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Jolly Toper Islay tastings Edinburgh

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Jolly Toper Islay tastings Edinburgh

Postby jmrl » Mon Jan 07, 2008 11:00 am

£23 non-members or £20 members

January 16th Wednesday

Diageo bottling Lagavulin 21yo

Cadenheads bottlings:-
Bruichladdich 18yo 55.8% Bourbon cask
Laphroaig 13yo 54.7% Bourbon cask
Bunnahabhain 28yo 45.8% Bourbon cask
Caol Ila 23yo 56.3% bourbon cask

Next Islay tasting February 21st Wednesday
Bunnahabhain signatory 9yo peated refill sherry cask 59.2%
Port Ellen Diageo 2nd release 24yo 59.35%
PC6
Ardbeg Gordon and Macphail 1979 - 12/05 refill Bourbon barrels 46%
Bowmore Cadenheads 14yo 63.9% Bourbon cask

I can ship minis of drams if you can't attend.

Tickets 0131 556 5864
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Re: Jolly Toper Islay tastings Edinburgh

Postby Leither » Thu Jan 17, 2008 2:36 pm

Islay part one was last night and we enjoyed a slightly altered line-up, tasted blind, as follows:

1 Cadenheads Bruichladdich 1986 - 05/05 18yo Bourbon hogshead 270 bottles 55.8%
2 Caol Ila 8yo 64.9% (unpeated released 2007 distillery bottling)
3 Cadenheads Caol Ila 1984 - 09/07 23yo Bourbon hogshead 258 bottles 56.3%
4 Cadenheads Laphroaig 1994 - 11/07 13yo bourbon hogshead 300 bottles 54.7%
5 Cadenheads Ardbeg 1994 - 11/07 13yo Bourbon hogshead 348 bottles 59.7%
6 Lagavulin 1985 - 2007 21yo 6642 bottles 56.6% distillery bottling

Favourite on the night on a majority vote was.......... the Ardbeg, a huge dram indeed. Initial nosing really struck me, what an aroma and reminded me instantly of 'fish supper brown paper with salt and malt vinegar'. Such a peat-sweet delivery on the palate. Wow, I can now see why various quarters rave about single cask Ardbeg. :thumbsup:

I bought the remnants of this bottle, 1st time I've ever done this at Mark's tasting.

Also, of great surprise was the CI 8yo unpeated - very good, this one really threw me, I could have sworn it was a Bunny. Such a smooth, well-rounded dram for an 8yo and proves that CI produces very good spirit, peated or otherwise.

Not so good for me (after the sublime 23yo CI) was the Laphroaig but such are the joys of tasting predominately single cask expressions. I'll stick with my QC and CS Laph.

A great night of tasting and well worth the ticket price - less than £4 a dram can't be bad for top-class Islay malts. Highly recommended.

In the charity lucky dip at the end I won a mini of 1969 Caol Ila Private Collection from G&M. :)

An absolute pleasure to meet MattButty from the forum who was in attendance - good lad! All the best Matt, always nice to meet someone from the forum.
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Re: Jolly Toper Islay tastings Edinburgh

Postby mattbuty » Thu Jan 17, 2008 5:37 pm

Just got back home after a 500 mile round trip to Edinburgh.

Well worth the journey. My thanks to Mark for arranging such a high quality tasting. Cheers I will be back again, work permitting :wink:

Leither has done the rundown, so I won't go into that again but suffice to say the highlights of the evening for me were the two Caol Ilas.

First the 8 year unpeated. I did not think that such a whisky existed. it was very difficult to blind taste, because of its unique character.,

Then the Caol Ila 23 yr Wm Cadenhead expression, which was so supremely good, I bought the rest of the bottle :thumbsup:

A great tasting, which everyone within striking distance should make the effort to attend at least once, and the quality of the spirits, and knowledge of the participants makes it a joy.

Thanks to Leither, not least for the sample bottle. It was great to meet with you. A quick hello also to Alistair (stop lurking, and join our merry band. Your knowledge and passion will be a great asset to us all).

Anyway enough of all that. Ive got some whisky to drink.... :thumbsup:
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Re: Jolly Toper Islay tastings Edinburgh

Postby Willie JJ » Thu Jan 17, 2008 8:19 pm

mattbuty wrote:Just got back home after a 500 mile round trip to Edinburgh.

