Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Clynelish 1970s


Distillery: Clynelish
Bottling: Gordon & MacPhail
Age: 12
Distilled: 1960s?
Bottled: 1970s?
Strength: 70 proof (40%)

This is a lovely old style Clynelish from when Gordon & MacPhail was the official licensed bottler. With the strength listed as proof rather than ABV I know it was bottled at the most recent the late 70s which would put distillation in at least the late 1960s. This is only the most recent, but it could be older. I will contact Gordon & MacPhail to see if they can supply any information.

For such a young age and a low alcohol percentage, this is a very oily and viscous spirit. Has it not been chill-filtered or is it just a heavier bodied spirit anyway?

Nose: This has a very citus nose with freshly squeezed orange juice and touches of tangerine in there as well. Lemon icing on sponge cake. The body of the spirit is reflected in the nose as well with a thick waxiness. Wavering around the background is a gentle and lovely sootyness.

Palate: This is as expected a very thick and oily spirit with lots of body. Suprisingly for only 40% it has a higher alcohol kick than I would expect, and more than I would get from any modern malts at 40%. I hazard a guess that the heavier body is allowing the spirit to stick to the palate a lot more than more watery spirits. Just a guess.

Finish: A very long finish that is spicy, dusty and sooty. Citric. Some soapy elements which have been noted in old miniatures by other people. Likely an effect of the fats breaking down to soap over time.

Comments: If I ever get a chance to buy a full bottle of this and I am sure they exist on some collectors dusty shelf somewhere, I shall purchase it.

White Horse blended whisky 1960s


Distillery: White Horse Blend
Bottling: White Horse Distillers Ltd
Age: NAS
Distilled: 1960s?
Bottled: 1960s?
Strength: Unknown.

This is an interesting miniature of White Horse that I have came into in that it has absolutely no dates on it anywhere and more interestingly no alcohol strength which is making it pretty hard to date. With some help from some people on the Malt Maniacs facebook page, on the basis of the current style is likely comes from the 1960s, as the label changed to a newer design in the late 60s.

Nose: This has a very sweet and rich nose, and fresh as well considering how long it has been in the bottle. The sherry character is dominant here with lots of toffee and fudge, dried fruits, spiced oranges and cranberries. Lots of vanilla and which along side the rich sugary and dried fruit elements is just rum and raisin ice cream! If there is grain whisky in here I can barely detect it and is seems like it is by no means the lion's share as it is with modern blends. Just the tiniest whisp of smoke but I expected a lot more as I have always been under the impression that these old White Horse blends were mostly Laguvulin.

Palate: Creamy sweet sherry. Chocolate, and nuts.

Finish: Very sweet with medium length. Caramely.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

127.37 Dinosaurs dancing to Stravinsky (Port Charlotte 9 year old)


Distillery: Port Charlotte (Bruichladdich)
Bottling: Scotch Malt Whisky Society
Age: 9
Distilled: 2003
Bottled: 2013
Strength: 66.5%.
Cask Code: 127.37 Dinosaurs dancing to Stravinsky
Cask Type: Refill sherry butt.

This is my first bottle from distillery 127, which is Port Charlotte (Bruichladdie operation) and is currently at number one dram of the year for me so far. You would think at 66.5% it would not be drinkable neat? That assumption is either wrong, or there is something wrong (or right?) with my tolerance to high alcohol spirits. In any case this dram I was keeping for a special occasion, and that occasion came sadly when my gran passed away. What better way to toast the life of an important person in your life than with a nice bottle of whisky and family. My brother, dad, cousin, and myself made very short work of this in one evening, although I caught my old boy putting ice in his at one point - what can I say he is stuck in his ways. Normally I would give him pelters, but tonight he can drink his whisky any way he wants to enjoy it. I managed to salvage 100ml left from the bottle at the end of the night and currently only have 50ml left!

Nose: Massively phenolic! Carbolic Soap which reminds me of the soaps I used to have to use in my old scout hall when I was a kid. I also remember being threatened by a strict nun teacher at school who threatened to wash my mouth out with it once. Lots of medicated shampoo and coal tar. Also getting mouthwash notes - that is Thymol, the phenol which is commonly used in mouthwash which also exists naturally in the herb Thyme. Earth and soil. Middle Earth! Lots of lovely fruity notes develop in time with Kiwi and lots of Raspberry as well! The compound that gives raspberries their smell is also a Phenol so is it possible that this is coming from the peat rather than the sherry cask influence which I often detect it in? Some strawberry in there as well, all served with some melted white chocolate! As my nose gets used to the peat other dimensions of aroma just keep developing.

Palate: In the mouth this is a big hitter. The alcohol is firey but not untamed. Huge peat and earth, and Jalapeno chilis. Sweet and nutty.

Finish: Huge and long. It just welds itself to your palate and throat. Sooty, peaty, salty. Refresher sweets. Berries with fresh cream. Did I say huge?

Comments: Why oh why oh why did I only get one bottle of this. From now on any time a bottle of 127 appears I shall get two! or Three!! This is at present my top dram of this year and with a week to go, I can't imagine something overtaking it.

Monday, 23 December 2013

131.2 Magic carpet in a sweetie shop (Hanyu 13 year old)


Distillery: Hanyu
Bottling: Scotch Malt Whisky Society
Age: 13
Distilled: 2000
Bottled: 2013
Strength: 55.1%.
Cask Code: 131.2 Magic carpet in a sweetie shop
Cask Type: First fill ex-sherry butt.

Following up from my review of the Karuizawa 132.1, is another lovely Japanese dram from yet another closed distillery called Hanyu. This is another sherried malt which shows no signs of rubber which I am very pleased about.

Nose: Lots of cherry on the nose with cherry cola, fizzy cherry cola bottles and more sweeter glazed cherries. There is also a touch of grapefruit tartness. There are some meaty savoury elements which combine with the smoke, and spicy elements which remind me of a cold winter day eating Stornoway Black Pudding and Haggis for breakfast. Mint chocolate milkshakes. I am now standing in a Turkish flea market smelling leather bags, with the smells of roasting meats and spice stalls with garam masala bursting with clove, cinnamon, clove and coriander. Lots of rich toffee in there as well.

Palate: Smoky burnt matches, thick and warming with lots of oak and spice.

Finish: Long, spicy and warming with cherry coke , raspberries, savoury meats and cigars.