Tasting Notes – Cooper’s Choice 1986 Glenturret & Ardbeg Drum Committee Release

Edition: Cooper’s Choice. Distillery: Glenturret. Age: 30 Years. ABV: 48.5% Distilled: December 1986. Bottled: 2017. Cask#: 338. Maturation: Bourbon Cask. Outturn: 300 bottles. Price: $300 + taxes (approximately).

NOSE: The room was pretty cold and the whisky had only been poured about 15 minutes before the tasting so it started out a bit closed but as it opened up some really nice oak and tropical fruit notes came on, followed by vanilla, sawdust and all kinds of floral notes. With more time a faint mustiness started to appear.

PALATE: lots of oak spice and heat, hints of old smoke/ash, lots of brown sugar sweetness, some nice tannic dryness, a bit of not unpleasant almond-y bitterness. Mouthfeel is full and creamy as you’d expect from an older whisky.

FINISH: long with lots of mellow spice and gentle heat. The warmth and spice come on pretty strong at first but the sweet notes and tannic notes keep lingering long after the heat and spice dissipate and keep you reaching for another sip… and then another…

OVERALL: A delicious older whisky. It’s elegant and refined and seems to have been bottled at the perfect time to showcase the wood influences without overwhelming the spirit’s qualities. A dram to savour if you can find it.  88 POINTS (the tasting group gave it an average score of 87.588 points)

Edition: “Drum” Committee Release. Distillery: Ardbeg. Age: NAS. ABV: 52% Distilled: N/A. Bottled: N/A. Cask#: N/A. Maturation: Ex-Bourbon Barrels with Rum Cask Finish. Outturn: Limited release. Price: $170+ taxes (approximately).

NOSE: The nose on this whisky is really intriguing. On the one hand you’re getting all these solvent/medicinal notes like Absorbine Jr, Pine Sol, iodine, creosote and bandages. And being an Ardbeg there’s the expected smoke and peat notes along with some salt brine and other maritime notes. But there’s also some nice tropical fruit sweetness and even some enticing floral elements.

PALATE: peat, smoke, cherry soda, more solvent/medical notes, lots of ripe fruit sweetness, some nice pepper and spice notes

FINISH: surprisingly short for the high ABV and everything that’s going on with the nose and the palate and a bit rough around the edges.

OVERALL: There’s a strangely unwelcome bitterness at the very end and the disappointingly short finish prevents this from being a truly show-stopping dram but overall it’s pretty darn tasty. 84 POINTS (the tasting group gave it an average of 86.471 points).

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