Murray McDavid Tasting @ The Wellington, Birmingham – 14.07.17

FULL TASTING NOTES AT END.

Have you ever had a room of 20 or so, slightly inebriated whisky-heads sing happy birthday to you?

No, I don’t suppose you have, but that’s what happened to me when I attended the Murray McDavid tasting that Birmingham Whisky Club had very kindly organised, coincidentally on my birthday.

I’ll keep this brief; being my birthday I’d already had a few drinks so my notes are nowhere near as cohesive as I’d have liked.

Anyway…

The atmosphere was the usual, warm, pleasant one that always greets you at Birmingham Whisky Club events.
Dean Jode from Murray McDavid had brought along 6 drams that promised to be varied and pretty interesting.

The line-up jumped about a bit and a couple of the drams were different to what had been originally stated but, if my notes serve me correctly, this is the running order of the night:

  1. Select Grain – Loch Lomond 19 Year Old (1st Fill Koval Casks) – 46.0%
    Single grain
  2. Mission Gold – Glen Moray 30 Year Old (Refill Bourbon Hogshead) – 49.0%
  3. Crafted Blend – Malts of Islay 27 Year Old 1987 (Refill Sherry Butt) – 44.9%
    Constituents being 90% Bowmore and 10% Laphroaig
  4. Mystery Malt – Darach Ruadh II (1st Fill Oloroso Butt) – 46.0%
    Glentauchers
  5. Benchmark – Bunnahabhain 14 Year Old (1st Fill Port Cask) – 46.0%
  6. The Vatting – Coinninch 20 Year Old 1995 – 46%

Dean presented well, at times quite passionately, with a lot of supporting knowledge and answers to any questions that arose, but in conversation later seemed a bit too ready to head off so there was no real chance to get to know him like you do with some ambassadors.
I can’t complain too much though, the man was generous enough to have brought a bottle of Peatside 2009 6 Year Old (marriage of 2 peated BenRiachs; one finished in a port pipe and one finished in a sherry cask) as a present for me after being given the heads-up by either Vicky or Amy.

A couple of things to watch out for in the future are:

  1. A good amount of Caol Ila being brought through following the recent purchase of 2 tankers of their spirit (for around £2,000,000 if I remember correctly.)
  2. The possibility of a cask strength division opening up.

A great tasting and one of the more intriguing lineups I’ve had the chance to attend for the club.

TLDR:
A great night, with some fantastic drams.
An incredible Glen Moray that really represented the distillery well and a Bunnahabhain that was phenomenal.


Select Grain – Loch Lomond 19 Year Old (1st Fill Koval Casks) – 46.0%

NOSE – 15
Sweet.
Spirity with malty cereal notes coming through.
Corn and butter are present and maybe some white pepper?
PALATE – 19
Vibrant with malt notes continuing along with the butter from before.
Quite thin in texture.
FINISH – 17
Primarily sweet with a hint of bitterness, but the sweetness is what lasts you through.
PERSONAL – 4
Not really to my taste.
Quite simple, flavour profile-wise and a little strong.

OVERALL – 55


Mission Gold – Glen Moray 30 Year Old (Refill Bourbon Hogshead) – 49.0%

NOSE – 16
Stale sweat and old cigars pop out initially followed by light wisps of vanilla.
PALATE – 27
Sweet, delicate and floral.
Fizzing on your tongue as you savour it.
Butterscotch and soft sherbert notes.
FINISH – 21
Long and drying with a surprise oakiness appearing.
PERSONAL – 8
A fantastic, elegant, delicate dram.

OVERALL – 72

Crafted Blend – Malts of Islay 27 Year Old 1987 (Refill Sherry Butt) – 44.9%

NOSE – 21
Soft and sweet with characteristic Bowmore notes and the expected peat.
PALATE – 22
Delicate ashyness, with an almost completely Laphroaig style to it.
Heather and Lavender.
FINISH – 21
Long and sweet.
Peat stings the cheeks.
Complexity dissipates quickly.
PERSONAL – 6
Pleasant dram, however Bowmore’s as a rule aren’t to my taste and this one unfortunately falls into that category too.

OVERALL – 70


Mystery Malt – Darach Ruadh II (1st Fill Oloroso Butt) – 46.0%

NOSE – 17
Very soft with a gentle sweet nuttiness arising.
PALATE – 20
Nuttiness remains as the sweetness develops to give sherry notes.
Drying mouth feel.
FINISH – 22
Long-lasting sweetness and the nuttiness remaining to the close.
PERSONAL – 6
Interesting nutty dram, if a little thin and simple.

OVERALL – 65


Benchmark – Bunnahabhain 14 Year Old (1st Fill Port Cask) – 46.0%

NOSE – 24
Sweet, fruity and plummy.
PALATE – 26
Sweet with a faint hint of smoke.
Notes of dark fruits and berries showing through.
FINISH – 20
Medium length, sweet and fruity throughout.
PERSONAL – 8
Fantastic port expression.
Sweet fruitness really being allowed to shine.

OVERALL – 78


The Vatting – Coinninch 20 Year Old 1995 – 46%

NOSE – 3
Bitter and laden with sulphur.
The only analogous taste that comes to mind is bile.
PERSONAL – 10
More sulphur, but joining it are a rather synthetically sweet flavour and notes of acetone or methylated spirit.
FINISH – 12
Still sickly sweet and quite fiery.
At least the sulphur has died back.
PERSONAL – 1
Not good at all.
Possibly one of the worst drams I’ve tried.
I often find blends to not necessarily be bad, but more often nondescript and unimaginative, however, this one has ploughed dangerously into the “holy shit, this is horrendous” territory.

OVERALL – 26

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