Posted by Leo | Posted in | Posted on 20:43
Well another tasting has been and gone at Regional Wines & Spirits and this was another great one .......I think!
It started well with my mandatory stop at this fine establishment. Past the sign and down the magic tunnel and into my happy place....he he!
Then onward to see the good folk at regional. First things first though...... I was forced to check out the comprehensive array of whiskies residing on-site. It never fails to astonish me that there is always something new to see. Indeed I saw my next purchase on the shelf staring me in the liver!
With this arduous task completed I went upstairs to find my seat at the big table where we taste the whisky. And this is what awaited me. Seven spectacular whiskies plus beer and water. The initial beer was Yeastie Boys Punkadiddle followed by the always delicious Emersons Bookbinder. It is also worth noting that the person across from me didn't turn up and their whisky was up for grabs. Let us call this bit of good fortune 'the beginning of my downfall'....cause with Ian away in Nelson working with the fishes and Donna becoming an Australian citizen, I found myself, unfortunately, without any adult supervision!! he he :-)
But enough of that for now, on to the business end of the evening as I remember it!
The drams were as follows:
Whisky : Aberlour A'bunadh, Batch 28, 59.7% "THE MYSTERY"
Notes : A big whisky, nose of Molasses, raisins fruitcake, hint of rubber in taste, herbaceous finish!
Score : Me - 9 / Us - 9.22 1st
Whisky : Ben Nevis, 14yo, Double matured, 46%, Sherry barrel 2623 NC2
Notes : Nosed as toffee apples & old socks, taste of malt biscuits...low strength. Quite drinkable!
Score : Me - 7 / Us - 8.56 2nd =
Whisky : Benriach, 20yo, 54.3%, 1998 - July 2009, Gaja Barolo Hogshead 4424, 59 of 322
Notes : Nosed of Mandarin, sweet vanilla & figs, taste of oily wasabe, slightly metallic finish.
Score : Me - 8 / Us - 8.56 2nd =
Whisky : Isle of Arran, 8yo, Fino sherry wine cask, 50%, Bottled 2007, 7980 bottles
Notes : Nosed of caramel, G Syrup & wet dog, sweet tasting with finish of bitter dark chocolate.
Score : Me - 8 / Us - 8.1 4th
Whisky : Auchentoshan, SIGNATORY, 25yo, 55%, Bourbon barrel 266, bottle 123 of 148, NC2
Notes : Nosed of football & young linseed, taste of dates and liquorice, spicy finish
Score : Me - 7 / Us - 8.02 5th
Whisky : Mortlach, SIGNATORY, 1991, 17yo, 46%, Sherry butt 5882, bottle 372 of 727 NC2
Notes : Nosed of popcorn, grass & chalk, finished slightly smokey & bitter "WEAK"
Score : Me : 7 / Us - 7.67 6th
Whisky : Cragganmore, DUTHIES CANDENHEAD, 15yo, 46%, NC2
Notes : Nosed of banana & sherbet, tasted of citrus & peppermint, warm metallic finish!!#$@
Score : Me : 7 / Us : 7.41 7th
Clearly the Aberlour was an exceptional dram and I do hope it finds it's way to best of the best in December.
It was however the pick of a very dreary bunch. Again I think too much was made of the "old" whiskies. Even at cask strength, some of these barely registered on the taste scale. They tasted bland and dreary.
That said of course I was encouraged to help consume some of the better drams from the empty seat across from me and I did so with great enthusiasm and with scant regard for my own sobriety. The Benriach and the Aberlour going down particularly well! And if it had stopped there I would have still have had my health and remnants of my dignity. But no! That's not my way. The peat, the water, barley & the yeast were calling me saying "oh no you're not" (finished).
So I was talking to Daniel as he tidied up afterwards and he said "Look at all that whisky people left behind" and I'm like "well we can't have that" so one thing led to five others and a few more number 4's and 7's later I was completely off my chops....but in a good way. I have vague memories of KFC and a green taxi but that's about it.
All in all a great night at regional!!
