It was a strange sort of evening at The Belljar. Well, we crashed the bar on a night when they held private whisky tasting sessions. They extended the invitation to us and we didn't join in. The bar still warmly accommodated us in a comfortable corner for quiet conversations. They had time to give us some attention beyond serving our drinks.
There were two whiskies on that private tasting menu that I was mildly curious about. Tastings still throw up surprises and happy discoveries. But somehow, V and I didn't feel like it; so passed that up. I think we weren't keen on socializing. OOPS. Hahaha.
Always nice to check out another whisky bar. Very awesome to also have V's company. Began with an Old-Fashioned because it used a Bowmore 12y.o. Heh. It was a nice ratio but still too sweet for me. Ugh. I can't do cocktails at all. V chose In This Style, which was gin-based, using earl-grey-infused Hendricks, lemon, marmalade, egg white and honey, and it wasn't that sweet unless one inhaled the square of Turkish delight that topped the cocktail.
Finally sipped independent bottler Compass Box's 'The Peat Monster'. Pretty good! It's unsurprisingly similar to Westland's Peated. Tasted other expressions which were enjoyable. I really appreciate Compass Box's way of listing all production information, including the specific ratio and age statements of various whisky used to make a blend. However, they've gotta fight the EU laws that they've apparently broken in this full disclosure. It irks me that nowadays, whisky distilleries or brand owners have stopped printing age statements. They simply name their bottles and leave it at that. I can sort of tell from the prices, but it's an unreliable way since many up the prices versus actual taste and quality. It's very annoying to have to guess because not all blends are done well and I can taste the disjointedness within.
The Campbeltown Longrow Peated was a bit blah. It's young and sharp, hasn't got a full body; the underlying salt isn't a draw. The other bottle of Longrow Red Peated 12y.o that I've recently opened fares better on the palate because it has been matured in a port cask, so that over-rides the sharper notes.
While there isn't an age statement to Bowmore's 'The Devil's Casks III', to me, it was the loveliest of the three. Luckily I saved that till the last. I love the first two releases, and haven't tasted this third. So it was a bonus to have a generous dram to close the night. Matured in oloroso and sherry casks, it's retained that distinctive Bowmore peat, dependably smooth and rich, full of fruits and coffee.