A whisky tasting with Jock Shaw – part 2

The second bit of the tasting review. A tasting organized by Drinks & Gifts for the customers of the shop, hosted by Jock Shaw.

I described the tasting itself yesterday, and don’t have much to add to it. Jock was awesome. I was late. Some people were loud and others were not. Jock’s stories made the whisky tasting. Or at least, they made it more interesting than just a flight of drams.

In the second half of the tasting, after the smoke break, we went for a bunch of younger whiskies. Officially two of them were NAS, but that means young, however you put it.

Photo by Jock Shaw

Ardmore, 46% – Cooper’s Choice

This Ardmore is young and spirity on the nose, with the sweetness of the alcohol coming through. Untamed peat with barely any flavors of oak. Quite earthy, autumnal with scents of dead leaves. The palate is gentle with dry peat, spirit, grass, dirt and charcoal. Slightly salty bacon too. The finish is soft and long, with hints of alcohol and a much lighter peatiness than before.

Honestly, I was very positively surprised by this one. The whisky is very young but quite lovely and somehow, it tastes very ‘honest’. Nobody tried to make this taste older than it is, and therefore I love it. Good stuff!


Laggan Mill, 46% – Cooper’s Choice

The nose is heavily peated with a very heavy, feinty kind of peat. Quite sweet with mulchy leaves, decaying plants. Clean oak notes and some lemon. Slightly floral. The palate is sweet, dry with some tannins. Quite sharp with alcohol. The finish also brings those citrusy flavors. Simple syrup and candy, quite long with hints of earthy peat and smoke.

According to Jock this must be Bowmore since there’s a ruin of Laggan Mill close to the distillery, and the lemony flavor. I’m more inclined with ‘the internet’ and think this is Lagavulin. The spirit feels too heavy for a Bowmore too. And also, you can’t really put Lagavulin on the label, but you can put Bowmore on it.

On the other hand, Laggan Mill might be chosen because this way they can change the contents around when one brand runs out. Oh, there was also a Laggan Mill under the previous label of Cooper’s Choice and that too was widely thought to be Lagavulin.

The whisky itself is nice enough but not overly interesting. If you’re into young, heavily peated stuff without too much taming, this might be a way to go. However, I don’t find it overly interesting, unlike the Ardmore for example. It’s just a bit too one dimensional and ‘just peat’.


Kilchoman 2011, 5 years old, cask 666, 57.8% – OB for Bresser & Timmer

Then the final dram of the evening. A 5 year old sherry matured Kilchoman. Jock wanted to do his little SM game with this, which means washing your mouth vigorously for half a minute with a sip of this, swallowing and doing a big inhale. It’ll burn, although it wasn’t as bad as with a previous experience like this.

Anyway, on the nose there’s smoked bacon, golden syrup and pancakes. Burnt caramel, but also some green plants. Quite fresh and fierce. The palate went more towards the barbecue, but the smoke is more timid than expected. Licorice, bacon, pork marinade, ash, smoke, barley and quite spirity. The finish is quite long and mellows quickly. It’s sweet with that barbecue marinade again. Dryness and pepper linger.

An interesting Kilchoman, one of the better ones I’ve tried recently. But still, it’s a Kilchoman. And by that I mean there’s nothing to complain about, apart from the fact that there’s hundreds of single casks out there and the sherried ones all kind of taste similar. They’re consistent, but that also makes them less interesting.


So, all in all, a great tasting. A highland toast to finish everything off, and people singing along with The Wild Rover towards the end of the tasting. It was good fun, and unlike any other tasting you can go to. As in, go to Jock Shaw’s tastings. He’s good at what he does, interesting and fun.


About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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