Purchases - 2 bottles of Kilchoman Spring Release (to be reviewed shortly)
Upcoming tasting (20th October) - Adelphi Mmm mmm mmm mmm mmmmmmmm!
Upcoming foray (13-26th November) - My triumphant return to Scotland. Orkney, Glencoe, Stirling,
Glasgow and at least 7 distilleries.
Posted by Leo | Posted in | Posted on 22:29
He he he he Laphroaig!! I bloody love Laphroaig. I am sipping on some 'Quarter Cask' as I type this. It's just so damn tasty. And if that's not good enough I have actually been there! Anyway, there are so many tasty drams from this classic distillery. The standouts were the 10yo Cask Strength 55.7% (of course) and the always delicious 'Quarter cask'. And to top it all off the mystery was Ardbeg Corryvreckan. Oh sweet jesus it was delicious. But more of that later.
JUNE: Sophisticated Speysides
JULY : Groundshaking Malts
What a brilliant idea! Tasty whisky from the Islands of Japan and some interesting drams from the great and thirsty country of New Zealand. Japanese whisky is absolutely delicious. It is quite sweet and clean flavored and a joy to consume. And consume it I did in great amounts. The other two drams came from Milford, a New Zealand distillery. Quite tasty, though probably due more to the cask strength than any inherent quality.
The pick of the night was as the Nikka 20yo 52% scoring 8.12. Cask strength wins again!
I did however purchase a bottle of the Milford on the evening. Lasted about a week. Mmm
AUGUST : Island Extreme
Ooooh mama this was an absolutely top of the line tasting. A range of whisky from the far flung Isles of Scotland. Several were at high cask strength! And I don't mind telling you ladies and Gentlemen, that by the time the evening was over I was partially 'off my chops'.
So what did we have?
Ardbeg Supernova - Hells teeth. This was the best of the bunch easily. This a giant monster whisky. So much peat. Not so much on the nose but as soon as you taste it you know what it is. It's like a kick in the mouth with a peat covered boot. Big, brutal and perfection itself. I gave it a 10. We gave it 9.07
Bruichladdich Octomore - A very close second. Nose was peaty & yeasty. This is another monster whisky. Not the smoked violence of the Ardbeg but at 62.5% it socks you hard in the face and makes your tongue lose all feeling. But not before the yeasty peaty flavours shine through. A gave it 9.5. We gave it a 7.77
Bruichladdich X4 - Hmmm, quadruple distilled raw spirit. Sweet but inherently tasteless. No character. Not even tasty like a double distilled Islay spirit. I mean what's the point, really? The spirit is taken off the final distillation at 90% but watered down to 50%. I gave it a 5. We gave it a 5.13
Talisker 18yo - I am a great fan of the Talisker. And this was another fine example from the fine distillery on the Isle of Skye. Slightly peaty and peppery and oh so very tasty. I gave it an 8. We gave it 8.66
Longrow CV - A great whisky from the good folk at Springbank. Longrow is their peated expression. Setup to prove an Islay style whisky could be made away from Islay, it had a delicious salty, peaty flavour. I gave it an 8. We gave it 8.58
Highland Park - A tastyish drop from the Orkney Islands. Your standard HP is a very nice drop but this was something different. A lot is made of old whiskies and to be honest I don't get it. This was a very subtle drop. Weak to be honest. The most expensive of the lot with the least flavour and at 46% not much to write home about. Give me a 6yo 60% whisky any day. At least you can taste it. I gave it a 7. We gave it a 8.68
OBAN 14 - This was the mystery. An appley, peppery, dusty flavoured dram. A pleasure to consume. I gave it an 8. We gave it an 8.02
All in all this was my favorite tasting so far this year. Glorious peat at cask strength. Yikes!
These people also liked it..
Little wonder I was partially trousered by the end of this wondrous event.
To wrap up this epic post here a few photos of some of fine distilleries mentioned above.
Talisker Isle of Skye
Talisker Still Room
Ardbeg Visitor Centre
Ardbeg Still Attachment (makes the spirit lighter)
Hooray for Single Malt Scotch Whisky.......Drink, Drink, Drink your way to better health!
