've never, knowingly, tried Chateau Lafite but judging by the slight pinkiness it is a red. However the sweetness is then surprising but of course that could be a hangover from the casks before 'enhancing'. This is fun and I'm getting more into the unconcentional caks finishing style but I'm still wary. drinking the usual suspects isn't a problem but ther tend to be a formula which is unchallenging. This kind of thing offers more intrigue, perhaps too much of a departure for the conservative or less travelled palate so perhaps one for the exporers among us. Not too extreme though like some bolder experiments taht ahve made it to bottle. A very divisive 49% and the only zero of the night- 0222345556666667 'pink champagne', 'easy summer drink, big hangover', 'strong nose and colour', 'Margret Thatcher- what more can I say'.

Lastly the Earl Magnus first release 15yo 52.4%. Right back to a good old fashioned dram here. In fact this is of a high order. Retains poise whilst delivering some pretty big notes. Oily nose with a long smokey coastal journey over the tongue. Flavours all over the palate, developing and moving around. Why aren't all malts this complete? They've done it just right mixing these casks. I wonder how many casks of this quality they could spare from their more mainstream reserves. How will batch 2 compare? They could go for a totally different line, if they chose to follow this style then they've set themselves a tall order to improve upon this. With time in the glass the sweetness increases and is intense at the front of the tongue but the older woody notes come out too. Water further develops the sweetness but diminishes the latter notes. The packaging deserves comment. Most of us agreed the very slick open wooden box was a classy touch, the heavy bottle matching the picturesque label reflecting early 20th/late 19th century style was also appreciated but the £85 price tag for 15yo cask strength wasn't so popular. By leaving the standard range packaging behind perhaps they wanted to create a sub-catagory of bottlings which needed to be stylistically seperate from the mainstream offering so the presentation had to be different too. 64% (modest I thought) 2334566666777888 'complex but unrewarding', 'great packaging, crap whisky', 'om num num', 'well mature', 'easily the best of the evening...although finish didn't last long enough...came off 20 minutes into the second half to use fitba parlance'.

There you have it. Next tasting 7.30pm Thursday 27th May followed quickly by a special at 2.30pm on Sunday 30th May.

27.5.10

Glenlossie 1978 - 2007 refill sherry hogsheads 46% G&M
MacDuff 16yo cask strength butt Cadenheads
Cambus 24yo Bladnoch Forum
Ardbeg Rollercoaster
Still not sure about the Hazelburn 9yo I think we'll go for a blend instead.
+ a mystery malt
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Re: Jolly Toper Tastings Program Jan. - July

Postby jmrl » Fri Jun 04, 2010 8:22 am

The next tasting is:-

10.6.10 Anonymous Islay/peaty malts 43% + Port Ellen £18/15*
The Ileach 12yo single malt

The Pibroch 12yo single malt

Smokehead single malt

Six Isles (Islay, Jura, Skye, Mull, Orkney and Arran)

The Peat Chimney Wemyss Vintage Malts blended malt

special guest Port Ellen Gordon & MacPhail September 1982 - September 2009 refill sherry casks 43%
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Re: Jolly Toper Tastings Program Jan. - July

Postby jmrl » Sun Jun 20, 2010 11:20 am

The write up for the anonymous 43% peaty/Islay malts + Port Ellen is now posted, as usual, over at :-

http://www.bladnoch.co.uk/forum/events/ ... artastings

Next tasting is Thursday 24th July £21/18*:-

Diageo's Manager's Choice Inchgower 16yo Bodega sherry cask- this is a rare chance for plebs like us to drink the malt designed for the rich, lets find out if the dram is as good as whisky gets. By pricing this range so high a hornets nest of contention was noised up, I doubt the quality, even if exceptional, will justify the price tag.

Speyburn 09/77 - 12/07 43% refill sherry butt by contrast G&M can pull out some ancient stuff at very accessible prices, but does old make good? and a low price good value?

Kilkerran work in process batch 2 the next installment in the ascendecy from J. & A. Mitchell's re-opened Campbeltown malt

S.M.W.S. 29 (Laphroaig) 10yo

Something else?!

