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#50309 - 05/04/17 10:42 AM Re: Edinburgh/Canongate Regular Tastings [Re: Leither]
Jolly Toper Offline
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Registered: 18/01/08
Posts: 862
Loc: East Calder, West Lothian, Sco...
Aye - I heard Martin preferred the second cask - given how good the first one was I was very happy to buy the follow up. I suppose we all have different tastes and it's possible there may have been a contaminant involved in the bottle I got. I guess one must qualify opinion when being critical. I usually take care to put any comments in perspective. A couple of guys who tasted it haven't reacted as negatively as others. That's the beauty and the beast of single cask bottlings - luckily we can have different opinions and still all be right.

Incidentally The Dram Fool secret Islay single malt is called 'Avian Gull' - this could be an anagram of the distillery's name.....

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#50330 - 24/04/17 07:07 PM Re: Edinburgh/Canongate Regular Tastings [Re: Leither]
Jolly Toper Offline
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Registered: 18/01/08
Posts: 862
Loc: East Calder, West Lothian, Sco...
I'm hoping to get a write-up of the last tasting but in the mean time a quick cut-and-paste tells about the next tasting:-

The usual 5 drams:

We'll try a new official bottling from Bladnoch - 'Samsara'. Although I might be able to say Bladnoch was my favourite Lowland dram I've not been finding much success with the most recent releases so it'll be very interesting to see what the current owner is proposing.

After the interesting comparison of 2 15yo Glencadams bottled a few years apart: one filtered and coloured at 40% the other 46%, natural colour and un-filtered, there's a few more pairings we can do, perhaps Dalmore 12yo could be the next in line.

For our sherry cask we'd better test drive the latest official Glendronach full stength release: Batch 6.

Royal Mile Whiskies have just bottle what I think is the first UK Benromach 'Merchant's Bottle'. I pick up some distinct peat but other's might be looking for a bit more so I'll see if slipping in a mystery Islay malt at full stength will work too or even the newly released full strength peated Benriach.

There's a very tempting 1987 Caledonian (closed grain from Edinburgh) but it's a bit of a budget bender so perhaps we'll go for another mystery dram.

All soon to be finalised.

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#50332 - 24/04/17 09:19 PM Re: Edinburgh/Canongate Regular Tastings [Re: Leither]
Jolly Toper Offline
Full Member

Registered: 18/01/08
Posts: 862
Loc: East Calder, West Lothian, Sco...
Well about 25 of us cosied into the Kilderkin for a 6 dram tasting. We started with the two Glencadam's bottled some time apart (5+ years?). One 40%, chill-filtered and caramel coloured, the other 46% natural colour and non-chillfiltered. The older one was latterly 'dumped' on the market sub-£25 to clear shelves for the new expression. I recall it being very drinkable but a touch uninspiring. My experience of the re-booted version was very positive actually removing it from the house as one glass was never enough and led to too much temptation. On the night I was a bit surprised (not really disappointed) to see the room was exactly split 50-50 to which one was the preferred. Interesting. I've a few malts bottled a number of years ago and plan to repeat the exercise in upcoming tastings.

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#50333 - 24/04/17 09:40 PM Re: Edinburgh/Canongate Regular Tastings [Re: Leither]
Jolly Toper Offline
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Registered: 18/01/08
Posts: 862
Loc: East Calder, West Lothian, Sco...
Next we had he sister cask of Whisky Broker's stupendous Cambus sherry cask 25yo that we tried at the last tasting. I know no independent bottler hits the bull's eye every time but I thought it worth taking a punt on this bottle due to its predecessor being so good. Oops. This would have been another good side by side comparison for illustrating how different the same thing can be. Not one person in the room enjoyed the nose and most of us struggled with the palate although it must be said a few folks found some qualities in the odd notes of what I found to be whisky botrytis. I'd taste it now but really don't have the motivation I'm afraid.

