A Whisky Tasting

A Whisky Tasting

A Whisky Tasting

One of life’s pleasures is the gentlemanly pastime of drinking single malt scotch whisky. To share that pleasure with a few friends adds to the experience immeasurably.

If some of your friends are less knowledgeable about the water of life then a word about procedure is in order. Many are surprised to learn that single malt whisky, like fine wine, benefits from a few minutes in the glass to open up. Similarly, they may be surprised to learn that a couple of drops of water further enhances the taste and flavour. The convention of ‘a minute in the glass for every year in the cask’ is a good rule of thumb.

Here is my approach to hosting a whisky tasting afternoon. I will share with you my whisky choices, yours may be whatever brand or region you choose. First and foremost you select your whiskies and a pleasing venue. The setup must include a nosing glass, a glass of water and a spoon for dilution. In addition, bottled water and a separate glass for drinking is recommended.

A basket of crusty bread ever present to provide absorption and palate cleansing is a very good idea. Secondly, you must search all available sources to determine what ‘bites’ are recommended for each whisky. The internet is an excellent resource for determining pairings, some may surprise you!

A basket of my world famous bread

A single cask Balvenie 12 year old, first fill ex bourbon cask @ 43% ABV paired with smoked salmon, beautifully plated,  made a perfect opening stanza for the afternoon symphony.  This was bottle #2 of 300 out of cask #12806.

The Balvenie

The second offering was a 15 year old Mortlach @ 43% ABV paired with some air cured meat. An interesting drop but not one of my personal favourites.

15 year old Mortlach

Moving up the strength scale, a 12 year old Kilkerran @ 46% ABV was presented. This drop was paired with Sicilian meat balls, lovingly prepared in house by my darling wife, without whom the presentations would have been decidedly more rough and ready. A ladies touch is definitely an asset if you wish to elevate the classy score.
The next player to take the stage was a 15 year old anCnoc @ 46% ABV. This whisky complimented the Old White cheddar and the PEI cheddar cheeses deliciously…..but. As a private bottling by an artist who designed the label there were mixed emotions. Some found the label to be something that they could do without.
However, no one found fault with the whisky and no one poured their dram down the drain.
The penultimate offering was a 21 year old Glencadam at 46% ABV. This absolute beauty was paired, to the surprise of some, with orange chocolate! A match made in heaven.
The finale, a 14 year old Carn Mor, cask #5306, bottle #124 of 258! This player closed the show at a fabulous 53.5% ABV! Paired, again surprisingly, with sea salt and caramel chocolate, an inspired pairing and an amazing close to a wonderful day.
Carn Mor

Happy savouring and I hope that these notes inspire you to explore the single malt world.

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