I also don't want you to think I am trying to sneak in some (free) advertising, so I will refrain from speaking about locations, dates and prices.
My intention is to seek some advice where required and also to give my own impressions and thoughts on the tastings I run, as I run them.
I am rather late this season, but am now planning my first tasting which I have named "A Dram for all Seasons".
The idea here is to share with others my own very personal impressions of certain whiskies.
I am looking for a total of 6 different whiskies and so far, I have four definites, but I won't name them as yet as I am still considering whether or not to make this a blind tasting.
Each of the six whiskies should remind me of very specific dates or seasons and up to now, I have:
A Christmas whisky
A Summer (fruit) whisky
A New Year's Day whisky
A Whisky for Nov. 5th (Bonfire night)
I also think I have found my Springtime whisky, but am not 100% convinced as yet. There may be a better one.
I am now looking for another late Spring / early Summer whisky or a leafy Autumnal one.
So, my questions to the knowledgeable forum members are:
1. What are your thoughts on making this a blind tasting, yes or no?
2. Can you recommend something for me to try which you think fits the bill of:
a. Springtime whisky (floral, grassy, herbal, preferable Alpine Meadow style)
b. Leafy and Autumnal (I have a Jura which just about fits the profile, but can you do better?)
I am also working to a rather tight budget which means a maximum of around â‚¬60 per bottle, although I have access to wholesale suppliers which probably means more like â‚¬85 high street prices.
Thanks in advance for your help and thoughts,
2. How about an Irish Whiskey for St. Paddy's day? I know that doesn't quite fit your proposed profile, but it's an idea.
I'll keep this in mind and decide over the next few days.
Meanwhile, any more suggestions?
So, the drams will be:
1. Springtime: The freshness of Spring, new life, vitality and optimism for the year ahead.
2. Summertime: A rather Mediterranean style of citrus, orange and just slight hints of other Summer fruits.
3. September & October: Summer is over, giving way to leafy avenues, hay and harvest-time.
4. Nov. 5th: Bonfire night!
5. Dec. 25th: Christmas delights by an open fire in an Olde Country House
6. Somewhere between Dec. 26th and New Year: One of very few things I miss by being in Germany - my annual walk in the Yorkshire Dales, between Christmas and The new Year.
I will be trying to focus on tastes and experiences, rather than whisky names in this one, so I will let you know how it goes.
But at the moment I have very few bookings for it
I will catch up with more details over the weekend when I have a little more time, but the drams were:
1. Preludium 03
2. Glendronach 12
3. Jura MMcD 14y
4. Milford 10
5. Glenfarclas 1987 QC
6. Caol Ila, Cadenhead, 58.6%
Muskrat Portage wrote:Gee, I didn't get my invite or plane ticket in the mail either!
Damn, didn't it arrive in time?
The tasting wasn't full by any means, but those who attended loved it.
This was my first blind tasting and the reason I did this was because I wanted to focus on flavours and experiences rather than names and reputations, especially as I was including the Preludium and Milford.
The first dram was the Preludium and it received much praise.
Most thought it had a Lowland style, but nobody could really say which Lowland distillery it would have come from.
One person suggested a rather untypical Bladnoch, but that was about it.
When I revealed its true identity, there was astonishment all around and everyone agreed it was a jolly good, even very good, dram.
My own tasting notes for this one are as follows:
Colour: Pale, clear and fresh yellow
Nose: Fresh Spring flowers and clear mountain air
Palate: Fresh, clear, a little hay or grass quickly exhibiting slight lavendar flavours
(Matt, how do I get this into the forum tasting notes?)
A good dram and one which really does give me the impression of Spring-time. Its freshness is a wonderful quality and that slight lavendar comes as a very pleasant surprise.
I also have to say that this is quite an expensive bottle, especially as it only comes as 0.5ltr offerings and, although I really like it, I feel the same money could be better spent, so I doubt that this would be a regular in my drinks cabinet.
To be continued .......
Well, Glendronach 12y has a massive influence of citrus fruit, mainly orange and to me, this is the whole essence of Seville and certain areas around lake Garda which have the fruit orchards. Just imagine, July and August in these rich fruit areas; fresh, clear orange elements in bright sunshine, emitting aromas of wonderful fruit ..... this is Glendronach 12y!
This was undoubtedly Autumn, but a traditional English Autumn:
Wet leafy country lanes, damp hay and many other goodies from harvest-time.
This IS the Jura from MMcD!
Interestingly, the German people at my tasting fully agreed with my description of the whisky in terms of leafiness, but disagreed with the experience of relating this to Autumn.
This resulted in a superb discussion as to what we each believed to be Autumn.
What came out of this discussion was that Autumn in Germany, or at least Bavaria, is totally different to Autumn in the UK.
Autumn in Germany seems to be more floral and more fruity, reminiscent of the goods being harvested, rather than the leafiness and perhaps dampness of the English countryside at this time of year.
