Saturday, October 22, 2011

4 blinds for California

Recently I went on a holiday in south-western USA, mainly California, Utah and Las Vegas.

Apart from visiting family and friends of my parents, some fantastic National Parks in Utah (recommended), I also managed to get some time with whisky friends. I have always liked to serve blind samples to people. At this trip I had made 4 samples. Only hint was that they were from different distilleries, and all had peat and was from sherry casks. One wasn't from sherry casks thou, but it taste like that. More about that later

The crash-test-dummies were fellow PLOWED members and a couple of their friends.

Blind tasters were Mikey, Ganga, FX, Xray, Marty, Hyperfuji, Andy, Tim (Ardbegproject) and Jake  

One of the nights, while the others were going through the 4 blinds, FX poured me a blind. I really liked it. Unadultered sherry, extremely peated and with some age. I guessed it to be Laphroaig 20+yo, but it showed out to be the legendary Brorageddon, one of the earliest PLOWED bottlings. Nice treat. I knew I had this before, but couldn't recall it tasting like this. But then again, I probably wasn't in an analytical corner the first time around. Which I actually seldom is. Most of the time (95% or so) I drink whisky just to enjoy it without being overly analytical, rating it seriously or writing feeble tasting notes.

Now to the four secret drams. They were served in table discussion fashion, and I tried to note as many things down as possible. A total of three sessions in various locations in California.

First one up was Amrut 100, 57.1%. 

Peated Amrut, 100 british proof, 100cl, 100 bottles. Gives the name. Matured in ex-bourbon then transfered into 100liters virgin oak barrels. Thanks to Ashok and MACY for the sample, it has now travelled the world :-). This is the one whisky that has not been on a sherry cask, but could they tell ?

Comments : 
Very Peaty, Fruity, Sherried. High ABV (Mikey)
Peated Speyside, Refill Sherry, Irish ?, Peaches, Burnt Peat, Pinenotes, Stonefruits (Ganga)
Jura Prophecy, Japanese, Old Jura, Chocolate, Peat, but not heavy, Chocolate (Marty)
Sulphur, Iodine, Bitter Red Apple Peels, Sticky finish, not a lot of sherry (Hyperfuji)
Golden Delicious Apple, Chili Pepper, Lemon (Andy)
Oranges, Peppermint, Amrut? (Tim)
Anis, Toffee (Jake)

Whisky no. 2 was Caol Ila 1996 Gordon and macphail Cask Strength, 59.0%, cask 16070-16072, bottled 2007


Butterscotch, vanilla, young cask strength, Bowmore (Mikey)
Syrup, Candycorn (Jake)
Butterscotch, Bitter Licorise (Ganga)
Coconut (Marty)
Butterscotch, Saw dust, citrus, fino sherry (Hyperfuji)
Nutmeg, Iodine, Charred Wood (Andy)

29.83 Kissing a Balrog's Bum(Laphroaig) 20yo 52.3% bottled by SMWS, Refill Butt

Before I purchased this was reported to me as being terrible sulphured. Personally I can't find any, and I am very sensitive to sulphur, well, I look at it as an off-note. Maybe more when it express itselfs as rotten eggs sulphur, opposed to rubber-latex on a mild level. I was looking forward to see to what extent the others would pick up sulphur here. The name gives a hint, but these guys didn't know the name

Black Tea, Nice, Sweet, Cherried (Hyperfuji)
Rubber Cement, Bitter Greens (Andy)
Impressed, Slight rubbery the way I like it (Marty)
Saltwater, Cocoa powder (Jake)
Raisins (Tim)
Soapiness, Hot, Young (Xray)
Apple, Sweet peat, Laphroaig like, freshly cut grass, medicinal peaty (Mikey)

The 4. whisky was PE1 by TWE, 58.7%

Kind of perfumy, 80's Bowmore (Mikey)
Grains Hay, Red Licorise (Tim)
Sulfur (Jake)
Creamy, Caramelly (Xray)
I really like this, Sweet, candied, cherry, graphite (Hyperfuji)

I recommend LA whisky society a great source of whisky reviews from a group of whisky entusiast that I regard high

So what were the favourites ?

Mikey and Xray : Amrut 100
Hyperfuji, Andy and Tim : Pe1
Jake, FX and Marty : Kissing a Balrog's Bum
Ganga : Caol Ila 1996

Next Blogpost : I will take on Amrut 100 and Pe1

Thanks to everybody to be being willing to participate and going public. I know of whisky "experts" who never would do things like this :-)

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