Highland companions dating
A tad less complex on the palate but the whole is truly great. Nose: this is much younger and much more spirity than the Celtic Heartlands, more austere, much grassier... This addresses the reduced version: SGP:447 – 91 points (when neat: 83). Joe Jackson first came to my attention in 1979 following the release of his first album, Look Sharp, a collection of punchy, spiky and often misogynistic songs driven by Jackson’s piano, and his distinctive voice – somewhere between Elvis Costello and Graham Parker. I don’t know if these casks were laying at G&M’s in Elgin but what’s sure is that if it’s the case, distillery character can’t come from the warehouse’s location coz again, this is very ‘Ardbeg’. Mouth: sweet and a little rounder than on the nose, but again, there’s a lot of ‘Ardbeg’ character in this. Nose: less expressive than the G&M, a little more subdued in fact. Finish: medium long but beautifully salty as expected. Excellent notes of crystallised lemons topped with salt, almond milk and mint crème. Finish: not the longest ever but it’s round and creamy, on something like salted roasted almonds. Mouth: good attack, rather nervous, smoky and resinous with notes of marzipan and salted toffee.
Finish: not excessively long – maybe it’s the weakest part - but very clean and in no way drying. Comments: my favourite Glen Moray ever, together with the older official 1960. A bit hard and closed I must say, let’s try to wake it up using a little water... Mouth: ho-ho, yes, we’re much more in line with the Celtic Heartlands now, with again this big ‘citrusity’ (more bitter lemons here) but also more spices. Still, with water: more of the same, with added toffeeish and candied notes as well as a little salt. Finish: long, ‘focused’, on crystallised oranges, ginger and lemon drops. Very interesting differences between nose and palate – great single malt in any case. Nose: smells obviously young, with the yeasty/milky side of baby whiskies still dominating the whole at first nosing, but also the trademark ‘peaty coastality’ (we’re never short of barbarisms, are we? You may remember these crazy ads where women were chatting about their men and about how the fact that the latter were drinking Johniie Walker made them more, er, 'interesting'. They were not forgotten 'of course', as these two ads (around 1990) will show us. It was released by A&M, who at the time were also promoting the Police, whose first album had largely been ignored when it came out in the previous year but was now motoring due to the success of the re-released single ‘Roxanne’. Well at the time I was working in a record shop that had a deal with A&M so these records were played to death during peak play list hours. Recommended listening: Some people really seam to hate this record but I don't: The Gil Evans Orchestra playing the music of Jimi Hendrix in 1974. Superb marzipan, smoked fish, resin, cough syrup, kippers and salt. Finish: I would not have imagined that whisky at 40% would be that long. More on lemon juice, smoked grains (yeah, peated barley) and grapefruit juice. Comments: this one suffered a bit from comparison with the G&M but it’s still a great whisky, notably on the palate. Comments: great Ardbeg at low strength, from a great vintage. Then peppered apple pie, salted butter and ‘peat’... Nose: a bit between the very ‘Ardbeggian’ Signatorys and G&M and the Silver Seal.
A little ‘virtual’ at such young age but “has great potential”, as they say at masterclasses. I like these labels that look like old stock certificates... Comment: extremely assertive, and very interesting. A big, big effective young Bowmore that won’t take any prisoners. Type your first name in 'seu nome' and a friend's name in 'nome do amigo zoado'. Bar da Boa is a brasilian beer - we're waiting for a Scotch version... Nose: very typical, fresh and fruity (pineapples and bananas), with the oak underlining the whole (nutmeg, coconut, ginger). Neither big nor complex but very fresh and extremely well balanced. But at some point in the mid 80s he fell out of my consideration zone, not that that stopped him from releasing more albums, relocating to New York and then back to the UK (Portsmouth of all places) and picking up a Grammy for 1999’s Symphony No 1, which was a big hit in the Billboard Classical Music charts. Excellent malt-wood integration at 35 years of age. Peat, salt, cooked apples, lemon marmalade, liquorice and pepper. Nose: his is another dimension, quite unusual at that.
