Yesterday, the usual group (plus a few additions) gathered to sample various bits of brown water. I had planned to liveblog the event, but alcohol and blogging probably don't mix very well, so I'm compiling various impressions after I've had a day to think it over and recover.
The first up was the Bowmore 21 year old, islay scotch I mentioned purchasing last week. The cork made quite an impression, but ultimately didn't really relate to the ultimate taste of the scotch. We were all surprised at the smoothness of the expression. It is much milder in taste than its younger counterparts. It had a slight peatiness with a bit of vanilla taste, with a moderate finish. It was everything we had hoped it would be.
Next, we tasted an old favorite: Highland Park 12 year old. The only new reaction came from a newcomer to our tastings: it's a good scotch for someone who doesn't drink scotch. Luckily, Chris refrained from doing it as a shot this time.
Next up, we tried another scotch that was a bit older than we are used to: Glenrothes 20 year old. We've tried Glenrothes expressions before, but not one this old. It had a very light nose, but the taste belied the smell. A very strong first taste on the tip of the tongue led to moderate heat and a clean, crisp finish. A bit of a fruity aftertaste was also observed by a number of the collected brown-water snobs. Also, for the first time in four-odd years, two attendees independently brought the same expression to the tasting. I'm surprised it took this long to be honest, but we all had a laugh about it.
Next, we tasted the Longmorn again (referenced below), before moving to the Glennfiddich Caoran Reserve. I like the latter just as much this time as I did during our impromptu tasting last week. New impression: it was very ashy and ember flavored, almost like waking up the morning after a bonfire party. Christian, in his best Simpson's Ralphie voice, described it a, "this tastes like burning."
Finally, we tasted my favorite--or home--expression: a Laphroaig 15 year old Islay. I don't really know what to add here. It was peaty. It was smoky. It was briny. It was wonderful.