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EPIC TASTINGS!

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By @Nozinan @Nozinan on 22nd Apr 2015, show post

Replies: page 17/18

MRick replied

@talexander I too am a big fan of the Aberfeldy 21. I can only imagine how good it would be at 46%.

6 months ago 0

@talexander
talexander replied

Today's Spirit of Toronto 2020 Masterclass was with Aaron Flaherty, Master Distiller at Hinch Distillery Co. Which was ironic given he didn't distill anything we tasted... They are too new so their bottlings so far have been sourced whisky that they've either bottled as is or finished in another cask before bottling. Oh, and it's in Northern Ireland so we're talking triple distilled Irish malts and blends here.

The official bottling we tried first is their 5 Year Old Double Wood Blend, 43%. It spends four years in bourbon, then a year in virgin oak. Toasty nose with light toffee, cereal notes, vanilla - seems quite young (of course). Smooth palate with more toffee and vanilla - but a bit bland unfortunately. Rough peppery finish. Pretty standard young Irish blend, you could compare it to a Bushmills Original.

The next three are cask samples:

4yo single malt finished in an Imperial Stout cask 57.6%. The nose is all creme brûlée, mint chocolate, cloves and cinnamon. Creamy palate with dark chocolate - with time and a bit of water it's full-on butter tarts! Spicy, malty, chocolatey finish. I was surprised, it is quite good, especially with water.

12yo blend, ex-bourbon barrel with one year finished in an Amarone cask from Masi winery in northern Italy 58.9%. Lots of fruit on the nose with candy apple, cinnamon hearts and chocolate; dates and raisins on the palate; long deep finish, quite malty, very mouth-drying. Also quite good overall - but really it's all cask.

18yo single malt, ex-bourbon finished in Bordeaux for 6 months (I think he said a cab-merlot blend) 54.7%. Stunning nose - rich and meaty with wood smoke; beautiful mouthfeel on the palate - nutty and rich with sultanas and dark honey; long finish with more wood smoke and cloves. This is excellent - one of the best Irish single malts I've ever had. They said this one was going to come to Canada (and they are working on Ontario right now).

6 months ago 5Who liked this?

@BlueNote
BlueNote replied

@talexander I hope they send that 18 year old in a westward direction, it sounds like a good 'un.

6 months ago 0

@talexander
talexander replied

@BlueNote They said it will definitely go to Alberta.

6 months ago 1Who liked this?

@talexander
talexander replied

My final Spirit of Toronto 2020 Masterclass was with Graeme Cruickshank, Master Distiller of Aberlour (and the brand ambassador whose name escapes me all of a sudden). The official bottling we started with is the 12yo Double Cask: lovely sherried nose, woody with apple skins, peanut, dates and rum raisin; lovely palate with more raisin, balsamic, vanilla and a hint of ginger; let down on the finish though, which is rather thin with mild spice. Overall, it's good for an entry level sherried malt.

The first cask sample was a 1992 28yo 3rd fill sherry butt 51.86%. Nose is super deep, rich with burnt caramel, humidor and blueberry compote - plus big oak! Not overpowering on the palate, more rich caramel and some orange chocolate; wood smoke on the finish, dark chocolate and big spice (paprika, chili). Excellent and surprisingly subtle for a cask strength.

Next was a 1994 26yo first-fill bourbon at 57.84%. Gorgeous nose with honey, vanilla pod and clotted cream - and quite nutty; Creme brûlée and ripe pear on the palate; cinnamon and allspice on the finish. My favourite of the session - stunning, practically perfect.

Finally, we have a 1996 24yo bourbon hogshead at 61.49%. Nose is super-fruity with balsamic, sultanas, nutmeg and orange peel; very spicy on the palate and a lot of vanilla, but needs water at this high ABV; spicy finish with cinnamon and subtle oak. Pretty incredible.

This was my favourite of all the masterclasses simply based on the high quality of the malts. Sadly, it's also my last - my budget will not allow any more! Sob.

6 months ago 2Who liked this?

@YakLord
YakLord replied

First set of samples bottled for our whisky group's December Virtual Tasting. We're doing it blind (although I know what everything is), so I think the paleness of Sample F, which we'll be tasting last, is going to cause some confusion...

5 months ago 1Who liked this?

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@YakLord
YakLord replied

I should clarify that all six of these whiskies are from the same distillery and have age statements running from NAS to 16 years...

5 months ago 1Who liked this?

@Nozinan
Nozinan replied

@YakLord I hop you will post the reveal later on.

