|List of Lassie projects...|
Funny how such a simple and unexpected act can make someone's day. It was a 50ml bottle of "something". No label, no letter, no hints. I'm always up for a challenge and I think blind nosing can be fun if you simply roll with your thoughts and don't get too caught up in the pressure of guessing it "right". I soon found myself sample bottle in hand, a Glencairn and my trusty neon pink note book and wrote my thoughts as they came. A little later on, a great session of "20 questions" took place as a result of the sample. The reveal blew me away and made me a convert to a whisky I would have probably "wrote off" due to a previous bad experience with a younger version. As a thank you, I returned the favor and sent a surprise blind sample back. Same game ensued: Is it a Scotch? Is it an Islay? I think ABV is, etc... until a correct guess or reveal. And so it continued. We've been sending each other blind samples ever since. Unfortunately, I fell a bit behind lately and wasn't able to properly nose/sample anything for a few weeks so it was lovely to be able to start doing that again two Fridays ago. I almost had to pace myself after being whisky free for the better part of 21 long days.
|from Jarred: Drink me, I'm awesome!|
So here are four "blind" whiskies. What I thought.... and the reveals. Three out of four, ain't bad at all :)
Jarred, sample #1:
Color: Deep amber, almost orange. Legs are viscous, thick and spaced out, also lots of beading (higher ABV perhaps?)
Nose: Banana bread right out of the oven, lots of sweet caramel and vanilla. A Caribbean spiced rum comes to mind. A bit of tobacco leaves maybe? Very nice!
Palate: Creamy and so mouth watering! Mouth feel is surprising. More vanilla, rich pound cake, very buttery. A bit of water brings out toffee apples.
Finish: Sweet, long, smooth but goes to drying in nature. Awesome from start to finish.
My guess was that it was a bourbon and I estimated about 46% ABV. I didn't write down the questions I had asked Jarred to try and narrow it down, but I recall him giving me the exact ABV and a "bird" hint. I was floored when I eventually guessed Eagle Rare. I had tried/reviewed the 10 and was severely disappointed. Talk about redeeming itself with this one. I'd buy it in a heart beat. It was one of the best bourbons I've had thus far. Smooth, complex and tasty from start to finish. DELISH!
Reveal: Eagle Rare 17 Year Old, 45% ABV. Official notes: Nose - Dark candied fruit, cinnamon, cigar boxes. Palate: Delicate and drying. Hints of leather, vanilla and tobacco. Finish: Lingering with hints of toffee.
Simon, mystery sample B
Color: Dark mahogany! Legs are very viscous and fat. Sticks to glass like crazy.
Nose: Dark chocolate covered cherries, nutty, old leather, spicy like ginger snap cookies.
Palate: Drying in nature. Spicy cake (like gingerbread), very full bodied and meaty. A lot of dried fruits like figs, prunes, dates. Nice mouth feel.
Finish: Medium, lingers for a few minutes. A bit spicy and a touch of flint.
My guess was that it was an older whisky but I didn't think the ABV was that high, maybe 46% or so. Simon thought the whisky might be "off". Although I tasted a bit of flint in the finish I found it to be quite pleasant and balancing in nature.
Notes: Nose - Raisins, wood, sherry, leather, slight matchstick and earthy. Palate - Very oily, sherry notes, creamy and round. Finish - Oak, smooth, red fruits, long and warm.
All I can say is thank you to Simon for sharing this dram with me. I sent the other half of the sample to a friend for him to enjoy as well. It retails for about $650.00 so hope you enjoy it as much as I did Jean François.
Jarred, Sample #2
Color: Light amber (like a beer). Legs plentiful, viscous and thin.
Nose: Phenolic, not overly smoky more peaty in nature (earthy/salty). Solvent, acetone. Heavy citrus, salt. Slight floral and cooked cereal in the background. A bit of petroleum type smell as it's left in the glass.
Palate: Bitter grapefruit pith, really find this one to be industrial in nature. Mouth waters then dries immediately (ever have a mouthful of snow!?)
Finish: Bitter, hot. Drying, big mouthful of sand! Smoke on the exhale, but not overwhelming. Dryness stayed for a long time.
Something unbalanced about the dram Nose - Palate - Finish. It seemed to progressively get harsher?! I guessed an ABV of about 46%.
Reveal: Talisker 10, 45% ABV. Are you shittin me?!! My favorite distillery, but definitely not my favorite whisky. Gob smacked again.
Official Notes: It's a smoky sweet single malt with a hint of sea salt and a warming, peppery finish.
Nice to know I'm consistent. I have this whisky in my collection but don't drink it often, mostly offer it to friends or use it as an introduction for people curious about peat.
Jarred, Sample #3 (Drink me I'm awesome!!!)
Color: Dark rich yellow, golden hues. Nice legs, plentiful and skinny in nature.
Nose: Huge spice -> Cloves!!! Creamy rum raisin ice cream. A bit of oak in the background, toffee pudding. Pine needles - "foresty"?
Palate: Mouth watering, viscous and sweet. Just a bit of burn, very full bodied with caramel, sweet soft cinnamon and hot ginger. A bit of creosote in the back, reminds me of railway ties?
Finish: A bit drying, oaky with a spiciness like hot tamales (from my youth). Also get a bit of smoke on the exhale.
I guessed something from the Speyside region or a "light" highland. No clue other than I recognized the rum raisin quality. I've had that in a few whiskies lately. I guessed an ABV of about 43%.
Reveal: Mackmyra Moment Medvind, 48.6% ABV Stunned again!?? In the aftermath, the rum raisin ice cream should have been a dead give away. I recognize now that's my "signature" tell for Mackmyra... geez!
Official notes: Nose - Rich, smoke, vanilla toffee with loads of dried fruit. Palate - Concentrated with sherry, dried fruit, soft oak and the smokiness of juniper, peat and tar. Finish - Tar, spice and tobacco.
What a great whisky! I WANT IT!!! So now it's a quest to get it. See what happens when people share their whiskies??
So, what have I learned from all this. Blind nosing/tasting is hard but fun. There are so many great whiskies on the market and I can't think of too many people that would be able to guess every single whisky they are imbibing. I like the method I use to work my way through whiskies. I'm confident in my nose/palate as well as my likes and dislikes. So, I may not guess what I'm drinking but if I compare what my notes are to those of the official or otherwise, I'm quite content I'm doing something right!
The one lesson I take away from this and one that I'm sharing with you is DO IT! Go blind, let someone pick a whisky for you and then simply enjoy trying to piece the puzzle together.
I want to thank Jarred, Simon and all the other members of the #Whiskyfabric who play this game with me. Let the numbered samples continue to come - the Lassie is ready!!!
On the whisky trail, walking around with a blindfold sometimes (hehe), come join me if you dare...