nmwl is the Norwegian Malt Whisky Society, and once a month we meet up 30-40 people or so and taste our way through a lot of good whisky. The first meeting of 2009 took place on wednesday in the new meeting place in Oslo, and the topic of the night was “Old whisky”. Last year my attendance at the meetings was poor at best, they always seemed to be on the nights where I either had to work or something else came up. This year though I’m planning to attend more since the range of whisky you can taste is very good!
So, before the tasting there is always a chance to taste some other “normal” bottles, so I went with a Linkwood 14yo to start the night out: grass, cocoa, a bit sweet ( but still some acidity ), some spice, citrus and a nice malt taste that lingers. Not my preferred bottle of malt, but still very enjoyable.
Then there was the “Old whisky” section of the night, we were presented with 5 bottles, and all would be tasted blind ( always fun to taste whisky without knowing much about them, gives you a much more honest view of the bottle ).
- Tamdhu 39yo 40.5%
On the nose this was apples, green apples. The taste left me a bit disappointed though: bitter metallic with some spices coming through. Considering the age of this bottle time has been very nice with it, the hard cask influence that you can get from old casks like this wasn’t there, and the color was nice and clear.
- Cragganmore 29yo 52.5%
On the nose this was smooth caramell, honey and sweets. The taste was spicy, some floral hints, sweet fruits and a long dry malt aftertaste. This is a bottle I would like ( and is within my price range ): the tasting was over too quick, I think this would benefit from 30 minutes in the nosing glass to open up a bit.
- MacAllan 25yo 1975, 43%
Oh! sherry, sherry and more sherry on the nose! Can’t be clearer than that! This was smooth: the sherry cask hit my mouth with a explosion that just wouldn’t stop. I normally go for whisky from bourbon casks, but this was complex and smooth.
- Caol Ila Berry’s own selection 25yo 46%
This one left me wondering: after nosing it and realising it had a very distinct lack of smell, but with a hint of peat I tasted it and got lots and lots of spices peat and after some discussion and looking at the glass we were considering Caol Ila for this one, and it was. 25 years in the cask absolutely have made its impact compared to the standard Caoli Ila. I’m absolutely considering this for inclusion in my collection of malts.
- Caol Ila 25yo OB 58.4
This one was tasted together with the previous Caol Ila, and here the distillery came through more on the nose and the taste: a explosion of peat and spices in the mouth left me gasping for air the first sip. But still: this OB from Caol Ila is very balanced and have the long good aftertaste that left peat in my mouth for ages. Too bad this one isn’t available in Norway.
And that was it for the blind tast of 5 old whiskies. Caol Ila 25 OB was the winner for me this night, Cragganmore was the biggest surprise and MacAllan is the best sherry cask whisky I’ve ever had.
Now we finished up with a Ardbeg Mor discussing the evening: this 4.5liter bottling is massive ( we did get it on a standard bottle for the evening, you can’t pour from that massive bottle anyway! ) It was plesant as every other Ardbeg I’ve had: green grass, salt sea and lots of peat. You just can’t go wrong.
Finally before heading home I tasted a Auchentoshan exclusive malts that a friend had poured, but for me it left nothing at all: yeast and a bitter aftertaste.
To finish up the night on the good note I went home and got myself a Caol Ila 1990 17yo OMC single cask 365 bottles 50% when I came home and twittered my notes for the evening. On the nose: floral and citrus. taste: peaty, salt and oily, a classic Caol Ila as they should be.
A very plesant night with lots of new bottles that I haven’t tried before, and if you are ever in Oslo you should come by on a meeting, you never know if your next big discovery will appear!