The Usquebaugh Society’s 24th birthday – part 1

As has been usual for a couple years now, the Usquebaugh Society’s birthday is celebrated by a whisky tasting for members. Some of the more avid collectors of the club browse their collections and auction sites for impressive whiskies as old as the club. So this year the entire tasting consisted of 24 year old whiskies. Seven of them.

The initial guideline for the line up was that Malt Maniacs Monitor was used as a measuring stick. Four maniacs should have tasted the whisky and the average score had to be higher than 90 points. Of course, this is nigh impossible and that level has never been achieved. This year, two of the seven drams were on that short list of possibilities though!

The start of the tasting was slightly chaotic as it turned out the old beamer didn’t have the same plugs as the new laptop, so a run to the Apple store around the corner was necessary and with a 20 minute delay everything was in place and the first dram was passed around.

This was a 24 year old Cambus grain whisky bottled for the Bladnoch Forum about four years ago. It’s a lovely one that I reviewed earlier here. I still like it, but my old rating of five stars is too high obviously. I have both become more realistic and spoiled.

Dram number two was a 24 year old Clynelish from 1983, bottled by Old Malt Cask, so obviously it’s clocking in at 50% abv. The nose of this baby starts with pine resin, oak and a slight salty note. It’s a tad dry too and gentle with apple and pear. Slightly farmy and it has those light notes that old Bowmore can also have. The palate is gentle with the typical Clynelish waxy notes, wax candles, some lemon. Also pine trees and salt. The finish is not too long, but has those crisp notes again. Quite rich with lemon curd, those farmy notes, vanilla.

I love Clynelish. This one is especially great in my book. My favorite of the afternoon, even. And that’s in a tasting with Brora, Port Ellen, Tomatin and Highland Park. But the light farmy notes, the wax and resin. I love it all. Now, to get myself a bottle of this…

Bram van Glabbeek talking us through the booze

The third dram was a Highland Park 1981. A great year if there ever was one 😉 This one was bottled by Adelphi at 24 years old and 55.8% abv. The nose started fairly closed off with acetone and some distant hints of sherry. After a minute or two it started opening up with dates, plums and a beefy note. The palate is creamy with fruit, dry sherry and that beefy note again. Dates and plums again, pretty heavy and dry. The finish is not too rich and slightly less smoky than the palate (yes the palate was smoky, I should’ve mentioned) and fruity.

While it is a damn tasty whisky, I’m not an huge fan of this profile. Of course, there’s a lot of whisky that fits this and is awesome. This is one of them, but I’m more into the Brora and Clynelish stuff.

With this dram there was a snack of smoked chicken cream on toast. While this was damn tasty and a great combination on the palate, the food massively overpowered the nose which means my notes for the nose of the Highland Park are a bit short.

Between all this heavy hitting violence some folks at my table pulled out some stuff they brought themselves, mostly also 24 years old. Pretty awesome and I felt a bit like a freeloader with not bringing anything myself…

These drams were hugely different to anything that was in the official line-up. This Jura is pretty nice and tastes like good butter. Serge gave it 92 points which to my palate seems a bit high, but then again. It’s one of the nicest Juras I’ve ever had!

The Auchroisk was rather heavy, leathery and industrial. Not too complex but very tasty. Good stuff!

Tomorrow I’ll review the other whiskies from the official line-up and the bites that were had with that too.

About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
This entry was posted in - Grain Whisky, - Irish Whiskey, Cambus, Clynelish, Highland Park and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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