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Early St.Patrick 2024 Tasting

Last night some of the MaltGeek friends met to do our largest drinking evening since COVID hit us 4 years ago, and a lot has changed.
I will not bother you with all the details, suffice to say that we were happy to have the chance to do this and naturally we brought some things to drink.
Being the night before St.Paddy we focused on the Irish made expressions we each had in our respective stock.

This was the selection of expressions we had:

We made sure to have some palate cleansing food to go between each tasting, and then we started, going from right to left in the order of tasting.
We skipped the “classic” Jameson as it a well know expression and we wanted to explore the ones we haven’t tried before:

The Irishman – very young, No discernible nose, no burn, no after taste. over all a very disappointing expression, maybe good for beginners, Rating 1
Jameson stout – a gentle nose of of grass, wood, and charcoal, the flavour bring our traces of wood and grass but lack the stout flavour it is meant to provide. A faint after burn but still mild. Rating 2.5
Jameson gold – This used to be a good expression that we liked, but we found it to be severely lacking in all aspects compared to the stout finish. Rating 1
Bushmills black bush – Compared to the previous ones this one had a more pungent aroma with traces of pine and it had a stronger bite to it. it goes down smooth with No Burn or after glow leaving a taste of cloves, grass, and pepper. Rating 3
Teeling small batch – Rum finish 46% alc – Right of the start you get a discernible aroma of the sugar which is promising, however the promise does not have any backing since the taste is bland with no finish, no bite and over all too sweet. Rating 2
Teeling stout 46% alc– The nose of this expression was the most robust then any of the previous ones with traces of mint, grass and cherries. The palate gets a smooth drink with a nice easy burn that leaves some chocolate and mint feeling. Rating 3.5

Teeling renaissance – Calvados finish 46% alc – The unmistakable aroma of apples is the one you get at the first nosing followed by grass and tea. The flavour follows suit with faint apples, black pepper and tea but despite the higher the usually alcohol percentage there is no immediate burn, there is a slow release once it settles and it is mildly surprising. Rating 3.5

Over all we had a nice evening, but none of the expressions we had stood out or surprised us.
Oh, Well, It just means we will need to find more opportunities for more sampling.

Tasting in the time of COVID

To say it has been a while would be an understatement.
The MaltGeeks crew have not met in person for more then 3 years (granted, since COVID-19 erupted around the globe it became impossible) and that of course impacted our ability to share drinks and upload reviews on new expressions.
We hope to be able to make a partial meeting in the next #burnsnight and maybe taste some of the new bottles that joined the collection, but the way that the Delta variant is spreading, it would be a good guess that we may not be able to.
There are those that have contracted the virus (Thankfully non of us), and they lost both the sense of smell and taste, which got me wondering, What would be the sensation or the experience of drinking Whisky without being able to taste or smell it ? As the COVID impacts older members harder, I shudder to think of a long time drinker/ collector that loses those senses, or a master blender.
The former would cry over the loss of a horded collection while the other will most likely lose his livelihood, and the Whiskey community the flavor that he brought to the world.
Let’s stay safe so we can enjoy the full experience of this wonderful drink.

Long over due

It has been awhile since the crew of MaltGeeks have met and sampled some drams, life can do that to people, but not all is lost, we are planning a meeting in the following weeks and with luck we will open a bottle or two to sample and report on.

In my latest trip to Edinburgh I have purchased 3 new bottles and they are sitting in my cabinet waiting just for such a gathering:

  • Benrinnes 15 year Flora and Fauna
  • Gren Deveron 20 year old
  • Mannochmore 12 year Flora and Fauna
  • All are new to us and would be interesting to sample.

    Oban 14 year old

    For a long while it was suggested to me that I should try the Oban, but the opportunity never came, though several friends offered, it was never the “right time”.
    Yesterday I went to a tasting in a liquor store hosted by a Diageo Ambassador and the Oban was part of the collection offered to sample (Along with Cardhu, Singelton and Talisker).

    As this was the only one I did not know, I was curios about it and took some notes:

    The Distillery
    Oban distillery is owned by Diageo. It has only two pot stills, making it one of the smallest in Scotland, producing a whisky that has been described as having a “West Highland” flavour that falls between the dry, smoky style of the Scottish islands and the lighter, sweeter malts of the Highlands.

    ColourLight golden yellow,clear with short legs.

    Nose:The aroma contained traces of Pines, Pineapple Light smoke and sea breeze.
    The scents them self come out slowly and are not overpowering, rather having to be coaxed out slowly.

    Palate:The flavours that come out of the dram leave traces of Peppers, Vanilla, Apples and Citrus.
    Slow release of a light after burn, and goes down smoothly, lingering burn at the mouth not too strong.