Next was a proven success - the current Signatory 1995 Imperial. This batch of casks has become quite familiar to employees of RMW and attendees of Jolly Toper tastings of late. There is definitely a distillery/parcel character coming through with age being apparent and a well noted positive response to dilution.

What I believe to be a discontinued expression : Highland Park, Dark Origins may have taken advantage of good timing after the drams up to this point or perhaps is simply cracking stuff. I recall tasting it when first released and being far from impressed but on a recent re-visit the experience was very much different. On the night the wonderful balance and harmony of component flavours was inspiring. Cask, time and spirit seemed to sing in unison. All this was present in a most understand way which gave a level of sophistication not too common these days. Bravo.

Finally new independent bottler Dramfool covered themselves (well himself) in glory with a splendid 8yo single Islay with all the peaty goodness one would hope for from such a deservedly high profile distillery. The name of the source had to be hidden so this bottling went under the title of "Avain Gull'. Like some Islays and heavy sherries tasting in the afternoon is one thing but when tried after a few drams this kind of thing really seems to rise to the occasion. More please.

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#50340 - 11/05/17 09:03 PM Re: Edinburgh/Canongate Regular Tastings [Re: Leither]
Jolly Toper Offline
Full Member

Registered: 18/01/08
Posts: 862
Loc: East Calder, West Lothian, Sco...
The last tasting was a bit wobbly - I broke a golden rule (twice) never pour without first trying. Oh well. Only about 15 of us attended which is a bit rubbish as we've been enjoying good attendances since we dropped to a once every 3 and not 2 weeks schedule.

We started with Dramfool's 21yo Tobermory which I felt warranted its inclusion as nobody I poured it to before had anything properly negative to say about it. As I've probably reported before I allow one 'academic' over 'hedonistic' dram in a tasting so felt within my rights. Having had the bottle at home and tested and re-tested maybe I should have listened to myself and used it as a bonus 6th dram. It wasn't bad just a bit all over the place. Nobody came close to guessing the age which could be considered as the 'oh that's interesting' moment - illustrating to those who still believe age is everything and older is better and time in the cask always discernible.

Onwards : Signatory 1987 29yo Caledonian closed Edinburgh grain. This is the first dram of the night I hadn't test driven - it's difficult to sample everything I'd like to but I'd better think that one through as while the dram was fine it fell short of my expectations of an aged grain which I know can be wonderful, unfortunately I wasn't the only one with this disappointment. Some took to it though. The class did show in spots here and there but ideally the complete package of harmonious cask, grain, time and spirit would have presented itself. Nice (if sad) to try another 'ghost', especially a local one with such an interesting history. The challenge of keeping the ticket price down and still taste closed distilleries is not getting any easier.

Next was the Bladnoch Samsara - I like to include new releases in order that those curious to try new drams but for whatever reason don't want to buy a bottle can see what's happening. I find the shift in style from Bladnoch of old to current really interesting - can anyone explain where the citrus, fresh grassy notes have gone and where the fuller body has appeared from? If I had to guess I'd say a combination of change to the yeast variety coupled with an adjustment to fermentation time.

Next was a solid Glendronach Cask Strength Batch 6, not as balanced as the previous two full strength sherry beauties but fine nevertheless. could this be Rachel Barrie's first attempt?

Finally the show stopper - a private cask of Port Charlotte from my mate Sascha. Fantastic. I wish I'd kept more of it but I felt it had to be shared to make up for the shortcomings of some of the other pours.....

Well for the next tasting we'll be trying the 2nd oldest whisky ever poured in the 15 + years of these tastings (52yo- the oldest was a 54yo G&M 1954 Mortlach - unless I've forgotten another one), it's a pretty early vintage too - 1964, not just that but it's from a closed distillery we've only once tried before- a single cask single grain at full strength (40.8%) and one of only 50 bottles filled. If that isn't enough its the most expensive whisky I've bought for the tastings at £225. I know all this doesn't mean it's going to be good but hey it's got the word 'arse' in its name:- Carsebridge (closed 1983) bottled by our pal Dramfool.

