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Sunday, 19 April 2009

Those marvellous serendipitous moments...


Continuing on with our blended theme for this week and a brief story of something wonderful, which happened last night.

I had been visiting relatives in a lovely village called Littleton On Severn not far from Bath and Bristol in the south west. After a day playing around with my 2 young nephews (they have a mini garden trampoline, which I nearly broke my toe on) we decided to visit a lovely local pub- The White Hart. Several superb guest ales later and I asked the barman what whiskies they had and immediately - something caught my eye.

I was familiar with the Royal & Ancient blended whisky which occasionally crops up in various bars around the country. But I had never seen this particular bottling- the Millennium Blend-28 year-old. Scant info reveals that in the Summer of 1970, Cockburn & Campbell acquired nine hogsheads from two celebrated Speyside Distilleries mentioned above. After vatting with an award winning blend, the total yield was 300 cases, released to celebrate the new Millennium.

It was unopened and covered in dust at the back of the bar- so naturally, I had to dive in!!

Royal & Ancient - 28 years old - blended whisky, selected for the Millenium- ltd to 300 cases- 40% - 70cl

Nose:
Marzipan, melon, cereals, a hint of peat smoke, something zesty and wet wool. Really revealing and 'special'. Very unexpected.

Palate: Sherbet, cream, big grain notes, ginger, chilli, green beans, red berries, cognac and egg custard. Quite simply, PACKED with wonderful flavour and quite superb. At the death, antiseptic throat lozenges - (blackcurrant Strepsil's)

Finish: Very lengthy, hints of old Ardbeg and that soft 'lint'y' peat, cream, not at all drying. On the death, coal and oil - very similar to a vintage Caol Ila I recently had the pleasure to try.

Overall: A stunner... wonderfully restrained peat, measured grain and a sublime freshness...what an unbelievable find!! Needless to say, I immediately had another large dram and offered to buy the bottle... (sadly my offer was declined), but if you ever happen to be passing the White Hart in Littleton On Severn, fingers crossed they'll still have this awesome bottle behind the bar, gathering dust. You'll not be disappointed!