Springbank cologne single malt trust find en kæreste Høje-Taastrup

There are vegetables, peelings, then a mineral side that I hadn’t found in the others, an earthiness for sure, some mineral oils and other liquids (wait, brake fluid? Also a little earth, tobacco (when a little piece of tobacco goes into your mouth while you’re smoking an untipped cigarette – remember untipped cigarettes? Finish: long, with this mineral signature (graphite or something) and more brine. Beneath all that, I find blood oranges and a gingery smokiness that’s a tad dissonant. With water: ginger mints and ginger cake, the spices won. With water: no luck, I now find notes of old vase water. The spirit’s smokiness is roaring in the background. I remember some older Longrows - not talking about the 1970s here - could be a little too sulphury. I also find more linseed oil, bandages, black earth (not a matter of colour of course, rather a matter of fatness), then some very unexpected whiffs of crème de cassis, these Cuban cigars again, prune sauce, champignons… And yet that works, it’s just that the combo’s pretty unusual. Finish: rather long, with that Demerara sugar again (where does that come from) and a ‘leathery coastalness’ (yeah right). Very heavy, and yet kind of approachable, should you enjoy high extractions and, well, walnuts. There might be some OBE, especially since there’s also a little pinesap arising, cough medicine, leather… Starts tarry and smoky, a bit salty as well, with an obvious ‘old Highlands’ feeling, displaying plenty of waxes and oils, a refreshing acridness (chewing tobacco) and all these sappy notes that we already found in the nose. Nose: starts with a big sucrosity but that may be the high strength. Nose: there’s some Demerara sugar at first nosing, which is a little surprising but just fine. With water: seawater with candles and orange zests. Mouth (neat): there are traces of a kind of wackiness that I used to find in these vintages indeed, such as notes of rotting oranges, of bitters, and of paraffin… Like these notes of dried mushrooms as well, but the whole remains a tad closed. Distilled Marsala, or dry Madeira, or Manzanilla, or something like that. Sure the oak got a tad too loud for my taste (walnut stain) but these notes of coffee, miso soup, soy sauce and Chinese plum sauce (the one they serve with Peking duck, always forget the name) are spectacular. So that would be old leather jacket (in an old wardrobe in an old attic in an old house…), tin box, metal polish, tinned tropical fruits (papaya juice? Sadly, there’s also something too dryly herbal, I’d say. We’ll start, as usual, with a wee aperitif at rather low strength. In the background, old copper coins, tin boxes, old toolbox and all those sorts of greasy/sooty/metallic things, then more ink and carbon paper. Oh and agreed, this little session was long overdue. And by the way, good people have been surpirse by the fact that awards have been handed out to NAS whiskies. Sure beauty is in the eyes of the beholder (or buyer of a bottle), but there are limits. A barrique is what they use in Bordeaux, but they sure make no ‘vinho’ there. I was a judge, and I’ve got a sample, but since it was blind, I’m not 100% sure and couldn’t use the remains of my competition sample without being 200% sure that’s the one. Nose: not un-nice I have to say, and far less winey that what some Scots have done using barriques, cabernet or else. On the other hand, I also find notes of old Cuban cigar, which is just very ‘especial’. Some parts are funny, others are interesting, others are too whacky, in my opinion. BTW it’s a sister cask of the one that just won the World Whisky Awards 2015.

Finish: long, very leathery, with ‘weird’ spices and quite some tobacco. Comments: haven’t I just spent seventeen minutes of my life tasting some Taiwanese Scotch-like whisky that was matured in some Bordeaux-like cask? An unusual combination but I wouldn’t say it doesn’t work.

BTW, remember Littlemill, before it was closed and then destroyed for good by a fire, was the oldest working Scottish distillery (1772 and some luminaries even wrote circa 1750.) A micro-bottling, and probably a shared cask. Finish: long, both fruity and perfumed, with one marshmallow – or is that icing sugar – and a grassier aftertaste. Mouth (neat): pure Littlemillness (read above) plus something a little more almondy/waxy. With water: oh, no, wait, it was kind of shut down by water. Having said that, there is a delicate herbalness, and indeed wee touches of vegetables again. Finish: rather long, and I cannot not think of some lighter Jamaican rum.

These Littlemills represent one of, if not the sexiest style of malt whisky ever, with both the emphatic fresh fruitiness that some Irish can display, and the fatter, perhaps better textured and earthier body of Scotch. This cask was probably a little more active, since I can find a touch of menthol and a little more vanilla, but other than that, this is a fruit exotique extravaganza. I also find notes of brandy, as if this was an ex-armagnac cask – which it wasn’t, obviously. Mouth: nah, there, this is how to disabuse oneself. Not all /-1990 Litlemills are the same, after all, which is just great. Nose: another interesting one, this time with rather more waxy notes, although I wouldn’t say there aren’t almost as many vegetables as in the Eiling.

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…

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