The Southside Whisky Club  

Wine Society Islay 25yo | 46.0% | Islay
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Meet #46   |   25/01/14   |   Hosted by Lucy
A mixed bag of whiskies for this meet, with a last-minute dash to Cadenhead's complimented with a bottle from one of our cupboards. Having said that, they were interesting sparring partners, but one somewhat pummelled the other.
Other bottles sampled:
#89 Glen Elgin 22yo | SSWC review 46a
Whiskophrenia! Very changeable but one of the best noses we’ve ever had. To set the scene, we are sitting on a balcony by the beach, it is a warm summer evening (or a “warm, salty evening” ;) – winky face necessary) and then a hint of wood smoke turns it Autumnal, and, with that, out come the cherry tunes, the crust of a fruit pie, vanilla, Disarono, marmalade, candied black pepper, pineapple and smoked ham pizza, and those damn drunken bees. The bonfire has also brought out the foosty old cupboards, mossy, bogginess of fresh bread on the turn (in the best way possible – like Penicillin), moth balls with a hint of Greggy Fresh and wine-crushing barrels (or “foot barrel, France – the thing you are in when you stamp on grapes” as it was initially described), with lime rinds/pickle and Extra Strong/Murray Mints thrown in for good measure. This has a powerful, aromatic capriciousness (best taken orally) but still has a whiff of an unfinished PowerPoint, which Ali was convinced had something to do with The Pelican Brief and the taste of his school pal Nick Marsh.
This has got everything – delicate and a powerful at the same time and difficult to pin down – like the bees have gotten drunk on fermented honey and a gorilla has come to the rescue! It has the biscuitiness of crunch creams, with the sweetness of red tootle-frooties and the sour foostiness of legionnaires–esque, stale, plastic water, cracker snaps (gunpowder) and an Iodinosaurus (old iodine). Yet it also has the peaty, acrid smokey, sour oiliness of a peppery ham (!), glazed with salted, burnt, glace cherries. It is sweet ‘n’ dry (there were objections to the lack of “and”) and had some extraordinary results from Hamish toasting George Osborne to Ali being lost for words! There was a wardrobe / story confusion, as well as a swimsuit, ‘Delia Tyson’ and ‘Greggy Fresh’ the gorilla. This is the drink that just keeps giving.

  Made somewhere on the mystical land of Islay...
Finish & Comments
As long as a pack of garibaldis in a row (long) but according to at least one, ‘water killed it’. The finish was controversial with some serious discussions over the pepper / lack of pepper as well as peppery vs Peppa Pig. There were elements of geranium (a gung-ho flower), pear drops, ‘acrid’, chilli jam, cinnamon and cloves, with a sooty biscuitiness. Pop a biscuit on the finish perhaps with some Power Snaps and Credit Crunch (both made-up cereals). “Will’s Mum’s orange stuff” was later found out to be less controversial than you might imagine, summarised as spiced oranges, sweet like jam. “Finnish anti, niina, pina, hanu”, was noted down: no-one knows why.

Titbits: SATISFYINGLY HEAVY FOIL WRAPPING but pale for an Islay of its age. We guessed it might be a Caol Ila. The cork sounded like a nun pulling a candle out of a candle holder.
~£33 (70cl)
Useful Links
Wine Society: Islay 25yo   |
We've always scored out of 10 in our group (see number in red box, below), with scores regularly given across that spectrum. The value out of 100 below is adjusted to the scale most commonly used for whisky reviews, to allow for better comparison.

93 / 100

Average score

Detailed scores (out of 10)
Ali: 8.8
Hamish: 7.9
Jamie: 8
Liz: 7.6
Lucy: 7.6
Martin: Null
Phil: 8.1
Russell: 8.1
Shelley: 7.9
Tasting Game Points (out of 0)
No scores available.


[ for other thoughts on whisky and more in-depth activities of the group, check out whisky on meiotic ]