The challenge this month was to identify the country of origin of each of the whiskies, the ABV, the type of finishing cask, the age and the price. Clues given –
- The whiskies are from five different countries – America, Ireland, Japan, Scotland and Switzerland.
- Two of the whiskies are NAS
- All whiskies are below £60 a bottle
- None of the whiskies had featured in any previous tastings at SWC
Bottle Number One – (Japan - Nikka Pure Black Malt, NAS, 43%ABV, £50 for 70cl and probably matured in Japanese oak – Nikka would not divulge)
Golden amber in colour with an earthy nose, some peat, some fruitiness and some sherry on the nose. Sherry and slight peat to taste with some sweetness. Finish faded quite quickly.
Bottle Number Two - (America - Smooth Ambler Old Scout 7YO, 49.5% ABV, £50 a bottle and matured in American white oak casks)
A deep cooper/ light brown appearance with definite sweetness on palate and taste. Vanilla fudge and citrus fruit in there and some peppery notes. The medium length finish was warming with lots of spice with vanilla coming through at end
Bottle Number Three – (Scotland - Auchentoshan American Oak, NAS, 40% ABV, £32 a bottle matured in American first fill oak casks)
Bright gold liquid with aromas of vanilla, some wood and some fruitiness – coconut and banana maybe? This was quite light on the palate with vanilla ice cream notes and some oak. The finish was short leaving a drying, but not too unpleasant bitterness in the mouth.
Bottle Number Four – (Switzerland – Langatun Old Bear 6YO, 40% ABV, £56 a 70 cl bottle matured in ex-Chateauneuf-du-Pape casks)
Similar to bottle three this was bright gold in appearance. To nose it seemed to be a young whisky, with a quite strong vegetative smell something akin to turnip! A bit of woodiness as well. Tasting proved to be a bit more pleasant than the nose with a sweetish flavour of red berries and some tannin. Maybe a hint of smoke? The finish was medium length with sweetness and some smoke remaining.
Bottle Number Five – (Ireland – Glendalough 7YO, 46% ABV, £45 per bottle matured in first fill bourbon casks)
Another bright gold whisky with aromas of citrus fruit, floral and some warming spices. Quite spicy on the taste-buds as well with pepper, cloves and oakiness. A lingering finish with the warm spices and oak repeated.
This was a difficult challenge - how would any of us be able to identify a “Swissky”? The Irish whiskey was double distilled which is unusual as most Irish whiskies are triple distilled; the Auchentoshan is the only Scottish whisky that is triple distilled; the Japanese whisky was peated, which also isn’t very common.
So how did we do?
Two people got a creditable three out of five correct and two got two out of five correct. More importantly how did Tom do? Rather annoyingly he was one of the two that got three out of five correct.
Before the whiskies were revealed all had to give their personal rating for each whisk(e)y in order of preference and the results are as follows –
First place with 37 points – Nikka Pure Black Malt
Second place with 33 points – Smooth Ambler Old Scout Bourbon
Third place with 22 points – Langatun Old Bear
Fourth place with 15 points – Glendalough 7YO
Fifth Place with 13 points –Auchentoshan American Oak