Wednesday 23 March 2016

Closed For A Reason

Closed For A Reason
My tasting note for this dram - admittedly written after a long afternoon of tasting big Australian red wines - reads in full:
A good ordinary dram. Decent malt, light fruitiness. The initial nose was like a whisky smell from childhood.
I've tasted only a handful of whiskies from Convalmore, and none of my notes really get any more enthusiastic than the one above. Hence the title of this post.

In 1985, Convalmore was one of five distilleries to close. In 1983, eleven had shut down. The Scotch slump of the eighties meant that producers had to face some hard choices. I'd hazard a guess that it was probably easier to choose to close a distillery which didn't produce a particularly outstanding whisky.

About Convalmore
You can still see the distillery buildings, although these days they are just used for storage by William Grant & Sons (Glenfiddich and Balvenie are neighbours to Convalmore). There's plenty of detail over on Malt Madness.

Wednesday 16 March 2016

Tasting Note: Arran 18 Year Old

Over the past few years Isle of Arran have been releasing an annual batch of a few thousand bottles of teenaged whisky, as steps along the way to adding an 18 Year Old to their core range.

After a good 16 and a very good 17, last year's limited release 18 Year Old was a bit mince. There was a bitterness to it which wasn't enjoyable. I understand that Arran had to sell almost everything they produced back in 1995 and 1996, so they were working with very limited choices, but still. They could have waited.

So I didn't really have particularly high hopes for this new permanent release. And thus, find myself somewhat pleasantly surprised, but not delighted.

With its sweet cooked apple notes, this dram is most definitely Arran. The nose is toffee - tarte tatin, in fact, with a subtle sweet spice note. Over time a lifted aroma emerges; some sort of pungent note which isn't menthol or lavender, but which reminds me of both of those things.

The palate is slightly hot, sweet, and has a toffee apple sweetness (but green apples). There isn't much obvious oak, and any malty notes take a while to build.

In conclusion, while this a more than decent dram, I think I'd rather have the 14 Year Old, or one of the finishes - probably the Amarone finish.