|Six whiskies and three sherries!|
|Gonzalez Byass Fino|
The Gonzalez Byass was indeed obviously very dry, even to those of us without much sherry knowledge (sherry reached its peak popularity in the UK back in the 1970s - "around the time my nan was absolutely caning it" - as someone suggested). It was certainly distinctive, with a butteriness about it. Some drinkers liked it, some didn't. It's £40 for a 50cl bottle, and the ABV is 16%.
|Deanston Fino Cask|
There was a lot going on here, with a fresh, sweet, taste. The lengthy time spent finishing in the sherry casks perhaps made it seem older than it actually was. It's true to say we liked this one very much. It's 55% and is well worth the £65 price tag.
It really hits the big, rich, sherried notes of fruitcake and raisins. The ABV is 61.2%. It's arguably still worth the £80, but if you know how much it used to cost, it's possibly a little harder to justify parting with the cash. The particular bottle we drank was from batch 56, although they're up to number 63 now.
|Craigellachie 10yo PX|
And this certainly was fruity, although if anything perhaps a little lighter than some club members had anticipated, and it had a bit of cocoa about it as well, along with a shortish finish. It had spent most of its maturation in a sherry butt before switching to a PX octave (a small cask holding just 50l, ensuring more of the flavour transfers to the liquid inside). It was £44 although they're all gone now, and was 54.9%.
|Nectar Pedro Ximenex|
And the proof of that came when we got to actually try it. "Like concentrated raisin juice" as someone suggested. Certainly memorable, although not exactly a session drink. At 15% and £15 (for a full 75cl bottle this time), it's one to invest in for when the family comes round next Christmas, maybe.
It was less raisiny and sweet than the PX we'd just had, and was perhaps all the better for it. This was 20.5% and £21 for a 37.5cl bottle. At this point we held, unusually for us, a 'sherry of the night' vote, and it was the Matusalem which just edged out the Nectar PX in a close decision.
|Chorlton Coig Deicheadan 17yo|
We didn't think this tasted all that sherried, although seeing as we'd just had two sherries back to back, perhaps it's hardly surprising some of the sherried subtlety may have got a bit lost in comparison. And besides, the Islay flavour of the Bunnahabhain seemed to come through too. It was very tasty all the same. Sadly, it's no longer available, although when you could get it, it was 46.5% and cost £75.
|SMWS 10.162 9yo|
Considering it's an Islay whisky and clocked in at 61.2%, this was surprisingly mild mannered. It certainly didn't taste its ABV, which was no bad thing at all. This one went down very well with the membership, although again it's no longer on sale, although we picked ours up for £63. Fans of the amusing names the SMWS gives its bottlings will want to know this particular one had the official title Big Wave Sofa. No, us neither.
Considering the sherry maturation, this one was surprisingly peated. Like an ashtray in fact, was one comment. It was certainly a tasty drop if not perhaps the best one we enjoyed all evening. It's 59.9% and is £44.
And so we moved on to the traditional dram of the night voting. And we had a rare tie, with both the Aberlour A'Bunadh and SMWS bottling picking up nine votes apiece, with the Deanston next on seven. In a second round of voting, the A'Bunadh beat the SMWS 14-11. Maybe it's worth the £80, after all.
Thank you to Adam for another brilliantly selected and produced evening, as well as to all club members old and new for attending, and to the staff of the Briton's Protection for looking after us once again.