These are tasting notes from the second Scotch 22 invitation event held in Christchurch.
The notes are again provided by Ian Stopher and Mel Bromley. As before, I am very grateful to them both for allowing me to use their writings here on the site.
I have identified each writer with bold lettering & colour.
We started at Whisky Galore with an introductory dram and some Bee Gees. This was a clue to what had been kept a secret from us. But rewind 45mins because, of course, I had preloaded with an Scotch Malt Whisky Society code 64.97 at The Last Word:
Mannochmore 9yo Partner Bar exclusive 64.97
Nose: delicious malty sweetness with soft lemon cif
Palate: still sweet but with some dryness as well in the reaction with the mouth; Opal Fruits
Finish: medium; not so much citric as white and green fruits like green melon and lychees. Malty as well but not spicy (Barrel rather than Hogshead)
Overall: impressive whisky pointed out by staff at The Last Word. Not spectacular but a solid consistent nose and delivery
Back at WG the introductory dram was an official 12yo Dalmore bottled c.1979:
Nose: spirity with sherry
Palate: muted sharpness
Finish: a little thin and clinging
Overall: the dram was bottled in the 70s, in keeping with the theme of the evening
The Main Course
6 drams distilled in the 1970s. Total pricing just under $15,000. Ouch! I will not be buying any of these bottles, then. Unfortunately, I really wanted more time to go over the drams but as it was I was the slowest and I still didn’t have time to write very lyrical notes.
It looks a weird order: 3 peaty whiskies first and then 3 heavy sherry whiskies. But as we got into it we saw it made sense. The final three were more overwhelming than the first three.
Glass 1: Brora 8th Release 30yo 1979 53.2%
Ian: oily, a little bit closed; distinct licorice notes
Mel: salted caramel, hints of vegemite, seaweed, and raisins
Ian: quite soft and a little queasy
Mel: Sweet caramel, licorice, icing sugar, honey [I can’t taste any peat!]
Ian: thin-tasting at the end
Ian: Bottle No. 2218 of 2,656; perhaps unfairly placed but this was the weakest whisky of the line-up
Mel: it was too saccharine-type sweet for me
Glass 2: Bowmore 21yo 1973 43%
Ian: sweet and slightly sickly
Mel: salted caramel again, very smooth, raisins “love this nose” – does not smell at all peaty!
Ian: very soft with some floral orange
Mel: Some peat, oily, liquorice, sweet, light smoke
Ian: quite tasty and impressive for a 43% whisky
Mel: advertised as having been selected from casks in Warehouse #1 – the oldest)
Mel: 8.5 There you go! An unusually high score for me for an Islay these days!
Glass 3: Ardbeg OMC 60th anniversary 36yo 43.5% (1 of 94 bottles)
Ian: still very peaty and still sharp
Mel: marshmallow, smoke, sweet toffee, peat, cheezels
Ian: quite impressive for the abv; softness and peat
Mel: Very Islayish – oily, sweet, smoky, peaty, but still very smooth
Ian: medium+; delicate peat and maybe sherrywood as well
Ian: a bit repetitive but surprises by the amount of peat after 36 years
Mel: apparently one of the oldest Ardbegs ever bottled!
Mel:7.5, but only because I’ve drifted away from the peaty whiskies.
Glass 4: Mortlach G&M 1971-2012 43%
Ian: heavy with the sherry, tarry; cough syrup
Mel: Chocolate, raisins, apricots, caramel, prunes, hint of vegemite (in a good way), figs, sweet, but not saccharine sweet.
Ian: again that heaviness and already clearly very woody before even getting to the finish
Mel: bitter chocolate, prunes, liquorice, apricot, meaty, hint of vegemite … rolling flavours. OMG!
Ian: long; with burnt cherry
Ian: some might go for this extremal whisky but I find it is too much to make it a pleasant drink. Mel REALLY loved this one, even more than the Glendronach!
Mel: Oh Yes I Did!!! Admittedly, I may have got carried away, but it is what I wrote down on the night!
Glass 5: Glenglassaugh Batch 2 42yo 47.3% Massandra Madeira Puncheon #2125 (1 of 124 bottles)
Ian: fruity and spicy
Mel: Prunes, chocolate, aniseed, almond icing, Christmas cake, (something floral? Lavender?)
Ian: sweet, delicious with a touch of mintiness
Mel: Old, prunes, varnish, sweet, aniseed
Ian: medium; just a little dry
Ian: This really hit the spot for me; I like my fortified wine maturation to bring some sweetness and fruit, and this one delivers. Strangely this was the oldest but also the cheapest bottle at $1,300. Shame I still cannot justify buying a whole bottle but it makes it onto my 2019 Best of the Best list.
Glass 6: Glendronach Batch 2 39yo 48.8% Oloroso Butt #489
Ian: vinegar; heavy oloroso
Mel: Toffee, caramel (not sweet), woody, prunes, pepper, sulphur
Ian: heavy and chewy
Mel: Chocolate, sherry, sulphur notes, licorice, almonds, intense, oranges
Ian: medium to long; very tarry. It is not tart or sharp in the finish, fortunately.
Ian: a bit of a technical score; not especially the brown&gold Glendronach I would go for normally. At $4,000 this was the most expensive purchase for the evening. Happy Birthday, Daniel!
Mel: This was unexpectedly my second favourite, after my surprise love affair with the Mortlach … but for most people in the room this one came top!
The After-match Function
Ian: Following all this, we headed off for a meal. Many carried on with some drinking but after the above eight drams, everything would have seemed a little underwhelming.
Mel: my glass of red wine was certainly unnecessary.)
Ian: Besides, I had an early flight to catch and another set of whiskies the next night.
Mel: Ditto – although I caught the early afternoon flight that landed in a massive blustery storm.
Ian: Some work is never done.
Mel: Too true – it is tough work indeed – lucky we are up to the challenge.