+ a mystery dram
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Re: Jolly Toper Tastings Program Jan. - July

Postby jmrl » Mon Jun 21, 2010 11:11 pm

Oops the next tasting is June not July. D'oh.
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Re: Jolly Toper Tastings Program Jan. - July

Postby jmrl » Wed Jun 23, 2010 10:58 pm

The 'something else' is a 12yo Imperial from a single sherry cask by G&M at cask strength. I made a mistake with the ticket price so its a particularly good deal
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Re: Jolly Toper Tastings Program Jan. - July

Postby jmrl » Thu Jul 01, 2010 9:18 pm

This tasting is now written up over at the Bladnoch Forum.

Next tasting:-

8.7.10 Theme :- Bottled at the distillery £26/23*
Bruichladdich Feis Ile Islay Barley 2004 Bottled 2010 57.5% fresh sherry butt
Benromach 01.05.10 – 03.05.10 10yo 60.1% first fill Bourbon barrel
Longrow 08.01 – 20.05.10 8yo 58.5% 414 bottles shiraz hogshead
Aberlour 27.06.95 – 12.03.10 14yo 63.3% first fill Bourbon cask
Pulteney 1990 - 02.06.2010 19yo 57.4% Bourbon cask
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Re: Jolly Toper Tastings Program Jan. - July

Postby jmrl » Wed Jul 07, 2010 11:23 pm

The tasting notes and feedback from a May tasting are now over at Bladnoch. the tasting included an independently bottled Amrut, Ardbeg Rollercoaster, a Cadenheads MacDuff, a Bladnoch Forum Cambus and 2 G&M bottlings.

Next tasting a chance to test 5 different offerings bottled straight from the cask at the distillery. On show will be the presentation, quality and price the distillers are hoping will seal a memorable visit for the whisky tourist.:-

8.7.10 £26/23*
Bruichladdich Feis Ile Islay Barley 2004 Bottled 2010 57.5% fresh sherry butt

Benromach 01.05.10 - 03.05.10 10yo 60.1% first fill Bourbon barrel

Longrow 08.01 - 20.05.10 8yo 58.5% 414 bottles shiraz hogshead

Aberlour 27.06.95 - 12.03.10 14yo 63.3% first fill Bourbon cask

Pulteney 1990 - 02.06.2010 19yo 57.4% Bourbon cask
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Re: Jolly Toper Tastings Program Jan. - July

Postby jmrl » Sat Jul 10, 2010 11:55 pm

This tasting is now written up in the usual place. The next tasting is on 22nd July. The line up is not finalised but includes the rare Ladyburn (cask strength from Signatory) and this year's Laphroaig Cairdeas. I'm hoping to get one of the latest Amruts, a virgin oak Glendronach and a sherried Glenturret from G&M.
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Re: Jolly Toper Tastings Program Jan. - July

Postby jmrl » Wed Jul 21, 2010 10:57 pm

Tomorrow night's tasting is the Ladyburn, Cairdeas, 17yo single sherry cask Glenrothes 46% from Cadenheads, a 3yo Glentauchers and a 15yo cask strength Cadenheads 'Indian Corn' from Kelowna, B.C. Canada: £21/18*
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Re: Jolly Toper Tastings Program Jan. - July

Postby jmrl » Sun Jul 25, 2010 12:16 am

This tasting is now written up over at the Bladnoch forum under events/Canongate Tastings. Next tasting 2nd September if not before at the Vintner's Rooms....
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Re: Jolly Toper Tastings Program Jan. - July

Postby jmrl » Sat Jul 31, 2010 10:47 am

As my message facility seems to be acting up, its probably my ability to understand how to use it, I'll use this thread to speak to Wave:-

Great that you can come along to the Caol Ila tasting, your seat is reserved.
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Re: Jolly Toper Tastings Program Jan. - July

Postby Wave » Sat Jul 31, 2010 10:29 pm

WooT! I can't wait! What a way to start off in Edinburgh!


