I have also planned tasting No. 2; Smooth, Subtle & Sophisticated which again includes some rare and hard to find bottlings from the 1980's alongside some more unusual drams of today.
1. MiltonDuff Glenlivet, Late 1980’s bottling (green tube & label), 12y, 43% ABV
Nose: Malt and some fresh herbs, with an emphasis on the freshness.
Palate: Delightfully soft and smooth with some very gentle hints of creamy toffee. Thankfully, the finish is really quite long and persistent; in fact I would be happy for it to stay around all day long!
Overall Impression: Wow, I love this whisky, possibly and unbelievably, even more so than the earlier (brown tube) bottling
2. Clynelish, 32y, March 1971 - Nov 2003, Cask 2704, bottle No. 108, 54.2% ABV
Nose: Very floral with hints of liquorice and malt
Palate: Deliciously smooth with an immediate nutty fruity tingle. This is extremely intense and you can tell it's CS at over 50%! The rich flavours of nut and fruit (apricot / peach) last almost forever on the front middle of the tongue.
With 3 drops of water: The nose had gained a little vanilla. The flavours are the same, but fiercely more intense.
Overall Impression: I love this whisky!!!
3. Glen Garioch, 1980’s bottling, 8 years old, cream label, brown tube, 43% ABV
Nose: Hay, grass and perfumed malt
Palate: Smooth and warming with slightly perfumed, flowery toffee which is very short on the first sip, but stays much longer on the second.
Overall Impression: I really like the modern Glen Gariochs with their full-on toffee flavours but this one is much more subtle, encompassing some delightful soft touches of perfume and flowers over the slight toffee flavours which remain in the background.
This is a delightful dram and I am so sorry that they don’t make it like this any more!
4. Glenallachie, cask strength edition for distillery sales only, 57.1% ABV
Nose: Toasted raisins on an open camp fire.
Palate: Rich raisins coated in marzipan which linger forever.
With 4 drops of water: The nose intensifies and so does the taste. The marzipan is brought to the fore and it lasts even longer on the middle of the tongue, tingling and warming for an extremely long time.
4 More drops of water liven this even more, although in retrospect, I think the first four were enough.
Overall Impression: If you like full-bodied, sherry-cask drams, then this is a must as it just goes on and on ……
5. Lochside, V. Rare (G&M) 'CC' white map label, distilled 1981, bottled 1996, 40% ABV
Nose: Butterscotch, barley and marzipan (almond) with the slightest hint of aniseed.
Palate: Smooth and warming on the tongue with a delightful butterscotch flavour slowly giving way to the almonds.
Overall Impression:I like this whisky, very much. If I were to criticise it, I would probably comment on it being just a little watery and short in aftertaste. But this is a G&M ‘CC’ bottling at 40% and I am sure if it were 46% then it would be near to perfect.
6.Port Ellen, 2nd Annual Release, Bottle No. 1141, 59.35% ABV
Nose: Linseed, Scottish sea air, grass and straw
Palate: Very smooth and surprisingly sweet, but lots of burn from all that alcohol. The aftertaste is very herbal. Let's try with a little water now.....
With 4 drops of water: The sea air and straw are enhanced on the nose. Deliciously smooth on the tongue and tingling the front and rear of the tongue simultaneously, whilst leaving the middle alone! Lovely herbal flavours whilst slightly oily and wonderfully smooth with the sweetness remaining, albeit not quite so prominent now.
3 Further drops of water: A little smokiness is starting to develop amongst that straw. For a fleeting second I had a slight taste of one of those liquorice allsorts which comprises liquorice wrapped in a coconut tyre.
Overall Impression: This is an excellent dram!
I specifically put the Glenallachie before the Lochside for a reason, but I may change them back again on the day.