Sunday, April 05, 2015

03/27 - A whisky time travel

Call it coincidence or very good planning but the XII. Whiskytasting in the Griffins Business Lounge took place on International Whisky Day 2015... and we'd a very interesting line-up under the topic "Young & Old". In most cases those where young whiskys (beside the Ardbeg) but have been bottled more than 20 years ago, therefore they're already old:
  • Aberlour 12 yo. from the 70s
  • Glendronach 8 yo., 45.4 %, Ruffino Import from the 70s
  • Springbank 12 yo., red-brown ceramic jug from the 80s
  • Ardbeg 1974 - 1996, 22 yo., 40 %, G&M for Italy

This was the originally planned range but during our whisky dinner the week before Reto threw in the latest bottling of the Whiskyclub Regensburg aka
  • Russenschnaps, Vatting of 11 to 21 yo. sherry cask matured Islay Whisky (Lagavulin)

With all those whiskys being distilled in the 60 and/or 70s this tasting brings us back a few decades to the good ol' times. Let's see if they've really been better... at least for the whisky.

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Cigar-wise my recommendation for this tasting's an El Rey del Mundo or La Gloria Cubana. Urs took the choice and decided for the LGC MdO Nr. 2, an amazing cigar which perfectly matched with the whiskys.

The Aberlour was a good starter, everybody was surprised about the intensive flavor and the body of this whisky, delivered at "only" 43 % of alcohol... something that you'll find not very often nowadays with a 12yo. The style of the bottle is typical for the time when it's been filled in the 80s.

This first dram we also raised in the honor of Bill Miller from the SSMC, who's passed away about two weeks ago and our friend Hans who died totally unexpected last week. Wherever you are, this dram was for you, guys! Slàinte mhath!

The next in the row... an 8 yo. Glendronach... an outstanding fruit bomb! Surprisingly not too sweet, many expected it to be sweet after nosing it, but the mouthfeel was just fantastic and perfectly balanced. 8 yo.? Hard to believe that there was no overpowering alcohol or that typical young taste. A good balanced whisky... here you defnitely can say: the good ol' times...

Springbank, A name that stands for is own. Good quality whiskys in my personal opinion but in the range it was - at least for me - the weakest. Don't get me wrong, it's a really good whisky with a lot of pleasant sherry notes, dried and tropical fruits, bitter almonds and a decent touch of smoke... but the other were simply "better" in that specific range.

At the end, my personal highlight of the evening... a 22 yo. Ardbeg, distilled in 1974, bottled in 1996. A bottling for the Italian market by G&M with the special remark being "mellow matured", whatever this has to mean....

It's not overpowering peaty, it's like other Ardbegs I've tried from the 70s and it's a good touch of smoke paired with the maritime character and the typical citrus notes. Filigrane and elegant, simply amazing for me. Not all shared this opinion but it's good that personal preferences are different.

The cigar was excellent and while we'd this Ardbeg I reached the last third of the cigar. The combo was perfect and I really enjoyed it.

Officially my range was done but we still had the Russenschnaps, the sherried Lagavulin. Pour it in the glass and get the fist in the face! What a nose! Peat and sherry, as I said several times before: a match made in heaven!

Here are some of the notes which have been mentioned: peat, dried fruits, oak, tobacco, salt, charcoal, iodine, bacon, sweetness of sherry...

Imho a whisky with a very good value for the buck, well done, you made again an amazing club bottling!

The conclusion of the evening for all of was unisono: for those specific whiskys it's absolutely correct to talk about the good ol' times. It should be very hard nowadays to find young whiskys which are well balanced like the Glendronach or even the Aberlour and Springbank. The Ardbeg is a class on it's own, for me the bottling from the last 10 years are many miles away from that quality we'd in our glasses on this evening...