Alice in Whiskyland (Grain & Grape)

First Thursday of the month can only mean one thing: WHISKY SQUAD!
This month’s theme – Grain and Grape. Whisky aged in wine barrels.
“Beer before wine you’ll be fine,
Wine before beer you’ll be queer.”
This was whisky after all so figured we’d be alright.

A quick side note~
Stuck my head in at the Craft Beer Co. on the way up to The Gunmakers. It’s on the way and I was very much in need of “hair of the dog” thanks to the previous nights indulgence.
Impressive and the menu states: More than 150 bottled beers, 9 countries, 42 brewers. It’s also claimed there will always be 37 beers on tap. One to revisit when I have more time and a slightly healthier liver. One that did catch my eye hailed from my neck of the woods (we do more than Castle Lager these days???) – Bierwerk’s Vlakvark.

The Craft Beer Co.

Food at The Gunmakers is always excellent and I couldn’t resist the ribeye steak with hand cut chips. Done to perfection and ideal preparation for the drinking that lay ahead.

First one up was Glenmorangie Nectar D’Or, 12yrs old 46% ABV
Lovely ‘n sweet with hints of oranges and apricots, peppery on the tongue with a light woody finish. Delicious.  Sauternes finish which came through nicely. I think this would do nicely on a hot day over some ice, a summery whisky.

Glenmorangie Nectar D'Or

Second of the evening was an “yet to be released” Glen Moray, 10yrs old, 40% ABV
Aged in chardonnay barrels. Fizzy sherbet on the tongue, sweet yet quite dry. Not unpleasant.

Next to try was the Arran Amarone Cask Finish, no age statement, 50% ABV
This one wasn’t too popular. It was pink, and tasted of … pink! A bit like pink jelly tots.
Ageing in Amarone casks gave it a very dry red wine finish.

The Arran Amarone Cask Finish

Moving on swiftly from that was the BenRiach Burgundy Finish, 17yrs old, 46% ABV
I liked this one’s syrupy fruitiness.
(I should point out by this stage my tasting notes had become very succinct)

BenRiach 17 Year Old Burgundy Finish

We then moved on to Bruichladdich 21 Year Old 1989 Black Art, 21yrs old, 49.7% ABV
Great bottle! ‘Matured in the Stygian* darkness of Warehouse number 12′.
*relating to the river Styx.
A very very dry finish, one that literally sucks all the spit out of your mouth. Also raspberries with a sweetness (eventually). Not a favourite of mine but loved the packaging \m/

Bruichladdich Black Art

Next came the Longrow Gaja Barolo Finish, 7yrs old, 55.8% ABV

Matured for 5 1/2 years in bourbon casks before a 1 1/2 year finish in Barolo casks.
First sniff of this and the sea jumps out and whacks you around the face. Wonderfully peaty, peppery on the tongue with a lovely mouthfeel. Less oily than I expected. I’m a fan of cask strength whiskies and this was my favourite of the evening.

Longrow Gaja Barolo Finish

The final, um … whisky was an interesting one.
As you may or may not know, at Whisky Squad we taste all the whiskies blind, then speculate on what it might be, age, ABV etc. and then throw around (sometimes ridiculous) adjectives. As this one got passed around I immediately recognised the Master of Malt waxy top. After some nosing and tasting most agreed it was rather nice, some commented (including myself) that it was complex. One member added it smelled a bit like his trainers (!), he meant the rubbery smell.  Now that should have been a giveaway as Jason had posted earlier in the day about a whisky with “a hint of the rubber they use to make basketballs”. I liked it!

The final mystery bottle was indeed Master of Malt “Brown Drink”
A great story behind this, you can read all about it HERE.

“This is a blend of pretty much every single liquid that we’ve ever drammed, incorporating Single Malt Whisky, Blended Malt Whisky, Blended Whisky, Grain Whisky, Corn Whiskey, Rye Whiskey, Bourbon, Straight Wheat Whiskey, Calvados, Cognac, Armagnac, New-Make, White Dog, Moonshine, Vodka, Dark Rum, White Rum, Spiced Rum, Sotol, Gin, Genever and Tequila […and breathe…] “

Sounds like the BEST NIGHT OUT YOU’VE EVER HAD

Master of Malt "Brown Drink"

EDITED 17/8/2011:
Finally, here’s Billy’s take on the evening with excellent tasting notes as always!  http://bbblog.org.uk/2011/08/whisky-squad-19-grain-and-grape/

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