Sunday, 14 September 2014
After eight months and trying numerous new whiskies I have reached the highlight and end of the Advent Sessions. Today I will try the oldest whisky I have ever had the pleasure of trying. This 50 year old whisky is a Master of malt "mystery" distillery release. I have no idea who made this whisky, although I have heard someone suggest that it was Mortlach. It doesn't really matter as I will likely never know the truth and it is exciting all the same. This whisky is much older than I am and so it deserves a lot of respect. I haven't taken to calling it sir, but I will take my time to get to know it.
I also struggled with finding suitable music to pair. I didn't want the music to detract from the whisky, and I at one point was contemplating not having music at all. I wound up deciding on classical music as I felt it would be appropriate. The piece I went with was Beethovens' 9th symphony. I'm not sure which orchestra is playing here. I chose this piece because of the memories it brings to mind. I recall a gentleman speaking about the Glenfiddich 50 year and likening the taste of it to being kissed by an angel. This leads me to think of those moments when you are so taken with a scene you swear you can hear angels singing, for instance walking into a room with a large collection of fine malts. The fourth movement of the 9th symphony always makes me think of angels singing. I recall a time were my wife and I were in a hotel in Chiang Mai watching a movie called "Copying Beethoven". During the movie there is a scene where the 9th is played. When the Choir began singing we both had tears in our eyes. The piece never fails to move me.
Now lets taste this potentially heavenly dram.
Nose: Wood, Creamy vanilla, plum cobbler, some pepper and citrus, and all around is a floral perfume reminiscent of an old church lady. Delightful. Fills the nose with thoughts of a church bake sale. Am I getting close to the angels singing? After letting it sit a while the whisky develops a buttery note adding to the bake sale theme.
Palate: The first thing I am struck by is the mouth feel. WOW. It is silky, velvety and creamy. Sugary sweet wood and vanilla are the first notes I can identify, The wood notes develop a burnt edge after time. This in turn yields notes of raisins and other dried fruits.
Finish: The liquid goes down the throat like water. It is very smooth and leaves behind notes of wood and a slight metallic bit that lasts a long time. Sugary notes are also present and let themselves be known intermittently.
A beautiful whisky for sure. I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to try it. I can't really say that I heard angels sing. I am not certain that the age has made a profound difference but I am so happy to have been able to try a whisky that has until this day been something of folklore to me.
Sunday, 7 September 2014
Today I will be tasting the second last whisky from my advent calendar. That means that the next tasting will be the 50 year old... Very exciting.
Back to today... the guest of honour is the Clynelish 1997 Oloroso Sherry Distillers Edition. This whisky was distilled in 1997 and bottled in 2012, which makes it a 15 year old (or possibly 14 depending on the months). I have only had the pleasure of trying a Clynelish once before and I was very happy with it.
For music I am listening to Pink Floyds' Atom Heart Mother. This is Pink Floyds' fifth studio album. The cover features a simple (albeit beautiful) photo of a cow in pasture. There is no writing on the cover. Sound wise it sounds like a movie soundtrack. It also makes great driving music. Now to see how it pairs with whisky.
Nose: Orchard fruit that is lightly spiced. I also got notes of raisins, charred wood and a hint of an almost candy like aroma. Delicious.
Palate: A mouth watering blast of delicious fruit that is tapered by baking spices and honey. It is like the flavour profile of a home baked strawberry rhubarb pie with cherries and boysenberries. There is also a leathery quality hidden within layers of vanilla and wood.
Finish: The finish is very smooth and long. It is also quite dry. It leaves me with notes of burnt raisins and perhaps some milk chocolate.
I am really happy with this whisky. I found it to be very complex. It also reminded me of fresh baked pie and that has to be worth a bunch of extra points. The music is enjoyable. It seemed to take a back seat to the whisky, content to just linger in the background supportive but not really involved. I think this album is best suited for times were I am able to just focus on it.