Yesterday it was time for yet a new initiative in the Dutch twitter sphere: A blind whisky tasting, and no we were not blindfolded, but the organiser Stefan from Gall & Gall van der Boog (www.passievoorwhisky.nl) picked out the four whisky’s and send them to us in numbered sampletubes, without further information on the contents. I can assure you that a blind tasting is very difficult, we all went in different directions or were very wrong, I could imagine myself that Stefan had the most fun of us all, simple because he was the only one who knew what we were trying to detect. I managed to get down some short notes about the surprising whisky’s, brain is working overtime not only in the tasting but to compare to flavours marked in your mind. The glasses I used were Libbey Tasting Glasses.
Sample nr. 1
After pouring it I got a slightly glue-ish note on the nose, but it disappeared very fast and evolved in beautiful sweetness (somewhat like you encounter in good rum) and tropical fruits (passion fruit/pineapple/citrus notes). Taste was full and creamy with buttery notes in it. Even some saltiness appears within the dram. It could use time to open up properly. The finish was unfortunately quite short, but still very good. After a first hint that this dram contains Blair Athol, Caol Ila, Dufftown, Glenkinchie and Inchower, we were surprised that this was a blend. No one guessed it right, so Stefan freed us and released the name: Bell’s Royal Reserve 20 years (80’s bottling). It was extremely good and I liked it a lot : 91 points
Sample nr. 2
After the surprise of the first dram it was time to open the second one, the colour was much darker the nr. 1 and I found some nice sherry notes , but not so intense as a fully matured on sherry one, so I was thinking in the direction of a sherry finish. But there were some distracting flavours on the nose and in the taste, some nuttiness, but also malty, again some difficult to pinpoint fruits and a somewhat sharp finish. Didn’t have a clue were to go with this one and the hints (ABV 47,9% and almost 50 years old) didn’t help me much either. So after a somewhat twittersilence (you almost could hear the braincells of the participants creaking) Stefan released the name : North British Single Grain 1962, The Perfect Dram for Gall&Gall van der Boog. A single grain !! what a surprise, and not even a sherry cask nearby, it was matured on a refill bourbon cask! I was very surprised as this was one of the best whisky’s I ever tasted so far : 96 points (price € 199 available at www.Passievoorwhisky.nl)
Sample nr 3.
So far a very beautiful tasting, so expecting a lot from the next dram, pouring it …. strange nose, getting some meaty (mind goes to Salami !!) but also very vinegar like. After a while getting use to this strange flavours some cherry arrives with some caramel and liquorice. The finish is drying and reasonably long. Don’t know what to make of this one. Does it repel me ? Yes and no. I for sure know that this is a far more less impressive dram than the first two, but there is something in it after some time that in a strange way attracts me to it also. The hints given were Closed distillery and a ABV 48,2%. It was a Lochside 21 year 1989-2011 from the Old Malt Cask Range. Never had found it so difficult to give a dram point then now, but let me try : 70 points (price €159 available at www.passievoorwhisky.nl)
Sample nr 4.
Hoping to finish the evening as we started it, so pouring the last dram. Ah Islay, at first there arrives sweet peatiness with nice floral tones as in Lavender (thinking Bowmore). The peat powers up as the dram is breathing some time, bringing some medical notes as in iodine accompanied by saltiness. If this would not be a Islay I would fall of my chair, thought were quickly shifting in the direction of a Laphroaig, the dram was still evolving even after 20 minutes or so, it was good! It turned out to be: Laphroaig 12 years 1998-2011 The Perfect Dram for Gall&Gall van der Boog only 24 bottles! . A worthy finish of a superb evening.: 90 points
I enjoyed this difficult tasting a lot and I hope there will be a follow up sometime in the future!