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Scoring; The Weight of Expectation

or "A Perfect Percy"

Update: one day of this scoring was sufficient, everything's back to normal now on April 2nd.

 
 

A few days ago I had a discussion with three whisky people whose opinions I not only trust but also admire. "There has to be a better way" I argued as the conversation turned towards scoring whisky. When I sample whisky at home I generally know what the whisky is; brand, distillery, age, strength ... etc, some even have distillery tasting notes on the labels to help the unwary drinker. This is in total opposition to events like our Malt Maniacs Awards where the judges taste totally blind, not even knowing the strength of any particular sample.

In knowing the full details of a whisky I'm sampling, especially when it comes to price, I obviously have a preconception of what to expect, even if this is sub-conscious and not intended on my part. The more I think about this the more I think this is the way to go. Just look at my Easter Bunny notes below; all good whiskies, all tasted blind for MMA 2012 and all in the 81-88 range of points.

Scores should be more exciting! If I'm trying a rare old expression which others have perhaps scored highly, then I might expect to give it a high score too. But what if it only meets my expectation as opposed to greatly exceeding it? This should be reflected in the score, no? Conversely, what if I'm trying something which some may call "cheap and nasty" and find it to be really very decent, it's greatly exceeded my expectation and as such the score should reflect this in my opinion.

So, no more blind tasting and scoring for me. I want to know all the details of the whisky!

From now on I'll award up to 70 points for the whisky itself and up to a further 30 points for what I call "The Weight of Expectation".

 

 

 

 
 

The "Perfect Percy"

Here's a perfect example of my philosophy; Bought at a local supermarket for a quite astonishing 7.59, my expectation was for something, well, cheap and nasty. As it turns out this was a very palatable whisky far exceeding my expectation for which it earned a full "Weight of Expectation" 30 points so welcome to my first ever, fully-deserving 100 point whisky!

 

 

 

 

Easter with the Whisky Wabbit

or "Under sail to Eggs-otic Isles"

 

 
 

Today, for Easter Sunday the Whisky Wabbit sets sail in search of two rather eggs-otic isles as, if rumour is to be believed, somewhere far far away in the deep blue oceans at the end of the Earth there lie the Isles of Egg and Mug. Of course he'll be setting sail in his antique tea clipper as he takes to the high seas in the wake of our heroic explorers from days gone by. In fact our modern-day hero claims to be a direct descendent of possibly the most famous explorer, so let me introduce him to you by name; please meet Laird Dillon Columbus Cottontail.

 
 

 

Welcome to Egg & Mug

Just imagine the contrast of a hard and rare brown coral shell protecting a sweet island of sun-kissed pure white beaches; welcome to the isle of Egg. In contrast, the isle of Mug is much more rocky, ceramic almost, but still bearing the colour of its also sun-kissed beaches.

 

 
 

As the Wabbit crosses the high seas with dram in hand his mind wanders through those distant pages of whisk(e)y history and the fact that it's now 80 years since Prohibition was repealed in America. 2013 Also sees the 90th Birthday of Cutty Sark, so what better way to pass the time than with a brace of Cutties, or would that be a pair of Sarks?

Cutty Sark Prohibition is a celebration of their 90th Birthday and also an association with Prohibition and the legendary bootlegger Captain Bill McCoy. Matching the sun-kissed isles of Egg & Mug it displays a colour of light yellow gold. The nose is filled with vanilla and suggestions of freshly-sawn wood with a faint but over-riding leafiness. As time passes this develops distinct hints of roast pork. The palate emphasises everything from the nose but also includes a fruitiness akin to the German Schnaps Obstler leading into the long finish. My Overall Impression says this is a very different blend, but one I like and a big thank you for bottling at 50% abv.

Cutty Sark Cask Strength & Carry On is the "C" edition from Neil & Joel who appear to have teamed up with Cutty Sark for their third edition of Alphabetti Whisketti. A Cutty Sark blend at a very commendable 51.4% abv. The nose starts with malty biscuit but soon expands to include the distinct aromas of a florist's shop leading up to Mothers' Day. Is there also a hint of banana stem or even pineapple skin? The palate is initially delightfully creamy and filled with that pineapple skin, as opposed to the fruit itself. Perhaps more like some pineapple boiled sweets I enjoyed as a child? Yes, it has a light sweetness which fits perfectly with the idea of those sweets. The finish is long but gentle. My Overall Impression is dominated by that pineapple and very pleasantly so. This really is an easy going whisky. I like it, lots.

My thanks to the people at Cutty Sark (and also Neil & Joel) for making this Easter so much fun for the Whisky Wabbit, now where's the Rum?

 

 

 

 

 

Easter with the Whisky Wabbit

or "You sixy Bunny, you"

 
 

What better way to celebrate Easter weekend than with the Whisky Wabbit or, in other words "Bunny, Bunny, Bunny! Yes, this can mean only one thing; let's have an Easter-worthy Northern Islay Bunny-Fest!

Bunny, Bunny, Bunny!!!

   
 

                   

 
 

 

Distillery bottling (OB) 12y, 46.3% The (natural) colour is rich golden and the nose initially offers a musty leafiness which gives way to light rubberiness after a few minutes. Is there something lightly metallic alongside a slightly bitter fruitiness after some more minutes? This is not bad, it's just a little different and unusual. The palate offers nothing strange at all, just good and honest, creamy, leafy, fruity and very earthy. The finish is medium to long with a hint of coconut right at the end. My overall Impression is one of a slightly unusual nose, a very good palate and I love that coconut right at the end. Let's say a very creditable 82 points.

