Five excellent bottles were lined up for the tasting – no prizes for guessing the theme.
The Deveron 18YO
The Deveron – Bottled at 40%. This is the latest brand out of the Speyside based McDuff distillery. Not to be confused with Glen Deveron which is, to help make things confusing, also out of the McDuff distillery. This is priced around £55 a bottle which is good for an 18YO. A nice golden colour the initial aromas are of light fruits and some creamy sweetness followed by a hint of liquorice and some floral notes. In the mouth notes of honey and wood came to the fore with a light, drying finish and spiciness at the end. Adding a few drops of water took away some of the woodiness and gave a buttery mouth feel.
Glengoyne – Bottled at 43% and around £70. A Highland distillery, although being just over 10 miles north of Glasgow it only marginally creeps in. Another golden coloured whisky this has been matured in sherry casks which give a distinctive aroma of darker fruits and sweetness. There was also a slightly musty, but not unpleasant smell. Drinking gave a little spicy kick at the back of the throat and some warmth. There was a bit of disagreement on flavour with some picking up on the sherry and others hardly noting it. A medium length warming finish with a little bit of sourness, drying at the end. It was generally felt that this whisky had a narrow flavour profile and not as complex as might have been expected for an 18YO.
Glenmorangie – Another Highland whisky, bottled at 43% and circa £85. Labelled as “extremely rare”. It isn’t hard to buy, so “extremely rare” must refer to the maturation process which is described on their website as “Fifteen years maturing in American white oak casks approximately 30% is transferred into Spanish Oloroso casks to spend a further three years maturing. Then, when both elements have reached 18 years, we blend them back together” Was it worth all that effort? Find out in the results of our tasting later in this report. A light golden hue with a very floral nose, some vanilla and sweetness. Very smooth in the mouth with notes of orange, some honeyed sweetness and a richness. Jo likened it to Tooty Fruity sweets! A long, complex and well-balanced fruity finish rounded this whisky off very nicely. Class in a glass.
Bunnahabhain – Around £80 a bottle and 46.3% ABV. Hailing from Islay, this is a re-introduced version of their traditional 18YO without artificial colouring and chill filtration. This is light copper in colour (I’m getting fed up of saying golden) and gives satisfying aromas of toffee, leather and a little wisp of peat. Tasting gives sherried notes with some saltiness and a warming spiciness. Quite a long finish with waves of spice and a little peat developing at the end.
Talisker – Bottled at 45.8% and approx. £75. World Whisky Awards named this the best single malt in the world 2007, so it has a lot to live up to. Coppery in colour there were a lot of interesting comments about the aromas – antiseptic, germoline, plasticine, linement were just some of the terms used! Some detected a little smokiness as well, someone suggested it smelt like Gloucester Royal. Don’t let it put you off, as tasting gives a complex fruity, salty and peppery experience and a long and salty finish with peat at the end. More class in a glass.
As usual we rated the whiskies at the end of the evening. There may have been a pre-conception that Talisker would be first past the post, but it was narrowly beaten into second place.
1st place – Glenmorangie
2nd place – Talisker
3rd place – Bunnahabhain
4th place – Glengoyne
5th Place – The Deveron
Tasting notes by Sean.