5 months ago 2Who liked this?

@YakLord
YakLord replied

@Nozinan I will. Tasting is December 5th...so it'll be a a couple more weeks...

5 months ago 1Who liked this?

@YakLord
YakLord replied

The remaining 146 sample bottles for next Saturday's mystery tasting are ready for distribution...

5 months ago 5Who liked this?

@BlueNote
BlueNote replied

@YakLord Wow, that’s a sight for sore eyes.

We should play guess the distillery. Give us a hint: Lowland, Highland, Speyside, Island or Islay?

5 months ago 1Who liked this?

@YakLord
YakLord replied

@BlueNote Speyside. One NAS, the rest have age statements ranging from 12 to 16, and two of them are from independent bottlers...if you scroll up to the photo I posted in this thread last weekend you'll get a better look at the color gradient...

5 months ago 1Who liked this?

MRick replied

@YakLord What did you think of the Game of Thrones Mortlach 15?

5 months ago 1Who liked this?

@YakLord
YakLord replied

@MRick When we do these blind tastings, before I do the reveal, I do a draw to give away the bottles. People choose their favourite without knowing what they are. In this case, I gave away five bottles and said I'd keep the last bottle standing...which was the GoT 15 year old. It's OK, but the 12 yr, G&M 15 yr, and the 16 yr were much nicer, and much less pricey. I think bourbon finish was an error, and i wonder if it was done because they'd used refill sherry casks for the primary maturation.

5 months ago 2Who liked this?

@BlueNote
BlueNote replied

The G&M 15 is a real beauty. Interesting that the GoT 15 rated so low. It's stupidly overpriced too.

5 months ago 2Who liked this?

@YakLord
YakLord replied

@BlueNote Yeah, it's stupidly overpriced compared to the G&M 15yr and the new 16yr. I really think they took a bunch of refill sherry casks that had been sitting around and were deemed not good enough to use for the 16yr, and then tossed the contents into first fill bourbon casks to try and hide it. The richness of the sherry just isn't there, and the bourbon cask makes it weird. Even bottling it at 46% didn't help.

5 months ago 1Who liked this?

@YakLord
YakLord replied

For Sunday afternoon...

2 months ago 3Who liked this?

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@YakLord
YakLord replied

For Saturday's Irish Whiskey Tasting...we're going back to the very basics: nothing fancy, nothing expensive...

about one month ago 2Who liked this?

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@YakLord
YakLord replied

The verdict on the Irish Whiskey was that none of them were truly bad. Bushmills Black Bush and Proper 12 provide a good case study in what happens with blends when you alter variables. They're both malt from Bushmills and grain from Midleton, but with different malt:grain ratios and aging regimens (barrel type and length of time). I preferred the Bushmills, but the overall winner of the night was the Tullamore DEW.

28 days ago 5Who liked this?

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge replied

RARE & OLD tasting offered by Kensington Wine Market of Calgary, hosted by Andrew Ferguson.

Bladnoch 25 YO Talia 43.2% abv. distilled 1968 - honey, peaches and cheesecake. Finished in French Virgin Oak, a lovely nose. slightly sharp entry (french oak) with firm oak.

PORT ASKAIG 45 YO Cask Strength 40.8% abv. Five sherry butts, likely some under-proof barrels in the group. A beautiful nose! Apricots, chocolate, tobacco. A soft entry, base notes mixed with light fruit. Gorgeous!! Very Firm Oak. Extremely light smoke and a hint of peat. I'm ruined!!

PITTYVAICH 29 YO 51.4% abv. dist. 1989 bott. 2019 PX and Oloroso Sherry Casks. nose - coastal, apples, bananas, lemon meringue, spices. Easy entry, bright mid-palate, clean oak on finish - sweet easy heat.

AUCHENTOSHAN 29 YO 49.7% abv. 1988 ex-bourbon matured, PX sherry finish, unique colour, beige with a rose tint. On the nose some chocolate and bananas with a sharp wine note. Floral, citric, spicy, slightly tannic and a hint of sulfur, YES, sulfur! In a triple distilled whisky?! It must be Pedro's influence, not at all offensive.

GLENGOYNE 30 YO 46.8% abv. Big juicy nose! Jammy, dried fruits, leather and a hint of Brio soft drink. Lovely Sherry influence...more please.

BLACKADDER RAW CASK STATEMENT 28 YO 57.8% abv. 1991 Glen Scotia Distilery. Burnt match, leather, tobacco, marmalade, faint smoke. On the palate, wet paper bag, orange creamsicle, worn oak, sweet finish on honey and burnt peaches, popsicle sticks.

