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Running your tongue along a newly tarred road…….

With apologies to SMWS’s artistic licence. Finlaggan Cask Strength 58%.

This little gremlin reared its ugly head during the recent Cape and Jo’burg Whisky Live shows:

Raw cut potato, rubber bands, sulphur, elastoplast and generally unpleasant odours savagely assail the nostrils.The palate hints at vanilla then rudely offers new rubber and hot tarmacadam. Water just makes the nose more odorous, the palate undrinkable. This is a prime example of a inchoate whisky, one that is too young, too little copper, too badly casked, too awful.
I shudder to think that this could be an offering from my favourite distillery…Ardbeg?58

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Whisky prices

I love this mobile blogging thing! Sitting at a coffee shop in the bustling metropolis of Nelspruit waiting for my coffee, which I can’t have because Eskom’s done their bit in cutting off the power! So I thought I’d take some time to tell you about recent local Whisky price changes. Noticed some amazing specials recently? Not just the usual Christmas specials – Johnny Black at less than R250? It’s called parallel imports and there’s plenty of whispering in the industry, positive and negative, depending on where you sit in the supplier-consumer chain. We’re not talking grey imports here, it’s legit merchandise (the real McCoy as they say in Whisky-speak), sourced via another route. “So what?” you say. Does it matter where itcomes from as long as I can save a few buffalos (R100 notes for all you foreign blog followers!). While I have long felt that imported Whisky is overpriced – duty on alcohol is volume-based so who’s ripping us? – there is also the very important aspect of marketing to consider. To launch a new Whisky here marketing costs are exhorbitant, so why not let the big boys do all that and we’ll bring in the parallel imports? Food for thought? The power’s on and my coffee just arrived, so till next time…

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Value for money Part 1……..

Tomintoul 27yo 43% – A deliciously sweet nose of honeycomb, honeysuckle and barley dipped in ….honey. This reminds me of an Asara Noble Late Harvest…gradually develops to caramel fudge. The palate is initially all dessert wine, light and mellow, then seville marmalade lingering to a fino finish.85
A dram best suited to sipping neat then left for 10 minutes to develop without water.
Rarely, if ever, will you find a proprietary 27yo for under R 1000.00. This delectable little gem can be found at under R 600.00 at most Spar Tops outlets.

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Iconic doesn’t get much better than this…….

As a first blog lets not be shy….how about a tasting of an outstanding independent bottling of a 25yo Port Ellen? It is a 1982 60.4% sherry cask offering from AD Rattray. The nose is initially all seaweed with a hint of new paint, peat smoke and shellfish. Now take a mouthful but keep it in the mouth for a minimum of 15 seconds…chew it….the palate coats the tongue with sherry sweetness, then powerful creosote and tar on the finish…lingering…..exotic….Port Ellen. The balance of the honeyed sherry notes with the powerful Port Ellen peat characteristic is richly exquisite, A very, very special dram ….96