Interactive Studios is a company run by some of my closest friends. I used to work for them until my move to a more northerly homestead caused a too large commute. This was in 2009. I kept working for them until 2011 but the 120 kilometer commute (one way) started taking its toll on me and my car.
Apart from a tiny part of my CV, what this post is about is their sort-of-annual whisky event. To thank a part of their customer base the bosses decided to host a whisky tasting. Mostly since 3 of the 4 people in the company were avid whisky aficionados. By now the company has gotten somewhat larger but before the percentage of whisky dudes shrunk a tradition had been born.
A couple of months ago I got an invite to join this year’s tasting after a couple of missed events. After I had said yes, I got a call that it was to co-host the evening. They tricked me into it! But then again, I don’t mind yapping about booze all night long so that kind of worked itself out as well.
We started the evening in Den Bosch at Bar35, which is a newish place that I hadn’t seen before. It serves burgers and beers. The burgers are awesome and I didn’t look at the beer menu but just ended up drinking a couple of Vedett IPAs (short review: a nice IPA, but as with all Vedett beers, not overly interesting). The burger was epic. I had the Cow vs Pig, which means a sizable beef burger topped with bacon and pulled pork. Good stuff.
The tasting then.
The setup was slightly chaotic since we had to walk around to pour for 45 people. Unfortunately the bottles were mostly liters, so there was only one and it took a while to pour and explain the pick. Something to rethink next time!
The whiskies were the following:
Auchentoshan Heartwood. A light a crisp dram with definite flowery and sweet dram. Some vanilla, citrus and grassy notes. Not bad, not great.
Macallan Amber. This one was a positive surprise to me. I didn’t expect much of Macallan’s overhaul and while this bottle will never change anyone’s life, it was surprisingly rich and fruity. The sherry was rather noticeable and lovely. Quite summery, so to say. A nice pick!
Dalmore Valours. Another disappointing Dalmore. Apparently it is a port cask which I didn’t know and didn’t notice. The palate was rather okay with some nice and robust flavors, but the finish lasted all of two seconds. The nose didn’t do much either.
Caol Ila Distiller’s Edition. I hadn’t had this since I finished my bottle of it in 2008 or so. It’s still lovely with the muscatel sweetness backing up the fierce peat and grassy Islay notes.
Springbank 12 CS (the 52.3% one). I have had this before. I had it again. I could have gone for a lot of different things on the table, but this one is just one bloody great whisky. An excellent pick with lots of farmy notes on a typical Springbank background. I think I should start collecting the 12 CS series (in triplo).
After this bit of the tasting there was the ‘Interactive Candy Shop’, which more or less that you could drink whatever was on the table. There were the above whiskies and about a dozen others from other tastings and private collections. It wasn’t exactly interactive, but since the company is called Interactive Studios, everything is prefixed with Interactive. Which is a clever marketing scheme, since people recognize it.
So, it was a good night. We had some great whiskies. I got to ‘talk shop’ with friends and customers I used to work for/with, and I met some new people who were really interested in whisky. I should take some more time preparing for tastings, but since the line up was only selected a day prior to the tasting, I didn’t have much time to prep. But still, there were some things I should have said and didn’t.
Thanks guys, for the invite!