I was lucky enough to attend a tasting event right before Memorial Day sponsored by the North Short Whisky Club, and hosted by Joshua Hatton of Single Cask Nation and ImpEx Beverage (and general whisky guru). I spoke of Joshua before in relation to his One Nation Under Whisky podcast in my Expectations Upended post. Anyway, not only was Joshua’s talk detailed and entertaining given the number of drams of (mostly) single malt whisky we were sampling, for me the highlight of the evening was when he showed us how whisky is distilled…using volunteers for the demonstration!
There were so many expressions to try, this time I’m going to jump right into my tasting notes. (What, no lengthy dissertation? What’s this world coming to?)
(Mostly) Single Malt Whisky Tasting
NSWC, presented by Joshua Hatton from Single Cask Nation, 5/26/17
Single Cask Nation Glenrothes 8 yo – 56.3% ABV
- Nose: pine, butter, little burn in nose, toffee, oak, cream
- Taste: green apple, white chocolate
- Finish: sweet on end, white pepper
- Comments: nice, sippable
Tamdhu 10yo – Single Malt, 43% ABV, Speyside, Oloroso cherry, younger sherry casks
- Nose: strong vanilla, raisins, dried fruit, deeply sweet
- Taste: cream, plums, oily, white pepper, very soft
- Finish: long cream, dried fruity finish, not overly harsh
- Comments: nice & drinkable, like drinking dessert, 3rd favorite
Tamdhu Batch Strength Batch 001 – Single Malt, 58.8% ABV, Oloroso sherry butts (traditional casks for vintage sherry)
- Nose: pine, oaky, vanilla/caramel, dried fruit (less noticeable)
- Taste: med body, plum & prunes, pepper rises (not too high), less hot
- Finish: dried fruit lasts long, little bit of menthol in the middle
- Comments: Very Good!
Chapter 7 Highland Malt – single malt, Ben Nevis 56.2% ABV
- Nose: strong dried fruit, burnt creme brulée
- Taste: light & soft, woody & green, musty, almost a candy cane
- Finish: cream fades off, mustiness lingers
- Comments: surprising, not hot but sweet, glides onto the tongue
Single Cask Nation Girvan 10yo – recharged bourbon cask (scraped & reactivate the cask), single grain, 57.7% ABV, column (continuous) still
- Nose: cinnamon, apricots, oaky vanilla, bourbon-like
- Taste: citrus, similar to bourbon, nutmeg, light body, peppery, caramel
- Finish: pepper rises, his out, single flavor (static)
- Comments: lighter style of bourbon
Single Cask Nation Ben Nevis 20yo – sherry puncheon, single malt
- Nose: dried fruit leads, vanilla, butterscotch
- Taste: sherry starts, cinnamon rises, soft at beginning
- Finish: surprising – ashy at end!
- Comments: changes as you drink it, lots of character, my favorite of the lot
Single Cask Nation Ardmore 8yo – Highland, matured in Laphroaig cask, single malt, peat 12-14ppm
- Nose: Islay peat! Oak underneath, pine comes out
- Taste: starts w/ spice, peat rises, smoke, white pepper
- Finish: smoke lingers then fades
- Comments: best of both worlds (Highland & Islay), has an unusual flavor
Kilchoman Original 5yo – cask strength quarter cask matured, single malt
- Nose: ocean peat (not heavy), green apple, menthol, burns nose
- Taste: peat & smoke, softens then spice rises, chocolate in the middle
- Finish: campfire comes out at end, gentle
- Comments: doesn’t hit you in the face, flavors of the beach in summer, tastes older than 5 yrs, WOW!
There were so many interesting flavors in this tasting, all so different from each other. It was hard to pick a favorite, but if I had to choose I’d go for the Single Cask Nation Ben Nevis 20yo followed by the Kilchoman Original 5yo. And the Tamdhu 10yo…like drinking dessert! Oh the hell with it, I liked them all!
I also was asked to pair a dessert for the event (thanks to Darren McInnis & George Chagnon, founders of NSWC), so I made Port Wine Millionaire’s Shortbread…Port wine caramel poured over buttery shortbread and topped with dark chocolate. Yum! I’m happy to say that the dessert was well received, so yay!
Attending whisky tastings is a wonderful way to share opinions and stories with others…it’s a fun communal event. I learn so much whenever I go. If you haven’t yet gone to a formal tasting, do it. Even if you’re an expert, you never know what the next exciting pour will be!
Slainté! L’chaim! Cheers!