Thursday, June 24, 2021

Pick and Mix Drams

June's line up

For June's Zoom tasting we asked five different members to select a whisky to share with the rest of the club, for a bit of a pick and mix type of evening.

Green Spot Zinfandel
And we started off with Jasper taking us through a bit of his own history with whisky over the nine years he's been a fan, culminating in his experiences as part of our community.

He chose something from Ireland for us to try, in the shape of Green Spot Zinfandel wine cask finish. This smelt lovely and strong on the nose, and sweet as well, and went down smoothly and easily on the palate. The nose especially was fantastic, went the club consensus, giving us a great start to the night. One surprise was that it was 'only' 46%, we'd generally pegged it at something above 50 given the powerful nose. Someone added water but was a bit less keen on it after that, yet overall this was a very decent dram at a solid price point of £57.

Katherine was up next to take us to Scotland, more specifically Speyside and the Glenglassaugh distillery, bringing back memories for her of walks on Sandend beach near Portsoy on the Moray Firth coast. She'd picked out a bottle from the Octaves expressions, aged in casks made from wood which had previously held a range of sherries.

A good nose, the familiar raisiny and dried fruit kind of smell you get with distilleries from that part of the world. But as it happened, ultimately not quite as sherried on the palate as the nose suggested it would be. We felt this was a little bit nondescript in the end, there was a bit of maple syrup and bacon, the beginning of a hint of burnt tyres as well, and a little smoky too which we weren't quite expecting. Nice enough but perhaps not quite worth the price tag - it's available for about £50. It's 44%.

Dunville's 12yo
Next it was Pedro's turn and, befitting his name, he selected something finished in Pedro Ximenez sherry casks. We were going back to the island of Ireland and Belfast, for a Dunville's 12-year-old, Dunville's being an old name in whiskey resurrected as a brand in recent years by the Echlinville distillery.

Perhaps not quite as nice on the nose as the last two, we got a bit of nail polish remover along with some spiciness and a hint of custard. There was no lingering finish to it though, at least in the breakout room I was in (other groups seemed to like it a little better!). There was a surprising lack of PX, there was certainly a hint of it but it wasn't exactly in the forefront of the drink. At £95 it was a bit on the expensive side for what it was, but still enjoyable overall and good to have tried it, which is the whole point of the club really. It's 46%.

Talisker 8yo
Matt chose dram number four for us, a 2010 8-year-old Talisker bottled into a sherry butt, bringing back some wedding memories for him of his marriage to fellow club member Becky.

This gave us a bit of an island vibe, befitting the Skye distillery. This was salty and smoky, light and fishy. A little bit bitter at the very end perhaps, but really this was very nice, we'd definitely drink it again. Considering it had spent eight years in a sherry butt we were surprised it wasn't a slightly darker colour. There was a really interesting mix of flavours in there though, from bits of chocolate, a certain peppery thing going on, maybe even rhubarb.

The last dram of the evening was picked out for us by Chris. Known throughout the club for his love of Balcones Brimstone, he insisted this was not it!

But as we would soon find out, he had gone back to his favourite Texas distillery for something different, in this case the Balcones Dream Big, bottled by indie Simply Whisky. It smelt fiery, like ginger ale. There was no doubt it had a high ABV, but even we were surprised when Chris revealed it clocked in at no less than 65.7%. Just a four-year-old, it really left an impression on us. Stringent at first before it goes smooth and vanilla, the flavour sticks with you, a really long aftertaste of marzipan, almond and marmalade. It's £85.

While it was a great way to finish the night, the dram of the evening poll was won by whisky number four, the sherry-matured Talisker. Congratulations to Matt! And thanks to him and all the club members who presented bottles, and to everyone who joined the tasting.

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