By @Wodha on 15th Jan 2010, show post
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@Timp I've never met a Bunnahabhain I didn't like.....until the Manzanilla Cask. It was pretty expensive so I bought a quarter share in a bottle with 3 mates. That was a few months ago and I didn't like it then and I don't like it now. That bone dry Manzanilla is quite overpowering and really messes up both the nose and the palate for me.
I can't remember if it was 10 years old, older, or NAS. I'm assuming it's the same one you have. So the question: how did you like it?
9 days ago 5Who liked this?
@BlueNote Not bad but not as good as I had hoped. When I was visiting Bunnahabhain in 2019 I purchased a 20cl bottle of hand filled 10 year old Manzanilla cask 55.1% from their warehouse 9 and absolutely kicked myself when I got home and tried it, as it was possibly the best Bunnahabhain I have had. At around £30 for 20cls it was pricey but so good, thick and nutty sweet.
I finally decided to stump up for the bigger bottle on line and really a different beast sadly. It does have the nutty, salty manzanilla notes but it is dryer and with the addition of water the struck match note seeks to increase. I paid around 120 for it and that’s a big outlay for me. A little disappointing for the price. I am about half way through the bottle and it doesn’t seem to have changed much and to my mind does drink better neat, it’s just I struggle a bit with the alcohol at 52.3%.
I think the little bottle I had was a touch sweeter and thicker, more viscous mouth feel without the strong alcohol note even though it was 55.1% as oppose to 52.3% for the bigger one.
Just nosing the empty little bottle now for reference it still doesn’t have that slightly sour note the other one does. Shame but something lost in the vatting I imagine or the extra year in the cask.
We have had to postpone our annual Islay trip from April to September this year for obvious reasons so will be visiting again and won’t make the same mistake. The distillery shop had the most selection of unique warehouse bottles available for the visitor, unlike others such as Laphroaig who had nothing interesting to offer those who had made the journey all the way out to the island. To my mind they sold their visitors a bit short seeing how far some come from, but will see again this year as taking my parents in law and F in L is a big Laphroaig fan so will have to go and visit.
8 days ago 3Who liked this?
@Timp "a slightly sour note." That's it. Exactly the words I was looking for. Very disappointing, especially since I paid $80 for my 200ml share, most of which remains in the back of the cabinet.
8 days ago 2Who liked this?
Yesterday, celebrated Easter at my brother-in-law's house.
First we compared a single cask Westland to a newly opened single cask Ben Nevis.
Westland Distillery Single Cask # 2631 release, cask strength (5 year 6 months-Distilled 2014) - 1st Fill Oloroso Hogshead - 57.9% ABV
Ben Nevis 6 year (Dec. 2013). Full maturation in a 1st Fill Amontillado Gorda. 67.6% ABV. Single Cask Nation bottling.
I'm going to need to spend some more time with the Ben Nevis, especially after it gets a little air time. They were both very similar, but the Westland edged out the Ben Nevis yesterday.
Next up, my brother-in-law and I each had a sip of Ben Nevis SMWS 78.41 (19 year - Dec. 1997) - "A real sherry monster" - Refill ex-Oloroso sherry butt - 57.1% ABV. We wanted to try it after the 6 year Ben Nevis. The 19 year blows the previous two whiskies away. It is (was) stunning. My wife finished off the bottle while my brother-in-law and I moved on to peat.
We finished off my bottle of Kilchoman Small Batch #3 (Port hogsheads, bourbon barrels and sherry casks) - 48.9% ABV. There wasn't much left and my brother-in-law had never tried it. He liked it as much as I did.
Next we moved on to one of his bottles; Glen Scotia SMWS 93.148 (12 year - Feb. 29th, 2008) "Tour de force". After ten years in an ex-bourbon hogshead, it was transferred into a first fill port hogshead - 56.4% ABV. This is beyond your normal Campbeltown funk. It is the oddest tasting whisky I have ever tried. Not even sure how to describe it except it is not good. Unfortunately, I bought a bottle of this one as well. Not looking forward to opening it up. This is only the 2nd bottle that I've ever had from the Society in the almost 14 years that I've been a member that I thought was "bad", so in the big scheme of things that's a pretty low percentage.
After that, we decided to try a couple of Caol Ila's head-to-head.