Anyway, everyone agreed tha tthis Jura was a lovely example of wet leaves, damp moss, grey misty fields and even mouldy countryside.
Please don't view this as a negative experience, it is a good whisky but totally reminiscent of this time of year.
Up to this point, everyone also agreed that each whisky was better than the previous one!
Again, this is not decrying the Preludium, but more of an endorsement of the superb quality of each of these drams.
No. 4 was "bonfire night, Nov. 5th" (Milford 10y)
The English on here will fully understand bonfire night - the time when we celebrate Guy Fawkes' failure to blow up the Houses of Parliament. Yes, only we English could celebrate failure in such a big way!
Anyway, I have fond memories of bonfire night as a child, lots of friends standing around a big fire in the garden, eating lovely Winter delights like home-made toffee, toffee apples, parkin (ginger cake) and many others whilst setting off our roman candles and other fireworks.
The Milford 10 has all of these flavours, lots of toffee, toffee apple and even banana. The tingling after-taste even reminds me of the roman candles!
This dram is bonfire night personified.
No. 5 was Christmas Day, Dec. 25th. (Glenfarclas 1987 Quarter Casks)
Just imagine the delights of a traditional, olde English Christmas.
Spending the afternoon sitting in a deep and luxurious leather chair in the study / library of your olde English country house.
The Glenfarclas 1987 QC has all of this, the library, the musty old books, the leather furniture, the antique wood panelling and even the glass of sherry you are sipping.
I have said this many times, but this whisky is a perfect Christmas dram.
No. 6 was "Somewhere between Christmas Day and New Year's Eve" Cadenhead's Caol Ila at 58.6% ABV.
Again I reminisce. Whilst I was still in England one of my Christmas traditions was to return to a certain spot in the Yorkshire Dales where I spent much time as a teenager, walking the three peaks (Ingleborough, Whernside & Pen-y-Ghent). I always insisted on having one day of walking in and around these hills, sometime between Christmas Day and New Year's Eve.
As was to be expected, my backpack was full of turkey butties, caramel wafers and a flask of hot tea flavoured with three cardomom seeds.
OK, so this Caol Ila has none of the cardomom, turkey butties, caramel or tea. But at one certain spot, just off the road from Horton-in-Ribblesdale to Ribblead Viaduct and on the country path between Pen-y-Ghent and Ingleborough lies a tiny hamlet of only 8-10 houses.
These are still traditionally heated with open fires which burn wood, coal and sometimes, peat. The soft peaty smoke encompasses the dale and when walking anywhere near, it gently soothes and warms the cockles of your heart.
Every time I drink a good Caol Ila which exhibits not only gentle peat, but also traditional wood-smoke and country air, I am back on this walk in my beloved Yorkshire Dales "Sometime between Christmas Day and New Year's Eve."
I assure you, this Cadenhead Caol Ila is a very good example and immediately transports me back on this wonderful journey!
As I previously mentioned, this blind tasting was based around some of my own personal experiences and the reason I wanted to run it blind was because I wanted people to think about flavours and experiences, not names and reputations.
What came across very strongly in the tasting was that almost everyone agreed with my flavour profiles of the whiskies, but the experiences were very different. Perhaps the greatest difference was in the interpretation of "Autumn" and "Christmas".
The Germans at the event could understand my musings, but for them Christmas encompasses some very different flavours - Stollen as opposed to Christmas cake being one example.
As for the Autumnal dram, my experience of Autumn in this Jura is one of leafiness, in fact the wet leafiness of small English country lanes, whereas the typical German idea of Autumn on the night was one of harvest and fruits. Not quite the flavour profile of the Jura.
Anyway, everyone agreed it was an excellent evening and they have all expressed a desire for another blind event in the future.
Thanks for listening to (well, reading) my personal prattlings once again.
lawschooldrunk wrote:I think it is amazing how memories associate with sounds and taste- .................
..... that's what takes music and scotch to a new level.
(pardon the ramblings of a very reminiscent and sentimental fool.)
Methinks by no means any kind of fool LSD!
I am sitting here in my den / office with a glass of said Caol Ila and I must say that at 59.6% it was little too strong and sweet when poured neat.
I have added 5 drops of water and it has now opened up into exactly what I remember from last time I tried this one.
Smokey hills, peat fires and a loving warmth.
Now, excuse me whilst I head off towards Ingleborough ...............
But before I go, maybe this will interest you?
I remember one particular French lesson when I was .............. ermmmmm ........ much younger.
We were reading a book in which a blind person suddenly experienced a feeling of colour which was brought on by listening to music.
In this case, it was Beethoven's Pastoral which created a feeling of green.
Without ever having been able to see, the blind person suddenly understood green.
This is Synaesthesia.
Maybe my own whisky experience is another example of synaesthesia?
(This expalins far better than I can ..... http://www.brighton-breezy.co.uk/ )
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