Once a year the Cape Whisky Club has an evening of real indulgence. A small group of us pool our resources, mortgages, college funds and holiday money on a single whisky tasting to make the angels weep – and this evening was the weepiest so far.
Some say expressions like this deserve to be cherished and nurtured. Perhaps they should be opened and gently experienced over the course of a month or two. Some would say bottles like this shouldn’t even be opened, or if so only for some particularly poignant life moment.
Nah. One night, four bottles, only corks shall remain!
Right, so first up was a bottle we managed to find hiding away at the back of a shelf at Norman Goodfellows – The Glenlivet Pristinus (58.4%). This is a 15-year-old single cask release made available in 2012, long before the Nàdurra range came onto the scene.
Legend has it, a whole batch of them “disappeared” for a little while, were promptly rediscovered and released on the South African market. One of only a couple of hundred bottles, and extracted entirely from a single American barrel, this is a powerful, rich, dusty and sweet single malt whisky that easily ranks up there with the best of the ex-bourbon Nàdurra range… but with a tasty age-statement to boot!
On to a real beauty in the form of North British 25 (51.6%) bottled by our own Octave. Yes indeed – a 25-year-old single grain, single cask stunner dripping in sherry flavours and potent caramel sweetness.
Next, the surprise blend… Johnnie Walker Blue Label Casks Edition (55.8%), the travel-retail “cask-strength” edition of the infamous Blue Label. This went down a treat – the entire 1 litre bottled was absolutely demolished – a truly special blend at an exceedingly rare bottling strength. Yes please!
Finally, the star of the show. Weighing in at 700ml, 45.2% ABV and with a choke-inducing price tag, Talisker 30 was cracked open, sipped in silence and promptly finished. Less peaty, more earthy, more sherried and sweeter than the beloved 10, this is one for the history books.
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