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As many of you my fine friends know, I work at a beer importers. We bring the good stuff into Australia. If you've ever seen some of my beers, Weihenstephan, Sierra Nevada, Green Flash, Theakston's, etc anywhere in Australia, that store bought it from me.
Now while the vast majority of our business's income comes from bottle shops that all Australians know and love, we had a small room in the front of our building that was sitting there and doing nothing.
We figured "Why don't we open this small room, fill it up with beer and let the public come in and see/sample the wares?"
Hence my showroom was borne. In this showroom I've got something along the lines of 200 different beers, and every Friday and Saturday I host a free tasting, for the public to come in and try the good stuff.
Now you're probably wondering why I figure this is relevant for a whisky site.
I find that most guys who like beer, ALSO like whisky.
And as time has gone along, more and more of my customers know me for the whisky man that I am. And more and more often I'm getting customers asking me about whisky.
What ones are the good ones?
What ones are worth the money?
Is ANY whisky worth more then $200 honestly?!
As one of my regulars put it "with whisky prices what they are, each and every bottle is an investment"
So I decided to create a little impromptu whisky club. Just a few members getting together every few weeks as we try different regions and styles of whisky.
The customers love the idea! Sounds like a plan.
So I'd intended the first night to actually be tonight.
I call up my favorite whisky bar to confirm that they were indeed open tonight, I email them and after almost a week I hear a response.
Sadly they're not open.
Amusingly enough I'd decided not to wait on a confirmation before looking for another possible venue to do our first tasting.
Someone had suggested the Mechanic's Institute.
I give them a call, asking about tasting glasses, whisky selection, etc.
They inform me they have one of the biggest selections of rye whiskies, and a decent selection of single malts. They have tasting glasses, but they can't tell me what kind.
I need to investigate.
So yesterday my sister in law, my wife and I all decide to head down there for lunch.
Nice little bar on the second floor of a building, tucked away from the main road. I order food for my wife and myself and then start perusing the whisky selection.
Definitely a nice rye selection, might be fun to do a rye tasting there, but just about every other whisky in the bar, I've had.
Now that's not a bad thing, I find that at just about any bar around I've had all/almost all of the whiskies available. I've just hit over 200 different whiskies sampled this year alone, so that's not a bad thing like I said.
But the selection is not enough for a whisky tasting for a club for the first time.
I need a large variety of regions and styles, which sadly this bar doesn't have.
So I decide to grab a dram of one of the whiskies that I've yet to try and see first hand what type of whisky tasting glasses they have.
I've been an Islay mood so I decide to grab a Bruichladdich Laddie Classic Edition #1.
It's got a pretty blue bottle, what can I say?
So I grab a dram and it comes in a tulip style tasting glass, not bad. I set it down at our table when I go to get our food.
I come back to my sister in law and wife having tried it ahead of me.
I decide to give it a nose.
Interesting, very interesting.
It's like a sexy little Christmas pudding almost.
Lots of salt, lots of nuts, barley, fruit, the slightest hint of peat, hints of cocoa as the whisky breathes.
My sister in law and wife ask what region it's from and when I inform them that it's Islay they blink.
My sister in law then informs me that she'd have never guessed that.
Time for a taste!
Salty and sweet is a very good way to describe it with a nice dose of bitterness thrown in. You get more of the ripe fruits along with some sexy caramel bitterness along with sweet barley and then lots of salt.
There is just a wee bit of peat, but again nothing that would make you jump up and down and yell Islay. You'd honestly be thinking more Islands or a Highlands whisky.
A nice long bitter finish with hints of fruit at the very end of the caramel.
But once more you wouldn't say Islay when you tried this.
And it's available at Dan Murphy's for roughly $90 AUS. Not bad!
I think this would be a really nice whisky to pull out for say an Islay tasting. You know? An Ardbeg, a Laphroaig, a Caol Ila and a Bruichladdich would be a very nice tasting!
Fair enough, neither would I if I didn't know the distillery's background.
Let's see what it tastes like!