Hope you're enjoying this glimpse of decent weather we're getting - being a consumate pessimist, I'm not holding my breath for it to last!
Thought you might be interested to know that I am hosting the above tasting next Friday at Melton's Too in York and we're going to be sampling the following...
Ardbeg Renaissance 10 Y.O
I know some of you will have tried this at Whisky Live or elsewhere, but for many it will be their first visit!
Laphroaig 10 Y.O Cask Strength
Nuff said, always worth revisiting and interesting to see how it fares next to the Renaissance.
Another one worth going back to again and again (and again!)
Laphroaig Cairdeas 2008 Feis Ile Festival bottling TBC
Hoping this will arrive in time, if not I have other options!
Ardbeg Lord of the Isles 25 years Old
Do I need to say anything about this?
Laphroaig 25 Years Old
Looking forward to this part of the contest a bit!
Tickets are only £20, which for the whiskies you will be trying is almost absurd, and if you would like to come please email me at email@example.com or go to the website, http://www.thewhiskylounge.com and contact me through there.
I look forward to seeing a few of you there, and I'm looking forward to the whiskies even more I reckon.
If you can't make because it is too far for you, fear not as I am planning on taking the tasting elsewhere in the UK too. Watch this space!
Thought it only fair that I give everyone the result of this tasting now that we're all back from Islay.
For what it's worth I think that the point of the festival is to enjoy the island in its entirety and look at the big picture. Meeting the people who make the whiskies and the islanders in general - who are very tolerant and chilled about being mobbed every year! - as well as enjoying the beauty of the land are the highlights for me. Yes I did pick up a few festival bottlings, but I don't think that should be the focus of the trip and I would urge others to reconsider their priorities if that is the only reason they are there. It's a magical place above all.
Anyway, the scores - out of 10 - on the doors (my score in brackets, Loungers the first figure) of this momentus event back on the 16th May were...
Laphroaig 10 Y.O Cask Strength (55.7% ABV) 7.25 (8)
Always popular, few could believe the alcohol level as it was more mellow than I remember. Very well-balanced though, and the score from the 'Loungers' I felt was a bit on the low side. However, they are in charge!
Ardbeg Renaissance (55.9% ABV) 7.75 (8.25)
We were all excited at the prospect of this and it didn't disappoint. For me, this is the first of the Glenmorangie bottlings that has Ardbeg's true complexity shining through. A real sweety peaty.
Laphroaig Cairdeas (55% ABV) 8.25 (8)
Another exciting coup at the time of this tasting, this went down very well. Very soft and complex given the alcohol with the richness of the quarter-casks married well to the more delicate 17 Y.O
Ardbeg Uigeadail (54.2% ABV) 8.25 (7.75)
Don't need to say to much about this! Not quite as 'wow' as it used to be, in my humble opinion, but it still rocked a few boats!
Laphroaig 25 Years Old (40% ABV) 7.5 (7.5)
The most disappointing dram of the night I'm afraid, this was the only one I hadn't tried. We agreed that at only 40% that this should have perhaps been placed earlier in the tasting, given the strength of the others. Lacked punch and depth on this occassion.
Ardbeg Lord of the Isles 25 Y.O (46% ABV) 8.75 (8.5)
I have to say that I have never been let down by the Lord. I know it is not as highly revered as the single casks or vintages, but it's still a bloody fine dram. So many layers of complexity - spices, chocolate, citrus, furniture polish (!), leather - all good.
Well after this array of fine spirit we had to announce an overall winner of our 'Battle of the Drams'...
Laphroaig 7.5 (8)
Ardbeg 8.25 (8.25)
Ardbeg takes the spoils, although I had the scores much closer than the Loungers. All in all it was a great night and a fantastic excuse to sample some great whiskies - of course we know it is all down to personal taste, but it was an interesting exercise nonetheless.
Next Battle of the Drams is July 25th in York - look out for details here very soon...
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