I’ve a small group of whiskey contacts for sample exchanges.
My growing selection of opened spirits bottles – around 70 – is offered in return for something I’ve preferably not had before.
Where possible these samples are requested blind – even if a pre-selection has taken place – hence the semi.
This was the latest selection – A to D.
4 samples, 4 identical glasses –Tuath being my receptacle of choice – some water to rinse the palate & a pen & paper to record my findings.
A – Nice & inviting nose, rich, reminds me of sherried influence,unusual & intriguing flavours on the palate,good complexity & depth.
Like this one.
B – Clean & refreshing, sweet & fruity, bit of a punchy heat on the rear.
C – Anything after a cask strength tends to suffer a little, but this one didn’t sing to me, even on a 2nd tasting.
Perfectly fine but didn’t grab me.
D – Softly smokey, that familiar waft of peat endeared this one to me even if a tad too biscuity sweet malt for my liking.
Easy drinking light smoker.
I tasted the samples without trying to guess what they were. This allowed me to concentrate on the drinking experience without prejudice – as far as possible.
A rudimentary scoring system ranked in order of preference for nose, palate & finish allowed a top score of 4, bottom 12.
First run came out D, A, B then C.
As I found A the most alluring overall I ran through them again – same result.
Only then did I guess what they were – which wasn’t too difficult given the varied styles.
In order of preference;
D – Old Ballantraun Peated Malt, 50%
Peat wins out – even if not a stunner.
A – Goldly’s Family Reserve, Belgian Single Grain, 40%
B – Kilbeggan Single Cask, Cask Strength, 9 Year Old, Distillery pick.
C – Balvenie 16 Year Old, Triple Cask, 40%
I must admit to not being too surprised by the reveal. It sort of confirms my palate preferences.
The easy peater won out over and above the intriguing flavours of Goldly’s – which despite being a single grain was most definitely not silent. Cask strength in and of itself is not enough and Speysiders –at least the non-peated variety – don’t do it for me.
How would you have rated them?