My original intention was to immediately share the same whiskies with our Bombay Malt & Cigar group… we had a wait a few extra months and by the time the evening arrived, I managed to add a 4th undisclosed distillery bottle to the mix – what fun!
And challenged the gentlemen to attempt to guess the possible distillery…
We began with the delicious sherry delight…
- Nose – Sherry, berries, bannoffee cream pie, lots of cherries, delicious orange marmalade, prune, dark chocolate
- Palate – Malty, biscuits, Ghanna bitter chocolate
- Finish – Beautiful, long, round finish
- Water – Opens up more but not required
We found it warm, fruity, luxurious and utterly delicious… there is a rich robustness to this whisky which belies its mere 43%.
And the guesses? From Glenrothes, to Glendronach to Aberlour… none suspected Macallan.
We moved on to Islay…
- Nose – Sea breeze Islay, sweeter honey notes, some iodine, peat and then peppermint
- Palate – Cinnamon spice, chewy, velvet and smoke
- Finish – A lovely finish, peat, bitter cinnamon that ends on sweet
- Water – Had a bit of a debate – yes or no – with a complete divide on whether we preferred with or without water. Some found it made it sharp and sour whereas others thought it tamed it into sweet submission.
Interestingly, while the Wilson & Morgan seemed stronger and richer than 43% the Sansibar didn’t give a hint of being cask strength.
And the guesses? It was more a process of elimination… everything it was not and only a ‘maybe’ Ardbeg… firmly in the ‘Well it isn’t…’ category was Lagavulin. Oops!
- Nose – Wow! Sweet stewed fruits, pears, with a restrained peat, wet rag, white sugar cane as it opened revealed hazelnuts and cream
- Palate – Oily resin, smooth as silk with a subtle smoke
- Finish – Sour bitter sweet
- Water – With a few drops simply made is spicier. With a generous dollop brought out a perfume smoke. Again – opinions were divided between preferring with water and those who thought it best absolutely without a drop
It has a simple yet interesting nose, a complex palate, with a sweet finish.
And the guessing game? Perhaps Bunnahabain, Bruichladdich… certainly not Caol Ila!
- Nose – Pudding, overripe bannoffee pie, coconut, Jamaican sugar cane, lemon curd, nutmeg, spice, dry leaves and hay, vegetable
- Palate – Peppery peat,
- Finish – Smokey bitter ash chased by cinnamon sweet
- Water – It softened the whisky considerably, bringing out juicy fruits – particularly peaches
Final guesses? After an initial speculation may perhaps be Caol Ila, Bowmore… settled on Laphroaig.
If you are curious, check out what I found originally:
- Wilson & Morgan “Highland Heart” Sherry (2006/2015) 43% – A class act – beautifully balanced wine, spice – simply superb!
- Sansibar Islay 8 year (2007/2015) 52.2% – Citrus spice & everything nice!
- Port Askaig 19 year 50.4% – Floral, beautifully balanced peat with a long refined finish
- Finlaggan Cask Strength 58% – Leather, flowers, oh my!
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