Yesterday, as you might have read right here, details of the GlenHatton were finally revealed.
As a quick reminder, I created a dregs bottle of whisk(e)y called The GlenHatton. It is made up of the following whiskies (in no particular order or quantity):
- Hibiki 12yo
- 1991 Balblair
- SMWS 123.5 (Glengoyne)
- Balvenie 15yo Single Cask
- Balvenie DoubleWood
- SMWS 4.142 (Highland Park)
- SMWS 3.156 (Bowmore)
- SMWS 3.154 (Bowmore)
- four different blind labeled bourbons
- Ardbeg Airigh Nam Beist
- Glenfiddich 102 (review is forthcoming)
- Glenfiddich Snow Phoenix (review is forthcoming)
- Jura Prophecy
- Jura Superstition
- Jura 10yo
- Jura 16yo
- Old Pulteney 12yo
- Old Pulteney 17yo
- Kavalan Solist ex-bourbon
- Arran Machrie Moor
- Usquaebach Reserve
- Usquaebach 15yo Malt Blend
- Usquaebach Rare-Old
After creating this dregs bottle I sent a message out to friends via the Jewish Single Malt Whisky Society Facebook page asking if anyone wants to get a taste of the stuff. I had enough for 8 samples and got a taker for each one! Based on the quick response and people’s seemingly burning desire to taste the stuff, I thought it’d make for a great post!
What would people think of it and what did they think might be in it? With the exception of the Malt Impostors, no one knew that the dregs sat in a Hibiki bottle. And, with the exception of a few other things, none of which had to do with the make up of this whisky, this is all I told people about the whisk(e)y:
“Dear Guinea Pig, I mean, participant…
You are one of eight people to join the GlenHatton inner circle. Congratulations.
It took me a long time but I finally filled (for the most part) a full bottle with the dregs of whiskies from many, many different samples & countries. There are over 26 different whiskies in here from all over the world: Scotland, Japan, Sweden, USA & Taiwan!
I’d say more than 95% of this is malt whisky but there is some grain (in the form of bourbon & and grain content from a blend or two I dumped in there).
Rule # 1 — There is no Fight Club
Rule # 2 — Enjoy. It’s an odd duck. I didn’t go about creating this dregs fluid in the attempt to design some master blend. No, this is all random stuff. Solid!
Rule # 3 — Aside from enjoying it, try to taste it as if you were reviewing it as best you can and PLEASE, write down your notes. I’d love to get the standard Nose, Palate, Finish notes.
Additionally, when I do post this up, I will reveal the contents of this dregs sample. Go ahead and try to take some guesses as to what you think may be in there (you don’t have to try and guess all 26+ whiskies). The person (or people) who get more than 7 correct will get a surprise whisky sample.
Hmmm, 7 may be a high number. Ok, the person who gets the most correct will get a surprise sample. Sound cool? Cool.
Thanks again for your participation!
All the best! L’chayim/Slainte/Cheers/Kampai!”
So, who are the participants in this grand experiment and what did people think of the GlenHatton? Well, here are the final 4 guest reviews (as a reminder, here is a link to yesterday’s reviews from the first 4 tasters):
Ewan Morgan – Diageo Master of Whisky
Bio: Ewan is a third generation “whisky man.” In Scotland, Ewan spent his childhood living within the grounds of a large distillery. Both his father and grandfather worked their entire careers in the business before retiring as distillery manager and brewer, respectively. When he was of age, he inevitably began working there as a maltman himself.
Ewan was chosen to become a Master of Whisky due to his in-depth working knowledge of the industry as well as his extreme, unrelenting passion for whisky. He has traveled the world giving presentations and tastings to large audiences in Asia, Europe and North America. If you asked Ewan what he loves most about his job, he’d tell you, “there’s no other job like it, you get to travel, meet interesting people and have the opportunity to educate and enthuse about something that’s very close to your heart – that makes me a very lucky person indeed!”
Nose: floor polish, hubba bubba, sweet latex rubber, rhubarb compote, plumy, young green oaky vanilla, leather
Palate: cardamom, bitter crab apple, minty panacotta, fruity mid palate, burnt caramel and plum sauce, white pepper.
