Once again we’ve reached the end of a year , so time to hand out a few plaudits ! It’s been a pretty good year , we had 3 excellent trips to Islay including one for the bottling of a Port Charlotte Cask .
Islay Distillery Bottling of the Year - I actually struggled at first to think of any new Owner bottlings i’d tried this year ! I suppose our 10yo Port Charlotte is officially a Distillery bottling but for Private owners but it would seem a biased to declare it the best of the year……. So i started thinking of the special distillery bottlings i’d tried , the Feis Ile ones , the Cairdeas Origin (the best Cairdeas so far in my humble opinion) , The “Ardbeg Day” release (an excellent Ardbeg) , then i thought of the two little bottles from the Laphroaig “Distillers Wares” tour , the 15yo was an exceptional Laphroaig . Then it dawned on me , there was a rather special one…… So this years Islay Distillery Bottling of the Year is…… The Laphroaig 10yo Cask Strength Batch 004 ! My notes were………
Another of the wonderful Laphroaig 10yo CS Batches , on the nose you initially get quite a strong Farmyard / nettles smell then the seashore / iodine comes sweeping in . The palate is very old school Laphroaig , it actually took me back to when i first tried Laphroaig back in the 80’s , Very intense medicinal (iodine) with a lovely touch of creaminess to it . The finish is long with a lovely creamy medicinalness . A stunning Laphroaig Cask Strength , probably my favourite batch so far , may have to think about getting another one…….
i didn’t get another one , i got another 3 ! The best 10yo CS……. So far !!!
The winner with other Laphroaigs
Islay Independent Bottling - A few more to choose from in this category . We’ve had a few from the Armstrong family in one guise or another , the forum bottled an excellent 22yo Bunnahabhain , Whiskybroker hit us a few more Bunnas , as did Berrys . Cadenheads release a couple of 21yo Begs , the stronger of which was up there with the legendary 21yo Committee bottling but my Favourite was from Bunnahabhain . I’ve had a fair few aged Bunnas in my time including a few stunners that never seemed to make it out of their warehouses , Cadenheads released a 22yo that was up there with the best i’ve ever had a 1989 at 48.1% . Fantastic !
Non-Islay Distillery Bottling of the Year – Another one i struggled with (especially since the end of my SMWS membership…..) , the one i have tried that made me sit up and take notice didn’t even come from Scotland , from the Far East , I had this at one of Eddies Whisky and Seafood meals , I hadn’t had a Kavalan before and this was superb , The Kavalan Classic at 40% , just wish we could buy some ! For a 3yo it’s as smooth as a babys bum and goes down well !
Non-Islay Independent Bottling – For the second year in a row this goes to a Longmorn , the whiskybrokers 20yo release from Hogshead 71752 . A truly amazing Longmorn that was different to all the other aged expressions i’d tried this year .
Best Meal on Islay – We’ve had a very good year of eating out in 2012, Only a couple of meals let us down . The Old Kiln kept it’s standards high , as did the Bridgend Hotel , The Lochside improved beyond belief from it’s lows in 2011 . The best meal of the year goes to An Taigh Osda , Mels 50th Birthday meal to be exact , Paul and Joan served up a treat for my wife !
Tasting of the Year - Eddies Islay Blind Fury ! Another Islay treat from the Whisky Lounge!
Event of the Year (outside a normal tour) - Could only be the 4th Annual Whisky Lounge Newcastle Festival ! Any event that is attended by Raymond and Florence from Bladnoch has to be special !
Islay Distillery of the year – This year it goes to Laphroaig ! The Distillers Wares tour was excellent , the two bottles filled on it were superb and this years Cask Strength and Feis Ile releases were outstanding .