 
 

 

Riverstown, 6y, 20.12.2005 - 06.2012, Hogshead No.11045, 60.1%, bottle No.215 of 262 Now here's a very young Bunny, just 6 years old and very pale in colour, in fact almost water-like. The nose is nothing like water, it's filled with a lightly fishy smokiness. Just like a beach BBQ slowly working its magic with kippers (that's smoked herring). Lots of fishy smokiness and BBQ embers; nice. The palate is richer than the nose with lots of peatiness and a hint of fruitiness alongside the smoked herring. A medium to long finish just extends the palate. My Overall Impression says this is very maritime with lots of Atlantic-ness, maybe just a little too fishy for me, but a very good whisky considering its youthfulness. A not very fishy 81 points from me.

 
 

 

Wemyss, "Driftwood", 1997-2012, 46%, one of 374 bottles The colour is a very pale yellow, the nose lightly rubbery and almost, but not quite offering hints of rubberiness. After some minutes a distinct fruitiness turns very slightly fishy in a smoky way.  The palate is solid, very solid with a lightly rubbery and peaty earthiness. Very nice. The long finish offers gentle peatiness and fruitiness. My Overall Impression is one of a slightly disappointing nose but a truly fantastic palate. An excellent 85 points from me.

 
 

 

Whisky Doris, 35y, 11.1976 - 06.2012, Sherry Hogshead No.6112, 49.1% bottle No.50 of 248 Now this is one richly dark Bunny with a colour of very dark amber or maybe even teak. The nose initially can't be much more countryside, even down to the suggestion of very aromatic cow manure, yes really, but not in a bad way. After some minutes this changes to offer a musty dark fruitiness and antique leather. The palate warms with that dark fruitiness alongside a lightly toasted slightly dry oakiness. This continues into the very long finish. My Overall Impression is one of an excellent whisky. Don't be put off by my 'maure' comment, it's countryside at its very best, even reminding me of early mornings on the river bank. Gone Fishing and 87 points from me.

 
 

 

Wilson & Morgan, 38y, 1973-2012, Sherry Butt No.1, "Barrel Selection", 41.2% Once again my Classic Malt glass is graced by a rich dark amber liquid. The nose is extremely aromatic, slightly sweet and lightly perfumed. I'm in my olde worlde childhood sweet shoppe again! A suggestion of furniture polish develops with time as does a rich sweet woodiness. By comparison the palate is initially very subdued, gentle and creamy with a very light tingle on the front of the tongue, followed by creamy cappuccino. The finish is deceptively long and repeating. My Overall Impression says gentle and subdued but yet delightful, refined and very civilised. A true gentle giant and 88 points from me.

 
 

 

Adelphi for TSMC, 13y, 1998-2012, Cask No.6039, 55.2%, one of 629 bottles What a colour; almost black - treacle toffee or even ebony. The nose suggests slightly rubbery bread dough left to rise in a warm room. There's also a hint of lightly toasted woodiness. The palate also has a ligthly toasted quality, but more akin to dark chocolate, espresso coffee and a fruitiness reminiscent of raisins and prunes. The finish is extremely long, almost never-ending and very rich too. My Overall Impression is of a quite typical and very good Bunnahabhain containing all the right suggestions of the Atlantic coast, rubber dinghy moored to an aged pier and an underlying rich dark fruitiness.  Definitely worth 85 of my points.

 

 

 

Month

Recent major features (A full list of all Dram-atics articles may be found in my ToC)  
March 2013 International Whisky Day - Raise a Glass & Raise Awareness  
February 2013 A Horse, A Bow & a Dear, Karui-WOW-Ahhh  
January 2013 Glen-CLASS-augh, Fab Fo(u)rties, Glen-DROOL-nach  
Autumn 2012 The Olympkins, Getting old and Grainy  
July 2012 Motor Maniac meets Malt Maniac, Nosing New Make  
May-Jun 2012 Limburg - Whet Dreams, Dalmore Constellation, Independence? MM 15y Scotland, Blend of Maniacs  
Mar-Apr 2012 Investment grade madness, Glenglassaugh, 5th IWD, 1000th Review, April Fool, Going dotty, age verification  
Feb. 2012 It's a rum old do, Growing old gracefully, Four Imperial sisters  
Jan. 2012 Onwards & Upwards, Canadian Whisky Awards  
Dec. 2011 MMA 2011 Winners, HP 70's Orcadians, Debussy plays Pitaud, Class of 64-65, Elementary my dear Sukhinder  
Sept-Nov 2011 Malt Maniacs Awards 2011 - A weekend in the life of a Postmaster General  
June-Aug 2011 Bits Bytes & Drams, Glen Garioch 1994, Angela D'Orazio - Mackmyra, Trinity of Two Earls, Drams at Dawn
May 2011 Don't bug me with ads, A dram fine evening
April 2011 Cry me a River, Golden Oldies, The Shackleton Legacy, Two Weddings and a Whisky
March 2011 Masters of Photography, Memory and the Middle Cut, Sampling again, Dave Stirk 5, Choosing choice Choices
Feb. 2011 Festival time again, Spam Galore!, Drams & Trams

Jan. 2011

Lookback at 2010, New Job? Three Thirties, ToC, Overdosing on sherry casks

 

 

 

 

 

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