Post #1 - This post with my notes on the whiskies that won't be in posts 2 and 3.
Post #2 - The VIP malts from the evening. Rather than sipping them on location, I tucked my .25oz samples into separate bottles to try on Sunday night. These will have (I hope) more extensive notes.
Post #3 - I escaped with .75 - 1.00oz samples of three whiskies. These will get their own post next week. I'm drying out for a few days before I even look at a whisky again.
So here's the list:
Ardbeg Ardbog, 52.1%ABV - On the nose: lightly winey, bricks of veggie peat, and seemingly more coastal than the 10 year. Cigarettes, lemon, lightly bitter peat, and oranges in the palate. Pretty good actually, just not $100 good.
Ardbeg Corryvrecken, 57.1%ABV - Because what I really needed was a nightcap.
Ardbeg Lord of the Isles - See post #2
Bowmore 1982 21yr Samaroli - See post #2
Bowmore 1989 21yr Silver Seal, 46%ABV - Dynamite! Wish I had taken some actual notes on this one. Nary a hint of flowers or perfume. Good peat, good barley, good oak. Big and bold even after 21+ years.
Bowmore 2000 12yr Cadenheads, 59.6%ABV - This one was divisive. Cough medicine, salty, some spicy herbs, but mostly very phenolic. I loved it.
Bowmore 2001 11yr Maltbarn, 53.6%ABV - Tons of grapefruit and ginger. Very enjoyable. A contrast in characteristics from the preceding Cadenheads Bowmore.
Brora 1981 21yr Old Malt Cask - See post #2
Bunnahabhain 1997 14yr Van Wees, 54.2%ABV - This will also be in post #3.
Bunnahabhain Toiteach, 46%ABV - The young peaty Bunny. People who like their peated Cruach-Mhona, didn't like this one. And vice versa. I like both, but prefer the Cruach due to its Ardbeggieness.
Campbeltown Loch (Blended Scotch) - Not half bad. Piney, oily, some dried oregano, enough malt to be substantial. I haven't found this blend for sale in California yet. I'd spring $30 for it, though it appears to be priced higher.
Clan Denny Islay (Blended Malt), 46%ABV - I liked it quite a bit. There are a number of well-received vatted Islays on the market: Clan Denny, Cask Islay, Smokey Joe, Big Peat. If the bottlers would only keep their prices in the $40 range, then they would win over the folks (like me) who are tired of seeing $50-$60 10 year old single malts. But most of those vatted malts are heading into the $50 range as well.
Douglas XO (Blended Scotch) - Inoffensive. Drinkable. Low on the smoke. Probably better than all of the famous entry level blends out tere.
Kilchoman 2007 4yr Single Cask Nation, 58.4%ABV - Another excellent single cask of baby Kilchoman. Just enough American oak frames the Kilchoman malt rumble.
Lagavulin 1995 12yr Friends of Classic Malts, 48%ABV - A limited (by Diageo's standards) release of 100% ex-sherry Lagavulin. Was the most popular of all the malts I was pouring. The sherry oak shaves the edges off the Lag and makes it more approachable. I'd still take the 12yr cask strength over it any day.
Laphroaig Cairdeas 2013 (9 month port pipe finish), 51.3%ABV - Pink Laphroaig! I'm not a port-ed whisky fan, but with its strawberry shortcake and fresh raspberries, this most recent Cairdeas was very very tasty. I hope they keep the price low when it hits this coast......I can hope can't I?!
Laphroaig 20yr SMWS 29.104, 58.2%ABV - With 1000 thank yous to Tim Puett! Definitely one of my top two malts of the night. I've had four indie ex-sherry Laphroaigs this year and all of them have been fantastic. The phenolics, grapes, and rich oak always merge into a single statement. That statement is, of course, "I am delicious."
Ledaig 10yr, 46.3%ABV - My palate was largely vaporized by the time I got to this one, but it was very approachable. It was good to see so many folks enjoying Ledaig. I've reviewed it before, but I will study it further.
Ledaig 1997 16yr Blackadder Raw Cask - The other one of my top two malts of the night. This will be in post #3.
Octomore 5.1, 59.5%ABV - Milk chocolate, a bit of malt still flexing through the noise, sugar cookies, salty peat. I love enormous phenolics, but the three Octomores I've tried haven't knocked me over. In fact, it's almost as if the peat is yelling so loud that I've tuned it out. And their prices are a damned distraction.
Port Ellen 8th Release - See post #2
Apologies for the lack of pics. I was pouring stuff all night. And when I wasn't pouring, I was sipping. Post #2 will be following in a day or two. Now, I must hydrate.