Last Friday it was time for the sort-of annual bad-ass whisky night at Whiskyslijterij De Koning in my old home town of Den Bosch. Man have I dropped a year’s salary there over the last decade…
Anyway, the concept of the night is, as always, that each participant gives the good man 50 euros, and he test drives some luxurious whiskies for us that are going to pop up over the coming year in a variety of tastings.
Before the tasting commences, he generally gives us a hint of what’s in store. Of course, Rob wouldn’t be Rob if the hint isn’t less than useful. So, this year’s hint was a shot of the tops of some boxes, with ‘greatest common divisor’, after we figured out one was the new Laphroaig 25. Apparently, everything was 25 years old. All except one were new bottlings, with 1 being from 2015, 4 from the end of 2017 and one from 2018.
The line-up, as we found out, was Pittyvaich 25, Old Pulteney 25, Glen Scotia 25, Springbank 25, Talisker 25 and Laphroaig 25. So, damn…
Pittyvaich 25, 1989-2015, 49.9% – Diageo’s Premium Releases
Some vanilla at first, with big hits of malt right after. Some apple, pear and gentle oak. The palate continued on oak, but mostly malt. A very malt driven dram. Slightly floral with vanilla and honey.
Old Pulteney 25, 46% – OB
This whisky was matured in bourbon casks for 25 years, before being finished for three years in Oloroso casks.
The nose is funky with soup spices and oak. Some earthy hints of mushrooms and stewed fruits. The palate is very intense and even slightly sharp. Funky, old oak and some serious age to the whisky. A true cracker.
Glen Scotia 25, 48.8% – OB
The label boasts that this is a Campbeltown Classic Malt. Contrary to what, I wonder… But anyway, Glen Scotia is a nice preparation for our pending trip to Islay and Campbeltown in early April.
The nose starts with old bourbon wood with some hints of vanilla, still earthy with mushrooms but very different from the Old Pulteney. Somehow. Slightly more fresh and coastal. The palate is lighter, with malt and a serious dry mouth feel.
Springbank 25, Refill Sherry, 46% – OB
This is the first Springbank 25 in recent years that doesn’t contain some measure of port casks, as I was told.
That’s noticeable on the nose with it being slightly lighter than expected. Lots of fruit with peaches and apricot. Slightly less funky than a lot of Springbanks but very, very good indeed.
Talisker 25, 45.8% – OB
Somehow, this is one I was looking forward to. I really, really love old Talisker, and this is about as old as you’re getting without selling body-parts out of your trunk.
It is a true Talisker with lots of pepper throughout the dram. There’s a whiff of peat and salt and iodine. But still it’s rather smooth and farmy. The palate is intense and drying with more focus on the black pepper, but with some coastal notes. Brine and ropes and such.
Laphroaig 25, Bourbon & second-fill Oloroso Sherry, 48.9%
Honestly, I thought the days of tasting modern day bottlings of properly aged OB Laphroaig were far behind me, but here we go.
It’s lighter and more delicate than I expected. Lots of peat, but not in a ‘kick-in-the-nuts’ kind of way. Medicinal with salt, but also some sweet tropical fruit with peaches and banana. After these flavors there’s a lot of dryness and peat and charcoal going on.
As you’ve probably noticed, my tasting notes were a bit shorter than normal, but that’s mostly due to the fact that I was out having fun with friends instead of doing complete assessments of whiskies I was having.
Still, something that stands out is that we STARTED the tasting with the highest ABV of the night. Still, that was the lightest dram of them all.
All of the whiskies were cracking and it was a truly luxurious night. I will start making arrangements for next year’s event, I guess!
Thanks Rob (of De Whiskykoning)
Also, what helps is that the crew that joins me at this tastings gets to know each other better and better and the jokes become more rude every year. And we all love it.
And finally I got to make fun of Bram (of The Whiskynerds) because he had the guts to put out a 300 euro bottle of Springbank without so much as a box around the bottle…