We killed off my bottle of Caol Ila SMWS 53.325 (7 year - Mar. 2012) "When two powerful pearls meet". After six years in an ex-bourbon hogshead, finished in a refill ex-Madeira hogshead - 61.2% ABV.
and compared it to the my other Caol Ila that I recently opened. Caol Ila SMWS 53.320 (12 year - Sep. 2007) "Raiders of the flossed ark" from a refill ex-bourbon hogshead - 58.2% ABV. It's not really fair to compare these two. They are both very good, but the ex-bourbon cask just doesn't stand up to the ex-Madeira cask finish.
We finished the night with a couple of my brother-in-law's bottles.
Caol Ila SMWS 53.344 (12 year - Sep. 2007) "A seaside picnic" from a refill ex-bourbon hogshead - 56.3% ABV. You really can't go wrong with a Society Caol Ila! So good!
Finished with a southern highland peated Glenturret SMWS 16.50 (6 year - Oct. 2013) "Tar in the night" from a re-charred hogshead - 64.1% ABV. Nose: treacle, nut oils, heavy tar, earthy, rhubarb, root vegetables. Palate: toasted pine nuts, crispy bacon, cardamom, cloves and cured meats.
A fun afternoon / evening hanging out with my brother-in-law and sharing drams together for the first time in several months. All 3 of my bottles that were killed yesterday were my favorite open bottles. I'm really going to miss each and every one of them!
8 days ago 5Who liked this?
@bwmccoy I miss sharing drams with my brother in law. I hope you have many years ahead to continue to enjoy each other’s company.
@Timp I agree that Laphroaig was lacking in special distillery bottles but I have rather enjoyed the warehouse tour I have taken twice so far. You get to fill a bottle from a cask and there are at least 3 to choose from.
Ardbeg is even worse. No special bottles and I have not seen an option to fill your own either (unless I missed something). The tour was great though.
7 days ago 3Who liked this?
Had a few bottles of lovely cider this weekend with the image below being my favourite. Medium dry with a slight chalky edge and that traditional 'cider lolly' flavour that I love. Not a fan of overly sweet ciders and the balance here was excellent.
Interestingly, the only other cider I've liked this much was from Breton, France - they both have that chalky, limestone, mineral element that I love. Given they are so close, geographically, I wonder if there's a crossover with the flavours - a cider terroir if you will?
As a contrast, local Somerset ciders tend to be very floral and sweet and not my cup of tea, as do many of the Irish ones.
7 days ago 7Who liked this?
@TracerBullet thanks for that and should have really mentioned that was available for the warehouse tour attendees. What did you manage to get and more importantly were they good?
7 days ago 2Who liked this?
@RianC sounds nice and interesting your observation about the similarity to the Breton ciders. Do like a bit of cider myself, particularly the Pilton keeved ciders, really nice. Was going to visit Burrow Hill this year also, although things got in the way. I imagine you have some excellent cider shops in Bristol?
@Timp - Yeah plenty of cider to be had in Bristol! There's a barge/pub that sells a variety of local ciders that I really like. Not for the faint hearted though, they sell most in halves as they're going on for 10%. Can't remember the name but the last one I had was like orange soup - I'd never seen a cider so cloudy. Tasty though.
Funny, one of my first observations on moving down here from the North was how many cider pumps every bar had. Up north, you were lucky to get anything more than Strongbow or Bulmers. Ask a local what type of cider they like and it's like talking to a connoisseur ha!
I'll look out for the P K cider, cheers!
7 days ago 5Who liked this?
I decided to have a dram of my forgotten, back of cabinet Highland Park Twisted Tattoo. It's interesting, drinkable, but not particularly Highland Park-y. The only decent HPs for me lately have been those from independent bottlers. The OBs are all over the map, expensive and include some kind of silly history lesson about Vikings.
Bushmills SMWS 51.15 (16 year - May 2002) "Boiled sweets and cut flowers" - First-fill barrel - 56.4% With a little water added.
Followed by Kilchoman Machir Bay Cask Strength Festive Season Edition (Santa hats on sheep). 58.6% ABV.
6 days ago 3Who liked this?
@bwmccoy You still not done with that Machir Bay CS?
6 days ago 1Who liked this?
5 days ago 3Who liked this?
@BlueNote Did Vikings actually make and drink whisky?
@MRick Well, it probably helped them to relax after a hard day of raping and pillaging.
@MRick I feel like they drank mead and ale.
5 days ago 4Who liked this?
@OdysseusUnbound, I thought it was blood and mushrooms!?!
5 days ago 5Who liked this?
@BlueNote - It's a good thing that I'm not done with that Machir Bay CS yet... It was just rated 95 points by Whisky Advocate (you'll need to expand the image). I find it funny that they rated it 6 months after it was released and now, for the most part, it is no longer available, so why bother?
