Highlands and Islands
The challenge - identify the region, price, ABV and age of each.
Opinions from the group regarding region, price, age and ABV were surprisingly accurate -
Whisky 1 – Auchentoshan, 13YO, 46%, £35 – Lowland
Light straw in colour with vanilla, hay melon and banana notes to the aroma. Most tasters felt it was a young whisky as there was some harshness, but quite a strong woody taste (oak) gave a clue that it had some ageing. Quite drying in the mouth with a fairly short finish.
Whisky 2 – Balvenie Single Barrel, 15YO, 47.8%, £68 - Speyside
Light gold in colour with dark fruits and sherry dominating the nose. Some Christmas cake and Werthers’ Originals thrown in for good measure! To taste the dark fruit and sherry were very noticeable with some warmth and pepper notes. Finish mellow and of good length.
Whisky 3 – Kilkerran (Glengyle) WIP 6th Edition, NAS, 46%, £38 - Campbeltown
Gold in colour and very organic smells – seaweed, salt, iodine (someone suggested sweaty socks!). Salt and mustiness to taste and a hint of smoke. Finish was peppery, warming and drying of good length.
Whisky 4 – Old Pulteney Spectrum WK217, NAS, 46%, £50 - Highland/Island
(This is a ‘duty free’ special sold in 1L bottles so price is adjusted to 0.7L)
Copper in colour with strong notes of Sherry, dark fruit and meatiness to the nose. Some detected menthol, salt, mould and cocoa. Very mellow in the mouth, quite rich with dark fruit, sherry and some chocolate – even a slight fizziness? The finish was long and very mellow.
Whisky 5 – Laphroaig Select, NAS, 40%, £35 - Islay
Golden straw in colour and distinctly medicinal to the palate with some salt, some smoky bacon and some camp fire smokiness. Finish was long and smoky. A peat lover’s treat!
We were then all asked to rate the whiskies in our personal order of preference and here we obtained a wide range of differing opinions – even beyond the peat vs non-peat factions. Aggregating the rankings resulted in –
First place – Old Pulteney (£50)
Second Place – Balvenie Single Barrel (£68)
Third Place – Kilkerran (£38)
Fourth Place – Auchentoschan (£35)
Fifth Place (and much to the chagrin of the author) – Laphroaig (£35)
Conclusively proving that SWC members have expensive tastes!
The most popular bottle on the night was...