Hosting a tasting for friends, looking for advice.

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PuckJunkie
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Hosting a tasting for friends, looking for advice.

Postby PuckJunkie » Thu Jan 08, 2015 3:35 am

First off, greetings. It's been a long while since I posted here. I've been away from these forums since 2007, and it's amazing, yet not entirely surprising, to see some names I still recognize. I was stunned to find out my login still worked.

Anyway, where else would I go to ask this kind of question?

I have a handful of friends who are entirely unfamiliar with single malts, and I volunteered to introduce them through my own collection. It's dwindled over the years - most of my purchases date from back when I was posting on these forums, with only a handful of bottles more recently bought.

Here's my goal: take a group of neophyte whisky drinkers, introduce them to a sample of wildly different flavor profiles, and - from their reactions - at least attempt to point each of them toward the kind of whisky they are most likely to enjoy in the future. I was intending to stick to single malts, although I have a number of bourbons, a couple of Irish whiskeys, and a Japanese malt or two.

I'm not sure what tastes to cover. I'd take at least two Islays, but that's probably my own prejudice showing. Definitely one more ... refined? sedate? ... whisky from the highlands, and at least one with a sherry finish. Possibly a CS? What would you include in an introductory tasting?

Listed below are the scotches I have opened and unopened (guess which category is larger?). I'm not averse to opening a new bottle or two - or even buying one (it being such a good cause and all). Keep in mind this is an introduction to Scotch, and none of these people will have a clue what they're drinking if I pour them a dram of my Provenance.

Aberlour a'bunadh Batch 14
Ardbeg 17
Ardbeg Provenance
Ardbeg Uigeadail
Balvenie Single Barrel 15
Bowmore 12
Bruichladdich 15
Caol Ila 12
Glenlivet Nadurra
Highland Park 18
Lagavulin 16
Lagavulin 1991 DE
Laphroaig 10
Laphroaig Cairdeas
Laphroaig Quarter Cask
Longmorn 15
Longrow 10 1993
Macallan CS
Oban 14
Prime Malt "Reverence" 1969 Macallan 30
Springbank 10
Talisker 10
Talisker Storm

Unopened:
Aberlour a'bunadh batch 47
Ardbeg Corryvreckan
Balvenie Madiera Cask 17
Balvenie Portwood 21
Compass Box Peat Monster
Glenmorangie 17
Glenmorangie Astar
Lagavulin 1998 DE
Longmore 16
Signatory Highland Park 13 1990
Signatory Mortlach 14 1990
Talisker 25

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The Third Dram
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Re: Hosting a tasting for friends, looking for advice.

Postby The Third Dram » Sun Jan 11, 2015 4:56 pm

PuckJunkie wrote:I have a handful of friends who are entirely unfamiliar with single malts, and I volunteered to introduce them through my own collection... What would you include in an introductory tasting?

I feel the key to selecting the malts lies in your first qualifier. Therefore, I'd suggest focusing on regular strength whiskies. This will serve to introduce your friends to some standard issues, and simultaneously avoid the inevitable variables that could arise from individuals adding differing amounts of water to cask strength or higher proof whiskies.

The following malts all look good to me, though I'd leave it up to you to pick and choose between them as well as to arrange the serving sequence...

Highland: Longmorn 15YO and/or 16YO. Balvenie 21YO Port Wood might provide a fitting finish (perhaps later on in the tasting after a short break).
Coastal: Oban 14YO and/or Springbank 10YO. Talisker 10YO is essential.
Island: Highland Park 18YO.
Islay: Bruichladdich 15YO (unpeated) along with Caol Ila 12YO and/or Laphroaig 10YO or Quarter Cask. (I would tend to lean toward the Caol Ila due to its easier demeanour as an introduction to Islay whiskies.)

Perhaps you might also wish to offer a decent Lowlander such as Auchentoshan 12YO.


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