At the Spirit of Toronto whisky show, Frodo, Wendy and I sampled some of Duncan Taylor Company's wares. I also received five more samples and we finally got together to try them at Wendy's place. The samples were not large, just ~35mL each but that was enough for an impression of them all for at most three people.
I said I'd go "water free" as usual and got a bit of ribbing later when I did add some H2O but this evening it proved valuable, revealing some new notes without ruining anything.
The first one we sampled was a 1979 25yo Carsebridge single grain, 60.3%. The nose was of a grain whisky, obviously with some spirity notes even after 25 years (they went away with water, however). I thought there were even some Canadian rye whisky notes in it though Frodo disagreed strongly. It was quite sweet with cereal notes and a finish which seemed dry at full strength. With water it became sweeter overall, especially the finish. It was nice but we expected more and I preferred the Strathclyde 30yo grain we tried at the show better (IIRC, Wendy did too).
Next came the 1967 35yo blend @ 46%, one which produced much antipation and expectation. The nose was wonderful but there were some strong bitter, woody notes in the finish which were off putting. Wendy and I agreed that the wonderful nose didn't really properly announce or fit the body of the dram. We all wanted to like this one but were left dissatisfied.
Then, a 1968 37yo Glenrothes at 57.2%. This one was lovely with sweet spicy notes, I thought of as pie spices something like cloves, all-spice and cinnamon while Frodo found cucumber-dill which Wendy didn't notice and vanilla which Wendy echoed. Glenrothes always reminds me of Christmas for some reason, perhaps Christmas cakes or puddings even though I'm not sure I find those actual notes within.
The highlight of the DTC samples for me was the next one which didn't have any of us excited at all, until we tried it. It was a 1981 [Edit] 22yo 61.9% Glenugie, quite obviously from a sherry cask. The nose was sweet, obviously sherried with candied fruit notes and a bit of wood. The body was spicy, sherried and sweet with just a hint of bitterness from such a long time in the sherry butt. The finish was long and warming. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts for this one with the package working beautifully. It reminded me a bit of the candied Redbreast 12yo though Frodo said he couldn't see it like that.
Finally, a 1982 22yo Bowmore 62.2%. The nose was very nice with some peat and other nice Islay notes, typical old Bowmore that I loved! Frodo let out some OMGs for the nose. I didn't notice any floral tones in the nose yet. The body was nice until the finish when a strong floral, herbal and minty note came through and ruined it for Wendy and I but Frodo continued the OMGs. For me this was time to perhaps eat my hat as this was the poor Bowmore characteristics in an independent bottling so perhaps those floral notes I dislike really are just part of the Bowmore Character. Away from the distillery for more than twenty years, this one would have been made at the same time that I thought I liked many Bowmores. Oh well. I shall have to take my hat to the Bowmore thread to finish it off. Frodo thought it was very different and on that, at least, we agreed.
With the DTC samples finished, we moved onto drams generously provided by Wendy and Frodo. First, the John Glaser sample of the vatting created at the Spirit of Toronto show and consisting of Ardmore, Teannich and Linkwood at 46%. It was great! I'd love to see this one join the Compass Box Whisky stable. The recent thread about smoke without peat was obvious here with what I believed to be the Ardmore contribution, a huge whiff of smoke at the back end of the palate into the finish. The nose was sweet, floral. Like the Glenugie above, the sum was greater than the parts in this vatting.
Next, Frodo's '91 13yo Glenfiddich. As everyone knows I'm not a big fan of Glenfiddich but this one was nice and drinkable, certainly much better than the standard 12yo.
Onto Frodo's Glenmorangie Artisan's Cask. The nose at first didn't seem like scotch whisky to me as there were no cereal tones, just a sweetness. The body was nice and smooth and sweet with a nice finish as well, just a hint of harshness there to say that it is kind of young, NAS but Frodo said it was rumoured to be a 9yo. A very interesting 'morangie.
Last but not least, Wendy poured some Aberlour A'bunadh batch 14. It was a nice sherry monster that I enjoyed but some palate fatigue means I'll have to return to it for a better analysis. I preferred the Glenugie sherry we'd had earlier but the A'bunadh, at about a quarter of the price, is a wonderful drink for its price.
I didn't take notes so hopefully I remembered it well enough. Wendy and Frodo took some notes so they might fill in some blanks for me
After a couple of cups of tea I was on my way home after a run night of tasting. We'll have to do it again sometime, sooner rather than later I hope.