Of the 16 bottles that were poured on 1/31, a few really stood out. They were the Montgomerie Tobermory 15, the Official Bottling (“OB”) Tobermory 15, the SMWS Tobermory 7 and the Blackadder Ledaig 7. Honorable mentions to the Blackadder Tobermory 15, the G&M Ledaig 15, the D&M Ledaig 12 and the MMD Ledaig 6 (the first bottle poured — a tough spot to be in).
The Montgomerie Tobermory 15, in slot C1, was an elegant fully integrated expression. No rough edges with a nice, yet not overpowering sherry backbone. A lot of guys missed this bottle in that it came after a long run of bottles and just before the cask strength bottles appeared.
The OB Tobermory 15, in slot E1, was a tremendous whisky. A fully formed malt that was bold and animated. Surprisingly not cask strength.
The SMWS Tobermory 7, in slot E2, was a big bold cask strength beast. The alcohol was a bit noticeable, but with water it opened up. The finish was round and intense.
And then there was the Blackadder Ledaig 7, F3, the last bottle of the night. Wow! Truly eye-opening. If I didn’t know it was so young I would have thought the bottle had at least an additional decade or more on it. The Sherry cask that this was matured in was not just “active” it must have been supercharged. Not only is it a Sherry beast, and here’s the kicker, the finish is . . . . salty. Yes, that’s right salt. Like a NYC soft pretzel or a pastrami on rye at Wolf & Lamb when they steam the bread and the whole sandwich melts in your mouth. One of the best bottles we’ve ever tasted as a group.
Crazy, if you had asked me before the event whether it would be possible that 3 of the top 4 bottles would be from the unpeated side of the program, I would have laughed and said no way. It was less of a surprise that Blackadder did it again. Of the independents that we’ve tasted over the years, they have really put up some impressive bottlings.