So many (mostly) single malt whisky expressions to taste from all over Scotland, thanks to Single Cask Nation and the North Shore Whisky Club

A-tasting I will go

I was lucky enough to attend a tasting event right before Memorial Day sponsored by the North Shore Whisky Club, and hosted by Joshua Hatton of Single Cask Nation and ImpEx Beverage (and general whisky guru). I first spoke of Joshua in relation to his One Nation Under Whisky podcast in my Expectations Upended post, but this was the first time I attended one of his tastings. 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!

 

Joshua Hatton explaining how whisky is made using people
You do the Hokey Pokey and you turn yourself about…uhm, wait, no, this is Joshua (far left) explaining how whisky is made!

 

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?)

 

single malt whisky samples for tasting
Setting up the samples

NSWC (Mostly) single malt whisky lineup
Our lineup for the evening

(Mostly) Single Malt Whisky Tasting

Hosted by the North Shore Whisky Club, presented by Joshua Hatton from Single Cask Nation, May 26, 2017

Single Cask Nation Glenrothes 8yr

56.3% ABV
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Scottish
Keyword: Cask Strength, Oloroso Cask Finish, Scotch, Speyside, Whisky
Author: Tammy Spencer, Scotch & Scones

Tasting Notes

  • 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 10yr

43%ABV
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Scottish
Keyword: Oloroso Cask Finish, Scotch, Single Malt, Speyside, Whisky
Author: Tammy Spencer, Scotch & Scones

Tasting Notes

  • 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 and easy, like drinking dessert

Tamdhu Batch Strength Batch 001

58.8%ABV, Oloroso sherry butts (traditional casks for vintage sherry), high strength
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Scottish
Keyword: Oloroso Cask Finish, Scotch, Single Malt, Speyside, Whisky
Author: Tammy Spencer, Scotch & Scones

Tasting Notes

  • Nose: pine, oaky, vanilla/caramel, dried fruit (less noticeable)
  • Taste: med body, plum and prunes, pepper rises (not too high), less hot
  • Finish: dried fruit lasts long, little bit of menthol in the middle
  • Comments: Very Good!

Highland 19yr - Chapter 7

56.2%ABV, Ben Nevis
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Scottish
Keyword: Highland, Scotch, Sherry Cask Finish, Single Malt, Whisky
Author: Tammy Spencer, Scotch & Scones

Tasting Notes

  • Nose: strong dried fruit, burnt creme brulée
  • Taste: light and soft, woody and 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 10yr

57.7%ABV, recharged bourbon cask (scraped & reactivate the cask), single grain, column (continuous) still
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Scottish
Keyword: Bourbon Cask Finish, Cask Strength, Lowland, Scotch, Single Grain, Whisky
Author: Tammy Spencer, Scotch & Scones

Tasting Notes

  • 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 20yr

55.6%ABV, Oloroso sherry puncheon
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Scottish
Keyword: Cask Strength, Highland, Oloroso Cask Finish, Scotch, Single Malt, Whisky
Author: Tammy Spencer, Scotch & Scones

Tasting Notes

  • 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

Single Cask Nation Ardmore 8yr

56.9%ABV, matured in Laphroaig (Islay) cask, peat level 12-14ppm
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Scottish
Keyword: Cask Strength, Highland, Peated, Scotch, Single Malt, Whisky
Author: Tammy Spencer, Scotch & Scones

Tasting Notes

  • Nose: Islay peat! Oak underneath, pine comes out
  • Taste: starts with spice, peat rises, smoke, white pepper
  • Finish: smoke lingers then fades
  • Comments: best of both worlds (Highland and Islay), has an unusual flavor

Kilchoman Original 5yr

59.2%ABV, quarter cask matured
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Scottish
Keyword: Bourbon Cask Finish, Cask Strength, Islay, Peated, Scotch, Single Malt, Whisky
Author: Tammy Spencer, Scotch & Scones

Tasting Notes

  • 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!
(mostly) single malt whisky tasting lineup details
Look at all those lovely drams to try!

 

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 20yr followed by the Kilchoman Original 5yr. And the Tamdhu 10yr…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!

Tammy

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