Yesterday Morrison Bowmore and Rachel Barrie hosted a Twitter Tasting a bit of a Halloween theme. There hadn’t been much information available so it wasn’t until a sizable box arrived earlier this week and I had a peak that I knew what was going on.
And what a box it was! There were three samples, and three candies in there, with a Trick or Tweet message stuck to it. That’s when things started to fall into place.
I was lucky to be in because the initial plan was to go out for a burger and some beers with colleagues to celebrate finishing a project and say goodbye to one of the guys (who betrayed us like the little b*tch he is!). Anyway, one of the guys had to go to a partner night at pregnancy gym and there was no way he could talk is 7 months pregnant girlfriend out of it. There’s no reasoning with them, I have recently experienced.
Now, the tasting!
It started at 8pm sharp, 7pm UK time. Rachel welcomed us and then we were off with the Auchentoshan Virgin Oak (batch 2). The nose has big hints of sweet vanilla and gentle white oak. No surprise there of course. There’s some allspice too, and then there’s some fruit and pastry. Coconut macaroons, some cinnamon, apple pie and dried apples. The palate has two distinct parts. At first, on the arrival it’s surprisingly thick which is a testament to the Non-chill filtration. Some chewy meringue on the palate, vanilla and oak. Then I get some lemon curd, apple pie and cinnamon. After a couple of seconds of swimming the thick oak and vanilla dissipate a little bit, and show a more spicy character. It goes right into the finish with much more peppery and spicy notes than I expected. The oak shines through in a less sweet way and the bite from the distillate is present too.
With the Auchentoshan Virgin Oak II we had some candy floss, which is not something you can easily get hold of here in Holland, so it was a first for me. My wife had a bit too and called it ‘compressed cotton candy’, which seems apt. It was lovely and with the whisky is instantly fell apart to show more sweet, sugar and fruity flavors. A good combination without an inch of conflict.
The second whisky of the evening was the Glen Garioch Virgin Oak that was released some months ago. Glen Garioch is a whisky that I am actually quite fond of but always forget to buy. Every year I plan to buy the new small batch release, which is incredible value for money. Every year I forget. Even worse, the only bottle I have of Glen Garioch, the Founder’s Reserve, I got for free. It’s a good one and very affordable clocking in at some € 30 or so. This is slightly weird since I prefer Glen Garioch to Auchentoshan, generally, but I do have a couple of bottles of the latter in my collection.
On the nose the Glen Garioch Virgin Oak has lots of pastry notes, but while there is a certain sweetness, I get more a file pastry, savory kind of dough. Some dried thyme and
rosemary I think, with a note of honey in the background. Then orange pith and nutmeg. The palate continues this trend with notes of beef with herbs and spices. The oak is much dryer than the Auchentoshan (which I like) and far less sweet than I expected of a virgin oak cask. On the finish there’s quite some pepper, baked sugar and apple.
With the Glen Garioch we had the staple Halloween candy: Candy apple. This was a ridiculously sticky endeavour and me liking a challenge, I did it without cutlery. My teeth were sticky, my glass too. But the combination was great. The hints of sweetness were accentuated by the apple and it got from filo pastry to a more ‘appelflap’ flavor with raisins and cinnamon, baked sugar and honey.
Third up was the awesome Bowmore Devil’s Casks II. I reviewed that a short while ago and back then I regretted not getting myself a bottle. Now I regret that even more. That is one awesome whisky. Read the full review here.
With the Bowmore came a small chunk of chili chocolate, which was a wolf in sheep’s clothing. At first I wasn’t too thrilled by it since the chili had a hard time conquering the intensity of the Bowmore, but the sting was in the tail. After a while and a couple of nibbles there was a certain burn developing on your tongue that was getting harder and harder to deny. In the end it, again, worked really well with the Bowmore and the chocolate was rather epic in quality. The chili was barely noticeable at first, but after a short while was very, very intense.
So, in short. The evening was cool. The crows was cool. Rachel Barrie being present, and dressed up was cool. It put the human face back on a brand, if it ever lost it. Listen and learn, Diageo.
It also told me that I really love Bowmore. I already knew that, of course, but it became more apparent again. Apart from that I also should get my hands on some Glen Gariochs. I like their quite typical Highland style. It’s lovely, and while still quite different from many other distilleries, it does fit right in. I’m planning to go to Speyside next year, but a side step to the Highlands for Glen Garioch, GlenDronach and maybe Glenglassaugh should be a goal of our trip too, methinks.
Thanks to Morrison Bowmore and Rachel Barrie for hosting this great night!