Although Jock Shaw does about 100 tastings per year, according to an interview in Whisky Etc., I had never seen him live yet. That changed this Friday at a whisky tasting in Haarlem. The tasting was hosted by the people who run Liquid Gold, a whisky specialist in Haarlem and was a gift to the King’s Court Whisky Society, because of their 10 year anniversary. I think I joined that club right in time last spring!
Jock is a jolly Scotsman who does a lot of tastings, almost always accompanied by live folk music and a never ending train of jokes and funny anecdotes. Maybe this sounds a bit corny, but I sure as hell had a lot of fun! You can find more about Jock on www.scotchandfolk.nl.
Great King Street – Compass Box, 43%
Apparently there is 50% Clynelish in this blend, but I don’t remember if that is in the final blend, or 50% of the malt component is Clynelish… Its a cracker dram anyway. First Fill Bourbon and some new oak casks. Sweet on the nose with peardrops, a light wood influence with something waxy (the Clynelish influence). On the palate it had a bit more oomph than I expected with a slight pepperiness, thick and sugary. Vanilla, caramel and something more crisp on the finish. The finish is quite short though.
Laddie Ten, 46%
The first 10 year old from Jock’s favorite distillery and a brand new bottling. A little sharp but burnt toast and creme brulee, and a hint of fruit. The palate is slightly fizzy, not too complex but nice. The finish has that burnt toast hint again with lemondrops and rather short. A nice dram for the € 35 it’ll cost you.
A.D. Rattray 19 yo Blended Batch 1 – Sherry, 55.8%
This blended malt got everyone raving, except me maybe. The nose is very good with quite some sherry influences, wood, caramel and some peach. The palate is fierce and peppery and other spices and the same flavours appear in the finish. Water opens this one up a bit but also makes it too thin for my liking. A nice blended malt, but I thought it a bit too straight forward. The malts in this whisky are Auchentoshan ’91, Balblair ’90, BenRiach ’89 and Bowmore ’91.
Clynelish 17, 1992 – Cadenhead, 56.7%
A very typical Cadenhead whisky. Lightly coloured and not too big on bold flavours. Crisp and a little thick, vanilla and citrus. Reminds me of some great Chardonnays, with a little wax in the mix. The flavour is full, a little sharp with pepper, wax and vanilla. Again full on the finish with some fudge now. Doesn’t handle water all too well, Quite some flavour for a Cadenhead, but it fits their house style nicely. Not overly complex but beautiful flavours nonetheless.
Port Askaig Harbour 19yo – Specialty Drinks Ltd., 45.8%
This one is a little fishy. Salt and smoked eel, with heather and charcoal. The charcoal reminds me of the burnt logs of a beach campfire. A hint of factory smoke too. The palate builds up and opens up nicely. Quite some flavour, but again, rather straight forward. The finish has some wood and vanilla.
Laphroaig 20, 1990-2011, The Perfect Dram with Bresser & Timmer, 53.3%
This being the final whisky of the evening, it had to be drank during the SM game and the highland toast. That means that there were two swallows and it was gone, the first one got everyone teary eyed. The SM (single malt) game means you mouthwash your mouth with a big sip of this Laphroaig for 10 seconds, swallow it in one go and after a few seconds take a deep breath. “No pain, no gain”. The flavours are some iodine, citrus, bonfire wood and smoke with creme brulee and licorice.