Tasting Report: The Single Malt & Scotch Whisky Extravaganza 2012

Tasting Report: The Single Malt & Scotch Whisky Extravaganza 2012

The 19th annual Single Malt & Scotch Whisky Extravaganza, put on by the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, recently rolled through town, and an evening here was just like seeing a bunch of old friends (some human, but mostly spirits). This year saw an outpouring of older stock you don’t usually get at these events, including numerous over-21-year-old drams. Two massive highlights: The SMWS’s 21.20 bottling (the only one here I hadn’t encountered before) and a super-sneak peek at Balvenie’s Tun 1401 Batch 6 (check out our review of Batch 3 here).

Notes on everything tasted – all Scotch except for a lone Bourbon — follow.

Tasting Report: Single Malt & Scotch Whisky Extravaganza, San Francisco, 2012

Aberlour 12 Year Old Non Chill Filtered / B+ / rich, lots of grain character
The Balvenie 17 Year Old Peated Cask / A / going off market soon; get it while you can; just right, sweet vanilla, great balance
The Balvenie 17 Year Old DoubleWood / A- / getting touches of grain (a bit too heavy) tonight
The Balvenie 21 Year Old PortWood / A- / quite sweet, Christmas cakes
The Balvenie Tun 1401 Batch 6 / A / a sneak preview of this dram; 99.6 proof; surprisingly light body, with menthol, nuts, Christmas spices, and hints of sherry; distinctly minty on the nose
The Classic Cask Rare Scotch Whisky 35 Years Old / A- / huge sherry, apples, cherries, and almonds
The Classic Cask Highland Park 1998 14 Years Old / A- / brisk honey, wholly alive
The Classic Cask Bowmore 2001 11 Years Old / B / heavy wood notes, peat and coal fires; little fruit
The Classic Cask Glen Ord 1998 14 Years Old / A- / lots of nougat and toffee, with a licorice finish
The Classic Cask Aberlour 2000 12 Years Old / B+ / hot, cereal mash notes
The Glenlivet 21 Years Old Archive / B / lots of fruit, a bit cloying
The Glenlivet XXV 25 Years Old / A- / sherry is tempered, great balance, an easy favorite from Glenlivet
Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban Port Cask 12 Years Old / A- / distinct chocolate and raisin notes
Glenmorangie Extremely Rare 18 Years Old / A- / distinct sherry, lovely finish
Glenmorangie Signet / B+ / young, but comes around; some cereal notes
Highland Park 25 Years Old / B+ / woodier than you’d expect; lots of richness and smoldering depth
The Macallan Director’s Edition / B+ / rum raisin, chocolate, touches of floral character
McGibbon’s Provenance Inchgower 1999 12 Years Old Sherry Cask / A- / sherry isn’t overdone, good citrus and spice
McGibbon’s Provenance Glenrothes 1997 14 Years Old / B / hot, camphor notes
McGibbon’s Provenance Glenlivet 1997 15 Years Old / A- / a solid, textbook Glenlivet expression
The Scotch Malt Whisky Society 21.20 / A / 21 years old Isle of Jura whisky; seaweed, salt, and light peat… a really exquisite whisky
Big House Straight Bourbon / B- / a new six-year-old Bourbon brand; vanilla and honey, sure, but ultra sweet

Christopher Null is the founder and editor in chief of Drinkhacker. A veteran writer and journalist, he also operates Null Media, a bespoke content creation company.

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