Thursday, September 29, 2016

07/22 - Lagavulin and Ardbeg


4 distilleries and 4 tours and tastings done. 2 more left on the schedule.

After a short night we took the bus to the south end of Islay where Laphroaig, Lagavulin and Ardbeg are located. After Laphroaig on Wednesday we made our first stop at Lagavulin where we had an arrangement for a special tasting that they just have for a short time due to their 200 years anniversary. The idea itself is really good, you receive a nice package with different samples of their range but unfortunately they didn't pour out anything else and you had to fill your own glas from those bottles. A wee bit disappointing to be honest but the tasting itself was an interesting conversation.

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A 30 minutes walk brought us to Ardbeg distillery... some things changed sincem y last visit, you can definitely see that LVMH invests some money to keep the distillery nice and shiny. Good on one hand, one the other hand it's missing some of its morbid charme.

Before we went to Lagavulin in the morning we already made a reservation for a table for lunch in the Ardbeg Cafe, based on my experience from my last visit. We arrived in time and immediately took our seat to enjoy a really tasty lunch which proves why this place is always crowded with people who also come for lunch only.

The tour was also much better than my last experience I made 3 years ago. We decided for the "Deconstructing the dram" tour which includes a distillery tour and a warehouse tasting with different cask samples which are the base of the vattings for Ardbeg's core range. A very special and interesting tasting experience that I really enjoyed. A dram of Ardbeg's latest release, the Dark Cove, was also included, we had this dram in the sunshine with a view on the warehouse at the seaside...








For the evening we took the same program as the day before: dinner at the Lochside Hotel and drams at Lucci's Bar at the Bowmore Hotel!

It was an intensive and amazing trip! Thx to Alison and Andrew for being great hosts again!




Tuesday, September 20, 2016

07/21 - Bunnahabhain and Bruichladdich


Day no. 2. Another good breakfast, then off to Bunnahabhain. I visited the distillery during my last visit on Islay but there was no activity therefore I was looking forward to it even more.

After our arrival there was still some time left until the tasting should start and due to this we got a very brief tour through the distillery and the most important spots. Efficient but nevertheless interesting.

Then we moved to the warehouse where we enjoyed an amazing tasting with 5 different Bunnahabhains. Oloroso sherry cask, Bourbon hogshead, unpeated, heavily peated. A very attractive range with fantastic whiskys, all straight from the cask with lots of additional information! Wow, that was definitely a great experience!

Luckily we're able to purchase cask samples from those casks in the shop (additionally we'd the chance to handfill our own bottle directly in the warehouse), because those were really great stuff!

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Andrew was kind enough to bring us to Bruichladdich distillery, the next stop on our schedule.

After a quick lunch at Debbie's Cafe just around the corner from the distillery we settled down in the visitor's center and tried some of the available stuff in preparation for the upcoming warehouse tasting. One of the ones we tried was the  Feis Isle 135 PHD which I really liked...

The warehouse tasting itself had the following range:
  • 26yo. from a Bourbon cask
  • 12 yo. Port Charlotte from a French Oak cask
  • 11 yo. Octomore from an Oloroso Sherry cask
All of them were really good but the 26 yo. was definitely my favorite even though I like the heavily peated stuff like Octomore, especially when being matured in a Sherry cask.







For the evening we'd a reservation for dinner at the Lochside Hotel, where we enjoyed some good food. Initially we planned to have some drams at the bar afterwards but their selection dropped rapidly after my visit 3 years ago, so we decided to change the location to go to Lucci's Bar at the Bowmore Hotel which's just around the corner. Definitely a good move as their range is really amazing, so we'd a few more drams there before we walked back to the Bowmore House. 

A great day with awesome whiskys and a lot of great experiences.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Hoyo de Monterrey Pyramide EL 2003


Typical EL optic... colorado-maduro colored wrapper, matt and relatively coarse.

The cold smell of the cigar shows mainly ceddar, a decent sweetness and some hints of leather.

The lighting up process is very time-consuming, it took a while until the end is glowing after roasting it above the flame. After that the cut and the first puffs: leather, aromas of fresh milled black pepper reminding of a Partagas. Intensive notes of dark chocolate attend, they accentuate the whole smoke with a very pleasant and not bothersome sweetness.

In the second third leather and pepper fade away and make room for an interaction of different roasty tastes of cacao and coffee and also some bitter almond which comes up from time to time. The whole package seems to be balanced absolutely perfect, the smoke is fat and creamy.

The last third is extraordinary strong if you take into account that you are smoking a Hoyo, the leathery component comes up again, paired with an intensive sweetness of honey which makes it hard to put this cigar away.

The smoking time was a bit more than 2 hrs. the draw was perfect and the ash very firm, even if it looked a bit tattered.

Fantastic Smoke.

Sunday, September 04, 2016

08/14 - Old and shiny


Nothing more to say that those are my impressions of the 4th US Car and Bike Meeting. Enjoy it.

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