Friday, 11 June 2010

WS#3: Islands

Three is the magic number, and for Whisky Squad #3 we went island hopping, trying some fine specimens from destinations far flung. We excluded Islay this time, since its eight distilleries could - and will - fill whole evenings on their own. The whiskies we did choose were tasted blind, as usual, and I'm indebted to the Whisky Squaddies, including Whisky Guy Darren, for their contributions to the following notes...

A Master of Malt bottling from the isle of Arran (54.7% abv).
Aroma of Werther's Original, honey, orange, burnt sugar. Taste of bread and butter pudding, sweet fudge.
We heard that the site of the Arran distillery was specially chosen by scientists charged with locating the best conditions for whisky making, which seem to include a warm climate. Such is the speed of maturation on Arran that whiskyperts have supposedly mistaken 5-year-olds for Scotches 35 years their senior.

Tobermory 15
Number two of the evening, a non-chill filtered whisky from the Isle of Mull (46.3% abv), was the controversial choice, since it didn't go down too well with the gathered throng, although Darren suggested it would make a fine aperitif with some olives.Aromas included socks, solvent and "Camembert left in a hot car". The taste was "bad Christmas", with sauerkraut and raw spirit notes.

Highland Park 18

A 55.8% single cask whisky from Orkney bottled by Signatory.
Aromas of sherry, fruit and - apparently - ham, with a tiny peat injection. The thick, oily mouthfeel was also smooth, providing a long, deep, throbbing finish (not sure what I mean by that).

Talisker 18
Isle of Skye (45.8%).
Adjectives: smoke, honey, waffles, dark chocolate. Better with a few drops of water.

I see my notes become more succinct by the fourth dram. If you want to read a more expert account, try this one. Overall, the Squad preferred the Highland Park - garnering five votes to the Arran's three and the Talisker's two (and the Tobemory's zero). Personally, I most enjoyed the Arran (right), which I considered more delicious and interesting than the Park. All in all, though, these islands were well worth the trip.

WHISKY WISDOM 1: It can pay to let a whisky sit in the glass for a few minutes before drinking, to let things "open up", says Darren. It's been suggested that the number of minutes one might allow a Scotch to breathe should correspond to its age (ie. leave a 10-year-old for 10 minutes, etc). Perhaps.

WW2: Younger whiskies, in taste terms, resemble children jumping about after consuming e-numbers. Older whiskies recall, at first, an old man telling a boring story, before they open up into a grander tale.

No comments:

Post a Comment