One of the Great Independent Bottlers
If you look for the maximum value for your buck, C & S Drams should be one of your choices. Our friend Andrea Caminneci (now Keeper of the Quaich) and his partners don’t like to do the chicken dance, create fancy labels and work on coffin bottle outfits, they rather bottle quality whisky for a fair price to trade and consumer. This might be the very reason why every series is sold out within hours at this importer. Consequently, Andrea also doesn’t send out samples, his stuff speaks for itself. Find out more here:
However, on our trip to Scotland, I had the privilege to try four new Single Malts that will hit the market in a week or two. And hush, I could also sample some bottlings to come…keep an eye out for those too, esp. the Mortlach). Here are my first two reviews, the others will follow:
Bladnoch 21 y.o., C & S Dram Senior, 26.1.1990, Bourbon Cask 30009, 59,7%
Nose: Typical Lowland style (lemons, grass, vanilla, some tropical fruit like passion fruit), seemingly younger at first, heather, haystack, dried flower bouquet, honey, liquorice, white pepper and a slightly bitter touch of white oak.
Palate: This needs water; it even stood up to the Laphroaig, so this Lowlander is no wimp at all; great creaminess;
Finish: Long and soothing.
Comment: A typical Lowlander with the power of an Islay Malt, maybe therefore not ideal as a starting dram.
Laphroaig 1998 – 2011, 13 y.o., C & S Dram, Sherry Butt, 64,4%
Nose: This one screams BREAKFAST BACON! Alongside we have typical Laphroaig and sulphury notes, the sherry is present but doesn’t produce the blue cheese aroma like other bottlings of that kind.
Palate: Full on, seaweed and algae, very maritime, peat and iodine in a lovely combo, accompanied by subtle sherry waves. Did I mention bacon?
Finish: Lovely, brutal, eternal and complex – the sulphur of children’s guns (red stripe) appears and fits the sherry, peat and iodine mix in their sea-laden context.
Comment: Many Laphroaigs of that time are a bit identical to each other (but always high quality). This one really stands out from the crowd with its power and character. Never did I have such an English breakfast on peat before. Not even the Regensburger Lagavulin is close to this in terms of bacon. A must-have!