Saturday, July 17, 2010

Port Askaig at the Cockney Pub, Århus and a Superb BenRiach

Cockney Pub is an english/scottish pub in Århus with a good selection of bottled beers, beers on tap and malt whisky. There's a good turnaround, so theres always something new to try out. And it's the only place in Århus serving real ale. On the shelves this week were the three Port Askaigs bottled by Speciality Drinks, which is a bottling company within the The Whisky Exchange, one of the worlds leading whiskyshops

1. Port Askaig Cask Strength 57.1%

2. Port Askaig 17yo 45.8%

3. Port Askaig 25yo 45.8%

It was a hot day, and the bar was hot so the malts was served at a relatively high temperature. There's been some short discussions which distillery these are from, and the fact that Caol Ila is located just next to Port Askaig adding that Caol Ila is the biggest distillery on Islay and the distillery that most frequent feeds independent bottlers with peated malts made it an obvious guess. The bartender at the Cockney pub said the salesman from which he bought the whiskies from, had told him that these were from different distilleries. Labels like this might also change distillery from batch to batch, but as far as I know there's been just one batch so far of Port Askaigs. 
From tasting these I can't tell which distillery is the origin, but it tasted like they were from the same distillery as they had a lot in common. Actually they reminded me most of Ardbeg 10, but not really of any other Ardbeg bottlings. I do believe in Caol Ila for the above reasons, and also the fact that if anyone had casks of 25yo Ardbeg it would be worth a lot of £££ to sell it with Ardbeg name on the bottle.
Here's a bit on the whiskies :

The 25yo was delicious lightbodied, apple and pears, with a tobacco smokyness and slightly floral

The 17yo was meaty and more fullbodied but much of the same with the apples and pears being more subtle. This will definetely suit peat fanatics more than the 25yo will

The NAS cask strength version, was a lot more powerful but wellrounded whisky with clear relations to the older bottlings. 

Its a set of good simple classic Islay malts which I'd probably rate around 85, with no particlar favourite, theres a different one for whatever mood you're in

Here's the whiskybar of Cockney

Well I thought I could manage one more dram before heading home so I picked up a

4. Benriach 1984 24yo 49.2% Pedro Ximenez sherry finish

(Bottom shelf, bottle no 5 from the left on the photo above)

When Benriach was bought by the new owners they discovered a range of peated casks in the warehouses, and they have bottled quite a lot of it over the last few years. This includes a few port and sherry finishes, the 1986 Plowed Benriach is also a Pedro Ximenez finish)

This is a magnificient dram. Often the heavy wine finishes can disguise the peat but here the peat and the dark sherry works together very well with neither overpowering the other. It's a sweet mellow kind of peat, the dark sherry is classic dried fruits with underlying vanilla. There's actually a span of peat giving this a playful complexity. I also thought I picked up a tiny bit of wet rubber..latex  (sulphur?) in it, not really unpleasant, I didnt find that when I had the same malt the week before! 

Rating 94

Well, pubs forces me to enjoy myself and be social opposed to be too analytic, but I tried to concentrate a bit on these. When I was about to go home and relax, an old friend from out of town "unfortunately" walked in, which cost me a few extra and not planned hours in the pub and quite a bit of hangovers the next day! 

EDIT summer 2011. After retasting this at home, this is one of my all time favourites!

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