Our first official tasting of the year commenced with a relatively young selection of drams with a wide range of flavours. Featuring four whiskies from the Clan Denny Collection by Douglas Laing with one surprise popular bottle thrown into the mix which I’m sure readers will notice instantly as the odd one out amongst the tasting notes. A vibrant and interesting way to start the year, the selection caused quite the conversation between members.
- Nose: Honey and slight touches of Herbs, very sweet
- Palate: Sweet Malt with a crack of spice
- Finish: Sharp pangs of peat and lingering spices
This dram proved to be quite the divisive opener and tastings varied between honey, spice, and gentle hints of peat to receptions of sharp spice and new-make malt with a short and bland follow-through. Overall scoring a 5 amongst members with an even split between those who found it approachable and easy drinking and those quite comfortable to sip and forget.
- Nose: Toasted fruit with a hint of oil
- Palate: Warm and sweet apple and pear
- Finish: Maple syrup and roasted nuts
Similar to the first, this whisky also received strong and mixed reactions. The tasting notes of our members varied from fruity, maple and roasted spices with a full bodied flavour and finish to other perceptive members remarking on its overly sweet, almost pungent and burnt fruit notes and the initial burst of flavour having short and sickly tail-end. Overall this dram scored a 5.5.
- Nose: Buttery and oily toffee
- Palate: A rush of sweet raisin with a burst of chilli
- Finish: A mild smoke with touches of peat and a lingering sweetness
Significantly eclipsing the first two whiskies, this lovely dram scored an 8 amongst members. It’s challenging to match the depth and complexity of the masters and the Quarter Cask from Laphroaig is simply a very balanced and wonderfully sweet and developed scotch enjoyable by all. Needless to say, there were no negative comments regarding this choice and almost universal agreement on the delicious tasting notes.
- Nose: Salted Lemon and Ginger
- Palate: Ginger with herbs and grapefruit
- Finish: Earthy spice and touch of vanilla
This dram took the trophy for most controversial of the night. Following Laphroaig is challenge for the best and the unique and interesting combinations of flavours of this distillation divided our members the likes of which we’ve rarely seen before. Taste receptions ranged from fish and chips with a surprising twist down to sour, acidic and bland salt. Drawing out comments like ‘This should be a Gin’, ‘Never Again’, and ‘A surprising delight of strange flavours’; this dram definitely caused a stir. Overall scoring lowest of the evening with a 4.5, it would appear to be either a love or hate relationship.
- Nose: Raisins and Sultanas
- Palate: Toffee and dark fruits with hints of soft dates
- Finish: Vanilla and nutmeg cream
This particular whisky was a delightful surprise being as rare a bottle as it is. One of only 18 bottles, this definitely caused a stir amongst members when it was revealed as part of the tasting selection. A relatively young whisky for the depth of flavour and ABV, it was remarked as being too strong in fruits and alcohol for some of our members though overall scoring a 6.5 it was reasonably well-received by most and thoroughly enjoyed by some.