This was one hell of a feat, I tells ya! My charge to myself: taste ten whiskies over two days WITHOUT getting tipsy – a lot to review but a ton ‘o fun to do.
You might remember I posted on the details of the Master of Malt Blogger’s Blend contest a few weeks back (a brilliant idea – find 10 whisky bloggers and ask them to try and create the ultimate whisky blend). I hope some of you out there had a chance to participate in the contest. Sadly the voting is now closed, but Master of Malt made some more sets (they did sell out for a bit if I’m not mistaken but are stocked up again) for you to buy then try. It was a fun tasting experience.
I will say that this group of bloggers did a great job on their blends and I felt extremely honored to be among them. It was tough for me to choose a favorite out of these 10 blends. However, two of then really stuck out for me. Let’s see if, based on my notes below, you can figure out which two were my favorites…
On the nose A – Both sweet and peppery at the same go. Some lemon tart sweetness and a tad dusty. A touch smoky but it’s all around the edges – crispy burnt edges. Twine & paper bags.
On the mouth A – Nice soft mouthfeel, honied and a bit of toffee upfront. Milk chocolate, raisins and nuts (I’ve gotten this in a few other whiskies before – Cadbury Fruit & Nut Bar). Second sip is offering up some clear notes of tobacco and just-lit-cigars. Like on the nose, there’s a crispiness around the edges (think pepper-rubbed foods).
Finish A – Chocolates and pepper and lasting tobacco.
On the nose B – A touch sour and bit vinegary. Band-Aids. Salted corn (?)… something salty. Let’s see if I can make sense of it after I get a taste. Back to the nosing: Salted fruits – clear note of papaya. Pepper & dark chocolates. Ginger root. There appears to be a good deal of grain influence on this one.
On the mouth B – Herbal and wildflowery (think daisies and dandelions). Grain comes through loud and clear with hints of tin cans and plastic bags. Light teas with and old lemon. Salty with some vanilla and wood out there in the distance
Finish B – Shortish with hints of oak.
On the nose C – Very sweet with loads of fresh cherries and other red fruits. A good deal of oak but in a good way. Salty and floral (like mother’s day flowers). Back to the red fruits (raspberries?). Some black pepper and perhaps a little pear.
On the mouth C – Smokey entry (this’ll grab you but good) and very viscous chewy, chewy mouthfeel. Dark chocolates, tobacco (dark tobacco cigars filled with spice). Buckwheat honey (the dark syrupy sweet stuff). A bit of citrus (burnt) and salted grapefruits (focus is more on the salt and less of the grapefruit). Perhaps even some coffee in there too. There’s a lot to discover here.
Finish C – Medium to long with a good deal of spice, chocolates & fizz.
On the nose D – Honied, floral and has some notes of pomegranate and some cardamom in the distance. A touch of smoke – very inviting; drawing me in. Some sour notes. Some sour cherries too. A touch of spice to it but more on the fruity side.
On the mouth D – Cereals, malty and a bit of smoke. Rolled oats. Decent mouthfeel. Not overly complex but enjoyable. Some very light oak and honey notes.
Finish D – Fairly quick finish with some pepper lasting just at the back of the throat.
On the nose E – Seems to be a theme here with the sour cherry notes. Some added vinegar. Burning twigs and leaves. Red wine and apricots. Some nail polish remover. Smoked lemons. Really enjoyable nose.
On the mouth E – Nice creamy mouthfeel with some grain coming through (in a positive way). Sour oranges and tangerines. Some sherry influence – stewed dark fruits. Citrus tarts with a lightly buttered crust.
Finish E – Slightly chalky (think Necco wafer chalky). Decent length.
On the nose F – Smoky yet some citrusy grain influence here as well. Grilled pineapple and burning bramble. A touch of pepper and some savory spice.
On the mouth F – Smoky again with loads of burnt tea leaves. Much smokier than any of the other drams so far. Someone here likes their peat! Apples and the sauce thereof. Stewed carrots with a touch of ginger.
Finish F – Toasty almonds (marzipan) through and through with a decent length to it.
On the nose G – Brown paper bag filled with an assortment of fruits. Vanilla, oak and more fruits (tough to get past the fruitiness of this). A whiff of smoke and the smell of that super subtle taste you get from Jicama. Art class paste.
On the mouth G – Warm water mouth feel. All of the flavors seem to be in the distance: Lemons, pie crust and grapefruit marmalade. Vanilla ice cream.
Finish G – The finish is a more intense version of what I tasted – near exact.
On the nose H – Derumura sugar and spiced rum. Booze soaked oak. Sugar cane. All things dark and sweet. A fantastic nose.
On the mouth H – Not as intense as the nose lead on nor as thick and/or oily as I would have expected. A touch oaky and dusty. Wild flowers and various burned things. Citrus spice with a touch of smoked sugar (if there is such a thing).
Finish H – Very fruity with some berries and light brown sugar.
On the nose I – Light and flowery, salty and flinty. Lemons lurk in the back as do sauna stones. Spiced apples and elderflower. Some graininess swirled throughout.
On the mouth I – Smoky and flinty – slightly reminded of Port Ellen here. A very, very light version of Port Ellen, mind you. Coastal & notes of late fall. A bit waxy too. This is delicious stuff.
Finish I – Long and warming throughout.
On the nose J – Oh, this is a nice citrusy light & grainy blend. Youth & young manhood. Dusty – like an empty room in a old house. Fresh cut grass and baked rhubarb.
On the mouth J – Fresh, light and clean – like a Sauvignon Blanc of whisky. Clean & still grassy. Grainy for sure but in a very pleasant way. Balanced and delicious.
Finish J – Medium and tangy.