Recent Openings and Christmas Spirits
Isn’t serendipity a coincidence? The things the Universe brings when you weren’t really expecting but you leave it open to see what turns up.
You may remember the article about the opening of the Amrut Spectrum and how impressed I was.
Daniel asked if I could take him a sample, and he was prepared to trade a couple of interesting sherry-based ones that he had.
A fair swap!
Sample 1: Glendronach 15yo, PX, 54.7% abv
Nose: A strong nose of pipe tobacco, followed by fresh raspberries mixed with citrus peel, cloves, and granny’s Christmas pudding with brandy sauce.
Palette: As you would expect with a PX sherry cask whisky, the taste opens with a mouthful of sweet, spicy sherry. Then comes orange peel and the cloves returning.
Finish: The finish is long, with the flavour lingering but not the cask-strength heat.
Comment: I thought the nose was delightful and marked it at 9.2. I was a little disappointed to find that the nose promised rather more than the taste delivered. However, overall this is still a deliciously good drop!
Sample 2: Adelphi Glen Rothes 7yo, 66.7% abv
The colour of 1.7 is the signature Glen Rothes sherry finish colouring.
Nose: Here is an old leather couch and brown sugar, wrapped in a crepe bandage.
Palette: The taste is thick with a slight sour note, predominantly from a lot of oak and an oloroso sherry cask.
Finish: My mouth was left with a feeling of tannic-y drying, but not unpleasantly so.
Comment: When the choice is between an Adelphi bottling and something else, I will almost invariably go for the Adelphi – they are consistently appealing. Although my marking here is not at the top end, the 7yo Glen Rothes is well within my expected marking range for Adelphis (Adelphii?),.
The Christmas Spirits
There is a long-standing family tradition that we have created over the last couple of years. It is called the family Christmas meal, and involves my wife’s brothers and their families.
It may not come as a huge surprise that a large part of the tradition involves whisky. One year the whisky bit centred around an Advent calendar that contained twelve assorted single malt samples. They were only small bottles, but it was a very Happy Christmas indeed.
This year the event went up a gear. The invitee net was spread to include several items of note: two Glenlivet Nadurras, the Cardrona Just Hatched Sherry Cask, and Graeme.
The Glenlivet, “Nadurra” Bourbon finish. 59.8% abv
Colour 0.7. Finished in a first fill white oak bourbon cask.
The expression “finished in” on a label is not really helpful if you’re trying to use the information to determine what a whisky might taste like before you purchase it. Was the whisky finished in that barrel for 5 years? One year? Six months? Who knows.
Nose: lollies, airfix glue, sweet nuts (cashews or almonds), vanilla.
Palette: Full front of mouth, bourbon burn, tannic. 2nd mouthful is softer, greater heat.
Finish: long, slightly tannic-y drying but nice.
Comment: This is the second time I’ve tried this whisky (the first was at a tasting session 9 months ago). I bought a bottle of its sister dram (the oloroso finish version) as it catered more to my taste for sherried drams, but the bourbon finish is still very good and scores highly in consequence.
The Glenlivet, “Nadurra” Oloroso sherry finish, 60.3% abv
Nose: Leather, rich, fruit cake.
Palette: Heat!, sweet, fruit cake
Finish: fruit cake, oloros sour
Comment: In my hand-written notes I put “unremarkable”, but this is not intended to minimise the whisky or be derogatory. At 60.3% abv this is not a petty dram at all, quite the contrary. Other whiskies at that strength hit you very hard, mostly with alcohol burn and little else. This Nadurra in exceptionally drinkable and – my other note – “goes down very nicely”.
So here endeth 2018, not with a whimper but with a bang!
I have been very fortunate to have found some amazing drams to taste, and there have been some ho-hum ones too. But, as with so many things, at the end of the day beauty in whisky is in the taste of the beholder. What fascinates me may well bore you to tears, and I will be last to say you’re wrong!
So thank you to all the distillers & suppliers and tasters. Roll on 2019 and some more drams to sample!