1 Cadenheads Bruichladdich 1986 - 05/05 18yo Bourbon hogshead 270 bottles 55.8%
2 Caol Ila 8yo 64.9% (unpeated released 2007 distillery bottling)
3 Cadenheads Caol Ila 1984 - 09/07 23yo Bourbon hogshead 258 bottles 56.3%
4 Cadenheads Laphroaig 1994 - 11/07 13yo bourbon hogshead 300 bottles 54.7%
5 Cadenheads Ardbeg 1994 - 11/07 13yo Bourbon hogshead 348 bottles 59.7%
6 Lagavulin 1985 - 2007 21yo 6642 bottles 56.6% distillery bottling
Favourite on the night on a majority vote was.......... the Ardbeg, a huge dram indeed. Initial nosing really struck me, what an aroma and reminded me instantly of 'fish supper brown paper with salt and malt vinegar'. Such a peat-sweet delivery on the palate. Wow, I can now see why various quarters rave about single cask Ardbeg.
I bought the remnants of this bottle, 1st time I've ever done this at Mark's tasting.
Also, of great surprise was the CI 8yo unpeated - very good, this one really threw me, I could have sworn it was a Bunny. Such a smooth, well-rounded dram for an 8yo and proves that CI produces very good spirit, peated or otherwise.
Not so good for me (after the sublime 23yo CI) was the Laphroaig but such are the joys of tasting predominately single cask expressions. I'll stick with my QC and CS Laph.
A great night of tasting and well worth the ticket price - less than £4 a dram can't be bad for top-class Islay malts. Highly recommended.
In the charity lucky dip at the end I won a mini of 1969 Caol Ila Private Collection from G&M.
An absolute pleasure to meet MattButty from the forum who was in attendance - good lad! All the best Matt, always nice to meet someone from the forum.
Well worth the journey. My thanks to Mark for arranging such a high quality tasting. Cheers I will be back again, work permitting
Leither has done the rundown, so I won't go into that again but suffice to say the highlights of the evening for me were the two Caol Ilas.
First the 8 year unpeated. I did not think that such a whisky existed. it was very difficult to blind taste, because of its unique character.,
Then the Caol Ila 23 yr Wm Cadenhead expression, which was so supremely good, I bought the rest of the bottle
A great tasting, which everyone within striking distance should make the effort to attend at least once, and the quality of the spirits, and knowledge of the participants makes it a joy.
Thanks to Leither, not least for the sample bottle. It was great to meet with you. A quick hello also to Alistair (stop lurking, and join our merry band. Your knowledge and passion will be a great asset to us all).
Anyway enough of all that. Ive got some whisky to drink....
Finally I was a wee bit surprised at the lack of enthusiasm from some regarding the Lagavulin 21yo. I know its all a matter of taste but I get used to consensus of opinion when it comes to some drams. Lagavulin has a deservedly high reputation and I felt this offering only added to that. However the high price tag and expectations along the lines of an age extension in a brand's range leading to added quality could easily fail to deliver unreasonable hopes. Anyway the 16yo is pretty much perfect whisky and hard to top, certainly in mainstream bottlings.
I think you spoiled us mark with the high quality of your other selections.
The lag was a remarkable dram, but the contrast from the bourbon single casks to the peat v sherry 21 made it all the harder to approach it with an open mind. I would like to try it up against other sherried islays and the 16 lag for comparison.
That said, your evening has given me a whole new outlook on CI. A monster of a distillery, it may well be, and it does have less respectability than some of its fellow islanders, but they are certainly capable of producing a range of high quality and tasty spirits.
For those who've never been to one of these events, then do! They are great fun, whether you know a lot about whisky or are just learning like most of us. They tend to be a bit subdued for the first dram or two and then come alive completely. Bring £2 for the lucky dip.
From memory my sweet tooth really enjoyed the more full-on and tarry, navy style rums whereas the lighter ones went better in a cocktail IMHO
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