Monday, November 29, 2010

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Aultmore beats Tormore is new to both of these distilleries and conducted quite a face-off. Both are from D&M clubs. These bottles came just in time as we were losing faith in the D&M club selections. The Connoisseurs' club bottle (really MacKillop for source on both) was really fresh. A 15 year old Tormore - clearly a bourbon cask. No need for water. All the right bourbon cask notes - sweetness and a bit of char. But then came the Aultmore... 
D&M notes on the 21 yr old cask strength Aultmore: Aultmore 21 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky -D&M Exclusive Bottling. This whisky was brought to us by Lorne McKillop and was distilled on June of 1988. Aged for 21 years and bottled at 55.2 % ABV cask strength from cask # 2546. The scotch is bright brass in color with steady legs, the nose is dominated by toasted barley, brown sugar and followed by marshmallow and a touch of sea air. Rich, malty flavors, lots of upfront fruit consisting of melon, citrus, pear. The finish shows campfire smoke and cumin. The addition of water opens up notes of cocoa, vanilla, salt water taffy and really tames the spice. D&M Tasting Notes.
Aultmore Distillery lies several miles north of the town of Keith on the eastern fringe of Speyside. This remote and sparse location was a smugglers paradise. The numerous burns and the peat-rich springs of the Foggie Moss from which the distillery draws its waters, were additional incentives for the illicit stills.
Edward Alexander a prominent scotch figure (known for Benrinnes and Dallas Dhu to name a few) built Aultmore in 1894. The distillery initially did very well and production was doubled in the first few years. However the Pattison crash was just around the corner. The crash hit Edwards hard as he had been a large supplier of bulk whisky to Pattison. Production continued at Aultmore but times were difficult. Pattison’s downfall has led to a surplus of Speyside Malt whisky on the market, Prohibition in America and the 1920s depression all took their toll. Finally, Edwards sold the distillery to John Dewar & Sons Ltd of Perth .
In the early fifties, the Aultmore and Imperial distilleries performed pioneering experiments that would lead to utilizing most of the distillery waste matter (pot ale and draff) for protein-rich animal feed. This practice is now industry-wide and makes the production of scotch whisky one of the most ecologically sound industries in existence.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

3 Murray McDavids and 3 Advil

A little taste test is likely to turn into a serious headache tomorrow as they are all so good.
The line up: all three start in bourbon / oak caks
Springbank 9yr - 2000 finished in Chateau D'Yquem cask
Caol Ila 13yr -1996 finished in Chateau D'Yquem cask
Highland Park 14yr - 1995 finished in Chateau Lafite cask
The bottom line: the picture should tell which one i like the best.
The Springbank is so unique as it is a young bourbon only Springbank and then gets a sweet finish. Tasting notes suggest guava, pineapple, meringue, brown sugar, salted butter, green grapes and toasted malt. The HP is terrific. Might beat the Springbank for complexity and color, but the finish is a bit harsh (smoke/char). Tasting notes include a sweet smoke - almost can taste the charred honeyed oak cask. There is ripe dark fruit (esp on the nose) and coffee beans and plums. The Caol Ila is no slouch, but had a tough time keeping up with the other two. The peat was what you would expect, and the surprise came with the pleasant softness of the finish. Tasting notes include clementine, apricot, honey, carmel, citrus and no shortage of smoke.