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Recently a friend of mine, his father-in-law and I had a tasting session. We actually went through 13 drams in one sitting. A long but very good night! The whiskies we went through in order were Bushmills Black Bush, Macphail's Collection Bunnahabhain 1990 (bottled in 2006), Bruichladdich 10 year old (bottled in 1979), Ardbeg Blasda, Port Ellen 25 year old (distilled 1980 bottled 2006), Bowmore 1956 (distilled in 1956, bottled in 1983), Glenfiddich 15 year old, Gordon and MacPhail Connoisseurs Choice Ardbeg 13 year old (distilled in 1972), Ardbeg 10 year old, Ardbeg Lord of the Isles, Ardbeg Uigeadail, Gordon and MacPhail Caol Ila 16 year old (distilled in 1969) and the Ardbeg Supernova. Over the next few days I will be writing up my notes. I won't be re-reviewing those malts I've already reviewed, but there are plenty of new ones.
This was the second last bottle to be tasted on the night, but it will be the last to be reviewed (the last was the original Ardbeg Supernova, and I have already reviewed that previously). I've had a few modern Caol Ilas so I was keen to try one from a few decades ago.
The nose didn't disappoint! Fresh yet earthy with smoke, peat, with nuts and peaches. Some tar and old leather and a little salt. A lot going on, and every bit of it brilliant.
The taste continues where the nose left off. Quite light, with a creamy nuttiness underlying a gentle peatiness. Hints of leather and sweet vanilla. Every now and then a waft of smoke comes past. Truly fantastic!
The finish lasts forever, and is warmer and heavier than the taste. The smoke and the peat become stronger, but not overwhelming. The leather and saltiness continue, along with the creamy nuttiness. A fitting end to a fantastic malt.
How the hell this whisky packs this much flavour into 40%, I have no idea. This makes some Cask Strength whiskies seem a little pale and boring. Without the Bowmore 1956, this would probably have been the star of the night. But it's not often that you get to taste four whiskies this good in a row, where the most disappointing one rated a mere 9.5!
That brings to an end a tasting where a couple of drams were a little disappointing, but with one dram rating a 9, four drams rating a 9.5 and one rating the ever elusive 10, it turned out to be truly epic!