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2002 Las Rocas (and 10 Single Malts)


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These are the notes on a twice yearly gathering of the clans – wine fanciers that are also single malt aficionados. We pull a couple of bottle of whisky from our stash and taste against others, using various themes. This one was 15 year and older malts. We taste straight and then again with a small amount (a few drops, given that we are tasting in about ½ oz. aliquots) of water added.

Glenfiddich Solera Reserve 15 – a slightly sharp peaty nose, hot and alty in the mouth. Water lifted this malt and brought out the flavours while abating the heat a bit.

Glenfiddich Ancient Reserve 18 – smoother sweet Cognac nose, velvety smooth in the mouth – fills mouth and nose. Water neither helps nor harms this one.

Dalwhinnie 15 – light floral sort of nose with some poached pear and iodine. It seemed lighter weight at first, but then as it settled in it was clear that it wasn’t. Clean and spicy in the mouth, it expanded nicely on palate with the addition of water.

Glentromie 17 – a malt unknown to us, picked up by a member on holidays in the Caribbean. Very reticent nose, maybe a little toffee. Light and creamy in the mouth, a good aperitif weight malt to fill the flask with when going out on a long walk.,

Glen Garioch 15 – ripe Highland oily nose, warm and peaty. Water improved and smoothed it. Very nice dram.

Glen Garioch 18 (1978) – all sweetness and spice in the nose with kirsch and cocoa, and a slight medicinal element. This cask strength (59.4%) malt was predictably hot , but with water settled down to do a creamy toffee thing on palate. Another winner.

2002 Las Rocas de San Alejandro Garnacha – the obligatory wine interlude with some food. Enjoyable berry nose, refreshing and smooth on palate, with good length. This has to be one of the best bargains out there right now!

Glenmorangie 18 – seemed like a sherry cask malt in the nose, despite the fact that only a small proportion sees sherry and the rest is bourbon wood. Lighter, elegant, not oily at all, with spice and oak at the end. A tad hot Water neutral.

Glenfarclas 15 – paler colour, toffee/crème brulee nose, hot in the mouth. Water worked well here, and this malt just coated the inside of the mouth and became smooth and tasty.

Ardbeg 17 – the expected smoke and seaweed nose, big, medicinal and lovely. Water opens it a bit, but it really doesn’t need it. You either love or hate this style (I love it).

Talisker 18 – darker, not as smoky, and not hot. Very smooth, long dram, doesn’t need water. Wish I could find some of this!

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