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Malt Maniacs 2005

The big winners among the 'proper' IB's were the bottlings done by Blackadder (1 x gold, 4 x silver), The Whisky Exchange (1 x gold, 3 x silver), Signatory Vintage (1 x gold and 2 x silver), Adelphi (5 x silver), the SMWS (4 x silver), Duncan Taylor (3 x silver) and finally two bottlers from Italy; Samaroli (2 x silver) and Wilson & Morgan (2 x silver). Chapeau!
Blairfindy 24yo 1980/2004
(55.9%, Blackadder for SFT, C#5984)
Awarded: "Top Sherry Cask"
(Blackadder for Sun Favourite Taiwan, sherry butt #5984, 182 bottles) - Sun Favourite from Taiwan did very well indeed during the 2005 Awards with the Top Sherry Cask Award and for this 'bastard' Glenfarclas and the string of silver for their three peat monsters. Luc wrote 'Glenfarclas, and I think from 1980.' Correct! Olivier wrote: 'Dark amber! Smoke, chocolate, rainsins, beautiful sherry. Soft, nice palate. Top!' Agreed.
Read more about Blairfindy
Blackadder 'Peat Reek'
(61.7%, Blackadder for SFT, 294 Bottles)
(for Sun Favourite Taiwan, hogshead BA 10571, Bottled May 2005) - This is the first of a string of three excellent peat monsters (or 'peat bastards') that were submitted by the Taiwanese importer for Blackadder. This was the overall top scorer with strong nominations for gold from Olivier, Craig, ho-cheng and, yes, Klaus. Luc wrote: 'Must be some kind of peat bomb. Blackadder in style.' Yep, he hit the nail exactly on the head!
Read more about Peat Reek
Blackadder 'Peat Reek'
(62.1%, Blackadder for SFT, 299 Bottles)
(for Sun Favourite Taiwan, hogshead BA 10570, Bottled May 2005) - This batch of the 'Peat Reek' earned an average score that was marginally lower than that of the '294 Bottles' version but got three nominations for gold as well; from Ho-cheng, Klaus and Krishna, who wrote: 'Peat and smoke, mild on nose, mild florals, sweet syrup, hot peppers, lemony?, coats inside the mouth, very warm long long finish. Caol Ila or Laphroaig.'
Read more about Peat Reek
Blackadder 'Smoking Islay'
(59.7%, Blackadder for TSMWTA)
(for Taiwan Single Malt Whisky Tasting Association, cask #BA 2005/202, 233 bottles) - Another winner! The third of the terrific trio from Taiwan would have won gold if it had been up to Serge, Olivier, Ho-cheng and Thomas. As Ho-cheng proudly pointed out, this one received the highest lowest score with Peter's 82. Olivier wrote: 'Rich oily malt. Ripe pears, hints of peat, develops nicely and ius complex. BIG peaty character!'
Read more about Smoking Islay
Caol Ila 25yo 1979/2004
(61.2%, Blackadder / SFT, C#5334)
(Bottled for Sun Favourite Taiwan, 44 Bottles. Also available in Sweden) - out of the six Caol Ila bottlings that won silver this year, this bottling for Sun Favourite Taiwan earned the highest average score. If it had been up to Ho-cheng and me it would actually have won a gold medal. Luca wrote: 'Very good: salty, seaweedy, slightly peaty, with sea fruits, licorice, propolis and even burnt wood and burnt meat! It needs water to fully release its flavors.'
Read more about Raw Cask
Whisky Bible 2006
Aberdeen Distillers
Rosebank 1991 43%
Awarded: "Best Single Malt of the Year 12 Years or under"
Ranking: 96
Nose: 25 It is unlikely you will nose Rosebank even a fraction better than this between now and the days the stocks run dry: kirsch enveloped in Lubek's finest dry marzipan and freshly diced South African apples offering a stunning ripeness. All this rounded by stunning honey. The malt is always in attendance offering just enough weight and meekness: the oak is discreet and delicate. One of the great noses I have ever had the privilege to encounter.
Taste: 24 Here we go again: everything measured to just-so proportions with the malt absolutely in control and showing a supreme clarity and subtle sweetness, yet allowing the oak in for astonishing balance.
Finish: 23 Just the trace of a sign of the oak getting the better of the malt and being less inclined to share the starring role. Even so, the soft vanilla and sits well with the vague spiciness.
Balance: 24 Last year I tasted this from a leaking sample bottle of whisky barley 2cl remained. So I have revaluated it - and thank God I did! As far as Lowland malt whisky is concerned, I will be surprised if it ever gets better than this. If Rosebank really is to be left to rot, I hope whoever decided that should be the case gets a bottle of this at Christmas, along with the latest Flora and fauna expression for good measure. And no, not choke on them, but wonder if their wisdom was so great after all. And if, in the grand scheme of things, there is something even more important than the bottom line of a pretty bottomless company accounts sheet.
- Jim Murray
Read more about Aberdeen Distillers
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Caliken Calligraphy
If you are interested in whisky labels and calligraphy, the art of lettering, follow this link to the website of label designer Ken Fraser.
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