One way to really get into whisky is by attending a tasting. Here in Switzerland you have a lot of possibilities because there are lot of tastings being offered either at whisky events or by whisky shops. At whisky Neumarkt, the shop where I am employed we offer private tastings for groups of 4-8 persons. Normally my boss is hosting the tastings but two month ago I got the chance to lead a tasting for the first time ( read all about it here). We had a lot of fun there and tried some fantastic whisky so one of the attendants promised me to come back with another group of friends. He stood to his word and he booked another tasting. Because he asked my boss if it would be possible if I hosted the tasting again I got another chance to gain some experience. I felt really honoured that they asked if I could be the host for their evening and so I decided to give them some really fantastic stuff.
The first whisky that we poured was a Glen Keith, distilled in the year 1993 (which is my birthyear), bottled by Cooper's Choice. This whisky was matured in a hogshead for 19 years and was bottled at 46% ABV. This is a really lovely whisky that has a very fruity character and some delicious vanilla notes aswell. The perfect start for this evening.
We then continued the action with another whisky from the Speyside - an Auchroisk from 1990. This one has been bottled by Signatory Vintage and was matured in a hogshead for 22 years and comes at a whopping 61.5% ABV. In my opinion this isn't quite the best whisky that I've ever tasted because the nose is rather reserved and it isn't really packed with flavour. You could call it a rather boring malt but it was great to demonstrate the effect that the addition of water has. At the high strength you can really experiment and after a few dashes of H2O the character changes.
Next up was an expression of our own line of whiskies - the Helvetian Selection. This range was created by my boss and his friends last year and consists of only two expressions to date with more to follow but we aren't in a hurry. The whiskies are bottled by Signatory Vintage exclusively for us and are only available in Switzerland. This whisky was distilled at the Balmenach distillery in 1988 and was matured in a hogshead for 27 years until it was bottled at 49.6% ABV. It has a lovely nose with floral notes and hints of honey and vanilla but on the palate you also get some peppery notes and some delicious oak spices.
After having tasted 3 malts from Speyside and one from the Highlands I decided that it was time to go a little bit peaty and so the 5th dram was an Islay whisky. This whisky from an undisclosed distillery is called Port Askaig and is bottled by Speciailty Drinks Ltd. It is 12 years old and bottled at 45.8% ABV. A nice peaty whisky that really gets you into the mood for more smoky goodness.
And because we got into the mood we craved more peated whisky and so we continued with another Islay malt. This Laphroaig was bottled by Douglas Laing in the Douglas of Drumlanrig range which now belongs to Hunter Laing. This whisky has been bottled in the year 2010 before the firm was split. This Islay malt was distilled in 2000 and was matured for 10 years in a hogshead and then bottled at 46%
Stay tunded for another write up of a tasting coming soon. Something big is going on...