My name is Thomas, and I have been invited to put out some of my thoughts about whisky. I have never written any blog, or about whisky before, so I am really looking foreward to try this.
My interest in whisky started about 15 years ago where I was introduced to single malt. I guess I did what everybody else did in the beginning, which basically was to buy any single malt I could find in supermarkets, and on every vacation I went on. I can remember buying a bottle of Port Ellen in Paris some fourteen years ago, did'nt know what it was, and I did absolutely not like it at all :-)
After having tried a substantial amount of distillery bottlings, mostly 10 to 15 years old, something happened that changed my perspective on whisky. My friend Steffen, yup - he who has started this blog - invited me on a trip to Scotland. That was in spring 2005. I was so exited, and the first distillery I visited was Isle of Arran. After that there was no way back. I lost my heart in Scotland.
In the years after I have visited Scotland many times, and I still keep coming back. To me that place is heaven. It is not all about whisky, but the friendlyness of the scottish people, and not to mention the scenaries...
So - what is it with me, the whisky and Scotland in particular? Well, this may sound weird to some, and perfectly normal to others, but an Ardbeg is not "just" an Ardbeg to me. When I pour my dram and takes in that first sniff - I am standing at the distillery. My mind is wandering, and I can visualize the bay, the trees in the wind, and the whole atmosphere on that distillery. To me single malt is taking all the essence of that particular place, and putting it in to the glass in front of me.
Anyway, enough about me for now. Tonight I have chosen to write about two whiskies, both bottled by Douglas Laing. One of them is an Old Malt Cask, and the other is from their Platinum Series called Old & Rare.
This gives me a chance to tell a small story that took place during a Douglas Laing tasting earlier this year. It seems that OMC is bottled at 50.0% because the people at DL finds this the "optimum drinking strength"? One of the last expressions we tasted came from their Platinum series, and here we were told that "since these were their best casks, they were bottled at cask strength"?? I tried - quietly - to ask the natural question: "If these are the best casks, why were they not bottled at 50.0%"? Of course the big crowd sitting at a table from wemyss, duncan taylor, cadenheads and so on, started to go: "uuuhhhh", and it became so noisy, so it was hard to hear the answer :-D
I should say that I always enjoy the DL tastings, our host there is a great guy, and I do like many of the OMC, despite the fact that I do prefer cask strength whiskies.
1. Glen Grant, 32 years old, Butt DL ref 5034, distilled 12/1976, bottled 3/2009, 50.0%
Nose: Burnt sugar, a distinct "warehouse smell", a bit of wood and ginger
And then there is a certain scent, maybe it is iron? but I always finds it in Caperdonich, but maybe it is just my imagination.
Palate: Slightly woody, lots of christmas cake, raisins, spicy
Finish: Medium long, prickling on the tounge. If you like big sherried whiskies, you are going to love this one.
2. Royal Lochnagar 33 years old, distilled 1973, bottled 2006, 57,2%
Nose: Cinnamon, citrus, a little peatfire in the background
Palate: Oily, vanilla and honey, more of the cinnnamon and peatfire, big fat chewy whisky
Finish: Medium long, with some pepper and a little peat.
It occures to me that it could have been my tasting notes for an older Talisker, and it is not far from that! In a blind tasting I would definately have guessed Talisker.