Finish: dry, short and sweet.
Caspar the whisky ghost.
Bio: Variously and unmentionably employed during the day, Bill, Stephen, and John are full-blown Malt Impostors by night. From the bowels of their Malt Cave, the Impostors endeavor to drink out the words they feel certain are already there in the expression–it is an expression, after all. They got their start making fun of some of the more pretentious tasting notes they saw out there on the web. Now, The Malt Impostor has evolved into a site providing highly idiosyncratic tasting notes for your favorite malts–preferably in miniature form.
On the nose, we found Hibiki flowers (perhaps because we knew it had been blended in a full-sized Hibiki 12 bottle–damn, the power of suggestion!), sherry, a hint of smoke, and light varnish on light wood—we were thinking a varnished sorority paddle. Bill also thought he detected notes of a Dremel tool playing roto-rooter in a robot’s aluminum nostril.
On the mouth, if the core or center isn’t bourbon, at least one of the inner concentric rings must be. It’s very smooth, but also electric on the tip of the tongue, like tiny catfish heads with barbs dipped in Hoisin sauce.
Overall, the GlenHatton sports a deep, rich mouth: we thought we detected some Macallan in here, but also some Gran Marnier, though we split on where we think the latter actually showed up: Bill’s vote was in the foreground, Stephen’s was in the background, and John’s was underground—a dissident Gran Marnier, if you will, moving fluidly amongst the occupying forces. The finish boasts loads of pepper—think GMO scotch bonnets injected subcutaneously, thereby bypassing direct contact with nerve endings—along with cinnamon and hints of corn silk. Add a little water, and the nose softens significantly, imagine that same sorority paddle making contact with a clothesline-dried cotton skirt on its way to making contact with its ultimate target. With water, on the mouth, it’s also predictably watery-er, but it does little to undermine the cinnamon and lasting spice on the finish. Overall, this dram is incredibly complex, but also very tight: there’s no clear single vector here, but rather a series of distinct vectors continuously turning in on themselves. If M.C. Escher were to blend a whisky, this’d be it.
On the scale of notable amateur (or semi-amateur) efforts, the GlenHatton is The Malt Impostor—unexpectedly well-received by discerning experts and subtly (or not so subtly) self-promotional, this dram creates its own singular niche—and does so admirably.
Bio: My name is Anne Benner, I’m 27, from Lake Constance in the south of Germany and have been a student of English and Spanish linguistics and literature in Heidelberg, Germany for quite a while now, actually 🙂 I love listining to music, mainly indie and alternative stuff (The National is my current favourite) and, apart from that I love travelling. I lived in Argentina for half a year and also spent 9 months in Scotland, working as an assistant teacher. On my last trip to Scotland in September 2010, I fell in love with some of Islay’s whiskies which made me think of writing about whisky in my master thesis. I’m currently doing this and writing about „The Language of Whisky Tasting Notes“ in English linguistics. Hoping to finish it sometime soon since my backpack’s been feeling quite lonely for the last couple of month, longing for some new adventures…
Beautiful light golden colour. But don’t trust it. It’ll lure you into some fairytale, looking innocent and pretending to be the wonderful princess of the Light sitting on its unicorn and not giving away what it really contains. Nose it and taste it and it will tell you a completely different story of what is actually to be expected 🙂 Bring it on…
Taking a first nose you will get hints of wood and nuts, accompanied by whiffs of sherry (and/or sherry cork?) and a smokiness that starts faint but then hits your nose with hot and persistent whiffs of smoke. On the second nose there are notes of marzipan and even fruit cake that are then chased away by a more fierce pepperiness that makes you want to sneeze the hell out of you. After having let it breathe for some minutes it will become a lot sweeter, more sherry, lots of sherry, more sweetness, more berries and sweet wood. Not only hints of wood that float into your nose, no it’s more like a light wooden board shoved up your nasal cavity (in a very good and painless way). Nosing too intensely, however, will make your eyes well up with tears, perceiving hints of vanilla at the same time. But hey this is crying in a good way.