Cheers!
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Re: Jolly Toper Tastings Program Jan. - July

Postby jmrl » Wed Aug 25, 2010 9:21 pm

At last something to report:-

Thursday September 2nd Old/Sherried/Peaty/Rare/Unusual £23/20*

Caperdonich 40yo 02.69-05.09 2nd fill remade hogsheads 46% closed distillery Gordon & MacPhail

Caol Ila Feis Ile 2010 61.9% filled 19/8/99 European oak sherry cask

Aultmore 1991 - 07/08 11yo Bourbon hogshead 287 bottles 57.5% Cadenheads

J. & A. Mitchell's 2010 Edinburgh International Festival blend 40%

Caledonian 1965 45yo 46.1% single grain closed distillery Clan Denny/Douglas Laing
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Re: Jolly Toper Tastings Program Jan. - July

Postby jmrl » Tue Sep 07, 2010 11:39 pm

The write up for this tasting is now posted over at www.bladnoch.co..uk.
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Re: Jolly Toper Tastings Program Jan. - July

Postby jmrl » Sun Sep 19, 2010 1:46 am

Okay I know the post title says January to July and this is September but here is the write up for the last tasting, 5 25yo+ Caol Ilas and a red herring (not literally, smoked salmon would have been more appropriate)

Dram one was from Carn Mor (the outfit that gave us the uber-young Glentauchers recently put through its paces by the assembly) 1983-2009 46% hogshead, available in realistically priced 20cl bottles. A pleasing yellow gold tint and a gentle nose with perhaps a faint off note did not prepare for the fuller palate. There is nothing dramatic here but still a fairly solid middle palate and reasonable finish let you know this is at least a half serious whisky. At about 27 years old has this past it's finest years or was the cask monitored until it was felt now was the time? I doubt many caks bought by independents have had much of their previous life spent scrutinised by blenders/brokers and that usually they surface for sale and are only ever tested once shortly before bottling for their suitability. With time passing the price rises and for the drinker this increased spend should result in greater pleasure. Here the result is a fine whisky but not remarkable. Maybe my palate is growing to the flavours at higher strengths and this would have suited me before the bottler's dilution but I can remember plenty of younger (and cheaper) example of Caol Ila being much more rewarding even at this and lower ABVs. 112224445555555666667 a fair 49%. 'A well used cask', 'strong nose, finish too short', 'very light and delicate, freak or inique', 'light Caol Ila', 'soapy', 'a superbly well balanced Islay middle weight', 'sweet and spicy', 'nothing unique', 'Stephen Fry, smooth and inoffensive, very smart', 'not', 'aperitif/Jude Law', 'typical iodine amputated toe, short finish', 'Saab', 'Mary Poppins', 'Kate Moss', 'mahogany'.

After some poor scores last time I was hoping to get some more positive noises during this tasting. However my doubt over the qualites of some aged bottlings made me worry this selection may also prove questionable. Next was the official Diageo 25yo 43% offering. While 25yo Caol Ila has been bottled before I believe it was at full strength, here we have a 43% effort. This was the lowest strength of the night with by far the highest price tag, about £130. The question mark of colour dubiety reared it's ugly head too. Another quiet nose took quite some coaxing until it's subtle depths could be reached. On the palate I feel this is superior with a nice texture and a fine range of taste gliding over the palate as they slowly change. I hope the person responsible for this vatting was pleased with the result. As elegant a Csol Ila as you could wish for. However there was quite a bit of disquiet in the room with this one. I expect the more confident Islay style was in people's sights. For one voter this was it, he gave it the only 9-out-of-nine of the night. I see Scott's point when he described this as the perfect expression and extension to the range. Far too dear though. 222234444445556777789 a not undistinguished 53%. 'Over watered and caramel riddled', 'too watery, not enough oily', 'very rich long fruity travel sweets', 'superb', 'active', 'if you don't like this you ain't got an honest taste bud in your plalate', 'better with water', 'weak little to no smoke', 'doesn't finish itself, can't hold in mouth', 'Jo Brand, fat and questionnable', 'lovely', 'Pierce Brosnan', 'warm rich, gas and air included with the iodine', 'BMW', 'Sharon Stone', 'The Good, the Bad and ther Ugly'.