Bottler's description of the dram.

There will also be a mystery Islay single cask at full strength - my guess is Lagavulin, yup its proepr secret.

Also another 'then and now' experiment: we recently tried a couple of Glencadams bottled about 10 years apart and with differing bottling principles. It was interesting to see which one appealed more so let's do it again, I'll keep the single malt unknown to prevent any pre-judging.

Finally there will be a sherry cask (or similar) dram which I've yet to decide on but maybe something like the latest Tamdhu Batch strength.

All that for just £25.

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#50347 - 18/05/17 09:55 PM Re: Edinburgh/Canongate Regular Tastings [Re: Leither]
Jolly Toper Offline
Full Member

Registered: 18/01/08
Posts: 862
Loc: East Calder, West Lothian, Sco...
Details from the closed distillery/lost malts tasting on Thursday 8th June at 7:30pm in The Kilderkin, £50:-

Some more details of these bottlings:-

Glenlochy 17yo distilled October 1977 bottled September 1995 61.8%

Craigduff 32yo distilled 04/04/1973 bottled 03/11/2005 sherry butt 557 bottles 53.9%

Glenisla 34yo distilled 07/07/1977 bottled 11/11/2011 hogshead 274 bottles 44.3%

Mosstowie 32yo distilled 06/02/1979 bottled 12/01/2012 Bourbon barrel 211 bottles 51.5%

Carsebridge 33yo distilled December 1982 bottled September 2015 refill hogshead 253 bottles 44.9%

6 tickets left.....

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#50348 - 18/05/17 10:02 PM Re: Edinburgh/Canongate Regular Tastings [Re: Leither]
Jolly Toper Offline
Full Member

Registered: 18/01/08
Posts: 862
Loc: East Calder, West Lothian, Sco...
Eh, four tickets left....

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#50350 - 20/05/17 12:30 PM Re: Edinburgh/Canongate Regular Tastings [Re: Leither]
Jolly Toper Offline
Full Member

Registered: 18/01/08
Posts: 862
Loc: East Calder, West Lothian, Sco...
As regards the closed distillery tasting: with just one ticket left can I ask attendees to cough up or be 100% trust worthy for payment on the night?. You can square me up with cash between now and then or I can provide bank details. These bottles are not mine so I'll have to be firmer about securing payment for tickets in order that if there are last minute call offs we revert to the old style agreement - if you call off and I or you can re-sell your ticket then your not out of pocket but if the tasting is a sell out and you can't make it and there are no takers for your ticket then you get the drams as a carry out. Deal?

I'll endeavour to write up the Royal Mile Whiskies tasting from Monday hosted by Distell's Stephen Woodcock - a real geek out for detail fans.

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#50353 - 21/05/17 02:52 PM Re: Edinburgh/Canongate Regular Tastings [Re: Leither]
Jolly Toper Offline
Full Member

Registered: 18/01/08
Posts: 862
Loc: East Calder, West Lothian, Sco...
So Steven from Mash Tun http://www.themashtun.co.uk will be taking along a mystery dram. He tells me we've never tried something from this distillery in the tastings. Bearing in mind until Strathearn released 3yo this year we had tried an example from every distillery in Scotland that has bottled its make since Maltmill closed. So this is either a bottle of Maltmill or one of the new distilleries.......very exciting.

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#50357 - 22/05/17 12:08 PM Re: Edinburgh/Canongate Regular Tastings [Re: Leither]
Jolly Toper Offline
Full Member

Registered: 18/01/08
Posts: 862
Loc: East Calder, West Lothian, Sco...
For the cask influenced dram for this Thursday's tasting we'll have Arran Amarone 46%. When it first came out I wasn't too convinced but this latest expression is much more appealing.

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