Indy Showcase #2

The second in a series of Dram Association events showcasing independent bottlers, this tasting featured some pretty darn good whiskies – including the headliner – a 27 year old Laphroaig.

“The Last Word”
Bottler: Cooper’s Choice. Distillery: Glen Keith. Age: 20 years. Type: Single Malt Whisky. Region: Speyside. Distillation date: 1996 Bottling date: 2016. ABV: 46% Maturation: Ex-bourbon barrels, finished in ex-Jurancon cask. Outturn: 350 bottles. Price: $284.90 (all taxes in) @ Strathcona Liquor Store

NOSE: lots of wine influences from the Jurancon cask including some strong dusty-earthy notes, some nice savoury-meaty-funky notes, a bit of Parmesan cheese along with fennel and some light floral elements. Pretty appealing over all.

PALATE: the expected dusty-funky-winey elements showed up along with some appealing citrus notes and some unexpectedly prominent cinnamon and spice notes.

FINISH: starts spicy and a bit dry but there’s lots of sweetness to follow.

OVERALL: a pretty good starter dram. It drinks a little “thin” but it’s decently balanced and the wine cask finish imparts a nice bit of character… and it’s pretty easy to drink.

Score: 82 points

“Mother’s Day”
: Douglas Laing – Old Particular Range. Distillery: Cameronbridge. Age: 26 years. Type: Single Cask Grain Whisky Region: Lowlands. Distillation date: 1991 Bottling date: 2017. ABV: 51.6% Maturation: Refill sherry butt. Outturn: 569 bottles. Price: $219.90 (all taxes in) @ Strathcona Liquor Store

NOSE: a bit of that lovely dusty-earthy-savoury sherry funk that sherry matured whiskies often have, fennel, lots of florals, some vanilla, dill pickle potato chips.

PALATE: rum and raisins, cinnamon and nutmeg and other spices, some citrus fruits, more dill pickle chips.

FINISH: those rum and raisin notes just keep on coming then it’s all generic sweet notes and a bit of lingering warmth and spice. Despite the high ABV it’s all over pretty quickly, though.

OVERALL: a decent old grain whisky. It’s not particularly complex but there’s some pleasant floral and spice notes and lots of sweetness so it’s pretty easy to drink.

Score: 82 points

“European Night Market Snacks”
: Michel Couvreur – Overaged Edition. Distillery: Unknown. Age: NAS but a range of 12-27 years supposedly. Type: Blended Malt Whisky Region: Who knows…. it started out in Scotland but ended up in a cave in France somewhere… Distillation date: N/A Bottling date: N/A. ABV: 43% Maturation: First fill ex-sherry cask. Outturn: unknown but it’s a rare small batch bottling. Price: $224.90 (all taxes in) @ Strathcona Liquor Store

NOSE: tobacco, old leather, smoke, almonds, mulling spices, sherry dusty-funkiness. Very appealing.

PALATE: sherry notes, dried fruits, sugary desserts, butter tarts, cherries, savoury notes, mineral notes (must have picked those up maturing in a cave…)

FINISH: a bit “thin” (would have liked to try it at a higher ABV) but lots of sweetness and delicate, sherried elements.

OVERALL: an intriguing dram with a pretty eccentric pedigree. There’s lots of sherry and spice notes, plenty of easy-drinking sweetness and some intriguing metallic notes.

Score: 85 points

“Harmonious Banter”
: Morrison Mackay – Old Perth Distillery: Not stated but thought to be a blend of Glen Grant, Glengarry and Bowmore spirits among others. Age: 22 years. Type: Single Cask Blended Malt Whisky Region: Various. Distillation date: 1996 (at least that’s when it was all batted and put into the cask to mature) Bottling date: 2018. ABV: 54.9% Maturation: First fill sherry cask Outturn: 283 bottles. Price: $249.90 (all taxes in) @ Strathcona Liquor Store

NOSE: elegant, rich, coffee, malt, raisins, smoke, Parmesan cheese, sherry, peat, fruit cake spices. There’s definitely something for everyone here.

PALATE: dry tannins, white pepper, chilli spices, dried fruits, sea spray, peat, smoke, old leather, honeyed sweetness,

FINISH: quite drying with lots of spice – keeps drawing me back for one more sip and then another and another… there’s a lovely balance of alcohol heat, spice and sweetness with subtle maritime notes and plenty of peat and smoke. Each sip brings something a little different and all are delicious.

