Nov 7, 2011

Diageo Special Releases 2011 with Charles MacLean (part II)...

continuing the tasting session with Charles MacLean at Oslo Whisky Festival:


Knockando 1985 25yo (43.0%): To be honest I have never been a huge Knockando fan but this bottle is definitely looking a whole different. To start with it has a scary dark color. The whisky is aged entirely in European oak sherry casks for twenty-five years. Color: Dark amber, almost like a bourbon. Nose: Opening the doors of a tobacco warehouse. Dense powerful tobacco aromas hit your face instantly. Loose leaf black tea, aniseed and liquorice. At the end I got some sulphury notes. Notes you would get when waiting nervously on a dentist chair. Palate: Spice market of Istanbul. Cardamom, nutmeg and henna. After a while everything kind of calms down with sweet toffee, cacao nibs and espresso bean notes. Finish: Very dry and shorter than I expected. Overall: It's a bold, rich and sweet whisky. Great for people looking for a new whisky to pair with their cigars. It's a little bit to thin though. I think the abv could be slightly higher.

Brora 1978 32yo (54.7%): Now I am very excited about this one. I am a big fan of Clynelish. I didn't have a lot of chances to taste different old Brora expressions but a few I sampled simply blew me away. It's the oldest Brora Diageo ever released and comes in cask strength. Couldn't sound better... Color: Bright yellow gold like a barrel aged Chardonnay. Nose: Not exactly what I expected, it's a little muted. Candle wax, sweet citrus and quince jam. It opens up great with some water. Char and phenolic notes are getting released. Hint of stainless steel containers and oddly enough some new make spirit notes. Palate: Again it needs water to get the full palate. Nice warm Mediterranean style salty sea spray with rosemary and pine notes. Finish: Medium long and sweet. Overall: I think my expectations were too high for this bottle. I still liked it very much but didn't lift my feet of the ground.

Port Ellen 11th release 32yo (53.9%): And the big finale... For some reason Port Ellen reached the most desirable cult whisky status in last five years or so. It's highly collectable, star of every online auction and literally doubles it's price in a year after every release. This year's release is also aged exclusively in ex-bourbon barrels for 32 years. Color: Bright morning sun. Beautiful pale yellow shine. Nose: I totally lost myself a minute or two. I could nose this beauty for hours. Cold ocean breeze, wet sand, rubber tube, latex gloves, damp hemp rope. Palate: Like licking the deck of a ship covered with grease and tar. Amazing..! Sweet Diesel oil and wet, old worn-out wooden rope hoist. Definitely my kind of a whisky. Finish: Incredibly salty, long and satisfying. Overall: Superstar, I loved it...  But it is still too hard to justify the price people are willing to pay for a bottle of Port Ellen. I cannot even imagine how much this bottle might cost in a year or two. I don't know how but if you happen to score a bottle don't you even think to keep it for investment. Drink it for a special occasion. Totally worth it...