    Water Adding the water turned the Nose to a strong one that was unpleasant and the coloring stayed the same, the Palate developed an aggressive lingering burn but no change on the After burn.

    Conclusion: A nice simple dram that stands on it’s own and does not need water, good as a slow drink, and will be well paired with a fish meal. 3 out of 5

    Chasing the Black Barrel

    Jameson Black Barrel
    I have been trying to get a bottle of this Jameson ever since I sampled it (see entry [Whisky Live Tel Aviv 2015 ), and have been foiled by suppliers on several occasions.

    Last week I have been to the UK and hoped to obtain it while there but the Duty free shops (carrying it past security is not an option) do not stock this expression, so I came back empty handed.

    In one place I inquired the wanted almost 4 times the retail price, of course I did not buy it there, but then I went in to a store that I know has a nice stock, and which have a Tomintoul 21 (which has been discontinued) for £100 – that I intend on buying in my next visit – and there was the Black Barrel, the last one on the shelf and in a cost of £5 more then the retail price in the UK.

    Now this bottle is in my whiskey collection and waiting a proper time to be savored, once we can gather as many of the MaltGeeks group, we will post other opinions about this Dram.

    Impressions from Whisky Live Tel Aviv 2015

    I will start by saying that living in the UK has made me spoiled rotten when it comes to whisky events, that being said the I will now give my review on the event and the whiskies I have sampled during Whisky Live Tel Aviv 2015.

    To start of the entrance funnel was also the exit, which made coming in or going out very difficult as you had to push your way past the masses going the other way (which ever it might be in that particular moment in time).

    Once you made it in there wasn’t any flow to the positions of the presentations and placement of booths, I suspect that this is due to the variety of importers and the amount each was willing to pay for their position.

    The options for sampling, considering the heritage of the name “Whisky Live” was rather limited and catered to the more well-known expressions from the distillers and parent companies, with some exceptions to the rule. Some Brand ambassadors and members of the industry were present, but not in a ratio that gave the feel that the companies they represent don’t care much about the local market.

    One of the main attraction in this event was meant to be the new local distillery, and you’d think they will put them front and centre so they can be easily accessed, but they were hidden in the corner off the main hall.

    Given all that, the event gave you large serving bars in the main hall with 7 major Drams available and each had it’s industry representative (be is brand ambassador or in the event with Tomintoul – The Master Distiller), you had the chance to bottle your own bottle from a selection of small barrels (Rum, Vodka, Whisky, Bourbon) and you could participate in a blind tasting event.

    Criticism over, now I will review the whiskies I sampled:

    Jura 21 years 44% Sherry Matured

    Jura 21 years 44% Sherry Matured

    Nose: Traces of Sea weeds,citrus, peppers and cloves.
    Colour:Deep honey, smooth swirl, no legs.
    Platte:Smooth down, no after burn with a slow release of flavours, traces of Almonds, Caramel, Pines and Bannana.

    Added Water
    Nose: added traces of Peppers, the aroma is much more pungent almost obtrusive.
    Colour:No discernible change.
    Platte:Strong after burn, too over powered and a slow release.

    Overall : Nice dram, but nothing out of the ordinary from Jura.

    Tomatin 14 years 46% Portwood finish

    Tomatin 14 years 46% Portwood finish

    Tomatin 14 years 46% Portwood finish

    Nose : very subtle almost nonexistent hints of smoke and mold.
    Colour : Amber red.
    Platte : For a 46% dram the flavors are very subtle, hints of dates, honey, and peppers. A slow after burn

    Added Water
    Nose: All gone.
    Colour : No change.
    Platte : Just a Burn, but no flavors.

    Overall : Water ruin the drink, it is a good drink without it and the port finish really shows and feels in the drink.

    Jameson Black Barrel 40% NAS (Blend of Pot still + Grain whiskey)

    This is a new Jameson expression that I have not sampled before and was very curious to try. I had a nice conversation with the Brand Ambassador Aislinn O’Keeffe, which seemed to have been surprised to find an Irish Dram fan among all the Bourbon and Scot Malt enthusiasts.
    Jameson Black Barrel 40% NAS (Blend of Pot still + Grain whiskey)

    Nose :Very soft aroma coming from the glass, very faint traces of smoke, some plums and touch of honey.
    Colour : A like caramel honey, almost hazel.
    Platte : Very delicate, smooth, almost like a velvet drink – on the border to becoming too smooth, no pungent after burn, traces of Banana and Chocolate.

    I have not added water to this one – as the stand ran out of water at the time, but I very much enjoyed the Dram and the conversation while drinking it.
    Overall -I liked this expression, and would like to have another run at with with some water, For any Irish whiskey fan it will be a treat.

