Friday 9 June 2017

[Scotland Stag] Raid on the Craig Round 2: Quaich-ing in my boots!

Hi everyone,

For the last night of the trip, of course we had to head back to the Craigellachie Hotel for another round of epic whisky tasting.
I wouldn’t say Ar-ran all the way there, but we were pretty eager to get back!
We got there after 8pm and stayed till closing, which was 1am, when we had to throw in the Tomin-towel. Unfortunately, a wedding party came in at 12:58 and I’m pretty sure Lyndsey was up, keeping them happy for another few hours. We felt really guilty, if it weren’t for us maybe she could have closed just before they arrived!
At least for us, it was another great night of chatting, tasting and laughing (mostly at whisky related puns).

The great epiphany of the night was that Ardmore can be incredible whisky and I should point out that Tom's favourite whisky of the trip was a G&M Ardmore 1996, even above the old Glenfarclas’ we tried.

Bladnoch 1992 Berry Bros & Rudd 46%
Colour: Gold
Body: Light/Medium
Nose: Delicate floral and herbal, backed up by malt, deep musky, musty notes, nice sour green apple and lemon citrus, dried grass and flowers.
Taste: Sweetness first then dry and oaky. Herbal and floral complexity, old dried flowers, lemony and sour in a great way.
Finish: Medium length. Pleasant, grassy with lots of dry oak.
A few berries with water. This was a really good one, very impressed with what I’ve tried from Bladnoch so far.
Glengoyne Spring 1972 (Bottled 1998) 55%
Colour: E150a
Body: Medium/Full
Nose: On this trip, if we could say ‘really’ about something, we would use the suffix -af (as in ‘as fuck). This smells OLD-AF, like Highland Park 40 levels of old, dry oak, some red apple, old dried heather, a little perfumed, a little nutty, dried orange peel.
Taste: Sharp oak, lots of oak and red apple, black pepper spice, then a mix of unexpectedly spritzy spirit and old oak. Red berry, dried flowers and a herbal edge.
Finish: Short/Medium Length. Surprisingly short, dried heather then a little chocolate.
What an amazing vintage to be able to try. Many people say it’s a magical vintage for whisky, well Serge mostly. This was great, but a little out of balance.

Craigellachie 21 Single Cask Hotel Exclusive 57.2%
Colour: Amber
Body: Full
Nose: Big big whisky. Robust is the word here. Old oils, rich sherry, dried fruit, complex layers of flavour, complex spices.
Opens up with water, giving some berries and musky oak.
Taste: Rich, robust, then a softer wave, then builds back up again, with rich spices chocolatey oak, dried fruit from the Sherry. Oily and mouth coating. Complex chocolate.
Finish: Long length. A burst of Sherry, then orange, oils, lovely heathery chocolate going on and on. Very complex finish, also delicious.
Wonderful. First taste was emotional, which usually denotes a 90’s score but I didn’t get the experience again and I think this is just as good as the Ledaig 1973 from the day before so…

Ardmore SMWS 66.99 8yo ‘Custom’ Virgin Oak Finish 60%
Pine smoked salmon and burning heather
Colour: Dark Gold
Body: Full
Nose: A bit strange. Really intense smoke, peat, a bit meaty with fried pork fat, vinegar, salt & vinegar crisps, perfumed bourbon-esque oak, salty samphire, some ‘green’ oak. BIG vanilla and chewy fruit gums too.
Taste: Soft start, then HUGE intense peat! and spicy pepper, loads of oak, toffee, salted caramel, salt & vinegar, tastes like the smell of a Chippy. Wat?
Finish: Short length. Leaves suddenly, but some spices. Bit of a let down.
No idea what ‘custom’ means? But we had a good laugh trying to figure it out. A great whisky till the finish but completely different from a lot of others, which really makes it stand out. With water you get more youth coming out with a sooty finish.

Glen Grant 9.104 27yo SMWS 55.5%
Lychee Martini
Colour: Dark Amber
Body: Medium/Full
Nose: Atypical, almost seems like the SMWS bottlings I‘ve tried so far go out of their way to be very different to the usual distillery profile. Fruit salad on this one, melon, green grape, raisin, nuts, hazelnut. Wither water it gets more leafy and green with lettuce.
Taste: Intense, beautiful Sherry and fresh raisin, stewed fruit, some light malt, some intense spicy oak, European oak maybe?, walnut, hazelnut and melon too. With water it goes quite intensely spicy then fresh fruit with fruity chewy sweets.
Finish: Short length. Another short finish, damn. Fades quickly with a tiny bit of oak.
A bit of a weird one in the end, the nose is a bit too green and it loses all balance with water. The short finish is another let down too. A shame. Still good, don’t get me wrong!

Other drams we tried but I didn’t make notes on:
Ardmore 14 Douglas Laing Old Particular- Very Good
Glenburgie 9 SMWS 71.43 1st Fill Sherry- OK but overwhelmed by the Sherry
Ardmore 1996 Gordon & MacPhail- Tried it before and thought it was very good, but Tom loved it.

Thanks for reading!

Scotch Reviews #399-#403
Whisky Network Reviews #445-#449

Network Average: 74.5
Best Score: 92
Worst Score: 44
0-49 Terrible
50-59 Bad
60-64 Just About OK
65-69 Ok to Good
70-74 Good
75-79 Very Good
80-84 Excellent
85-89 Superb
90+ Magnificent

Full Disclosure Disclaimer: I currently work as a Brand Ambassador for Penderyn Distillery. The views expressed here are purely my own and do not reflect the views of Penderyn Distillery or The Welsh Whisky Company. I try to maintain as much objectivity as I can but feel free to take my reviews with as big a pinch of salt as you like. Furthermore, my rating scale is NOT based on a Parker type wine scoring scale or a school/college/university % or A-F grade score. You can find more on my scoring here. I apologise for any seemly low or 'bad' scores given with my system and am sorry I can't say only nice things. Please keep in mind that I am ethically compromised and am unable to produce 100% unbiased reviews.

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