Friday 16th March 2007: chez mon père, a sesquivertical of Cockburn and Taylor (paperwork
). Present: JDAW MAW RAW WDBP RKA JFH MF SRG, and sort-of SVW.
A vertical of Cockburn, with some matching Taylor vintages, and some mystery bottles. Having had very little experience of Cockburn, this was educational for me (I do these things for their educational merits, of course not for pleasure). The Cockburn summary: cherries. Black cherries when young; glace cherries when old.
• Cockburn 1908
Very pale pink, and cloudy despite my usual decanting method through multiple layers of muslin. Very spirity; tasting of sugar and alcohol. Old and dead.
• Taylor 1908
Also cloudy pink, nosing of candy sugar and caramel. JFH said “fudge and chocolate”. Lovely soft old port, very delicate, but with great length. Alas too faded. Perhaps, according to JFH, cloves.
• Cockburn 1927
My one previous sample of Cockburn 1927 was a bottle opened the night before my brother’s wedding, which was splendid. This one wasn’t. A glorious rose colour, and a nose that JFH but nobody else described as “grass”. To taste sour, “medicinal” (RAW), and later having a burnt note. Off.
• Unknown 1927
Sold some years ago as two bottles of “1927 port, house unknown”, one of which — hurray for port tongs, the best invention since branded corks — was Taylor. Most appropriate for the company, and much better than my one previous experience of Taylor 1927 (that one having faded very fast). This was brown-tinged dark red, nosing of plums, and tasting strongly of plums and the classic Taylor backbone. Two hours later it was much simpler. A very fine old port indeed, and my favourite of the evening.
• Cockburn 1955
At the Acker BYOB party my Cockburn 1955 was gloriously fruity, but this one wasn’t. Brown-edged dark pink, smelling pruney, but in the mouth the alcohol predominated. Good length, but the fruit had nearly all gone — perhaps faint prunes.
• Cockburn “believed 1950’s”
Sold at auction as “believed 1950’s”, which — tongs again — was actually 1960. Pink again: I wondered whether pink is the Cockburn colour. Medium length, soft, “slightly spicy” (RAW), and JFH mysteriously detecting “vanilla”.
• Taylor Special Quinta 1950
Pale rose, maybe a hint of orange, with little nose. Later I noted “maybe citrus”. It was too acid to be enjoyable, though improved somewhat with time in the glass (or maybe with alcohol in me). (See thread
• Cockburn 1963
Dark red, light-brown-edged. The initial alcohol attack far too strong for me. My notes include the marvellous phrase “lovely finish of”, with nothing after it. A lovely finish of something, no doubt. Later, cherries; RAW finding “prunes”.
• Cockburn 1970
In January I donated and helped drink six bottles of Cockburn 1970 for the 52nd Annual Dinner of the Cambridge University Tiddlywinks Club
, so not my first attempt at it. Pale red; little nose (I recall same at the CUTwC dinner); nicely rounded with prunes.
• Cockburn 1985
Excellent mid-tone pure red, nosing of liquorice, with huge cherrytastic fruit and maybe raisins. But simple: sugar and alcohol.
• Taylor 1985
RKA’s favourite. And did he tell us so, mentioning more than a few a times that he happens to own two cases of it. The darkest port here, very closed, with chocolate in the nose. Huge long fruit, classic Taylor. An excellent port, and not dear. JFH thought “too much” which I took as praise.
Links to individual TN threads:
Cockburn — 1908
Taylor — 1908
, S.Q. 1950