World Whisky Day

This year, World Whisky Day falls on 20th May. So, to celebrate, I thought it’d be a great idea to host a tasting the evening before and call it World Whisky Day Eve. This notion wasn’t fueled by any attempts to be innovative. Quite simply, I’m a one person business, a mere drop in the ocean of whisky tasting events taking place in Edinburgh and I knew I wouldn’t be able to compete with all the others; I just thought I’d try to get in there first.

glasses of whisky set up for World Whisky Day tasting

The theme of this World Whisky Day tasting was Drams Under The Hammer. So (you’ve probably guessed) these whiskies were all poured from bottles purchased at recent auctions. With the exception of one. The Macallan 10 years Fine Oak had been unopened, at the back of the cupboard, since 2012 (I think!) and was my contingency dram. It appeared in the line up due to some swine outbidding me on a bottle of Tormore. Obviously, I can’t be 100% sure who it was but I have my suspicions, Jason.

The line up was, let’s say, eclectic. At £20 a ticket, this was never going to be about chasing the Ardbegs or the Highland Parks. Instead, this was about having the opportunity to taste something a little unusual, perhaps even odd; to taste whisky you hadn’t tasted before and wouldn’t have the chance to taste again (and perhaps wouldn’t want to!). Most importantly, though, it was about pouring whisky with a story to tell. Let’s face it; everyone loves a good story. And by good story, I mean genuine story; not marketing crap.

So, here was our line up with my tasting notes. As usual, it was great to hear others’ reactions. Long live the subjectivity of whisky…

Haig Golden Age NAS – 70° Proof

Haig whisky poured at World Whisky Day tastingNose: peardrops; pineapple cubes; dried fruit; vanilla; pencil sharpenings; damp wood; ginger

Palate: slightly oily texture; lots of oak spice; spice remains on the tip of the tongue well into the long finish; fairly drying towards the end

Verdict: Not as famous as Haig Gold Label or Dimple but a good quality blend; a warming whisky!

Macallan Fine Oak 10 yrs – 40% abv

Macallan whisky poured at World Whisky Day tastingNose: cereal; cake mix; marmalade; perfume notes; slight hints of rubber

Palate: custard; toffee; fudge; barley

Verdict: discontinued to make way for the Macallan Strippers (Gold, Amber, Sienna and Ruby) this is a straight forward, not terribly complex whisky; a good sipper

Gordon & MacPhail Ardmore 16 yrs – 40% abv

Ardmore whisky poured at World Whisky Day tastingNose: Parma violets; chalk; dried fruit; pears; pencil sharpenings

Palate: earthy and smoky; gooseberries; chilli pepper; long finish

Verdict: distilled in 1981, when Ardmore still used coal fired stills, there’s a lovely earthiness and smokiness to this dram; would’ve been better at a higher abv

The Pauls Malt 10 yrs – 43% abv

Pauls Malt whisky poured at World Whisky Day tasting Nose: very odd at first, a little off even; dampness; slightly fusty; pages of an old book; red fruit starts to emerge; strawberry laces; hints of talc; hints of baby sick in the background

Palate: dry; ginger; gooseberries; very tannin led

Verdict: bottled for the Pauls Malt maltings, this is believed to be Tullibardine. Not my favourite dram of the evening!

“Freuchie Cricket Club” NAS – 46%

Freuchie Cricket Club whisky poured at World Whisky Day tastingNose: initial hit of green apple; cream soda; vanilla fudge; oak starts to edge forward; earthiness; hints of furniture polish; honey; slight petrol aroma in the background

Palate: spice and more spice; grape; melon; lychee; drying into the finish which is long

Verdict: reliably informed that this is Tomatin, it was bottled in 2008. A lovely dram and the biggest surprise of the evening!

Cadenhead’s Cooley (peated) 12 yrs – 59.7%

Cooley whiskey poured at World Whisky Day tastingNose: peat but not overwhelming; church incense; BBQ smoke; fresh pears and pineapples

Palate: peat; smoke; grilled pineapple; gooseberries; smoke continues into the finish

Verdict: distilled in 1993 and bottled in 2005, this is a superb whiskey from Cadenhead’s

people at a World Whisky Day tasting
people at a World Whisky Day tasting


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