The Toronto Whisky Society had their first event of 2017 last night, and we had 16 people out at the Feather’s Pub to do a custom flight. It was a lot of fun meeting some of our new members, as well as having special guests out, including Mark Bylok, Author of the Whisky Cabinet and the WhiskyBuzz podcast! Special thanks to Reid at Feather’s for sorting out the menu with us, and to tomodera for pre-tasting and introducing each of the drams.
The first one of the night was an IB Bladnoch, distilled in my birth year, and the highest proof dram of the night. I haven’t been blown away by lowlands in the past, but was open to something at CS being a pleasant surprise.
Bladnoch 12 1987 CS, Gordon & MacPhail – 58.7%
- Appearance: dark orange. I’d guess coloured if I didn’t know better
- Nose: honey, grass, floral, heather, quite light
- Palate: more honey, apple, pears, slightly bitter, ver light and sweet… what I’d expect from a lowland
- Finish: short, woody, bitter
- Score: 77
a pleasant dram, but kind of boring
Next is a Clynelish IB from 1983, also CS. I’ve had two Clynelish in the past. One didn’t impress me at all, and the other one blew me away, so I’m not sure what to expect here!
Clynelish 21 1983 CS, Dun Bheagan – 56.9%
- Appearance: very pale yellow
- Nose: sweet, honey, peach, beeswax, apple
- Palate: rather nice. Suarper than the bladnoch. Honey, more oak, citrus, lemon, peaches.
- Finish: moderate length, sweet honey
- Score: 81
nicer than the bladnoch, but still didn’t blow me away. Sort of in the middle as far as my Clynelish experience has been.
Mortlach is up next with a respectable ABV and a ‘fresh sherry cask’. Doesn’t say what kind.
Mortlach 12 1989 Murray McDavid – 46%
- Appearance: dark orange-brown
- Nose: sherry, cherries, plums, sugary, nutty, earthy. Smells like an oloroso sherry cask.
- Palate: rich sherry, sugary, nutty, mulling spices, nutmeg, chocolate. I definitely think this was oloroso.
- Finish: long and sweet
- Score: 82
quite nice, but hot for 46%. Just looked at my history and I’ve had 3 Mortlachs over the past few years… I’ve scored each of them an 82, so apparently that’s where I rate Mortlach
Scapa and I don’t have the best history… I’ve had only 2, both OBs, and both have scored in the 70s because I really didn’t enjoy them that much. Here’s hoping Signatory picked a good cask.
Scapa 10 1989 Signatory – 43%
- Appearance: incredibly pale
- Nose: apple, banana, salty, very malty, sweet
- Palate: quite salty, fruity funk, tons of malt, bananas again, light fruit, apricot, lemon pie, butter tarts
- Finish: fruity, salty, malty
- Score: 86
very nice. Finally found a scapa I enjoy!
this was the only dram of the lot that wasn’t an IB, and I’ve had it before, at Feather’s a few years ago. I avoided looking back at my reviews so I could compare the notes afterwards
Longrow 10 – 46%
- Appearance: light orange
- Nose: doesn’t smell very peated, especially given the stated 55ppm. Very light smoke note, more sherry, honey, malt
- Palate: more peat than the nose but still very light. Red fruit, cherries. Kind of sharp for 46%. Someone at the table suggested 1 drop of water, and it made a big difference. Get a cool funk and a lot more oak with the water.
- Finish: sweet peat, light smoke
- Score: 83
nice but simple. The light peat is a nice change from typical peat bombs. Comparing to the last time I reviewed it, I got more brine out of it last time and scored it 3 points higher. Glad it was in the same range, and I’ll attribute the drop in scores to having had a Longrow Red since then that blew me away, and 150 more reviews!
The last one was supposed to be a Caol Ila 15 1984 from Signatory, but instead, the barkeep accidentally poured the 1989 11yr. He gave us a price reduction on the flight because of the mix-up which was appreciated, but it was still kind of annoying.
Caol Ila 11 1989 – 43%
- Appearance: very pale
- Nose: ashy peat, brine, salty, earth, smoked meat
- Palate: not very peaty, light ash, salty, sweet, malty, nothing too crazy.
- Finish: moderate, some ash
- Score: 80
ok but nothing special, and not nearly as good as most Caol Ilas I’ve had.
Overall a very fun night, and a nice change to try some new drams. It’s funny, going in I would have assumed the Caol Ila would be my favourite and the Scapa probably my least favourite and that was nearly opposite! Glad whisky continues to surprise. Looking forward to more events with TWS in 2017!