2012 July Meeting: blind tasting on the nose with a rare drop to finish

Deanston Distillery and River Teith
Deanston Distillery and River Teith (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well, the July meeting has been held and was attended by 15 members, guests and visitors.  Filip presented a blind tasting of a total of five whiskies.

First taste – alcohol content discussion varied between 40 and 46% with the group spilt about half and half on higher and lower limits. Very little legs displayed and a bit sweet and citrus/orange hints. A short front and some ventured to a petrol sniffing flavour and a touch of oak. All agreed it was an easy drinking whisky, quite suitable for breakfast and being younger rather than older.  The pale bronze colouring reinforced this opinion and no more than 10 to 12 years old. Its locale varied around the group with Speyside, Highland and Lowlands being discussed and some ventured as far as a Glengoyne, a young Glenfarclas or Auchentoshan.

Second taste – Good legs indicating alcohol of 43%+.  Age was discussed with estimates between 10-12 y/o and a few ventured 15 y/o.  Hints of over ripe banana, sweet to start with a bit of time in sherry indicated.  Light colour and one taster ventured a bit of time in American oak.  The whisky hung on the tongue for a while and general agreement to a Speyside, possibly Glenfarclas or Macallan.

Third taste – Dark golden amber colour indicating a rich aged sample, however short legs.  A mellow mouth feel indicating 15 years or so.  Alcohol does not stand out but fits nicely in with the taste.  Some ventured maybe a 12 y/o with one as high as 18 y/o. Most thought a 40+% to 45% high.  There was some discussion questioning the provenance and as to whether this was an aged bourbon.

Fourth taste – I expressed my first opinions on this one as a 12 y/o light colour Japanese whisky with a strong alcohol content.  Some suggestion of a Sullivans Cove double barrel.  Most went for a mid 40% and an age of 15 years.  Chieftain John thought it was younger and had no Japanese banzai.  Discussion was held as to this being a blend with little individual flavour evident and a mid after taste.

Fifth taste – Light in colour, being nearly colourless. On the first taste of this whisky I thought we were being fed a potcheen or a grappa, however on a second taste the real flavour of this whisky became evident.  I have never had a dram that changed so much between the first mouthful and the second. The discussion centred around low 40% and 12 y/o highland.  Variations eschewed the longer members tasted this one as it developed over time.  Most settled on a mid strength 43% to 45% and some claimed it to be younger rather than 15 y/o or so and highland locale.

The Filip enlightened us all with the unveiling of the bottles.

Taste 1 – Macallan 12 y/o fine oak 40% from the middle of Speyside with American sherry and bourbon and French sherry.

Taste 2 – Ancnoc 12 y/o 40% Highland from Knockdhu.

Taste 3 – Strathisla 12 y/o 43% Highland

Taste 4 – Dalwhinnie 15 y/o 43% Highland (a big surprise for some)

Taste 5 – Deanston 12 y/o 46.3% un-chilled filtered from the border of Highland/Lowland but claiming to be Highland.

Twice we have had the Macallan 12 y/o in blind tasting and twice it has not been rated as a leading sample. Taste 5 Deanston was, by consensus the taste of the evening (up to that point) with the others being liked by some and not others.  This just shows the variety of flavours and tasted differ between man and dram.

Chieftain John then offered a Chieftain’s taste in gratitude for the work done with the club and produced a Laphroaig “Cairdeas”. Cairdeas is Gaelic for friendship and to acquire a bottle one must be a friend of Laphroaig and this drop is unavailable in shops.  At 51.2%, un-aged, however, the labelling states that the bulk of the blend comes from the original friendship bottling some 18 years ago.  This dram has the full smokiness of Laphroaig and was very smooth on the tongue and lingered long after passing the tonsils.  This was a fitting end to an excellent tasting.

And as Jerry Vale said, “Whiskey is by far the most popular of all remedies that won’t cure a cold.”