    Tomintoul 21 years 40%

    When approaching the stand for this bottle, I was happy to find the Master Distiller standing near the booth and talking to visitors, we had a wonderful chat and I got an invite for a tour in the distillery(generally closed to the public) when I am next time in Scotland – hopefully not to long till that happens.
    We talked about places we both know and appreciate in Speyside and he shared my excitement and wonder for the magic of the Fiddich Side Inn , then he suggested the 21 for sampling.
    Tomintoul 21 years

    Nose :Gentle, full of Pines, Honey, raisins and freshly cut grass.
    Colour : A strong tea, light golden hue.
    Platte :Chocolate,Peppers,Honey and Vanilla, a wide range of flavors come out of this dram, and it goes down smooth with no strong burn, it has a slow release once down in a good way.

    Then there is the added Water
    Nose : The Pines come out to be more dominant, but other then that no big change.
    Colour : no change.
    Platte : Again very subtle changes, the Peppers are more extenuated, and a burn is felt.

    Overall very nice dram, suitable for every day – if not for the price, it is meant to be discontinued due to stock shortage, 4/5 .

    Dalmore King Alexander 40% NAS

    Dalmore King Alexander 40% NAS

    Dalmore King Alexander 40% NAS

    Dalmore King Alexander 40% NAS
    Dalmore are considered a “exclusive brand” and hence fairly expensive, which is why I have not had the opportunity to sample them in the past, hence I was happy to pay a little bit for the cost of tasting one of the range provided.

    Nose : Soft drift of smells, Grapes,Honey,Caramel and Pines are felt.
    Colour : Honey, but it feels like there is some caramel in the coloring too.
    Platte : Strong burn in the first touch, then the flavors come out: Milk, Citrus,Banana and Peach, and then the after burn comes in with a fast release in the stomach.

    Sadly no water was available for comparison.
    Overall – Nice Dram , but not something I would keep in my stock.

    Notes from The Open Tasting

    As we advertised we had our first open tasting on the 18th of March, It was not desigend as a big event or anything that might be too complex for a whisky novice.
    The venue was a local club and comprised of 3 tables in the corner of a room where the participants sat and shared the evening.

    The theme for the tasting was “south to north” which comprised of 4 bottles from a private collection:
    * Penderyn SherryWood
    * Jura 10 Year old
    * The Macphail’s Collection GlenTurret
    * Glenfiddich 14 year Rich Oak

    We had 4 participants and 2 members of the MaltGeeks Crew in the evening, when at one point a member of the Club came to inquire to our satisfaction and ended with a dram on Jura in his hand(he did not protest too hard).

    For some of the participants this was the first “tasting” event – they have drank whisky before but have not done the complete process of evaluating a dram by colour, aroma, palate and adding water.

    We had some mixed reviews and favorites of the night, however the “winner” of the evening or I should say the favorite of most was the Penderyn.

    All in all it was a good evening, and we might consider doing another withing a month.

    Maltgeek Open Tasting

    World Whisky Day Is Just 2 month away , to be held on the 18th of May, We at MaltGeeks are very happy about this event and will enjoy it each in our own way.
    As We will be unable to participate in a large event on the day we will be hosting a more modest event on the 18th of March in the Cotterells Club in Hemel Hempstead ,182 Cotterells, Hemel Hempstead HP1 1JW .

    This will be a small event with a short selection for tasting and sampleing.

    For more information contact .

    Midlands 2012

    On the weekend of the 19th of may two members of the Maltgeeks group went to the Whisky Lounge annual event in Stratford Upon Avon for some whisky fun.

    The venue was nice and intimate in size, with 16 stands all around with the SMWS holding the centre of the room and commanding the respect and attention as entitled to them by any whisky lover.
    We sampled many drams (mostly new things we have not tried before , but also some old and familiar friends) during the visit and enjoyed some surprises (for better and for worse) from the ones we did not know.
    This is the list of the items we tasted ,We might provide sampling notes later :

  • Scapa 16
  • Auchentushan A
  • AnCnoc 12
  • Bruchladdie organic
  • Bruchladdie Fino Cask
  • Balbalair 1978
  • Girvan 1989 46%
  • Inchgower 1982 54.5%
  • Macduff 2000 60%
  • Glenfarclas 30
  • GlenKinchie 12
  • Benromach 25
  • Bunnahabhain
  • SMWS 7.72 21 years
  • Old Pulteney 12 year old
  • Old Pulteney 17 Year Old
  • Old Pulteney 21 Year Old
  • We debated if we should sign up to the scotch Malt Whisky society(SWMS) but the price was a bit too high at the time , though we did agree that it is something we have to do in the future.

    When we left it was with high spirits and a joyous step, and not just from the golden nectar flowing in our veins.