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Saturday, 11 April 2009

Oh... to be 21 again...

Just perusing the recent film releases for this easter and I keep coming across the fresh face of a polite and eager young American gentleman called Zachary Efron. His current feature film appears to revolve around an older and equally polite American gentleman, Matthew Perry realising his life didn't turn out quite how he wanted- and wishing he was a teenager again.
Through the magic of the wishing fairy (aka Hollywood) he miraculously awakes one morning as said teenager (Efron) and gets the chance to re-write his life.

Don't worry, you haven't come to the wrong page- this isn't an advert for what is probably a diabolical film, which clearly rips off the plot from Tom Hanks' excellent 'Big', albeit in reverse.

It's amusing however that the current trait of 'modern life' - be it with film or indeed philosophically, appears to have become a constant state of looking back and wishing for what we don't have now, or wanting to change the very essence who we are.

I turn a youthful 34 this year (Joel is turning an even more youthful 30!!) and films like this don't make much sense to me at all. Looking forward is infinitely more exciting - and that fuzzy, tingling sense of trepidation about what's going to happen in life is far greater a thrill than dwelling on what might have been.

Still, thinking back to when I first first got into malt whisky, I was 21 and full of enthusiasm about a subject I knew nothing about, but passionate to learn as much as I could. Back then, I looked forward to a time when I could confidently visit my 'malt memory-banks' and recall a particular dram that totally knocked my socks clean off. 13 years later, i'm slowly getting there- and still have that same hunger to keep learning and filing away those great malt memories...hopefully this will never change!

So time to add another to the collection and ironically, this one happens to be a 21 year old.

Balvenie isn't a distillery I have had huge experience with, but this expression is a belter...

Balvenie 21 year old- Port Wood Finish - 40% vol - 70cl

An intense waxy note jumps straight out at you, rather reminiscent of an old Clynelish and undoubtedly, one of my favourite aromas in a whisky !! This is followed up by a zesty whiff of stewed oranges, dried figs, some lighter florals and old wood. The malt memory-bank is soaking it all up like a whisky filled sponge...

Palate: Sweet dried fruit (like raisins and apricots covered in honey) is the first flavour to arrive - and it's delightful, followed by a very natural tasting home-made marzipan nuttiness. It tastes fresh and vibrant, yet balances this with a real elegance, which only a well matured whisky can. Rich malty notes start to develop as the whisky gets between your teeth and spreads across the tongue. Superb.

Finish: A touch of pepper, leading into traces of that zest and waxiness. Lingering and brilliantly crafted.

Overall: Isn't it great when you find a whisky which you have no preconceptions about and it just totally delivers, without any hint of a fanfare or hype. This really did surprise and delight me, which I imagine, probably wouldn't happen with Mr Efron's new feature film, but I shall remain the optimist and open minded!

Here's to the future and more of life's great discoveries!