This tasting happened nearly a month ago. It’s summer time, everyone’s busy…probably too busy to read a long pre-amble. So let’s get right to it.
The lineup for this tasting was scotches over 21 years old. It was our most expensive tasting to date with over $1500 spent on 6 bottles. This tasting was also special for another reason as a bunch of us invited our fathers to their first ever scotch club tasting. We were all really excited to share our ridiculousness with them.
In total, we had 25 people at this tasting. As usual, I asked everyone to rank the whiskies from 1st-6th. Without further ado, here are the whiskies and our less than appropriate tasting notes:
6th Place: SMWS 76.122/ “Complex, Smooth, & Elegant”
- Age: 27 Years
- Distilled: 1987
- ABV: 53.6% (Cask Strength/Single Cask)
- Cask(s): Refill Bourbon Hogshead
- Price: $275 CAD
When your average price per bottle is $250, finishing 6th is like placing just outside of the medals in the Olympics. You are really good at what you do…but Michael Phelps is just a bit better. With that being said, Mortlach distillery (SMWS distillery 76) can be a bit of a polarizing dram and this one was no different. I had this bottle ranked #1 because I loved how unique it was. Unfortunately, I was the only one who ranked it first.
Here’s what the rest of the jerk-stores (not you, dads!) had to say:
- Very unique…like a white dude winning the Boston marathon.
- Meaty…like Jonah Hill in Superbad…not when he got all jacked for those video game commercials.
- They can’t control the bite. This scotch is that friend everyone has that is fine until they aren’t, then they blow your speakers, rip your coat, and kick a window. Seriously, Shane! What the fuck?! Put your pants back on!!
- A little too bitchy…like that girl you know that works out too much.
- A very big & complex whisky. A rollercoaster from nose to finish.
- Grass-stained jeans. A cup of chamomile tea. A little mealy.
- The Rocket Man (from the song, Rocket Man) pees this stuff.
- If I needed a whisky to drink in space and then use as fuel back to Earth…this would be it.
- A big girl that kicks you in the balls but for whatever reason you can’t stay away. I will be back to get kicked in the balls again. Loved it.
- Floral fruit. Meadow breeze. Candy. Peppermint. Hot on the tongue. Quick finish.
- It’s a little bit like giving a blow job to a wasp. (Editor’s Note: WTF!?!?!)
5th Place: Adelphi Liddesdale Bunnahabhain 21 Year
Adelphi is an independent bottler that I have come to really love. They only bottle 4% of the casks that they sample and this leads to some fantastic whiskies. They currently only bottle about 50 casks a year which is a crazy low number, even for an independent bottler. They also aim to bottle unique whiskies and I have seen that with pretty much every Adelphi I have tried.
This Adelphi bottling from Bunnahabhain was mildly peated. This was distilled before the distillery switched to a more heavily peated style. Our club is normally huge fans of peated whiskies so let’s see what they had to say:
- Very fruity. Smelled big but drank small-ish. This is the ghost poopie of scotches. You know it happened but you don’t know where it went.
- On the nose: “I will not like this scotch”. On the palate: “I know nothing about scotch…this is fantastic.
- Candles by the tire fire. Shelling salted pistachios. Candied salmon. Black peppercorns. A strip of beef jerky.
- Flavourful start. Strong rooty finish but an alcoholic salt taffy finish. Like kissing a beautiful tranny with a sweaty upper lip.
- Smells like an edible arrangement delivered by a strawberry fairy. Mmmm…the arrangement is made from pineapple and berries dipped in caramel. No shitty honey dew or water melon.
- It is like it is trying to be a bad ass like a freestyle rap battle but it turns into the ‘Riff Off’ in Pitch Perfect. But I still, deep down, love Pitch Perfect.
- It’s like licking a salty sherry after she’s been dancing all night.
- Sea-breeze. Salt. Smoke. Would go well with kippers, I think. Velvet in the mouth. Heat on the tongue. Doesn’t quite feel like an islay.
- That finish though!! It’s a tasty, windy journey of flavour where caramel rides your tongue and burns out in the end.
- Like watching a compelling, slow-building movie, but then the theatre lights turn on before the climax and someone does a little fart. Just a l’il dry one…but you can hear it and smell it.
4th Place: Balvenie 21 Port Wood
When the Balvenie 21 Port Wood finishes 4th place…you know you are in a pretty fu%$ing unreal scotch club. That is all.
