The Whisky Exchange - The Whisky Show 2012
A couple of us got the chance to go to the annual whisky show in London. The show is a chance for the distilleries and independent bottlers to show off this years releases. After looking at the dram list (http://www.whisky-show.com/) we knew we were in for a treat.
Our first stop when we arrived had to be the 12th release Port Ellen. I have a bit of a love affair with this distillery as it was one of the first whiskys I ever tasted. The stocks from Port Ellen’s vaults are dwindling every year and each release seems to be around the £600 mark, so to try this for free was something i could not miss.
The Diageo stand was full of special whiskys - Talisker 25, Talisker 30, Lagavulin 12, Lagavulin 21, Dalwinnie 25, Caol Ila 25, Caol Ila 14 unpeated, Port Ellen 32 & Brora 35.
Our first plunge was the Dalwinnie 25 year - distilled in 1987 and bottled at natural cask strength (52.1%). I have never tasted anything this old from Dalwinnie, so was pleasantly surprised when the trademark honeycomb and heather appeared on the nose. Definately a Dalwinnie. Lovely Medium body that coats the mouth and then disappears with a tingle. On the Palate was this burst of lovely honeycomb, oily malt and light grape notes. As the whisky finishes more vanilla and spice appear with freshly mown green grass. The finish was great too with a rich vanilla and oak spiciness. One to relax with.
Then on to the Port Ellen..
Just how i remembered it (but better).
The nose was filled with fresh green apple skin, parma violets, pear drops & lots of heather. We let ours develop in the glass for 5 minutes, savouring the smell. Just impeccable.
The mouth feel was exactly how you’d expect an old Port Ellen to be. Big, oily and filling all of the mouth - one to chew. I thought this whisky was really well balanced - combining sweet and sour notes in an unusual way. Jam packed with fruit and that trademark Islay peat smoke which develops into dark chocolate & pastry. Just sublime - this is one to really take your time with (and for the price it would be stupid to rush through it). The finish was a lot shorter than i remembered it to be - i wrote in my tasting notes “heather-bonfire stay in my mouth please” i was obviously enjoying it.
I wont bore you into submission with all my tasting notes right now but will list the whiskies that stood out from the crowd for us.
Balvenie 14 Caribbean cask - Bananas!!!
Fettercairn 40 - absolutely sublime (£700 per bottle! we went back for more)
Kilchoman 100% Islay 2nd Release - their releases get better and better (we’ll have this one on the bar soon)
Old Pulteney 21 - hello old friend - theres a reason this whisky won whisky of the year 2012 - if you havent tried it get a bottle.
Highland Park 21 - outstanding
Glenglassaugh Revival - only 3 years old but theres so much promise - id buy a barrel while you can.
Rosebank 21 year - single malts of Scotland bottling. I havent found a rosebank i dont like.
Bowmore 26 year - single malts of Scotland bottling. So different to any Bowmore i’ve tried - especially from this era. Very light, full of heather and parma violets - id buy a case if i could. very special.
Im not going to bore you any longer - im off to organise a big whisky tasting in November with some of our favourites from today!