Doesn’t seem to need water so let’s just not do it. Keeps developing on all kinds of liquorices and ends up in... Okay, and cough syrup, lemon marmalade and pine tree sap. (or like old Readers Digest mailpieces) Colour: pale gold. Get ready – and don’t expect to be able to taste anything but a Port Ellen Rare Malts after this one. Recommended listening: the excellent Alsatian 'slammeur' Abd al Malik (not the Caliph) does Saigne.mp3. Now, we’ve already checked that Madeira can work quite well. Nose: a dry, smoky, peaty and liquoricy attack on the nose. ‘Dry’ raisins (Smyrna), ginger tonic, wet wool, lapsang souchong tea, cinchona, strawberries... Mouth: lacks body at 40% but other than that the profile is very ‘nice’. Bananas, oranges and cappuccino, good quality marshmallows, crystallised angelica, old rum, coconuts. Starts on varnish, very big nutmeg, roasted semolina... But thirty years on from signing for A&M he’s almost turned full circle, and is back with a new album, Rain, and a tour with two of his original band, Graham Maby on bass, and Dave Houghton on drums. Nose: not sure this would have been forever young but beautiful it is. Finish: long, complex, balanced, with the honey lasting longer than all other flavours. Finish: long, more than perfectly balanced again and with even more salt. Much more fragrant and less ‘austere’ than all the other 1974 Ardbegs we just had.
It was the time when Tennent’s had their famous pin-up cans (we collected them all and lined them up in the kitchen as soon as we were back – no, I wasn’t married yet.) A little earlier, I had seen the punk band The Police playing over here. A little rubber and sulphur (more like matches) but less smoke than in other old Inchgowers, that is.
More oak after a few minutes, the whole getting very dry.
We also get a couple of gratuitous covers, Abba’s ‘Knowing me knowing you’ and Bowie’s ‘Scary monsters’, the less said about which the better. The oak chimes in after that, with a rather beautiful cortege of spices (cinnamon, nutmeg and white pepper). Keeps developing on something like lychees and rose jelly, orange flavoured Turkish delights and cranberry juice. Comment: a classy and subtle Bruichladdich despite the heavy oakiness. Also a little more varnish and hints of diesel oil, and then much bigger coconut notes. Almost the same whisky, and even the extra-4% don’t make for any actual difference. We like this a lot and shall buy bottles when it’s out. Aren’t we all dreaming of something new, that would match the brilliant 1973s and 1974s, or the best casks from 1987? Even hints of chilli (not of the ‘End of the World – Triple XXX’ category that is.) Salted smoked fish. ), soy sauce and barbecued beef at first nosing, then prunes, prunes and...
And the evening ends with the very nice ‘Slow song’, from Jackson’s only top-ten album, 1982’s Night and Day. All that is a little understated (some may think ‘bland’ but it’s not, at all) but very, very clean. Finish: very long, very peppery and very orangey (bitter oranges).
I suppose that could have been it, but it’s not, because the second half of the evening features special guests The Incredible Blues Puppies, a spin-off from the Barcodes with Haddrell (only an occasional member), Coccia and Glenn being joined by Costa Tancredi on bass and John O’Reilly on guitar.
Equally delicate, subtle and deftly laid-back is drummer Dino Coccia – as the evening wears on he’s almost impossible to see, but you sure know he’s there.
And fronting the band on harmonica, and with some very tasteful blues licks on his Gibson guitar (note to artist – please clean guitar), is Alan Glen.
Hence the obnoxious, malodorous and frankly ugly pair behind us who were only silent when they left (as thankfully they frequently did) for a quick spit and a draw outside on the pavement. Mouth: compact, vigorous, with salty notes upfront. Mouth: very direct, very peaty and peppery, with rather big citrusy notes at the attack. More peat as well it seems, faint hints of lavender sweets, orange marmalade, kumquats... Maybe less direct cask influence than in most other Couvreurs.
For all that it’s an entertaining enough evening - as a three-piece the band are pretty good, Maby’s bass particularly impressive, Houghton’s largely electric drum kit less so, as it puts me constantly in mind of the BBC’s East Enders theme tune. Pepper and lemons plus a little vanilla fudge, orangeade, dried ginger... Not exactly a peat monster but quite – maybe the peatiest Longrow I ever tried. Comments: sweet and round until the finish, where the wood gets more, err, remarkable.