Sample 8 was bourbony, Sample 9 is back in winey territory. Last night I got a lot of points but missed the (apparently obvious) distillery profile, tonight I’m utterly stumped.
14 people out of the 72 participants guessed that sample #8 was a Littlemill. I went for Bladnoch, which along with good abv and age guesses got me great points, but I’m still a little miffed about not spotting what I consider to be a distillery which is very much ‘my profile’. Anyway, let’s not dillydally, sample 9!
The nose is an immediate sherry-sensation, the sour kind. I would go as far as to say this smells like there was a good few litres of the stuff still in the cask this spirit was filled into. Cloying sweetness would suggest PX or even (moving away from sherry) a sweet wine like Madeira of Sauternes. There’s orange juice and peel and bitter fruits at first. Later on it gains a meaty note, soy sauce (maggi), some vegetal characteristics and a some sulfur. I may also get a little OBE, but it’s faint if there. After some time in the glass, the sherry notes all but dissipate, leaving farmy notes of fermenting grass and stable. Weird!
In the taste, the first thing which hits is an explosion of yellow and red fruit which is quite something for the low ABV (I was thinking 40, but the competition says minimum 43, so 43%). Sour sherry again, like a little blanket. Quite drying towards the finish. Again, I think I taste OBE, but again it could just be the weird funkiness of this dram. If anything, this has character. The finish is quite drying and bitter (more so with time), which just throws me even more. Possible causes: weird cask, ‘pour in a few bottles’ sherry finish (or paxarete?), not the best spirit with a late cut point to tails.
Overall, I am severely confused by this. Mortlach comes to mind because of the meaty notes, perhaps a standard bottling bottled a while ago? In any case: while interesting, I don’t like this. The balance is way off (Edradour? Loch Lomond?), complexity is low to medium. On weirdness, power of flavour and generall wtf-ness I think this may be one of the closed highlanders, so I’m picking one at random (to hopefully get the region points):
My guess: Glen Albyn, Highlands, 21yo (possibly bottled a while ago), 43%
My score: 78/100
What it turned out to be:
Blair Athol 1988 van Wees (whiskybase) 21.10.1988 - 10.02.2014 (25yo) ABV: 46.0% Cask#: 6918