Time for the curve ball. People did not know the nature of the joker in the pack- usually it is something from a different distillery but here there was a 12yo to test people's ability to spot the old from young. This was from Cadenhead at 46% hogshead of 396 bottles 1993-09.2005. In a moment of doubt I stuck this add on in as I wimpishly thought if I gave them 6 rather than 5 drams they might deem the night less of a flop. Ironically for me this is exactly what I'm lookinmg for in Caol Ila and Islay. Enough time in the cask to round off the rough edges but not so long as to rob the bright peat edge. a touch of sweetness, presumably from the cask, adds to the mix. A good finish hangs around and the strength shows how much water the taste can carry. Vintage stuff. 223344445556666778888 now we're getting somewhere: 59%. 'Nice dramming', 'smokey but nothing spectacular', 'wonderful, pencil sharpenings and lavender', 'classy', 'everything I expect and want from Islay, all boixes ticked', 'olive oil', 'good and regular', 'Jo Caulfield- forgettable', 'less interesting', 'Nick Cage in Con Air', 'tastes much better than first impression', 'Aston Martin', 'Susan Saradon', 'High Plains Drifter', 'Cuprinol Fence posting'. More than a couple thought the Diageo the ringer and this was 25yo+, tee hee.

At this point I had to call the emergency services, having purchased a bottle each from Rsymond of the 30yo and 25yo I was so unsure of their merits I had to taste and retaste them so often when the tasting sold out I didn't have enough to go around. Who ya gonna call? Willy JJ. So the advertised drams were exchanged for two different expressions. (Except for you Alastair and Sandy- I did your carry out with the originals, it was less complicated that way, I think). By the way eventually I loved both the original choices and the substitutes. Here we have Bladnoch Forum 30yo 54.2% 15.05.1980 - 26.05.2010 hogshead 251 bottles. What a curious nose for a Caol Ila, is it herbs? no its Christmas, distant swimming pools? sea side? salt and vinegar crisps? cooking outdoors at Glenelg? Its probably the 4th dram effect, my brain thinks its alert- its only quarter to midnight after all. The palate is pretty marvellous with a definite sweetness coming out in the finish which is also beginning to appear on the nose. The best so far. To compare it to the 12yo is daft but this has me on complexity and it's easy going style. I think only a G&M sherry cask example beats this for age in my experience, that was a perfect dram. 345555556667777777888 a crowd winning 68%. I now think 70% is the score to look above for true magnificence, it doesn't happen often but it is my goal to have at least one per tasting. 'good medicinal nose, nice burning', 'bitter aftertaste more central', 'impressive', 'Nail varnish nose, floral violet nose- add some water- wow, Bourbonesque finish', 'V. good', 'Caol Ila character', 'strong but amazing/different, I liked it', 'Jimmy car not as smart as he thinks', 'The Full Monty', 'Sidney Poitier- In The Heat of the Night', 'smells nicer than it tastes, minor cut just needs some soothing Savalon and a wee nip for shock', 'Mercedes', 'Platoon, possibly Apocalypse Now', 'distressed designer maple'.

Bladnoch Forum 25yo 54.1% 13.11.1984-19.03.2010 hogshead 265 bottles. The second substitute from the bench but this is like bringing on Zinadane Zidane and taking off well I don't know anything about fitba but another great player, him that cheated Ireland out of the world cup, oops bad axample. Back on course now, much malty creaminess, back to the good old boy Islay heart, very fresh for so long in the wood. This is what I might have expected from the Diageo bottling but that despatched itself admirably in a more distinguished manner. Here thers still a playfullness, a lack of acceptance at growing old and settling down but still mature enough to take it's responsibilities seriously. More 12yo than 30yo but perhaps takes the best of both. 55556666667777888888.5 a hall of fame entering 74%. 'Smokey, nippy, weird', 'tingles', 'burnt paint nose, woody on the palate, add h2o, voila- vanilla', 'V. good', 'yum, multi faceted fruit and smoke', 'Billy Connelly formerly popular but unfortunate undertones', 'pukka', 'Russel Crowe', 'legless without the amputation and a bit of morphine thrown in', 'Range Rover', 'The God Father I & II', 'aged walnut'.

