Whisky Tasting: November 2021

Whisky Tasting: November 2021
Pin The 'Tale' On The Donkey

For the first tasting in our new venue (the Scots Guards Club opposite Edinburgh's Haymarket station), the lineup featured five whiskies purchased from various distilleries and visitor attractions once lockdown and restrictions had ended. As a result, the QGC acquired a new 'booze mule' i.e me!

The tasting was blind and each whisky was accompanied by two tales as to how it was acquired - one true and one a blatant lie. It was up to QGC members to work out which was which!

As for the whisky, the line up was as follows:

KNOCKANDO 12 YEARS - 43%

An easy going Speysider which has spent 12 years in ex bourbon casks. A "whisky for drinking; not thinking" was one member's conclusion. A great whisky to start the evening and to cleanse the palate. Quite biscuity with a hint of foamy bananas on the palate but, overall, nothing too complex.

ANNANDALE MAN O' WORDS 2015 (Cask #822) - 60.8%

Quite the jump in abv for the second dram. This unpeated expression is a single cask offering from an oloroso sherry butt. Only 5% of the distillery's production is maturing in sherry butts which were sourced from Jose y Miguel Martin in Spain. What is unusual is that the sherry butts used to mature this whisky were also used to mature sherry (as opposed to casks being seasoned with sherry as is the norm these days). This was a fiery number which took a fair amount of water! After a while, this whisky opened up and started to grow on a few folk.

JURA 11 YEARS - 56.8%

"A good Jura" (two words you don't often see together) was the consensus of the group.  Overall, this went down well although some really didn't like it at all. This whisky was one of the 'bottle-your-own' options at Ardnahoe distillery on Islay - the view from the still house looks right over to the Paps of Jura. The label states that this is a wine cask finish. However, at Ardnahoe, I was told by the distillery manager that this was fully matured in a Californian red wine cask.

LAGAVULIN 11 YEARS OFFERMAN EDITION - 56%

Not the Guinness cask finish; the other one. Apparently, this whisky had been matured in a combination of refilled and rejuvenated American Oak casks to reflect Nick Offerman's two passions of boatbuilding and woodcrafting. Once we got over all that marketing pish, the consenus was that this was a very decent Lagavulin.

BOWMORE VAULT EDITION (SECOND RELEASE) - 50.1%

This is the second release in the Bowmore Vault Edition series (named Peat Smoke) celebrating the famous No.1 Vaults. This non age statement whisky is a marriage of first fill ex bourbon and first fill oloroso sherry barrels, although there was the suggestion, during a brief visit to the distillery, that there some refill hogsheads and first fill wine barriques may also have been involved. Once again, a decent Islay whisky although perhaps a little overpriced (it was £75).

No overwhelming winner on the night; votes were divided. However, it was pleasing to hear the words 'good' and 'Jura' in the same sentence.

Our next tasting - Christmas Cake In A Glass - takes place on 17th December.