The View from the Golden Promise is a chance to see the bottles under the hammer at finespirits.auction in a new light. To give you this fresh perspective, we’ve called on two experts from the Golden Promise Whisky Bar.
Laphroaig 30 Year Old is in something of a niche category of luxury daily drams. At 43% ABV and offering frank aromas, it’s difficult to resist. The exotic fruits found in old Laphroaigs (mango, passion fruit) are expressed harmoniously alongside peaty, smoky, medicinal (camphor, mint) and marine notes. There is constant balance between the fruit’s charm and the very Islayesque austerity of the peat. We’d like boxes of this one....
Jura 8 years Of. Charles MacKinlay & Co. Ltd Pure Malt
This is a sweet and simple Jura with notes of exotic fruit (pineapple, banana, passion fruit) and citrus fruit (lemon, orange, mandarin), all underscored by notes of sweet pastry (caramel) and a pinch of spice (pepper, nutmeg). There’s something to please everyone and it’s a great reminder that Jura’s spirit is worth its salt, as shown with some of the 1966 vintages (among others) bottled by Samaroli and Signatory Vintage.
Macallan (The) 1874 Of. 1874 Replica
This bottling launched in September 1996 was designed to be a replica of an expression from the 19th century, with Macallan’s blenders working hard to reproduce the style as accurately as possible. Note that the malt was matured in Fino sherry casks rather than the Oloroso casks more commonly found today. The nose is rich and dense. Leather brings an animal-like aspect further confirmed in concentrated notes of meat gravy (Oxo cubes). The first nose reveals an impressive power resulting from this concentration. Is this what Macallan was like back then? Next comes a mix of gunpowder and pepper, liquorice and soy sauce. Allowed to breathe, the nose gradually mellows out, but notes of musk continue to take us back to the animal register. Sweet rye pastries and marrons glacés come next. Quite a surprise! Finally, the initial notes of citrus fruits (iced orange gingerbread) and mint dark chocolate give a semblance of freshness. The palate is full-bodied, less dense than the nose but still with a certain concentration, revealing gunpowder, pepper and cocoa. But it always stays fluid and is never overpowering or aggressive. Note also a light but not unpleasant bitterness. The finish is long, focusing on orange, spices and wood. A journey into the past that gives us an idea of the calibre of Highlanders that enjoyed this style of whisky at the time!
Ardbeg 1999 Of. Galileo - Space bottled in 2012 The Ultimate
This version released in 2012 features malts matured in Marsala and bourbon casks. The round nose takes us to sit by the side of an extinguished wood fire and its ashy cinders. Creosote, peat and salt-incrusted dark chocolate set the scene. Notes of lime then bring lots of freshness. Gradually, as it is allowed to breathe, the aroma palette becomes sweeter (calisson d’Aix) and richer (grilled bacon). I’m happy to see that, rather than overpowering the rest, the peat expresses very subtle aromas. The palate is rich and full. Peat fire and dark chocolate dominate the spicy attack before the palate softens and becomes milky. As lime and lots of aromatic herbs (sage, rosemary) return it becomes increasingly fresher. On the finish, peat smoke appears alongside beautiful malty notes, followed by more and more lime. A take-off without a hitch!