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Gillman
11-28-2007, 20:37
Tonight at a restaurant I had the best malt whisky I have ever had in my life, and it was by accident since I ordered by looking at the bottles on the backbar and choosing (unusually for me) by the name, I just liked the name, Ladyburn. I had heard of the distillery but not anything more. (I should have asked the price before taking the first sip, but never mind).

The whisky had a luscious raisiny sweetness from a very high quality sherry cask and had the kind of softness, depth and length I admire in any drink. Wrapped in the sherry was the grainy/rubbery/congener taste of authentic double-distilled malt whisky, and underpinning that was a mild yet insistent peat smokiness. The package was faultless and spelled classic old-style single malt, I instantly recognised the taste (just from reading and inferring), and it was indeed a treat.

Gary

tango-papa
11-29-2007, 19:10
...I should have asked the price before taking the first sip, but never mind...

Gary

Curious what that treat set you back?
A bottle, if you can find one, will run approximately $600.

~tp

Gillman
11-29-2007, 19:34
$60.00. Obviously a lot and way more than I have ever paid for a dram. On the other hand, it was a unique experience. I would spend that for a bottle of bourbon or scotch, but I feel I got an experience as good just with the one glass.

Gary

Gillman
11-29-2007, 19:40
Just though to set this in context, I have a bottle of vatted malt that is almost as good and in style is very similar, which I think cost around $30! It is a Vintage Hallmark St. James Vatted Malt 25 years old, a Wallace Milroy selection. This is again in the old style of a well-sherried, well-oaked dram where you can still taste the distillery character (unlike in many modern malts where it is rubbed out by taking too narrow a cut). I got this last year in one of the South Florida chains and wish I had more.

I do not regret the cost though of the Ladyburn dram, I enjoyed it greatly and learned from it.

Gary

doubleblank
11-29-2007, 20:05
Very interesting Gary as neither Jim Murray nor Michael Jackson liked this whiskey. They both commented that its more a curiosity from a shuttered distillery......one even commented "don't open it".....keep it as a collectible.

I also find my likes and dislikes can be very different from these two fine gentlemens' opinions.

Randy

Gillman
11-29-2007, 20:15
Interesting you say that Randy, and I too sometimes differ from the experts, but what Michael reviewed was different - the barman offered his book with the dram opened to the Ladyburn page. The page referred to a white wine Ladyburn (aged in bourbon wood), 20 years old. Mine was much darker in colour, evidently sherry wood, and older, the bartender said 27 years old - the bottle was dated 1973 on the label - the distillation date - and I couldn't quickly tell when bottled but the barman said the menu indicated 27 years of age.

I think Michael was tasting the unvarnished (ahem) distillery character but what I had was a different animal. Can't speak for the Murray entry though, did he review a '73 sherry cask Ladyburn? By the way Michael said the distillery had been owned by George Grant.

Gary

doubleblank
11-29-2007, 20:25
They reviewed a Ladyburn 1973 27yo whiskey in Whiskeymag. Sounds like the one you tasted. This was not from his book.

Randy

tango-papa
11-29-2007, 22:38
$60.00. Obviously a lot and way more than I have ever paid for a dram. On the other hand, it was a unique experience. I would spend that for a bottle of bourbon or scotch, but I feel I got an experience as good just with the one glass.

Gary

In my opinion, $60 is/was a fair price for such a rare scotch.
Thanks for the notes and glad you enjoyed it too!

~tp

Gillman
11-30-2007, 05:36
Thanks for all these comments, I'll have to check the Whiskymag notes.

In the end taste is personal but I will say that I commented to my guest at the tasting that this was probably the best single malt I had ever had, and only after that did the bartender (good salesman that he was) tell me the price!

Gary

Gillman
11-30-2007, 08:41
I did check the whiskymag notes (available online). Unlike the reference in Michael's book kept at this bar they do seem to relate to the bottle I sampled. (The Ladyburn assessed in the edition of Michael's book kept at the bar - he only assessed one bottling - clearly was different). I am still not 100% sure since I don't have the bottle before me and can't e.g., confirm that the proof was the same as in the whiskymag notes, and also, neither taste note refers to a sherry cask taste, but Michael's taste description is certainly reminiscent of what I had, except I thought it was great!

I would say the 25 year old vatted whisky I mentioned, a Wallace Milroy selection, is similar in taste to the Ladyburn and that both represent a particular style of well-aged, smoky, fruity Scots malt in that they have a slightly rubbery undertone which may derive from, i) surviving distillery flavors, ii) the use of "sour" sherry casks, or iii) the use of a fresh sherry cask where the sherry subsequently oxidised with the whisky in the aging process.

Once I was told by a blender who works on the Catto blended whisky brand that this "rubberized sherry" taste is more a taste of the past in that formerly the ex-sherry barrels had been reused many times. I would think these are not the kind of sherry barrel Jim Murray admires and often speaks of in his books, a barrel where the sherry taste is fulsome and fresh (and certainly I am with him there as far as that goes).

I found the 1973 Ladyburn taste extremely good but I would say it is one kind of malt whisky taste that may not please all as evidenced by those whiskymag ratings. The late Michael Jackson was particularly fond of Macallan, for example. This brand was known, until the Fine Oak line was introduced which mingles bourbon cask- and sherry cask-aged whiskies, for solely 100% high quality sherry wood-aged malt whisky. This meant luscious, rich, narrow-cut whisky. And, as I've said, Murray too clearly admires a high quality sherry cask in this sense. Maybe they felt less bullish about this other taste of malt Scotch whisky with its "vulcanized" sherry notes...

I'll see if I can find their taste notes on the 25 year old vatted whisky I mentioned as to my taste it was very similar to the 27 year old 1973 Ladyburn. If they gave it a low rating this might show consistency all 'round in this regard. If they liked it though, it means ... well ... this is why we are here to ponder and discuss all this stuff! :)

Gary

Rughi
11-30-2007, 08:48
...a barrel where the sherry taste is fulsome and fresh.

Fulsome is one of those words that has suffered over time to have it's definition completely changed - and become virtually unusable.

The ever-handy (mmm... Handy) dictionary.com gives these disparate definitions:

1. offensive to good taste...
2. disgusting; sickening; repulsive...
3. excessively or insincerely lavish...
4. encompassing all aspects; comprehensive:...
5. abundant or copious.

I guess you meant definition 4, but I'm not really sure.

Roger

Gillman
11-30-2007, 08:56
It is funny you picked up on that Roger, another member of the board made a similar point some years ago in relation to my use of the word then. It won't come up on a search I think since I believe he raised it in a PM.

One sense of the word is purely positive, connoting something rich, generous, luxuriant - and that is the sense I meant. I just checked an on-line source (Merriam-Webster) which gives a second meaning (out of five suggested) in this sense.

It is a word whose meaning has indeed evolved over the years.

Gary

doubleblank
11-30-2007, 09:09
Gary, myself and many others here have discussed this numerous times before. We often find the same taste elements in a certain whiskey when we read Murray's and Jackson's notes and compare them to our personal thoughts. It's just that we come to a different conclusion as to whether the whiskey pleases us or not in a lot of cases.

Randy

Gillman
11-30-2007, 09:13
Absolutely, and I simply wanted to put my thoughts in a broader context.

Gary