Once again, there was tremendous interest in our December 3rd tasting. Due to a little bit of burnout and scheduling conflicts, we missed a tasting in November. In the new year, I think I will keep the tastings to once every 2 months, I think we'll have more consistent interest and is will be a little less work for me over what will be a busy time. If we somehow end up with an accumulation of bottles, well, maybe we'll organize a little something to take care of the "problem."
Big cheers to Dara for hosting, Max for procurement (again, this time at the LCBO), and to Laurent for his tenth and final scotch club. One of our founding members will be taking a position in Paris (congrats!) and will be sorely missed; we sent him away with a taste of the only Canadian single malt and a couple of Speysides (his favourite region).
Attending: Me, Max, Laurent, Derek, Allard, Dara, Kevin, Norm, Ian M, Joe, Jesse, Stevens, Dave C
Glen Breton Rare 10 (Nova Scotia, Canada)
It was only a matter of time before we got around to tasting Canada's only single malt whisky; the fact that Dave C had a bottle laying around and it was appropriate to send someone out of the country with it convinced us that it was time.
Nose: Strong bite, but complex - herbal, floral and almost perfume-like aromas over honey.
Palate: Smooth and a touch sweet, maybe a little ginger. A bit lacking, but completely unique as far as anything I've ever tasted.
Finish: Woody, but not unpleasantly so. Herbal/floral character returns.
Overall: A unique whisky with interesting character; if it reminds me of anything, it would be the P&M from Corsica. Worth trying, but more on a novelty basis. 8/10.
Mortlach 13 (Speyside)
An old friend of mine (and Max & Norm) brought a bottle of the 16 over a couple years ago, and we found it to be fantastic. Max was all over this when I gave him the shortlist of whiskies for this month. This one was bottled exlcusively for the LCBO, so it was nice to have a taste of this rare whisky.
Nose: Some heavy alcohol and esters over a nice grain background, hints of vanilla.
Palate: Smooth arrival and soft mouthfeel. Sweet with malts and a touch herbal.
Finish: A little wood coming through before some serious alcohol takes over. Lacks subtlety.
Overall: A little water did wonders to this in my opinion (though not Laurent's). Once it clouded up a little, the malts got bigger and sweeter, the wood was longer and richer. Went from a solid 8 to an 8.5-9/10.
Glenrothes 1985 (Speyside; 2005 bottling)
The Glenrothes is coveted by blenders and single malt lovers alike, it has a smooth character and is aged mostly in sherry casks. I was pretty excited for this bottle, the taste of the Select Reserve I had at the Black Watch tasting had whet my appetite for their single malt.
Nose: Smooth and rich. Big sherry notes, a bit nutty.
Palate: Fantastic arrival. Berries and grapes over a nutty background. Sweet, smooth and wonderful.
Finish: Beautiful. Archetypal Speyside. Nothing dry, smooth to the point of almost lacking character.
Overall: Maybe not as fat and juicy as the Glenfarclas 25, but a fantastic showing. Classic Speyside quality. 9-9.5/10