Hey mattbuty, I didn't know you were coming to the tasting.

Typical! first one I've missed in months and I could have met a fellow forumer. I was hopeful right up until 7.00p.m., but then I realised I wouldn't make it. :x

Still at least Paul was there. Sounds like some good drams. I will get them from Mark later and post my thoughts here :) .
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Re: Jolly Toper Islay tastings Edinburgh

Postby jmrl » Sat Jan 19, 2008 10:32 pm

To keep you all up to date the February 21st Islay tasting is now sold out.

The next tasting is actually Thursday 31st January and features the official Laphroaig 25yo 40% -I don't know if many comments have been posted on this dram but I anticipate some interesting comments on the night. Also Cadenheads bottlings of:-

Highland Park 19yo 46% sherry cask

Speyside distillery 11yo cask strength bourbon Hogshead

Ben Nevis 16yo 66% Butt

Aberlour-Glenlivet 12yo port hogshead cask strength

and a mystery malt.

Regarding the last tasting the official 8yo unpeated Caol ila was quite a comparison to last year's release of the same. The previous offer was suspiciously peated for an unpeated dram. My chums at Royal Mile Whiskies suggested this could have been as 'utensils' at the distillery may not have been adequately cleansed after the previous runnings of peaty stuff. Residuals then lending subsequent production a hangover of phenols (had that myself I think). I'd buy that, the chap who volunteered this explanation is studying brewing and distilling at Heriot Watt so the theory deserves proper consideration. I have heard the removal of sludge from internal surfaces in spirit receivers during cleaning shut downs can sometimes account for the first spirit produced afterwards having something missing. Anybody able to enwisen us? Has anybody come across the 'hlghland' Caol Ila from any other bottler?

Finally I was a wee bit surprised at the lack of enthusiasm from some regarding the Lagavulin 21yo. I know its all a matter of taste but I get used to consensus of opinion when it comes to some drams. Lagavulin has a deservedly high reputation and I felt this offering only added to that. However the high price tag and expectations along the lines of an age extension in a brand's range leading to added quality could easily fail to deliver unreasonable hopes. Anyway the 16yo is pretty much perfect whisky and hard to top, certainly in mainstream bottlings.
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Re: Jolly Toper Islay tastings Edinburgh

Postby mattbuty » Sun Jan 20, 2008 1:46 am

jmrl wrote:
Finally I was a wee bit surprised at the lack of enthusiasm from some regarding the Lagavulin 21yo. I know its all a matter of taste but I get used to consensus of opinion when it comes to some drams. Lagavulin has a deservedly high reputation and I felt this offering only added to that. However the high price tag and expectations along the lines of an age extension in a brand's range leading to added quality could easily fail to deliver unreasonable hopes. Anyway the 16yo is pretty much perfect whisky and hard to top, certainly in mainstream bottlings.



I think you spoiled us mark with the high quality of your other selections.

The lag was a remarkable dram, but the contrast from the bourbon single casks to the peat v sherry 21 made it all the harder to approach it with an open mind. I would like to try it up against other sherried islays and the 16 lag for comparison.

That said, your evening has given me a whole new outlook on CI. A monster of a distillery, it may well be, and it does have less respectability than some of its fellow islanders, but they are certainly capable of producing a range of high quality and tasty spirits.
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Re: Jolly Toper Islay tastings Edinburgh

Postby Deactivated Member » Thu Feb 07, 2008 2:51 pm

Mark - I'm sorry to have missed the Jan 31st tasting (holidaying in Cambodia at the time) as it sounds like a very interesting line up. Is the full list of forthcoming tastings available?

For those who've never been to one of these events, then do! They are great fun, whether you know a lot about whisky or are just learning like most of us. They tend to be a bit subdued for the first dram or two and then come alive completely. Bring £2 for the lucky dip.
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Re: Jolly Toper Islay tastings Edinburgh

Postby jmrl » Thu Feb 07, 2008 9:01 pm

Hi Nick, Long time no see. are you still in the wind swept Hebrides? The full program is available. I'd e-mail it to you if I had your e-mail or could work out how to send it to you via this site!

