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Nose: more cask influence in this one, a little more vanilla but also more damp earth and antiseptic, flints (tons of wet rocks) and lime. Mouth (neat): same as the 1998 now, but it’s true that it’s hard to pick out nuances at such high strength. May I add that I’d love to see a picture of the old recipe? Finish: long, all on bitter herbs and spices (quite some aniseed in the aftertaste). Finish: long, citrusy and quite bitter, with some green tannins. Huge notes of sea water and metal (old car engine.) It’s quite spectacular and unusual, which is great as there are so many excellent young Laphroaigs in the market. And there are various citrus fruits, tangerines, bitter oranges… ) and even more bitterness – a very pleasant bitterness, unusual in Glenmorangie. Finish: long, gingery, drier than the other Glenmorangies. Comments: I guess nobody will be able to tell you if this is how malt whisky (let alone Glenmorangie) used to taste one hundred years ago but what’s sure is that this is a pretty fine dram, even if there’s probably much more spicy oak than in ‘genuine’ old whiskies. Comments: not too complex in my opinion but full and very easy to quaff. It’s really unusual and spectacular, with a high oak extraction. Again, this is very unusual and much less on tangerines and passion fruits than other 1981 Lochsides that I could try. It’s still grassy and kind of sharp but the whole is much better now. It cannot come from the sample bottle as it was treated just like the other ones. Mouth (neat): no detectable soapiness at this stage but a huge peaty and lemony smash. Finish: long, clean, peaty, orangey, peppery and salty. A sequel to the excellent 'Earl Magnus' 15yo from last year. Please not that the picture is of last year's version but it should be very similar. Nose: really punchy, starting quite smoky with hints of barbecued spare ribs with honey sauce and a noticeable kirschiness. It’s also rather flinty and liquoricy, with some leather as well as quite some grass and spicy oak. With water: gets grassier, as expected, closer to the malt, with some smoked apples (or something like that) and maybe hints of banana skin and heather honey. Finish: long, with a wee dash of pepper and ginger added to the combo. Comments: it’s got an obvious relationship with last year’s ‘Earl’ but this one is maybe a little rawer – and, I think, peatier. Nose: more or less the same profile as the Magnus’, only with more sherry and candy sugar. Mouth (neat): once again, this is more or less the same whisky as the OB ‘behind the wood’. ’Now, after Cutty Sark with Asian Dub Foundation and Balblair with Niki King (and many bourbons with blues or country music), what are we to expect from other whisky brands? In the background: various garden fruits, apples, gooseberries, then dairy cream and a little porridge. In a rather Dalmoro-macallanesque manner, this one is ‘an exquisite recreation of Glenmorangie based on a recipe dating back to 1903’ and is ‘lightly peated, as Glenmorangie used to be’ according to the Distillery’s sales pieces. Finish: long, spicy, with more oak again and a return of the balsamic and even terpenic notes. Comments: another one that’s no ‘picture-malt’ and rather a ‘movie-malt’ as it’s clearly multi-phased in its development and rather sensible to water (swims well! Also a little melon and peaches as well as some flowers (maybe peonies). Mouth (neat): sweet, a tad youngish but not too much (strawberry liqueur, pear drops), developing on fruit eaux-de-vie and various jams. Mouth (neat): rather punchy, with an excellent fruitiness coated with spices and a little wax. Comments: excellent, I guess it’s close to the best you can make out of a 13yo Speysider ex- bb hhd. Nose: a fully mature Longmorn this time, obviously more complex, with more spicy herbs, herbal liqueurs, mint, a little vanilla, touches of sour apples and peaches… Mouth (neat): excellent attack, full, quite complex, extremely satisfying. It’s also got some nice flinty, mineral notes and just wee touches of porridge and cut grass. Bizarre, with so much paraffin and plain soap that it’s hard to enjoy. Hard to tell you much more, I’ll need my palate tonight. I remember the distillery once had an official 1989 that was rather similar in style, I think it was for Feis Ile. Mouth (neat): really punchy, starting all on spices, cinnamon, nutmeg and a tarry smokiness that reminds me of some sherried Islayers in a certain way. ;-)), marzipan, a waxiness, notes of bitter oranges… I should confess that I didn’t know Niki King but just checked her works on her website and I