For those of you who were lucky enough, Limburg Whisky Fair provided for an excellent opportunity to try some of the very rarest Whiskies we ever had. All presented by Mario Groteklaes, the Whiskies were quite great class ;)
The Danes and the Luxembourgers enjoyed 9 very good whiskies which I want to take the time to quickly review here (and tell you what you missed out on)
Starter: Pride of Orkney 12y 40% G&M bottled early 1980ies
This is your regular Old School Highland Park which reminds you of the HP distilled in the late 60s or 70. This particular bottle was bottled in the early 1980ies and had a very nice nose, malty, a bit of salt, some smoke and quite a long finish for a 12 year old. A very drinkable malt.
We then moved on from Orkney to Islay with a Bowmore sherry 15y.o. 1998-2013 52.1% Whisky Agency "Stamps". A newer bottling this was definitely a good one and it ranked high with the dano-luxembourgish audience mainly because of its long lingering finish, and the well done combination of sherry and peat (which is always a delight and ever harder to find)
From the Islands back to the Highlands, this was for me personally the oldest Whisky I had ever tasted. The Tomatin sherry 45y.o. 1966-2011 46.1% Joint Bottling Whisky Agency & The Nectar. At the SMWS you would have called it very old and dignified, decorated with all the war medals you could find. The smell was mostly Sherry and Vanilla, which was a good combination as well. Being usually not the biggest Tomatin fan, the private bottlings I had in recent times convinced me that it is a Whisky which ages very well. It also speaks for the Sherry Cask that after 45 years the amount of alcohol in the Whisky did not scratch the critical barrier of 40 %.
Speaking of old and dignified, the next one was a Glen Ord 31y.o. 1970-2002 50% Douglas Laing "Old Malt Cask". The Whisky doesn't need much introduction, Old Malt Cask is a quality label and this was the case also for this particular Whisky. A second maturation of 6 months in Sherry casks only added to the WOW! effect of that one. (At that point my tasting notes are a bit blurry, but they regain consciousness after the dinner break, which we had after the Glen Ord.
Ah yes, my notes are better again. So we came back with the least matured Whisky, but certainly not the least mature. The Aberlour 1964 8y.o. 50% Original, cube shaped bottle, where the form of the bottle should ring a bell has nothing in common with a standard 8 year old of today. This was the standard in the 70s and for those of you who lived during that time, either you were very lucky to drink this, or you should have started earlier. It's a sweet and strong Whisky which gives away its age, but at the same time is very advanced for the short period of time in the cask. One likes to imagine that for this bottle, great care was taken from everyone involved in the process. Also, a slight tipp, if you ever find a bottle Aberlour 1965 don't drink it. Only the 1964 stuff. Nobody knows why but just trust me on this.
A decade later the Glen Garioch 1973 21y.o. 43% Original was produced. Not much can be said for this bottle, only that it's rare, it's good and very drinkable. However, among the crowd of awesome whiskies that night it didn't really stand out. I invite you therefore to try it by itself if you ever have the chance to your hands on a drop.
Concerning the Glen Elgin sherry 16y.o. bottled 10/1993 60% Manager`s Dram you had to go with Mario's instructions of "Shake twice, then it's nice" Because it had so much Sherry, it was a bite in wood of all the different traditional Sherry aromas which lacked a bit of overall roundness. Don't get me wrong, it was a good Whisky, but an edgy one.
We were then taken back to the journey to Islay, where due to unforeseen circumstances, we would stay for the rest of the tasting. Again, the notes become a bit blurry for the Caol Ila 21y.o. 1974-96 58% Cadenhead`s Authentic Collection and my tasting buds were at their smoked and peated end. Despite this, the Caol Ila managed to find its way to my senses and rattled them up quite some time. Again, this was an edgy Whisky and a good one.
Staying on Islay for the very end a slight change in plan made us move from the planned Glen Grant sherry 24y.o. 1972-96 54.3% Signatory Vintage to the Bruichladdich 1966 bottled in 1981, mainly for the fact, as Mario explained it, that the Glen Grant was off and sour and remained to be used as a very expensive pipe cleaner. Therefore it was replaced with the Bruichladdich, which also cleaned some throats but due to its high peat and rough character.
Pictures from the tasting will follow soon, until then I hope you enjoyed the reading.
Disclaimer: I deliberately don't use a rating system since all those impressions were very very subjective and also because the first Whisky that evening was by far not the first drink I had that day.