Back To The Future

SlĂ inte mhath! A very Happy New Year to you all.

Although we’ve only just said farewell to last year, I’m going to ask you all to come on a journey with me back through time….

Cast your minds back to seven months ago, and some of you may recall that on the 12th June we staged a mammoth tasting of twelve blends. It was a great night, and although it may have taken us a while to collect our thoughts in the few days following, the feedback that we got showed that a lot of you out there welcomed the chance to get more acquainted with the vatted, the grain, and the blends.

So why the big delay in the blogging? Well, between us we’ve been incredibly busy over the last few months. Dubber’s been globetrotting away like there’s no tomorrow (Holland, Denmark, Canada, Germany, Belgium, India) whilst I have been thoroughly consumed by fatherhood and all that that entails. So I’m hoping that you can see your way to excusing us on these grounds….?

It being the time for resolutions, we’ve got it in our heads to do a power of blogging this year – and we’ve got some big things planned…

In the meantime, below are our tasting notes from “The Night Of The Twelve Blends”:

Whyte & Mackay Old Luxury 19 Year Old

Nose: sherry, almond, rope, butterscotch, almond, vanilla notes, oak
comes through also, redcurrant, guava, chocolate
Palate: interesting unexpected meaty note, toffee, treacle
Finish: raspberry jam, black pepper, more cocoa, a tiny bit of
salt, orange Chewits

Whyte & Mackay Supreme 22 Year Old

Nose: yacht varnish, acetone note – not unpleasant – giving way to loads of nuts, sherry, slight prickle in the nose, touch more smoke, and pepper, cream top note
Palate: Buttery smooth, floral and light, but also solidly nutty… Madeira cake
Finish: get a load of cocoa, carrot, green apple, rhubarb and vanilla custard

Pig’s Nose

Nose: Milk chews, pannetone, heather, vanilla
Palate: oranges, coconut, marshmallow, cheescake base
Finish: cereal notes, bread and butter pudding, lemon and lime, tamarillos

Sheep Dip

Nose: Sawn timber, raked leaves, oranges again
Palate: Tannin, barley sugars, more citrus, wet cardboard
Finish: Woody, medium length, nutty, slight sherry tone, pistachio, quinine

Black Bottle

Nose: smoke
Palate: leather, brine, smoke, tar, charcoal
Finish: long, Smoke, a touch of chili and chocolate…

Monkey Shoulder

Nose: banana
Palate: honey, heather, gooseberry, cereal
Finish: short – more banana, pineapple – astringent – unremarkable (but quaffable).

Compass Box Oak Cross

Nose: Fresh mint, ginger, cloves, honey, toast, cinnamon, grapes and floral notes. Warm & friendly.
Palate: Soft, grassy, fresh and pleasant. Pine and fruit.
Finish: vanilla, vanilla, vanilla. Overwhelming oak – in a good way. Very enjoyable and approachable.

Compass Box Asyla

Nose: Lemon, Pineapple – fruit salad, custard creams. Very light.
Palate: cereal, cream, vanilla.
Finish: smooth, medium, short, meaty note.

Compass Box Flaming Heart

Nose: prickly, leather, vanilla, a touch of peat smoke. Vanilla really comes through because of the new oak. Root beer.
Palate: Beautiful mix of smoke and wood. Horseradish, apple, licorice…
Finish: menthol, wood smoke again, pepper, extremely long finish. Really amazingly good. We like this one a lot.

Compass Box Hedonism

Nose: colour is very pale, nose is very light. Macaroons, chocolate box, grassy notes…
Palate: Vanilla ice cream, strawberry, butterscotch – touch of pepper, a little almond. Really impressive stuff.
Finish: Meringue, floral soap, long…

Compass Box Peat Monster

Nose: TCP, surgical spirit, charcoal, brine, pepper, honey & vanilla.
Palate: smoke, seaweed, barbeque, chili, malt, cereal notes, treacle toffee… Rolos.
Finish: brine, cocoa, sherbet, smoke, lengthy finish.

Compass Box Peat Monster Reserve

Nose: liniment, celery salt, smoke, tar, rubber, cream, cereal, burnt
toast, acetone.
Palate: boiled sweets, cocoa, seaweed, black pepper, a meaty note.
Finish: salt, honey, tarry smoke, hazelnut, coffee, long.

To sum up, we were heartily in favour of all things Compass Box, in particular their Flaming Heart, and all we can do is marvel at the quality of the casks John Glaser and his team have managed to get their hands on. Very impressive stuff. Of course, Whyte and Mackay are old hands at choosing the right components for their drams. Mr Paterson and co have a couple of winners on their hands with Old Luxury and the Supreme bottlings.

If you get the chance, check out the others also; Spencerfield’s Pig’s Nose and Sheep Dip are great, and should be supported for their independence alone, something that’s worth championing for it’s own merit sometimes, but especially when concerning whisky!


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