Michael touched down in a rather warm Cape Town on Sunday and things have only hottened up since. After a full day in the trade on Tuesday Michael delighted 20 or so whisky enthusiasts and media to an incredible insight to the inner workings of the distillery and some real future great whiskies.
The iconic Bascule whisky bar was the host venue, with impeccable attention to detail and an ambiance custom made for enjoying the worlds best whisky, Victor and his team put on a polished performance as always, from the welcome drink of a Bold sour the evening was set.
Of the five expressions tasted 3 were mystery malts, that have not been released yet, all three were at cask strength and delivered on so many diffrent levels. The first an unpeated single ex bourbon cask, a whisky only distilled in 2013 making it a five year old but with the extraction and maturity of a twenty something malt, at a whopping 58% ABV. The nose is toffee, salted caramel and soft elegant barley a rich full bodied sweet palate with intense spice, mouth watering delight with a white pepper finish.
The second coming in again at an enormous 57% ABV this is a vatting of 2009 distillate which spent 8 years in ex bourbon barrels and then 18 moths in olorosso sherry butts this malt delivers the maturity and balance and intensity normally found in 30 years old whiskies. With an incredible nose of dark fruits, rich xmas pudding, spice nutmeg and cinnamomn with loads soft treacle honey and nutty charachter. The palate is rich with raisins, dark fruit more cedar wood and citrus then dried fruit charachter leading to cocoa and java, sincerely my most happy whisky place.
Before moving on to the The final mystery cask we tasted the 2018 limited edition Christmas edition. Michael blended unpeated malt with peated malt and a percentage of malt finished in Olorosso casks to capture what he describes as seasonal delights for inspiration and boy does he get it right to quote Fiona Mc Donald editor for cheers magazine, all that was missing was some tinsel and the sound of Boney M's little drummer boy. A delightful xmas nose of spice and sweetness on the palate dark fruits and citrus abound with the peat hinting at smoke from fires warming chestnuts. A warming delightful dram perfectly balanced and a pure joy to drink. This is peat at its most accesible level. Blindfolded this would be a Cambletown dram elegentlly potraying the typical springer and scotia notes.
Then queue the smoke, a single ex bourbon barrel with a nice big peat kick and a whopping 60 % ABV a more soft and gentle entry one could not expect but what follows is a sweet rich delight that cresendos with peat and warmth overpowering your senses not that you mind but rather a good thing as your palate recovers it dries out leaving behind hits of fruit and spice. An exceptionally long finish that ebbs and flows between peat and fruit and smoke.
We ended the evening rather fittingly with Paul John Bold this years Michelangelo Awards whisky trophy winner a rather fine example of an Islay peat making itself accesible to an international audience.
Don't miss Michael on his tour of SA
Tonight 24 October 2018 6pm The Stack Weltevrede road Cape Town
Thursday 25 October 2018 6pm The Lucky Shaker Umshlanga Durban
Tuesday 30 October 2018 6pm Churchills Bar Melrose Arch Johannesburg
Wednesday 31 October to Friday 2 November Whisky Live Johannesburg Sandton Convention Centre Johannesburg