Our October meeting was held on the 22nd, once again hosted by stalwarts Max and Pat, whose apartment is rapidly becoming more or less our home. Thanks so much for the hospitality, guys. A big cheers to Mark, who enjoyed his tenth tasting tonight and his 32nd whisky with the club.
Max also distinguished himself once again in procurement, picking up three whiskies in Calgary that all looked pretty fantastic. Some big Highlands and Islays, all bottled at cask strength around 55%. Without a full roster of guys, some ended the evening somewhat worse for the wear. Bad enough that the tasting notes got a bit lost for about a month... Still, a great tasting overall with big, ballsy whiskies. And some experimental habanero cheese that burned the crap out of all of our tongues as well...
Attending: Me, Max, Mark, Laurent, Derek, Allard, Norm, IanM, Pat, Dave C
Edradour 16 (Highland)
Probably Scotland's smallest distillery, Edradour has only 2 employees and distills about 90 000 litres per year. I'd never tried anything from this distillery before, something that happens to me less and less these days. I wasn't sure what to expect, but had been recommended this distillery by a cute waitress once, and so had high hopes.
Nose: A bit spicy. Some wood, great berry and cherry-type flavours.
Palate: First sip is lovely, but it starts to get rough - some good toffee and subtle wine notes are washed out by a big mess of alcohol, ester, and ketone.
Finish: Woody, a bit of acetone. Some nice flavours, but big alcohol feel doesn't make it flow too smoothly.
Overall: Mediocre at best. The worst part is that the first sip or two actually taste fantastic, and things quickly go awry. Probably would have been a similar story with the waitress. 8/10
Springbank 16 Oloroso Finish (Highland)
Another distillery I hadn't encountered, Springbank is a family-run establishment and the last surviving still of Campbeltown. This bottling was exclusive to Kensington Wine Market, they bought the contents of an Oloroso cask and had it bottled and shipped over. Another cask strength with no chill filtering.
Nose: A little Bowmore character over some big wine notes. Huge sherry, maybe some spice in the back?
Palate: Great wine and and malt flavours: fat and rich. Touch of smoke and phenol towards end. Just fantastic.
Finish: Some Bowmore phenol here, too. Big and juicy.
Overall: What a great sherry-finished whisky should be - almost succulent. Great complexity and balance with some peat bubbling through all those great sherry flavours. 9/10
Bowmore Tempest (10-year-old, Islay)
An Islay that has escaped the tastings so far, Max and I were looking forward to this as we're big fans of the 12-year-old. This is also a rare bottle, with only one shop in Canada selling it. We're not likely to tire very soon of Max's Calgary visits.
Nose: Big toffee and a little citrus over Bowmore's signature (Murray calls it "Fisherman's Friend") aroma.
Palate: Amazing mouthfeel. Thick, rich and oily. Big toffee before the signature distillery flavours take over. Near-perfection marred by a touch of acetone towards the end.
Finish: A little raw, but complex and satisfying. Lingering toffee, iodine and phenol laid over subtle oakiness.
Overall: A great expression from one of my favourite distilleries. Huge character, incredible arrival, really just a fantastic whisky altogether. Between 9 and 9.5/10