Friday, September 4, 2009

A Masterful Class!

Today I’m writing about last nights Whisky Live Masterclass which El Capitan, the Secretary Generale and myself attended. It was named Islay: Land of Peat and Smoke, so as you can imagine it focused on the real firewater.

This was a good thing, since both El Capitan and I, have a strong preference for peaty whisky. The Secretary on the other hand may have been a bit out of his depth and was lucky to have the two of us to guide him through the evening. I generously offered to help him finish some of his whisky - he declined.

A good time was had by all, and I would highly recommend that Club members attend an event like this in future. The education side of the evening was interesting although I can’t claim to have learnt a lot since there was not much technical stuff mentioned. However, the true fun was in the drinking and there were some fine whiskies tasted throughout the evening.

During the evening, we tasted six different whiskies. They were:

(1) Finlaggan Old Reserve (no age statement, independent bottling)
(2) Bowmore, 36 yo (also an independent bottling, bottled in 1972)
(3) Caol Ila, 7 yo (Tartan, independent bottling)
(4) Laphroaig, 7 year old (Tartan, independent bottling)
(5) Hellyers Road, 5 yo (Burnie distillery, Australia)
(6) Ballechin Edradour, 10 yo (Madeira cask finish)

The most popular whiskies were the Bowmore (of course, it’s a 36 yo and the Laphroaig). They were both good drinking whiskies. The Bowmore was excellent and is by far the oldest whisky I have ever tasted. I didn’t add any water to this one as I couldn’t justify diluting it at all. On the other hand, I felt the Laphroaig was improved by the addition of some water.

The least popular were the Caol Ila and the Hellyers Road which were frankly, below standard. The Hellyers was the first Australian whisky I have tasted and I was bitterly disappointed. It was only a five year old, so there is the potential for much improvement, but I could not recommend this bottle to anybody. The guy who was hosting the class advised that the Lark Distillery in Tasmania sell a 9 yo, which is probably Australia’s best whisky.

For those who are interested there are still tickets available to other Whisky Live events and remember if you are buying tickets for the tasting expo, we are attending the 5pm session, on Saturday 5th of September.