Springbank cologne single malt trust
In the past, it had tended to improve in my book (from WF 75 to 79) but I had last formally tasted it in… I know, ten years, but hey, I have no yearly book to feed. Nose: extremely light, extremely gentle, extremely friendly. Nose: little, if not no sherry influence, this baby’s very close to its sibling, with maybe just more ‘silence’ because of the very high strength. With water: it’s a fighter, certainly less friendly than the ex-hoggie, it reminds me a bit of a Corsican friend – but that’s another story. And, yes, gunflints (well the ideas of gunflints as quoted when tasting white wine, because I’m not sure I’ve ever come across actual gunflints). Finish: long, a bit minimal in a way, but supremely elegant. Let’s spare a thought for the talented distillers who made this while listening to Honky Tonk Women. It’s said to be a rebottled 1967, but I’m afraid we have no proof. Nose: there are similarities, but this baby’s unexpectedly medicinal, with a lot of antiseptic, then funny whiffs of damp gravel and chalk, then rather wet wool and, here they are again, our beloved wet dogs (we’re deeply sorry, dogs). With water: even more damp chalk, clay, gravel and herbs. Mouth (neat): it’s a copy of the Rare Malts, but indeed there’s something funnier. It seems that the great people at Signatory always had a crush on Glenlochy. It’s the texture that’s most impressive, whether that came from floor maltings, direct firing, old yeast strains or the captain’s age. A consensual modern style that simply works a treat. Long story short, had you asked me what this was, I’d have said an old oloroso-ed Glenfarclas. Hard to question, although it’s rather less dry than anything related to fino sherry, in my opinion. Some kind of very old bottle of Malmsey, or something like that. More oloroso than whisky, more prunes than barley, and more chocolate than apples (yeah, whatever). The acetic side is just perfect (you just have to like old balsamico). Finish: long, with more chocolate, prunes, Corinthian raisins and stewed blueberries. This one’s more minimal, probably more elegant, and certainly more austere than 2013’s winner. Comments: spicy sausage-y malt whisky, how gastronomic is that? That’s right, the #1 malt whisky in the world, and with an age statement at that. This wee baby from the utterly lovely sets of 20cl bottles that could be found in the mid-90s. Also love these notes of concrete dust after a heavy shower. It’s from the countryside, it’s got hay, smoke, dairy cream, barley, shoe polish, engine oil… Massive shoe polish and gravel, then rising whiffs of mild tobacco and some kind of oriental orange-blossom-based jam, plus touches of wormwood and verbena that add lightness and, hum, femininity to the combo. With water: no changes whatsoever, what a waste of Vittel water. Mouth (neat): smashing oranges, grapefruits, minerals and polishes, with a very oily mouth feel, a touch of salt, always this sooty side and always these herbs, both minty and grassy/green. Then more light honey and maple syrup, coconut water, and vanilla-ed buttercream. Comments: not a huge lot happening on the nose but the palate’s pretty perfect. It’s great when you taste it blind (and think it’s a great 35 yo sherried Speysider, as I did twice) and it’s great when you taste it disclosed, provided you’re a bit open-minded. Chocolate, tobacco, lemongrass, prunes, walnut liqueur, pipe tobacco… At some point, I even found it a little Redbreasty. Nose: some walnut pie, plus ‘a new pack of untipped Camels’, plus a lot of mead or what the Bretons call chouchen, plus touches of strawberry and yellow plum jams, plus drops of soy sauce and lovage extract (akin to Maggi but that’s not Maggi). With water: perfect old balsamico, parsley, tobacco, old rancio, pipe tobacco, chocolate… And second, these very leathery notes, bordering on sulphur and graphite oil are not everyone’s favourites. Comments: strictly for Taiwanese intellectuals, I’d say.