5 days ago 6Who liked this?
@Nozinan - Thanks! I'm very fortunate that my brother-in-law lives close enough and is within our small bubble of friends and family that we fill comfortable getting together with during the pandemic. Also, my brother-in-law is one of the two people who introduced me to Scotch, so it is always special when we can share drams together.
@bwmccoy Let’s hope they do it again. I’ll be a little quicker off the mark next time.
5 days ago 2Who liked this?
@paddockjudge Funny thing is, according to most modern historians, the Vikings weren’t really any more violent than most other Europeans of the medieval period. In fact, as far as equality between the sexes Vikings seem to have been more progressive than the English or the French. Of course, the Vikings weren’t as literate as those with whom they were often in conflict so most of the contemporary history about them was written by the “losers”.
@bwmccoy A shop near me still has a couple of bottles. I was rather surprised. Might be gone now with the WA rating.
4 days ago 1Who liked this?
@Timp I was there in August of 2017 with my wife and got two bottles filled from two different casks and was there again in November of 2018 and got a single bottle filled.
From left to right:
Bottled August 15, 2017
From rack warehouse 9
5 years in bourbon then double maturation in a Pedro Ximenez hogshead for 7 years.
Bottled August 15, 2017
From the traditional damp, ash floors of dunnage warehouse 7
Full maturation in bourbon.
Bottled November 9, 2018
From the traditional damp, ash floors of dunnage warehouse 7
First filled sherry cask, further matured in Quarter casks and finished in bourbon.
They were all very good but in 2017, the cask 0000005 PX finish was my favorite. Was very similar to a cask strength version of a Distillers Edition (think like Lagavulin but Laphroaig).
4 days ago 5Who liked this?
@TracerBullet - Love those Laphroaig hand filled bottles. I was there in 2016 and filled a bottle from an 18 year Sherry Butt. It was amazing! I bet that PX of yours was amazing as well!
Last night, Allt-A-Bhainne SMWS 108.14 (7 year - Nov 2011) "An enjoyable curiosity" - 2nd-fill ex-bourbon barrel - 66.2% ABV with a little water added.
Followed by a Caol Ila SMWS 53.320 (12 year - Sep. 2007) "Raiders of the flossed ark" from a refill ex-bourbon hogshead - 58.2% ABV.
4 days ago 3Who liked this?
@Timp I also managed to get a boston bottle full of Cask 0000004 in 2018.
Bottled November 9, 2018
From rack warehouse 9
Matured in bourbon for 5 years followed by a final maturation in a PX hogshead.
This one was just lovely. Everyone in my group, except me, filled their bottles from this cask. I didn't because this was very similar to the cask 0000005 I had gotten the year prior. I figured I would go for variety and got the cask 125 but I had to get a bit of the cask 0000004!
@TracerBullet nice one, thanks for that. Lovely shot showing showing the colours of the whisky. Think I will book me and the father in law on a warehouse tour then.
Even though I moaned a bit about the shop offerings, the welcome we got from the staff on site was memorable. Cheers for the info and the px bottle sounds cracking.
@Timp I only wish Ardbeg offered a fill your own. They had nothing exclusive so I brought nothing back from them. But the tour was really awesome. I had visited the The Ultimate Ardbeg Escape tour bus when it was in our area in September. In Maryland, they have to serve samples in an establishment so we went into the liquor store that was hosting the event and Brendan McCarron was there!
My buddy and I got to talking with him and told him we were going to Islay in November. He gave me his card and told me to contact him closer to the trip and if he was on Islay, we would meet-up at Ardbeg. Sadly he was not going to be on Islay when we were there but he did contact the staff at Ardbeg to setup an awesome tour for us!
Brendan is no longer with Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton and has moved to Distell but Distell has Bunnahabhain so maybe I will run into him on Islay the next time I visit.
4 days ago 4Who liked this?
@TracerBullet that was a nice nice thing to offer to do. Love heartwarming stories like that as dispels the corporate approach that we sometimes hear from the big distilleries and their staff. Sounds like you fell in love with Islay as much as we did when we first went. Can’t wait to get back. Cheers.
@Timp We absolutely did. Only got a day and a half on the first visit - lots of Scotland to see - and after we got home, my wife said, "You should take your Dad to Islay". That mushroomed into a guy trip with my dad, brother-in-law and good friend. Spent a week there that time. My wife and I are going back for two weeks when we renew our vows on Islay for out 30th anniversary.
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