Whisky tasting notes: October 2021

I recently attended another in-person whisky tasting; because the pandemic is still with us, everyone was double-vaccinated and had taken lateral flow tests to confirm they wouldn’t contaminate the room (biologically speaking).

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!

Notes: 28 October 2021

Tonight we had seven whiskies: a pair to compare, a billy-no-mates, and two more pairs.

Whisky 1a)

  • Colour – faint and inoffensive, like five o’clock shadow on a classic movie matinee idol.
    Nose – fruity nail varnish.
    Palate – smooth, creamy, and warm. Get your mind out of the gutter you filthy beast.
    Finish – A hearty glow like the embers of a fire pit after sunset. I could easily relax with this. A good start! [this was my favourite of the evening.]
    (Three Ships, from South Africa, 12yo 46.3%, no artificial colours, £42)

Whisky 1b)

  • Colour – swarthy like a rugged action hero.
    Nose – paint thinner in a fruit market next to a brewery.
    Palate – tangy and a bit rough, like the sort of pub where everyone falls silent when a non-local walks in.
    Finish – a bit menthol-y?
    (Deanston 12yo, 46.3%, £42 – wow! I would not have guessed that! The last Deanston I had at a tasting was very different – but also more expensive… in discussion at my table, the observation was made that whisky can be chameleon-like in the way it changes according to your mood. This was followed up by the suggestion that whisky stays the same and it’s us who are the chameleons. I think this is where the profundity in getting ‘profoundly drunk’ comes from…)

Whisky 3)

  • Colour – pale yellow autumnal leaves.
    Nose – a hit of past, present , and future in the same moment and now my eyes have turned blue.
    Palate – a ghost hiding in night shadows moving like silk over polished stone and leaving no impression at all. I think the bottle was haunted.
    Finish – like a pirate video of a pirate video of a pirate video – and now there’s nothing left to observe. Adding this to water would make the water more watery.
    (‘Woven’, a blend of 26yo Cambus and two other malts, 47.4% – it came in a 500ml bottle you’d find hand soap in, in a fancy hotel – very postmodern – and at £65 they’re taking the piss)

Whisky 4a)

  • Colour – an English river under the careful ministrations of the current Westminster government.
    Nose – burnt tyres and burnt sugar.
    Palate – sweet and rough like the sort of person who’ll give you a whippy-spanky evening indoors.
    Finish – throat-grabby and a bit seaweedy? Not relaxing!
    (Invergordon 31yo 53.7% from 1988, independently bottled ‘Wemyss’ malt, £115 – well, people who like to pay to be punished probably have to pay a lot for it…)

Whisky 4b)

  • Colour – your chain-smoking granny’s nicotine-stained hair.
    Nose – burnt tyres and burnt hair.
    Palate – a bit salty, like internet memes.
    Finish – grabs the throat with a sulphury-volcanoey vibe. This isn’t relaxing either!
    (Equipo Navazos/ La Bota – Spanish grain/maize whisky, 16yo 46%, £75)

Whisky 6a)

  • Colour – red for danger?
    Nose – sweet with a hint of smoke.
    Palate – like the face-melting ghosts from the Lost Ark.
    Finish – tangy but not throat-grabby; with water it’s nice. Yeah. Nice.
    (Laphroig, 10yo 48%, from a sherry cask, £63)

Whisky 6b, seventh and final of the evening)

  • Colour – red for danger again?
    Nose – sweet, hint of smoke, hint of Willy Wonka weirdness.
    Palate – ahhh? Kinda sweet I think?
    Finish – I don’t know any more. Fumes and stuff. I’m bladdered now. It’s nice with water.
    (‘The English’ from Norfolk, 9yo 48%, £65)

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