The Balvenie Tweet Tasting – The Craftsmen’s Dinner

Imagine the excitement of knowing you are going to participate in The Balvenie twitter tasting, and then the rush of excitement as a big parcel marked “fragile” arrives and you open it up and you are greeted by The Balvenie DoubleWood 12 year old, the 14 year old Caribbean Cask and the 17 year old DoubleWood… these are accompanied by a jar of honey from Bermondsey Street Bees and cheese washed with Balvenie from Wildes Cheese and lastly chocolate from Pump Street Chocolate.

So the evening of the 7th June was here and we had all unwrapped our delicious bounty and with greetings said we set about a delicious tasting. The tasting was to celebrate The Craftsmen’s Dinner Series with Michel Roux Jnr.

The first dram of the evening was the DoubleWood 12 year old, this is a whisky that I have most certainly enjoyed for a few years. The nose delivers gorgeous honey and vanilla, the palate is smooth and delicious with delicate cinnamon and that perfect sweetness and a lovely finish. Just hitting the spot. This was paired with Bermondsey Bees honey which really brought out the sherry and some wood too.

Next was the Caribbean Cask which is a 14 year old. I have liked this for a number of years. You know you sometimes have a recollection of a time and place where a whisky first touched your lips? I do. This was on a little trip I took and while at dinner at the Angel’s Share in Edinburgh, where sadly my Caeser salad didn’t live up to their standards, and as an apology I was handed the whisky menu…and I chose the Caribbean Cask. So little old me and a fire place enjoyed a bit of quiet time together. I think the same now as I did then, a pleasant nose with oak and vanilla and lovely sweetness. The palate delivers some more lovely oak and sweetness with some caramel and a lovely finish too. This was paired with Wildes Cheese that had been washed with The Balvenie whisky. A lovely smooth cheese with a little mustiness and a slight slight tart note which did bring out the sweetness of the whisky. Lovely cheese indeed!

The final whisky of the evening was the 17 year old DoubleWood. Gorgeous honey and vanilla greet your senses with a delicious oak and fruitiness, the plate is smooth with a slight spicy warmth with some cinnamon sprinkles and the vanilla is there and that reassuring oak. I do like wood. This was paired with the chocolate from Pump Street. It intensified the fruity spices and the honey for me. Likewise the whisky brought out the deep flavours of the chocolate.

So, the night had drawn to a close and with thanks given and favourites noted it was time to bid all a fond farewell.

Apology time…I’m not sure what happened on Twitter that evening, the wrong hashtag or gremlins in the works, but it had seemed a tad quiet. Though I was able to see the feed on my TL. So I’m glad I had the chance to do it all over again this evening. A delicious treat for one.

A huge amount of thanks and gratitude to Steve @thewhiskywire, Alwynne @themisswhisky and @balvenieuk for a truly fab evening.

Now it’s time to book my tour there 🙂

Slàinte

Loch Lomond Tweet Tasting

On the 31st May I had the absolute pleasure of taking part in the Loch Lomond Tweet Tasting with Steve Rush of the The Whisky Wire. This included three Loch Lomond whiskies, and two Glen Scotia. Since I hadn’t tried any whiskies from either distillery before, this was going to be another journey of discovery…

The first whisky of the evening was the Loch Lomond Inchmurrin, this is a 12 year old whisky. The nose was lovely and fresh, with cream and caramel and a softness about it. Fresh cut grass, and lovely fresh fudge. The palate delivered maltiness and and a lovely fruitiness, with a little pear and a sprinkling of pepper. I got a little saltiness too, yet this wasn’t at all unpleasant.

Next we moved on to the Loch Lomond 12 year old which presented me with ginger and vanilla and a lot of sweetness on the nose. Lovely caramel and fresh green apples and maybe a malted milk biscuit. When I had a sip I thought it was lovely a rich, smooth and fruity, with the malt there again. Citrus fruits, lemon and a little orange with some vanilla too. A nice finish too.

The final Loch Lomond of the evening was to be the Inchmoan, another 12 year old, yet this time a peated whisky. A quite savoury nose with a not too fierce peatiness to it, yet accompanied by delicious vanilla and burnt sugar too perhaps. Again a lovely smooth mouthfeel lovely peat and a lot of sweetness, yet it has that lovely savouriness also with a spice and some apple.