LAPHROAIG 25 YO 51.4% abv. 2019 Edition. It's a Laphroaig with an easy entry, a softer Froyg. Light fruits on the nose smothered by beach fire smoke, oil sump and lemons. Smoke, ash, tropical fruits wash over the palate into a creamy, tart, slightly ashy finish. It's a special Laphroaig.

Had this been a horse race it would have been Port Askaig (Bunnahabhain) 45 YO buy a half-length over Glengoyne 30 YO, followed a length by Laphroaig 25 YO 2019 with a lot of open space back to the rest of the pack. Not a bad whisky in the bunch. Rating "Bunnahabhain" 45 YO and Glengoyne 30 YO as 95 and 96 out of 100.

25 days ago 10Who liked this?

@Victor
Victor replied

@paddockjudge so you'll be buying bottles of the Win, Place, and Show horses?

Those thoroughbreds cost some big money!

25 days ago 4Who liked this?

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge replied

@Victor, if only it were true! That is one heck of a trifecta. As much as I would, if I could, but I can't. I'm content to be teased in a tasting session. I can now cross a 45 YO, very delicious, whisky from my Whisky Tasting Bucket List...next! I will however, be opening this special bottle of Armagnac, distilled in my birth year. It is a 60 YO bottling from '60. It will be opened before my 61st birthday...another item to scratch from my bucket list.

25 days ago 7Who liked this?

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@BlueNote
BlueNote replied

@paddockjudge Two of my friends did that Andrew Ferguson tasting. Said it was excellent. Both agreed the Port Askaig 45 yo Bunna was the star of the show, but the entire lineup was outstanding.

23 days ago 3Who liked this?

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge replied

@BlueNote, the "Rare & Old" tasting from KWM was a rare opportunity to taste some old whisky for a "reasonable" price. Oh my, the 45 YO Port Askaig was right in my wheelhouse!

20 days ago 4Who liked this?

@YakLord
YakLord replied

Friday Evening's Spirit of Toronto 2021 Dr. Don's Silver Jubilee with Dr. Don Livermore. Wiser's Union 52, Legacy, and Dissertation, Lot 40 11 year-old Cask Strength Rye, Wiser's 35 year-old, and Pike Creek 21 year-old Sherry Cask Finish.

More interesting than the whiskies was the history lesson, looking at old blending recipes from the Hiram Walker archives (some of the older recipes included tea, rum, sugar syrup, prune wine), and the discussion of the process and definitions: what is marrying? What does chill filtration actually mean, and what does it take out? What does caramel colouring really add, and how can people claim to taste it when barrel aging actually adds more of the same chemical compounds contained in e150a than gets added later during the blending and colouring stage...

10 days ago 5Who liked this?

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@paddockjudge
paddockjudge replied

@YakLord, hanging out with Don is a blast! Those are all great whiskies. There is a lot one can learn from that man.

I see his greatest blend wasn't in the line-up, Wiser"s 23 YO. The 35 YO from 2017 is noticeably better than the 2018 version. Lot No. 40 CS 2nd Edition, some say it is the best Lot 40 ever...I say the 2017 version is the best. Legacy was a 2016 release, without malted rye, regardless, their are no bad batches of Legacy.

Hiram Walker produces some great brands, not just Wiser's and Corby's. Livermore is a great blender...if only the accountants didn't run the distillery smirk

Cheers! tumbler_glass

10 days ago 3Who liked this?

@YakLord
YakLord replied

@paddockjudge It was a fascinating evening, to be sure. So much of that line up isn't available anymore, which is why I wanted to attend that event.

Union 52 was very nice, as was the Pike Creek. I really wasn't impressed with the Pike Creek 10yr I had several years ago and have avoided Pike Creek expressions since, which apparently was a mistake...

I've got bottles of Legacy, the 23yr CS, and the 2017 35yr tucked aside for future anniversaries, and a bottle of the Lot 40 12yr CS that I've yet to open (as well as two bottles of Last Barrels).

10 days ago 3Who liked this?

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge replied

@YakLord, that's a nice cache of primo juice you have tucked away. I've got a few bottles stashed too. Pike Creek 21 YO is a nice whisky, it's just not my style of nice whisky. I recently had open bottles from 4 different Pike Creek releases occupying space on my shelf. I combined them. The resulting blend is more to my liking than any of the stand alone blends.

10 days ago 1Who liked this?

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