must say she’s very good so all I can say is ‘kudos to Balblair, to their engagingly unobtrusive manager John Mac Donald and to Niki King! I’ve never been a huge fan of the rather undemanding 10yo but I think I did notice some improvement in fairly recent batches (circa 20). Nose: starts a little spirity, with also wee hints of rose-tainted cologne, before some pleasant toasted and slightly coffee-ish notes start to emerge, together with a little vanilla and ginger that suggest some fairly active oak in the vatting. Comments: I think the 10 became a good entry-level (or access-category) malt whisky that won’t disappoint, maybe thanks to improved wood technology. Nose: peated apple juice ;-) and other smoked fruits. Beautiful notes of verbena liqueur, lemon balm and mint. Finish: a little longer than the HA, with a little more oak and spices. Comments: classic Martinique – or so it seems according to my weak and short experience with rum. Nose: it’s rather punchy, fresh, still a tad rawish but very nicely fruity, without too many obvious pearish notes, rather gooseberries and light strawberry notes. Goes on with more herbs and ‘resinous’ honeys, honeydew, just wee touches of tinned apricots and maybe papayas… With water: perfect spiced up fruits and a little more ginger. Finish: long, clean, citrusy and peppery, with some unexpected rosewater in the aftertaste. Green curry, cardamom, even a little incense, with also some vanilla in the background. Finish: long, with the spices cleaning up your palate. Comments: top notch spirit from a top notch cask, topnotchally selected (wot? I may have said it before but why Pernod/Chivas don’t do much out of the Longmorn brand name remains a total mystery to this poor whisky lover. Nose: starts a little feinty but with quite a presence.But warning, they’re highly drinkable, even the 1938! Nose: less nervous and fruitful than the G&M, more on vanilla and café latte at first nosing. Mouth: much more caramel and liquorice than in the Original. The rum is then rather obvious, with also a little coconut.
Nose: probably the most vegetal and earthy within the lot, also the sweetest even if it’s far from being sweet whisky. With water: gets unexpectedly dirty, animal and slightly sulphury (hard boiled eggs). Mouth (neat): it’s the strongest but quite curiously, it’s also the easiest. Comments: this big baby almost stood up to the new OB. Sometimes with quite a bit of fluffy storytelling (we found some hidden casks in warehouse #77 or our legendary master distiller decided to experiment with ex-cucumber casks or we teamed up with a famous winery in Outer-Mongolia or we decided to recreate a secret 1885 recipe that we found in the exciseman’s drawer and so on…) And frankly, some other excellent blogs do it so much better that we ever could anyway, such as the great Whisky Intelligence, already 2,000 posts, triple wow! It comes from Balblair, who just announced that they partnered with a Scottish jazz singer named Niki King to launch a new concept called the ‘Balblair Lounge Events’ that will match tasting Balblair malts with jazz performances in various cities over the world. ) I'm afraid the answer is 'no thanks' - I don't think anybody ever tasted Manzoni's merda d'artista either... I checked my nose using some ‘reference malts’ and it seems that we’re back to normal, just in time for the brand new Glenmorangie Finealta that just arrived. Behind all that we have the same zestiness as in the 1974, with some lemon marmalade and a little passion fruit.
Some other bottlings in this 60th Anniversary series were of a much higher standard in my opinion.
Comments: I feel the Connemara NAS is getting better (okay, more to my liking). Sure it’s rather oaky, but what a wonderful oakiness. Very different from the 1974, starting with rather big whiffs of fresh mushrooms, fern, moss and balsa wood as well as a little mustard. The whole is much less rounded and honeyed than usual old HPs, and certainly not vanilled. It’s only after you got used to those aromas that you start to detect a honeyed fruitiness, with some dates, dried pineapple and honeydew, a combination that gives it a wee old rum-alike profile. With water: gets a little simpler but more ‘focused’ on the usual HP notes, heather honey, figs, nectar, beeswax, oranges, sea air and just hints of peat.
By the way, a friend just told me that even if my nose was clogged, I could still comment on some whiskies’ palates. Apple juice and ginger, porridge, liquorice allsorts.
I’m afraid that’s impossible as odours count very much when tasting anything. Finish: long, cleaner, with some grapefruits and pineapples.