Back in Dec 2013, I took part in the #Festive Drams tweet tasting. This was a blind tasting, so I didn't quite know what to expect, apart from a few surprises!
Dram 1: N - fresh and fruity, green apples and honey. P - fresh, with citrus and sherbet notes. F - pleasantly fizzy. I didn't think this was an amazing whisky, but it was very nice and drinkable. I guessed it wasn't a Scotch, which was true, as it turned out to be a HIKIBI 12 yr Japanese blend at 43% ABV.
Dram 2: N - creamy toffee (Werther's Originals), with a hint of marzipan. P - balanced tropical fruits and sherry. F – spicy. This got it a VERY NICE in my notes! It was the PENDERYN Sherrywood, 46% ABV.
Dram 3: In complete contrast to the Penderyn, with a YUCK!!, was the GLENDRONACH 15 yr old Speyside single malt, 46%. The Penderyn sherry was smooth and subtle, whereas I found the GlenDronach harsh and slightly bitter. Needless to say, I didn't finish this sample.
Dram 4: N - full of fruit and spice, oranges, cloves and sea salt. P - subtly smokey. F - quite rounded. This was a very nice expression from AMRUT Indian whisky 'Kadhambam', 50%ABV.
Dram 5: N - creamy, sweet nougat, marzipan, butterscotch nose with just a hint of iodine and seaside. P - strong, but not overpowering, with just the right balance of butterscotch sweetness and spice. F - zingy, peppery. Was really pleased to have guessed Canadian or Australian, when it turned out to be HEARTWOOD Release the Beast from Tasmania, 65.4%ABV. This was definitely my favourite of the night.
At the end of Jan 2014, Andrew Purslow, UK brand ambassador, sent me some LIMEBURNERS samples to try.
Dram 1: M76, 43%. N – oak, marzipan, cherries, tropical fruit and rum notes. P – spicy, tannins, slightly drying with water, with a touch of honey at the end, rich. F – smooth and long. Not as complex taste as nose. Nice, but I preferred it without water.
Dram 2: M92, 43%. N – honey, soaked dried fruit, marzipan, lime, citrus. P – citurs, spice. F – spicy. Light and very pleasant, an easy drinking whisky.
Dram 3: M61, 60% NCF, CS. Silver medal at IWSC 2013. N – dried fruit, acetone, buttery. P – mouth filling, explosive, but smooth with buttery caramel. F – tongue tingling. WOW! Really liked this. Hope it eventually becomes available in the UK.
Feb 7th 2014, HIGHLAND PARK secret tweet tasting. 3 single malts, distinguished by a different coloured spot on each bottle.
Red dram: N – citrus, floral. P – rich orange marmalade, followed by smokey bacon. F – nice and spicy. Thor, 52.1%ABV, 16 yr old. Very nice.
Green dram: N – salty sea air, creamy. P – peat, with some peppery spice. F – long and mellow, with creamy notes. Loki, 47.8%ABV, 15 yr old. Smokey and sweet.
Blue dram: N – peaty, acetone notes, followed by fruit. P – smooth, fruity, butterscotch, with a nice amount of smoke. F – long and lovely. Freya, 51.2%, 15 yr old. What a lovely lady. My favourite of 3 very nice whiskies.
A few days later, some Canadian FORTY CREEK samples, arrived in the post, from Heather McBriarty.
Portwood Reserve, 45%. N – port, mellow fruit. P – citrus, smooth, fruity. F – long and warm. Really nice. Very easy drinking.
Barrel Select Premium, 40%. N – vanilla, freshly baked biscuits. P – vanilla, tropical fruits. F – long and smooth. Nice, but not outstanding.
Heart of Gold, 43%. I didn't really like this and have just written down 'Harsh'!
These 3 drams show what an individual drink whisky is, as Heather had advised me to save the Heart of Gold to last, as it is her favourite!
22nd Feb and more whisky arrives from Canada, this time courtesy of Johanne McInnis.
FORTY CREEK Confederation Oak Reserve, 40%ABV. N – marzipan, green apples, fresh cut grass, caramel. P – citrus, crisp, vanilla, brown sugar. F – smooth, but short. This is an amazing whisky and I would highly recommend you try it.
WRITER'S TEARS, Irish Pot Still, 40%ABV. N – butter, fresh fruit, floral. P – peppery, light buttery. F – pleasant and light. Nice.
STALK & BARREL, single malt, Cask 5, Bottle 169, 60.3%ABV. N – dried fruit, apples, pears. P – nice, crisp, but not harsh. F – long and warm. This is a real cockle-warmer of a winter whisky.
Johanne also sent a MONKEY SHOULDER Batch 27, that I haven't yet opened, plus a RED BREAST 12 yr old and an HIKIBI 12. As I've tried both of these last 2, I'm going to pass them on to Stroud Whisky Club members, who haven't.
17 new whiskies in 3 months, quite a few from countries new to me, Japan, Canada, Australia and Tazmania. Just goes to show what you can find, if you broaden your whisky horizons!