1) Bruichladdich 15
2) Auchantoshan Tripplewood
3) Springbank 10
4) Mannochmore 12 (Provenance)
5) Macallan 12
6) Ardbeg 10
1, 3, & 4 were on sale, and 5 & 6 I thought were core. I wanted a lowlander that would match the others in price, so by default #2 is what was available. Any ideas on the order? Any help would be appretiated, since this is my first time trying this.
Thanks in advance
The lowlander first, because it's smooth & very light.
Springbank is a special for it's own. IMO the 10 is not Springbank as it should be. Macallan for some sherry influence and at last the laddie for the strong salty taste and the Ardie for the peat.
I agree mostly with Lawrence, but I'd swap the Auchentoshan and Mannochmore around, i.e.
1) Auchentoshan Triple Wood
3) Bruichladdich 15
4) Springbank 10
5) Macallan 12
6) Ardbeg 10
Another warning about the Laddie 15 - it absolutely dies with the addition of water. The nose flattens, and the palate becomes suddenly thin. Will you encourage your attendees to try the malts neat first?
Yes, I'll encourage tasters to add water AFTER trying it neat. This Mannochmore I remember being a little more foreward than a lot of samey speysiders - perhaps due to non-chill filtering.
I've had the Three Wood a couple of times not too long ago, and found it to be not light, but not heavy either. Kind of like the regular Auchantoshan 10yr but with clothes on! I figured this would come out heavier than the 'laddie, but it's been so long since I've had it (the 'laddie).
I've only had the Springbank a few times (all expressions), but I remember it being not a very forceful whisky.
So the issue leading to the most difference of opinion seems to be where to place the first three whiskies. Interesting!
Thanks, all. I'll be checking in on this thread before my tasting on Saturday night.
One thing you have to be sure to do is to highlight the light colour of the Ardbeg in comparison with it's taste and also the colour of the other drams. Any novices will be amazed by the lightness in colour and would probably guess that it is the least peated before any nosing/tasting........ no chance of an invite for forum buddies then?
Thanks everyone for getting back to me with suggestions about the order. The evening went smoothly - I was even asked if I did this for a living . The order I settled on was Auchantoshan Three Wood/ Bruichladdich 15/ Mannochmore 12 (Provenance)/ Springbank 10/ Macallan 12/ Ardbeg 10.
The people who went to the tasting are friends of friends, each of whom would take home a bottle after the tasting. Thus it was important to have most bottles at comparable prices (C$75-80). The Bruichladdich 15 was a 200ml bottle because I felt was important to try to show people that all Islays are not peat bonfires, and the price of this one was shared by all.
The responces were not what I expected from a group that had tried some singles before ('fiddich, Glenlivet, Glenmorangie, etc.). The Ardbeg elicited the most responces including a lot of negative, and a lot of "couldn't make up my mind". I felt safe getting this one, as one of the group professed his love when he once tried Lagavulin 16. As I thought, he took this one.
Of the rest, the most popular were the Bruichladdich 15 and the Springbank 10. Everyone liked these, and reacted as if they had just been shown a revelation! The Mannochmore was a Provenance bottling (at 46%, NCF) and I decided to risk placing it third after the Bruichladdich. (everyone said they could pick up the taste of this one fine). The Mannochmore was well liked as well, just not quite as much as the 'laddie and the Springbank. The Auchantoshan was accepted as a nice dram, but not something to get overly excited about. The Mac was considered a curiosity, some loving it, some not.
An interesting excersize for me, as the Springbank and Bruichladdich would be my least enjoyable, and the Mannochmore and Auchantoshan I would place after the Ardbeg in terms of my personal enjoyment.
Somethings for me to mull over, those that were well recieved...
Thanks again all! A great success!
As far as the reactions of others, it seemed that the Springbank was voted the equivalent of the best "all rounder". Everyone thought it was a fine, fine dram. "Well rounded, well crafted, has some of this, some of that" were typical comments.
The 'laddie was considered "edgy" at it's slot (2nd) with some salty, and smoky notes, but fairly exciting. Edgy that is, until the Macallan was tried. The group acted as though the Mac was an artifact from outer space the way it was compared to the others before it. And to be fair, the others before it aren't quite the same animal...
One other note. The next time I do a tasting, I'm going to bring a small (350 or 200ml) bottle of sherry so tasters can try it before the tasting to better recognize the sherry influance in the Scotch.
It's interesting that most of the malts you chose are relatively subtle, and the two extreme ones--Macallan and Ardbeg--got the most negative reaction. I'd also like to try putting those two in different contexts--e.g. alongside other peat/sherry monsters.
But you do raise a valid point that what you had initially influances your capacity to evaluate the next one. An example of this is when one of the members was late, and had to play catch-up. He decided to skip #2 ('laddie) and try it at the end in order to join everyone else at where they were. After having Ardbeg, he couldn't pick up much from the 'laddie. That's why I'm reluctant to implement your sugestion without further consideration ie. "how would I do this so that every whisky be given it's fair chance"?
Nice thought though!
I'd give them Caol Ila instead of Bowmore. Bowmores can be crummy these days.
Glenfarclas is my preference over Macallan, as you know. Funny thing is, I find Macallan to be very flat! Obviously I've been trying the wrong ones. Even the CS doesn't do much for me, nor do the Fine Oaks. I have yet to try the new 12yo but now I'm tempted.
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