Thursday, 25 January 2018

The Real McCoy Rum Tasting

OK, OK, OK, yes it's a whisky blog, I know, I know but I got offered the chance to try some rum and as I'd never had any before I thought - "well why not?"

The #TheRealMcCoyTT twitter tasting was arranged by TheFloatingRumShack (what a brilliant twitter handle!) and he wanted to include some whisky drinkers to see what we thought - you can say no to that can you?

So as is usual with these things a small parcel arrived a few days before the tasting:

Thursday, 11 January 2018

#BlindTasting Series 2 - Review

Series 2 of #BlindTasting finished just after Christmas! Following on from a fantastic Series 1 - this one was a huge amount of fun with the five of us trying to identify 15 mystery drams through smell and taste, having #NoPreconceivedIdeas or #MarketingBullshit to sway our opinions.

Sunday, 7 January 2018

#BlindTasting Series 2 - part 3

And we finally get to the 3rd part of Series 2 of #BlindTasting, like all good bands and the search for the second album we had some issues - these were mainly down to prolonged episodes of severe Man Flu on the part of a couple of members of the team and of course Christmas.

Thursday, 4 January 2018

What about Ardbeg?

The title of this post is pointing a finger, and it's pointing it at me....

The second ever bottle of whisky I ever bought was an Ardbeg Ten and I'm been a peat fan ever since, but I've never written a blog about Ardbeg.... Well that has now been rectified after a bottle (not sample) swap of Uigeadail and a couple of recent #drample swaps of An Oa (From @Maltman_Mike) and Kelpie CR (from @SpiritAndWood). So I have a set of four to compare, if anyone is willing to swap a dram of Corrie I'd be very grateful!

First a little story!

One of them bottles look wrong doesn't it? The bottle swap came about when a colleague at work approached me and asked if I liked peated whisky? Not a difficult question to answer! (Un)fortunately he didn't, but on the occasion of his 60th birthday his daughter had bought him a beautifully engraved bottle of Uigeadail. He'd tried a couple of drams but just couldn't drink it. Did I have an empty bottle I could decant it into as he wanted to keep the engraved bottle? After a little struggle I managed to find one and now have a nearly full bottle of The Claymore! In return I filled up his bottle with a lovely Speysider which was much more to his liking!

This smells like no Claymore has ever done before!

You can't imagine how my room smelt after I'd poured these four drams - it was like I'd just lit a BBQ - heaven on earth!

L:R An Oa, 10yo, Uigeadail, Kelpie CR

Whisky : An Oa
Characteristics : 700ml 46.6% ABV Non-chill filtered, Non-coloured
Price : £49 many outlets
Distillery info : "Singularly rounded, due in no small part to time spent in our newly established bespoke oak Gathering Vat where whiskies from several cask types - including; sweet Pedro Ximenez; spicy virgin charred oak; and intense ex-bourbon casks, amongst others - familiarise themselves with each other. The result is a dram with smoky power, mellowed by a delectable, smooth sweetness. Hallmark Ardbeg peat, dark chocolate and aniseed are wrapped in smooth, silky butterscotch, black pepper and clove, before rising to an intense crescendo of flavour."

Colour : Pale Gold
In the Glass : Thin swirls, very slow to develop legs
Nose : Smoke, gentle citrus maybe a little sherry? There's a sweetness which develops after a little time in the glass. Pine needles!
Palate: Smooth sweet runny honey, some citrus notes.
Finish : Slow to develop then gives a spicy kick of ginger and cardamom in amongst the smoke!

Whisky : Ten
Characteristics : 700ml 46% ABV Non-chill filtered
Price : £40 many outlets
Distillery info : "Revered around the world as the peatiest, smokiest, most complex single malt of them all. Yet it does not flaunt the peat; rather it gives way to the natural sweetness of the malt to produce a whisky of perfect balance. Named World Whisky of the Year in 2008."

Colour : White Wine
In the Glass : Thin swirls, very slow to develop legs
Nose : Medicinal smoke, some gentle baked apple and honey.
Palate: Thin but flavoursome, some honey notes but not as sweet as the An Oa, Lots of spice on the tongue and some hints of dark fruit & nut chocolate. After a few sips a dryness develops - the smoke taking the moisture out of your mouth. Hints of peanut but not in the bad way I've had with other recent Islay drams.
Finish : More peaty smoke than the An Oa and tons more spice, this is real spice - chilli being forced down your throat!

Whisky : Uigeadail
Characteristics : 700ml 54.2% ABV Non-chill filtered
Price : £60
Distillery info : "Pronounced ‘Oog-a-dal’, it’s a special vatting that marries Ardbeg’s traditional deep, smoky notes with luscious, raisiny tones of old ex-Sherry casks. Ardbeg Uigeadail was voted by the 120,000+ strong Ardbeg Committee as their favourite Ardbeg."

Colour : Pale Gold
In the Glass : Thin swirls, very slow to develop legs
Nose : Smoke with some maritime notes, foam bananas and stewed pears.
Palate: A very chewy mouthfeel, coats your tongue with a light honey sweetness and hits you immediately with the peat smoke. A hint of the foam bananas from the nose and some burnt marshmallow. Lots of spicy ginger on the tongue and again some dryness.
Finish : Lots of smoke, gingery spiciness and some chocolate orange.

Whisky : Kelpie Committee Reserve
Characteristics : 700ml 51.7% ABV Non-chill filtered
Price : £360 (limited edition - discontinued)
Distillery info : "Part-matured in Bourbon and Russian oak casks from Adygea by the Black Sea, this cask strength Islay malt scored 86 points on WhiskyFun and has been generally well received by critics and punters alike. The Kelpie takes its name from the Scottish water-faeries, who are known to take the shape of a horse or bull when luring mariners to their watery doom. The sound of a Kelpie’s tail entering the water is said to resemble that of thunder. So, should you be passing a river and hear an unearthly wailing or howling; beware it could be a Kelpie warning of an approaching storm!"

Colour : Pale Gold
In the Glass : Thin swirls, very slow to develop legs
Nose : Tiny amount of smoke, definitely not as much as the others and a strong honey soaked porridge aroma.
Palate: The honey porridge from the nose come through on the palate initially but is quickly masked by the spices - there's allsorts here - ginger, chilli, pepper. Hints of walnuts, pears and dried fruit try to get through but the spice doesn't take any prisoners!
Finish : Lots of peat smoke, some chocolate orange (like the Uigeadail) and the maritime saltiness from the nose.

Overall: I surprised myself here and actually prefered the An Oa of the four, it didn't have the peaty smoke kick of the Ten but the sweetness and spicy kick stuck out. The Uigeadail and Kelpie both shared a chocolate orange note the first without, the second with some salt. As I said at the beginning the Ten was probably the second bottle of whisky I ever bought and has been a go to staple for a long time, but I think the An Oa has just taken the place away on my shelf.