On Thursday, Matt and I had the pleasure of being part of the The Whisky Lounges #WhiskyWeekender twitter tasting, in anticipation of next Saturday’s Whisky Festival. We sampled four drams, nearly all of which were new to both of us, as well as a little curve ball we didn’t expect.
This was my third Twitter tasting that I’ve participated in, but as I had always done them alone, I invited fellow Swwigger Matt to join me on the tasting, which was very handy as this one was blind!
Starting traditionally with the bottle number 1, I shared the dram between us. Initially, this seemed a bit like a ‘classic’ speyside, being quite light, but with still a bit of kick to it. It definitely had citrus’ notes, and at first I thought it might have been something similar to an Old Pulteney as I was getting a saltiness on the nose. A few people agreed with Matt that it may have been a grain or something young, but in the end we were all really off the mark as it turned out to be Berrys’ Longmorn 1992. It had quite a pleasant zing to it on the palate, plus quite a lot of sweetness. It was enjoyable, but still not the sort of whisky I would personally seek out.
Feeling a little conscience of how bad we guessed the first one, we moved onto the second. We decided to get in quick with some comments and upon nosing the glass I immediately tweeted how I was taken back to Christmas, with a marzipan and fruitcake featuring heavily in the vapors. Matt and I were quite confused by this one and were looking up rum or even brandy cask finishes – thinking along the lines of the Teeling Rum cask finish we tried earlier this year. In the end, this one turned out to be Tiffon Chateau de Triac – a cognac! A very sneaky addition to a whisky tasting, but it did improve our confidence as it confirmed our initial thoughts when nosing the glass – we just should have stuck with the guessing!
Moving briskly on, we began the third dram – immediately on the nose we could tell we were back into our comfort zone. A nice deep peatiness filled the glencairn glass, as well as a hint of sweetness. I was fairly convinced this was an Islay, although Matt thought it may be a peated Highland, or something similar to the Tomintoul ‘Gentle Dram’. At this point, I started breaking out other bottles in my collection so we could compare noses to try and find the anonymous dram’s identity – even to the point of opening my hand filled Laphroaig 9 year old.
This sample turned out to be the Ancnoc Rutter, so Matt was right with his first impressions of it being Highland. The taste had a good peatiness to it, but with some lovely additions of pear, toffee and apple. I hadn’t heard of them until now, but I can guarantee we’ll be seeking them out next Saturday afternoon, especially to try the more peatier Flaughter and Tushkar expressions.
The forth and final sample of the night continued the peatiness theme, but this one I didn’t think as an Islay. This was mainly due to the slightly ‘dulled’ malty scent that I was getting on the nose, something I find especially evident on the Green Spot. More smokier on the last one, and with a toffee and oranges on the palate, this was definitely my favourite of the evening. The reason was clear, as it turned out to be SWMS A Stoker in Drag (53.197) – a Caol Ila! So I didn’t end on a high with my guessing!
In the end it was a great night of tasting which not only got us both looking forward to the festival next week, but also opened a few other avenues that we can explore on our whisky tasting adventure. Roll on next week!