Whisky Archives – Glenlivet Nadurra, Scapa, Mitcher’s Straight Rye, Kilchoman Spring 2011 + Caroni

Another from the tasting archives… This time the post is truly a ‘blast from the past’ – Oct 2011.

This month we were back to our standard format and blind tasted before revealing the whisky. The session featured: Glenlivet Nadurra, Scapa 16 yr, Mitcher’s Straight Rye, Kilchoman Spring release followed by an extra treat Caroni 18 yr rum.

It was an exceptionally lovely evening in Worli with perfect hosts. A comfortable setting, the right music, glasses, spitoon and cucumbers all laid out, followed by the most fabulous nibbles… yum!

The contrast between the different single malts was also a wonderful learning experience… which was, naturally, the real focus of our evening.

Awaiting the revelation!

AWAITING THE REVELATION!

Glenlivet Nadurra 16 years – Batch 1010K Bottled 10/10. Cask Strength 54.9%. Non Chill Filtered. Wood – not stated.

The legs were slow though closely spaced, colour bright gold. The nose was sweet with a hint of honey, grass, a little “woody”. Not off to a bad start… and then we sipped, spit and then sipped and swallowed. While not ‘knock me down’ harsh, the first hit definitely had an edge. Spicy was a word bantered around a bit. The finish was also… well.. not so impressive.

Our overall conclusion was this perhaps wasn’t a keeper… Unveiled we were surprised this is one of the few Glenlivet’s non-chill filtered considered to be ‘good’. The distillers notes included words like ‘fruity’?! Puzzled, we chocked it up to a mass production distillery and moved on… til somewhere along the way a discussion about ambient temperature in Scotland vs India with an impact on flavour led to an inspired idea – why not chill the Nadurra and see if it makes any difference?

PS The debate on alcohol strength was lost by all thinking it was lower than 54.9%.

Scapa 16 years 40%. Wood not stated.

The legs were broad and a little faster than the Nadurra. The nose was certainly also sweet, with a more pronounced heather honey aroma than the bolder Nadurra. First savour was clean, was there a teasing hint of peat? Perhaps a little of the ocean? Neat was clearly best – any dilution simply detracted from its gentle dance on our palates. The finish wasn’t notable however this Oarkney Islands contribution was deemed light, lovely every day enjoyable. Scapa is slightly ‘cultish’ whiskey and we were a bit disappointed about such limited details on its maturation process.

Mitcher’s Straight Rye 10 years 46.4%. Wood – Charred White Oak, Single Barrel.

What a contrast to go from the Scapa to a Rye… Colour very dark – distinctly so. The notes were apple pie… comments were that it is non-whisky or almost wine-like. Our first American offering, it was a fabulous addition to our tasting journey. We learned later is that this is quite a rare bottle with the Mitchers team’s comment “You have tried one of our best!” Lucky us!

Kilchoman Spring 2011 release 46%. Age not stated – estimate 3 years.

Caramel notes… In your face peaty… smokiness of a cigar or pipe. Adding water transformed it – toned down the peatiness and opened up the whisky.  Then some fruity flavours emerged with a nice lingering smoky finish. The surprise post unveiling is that it was quite sophisticated for what we understand is only a three-year old from Islay region. For a few, the Kilchoman Spring 2011 release was the clear favourite. We also experimented by adding a twist of a mosambi peel. What an exceptional combination!

Now back to the Nadurra… Was it the booze in our collective systems, or just residual disappointment from our earlier quaffing? All one can say is there does indeed seem to be a clear correlation between temperature and taste. Cooled – the Nadurra was a delight! The earlier harshness was chilled into submission, allowing the fruity flavours in the distillery’s tasting notes to actually emerge.

Our evening closed with a little ‘extra’… not a whisky but instead a remarkable rum – yum yum!

Caroni 18 years  55%, Heavy Trinidad Rum.

Another special surprise our host pulled out of his marvellous liquor cabinet was a Caroni. Clearly no ordinary offering, it was rich, layered, full of flavours and soooo smooth going down. The alcohol content was deceptively much higher than it seemed – so one to add caution if doing more than sampling! It is also a fascinating story of an Italian so passionate about this rum that he bought the entire distillery just to not be deprived of his favoured Trinidad rum. The packaging is also superbly stylized. Naturally we also added a hint of mosambi to this too… mmm mmm good!

Anyone have other comments on these whiskies and rum?

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