Finally I thought I was putting this dram in the right placing but it turns out not. Cadenheads 25yo 55.2% 1984 - 02/10 Bourbon hogshead 250 bottles. I first thought this to be without great merit but sampling in the shop led to much excitement and purchasing so who am I to comment. I should have listened to myself. 12234555566667788 a far from poor 56% but would have preffered to end on a high note. The palest oldie of the night with a nose closer to teh 12yo than the last dram. A clarit worth remarking upon, again after a quarter of a century this zing is amazing. Mind you deep down there is a bit of the blue stuff you put in caravan toilets. The palate remains sharp too but in a trust old camping knif kind of way. For me its probably second best of the night, albeit equal witht the 30yo and the 12yo, making my prefernce order very discerning. 'Long finish, powerfull', 'creosot king', 'Babe, pig in the city', 'Volvo', 'heading south', 'John Bishop, quite fun but wouldn't introduce him to the wife', 'higher strength, smokey inner tubes', 'V. good', 'harmony'.

On asking the room if anybody had ever tried a bad Caol Ila only one person responded- the unpeated version.

Hmm that was fun anybody up for a rematch? Plenty old affordable Caol Ilas out there.

Next tasting Thursday 30th September £20/17* Cadenheads Glendullan 12yo cask strength Bourbon hogshead, Gordon & MacPhail 1971-2010 Macallan Speymalt 43%, Cadenheads Littlemill 19yo cask strength, Kilchoman Summer release and a mystery dram.
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Re: Jolly Toper Tastings Program Jan. - July

Postby jmrl » Tue Oct 05, 2010 9:51 pm

The write up for this tasting is over at www.bladnoch.co.uk in the forum under events, Canongate tastings. Note the Glendullan was replaced with Arran 14yo. Next tasting a good look at Longmorn 14.10.10
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Re: Jolly Toper Tastings Program Jan. - July

Postby jmrl » Thu Nov 04, 2010 5:33 pm

The latest tasting: all Cadenheads bottlings: Pulteney 20yo, Banff 34yo, Glen Keith 13yo, Glen Scotia 9yo and Laphroaig 16yo is written up over at Bladnoch forum. The next tasting is detailed in the previous post in the 'events' section.
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Re: Jolly Toper Tastings Program Jan. - July

Postby jmrl » Thu Nov 18, 2010 12:59 am

Last weeks tasting, World whiskies is detailed below:-

At last I've got a chance tp write up last Thursday's World whisky tasting. There was only about a dozen of us so that suggets the interest level for the more idiosyncratic drams out there. I expect I'll keep doing one a year as those present, while they may not be lining up to buy thios stuff, mostly seemed pleased with the opportunity to try them on for size. Also I'm sure with the number of bottlings coming out of the rapidly increasing ranks of new distilleries world over there will be more of a choice in the future which should bring more examples of best practice.