We then took a look at the Glen Scotia malts, this was the 16 year old. Fudge, sweet vanilla (morello cherry too?) and a rather inviting floral freshness…

Again, a delightfully smooth mouthfeel, sweet vanilla and fudge, a bit of orange and a definite delicious richness. I had previously written that it had a little tobacco at the end too.

Now on the to final dram of the evening and the Glen Scotia 25 year old. This one had me a little lost for words… yeah, me 🙂

Lovely, fresh, floral and oh so appealing… it gave me a certain musky note which just drew me in, and upon revisiting it this evening a lovely beach walk on a summers afternoon comes to mind. There is just something about this. A lovely rich palate of sweet vanilla and lovely caramel and fruit. A real delight!

So a huge thanks to Steve and the distilleries for another wonderful journey in whisky.

Slàinte

A Remarkable Regional Mix Up! Facebook Tasting

I was very lucky to have received a lovely email inviting me to a series of online Whisky & Cocktail tastings on Instagram etc.…what a treat!

This time however it was to be on Facebook with another of Douglas Laing’s Remarkable Malts – The Epicurean.

May 8th arrived and I’d signed up to Facebook…

We all said our hellos and started to sample The Epicurean along with a few ginger biscuits. Even though mine had turned soft they were still a lovely treat alongside the whisky. The Epicurean itself had a lovely light colour with a light fragrant and fresh nose with vanilla & fresh grass and orange freshness too.

The palate was smooth, a sip with a gentle bite. There was the softness of juicy peaches and burnt sugar adding some depth. A spicy warmth to it.

We made two cocktails that evening. First was the horses head. This consisted of:

The Epicurean

A few drops of Angostura bitters (yes, from that adorably dinky little bottle)

Ginger Ale and ice – and had my local shop had any in stock, lemon which would have created the horses neck.

This was a lovely refreshing cocktail. I’m a bit hit and miss when it comes to ginger, but this was lovely.

We then moved on to the second cocktail, the Appleyard.

The Epicurean

Cloudy apple juice

Ice

I poured this into a very large glass and added a cocktail umbrella – as one does… what a deliciously moreish cocktail. Light and definitely one for a warm summers evening…should we get one.

A huge thanks go to Hannah, Jan and Douglas Laing for another wonderful tasting.

Slàinte 🙂

A Few Samples to Try…

A kind Tweeter (one of a few) offered to send me some samples, so last night (well 7th May to be precise) I decided that it was time to explore them. Well if someone offers you something to try, you say “yes please!”

 

Springbank 25 year old 2017 release 46%

A lovely fruity nose. Soft sugars. Galia melon and orange.

Very smooth and a hint of oak and spice. Sweet with the orange peel. Honey and a little pepper.

Medium length finish with some black pepper.

Tomintoul 15 year old Portwood finish 46%

Rich and full a delicious Sherry sweetness influence. sweet goodness. Custard and berries.

Full on the mouth and some white pepper and an oak dryness. Fruit and sticky rich cake with lots of sweetness.

Lovely finish.

Springbank 12 year old Cask Strength 54.2%

Light smokiness. Leather and old tobacco tins. Prickly heat just sitting there. And pine. And dark sugar.

Smoke and pepper on the tongue. A certain savoury note to it. Fruit which is quite chewy and vanilla. Maybe dates. Leather again. Although when would I chew leather? (No comment.)

Warm finish. The spice remains. Quite a long finish.

Hazelburn 9 year old Barolo finish 57.9%

Another new one for me but an old bottle. This was distilled in 2007 and bottled in 2016.

Now, I’ve had a couple of bottles of Barolo wine and never got on with them. So here goes…

Sweets and childhood sweets at that. Vanilla and a little sherbet.

Spice at the start and very warming with treacle and some rich fruits. Black pepper nips.

Nice finish with chocolate and vanilla coming through. Some lovely fruit too.

Blackadder Raw Cask English Norfolk Whisky Moscatel Cask #794 dist. Oct 07 bottled May ’15 63.2%

Quite a beast… You can tell it’s a cask strength, fruity and some Bendicks white chocolate. Fresh slightly floral with vanilla.

Woah that cask strength is noticeable but with a chocolate sweetness yet a dash of pepper and quite punchy.

Long warming spicy-ish finish.

So with that, I say thanks for the samples and hope you enjoy reading my thoughts on them.

