Sunday, September 19, 2010

Quiet summer?

From the blog, you would think that it would have been a quiet month or two. I assure you it hasn't been, with 15 whiskies tasted in the last 5 weeks. I didn't really preoccupy myself in taking proper notes for them all, but I'll mention the standouts as I get around to them.

A blasphemous, but strangely enjoyable co-ed tasting was held Friday August 13, with mainly colleagues from work. Scotch Club regulars included myself, Kevin, Laurent, Ian M, Jesse and Rich; a total of 22 people participated in the tasting. A great time was had by all, and the women raised the tone of the discussions significantly. For the $20 admission, tasters got an ounce of An Cnoc 12, Cragganmore Distiller's Edition, Dalwhinnie 15, Talisker 10, and Lagavulin 16. A big thanks to Laurent with the help in the procurement and to Carine for generously hosting the event.

The important lesson here was that the vast majority of the 10 or so female tasters enjoyed the Cragganmore the most. So speaking broadly, if your girl isn't sure whether she likes scotch, start her on something sherried and not too smoky - a Macallan, much of the Diageo Distiller's Edition series, maybe a Mortlach or a Glenrothes. I felt truly blessed as we finished up the tasting with the Lagavulin; more than a couple of ladies didn't take such a strong liking to it and I gallantly allowed them to divest themselves of the offending spirit in my own glass.

Then on September 17th, in a highly-anticipated event Stevens invited us along for, a tasting was hosted by his stepfather Claude and the 78th Fraser Highlanders at the Black Watch Armory. A spectacular selection of 10 whiskies were on offer, accompanied by appetizers and excellent company. Scotch club regulars included myself, Stevens, Allard, Nick and Joe.

The venue was really quite impressive, but was overshadowed by the selection: Yamazaki 12, The Black Grouse, Black Bush, Glenkinchie 12, The Peat Monster, Bowmore Legend, Glenrothes Special Reserve, Old Pulteney 12, Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban, and Highland Park 12. About a half-ounce was served of each for the incredible bargain of $40, with proceeds to St-John's Ambulance. There was even a raffle with prizes including single malts! A big thanks, congratulations and slainte! to Claude for a well-run and truly impressive tasting.

Real standouts included my first tasting of a Glenrothes and the Bowmore Legend. The Glenrothes impressed with big, nutty and smooth Speyside flavours; the Legend turned out a very respectable showing in the "affordable Islay" category. The Peat Monster lived up to its name and I found it reminiscent of the Laphroaig Quarter-Cask; I can see it making an appearance at Scotch Club one day.

We go back to what should be a monthly routine with a big Bruichladdich tasting next week, taking me to some 18 whiskies in 6 weeks - 19 if you count the Snow Grouse Dara kindly brought back over for me from Europe!