Well. I am no pro by any stretch, and my palate and nose are not even nearly as sharp as my wife's (and she only drinks SMS due to yours truely). However, I am going to share a very long tasting note to demonstrate how my tastes vary by day, by the amount of time that a bottle has been open, and by my developoing "understanding" of the malt. I understand how nutty it sounds; it is merely to give a new spin on a discussion about subjectivty/objectivity in tasteing.
Bowmore 12yo 1992 (46%, Signatory, Un-chillfiltered Collection, Cask 2228)
"August 2006. Ugg.. This is one that truly makes you understand the variability of single cask, independent bottlings. I have had two others from this series, and they have been great. This one though is not. Too bad, as this was a present from Jill, bought while she was in Colorado. She was so excited to have picked it out. In truth, she made a perfect selection. An Islay, one that I was certainly unlikely to have, and one that as a bit "funky." Sadly, the funky carries over the actual whisky. The nose is not that bad, a bit younger seeming than the OB 12, and similar to one of the Bowmore bastard malts. Something sour at the end of the nose, and that is what carries into the mouth and the finish. Something very sour, almost metallic tasking. Is this the taste of rotten wood? I am not sure, but something went wrong here. At this point, all I can do is hope some oxidation (time in the open bottle) does it some good. I feel almost guilty about sending this to some of my trading buddies, but I know that I am always exciting to try new malts, even if they are less than stellar. Also, it is part of my own education to compare my responses to those of others. Perhaps I need to spend more time with this one and try to pick out the elements more clearly. We shall see. Ok, second tasking and I think the malt is mellowing out with a bit with oxidation and time. I think that the metallic taste is actually some odd peaty quality, or perhaps it has lessoned and the peat is coming through more cleanly. In any event, still not great, but moved from a 60 to a 70. TAKE THREE: It seems after almost a month, the malt has mellowed out even more. I was about to give up on it, but Darvin, whom I sent a sample to, enjoyed it.(He called it the "White Bowmore," cute, and gave it a 86).The nose totally clears up. In fact, there is this gentle sweetness on the nose that balances the more harsh early notes well. That metallic taste is nearly gone, just a hint left on the end of the mouth, just before the finish. Let's call it a playful sour hint at this point. After a few minutes, I get raisins on the nose, maybe rum raison ice cream. The mouth is rich, rich more than complex, if that makes sense. The finish becomes long and peaty. What an odd ride this malt has become! After several minutes, the sweetness seems to abate a bit. How do you score a malt like this? An average of all scores from each impression? Do you give it the benefit of the doubt and score it at its end? Give it the initial score as that is what one will experience when they first try it? I guess in truth it has to be my overall sense of the enjoyment of the malt, and this malt has provided me with an interesting experience. Would I recommend it, no, but it seems to deserve a decent score. Yet, there is nothing "average" about it, so a 75 could not do. Yet, would I recommend it? I don't think so. No numerical score will suffice, but lets call it a 79 and call it quits (maybe
). P.S (see?:)). The glass smells wonderful afterwards, almost like it does with an Ardbeg. Mid Sept. Guess what, having a bit tonight, and like it a bit more. And yes, I have to change the score. This has developed into a wonderful malt; or perhaps I am learnign to understand it more. Very wonderful mix of peat and sweet malt; raisons and smoky. Wonderful now. Wow, what has happned here. Seems I am learning too"
Final score 87
What a wild evolution. Fortuntaly, I was able to enjoy the last half of the bottle very much.