Slàinte

Worldwide Whiskies – The Dram Team

Last night saw a welcome return to The Dram Team twitter tastings. It was definitely a case of “don’t forget your passport” as we embarked on a whistle stop tour while enjoying “Worldwide Whiskies”.

I was sat listening to “Around the World” by Daft Punk as the stewardess told us to put our devices into flight mode.

The flight was fully booked with some familiar passengers as well as our trusty Captain Chris Borrow. So tray tables up and belts fastened we headed for our first destination…to the land down under, Australia.

The first dram was from Starward Whisky. This is a New World Malt Whisky – 43%

The nose was lovely fresh honey and gently spiced & deliciously fragrant. Banana, apples and cream coming through also.

Now the palate – caramel, lovely sweetness, marzipan, quite peppery. The caramel was quite delicious. The finish was quite dry and slightly woody.

We then took flight off to Ireland where Teeling Distillery in Dublin were waiting for us with a small batch Irish Blended Whisky – 46%

The nose offered lots of vanilla and light spices. Quite a creamy nose. Fruity and a drizzle of custard. A smooth mouthfeel. Some spice and a little bitter. Getting some wood. Nice sweetness but not overly so. It finishes as the wood lingers, quite spicy and a tad dry.

Our next destination saw us flying to England (“whoop whoop go England” were my exact words) and we were bound for Norfolk and The English Whisky Co. invited us to try The Norfolk Farmers, Single Grain Whisky – 45%

This was quite a full nose (?) Demerara sugar. Pencil shavings for sure. Muesli and fruit compote. Reminded me of my breakfast in Bristol last month. The palate was quite dry with some cherry & spices. The finish was a little dry too.

Long haul flight to the USA. We were welcomed at F.E.W Spirits with an American Rye Whisky – 46.5%

I’m a hit or a miss with rye. So let’s see…

Nose is spicy and a touch of fresh wood. A sticky light fruitiness. Some chocolate. Initially the nose just didn’t appeal. I kept nosing it and swirling it in my glass but the palate told me what I imagined – it just didn’t sit well with me, there was quite a lot of spice. It’s a pity but I’m sure the other passengers had some different experiences.

Now we were heading off to Sweden. Our Captain told us as we flew at 28,000ft that we would soon be starting our descent. This trip saw us heading for Mackmyra to sample their Svensk Rök a Swedish Single Malt Whisky – 46.1%

The nose offered sweet smoke and hmmm fudge? Gently spiced and fragrant. The palate was quite woody (oaky) peppery too. The smoke from the nose is still there.

The last leg of our journey and we were off to India for a Paul John Indian Single Malt Whisky at Dave Worthington’s house. This was a 6 year old whisky – 52.9% and this was also the teaser dram. Namely the sixth dram.

The nose offered a delicious light smokiness…Tudor Smoky Bacon crisps “I’d climb a mountain” and all that… still sweet too. A peppery finish and possibly a larger sample would have been better, but that’s the tease of the sixth dram.

And with that we all decided it was time to collect our duty free and head home. A jovial night with lots of banter and interaction with fellow passengers old and new.

Thanks as ever to Captain Chris and The Dram Team.

If you haven’t tried one of these monthly boxes, then please do try. I’ve had some wonderful whisky moments because of them 🙂

Tamdhu Tasting

I’d buggered my dates up on this one and ended up at The Whisky Lounge Bristol.. naughty me. Saying that I had a wonderful time there. And I apologised for my silly mix up too.

But tonight I’ll sit with these four bottles from Tamdhu, and I have really been looking forward to trying them.

I’m trying:

Tamdhu New Spirit 69.7%

Tamdhu 10 year old 40%

Tamdhu Limited Edition 46%

Tamdhu Batch Strength 58.5%

Tamdhu New Spirit 69.7%

So here I go, the New Spirit. Fresh with a fruity nose. Smells like fresh baked bread. Quite malty. A hint of banana? And a touch of vanilla.

Palate is quite obviously powerful. Full of red fruit and sugars. Like a soft berry compote. Quite malty. With a warming finish with a touch of oak.

Tamdhu 10 year old 40%

The first thing I notice is a gentle vanilla and it gives a gentle sprinkling of cinnamon and a creaminess. A little caramel with some delicious oak.

Very smooth on the palate with cinnamon and cream, vanilla and a touch of ginger perhaps. There’s a lovely sweetness there with sherry and that delicious woody flavour.