What: An evenings whisky tasting with Charles MacLean (Courtesy of Regional wines & spirits)
When: 30th March 2010
Where: Firth Hall, Wellington College, Wellington, NZ
Why: To meet Charles MacLean and taste some most salubrious whiskies yet
Who: 88 feral whisky fans, my mate Ian Jesus Hunt and of course myself.
Damn, what an absolutely awesome night of whisky tasting! 90 thirsty thirsty whisky lovers, six 'salubrious whiskies' of spectacular quality, several grown men in kilts and a set of bagpipes!
This half feral man was seen in the crowd mumbling something about Islay and looking for the faint aroma of peat!
Our own whisky expert Daniel introduced Michael Fraser Milne from Whisky Galore in Christchurch who was accompanying our keynote speaker on his tour of New Zealand. Michael gave a brief introduction to Charles MacLean outlining his many achievements and skills, then it was straight into the tasting process.
The format was a little different this time around with six delicious drams awaiting us. Each dram was identified on the tasting sheet before us and the only accompaniment was fresh water. As you can see a wonderfully diverse range colors indicating the different cask varieties used mature the whisky.
What : Scotch Malt Whisky Society Tasting
When: Thursday, 4th March, 2010
Where: Museum Hotel, Wellington, NZ
Who: Myself & 30 other random whisky fans
Why: To find new and Salubrious whiskies to try
You know, it's a long time between whisky tastings at regional. A whole month for crying out loud!! How could a relatively normal person like myself go a whole month without tasting whisky. I couldn't I just couldn't!
Luckily my roving Australian (eeeww) whisky reporter, Donna sent me an article about the 'Scotch Malt Whisky Society' having a New Zealand tasting. Problem solved!!
It was held at the 'Museum Hotel' Wellington in the Agostini room on the fourth floor.
As I entered the room I was given a welcome dram. It was an Aberlour 10yo. A tasty but entry level Speyside dram that was setting us up for the salubrious whiskies ahead.
Now the Society buy single casks from various distillers so everything is cask strength and bottled in their own specific bottles. They don't however label the bottles with the distillery name, due to an agreement they have with distilleries not to compete with their marketing efforts. They use a distillery code to signify its origin.
The tasting differed from regional in that the drams were identified and tasting notes were provided.
The five whiskies were as follows :
Malt: Glen Moray (Speyside), 60.5%, 1st fill barrel, 215 bottles from cask, Colour - Pale Apricot Gold
Malt: Glenmorangie (Highland), 56.9%, 1st fill designer hogshead, 300 bottles from cask, Colour - Sunlit Chardonnay
Malt: Glenfarclas (Speyside), 50.1%, Refill hogshead, 165 bottles from cask, Colour - 9 Carat gold
Malt: Tormore (Speyside), 56%, 1st fill sherry hogshead, 318 bottles from cask, Colour - Colheita Tawny
Malt: Ardbeg (Islay), 56.7%, First fill barrel, 236 bottles from cask, Colour - HMS Edinburgh Bullion
Pick of the Evening : ARDBEG of course. Absolutely delicious!! Cask strength. Perfect
Dog of the Evening : Glenmorangie, Petrol in a barrel. Not palatable.
Special Mention : Tormore, I have never tried a Tormore before and I was pleasantly surprised. Very sweet almost sickly, but with a powerful punch and a spicy strong finish. Would definitely drink again.
The accompanying tasting note reads....POURING TREACLE ON CUT GRASS.......say no more!
All in all it was a pleasant experience and our presenter for the evening spoke with great knowledge and enthusiasm. Though compared to the wonderful tastings at Regional it was a little pretentious.
Also the pricing on the bottles was astronomical, from $192 (GlenMoray) to $373 (Tormore)...Ouch!!
In summary - Top notch whisky, oddball format, dodgy auction of the half empty bottles. At $85 a seat I'm not sure if I will attend another one........... but then again I probably will!!
Posted by Donna Grewal | Posted in | Posted on 20:20
The label boasts 'refreshingly free from 'medicinal' overtones - just evocative and beguiling peat aromas. A three dimensional flavour obtained from three strengths of peated barley'