First I thought a gentle introduction: 15yo Kilbeggan (Ireland). I think it was awarded Irish whisky of the year in the World Whisky Awards last year, or a similar organisation. Certainly we were not starting at the deep end. A waxy nose was quiet and gave little away but the discretion acted as a temptation to be patient and investigate further. On the palate there is suprisingly quite a degree of character albeit dominated by grain driven sweet vanilla notes. On the finish a fruitier estery malt contribution adds a twist. Overall whats not to like? On the other hand more would have been better. The short finish leaves a sense of unfulfillment. Couple that with the serious price tag (£50+) and the ostentatious packaging- reminds of a giant's aftershave bottle as Neil put it, or for me my mother-in-laws over sized hand soap dispenser.
This comes from Cooley distillery which has a great story of how Irish pride coupled with business smarts gave us an alternative to the monopoly that was the French owned Irish whisky industry. Infact when times were hard and the distillery was about to be purchased by the opposition (see smart business comment above) they were perhaps hoisted by there own petard as the monopolies commission banned the sale. More romantically the story of the original Kilbeggan distillery sounds the stuff of blarney fiction. Perhaps the oldest continually licensced still in the world, built in 1757 Lockes distillery (as it is known) kept it's licence thanks to the towns peoples' faith and hope- they paid for the annual re-licencing. Three years ago the new owners (Cooley) produced spirit for the first time in over 50 years. Triumph! The wash was brought in from Cooley but the spirit created in situ. Obviuosly no spirit from the distillery is in the eponymous blend yet but the day will come.
Cooley's own story is also special. The Irish government commissioned industrial distilleries to produce spirits from blighted tatties which could be added to petrol to stretch it out during the 1930s. Cooley was the last one and was saved from scrapping when the concept of conversion to potable spirits seemed a good idea and led to both continous and batch distillation.
123444(4.5)5 = a thin 38%, particularly weak when 5 was the highest score.
'Hansew', 'pleasant but bit of a YAWN', 'disappointingly pleasant', 'hot day, wet land, up on the roof looking for answers', 'nice nose and palate- diluted grappa', 'Irish :must be good'.

Next I thought we could try something completely different. Eddu Silver from Brittany. A kind regular (Bruce) brought this back from his hols in France a while back along with a couple of other finds. I always thought this could be a good mystery dram in a normal tasting but never stuck it in. At this tasting I was hoping to display just how broad the spectrum of taste is in the whisky world. This one was on the outer reaches of possibilities. The nose is sweet and reminds of a light fruit distillate. Most un-whisky-like, The palate is pretty big but not intense, the finish lingers much more than the Kilbeggan with an unwelcome metallic note surfacing from time to time. For me, I've tasted this many time, I have lost the shock factor and think I see through the peculiar aspects of the taste and have come to recognise and enjoy this for what it is, a flavoursome spirit of distinction- not poorly made just way out there and difficult for traditionalist to accept. Not unlike what I imagine having Weetabix with Weiss beer. 11122347 : not quite 'nil pointe' but pretty close, although a 7 sneeked in there. 'Tennants', 'reminds me of a White Lightening hangover- rich man's cider', 'quirky, nothing like a malt but interesting', 'pleasantly disapointing', 'strange and unique- love's first kiss, eyes open'.
Despite it's name Buckwheat (or 'ble noir' in French and 'eddu' in the language of Brittany) is not a cereal but comes from a weed in the dock family. I'd like some comments on this as my information is from a brief search. (I understand 'weed' means a plant growing where its not wanted- seems like they need civil rights) The producers normally make distillate from apple cider but installed what looks like a traditional pot still to make their whisky in 1998. www.distillerie.fr for more, but not much more, information.

While trying to keep a flow of flavours I thought it best to seperate the two renegades with something a bit milder. Millstone from Zuidam in Holland (thanks to Bas for bringing it over). Well known in Holland for their genevre, as well as gin, vodka and liqueurs they made whisky from 1998 but only first released anything in 2007 which was five years old. Their still is tiny- 1000 litres so output is very limited and copper contact high. This opens up tremendously in the glass giving again pronounced fruit notes with floral aspects mixing through the wood. New oak as well as ex-Bourbon and sherry are commonly used. A sticky almost liqueur like sweetness is appealing if you are inclined towards confectionary. They have a 100% pot still rye on the go and plan a peaty expression next year- I look forward to both but hope the latter doesn't follow the lead of most of the overly young peaty drams that have staggered onto the market of late. As for the rye I'm expecting a bit of a bashing from the full on flavours of pot still and grain. It seems the grist is produced in a windmill via a traditional method where a stone is rolled over the cereal. Further a lenghty 5 day fermentation at a low temperature must create all sorts of interesting esters. At www.zuidamdistillers.com an angels share of 4 to 5% is quoted, I trust this is due to cask size leading to fast maturation and a lack of flavours associated with prolonged casking. The still is of the cylinder neck variety. 1222(2.5)335 faltering again with 29%. 'Tuborg', 'nose of basket of fruit in dusty attic', 'good effort', 'grain, Bourbon, orange, and very dry', 'too quick, lacking any love, stay behind after class'.