Lovely long finish a bit dry but still very pleasant. With some sweetness lingering.

Tamdhu Limited Edition 46%

I love the rich colour of this. It’s got a rich Christmas cake nose. Some vanilla and lovely spices and that sherry. A bit of oak and some demerara sugar.

Again a delicious smooth mouth feel. It delivers a delightful burst of sherry and that lovely richness which the nose promised. A touch of chocolate? and maybe a sprinkling of spice and oak.

The finish, warming with a slight dryness but again the wood comes through.

Tamdhu Batch Strength 58.5%

Definitely getting some bread on the nose. And some cinnamon and spice. A little vanilla but a full sumptuous offering. It’s a bit like a bar of Mr Toms. Sherry really came to the fore as I added some water.

A lovely richness on the palate. Sweet sticky fruit with a touch of pepper and the sherry tastes wonderful. I like the oak.

Deliciously slightly tingly (spicy) but warm finish which mingles with the vanilla.

I was chatting to a friend who said that M&S have the 12 year old, so this might be something to explore at some point too.

Thank you Steve, and thank you Tamdhu.

Play Your Drams Right The Dram Team

The letter reads “Greetings Dearest Dram-Teamer!

Welcome to our whisky-based gameshow-in-a-box, “Play your drams right”…our chance to go “Highland or Lowland”

So I decided to try this box of delights from Douglas Laing to Ailsa Bay.

Dear reader please note, these are my thoughts on the drams.

First card picked and it’s a…

Douglas Laing – Timorous Beastie Highland Blended Malt Scotch Whisky 46.8%

Light straw colour

Sherry on the nose. Sugar and fudge with a  slightly creamy note. Floral honey. Some spice sprinkled on top.

Smooth on the mouth. A slight bitter cocoa. But with fruit and spices and lovely vanilla just accompanying the other flavours.

Medium finish but with a lovely oak and a gentle spice just warming as it leaves.

Next another

Douglas Laing – The Epicurean Lowland Blended Scotch Whisky 46.2%

Very light in colour

The nose offers light fragrant sweetness. Vanilla and fresh cut grass. Orange freshness.

Another smooth sip with a bit of a bite. Peaches and burnt sugar adding a depth to it. Spicy warmth.

Warm finish with burnt sugar and a hint of grass once more.

Now to the wonderful tease to our senses that is the sixth dram…

Let’s go low again.

Auchentoshan 21 years old Lowland Single Malt Scotch Whisky 43%

Deep golden colour

Rich honey first greets the senses, along with vanilla. That gorgeous sweetness just draws you in. There’s a certain woodiness to it.

Note: to The Dram Team you really do tease us with the sixth dram 🙂

The palate is oh so smooth and delicately invites you to have another sip. The wood is still there and comes through as oak. And honey. There’s chocolate and sweetness and it’s light and mmmm.

Delicious finish that just echoes the flavours you’ve already savoured. It’s smooth, delightful and ever so easy to enjoy.

Now a bit closer to home with…

GlenGarioch – Founder’s Reserve Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky 48%

I did have a little giggle at the “Glen Girrie” rather than “Glen Garry-Och” though I’m sure the distillery is used to many a mispronunciation 🙂

Golden in colour

The nose is deliciously soft fruity with vanilla and light spices. Crunchy green apples and a subtle touch of orange.

Quite a rich mouthfeel. Oak is followed by apple and a bit of nutmeg as spice just makes you gently suck your cheeks in. A slight tartness to it. The vanilla lingers.

Finish has that touch of oak and the gentle spice again just leaving a certain warmth.

AnCnoc 18 years old – Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky 46%

Rich copper colour

Lovely vanilla and butterscotch. A touch of ginger and oak.

Creamy caramel and ginger with some cloves. Honey richness, fruity with a touch of lemon.

The finish gives black pepper, yet still retains that fruitiness.

Ailsa Bay – Lowland Single Malt Scotch Whisky 48.9%

Another golden dram

Woah smokiness… but sweet & creamy. Warm leather and that unmissable smoke. Another moment passes and smoky bacon crisps creep out. There’s definitely a sweetness though.

Initially sweet on the tongue and delicately so with soft smoke and a real warmth and a slight kick just to keep you focused.

A long sweet finish with a prickly smoke remaining.

Another box of delights and some hope of a Twitter tasting on the cards?

Slàinte