Archive for the ‘Social’ Category

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.

    Consolation Dram

    During the weekend I had some errands to run in London , things I have been putting off for a while.
    So while I was doing my “rounds” I walked in the the Royal Mile Whisky shop for a chat and catching up .

    I spotted some bottles I’d probably will add to my collection after pay-day , and once I finished the shelves round I started talking to the guy at the counter , We mentioned some new drams coming out and tasting of old things , and in all of that I told him about the disappointment from the DeerStalker that I bought from the Edinburgh branch.
    He said he was sorry to hear that a bottle I got that their shop and offered me a sample to balance it out , I was surprised and jested that I can see several things I’d Love to sample , but he would not open them for that , then I asked what he has open that he thinks would be nice , so he gave me a Bruichladdich 10 year old 43% .
    It is a very nice dram , with a very intense and nice burn good nose and a lovely after taste.

    This is not a full tasting notes as I did not write the sensations of this dram , but I found it a very pleasant dram .

    I’ve also talked about bringing a sample of the Healey and the Imperial I have at home for the staff to taste , now I need to find the time .

    Night of tasting 25/11/2011

    As 3 out of the 4 MaltGeeks gathered in the same place (while I was stocking on new items ) we concluded that it was a good time to do another tasting night, We arranged for some snacks to be beside the drink and set forth on an evening of palate exploration.

    I must say that since my last visit to Scotland I brought with me 2 bottles of water to serve in tastings, but those have been consumed by the moronic movers that saw them in the drinks cabinet next to Whiskey and decided that they were there for them to use, so we were left with normal English Tap water.

    The First Dram of the night was Knappogue Castle 12 year old irish Whiskey :
    Knappogue Castle 12 year old irish Whiskey
    [I am a fan of the Irish dram and was hoping for a nice smooth drink ]
    Color : Very clear Light hay gold .
    Nose : A slow and very faint aroma comes out from this dram with hints of citrus and apricot , the scent is very gentle and easy on the nose.
    Palate : Delivering a strong powerful burn in the mouth , the Whiskey is releasing a strong taste of peppers , almonds and some fruits in the mouth , but all the excitement ends in the mouth as there is no after burn in the gut.

    Adding a dash of water gave this dram some distinct changes :
    Color : Becomes clear , nearly vodka like.
    Nose : The big change is in the nose as it gives out other scents : Fudge ,cream and almonds come out while the pepper is not present anymore.
    Palate : Disappointing , the dram becomes bland with no burn and no after burn , I’ve had Orange Juice with more zest then this Whiskey on water .

    Conclusion : Not very exciting , but not at all a bad dram to start with 3 out of five .
    The second item was the mystery DeerStalker 10 year old :
    DeerStalker 10 year old
    This Dram I acquired on a whim , but knew nothing about it , the guys at the shop could give me no information about it , so we knew nothing on what to expect , except that it is an highland dram.

    Color : Slightly yellow hue .
    Nose : very easy on the nose, slow expansion, traces of Hay, raisin and grass.
    Palate : Bland , flavorless , after a long try some trace of bananas come out but even then very faint , no burn .

    Adding water killed all the color from this dram and also washed away the faint traces of the Banana , so not much to say about it .
    Conclusion : this is the kind of whiskey you use for cooking , or for a Rusty Nail cocktail – cause anything will improve the drink . 1.5 out of five (£24.95 Price is too much for this one ).
    Third item on the list was the dram I have been chasing for quite a while : GlenCadam 10 year old Distillery bottle 46% :
    I have tasted the Glen Cadam twice now and both were the connoisseur edition bottling , which I liked , but I wanted a Distillery bottle and finally I got it :
    GlenCadam 10 year old Distillery bottle
    Color : Deep Light Gold , almost honey like.
    Nose: Full nose and deep bodied full of aromas of fudge, Vanilla, banana’s and cardamon.
    Palate: The liquid give a strong nice burn in the mouth with a slow long after burn leaving the mouth with traces of pepper and caramel which usually do not go together but in this dram they are balanced and easy on the palate.

    Adding a dash of water :
    Color : Loses the nice color to even a drop of water and becomes nearly clear.
    Nose: The water suppresses the aroma and the smells are slow in coming out , but when they do come you get Caramel,Annis, Pepper and Coriander seeds .
    Palate : The water is giving the Pepper a push to become too dominant that it is overshadowing any other flavor ,but you can still feel a trace of the Caramel in it .

    Conclusion : this dram need no water as it stands out very well alone and untouched , a good dram for a light evening .3.75 out of 5 (£29.49 is a very good price for this good dram).


    The Last drink of the night was the limited edition Hicks & Healey Cornish Single Malt 7 Year-old Whiskeythat I bought and mentioned Here .
    limited edition Hicks & Healey Cornish Single Malt 7 Year-old Whiskey
    As this is a very rare expression we were very excited about this one …
    Color : Golden brown
    Nose : The Cider finish is apparent here as the first thing you smell is apples , after that other smells come out to fill your nose with scents of Christmas cake.
    Palate: I think I once had tasting buds this thing burned it right off with some trace of honey and a burn of Habanero pepper. A hammer to the head and kick to the groin will describe this drink best.

    … and then we read the rest of the label on the bottle : 61.3% proof so lets take it back , add some water and try again :

    Color : No discernible change , still deep golden brown.
    Nose : Apples , Pines and Honey come drifting out, almost the smells of the cyder farm.
    Palate : Now this is more like it , this is a whiskey to enjoy with a good drop of water (3 corks full for me) and now you get a mellow balanced dram with traces of Apples , Cloves, Vanilla, peppers( very mild this time) and earth .

    Conclusion : This is a wonderful dram that is worth the investment as a limited edition , if you can still get it do so (£150 ) a pleasure to drink and savor but remember it MUST have water. 4 out of 5 .

    29/11/2011 – it was brought to our attention that this item is no longer available Out Of Stock