During the Covid lockdown I’ve joined in some online whisky tastings…
My standard disclaimer: I know nothing about whisky. I jot down how each one makes me feel (in my own way), and it’s entirely possible if I tasted a particular whisky again I’d come to a completely different conclusion (depending on my frame of mind.) Regard these notes more as an exercise in creativity than a comment on each dram!
Whisky tasting notes: 4 June 2020
- Nose – none, like it spited its own face.
Palate – rough, like US policing.
Finish – nothing, like promises of changing the system.
(Dramfool, North British: 30yo grain whisky bottled 2019/20, 48.2%, £90)
- Nose – still not much; as fulfilling as government rhetoric. Mayyybe hints of caramel or vanilla?
Palate – gentler and more interesting, like life when you stop watching the news.
Finish – kind of caramelly I suppose…
(Cameron Bridge: 30yo grain whisky from 1955 and bottled in 1985 like Back to the Future, 46%)
- Nose – WTF? Nail polish and fart gas? God this is peculiar. It’s how I imagine aliens would smell. This shit is wild.
Palate – hot and rough, like the blast of a burning rocket engine.
Overall, this is better watered down a little; interesting melange of flavours. (Grassy? Nutty? Still bloody weird.)
(Dalmunach, 3yo from 2016, 54.1%, £55 – as our host said: “I don’t regret buying it; I just regret paying for it.”)
- Nose – smoky, like an American city neighbourhood; almost a barbecue smell, or honey-roasted ham.
Palate – salty, seaweedy; so I’m pretty sure it’s an island whisky.
Finish – warm and cosy.
I like this one! It’s my favourite of the evening. The smell leads you to expect peaty-ness, but the flavours are much more interesting!
(Ledaig, Tobermory, 18yo, 46.3%)
- Nose – not as smoky, but lighter and thinner; almost party-ish and sweet.
Palate – fruity, light, WAIT A MOMENT is that cucumber? Blue cheese? This is kinda fun!
Finish – peculiar, weird, fun; like a unicorn rainbow latex fetish. Or something.
I kinda like this one – second favourite of the night?
(Ledaig, Tobermory, 20yo, bottled late 1990s, other details escaped me because I was drunk…)
Whisky tasting notes: 18 June 2020
- Nose – a bit flat, like a protestor who’s been hit by non-lethal rubber tyres.
Palate – hot and spicy on the tongue.
Finish – a bit medicinal?
This one opens up slowly, like removing the beige box on a 1990s computer: it may be a bit boring on the outside, and it’s only interesting on the inside if you’re really into these things.
(Glen Garioch, 12yo, 40%, bottled late 1990s)
- Nose – not much on this one either. Shit, I don’t have Covid-19 do I?!
Palate – reminds me of rye whiskies a little; faint whiff of rainbow Wonka-ness to it.
This is my least un-favourite of the first two drams.
(Glen Garioch, 12yo, 48%, bought 2019, £48.50)
- BOOM! Wow. This is attention-grabbing. Hot and fiery, and a bit whippy-spanky. Jesus, this one’s trouble. Sweet and spicy. This is the whisky your mother warned you about. This is sexual napalm*. I wouldn’t drink this to relax. I wouldn’t want to. This is unfiltered internet. Watering it down would be censorship, and fuck that!
Finish – slightly smokey, like a post-coital cigarette.
Favourite of the evening. In case you didn’t pick that up.
(Imperial Glenlivet, which doesn’t exist any more, having been torn down in the past 10 years; 16yo distilled 1979 and bottled in 1996, 64.3%; only available at auction or private sales these days – probably costs £150…)
- Nose – hints of sherry and chocolate, like visiting your posh great-aunt in Morningside at Christmas.
Palate – smooth, mellow, fruity; I could unwind with this.
Finish – thish ish the whishky Jamesh Bond would relaxsh with after shaving the world by deshtroying the plansh of beashtly foreignersh. Shplendid, Mish Moneypenny!
This wash my shecond-favourite dram of the evening.
[I kept up the Sean Connery voice for the rest of the tasting. Welll… for as long as I remembered to, anyway…]
(Kavalan from Taiwan: 4yo, 46% from an Oloroso sherry cask – yay, I picked that up! – £85)
- Nose – smoke, flames, your plans for 2020.
Palate – salty taste. Burning humans and tears. This is a sacrifice to the sea gods in liquid form.
Finish – burning my socks after a long, hot, sweaty walk. Burning toe-cheese people; that’s where we’re at now.
(Ardbeg, Islay: 10yo distilled 1993/4 and bottled in 2004, 58.6%, €250)
*”Sexual Napalm” will be the name of my death metal band. I should copyright it.
It was worth saying for everyone’s expressions in the Zoom group for this tasting…