As of late, the Edinburgh Whisky Group, just like many other whisky groups, has taken to meeting online to enjoy a few drams and to talk all things whisky.
In comparison to many other virtual tasting events, our (now) regular Saturday evening turnout may appear small. But in this time of lockdown, the Edinburgh Whisky Group has a die hard contingent of whisky enthusiasts all ready and willing to try some new drams and share a few thoughts and opinions with each other.One of the obstacles we initially faced was ensuring that we all had the same lineup of drams on the night. However, after discovering that the folk at Jeffrey St Whisky have recently released their home whisky tasting packs, our problem was solved.There are currently three packs available - Gordon & MacPhail, Douglas Laing and Cask Strength - and each pack contains four different 50ml bottles. So these represent great value, especially if you're looking to go halfsies with someone.The pack we opted for was the Douglas Laing selection (which was £35) and we were delighted that Douglas Laing's Jamie was able to join us for the start of the tasting. By the time you read this, Jamie's wife may well have given birth so we felt that was a good enough reason for him not to be able to stay with us for the entire evening!
The lineup, with some quick fire tasting notes, is as follows:
Craigellachie 10 year old 'Single Minded' - 43% - £38
Nose: Unripe bananas mixed with fresh, green apples; dry grass; porridge with honey.
Palate: Quite spicy initially; when the spice dissipates, toffee pennies and honeycomb appear; Custard Creams appear into the finish when hints of fresh ginger emerge.
Blair Athol 12 year old 'Provenance' - 46% - £58
Nose: Foamy shrimps; unripe pears; Cadbury's Eclairs; apple crumble and custard.
Palate: Apple crumble and custard; cinnamon; fresh ginger; barley sugar sweets; dark chocolate bitterness into the finish.
Jura 12 year old 'Water' - 54.3% - £59.95
Nose: Dusty and chalky initially; milk chocolate; hint of red apple; chocolate covered raisins; ever so slightly briny.
Palate: Think, creamy texture; ginger chocolate; honeycomb; salted caramel; fresh ginger into the finish which is long.
North British 30 year old XOP - 50.7% - £165
Nose: Toffee apples; Cadbury's Dairy Milk chocolate; damp wood; new leather; Golden Syrup.
Palate: Beautiful creamy texture; Butterkist popcorn; Carambars; vanilla fudge; honeycomb; chocolate covered raisins; this is like pick n mix in a glass!
The winner on the night was the North British; this is an absolutely stunning whisky in the way that you'd expect old North British to be. However, they were all cracking in their own right. The Craigellachie is an absolute steal at less that 40 quid and the Jura was a revelation. This might have been the first cask strength, single cask Jura I've ever tried. And not being a fan of any of the proprietary bottlings, this was totally different and well worth £60 in my opinion. My least favourite of the lineup was the Blair Athol but it certainly won over a few other members of the group. In all honesty, though, there really wasn't a bad dram in the pack.
We've already scheduled our next Tasting Night In and we've chosen the Cask Strength pack. Feel free to join us - it's totally free (apart from having to buy your whisky, of course!) and new members are always welcome. All the details are over on our Facebook group page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EdinburghWhiskyGroup/
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