Chewing the first sip makes this odd duck jump around like Darkwing Duck on your tongue. Ouch! Tongue to brain: “…please let me roll over!” But then … then it becomes worth while savouring: Its body is quite oily and heavy but successfully heaves itself to bringing out the sherry and wood notes from before, now even more persistent. This is hot stuff and not for feeble taste buds. Makes your facial colour go rather reddish. After having let it breathe you get more of the woodiness, apples, green I think, and lots of fruity hints, berries and cherry even.
The finish lasts. And lasts. It is very dry… still dry… A bit bitter on the palate, but the bitterness fades to the back parts of your tongue after some moments. It then disappears and leaves you with notes of sherry and wood, even mint. More dryness. Even a sip of water cannot downplay the dryness. Oral cavity’s de-numbing, notes of sherry and wood still on. And on. And on…
WOW! A real ferocious duck this is. Change of facial colour: check. Scared the hell out of tongue: check. Tears in your eyes: check. Even a sip of water cannot really smooth down this duck’s temper. Funniest whisky I have tried so far, extremely strong in alcohol (would be interesting to know how much it actually is) and one that hits you in the face. I have no idea what you put in this, but there is much wood and sherry. Too sweet to not have sherried whisky in it. Might be some port as well. A bit of peat smoke definitely brings in Islay but I might be wrong on this one. Its hotness reminded me a bit of the Tomatin range (especially the 12yr and 15yr) I tasted some time ago. Woody notes from some light oak I’d say but I think I haven’t tasted enough different whiskies to actually tell.
Bio: I am a member of Whisky Israel. Love Whisky with a passion. Wish I could be paid to travel the world promoting a whisky brand as a global brand ambassador.
I want to Thank Joshua Hatton for sticking with me. He sent the sample not once but twice, allowing me to, at long last, try his “dregs bottling” I’m sure somebody in either the American or Israeli Postal System enjoyed the first sample as much as I enjoyed the 2nd one that ultimately arrived.
Glen Hatton Vol. 1
Color: Gold, pure gold.
Nose: It starts off with a bit of smoke & peat, moving on to crisp green apple. This is quickly overshadowed by the sublime smells of buttery, rich buttery, really rich buttery toffee. It’s the same rich buttery aroma I get when making the toffee sauce for sticky toffee pudding (that sauce contains butter, brown sugar, vanilla & cream) only with an extra helping of butter – yum! Powering through the rich buttery toffee, I catch red candy apple. You know the kind of red candy apples one buys at a county fair. Oh, did I mention the rich buttery toffee?
Palate: The Glen Hatton starts off slightly sweet on the palate and the BAM!, it snuck up & smacked me with pepper, first white pepper, then black pepper, and finishing up with green bell pepper. Starting off just as the nose would suggest and then that surprise attack of spice.
Finish: Long, really long starting with a warmth in the chest and working its way up to the nose and remaining there ever so long. Tapering off to leave the smoke the whole show started with. That smoke lingers in an afterglow for a minute of two, reminding me of what just happened.
Overall: A wonderful dram for an experiment. This test subject was glad to be a part of it. I’d give it 88/100
Ewan – I love the pic of your handwritten tasting notes. I’d hand write my notes but I don’t think I’d be able to read them back to myself. Yeah, my penmanship is THAT bad. Very cool style of notes/descriptors as well. An interesting take on this experimental dregs bottle. This is one of the things I love about whisky – everybody’s taste & smell receptors are different and we can all come away with something unique.
Stephen, John, Bill… You guys never cease to amaze me. I find I have to read your notes over and over and over again just to make sure I’m understanding and taking it all in. Like a good Umberto Eco book, or perhaps an onion, there are many layers to what you guys write. Thank you for being you.
Anne – Nice highly details notes. You really picked up on a lot of the other elements people got: Vanilla, apples, spiciness, etc… That and you mentioned Darkwing Duck?! Fabulous!
Richard – While I won’t be posting my notes until Monday, I will tell you that we found some similar notes in there: Toffee, vanilla, more toffee. Your tasting notes were deliciously fun and told a damn good story.