Sunday, 23 February 2014

Douglas Laing Speyside Twitter Tasting

WELL, this is embarrassing. This particular Twitter tasting actually happened back in November, but due to December's advent calendar shenanigans, I forgot to post a blog entry at the time. I've just stumbled across my notes from the evening - which was to mark the launch of Scallywag - so I though I better get something down before I lose my notes again.
    There were four whiskies on the night, including the Scallywag, but since I've already blogged about that particular dram, here I'll concentrate on the three others from the night.
    A huge thanks to Steve Rush over at the The Whisky Wire for organising the evening and it's worthwhile keeping your eye on Steve's site for upcoming tasting sessions throughout 2014. So, enough of the waffle, let's get stuck in.

Old Particular: Dailuaine 15 - 48.4%
282 bottles produced from a bourbon barrel

On the nose, the Dailuaine 15 carries a slightly musty note, which soon gives way to mint, eucalyptus, pine needles, grapefruit, baked lemon and butter icing. Very unusual and incredibly interesting. On the palate, the whisky has an oily mouth feel, while grass, herbs and a slight toffee note clearly come through. A little water brings out buttery sweet wood and coconut, while the finish is dry and sweet with lovely herbal notes. Really enjoyed this and it was quite unlike anything I had tasted before

Old Particular: Dufftown 18 - 48.4%
197 bottles produced from a refill hogshead

This starts out with a very earthy nose and took a while to open up. Once it did, I got green oak, vanilla, soft golden fruit, dried banana chips, crushed mint leaves, gooseberries and a whiff of cloudy cider. The first taste was packed with delicious melon which was then joined by orange oil, lemon and vanilla notes. The finish was heavy on the fruitcake - with unmistakable slabs of marzipan and white icing. A cake in a glass. Lovely.

Old Particular: Glen Grant 21 - 51.5%
374 bottles produced from a single sherry butt

On the nose this is a complex and mouthwatering dram with some definite bourbon qualities lurking under the surface. There's ginger cake, dried fruit, dark rum-soaked cherries, old wooden furniture, dates, caramel and a dollop of treacle. After leaving it for five minutes and adding a teaspoon of water, this transformed into the smell of stick toffee pudding. Amazing. It tasted just as good with baked dark fruit, raisins, warm caramel sauce and a bite of dark chocolate, while the finish was long with brown sugar and dried fruit notes coming to the fore.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Glencadam 15 - 46%

Nose: Incredibly aromatic with raspberry juice, sweet tangerine, soft apricots, white wine, grapefruit, faint liquorice, apple strudel, mild mint and a slight shake of salt.

Palate: Fruity, with sugar-topped pastry, marzipan and barley sugars.

Finish: The liquorice note intensifies here but then a lovely golden fruit note washes in to give a beautiful finish, while deep vanilla holds it all together beautifully.

Notes: Like its older brother, the Glencadam 21, this is a lovely, lovely dram - although it's not that easy to track down. It's a whisky tailor made to be sipped during those long summer days, although it certainly put a smile on my mug when the wind was howling and the rain battered against my window on a cold Scottish winter night. It's also un-chill filtered and no colouring has been added. If you see it, buy it.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Compass Box - Hedonism - 43%: bottling HE18MMXI

Nose: Floral with creamy vanilla, cranberry juice, spicy cinnamon, desiccated coconut, baked lemon, chocolate mints, crème brûlée, nail varnish and Plasticine. There's also a herbal note lurking around which reminded me of chopped coriander.

Palate: Soft fruit, milk chocolate, vanilla custard and light wood.

Finish: More chocolate with flashes of cinnamon, white pepper, wood shavings and sweet vanilla.

Notes: After thoroughly enjoying Compass Box's Spice Tree, this was yet another fabulous blend from the specialist whisky maker, but this time in the realm of grain whisky. My thanks go out once again to Ben Cops over at Ben's Whisky Blog for sending a sample up to Scotland for me. It's a delicious and robust blend, full of flavour and a really good late night sipper - it makes an excellent after dinner dram.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Balblair 97 - 2nd release - 46%

Nose: Fruit, crushed custard cream biscuits, pineapple, apples, kiwi fruit, bananas, fizzy Refreshers sweets and fruit salad chews.

Palate: Light and fruity with a touch of red liquorice, buttery pastry, light apple and an abundance of red berries.

Finish: Pepper, sour lemon, vanilla, orange oil, freshly cut grass and creamy panna cotta with a light dusting of sweet cinnamon,

Notes: A fresh and clean dram which might even convert non-whisky drinkers thanks to its light and complex characteristics. The Balblair 97 is beautifully balanced, is non-chill filtered, has no added colouring, is bottled at a robust 46% and is available at a very reasonable price. Wonderful.