OVERALL: a delicious elegant dram with smoke, sherry and peat – what more could you ask for? So good I splurged and bought a bottle…

Score: 88 points

“Summer Camp Midnight Feast”
: A.D. Rattray Cask Orkney Distillery: It’s a mystery but probably Highland Park we’re told. Age: 18 years. Type: Single Malt Whisky Region: Orkney. Distillation date: 1991 Bottling date: 2017. ABV: 46% Maturation: Ex-bourbon barrels. Outturn: limited edition. Price: $212.90 (all taxes in) @ Strathcona Liquor Store

NOSE: pine trees, perfume, cut grass, citrus fruits, smoke, licorice, cherries, salt spray, hints of smoke and peat – lots going on here and very inviting.

PALATE: some hints of peat and smoke, lots of citrus, black tea, doesn’t really live up to the promise of the nose and definitely not as complex as most Highland Parks if that’s what this is…

FINISH: some smoke, a lot of sweet and citrus notes, doesn’t linger particularly long or really make me want more…

OVERALL: a little underwhelming which could be in part to do with its position in this lineup as the low ABV and lack of complexity make it easy to drink but not particularly memorable. There’s nothing wrong with it, there’s just better stuff out there at this price point…

Score: 84 points

“West Coast Adventure”
: Cooper’s Choice. Distillery: Laphroaig. Age: 27 years. Type: Single Malt Whisky Region: Islay. Distillation date: 1990 Bottling date: 2018. ABV: 46% Maturation: Ex-bourbon barrels. Outturn: 228 Price: wasn’t available for purchase but runs around $1100 in Canada if you can find it.

NOSE: peat, sea spray and maritime notes (creosote, brine, salt), mineral notes of granite and wet rocks, mustiness, wood notes, perfume, tree fruits, some citrus and smoke.

PALATE: mossy rain forest (if you’re a west coast hiker, you’ll understand how a rainforest “tastes”), really light smoke, gentle maritime notes, salt, sweetness.

FINISH: very delicate hints of smoke, a bit of salt brine and sweetness at the end but pretty short and light overall.

OVERALL: I was definitely the dissenting voice at the table as I didn’t love this whisky. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a nice whisky… but it didn’t wow me. I found it a bit too straightforward and simple to consider it an old, dignified whisky and a bit too light and delicate to be a truly adventurous whisky…

Score: 85 points

“This Farm is on Fire”
: Hunter Laing – The Old Malt Cask series Distillery: Croftengea (Loch Lomond). Age: 13 years. Type: Single Cask Malt Whisky Region: Highlands. Distillation date: 2005 Bottling date: 2018. ABV: 50% Maturation: Refill hogshead. Outturn: 261 bottles. Price: $215.90 (all taxes in) @ Strathcona Liquor Store

NOSE: smoke, peat (more of a heather-perfume peat than the more common medicinal-maritime peat), cut grass, root beer (weird but really prominent), florals, spicy wood notes

PALATE: nice oily mouthfeel, cherries, meaty BBQ notes, smoke and floral peat notes, nice sweetness

FINISH: starts warm and spicy then mellows to gentle sweetness and delicate florals.

OVERALL: a nicely balanced, easy drinking, fairly heavily peated Highland whisky. Enjoyable but not overly memorable… of course it also followed a 27 year old Laphroaig costing 6 times as much so I should probably try to give it another taste someday…

Score: 82 points

“Captain’s Secret Stash”
: Morrison Mackay Carn Mor (Strictly Limited) Series. Distillery: Laphroaig. Age: 7 years. Type: Single Cask Malt Whisky Region: Islay. Distillation date: 2010 Bottling date: 2017. ABV: 46% Maturation: Ex-sherry butt. Outturn: 885 bottles. Price: $159.00 (all taxes in) @ Strathcona Liquor Store

NOSE:paraffin lamp oil, maritime notes, smoked meats, creosote, tar, sherry funk, granite and wet rocks, weed smoke (no comments about being from BC, a couple of us at the table noticed it…)

PALATE: cherries, smoke, iodine, sweet sherry notes, creosote, salt brine, old leather, peat

FINISH: warm, a little rough around the edges with lots smoky, oily, tarry, peaty elements and then hints of sweet cherry syrup and gently warming spices… delicious…

OVERALL: a very nicely sherried Laphroaig… easy drinking and delicious… definitely the most popular whisky of the night in terms of purchasers which isn’t surprising as it’s got lots of character at a decent price point… I liked it so much I broke my “only buy one bottle a month” rule and picked up one of these as well… the budget committee will not be amused…

Score: 87 points

Leave a Reply