- Somewhat disappointing, for me. Like that time you played “Are you frigid?” in elementary school and realized that, when she got closer to your inner thigh, you are a frigid. (Editor’s Note: Google FRIGID in the Urban Dictionary if you are confused).
- Was waiting for a strong finish but to no avail. Full flavour scotch with a finish softer than Thom’s singing voice.
- This is just sweet, smooth, and makes me happy…like a quadruple dose of Cialis.
- Mellow as a monk…who’s hiding his port.
- Great scotch from a company that knows how to sell a lot of scotch. Just like most $300 bottles, I want to drink it all the time…but my daily scotch should cost $45.
- When I woke up this morning I thought I knew what was important in life. I now second guess everything.
- Light but spicy…like lifting a midget wearing a luchadore mask.
- Subtle, soft nose…like the deodorant on the intern you work ‘too’ close to.
- Unsure if it has enough nuts. A little faint. The Twilight of the tasting so far.
- If I would have known about this scotch, my son would have never been born. Fuck it…this is the tits. (Editor’s Note: That was one of the dads).
- I could see myself going through a bottle or eight in a single sitting. Delicious.
- Rich, full nose. Prickle of spice on the tongue. Gentle for 47.6. Sweet fruit (maybe apples) on the finish-which is quick but memorable.
- A light cracked-pepper fillet with a hard candy up its ass. A spicy entry with a sweet kick at the back of your throat.
- Great nose-love the wood/syrup interchange. Maybe a bit muted during the middle…like turning down the guitar solo in Stairway to Heaven; I mean, it’s still Stairway but it would be nice to hear the fuckin’ solo better.
3rd Place: Tomintoul 33
When I saw this bottle sitting on the shelves at Keg n Cork in Edmonton, I thought, “why the hell is that 33-year-old whisky only $240?”. Turns out this was the old pricing and the bottle now costs $400. I’ll call that a win!
My ranking for this whisky changed several times. Don’t get me wrong…it is a stunning dram. I seriously could drink a bottle of this without blinking. My only issue was a 40% bottling strength for a 33-year-old whisky but this stuff was still brilliant. Anyone wanna sell me another bottle for $240?? Also, this whisky had more 2nd place votes than any other in the lineup but only one 1st place vote.
Tumultuous tasting notes:
- It was like the first time I made love to a woman twice my age. So distinguished. So confident. She had a few flaws but you ignored them because she was so much more mature than you…but you wanted her to be just a little bit meaner…
- I could drink a lot of this scotch. Fruit. A full fuckin’ orchard. Don’t add water!
- Not over the top. No gimmicks. Balanced and delicious. YIP!
- Dried cherry & fresh toast on the nose. A leathery, mature dram.
- Very smooth, which my dad says comes with age but I don’t know what he’s talking about because old people aren’t smooth, at all. They are old and wrinkly.
- Delicious and nutritious. Tastes like a cherry caramelized in bourbon.
- Strong taste-like a cherry wood 2×4 wrapped in licorice, stuck in a leather boot and dipped in bourbon.
- Deceptive nose…like a push-up bra on an Earl’s waitress, Good initially but you get it down on your tongue and she’s very bossy and musty…and she needs some hedge maintenance.
- The nose wins this dram. Pleasantville.
- This is a lazy Sunday morning scotch. Mellow, slow, and refreshing after a crazy night of sex, drugs and boil balls.
- Gentle, layered. Fresh fruit. Clean and bright. Long finish. Very easy to drink.
- A palindrome is when it can be read the same from front to back and back to front. This whisky is a delicious palindrome and I wish I had more.
- An expensive dame chock full of wood and blanketed in a sweetness that will make the sting of leather worthwhile.
- It’s a can’t fail performer-like Celine Dion in Vegas.
2nd Place: SMWS 3.228/ “A Deep, Brooding Masterpiece”
SMWS gives people a chance to see what distillery whisky taste like before being blended up and diluted with water, chill filtration, and colouring before being bottled. It comes out of the still, into a cask, and into the bottle. No frills. No gimmicks. The uniqueness of every bottle is why I LOVE single cask whiskies. So how does that apply here?
