This year, I was invited by an old friend to take part in a Scotch party (of which this was the 7th edition). Great drams, and great people. Nothing better than sharing whisky thoughts with those who really, truly, love whisky.
Glenrothes 1995 – B
“The Scotchiest Scotch that Ever Scotched”
This is your sweet, biscuity, desserty dram. It is complex enough to be interesting, but isn’t show-stoppingly enthralling. A solid B that may be something great at 46% or higher. Still reasonably viscous at 43%.
Glenrothes Robur Reserve – B
“A nice, light snack”
In the lineup this evening, this one comes across as the 1995’s little brother. Much of the same, but a little bit more sugary without much more flavour.
Glenlivet XXV – B+
“Aged cherry cough sweets”
Plenty rich, strong cherry and other berries, thick and present, and then it’s gone. Really no finish to speak of, but the rest is really quite pleasant. A plenty good whisky, but at 25 years old, you’d expect much more.
Talisker 57 North – A-
“Warm leather arm-chair”
I began the night with this one, and it was most of what I’d expected. Everything the Talisker 10 should be (and maybe used to be,) but isn’t. Strong peppery leather, coastal salt, and your typical Talisker flavours. Warming like nothing else I’ve ever tried. It’s an excellent whisky for what it does, but it is missing that either solid second gear, or a neat 3rd to get it into the A range.
Tomatin 12 – B-
“A good aperatif”
Sweet, somewhat thin, just all around inoffensive, if not overly interesting.
Balvenie 14 Caribbean Cask – B+
This one has those banana marshmallows all over it. Sure there is malt, and typical baked speyside goodness, but the note that hits you over the head first and foremost is the banana. It’s quite a delicious Balvenie, that makes me forget about their disaster of a triple cask.
Glen Garioch Founder’s Reserve – D+
Just something awful. It’s like the Valinch gone wrong. Nothing but farm.
Bruichladdich Black Art 3.1 (48.7%) – A
“Pungent, sweet, leathery goodness”
The black art is tart, leathery, subtle, but complex. Berries, sherry, sour with light peat all around, and this nice leathery finish. Truly the star of the night.
Longrow CV – B
“Lightly peated, candied citrus.”
I was surprised by this in two ways: it wasn’t all that peated, more of a speysider than a wannabe Islay. It was also sort of disappointing, as I was expecting a show-stopper in this one, on the back of all the hype.
Bowmore 15 Darkest – B+
“Dark, rich, sherry almost-monster”
A bit of a dark horse for me. I was expecting something weak and mildly inoffensive. It’s sherry, raisins and chocolate. A bit medicinal on the palate, which makes it kind of a one-two punch of dark sherry sweet, and Islay smoky. They’ve done a nice job with this one, and might be worth about $80. The almost $100 that it comes in at here in Toronto is way too much to ask, however.
BenRiach Bernie Moss – C+
“Lightly peated, slightly sweetened new-make“
A poor man’s Longrow CV. The peat isn’t very strong, and neither is much of the flavour.
All in all, a successful night with the lads. Looking forward to next year, when we raid the LCBO stocks again.