Next I went for broke. From Austria 'diukelwalz' from Weidernauer. Again sweet, once more this is a liqueur producer turned whisky distiller. The others had more of a settled nature while here the character is not so well integrated. Verging on sharp the time in the cask seems to have been too brief. The wood apparently is medium toasted but further details are scant. Cask type- size, oak variety, previous occupant if any are not stated. Not entirely without merit this should appeal to a sweet tooth but will challenge those who had Eddu as quite approachable. 0111112 a record equalling 11%, and the only zero of the night. 'Tuborg', 'thank god it has no finish', 'speechless, nasty taste', 'wouldn't kick it out of bed on a cold night', 'now we're talking, a proper world whisky'.

Now for me the big draw of the night- A. H. Hirsch from Michter's distillery, Pennsylvania. Almost port cask pink but certainly redolent of the casks the hue is impressive. Initially primus stoves jump out of the glass quickly followed by a rush of sensations, blood oranges, fermented marzipan, damp fertile soil, and all sorts of both dark and light chocolate. The palate is classy Bourbon with a devine middle palate and gorgeous finish. The gruff waves of rye never arrive and rather a big ball of flavour rolls over the palate throwing off sparkes of glazed fruits and oily concentrates of spicy essences. All in a comfortable warming flavour festival.
The distillery was the last to operate in Pennsylvania which was pretty much the starting point for the American industry. even by the late 1930s dozens of stills operated. Dating back to 1753 this was perhaps the oldest continuously operated still in the US. From the 1950s a high rye content bourbon was made using a pot still for the 2nd distillation. It seems this still was even direct fired. Strangely some 1974 stocks were dumped into stainless steel at 16yo and tapped off from time to time. This example is from one of these batches. Incredibly after the distillery closed in 1988 much of the stock was destroyed due to a problem of theft. More than a thousand casks were taken prompting a judge to order the destruction. Macdeffe told us they were used to power sports cars: the Irish were obviously ahead of the game.
3346788 a resounding 62%. 'Urquell', 'decent Bourbon', 'Crown Royal on steroids', 'US Laphroaig'. By this point some of the handwriting was illegible, I wonder if they did it on purpose to wind me up.

Finally Hakushu heavily peated Japanese single malt. Well the nose, plate, finish, flavour development are all precise and squeeky clean and I don't have a problem with that. This is expertly done. Wooden washbacks and direct fired stills at an altitude twice that of any Scottish distillery. From what was once the biggest malt distillery in the world. My only complaint might be the sweet peat isn't such a strong point after so many sweet drams but thats the fault of the line up on the night. Perhaps a little longer in the cask would have setled things down further but then again the price might have been the loss of vibrancy. I trust these guys implicitly. At over 2000 feet above sea level air pressure means a lighter spirit is produced so I imagine the peating levels took this into account as the smokey element seems very well integrated into the spirit. No imbalance here. Another unique comparison to Scottish practice is that this distillery is very far from the coast, much more than Dalwhinnie for example so the environment the casks lie in must be very differnt indeed. Having been built in the early 70s to mark the 50th aniversary of the founding of the Japanese whisky industry with the building of Yamazaki distillery Hakushu was enlarged in 1981. What we are drinking now surely comes from the extension as the original plant was closed in the mid nineties. (1.5)556668 a pleasing 60%. 'Urquel', 'pure nostalgia, sillage on the nose, the smell of my rural upbringing, plus not a bad peaty palate, finish slightly disappointing', 'Japanese Laphroaig', 'karaoke at its best', 'W.T.F.!?'.

Next tasting Thursday 25th November. £20/17

Not sure of the line up yet but certainly:-

Pulteney 17yo from the distillers- Loch Fyne Whisky's whisky of the year

Possibly a 25yo Blend from The Whisky Exchange

BBR's 4yo sherry cask Ledaig

Maybe Lombard's 1965 Springbank

and probably Cadenhead 17yo Clynelish
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