Not even the hints of cured ham (that would be bellota, obviously) make it Andalucian, but on the other hand, there are very lovely whiffs of pot-pourri, Cuban cigars and vin jaune. BTW I will fly to Jerez in three weeks, I can’t wait. Yeah, and even sauerkraut (choucroute or sürkrüt in Alsatian). I had feared the oak would have become too loud, but it’s the opposite that happens. Apple juice, compote, very light honey, a touch of earl grey tea, some kind of sweet hay and then trademark pear liqueur. Mouth: we’re closer to the 12, and styles are very similar, but this Select has got some vanilla-ed coating that may block the spirit’s fruity character. But as this is a miniature, our notes will be short… Perhaps some kind of caraway-flavoured butter cream? With water: indeed, speculoos covered with mint sauce. Comments: a bit unlikely at times, but yeah, it’s fun. That’s, in my opinion, the main difference with contemporary distillates. Its rare that water doesn’t change anything, neither for the better, nor for the worse. Nose: I find more walnuts, more beeswax and more raisins in this one, which makes it rather bigger and more complex than the regular Kavalan. Very lovely chocolate, prunes, coffee, blackberry jam and all that. It’s amazing that they created so much complexity within just 6 or 7 years. Mouth (neat): same feeling of old ‘Glenfarclas’ as before, but this has more spices and blueberry jam, which works very well. Comments: it got Gold at the Malt Maniacs Awards 2013. Supreme Champion at the Malt Maniacs Awards 2014, plus Gold of course, this is the one. A bit of pencil shaving, blackcurrant jelly, dark bitter chocolate, very old Madeira, and then some fantabulous notes of Chambertin or other great pinot noir. With water: these notes of old balsamico come out, a bit of wood (shavings), parsley, bone marrow in bouillon (yum), thuja wood… Nose: it’s a slightly more aromatic, fatter, jammier Littlemill after the Archives, but styles are – of course – similar. More like raisins dipped in grapefruit-and-mint jam. Now the tropical fruits do come out a bit, but they remain elegant and subtle. Ideally, some great Slivovitz could taste like this. Nose: oh interesting, there’s less extravagant fruits in this one, and rather more grassy/herbal notes, with some patchouli, something like eucalyptus-scented candles, honeydew, green bananas (or plantains), wax… With water: perfect, lemons and grapefruits come out, with a bit of mentholated polish – or would that rather be… As for the sherry, well there’s more sherry in northern Greenland. With water: question, can you make shoe polish out of lemons? Nose: more old Highlands than the aforementioned old Highlanders. Comments: just a little less oak and that would have been a 80. This one’s matured partly in new oak and partly in refill Kavalan, so that’s more or less the cognac recipe (last time I checked you can’t use casks that have contained other liquids in cognac). Maybe does this one have a little more custard indeed, but beyond that… This Podium starts fruitier (bananas and plums, typical virgin US oak) and rather smoother and oilier (Benriach may have been benchmarked, if you ask me). The oak shows a bit but we’re way below the limits. One sexy whisky, I’d even say it’s a little girly, if I may. An avalanche of tinned fruits, jell-Os and sweet bonbons. Multi-vitamin fruit juice and more of Haribo’s stuff. Comments: this style’s very excessive, and it’s not mine, but anyone fancying sweeter malts might well love it. Extremely strong, ala old Rare Malts (more about those later). Comments: just excellent again, with just a little more austerity. You’re eating high-quality apples near a working coal stove, while polishing your shoes and quaffing some kind of heavily hopped IPA. To tell you the truth, I find both almost undistinguishable on the nose. ) Mouth (neat): it’s more syrup than whisky at first sipping, with a lot of marshmallows, juicy fruity, anything by Haribo, then coconut oil and, really, some kind of very powerful pina colada. Orange liqueur, ginger, a bit of oak, herbs (chives and parsley), beef bouillon and other soups, crème de cassis… Finish: long, splendidly bittersweet, with bitter oranges in the aftertaste.
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So this is straighter, drier, much earthier and full of tobacco than the reds. Perfect leather, old box of Cuban cigars, then dried kelp, pu-erh tea… Right, sometimes a little too much prussic acid as well, that’s why one should not drink too much of them. Also called sorbier des oiseaux, simply sorbier, or Vogelbeer in German, or rowan in English. Finish: long, almondy, with these varnishy touches that aren’t detrimental, quite the contrary. Comments: very good rowan eau-de-vie, we’re approaching the realm of the great white tequilas, in a way. The house Miclo’s located in Lapoutroie, which is in the Welche part of Alsace, which is its tiny French-speaking part. Nose: it’s a fresher and earthier style, with whiffs of roots and gentian (didn’t they just distil gentian and not thoroughly cleaned the pipes? Lantenhammer are also the owners of Slyrs Distillery in Schliersee, but they’ve been smart enough to not distil whisky in their fruit stills – and conversely. Great people by the way, with a lot of attention to detail. Nose: back to the style of the Miscault, with rather aromatic notes of fruit stones, almonds, varnish, barley water, and amaretti. Comments: not a surprise, but quite a bit of a surprise, still. I do not get much smoke, soot, tar or metal this time, but water may change that.