The mail will get through!
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Re: Jolly Toper Islay tastings Edinburgh

Postby Deactivated Member » Thu Feb 07, 2008 9:24 pm

I've sent you my e-mail address in a private message. No longer in the windswept Hebrides but trying to save pennies for holidays abroad.
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Re: Jolly Toper Islay tastings Edinburgh

Postby jmrl » Thu Feb 07, 2008 11:12 pm

Here are details of the next few tastings:-

Feb 13th Rum:- Panama 8yo 46%, Guyana 25yo 46%, Jamaica 18yo 46%, Demerara 29yo 64.7%, J. M. white rhum Agricole Martinique 50% £15/12

Feb 21st Islay SOLD OUT

March 12th Talisker £23/20 30yo 50.7% bottled 2007, 18yo 45.8%, Friends of the Classic Malts 12yo 45.8%, Gordon and MacPhail 04/86 - 05/07 3 first fill sherry butts 45% 1860 bottles, 'Island Malt' by Oddbins

April 3rd normal end of month tasting - rare, unusual, sherried, old, peaty and a mystery dram (I'll try and make these all 21yo with the mystery at least 25yo) £20/17

April 24th normal end of month tasting £20/17 details to follow

May 14th 1940s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s
1949 Glen Calder blend 40yo 40% Gordon and MacPhail
Glen Gordon single Highland malt 1958-1996 40% Gordon and MacPhail
Caledonian single grain 1965 40yo 43.7% Clan Denny
Ardmore 11/77 - 06/96 18yo 59.3% Cadenheads
Bowmore 1989 - 05/07 14yo bourbon wood 46% Cadenheads
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Re: Jolly Toper Islay tastings Edinburgh

Postby Leither » Wed Feb 13, 2008 1:36 pm

I'm looking forward to the rum tasting tonight. I only have limited experience of Rum after a quick sojourn to the 'rum chapel' at Whisky Fringe last year where Dave Broom et al had a stall.

From memory my sweet tooth really enjoyed the more full-on and tarry, navy style rums whereas the lighter ones went better in a cocktail IMHO

:smoke:
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Re: Jolly Toper Islay tastings Edinburgh

Postby jmrl » Sat Feb 23, 2008 10:41 pm

As Leither wasn't there and Willy JJ is yet to post I thought I'd report for anybody curious.

Started with the 79 Ardbeg G & M. Lots of tutting at strength (43%) and possible chill filtering violation but generally accepted as very good indeed. Hard to say no to trying such a promising dram and happy to say that although saw awesome whisky came out of that distillery around this time this one might not be top twenty but it was still wonderful in its layers of years in cask. At first it was wishy-washy but leaving it to taste again after trying the rest it really came into its own as a characterful, complex example. Hard to spot as an Ardbeg though.

Next up was Port Ellen 2nd release. We all noticed the age this time (Ardbeg seriously underguessed) the grace, poise and subtlety were top drawer. Having only tasted three in the series i'd say this beat the 25yo (dissappointing) and 1st release (distant memory but good).

Signatory 9yo Bunny from refill sherry cask. Split everyone as definetly a prejudice against sherry casks from some quarters while the curious and unfamiliar dance between peat and sherry engaged a few of us. I thought it was superb (see Ben Nevis Cadenheads 66% sherry cask).

Cadenheads Bowmore 13yo 63.9% (162 bottles - I think) moving up a couple of peat gears here. I thought it was the best Bowmore I've tried - thats not from a want of trying. The really old stuff is not in my library. I remember a SMWS sherry cask 13yo-ish from 1999 which may compete but too different to compare anyway. Difficult to pin down whats happening here- yield, cask size and strength not running true. I wonder if it was excessively 'sampled' by the warehouse boys? A bright in-your-face personality met with long unravelling of Islay maltings and many island days and nights.

Only one place for pc6 and that was the last dram. So much more relaxed than pc5 but now the novelty has worn off its time to be honest. A general feeling of being underwhelmed seemed to end the tasting although the 'both barrels' effect of such an overtly youngster rang true with some. By no stretch poor whisky but after such noble company it came across a bit snotty nosed. £55? difficult to justify but not too hard to drink.

Winner on the night? Can't remember! D'oh. But not the Bunny, bowmore or PC6

Mrs Jolly Toper's tablet inadvertantly made with 'Light' condensed milk but seconds were still appreciated.
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