Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Strathmill 1974, 37 YO, Archives (Whiskybase) 44.5%

My first Strathmill, I think.
From a bunch of samples bought with a recent Whiskybase order, although I should note that I neither ordered nor paid for this particular one - it was just thrown in with the others. The whisky is long gone, though, I believe.

Strathmill 1974, 37 Year Old, Archives (Whiskybase) 44.5%

Colour: Full gold.

Nose: Lots of plush tropical fruit. Cream and honey. Vanilla develops after a while. A hint of citrus after a little while longer. It's pretty amazing actually.

Palate: Quite a divergence from the nose here. Lots of wood up front, with bitter notes - green tea at first, then grapefruit - coming to the fore. A suggestion of fruit emerges later. A delicate, supple, mouthfeel.

Finish: There's more spice to the oak now, as the whole quickly fades to a gentle, still slightly bitter finish.

Such a beautiful nose, you could really spend a lot of time sniffing this whisky. And while the finish didn't do a great deal for me, I felt that there was still enough on the palate to hold one's interest.

Monday, April 28, 2014

SMWS 93.58 A Manly Adventure

We had our first SMWS tasting for the year (and my first since joining) here in Melbourne a few weeks ago where we had ten different malts from the recent Outturn on tasting. The format was a stand up affair where you'd wander over to one of the five different stations - each with two different whiskies - hand over your 'passport' for a stamp, and in turn receive a 15ml pour to taste.

Now, this format, in my opinion, isn't particularly conducive to a decent tasting environment, particularly when the room is rather full of people and there are constraints on time, space, etc. It becomes more of a social/drinking session as opposed to a tasting one - which doesn't necessarily bother me, mind you, but left the whisky geek in me longing for more.

Some of the whiskies I had hoped to taste weren't on offer, unfortunately, but there were plenty of other interesting ones to try - a fantastic Karuizawa (132.5), and a huge, awesome Aultmore (73.62) being the picks for me.

In the end, I ended up coming home with this bottle which wasn't even on tasting (I don't know why, exactly - I had heard good things about it and was very keen to try it, I guess).

Scotch Malt Whisky Society 93.58 A Manly Adventure (Glen Scotia) 
14 Years Old (Distilled 1999), 60.4%

Colour: Sauternes

Nose: A fairly intense hit of peat, but with some really interesting pangs of bbq sauce, Lee & Perrins, and leather lurking around the edges. Some sweet notes wrap around lashes of iodine.

Palate: As with the nose, the peat is readily apparent, and comes coiled in some really quite nice honeyed sweetness. Mint rushes to the fore.

Finish: Spicy, tingly menthol fumes rise up from the lower palate, coating the tongue and roof of the mouth. While I wouldn't call it super long, this sweetly numbing freshness leaves a great impression.

I've had a number of goes at this bottle with a couple of mates and it hasn't yet failed to please. It appeals to a number of different palates, I think.
It's also just so damn drinkable.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Old Pulteney 17 Year Old

I first tasted Old Pulteney 17 a few years ago, back when I was first starting out on my whisky trip. I think I'd been experimenting with heavily sherried malts at the time, before turning to a bottle of this (perhaps being drawn in by the somewhat strange bottle shape and striking gold colour of the spirit) and it's fair to say that I really enjoyed it, the bottle lasting an obscenely short amount of time.

Would I still enjoy it now?, I found myself wondering the other day whilst ordering some other booze.

[Incidentally, my most recent encounter with Pulteney (after a couple of other versions since that first bottle, including a fantastic G&M Cask Strength bottling) was in the form of the OP 12 Year Old. I was at Heathrow with my partner and our son, at the beginning of our looooong journey back home after visiting her family in the UK, and thought I'd better get some whisky to get me through our stopover in Singapore (Our stowed luggage was of course already heavily laden - within the strict parameters of Australian customs, naturally - with Scotch that I was taking home to Australia. The UK, to an antipodean whisky drinker, is a dangerous place - such amazingly cheap booze, and so much variety. I'm not exaggerating when I say that we here in Oz probably only see about 5-10% of the whisky that is seen in UK and Europe. And what we do see is very, very heavily taxed). A very handsome little half-bottle of the OP 12 immediately stood out as being attractively priced, packaged and sized. (This begs the question, of course, as to exactly how much whisky is enough when travelling with an 18 month old child. The correct answer is probably 'none' or 'not enough', but on this occasion I settled on 350ml for our 3 days (of sleepless hell) in our luxurious suite). It was pleasant enough as a drink (and to be honest my partner and I have sworn to never talk of or think about those 3 long, long days ever again so I can't pass fair comment here), but as a relaxant it was also more than adequate.]

Old Pulteney 17 Year Old 46%

Colour: Gold.

Nose: Tropical fruits mingle with clean vanilla aromas. Later, green jelly babies develop, along with the faintest hint of salinity.

Palate:  It slips into the mouth softly, all sweet, juicy fruit, before the salty elements begin to take hold.

Finish: An expansive finish. It really fans out and envelops the mouth, gripping the palate with it's salty spiciness. There's a sense of power here. The finish is essentially dry, but those fruity vanilla notes echo throughout, leaving you with a sense of sweetness.

 A delicious whisky really. At once powerful, refreshing and dangerously moreish. A great OB OP, and one of the better "standard bottlings" available in Australia.