Years ago, I “cherry picked” special or unique whiskies from our tasting sessions to bottle up a mini. The idea was to have a bit remaining as a reference point to compare and contrast with other tasting experiences. However it didn’t take long to run out of empty 50 ml miniature bottles to store these samples. So whilst I stopped gathering “new” samples, the “old” ones sat neglected as one, two, three… five years passed!
Then on my most recent trip home, I pulled out one of my all-time favourites – Lochside (1981/2005) 43% G&MP. Remarkably it wasn’t a disaster!
Inspired by this, I pulled out all the old minis, dusted them off and dumped a few which obviously were bad. Who knew whisky could get clumpy, stain the insides of a glass bottle? Eeek!?
Experienced at revising past samples (aka operation clean house!), my tasting companions knew to have our spit bowl ready, primed to have a few awful ones amongst hopefully a few gems!
Overall it was tremendous fun and the minis hadn’t faired to badly. What did we try?
- Hyde No 6 President’s Reserve 8 year single grain + 18 year single malt 46%
- Linkwood 25 year 43% (G&MP) / Linkwood 24 year (1991/2015) Cask No 586497 53.8%
- Mosstowie 35 year (1979/2015) 48.1% Signatory
- Pine Barrens Single Malt (Batch 13) 47.5% / The Ileach Cask Strength 58%
- 21 year (2008) 53.4%, bottle 18 of 750 (Heathrow T5)
Curious how today vs yesterday compared? Skim below for our current impressions and check out the old post for what we found before!
I thought to ease us into our malty memories evening with a friendly Irish dram. I also just so happened to have two 30 ml samples set aside so more than enough for us to kick-off our evening with the same whisky.
Back in 2016 a couple gents from Hyde were in India scouting out the market, they hinted at possible plans for their own distillery. We met in a popular bar restaurant in Mumbai and spent an enjoyable evening.
Not long after their trip, they sent a gift from Ireland. Those were the days when it was still possible to send samples to India and get them through customs! Hyde still selects and blends Irish whisky, however any thoughts of setting up their own distillery are indefinitely on hold.
Don’t be duped by the deceptive pic photo bombed by our feline.. it was a full sized bottle.
Did it survive the test of time? Oh my! It did – if anything it was even better than we remembered!
We were greeted by lemons and cantaloups on the nose, green and black peppercorns – initially sharp then mellowed into a long finish with a warm heat. Quite a tasty appetizer!
We then continued with a tale of two mature Linkwoods:
- Linkwood 25 year 43% (G&MP) – From Gordon & MacPhail, part of their
- Linkwood 24 year (1991/2015) Cask No 586497 53.8% – From the Single Malts of Scotland (aka The Whisky Exchange) with a single cask at cask strength
What fun! Same distillery, similar years, different strength, year and Indi bottler… with some clear similarities and differences. Here are my notes for the 25 year:
- Nose – Initially shy and subtle, calvados, stewed apples, then apple cider, generous honey, apple sauce with cinnamon – do I sense an “apple” theme here??
- Palate – More spice than anticipated from the aromas, some tobacco leaf, slightly bitter and musty but still quite tasty
- Finish – Long, really “sits” there and keeps you company
We also used different tasting glasses too – I finally tried my Glencairn “copita” vs our normal Glencairn glass (sorry no pic!). How did the experience compare?
- Copita Nosing glass – Nose was sweeter, palate rounder and more balanced
- Standard Glencairn glass – Initially enabled the aromas to come out more – with greater clarity and distinctiveness to each element, spicier on the palate
Those trying the cask strength found it much “sharper” however still displayed its character.
Diving further into the “vintage” stash, we next tackled what remained of a 35 year old from a very special evening with “Dream Drams” – those rare, aged and very unique whiskies one typically cannot afford and do not get the opportunity to try.
So how did our mini fare?
- Nose – Pear, orange peel, hazelnuts, lightly floral, toast with butter and marmalade, vanilla, oak, hint of salt
- Palate – Absolutely fabulous on the palate – orange chocolate, lovely mouth feel with that dash of salt just adding to the enjoyment
- Finish – Long, lovely with a bit of beeswax, salt and don’t laugh – marmite
Wow! Incredible how much of the character remained – even after sitting in a mini for 4+ years. I checked out my old notes – it clearly did better with a bit of oxidation in the full bottle and even kept its ‘lustre’ when transferred into a mini. Yum!
Time to switch gears into something completely different!
From October 2016, we explored a rather interesting range of American drams. One lady purchased a ‘beer whisky’ which was remarkable for its unique character. She was absolutely delighted to spot the mini in the mix, having thought would never have a chance to try it again!
What did we discover in our revisit?
- Aroma – From stout to sweet, pinesol to
- Palate – Bittersweet, cloves, wintermint and yes – “beer-y”
It truly is a different kind of dram – most enjoyable as a kind of “hybrid” between a good beer and whisky. Far from “traditional” whisky it is worth checking out!
Whilst we sipped our beer whisky, our peaty lady opted for:
Her pronouncement? The mini had successfully survived being stored for years – yeah!
The Ileach came from a most enjoyable “Islay Iterations” evening dominated by Lagavulin and Laphroaig – including indie bottles like this one.
We thought Ghosted Reserve 21 year, No 2 42.8% would make a nice next step, however it didn’t stand the test of time… and practically “ghosted” us!
All we found was a bit of coconut oil and lemon on the nose, betel nut on the palate and not much else. Innocuous and a bit insipid. Pity. However we weren’t surprised that a couple languished after a few years.
One lady thought to give the Inchmurrin Madeira mini a go… Alas, what was once “OK” was – Nope! This one was abandoned and later dumped.
That made it ‘2 strikes’!
We decided to close our evening on what we hoped would be a ‘sure thing!’. This remarkable 21 year old Laphroaig was enjoyed over several evenings, years apart so I was relatively confident that the remaining mini would still be worth
It is both a Laphroaig at its best and a nod to an earlier avatar…. a more refined style which created an absolute stunner!
- Nose – Fruity, lightly floral, fresh and green yet peaty too with that delightful ‘bacon’ we enjoy mixed with sweetness and a hint of salt
- Palate – Delicious! Smooth as silk, elegant… we simply savoured and enjoyed
A marvellous malt and a worthy way to close an evening cracking open and revisiting past tastings together.
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