In the spirit of starting this blog off with me at my most vulnerable I’ve decided to document my (mis)fortunes in a blind tasting I’m participating in over the next weeks. The tasting is organized by a whisky-friend of mine nicknamed Yapi from Belgium and consists of 7 rounds, each with 1 or 2 samples. It is called the High End Blind Tasting or HEBT for short. I’ll post my notes some time ahead of the reveal and will amend each post’s title and text when the identity of the sample(s) has been revealed.
Needless to say: if you are a participant and do not want to be influenced, do not read on! For the rest of you: keep calm and read on (or come back when the identity has been revealed for the complete experience)…
The nose starts off with soft white fruit (apple, peach, banana) and cookie dough along with the merest hint of acidity. Then a slightly chemical smell, not quite acetone but definitely in the ‘don’t drink me’-camp. This leads me to believe this whisky has some age to it. After a little while it is gone and replaced with milk chocolate and wet cardboard. With a small amount of water added I can pick out creamy butter, vanilla, coffee and a persistent floral note.
The complex nose is not continued in the taste unfortunately. It is mellow, with some woodspice (american oak with white pepper and nutmeg), pineapple and hints of nuts. With water it becomes quite a bit sweeter, gains white fruit in sugar syrup and a slight dish washing liquid character (top-shelf stuff, but still).
The finish without water is short, very short. With some drops of water, though, it lengthens enough for me to discern a slight waxiness, with hints of crème brûlée and woodsap.
Overall, this whisky is a little disappointing. Not because it is a bad whisky (in fact quite the opposite), but because it could have been so much better. The nose makes promises the taste cannot keep. The nose goes into the 90s, but overall I give it (and remember this is based on tasting only 2cl, so take with the appropriate grain of salt): 87 points.
As for the guesses: I think this is a whisky at approximately 48% abv, matured for around 20-25 years in an ex-bourbon cask. I’m thinking this is from a Highland distillery, I’ll call Glenmorangie or Teaninich as possibilities.
Edit 5/5/2014: the whisky has been revealed to be:
Strathmill 22yo 50.3% Asta Morris Distilled 1991 Bottled 2013 Oak Cask
For another blogger’s view on this sample, check out Words of Whisky.