Mar 8, 2014

An unofficial tasting of Maltman expressions...

A few days before Julio's Liquors' "Go! Whisk(e)y Weekend" I received an invitation from Brad Jarvis, the brand ambassador of Meadowside Blending to get together for an informal tasting of the Maltman line up. I did have a chance to taste some bottlings before but needless to say I was pretty exciting to taste the rest of the line... That Thursday night we met at Last Hurrah at Omni Hotel. Andrew Hart who is running Meadowside Blending with his father Donald Hart was in town to present his whisky and Frank Weber was kind enough to join Brad Jarvis, Randall Bird and myself at our table. And we started to pull the bottles from the bag one by one...

Andrew was great to let the night be a whisky geeks get together rather than a serious Maltman tasting. He let his whiskies to do the talking and I have to say he was also very patient throughout the entire night to answer my endless questions about the barrel selections, warehouses, distilleries, etc. Long story short we had a great time.

It is very hard to keep very detailed tasting notes in these kind of informal tastings but I will do my best to share what I have written down in my note book:

Glenlossie 19yo (43.0%): I first tasted this beauty in Whisky Live Boston 2012 and I remember it as one of the best drams of the show. I was so excited to see the bottle on the table again. Nose: Wet cardboard boxes, plastic food containers, fresh hazelnuts and crunchy malt. Palate: Marzipan, vanilla and canned peach. Finish: Long with white pepper and polished vintage furniture. Perfectness of pure ex-bourbon aging.

Mortlach 13yo (46.0%): This whisky is matured in Oloroso casks and shows some nice and thick legs on the glass. Nose: Bubblegum! Totally... Good old fashioned bubble gum... Freshly chopped mint leaves, whiff of smoke and burnt brown sugar. Palate: Bubblegum is still there and I am really enjoying it. Sweet and citrusy: candied orange peel and powdered sugar. Finish: Actually longer than I expected with the burn of thin baklava syrup. A rather less aggressive and calmer Mortlach.

Bunnahabhain 10yo (46.0%): Exclusively matured in sherry casks. Nose: Cooked prunes, cloves and beef stew. Warm sea spray. Palate: Chewy and thick. Cinnamon, zante currants and roasted almonds. Finish: Cinnamon and garam masala. I have to say I underestimated this youngster... Unbelievably thick and matured for its age. A true young sherry bomb... Not my cup of tea but I know a lot of people would love this dram.

Highland Park 11yo (46.0%): Nose: New raw leather jacket, fire place smoke, wet sand, beach walk at night. Palate: Creme brulee or creme caramel with heavily burnt top and vanilla pod scrapings. Very custardy. Finish: Long with sea salt and white pepper. A beautiful HP expression. I liked it almost as much as the Glenlossie 19yo.

Tobermory 18yo: Nose: A little sulphury. I am getting sulphur from almost every spirit distilled at Tobermory Distillery but fortunately I am not as sensitive as some people are. Struck matches, fresh cut grass and lemon peel. Palate: Very vegetal. Green asparagus and dandelion leaves. Finish: Medium long and pretty dry.

Linkwood 18yo: This is a new release... If I am not mistaken it is about to be released in US or already on the shelves. Finished in a port butt. Nose: Raspberry jam, forest fruits flavored Lipton ice tea and damson plums. Palate: Sweet cranberry jelly and maraschino cherries. Finish: Not very long but very satisfying. Drooling and dry sweetness of raspberries and cranberries. Wow... What a finale for the tasting... I have a winner I believe. I definitely want this bottle. Absolutely delicious...

Thanks again to Brad Jarvis for arranging this tasty night..! Also thanks to Randall Bird, Andrew Hart and Frank Weber for great company!

[I have also some notes about Royal Thistle which is Meadowside Blending's budget blend but I want to save it for the Blend Project in coming weeks. It looked like a strong candidate to me...]