Just forgetting to post, no shortage of malts here!
Opened a few fresh bottles recently, some new to me and others just replacement bottles.
The other day I sampled the first dram out of a new bottle for me, a 17yo '85 UCF Bladnoch from the Dun Bheagan Vintage Bottling series. It has a lovely nose of malty cereal, toasted butter and grass but the body is light; the finish is nice and dry. Not the most wonderful Bladnoch I've had but just opened so it may get better and makes a nice apertif and dinner dram.
I've already mentioned the Bowmore Darkest. I opened it again a couple of nights ago and it has opened up a bit but is still not as good as I remember the good bottles as being. It is, however, head and shoulders above the 'bad years' so I'm not complaining too heavily yet. With added water this dram 'collapses' to a very weak version with nothing good to add, not uncommon with sherry finished drams.
The Darkest was sampled after the first dram of another bottle of 15yo Bruichladdich. Lovely stuff, I do love that age of it and now wonder again if I shouldn't try the 20yo? The 15yo has a nice hint of peat smoke with vegetative and sweet sherry notes, a nice syrupy body and a good finish. It is a lighter islay but that meant I enjoyed it before and during dinner.
Last night I opened another new one for me, another from the Dun Bheagan Vintage Bottling series, a 23yo '80 UCF 49% Brora, about which I wrote:
Nose: still kind of closed but some peat, some stale rolling cigarette tobacco, some light soapy notes (could be the glass, my wife cleaned it, will confirm next time)
Body: medium strength, some peat, some spice, not a lot going on
Finish: a real zinger, spicy peat, takes a second to kick in but then lasts a very long time.
So far I'd say I hope it improves with opening; perhaps it needs some water.
So, of 5 recently opened bottles (if I include the '89 10yo Hedges & Butler Clynelish I also opened recently and may have failed to mention in this thread) only two have been good right away, the 10yo Clynelish and the 15yo Bruichladdich. The Bladnoch, Bowmore and Brora I'm hoping will open up which is not a good sign really -- at tastings usually fresh bottles are opened and I'd likely have given all three a pass under such circumstances while the Laddie and 'lish are winners from the first pour. Oh well, such is the adventure of malt whisky drinking in Canada where tastings are few and far between.