One thing that comes out of Bowmore’s bottled in the early to late 1980’s (even early 90’s) is a strong lavender and/or soapy flavour that has come to be known as ‘FWP’ or French Whore Perfume. Some people hate it. Some people love it. You can google the cause of it but it may have been related to the yeast used at the time. Nevertheless… I would imagine that these lavender, soapy, French whorish flavours were probably not what the distillery wanted in its final product. So, I imagine that Bowmore did the best they could to dilute these flavours as best they could (Editor’s Note:I could be 110% wrong here). I think I’m rambling now…what I’m getting at is that with single cask/cask strength whiskies there is no hiding flaws. There is no blending flaws out of the final product. What you see is what you get and what one person might see as a flaw might be seen as a completely unique and awesome tasting experience.
Let’s see how much our club enjoys FWP:
- If this is what French whores smell like…3 French whores please, Alfred!!
- I love the FWP connection. It makes me feel like there’s a chance I will enjoy drinking it but wake up with sores on my business.
- It’s like a back country firefighter, after 4 days fighting a wildfire, washed his balls, made a stew, reduced that stew to scotch…smoky, salty, manly.
- That has some gravitas. It’s like Augustus, the much under-appreciated emperor of Rome. Nero and Caesar got way too much praise.
- Did I swear? Is my mouth being washed out with lavender soap??
- This brought me back to my youth. Did I mention I was raised by a French prostitute who lived above a charcoal factory and below a pear-canning factory? She was a floral slut.
- Smells like a glass of Ronda Rousey’s sweat. Strong, fighty, and intense.
- Nose: Instant Islay. Smoke, peat, intense. tar. Ocean salt.
- A hard to reach old cabin with a pot of stewed fruit sitting by a fire.
- Opens up wide when it gets wet. A flower wearing smoke panties.
- FWP…what can I say…I’m a sucker for whores.
1st Place: Benriach 1977 Dark Rum Finish
Age: 35 Years
ABV: 49.2% (Cask Strength/Single Cask)
Cask(s): Bourbon Maturation/Dark Rum Finish
Price: $350-$400 CAD
In maybe our best lineup, so far, this whisky got 12 1st place votes. The next closest was Balvenie Port Wood with 6!!! This was a special whisky and what made it even more special was that this cask was hand-picked by Jay Wheelock right here in Alberta. Because this whisky won our tasting I had to track down another bottle for our ‘Favourites Tasting’…let’s just say there aren’t very many left and they cost a lot more than $350.
I don’t even know what else to say about this whisky and how special it was. I’ll let the tasting notes tell you even less about the Benriach 1977 Dark Rum Finish; the winner of our inaugural Father’s Day Tasting:
- The perfect amount of rum finish. Not too much to overpower the whisky but enough to add nice, complementing flavours…like that one pizza pop you have after coming home from the bar.
- Very big and beefy. You can tame her but you have to bribe her with a pizza or a rack of ribs.
- Seductive and magical. Tastes like rich mahogany and leather-bound books.
- Solid, all around good whisky…belongs amongst the top whiskies this year.
- If someone asked me to pick a scotch to share with 20 of my closest friends…this is it.
- I feel as though I’m running through a field of flowers next to Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music while cuddling with an arm full of puppies made of toffee and candy.
- Holy special. One of the best whiskies I have ever had. Roses and herbs…the rum didn’t kill it.
- LEGENDARY!! Easily the best of the night. Like Beyoncé hitting that really high note.
- A hard kiss after a bad fight. Heavy, fast and with a bit of metal on the tongue.
Two people in attendance had ongoing story lines with their tasting notes that wouldn’t make much sense unless you read them all together. So here are those comments:
- Adelphi: She won’t like it…may leave the room. You won’t miss her.
- Balvenie: Don’t let her taste it; you may have to share.
- SMWS 3.228: She will leave and threaten to NEVER come back.
- SMWS 76.122: She’s not back yet. By now, you don’t care.
- Benriach 1977: She’s asleep.
- SMWS 3.228: I would drink this in a hot tub with Anna Kendrick and we would sing ‘I’m Every Woman’ by Whitney Houston together.
- SMWS 76.122: Anna and I just had a fight but showered together (added water).
- Benriach 1977: Anna Kendrick just called Christina Hendricks and said “Hey, I got this dude here and he’s a bit funky and into weird shit. I think you should come over.” It was a good night with my two new friends.
That’s all for now. Thanks for following, reading, commenting, etc. Blogs may or may not get better when the summer is over as our 2nd son is due any week now and I’ve been told I’ll be busy.
Until next time,
-Edmonton Scotch Club (@ScotchClubYEG)