E-pistle 2007/075 – Whisky Live Paris 2007 Report

By Patrick Brossard, Switzerland

Whisky-live Paris, September 22-24, 2007

Paris, La ville lumière, is famous for its Tour Eiffel, Avenue des Champs-Elysées and all its other tourist attractions. France is well know for its wines and good food, but it is also the major market in the world for Scotch whisky (in volume), therefore it is not surprising that France is hosting two whisky-live events a year, one in Lyon andone in Paris.

This year, the theme of the Whisky-live was “The Collectors” and the event was held at the prestigious auction house “Christies”. The premises were very pleasant and the price of the entry adapted to the circumstances (40€ for one day and 60€ for two days). Two vouchers were included with the tickets, which allowed you to taste 2 collectors whiskies randomly selected, a voucher for some Pu-E(h)r Tea and for two pralines. As for any Whisky-live events, all whiskies served during the festival were for free. With plenty of excellent bottles available for tasting, this is the perfect event for any whisky
enthusiasts to try the latest products from almost all the companies involved in the whisky trade.

And what about the whiskies?
I tasted a large number of whiskies and here are my short notes for a selection of the whiskies I tried during that event:

Aberlour 18yo (43%, OB, Bottled +/- 2007)
A gentle, soft, malty and quite simple whisky. Rating: 76 pts.

Auchentoshan 16yo (53.7%, OB, 4800 bottles, Bottled 2007 from first-fill bourbon cask)
This whisky was rather special & with a rather surprising flavour profile (spirity, rough, bitter, on vanilla & liquid soap).
Rating: 73 pts.

BenRiach 22yo 1984/2007 Port Finish (54.2%, OB, Cask #4049, 264 Bottles)
Amongst the 3 new BenRiachs available, this is the one I prefer; sweetness of the Port marrying very well with the heavy peaty spirit.
A successful combination. Not less than 88 pts.

BenRiach 29yo 1978/2007 Moscatel Finish (52.2%, OB, Cask #4413, 216 bottles)
This time, this is a combination of a lightly peated BenRiach, very fruity (on apricot and peach) with a moscatel (wine) finish.
The wine influence is quite pleasant and the finish is slightly bitter and dry. Rating: 81 pts.

BenRiach 29yo 1978/2007 Tokaij finish (52.5%, OB, Cask 4416, 264 bottles)
The wine influence is so strong that you don’t know what type of beverage you are drinking. Not for me. Rating: 57 pts.

Benromach NAS ‘2000’ (60.4%, OB for LMDW, Cask #724, Bottled 2007, 250 bottles)
A powerful, heavily peaty, quite complex & a serious challenger to the young Islay whiskies, with additional floral notes.
Rating: 85 pts.

Benromach NAS ‘Peat Smoke’ (46%, OB, Bottled 2007)
Quite different from the Benromach 2000, less matured and more on grapes and burnt sugar. Rating: 77 pts.

Caol Ila 1975/2007 (58.4%, Signatory Vintage, Cask #458, 221 bottles)
Caol Ila was rebuilt in 1974 and the Caol Ila from that period are very difficult to find.
In spite of its 58.4%, it can be drunk straight quite easily. This Caol Ila is a rather gentle whisky but with a lot of mineral.
Rating: 89 pts.

Caol Ila  22yo 1984/2007 Grenache Finish (54.1%, Murray McDavid, Mission Gold, 567 bottles)
A very peaty Caol Ila, very expressive & intense, that I really enjoyed. Would have scored even better if not for the winey influence.
Rating 86 pts.

Glen Elgin 31yo 1975 (46%, Berry Bros & Rudd, Bottled 2007)
A very juicy and rich Glen Elgin, extremely pleasant, on sweet and tropical fruits, and reasonably priced. Rating: 90 pts.

Glenfarclas NAS 1994 Family cask (59.6%, OB, Cask #29935. Bottled 2007)
The sherry influence is very strong, with some rubber, but this Glenfarclas is otherwise very elegant and rather complex for its age.
I don’t like much rubber notes, so the rating is 83 pts.

Glenugie 29yo 1977 (49.6%, La Part des Anges, cask #360444. Bottled 2006)
A good, complex, and rather heavy and smoky (cigar box) Glenugie. Rating: 84 pts.

Laphroaig 25yo (40%, OB, Bottled 2007)
Dry and tannic, this Laphroaig is rather disappointing and a pale copy of the former 30 YO.
Probably too diluted with 40%. Rating: 73 pts.

Linlithgow 25yo 1982/2007 (49.1%, Murray McDavid, Mission Gold, 1000 bottles)
Fresh, floral, light, grassy and subtle, with a nice fruitiness. Hopefully, this whisky has not been ACEd, but the result is an ace.
Rating: 90 pts.

Lochside 40yo 1966/2007 (54.4%, Signatory, Cask #7536, 213 bottles)
This is a nice and very mellow Lochside, heavier and less fruity than most other Lochside bottlings. Rating: 85 pts.

Macallan 1951/2001 (48.8%, OB, 632 bottles)
This was my last dram of the event, an excellent and very old very sherried Macallan, with a lot of orange influence, relatively smoky and tannic.  Reminded me of the old Macallan 30 YO sherry. Rating: 91 pts.

Miyagikyo 1989/2007 (60%, OB, Cask #105419, 459 bottles)
A whisky with an excellent, but becoming in light, sweet and fragrant the mouth, with some bitter-dryness.
It is better slightly diluted. Rating: 84 pts.

Nikka Takesturu 21yo ‘Pure Malt’ (43%, OB, Bottled +/- 2007)
Not surprised that the whisky magazine rated this Taketsuru the best blended malt of the world in 2007.
The mouth feel is very pleasant, but even more so there is a superb balance between the flavours. Rating: 87 pts.

Old Pulteney NAS 1969/2006 (43%, Gordon & MacPhail)
A very nice and fruity Old Pulteney, sharing some similarities with some old and fruity Bowmore.
With a few %ABV extra, would have scored better. Rating: 85 pts.

Port Charlotte 6yo ‘PC6’ (60.6%, OB, Bottled 2007)
The new Port Charlotte is partially matured in Madeira casks.
The new PC6 is a bit more complex than the PC5, but also more docile. Rating: 82 pts.

Port Ellen 25yo 1982/2007 (58%, Signatory for LMDW, Cask #07/258, 288 bottles)
It is not one of the most peaty Port Ellen, but this is rather mellow, complex and with a long development in the mouth.
If you like a complex Port Ellen, this one will appeal to you. Rating: 88 pts.

Yoichi NAS 1991/2007 Single Cask (62%, OB, Cask #129493, 504 bottles)
The combination of heavy peat and an excellent sherry cask deliver an excellent whisky that any whisky aficionados should try.
One of the best surprises in the Whisky-live in Paris, if not the best. Rating: 92 pts.

In conclusion, it was a great event and I wish to thank La Maison du Whisky and Whisky-Magazine for the excellent organisation of the event and all the distilleries and companies present for granting us the permission to taste their excellent whiskies.

If you do not know what to do in September next year, think about visiting the Paris Whisky-Live!